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  • Oct 24, 2014:
    • Letter to Wales Online - Black History Month (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Editor, I would like to congratulate the Black History Association Wales, who have worked in partnership with the African Community Centre, Wales Millennium Centre and The Prince's Trust, for putting on a programme of events and workshops in Cardiff and across Wales throughout October to celebrate Black History Month. The origins of Black History Month stretch back to 1926 when African Caribbean celebrations were established in America. In the UK thousands of events now take place every year in October to celebrate and recognise the contributions and achievements of black people to British society. Wales has one of the UK's oldest multi-ethnic communities in Cardiff, where the family origins of some black residents can be followed back to the shipping industries of the 1800s. A number of events are still happening until the end of the month and to mark as well the centenary of the First World War, many of this year's activities are focussing on capturing stories and contributions from relatives of the thousands of seaman of African ethnicity working on British ships from 1914. Well done to everyone involved. 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
    • Jenny Willott MP backs the Money for Life Challenge and calls on local organisations to get involved (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is encouraging education and training organisations to get involved in the Money for Life Challenge, a national competition to encourage young people to improve their money management skills. The Money for Life Challenge is supported by Lloyds Banking Group and CollegesWales in partnership with Youth Cymru. The challenge awards £500 grants to 16 to 24 year olds to run a money management project that impacts their local community. Last year a team of young people from the Cadywn Housing Association were selected to receive a £1000 Legacy Grant for their Moneysmart project after reaching the finals of the Money for Life Challenge 2013/14. The Money for Life Challenge 2014/15 is now open and accepting applications until Friday 21st November. Applications can be made by visiting: www.moneyforlifechallenge.org.uk Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Helping young people to learn financial skills and manage their money is very important and the Money for Life Challenge is the perfect way to do this. I hope many education and community organisations in Cardiff Central will enter teams for the Money for Life Challenge and encourage young people to take part and come up with innovative new projects. "The Lib Dems believe it is essential to equip young people with the necessary skills to deal with the practical issues that they will face in adult life and I'm pleased that we have put forward plans for compulsory financial literacy lessons in schools as part of our pre-manifesto for the 2015 General Election." 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
  • Oct 23, 2014:
    • Jenny Willott MP supports Big Energy Saving Week (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is supporting Big Energy Saving Week to help people cut hundreds of pounds from their energy bills. Big Energy Saving Week, which runs from 20th to 24th October, is a joint campaign between the Energy Saving Trust, Department of Energy and Climate Change and Citizens advice. The week aims to help householders take practical steps to cut their bills by checking they are on the best deal, switching tariff or supplier and saving energy through easy tips, like changing their heating controls. New figures from the Energy Saving Trust show that households in Cardiff could save £2,950,000 by taking control of their heating and turning down the thermostat. Households could save £75 a year individually and this could save 12,000 total CO2 per year across the area. Consumers can get tips and advice by calling the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or visiting www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Big Energy Saving Week is a great opportunity for residents in Cardiff Central to take action and cut their energy bills. The easiest way is to shop around for the cheapest energy deal and switch suppliers, but there are other practical steps that can help, such as learning how to use heating controls correctly and insulating your home. "Thanks to the Coalition Government's action to reform the energy market, the number of independent suppliers has almost trebled since 2010, which is encouraging competition and driving down prices. I urge everyone to see what they could do to reduce their bills and make sure they aren't paying more than they need to." 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
    • My Diwali message to Wales Online (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Editor, I would like to send my best wishes and warmest greetings to all those in Cardiff Central and across Wales who are celebrating Diwali. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Light, is a fantastic family festival where Hindus, Jains and Sikhs come together to reflect on the events of the past in order to prepare and change for the future. The symbolic lighting of lamps, representing life, hope and new beginnings sends a powerful message of peace and unity to us all. It is also gives me an opportunity to reflect on the huge contribution made by the Indian community in Wales to our country's prosperity and culture. In particular, we have a vibrant community of Indian students at our universities in Cardiff and many go on to live and work in Wales when they finish their studies. Once again, my best wishes for a joyous and prosperous Diwali. 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
    • Sarah wishes her constituents a Happy Diwali (sarahteather)
      Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central, has wished her constituents a Happy Diwali. Local MP Sarah Teather celebrated Diwali with her constituents Local Lib Dem MP Sarah said: "Diwali in Brent is always an exciting occasion, and this year will be no different. "With so much suffering and sadness in the world it is wonderful to share in a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. As family and friends come together we are reminded of the important things in life. "I would like to send my very warmest wishes to all those celebrating Diwali in Brent." 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
    • Annette Brooke Supports the Big Energy Saving Week Campaign in Parliament (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, showed her support for the Big Energy Saving Week, which helps people to cut hundreds of pounds from their energy bills by attending an event in Parliament this week. The joint campaign between Energy Saving Trust, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Citizens Advice Bureau, is running from 20 - 24 October 2014, and will give hands-on guidance on how to save money by checking, switching and insulating homes. The event, which also welcomed Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, focused largely on informing the public of the range of energy saving options available. The campaign helps householders learn how to take control of their energy bills with free advice available during the week over the phone, online and at events across the UK. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said "The government is making it far easier for people to switch suppliers, and the main energy suppliers have committed to the halving of switching times by the end of the year. What is important now is informing people of these changes and equipping people with the knowledge to allow them to take advantage of them". Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, said: "Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let's be honest, it is a bit of a minefield. There are plenty of myths out there and it's no wonder people aren't getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes." Any people needing help and advice on any of the issues raised in this release should call the Energy Saving Advice Service (England and Wales) on 0300 123 1234 or Home Energy Scotland (Scotland) on 0808 808 2282. Householders in Northern Ireland may be able to benefit from the Warm Homes scheme - call 0800 988 0559 for further details. • For further advice about saving energy in the home visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk • For information about Big Energy saving Week visit: www.bigenergysavingweek.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
  • Oct 21, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP questions Minister on lack of psychiatric intensive care beds for women in Dorset (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, yesterday highlighted the lack of psychiatric intensive care unit beds for women in Dorset during Health Oral Question Time in the House of Commons. Annette asked the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Norman Lamb MP whether additional funding could be used to address the situation as she revealed there are no psychiatric intensive care unit beds for women in the entire county, with one constituent recently being sent to a unit in Bradford. In his response, Mr Lamb agreed to meet with Annette to discuss the issue further, and stated that he had heard similar concerns from other areas. He agreed that the objective must be to have facilities close to where people live, rather than their having to travel long distances. Full text of question: Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD): Currently, there are no psychiatric intensive care unit beds for women in Dorset. One of my constituents was recently sent to a unit in Bradford. Will additional funding be available to address this appalling situation? Minister of State at the Department of Health Norman Lamb: I am very happy to meet my right hon. Friend to discuss the concerns in her area. I heard similar concerns when I was in Devon last week and clearly the objective must be to have facilities close to where people live, rather than their having to travel long distances. 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
    • Jenny Willott MP joins Christian Aid's Hunger for Justice weekend (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central, joined Bishop David Wilbourne for Christian Aid's Hunger For Justice weekend (Saturday 18- Sunday 19th October) to discuss commitments to take action on climate change. At a panel debate at St Michael's Theological College in Llandaff, students and Christian Aid supporters heard from Kevin Brennan MP, Jenny Willott MP, Leanne Wood AM and James Taghdissian. Discussion ranged from attitudes towards taking action on climate change, financial commitment to support poorer countries adapt and develop, and the role that Wales has to play. The Hunger for Justice weekend saw hundreds of churches nationwide urging their local politicians to ensure their party includes strong climate change action in their manifestos, and praying for people living with the effects of climate change around the world. People across Wales are also calling on the National Assembly for Wales to ensure its upcoming Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Bill drives action for Wales to meet its carbon emissions targets. Cathrin Daniel, Head of Christian Aid Wales said, "The Hunger for Justice weekend gives our supporters, politicians and churches in the area the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people around the world, and encourages us all to take steps towards a safer, cleaner future. We hope that our politicians in Wales will now be proactive in urging their parties to take action on climate change, particularly ahead of the General Election next year." Christian Aid has launched a manifesto ahead of the General Election, setting out its vision for what parties should do about issues, including climate change, in 2015. To find out more, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/hungerforjustice 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
    • A Tribute to Efua Dorkenoo (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here's a statement from Jane Ellison MP and me, following the sad passing of Efua Dorkenoo. Also available on Huffington Post.

      We learned with very great sadness of the passing of Efua Dorkenoo OBE on Saturday 14 October.

      We had the honour of working closely with Efua for some years, and she was deservingly known as 'Mama Efua', the mother of the movement against FGM. Efua worked tirelessly for many decades, most recently as Programme Director for the International Social Change campaign, The Girl Generation'.

      But Efua's pioneering work began in the early 1980s and since then, she dedicated her career to the cause, and was a powerful voice for the rights of women and girls, ensuring that FGM survivors and girls who need protection remained at the heart of her life's work to eradicate FGM.

      Her vision and leadership has brought us all to the position today where FGM is recognised as a grave violation of human rights, as well as a health issue with devastating consequences.

      Thankfully she lived to see her dream of an African-led global campaign realised.

      Efua enjoyed a long and varied career, including working as an adviser to the World Health Organisation. In 1983, her services to women and girls were recognised when she received an OBE (Order of the British Empire). She of course also authored the groundbreaking publication 'Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation' (1996).

      Efua was a truly inspirational woman, and it was a great honour to work with her.

      We will continue to remember her, in our work to achieve her vision to end FGM in a generation.

      Surely there can be no greater tribute to her than this - that we work tirelessly to protect future generations of the girls she cared so deeply about.

      Our thoughts are with her husband Freddie and her family at this very difficult time.

    • Sarah Teather comments on withdrawal of thousands of asylum decisions (sarahteather)
      Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has today reacted with concern to news that the Home Office has withdrawn thousands of asylum refusals before appeals. In over 3,000 cases in the year to 12 December 2013, Home Secretary Theresa May withdrew her department's decision about an applicant's immigration status as appeals were put in place. More than 200 of these were asylum claims, while over 2,000 related to "temporary migrants" - chiefly people who have come to the UK for a short period. The figures were revealed in a letter from Home Office Minister James Brokenshire, which was made available in the House of Commons Library. Sarah, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, said: "This is another depressing sign of the poor practice and decision-making that persists in the Home Office when it comes to asylum applications. "People who have fled violence or persecution and sought sanctuary here just want a chance to rebuild their lives. Shockingly, many are refused asylum when they first apply. That's why nearly one in three applications are allowed on appeal. "By withdrawing refusal decisions, the Home Office is leaving many people who need our protection in legal limbo. Ministers must make sure these cases are properly reassessed as quickly as possible." 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
  • Oct 20, 2014:
    • Jenny Willott MP congratulates local parent champion (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has congratulated Lucy Wheeler who received an award in recognition of her hard work and dedication in supporting new and expectant parents at the NCT Stars Awards 2014. Lucy volunteers as Chair of the Cardiff and Caerphilly NCT branch and was named winner of the "Parent Supporter of the Year" award. This award is for an NCT volunteer who has supported parents, promoted positive perceptions of parenthood or achieved supportive services in their local area through work at a branch level. Jenny Willott MP attended a special celebration at the House of Commons with Lucy where she was presented with her award. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I really enjoyed attending this year's NCT Stars Awards. It was an honour to meet the volunteers and I was pleased to congratulate Lucy on her achievement. Our communities rely on people like Lucy who selflessly give their time to support new parents. Lucy's work has had a really positive impact on the lives of families in Cardiff and this recognition is well deserved." Belinda Phipps, Chief Executive, NCT said: "The NCT Stars Awards is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of a dedicated and creative team of volunteers. These volunteers provide a much-needed support network for local parents in so many ways through the first 1,000 days and we would not be able to reach as far and wide as we do without them. Their enthusiasm is invaluable and makes a huge difference to the charity's work. We are truly grateful." 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
  • Oct 17, 2014:
    • Jenny visits local primary school for Primary Futures Week (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, visited Tredegarville C.I.W Primary School in Adamsdown as part of Primary Futures Week to help pupils make connections between what they learn and the world of work. Primary Futures Week is led by the National Association of Head Teachers and has been taking place from 13th to 17th October 2014. The aim is to give children a better understanding of the practical requirements needed for work so they can be motivated to improve their literacy and numeracy. Primary schools who registered with Primary Futures were able to access a network of volunteers from different professions and invite them to talk to children about their job. Jenny registered her interest and Tredegarville Primary School got in touch to arrange the visit. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I think Primary Futures Week is a great idea and a novel way hopefully to inspire children to see what options are open to them in the future. They can see what jobs they could do and why education is important for those jobs. "I really enjoyed talking to the Year 6 class about my role as an MP, about what I do in Cardiff and what happens in Parliament. The children were really shocked by how few women there are in Parliament so I hope I've inspired some of the girls in the class to think that going into politics could be for them!" 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
    • Annette Brooke MP shows support for secondary breast cancer patients (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. This week Breast Cancer Care met with Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer after a survey by the charity revealed that the majority (90%) of secondary breast cancer patients are experiencing physical pain, many almost daily. As part of Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day (October 13th), Annette attended a Parliamentary event to meet with women who have been diagnosed with the disease, and highlight the charity's campaign and petition. Alarmingly the survey findings reveal that two-fifths (41%) have never been offered a referral to a palliative care team by their healthcare professional. So Breast Cancer Care is calling for healthcare professionals to make all secondary breast cancer patients aware, at the point of diagnosis, how palliative care can help to manage their pain. Annette said: "It is extremely important to be showing my support for secondary breast cancer patients today. These survey findings are very shocking and more must be done to ensure these patients are receiving prompt referral for palliative care, before it's too late. I would encourage my constituents to back Breast Cancer Care's campaign and sign their petition." The poll of more than 200 people living with a secondary breast cancer diagnosis, where the cancer has spread and although can be controlled, cannot be cured, found that more than three-quarters (78%) said they couldn't undertake normal activities like housework or childcare and two-thirds (70%) said it had an impact on their relationships and intimacy. Diana Jupp, Director of Services and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Care, said: "We want to say a huge thank you to Annette for coming along to our event and showing her support. This is an incredibly important issue. We speak to more women living with secondary breast cancer than any other organisation and we know they feel their support and care is second rate." Sign here to help ensure secondary breast cancer is a priority on the health agenda and help women living with the disease receive the care they need: www.breastcancercare.org.uk/hiddeneffects 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
  • Oct 16, 2014:
    • Letter to Wales Online about my Crime Prevention meeting (Jenny Willott)
      Dear Editor, Thank you to everyone who attended my Crime Prevention meeting with South Wales Police at Penylan Library. I would also like to thank the staff at the library for all their help on the day. There have been a number of burglaries across Cardiff when households were targeted specifically for gold, so I decided to hold the event with the Police because a number of local residents have raised concerns about these burglaries with me. I know that the gold that is stolen often has huge sentimental value. It is not just the financial loss that people are concerned about, it is the loss of their family heirlooms which often upsets people the most. The meeting was very well attended and I am following up a number of the issues raised. In particular, I am looking into the availability of safety deposit boxes as people at the meeting told us that there aren't any available at the banks in Cardiff. I will also be looking into the regulation of the gold market; as it seems rather too easy for someone to sell gold to a trader with no questions asked. I will be getting back in touch with those who attended the meeting but if anyone else would like me to let them know progress, they can email me on jenny@jennywillott.com or call 02920 462276. 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
  • Oct 15, 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 September is 553 lower than this time last year and 68 lower than in August 2014. The latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics show that across the UK unemployment fell by 154,000, lowering the unemployment count to 1.97million. The figures show that unemployment has fallen to 6%, the lowest level since 2008. And average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, in the June to August period, rose by 0.9% from a year earlier. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "These figures show that our economy is recovering and in Cardiff Central we've had consecutive monthly reductions in unemployment. Creating jobs is key to building a stronger economy and fairer society. The Liberal Democrats are getting people into work and helping businesses to create jobs. We will continue to provide opportunities for 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
  • Oct 14, 2014:
    • 423 patients in Cardiff and Vale waiting over a year for treatment (Jenny Willott)
      Shocking figures published by the Welsh Liberal Democrats reveal that 423 patients in Cardiff and the Vale are being forced to wait over a year for the start of their treatment. The information, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, shows that nearly 1,400 patients in Waleshave been waiting over a year until they received their treatment. The Welsh Government's target is that not a single patient should wait longer than 36 weeks until the start of their treatment. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It's completely unacceptable that 423 residents in Cardiff and the Vale are being forced to wait over a year before being treated. Unfortunately there is little sign of the situation improving as waiting lists are getting longer. "We need a long-term plan for health and social care in Wales, but unfortunately the Welsh Labour Government seems unable to provide this. "I regularly see people in Cardiff who aren't getting the cancer drugs they need, who have waited too long for an ambulance or have sat for hours in A&E before being treated. The Welsh Labour Government is letting down the people of Wales." A breakdown for each health board shows the following number of patients have been waiting over a year until the start of their treatment: Abertawe Morgannwg - 545 patients Aneurin Bevan - 298 patients Betsi Cadwaladr - 61 patients Cardiff and Vale - 423 patients Cwm Taf - fewer than 5 Hywel Dda - 63 patients Powys - 84 patients, commissioned by the Health Board, have been waiting over a year 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
    • Sarah Teather votes to recognise Palestine (sarahteather)
      Local Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather yesterday voted in Parliament in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood. The vote took place following a backbench debate on the issue in the House of Commons. 274 to 12 MPs voted to recognise the state of Palestine. Commenting, Sarah said: "It is time for the international community to recognise Palestinian statehood as part of a two state solution to the conflict. "The appalling violence and loss of life we saw in Gaza earlier this year highlighted the urgent need for action to bring this about. "Having visited Gaza and the West Bank on a number of occasions, most recently last year, this is an issue I take particularly seriously so I was more than happy to support this important motion. "Yesterday's vote showed the strength of support for Palestinian statehood in Parliament. We must now meaningfully work with our international partners towards a peaceful long-term settlement between Israel and Palestine." 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
  • Oct 9, 2014:
  • Oct 8, 2014:
    • Sarah Teather welcomes Lib Dem plans to tackle retaliatory evictions (sarahteather)
      Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has warmly welcomed new Lib Dem plans to protect tenants from rogue landlords and retaliatory evictions. At present, landlords can evict tenants without having to give a reason. Rogue landlords often use this power to evict tenants when they report a serious problem, rather than carry out the needed repair work. Properties can then be re-let to new tenants. 213,000 renters have been victims of revenge eviction in the last year in England alone. The problem is particularly acute in London. Plans passed by Liberal Democrats today mean that any tenant who reports problems to a landlord and is subsequently served with a Section 21 eviction notice would have the right to an appeal. Landlords would also be barred from serving a Section 21 notice for 6 months after receiving an Improvement Notice or an Emergency Remedial Action Notice from a local authority. These plans mirror Sarah's Private Members' Bill, which she tabled in July. Last month, the Government last month announced its support for the Bill, which will be debated by MPs on 28 November. Commenting, Sarah said: "Tenants should not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they've asked for essential repairs to be made. "That's why I'm really pleased that Lib Dem members supported this important motion at conference today. Our commitment to tackling revenge evictions is great news for tenants. "And with the Government supporting my Private Members' Bill, we now have the chance to make these plans a reality and stamp out this practice once and for all." 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
  • Oct 6, 2014:
    • Jenny Willott MP visits Cardiff Salvation Army centre (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central and former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, met residents who are receiving support back into independent living at the Salvation Army centre in Cardiff. The centre offers an 'inspirational and creative' approach to addressing the needs and issues of people facing homelessness and was recognised at The Salvation Army's Social Services awards in April 2014. Centre manager Lee Ball said: "It has been a great opportunity today to introduce Jenny to our residents. Our name, Tŷ Gobaith is Welsh for Hope House, and in everything we do we promote a sense of hope. Many of our residents had given up all sense of hope as a means of emotional survival. "We provide a safe space for them to take control of their lives and make positive choices - from choosing their own keyworker to deciding how support is delivered and their personal budget is spent while they live here. "We are one of a number of Salvation Army projects in Cardiff who actively place choices and control back in the hands of those who come to us for help. It isn't enough for us to provide shelter to people in need, we want to empower them so they can reclaim their dignity and independence." Tŷ Gobaith can accommodate up to 66 men and women over the age of 18. The Lifehouse focuses on support and breaking the cycle of homelessness, providing a lifeline to people as they begin to address the issues around their homelessness and make positive decisions about their future. Residents can take part in beneficial courses on a range of subjects, including budgeting, literacy and numeracy, nutrition and healthy relationships, as well as having input into the employment of new staff members. During her visit, the Liberal Democrat MP met service users who take part in a range of different projects, including the Grub in a Tub social enterprise that produces buffets and working lunches for local businesses. The project gives residents the chance to learn new skills in a working environment. Jenny said: "I've heard the experiences of those who have faced homelessness. They have told me what it means to them to have their voices heard and to be empowered to make choices about their lives, even after losing hope. "It has been inspiring to see first-hand the way The Salvation Army is offering creative, practical, compassionate assistance to those most in need." 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
    • Shocking fall in Cardiff recycling rates (Jenny Willott)
      Cardiff's Liberal Democrats have launched a scathing attack on Labour's record on recycling and say it could cost the city dear. Figures published by the Welsh Government in August show the recycling rate has dropped from 52% to 50% over the past year. "These are unacceptable figures," said Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central. "They are even more stark when you consider the rate across Wales actually rose to 54%. "Coming on the back of the Welsh Audit Office's damning report on the Council's performance, this is a further indication of Cardiff Labour's ineptitude." The figures will be discussed at Thursday's full Council meeting after the Lib Dems tabled a motion urging the administration to up its game. Cllr Elizabeth Clark, who represents Cathays and will propose the motion, said the city risked facing a significant fine. "The Welsh Government has set a target of 58% recycling by 2016," she said. "Under Labour, we have seen an unraveling of all the progress that had been made. If we don't hit that 58%, the Welsh Government could impose a severe fine. "This is hugely frustrating. Labour inherited a robust recycling culture and infrastructure. When we took over the city from Labour in 2004, recycling was at a shocking 14%. "Eight years later, we had raised that to 51%. Labour is now undoing all our good work." "Labour have to get a grip fast," said Cllr Judith Woodman, leader of the Lib Dem group on Cardiff Council. "Every week, waste collections are missed, we are inundated with complaints about litter and financial management is poor. "These latest recycling figures add to a depressing picture all round." 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
  • Oct 2, 2014:
    • Jenny nominates Raj Aggarwal for prestigious award (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has nominated Raj Aggarwal, pharmacist, Chair of Kidney Wales Foundation, businessman and the first Honorary Consul for India with jurisdiction for Wales, for a new award scheme aimed at marking the achievements of those 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 in August. The awards have three categories - celebrating those who have furthered UK-Indian relations in the fields of commerce, culture and education. Winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by Nick Clegg at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Autumn. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Raj Aggarwal has made an exceptional contribution to building relations and creating deeper ties between India and Wales. He runs a number of businesses in South Wales, works for charities and has held a variety of public appointments. "His appointment in 2012 as India's first ever Honorary Consul for Wales shows the enormous respect he has within our local community, and the importance he gives to looking after the needs of Indian nationals living and working in Wales. "These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise Raj and others who have worked so hard over the years to strengthen India-UK relations and celebrate their 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 25, 2014:
    • Iraq and ISIL (Lynne Featherstone)

      Here is a copy of the email I sent to residents this morning, asking for their views on Iraq and ISIL. You can let me know your views here.

      Parliament has been recalled for tomorrow to vote on taking military action to support the Iraqi government in its struggle against ISIL.

      As I write, I have no real detail on what the Prime Minister will lay out tomorrow - other than the Iraqi government has asked for our help in fighting ISIL.

      I am clear at this point that helping at the request of the Iraqi government and taking some action in Iraq is one thing - but that any further incursion (for instance into Syria) is not on the table.

      The UN estimates that 1.8 million people have been displaced in Iraq since January 2014. These displacements are a direct consequence of ISIL violence, killings, and threats. In addition to the displaced population, 1.5 million Iraqis are considered vulnerable in areas controlled by armed opposition groups. The crisis has affected more than 20 million people across the country.

      In the debate tomorrow we will know what the proposition is and will be able to make a better judgment. But for now I am laying down some of my thinking and asking for your views.

      I think this is an extremely dangerous moment for us - and all the options are hazardous. Whatever we do - I can see that we are in danger in our own country from ISIL - either as terrorist atrocities here fail to be stopped and / or as reprisals for intervention.

      The Liberal Democrat party voted against the war in Iraq in 2003 - but we were in the minority and the UK still went to war. Because of that decision, I believe that the UK bears a huge and particular responsibility for Iraq.

      Part of what is happening in the region now can be laid at the door of that disastrous foreign policy.

      It is also our responsibility to stop slaughter on humanitarian grounds.

      We bear the scars from the last Iraq war. My instinct is to not to want to get involved because of that experience. Equally - I never want to feel that we could have done something to stop the slaughter of innocent groups, but we just stood by.

      I am uncomfortable with sitting on the sidelines and letting others do the tough stuff, and staying out won't protect us. So until the actual proposition and debate tomorrow - we all need to think hard.

      I know it is difficult to make a judgment with no details available yet about the proposition - but I would truly welcome your thoughts.

  • Sep 24, 2014:
    • Letter to Wales Online about the Cancer Research Open Day in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/incoming/south-wales-echo-letters-thursday-7829548 Dear Editor, I was delighted to hear about Cancer Research UK's Open Day on Saturday 20th September. Local residents had the chance to meet cancer scientists, doctors and nurses and find out what happens in laboratories. Along with demonstrations there were opportunities to speak to Cancer Research UK about what they are doing to fight cancer. In Cardiff Central there are 2,365 cancer cases and 1,068 cancer deaths every year. I recently met Cancer Research in Westminster to discuss their priorities for preventing, detecting cancer and ensuring patients get the best treatment. In October I will be supporting "Wear it Pink" for the Breast Cancer Campaign and I hope Cardiff residents will do so too. The Liberal Democrats have said ahead of the 2015 General Election that we would invest in research and set ambitious goals to improve outcomes for the most serious life-threatening diseases like cancer and long term conditions like dementia. I'm pleased that Cancer Research UK is putting on Open Days and showing everyone the vital work it is doing. We must all support the charities working in this area as best we can so that more people learn how to detect cancer early and in the longer term we can finally beat cancer. 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 22, 2014:
    • Jenny Willott joins the fight against breast cancer by wearing it pink (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign's biggest 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 24th 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. Jenny Willott MP also met Cancer Research UK to listen to their priorities for preventing, detecting and ensuring patients get the best treatment for cancer. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Every two minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, so early diagnosis is very important if we want to prevent and cure cancer for good. Screening remains one of the best ways to spot breast cancer as women are more likely to survive the disease if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage. "In Cardiff Central there are 2,365 cancer cases and 1,068 cancer deaths every year. Worryingly, 1 in 4 people in Wales are not aware that a persistent cough or hoarseness is a symptom or sign of cancer. This is why we need to support cancer charities and Breast Cancer Campaign's fundraising efforts so that they can continue to raise awareness and fund research which provides treatment and will one day lead to a cure. I hope everyone will wear something pink and donate on 24th October." Wear it pink is 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 Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Sep 21, 2014:
    • Nick Clegg is 100% right about devolution! (Lynne Featherstone)

      Nick's written an article on devolution which is 100% right. I couldn't have put it better myself - which is why I am pasting it below. He says it all!

      Within hours of the momentous decision by the Scottish people to remain in the UK, Westminster found itself once again bogged down in conventional party political point scoring.

      I have seen for myself the way in which the vested interests in the two old parties can conspire to block reform - scuppering elections to the House of Lords and a clean up of party funding in recent years.

      We cannot allow an exciting new chapter of empowerment and constitutional renewal to be held hostage yet again by a Labour and Tory pre-election stand off.

      The Conservatives, in their rush to protect themselves from an attack from the right, are only concerned about English votes on English matters. Of course we need a solution to this dilemma but, by appearing to link it to the delivery of further devolution to Scotland, they risk reneging on the commitment made to the Scottish people that, in the event of a No vote, new powers would come what may.

      Worse still, if the Conservatives enter into a Dutch auction with UKIP over ever more extreme solutions to the issue of English votes they could jeopardise the Union they purport to defend. Surely we haven't fought to save our Union in a vote north of the border, only to see it balkanised in Westminster?

      Labour, by contrast, appears to have been taken by surprise by the unavoidable consequences of devolving sweeping new powers to Holyrood. They are choosing to ignore the dilemma of non-English MPs taking decisions on purely English issues - as a party with dozens of Scottish MPs they have the most to lose.

      So, unless they're careful, the Conservatives may end up turning their back on Scotland, while Labour ignores England: a recipe for stalemate when we should we working across political divides to renew our creaking constitution from top to toe.

      We need action on three fronts.

      First, delivering the devolution that has been promised to Scotland. No ifs, no buts. The package of reforms myself, Ed Miliband and David Cameron all committed to must be delivered on time and cannot be made contingent on other constitutional reforms, even as we pursue agreement on them in parallel.

      We must deliver further powers for Wales as recommended by the Silk Commission while strengthening devolution in Northern Ireland too. And, on the divisive issue of English votes for English matters, we must start with the work of Sir William McKay, who has already done a lot of the heavy lifting after the Coalition asked him to look at this. Sir McKay suggested a number of ways of giving English MPs a special right to vet legislation where it only affects England, bringing in Welsh MPs where appropriate, in a way which avoids fragmenting the Commons.

      Second, we need a much more radical dispersal of power within England.

      In Coalition I have been determined that - against all of the instincts of central government - we hand back an array of powers to Britain's communities and cities. But we need to turn this relationship fundamentally on its head. Currently the best local councils can hope for is to be granted new powers when the government of the day deigns to do so. Instead we must guarantee a new, legal right for local authorities to demand powers - decentralisation on demand if you like - with central government having to meet a much higher threshold before it can refuse.

      My aim is a statutory presumption in favour of the decentralisation of powers away from Whitehall. I see no reason why we cannot publish draft clauses for this early next year alongside our other pressing reforms.

      Finally, as we move towards a more federal system we will need to codify the division of labour between Westminster and the constituent parts of the UK and set out a clear statement of the values we all share. In short, what amounts to a written constitution.

      I welcome Labour's decision to embrace the longstanding Liberal Democrat call for a constitutional convention - but it needs a precise mandate, beginning next year and concluding in 2017. It should have a Citizen's Jury at its heart, representing every corner of the UK. One area it will need to address is the future of the House of Lords which, in my view, would better serve people as an elected second chamber, in keeping with federal political systems across the world. Ultimately, however, it will not be up to politicians - this process will be led by the people.

      Together these changes will rewire power across the UK. This opportunity cannot be hijacked by old fashioned ya boo politics. It would be a tragic irony if the stale and self-serving politics of Westminster that has fed the appetite for change now frustrates the possibility of radical reform. The Scottish referendum may have come and gone, but it's legacy of UK-wide constitutional renewal still remains within our grasp.

  • 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 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 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
    • 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
  • 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 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!

  • 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 17, 2014:
    • 'Costs agreed' for Solihull ambulances (Lorely Burt)
      West Midlands Ambulance Service and Heart of England Foundation Trust have agreed costs to base Double-Crewed Ambulances in Solihull Hospital. After several months of negotiations the Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service wrote to local MP Lorely Burt to confirm that a financial agreement had been reached at a 'revised cost'. Bosses expect work installing doctors' quarters to take place over the next four weeks followed by the installation of computers, lockers and other equipment. The plans are on schedule for delivery by the end of August as planned. Initially two ambulances will operate from the Solihull Hospital site. This number is intended to rise to three. Local MP Lorely Burt, who has been campaigning for Double-Crewed Ambulances to be returned to Solihull since they were removed last year, said, "I have said from the start that Solihull needs and deserves Double-Crewed Ambulances permanently based here. I am very pleased that after a long campaign the end seems to be in sight. "These negotiations have not been easy and I congratulate the ambulance service and the foundation trust for securing this agreement. "I look forward to visiting the new ambulance station when it opens. As an observer!" 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
  • 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:
    • Red light for Solihull Gateway amid finance fears (Lorely Burt)
      Plans to axe two pedestrian crossings at the Solihull Gateway project have been given the red light following action by local MP Lorely Burt and charity campaigners from RNIB and Guide Dogs. Local campaigners fear removing the crossings would badly impact on blind and partially sighted people shopping in the town centre. Council officers have acknowledged that they need to consult more widely before the project can go ahead. Meanwhile a report by the council's Overview & Scrutiny Management Board rated the project's risk of financial failure at the maximum level of nine, marking it in red to indicate the seriousness. The report found problems including 'a lack of a financial project plan', 'incorrect spending of the budget' and 'poor project management'. It warned this could lead to the project 'running over budget', 'not being completed to the standard originally intended', 'legal disagreements' and 'negative publicity for the council'. Mrs Burt welcomed the delay, saying, "It's clear the Solihull Gateway project is riddled with risks so the council must take time to listen to what local residents are saying. "So far the council's consultation has failed to take into account the special needs of blind and partially sighted people. I understand the council has acknowledged this and will use the delay to make its consultation more widely accessible which I think is very good news. "This delay provides some welcome breathing space. I shall use it to work with local charities to continue making the case that the council must not put vulnerable people at risk by taking away these vital pedestrian crossings." Rebecca Swift, Regional Campaigns Officer at the Royal National Institute for Blind People, said, "We welcome the council's decision to consult more widely with those who may be negatively affected if the project was to go ahead as it currently stands. "We urge the council to listen to the views of Solihull residents, including vulnerable road users and to make the necessary changes to the project, including keeping the existing road crossings." Lorely gathering signatures for her petition to save the crossings 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
  • Jul 14, 2014:
    • MP praises Solihull College in Commons (Lorely Burt)
      Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has praised Solihull College in the House of Commons during Deputy Prime Minister's Question Time. In a question to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Mrs Burt applauded Solihull College for its work delivering skills and welcomed news that the government will provide funding for an aviation engineering training centre at Solihull College as part of its Growth Deal with Greater Birmingham and Solihull. Mrs Burt said, "It is right that the hard work by Solihull College is being recognised and supported by the government and I wanted to put that on the record in Parliament. "Solihull College does a fantastic job equipping local young people with the skills they need to set themselves up in life. "I look forward to seeing the Growth Deal creating training opportunities for young people and making our area the go-to place for the world's airlines when they want the very best engineering and maintenance work." 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
    • Coppice Jnr School girls teach MP how to code (Lorely Burt)
      Three girls from Coppice Junior School taught their local MP how to code at the Girls Get Coding event in the Houses of Parliament. Hannah, Kya and Anushka, all Year 4, taught MP Lorely Burt some of the latest tricks in computer coding at the event, organised by the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum. Girls Get Coding brought more than a hundred girls from around the country to the Palace of Westminster to teach their MPs this vital modern skill. Three students from Coppice Junior School were selected to take part, and enjoyed showing Mrs Burt and other MPs how to get ahead in programming. Mrs Burt said, "I was delighted to meet Hannah, Kya and Anushka, clearly three very sparky young girls. "They were full of enthusiasm and made excellent teachers. It's particularly important to encourage girls to make the most of technology, so I was delighted to support Girls Get Coding and meet the students." Lorely learning to code 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
  • 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 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