Thursday, 28 February 2013

Eastleigh

Liberal Democrats have won the seat with 13352 votes. The Conservatives have been knocked into third place by UKIP. Lib Dem 13342 UKIP 11571 Con 10559 Lab 4088 Others 2056 The main loser in this election is the right-wing press, which has tried shamelessly to exploit the allegations against Lord Rennard for their own political ends. Channel 4′s Cathy Newman original investigation was fair; however the idea the Liberals have anything to learn about how to treat women with respect from the Daily Mail is ludicrous. Their onslaught in the past week has been nakedly politically motivated – and so transparently so that the public appears to have ignored it.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Teignbridge Budget

Liberal Democrat councillor supported the Teignbridge budget today (Friday. We voted for the budget, because it was freezing council tax. However, we voted with a number of concerns and caveats.we have pointed out a number of areas where TDC under the Tories are storing up problems.... car park income has fallen but costs of running car parks have gone up. The council is spending over £27,000 a year on mobile phone contracts!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Crime Down Again

Just heard that criminal damage and anti social behaviour is down again in West Teignmouth, well done to Saul and Phil. These are crimes that have a major impact on people’s quality of life, so the reduction in these types of crimes is very welcome. What is noticeable it this drop in crime comes after a substantial drop over the last three years. Fact is we've got some very dedicated PCs and PSCOs in the Teignmouth Police Team.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Town Pressure Wins Carlton Cash Promise

£2.5 milllion promised towards Theatre rebuild - £7.2 million still held by district council. Pressure from Teignmouth residents has forced Teignbridge Council into a last minute budget change. Teignbridge which has benefitted from a windfall of £9.8 million from the Morrisons development had put all the money into it’s general capital fund. After Richard Younger-Ross and I published our “Morrisons Missing Millions” leaflet, angry residents have demanded that Teignmouth should get it’s fair share of the cash. Now Teignbridge Council have made a u turn and said £2.5 million may be used towards the rebuilding of the Carlton Theatre.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

20% RISE FOR DISABLED

Disabled parking permits will rise by 20% from April disability campaigners and opposition members of Teignbridge Council have discovered - while at the same time charges for some car parks and time bands are being cut! The surprise proposals are part of a package of measures to bring-in an extra £160,000 a year from car parking across the district. Disability campaigners and councillors learned of the planned hike in parking permit charges after Cllr Alan Connett, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Teignbridge, asked for the full list of fees and charges planned from April. "Most councillors on Teignbridge have not seen the detail of what the council is planning. Indeed, when I asked for the full list, I was sent an email link. The details have not been sent to each councillor with their budget papers. All we've had is a broad overview," explained Cllr Connett. The 20% hike in parking permits fees, rising from £10 to £12 a year, was a surprise as well for members of Teignbridge Access Group which campaigns for the interests of people with disabilities in the district. Chairman Bob Newton said they had not been consulted about the proposals although a council officer is due to attend a meeting on Tuesday (12 February) just two days before the Executive decision-making councillors at Teignbridge are due to approve their final budget proposals. Mr Newton added:" This increase may be only £2 a year, but it is another cost among the many other pressures faced by people with disabilities. They are already struggling with many issues and the chaos being created by ATOS in determining fitness for work. "Hard pressed families, whether disabled or not, are facing some difficult choices and a 20% increase in annual parking permits is another burden, especially as there has been no warning about this. It has almost leaked out without us having a real opportunity to engage with the council and perhaps look to see if there were alternatives. "The council may say the increase is only £2 a year but at the same time they are cutting some other parking charges. It looks like disabled drivers are being penalised and indeed, I worry that if this goes ahead it will impinge on some of the most vulnerable in our community." Teignbridge is also offering a three-year disabled parking permit for £30 (£10 a year) but Mr Newton says that it may also be a struggle for disabled drivers to find £30 in one go. "Not everyone is going to be able to find £30 from their household budget. It seems Teignbridge just haven't thought this through and if they had consulted with us in the first place we may have avoided a lot of the difficulties they seem to be creating for themselves and the disabled." Teignbridge Council is due to meet on 22 February when councillors will make the final decision on the budget, which takes effect from April.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Bedroom Tax

In April, an ‘under-occupation penalty’(the Bedroom Tax - but it isn't really a tax) will be served on people on housing benefit (HB)with a spare room or rooms. Tenants of pension age are exempt, as are those living in shared-ownership social housing. The idea is to withdraw some housing benefit from those families whose children have left home which means are still living in three and four bedroom social/council houses. It’s designed to get these people to downsize thus freeing up housing stock, as well as save about £500 million in the HB budget. One spare room will result in a 14% reduction in HB. Two or more spare rooms will see a 25% reduction in HB. This is a rather blunt instrument with little flexibility and rules that singularly don’t take account of individual circumstances. TA soldiers and other reservists who can be called up for full operational tours, could see thir parents HB cut, whilst the parents of students are not hit. By far the biggest problem it is just not that easy to downsize or to move. There just aren’t the smaller properties available - so even if these families agree to move they can’t. Nevertheless they could be losing up to £30 a week. 660,000 households(around 20%) are affected and there is the danger some could end up homeless. There’s simply no way to reverse the measure which starts in April; however increasing the discretionary housing allowance, would allow councils to take individual circumstances into account, and help ameliorate some of the unforeseen consequences.