New Year Message from your Uckfield Lib Dem Team

Paul Meakin

Paul Meakin

We have been working throughout the whole of last year for the benefit of Uckfield and its residents. This has included regular monthly Lib Dem advice surgeries held on the first Saturday of each month at the Civic Centre.

Paul Sparks

Paul Sparks

Over the years we have provided help and support on a wide range of issues to local residents including Benefits, Planning, Safeguarding of Children, and Housing.

We will continue these surgeries throughout 2017 so please pop in between 10 -11 am if you think we can help.

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Tories ‘Don’t Understand’ Social Services

In a major statement East Sussex Liberal Democrat Councillors have hit hard at the Conservative minority administration of East Sussex County Council.

Liberal Democrats condemn the government for not properly tackling the funding crisis in Adult Social Care. The Conservative government has said that councils can raise their Council Tax by up to 5%, of which 3% can be used to fund Adult Social Care. This is an extra 1% on what the government had planned. It is not known if the Conservative run County Council will levy the extra 1%. The extra 1% will bring in £2.3 million but will not bridge the funding gap, which in East Sussex has been £6 million each year for the last few years. This continued gap in funding will lead to further cuts which come on top of year on year cuts suffered by Adult Social Care in East Sussex.

Among past cuts we have seen a forced cut of 30%in the cost of packages of care, with the voluntary sector budget cut to the bone, even with this there was still is a £6million black hole in the Adult Social Care budget.

Uckfield LibDem Town Councillor Paul Sparks said “I am frightened for very vulnerable people living in Wealden, they face a very uncertain time wondering if and how the Tory cuts will affect them.” He went on to say,” Part of the problem is that the Conservative administration does not understand the complexity of Social Services care provision. They have been making quick fix cuts over the years instead of providing services in a way that was resilient, this was following the effects of the uncaring cuts in funding from central government.”

County Councillor Kathryn Field, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader at East Sussex County Council, who Chairs two committees which scrutinise the plans and action of Health and Adult Social Care coming together, is worried that many of the NHS and Adult Social Care schemes are in such an early phase that it is hard to see if cash savings can be made, let alone continue to provide the care so desperately needed. She said, “The coming year is going to be a hard one”.

County Councillor David Tutt, Opposition Group Leader at East Sussex County Council, thinks many of the cuts made in recent years were unnecessary as the Conservative group, together with UKIP and Independent allies pushed through budgets which made cuts to Adult Social Care whilst continuing to spend over £1million on communications. David Tutt said, “The Tories have shown their incompetence in the formulation of budgets. These budgets made cuts to Adult Social Care services to the most vulnerable in our county. They did this whilst wasting opportunities provided to them, by the Liberal Democrats, to have budgets which would have protected more front-line services. The Lib Dems proposals would have achieved this by targeting back office services to help the County Council to work more efficiently. “The Conservatives have failed those in need of Social Care at both National and Local level, as a result many will suffer and overall the cost will hit the Health Service budget”.

To tackle the crisis in the provision of Adult Social Care Liberal Democrats would, among a raft of measures, lead with investment in a range of community services, primarily through the voluntary sector. This would help relieve pressure on the statutory provided care services. The County Council must work more closely with other organisations so that services can be provided in a joined up way, so that they meet people’s needs.

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Southern Rail Crisis Debate on BBC iPlayer till 6 Feb

Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, participated on 9 January in a heated BBC-organised debate about the ongoing crisis on Southern Rail.

The other participants were Charles Horton, of parent firm GTR, Mick Lynch, of the RMT union and Huw Merriman, Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle and a member of Parliament’s Transport Select Committee.

Impromptu talks between Mr Horton and Mr Lynch were held following the debate and the BBC understands that further talks are planned.

The debate, lasting 30 minutes,  is available on BBC iPlayer for 29 days from today.

Former LibDem MP for Eastbourne Stephen Lloyd is running a petition calling on the Secretary of State at the Department of Transport , Chris Grayling MP, to act now before it is too late and serious long term damage is done to tens of thousands of lives and businesses as a result of the shocking rail service southern commuters have had to endure for far too long. Readers can sign Stephen’s petition here.

Posted in Southern Rail, Stephen Lloyd, Sussex | Comments Off on Southern Rail Crisis Debate on BBC iPlayer till 6 Feb

Val Brinton – the woman who put artistry into an election campaign

vb_cb_wadhurstVal Brinton, for many years a Liberal Democrat stalwart in Wadhurst, has died at the age of 82.

An artist and long-standing supporter of liberalism, Val is best remembered for combining those two interests and painting her own poster for Wealden’s Lib Dem candidate in the 2010 general election, Chris Bowers. She hung it outside her house in the centre of Wadhurst.

Chris recalls: “I got this unusual call to ask if I could go to meet a woman who had painted her own poster for the election campaign, so I went to Wadhurst not knowing what to expect. Once there, I met this lovely woman who had decided that the printed posters were a bit too dull so had painted her own version with the bird of liberty and my name across the bottom, albeit she had felt the need to put a small official poster in the corner to make it clear it was genuine support and not just a work of art.

“She had a hook for a hanging basket in the front garden of her house in Wadhurst High Street, and she fixed it to that. An awful lot of people must have driven past, and I’d like to think a few of the 14,000 voters we attracted at that election were encouraged by seeing Val’s artwork. It added a bit of colour to our campaign.”

Val Brinton was born in India, and returned there after schooling in England, working for many years in illustration, painting, advertising and theatre and film design. For many years she was on the organising committee of the September Art Exhibition in Wadhurst, a show that still runs a Val Brinton bursary.

Wealden Liberal Democrats would like to offer their condolences to Val’s family.

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Have your say on the Sussex Police Precept

Wealden LibDems and Sussex Neighbourhood Watch would like to draw residents’ attention to a survey being conducted on behalf of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. This is about how much extra council tax (if any extra) you would be willing to pay towards the Police Precept during 2017-2018.

The proposal is to increase the police element of council tax by around £5.00 per household to fund over 100 more police officers and specialist staff. Clarification from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner indicates that the £5 is based on an average cost per household, per annum, based on a Council Tax Band D household, so depending on the household size and council tax band it could be more or less.

Uckfield Libem Town Councillor Paul Meakin says

“We are told that Sussex Police have had to make £2 Million pounds in ‘efficiency savings’ but need another £3 Million from the increased precept to employ 100 new PC /specialists. Perhaps getting rid of the PCC to save £1.82 million plus is a better offer!

Residents can access the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s survey by clicking on the banner below.

precept consultation

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Stephen Lloyd – Coperforma Lose Patient Transport Contract

Stephen LloydFormer LibDem MP for Eastbourne Stephen Lloyd comments on the decision to strip Coperforma of the contract to transport patients for non-emergency appointments. Stephen says

“I’ve been campaigning for this for many months now so I am absolutely delighted at the result.

“There is to be a managed transition period up to April next year which is probably a good idea as the service has been pretty grim for patients (and staff!) at times. And I suspect the last thing High Weald CCG wanted was yet another shambolic change as when Coperforma originally took over from our local ambulance trust – SECAMB – in April this year.

“It is a tremendous result though and my long-standing petition calling for the patient transport service to be removed from the private sector and returned to the NHS where it belongs, is exactly what has happened.”

Posted in Health, Liberal Democrats, Stephen Lloyd | Comments Off on Stephen Lloyd – Coperforma Lose Patient Transport Contract

Another New Politics meeting 10 Nov

The next public meeting hosted by Wealden Progressives, following the earlier debate on ‘A New Politics’ in September, will be on Thursday 10 November, from 8pm at the United Church, Croft Road, Crowborough TN6 1HA.

Come and share your views on the future of politics and progressive parties in Wealden, as well as across the Atlantic on the new US President! And let us know what you would like to happen locally in Wealden.

Everyone welcome. Refreshments available. If you use Facebook please feel free to share this event with friends and via Facebook if possible.

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Quitting Europol would undermine fight against ivory poaching

Catherine BearderLibDem MEP Catherine Bearder, who is currently part of an official MEP delegation to the CITES conference in South Africa, is warning that leaving the EU’s main crime-fighting agency, Europol, would deal a damaging blow to the fight against poaching and wildlife-trafficking.

Despite the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit cooperating with Europol in 2015 in the largest ever international operation against wildlife crime (Operation Cobra III), resulting in the seizure of over 12 tonnes of ivory and the arrests of several individuals linked to wildlife trafficking the UK government is not saying whether or not it will opt in to new rules governing Europol or to quit the agency.

Catherine says:

“If the Government is serious about tackling wildlife crime, it must commit to fully participating in Europol.

“Our best chance of saving elephants and other threatened species from extinction is by strengthening international cooperation, not weakening it.

“Quitting Europol would undermine UK law enforcement and embolden the evil traffickers using Britain as a transit point in the illegal ivory trade.”

More on Catherine’s website.

Posted in Catherine Bearder, Environment, EU, Europe, International, Liberal Democrats | Comments Off on Quitting Europol would undermine fight against ivory poaching

Hailsham East – another LibDem win

LibDem candidate Graham Moore has won the Hailsham Town Council by-election (22 Sept) in Hailsham East ward – by 161 votes to 109.

This is the third Town Council LibDem by-election win in Hailsham East ward this year. The full result is on the Wealden District Council website.

Congratulations to Graham and all those who helped him win.

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Graham Moore for Hailsham East 22 September

Graham MooreGraham Moore is the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the next Hailsham Town Council by-election in Hailsham East Ward on Thursday 22 September. Graham says:

“l have lived in East Sussex all my life.

“I was born in Lewes and went to school in Uckfield. As an apprenticed coachbuilder I attended Preston College in Brighton.

“I worked as a foreman, and subsequently branch manager for a leading motor dealer in Haywards Heath before setting up my own vehicle restoration and repair business, Moore’s, in Eastbourne.

“Now retired and happily married, with children and grandchildren, my wife and I have been living in Hailsham since 1998.

“I have watched the town grow with many good things and some not so good. I have seen the closure of businesses and the loss of major employers. Ropemaker Park once the home of Hailsham’s famous rope making business no longer makes rope. Although some new businesses have come into the town the net loss of jobs from those that have gone has not been made good. New supermarkets have opened but we have lost many of the independent shops, – the butchers, the fishmonger, the greengrocers and the clothing and shoe shops.

“The town now faces the prospect of being doubled in size but so far we have no details of the new shops and businesses or the new employers that will be needed if the town is not to become just one large housing estate with residents daily commuting to work and shop elsewhere.

“The present infrastructure of the town is not adequate for the massive increase in the population and the problems will only get worse as all the planned new houses become occupied. Elected Councillors need to speak up on behalf of our residents. I believe that I have a lifetime of experience to draw upon and I would like the opportunity to use this for the benefit of the community.

“Help me, to help YOU and make Hailsham a better place for all.”

Graham Moore

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