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Recent News From your Maidstone Wards

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  • Rob at CH
    Article: Jul 25, 2020

    Some thoughts by Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Kent County Council

    Earlier this month Minister of State, Simon Clarke, stated that the Conservative Government is pressing ahead with the publication of its Devolution White Paper in the Autumn. The Minister stated that the Government is aiming for 'many more elected mayors and more unitary councils following in the footsteps of Dorset, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.'

  • Rob at Dover
    Article: Jul 19, 2020

    Minister admits that Government is planning for significant disruption in Kent at the end of the Brexit transition period

    Earlier this week the Government completed the purchase of the so-called "MOJO" customs clearance site and lorry holding area next to Jct. 10a on the M20 near Ashford. The Government's plans first came to light last Friday week. They were previously kept secret from Ashford Borough Council and local residents, although the Cabinet Member has confirmed that Kent CC was aware of the Government's proposals.

  • Antony Hook at CH
    Article: Jul 17, 2020

    Kent Liberal Democrat councillor Antony Hook has asked Conservative-run Kent County Council to urgently clarify its approach to awarding big contracts.

    At a meeting this morning of the county's Environment & Transport Committee, Mr Hook challenged Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment Susan Carey to include green requirements when contracts are awarded to supply services to the county.

  • Antony Hook in Kent County Councl Chamber
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    Liberal Democrats, the largest opposition party on Kent County Council, today put forward a motion against racism.

    The Liberal Democrat motion said:

    "This Council:

    1. a) is mindful of the recent death of George Floyd in the United States and of the demonstrations that followed;
    2. b) is aware of the depth of public concern expressed during recent weeks in Britain about ingrained institutional racism directed against non-white persons; and
    3. c) is conscious of the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on black and minority ethnic residents.
  • Graham Colley
    Article: Jul 9, 2020

    Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Graham Colley has been selected as their candidate at the next Police and Crime Commissioner election, due to take place in May 2021. Graham has been a vocal supporter of Kent Police and will campaign for more frontline officers, community policing and improved visibility of police, especially in rural areas of the county.

  • Martin Cox
    Article: Jun 11, 2020

    Kent County Council has agreed to waive the £190 license fee it was charging for catering business for setting up tables and chairs outside their premises. The fee will now be waived for 6 weeks. The move follows pressure from opposition councillors at County Hall and outcry from traders across the County.

  • Care Home Worker and Resident
    Article: Jun 5, 2020
    By Trudy Dean

    There were 997 at 22 May. On 25th May, the most recent data available, the Office for National Statistics reported 255 deaths in care homes in Kent for which Covid-19 is listed on the death certificate. That is over a quarter of all Kent deaths.

    A new report shows how care home residents and staff remain particularly exposed due to persistent problems, including getting tests and protective clothing (PPE).

  • Rob Bird
    Article: May 29, 2020

    Traditional season tickets are unlikely to be attractive for many rail commuters in the future. The rail operators need to provide more flexible ticket options.

    During the lockdown working from home has become a new routine for many people. Home working has had some positive benefits both for staff and for employers. Now, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Instead, many staff are expected to adopt more flexible arrangements, going into work just occasionally.

  • Ian Chittenden
    Article: May 22, 2020

    The pandemic has had terrible impact on the lives and health of thousands of Kent residents and many other appalling consequences. But on a more positive note we have seen a significant reduction in traffic and a marked improvement in air pollution. With the prospect of further easing of the lockdown restrictions, it is vital that KCC takes steps now to keep our roads safe for all road users especially pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Munira Wilson
    Article: May 18, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff in Kent and Medway to ensure "world-class" support for those tackling the virus head on.

    Highlighting the "deep scar" coronavirus will leave on health and care staff in Kent and Medway, the Liberal Democrats are proposing a package of mental health measures, including:

  • Ida Linfield
    Article: May 18, 2020

    Ida Linfield expresses concern that the Conservative Government is suggesting that lorry drivers entering Kent ports need not be tested for the Coronavirus bug.

    The Government is about to implement two week quarantine rules for the majority of travellers coming from Continental Europe. In recognition of the importance of keeping freight moving, lorry drivers arriving in Kent will be exempt from quarantine but they should not be allowed to travel all over the UK without any form of check on their health.

  • Trudy Dean
    Article: May 14, 2020

    Trudy Dean, the Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, has written to Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, asking for this year's Kent Test (11+) to be scrapped.

    Trudy's letter follows below:

    Dear Roger,

    As you will be aware, Rosie Duffield has raised the issue of cancelling this year's Eleven Plus tests due to the effects of CV19. I had already placed an item onto the list of those for discussion at Cabinet Scrutiny for next Tuesday, as parents of year 5 children will need to decide very shortly whether they feel it is safe to send their children back to school in June. I am aware that the test process must be agreed in advance by schools, some of which already set their own additional entrance tests. Whilst I don't think that cancellation is the only way forward, there are clearly a number of issues of concern which need to be discussed with schools and parents urgently.

  • Sad old man
    Article: Apr 6, 2020
    By Rob Bird

    Amongst all the shocking statistics of deaths attributable to Covid-19 it is easy to forget the large numbers of people who die from other natural causes each day. Many of these people are cared for, with compassion and dignity, in our hospices.

    Hospices are an intrinsic part of our society. They also take pressure of our hospitals and social care services, which is vital at the current time.

  • Munira Wilson
    Article: Mar 16, 2020

    Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP has called for all social care workers to be tested for coronavirus, alongside NHS staff, and has asked the Health Secretary for clarity on the issue of testing for the virus.

    After raising the question of coronavirus testing in the House of Commons, Munira Wilson said:

    "Some of the most vulnerable in our society live in care homes. Shortages in the care workforce are already a problem. That's why staff at care homes must be supported to the same level as staff in the NHS.

    "It is essential that front-line NHS staff are tested for coronavirus. It is also critical that front-line social care workers are tested. That is why I raised this issue with the Secretary of State for Health in the House of Commons today.

    "At present, the Secretary of State is not providing sufficient detail about how this will be achieved and the timeframe for this. We need urgent answers.

  • Article: Mar 8, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats have called on the Health Secretary to announce the public health grant amidst the Coronavirus crisis.

    Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Munira Wilson , Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, have written to Matt Hancock calling on him to announce the funding to ensure councils could fulfil their role as a "key part" in containing the virus.

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "Having failed to tell local councils how much the public health grant will be, the Tories have made it all but impossible for councils to ensure our communities have proper healthcare.

    "Even if it was business as usual this would be shameful, but with the Coronavirus it is nothing short of an abdication of duty.

    "Public health information is vital to lowering the Coronavirus peak, but even more alarming is the inability for local councils to try and address the inevitable gaps in our social care sector getting worse.

    "Whilst the Prime Minister and Health Secretary are happily touring the TV studios, they are utterly failing at the most basic level to support councils in their vital work."

    The full text of the letter is as follows:

    'Dear Secretary of State,

    I am writing to urge you to immediately announce the public health grant for local authorities for 2020/21.

    The unacceptable delay has made it extremely difficult for local government to plan health services in the community such as sexual health services, the NHS Health Check programme and public health advice to NHS Commissioners.

    With the coronavirus, this delay has become even more serious.

    Public Health funding is a crucial component for ensuring public services work together to issue advice and information, but also plan for knock on effects on the social care workforce for example.

    The delay has also compounded the severe reductions in local authorities' public health grant funding - over £700 million in real terms between 2015/16 and 2019/20 - which has left councils under incredible pressure to deliver vital community health services.

    The Government has said on various occasions that the best way to reduce the peak of Coronavirus is to contain and delay it - public health information is a key part of that strategy and it must not be neglected by this government.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ed Davey MP, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats
    Munira Wilson MP, Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats'

  • Article: Mar 2, 2020

    "Today's report of Kent's first case of coronavirus in Maidstone will concern many. Our thoughts are obviously for the patient, his or her family, work colleagues and friends.

    We now know that it is highly likely that Covid-19 will have a major impact on Maidstone and the rest of Kent. We are liaising with officers at both County and Borough level to ensure that everything is being done to get Kent prepared for any emergency.

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Feb 27, 2020

    Earlier today, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran slammed the Conservatives for "failing the most vulnerable", as analysis of new rough sleeping statistics shows that the Government is significantly off track on its target of eliminating rough sleeping by 2024.

    The Conservatives announced the revised target, which was previously 2027, after the election in December.

    The latest Rough sleeping snapshot, published today by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, shows that there were an estimated 4,266 rough sleepers in England on any given night in Autumn 2019, a reduction of just 411 people (8.8%) on 2018's figure. The figures are still a massive 141% up on 2010.

    According to Government figures, the South-East has some 900 rough sleepers on a typical night, the biggest number outside London.

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Feb 12, 2020

    The disabled bus pass and companion pass are currently only valid from 9:30 am onwards. Last September Kent County Council unanimously approved a Liberal Democrat proposal to make the pass valid for travel in Kent before 9:30am. KCC should get the new arrangements put in place straight away.

    KCC has set aside £200,000 in its proposed budget for 2020-21 to cover the additional costs. But, 5 months after agreeing to the proposal, KCC has yet to work out how best to implement the new arrangements. That's not good enough.

  • Ian Chittenden
    Article: Feb 11, 2020

    At the County Council budget meeting on the 13th February the Liberal Democrats will be calling on KCC to provide Kent's parish and town councils and community groups with the support needed to get electric vehicle (EV) charging points in their areas.

    The Lib Dems will be asking for a ringfenced fund of £500,000 to be spread over the next two years to help fund the procurement and installation of publicly accessible charging points in car-parks owned by the parishes and local community groups.

  • Transport Costs
    Article: Feb 11, 2020
    By Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Kent County Council

    The Prime Minister has announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London. This should result in well over £100 million being allocated to Kent. It is very welcome but much more will be needed.

    Bus services outside London are in crisis, with less and less people taking the bus and consequently more and more people relying upon their cars. The vast majority of bus users are concessionary pass-holders - either young people going to school or college or 'senior citizens' who are eligible to free bus travel.