From Paul Lynch . Chronicle & Echo
Northampton’s MPs have defended their decision to vote in favour of a £30-a-week cut to a disability benefit despite fears the move could “push sick and disabled people further away from work”.
The controversial measures to reduce the amount of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for some new claimants were twice defeated in the House of Lords.
More than 30 charities and members of the Disability Benefits Consortium, including Mencap, Mind and Parkinson’s UK wrote to welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith to try and block the moves, part of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. In the open letter the charity chiefs said the cut would “push sick and disabled people further away from work.”
But it is now set to go ahead after peers deferred to the elected Commons. All of Northamptonshire’s seven MPs voted in favour of the ESA cut.Read more
Osborne's £650m stealth cut to the NHS
Changes hidden in the Budget will mean the NHS has £650m less to spend on front line services, Liberal Democrat research can reveal.
The research on the budget, based on analysis from the House of Commons Library, reveals hidden changes to public sector pensions, passing the cost directly to the health service and other public sector bodies.
Plans to reduce the public service pension scheme discount rate will raise the Treasury around £2bn from 2019/20, but passes the cost directly to the employers.
The NHS is one such employer and their share is estimated to be around £650m.
The changes will also see teachers’ pension contributions rise by £426m, the armed forces by £314m and police forces by more than £100m. This is an unbudgeted cost will take money away from front line services to pick up the bill.
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:
“Even by George Osborne’s standards, this is a vicious attack on our health service, schools and public services.
“He made grand promises about funding the NHS and is now making secret cuts by the back door.
“David Cameron said he would do whatever it takes to fill the NHS black hole, and we’ve now discovered that actually means cutting £650m just to help the Chancellor’s budget-day balance sheet.
“George Osborne cannot pull the wool over people’s eyes. Choosing to ask schools, hospitals, and forces to pay £2bn extra in pension contributions has a real cost, and vital services will have to pick up the bill.
“The Conservatives simply cannot be trusted to protect the services communities rely on up and down the country.”
It was not too long ago that the Liberal Democrats in the Lords led a vote in defence of feed in tariffs, a policy introduced by the Lib Dems in the last Government to boost a burgeoning solar industry.
Now the Tory assault has got personal, they have moved their focus on to people’s homes, attacking the small scale roof top solar panels that dot our residential landscape.
We have sadly lost the battle against the extraordinarily steep and abrupt removal of the feed-in tariffs for solar, wind and hydro. We have desperately tried to get this government to understand not only the seriousness of this in terms of moving towards a low carbon future that allows us to meet our legally binding targets, but also the depth to which investor confidence has been undermined in the renewable sector and the long term, negative impact on the economy that this has caused.
It is deeply saddening to see so much of the good work achieved by the Coalition Government, unravelled by the current Government. What is clear is that this work, which saw the tripling of electricity from renewable sources and made Britain the fastest growing green economy in Europe, was led by one side of the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats, and not embraced by the other. The Conservative Government’s actions since May 2015 demonstrate that there is no genuine commitment to the green agenda from their part, at all.Read more
Local supporters of the Britain Stronger In Europe Campaign including several Lib Dems will be by the statue in Abington Street this Saturday (19th March). They will be meeting local people and putting across the message that being in Europe is essential for British Jobs, Britain's place in the world and for our security .
Meet at the statue at 10 a.m.Read more
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Sarah Uldall used some of her Cllr. Empowerment money to fund new alley gates between Marriott Street and Hester Street in Semilong
If we vote to leave, we won’t have a seat at the top table, making the big decisions that affect us all on everything from security and trade to climate change and counter-terrorism.
We’re stronger IN the room where the big decisions are made, and that means stronger IN Europe.
Wednesday 9th March 7 pm. To agree 2015 accounts (members)
Followed at 7:30 by Monthly Politics and a Pint
Members, supporters and friends welcome. Come and enjoy a beer at club prices and chat about politics and the world.
Guest speaker from Northampton Stronger In Europe Campaign.
After 14 weeks of debates and protests county council confirms £65m cutbacks
Chronicle & Echo March 3rd
Speaking in the debate on the Conservative budget cuts Towcester's Lib Dem County Councillor Chris Lofts said
" Let us shut down this council completely and as quickly as possible"
" Let us set up three Northamptonshire Unitaries that have clear responsibilities and maintain local democracy"
" let's finish Project Angel and then sell it to the highest bidder. A unitary structure won't need it" said Chris
Cllr. Chris Lofts
According to The Chronicle and Echo : some believe scrapping Northamptonshire County Council altogether with three unitary authorities to cover all services in the county could save the taxpayer £50 million a year.
Come along to the Lib Dem Office for a coffee and a chat on Tuesday 8th March. There are always a few odd jobs to do or perhaps you can learn how to use the website?
10.30 to around noon
Lib Dem Office
KPWMC 120-126 Kingsley Park Terrace, NN2 7HJ
The Government has presented a housing bill to Parliament. The Conservatives have decided to spend vast sums of money to increase home ownership for the lucky few who manage to get a Starter Home or buy a housing association home under Right to Buy, at the cost of providing homes for those who need a more affordable place to live. That includes the 1.6 million people on social housing waiting lists.
Liberal Democrats are fighting the new bill and seeking 6 major changes. These are:
- ‘Affordable housing’ must mean homes that are genuinely affordable. What the Government thinks is affordable is simply out of reach for many people.
- Councils should not be forced to sell off their council housing. They should have local discretion to manage their homes in the interest of local people.
- All homes sold off under the Right to Buy extension must be replaced, by building more of the same types of homes in the same area.
- Starter Homes should be for people who want and need to live in them, not bought by cash buyers or let out for profit. They should stay at a discounted price for future buyers too, not just their first owner.
- Tenants should have access to the Rogue Landlords database, so they can check out a future landlord before they move.
- Higher earning council tenants who are asked to ‘Pay to Stay’ should be earning a decent income before they’re charged more – a couple earning £15,000 each are not ‘high earners’.
There are many other issues we’re tackling, including giving communities a right of appeal on house building in their local area, and bringing back Zero Carbon Homes.
There are a few things Lib Dems welcome, including measures to speed up planning processes. But overall, Tory proposals merely tinkers round the edges when it comes to increasing the supply of new homes and it will have a devastating impact on affordability.
Party Leader Tim Farron has said this Bill will cause the “death of social housing”.