Sunday, 30 September 2012

Guest Post: Report From The Lib Dem Conference In Brighton by Cllr Susan van de Ven

Cllr Susan van de Ven
(LD, Melbourn)

Just to report back to you following a visit to the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, by Tim Stone and me, together with my husband Hans.  None of us had ever been to one before; I thought it was time to see the Lib Dems in action on the national stage; and the fact that Hans could sail us all on his boat made it a strangely enticing proposition - so we did it!

The sailing bit:  we departed before dawn from our mooring in the River Orwell, Suffolk.  It took us two eleven-hour days down and two more days back up, out through Felixstowe and Harwich, through the shoals and sandbanks and wind farms of the Thames Estuary where Tim got violently ill, having gone down below to read Lib Dem policy papers, on past Margate and Ramsgate, then round the first of the white cliffs and into the convergence of cross-channel shipping into Dover - a charming, small marina nestled beneath Dover Castle with a clear view of France just across the water. An overnight rest, up again at 5:00 to catch the tide to carry us on past Dungeness, Eastbourne, the spectacular cliffs of Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters, and finally Brighton.  The weather gave us a little bit of everything - moments of hanging on for dear life and moments of sublime steady progress - and the sunrises and sunsets were to die for.

Once arrived, the boat acted as our little hotel, while the tail end of a hurricane lashed Brighton and popped a few fenders.  Tim had brought his pensioner's bus pass and I my folding bike, and both of us got very excited about using these extra forms of transport to complete our journeys to the conference centre every day, in true transport geek fashion.  The conference centre itself was heavily guarded by police and we had to go through airport style check-in each time; for some reason all the security guards wanted to run an extra check on Tim, every single time. Inside there were stalls for all sorts of lobby groups including metropolitan transport experts from the Midlands, Lib Dem associations of teachers, councillors, and Greens, etc. Outside the conference centre was a constant cluster of lobbyists handing out pamphlets and reminding us, always very politely and sometimes handing out cupcakes to get us to really listen, about the fringe meetings they considered most important.

Hans did class preparations and read dissertations on the rocking boat while Tim and I attended non-stop campaign training, policy debates and a few speeches, and fringe panel discussion meetings on every issue under the sun with all sorts of interesting people, from green energy to human rights to relieving debt burden on the young to the future of the Lib Dems in Europe, successfully implemented Lib Dem policies to rescue post offices, tax reform, community politics, you name it.

For me the highlight was hearing Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, who opened her fringe meeting (and the very large room was full to the brim) by acknowledging that the Liberal Democrats have been the guardians of human rights and civil liberties in our political system, that the party is indeed founded on these principles, and challenging us not to lose essential principles under the coalition where compromise is integral. Labour, she said, had comprehensively abandoned the human rights and civil liberties agenda and indeed developed policies counter to it.

An eminent environmentalist, Aubrey Meyer, was equally compelling, and also somewhat depressing in the message that it is already too late for this planet.  His description of the development of acidity in our seas struck a chord for us three sailors.  In answer to my question, he confirmed that a single wind turbine (or shall we say 'wind mill') in every village would be far preferable to off-shore farms, which are very expensive to maintain – though that politically this was probably impossible.  Our journey at sea did expose the fact that with off shore wind farms it's a case ‘out of of sight, out of mind’ - no one can see from shore the extent of wind farms being put down in the North Sea.  We saw about eight off-shore farms, and counted 150 mills in one farm alone.  The diesel filling station for boats on the River Orwell also serves the smaller wind farm maintenance vessels, which spend inordinate sums on fuel to run back and forth.

We quickly cottoned on to the fact that some of the fringe events had free food and there was often a correlation to attendance.  A notice of a US Election Special, complete with US Supersized Portions (a promised fulfilled) drew us into a session on polling the Romney-Obama race, and words of wisdom from Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad (you can guess who got the applause).  For me the sobering message was that the Liberal Democrats form a critical third party challenge to the status quo, something entirely missing in American politics and a big strike against the US system.  As a dual citizen, I asked a question about the relevance in the upcoming election of my postal vote, which in the US is called the Absentee Ballot.  The answer: VOTE!

Between us, we got to see some of our 'top people' in action and got a good sense of them. We were impressed with Vince Cable (informed, informal, conclusions arising from thoughtful consideration), Jo Swinson (young, wears colourful and crazy shoes, impressively informed, very down-to-earth and an outstanding speaker), Danny Alexander (plain and absolutely straightforward, enormously credible), and Graham Watson (leader of the Lib Dem MEPs).  Even skeptical Hans was impressed with Nick Clegg who in spite of the You Tube apology hit song was not really apologetic but again, quite plain and straightforward, constantly making the case for cooperation in government, and demonstrating some kind of long-term resilience.  Tim also found Tim Farron very good though was clearly influenced by all the ‘I’m for Tim’ badges that lots of people were wearing.

The conference was well-attended but there was also the sense of a comparatively modest-sized association of people all committed to similar broad principles, and a nervousness and fragility about what the future might hold.  We were reminded that economic recession creates fertile ground for extremism, and combined with the unpopularity of complicated coalition politics, this presents us with a big challenge.  The Members of the European Parliament we heard spoke about the UKIP challenge, as the other ‘third party,’ and the prospect of only one or two Lib Dem MEPs surviving the 2014 election.

There were a couple of references to the very bad press that the Lib Dems keep getting and the role and public service responsibility of the press within our political system.  As if to prove the point the BBC Politics Show kept running ridiculous surveys in the main foyer, in which people were asked to put a bright yellow ball in a see-through container to indicate 'Yes Nick Clegg should continue' or 'No we need someone else.'  Tim and I challenged the reporter (at first we had no idea who he was, and demanded to know which company he represented - how disappointing that it was the BBC) for boiling Lib Dem politics down to one contest; the range of issues and the depth of debate on everything we attended was far more interesting that a yellow ball contest.  The reporter got very cross and told us he had no time to be harangued by the likes of us.

Rather than continuous speeches (of which there were actually very few) the conference consisted of policy motions that sometimes strongly challenged government direction. This underscored the Lib Dems as a grassroots organization that is democratically run, on a one member, one vote basis - and the Lib Dems are the only national party to operate in this way.  Indeed, while of course there were ‘messages’, the conference did not seem to be dominated by propaganda, but was more about party leaders being held to account by the community activists who sit at the core of the Lib Dem movement.  What the party leaders emphasized again and again was the challenge of selling the nuanced message of influence in government, as opposed to a more black and white straightforward picture that would accompany single party government.

The most valuable component of the conference was the campaign training. We met a dynamic group of young activists from Saffron Walden and Stansted who do training in Connect, the new software package we are meant to learn in order to do properly targeted campaigning - and indeed targeted campaigning  will be the name of the game from now on.  We also learned about fundraising: we need to differentiate our events and what we charge for them, so some free, some cheap, and some downright expensive (£50 per head for a great speaker).  Tim has drawn up a comprehensive rebuilding campaign to attract new members and supporters, and then there's the matter of campaigning for the next two years' worth of local elections - though the first will support the second.

By the end of Day Five we were conferenced-out, the hurricane weather had at last subsided and it was time to go home.  We had a brilliant trip back, got completely addicted to the pace of life at sea, admittedly under a skipper who sailed the boat practically single-handedly while Tim and I pulled a few ropes and put on a few fenders when coming into port (often on the wrong side of the boat).

All in all a very worthwhile and certainly unforgettable experience.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Guest Post: Apple Maps Comes To Bar Hill! by Cllr Andy Pellew

As I'm sure you're aware Apple have updated their iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod) with iOS 6 which replaces the existing Google Maps with *new* Apple Maps which includes Turn-By-Turn navigation as well as a 3D view.

Sadly the new Maps application is not quite up to the standard of Google Maps (in much the same way as an ant is not quite up to the height of a giraffe).

Looking at Bar Hill Tesco is a good example of where this has not quite worked ... The map at the right shows Tesco Car Park with access both to Gladeside and Viking Way (neither of which exists), and a surprising loop in the car park.

If nothing else pondering these anomalies with give the people trapped in the one-way system that the Petrol Station has suddenly turned into something to think about!

There are numerous other issues; "Long Stanton Road" as an example of a typo, and half the businesses are missing including Tesco, the Parish Council Officers, the Church, etc.

I have reported several of these, but fixing everything is going to be a *huge* job and is way beyond anything that Apple have planned - Google Maps after all didn't get anywhere near as good as it is now overnight! It's just a shame this half-finished product is being forced onto people in it's current state. 

So what should Apple do? (let's just pretend they are taking advice from bloggers!) I've mentioned before in various blogs the open-source mapping information provided by www.openstreetmap.org seems to be a viable alternative. For example;

OpenStreetMap.org - Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire

I'd suggest to Apple that rather than trying to build their own mapping database - which will take years - or buying one of the not-as-good-as-Google mapping companies out there to get access to their data why not work with OpenStreetMap and provide some funding for the project and use open source mapping data? Give it all away free and people will help you build it.

Anyway, here's hoping they do something soon!

Cambridge MP Huppert Brushes Up On Life-Saving Skills With Hands-Only CPR

Julian practices hands-only CPR
at the Lib Dem conference in
Brighton

MP Julian Huppert brushed up on the life-saving skills he learnt as a St John Ambulance volunteer during a training session at the Liberal Democrat Conference.

Julian joined other MPs to reinforce his support for a campaign by TV hardman, Vinnie Jones to teach hands-only CPR as an alternative to the kiss of life.

He was invited to try the technique of giving chest compressions “hard and fast” at least 100 times each minute until professional help arrives.

The campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation which set up the training at the Brighton conference.

Vinnie Jones starred in a television advert to actively promote hands-only CPR and a training film recorded by the actor was shown at the conference.

Julian said: “I learnt life-saving skills during my time with St John Ambulance and realised very quickly how important it is to act fast when a person collapses. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.

“Many people find giving the kiss of life a daunting prospect; but hands-only CPR is very simple to learn and it could put thousands more life-savers on our streets.”

Bailiff Agrees To Clean Up His Act After Trading Standards Investigation


The director of a debt recovery company has agreed to change his business practices and pay nearly £15,000 back to firms across the country following an investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards.

Nigel Marsh the director of Armitage Credit Control Ltd which is based in March, narrowly avoided legal action by Cambridgeshire County Council when he appeared at Peterborough Magistrates Court and he agreed to sign an Enterprise Act undertaking regarding his future conduct in relation to his debt collection business.

Marsh also agreed to pay back £14,620 to six businesses and meet the Council's investigation costs of £5,000.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards launched an investigation after it received complaints from businesses across the country that had employed Armitage Credit Control to collect commercial debts. The debts were collected but then not passed on to the clients.

Cambridgeshire County Council's Head of Supporting Business and Communities, Leon Livermore, said: "This was a particularly tricky investigation as we had to obtain statements not only from those people who had lost money but also the individuals and companies that owed the debts and paid Armitage Credit Control.

"Nigel Marsh had to agree to sign the undertaking before a judge in open court. This is a fantastic result, especially in terms of getting the money back for the people who had lost out and the outcome is a tribute to the work of Cambridgeshire Trading Standards to support and protect the small businesses that otherwise would have had to write off significant amounts of money because of the activities of Armitage Credit Control Ltd."

Thursday, 27 September 2012

E-Cops Regular Update


Between Tuesday 18th Sep at 18:00 hours and Wednesday 19th Sep at 07:05 hours a theft from a motor vehicle has taken place in Stonefiled, Bar Hill. Unknown offenders have gained entry into a stationery parked van and have stolen various electrical power tools at high value.

There has been a further three crime reports from Bar Hill Tesco, relating to fuel theft. Motorist have filled their vehicles with fuel at Tesco petrol station and drove off at speed without making any attempts to pay.

I carried out a door to door police survey in Partridge Drive, Bar Hill this week. After consulting with a number of residents, there was some parking issues raised for the area and will be monitored and dealt with.

We are still looking for members to join the Bar Hill Neighbourhood Watch Scheme which has been in place for nearly two years and has been running very well. The Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators are working hard to recruit new members and need your support. If you are interested in becoming a street coordinator or a member then please feel free to contact me on bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk for further information.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk. If you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind Regards
PCSO B. MANI
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Residents Back Campaign To Safeguard City’s Post Offices


Cambridge residents are supporting MP Julian Huppert and councillors as they push the government to renew a major contract which is vital for post offices across the city.

Dozens of people in Cambridge have joined a national postcard campaign calling on Julian and MPs nationally to urge the government to continue allowing people to obtain driving licences and vehicle tax discs through their post offices.

Julian visits Jagtar Singh at Derby Stores
The campaign was launched by the National Association of Subpostmasters as the government decides whether it should renew the contract with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Julian joined city councillors at Cambridge’s Derby Stores and post office in Derby Street, Newnham to find out how important these services were to the business.

He said: “This contract is coming up for renewal soon and if it is taken away from local post offices, it will deny them of a vital source of income. This could leave some post offices struggling to survive.

“Our post offices are an essential part of our communities. People rely on them for a whole range of services. Some people don’t have access to the internet or don’t want to buy their car tax and other DVLA services on line; they should be able to have that choice.

“The previous government closed down post offices across the country. I hope this government will do everything in its power to protect those that remain and renewing this contract will go some way to doing that.”

Jagtar Singh from Derby Stores said: “There is nowhere else on this side of town where people can buy their car tax. This is an important community service.

“We are competing with the Co-op across the road and we need to offer other services if we are to attract people to the store.

“If the government doesn’t support this contract some post offices may have to close.”

Julian visits Jagtar Singh at Derby Stores along with (from left) Newnham
councillors Rod Cantrill, Sian Reid and Lucy Nethsingha

Travel Plan Plus - September Newsletter 2012


The latest version of the Travel Plan Plus newsletter has just been published. Stories include;

  • 2012 Travel To Work Survey
  • Grants and Free Services
  • Pool Bikes Get An Upgrade
  • CamShare
  • Bring Us Your Broadband Horror Stories
  • Global Action Plan
You can download the newsletter from the TravelPlanPlus.org.uk website here (or it's available from Google Docs by clicking here).

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Gains Lib Dem Conference Backing For Aviation Strategy

Julian Huppert MP Addressing The Liberal
Democrat Autumn Conference

Liberal Democrats have given their strong support to an aviation strategy, presented by MP Julian Huppert, which balances the industry’s benefits as a driver of jobs and growth with its environmental damage.

Julian presented the motion at the Lib Dems’ Brighton conference reinforcing the party’s opposition to new runways at London’s airports when there is already space at existing airports for a sixty per cent expansion.

The policy also makes it clear that the party has a long-term vision for a new hub airport - if an appropriate location can be found  - but without an increase in runways or total airport capacity. The party firmly rejects Boris Johnson’s Thames estuary airport.

“We acknowledge that there are benefits to aviation and we want to maximise those benefits while that the same time protecting our environment and meeting our carbon emission targets,” said Julian. “But we must not allow the total number of UK runways to expand. Flight movements above the Committee on Climate Change cap would pose an unacceptable risk.

“By voting so strongly for this motion our party members and supporters have left the public in no doubt where we stand on this crucial issue.”

The Lib Dems want to see UK aviation policy based on five key principles: accessibility from the north and south; growth within UK carbon budgets; minimal impact on the local population; minimal impact on the global environment and maximum hubbing potential.

“In stark contrast, the other parties have failed to be clear about where they stand on airport expansion,” said Julian. “The public is still not sure whether the Conservatives will decide to go-ahead with a third runway at Heathrow after the next elections. The party is wavering all over the place, it is astonishingly divided.

“And Labour does not even have a policy on a Heathrow 3rd runway. They refuse to support or oppose it; they have proved irresponsible in government, irresponsible out of government. We, on the other hand, have made our position absolutely clear.

The motion also calls for new noise limits over populated areas at certain times to incentivise quieter planes and tough requirements to make sure low emission vehicles are used at airports.

Minister May Intervene If Schools Fail To Gel


Cllr Ian Manning and David Laws MP

Education Minister, David Laws has promised to intervene if a new school planned for Cambridge fails to work effectively alongside the successful Shirley Primary School.

Mr Laws, the newly-appointed Liberal Democrat Minister, gave his assurance on the matter to Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Ian Manning, who represents East Chesterton.

Cllr Manning raised the issue with Mr Laws at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference in Brighton because he is worried about the new academy school, planned for the former Shirley Primary School site may have an unfair advantage.

“The Shirley School has a fantastic record of achievement for its parents and pupils, and I'm very concerned that, because a new school has to be an academy or free school, it will have an unfair advantage over the Shirley,” said Cllr Manning.

“I want a new school to complement the Shirley's achievements and not work against it. I'm pleased Liberal Democrats in government recognise this and have given me their support to make sure the new addition is positive for our community.”

Cllr Manning has also invited the minister to visit the Shirley Primary School in the new year to see the work being carried out there.


Cambridge MP Huppert's Victory Against Website Blocking


MP Julian Huppert is celebrating victory after news that the government is set to overturn powers which could allow websites to be blocked for allegedly breaking copyright laws.

Labour rushed the Digital Economy Act legislation through in the dying days of its government and sections 17 and 18 allowed websites to be blocked if they might carry pirated material - even if they in fact hadn't.

But today (Tuesday, September 25) Julian discovered from a government official at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton that the government is to repeal those parts of the law.

Julian said: “This is fantastic news. I have been fighting for three years to get this legislation overturned. It threatened to deny freedom of expression, competition and innovation.

“This should never have been rammed through by Labour. I’m delighted that this government has realised how potentially destructive this legislation was and will now repeal it.”

Julian led a Facebook fight 'Lib Dems: Save the Net' and received full support from the Lib Dems for an emergency motion before the last election, to take a stance against these parts of the Digital Economy Bill. But with massive Labour support the bill was passed, despite Lib Dem opposition.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Named Among Top 20 Influential Lib Dems

Julian Huppert MP

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has been named as one of the most influential Liberal Democrats by a national newspaper.

Julian took the number 20 slot in a Daily Telegraph listing of top 50 Lib Dems compiled by a group of experts.

He was described as “independently minded” and a “passionate anti-nuclear weapons campaigner”.

The article reminded readers that in a poll in the Lib Dem Voice – the party’s newspaper for members and supporters – Julian came out on top in the ratings.

“He is independently minded and on the left of his party,” the Telegraph article said. “He voted against any increase in tuition fees and is a passionate anti-nuclear weapons campaigner.

“Huppert may be a key rebel on the Lib Dem benches, but over the past year he has grown in stature and is widely respected by the leadership for his intellect. His battle with the Coalition over email surveillance plans only helped to bolster his ever-increasing popularity with the party’s grassroots.”

Julian said: “I feel privileged to have a place in this poll alongside some top names in the Liberal Democrats.

“I have worked hard in the last two years to stand up for the issues that are so important to the people of Cambridge and nationally. I look forward to the challenges the future will bring.”

The Manor Open Days/Evenings: October 2012

The Manor (where I'm Chair of Governors) has published details of Open Evenings and Open Days in October. If you'd like to come and speak to staff, pupils, and myself at the Manor and see for yourself the hard work Ben Slade (the Principle) is doing for students and for the community then we'd love to see you!

I know this is a little out of our area but I feel that it might be of interest!

The Manor: Open Days/Evenings 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Leads Cross-Party Cycling Inquiry

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is leading a cross-party inquiry into cycling which will cover a range of issues including road design, safety and training.

The inquiry will be conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, which Julian co-chairs and will present its report to the government.

The 10-strong panel of MPs will examine proposals in a bid to achieve the aim of The Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign which Julian supported through a Westminster Hall debate earlier this year.

MPs will hear testament from expert witnesses drawn from cycling charities, road safety groups, rail operators, council officials and civil servants from the transport, health and education departments.

Julian said: “"This work is crucially important if we are to seriously promote cycling as a safe, viable means of transport and give it the investment it needs and which has been seriously lacking in the past.

"The inquiry should look at how we can encourage more people to cycle, improve safety on our roads for cyclists, the measures we can take to make drivers more aware and how the law could be changed to offer them greater protection.#

"We know that HGVs are involved in many of the accidents involving cyclists and I have been pushing for them to be fitted with mirrors and sensors - to improve visibility in their “blind spots” - and turning alarms and safety bars. We could also make changes to the driving test to make learner drivers more cyclist aware.

"We also need greater provision for cyclists such as dedicated cycle lanes and improvements to roads and junctions. It is time that we put cyclists on a level footing with other road users and offered them the protection they deserve. And, of course we need to make sure cyclists receive the proper training and adhere to the rules of the road.

"This inquiry is an ideal opportunity to identify areas where we can make vast improvements while at the same time giving cycling the recognition it deserves."

Clegg Praises Cambridge MP Huppert For "Superb Job" On Data Comms Bill


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg has praised Cambridge MP Julian Huppert for the “superb job” he is doing scrutinising the controversial Draft Data Communications Bill.

When asked during the party conference in Brighton if he would veto the Bill if the Tories and Labour were in favour of it, Nick said he was no expert on it and would take advice from Julian.

Julian was selected by Nick to sit on the parliamentary committee which is overseeing the Bill. He is worried that the legislation in its current format, gives the government too much authority to monitor data, effectively snooping on its citizens.

Nick Clegg’s comments came when he was asked whether the Lib Dems would vote for the Bill.

He said: “Julian Huppert has been doing a superb job looking at the Bill.” And he added that, if the problems raised by the joint committee looking at it cannot be addressed then the Bill would not go ahead.

When asked if he would veto the Bill if Tory and Labour MPs on the committee supported it, Nick Clegg said he would take advice from Julian.

Julian said: “It's an honour and responsibility to be asked to play such a key role on this very serious issue.

“This Bill has huge implications for the way we access, collect and use data. We must not give ministers or anyone else broader powers to snoop on the public and we can only do that if we have tighter controls.

“I will be advising Nick Clegg that we cannot allow this to become a Bill or be presented to Parliament, unless these concerns are addressed, and the draft massively rewritten to protect out civil liberties."

Unlock Democracy: Dragging Their Heels On Funding Laws


Parliament passed a crucial law in 2009 to prevent political parties from accepting money from non-domiciled donors. Yet in three years, the government has failed to take action and actually start enforcing it.

With the major parties continuing to accept cash from non-doms, we need to take action. Will you ask your MP to put pressure on the minister in charge Nick Clegg to enforce the existing legislation and insist that parties hand back the money?

Write to your MP now!

In 2009, the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 was passed which requires party donors to make a declaration that they are resident in the UK and pay UK income tax when donating more than £7,500. Three years later, it is still awaiting a commencement order from a government minister so the Electoral Commission can enforce the law.

Despite agreeing to change the law, the major parties are still accepting large sums of money from non-domiciled donors. The Conservative Party has received donations of £227,000 from from entrepreneur and Monaco resident David Instance in the last ten years, and £73,000 from property billionaires and Monaco residents the Candy brothers between 2009 and 2010. Also living in Monaco is Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, who has donated £5 million to the party since 2001, but promised to stop in 2009. His company, Abbey Business Centre has picked up the slack, having donated £53,000 since then. Meanwhile, the Labour Party received £1 million from non-dom Lakshmi Mittal in April 2010.

The big donor culture needs to change, with caps being placed on donations to parties to end the scandals that repeatedly flare up. But before this happens, we need to demand something even smaller: that the government enforce legislation that already exists.

Please write to your MP, asking them to raise this crucial issue with Nick Clegg.

Take action now!

Many thanks,

Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy

1. http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/blog/entry/why-is-the-government-dragging-its-heels-over-party-funding-law

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert In The Pink To Support Fight Against Breast Cancer

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert
MP Julian Huppert is in the pink supporting the fight against breast cancer.

He is taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s award winning fund-raiser Wear It Pink and is urging Cambridge residents to join him.

The campaign is in its 10th year and on Friday, October 26 supporters from all over the country will support the charity’s new theme, superheroes, stemming from the belief that everybody who joins the fight is a super hero.

Julian said: “It is vital that we continue to raise money for research into this disease. Every year thousands of people, women and men, are diagnosed with breast cancer. But the survival rates are improving all the time thanks to the research that is taking place; we must make sure that research can continue.”

To take part in the pink day visit wearitpink.co.uk and register to receive a free fundraising pack now.

Breast Cancer Campaign aims to beat breast cancer by funding innovative world-class research to understand how breast cancer develops, leading to improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure.
  • The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, the UK’s first ever national breast cancer tissue bank is a unique collaboration with four leading research institutions to create a vital resource of breast cancer tissue for researchers across the UK and Ireland. Visit breastcancertissuebank.org
  • The charity currently funds 91 projects worth over £15.5 million in 35 locations across the UK and Ireland.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Rupert Moss Eccardt chosen as Lib Dem PCC candidate


PCC Candidate Rupert
Moss-Eccardt

After an all-member ballot, Rupert Moss-Eccardt has been chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election in November.

Mr Moss-Eccardt said: “I am pleased and honoured to be chosen to represent the very many Liberal Democrats in the Force area. We want to make policing effective, trusted and professional.”

“We should not try to measure crime-fighting success by the number of people arrested, we need to measure how many crimes are committed and get that number down, so we can enable people to live without the fear of crime.”

"I welcome this decision," said Catherine Smart, Chair of the Cambridge Liberal Democrat local party.  "Rupert has a great deal of knowledge about policing and will be a very good candidate.  Should he be elected, his experience at the National Specialist Law Enforcement Centre will be invaluable."

E-Cops - Your Weekly News


Since my last E-cop message there has been only one crime report for Bar Hill.

On Thursday 6th September, between 12:00 and 12:30, there has been one attempted burglary in Robin Close, Bar Hill, where unknown offender/s have gone to the rear of a property and used force to attempt to prize open rear French doors. No entry was gained into the property and the doors remained locked. Offender/s have then left via the rear gate, nothing has been taken from the property or garden. Upon officer attendance tyre marks have been seen at the rear of the property in the grass. It has been confirmed by local residents that nobody usually parks or drives in this area.

Patrols in Bar Hill Skate Park, Tesco and Library area have continued on regular basis by myself and colleagues, I am pleased to say that everything was all in order.

On Tuesday 11th Septembern I carried out safety speed checks in Oakington Road, Dry Drayton, as a result 4 motorists were seen travelling in excess of the speed limit. All motorists have been dealt with accordingly.

Girton:

Between 17:30 and 22:00, on Monday 10th September, a theft from a motor vehicle took place in Old Crown, High Street, Girton whilst vehicle was parked. Unknown offender has smashed the front near side window of the vehicle and stolen a leather bag worth £100.

On Tuesday 11th September, a theft from Girton Co-op took place at 20:46 hours.Various meat items and a bottle of whisky were stolen by an unknown male suspect. This incident has been captured on the shop CCTV and we are working to identify this suspect.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk. If you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind Regards
PCSO B. MANI
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

'Thursdays Together' Project Gets Further Lottery Funding


‘Thursdays Together ’, part of the Kings Hedges Family Support Project, celebrates the success and impact of the project’s last 5 years and announces further funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

Thursdays Together was fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund from April 2007 – March 2012 through the Reaching Communities Programme. With further funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Supporting Change and Impact programme, the project has commissioned an external evaluation of the Thursdays Together project which will be launched at a celebration event on the 20th September. Guest Speakers at the celebration will be Sara Betsworth, Big Lottery Fund Head of Eastern England Region, and Julian Huppert MP.

A further announcement will be made that the project has now been awarded another 5 years full funding (£186,576) for Thursdays Together from Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme. This funding means that Thursdays Together will be able to continue to provide a wide range of timely and preventative family support services, reducing isolation, offering opportunities for improvement and enrichment to health, well being, life skills and family life.

The drop-in sessions provide a welcoming space for around 100 local adults, babies and pre-school aged children to meet and to enjoy a variety of creative play, outdoor activities, music, gardening and healthy meals. The drop-in sessions, held for 50 weeks of the year, help local families gain in skills, knowledge and information, enabling parents and carers to gain confidence and enjoyment in their role as primary care givers. Family Support Workers are on hand to provide timely advice and help where needed.

The Project works with parents and primary care givers, and weekly sessions are held on Thursdays 10.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m. at The Brown’s Field Youth and Community Centre, Green End Road, Chesterton. Parts of East Chesterton are amongst the 20 most deprived areas of Cambridgeshire (English Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2010). Evidence demonstrates that early interventions, within an accessible community provision, reduce the need for more costly specialist support services later on.

Lynn Tumber, Project Manager said “It is truly fantastic that the Big Lottery Fund has funded the project as it will enable us to continue working with local families, growing and developing with them in their Community.”

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: “I am delighted to be able to join in with the celebrations following this excellent news.

“Thursdays Together not only provides a fun environment for youngsters who have the chance to take part in a variety of activities but it also offers vital support to parents and carers. Family life can be challenging and it’s helpful to know there are other people going through the same experiences and expert advice on hand.

“This project has proved invaluable and I am delighted the National Lottery will continue to give it the funding support it deserves.”

The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.  The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ward Acts To Protect Local Democracy In 20mph Move

Cllr Tim Ward Speaking at Conference

A leading Cambridge City Councillor is taking action to make sure a national call to support 20mph speed limits in residential streets puts residents and local authorities in charge.

Tim Ward, Executive Councillor for Planning and Sustainable Transport is backing a motion to the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference but wants some of the wording changed to take control away from central government.

He said: “It is crucial that the final decision on whether residential streets becoming 20mph zones rests with the residents and local authorities after proper consultation.

“I fully support the motion going before conference but want to make sure that the wording is clear in support of local democracy. It is also important that we don’t advocate a ‘one size fits all policy’ but instead allow local authorities to make decisions based on their own localities.”

The motion “20 is Plenty - Saving Lives on the Road” will be put before the Brighton conference on Monday, September 24.

It calls for all existing residential roads currently on a 30mph limit to move to 20mph over a 10 year period with the aim of converting 10 per cent of all roads each year.

But Cllr Ward, working with colleagues in St Albans, is calling for this wording to be replaced with a reference to local authorities giving consideration to the introduction of 20mph limits in existing residential and other suitable roads over the next few years, with schemes designed in consultation with local residents.

He is also aiming to make sure that instead of the Transport Minister being “put in charge of the national conversion to 20mph limits”, he will consult with local authorities on the matter.

Cllr Ward’s amendment has been supported by South East and South Cambs Lib Dems.

He added: “We have been very clear here in Cambridge that no decisions will be taking on altering speed limits in the city without full consultation with our residents and we want to make sure that message comes across nationally.

“There is well-documented evidence that lowering the speed limit would make our roads safer and give parents more confidence to allow their children to walk and cycle to school. But it is crucial that any decisions are taken with the support of people living in the city.”

Monday, 17 September 2012

An Exam For All Abilities (Guest Post by David Laws MP)


The Coalition has today announced our plan to replace GCSEs with new, reformed qualifications.

Our proposals will restore rigour to the exam system, allow us to compete on the international stage, and end years of grade inflation under Labour.

When some Conservatives suggested that we could bring back the 1950s O-Level, Nick Clegg immediately made it clear that Liberal Democrats would not tolerate such a move.  Liberal Democrats will never accept a return to an unfair, two-tier system that divides children into winners and losers at a young age.

That’s why Nick negotiated with the Conservatives over the summer to ensure that the exam system will be more rigorous, but will also have Liberal Democrat ideas of fairness and social mobility at its heart.  Our new qualification will:

  • Be designed for the same children who currently sit GCSEs – whatever their ability level;
  • Stretch those at the top while ending the cap on aspiration that means some children sit exam papers which don’t allow them to achieve more than a grade C;
  • Reward children for their individual aptitude and ability – unlike the O-Level there will be no cap on top grades;
  • Include new provision for the very small number of children, including those with special educational needs, who don’t sit GCSEs at the moment.

We have also ensured there will be full consultation with teachers, parents and others in education.  That means that the first teaching for these new exams, which we propose calling English Baccalaureate Certificates, will begin in 2015.

By working together in coalition Liberal Democrats have been able to secure a new qualification fit for the future, that will benefit all students and not just the privileged few.

Best wishes,

David Laws MP
Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Education

County Council Attacked In School Places Fiasco

Cllr Ian Manning
(LD, East Chesterton)

Cambridgeshire County Council has been attacked for its fiasco over primary school places in Cambridge which left residents forced to choose between two “unpalatable and deeply flawed” solutions for a former school site.

The attack comes from Councillor, Ian Manning, who represents Cambridge’s East Chesterton on the county council, as the decision was taken to build a new school on the site of the old Shirley Community Primary School.

The school moved to a new purpose built site which has now proved too small to accommodate the growing need for primary school places in the city.

In a bid to solve the crisis, residents now face a new school opening on the old site and fear a return to traffic chaos they experienced in the past.

But they were given only two options for the future of the site - either a new school or housing – both of which Cllr Manning criticised as being a county council failure.

“Choosing to open a new school is probably the right decision, but it is simply the Conservative Cabinet deciding to fail in a slightly better way,” he said. “It is still a failure of the county council to fulfil its duty to provide for children’s education.

“The county council presented residents with two unpalatable and deeply flawed options. Either one would affect residents of Green End Road, Ennisskillen Road and Evergreens. They have faced years of traffic chaos which they are now worried will resume.

“They've had a year without this, now they are faced with it restarting. On the other hand many residents of these roads were concerned about what would happen if the site was not run as school and instead sold off as housing, which in itself would bring traffic and loss of amenity.”

Cllr Manning will be attending a public meeting on the October 2, venue to be confirmed, which will allow residents to voice their concerns directly to the county council Cabinet member and officers.

Two Councillors In A Boat Set Sail For Conference


Two Cambridgeshire councillors have chosen a novel way to travel to their party conference.

Susan van de Ven and Tim Stone are weighing anchor and setting sail from Suffolk for the journey to the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton which takes place between September 22 and 26.

The pair will skippered by Susan’s husband, Hans, in his 35-year-old boat, Andax, on a journey which could take up to three days depending on the weather.

Their 120 mile trip will start from the River Orwell near Ipswich, Suffolk and head for Dover where they hope to drop anchor for the first night before going on to Brighton.

Once they reach their destination, American-born Susan who represents Melbourn on Cambridgeshire County Council and is the Lib Dem County Transport Spokesperson, will unfold her bike to cycle to the conference centre. Tim, who represents Duxford, will use his pensioner’s bus pass to travel into the city.

The pair’s journey will be fraught with danger as they negotiate busy shipping lanes in the North Sea.

Susan said: “To get out of the River Orwell, we will sail within a few metres of massive container ships at Felixstowe,  and coming out of Harwich Haven, across the Thames Estuary, around Ramsgate and along the south coast of England we will have to negotiate very busy shipping lanes.  

“There is an enormous amount to learn about what goes on in the North Sea, which can seem a very crowded place. We will pass vast off-shore wind farms, that look like airport runways at night, oil rigs, fishing boats of all sizes and huge passenger ferries.  The diesel station that supplies small boats in the River Orwell is the same one that supplies service boats for off-shore wind farm maintenance.

“The trip will take two to three days depending on the weather. The forecast is OK going out but the tides are most difficult in the outward direction.

“Spending time on a small boat as a means of transport means you must completely recalculate the time you need to get anywhere. There is no way you can go on rushing around in 21st century style. It puts you right in the face of nature and you must learn to work with it, not in spite of it.”

Susan’s Dutch-born husband, Hans is a professor of Chinese history and has just written a book about the Chinese maritime customs service and its imitation of the British civil service from 1850 to 1950.

He bought his English-made boat two and a half years ago and the family now use it regularly to cross the North Sea to visit relatives in Holland.

“I am planning to keep up with my casework by taking my phone and laptop with me and using internet access in Brighton,” added Susan.

“Tim has a meeting in Cambridge on Monday so will be travelling to Cambridge and back by train in the middle of the conference.”

Cambridge MP Huppert Backs Campaign To Tackle Killer Disease

Julian attends the UK Sepsis Trust’s
Westminster reception 

MP Julian Huppert has backed a campaign to tackle a relatively unknown illness which kills more people each year than common cancers.

Julian gave his support for early recognition and treatment of Sepsis at a House of Commons reception organised by the UK Sepsis Trust.

And he signed an Early Day Motion calling on the government to improve standards in the detection and treatment of the disease.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and claims the lives of 37,000 people in the UK every year – more than the number of lives claimed by cancers of the breast, bowel and prostate combined.

Julian said: “Many people will never have heard of this condition; it doesn’t hit the headlines but it is deadly.

“But with early diagnosis and fast treatment many lives could be saved. I want to see Sepsis viewed as a medical emergency with a much higher profile so that sufferers can get the early help they need.”

 Sepsis is the leading cause of death from infection around the world and, despite advances in modern medicine like vaccines, antibiotics, and acute care experts believe not enough is being done to save lives.

If a patient is diagnosed and treated in the first hour following presentation with Sepsis, he or she will have more than an 80 per cent survival rate. After the sixth hour, the patient only has a 30 per cent survival rate.

Speakers at the event included Patrick Kane, a 15-year old school boy who survived Sepsis and who carried the Olympic torch through London in July despite losing his lost his right leg below the knee and his left lower arm and fingers off his right hand to the disease.

 Dr. Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust said: “The statistics associated with Sepsis have dramatic implications for global efforts to eliminate disease. Sepsis is a medical emergency and requires a worldwide effort to educate and engage both the general public and political powers, to take steps required to tackle its growing number of victims.”

 The full wording of the EDM is as follows:
"That this House notes that sepsis claims 37,000 lives in the UK every year which is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined; supports the work of the UK Sepsis Group in raising awareness of the condition; further notes that simple timely interventions identified in international care standards by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign can halve the risk of death and save the NHS money; is concerned that in the UK these standards are met in fewer than one in seven cases; calls on the Department of Health to ensure that these standards are met across the NHS; and urges that the Quality Standard identified in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Library of Topics for Development on surgical site infection and sepsis should be broadened to include the whole spectrum of the condition and should be produced quickly."

Julian at the UK Sepsis Trust’s Westminster reception
signing the Early Day Motion (EDM)

Views Sought On Plans To Bring Green End School Site Back Into Use



Residents of East Chesterton in Cambridge are being asked for their views on plans to bring back into use the former Shirley Lower School site in Green End Road.

The proposals by Cambridgeshire County Council are designed to tackle the need for more school places in the East Chesterton area.

The authority has faced significant pressure on primary school places in Cambridge since 2008, as a result of a rise in the birth rate.

The greatest difference between the provision currently available and the projected number of 4-year-olds is in the catchment area of Shirley Primary School in Nuffield Road.

In order to meet the shortfall, education officers are proposing to bring back into use the school's former lower school site in Green End Road to create a new primary school with early years and childcare facilities.

The original buildings date back to the 1930s, but are generally in good condition and could accommodate a school again with little structural work. The interior would need to be refurbished. If agreed, the school buildings would re-open in September 2013.

The County Council is holding a drop-in session for members of the public to see the plans. This will be on Tuesday 2 October between 6.30pm and 8.30pm in the Scout Hall on the former Shirley Lower School site in Green End Road in Cambridge.

The public's views will then be put to the County Council's Cabinet on 23 October, when the next steps in the process will be determined.

Comments can be sent to Ian Trafford, Education Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council, CC1208, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP or to ian.trafford@cambridgeshire.gov.uk


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Liberal Democrats Have Their Say At Party Conference


Unlike the other main parties our Party Conference (which is quickly approaching) is a slightly more democratic affair with individual members and local parties being able to propose motions and policies which are then adopted as is, modified, or rejected - those that succeed become party policy.

This year we have a list of 20 motions to be debated. If you want to read the full text of each motion they are published for everyone to see here;

http://www.libdems.org.uk/siteFiles/resources/docs/conference/2012-Autumn/Aut12%20Agenda%20book.pdf

Each local party, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire for example get to nominate a number of people who will be attending the conference and who are "voting representatives" of their local parties. This number is determined by the local membership numbers. Cambridge, for example, has 11, South Cambridgeshire I think has slightly less.

If you enjoy discussing politics and helping to draft policy and would like to join the Liberal Democrats then you can join the party by following the link below;

https://www.libdems.org.uk/join_us.aspx?Ref=119

If you'd like quick summary of the motions here's a breakdown provided by the Cambridge Local Party (PM = Policy Motion  PMPP = Policy Motion based on Policy Paper);

SUBJECT
MOVER
SYNOPSIS OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONFERENCE
Early Years
[Saturday pm]
Sal Brinton
PM calling for extension of childcare to grossly underprovided underprivileged children, increasing reach, quality and affordability, and in longer term: increasing entitlement to more 2 year olds and to 20 hrs; increasing partnership working; increasing qualifications of leading staff and increasing all staff professional development.
Getting the Most Out of Schools
[Saturday pm]
Dan Rogerson
PM calling for impact assessment of pupil premium, school freedom in its use, measures to deal with schools that fail to use large sums of pp well; major developments in vocational education: including parental involvements in schools; pathways to higher education, including vocational; international standards (EU) for vocational qualifications; engaging with relevant private sector employers to provide career paths for students with low grades; a vocational equivalent to EBacc.
Reform of the House of Lords
Jeremy Hargreaves
PM calling for a second chamber by 2015 wholly or predominantly elected; gender balance in second chamber from the start; all Liberal Democrat members of House of Lords to support this party principle & policy which pre-dates their births. [Saturday pm]
A Sustainable Future for Aviation

[Sunday am]
Julian Huppert
PM calling for: rejection of new runways at LHR, STN & LGW; rejection of mixed mode or more night flights at LHR; rejection of both airport expansion that exceeds emissions cap of the Committee on Climate Change & of increased net number of runways; overall emissions cap for aviation industry for 2050; 5 key principles for future policy – accessibility, growth within carbon budgets, minimal impact to local population & local environment, maximum hubbing potential; green the aviation industry; make best use of existing capacity; independent study to select a hub airport.   
International Cooperation on the Environment
To be announced
PM calling for UK: to push other EU member states to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020; to push for reform of European Emissions Trading Scheme; to lead on adoption of UN Biodiversity indicators; to work with other countries, especially G77 &c, to develop Sustainable Development Goals focussing on food, energy & water; to be a driver to secure a legally binding climate agreement, taking effect by 2020. [Sunday am]
Good Food Shouldn’t Cost the Earth


[Sunday am]
Kathryn Parminter
PM calling for: a National Food Strategy for sustainable & healthy food, addressing food security, climate change, environment protection, affordability, animal welfare; promotion of healthier diets, including use of fiscal measures; food & food skills in school curriculum; encouragement to cities to produce Food Plans; public procurement policy to require healthy & sustainable food, including timetable to achieve 30% organic food; work to encourage universal uptake of traffic light system of nutrition labelling, and work towards consistent sustainability labelling for fish; framework for reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emission; promotion of small & mixed farms; an independent review of impacts of large-scale farming; target date for zero food waste to landfill; plastic bag levy (to be devoted to community food initiatives).
Empowering Independent Police Complaints Commission
Duwayne Brooks
PM calling for restoration of trust between police forces and public by giving IPCC far stronger powers to: obtain information from employees of police services and sub-contractors; require police officers & staff subject to IPCC investigation following a death to give an account & answer questions; require minimum standards from private contractors, and checks on their directors, managers and staff, enforceable by IPCC, with strong regulatory, search, arrest and questioning powers. [Sunday pm]
Equal Citizenship – Supporting Independence for Sick and Disabled People
Kelly-Marie Blundell
PM calling for: an independent review of the Welfare reform Act; a review of accessibility of Work Capability Assessment centres; public consultation on the assessment mechanisms for Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance & Personal Independence Payments, with findings to inform DWP sickness & disability policies; additional support to enable sick & disabled people to remain in work; prioritisation of the advice to govt. by organisations representing sick & disabled people; increased govt. funding for CAB during future transition periods; examine impact of means-tested support on creating on partners & social exclusion, & reform this when feasible; awareness campaign against public prejudice. [Sunday pm]
Medically Assisted Dying
[Sunday pm]
Chris Davies
PM calling for: reaffirmation of policy adopted in 2004 in support of legislation calling for provision of medical assistance to die to be available to patients in particular circumstances, subject to rigorous safeguards to prevent abuse; and recognising importance of high quality palliative care & of support for carers.
Developing a Future - Policies for Science & Research
[Monday am]
Julian Huppert
PM calling for Coalition Govt to ensure: govt science budget ring-fenced, and to seek x-party consensus to increase by 3%/year above inflation for 15 years; encouragement provided for research investment by industry, charities & EU; blue-skies as well as applied research & no political interference in science funding decisions; specialist sci. teachers in all schools, with funded CPD entitlements; immigration laws revised to ensure bona fide students & graduates can come, & the best can stay; loan scheme for post-grad students to obviate up-front payment for their courses; Open Access publications & Open Data principles to become the norm for publically funded research.

Mutuals, Employee Ownership & Workplace Democracy
[Monday am]

Martin Horwood

PMPP calling for: making mutual, employee-owned & employee-share-owned businesses (MEESOs) a more viable business option through law reform & tax reform; giving employees a greater say over their own working environments, through making that a right, ensuring board representation where employees own >5% of shares, providing by law for German-style 2-tier board structure; increasing no. of employees benefitting from ownership schemes by various means; increasing govt. support for MEESO sector by various means
Generating Growth & Jobs in a Time of Austerity
[Monday am]
Danny Alexander
PM calling for: Coalition govt. to do everything possible to stimulate growth within its fiscal mandate, including to: foster a diverse banking system; stimulate green growth and build investment confidence by strengthening the Green Bank, and establishing a 50-100g of CO₂ per kwh target range for decarbonising the power sector by 2030 over & above existing emission reductions; use the govt. balance sheet to support investment in housing; raise personal allowance to £10k in next budget; rule out changes to employment law unless robust evidence it will protect employees support job creation.
Sustainable Prosperity & Jobs


[Monday pm]
Duncan Hames, as Chair of Policy W.Gp
PMPP calling for: revival of local economies through local enterprise partnerships being able to bid for portion of Regional Growth Fund, and business rate responsibilities to LAs, and site value rating, and pioneering small business zones & New Enterprise Hubs; opening access to finance through fostering a diverse banking system, including restructuring parts of RBS into local & community banks; realising everyone’s potential, including by extending OFSTED’s focus to cover ‘employability’ & ‘life skills’, and by wide availability of apprenticeships & focus on unemployed re-skilling; unlocking innovation, incl. by various measures in public procurement & patent law; fulfil our low carbon vision for Britain; introduce a world of export opportunities to small businesses
20 is Plenty – Saving Lives on the Road
Sarah Osborne
PM calling for: limit of 20mph on all roads in new residential developments; all existing 30mph residential roads to move to 20 over 10 years; financial support from govt; a Dept for Transport minister in charge, to make annual progress reports [Monday pm]
Rehabilitation Revolution



[Tuesday am]
Tom Brake
PM calling for: A presumption in favour of robust community sentences & restorative justice, not ineffective, costly short sentences of up to 6/12; efforts to increase uptake of restorative justice sentences; probation providers to keep records to measure effectiveness of community sentencing; various measures to improve range & quality of service provision; all prisons to be on payments by results; all large probation service providers to be subject to FOI requests; a strong focus on literacy & life skills in all sentencing; judges to visit community sentencing & restorative justice schemes; further roll-out of Neighbourhood Resolution Panels; continued roll-out of Women’s Centres.
Tackling Inequality at its Roots



[Tuesday am]
Dee Doocey
PMPP calling for: introduction of a Capabilities Index & a Life Chances Indicator to measure the key obstacles that inequalities create; stronger measures to support pre-school children & their parents, including a ‘Nursery Premium’ & extension of parental leave entitlement to 18/12 (at least 6/12 each parent); promote fair access to services by promoting co-provision with voluntary groups, obliging private providers to introduce social tariffs, & tackling financial services exclusion; tackling inequality at work by increasing shareholder power to hold senior mgt. to a/c, requiring larger companies to justify pay ratios, & investing in training & re-skilling; increasing taxes on unearned income and wealth; tackling undue political influence of big money in politics by donation caps & campaign expenditure limits, registration and publication of contacts between ministers & lobbyists; House of Lords reform
Fair Pay forPublic Sector Workers
To be announced
PM calling for: no further expansion in regional or local pay; continuation of national pay agreements across public sector, which may include pay &c flexibility to let employers solve specific staff recruitment & retention problems[Tuesday pm]
Justice & Security Bill
Jo Shaw
PM calling for: Replacing Part II of J&S Bill with scheme reflecting Public Interest Immunity system, retaining judicial discretion, proportionality & open justice. [Tues pm]
Addressing Underprovision in Mental Health
Sarah Yong
PM calling for: central govt. to ensure local implementation of MH policies, especially Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), spending the £400+m of extra IAPT funding, continuing IAPT programme beyond 2014, making IAPT scheme & child & adolescent MH services priorities for national commissioning and professional training, notably for GPs[Wednesday am]
Decent Homes for All



[Wednesday am]
Martin Tod
PMPP calling for: stimulus to achieve 300,000+ new houses/year, using untapped sources of finance, more freedom to social landlords, LAs and local communities, ‘build now pay later’ deals to improve public land supply, tackling ‘landbanking’ through ‘Community Land Auctions’, ‘use it or lose it’ planning permission, and competition review of major builders, & requiring major energy efficiency improvements in house building by 2018-25; measures to provide tenants with more power, protection & security, including longer tenancies,& access to housing ombudsman, stronger role for social tenants in how providers are run and for the Social Housing Regulator; more local control over housing policy, including by LAs over 2nd homes, by local communities et al to bring empty homes into use, & by more flexible local planning, and by rent variation based on ability to pay.