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  • Aug 20, 2014:
    • The situation in Gaza (Lynne Featherstone)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Aug 13, 2014:
    • Jenny visits Sainsbury's store to see investment in food skills (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, visited Sainsbury's Colchester Avenue store last week (8th August) to shadow Sainsbury's staff and learn about the company's investment in its workforce by providing training from its own food colleges. Jenny Willott MP was met at the store by Regional Counters Manager, Mark Trevethan, and the Store's Counter Manager, Sarah Spurway and was shown the Fish, Meat, Cheese, Hot Food and Deli counters. During the visit Jenny went behind the scenes to see where and how Sainsbury's staff store and prepare food. Sainsbury's specialist skills are taught at their food colleges which are City & Guilds accredited. As a result of the investment in skills, Sainsbury's is the first retailer to achieve gold accreditation from Investors in People. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It was really interesting, particularly since it's a store in which I often shop! I met very friendly counter staff and heard all about the training and qualifications that are available. "Sainsbury's have 5 training academies around the UK and all counter staff go regularly, firstly for their initial training and then after that they go for top-up training. The staff I spoke to ranged from a woman who started just 12 weeks ago to a woman who has been at the store for 31 years, since it first opened. "It is clear that Sainsbury's is doing a good job in investing in people and providing them with the necessary skills to provide high quality service to customers. Their staff were enthusiastic, both about their jobs and about the training and support they get from the supermarket. Investing in building staff skills is critical to their business success and to the local economy generally, and it sets an example which other businesses can follow." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 12, 2014:
    • Global charity movement launches in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is backing the #GivingTuesday campaign, which launches in Cardiff this week, and asks people to give their time, money or voice to charity for one day. The team behind #GivingTuesday will be holding an event on Wednesday 13th August 2014 atButetown Community Centre from 2pm-4pm to encourage local charities, groups and businesses to get behind the campaign and start planning for the day on 2nd December 2014. The movement is being led by the Charities Aid Foundation, working closely with Blackbaud and the Cabinet Office. Already on board as partners are Cancer Research UK, the RSPCA, the Financial Times, Argos and Glamour. The team hope to encourage many organisations in the Cardiff area to sign up. #GivingTuesday falls directly after big shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday and asks people and organisations to do one simple charitable act on the day in the run up to Christmas. The campaign was launched in the US in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and has since become a global movement. Last year the campaign had 10,000 partners worldwide. Outlining her backing for the campaign, Jenny Willott MP, said: "#GivingTuesday is a great initiative that gets people across the globe to show their commitment to helping others. Charities are at the heart of so much good that goes on in Cardiff, and we can use #GivingTuesday to show that we are one of the most generous cities across the UK. "I'm delighted that #GivingTuesday is coming to Cardiff and I hope that charities and businesses across our great city will join me in making some time on December 2nd to support a cause that they care about." Hannah Terrey, Head of Campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "We're thrilled to be bringing #GivingTuesday to the UK and are optimistic that our very generous nation will come out in force to support charities on the day. We're taking the campaign on the road to share our enthusiasm and make sure we whip up excitement and build support in every single county. "In the US we've seen some cities really take the campaign up for themselves - Baltimore alone raised millions of dollars - and we hope to inspire the same spirit of competition among cities over here. #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to get people thinking and engaging with charities and their local communities - not just on the day itself, but for years to come." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 8, 2014:
    • Jenny congratulates Roath community website for winning an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has congratulated the community website RoathCardiff.net for winning £9900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project to mark the centenary of the First World War. The project called, 'Roath Remembers: rediscovering community stories from 1914-1918', is an online collection of stories, photographs and wartime documents of the Roath community and how life was lived 100 years ago. It will record in digital format any stories and wartime items, and display them online for people to learn about wartime heritage of Roath and nearby areas. "Roath Remembers" is working with Albany Primary School, which was used as a military hospital during the War, the Roath Local History Society and The Cardiff Story Museum. The team will be holding drop-in events for members of the public to tell their stories, and also to help people access their own World War One history online. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I am delighted that RoathCardiff.net has received this award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project will allow us all to have a lasting online commemoration of the First World War and help us pay tribute to those from the area who served in the armed forces or supported the war effort from here in Cardiff. "I encourage anyone with photographs of relatives, their uniforms and medals, service records, letters, postcards and diaries, which they are willing to share, to get in touch with Roath Remembers via www.RoathCardiff.net. This is a really interesting project that can teach all of us about how local residents lived during the First World War and remember those who fought and died." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 7, 2014:
    • New Citizens Advice Bureau services in Cardiff (Jenny Willott)
      The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Cardiff have developed their services and are delivering outreach advice sessions at a number of new locations across the city. The Citizens Advice service is a network of charities that helps people resolve legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice. Individuals and families can access advice via the Central Cardiff office at Marland House, Central Square as well as the new and existing outreach services. These outreach venues include: * Adamsdown - CCHA, Callaghan House, Meteor St * Butetown - Community Centre * Butetown - The Hub * Ely - The Hub * Ely & Caerau - Foodbank, Baptist Church * Grangetown - Library * Llanedeyrn - Powerhouse * Llanrumney - Library * Pentrebane - Community Centre * Riverside - South Riverside Community Development Centre * Splott - Cloughmore Medical Centre * St Mellons - Library * St Mellons - Beacon Centre * Tremorfa - Community Hall * Trowbridge - Community Centre A full list of opening times can be found here: http://www.cardiffandvalecab.org.uk/Cardiff-Service.html If you need advice over the telephone call: 08444 77 20 20 (Monday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm). If you need advice by email visit: http://www.cardiffandvalecab.org.uk/Consent.html Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Aug 6, 2014:
    • Lib Dems force Labour U-turn on visitor parking permits (Jenny Willott)
      The Liberal Democrats have succeeded in persuading Cardiff Council to reduce the cost of visitor parking permits across the city for residents who only require this permit. Local councillors for Adamsdown and Cathays, Nigel Howells and Elizabeth Clark, have fought against the huge increase in visitor parking permit charges alongside Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott and Eluned Parrott, AM for South Wales Central. A single visitor parking permit, for those who don't own their own car, will now cost £7.50, a massive reduction on the £30 initially proposed by the council. The original £30 represented a 500% increase on the previous year's price of £5. Jenny Willott has welcomed the move, saying: "Across Adamsdown, Cathays and Plasnewydd, many residents have been in touch with me about the extortionate increase in visitor parking permits. In particular, elderly residents who don't have their own car were facing a large increase not faced by those residents who do have a car. Since the hike in charges was affecting such vulnerable people, I am extremely glad that the Labour-run council has seen sense and decided to reduce the cost. "However, with the recent announcement that council tax could go up by 5% every year for the next 3 years, it does seem that the Labour council in Cardiff are developing a habit of asking residents to pay more for less. I'm glad that on this occasion we have been able to get the Council to change their mind." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 28, 2014:
    • Jenny encourages local students to enter short video competition on "Europe - in or out?" (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central is encouraging all local A Level and AS Level students in Cardiff Central to take part in the Political Studies Association's (PSA) Student Short Video Competition. The PSA exists to develop and promote the study of politics. As part of their programme of activities to engage young people, the PSA hold an annual short film competition. This year's competition asks students to explore the question: "Europe - in or out?" Groups of students are invited to submit short videos on this subject. Shortlisted groups will be invited to Westminster to discuss the ideas raised in their video with a panel of politicians and journalists. The winning group will receive their award at the PSA's Annual Awards Dinner in London on 25th November, broadcast on BBC Parliament, with accommodation provided for them and their teacher in a central London hotel. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The results of the recent European elections mean that the "Europe - in or out?" question is not likely to go away anytime soon. Young people turning 18 in the next few years could be faced with a European referendum as their first major political decision. This is an exciting time for students to get involved and make their voice heard. I have written to all the schools in Cardiff Central and I hope students will be keen to enter." CEO of the Political Studies Association, Helena Djurkovic, said: "The Short Video Competition is a great chance for students to explore contemporary political issues in a creative way and to learn or enhance new skills, such as video production and interview style. This year's theme on Europe we feel is very apt given the current political discourse. "The prize on offer for the winning students really is very unique. The competition is recognised at our Annual Awards Ceremony and remains very popular with our teacher members' schools. The quality of entries continue to improve year on year - we're looking forward to beginning the judging process for 2014." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 25, 2014:
    • UK economy recovers to pre-crash levels (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the news that the UK economy has recovered to pre-crash levels. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK economy has grown by 0.8% over the last quarter, ensuring that the UK economy has now returned to the same level it had before the banking crisis in 2008. The UK economy is forecast to be the fastest growing among the G7 developed nations, according to the International Monetary Fund. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "This is fantastic news and shows that the Coalition Government's economic plan is working. "It is further evidence that the Liberal Democrats as part of the Coalition have made the right decisions to help restore the UK economy, which is now growing at the fastest rate of any major economy. We have supported the creation of a record number of apprentices, invested in key sectors like manufacturing, assisted businesses to make over 1 million new jobs and delivered an £800 tax cut to help millions of people. "There is still work to be done and the Liberal Democrats will continue to ensure that everyone benefits from the recovery and has the opportunities to get on." DIWEDD / END Notes Office for National Statistics: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/gva/gross-domestic-product--preliminary-estimate/q2-2014/stb-gdp-preliminary-estimate--q2-2014.html Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • FGM - Girl Summit and Youth for Change (Lynne Featherstone)

      Well - it's been quite a stunning week.

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

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

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

      Mentoring young people at Youth for Change

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

      TedX - empowering girls voices

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

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

      Freida Pinto and the gang!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • LIGHTS OUT to mark 100th anniversary of the First World War (Jenny Willott)
      4th August 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered the First World War and Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is encouraging local residents to join the British Legion in a LIGHTS OUT moment of reflection. To mark the 100th anniversary everyone in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4th August, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection. The Royal British Legion was founded by British veterans in the aftermath of the First World War and it is hoped that one million candles will be lit across the UK to remember all the Service men and women who gave their lives in the First World War. Some 40,000 Welshman died during World War One. Work is currently underway to transform the old Jacobs Photographic shop in Cardiff into a new British Legion "Pop-in" Advice & Information Centre, where members of the Armed Forces community will be able to obtain face-to-face support and advice. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Nearly everyone in the UK has an ancestor directly affected by the First World War. The losses were felt across Wales and the UK as more than 1.1 million lives were sacrificed by men and women in service of the British Empire. "Everyone can take part in LIGHTS OUT. The act of turning your lights out and just leaving one single light on is simply about stopping to think and reflect on what the outbreak of World War One means to you. Young children can do it before they go to bed and the rest of us can join together in the evening. I hope people will join in and help create a unique national moment for Wales, the United Kingdom and the Royal British Legion. "The British Legion's new "Pop-in" Advice & Information Centre for Cardiff is a great initiative and one which will support our brave Service men and women. Volunteers are needed to help staff the Centre and anyone interested should contact the Royal British Legion on 0808 802 8080. I hope to visit the Centre when it opens later this 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
  • Jul 23, 2014:
    • Lib Dems to lift the lid on the gender pay gap (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed Liberal Democrat manifesto plans which would make it a legal requirement for companies to publish what they pay men and women. Under the proposals companies employing more than 250 people would have to publish the difference in pay rates between men and women or face a £5,000 fine. Currently leading employers are encouraged to publish pay gap information on a voluntary basis. Only 140 out of 7,000 big firms have done so. In 2013, the average woman earned 19.7% less than the average man. The average hourly wage for women was £10.33 while men were paid £12.97. The Liberal Democrats are the first major party to commit to enforcing gender pay transparency by law. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "There are more women in work than ever before but on average women are paid 20% less than men. Making it a legal requirement for companies to publish what they pay will create more openness and help us make progress in closing any gap that exists. "Since 2011 Liberal Democrats in Government have worked tirelessly to promote equality in the work place: we have introduced a new system of flexible parental leave, extended free childcare and free school meals, blocked plans to undermine workers' rights and engaged closely with business groups to improve workplace equality. It is only right that we now lift the lid on pay." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 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
    • New Business Champion to support older workers (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the Coalition Government's appointment of Dr. Ros Altmann as its new Business Champion for Older Workers. The Business Champion will promote the benefits of older people in the workplace. The appointment follows the publication in June of the Government's action plan to support over-50s at work. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of over 65-year-olds in work across the UK doubled from around 500,000 in 2003 to over a million in 2014. Meanwhile, 7.9 million people aged 50 to 64-years-old are in work compared to 6.6 million in 2003. Just under 10% of pensioners in Cardiff still work. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The appointment of a Business Champion for Older Workers marks the latest step in the government's drive to support over-50s at work. Older people bring a vast amount of experience and can help younger workers climb the ladder. Many older people enjoy work and as people live longer it is only right that the government supports them. Older workers provide a boost to local firms and are vital to the success of the economy in Cardiff. "Ros Altmann has a powerful record of campaigning for the former ASW steelworkers and I'm sure she'll bring the same zeal to this new role." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 20, 2014:
    • Sexual abuse of children in our country (Lynne Featherstone)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      It is truly shocking.

  • Jul 17, 2014:
    • Jenny supports Summer Reading Challenge (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is supporting The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge 2014 to encourage primary school children to join their local library and enjoy reading throughout the Summer holidays. The theme this year is "Mythical Maze." Children who sign up will be given a mythical maze poster. When they borrow and read books, they can collect stickers of mythical creatures to complete their poster. Children are encouraged to tell friends, family and carers about the books they read. The Summer Reading Challenge has a mini-challenge for pre-schoolers while for young people aged 13 to 24, there is an opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part. Last year 4,853 children in Cardiff took part in the Summer Reading Challenge. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I hope parents, grandparents and carers will take their children to the library and sign them up for the Summer Reading Challenge. I'll certainly be taking my children! It's free and makes reading fun. Local libraries are an important part of our communities and through the Challenge hopefully more people will see what they have to offer. This is a great idea and I hope everyone gets involved and enjoys reading throughout the Summer." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 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
    • Jenny welcomes British Gas jobs announcement as unemployment figures fall (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central has welcomed the announcement by British Gas that they are recruiting 87 new people to work in their Cardiff Contact Centre as the number of unemployed claimants in Cardiff Central falls. The new jobs are part of British Gas' investment in 300 new positions across the UK. In Cardiff, 77 customer service roles have been created and 10 apprenticeships have been offered to young people, aged 18 to 24, from across South and East Wales. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance in Cardiff Central in June 2014 was 2,117. This is 444 lower than in June 2013 and 111 lower than in May 2014. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "The jobs created by British Gas will help to boost the economy in Cardiff and across Wales. I am very pleased that apprenticeships are being offered to young people and I am looking forward to meeting British Gas' apprentices in August to see how they are getting on. "The ONS figures show that we are on the road to recovery. There are two million more people in private sector jobs, fewer unemployed young people and more women in work than ever before. In Government the Liberal Democrats have championed the need for more apprenticeships and it is vital that opportunities continue to be provided for people to get into work." 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
    • Wales can learn from Pupil Premium success in England says Jenny Willott MP (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the news that the Liberal Democrat's flagship Pupil Premium policy is helping children from less well-off backgrounds to achieve more at school. A report by Ofsted shows that the achievement gap between children who receive free school meals and their classmates was closing in all schools in England judged by Ofsted to be good or outstanding for overall effectiveness. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have successfully negotiated a Welsh equivalent to the Pupil Premium, the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) in successive budget negotiations with the Welsh Government. As a result, this year schools have received £918 per pupil on free school meals, to help improve achievement levels. The Welsh Government has not yet confirmed whether PDG funding will continue at the current level, which is leaving schools unable to plan ahead. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It is clear that the Pupil Deprivation Grant, like the Pupil Premium in England, is helping students in schools across Wales to get on. It is making a real difference to those children who need it most. "The funding now needs to continue so that schools can plan ahead and take advantage of this money to support children who need it the most. "As Liberal Democrats we believe in equality and the PDG is a vital part of ensuring children from less well-off backgrounds receive the best start in life. I hope Labour commits to supporting these children as soon as possible." 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
    • Pupil Premium is helping children in Dorset score better exam results (middorsetlibdems)
      Hundreds of disadvantaged schoolchildren in Dorset are reaping the benefit of the Pupil Premium, Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said today. Figures show that last year 34% of youngsters from poorer backgrounds in Dorset achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C grade. This compares to 25.2% in 2012 as payments introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government begin to have a greater impact. Ofsted said the figures showed headteachers were spending pupil premium more effectively with the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates closing. Annette said: "This is further proof Pupil Premium is transforming the chances of pupils across the country and helping to build a stronger economy and fairer society. The Lib Dems are increasing the pupil premium budget to £2.5 billion this year as well as extending the policy to three and four-year-olds. The party has already made sure from September all infants will receive free school meals. So there can be no doubt the Liberal Democrat's priority lies in helping all pupils achieve their potential." Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 15, 2014:
    • Campaign to save parcel collection point in Hornsey starts again… (Lynne Featherstone)

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

      I am angry - to say the least!

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

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

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

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

  • Jul 14, 2014:
    • Ministerial visit to Ethiopia (Lynne Featherstone)

      I visited Ethiopia last week in my capacity as International Development Minister. This is my blog from the field.

      An early morning flight takes me away from the relative hustle and bustle of Addis Ababa, and out to a remote village in Amhara in the north of the Ethiopia where I meet a young girl, around 16 years of age in a village called Tagel Wodefit. I'm here because I want to learn about her life. In particular, I want to find out how being married at a young age has affected her opportunities and choices. Her story is a depressing one. At around age 13 she was forced to drop out of school to marry a man she had never met. Desperately unhappy, she ran away repeatedly, but either her family or her in-laws always found her and made her return to her husband. Just when she thought she could take no more, her family accepted her back in to their household, but they have not let her return to school. Instead, she spends her days looking after her siblings, fetching water and doing housework with her mother.

      I feel sad as I leave her. Her life is not so awful by some standards - but it could have been so much more, and I feel disheartened by the loss of potential. How different might her life be had she not been married off and had instead been allowed to finished school? She had never been out of her immediate area and with no radio in the village, no mobile and no school - literally there is no information or pathway that can change her life. Tragically, her story is by no means unique. In Ethiopia, one out of three girls do not attend school, and in the Amhara region, 50% of girls are married by the time they turn 18.

      I travel a little further down the road to talk to a village who are participating in a DFID funded project called 'Finote Hiwot' that works to increase the age at which girls in Ethiopia are married and have their first child. They do this by bringing together whole communities - girls, boys, parents, religious leaders, elders and teachers - and involving them in conversations to collectively identify issues, and come up with solutions. Through these conversations, there comes a shift in traditionally held values, attitudes and practises, and it's this shift that will contribute to the African-led critical mass that will end child marriage. And it's working! I meet some of the girls from the community - they are confident, articulate and opinionated, and even though many of them have some quite disturbing experiences of early marriage, thanks to Finote Hiwot, they most certainly know their own minds. The investments made in these girls now will provide Ethiopia with longer term benefits. It's widely documented that girls who stay in school and are empowered to make their own decisions tend to have fewer children, have them later, and invest more in their health and education. That's exactly what these girls want for their own children - to be happy, healthy, educated and employed. I'm really pleased that DFID is providing support to help girls such as I've met today stay in school and realise their ambitions.

      Lynne Featherstone MP speaking to young women in Ethiopia

      My last stop of the day is to Sertse-Dingle School (the region's first mainstream school to accept young people and children with disabilities) to listen to a focus group as they talk about 'Yegna'. For the uninitiated, Yegna is an Ethiopian, all-girl group who have their own radio show. With their radio drama, talk show and music, they are incredibly popular, and they champion the potential of Ethiopian girls. They don't shy away from dealing with hard hitting issues such as female empowerment, gender based violence and child marriage. They reach an audience of more than 5 million listeners across Addis Ababa and the Amhara region, and is yet another great another example of an initiative that aims to challenge beliefs and bring about positive social change. It's clear from the conversations that the listening group is having that they are all hooked! They tune in to the radio shows avidly, and they discuss the issues with their friends and families afterwards. There are listening clubs all across the region too where communities get together to talk about Yegna, and if the enthusiastic conversations I've heard today at the school are anything to go by, they are a massive force to be reckoned with!

      With the Girl Summit in a few weeks, today has been a most timely reminder of the very reasons why I do this job, and why I love it so much. Girls and women have the right to live free from violence and discrimination and achieve their potential. Our role is to get behind them and support them. I've seen that change is possible, and I urge you all to get involved.

      Links:

      http://www.girlsummitpledge.com/

      http://finotehiwot.org/

      http://girlhub.girleffect.org/

  • 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
    • Lakeside Primary girls teach Jenny how to code (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has met girls in Parliament from Lakeside Primary School in Cardiff, who were taking part in Girls Get Coding. Girls Get Coding is the UK-wide campaign to encourage girls aged 9 to 12 to learn the basics of computer programming. Jenny Willott MP was taught by the girls how to do simple programming tasks such as change features on a game and was presented with a certificate. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "It was great to welcome the girls to Parliament and see them show off their coding skills. The girls showed me that coding can be great fun. "Coding is a very important skill to many different areas of work, such as social media, music, education, medicine and design; it's not just about designing computer games. "By learning these skills at an early age, I hope it will inspire girls to think of a range of studying and career options. It will show them the opportunities available to them and will hopefully ensure they have long and successful careers doing something that they enjoy." 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 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:
    • Pond Park cleaned up! (Lynne Featherstone)

      Pond Park has been cleaned up after intervention by Lynne Featherstone MP

      Hooray - the old pond area in pond park has been cleaned up after local residents and I made complaints to the Council. Now we will push for repairs to the pond area, to make it safe and attractive again!

    • 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
    • Jenny supports National Transplant Week campaign to raise awareness about organ donation (Jenny Willott)
      Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott is supporting National Transplant Week to increase local residents' understanding of organ donation and encourage constituents to join the NHS Organ Donation Register (ODR). The ODR is a confidential list of people who are willing to become donors after their death. The focus of National Transplant Week in Wales this year is "Time to Talk", which encourages people to join and talk about their donation wishes with family and friends. In the UK there are currently around 8000 people waiting for a transplant and on average 3 people a day die waiting for a suitable organ to be donated. In Wales, the new soft opt-out system will come in on 1st Dec 2015, but before then people are still encouraged to register on the ODR. In Cardiff Central there are currently nearly 34,000 registered organ donors and 24 organ transplants have taken place since 2009. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I am delighted to support National Transplant Week. I hope it encourages more constituents to become donors and help save or transform the lives of desperately ill people. "If you join the ODR it is really important to tell your family and friends. Even if your name is on the register, when you die, the person closest to you will be asked to confirm that you had not changed your mind. And from Dec 2015, family members will be involved in any decision in hospital, so it's important we have all discussed what we want to do with our nearest and dearest. "To add your name to the Register please call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (Lynne Featherstone)

      There is a great deal in the news this morning about the proposed Data Retention Bill. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and my colleague Julian Huppert MP have been out in the press explaining what is happening and why.

      A number of residents have understandably already contacted me asking for further information. Here is an update…

      A recent European Court of Justice judgement has changed the obligations of companies to keep information on communications (in short - the Court threw out the Data Retention directive, meaning companies are no longer obliged to retain certain types of data).

      If companies were to start deleting this data, our police security services may no longer be able to retrieve information from the communications and data of terrorists or other dangerous individuals.

      All three main parties (Lib Dem, Conservative, Labour) have come together to agree an urgent Bill, that will oblige companies to continue to retain the data, and keep the powers that the security services and police already have.

      I remain, as do my Lib Dem colleagues, against any expansion of surveillance powers. Some people want to use this situation to bring back the appalling Communications Data Bill - the Tory plans dubbed the Snoopers' Charter - but I can guarantee that this will not happen. The Lib Dems blocked that already last year, and we would do so again.

      As Julian Huppert has recently said - "We must keep our country and citizens safe, but not by eroding our civil liberties…We need legislation to allow communications data to be available, but not to store more than is already allowed".

      The Data Retention Bill will be a stop-gap, and built into it is an end date of 2016. There are also a number of other safeguards, including a new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, restrictions on the number of government bodies that can access the data, and the introduction of annual transparency reports. These are all extras negotiated and secured by the Lib Dems in Government.

      The Lib Dems are also campaigning to bring legislation on digital issues into the 21st century through schemes like our Digital Bill of Rights motion.

      The current situation is not perfect - frankly at present there is no perfect solution. But, to repeat, this Bill will not expand data retention powers, and this is thanks to Nick Clegg and Lib Dem Home Office minister Norman Baker - who negotiated doggedly for this and for the extra safeguards mentioned.

      The Lib Dems in government have a proud record on civil liberties - scrapping ID cards, ending 28 day detention, and curtailing stop and search. If we were in power on our own we would have done more, but we will keep pushing to ensure the UK is the world leader on civil liberties, whilst also keeping the country as safe as possible from threats.

  • 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
    • Jenny Willott supports 'Spread the Word' Breast Cancer campaign (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is supporting Breast Cancer Campaign as it launches its 'Spread the word' campaign highlighting that there are still too many people dying from breast cancer in the UK. Every year 12,000 women die from the disease and thousands of people live with secondary breast cancer, when the cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body, for which there is often no cure. Jenny Willott MP has shown her support by tweeting a picture of herself holding a 'Spread the word' message. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK and unfortunately we all know someone who has been affected. "Breast Cancer Campaign fund world-class breast cancer research projects and I am delighted to support their 'Spread the word' campaign to ensure the fight against breast cancer continues. "Social media is a great way to highlight this issue and you can also 'Spread the Word' by sharing a photo or message on Facebook or Twitter including #spreadtheword and @BCCampaign." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 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
    • Tackling violence against women and girls (Lynne Featherstone)

      I am the ministerial champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. I recently updated the house on my work in this area. Here is a copy of the statement:

      I would like to update the House on my work championing the issue of tackling violence against women and girls internationally, building policy coherence across Whitehall and pushing for as much progress as possible towards our goal of ending all forms of violence.

      The concerning abduction of over 200 school girls in Nigeria in April and the recent gang rape and murder of girls in India are a sharp reminder of the low status of women and girls globally and the terrible injustice and violence faced by so many.

      The UNMISS human rights report on the conflict in South Sudan, published on 8 May 2014, presents grim evidence of how the conflict has exacerbated the vulnerability of women and children. All parties to the conflict have committed acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women with impunity. The ability of survivors of sexual violence to receive services in this environment has diminished, leaving most incidents unreported.

      I am proud to say that the UK is supporting the International Rescue Committee in South Sudan to conduct outreach and support services to survivors of gender-based violence.

      Since my last statement the UK has refreshed our cross-government action plan, "A call to end violence against women and girls", which sets out an ambitious agenda for the year ahead, including how we will continue to bring international and domestic work on violence against women and girls closer together.

      The International Development (Gender Equality) Act came into force on 13 May. This Act, strongly supported by the Secretary of State for International Development, makes it law for the UK to consider gender equality before it provides development assistance, and the differences in gender-related needs for its humanitarian support. This puts our existing commitment to delivering important outcomes for girls and women-including a reduction in violence-on a statutory footing.

      In May I had the great privilege of speaking at DFID Mozambique's summit on ending child, early and forced marriage (CEFM). This is a huge issue in Mozambique, where one in two girls is married before her 18th birthday. CEFM is a global issue that has a significant negative impact on girls, their families, communities and countries.

      On 10 to 13 June over 120 country delegations, over 80 Ministers, and around 1,700 delegates including eight UN agency heads, presidents and prosecutors from the ICC and international tribunals, civil society, and over 300 sponsored delegates, including from conflict-affected countries, among them a number of survivors, came together at the global summit to end sexual violence in conflict hosted by the Foreign Secretary and UN special envoy, Angelina Jolie.

      I was proud to be part of the summit and to formally launch "What works to prevent violence" DFID's new research and innovation fund. I spoke on the panel with leading experts to highlight the need to invest in work to understand and address the root causes and social norms which underpin many forms of violence-both in times of peace and in conflict.

      I also participated in the ministerial round table on hidden victims to highlight the issues of domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM/C) and CEFM which are often exacerbated in conflict. The Secretary of State for International Development chaired a ministerial round table on the call to action to protect women and girls in humanitarian emergencies and jointly launched the UK's new national action plan on women, peace and security with the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary.

      The momentum will continue over the summer. In July, the UK Prime Minister and UNICEF will co-host a Girl summit on female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. The summit aims to support southern leadership on these issues and to further rally a global movement to end the practices for all girls, within a generation. I know that many in the House will have an interest in these issues, given the impact they have in the UK as well as internationally.

      A youth event will be held at DFID on 19 July with 170 attendees, made up of young people, including several nominated by Members of Parliament, several from developing countries, a youth panel and other attendees nominated by partners.

      A social media campaign has also been launched this week. The campaign aims to receive pledges of support from people across the UK, reaching beyond the usual network of development organisations and civil society supporters. The action focuses around "play your part"-we are asking people to play their part in ending these harmful practices through pledging support and spreading the word.

      In the coming months, I will visit more of our programmes overseas so that I can see in practice how our commitments to this agenda are being implemented.

    • Jenny Willott MP on board with Guide Dogs' Talking Buses campaign (Jenny Willott)
      Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, for Cardiff Central is supporting a campaign led by the charity Guide Dogs to make travelling by bus easier for people with sight loss. Jenny met with Guide Dogs 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. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP, said: "I am very pleased to support the Talking Buses campaign. I know how important the work of Guide Dogs is for many people, both in my constituency and across the country. "Announcements on buses are vital for blind and partially sighted passengers. I have been contacted by constituents who have friends and family affected by this. It is very important that we do all we can to support blind people to live independent and fulfilling lives." James White, Guide Dog's Campaigns Manager, said: "Buses are a lifeline for people who are blind or partially sighted, and we welcome the support of Jenny Willott MP for people with sight loss to be able to travel safely and independently." "Without AV, bus travel for people with sight loss can be especially difficult, stressful, and dangerous when stops are missed and they end up in an unfamiliar area. "Safe and accessible bus services give people with sight loss much greater freedom to work, socialise and participate in the community." 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 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
    • Jenny Willott welcomes new rights on flexible working (Jenny Willott)
      Liberal Democrats at Westminster have extended the right for employees in Wales to request flexible working. Flexible working helps people to balance their work with other responsibilities or with life in general. Up until now, the right was only available for carers or people who looked after children. The scheme was introduced by Liberal Democrats in Government in order to help workplaces become more flexible. It will help older workers stay in work for longer when coming up to retirement, and may also help young people who want to undertake studying while they work. Flexible working is expected to benefit more than 20 million employees across the UK. Commenting, Jenny Willott MP said: "As a Business Minister and Minister for Women and Equalities until very recently, improving the workplace for women was one of my key areas of focus. Vince Cable, Jo Swinson and I have all worked really hard to introduce reforms like shared parental leave and extending flexible working to help employees balance their work with family life and caring responsibilities. "Employers that are flexible have more productive and happy employees, and it can ensure that more women are able to stay in the work force whilst bringing up children or looking after older relatives. Flexible working can really improve the lives of employees and it can help businesses to keep their employees for longer and have a happier, more loyal work force." Published and promoted by Cardiff Lib Dems, 38 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AD.Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 2, 2014:
    • Local MP Sarah Teather welcomes action against zero-hours contracts abuse (sarahteather)
      Local MP Sarah Teather has today warmly welcomed the announcement by the Liberal Democrats to crackdown on the abuse of zero-hours contracts. Over the last decade, there has been a steady rise in the number of workers employed on zero-hour contracts. While the flexibility they offer can be useful to some employers and workers, concerns have been raised that they have been misused by employers. Last year, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable ordered a review of zero-hour contracts to better understand the impact they are having. This not only found that there were more zero-hours contracts being used than previously thought, it also exposed some serious abuses, particularly around exclusivity clauses. These prevent people from working for another employer, despite offering no guarantee of work. In reaction to these findings, the Liberal Democrats have announced a crackdown on the abuse of these contracts. The ban on exclusivity clauses is set to benefit the 125,000 zero hours contract workers estimated to be tied to an exclusivity clause, allowing workers to look for additional work to boost their income. Sarah said: "I'm really pleased that my Lib Dem colleagues are tackling exclusivity clauses. It's clearly unfair that a worker may receive zero hours of work but is unable to work for another employer. "I believe that flexibility is important in today's economy and that is provided by zero-hours contracts. But it's also important that we work hard in regulating these contracts to prevent abuse and that is what the Lib Dems are doing." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Park Home Owners Rally Against 10% Commission on Sale of Homes (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette and Sonia McColl with other campaigners at the rally. This afternoon, Sonia McColl, organiser of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign, and Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, presented a petition to Downing Street with over 30,000 signatures on it. The petition is calling for a full debate to review the 10% commission charge that is currently payable to a park operator on the sale of a residential park home. They were joined by over 120 protesters who rallied outside Parliament and then marched to Downing Street to demonstrate while the campaigners delivered the petition. Annette called and spoke in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on the issue in May. She stated that "we need transparency on what the various payments are being used for, and we need to ensure that there is no further exploitation of park home owners". The rally was followed by a meeting in Parliament where the campaigners from all over the country were joined by MPs to discuss the issue. Commenting, Annette said: "Over 120 elderly park home owners from across the country including Dorset have come to London to protest because they feel very strongly that they are being robbed. You don't have to pay the 10% commission on the sale of any other property on top of estate agent fees. It is something that needs looking at carefully. Good site owners need a return on their capital to stay in the industry. We are calling for an economic study of the Park Homes industry, and most of all we need transparency so Park Home owners know where their money is going." Annette with Sonia McColl and other campaigners delivering the petition to Downing Street. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 1, 2014:
    • Sarah takes action to protect private renters (sarahteather)
      Local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has today announced she is going to table a Private Members' Bill to stop retaliatory evictions. Every year, backbench MPs can enter what's known as the Private Members' Ballot. Sarah was one of 20 MPs selected in this year's ballot, which took place earlier this month. Sarah's Bill would stop retaliatory evictions - preventing landlords evicting tenants who make a complaint about repairs or poor conditions in their homes. This follows a long campaign by housing charity Shelter. In the last year alone, 213,000 people have been evicted or served with an eviction notice after complaining to their landlord about a problem that was not their responsibility. 12 per cent of tenants have not asked for repairs because they fear eviction. This is a particular problem in Brent. There are 33,000 private rented properties in the borough, and Sarah's constituency of Brent Central has one of the highest numbers of private renters in the country. Commenting, Sarah said: "It's completely wrong that some rogue landlords evict tenants simply because they ask for repairs to be carried out. "Everyone should have somewhere comfortable and safe to live. But all too often, tenants put up with things like damp, dangerous electrical fittings and mould because they are too scared to complain. "This bill could make a real difference to 1.3 million renting families in England. I hope my colleagues in Parliament get behind it and turn it into law." Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive said: "This Bill is a fantastic opportunity to put an end to unfair evictions, and we're thrilled that alongside Sarah Teather, politicians from all parties are committed to this. "No one should have to live in a home that is a danger to their health and well-being, let alone live with the fear of being thrown out if they complain to their landlord. "With over 200,000 people having faced unfair evictions in the last year alone, it's great that politicians are starting to take a stand for England's nine million renters." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Sarah Teather slams Government's residence test for legal aid (sarahteather)
      Sarah Teather has today slammed plans to introduce a residence test for legal aid, saying that she is "ashamed" of the Government. The plans will deny recent migrants from accessing legal aid for civil cases, including clinical negligence, unlawful removal of children and provisions for children with Special Educational Needs. Speaking in a debate in parliament, Sarah said that the residence test will have a far reaching consequences for vulnerable individuals, and will leave women who are victims of sexual abuse without legal assistance if they do not meet the test. The criticisms come the day after a report published by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that the test would inevitably lead to breaches of children's rights by denying them access to justice. As the plans are being introduced through Secondary Legislation, there will be no opportunity for Members of Parliament to amend the plans and a vote is expected next week. Commenting on the plans, Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central, said: "I am ashamed that the Government is introducing regulations that will prevent people from accessing the justice system purely because of their immigration status. The residence test will leave some of the most vulnerable people in our society with no way of challenging wrong decisions or seeking redress when they have been harmed. "Minsters have claimed that the test will save money but have been unable to say how much, despite being asked repeatedly. The reality is that the Government is trying to look tough on immigration by stopping people accessing the justice system just when they need it the most. "Instead of ploughing ahead with a damaging policy in the pursuit of popular sound bites, the Government should listen to the numerous serious concerns that have been raised and drop these plans immediately." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 29, 2014:
    • Sarah Teather wishes her constituents Ramadan Mubarak (sarahteather)
      Local Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has today wished her Muslim constituents Ramadan Mubarak as they begin a month of fasting, prayer and charity. Sarah said: "I send my warmest wishes to my Muslim constituents. "Ramadan is an important time in the Islamic faith - one marked by self-sacrifice, generosity towards others, and reflection on the plight of those in need around the world. "I wish all of my Muslim constituents a peaceful, enlightening and blessed Ramadan." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 27, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Congratulates Teaching Award Winner at House of Commons (middorsetlibdems)
      Carly Jones of The Purbeck School in Wareham attends a prestigious reception to celebrate winning a Pearson Teaching Award in 2014 Annette with Carly and her award at the reception in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole met with Carly at the Pearson Teaching Awards at the House of Commons on Tuesday 24th June to honour all those who have won a Silver Teaching Award in 2014. Carly was honoured at the event which was held to celebrate exceptional teachers from across the UK. She won her trophy in the category, The Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year, after being shortlisted from a record number of over 20,000 nominations made by grateful pupils, past and present, parents and colleagues. She will now join 59 fellow Silver Award winners at the UK final of the Teaching Awards at London's Guildhall on 26th October, where 11 Silver Award winners will receive a Gold Award. The ceremony will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC. Annette said: "It was wonderful to be able to celebrate this wonderful achievement with Carly at the House of Commons. To be chosen from so many nominations shows how exceptional Carly is, and I wish her the best of luck for the UK finals." Rod Bristow, President of Core Markets at Pearson, said: ""Everyone can remember a teacher who inspired and challenged them so it's important to say thank you. It is great teaching that makes the biggest difference to learning and that's why great teachers must be recognised". Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Annette Brooke MP urges quick introduction of Meningitis B vaccine (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke MP is calling on the government to publish details of when a new Meningitis B vaccine will be given to all babies on the NHS The call comes 100 days (29th June 2014) after the Department of Health announced that the vaccine is being recommended for inclusion in the National Immunisation Programme. Annette attended a briefing hosted by UK charity Meningitis Now at the House of Commons this week, to mark the upcoming 100 day anniversary and acknowledge the role MPs played in the Beat it Now! Campaign to bring in the vaccine. She said: "One of our greatest responsibilities is ensuring that our young people have the healthiest starts to life, which is why I backed the Beat it Now! vaccine campaign. "We have an opportunity to prevent a disease which kills or maims many in the UK and we need to keep it high on the health agenda. "We need to ensure the quick introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine and make it available to all babies on the NHS without delay." Meningitis Now also used the reception to outline its policy priorities for the coming year, including promoting early diagnosis; funding research into prevention and helping shape national policy on after-care. MPs met with Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, who began the meningitis movement in the UK after losing his son Spencer to the disease in 1982. He said: "I want to thank Annette for her continued support with the introduction of the vaccine and for taking time to meet people personally affected by meningitis." Meningitis Now launched its campaign to bring in the B vaccine in January 2013. On 21st March this year, the Government announced that its vaccine committee - the JCVI - had recommended the vaccine for inclusion in the national immunisation programme, subject to price negotiations with vaccine manufacturer Novartis. No further detail has been published by the Department of Health on the negotiations, the timetable for introduction or plans for roll-out. Meningitis Now will continue its Beat it Now! campaign until the vaccine is introduced. Join the campaign at www.MeningitisNow.org/beat-it-now Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 25, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP raises funding for short breaks for severely disabled and terminally ill children with the Prime Minister (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette with Vikki Slade, prospective Lib Dem candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole, former Care Minister Paul Burstow MP and Martin Edwards, Chief Executive of Julia's House on a recent visit to the hospice. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, questioned David Cameron during today's Prime Minister's Questions; asking about prioritising funding for short breaks for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. Short breaks are an important part of providing palliative care and supporting these children and their families. Annette also mentioned the research local hospice Julia's House and Bournemouth University are carrying out jointly into the impact of short breaks on family relationships. It is thought that the pressures of caring for a severely disabled and terminally ill child is a significant contributing factor to the break-up of parents. The hospice hopes that through this project, a firm evidence basis will be established in order to secure more funding for short term breaks in the future. The preliminary results from the research should be published in the autumn. David Cameron responded by commending the brilliant work of hospices, remarking on how much of a life-saver they are for any family bringing up children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. He then went on to mention the Coalition Government's commitment of over £800 million for local authorities to invest in short breaks for disabled children and saying the research of Bournemouth University may well help inform any future work in the area. Annette said: "I welcome the support of Prime Minister David Cameron and I am pleased to hear about the funding already in place for short breaks. I will continue to support the hard work of hospices like Julia's House; the incredible help and assistance they provide families in the most difficult of situations should never be underestimated and we must do all we can to ensure that the excellent care they provide can continue." Full question: Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD): Julia's House, a wonderful children's hospice in my constituency, is currently carrying out research with Bournemouth University into the impact of short breaks on family relationships. Will the Prime Minister give higher priority to the funding of short breaks as an invest-to-save measure? The Prime Minister: I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend about this issue. Any family bringing up a severely disabled child knows that finding one of these hospices-I will never forget finding Helen House in Oxford, which was actually the first children's hospice, I think, anywhere in the country-is a complete life saver as they carry out brilliant, brilliant work. That is why we have committed over £800 million for local authorities to invest in short breaks for disabled children, and I am sure that this research by Bournemouth University will help inform our work in the future. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 24, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP commits to help children who need palliative care (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has pledged her continued support for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions at a Westminster event held by children's palliative care charity Together for Short Lives. The event took place last week during Children's Hospice Week (13-20), the national awareness and fundraising week for children not expected to reach adulthood and the services, like children's hospices, that support them. Annette met with Anna Gill OBE, a parent carer of a young person with a life-limiting condition, in addition to representatives from Together for Short Lives, the charity behind Children's Hospice Week. She agreed to write to the local clinical commissioning group and local authorities to ask what action they are taking to integrate services for children who need palliative care. Annette also committed to asking health and social care commissioners how they were funding palliative care services supporting children with life-limiting conditions - and their families - in Mid Dorset and North Poole. Annette said: "Providers of children's palliative care, like Julia' offer a vital lifeline to families. Yet commissioning of services, particularly from the voluntary sector, is patchy and inconsistent. Well commissioned and co-ordinated palliative care helps families make to the most of their time together and enables services to develop to meet their needs. "It is essential that health and social care services work together to ensure that services are joined up and funded fairly and sustainably by the NHS and local authorities to ensure that the excellent care they provide can continue." About Together for Short Lives Together for Together for Short Lives is the leading charity for UK children's palliative care. We support those who help, love and care for children and young people who are unlikely to reach adulthood. We work with children's hospices and a range of other services across the country to ensure that every child, young person and their family has the best possible care and support whenever and wherever they need it. From the moment of diagnosis, for whatever life holds, we help to ensure families make the most of their precious time together. Visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk for more information. About Children's Hospice Week Children's Hospice Week (13-20 June) is the UK's only awareness raising and fundraising week for children with life-limiting conditions and the services, like children's hospices, that support them. The week is co-ordinated by national charity Together for Short Lives working alongside your local children's hospice. For more information visit www.childrenshospiceweek.org.uk Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 20, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP pledges to tackle prostate cancer inequalities (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole has pledged to support Prostate Cancer UK in its drive to eradicate the injustices faced by men with and at risk of prostate cancer in Mid Dorset and North Poole. Despite being the most common cancer in men, those affected by or at risk of the disease continue to face a number of injustices, particularly when it comes to awareness of risk and access to treatments, information and support. Prostate Cancer UK has launched a report outlining five key injustices faced by men with or at risk of prostate cancer. The charity is calling on the government to take prostate cancer seriously by tackling the inequalities around awareness, age and ethnicity, and ensuring that all men gain access to the best possible treatments and information, regardless of where they live. Annette met men living with and beyond prostate cancer at a campaigning event held at Westminster this week to discuss the issues in more depth and to show her support for the charity's calls. She commented: "Prostate cancer kills one man every hour but men and their families continue to face an uphill struggle on a number of fronts, from awareness of risk, through to gaining access to vital support, information, or world class treatments. Together with Prostate Cancer UK I want to ensure that all men in my constituency are armed with the knowledge of their risk of prostate cancer, and that those living with it have everything they need to tackle the disease head on and have quality time with loved ones." The report - 'Men United v Prostate Cancer, Five inequalities, five solutions' - comes as part of the second wave of the charity's Men United campaign which has built an urgency around prostate cancer and has seen nearly 200,000 people sign up to join the fight against the disease since January 2014. Dr Sarah Cant, Director of Policy and Strategy at Prostate Cancer UK, said; "For too long men with or at risk of prostate cancer have been dealt a series of unjust deals. Four in five men at higher risk of the disease don't know it - meaning that they could miss out on being diagnosed at an early stage when the disease is most treatable. And for those men living with prostate cancer, the quality of care that they receive is still all too often dictated by their post code. Throw into the mix further inequalities surrounding access to treatments and information, and it's clear that men with prostate cancer are not getting all the support that they vitally need. "This isn't good enough and men deserve much better. Since the launch of our Men United campaign we have seen huge public will to work together as a force for change. We're delighted that Annette has pledged to play a role in abolishing these inequalities by helping to tackle the injustices that men and their families." Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays. Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 17, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Questions Minister on encouraging reading for enjoyment by children (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, questioned the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Elizabeth Truss MP yesterday in the Commons; asking what is being done to encourage the enjoyment of reading by children. Annette mentioned the improvements shown through phonics tests for six-year-olds, but asked what action the Minister would take to ensure that we are stimulating the enjoyment of reading. Ms Truss responded by highlighting that the number of children reading for enjoyment is increasing and mentioned the Summer Reading Challenge which is helping to further stimulate enjoyment of reading in children. Annette welcomed the Summer Reading Challenge, which is a great scheme, particularly for those children with families that often attend the library. But she was disappointed not to hear of more schemes which would be accessible for all children. "When the phonics test was first introduced, leading children's authors asked for schemes to sit alongside the test which would stimulate the enjoyment of reading. The test was introduced in 2012 and so I hope to hear more of what the Department has planned soon." Full question: T6. [904229] Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD): We are in the third year of phonics tests for six-year-olds, and I understand that the tests have shown an improvement in decoding skills. What action will the Minister take to ensure that we are stimulating the enjoyment of reading? The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Elizabeth Truss): Last year's results from the progress in international reading literacy study-PIRLS-showed that the number of children in this country who are reading for enjoyment is going up; it has resumed considerably over the past few years. We have fantastic schemes to encourage students to read, such as the summer reading challenge. This year's challenge is the mythical maze, which will challenge children to find their way around a labyrinth and introduce them to fantastical creatures from the world of legend and mythology. 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 11, 2014:
    • ANNETTE BROOKE MP SIGNS PLEDGE TO SUPPORT SPECIALIST HEART FAILURE SERVICES (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette signing the pledge in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole yesterday signed a pledge at the Heart Failure Parliamentary Reception, organised by the British Society for Heart Failure in the House of Commons, to work with clinicians and NHS managers to maintain financial and human resources for specialist heart failure services for patients in the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency. A patient diagnosed with heart failure can have a worse prognosis than if they were diagnosed with most cancers, including breast and prostate.1,2 Treatment by a specialist heart failure service and the use of modern therapies can have a remarkable impact on a patient's chance of survival.1-2 This strategy is endorsed by NICE guidelines and quality standards.1,3 Despite this, access to heart failure specialists and the impressive services they are able to provide, is inconsistent across the UK leading to significant variation in care and outcomes.2 Despite clear national policies on the management of chronic heart failure, including a NICE guideline1 and Quality Standard,3 heart failure patient care is currently inconsistent across the UK and many areas do not have a specialist heart failure service.2 This has resulted in significant variations in survival and hospital admissions across the country with many patients not receiving specialist input to their care or optimal drug management.2 With heart failure rates due to rise over the next 20 years, the burden on NHS resources could become unmanageable unless all hospitals across the country follow the recommended national guidelines.1-3 Annette Brooke MP said "I have today pledged to work with local heart failure clinicians and the NHS to understand and support them in providing all heart failure patients with rapid access to specialist services. Heart failure services significantly improve the outcomes and quality of life for heart failure patients whilst also saving money for the NHS, which we can then invest in other health priorities locally." Professor Andrew Clark, Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure, said "Giving heart failure patients access to a specialist heart failure service not only results in less time spent in hospital and a better quality of life for the patient but it also saves the NHS money." The British Society for Heart Failure, the UK's professional organisation dedicated to optimising the care of heart failure patients, believes that access to a specialist heart failure service for all patients would lead to better patient outcomes and a more efficient use of NHS resources. There is strong evidence that having an effective multidisciplinary specialist service for people with chronic heart failure can give patients a better chance of survival, reduce the pressure on hospital beds and costly acute admissions, help to reduce recurrent hospital stays by 30-50%, improve patients' quality of life and keep younger patients in employment.2,4,5 -ENDS- References 1. NICE CG108 August 2010. Available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13099/50514/50514.pdf last accessed June2014. 2. National Heart Failure Audit 2013. Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nicor/audits/heartfailure/additionalfiles/pdfs/annualreports/NHFA13medium.pdf. Last Accessed June 2014 3. NICE Quality standard: Chronic heart failure. 2011. Available at http://www.nice.org.uk/media/D6F/93/CHFQualityStandard.pdf last accessed June 2014 5. The Development and Impact of the British Heart Foundation and Big Lottery Fund Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Services in England Final Report April 2008 available at: http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view-publication.aspx?ps=1000625last accessed June 2014 . 6. Heart Failure Nurses Services in England: Executive summary Available at: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk//media/Files/Research%20Documents/er_eval_heart_failure_exec_summary.pdf?la=en-GB last accessed June 2014 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 10, 2014:
    • ANNETTE BROOKE MP SUPPORTS CAMPAIGN TO HELP SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOGS EACH YEAR IN UK THROUGH MICROCHIPPING (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette at the Chip It, Check It event in Parliament. Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole highlighted that over 8,000 dogs euthanised each year because their owner cannot be found could be saved if dog owners 'Chip it, Check it'. Annette highlighted the importance of microchipping and checking contact details are up to date as part of the Kennel Club's National Microchipping Month during an event in Old Palace Yard, Westminster. The event launched the new 'Chip it, Check it' education campaign intended to inform the public about the change in law from April 2016 and was supported by Members of Parliament and animal welfare organisations. Regulations due to be laid shortly as secondary regulations under the Animal Welfare Act, will place a requirement on owners to have their dogs microchipped and registered on one of the databases available. Owners will also be expected to be responsible for ensuring the information is kept up to date in order to have the best chance of reuniting them with their pet. Speaking about the event, the Mid Dorset and North Poole MP said "In the countdown to compulsory microchipping, National Microchipping Month is an ideal reminder for local people to 'Chip it, Check it' - to get their dogs microchipped or if already chipped, check their contact details are up to date on the microchip database." The Kennel Club has always been dedicated to reuniting dogs and owners through its reunification database Petlog, the UK's largest lost and found database for microchipped pets, and holds National Microchipping Month each June to educate those involved with dogs on the benefits of microchipping. Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko commented: "The introduction of a requirement to permanently identify a dog through compulsory microchipping will go a long way towards improving the current situation surrounding stray dogs by reducing the need for unidentified lost dogs to be rehomed or sadly euthanised. The Kennel Club views regulation as a positive step forward for responsible dog ownership and thanks Annette for her support in promoting dog welfare". National Microchipping Month runs throughout June. For more information go to www.nationalmicrochippingmonth.org.uk Published and promoted by Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats on behalf of Annette Brooke, 14 York Road, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8ETPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 9, 2014:
    • Brent Central MP Sarah Teather supports young entrepreneurs scheme (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, Sarah Teather, has today encouraged Brent's bidding entrepreneurs to enter a scheme to find the top businesses of tomorrow. Last month, Lloyds Bank launched their 2014 Enterprise Awards to celebrate and recognise the top businesses of tomorrow. These awards allow for university students and graduates of less than five years that have founded a business to enter a competition with substantial prizes. Winners of the heats for Best Start-up, Best Digital and Best Enterprise will each get the opportunity to have one-to-one local business mentoring and will be awarded cash prizes of up to £5,000. The grand final is on 15th October and the prizes will be: Expert legal advice through LawNet for all final winners Overall Best Start-Up: £10,000 Overall Best Enterprise: £50,000 Overall Best Digital: Spend time with leading industry digital market experts worth over £10,000 Senior Executive Mentoring Applications close on 23rd July 2014. To find out more about the awards or to apply visit http://www.lloydsbankenterpriseawards.com/ Commenting, Sarah said: "There are so many talented young people in Brent. This is a really exciting opportunity and so I encourage all budding entrepreneurs to enter. Good luck!" Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 7, 2014:
    • Ambulances set to return in August (Lorely Burt)
      GOOD NEWS: Lorely (pictured here with WMAS area manager Dean Jenkins) welcomes the news that ambulances are scheduled to return by August Double-Crewed Ambulances are set to return to Solihull this August. Double-Crewed Ambulances were withdrawn from Solihull last year and have since been operating from a base in Erdington, but ambulance managers agreed to return them following a campaign by MP Lorely Burt. The ambulances were due to return in January. However, the old ambulance station on Hermitage Road has been closed so a new site is needed. Negotiations with Heart of England Foundation Trust to base ambulances in Solihull Hospital are still ongoing. Local campaigning group Healthwatch Solihull had written to West Midlands Ambulance Service asking them to ensure the issue was dealt with at a board meeting on 27th May. However, it was revealed at a public meeting in Dorridge organised by Healthwatch that the decision was low on the board's agenda and the meeting concluded without discussing it. Dr Anthony Marsh, the Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service, has written to Mrs Burt to reiterate his commitment to basing Double-Crewed Ambulances in Solihull Hospital and stating his 'confidence' that ambulances will return by August. The trust plans for two 24-hour ambulances based at Solihull Hospital, eventually rising to three. Mrs Burt has written back to Dr Marsh, welcoming his commitment but expressing concern at the delay and requesting assurances that Solihull's Double-Crewed Ambulances will not be allowed to slip from the agenda in future. She has also written to Dr Mark Newbold, the Chief Executive of Heart of England Foundation Trust, asking him to give support to the plans. Mrs Burt said, "I thank Dr Marsh for his commitment to return our Double-Crewed Ambulances by August, and I will hold him to it. "Residents have the right to be frustrated with a process of removing and then returning our ambulances that has not gone smoothly. There has been a lack of clear information and little sense that a properly thought-out plan was in place. "I understand that some of these delays are caused by difficult negotiations with Heart of England Foundation Trust. "I'll be putting pressure on the foundation trust and the ambulance service to get their act together and really deliver this time." Sam Mills, Chair of Healthwatch Solihull, said, "It's fantastic news that a timeline has been established for bringing back our ambulances, which is what we all want to see happen. "We've got to ensure there are no more delays and that the ambulance service deliver on their promises this time and don't miss this new deadline." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 6, 2014:
    • Health minister visits threatened dementia ward (Lorely Burt)
      LISTENING: Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb visited Ward 10 with local Lib Dem campaigners including Martin Hewings (yellow shirt) and Ade Adeyemo (yellow tie) Health Minister Norman Lamb visited Solihull Hospital to observe Ward 10, the dementia ward which local MP Lorely Burt is campaigning to save from closure. Along with local Lib Dems Councillor Martin Hewings and party chair Ade Adeyemo, the minister met staff and discussed plans to integrate specialist dementia care with physical healthcare. Plans to close Ward 10 in March were postponed following an intervention by local campaigners including Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt. It is now due for closure in July but when Lib Dem campaigners visited with Mr Lamb they saw a full ward with no evidence of winding down. Ward 10 provides specialist care and beds to patients who are in hospital with other ailments but also suffer from dementia. It offers patients activities to keep their minds engaged, including films, music, and dancing to old classics. Elmdon councillor Martin Hewings engaged one patient in a dance. Consultant Physician Dr Robert Wears, who manages Ward 10, said, "We are all very grateful for the interest shown in Ward 10 by local MPs, and we were particularly honoured to welcome the minister responsible for dementia care to our ward. "It is heartening to see that the valuable work we do is recognised, and we will carry on working hard to provide the best we possibly can to people in Solihull who depend on our services." Mrs Burt said, "I am grateful to Norman for coming to see for himself the amazing work staff at Ward 10 do for patients. "It's clear that no plan is in place to replace Ward 10 and I am fearful for the future of these very vulnerable people. "The deadline for closure, even though it was extended to July, is clearly unrealistic. I am calling for Ward 10 to be given one more year to wind down and switch to an integrated replacement service." Mr Adeyemo said, "As a local resident I am keen to make sure that everyone living in our area can access the best healthcare when they need it. "This is especially true for patients suffering with dementia and we must ensure that they get treatment that meets their particular needs." Mr Lamb said, "In government, the Liberal Democrats are championing better care and support for people with mental health conditions, and have legislated for 'parity of esteem' - complete equality - between mental health and physical health. I want to make sure that people with mental health problems get the support they need to continue to live safely and well-supported in the community. "In most circumstances, hospital is not the best environment for someone with a mental health condition. Most people would much prefer to be looked after properly surrounded by their friends and family, in the community. "However, when people with dementia need to spend time in hospital as a result of other health conditions, it is incredibly important that they receive care and support which recognises the special needs arising from their dementia. This needs to be the case across hospitals - and in other parts of our health and care systems. There is no 'one size fits all' approach to achieving this - it is important that local health organisations are able to find the best way to provide good care for the communities they serve. "Ward 10 at Solihull hospital was originally opened in the winter of 2012/13 to provide specialist flexible capacity. Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to use extra government funding for winter pressures to keep the ward operational throughout the 2013/14 winter for the same purpose. "I know Lorely Burt has campaigned hard on health issues for people in Solihull over many years. It is important that she has drawn attention to the need to ensure effective care and support for people with dementia when they are in hospital. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from the hospital today what steps they are now taking to ensure that the right care continues to be available in future for people with dementia." The petition to save Ward 10 is available online for signing here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-ward-10 Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 4, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Honoured to Second the 'Loyal Address' during State Opening of Parliament (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, was given the honour of seconding the 'Loyal Address' during the State Opening of Parliament today. It is parliamentary tradition that two backbench MPs are chosen every session to propose and second the speech made by the Queen. Annette was exceptionally proud to be the first female Liberal MP ever to propose or second the loyal speech. Annette used her speech to talk fondly of her constituency, touching on the diverse communities, the historic market towns of Wareham and Wimborne, and the incredible natural environment. Annette spoke with passion about her constituency's heathland, and the Great Heath Living Landscape Project saying it "is fantastic news for natural heritage, a huge range of common and extremely rare wildlife species, and tourism". Within her speech, Annette praised the legislation announced to extend further free childcare to the most disadvantaged 2 year olds and to introduce a Bill to help working families with childcare costs; underlining its importance as she stated "a child's life chances are so strongly influenced in early years". She also commended the action being taken to combat modern slavery, referring to her trip abroad to Moldova with UNICEF, to look at a country from where young girls were being trafficked. She said "it was a harrowing visit in more ways than one" and welcomed the inclusion of a Modern Slavery Bill and additional support for victims in the Queen's Speech, stating her pride in this Government's achievement of the 0.7% of GDP aid target. Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition paid tribute to Annette's kindness, hard work and dedication in their speeches which followed on from hers, with the Prime Minister remarking that she has "served with distinction" during her 13 years in Parliament and the Leader of the Opposition saying that she will be greatly missed after her retirement in 2015. 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 2, 2014:
    • Sarah Teather: Home Office ministers need to stand-up and take responsibility (sarahteather)
      Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has today called on ministers in the Home Office to stand-up and take responsibility after a damning report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons into how deportations are undertaken. The report found that staff employed to remove detainees were using inappropriate control techniques and criticised the lack of training on the use of force. Some staff were also found to have behaved in a juvenile way, including making loud animal noises, as well as swearing loudly. Commenting on the report, which followed an inspection of a removal of 66 people from the UK to Pakistan, Sarah Teather MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, said: "This report highlights the depressing reality that lessons have still not been learnt from the tragic death of Jimmy Mubenga. It contains a litany of failings that resulted in human beings not being shown the respect they deserve and instead being treated as commodities. "It is deeply concerning that yet another review has found the Home Office wanting in this area. All individuals, no matter what their immigration status, must be treated with humanity and dignity - something the Government is currently manifestly failing to ensure. "Just what will it take for ministers to stand-up and take responsibility for the culture of those they directly and indirectly employ to do their work?" Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 27, 2014:
    • Annette Brooke MP Hosts Dementia Awareness Conference (middorsetlibdems)
      Annette Brooke MP and Paul Burstow MP, former Care minister, addressing the conference. Around 80 people attended a Dementia Awareness Conference in Broadstone on Saturday 24th May, organised by Annette Brooke MP. Speakers included Jeremy Hughes, CE of the National Alzheimer's Society and Paul Burstow MP, former Care Minister. Presentations were given by representatives from Dorset's Clinical Commissioning Group and the voluntary sector. The challenges ahead for Broadstone include working towards a dementia friendly community, dementia friendly churches, and a dementia friendly shopping parade. Annette Brooke MP said: "we now have so much more work to do within our community but I felt that people were inspired to take action to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. It was staggering to learn that currently only about a half of the 800,000 sufferers in this country receive a formal diagnosis. So much can be done by raising awareness, for example, with taxi drivers and others providing transport. An example was given of the members of a ramblers' group becoming dementia aware and providing an opportunity for safe outside exercise for a dementia patient." Cllr and Lib Dem Candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole Vikki Slade said: "I was inspired by the concept of a social prescription signposting patients and carers to dementia friendly activities such as walking and scrabble playing." Cllr Vikki Slade, prospective MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, with Annette Brooke MP and Paul Burstow MP discussing ways forward following the dementia conference. 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
  • May 19, 2014:
    • Vince Cable describes College as "beacon" for apprenticeships (Lorely Burt)
      PROMOTING APPRENTICESHIPS: Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable praised Solihull College for their work on apprenticeships Along with a host of Midlands' employers and apprentices, Solihull College welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable to an apprenticeship event at the College's Blossomfield Campus on Thursday. The Business Secretary explained how, through the government's investment, that apprenticeships will "give young people a vision of a good career through vocational education". Mr Cable said Further Education has a crucial role to play and that Solihull College was a "beacon" for apprenticeships. The event, which was run in partnership with Solihull Chamber of Commerce, was held to dispel the myth that apprenticeships are only for manual type labour jobs. With the help of big business names such as Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan Motor Company and Virgin Media in attendance, the exhibition and range of speakers challenged the idea that choosing university is the best choice post-further education. Business Secretary Vince Cable MP echoed this important shift in perception, commenting, "I think we are beginning to change the psychology so that people see apprenticeships as an attractive career comparable to academic education and the FE sector has an absolutely crucial role to play." Lindsey Stewart, Acting Principal of Solihull College, said, "This event delivered the powerful punch we were looking for, to show as a College, our commitment to young people and the wide variety of apprenticeships we can offer. It was an absolute privilege to welcome both Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Vince Cable MP to the College and it was encouraging to hear the governments ongoing commitment to apprenticeships as choices for young people post-GCSEs continues to widen." Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spent time walking around the exhibition speaking to delegates and apprentices, along with giving media interviews. When asked by the College about how he viewed the importance of apprenticeships, he commented, "You don't need your nose in a book to learn things... apprenticeships are catching people's imagination more and more... and it is becoming an increasingly recognised way of completing this difficult journey from education into work." Local MP Lorely Burt, who welcomed the government ministers to Solihull College, said, "Solihull College did a fantastic job last year working with me on my campaign to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices, designing bespoke training programmes. "Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to get young people earning and learning. "I'm very proud of Solihull College and its hard-working young apprentices who are investing in their futures." Following the departure of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable delegates networked and met with young people who were invited in to discuss apprenticeships. WELCOME TO SOLIHULL COLLEGE: Lorely welcomes Deputy PM Nick Clegg to Solihull College Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Fujitsu Apprentices Impress Business Secretary (Lorely Burt)
      YOUNG TALENT RECOGNISED: Fujitsu's apprentices with Vince Cable and Lorely Burt The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable, today visited Fujitsu's facility in Solihull for a roundtable discussion with the company's best and brightest, its apprentices. Dr Cable and Solihull MP met with nine apprentices from across the business to learn more about what attracted them to become apprentices, the skills they are learning and the opportunities it is providing them for a successful career. Fujitsu's Chief Operating Officer, Gavin Bounds, who chaired the roundtable said: "I was really impressed with how our apprentices presented themselves and the company to one of the most senior members of the Government. It was great to be able to showcase our young talent. Our apprentices make such a huge contribution to our company and are laying the foundations of really fulfilling careers. "The difference the apprentices make to the company speaks for itself, 100% of those who complete the scheme go on to find a permanent job with Fujitsu." After meeting the Fujitsu apprentices, Dr Cable said: "I want to see apprenticeships on an equal footing with academic education. This government is committed to creating a 'new norm' where young people either choose university or an apprenticeship when they finish school. "I was pleased to see that Fujitsu has a well-developed apprenticeship programme with bright, motivated young apprentices taking part. "This government has delivered a record investment in apprenticeships, which has seen the number in Solihull roughly double in four years. "I would encourage other businesses recruit some apprentices, as Fujitsu has done so successfully, and benefit from the excellent package of support available from the government." Since the beginning of 2012 Fujitsu has taken on nearly 200 apprentices throughout the UK, working in diverse roles across the business. Fujitsu offers a range of Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships over one to two years with the highest level providing the individual with a degree equivalent qualification. The scheme has a 96% completion rate with those who complete the scheme guaranteed a job. Solihull MP, Lorely Burt said: "It was a great pleasure to meet these enthusiastic young people, who came for from a very diverse range of backgrounds. They demonstrate how apprenticeships can be a win-win for everyone. "The apprentice gets to earn and learn with the probability of a full-time skilled job at the end. Meanwhile the employer gets an enthusiastic young worker, government support with salary and training costs, and ends up with a loyal, well-trained member of staff." Fujitsu is signed up to the Trailblazer Apprenticeships Scheme created by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is helping to shape the future of this vital policy area which is so vital to the UK's economic future. Gavin Bounds added: "Fujitsu recognises the importance of supporting apprentices in this critical stage of their career. Not only do we provide them with technical and business skills that will lead to a permanent job, we also ensure they are properly paid. Fujitsu pays its apprentices over 50% more than the legal minimum wage set by the Government for apprentices. "An apprenticeship is a two way commitment, we expect that the young people involved in our scheme deliver value to our business and in return we develop them, train them and ensure they are appropriately rewarded and recognised for their efforts." Following the roundtable Dr Cable and Ms Burt went on a tour of the Solihull site where Fujitsu employs over 600 people. Much of Fujitsu's telecoms business is located at the site and the Solihull workforce support crucial clients such as the Home Office, Morrison, Virgin Media and the Home Office. Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 13, 2014:
    • No crossing needed because 'drivers will be more polite' - council (Lorely Burt)
      STANDING UP FOR VULNERABLE: Lorely gathering signatures for her petition Solihull Council has defended plans to remove a pedestrian crossing because it believes it can 'encourage a high level of courtesy from drivers towards pedestrians'. The council's claim comes in response to a letter from Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt calling on the council to preserve the crossing on Poplar Road as part of its plans for Solihull Gateway. Mrs Burt jointly launched a petition to save the crossing with local charities including the Royal National Institute of Blind People. It is available online for signing here http://tinyurl.com/lypsp7n. Mrs Burt said, "I am very disappointed with the council's dismissive response. "It's clear once again that the council simply is not listening to local residents. With this attitude it could be only a matter of time before there is a serious accident. "A trip to the shops for a blind or partially sighted person can be a challenge at the best of times. Without the Poplar Road crossing, I fear these vulnerable people will lose the confidence they need to make trips into the town centre and use the public transport there which they depend on. "I want Solihull to be an inclusive place for everybody, including those living with disabilities. Unfortunately this response shows the council just doesn't get it." Rebecca Swift, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer, said, "The plans to remove this crossing are causing a great deal of concern for local blind and partially sighted people, who feel that their safety and independence will be threatened if this proposal goes ahead. "If this crossing is removed, the bottom line is that they will have to walk out in to the road without knowing whether they have been seen and whether traffic has stopped. This is an extremely frightening and potentially dangerous position to be in. "We urge the council to listen to the concerns of local blind and partially sighted people and to reconsider their plans to remove this crossing." In its response to Mrs Burt's letter, the council claims that: 'The aim of the project is not to make life more difficult for any of our residents, particularly those who have a physical disability, but to help make this part of the town centre safer for all pedestrians. I do accept, however, that removing a push button crossing may appear at first to be contrary to pedestrian safety. 'If removing the crossing was the only outcome of the scheme it would cause problems. However, this is only one aspect of the project which includes a number of changes that will help to promote a low speed environment that will encourage a high level of courtesy from drivers towards pedestrians.' Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 8, 2014:
    • Brent named as one of the worst offenders for wasteful spending (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has named and shamed Brent's Labour-run council as one of the worst councils in the country for wasteful spending. At the launch of the Liberal Democrats local elections campaign in London yesterday (6th May), Nick Clegg unveiled a dossier loaded with more than £500m worth of vanity projects and expense claims amassed by Tory and Labour- run councils. Brent features prominently throughout the dossier, "Tory and Labour Waste and Incompetence". The booklet's front cover image is a photo of one of the borough's six libraries that were closed by Labour in 2011. Brent Labour featured several times in a deck of cards highlighting some of the worst examples of council waste. Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Brent Central, Ibrahim Taguri, who attended the campaign launch commented: "Unfortunately for local people, Brent Council was the star of the show at the Liberal Democrats' local election campaign launch, with the £250,000 Labour spent keeping library buildings empty since 2011 featuring on the front of the campaign booklet demonstrating the worst examples of councils wasting money from across the whole country. "When all councils are facing tough budget decisions it is even more important that they don't waste money on vanity projects and gimmicks like Brent Council has done over the past four years. Only Liberal Democrat majority controlled authorities have consistently frozen council tax, kept all libraries open and cut out wasteful spending in order to maintain essential council services." Mr Taguri added: "There is a stark choice facing voters this May in Brent. Between Lib Dems working with the community to reopen libraries and clean up the streets or a wasteful Labour Party working for themselves and stripping the community of our assets." Local residents, councillors, campaigners and local newspapers have criticised the Council for a series of spending decisions over the past four years, including: £350,000 for iPads and iPhones for Council staff Millions of pounds for executive staff pay-offs, some of whom were later re-hired £98,000 on an opening party for new Civic Centre offices £12,000 on a hologram receptionist at the new Civic Centre £700,000 to resurface the road outside the Civic Centre with granite £1,200 for food for councillors after council meetings Local councillor candidate for the Dudden Hill Ward, Anton Georgiou added: "If elected on 22nd May, Liberal Democrats will stop wasteful spending, listen to what local people want and get back to basics. We know that criticising Labour's waste isn't enough to boot them out of power here in Brent - that's why Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners have put forward a positive 6 point plan to sort out our borough. "Brent Liberal Democrats want to restore the popular visitor parking scratchcards, freeze residents parking permit prices and make sorting out potholes a priority. Liberal Democrat councillors will also work to re-open community libraries to replace the 6 libraries closed by Labour, will keep on freezing council tax and crack down on litter, dirty streets and fly-tipping." Published and promoted by Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green, London NW2 4RAPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 6, 2014:
    • Explosion in Parliament (Lorely Burt)
      ONE FURTHER THAN GUY FAWKES: Lorely helps the Royal Society of Chemistry make an explosion in Parliament Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has gone one further than Guy Fawkes and set off an explosion in the Houses of Parliament. Mrs Burt met the first scientist ever allowed to carry out explosive chemistry experiments in the House of Commons at an event held by the Royal Society of Chemistry in Parliament on Wednesday 30th April. Mrs Burt took part in some loud and colourful chemistry experiments performed by TV scientist Dr Hal Sosabowski from the University of Brighton. Mrs Burt witnessed the whizzes and bangs of chemistry first-hand as Dr Sosabowski showed off the science behind glow sticks, a liquid nitrogen shower and a flaming methane mamba of soap bubbles. They also discussed the importance of science to the UK economy. Mrs Burt MP said, "The chemistry demonstrations were very impressive - lots of different colours, flames and clouds of liquid nitrogen. It was really interesting to hear about how science can help our economic recovery and create jobs. "I hope that through displays like this, the Royal Society of Chemistry will encourage more young people to study science, especially girls, who are still under-represented." The Royal Society of Chemistry's President, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, said, "Britain is a world leader in science. The chemical sector alone sustains 500,000 jobs across the country. But over the last decades public investment in scientific research has fallen behind our international competitors. "We want to see a commitment from all sides of the debate to increase total government investment in research in the long-term to set Britain back on the path to science-fuelled growth." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Surgery boots out 82 year old after 33 years (Lorely Burt)
      SHOCKED: Lorely is calling on Green Lane and Sheldon Surgery to let May Jones, 82, stay Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt is calling on Green Lane & Sheldon Surgery to reconsider its decision to force 82-year old May Jones to find a new surgery after 33 years with the practice. Bosses at the practice in Castle Bromwich say Mrs Jones lives outside the catchment area, making the possibility of home visits an 'onerous condition' of her remaining with the practice. Mrs Jones says the drive takes seven minutes. Investigations by Mrs Burt's staff support Mrs Jones's claim. Mrs Jones was one of the first patients to register at the practice when it was set up. Mrs Burt and Lib Dem councillor Martin Hewings have separately visited Mrs Jones in her home and Mrs Burt has written to the surgery asking them to let Mrs Jones stay. Practice bosses agreed to extend her registration to the end of May but insisted they would not extend it any further. Mrs Burt said, "I think it's a heartless decision to ask May to leave, especially when, like May, she has been with a surgery for so long and never called a doctor out on her own account. "I understand there's no hard and fast rule so I urge the surgery should use its discretion to let her stay." Cllr Hewings said, "I was horrified to hear that after 33 years at the practice, they are now turning around and saying they don't want her as a patient anymore, particularly as she lives only seven minutes by car from the practice. "This to me seems cruel and mean." Mrs Jones said, "I can understand a surgery not wanting to take new patients from out of their area, but I have been at this surgery since the day it opened, over 30 years ago. "I trust my doctor and don't want to have to build a new relationship with a new doctor at my age." Published and Promoted by Claire O'Kane on behalf of Lorely Burt and the Solihull and Meriden Liberal Democrats, all at 81 Warwick Road, Solihull, B92 7HPPrinted (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 1, 2014:
    • Local MP Sarah Teather welcomes action on betting shops (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has today warmly welcomed the announcement that local communities are to be given more say over new betting shops. Under current rules, betting shops are in the same planning use class as banks and building societies, meaning a betting shop can open without the need for planning permission in buildings where banks have moved out. Over the last six years there has been a surge in the number of bookies that have opened new premises, with most estimates suggesting their numbers are up by a quarter. The 95 betting shops in Brent is the 8th most in the country. The Coalition Government has announced it will consult on plans to create a new planning use class for betting shops - meaning that local communities will get to decide on whether to allow a new betting shop in the same way as any other planning application. Action is also being taken help to tackle the highly sophisticated gaming machines - Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) - increasing taxes on them to ensure bookmakers pay a fairer share of their profits from these machines. The Gambling Commission will also consult on requiring these machines to present players with a choice to set limits on the maximum amount of time or money they want to spend before commencing play. The consultations will take place over the summer, and the new measures are expected to come into force in the autumn. Sarah said: "The increasing number of betting shops we have in our community is very concerning. In some areas of London there are now six bookies per square mile. "I'm therefore really pleased that the Government is planning to give local people the power to stop new betting shops. The action on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals is also hugely important, since FOBTs allow people to gamble up to £300 per minute. "Gambling can be highly addictive and often affects the most vulnerable in society, so I warmly welcome these steps." Commenting, Ibrahim Taguri, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brent Central, said: "One of the issues I get asked about the most on the doorstep is the increasing number of betting shops we have in Brent. Local residents and businesses alike are concerned that are a staggering 95 bookies in the borough. "Labour's Gambling Act 2005 allowed the proliferation of betting shops - many of which have high stakes roulette terminals - in poor areas. There's no doubt that this has had a profoundly negative impact on local communities. "The announcement of new powers for local communities to tackle the spread of bookies is yet more evidence that the Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society." 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
    • Brent Central MP stands up for Brent schools (sarahteather)
      Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has responded to the Government's consultation on fairer funding for schools. Last month, Lib Dem Education Minister David Laws announced an additional £350 million next year for the least fairly funded local areas. As part of this, Brent schools will receive a £13 million funding boost. At present, funding is based on historic levels of spending rather than on the actual characteristics of an area. According to Department for Education statistics, Brent has more children from deprived backgrounds and pupils with English as a second language than the London average. This means Brent schools face extra challenges but do not receive the funding needed to address them. The Department for Education is now consulting on plans to allocate extra funding based on a number of factors, including the number of deprived pupils and pupils with English as a second language. Sarah has submitted a formal response in support of the proposals. Commenting, Sarah said: "The consultation is a chance for the Government to hear why their changes are so important for areas like Brent. "For too long, the funding system has meant local schools have not received the resources they need, to the detriment of local children. "I have campaigned on this issue in Parliament for over 10 years, so I'm really pleased that the Government is making the system fairer." 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
  • Apr 29, 2014:
    • MP condemns £150,000 library move (Lorely Burt)
      Shirley Library is set to close for the last time on 3rd May. A replacement library is set to open in the Parkhead development despite over 80% of users who responded to a council survey saying they opposed the move. Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt said, "Residents in Shirley will lose 15% of their library books because Conservative councillors, once again, have ignored their views. "The move to the new library will cost £150,000, money that could have been spent protecting valuable services elsewhere or supporting local businesses. "Unfortunately this is what residents have come to expect from a Conservative council that thinks it always knows best." 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