In May we brought you the news that the Conservatives who control Cambridgeshire County Council were starting to run it like a "one-party-state" with all Committees having Tory Chairs and Vice Chairs; no decisions can be reviewed without the support of a Committee on which the Conservatives have a majority; in Full Council no amendments to Tory plans can be made without prior notice; no councillors can put oral questions; officers will brief Tory Spokespersons separately from Lead Members from the other groups. Opposition groups will no longer have recognised ‘Spokespersons’
At the second Council meeting, Conservatives have now voted to increase allowances paid to councillors (and rejected the recommendations of an Independent Remuneration Panel) as follows:
- Council Leader (Con.) from £21,636 to £31,345
- Deputy Leader (Con.) from £14,682 to £20,627
- Committee chairs (all Con.) from £12,363 to £18, 372
- Committee Vice-chairs (all Con.) from £6,182 to £7,927
In total, 24 of the 36 Conservative councillors have Special Responsibility Allowances amounting to £280,000 (90.7% of the total). The remaining 9.3% is for the 25 Councillors from other parties.
This concentration of power and finance does not feel quite right. The council needs to represent all the people of Cambridgeshire and should do this by utilising the strengths of all councillors; ensuring that their input is fully considered and the work that they do to scrutinise and improve policy is appropriately funded.
On 14th July, on a fine summer's evening, about 70 members of Hunts Lib Dems gathered at Godmanchester Community (Plant) Nursery, Godmanchester for our summer barbecue. It was a wonderful event!
As well as meeting old and new friends, we ate well! Sarah, Carole and others worked really hard cooking pizza in the Nursery's wood-fired pizza oven and serving burgers and sausages fresh from the BBQ, and we were able to eat al-fresco under the grape vines.
A row has erupted after cuts to Children Centres were proposed by Cambridgeshire County Council, including services currently provided at 21 centres, which will lead to a significant reduction in support for families across the county. Children Centres in Huntingdonshire are impacted significantly! A summary of the proposals impacting Huntingdonshire is given below.
Consultation on the proposals will be carried out over the summer – timing which has angered Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha (Newnham) who said “A consultation which takes place over the school holidays is one which many parents will be too busy to engage with. This scheme is a direct result of Conservative councillors’ decision in February not to accept our proposal for a small council tax rise of just 45p per household per week.”
We need to make the Conservatives understand how much opposition there is their proposals, which will likely hit the least well off in our community hardest, and will mean that children receive less support, at the ages where it is most valuable! Make your voice heard and:-Read more
Your local County Councillor, Peter Downes, has been very busy, again, pulling together the July Focus Newsletters for the villages in his division.
The four newsletters contain similar material on national matters, but are personalised on local matters relevant to each village, including residents concerns, the work of the Tidy Village Group, local drama and music, A14 roadworks, road safety and support for Hinchingbrooke
Click on the links below for your local newsletter
Though, naturally, a lot of focus is currently on the General Election, Liberal Democrats continue to work hard for you in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Following the recent County Council Elections, we have been thanking all those who voted for the Liberal Democrats in Huntingdon and Harford, Godmanchester, The Hemingfords and Fenstanton (see attached). We saw two County Councillors reelected in Huntingdon and Godqmanchester and saw our vote increase really significantly in The Hemingford and Fenstanton, making us the clear challenger to the Conservatives (watch out next time!).
Our councillors are already back working hard for you, our residents. You will read in Mike Shellens' note for Huntingdon and Hartford how much attention is being given to address transport and parking issues locally - and making a real difference! Graham Wilson, in his Godmanchester note highlights the new Free School that has been "approved" for Godmanchester. So far there has been no consultation with the public, local primary schools or councillors. However, when County Council officers were consulted they said there was “no basic need” to justify the school. They were told by Government officials that the case had been made and approved on the grounds of “community/social need”. We are concerned about the size of the school, potential impact on roads in Godmanchester, and the potential negative impacts on Hinchingbrooke and St Peter Schools, as we may end up in a position which we have over-capacity of school places
The Conservatives are proposing to change the way the Council works. The aim appears to be to minimise or eliminate opposition to their policies and plans!
It is with sadness we report that Emily Price, a university student from Huntingdon, died on May 12, days before she was due to take a seat on Aberystwyth Town Council as a Liberal Democrat councillor. She had been elected to the seat on May 4, thus fulfilling an ambition to stand for the Lib Dems.
Councillor Sarah Conboy, on behalf of the Huntingdonshire Liberal Democrats, said: “The extended Liberal Democrat family would like to express our deepest sorrow at the news of the death of Emily Price.
“We send our condolences to her mum and dad, Natasha and John, and her sisters Katie and Hannah. She had so much to give to society and she had only very recently been elected to the town council in Aberystwyth, the town where she studied for her degree and set down so many roots.
“Emily’s time with her friends and family was cut cruelly short, but we hope that many will seek to inspire and motivate those around them in the way Emily would have done herself. The outpouring of affection for her through social media has been immense, and can only add to the prayers for those who will miss Emily most.”
25% fewer school-leavers are registered to vote than 3 years ago. That means thousands of young people won't get a say in their future, and this suits the Conservatives, as they are less likely to get the young person's vote!
TIME IS RUNNING OUT. You may not have registered to vote, or maybe some of your friends haven't. Take action NOW. Registration closes at midnight on Monday.
REGISTER TO VOTE
Get a move on, though! The deadline is midnight on Monday.
A COUPLE OF REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE!
- Unless younger people vote, politicians think they can ignore you. That makes it more likely the government will let younger people down. Worried whether you'll ever be able to afford your own home? Scared about student debt? Wish you didn't have to work on a zero hours contract? More young people voting won't fix it overnight, but it's a start.
- HUGE decisions will be taken in the next five years, including how Brexit works. Young people will live with these decisions for the longest. So they've got more reason than most to vote for a say in how they get taken.
Bridget, along with the NW Cambridgeshire candidates for Labour and UKIP, had the pleasure of addressing 6th Form students from Nene Park Academy today. We thought more people would appreciate reading the address, as it gives a great introduction to Bridget and explains what is important to her as a Liberal Democrat, particularly focusing on young people.
"My name is Bridget Smith and I am the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for NW Cambridgeshire and currently Leader of the South Cambs Lib Dems. I have lived in Cambridgeshire for 35 years and I have 3 sons, the youngest of whom is currently doing his A levels, including politics.Read more
Huntingdonshire is covered by two Westminster constituencies; Huntingdon and N. W. Cambridgeshire. We have 2 outstanding candidates for these constituencies.
Constituents will be hearing from Rod or Bridget directly over the next weeks, either through the mail, via social media and the press, or face-to-face . They will be introducing themselves, explaining what they believe are the local priorities, as well as the national campaign, so you are well informed when it comes to the vote!Read more