Budget special – £50billion lost means residents will be £687 a year worse off

New studies show that the UK economy has stalled under the Conservatives.

This Conservative crash will wipe £49bn off the UK economy by 2021. That’s £687 for every person in the UK. Or enough to recruit 69,000 new police officers or 66,000 teachers.

The Conservatives are also putting £3bn aside for ‘problems’ with  Brexit.

Despite a combined £52billion black hole the Conservative Government have still found money for extra new tax cuts for the richest.

The Liberal Democrats, “These are the wrong priorities. Tax cuts for the very richest are not the most important thing when our NHS and schools are in such valuable need of investment and the economy is a mess.”

“The government needs to get a grip on the economy and change it’s priorities to help normal people in our country”.

Celebrating National School Meals Week

This week hundreds of schools across England will be taking part in celebrating National School Meals Week, which mark the biggest healthy awareness eating week aimed at children.

The free school meals programme is a £1.2billion programme introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government. £150 million of capital funding was also made available to support local authorities in improving kitchen and dining facilities in order to provide free school meals.

Commenting Cllr George Butcher  said, “Eating a healthy and nutritious meal at school has been proven to help children do better academically and we have made great progress in ensuring more and more pupils all over the country can enjoy these benefits.

“With the help of hard-working teachers and staff, thousands of infant children in Stroud are now getting a free healthy meal at lunch time – saving parents a huge £400 a year.

“This week celebrates that progress and provides a chance to show off the creativity and talent of our hard-working school cooks and catering staff as well as saying thank you for all their hard work.”

Cllr George Butcher added, “I am proud of the role the Liberal Democrats played in first introducing free school lunches and then protecting them from Theresa May.

“We will now fight to ensure the Conservatives do not reduce school funding.”

Anti-Bullying Week – Get Involved!

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Anti-Bullying Week – Get Involved!

This week schools, colleges, parents, carers, children and young adults unite to say a big ‘NO’ to bullying.

Of course it’s important to tackle bullying all year round! But this week is a special chance to draw everyone’s attention to bullying. So we can take individual and collective efforts to make sure children have safe places where they can thrive.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance’s website is http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/ and you can find, activities, check sheets and ways to support our community and strengthen it against bullying.

This year Anti-Bullying Week is particularly focused on ‘Power For Good’. Helping children understand how powerful they are and encouraging us all to use our ‘Power For Good’.

As we all know bullying can have a long term impact on mental health which is just one of the reasons we need to take this stand together. For too long Mental Health has been a Cinderella service, ignored, under-funded and taboo.

It is changing, but not fast enough. The Liberal Democrats will be taking every opportunity to fight for better mental health services in our country and to promote educated conversation which can be really helpful for people with poor mental health.y and to promote educated conversation which can be really helpful for people with poor mental health.

Queen’s Speech 2017

Condemned for a remarkable “lack of direction” our lame-duck government faced the country today with no plan and no majority.

After watching the ‘Queen’s Speech’, a chance for Britain to hear the government’s plans set out for the years ahead, many were left deflated and disappointed.

The main themes of this election were ignored completely. There were no plans to stop real terms cuts to the NHS, the police or to our schools.

And the old crutch of the Conservative party, the economy, was barely mentioned either. If we just listened to the Conservatives we’d have no idea the country was sinking further into debt every day. But that’s the truth of it.

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said,

“People up and down the country are seeing our schools and hospitals in crisis. Proposed Tory cuts will leave our children in overcrowded classes in underfunded and crumbling schools, the sick left on trolleys in hospital corridors and the vulnerable without the vital services they rely on.

“This speech is bereft of any real solutions to these issues.

“The only thing that stayed the same was the Tories’ obsession with Brexit.”

The Conservatives commitment to a hard Brexit deal will cost them dearly though, and billions that could have been used on our hospitals, schools and police will instead be sent to Northern Ireland to get support for an extreme Brexit deal.

One ray of sunlight shone through for local campaigners though as the Conservatives caved on the dreaded ‘Dementia Tax’, kicking it into the long grass. This will be pleasing for Liberal Democrats who campaigned hard for pensioners rights on both the Dementia Tax and to save the Lib Dem pension ‘Triple Lock’, which the government have also u-turned on today.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Surviving or thriving? is the title of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Run by the Mental Health Foundation – this Mental Health Awareness Week, 8-14 May 2017, looks at mental health from a new angle. Instead of looking at poor mental health it’s taking a look at why more of us aren’t thriving with good mental health.

For too many people, life is a struggle. A fight, to pay bills, manage our livelihoods or cope with our relationships.

Locally the Liberal Democrats are backing the campaign to bring mental health to the forefront of the conversation, and to the forefront of the governments mind. We want the government to make things easier for local people so life isn’t always a battle. That means peace of mind on the economy, health and schools through proper investment.

Many people are now starting to talk about their mental health too. But it can be tough to recognise that we sometimes don’t feel 100% and tough to talk about it if we do. There are tools available to you and talk about it with friends, family or a professional.

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here – http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Here are some useful links for people who want to learn more about mental health –

Mind – Mind is an amazing charity that offers help to anyone struggling with mental illness.

Widow’s Pension Cuts: Cruel and Unnecessary

The Widow’s Pension is designed to help create security and safety for families when they lose a loved one. But this week it is under attack from a new wave of Government cuts. With less money being paid to widows, widowers and surviving civil partners from April 2017 onward.

The changes will only effect those families who lose a loved one after April 6th 2017.

The new rules will add pressure to families when they’re struggling most. Families who’ve just lost a parent are learning to cope on a single income and with one fewer parent. The previous system helped to ease the financial stress with a ‘parachute payment’ which is now greatly decreased.

Families with a terminally ill parent are facing the worst of it, with many having planned for life under the old system now having to look again at the support they can offer to their children or loved ones.

If you want the Government to change its mind and reverse cuts to bereavement benefits, then please share this article with friends and family.

If these changes effect you, friends or family you should visit www.turn2us.org.uk to get support and help.

The Focus

Not a Wotton ward story, but I have to share.

Today, myself and other member of the local Liberal Democrats were delivering the Focus in Dursley. People were fantastic, we had a great reception. 

We are committed to local action, some towns sadly are missed by councils – we are working for everyone!


Facilities

I have recently returned from a trip to Northern Ireland.

Apart from being a beautiful country I was moved by the community spirit and the people. I put this down to many things, but for the purpose of this blog I want to talk about one element.

In many public parks there are outstanding facilities. There is nothing better than a park that is clean and well kept which people can meet, chat and let their children play in safely. It enhances a town and it can support togetherness better than many things.

In my ward there are some good parks, but more TLC is needed. I know there is a group working on this and I will put my all into supporting them. In Stroud there is Stratford park, there are some great children’s equipment for younger people to use.

However, what about adults? In this age there is a need to encourage people to use parks to exercise, meet and simply hang out. In many of the Northern Irish parks there were some basic gym style equipment for people to use (and used they were!). Sadly, the outdoor gym equipment in Stratford Park is not used and looks to me as if it is no longer wanted. I would hope that maybe in the fufure we see its return.

 

Social Housing Forum

Today I attended a meeting of Stroud District Council Social Housing Forum. It was a great place to meet the reps of the different social housing areas in Stroud district. 

There were two LibDem reps in this meeting. We both are happy that the ideas being put forward are going to eventually help with having the voices of the tenants of social housing heard by SDC.

The initial proposal has been, for want of a better phrase, moderated by a group of interested parties, from tenants, councillors (of all groups) and officers of SDC. 

It is important that the right people are chosen and we are fully reflective of those people in social housing in Stroud District.