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  • Sep 18, 2014:
    • ANNETTE BROOKE MP VOTES TO SAVE LIVES AT CRUCIAL COMMONS DEBATE ON OVERSEAS AID (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the vote in the House of Commons on Friday 12th September with broadcaster Mariella Frostrup Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Annette Brookevoted in favour of a bill that would enshrine in law the UK's commitment to spend 0.7% of national spend on overseas aid. By voting for this bill, which was included in all three party manifestos in 2010, they along with other MPs, have helped to fulfil the government and the country's pledge to care for the world's poorest and confirm this in law. In the run up to the vote, many of Annette Brooke's constituents called on her encouraging her to turn up, vote and save lives. Annette Brooke MP says, "I am proud to represent Mid Dorset and North Poole and always make it a priority to listen to people from my local area, whether it's on a local or a global issue. After hearing from local residents, I wanted to fulfil our commitment to meeting our UK Aid promise and enshrine it in law. We have a duty to care for the world's poorest and it is also in our interest to help build a more peaceful and stable world." UK aid changes and saves lives every day. Since 2012 British aid investment into vaccines and health has contributed to the biggest ever fall in child deaths, saving a child's life every two minutes from preventable illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. Since 1990 the number of children dying unnecessary deaths has been cut almost in half, from 12 million a year to 6.9 million. Aid has also contributed to improving education, health, sanitation, gender equality, and other public services that sustain a developing economy and add to global growth. Ben Jackson, CEO of Bond, the membership organisation for 420 UK relief and development charities said, "On behalf of our members we are delighted today to see so many MPs including Annette Brooke attend this important debate and vote in favour of this legislation. We are grateful for her support in upholding Britain's promise of spending 0.7% of our national budget on overseas aid." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 17, 2014:
    • Unemployment falls again in Cardiff Central - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central has welcomed the news that the number of unemployed claimants in Cardiff Central in August is 561 lower than this time last year and 99 lower than in July 2014. The latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics show that across the UK unemployment fell by 146,000, lowering the total unemployment count to 2.02 million. The figures show that unemployment has fallen to 6.2%, the lowest rate in six years. And average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, in the May to July period, rose by 0.7% from a year earlier. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The fall in unemployment is welcome and shows that the economy is continuing on the road to recovery. Central to the Lib Dem plans to build a stronger economy and a fairer society has been to create jobs and provide people with more opportunities to get on. We have played a key role in ensuring that our labour market is fair and flexible. There is still work to be done, but the employment growth that we are now witnessing is one of the Coalition's key achievements." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 16, 2014:
    • Letter to Wales Online about the Talking Buses campaign in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Editor, I hope everyone saw the Guide Dog charity's bright yellow bus in Queen Street last weekend. The bus was stationed in Cardiff as part of the charity's national campaign to fit audio-visual (AV) technology on all buses and help passengers with sight loss travel more independently and confidently. Earlier this year I met Guide Dogs in Parliament alongside Liberal Democrat Bus Minister Baroness Kramer to discuss how announcements in buses can help blind and partially sighted people use buses more easily and not miss their stops. Only 20% of UK buses have audio visual (AV) and without it, 9 in 10 blind or partially sighted passengers have got off at the wrong stop. Currently, bus operators are under no obligation to include AV technology when upgrading their buses. I have been contacted by constituents who have friends and family affected by this, and I am very pleased to support the Talking Buses campaign. It is very important that we do all we can to support blind people to live independent and fulfilling lives. Hopefully with more awareness and support we can get the changes that are needed. Yours sincerely, Jenny Willott MP Liberal Democrat, Cardiff Central Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • MoneyWise Haringey - jobs fair (Lynne Featherstone)

      MoneyWise Haringey is a local project run by the Citizens Advice Bureau, to help people manage their finances.

      Alongside advice on saving, benefits, and bills, they have arranged a jobs fair on 1st October. To ensure that everyone gets the most out of the experience, MoneyWise are offering free haircuts and CV training on the day, as well as entering all registered attendees in a prize draw.

      I run an annual apprenticeship event (this year's was at the Civic Centre earlier this month) and so I have seen first-hand how beneficial getting into work is for young people - the boost in confidence, independence, and of course income that work provides cannot be underestimated.

      Since the Lib Dems entered government in 2010 youth unemployment in my constituency (Hornsey and Wood Green) has more than halved. Of course we would like to see it fall even further, and so I am delighted that projects like MoneyWise are helping people into work.

      The MoneyWise Job Fair will take place from 9.30am on 1st October at 639 Enterprise Centre, High Road, N17 8AA. Directions and advice about what to do before the Fair can be found on the MoneyWise website.

  • Sep 15, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP joins the fight against breast cancer by wearing pink (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette wearing it pink in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign's flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day. The theme of wear it pink this year is to 'look good, do good' in support of breast cancer research. On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year's fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research. Annette said: "Every year in the UK over 50,000 women and around 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease each year. This is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign's fundraising effortsto support world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments. I hope you'll all join me by wearing it pink on Friday 24 October and showing your support for breast cancer research." wear it pink on Friday 24 October to support Breast Cancer Campaign's lifesaving research. For more information or to register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Government plan to install smart meters will help cut energy bills - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is backing the Coalition Government's strategy, which requires energy companies to install smart meters in all homes and small businesses, to allow residents to make better informed choices about how much energy they use and who they buy it from. Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They are part of the Government's plan for upgrading the UK's energy system. The aim is for all homes and small businesses to have smart meters by 2020. Energy suppliers will be required to install smart meters and take all reasonable steps to install them for everybody. Consumers with smart meters will be given an in-home display that lets them see how much energy they are using and what it will cost. Between now and 2020 energy suppliers will be responsible for replacing over 53 million gas and electricity meters. This will involve visits to 30 million homes and small businesses. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "In Government, the Liberal Democrats are determined to reduce the cost of living for families and businesses in Cardiff Central. Smart electricity and gas meters are an important part of the Coalition's policy to help cut energy bills for consumers, reduce costs for businesses and bring down our emissions. "Smart meters will let local residents have more control over what they use and help them save energy and money. In-home displays will show energy consumption in real time and its cost in pounds and pence. This will allow residents to manage their energy use and bring an end to estimated billing so people will only be billed for the energy they actually use, helping them to budget better. They will also help people switch energy suppliers more quickly and easily." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 14, 2014:
    • South Sudan's leaders must do more to end crisis (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here's a blog from my recent visit to South Sudan, also available on the Huffington Post.

      While the eyes of the world rightly look towards global crises in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa, there is a serious and worsening humanitarian disaster almost going unnoticed in South Sudan.

      It is deeply saddening to see a country that was once so full of hope for the future, now embroiled in such a painful and destructive war with itself. When I first visited South Sudan less than two years ago I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air but today it is an entirely different story.

      2014-09-12-SouthSudanLFOct2012.jpg

      Since December violence has spread through the country forcing 1.7million people to flee their homes. The conflict between the Government and Opposition party supporters has created in its wake one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Some 400,000 people are now refugees in neighbouring countries, numbers the UN expects to double by December.

      And yet the situation could get worse as the threat of famine looms large. This year's planting season has been neglected by people fleeing their home to escape the violence and aid agencies have warned of the risk of food shortage. Already people are dying from food insecurity and the UN predicts that some 50,000 children could die of malnutrition before the year is out, even before famine is formally declared.

      It is an increasingly desperate situation and last week I visited South Sudan to see for myself just how severe it is. It is clear that even now there are already chronic food shortages. At an International Rescue Committee nutrition centre in Ganyliel Town, I saw many children suffering from malnourishment. I met a young mother whose infant child was severely under-nourished and had severe medical problems. Her struggle to feed her child with the limited supply of food available to her was deeply moving.

      2014-09-12-SSudanrefugeeEthiopiaPWiggersUNHCR960.png

      The UK has contributed £125million to help those caught-up in this crisis. This includes £30 million I announced during my visit for refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries. This will help deliver food, shelter, basic hygiene needs, safe water, immunisation and essential supplies such as mosquito nets, kitchen sets and fuel. But the UN's Crisis Response Plan remains under-funded, and we desperately need other donors to contribute more too.

      The truly appalling tragedy about this crisis is that it is wholly man-made. Ultimately aid cannot fix the problem, only help deal with the consequences. South Sudan's leaders must accept full responsibility for starting the conflict and now must work to end it. Politicians need to honour the agreements they have already made, but ignored, to stop the fighting. These were the messages I delivered to the South Sudanese Government during my visit, and which they and leaders of the armed opposition need to hear loud and clear from us all.

  • Sep 12, 2014:
    • Rugby World Cup Too Big To Miss - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      As tickets go on sale for the Rugby World Cup 2015 Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is delighted that games will be played at the Millennium Stadium and urges residents to apply for tickets before they go. Between September 12th and 29th up to 1 million tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2015 will go on sale to the public. Tickets for all 48 matches will be available during this window, with prices starting at £7 for children and £15 for adults. General ticket sales will be on an application basis with any oversubscribed matches balloted. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Cardiff is the only place outside England where Rugby World Cup 2015 matches will be played and I am delighted that the Millennium Stadium is the venue that will be used. "The Rugby World Cup is one of the greatest tournaments in the sporting calendar and Wales can be proud to be playing a key role. Cardiff is a fantastic city, which people from all over the world can visit and enjoy. "Let's hope with lots of home support, Wales can go one better than four years ago and reach the Final!" Tickets can only be bought from tickets.rugbyworldcup.com, where you will need to create an account before you can apply. Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 11, 2014:
    • Government to support Sarah's Bill to tackle revenge evictions (sarahteather)
      The Government has today announced its support in principle for local MP Sarah Teather's Private Members' Bill to tackle revenge evictions. Sarah's Bill would stop retaliatory evictions - preventing landlords evicting tenants who make a complaint about essential repairs or poor conditions in their homes. This follows a long campaign by housing charity Shelter. Sarah today joined Shelter supporters to hand the charity's petition on revenge evictions to Lib Dem Communities Minister Stephen Williams. Retaliatory eviction is a particular problem in London. 2% of UK renters have been victims of revenge eviction in the last year, but the figures rises to 7% for those in London and up to 17% for BME renters in London. There are 33,000 private rented properties in Brent, and Sarah's constituency has one of the highest numbers of private renters in the country. The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 28 November. Commenting, Brent Central MP Sarah Teather said: "It's fantastic to have the Government's backing for my Bill, which I believe will make a real difference to renters in Brent and across the country if it becomes law. "I pay tribute to Stephen and his colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government for taking this issue seriously, and to Shelter for their important campaign on it." Lib Dem Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said: "Our private rental sector is a vital asset, providing a home to nine million people across the country. So I'm determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name. "That's why we're backing Sarah Teather's Bill to outlaw revenge evictions once and for all - ensuring tenants do not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they've asked for essential repairs to be made." Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive said: "It's not right that renters can be evicted simply for asking their landlord to fix a problem in their home, and so it is incredibly encouraging to see that the government is backing Sarah Teather's call to end revenge evictions. "More than 200,000 renters have faced revenge evictions in the last year and conditions in privately rented homes are the worst in the country - which is why Shelter has been calling for a ban on this unfair practice. "Nobody should have to raise their children in a place where their health and well-being are at risk, let alone live in fear of being thrown out simply for complaining about a problem in their home. Now is that time for politicians to stand up for our 9 million renters and finally put a stop to unfair revenge evictions." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Jenny to champion the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (Jenny Willott)
      Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott has become one of 40 MPs from across the UK to champion the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and help beat cystic fibrosis for good. Cystic fibrosis is a life-shortening inherited disease, affecting over 10,000 people in the UK. The disease causes the lungs and digestive system to become clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis but treatments are available to manage it. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust funds research to understand better and treat cystic fibrosis, review standards of care, and provide information and advice to the cystic fibrosis community. Most people with Cystic Fibrosis will need a lung transplant to avoid an early death. Cystic fibrosis is the third most common reason for lung transplantation and has the best survival rate. Once on the waiting list, patients are expected to live no more than two years. In Wales there are currently 9 people with cystic fibrosis on the active lung transplant waiting list, one of those is also waiting for a liver transplant. Between 2008 and 2013 twelve lung transplants and two kidney transplants took place on Welsh cystic fibrosis patients. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I am very proud to champion the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, particularly as the Trust is in its 50th year. During National Transplant Week I highlighted the need for more people to register on the Organ Donation Register to help save or transform the lives of desperately ill people. As a champion I want to continue to raise issues that affect the Trust. "In Parliament debates have taken place on increasing sign-ups to the organ register, the treatment of cystic fibrosis and the Trust's campaign for a national lung allocation system. A new All Parliamentary Party Group has also been set up. "I hope this will lead to greater awareness about cystic fibrosis and the issues around service provision to help improve cystic fibrosis care. I hope to visit the Cystic Fibrosis Centre in Cardiff later this year to gain a better understanding of the amazing work being done there to help sufferers manage their condition." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 10, 2014:
    • Letter to Wales Online about mental health (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Editor, I was pleased to read on 28th August that Mind Cymru has highlighted the need for more to be done to prevent people, particularly men, from ending up in hospital with a mental illness. One in four people are likely to suffer from a mental health problem at some point, which can have a long-lasting impact on their quality of life, affecting their work, their home life and their personal relationships. For far too long, mental health has not been given the attention it deserves and has unfairly been the subject of misunderstanding and discrimination. Whilst health is a devolved issue, of course the border is more fluid when it comes to both the causes and impacts of mental health problems and a change in approach in England will impact on Wales. When the previous UK Government introduced access and waiting time standards for physical health, they failed to do so for mental health. I am delighted that Liberal Democrats in Government are taking action to put this right. In 2011, the Coalition Government published a mental health strategy and for the first time ever we have introduced the notion of 'parity of esteem', which means that mental health must now be treated on an equal standing with physical health. In England the Coalition Government has protected funding for mental health services and agreed a Concordat with over 20 national organisations that sets out the good standards of crisis care that we want to see throughout England. I hope the same can be done in Wales. Recently, Nick Clegg announced that the Lib Dems' next election manifesto would establish a mental health research fund to help develop new cutting-edge mental health treatments. My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are committed to improving mental health services in England and Wales working with individuals and organisations like Mind, to break down the barriers some ensure that support is given to those that need it. Yours sincerely, Jenny Willott MP Liberal Democrat Cardiff Central Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 9, 2014:
    • Local MP Sarah supports Affordable Homes Bill (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has voted in Parliament to make a number of changes to the controversial bedroom tax. On Friday, Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George's Affordable Homes Bill was debated in the House of Commons. It proposes a number of changes to the bedroom tax, which was introduced in 2012 and has seen social housing tenants lose some of their housing benefit payments if they have a spare room. It has been strongly criticised for its impact on disabled people who require an extra room for their medical equipment and on those living in adapted properties. Critics have also pointed to a lack of available smaller properties for those affected to move into. If it becomes law, the Affordable Homes Bill will introduce exemptions for those who live in adapted properties, and for claimants whose disability prevents them from sharing a room. It would also exempt anyone who has not been made a 'reasonable offer' of alternative accommodation. Commenting, Sarah said: "I was very pleased to support my Lib Dem colleague Andrew George's important bill. "The bedroom tax is one of a number of benefit cuts that, when taken together, have left many people without the ability to support themselves and their families. I'm incredibly concerned that many people are now suffering crippling levels of poverty. "It is no coincidence that the number of people falling into rent arrears and using food banks has risen dramatically. "This is a great opportunity for us to start to address this situation. I was therefore pleased that the bill successfully passed its second reading on Friday." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 8, 2014:
    • Lib Dems launch manifesto for the next generation - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      The Liberal Democrats have unveiled the party's pre-manifesto, which sets out the vision for Britain after the 2015 General Election. The policies in the pre-manifesto, which has spreading opportunity for the next generation at its heart, will be debated and voted on by our members at the upcoming Party Conference in Glasgow. It includes a host of policies aimed at improving opportunities for children and young people. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The Lib Dems in government have played a key role in rescuing the UK's economy, creating more than 1 million jobs and bringing the economy back to growth. We are proud of what we have achieved and the pre-manifesto document outlines what we will offer voters in May. "Our focus is on children and young people because we believe the first few years of people's lives are crucial in helping them to get on later in life. We want to create meaningful opportunities for people in Cardiff Central to get on and live successful and fulfilling lives. "That is why our proposals include providing more free hours of childcare for families, raising the tax allowance to help those on low incomes, cutting energy bills for businesses and households, and investing to make the UK the world's leader in carbon technology, which will create apprenticeships and jobs. "We also want to transfer more powers to local areas and bring back proper border checks so we know who is coming in and leaving the country. This is a manifesto for the next generation and one which will continue to strengthen our economy and make society fairer." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 5, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP calls for action to close the achievement gap in reading (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole and Parliamentary Champion for Save the Children yesterday spoke in a debate she had called on the achievement gap in reading between poorer children and their better off peers. At the start of the debate Annette pointed out that in the UK today, one in every four children leaves primary school without being able to read well, meaning 130,000 children each year start secondary school already behind, with consequences for their later life chances. Of those children, a disproportionately large number are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Of children on free school meals, the proportion leaving primary school who do not read well rises to 40%. Annette pointed out that: "Inevitably, not being able to read well affects a child's life across a range of outcomes and limits chances of success. Not reading well not only shuts children out of further learning but means they are less likely to read outside of school and therefore will miss out on all the benefits associated with the joy of reading. For children from poorer backgrounds, there is a profound impact on the likelihood of their ever catching up." Annette insisted that the early years of a child's life are crucial, and gave credit to Bookstart, which is fantastic for issuing books at an early stage. She also welcomed the expansion of nursery places to two-year-olds and the introduction of an early-years premium from April 2015. This specifically aims to close the gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers by providing funding to early-years providers to help them raise the quality of their provision. Annette argued that there now needs to be increased support for schools and teachers to do even more to help the poorest children. She mentioned that policies such as the pupil premium are making a real difference, as was demonstrated in the July 2014 Ofsted report, "The pupil premium: an update". She concluded her speech by accepting that the United Kingdom remains a highly unequal country. She said: "The poorer outcomes in key skills such as reading and spoken language that are experienced by children at the lower end of the income distribution scale contribute to unequal opportunities to do well in life. If we were to make progress in tackling this educational inequality, we would help to level the playing field so that every child had the opportunity to succeed. That matters for all of us." To read the full debate, please visit: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140904/debtext/140904-0003.htm#14090414000002 Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Cardiff can't afford to wait says Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      Cardiff's Lib Dems say a damning Welsh Audit Office report into the city's performance reveals Labour's failure of leadership since it took over running the Council in 2012. The report's scathing attack on 'fragmented leadership and management" has heaped pressure on Cllr Phil Bale, leader of the council. "This report is painfully bad," said Cllr Judith Woodman, leader of the Lib Dem group on Cardiff Council. "It makes a number of recommendations but we have little confidence that Phil Bale has the experience or skills to implement those changes in the required timeframe. "You have to ask questions of his ability to be running the city. "That said, it's not just his failure but a failure of his party. Heather Joyce stood down as leader days before the Audit Office came in. She must have known how bad things were going to be and decided to dodge the bullet." There are now fears that, unless swift improvement is made, the Welsh Government could be forced to appoint Commissioners to run the Council, as they did in Anglesey in 2011. "Bale is leading a party that is in utter disarray," said Woodman. "In the two years Labour have been running the Council, there have been two leadership challenges, four Councillors have resigned, at huge cost to the city in terms of bye-elections, countless Cabinet reshuffles, five cabinet members with responsibility for Children's Services and claims from within the group of systemic sexism. "If they can't even run themselves, how can you expect them to run a capital city? "If the Commissioners are called in, the damage to the Council's reputation is inconceivable." The report points to 'political instability' as a key cause of the Council's failure to deliver its program of change. This is in marked contrast to the findings of the WAO in 2011, when the Liberal Democrats were running the city. "Clear and firm leadership and sound governance," the WAO said in 2011, "supported by effective financial management is underpinning delivery of the Council's strategic intentions." The current report comes a few months after the administration launched a listening exercise that has already run into widespread ridicule. "Phil Bale's so-called Cardiff Debate probably sounded a good idea at the time," said Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central, "but it's set to last for three years. The city simply hasn't got that long. "Councils across the UK are using innovative ways of coping with a changed environment for local government. "They're getting on with implementing change, not sitting around chatting about it." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Affordable Homes Bill (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here's a copy of an email I sent to residents yesterday, who contacted me regarding the Affordable Homes Bill:

      Thank you for your email with regards to the Affordable Homes Bill, put forward by my Lib Dem colleague Andrew George MP.

      I will be voting in favour of this Bill tomorrow.

      Under-occupancy is a serious problem across the country, caused by a loss of 1.5 million council homes by successive Labour and Tory governments.

      Since 2010, the Lib Dems have been working to reverse this decline, overseeing the construction of 170,000 new social and affordable homes.

      To tackle the under occupancy issue, the last Labour government introduced a Housing Benefit reduction (or 'bedroom tax') for those with a spare bedroom in the private rented sector, which was then matched in 2013 for those in social housing.

      My Lib Dem colleagues and I argued for significant changes to make the new policy fairer - and we secured a £25 million fund for Discretionary Housing Payments, £5 million for foster carers, and exemptions for the elderly.

      But we want to go further, which is why we are supporting Andrew George's Bill that will change the rules to protect the most vulnerable in society.

      The Bill is made of two parts - one is to secure a review of affordable housing by the Secretary of State, and the other would provide three new exemptions to spare bedroom rules.

      Proposals mean that there will be no change to a person's Housing Benefit if:

      1) A property has been adapted for a disabled claimant, their partner, or a close relative living with them.

      2) The DLA/PIP claimant, their partner, or a close relative living with them has a disability which prevents them from sharing a room.

      3) The Local Authority or Housing Association has not made a 'reasonable offer of alternative accommodation'

      This will make the system significantly fairer, which is why I am very pleased to support the Bill tomorrow.

  • Sep 4, 2014:
    • Now is the time to prevent a man-made famine in South Sudan (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here is a blog from my latest visit to South Sudan. Also available on the Department for International Development site.

      I can clearly remember my first overseas visit as a DFID minister. It was just under 2 years ago, in October 2012. I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air of this new and ambitious country.

      On Monday I returned to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to find an entirely different situation.

      A humanitarian crisis has gripped the country since fighting broke out last December. Over 1.7 million people have fled their communities in fear of their lives. Over 4 million people - one-third of the population - are 'food insecure'. While famine for this crop season has been averted, UNICEF estimates that up to 50,000 children could still die before the end of the year, and there is a very high chance that the situation could deteriorate further and that famine will be declared in early 2015.

      It is heart-breaking to see what has happened to this country so soon after it was born as a nation.

      Lynne Featherstone at the IRC run nutrition centre in Ganyiel where they assess, monitor and record the needs for children. Picture: David Shaw/DFID

      To see first-hand how DFID is helping some of the people who are at risk, I ventured 90 minutes by plane to Ganyliel Town, located at the southern end of Unity State.

      I saw how a nutrition centre, run by the International Rescue Committee, is helping the local community deal with the lack of food. The centre can diagnose, monitor and treat malnutrition. The workers weigh and measure the circumference of children's arms, to assess what assistance they need.

      Those who are severely malnourished are given plumpy nut, a peanut based high-energy paste that's rich in vitamins and minerals, and can be eaten straight from the packet.

      Another facility treats children with severe medical needs. I met a young mother whose infant child was severely under-nourished and poorly. I was deeply moved to hear about her struggle to feed her child with the limited supply of food available to her.

      Lynne Featherstone meets a young mother and child in Ganyiel, South Sudan. Picture David Shaw/DFID

      Action must be taken now. Yesterday I announced £30 million of additional funding to help support the South Sudanese people who have fled in fear for their lives to neighbouring countries. But more still needs to be done.

      Over 100 women arrive with Jerry cans to collect water for families and people with disabilities in the local community. Picture: Ian Hughes/FCO

      Other donors need to step up. But ultimately the responsibility lies with those with power in South Sudan. The government and the opposition must reach a peace settlement soon and provide much-needed assistance to the people of this young nation.

      Perhaps then, next time I visit, there's a chance the country will have returned to the optimism and hope of its early years.

    • Nominations now open for Dadabhai Naoroji Awards (sarahteather)
      Nominations are now open for a new awards scheme aimed at marking the achievements of people who have forged stronger links between the UK and India. The Dadabhai Naoroji Awards, dedicated to the first Asian MP in the UK, were launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during his visit to Mumbai. The awards will have three categories - people who have furthered UK-Indian relations in the fields of commerce, culture and education. Anyone is able to nominate an individual who they feel has made a contribution here: http://www.libdems.org.uk/dadabhai_naoroji_awards. Nominations close at midnight on 30 September 2014, and only nominees of British or Indian nationality are eligible. Winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by Nick Clegg at the Foreign Office in the autumn. Local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather said: "The relationship between Britain and India is a really important one. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise those who have worked hard to strengthen and promote it. "Many people will know someone who has done outstanding work in this area and this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their achievements. "Any member of the public can nominate someone who has excelled in furthering UK-India relations in the fields of commerce, culture and education. I strongly urge people to make sure those who deserve recognition, receive it." Launching the awards, Nick Clegg said: "It is a great honour to name the awards after Dadabhai Naoroji. The Grand Old Man of India is one of my political heroes, having broken down enormous barriers by entering the British Parliament as the first Asian MP and challenging European prejudices about Indians. He is celebrated for his achievements in India and in the UK, and it is fitting that we should name these awards after him." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 3, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP joins Animal Defenders International at Launch of Circus Bill (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke MP with other Members of Parliament and ADI on the day of the launch. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has today joined Animal Defenders International (ADI), the organisation spearheading the campaign to end the use of wild animals in circuses in Britain, to back a new bill introduced to ban such acts. Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a ban in 2011, and the Government first announced that it would take action on this issue in March 2012. A delay in bringing in a ban has seen the number of wild animal acts increase and the return of big cats to Britain. This bill, which is identical to the one published by the Government last year and scrutinised by MPs, would ban wild animal acts by the end of 2015. Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said, "Wild animals do not belong in travelling circuses, and I hope that this Bill can become law to finally end the suffering they endure. I know many of my constituents share this hope." ADI President Jan Creamer said: "ADI is delighted to have the support of Annette on this important issue. A ban on the use of wild animals in circuses enjoys overwhelming political, and public, backing so we hope the Prime Minister and government will get behind this new bill to finally bring an end, as promised, to the suffering of lions, tigers and other wild animals in British circuses." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Annette Brooke MP Questions Chief Secretary to the Treasury on Cost of Living (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, yesterday questioned the Government on what fiscal steps they had taken to reduce the cost of living for those on the lowest incomes. She raised the issue during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons. Annette also highlighted the positive changes pushed through by the Liberal Democrats including the increase in personal tax allowance and the implementation of the universal free school meals for infant schools this week. In responding Mr Alexander agreed that ensuring this country has a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone can get on in life is certainly the right objective. He noted that the lifting of the income tax personal allowance and the introduction of free school meals for infant pupils were just two of many ways in which the Liberal Democrats have contributed to the Government to ensure that we are helping hard working lower income families. Question and Answer in Full: 12. Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD): What fiscal steps he has taken to reduce the cost of living for those on the lowest incomes. [905055] The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): As I said earlier, the coalition Government have taken decisive action to support families on low incomes, particularly by increasing the personal allowance next year to £10,500-a key Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment. I also mention the hugely successful introduction today of universal free school meals for infant school pupils, which, as well as enhancing educational performance, is worth £400 per child in terms of the costs of paying for those meals. Annette Brooke: I thank the Chief Secretary for his answer. Does he agree that the Liberal Democrats have been a driving force in this Government for helping people on low incomes through the increase in personal tax allowance, and that the implementation of the universal free school meals for infant schools this week is further evidence of the Liberal Democrats really helping hard-working people on low incomes? Danny Alexander: It will come as no surprise to the House that I wholeheartedly agree with my right hon. Friend. She is absolutely right to say that certain measures would not have happened without the role played by the Liberal Democrats in this Government. The lifting of the income tax personal allowance and the introduction of free school meals for infant pupils are just two of many ways in which our party has contributed to this Government to ensure that we are helping and that this country has a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone can get on in life. That must be the right objective. To read Treasury Questions in full visit: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140902/debtext/140902-0001.htm#14090236000342 Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 2, 2014:
    • Letter to the press on Shared Parental Leave (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Sir, As both a Liberal Democrat and a mother, I am extremely proud that from next April new parents will be able to share leave in order to look after their new child. That means that couples finding out now they are expecting a baby will be able to start planning for a more flexible way of sharing the new responsibilities of being a parent. This extra leave will allow parents more choice during that precious first year and will help to promote equality in the workforce by removing the assumption that it is women who will always take time off work to take care of children. Shared parental leave will also give men the confidence to play an equal role in caring for their children, removing some of the stigma surrounding paternity leave. As well as introducing this radical new policy, the Lib Dems are also committed to giving fathers six weeks paternity leave. Fathers want to and do play a crucial role in their children's lives, right from the start, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to get involved. Liberal Democrats are committed to deliver a stronger economy while creating a fairer society, enabling people to have more choice and flexibility in how they live their lives. Yours sincerely, Jenny Willott Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 1, 2014:
    • Children in Cardiff to miss out on free school meals - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      As schools in Cardiff go back this week, Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has said that infant pupils and their families will be worse off because the Welsh Labour Government has failed to adopt the free school meals initiative being promoted in all schools in England. The Lib Dems as part of the UK Coalition Government have introduced the policy so that from September 2014 every child aged from five to seven years old in an infant school in England will get free school meals, saving families over £400 a year per child. However, despite receiving extra money from Westminster to follow suit, the Welsh Labour Government has decided to spend the money elsewhere. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The Liberal Democrats believe the first few years of children's lives are crucial in helping them to get on later in life. In England free schools meals will save parents time and money, boost children's education and make sure every child gets the healthy meal they need to see them through the school day. "It is really disappointing that the Welsh Labour Government has decided not to introduce the measure here. Whilst the parents of infant children in Cardiff Central will continue to pay for their child to have lunch at school, their English equivalents will get the meal for free. "The Lib Dems are committed to helping families and if we form part of the next government after the elections in May 2015, the Liberal Democrats will extend the free school meals policy to seven to eleven year olds. The Welsh Government should look to build on these initiatives to improve the lives of children and help families across Cardiff and Wales." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 28, 2014:
    • Letter to Western Mail on Core Cities Group (Jenny Willott)
      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/incoming/western-mail-letters-thursday-28-7682223 Dear Editor, In response to the article on 24th August 2014 about Cardiff joining the Core Cities Group, it is about time that Cardiff Council saw the bigger picture in bringing in investment for our city and Wales. In 2011, the Coalition Government's introduced the Localism Act, which gives local councils and local communities in England greater powers and more control over housing and planning decisions. The Act enables the UK's biggest cities to make the case for being given new powers to promote growth and set their own distinct policies for investment. As a result, we have seen City Deals, launched by Nick Clegg in 2011. Bristol, for example, has used new powers to create a £1bn economic development fund and create up to 40,000 new jobs. Glasgow has received £500m to boost their infrastructure and economy, which is expected to create 28,000 new jobs by 2035 and generate around £1.75bn of economic activity every year. The Lib Dems in Government have transferred power from central government to cities and made it easier for cities to build their own economic growth. Cardiff has the chance to benefit too and help fund our universities, create jobs and apprenticeships, and help fund the South Wales Metro, but we need bold leadership and vision from the Council to ensure they bring in funding and make a real positive difference to our city. Yours sincerely, Jenny Willott MP Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 27, 2014:
    • New initiatives will strengthen links between UK and India - Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed major new initiatives announced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, which will deepen the historic links between the UK and India. The Deputy Prime Minister has established a new award for individuals whose outstanding achievements have strengthened relations between the UK and India. The new awards are dedicated to Dadabhai Naoroji, who became the first Asian Member of the UK Parliament in 1892 and brought the first Indian business to the UK. Applications open on 1st September and are open to anyone who wishes to nominate an individual in either the UK or in India. There are three categories - people who have furthered UK-Indian relations in the fields of commerce, culture and education. A new British Council-led exchange programme will see 25,000 young people from the UK travel to India to work and study over the next five years. The Deputy Prime Minister made the announcement in Mumbai during his trade mission to India. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The UK has always had a special relationship with India and this new award highlights this. It also celebrates the achievements of Dadabhai Naoroji, who was an MP for the Liberal Party and did so much to advance Indian and British society. "This huge expansion of exchanges for young people between the UK and India will benefit British students, and the experience they get of living and working in India will help equip them for jobs in the global market place, and give them new perspectives on life. "Cardiff University has a long established relationship with India, and we have a large and diverse community of Indian students living in our city. I hope that these new initiatives will strengthen this relationship further and offer more opportunities for our young people to travel in both directions and learn from each other." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 26, 2014:
    • Lib Dems to guarantee sex and relationship education in state schools (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the news that under manifesto plans announced by the Liberal Democrats children in state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, will be guaranteed age appropriate sex and relationship education. The plans also include a curriculum guarantee of teaching pupils financial literacy and citizenship lessons. This 'Curriculum for Life' means that Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) will be compulsory in all state-funded schools to ensure that children are taught valuable life skills. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It is really important that all young people have the chance to learn life skills such as sex and relationship education and financial planning. At the moment, academies and free schools don't have to teach sex and relationship education, but the Lib Dems would change this. "Lessons should be age-appropriate and based on expert guidance, to make sure that young people leave school properly equipped for adult life. We need to update the guidance for teachers so that it takes account of social media and the internet, which in recent years have transformed the way young people learn about sex. "The Lib Dems want to ensure that all children are helped to make informed choices in their personal lives and to give them the best opportunity to succeed in life." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 20, 2014:
    • The situation in Gaza (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here is a copy of an email I have sent to local residents this afternoon, about the situation in Gaza. please do get in touch if you are a local resident and want to discuss this further.

      The conflict and subsequent humanitarian crisis in Gaza has left over 400,000 civilians struggling to find food, water, or shelter.

      That's why the UK government has been one of the largest humanitarian aid donors to date. The Department for International Development - where I am a minister - has provided:

      • £6m for basics (shelter and cooking equipment)
      • £3m for healthcare
      • £3m for the Rapid Response Facility
      • £2m to the Disasters Emergency Committee

      We have also released a further £3m for emergency food, helping around 300,000 people in serious need. This brings the total supplied by the UK to £17 million. We will remain at the forefront of the relief effort for civilians.

      In terms of the conflict itself -the urgent priority of the Lib Dems in government is to help stop the bloodshed with an unconditional and immediate ceasefire and work towards a long-term sustainable peace.

      Many local residents have already contacted me to express their views on the conflict. There is an understandable strength of feeling about the situation, which is causing so many people so much misery and hurt.

      I take all views seriously - so if you wish to contact me about this, or any other matter, please do. I will respond and pass on any opinions to the Foreign and Defence secretaries.

      P.S. You can find out further information about the work of the Department for International Development - in Gaza and other areas - here.

  • Aug 18, 2014:
    • Liberal Democrats to scrap Severn Bridge tolls (Jenny Willott)
      The Liberal Democrats have announced today that the party would scrap the Severn Bridge tolls in the next Parliament. The Severn Crossings are currently managed by a private concessionaire. The concession will end when a revenue target collected from tolls is reached. Current forecasts are that the concession will end in 2018. Once the tolls are transferred into public ownership and debts are repaid, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to scrap the tolls completely. The manifesto commitment will come in the Liberal Democrats' 'Pre-Manifesto', to be published in September. The Severn Bridge tolls are the most expensive in the UK. It now costs £6.40 for a car to cross the bridge, £12.80 for a van, and £19.20 for a coach or lorry. Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "The Welsh Liberal Democrats are delighted that we have secured this commitment. We are the only party that will completely scrap the unfair Severn Bridge tolls. "This announcement will offer a huge boost to the Welsh economy and save the average commuter around £1,536 a year. It will help to build a strong economy and a fairer society. "These tolls shouldn't be used as a money-maker by either the Welsh or UK Government. Tolls are extremely rare in the UK, so I see no reason why people should be forced to pay to enter Wales." Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central and a member of the party's 'Manifesto Working Group', said: "These tolls are a genuine strain on local businesses in my constituency. "By scrapping the tolls, the Liberal Democrats would be boosting the South Wales economy by around £107 million a year. This will help rebalance the economy and drive growth in what is traditionally a deprived region. "In the forthcoming General Election, a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to scrap these unfair tolls." The petition to scrap the tolls can be found at: www.scrapseverntolls.org.uk Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 15, 2014:
    • Lib Dems to make further cuts in Income Tax and reduce National Insurance for millions of workers (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP, for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the news that a Liberal Democrat government would make further cuts in Income Tax and reduce National Insurance for millions of workers. The Liberal Democrats have made raising the personal tax allowance to £12,500, and subsequently cutting National Insurance contribution, a manifesto commitment. Increasing the personal tax allowance would benefit 30million workers and 6million pensioners. When the increase is made, the Liberal Democrats would work towards raising the level when people start paying employee National Insurance. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Cutting income tax for people on low and middle incomes is a priority for the Liberal Democrats. It was in our manifesto in 2010 and we have delivered in Government. As a result, 31,140 people in Cardiff Central have seen their income tax cut and more money in their pocket. "By April next year we will have cut the taxes of over 26 million people across the UK by £800 a year for a typical basic-rate taxpayer. We've also taken over 3 million people out of paying tax altogether. "We now want to go even further and ensure people pay no income tax until they earn £12,500. This will take hundreds of thousands more low earners out of paying tax and give millions of people a further tax cut of £400. "This proves that the Lib Dems are committed to cutting taxes for people in Cardiff and across the UK. We want to build a fairer tax system that rewards work and allows everyone to get on." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 14, 2014:
    • Local apprenticeship event and falling youth unemployment (Lynne Featherstone)

      Youth unemployment in Hornsey and Wood Green (my constituency) has fallen again! In fact, youth unemployment here has halved over the last four years - down from 7.1% in May 2010 to just 3.1% in June.

      This means more and more local young people are getting into work, learning skills and earning money - which is definitely a step in the right direction.

      Under the previous Labour Government, education standards fell and youth unemployment rose. Some young people got stuck in the benefits system. Labour threw endless money into this system, and they ended up trapping people, who found they would get more money being unemployed than they would in a job. This is no way to incentivise young talent into work!

      When the Lib Dems entered Government in 2010, creating jobs and apprenticeships, and getting all able people back into work, was one of our top priorities.

      Working with businesses, we have helped to create one million jobs since 2010, and 1.8 million apprenticeships. Employment rates are now at a record high as the economy continues to recover.

      And I want to make sure we keep up in Haringey. Our young people must be aware of, and able to access, all of these opportunities.

      That's why I'm holding my second annual apprenticeship event, on the 28th August at Haringey Civic Centre. There will be companies at the event with hundreds of vacancies, which local young people can ask about and apply for.

      You can also come just to find out a bit more information and ask questions.

      An apprenticeship really is a great way to kick start a career. They take between one and four years to complete and combine practical training in a job with study. That means you get paid to study and learn a trade, whilst also being able to make contacts in an industry.

      And you get a qualification too - an advanced level apprenticeship is equivalent to two A level passes, and others can lead to the attainment of a Foundation Degree.

      Last year, the apprenticeship event was a great success - one young person was taken on the very next day! I hope we can do even better this year.

      So if you are a young person, unemployed or just looking for a new challenge, do come down to the Civic Centre (High Road, Wood Green, London, N22 8LE) on the 28th August between 2pm and 6pm - to meet employers and find out more!

  • Aug 13, 2014:
    • Jenny visits Sainsbury's store to see investment in food skills (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, visited Sainsbury's Colchester Avenue store last week (8th August) to shadow Sainsbury's staff and learn about the company's investment in its workforce by providing training from its own food colleges. Jenny Willott MP was met at the store by Regional Counters Manager, Mark Trevethan, and the Store's Counter Manager, Sarah Spurway and was shown the Fish, Meat, Cheese, Hot Food and Deli counters. During the visit Jenny went behind the scenes to see where and how Sainsbury's staff store and prepare food. Sainsbury's specialist skills are taught at their food colleges which are City & Guilds accredited. As a result of the investment in skills, Sainsbury's is the first retailer to achieve gold accreditation from Investors in People. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It was really interesting, particularly since it's a store in which I often shop! I met very friendly counter staff and heard all about the training and qualifications that are available. "Sainsbury's have 5 training academies around the UK and all counter staff go regularly, firstly for their initial training and then after that they go for top-up training. The staff I spoke to ranged from a woman who started just 12 weeks ago to a woman who has been at the store for 31 years, since it first opened. "It is clear that Sainsbury's is doing a good job in investing in people and providing them with the necessary skills to provide high quality service to customers. Their staff were enthusiastic, both about their jobs and about the training and support they get from the supermarket. Investing in building staff skills is critical to their business success and to the local economy generally, and it sets an example which other businesses can follow." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 12, 2014:
    • Global charity movement launches in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is backing the #GivingTuesday campaign, which launches in Cardiff this week, and asks people to give their time, money or voice to charity for one day. The team behind #GivingTuesday will be holding an event on Wednesday 13th August 2014 atButetown Community Centre from 2pm-4pm to encourage local charities, groups and businesses to get behind the campaign and start planning for the day on 2nd December 2014. The movement is being led by the Charities Aid Foundation, working closely with Blackbaud and the Cabinet Office. Already on board as partners are Cancer Research UK, the RSPCA, the Financial Times, Argos and Glamour. The team hope to encourage many organisations in the Cardiff area to sign up. #GivingTuesday falls directly after big shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday and asks people and organisations to do one simple charitable act on the day in the run up to Christmas. The campaign was launched in the US in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and has since become a global movement. Last year the campaign had 10,000 partners worldwide. Outlining her backing for the campaign, Jenny Willott MP, said: "#GivingTuesday is a great initiative that gets people across the globe to show their commitment to helping others. Charities are at the heart of so much good that goes on in Cardiff, and we can use #GivingTuesday to show that we are one of the most generous cities across the UK. "I'm delighted that #GivingTuesday is coming to Cardiff and I hope that charities and businesses across our great city will join me in making some time on December 2nd to support a cause that they care about." Hannah Terrey, Head of Campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "We're thrilled to be bringing #GivingTuesday to the UK and are optimistic that our very generous nation will come out in force to support charities on the day. We're taking the campaign on the road to share our enthusiasm and make sure we whip up excitement and build support in every single county. "In the US we've seen some cities really take the campaign up for themselves - Baltimore alone raised millions of dollars - and we hope to inspire the same spirit of competition among cities over here. #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to get people thinking and engaging with charities and their local communities - not just on the day itself, but for years to come." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 8, 2014:
    • Jenny congratulates Roath community website for winning an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has congratulated the community website RoathCardiff.net for winning £9900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project to mark the centenary of the First World War. The project called, 'Roath Remembers: rediscovering community stories from 1914-1918', is an online collection of stories, photographs and wartime documents of the Roath community and how life was lived 100 years ago. It will record in digital format any stories and wartime items, and display them online for people to learn about wartime heritage of Roath and nearby areas. "Roath Remembers" is working with Albany Primary School, which was used as a military hospital during the War, the Roath Local History Society and The Cardiff Story Museum. The team will be holding drop-in events for members of the public to tell their stories, and also to help people access their own World War One history online. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I am delighted that RoathCardiff.net has received this award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project will allow us all to have a lasting online commemoration of the First World War and help us pay tribute to those from the area who served in the armed forces or supported the war effort from here in Cardiff. "I encourage anyone with photographs of relatives, their uniforms and medals, service records, letters, postcards and diaries, which they are willing to share, to get in touch with Roath Remembers via www.RoathCardiff.net. This is a really interesting project that can teach all of us about how local residents lived during the First World War and remember those who fought and died." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 7, 2014:
    • New Citizens Advice Bureau services in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Cardiff have developed their services and are delivering outreach advice sessions at a number of new locations across the city. The Citizens Advice service is a network of charities that helps people resolve legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice. Individuals and families can access advice via the Central Cardiff office at Marland House, Central Square as well as the new and existing outreach services. These outreach venues include: * Adamsdown - CCHA, Callaghan House, Meteor St * Butetown - Community Centre * Butetown - The Hub * Ely - The Hub * Ely & Caerau - Foodbank, Baptist Church * Grangetown - Library * Llanedeyrn - Powerhouse * Llanrumney - Library * Pentrebane - Community Centre * Riverside - South Riverside Community Development Centre * Splott - Cloughmore Medical Centre * St Mellons - Library * St Mellons - Beacon Centre * Tremorfa - Community Hall * Trowbridge - Community Centre A full list of opening times can be found here: http://www.cardiffandvalecab.org.uk/Cardiff-Service.html If you need advice over the telephone call: 08444 77 20 20 (Monday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm). If you need advice by email visit: http://www.cardiffandvalecab.org.uk/Consent.html Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 6, 2014:
    • Lib Dems force Labour U-turn on visitor parking permits (Jenny Willott)
      The Liberal Democrats have succeeded in persuading Cardiff Council to reduce the cost of visitor parking permits across the city for residents who only require this permit. Local councillors for Adamsdown and Cathays, Nigel Howells and Elizabeth Clark, have fought against the huge increase in visitor parking permit charges alongside Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott and Eluned Parrott, AM for South Wales Central. A single visitor parking permit, for those who don't own their own car, will now cost £7.50, a massive reduction on the £30 initially proposed by the council. The original £30 represented a 500% increase on the previous year's price of £5. Jenny Willott has welcomed the move, saying: "Across Adamsdown, Cathays and Plasnewydd, many residents have been in touch with me about the extortionate increase in visitor parking permits. In particular, elderly residents who don't have their own car were facing a large increase not faced by those residents who do have a car. Since the hike in charges was affecting such vulnerable people, I am extremely glad that the Labour-run council has seen sense and decided to reduce the cost. "However, with the recent announcement that council tax could go up by 5% every year for the next 3 years, it does seem that the Labour council in Cardiff are developing a habit of asking residents to pay more for less. I'm glad that on this occasion we have been able to get the Council to change their mind." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 25, 2014:
    • FGM - Girl Summit and Youth for Change (Lynne Featherstone)

      Well - it's been quite a stunning week.

      Last Saturday we (Department of International Development) held a Youth for Change event on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early and Forced marriage (CEFM). Young people came and took over DFID for the day.

      And then on Tuesday - we had the Girl Summit 2014 - which brought leaders, activists and campaigners from all over the world to unite in the fight against FGM and CEFM.

      At the Youth for Change event - which I hope you read about in the papers - there was an amazing program ranging from mentoring sessions for young people to TedX talks! At the end of the day - the Youth Advisory Panel (who had been instrumental in designing the day) did a wonderful performance demonstrating how life is now for many girls across the world - and how it can change!

      Mentoring young people at Youth for Change

      And you will notice in the photos - that there are quite a few boys involved. This is all of our business and men and boys have a role and responsibility. And it was fantastic at the end of the day when Nick Clegg and I sat and talked with the Youth Panel to hear boys talking about these issues openly - no embarassment and no hesitation. The world really can change - and it is young people who are the agents of change.

      TedX - empowering girls voices

      The Girl Summit 2014 itself - saw the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Secretaries of State for Home Office and DFID all take to the plenary stage to demonstrate the commitment of the UK government to eradicating FGM and CEFM within a generation - and I hope that message rang out loud and clear across the country - and indeed the whole world.

      I am particularly proud of the announcement Nick Clegg championed and made on the day - that all frontline professionals working in the public sector will have compulsory training on FGM. This has been such a missing link on tackling FGM in our country. Tippy toeing around cultural eggshells inhibited addressing this issue for far too long - and even now - it is a sensitive issue - and frontline workers (teachers, health workers, police and social workers) need to feel confident so that they can intervene to detect a child at risk at the earliest stage - and hopefully prevent FGM from taking place. This now will happen.

      Freida Pinto and the gang!

      There were speeches and dancing. There were panels and questions. There were round tables and spotlight sessions. But of all who took part - my special praise goes to those brave girls and women campaigners - who have been cut and who have spoken out to break the silence so that girls in the future will not go through what they went through.

      It is these girls' and women's life stories and life efforts that were the catalyst for FGM and CEFM now being top of the political agenda.

      To all the girls and women - who educated me and made me take this on as a mission - I thank and salute you.

  • Jul 24, 2014:
    • If reports of FGM in Iraq are true… (Lynne Featherstone)

      If the news reports are true, this is truly horrific news. FGM is one of the oldest and most extreme ways to control the lives and bodies of young women and girls and sadly it's prevalent across the Middle East and North Africa.

      This only emphasises why it is critically important we act together to end FGM once and for all. This is why the Coalition Government held the Girl Summit just two days ago, where faith and community leaders came to together to sign a declaration condemning the practice and reiterating it is in no way a requirement by Islam or any religion.

      We all need to act together to stop this horrendous violence and ensure women and girls are treated with the respect, dignity and equality they deserve.

  • Jul 21, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Is made a member of the Privy Council (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, has been made a member of the Privy Council. Annette will join, amongst others, senior politicians who are (or have been) members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, has a range of roles. For example, advising the monarch on the exercise of her Royal Prerogative and issuing the orders-in-council and orders of council behind many Government regulations. Annette said: "It is a great honour to have been named as a Privy Counsellor and I hope that it is a reflection on my service and hard work as a Member of Parliament these past thirteen years." "I want to thank everyone that has supported me over the years and helped make this great privilege a possibility." The Privy Council has its origins in the earliest days of the monarchy as an advisory body to the King or Queen on affairs of state, and has the curious custom of conducting its meetings standing up, a tradition dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century. The date for Annette to be sworn in at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace is yet to be announced. You can find out more about the role of the Privy Council on its website at http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/ Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 20, 2014:
    • Sexual abuse of children in our country (Lynne Featherstone)

      Two women came to my surgery to ask if I would support the call for an Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse - and of course an inquiry is now on the way.

      But what I said to them was whilst I was happy to have an inquiry - more than that - I wanted the police to follow-up on allegations and where they could get enough evidence - prosecution, conviction and prison should follow. What sort of country are we where our children can be defiled - and worse?

      They also asked me if I would put this on the record - so hence this blog.

      With the terrible world events at the moment - the Middle East and of course the downing of the plane over separatist held territory in Ukraine - the issue off child sexual abuse has been pushed off of the news agenda - for the moment.

      However, it will undoubtedly come back as well it should. Along with most people - the level of pedophilia in this country then and probably now is astounding and disgusting. And whilst Norman Tebbit said that at the time this was simply what happened - such things were not talked about and power protected those involved - for me that is no excuse whatsoever. If anything those in power have even more of a duty to behave properly - whether then or now.

      Saville and Harris got away with it for years - and I am glad that finally justice was served - and only sorry that Saville escaped the punishment and humiliation that he deserved.

      As for the rumours and whispers about the Dicken's dossier - I trust the police are investigating without fear or favour. I am told that you can find the details of the dossier on the net. If that is so - I don't know whether the content is true or not - but the police must track down and investigate those involved.

      The arrest of over 600 suspects by the police who have downloaded illegal child images gives us a glance at the scale of what is going on.

      It is truly shocking.

  • Jul 16, 2014:
    • Pupil Premium is helping children in Brent score better exam results - Sarah Teather (sarahteather)
      Hundreds of disadvantaged schoolchildren in Brent are reaping the benefit of the Pupil Premium, local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather said today. Figures show that last year 48.2% of youngsters from poorer backgrounds in Brent achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C grade. This is up from 42.8% in 2012 as payments introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government begin to have a greater impact. Ofsted said the figures showed headteachers were spending pupil premium more effectively with the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates closing. Brent Central MP Sarah said: "This is further proof Pupil Premium is transforming the chances of pupils across the country. "The Lib Dems are increasing the pupil premium budget to £2.5 billion this year as well as extending the policy to three and four-year-olds. "We have already made sure from September all infants will receive free school meals. I'm really pleased that in government, the Lib Dems are helping all pupils achieve their potential." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Pupil Premium is helping children in Dorset score better exam results (middorsetlibdems)
      Hundreds of disadvantaged schoolchildren in Dorset are reaping the benefit of the Pupil Premium, Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said today. Figures show that last year 34% of youngsters from poorer backgrounds in Dorset achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C grade. This compares to 25.2% in 2012 as payments introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government begin to have a greater impact. Ofsted said the figures showed headteachers were spending pupil premium more effectively with the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates closing. Annette said: "This is further proof Pupil Premium is transforming the chances of pupils across the country and helping to build a stronger economy and fairer society. The Lib Dems are increasing the pupil premium budget to £2.5 billion this year as well as extending the policy to three and four-year-olds. The party has already made sure from September all infants will receive free school meals. So there can be no doubt the Liberal Democrat's priority lies in helping all pupils achieve their potential." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 15, 2014:
    • Campaign to save parcel collection point in Hornsey starts again… (Lynne Featherstone)

      I have just heard, via a Royal Mail press release, that Hornsey Delivery Office and parcel collection point will be relocated in September - to the Bush Industrial Estate in N19.

      I am angry - to say the least!

      After local residents and I successfully campaigned to prevent the closure in 2012, Royal Mail assured me that I would be kept informed of any future plans. Yet this came out of the blue. Just two weeks ago, a Royal Mail representative wrote to me saying: 'I can confirm that there are no plans in place to close Hornsey Delivery Office.'

      This is simply unacceptable. Royal Mail have not taken into account the views and needs of local people and customers. The Delivery Office and parcel collection point are vital and valuable local resources. Many residents simply won't be able to travel all the way to N19 to pick up their parcels - so will be forced to pay for redelivery.

      Even if we can't save the Office itself, the local Lib Dems and I will fight with residents again to keep a parcel collection service in N8. I have already called a meeting with the top officers at Royal Mail and will be putting the case very strongly to them.

      Residents can sign the petition calling on Royal Mail to rethink and retain a free, local, parcel collection point here.

  • Jul 11, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP highlights link between obesity and arthritis but offers optimistic message (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poolehas called for a greater focus on the links between osteoarthritis and obesity, warning that unless we started acknowledging the role that obesity played in related conditions then the NHS would break under the strain. Annette recently attended a Parliamentary event hosted by Arthritis Care in which the link between osteoarthritis and obesity was explored, and the alarming scale of the problem was starkly presented to MPs, Peers and experts. Speaking at the event, Professor Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds and Medical Adviser to Arthritis Care, warned that obesity is a risk factor both in getting osteoarthritis and compounding the problem for osteoarthritis sufferers. Annette said "It was illuminating to hear about Professor Conaghan's work in Leeds and with Arthritis Care. An incredible 8.5m in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis and many of them suffer more than they have to because their weight and joint pain makes it difficult to exercise. Yet this is a vicious cycle, as exercise can actually help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, partly by keeping people trim. " She continued: "Each individual is of course responsible for their own weight but the Government needs to invest in measures such as better weight management programmes. Spending money today can save much, much more money tomorrow and I will be working with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and public health teams to highlight the importance of ensuring that people with osteoarthritis have access to diet and exercise facilities to enable weight loss to take place and be maintained in the long term." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Annette Brooke MP attended the 'Halfway to World AIDS day' event in Westminster (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the Halfway to World Aids Day in Parliament Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole,attended the 'Halfway to World AIDS day' event hosted by the Halve It Coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS. During the event members of the Halve It steering group, including leading HIV clinicians and CEOs of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues. The 'Halfway to World AIDS day' event also showcased the recent launch of the NICE local government briefing on HIV testing and the MEDFASH/Halve It toolkit for local engagement. Annette said: "I was happy to attend the Halfway to World AIDS day event in Parliament and help raise awareness about HIV testing and related sexual health issues. It is really important that we work to improve understanding and engagement on these issues." Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said "HIV testing has never been easier and the majority of people diagnosed can expect to lead healthy and productive lives with a near normal life expectancy. We want as many people as possible to get tested, particularly in groups at increased risk, as early as possible which is why we recently legalised HIV self-testing. Halve It has done excellent work to raise awareness in this area and help reduce the stigma around HIV testing." In the UK over 98,400 people live with HIV every day of the year; 22% of these are undiagnosed and 47% are diagnosed late. The sooner HIV is diagnosed the sooner appropriate care can begin, and thanks to medical advancements the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly in recent years. By ensuring that HIV testing becomes routine there will be significant long-term savings; with one early HIV diagnosis saving the NHS £63,061. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 10, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP supports Mid Dorset and North Poole campaign for every child to join local library and share love of reading (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the Summer Reading Challenge event in Parliament. Local MP Annette Brooke is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year's Summer Reading Challenge - the UK's largest reading for pleasure promotion for primary school children. Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children's reading range and their enjoyment of reading significantly. It builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children's literacy levels during the long break from school. A unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, the Summer Reading Challenge got a record 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2013. With the support of local MPs, libraries, schools and a host of well-known children's authors including Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo, even more children aged 4-11 will be encouraged to join the library and complete the challenge this year. Children will also be encouraged to share their love of reading by recommending a book to friends, family and carers with a campaign called 'pass-it-on' this year. The campaign is intended to inspire them to share their reading choices. It is endorsed by the new National Curriculum, which suggests that pupils should be "recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices." Annette Brooke MP said: "I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Mid Dorset and North Poole will take their children to the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It's free, inclusive and makes reading fun - a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 2676 children in Poole took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year and show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community." Each year the Challenge uses a new theme to inject fun and creativity into reading. The 2014 theme is "Mythical Maze", illustrated by award winning Sarah McIntrye. Children sign up at the library and receive a mythical maze poster. As they borrow and read library books over the summer, children collect stickers of mythical creatures to complete their poster and discover facts about the creatures as they go. It's a highlight of the holidays for thousands of children and families. Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Local Lib Dems slam plans to charge residents for bin collections (sarahteather)
      Local Liberal Democrats have today spoken out against Brent Council plans to charge residents for waste collections. If the Labour-run Council's proposals are approved, residents will be charged £40 a year for their green waste to be collected. Green waste includes items such as grass trimmings. At the moment, the cost of the fortnightly green bin collections is included in residents' council tax bills. Residents who do not pay the new fee will have their green bins taken away completely. A final decision on the proposals is due on 21st July. Commenting, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather said: "The Council's proposals are bad news for residents and bad news for the environment. "Hard-pressed families will wonder why they are being asked to pay an additional charge just to have their rubbish collected. Charging for green waste collections will also harm the environment, as green waste will end up in grey bins and won't be recycled. "I urge the Council to look again at these plans." Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Brent Central, Ibrahim Taguri, said: "While the Council's proposals are troubling, they're certainly not surprising. This is what we've come to expect from Labour, imposing stealth taxes on hardworking residents for basic services. "Actions like this just highlight the need for transparency to keep the Labour-controlled council to account. "I sincerely hope the Council will reconsider this proposal." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 9, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Questions Minister on Growth Deals (middorsetlibdems)
      On Monday, Annette Brooke raised local issues during a Ministerial Statement from Cabinet Office Minister Greg Clark MP about Growth Deals and the Government's plans. The Growth Deals are designed to build on the success of city deals. The Chancellor has committed at least £2 billion a year, for at least six years, of resources previously controlled by Whitehall departments to be devolved to local communities, local business and civic leaders across England, where they can get better value for money and make a bigger impact. The Minister stated "No longer will Whitehall monopolise decision making and shut out the role of local economic leadership". Across all 39 deals as agreed so far, more than 500 projects will be funded by the local growth fund in partnership with local councils and private investors allowing the creation of thousands of jobs and thousands of homes. Some of the improvements for Dorset include unlocking transport around Bournemouth Airport, investing in the port of Poole and investing in skills in Dorset to ensure that its growing businesses can attract the people they need to meet the demands of their growing order books. Annette congratulated the Government on its important step towards devolution and local decision making. She also welcomed the contribution to Dorset, saying it "will enable it [Dorset] to build on its already great strengths with its mixed economy". Annette questioned Greg Clark MP, asking if the Government would be able to support any partnerships in the country that run into obstacles in making proposed investments. She finished by saying "I want to see action, not just words" in putting this plan into motion. Greg Clark MP responded by saying Annette was absolutely right, and that a pipeline has been established to ensure if there is a delay in any particular project, another will be ready to take its place and be implemented. He also believed Dorset had a huge contribution to make. Of particular interest will be a new visitor attraction called Jurassica, which will highlight the great strengths of the Jurassic coast. Hansard: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140707/debtext/140707-0002.htm#14070759000443 Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 8, 2014:
    • ANNETTE BROOKE MP BACKS CANCER RESEARCH UK'S AMBITION TO SAVE MORE LIVES (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the Cancer Research UK event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, joined Cancer Research UK scientists in Westminster to find out more about the charity's inspiring new plan to accelerate progress and help save more lives in the South West. She was there to find out the part she could play in helping to achieve Cancer Research UK's ambition that within 20years three in four of all cancer patients diagnosed will survive at least ten years. She had the opportunity to participate in interactive experiments with cancer researchers, learning about the biology of cancer and cutting-edge work to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. There have been major advances in the fight against cancer over the last 40 years and Cancer Research UK's work has been at the heart of that progress. Two in four people diagnosed with cancer today in the UK will survive their disease for at least ten years, compared to just one in four in the early 1970s. In the South West, this means that around 15,000* people each year can now expect to survive the disease for at least ten years. But despite the successes, Cancer Research UK believes much more can be done to help more people in the South West and across the UK beat cancer sooner. Annette found out about what the Government can do to improve early diagnosis and ensure that all patients get the best treatment possible. She said: "The good news is that there have been significant steps forward for cancer patients. More people are surviving the disease and living longer and Cancer Research UK's work has been at the heart of this progress. "But there is more to be done to help people beat cancer. I wholeheartedly support Cancer Research UK's aim to improve survival through the earlier diagnosis of cancer and greater access to the best treatment possible." Sara Osborne, Head of Policy at Cancer Research UK said: "It's great to have Annette's support to highlight the vital role MPs and their constituents can play in helping to tackle all cancers. "We must not underestimate the devastating impact that cancer has on the lives of those with a cancer diagnosis and their families. "As more people are diagnosed with the disease, it's essential that we speed up our progress. We know that early diagnosis and access to the best possible treatments saves lives. We need the public and MPs to get behind us and help make our ambition possible. In the next two decades we can, and will, transform the outlook for cancer patients." For more information on how to get involved in Cancer Research UK's campaigning work, visit cruk.org/campaigns. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 7, 2014:
    • Advanced Manufacturing Hub follows MP's call in Parliament (Lorely Burt)
      STANDING UP FOR OUR AREA: Lorely speaking out in the Commons Chamber The government will fund an Advanced Manufacturing Hub for Greater Birmingham and Solihull following a call in Parliament by local MP Lorely Burt. Cabinet Office Minister Greg Clark agreed to consider providing funding in response to a question in the Commons Chamber by Mrs Burt in March. The government's new Local Growth Deal with Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership commits £2 million of government money to support a 20-hectare Advanced Manufacturing Hub. Mrs Burt said, "I am grateful to the minister for taking on board my representations back in March. The West Midlands, as I said at the time, really is the advanced manufacturing capital of the UK. "I am delighted the government is recognising this with proper support and I congratulate the Local Enterprise Partnership for negotiating a great deal for our area." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Roads, rail and planes - government money to benefit Solihull (Lorely Burt)
      Solihull will benefit from better local transport and an aviation engineering centre at Solihull College, thanks to the Local Growth Deal announced by the government. The £357 million deal includes: £2 million for an Aviation Engineering Training Centre at Solihull College, providing training for 145 people and creating six jobs £50 million to improve the A45 link between Birmingham City Centre and Birmingham International Airport £2.7 million to improve highways - 11 projects in Solihull and seven in Birmingham - creating 198 jobs £10 million to improve Birmingham Snow Hill Station, which links to Solihull Station and Olton Station Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has welcomed the deal, saying, "This growth deal is a great deal for our area. "I have been banging the drum for years saying the West Midlands needs and deserves world-class infrastructure to match our world-class manufacturers and other businesses. "These are exactly the sort of projects we need and I hope they will make a real difference." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • MPs set to debate hospital car parking (Lorely Burt)
      Lorely speaking up in the House of Commons Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt is backing a call by over 100 MPs for a debate in the House of Commons on hospital car parking charges. Mrs Burt has officially lent her support to a call for a General Debate in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons. An application has been made to the Backbench Business Committee for a 90-minute debate, which Mrs Burt hopes will take place no later than September this year. Mrs Burt said, "We all want low parking charges and it's especially important to avoid large, sudden increases like we have recently seen in Solihull. "Hospital users across the UK are being hit with big increases in parking charges so it's right that MPs are recognising the problem. "I am pleased to back calls for a debate in Parliament and I hope to attend and speak out." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • £250 Carer's Bonus for 3,000 "unsung heroes" in Solihull (Lorely Burt)
      NEARLY 3,000 carers in Solihull would receive a bonus worth up to £250 a year under a Liberal Democrat government, it has been announced. The no-strings-attached Carer's Bonus would help more than one million people who look after disabled loved ones. The annual payment would help full-time carers get a bit of extra help and recognises the invaluable contribution they make to society. In total 2,940 carers in Solihull would benefit from the Carer's Bonus. Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt said, "Carers are Britain's unsung heroes. Up and down the country behind closed doors, you'll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day. "These are people who deserve our support even in straightened times, which is why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a Carer's Bonus to give them a little extra help. "It's completely up to the carers themselves how they spend it - it's a no strings attached bonus from a party that is grateful for the superhuman work they do." The bonus would be worth £125 at the start of the next parliament and would rise to £250 a year by 2020, with around 1.1 million people eligible. The annual bonus would be available to anyone who receives the Carer's Allowance or the Carer's Premium. The pledge follows a number of measures introduced by the coalition government to support carers. Successive Liberal Democrat Care Ministers Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb have led the work to better provide for Britain's unsung heroes. In government the party has secured £800 million to fund short breaks for disabled children and their families. Around £400 million has been set aside to support carers to take breaks from caring responsibilities. While £3 million has been allocated to improve awareness and understanding about carers among health workers. Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • MP slams 'kick in the teeth' fast-food decision (Lorely Burt)
      OPPOSED: Lorely Burt campaigning with Lib Dems to stop the KFC application Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has attacked a decision to allow on appeal a new Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food store on Stratford Road. Following a campaign by residents and local Lib Dem activists, council officers rejected the proposal, but it has now been overturned on appeal. Mrs Burt said, "The decision to approve this new KFC on appeal is a kick in the teeth for local residents who fought hard to get it stopped. "I feel very disappointed and concerned about the siting of this fast-food store near to a local school. "Parents are under pressure to give their children fast food, but with obesity rising in this country it is really important that we do not put temptation in their way. "There is also a big concern about traffic and vehicle noise around that site when there are local homes so close to the site. "Local residents, parents and their kids deserve better." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Sarah Teather to chair parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention (sarahteather)
      A cross-party panel of parliamentarians will hold an inquiry into the use of immigration detention, it was announced today. The inquiry, which will be chaired by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, will examine the use of detention in the UK immigration and asylum systems, with a particular focus on the conditions within detention centres, the impact on individual detainees and their families, the wider financial and social consequences, how detention is used in other countries, and the future role of detention within the immigration system. The inquiry, which will be jointly run by the APPG on Refugees and the APPG on Migration, will hold several oral evidence sessions in parliament. The panel invites written evidence from interested groups and individuals, including those who have experience of being detained for immigration purposes. The members of the panel are: Sarah Teather MP Paul Blomfield MP David Burrowes MP Caroline Spelman MP Jon Cruddas MP Julian Huppert MP Richard Fuller MP Baroness Lister Baroness Hamwee Lord Ramsbotham Lord Lloyd of Berwick Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, panel chair Sarah Teather said: "I am very pleased that we are launching this inquiry today. In the light of several high profile incidents within detention centres, including sexual abuse and deaths, there is a clear need for parliamentary scrutiny of how and why we detain people for immigration purposes." Chair of the APPG on Migration, Paul Blomfield MP, added: "This is an important issue and this inquiry is very timely. I hope that we will receive evidence from a wide range of individuals and groups, including those who have been detained themselves." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 4, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Supports Royal Mail's Dog Awareness Session At Westminster (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke MP has backed Royal Mail's annual Dog Awareness Week, attending a special drop in session at Westminster. Around 70 MPs attended the session, supported by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Dogs Trust, with Royal Mail Group's Safety Director. This provided MPs tips on how to react around dogs There were 15 attacks recorded across the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency from April 2013 to April 2014 Royal Mail has published new figures that has revealed over 3,300 postal workers were attacked by a dog between April 2013 to April 2014 - an 8 per cent increase on the previous year* Politicians also face the risk of being attacked by a dog when out canvassing and leafleting. Members of Parliament and Royal Mail are calling for responsible dog ownership and are appealing to dog owners to keep animals under control Annette at the event in Parliament Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, attended a drop-in session at Westminster, supported by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Dogs Trust, with Royal Mail Group Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing and Sustainability, Shaun Davis. Around 70 MPs attended and the session provided them with advice on how to react around dogs when out in their local areas. This forms part of Royal Mail's wider campaign to reduce the number of dog attacks on postal workers and to encourage responsible dog ownership during Dog Awareness Week which runs to the 4 July. However, postal workers are not alone in facing the risk of being attacked by a dog while carrying out their jobs. Politicians and volunteers may also encounter dogs when out canvassing and leafleting in their local areas. Annette Brooke MP is working with Royal Mail in encouraging dogs owners to play their part in reducing the number of incidents. Annette Brooke MP said; "I am pleased to have attended the session at Westminster where I learned and shared tips on how to protect myself and my colleagues from dog attacks when out canvassing in Mid Dorset and North Poole. "Dog attacks are a significant issue faced by postal workers, members of the public and indeed by myself and my colleagues when out leafleting. Royal Mail, CWU, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Dogs Trust are doing a fantastic job promoting responsible dog ownership and I fully support this important campaign". There were 15 attacks recorded across the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency from April 2013 to April 2014. Royal Mail has published the results of a survey of MPs and Assembly Members about their personal experiences of being bitten by a dog. The survey found that politicians face similar risks of being attacked by a dog to postal workers when out canvassing or delivering leaflets. Just over half of the near-50 respondents revealed they had an incident with a dog. Dog attacks on the rise Dog attacks are a significant hazard faced by postmen and women on a daily basis. On average around nine postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with over 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, some leading to a permanent disabling injury. The number of attacks has risen by 8 per cent nationally since 2012*. The campaign is being held in partnership with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and has received support from a wide range of organisations and animal charities. This includes Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, National Animal Welfare Trust and the National Dog Warden Association. Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Director of Health, Safety, Wellbeing and Sustainability said; "We're pleased that Annette is lending her support to our important campaign. "As we've seen from our survey, postal workers are not alone in facing dog attacks - politicians experience the same risk of being bitten by a dog every time they canvass or deliver a leaflet through someone's door. Nobody should face this hazard whilst simply trying to do their job. "Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers. We appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature. It can also be simple things that help - for example just making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Lib Dems promise Carer's Bonus of up to £250 for Britain's "unsung heroes" (middorsetlibdems)
      Carers will receive a bonus worth up to £250-a-year under a Liberal Democrat government, it has been announced. Locally, 1770 carers in Poole will be eligible for the bonus, with 1060 carers in East Dorset and 560 in Purbeck also receiving it. The no strings attached Carer's Bonus will help more than one million people who look after disabled loved-ones. The annual payment will help full-time carers get a bit of extra help and recognises the invaluable contribution they make to society. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Carers are Britain's unsung heroes. Up and down the country behind closed doors, you'll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day. "It is estimated that six in ten of us will at some point in our lives find ourselves caring for someone else - an elderly relative, a sick child, a friend who needs our support. "These are people who deserve our support even in straightened times, which is why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a Carer's Bonus to give them a little extra help. "It's completely up to the carers themselves how they spend it - it's a no strings attached bonus from a party that is grateful for the superhuman work they do." The bonus would be worth £125 at the start of the next parliament and would rise to £250-a-year by 2020, with around 1.1 million people eligible. The annual bonus would be available to anyone who receives the Carer's Allowance or the Carer's Premium. Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb added: "We know how hard carers work and that one of the most important things to them is getting a break every now again. "It is why the Liberal Democrats will introduce this Carer's Bonus if we are in government again after the General Election. "But it's not for us to dictate to them what they do with it - carers know best how to spend the money in the way that will most benefit them and the people they care for." The pledge follows a number of measures introduced by the Coalition Government to support carers. Successive Liberal Democrat Care Ministers Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb have led the work to better provide for Britain's unsung heroes. In Government the party has secured £800 million to fund short breaks for disabled children and their families. Around £400 million has been set aside to support carers to take breaks from caring responsibilities. While £3 million has been allocated to improve awareness and understanding about carers among health workers. Former Care Minister Paul Burstow MP said: "Carers are the backbone of our health and care system. "In my work developing the party's response to the challenges and opportunities of our ageing society, I have been determined that we do more to support carers. "The Carer's Bonus recognises the contribution carers make day in day out. I am delighted Nick is signalling carers as a priority for our party." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 2, 2014:
    • Local MP Sarah Teather welcomes action against zero-hours contracts abuse (sarahteather)
      Local MP Sarah Teather has today warmly welcomed the announcement by the Liberal Democrats to crackdown on the abuse of zero-hours contracts. Over the last decade, there has been a steady rise in the number of workers employed on zero-hour contracts. While the flexibility they offer can be useful to some employers and workers, concerns have been raised that they have been misused by employers. Last year, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable ordered a review of zero-hour contracts to better understand the impact they are having. This not only found that there were more zero-hours contracts being used than previously thought, it also exposed some serious abuses, particularly around exclusivity clauses. These prevent people from working for another employer, despite offering no guarantee of work. In reaction to these findings, the Liberal Democrats have announced a crackdown on the abuse of these contracts. The ban on exclusivity clauses is set to benefit the 125,000 zero hours contract workers estimated to be tied to an exclusivity clause, allowing workers to look for additional work to boost their income. Sarah said: "I'm really pleased that my Lib Dem colleagues are tackling exclusivity clauses. It's clearly unfair that a worker may receive zero hours of work but is unable to work for another employer. "I believe that flexibility is important in today's economy and that is provided by zero-hours contracts. But it's also important that we work hard in regulating these contracts to prevent abuse and that is what the Lib Dems are doing." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Park Home Owners Rally Against 10% Commission on Sale of Homes (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette and Sonia McColl with other campaigners at the rally. This afternoon, Sonia McColl, organiser of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign, and Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, presented a petition to Downing Street with over 30,000 signatures on it. The petition is calling for a full debate to review the 10% commission charge that is currently payable to a park operator on the sale of a residential park home. They were joined by over 120 protesters who rallied outside Parliament and then marched to Downing Street to demonstrate while the campaigners delivered the petition. Annette called and spoke in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on the issue in May. She stated that "we need transparency on what the various payments are being used for, and we need to ensure that there is no further exploitation of park home owners". The rally was followed by a meeting in Parliament where the campaigners from all over the country were joined by MPs to discuss the issue. Commenting, Annette said: "Over 120 elderly park home owners from across the country including Dorset have come to London to protest because they feel very strongly that they are being robbed. You don't have to pay the 10% commission on the sale of any other property on top of estate agent fees. It is something that needs looking at carefully. Good site owners need a return on their capital to stay in the industry. We are calling for an economic study of the Park Homes industry, and most of all we need transparency so Park Home owners know where their money is going." Annette with Sonia McColl and other campaigners delivering the petition to Downing Street. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 1, 2014:
    • Sarah takes action to protect private renters (sarahteather)
      Local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has today announced she is going to table a Private Members' Bill to stop retaliatory evictions. Every year, backbench MPs can enter what's known as the Private Members' Ballot. Sarah was one of 20 MPs selected in this year's ballot, which took place earlier this month. Sarah's Bill would stop retaliatory evictions - preventing landlords evicting tenants who make a complaint about repairs or poor conditions in their homes. This follows a long campaign by housing charity Shelter. In the last year alone, 213,000 people have been evicted or served with an eviction notice after complaining to their landlord about a problem that was not their responsibility. 12 per cent of tenants have not asked for repairs because they fear eviction. This is a particular problem in Brent. There are 33,000 private rented properties in the borough, and Sarah's constituency of Brent Central has one of the highest numbers of private renters in the country. Commenting, Sarah said: "It's completely wrong that some rogue landlords evict tenants simply because they ask for repairs to be carried out. "Everyone should have somewhere comfortable and safe to live. But all too often, tenants put up with things like damp, dangerous electrical fittings and mould because they are too scared to complain. "This bill could make a real difference to 1.3 million renting families in England. I hope my colleagues in Parliament get behind it and turn it into law." Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive said: "This Bill is a fantastic opportunity to put an end to unfair evictions, and we're thrilled that alongside Sarah Teather, politicians from all parties are committed to this. "No one should have to live in a home that is a danger to their health and well-being, let alone live with the fear of being thrown out if they complain to their landlord. "With over 200,000 people having faced unfair evictions in the last year alone, it's great that politicians are starting to take a stand for England's nine million renters." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Sarah Teather slams Government's residence test for legal aid (sarahteather)
      Sarah Teather has today slammed plans to introduce a residence test for legal aid, saying that she is "ashamed" of the Government. The plans will deny recent migrants from accessing legal aid for civil cases, including clinical negligence, unlawful removal of children and provisions for children with Special Educational Needs. Speaking in a debate in parliament, Sarah said that the residence test will have a far reaching consequences for vulnerable individuals, and will leave women who are victims of sexual abuse without legal assistance if they do not meet the test. The criticisms come the day after a report published by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that the test would inevitably lead to breaches of children's rights by denying them access to justice. As the plans are being introduced through Secondary Legislation, there will be no opportunity for Members of Parliament to amend the plans and a vote is expected next week. Commenting on the plans, Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central, said: "I am ashamed that the Government is introducing regulations that will prevent people from accessing the justice system purely because of their immigration status. The residence test will leave some of the most vulnerable people in our society with no way of challenging wrong decisions or seeking redress when they have been harmed. "Minsters have claimed that the test will save money but have been unable to say how much, despite being asked repeatedly. The reality is that the Government is trying to look tough on immigration by stopping people accessing the justice system just when they need it the most. "Instead of ploughing ahead with a damaging policy in the pursuit of popular sound bites, the Government should listen to the numerous serious concerns that have been raised and drop these plans immediately." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 29, 2014:
    • Sarah Teather wishes her constituents Ramadan Mubarak (sarahteather)
      Local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has today wished her Muslim constituents Ramadan Mubarak as they begin a month of fasting, prayer and charity. Sarah said: "I send my warmest wishes to my Muslim constituents. "Ramadan is an important time in the Islamic faith - one marked by self-sacrifice, generosity towards others, and reflection on the plight of those in need around the world. "I wish all of my Muslim constituents a peaceful, enlightening and blessed Ramadan." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 27, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Congratulates Teaching Award Winner at House of Commons (middorsetlibdems)
      Carly Jones of The Purbeck School in Wareham attends a prestigious reception to celebrate winning a Pearson Teaching Award in 2014 Annette with Carly and her award at the reception in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole met with Carly at the Pearson Teaching Awards at the House of Commons on Tuesday 24th June to honour all those who have won a Silver Teaching Award in 2014. Carly was honoured at the event which was held to celebrate exceptional teachers from across the UK. She won her trophy in the category, The Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year, after being shortlisted from a record number of over 20,000 nominations made by grateful pupils, past and present, parents and colleagues. She will now join 59 fellow Silver Award winners at the UK final of the Teaching Awards at London's Guildhall on 26th October, where 11 Silver Award winners will receive a Gold Award. The ceremony will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC. Annette said: "It was wonderful to be able to celebrate this wonderful achievement with Carly at the House of Commons. To be chosen from so many nominations shows how exceptional Carly is, and I wish her the best of luck for the UK finals." Rod Bristow, President of Core Markets at Pearson, said: ""Everyone can remember a teacher who inspired and challenged them so it's important to say thank you. It is great teaching that makes the biggest difference to learning and that's why great teachers must be recognised". Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Annette Brooke MP urges quick introduction of Meningitis B vaccine (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke MP is calling on the government to publish details of when a new Meningitis B vaccine will be given to all babies on the NHS The call comes 100 days (29th June 2014) after the Department of Health announced that the vaccine is being recommended for inclusion in the National Immunisation Programme. Annette attended a briefing hosted by UK charity Meningitis Now at the House of Commons this week, to mark the upcoming 100 day anniversary and acknowledge the role MPs played in the Beat it Now! Campaign to bring in the vaccine. She said: "One of our greatest responsibilities is ensuring that our young people have the healthiest starts to life, which is why I backed the Beat it Now! vaccine campaign. "We have an opportunity to prevent a disease which kills or maims many in the UK and we need to keep it high on the health agenda. "We need to ensure the quick introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine and make it available to all babies on the NHS without delay." Meningitis Now also used the reception to outline its policy priorities for the coming year, including promoting early diagnosis; funding research into prevention and helping shape national policy on after-care. MPs met with Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, who began the meningitis movement in the UK after losing his son Spencer to the disease in 1982. He said: "I want to thank Annette for her continued support with the introduction of the vaccine and for taking time to meet people personally affected by meningitis." Meningitis Now launched its campaign to bring in the B vaccine in January 2013. On 21st March this year, the Government announced that its vaccine committee - the JCVI - had recommended the vaccine for inclusion in the national immunisation programme, subject to price negotiations with vaccine manufacturer Novartis. No further detail has been published by the Department of Health on the negotiations, the timetable for introduction or plans for roll-out. Meningitis Now will continue its Beat it Now! campaign until the vaccine is introduced. Join the campaign at www.MeningitisNow.org/beat-it-now Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 25, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP raises funding for short breaks for severely disabled and terminally ill children with the Prime Minister (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette with Vikki Slade, prospective Lib Dem candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole, former Care Minister Paul Burstow MP and Martin Edwards, Chief Executive of Julia's House on a recent visit to the hospice. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, questioned David Cameron during today's Prime Minister's Questions; asking about prioritising funding for short breaks for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. Short breaks are an important part of providing palliative care and supporting these children and their families. Annette also mentioned the research local hospice Julia's House and Bournemouth University are carrying out jointly into the impact of short breaks on family relationships. It is thought that the pressures of caring for a severely disabled and terminally ill child is a significant contributing factor to the break-up of parents. The hospice hopes that through this project, a firm evidence basis will be established in order to secure more funding for short term breaks in the future. The preliminary results from the research should be published in the autumn. David Cameron responded by commending the brilliant work of hospices, remarking on how much of a life-saver they are for any family bringing up children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. He then went on to mention the Coalition Government's commitment of over £800 million for local authorities to invest in short breaks for disabled children and saying the research of Bournemouth University may well help inform any future work in the area. Annette said: "I welcome the support of Prime Minister David Cameron and I am pleased to hear about the funding already in place for short breaks. I will continue to support the hard work of hospices like Julia's House; the incredible help and assistance they provide families in the most difficult of situations should never be underestimated and we must do all we can to ensure that the excellent care they provide can continue." Full question: Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD): Julia's House, a wonderful children's hospice in my constituency, is currently carrying out research with Bournemouth University into the impact of short breaks on family relationships. Will the Prime Minister give higher priority to the funding of short breaks as an invest-to-save measure? The Prime Minister: I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend about this issue. Any family bringing up a severely disabled child knows that finding one of these hospices-I will never forget finding Helen House in Oxford, which was actually the first children's hospice, I think, anywhere in the country-is a complete life saver as they carry out brilliant, brilliant work. That is why we have committed over £800 million for local authorities to invest in short breaks for disabled children, and I am sure that this research by Bournemouth University will help inform our work in the future. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 24, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP commits to help children who need palliative care (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has pledged her continued support for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions at a Westminster event held by children's palliative care charity Together for Short Lives. The event took place last week during Children's Hospice Week (13-20), the national awareness and fundraising week for children not expected to reach adulthood and the services, like children's hospices, that support them. Annette met with Anna Gill OBE, a parent carer of a young person with a life-limiting condition, in addition to representatives from Together for Short Lives, the charity behind Children's Hospice Week. She agreed to write to the local clinical commissioning group and local authorities to ask what action they are taking to integrate services for children who need palliative care. Annette also committed to asking health and social care commissioners how they were funding palliative care services supporting children with life-limiting conditions - and their families - in Mid Dorset and North Poole. Annette said: "Providers of children's palliative care, like Julia' offer a vital lifeline to families. Yet commissioning of services, particularly from the voluntary sector, is patchy and inconsistent. Well commissioned and co-ordinated palliative care helps families make to the most of their time together and enables services to develop to meet their needs. "It is essential that health and social care services work together to ensure that services are joined up and funded fairly and sustainably by the NHS and local authorities to ensure that the excellent care they provide can continue." About Together for Short Lives Together for Together for Short Lives is the leading charity for UK children's palliative care. We support those who help, love and care for children and young people who are unlikely to reach adulthood. We work with children's hospices and a range of other services across the country to ensure that every child, young person and their family has the best possible care and support whenever and wherever they need it. From the moment of diagnosis, for whatever life holds, we help to ensure families make the most of their precious time together. Visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk for more information. About Children's Hospice Week Children's Hospice Week (13-20 June) is the UK's only awareness raising and fundraising week for children with life-limiting conditions and the services, like children's hospices, that support them. The week is co-ordinated by national charity Together for Short Lives working alongside your local children's hospice. For more information visit www.childrenshospiceweek.org.uk Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 20, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP pledges to tackle prostate cancer inequalities (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has pledged to support Prostate Cancer UK in its drive to eradicate the injustices faced by men with and at risk of prostate cancer in Mid Dorset and North Poole. Despite being the most common cancer in men, those affected by or at risk of the disease continue to face a number of injustices, particularly when it comes to awareness of risk and access to treatments, information and support. Prostate Cancer UK has launched a report outlining five key injustices faced by men with or at risk of prostate cancer. The charity is calling on the government to take prostate cancer seriously by tackling the inequalities around awareness, age and ethnicity, and ensuring that all men gain access to the best possible treatments and information, regardless of where they live. Annette met men living with and beyond prostate cancer at a campaigning event held at Westminster this week to discuss the issues in more depth and to show her support for the charity's calls. She commented: "Prostate cancer kills one man every hour but men and their families continue to face an uphill struggle on a number of fronts, from awareness of risk, through to gaining access to vital support, information, or world class treatments. Together with Prostate Cancer UK I want to ensure that all men in my constituency are armed with the knowledge of their risk of prostate cancer, and that those living with it have everything they need to tackle the disease head on and have quality time with loved ones." The report - 'Men United v Prostate Cancer, Five inequalities, five solutions' - comes as part of the second wave of the charity's Men United campaign which has built an urgency around prostate cancer and has seen nearly 200,000 people sign up to join the fight against the disease since January 2014. Dr Sarah Cant, Director of Policy and Strategy at Prostate Cancer UK, said; "For too long men with or at risk of prostate cancer have been dealt a series of unjust deals. Four in five men at higher risk of the disease don't know it - meaning that they could miss out on being diagnosed at an early stage when the disease is most treatable. And for those men living with prostate cancer, the quality of care that they receive is still all too often dictated by their post code. Throw into the mix further inequalities surrounding access to treatments and information, and it's clear that men with prostate cancer are not getting all the support that they vitally need. "This isn't good enough and men deserve much better. Since the launch of our Men United campaign we have seen huge public will to work together as a force for change. We're delighted that Annette has pledged to play a role in abolishing these inequalities by helping to tackle the injustices that men and their families." Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 9, 2014:
    • Brent Central MP Sarah Teather supports young entrepreneurs scheme (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, Sarah Teather, has today encouraged Brent's bidding entrepreneurs to enter a scheme to find the top businesses of tomorrow. Last month, Lloyds Bank launched their 2014 Enterprise Awards to celebrate and recognise the top businesses of tomorrow. These awards allow for university students and graduates of less than five years that have founded a business to enter a competition with substantial prizes. Winners of the heats for Best Start-up, Best Digital and Best Enterprise will each get the opportunity to have one-to-one local business mentoring and will be awarded cash prizes of up to £5,000. The grand final is on 15th October and the prizes will be: Expert legal advice through LawNet for all final winners Overall Best Start-Up: £10,000 Overall Best Enterprise: £50,000 Overall Best Digital: Spend time with leading industry digital market experts worth over £10,000 Senior Executive Mentoring Applications close on 23rd July 2014. To find out more about the awards or to apply visit http://www.lloydsbankenterpriseawards.com/ Commenting, Sarah said: "There are so many talented young people in Brent. This is a really exciting opportunity and so I encourage all budding entrepreneurs to enter. Good luck!" Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 7, 2014:
    • Ambulances set to return in August (Lorely Burt)
      GOOD NEWS: Lorely (pictured here with WMAS area manager Dean Jenkins) welcomes the news that ambulances are scheduled to return by August Double-Crewed Ambulances are set to return to Solihull this August. Double-Crewed Ambulances were withdrawn from Solihull last year and have since been operating from a base in Erdington, but ambulance managers agreed to return them following a campaign by MP Lorely Burt. The ambulances were due to return in January. However, the old ambulance station on Hermitage Road has been closed so a new site is needed. Negotiations with Heart of England Foundation Trust to base ambulances in Solihull Hospital are still ongoing. Local campaigning group Healthwatch Solihull had written to West Midlands Ambulance Service asking them to ensure the issue was dealt with at a board meeting on 27th May. However, it was revealed at a public meeting in Dorridge organised by Healthwatch that the decision was low on the board's agenda and the meeting concluded without discussing it. Dr Anthony Marsh, the Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service, has written to Mrs Burt to reiterate his commitment to basing Double-Crewed Ambulances in Solihull Hospital and stating his 'confidence' that ambulances will return by August. The trust plans for two 24-hour ambulances based at Solihull Hospital, eventually rising to three. Mrs Burt has written back to Dr Marsh, welcoming his commitment but expressing concern at the delay and requesting assurances that Solihull's Double-Crewed Ambulances will not be allowed to slip from the agenda in future. She has also written to Dr Mark Newbold, the Chief Executive of Heart of England Foundation Trust, asking him to give support to the plans. Mrs Burt said, "I thank Dr Marsh for his commitment to return our Double-Crewed Ambulances by August, and I will hold him to it. "Residents have the right to be frustrated with a process of removing and then returning our ambulances that has not gone smoothly. There has been a lack of clear information and little sense that a properly thought-out plan was in place. "I understand that some of these delays are caused by difficult negotiations with Heart of England Foundation Trust. "I'll be putting pressure on the foundation trust and the ambulance service to get their act together and really deliver this time." Sam Mills, Chair of Healthwatch Solihull, said, "It's fantastic news that a timeline has been established for bringing back our ambulances, which is what we all want to see happen. "We've got to ensure there are no more delays and that the ambulance service deliver on their promises this time and don't miss this new deadline." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 6, 2014:
    • Health minister visits threatened dementia ward (Lorely Burt)
      LISTENING: Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb visited Ward 10 with local Lib Dem campaigners including Martin Hewings (yellow shirt) and Ade Adeyemo (yellow tie) Health Minister Norman Lamb visited Solihull Hospital to observe Ward 10, the dementia ward which local MP Lorely Burt is campaigning to save from closure. Along with local Lib Dems Councillor Martin Hewings and party chair Ade Adeyemo, the minister met staff and discussed plans to integrate specialist dementia care with physical healthcare. Plans to close Ward 10 in March were postponed following an intervention by local campaigners including Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt. It is now due for closure in July but when Lib Dem campaigners visited with Mr Lamb they saw a full ward with no evidence of winding down. Ward 10 provides specialist care and beds to patients who are in hospital with other ailments but also suffer from dementia. It offers patients activities to keep their minds engaged, including films, music, and dancing to old classics. Elmdon councillor Martin Hewings engaged one patient in a dance. Consultant Physician Dr Robert Wears, who manages Ward 10, said, "We are all very grateful for the interest shown in Ward 10 by local MPs, and we were particularly honoured to welcome the minister responsible for dementia care to our ward. "It is heartening to see that the valuable work we do is recognised, and we will carry on working hard to provide the best we possibly can to people in Solihull who depend on our services." Mrs Burt said, "I am grateful to Norman for coming to see for himself the amazing work staff at Ward 10 do for patients. "It's clear that no plan is in place to replace Ward 10 and I am fearful for the future of these very vulnerable people. "The deadline for closure, even though it was extended to July, is clearly unrealistic. I am calling for Ward 10 to be given one more year to wind down and switch to an integrated replacement service." Mr Adeyemo said, "As a local resident I am keen to make sure that everyone living in our area can access the best healthcare when they need it. "This is especially true for patients suffering with dementia and we must ensure that they get treatment that meets their particular needs." Mr Lamb said, "In government, the Liberal Democrats are championing better care and support for people with mental health conditions, and have legislated for 'parity of esteem' - complete equality - between mental health and physical health. I want to make sure that people with mental health problems get the support they need to continue to live safely and well-supported in the community. "In most circumstances, hospital is not the best environment for someone with a mental health condition. Most people would much prefer to be looked after properly surrounded by their friends and family, in the community. "However, when people with dementia need to spend time in hospital as a result of other health conditions, it is incredibly important that they receive care and support which recognises the special needs arising from their dementia. This needs to be the case across hospitals - and in other parts of our health and care systems. There is no 'one size fits all' approach to achieving this - it is important that local health organisations are able to find the best way to provide good care for the communities they serve. "Ward 10 at Solihull hospital was originally opened in the winter of 2012/13 to provide specialist flexible capacity. Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to use extra government funding for winter pressures to keep the ward operational throughout the 2013/14 winter for the same purpose. "I know Lorely Burt has campaigned hard on health issues for people in Solihull over many years. It is important that she has drawn attention to the need to ensure effective care and support for people with dementia when they are in hospital. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from the hospital today what steps they are now taking to ensure that the right care continues to be available in future for people with dementia." The petition to save Ward 10 is available online for signing here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-ward-10 Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 2, 2014:
    • Sarah Teather: Home Office ministers need to stand-up and take responsibility (sarahteather)
      Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has today called on ministers in the Home Office to stand-up and take responsibility after a damning report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons into how deportations are undertaken. The report found that staff employed to remove detainees were using inappropriate control techniques and criticised the lack of training on the use of force. Some staff were also found to have behaved in a juvenile way, including making loud animal noises, as well as swearing loudly. Commenting on the report, which followed an inspection of a removal of 66 people from the UK to Pakistan, Sarah Teather MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, said: "This report highlights the depressing reality that lessons have still not been learnt from the tragic death of Jimmy Mubenga. It contains a litany of failings that resulted in human beings not being shown the respect they deserve and instead being treated as commodities. "It is deeply concerning that yet another review has found the Home Office wanting in this area. All individuals, no matter what their immigration status, must be treated with humanity and dignity - something the Government is currently manifestly failing to ensure. "Just what will it take for ministers to stand-up and take responsibility for the culture of those they directly and indirectly employ to do their work?" Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 19, 2014:
    • Vince Cable describes College as "beacon" for apprenticeships (Lorely Burt)
      PROMOTING APPRENTICESHIPS: Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable praised Solihull College for their work on apprenticeships Along with a host of Midlands' employers and apprentices, Solihull College welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable to an apprenticeship event at the College's Blossomfield Campus on Thursday. The Business Secretary explained how, through the government's investment, that apprenticeships will "give young people a vision of a good career through vocational education". Mr Cable said Further Education has a crucial role to play and that Solihull College was a "beacon" for apprenticeships. The event, which was run in partnership with Solihull Chamber of Commerce, was held to dispel the myth that apprenticeships are only for manual type labour jobs. With the help of big business names such as Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan Motor Company and Virgin Media in attendance, the exhibition and range of speakers challenged the idea that choosing university is the best choice post-further education. Business Secretary Vince Cable MP echoed this important shift in perception, commenting, "I think we are beginning to change the psychology so that people see apprenticeships as an attractive career comparable to academic education and the FE sector has an absolutely crucial role to play." Lindsey Stewart, Acting Principal of Solihull College, said, "This event delivered the powerful punch we were looking for, to show as a College, our commitment to young people and the wide variety of apprenticeships we can offer. It was an absolute privilege to welcome both Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Vince Cable MP to the College and it was encouraging to hear the governments ongoing commitment to apprenticeships as choices for young people post-GCSEs continues to widen." Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spent time walking around the exhibition speaking to delegates and apprentices, along with giving media interviews. When asked by the College about how he viewed the importance of apprenticeships, he commented, "You don't need your nose in a book to learn things... apprenticeships are catching people's imagination more and more... and it is becoming an increasingly recognised way of completing this difficult journey from education into work." Local MP Lorely Burt, who welcomed the government ministers to Solihull College, said, "Solihull College did a fantastic job last year working with me on my campaign to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices, designing bespoke training programmes. "Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to get young people earning and learning. "I'm very proud of Solihull College and its hard-working young apprentices who are investing in their futures." Following the departure of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable delegates networked and met with young people who were invited in to discuss apprenticeships. WELCOME TO SOLIHULL COLLEGE: Lorely welcomes Deputy PM Nick Clegg to Solihull College Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Fujitsu Apprentices Impress Business Secretary (Lorely Burt)
      YOUNG TALENT RECOGNISED: Fujitsu's apprentices with Vince Cable and Lorely Burt The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable, today visited Fujitsu's facility in Solihull for a roundtable discussion with the company's best and brightest, its apprentices. Dr Cable and Solihull MP met with nine apprentices from across the business to learn more about what attracted them to become apprentices, the skills they are learning and the opportunities it is providing them for a successful career. Fujitsu's Chief Operating Officer, Gavin Bounds, who chaired the roundtable said: "I was really impressed with how our apprentices presented themselves and the company to one of the most senior members of the Government. It was great to be able to showcase our young talent. Our apprentices make such a huge contribution to our company and are laying the foundations of really fulfilling careers. "The difference the apprentices make to the company speaks for itself, 100% of those who complete the scheme go on to find a permanent job with Fujitsu." After meeting the Fujitsu apprentices, Dr Cable said: "I want to see apprenticeships on an equal footing with academic education. This government is committed to creating a 'new norm' where young people either choose university or an apprenticeship when they finish school. "I was pleased to see that Fujitsu has a well-developed apprenticeship programme with bright, motivated young apprentices taking part. "This government has delivered a record investment in apprenticeships, which has seen the number in Solihull roughly double in four years. "I would encourage other businesses recruit some apprentices, as Fujitsu has done so successfully, and benefit from the excellent package of support available from the government." Since the beginning of 2012 Fujitsu has taken on nearly 200 apprentices throughout the UK, working in diverse roles across the business. Fujitsu offers a range of Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships over one to two years with the highest level providing the individual with a degree equivalent qualification. The scheme has a 96% completion rate with those who complete the scheme guaranteed a job. Solihull MP, Lorely Burt said: "It was a great pleasure to meet these enthusiastic young people, who came for from a very diverse range of backgrounds. They demonstrate how apprenticeships can be a win-win for everyone. "The apprentice gets to earn and learn with the probability of a full-time skilled job at the end. Meanwhile the employer gets an enthusiastic young worker, government support with salary and training costs, and ends up with a loyal, well-trained member of staff." Fujitsu is signed up to the Trailblazer Apprenticeships Scheme created by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is helping to shape the future of this vital policy area which is so vital to the UK's economic future. Gavin Bounds added: "Fujitsu recognises the importance of supporting apprentices in this critical stage of their career. Not only do we provide them with technical and business skills that will lead to a permanent job, we also ensure they are properly paid. Fujitsu pays its apprentices over 50% more than the legal minimum wage set by the Government for apprentices. "An apprenticeship is a two way commitment, we expect that the young people involved in our scheme deliver value to our business and in return we develop them, train them and ensure they are appropriately rewarded and recognised for their efforts." Following the roundtable Dr Cable and Ms Burt went on a tour of the Solihull site where Fujitsu employs over 600 people. Much of Fujitsu's telecoms business is located at the site and the Solihull workforce support crucial clients such as the Home Office, Morrison, Virgin Media and the Home Office. Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 13, 2014:
    • No crossing needed because 'drivers will be more polite' - council (Lorely Burt)
      STANDING UP FOR VULNERABLE: Lorely gathering signatures for her petition Solihull Council has defended plans to remove a pedestrian crossing because it believes it can 'encourage a high level of courtesy from drivers towards pedestrians'. The council's claim comes in response to a letter from Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt calling on the council to preserve the crossing on Poplar Road as part of its plans for Solihull Gateway. Mrs Burt jointly launched a petition to save the crossing with local charities including the Royal National Institute of Blind People. It is available online for signing here http://tinyurl.com/lypsp7n. Mrs Burt said, "I am very disappointed with the council's dismissive response. "It's clear once again that the council simply is not listening to local residents. With this attitude it could be only a matter of time before there is a serious accident. "A trip to the shops for a blind or partially sighted person can be a challenge at the best of times. Without the Poplar Road crossing, I fear these vulnerable people will lose the confidence they need to make trips into the town centre and use the public transport there which they depend on. "I want Solihull to be an inclusive place for everybody, including those living with disabilities. Unfortunately this response shows the council just doesn't get it." Rebecca Swift, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer, said, "The plans to remove this crossing are causing a great deal of concern for local blind and partially sighted people, who feel that their safety and independence will be threatened if this proposal goes ahead. "If this crossing is removed, the bottom line is that they will have to walk out in to the road without knowing whether they have been seen and whether traffic has stopped. This is an extremely frightening and potentially dangerous position to be in. "We urge the council to listen to the concerns of local blind and partially sighted people and to reconsider their plans to remove this crossing." In its response to Mrs Burt's letter, the council claims that: 'The aim of the project is not to make life more difficult for any of our residents, particularly those who have a physical disability, but to help make this part of the town centre safer for all pedestrians. I do accept, however, that removing a push button crossing may appear at first to be contrary to pedestrian safety. 'If removing the crossing was the only outcome of the scheme it would cause problems. However, this is only one aspect of the project which includes a number of changes that will help to promote a low speed environment that will encourage a high level of courtesy from drivers towards pedestrians.' Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 8, 2014:
    • Brent named as one of the worst offenders for wasteful spending (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has named and shamed Brent's Labour-run council as one of the worst councils in the country for wasteful spending. At the launch of the Liberal Democrats local elections campaign in London yesterday (6th May), Nick Clegg unveiled a dossier loaded with more than £500m worth of vanity projects and expense claims amassed by Tory and Labour- run councils. Brent features prominently throughout the dossier, "Tory and Labour Waste and Incompetence". The booklet's front cover image is a photo of one of the borough's six libraries that were closed by Labour in 2011. Brent Labour featured several times in a deck of cards highlighting some of the worst examples of council waste. Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Brent Central, Ibrahim Taguri, who attended the campaign launch commented: "Unfortunately for local people, Brent Council was the star of the show at the Liberal Democrats' local election campaign launch, with the £250,000 Labour spent keeping library buildings empty since 2011 featuring on the front of the campaign booklet demonstrating the worst examples of councils wasting money from across the whole country. "When all councils are facing tough budget decisions it is even more important that they don't waste money on vanity projects and gimmicks like Brent Council has done over the past four years. Only Liberal Democrat majority controlled authorities have consistently frozen council tax, kept all libraries open and cut out wasteful spending in order to maintain essential council services." Mr Taguri added: "There is a stark choice facing voters this May in Brent. Between Lib Dems working with the community to reopen libraries and clean up the streets or a wasteful Labour Party working for themselves and stripping the community of our assets." Local residents, councillors, campaigners and local newspapers have criticised the Council for a series of spending decisions over the past four years, including: £350,000 for iPads and iPhones for Council staff Millions of pounds for executive staff pay-offs, some of whom were later re-hired £98,000 on an opening party for new Civic Centre offices £12,000 on a hologram receptionist at the new Civic Centre £700,000 to resurface the road outside the Civic Centre with granite £1,200 for food for councillors after council meetings Local councillor candidate for the Dudden Hill Ward, Anton Georgiou added: "If elected on 22nd May, Liberal Democrats will stop wasteful spending, listen to what local people want and get back to basics. We know that criticising Labour's waste isn't enough to boot them out of power here in Brent - that's why Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners have put forward a positive 6 point plan to sort out our borough. "Brent Liberal Democrats want to restore the popular visitor parking scratchcards, freeze residents parking permit prices and make sorting out potholes a priority. Liberal Democrat councillors will also work to re-open community libraries to replace the 6 libraries closed by Labour, will keep on freezing council tax and crack down on litter, dirty streets and fly-tipping." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 6, 2014:
    • Explosion in Parliament (Lorely Burt)
      ONE FURTHER THAN GUY FAWKES: Lorely helps the Royal Society of Chemistry make an explosion in Parliament Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has gone one further than Guy Fawkes and set off an explosion in the Houses of Parliament. Mrs Burt met the first scientist ever allowed to carry out explosive chemistry experiments in the House of Commons at an event held by the Royal Society of Chemistry in Parliament on Wednesday 30th April. Mrs Burt took part in some loud and colourful chemistry experiments performed by TV scientist Dr Hal Sosabowski from the University of Brighton. Mrs Burt witnessed the whizzes and bangs of chemistry first-hand as Dr Sosabowski showed off the science behind glow sticks, a liquid nitrogen shower and a flaming methane mamba of soap bubbles. They also discussed the importance of science to the UK economy. Mrs Burt MP said, "The chemistry demonstrations were very impressive - lots of different colours, flames and clouds of liquid nitrogen. It was really interesting to hear about how science can help our economic recovery and create jobs. "I hope that through displays like this, the Royal Society of Chemistry will encourage more young people to study science, especially girls, who are still under-represented." The Royal Society of Chemistry's President, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, said, "Britain is a world leader in science. The chemical sector alone sustains 500,000 jobs across the country. But over the last decades public investment in scientific research has fallen behind our international competitors. "We want to see a commitment from all sides of the debate to increase total government investment in research in the long-term to set Britain back on the path to science-fuelled growth." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Surgery boots out 82 year old after 33 years (Lorely Burt)
      SHOCKED: Lorely is calling on Green Lane and Sheldon Surgery to let May Jones, 82, stay Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt is calling on Green Lane & Sheldon Surgery to reconsider its decision to force 82-year old May Jones to find a new surgery after 33 years with the practice. Bosses at the practice in Castle Bromwich say Mrs Jones lives outside the catchment area, making the possibility of home visits an 'onerous condition' of her remaining with the practice. Mrs Jones says the drive takes seven minutes. Investigations by Mrs Burt's staff support Mrs Jones's claim. Mrs Jones was one of the first patients to register at the practice when it was set up. Mrs Burt and Lib Dem councillor Martin Hewings have separately visited Mrs Jones in her home and Mrs Burt has written to the surgery asking them to let Mrs Jones stay. Practice bosses agreed to extend her registration to the end of May but insisted they would not extend it any further. Mrs Burt said, "I think it's a heartless decision to ask May to leave, especially when, like May, she has been with a surgery for so long and never called a doctor out on her own account. "I understand there's no hard and fast rule so I urge the surgery should use its discretion to let her stay." Cllr Hewings said, "I was horrified to hear that after 33 years at the practice, they are now turning around and saying they don't want her as a patient anymore, particularly as she lives only seven minutes by car from the practice. "This to me seems cruel and mean." Mrs Jones said, "I can understand a surgery not wanting to take new patients from out of their area, but I have been at this surgery since the day it opened, over 30 years ago. "I trust my doctor and don't want to have to build a new relationship with a new doctor at my age." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY