Monday, 31 March 2014

Farage Praises Putin's Handling Of Syria

After admitting that he admired Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage has made clear his views on Putin's handling of the crisis in Syria, saying "the way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant."

These comments came about days after the Nick v Nigel Europe Debate, in which he insulted pro-democracy demonstrators in Kiev, stating that the Europe had "blood on its hands" in the Ukraine.

Commenting on Farage's views, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

"I just think it is utterly grotesque that Nigel Farage apparently admires… Vladimir Putin, who has been the chief sponsor and protector of one of the most brutal dictators on the face of the planet, President Assad, who has blocked at every single turn in the United Nations any attempt by the international community to work in concert to help the many, many millions of people who have been driven from their homes and have been brutalised, and have been tortured and have been killed.

"And to then express his admiration by saying that he thinks that Vladimir Putin has played it all as if it's a game. This isn't a game.

This is thousands upon thousands of people being killed and brutalised and murdered and chased from their homes who we are now taking into our country."

Over 4 Million UK Jobs Depend On Europe

A recent report from an economic think tank has estimated that 4.2 million jobs depend on Europe.

It was previously stated that 3 to 3.5 million British jobs are linked to exports to the EU, but The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) has estimated that the figure exceeds 4 million.

The report claims that the number of jobs related to the EU has increased by half a million between 1997 and 2011. There has been a 12% increase in EU-related jobs the in the UK, 27% in London, and the number of technical and scientific related jobs have almost doubled. In addition to this, nearly 1 in 6 jobs in the North and Midlands are related to the EU.

The report states that exports to EU countries are worth £211 billion, so it is clear that leaving the EU would have a huge impact on Britain's economic recovery.

People in Britain deserve the right to good jobs, which would not be as accessible without Europe.

Tune in here this Wednesday 2nd April at 7pm, to watch the second Nick v Nigel debate on whether we should be IN or OUT of Europe

Liberal Democrat Tax Cut

The Budget has confirmed victory for the Liberal Democrats in our campaign to deliver an £800 tax cut for people on low and middle incomes.

Cutting income tax by £700 – by raising the tax-free allowance to £10,000 – was the top priority on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. That comes into effect next month and the Budget today has confirmed that the Liberal Democrats have now been able to go even further. The tax-free threshold will rise to £10,500 next year, giving a tax cut of £800 for 25m working people since 2010.

Liberal Democrat policy is to continue to increase the threshold in the next Parliament to £12,500.

The Tories are keen to try and claim credit for our tax cut, but in reality they came into the election arguing for an inheritance tax cut for millionaires, which we blocked, and have argued in Government for a tax cut for some married couples and to reduce the top rate of tax.

It is clear you cannot trust the Conservatives to act fairly. Labour on the other hand not only wrecked the economy, leaving us to clear up the economic mess they left in 2010, but also abolished the 10p tax rate when they were in Government. Labour simply cannot be trusted to deliver a strong economy.


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Guest Post: Liberal Democrat Community Newsletter 30-MAR-2014 by Cllr Susan van de Ven

We are writing to you, as your councillors and campaigners for our interlinked cluster of villages, to keep you informed of local issues involving the District and County Councils. If you would prefer not to receive this email newsletter, please reply asking to be removed from the distribution list. If you know of someone not receiving this email newsletter who would like to do so, please ask them to email susanvandeven@yahoo.co.uk or jose@josehales.me.uk.

HOUSING GROWTH FOR GREATER CAMBRIDGE VOTED THROUGH

The South Cambs Local Plan has now been adopted by SCDC. This sets out parameters for the development of 19,000 homes in the district up until 2031.  For our area this includes 65 new homes off Victoria Way, Melbourn, but not 270 homes off New Road - reflecting the objectives of the Melbourn Housing Development Awareness Campaign (MELHDAC), which spearheaded the effort to ensure that every household in Melbourn had a clear opportunity to respond to the SCDC consultation.  Melbourn produced the highest rate of consultation response of any parish in South Cambs and Jose Hales worked to ensure that the response was taken into account.

Meanwhile, Cambridge has adopted its Local Plan for the development of 11,000 homes in the same time period.  The two plans work in tandem and are linked to the Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire - the objective of which is to create opportunities to travel in and around Cambridge by public transport and bicycle.  A variety of government grant schemes come into play for transport funding, the most significant of which is the recently announced City Deal.  This is worth £100 million in the first five-year tranche and another £400 million in the longer term.

While creating transport infrastructure such as cycle paths and park and ride facilities is relatively straightforward, the running of public transport services is less so.  Innovative thinking and strong cooperation across transport operators, the Department for Transport and local authorities will be necessary.

STUDY AT THE HUB – LESS TRAVEL, MORE CAKE

Just as at Cambridge Central Library, all students are always welcome to use the Melbourn Hub for revision.  Please come along any time during the Easter holiday and May half-term. You can choose to work at regular tables in the cafĂ© area and possibly be offered a dedicated quiet room if one is available – just ask at Reception.  The Hub has four new laptops free to borrow, and high speed internet with free access. Opening hours are 9-5 weekdays and 9-4 Saturdays.  Please contact Jose with any questions about the Hub.

WORK CONTINUES ON HEYDON LANE

The County Council Enforcement Officer is continuing to work with the land-owner and Heydon Parish Council to bring about a positive resolution to the water run-off problem.

SCHOOL CROSSING PATROL OFFICER STARTS TOMORROW

After much work to safeguard the role, and then to improve the fairness of the recruitment process, a new School Crossing Patrol Officer for Melbourn has been appointed and starts work on Monday 31st March.  The officer will assist children in crossing the road at the junction of The Moor, Norgett’s Lane and Melbourn High Street.

WHAT IS TRAVEL FOR WORK AND WHY SIGN UP?

Through the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership, Shepreth Wildlife Park has signed up with Cambridgeshire County Council’s ‘Travel for Work’ scheme.  This is about encouraging local businesses to help their employees to travel to work by sustainable transport. A large proportion of Wildlife Park employees travel to work by rail and bicycle, and various incentives and discounts are available for employees of businesses signed up for the scheme.  For more information, please contact mark.webb@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

A10 ANNUAL CYCLE RIDE: MAY 18th

The A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign will hold its annual Awareness Ride on Sunday May 18th. There will be two departure points – Royston Heath and Trumpington Park and Ride – each one at 10AM, with Meldbourn’s Phillimore Garden Centre once again the destination.  This year, the tea stall will be set up a bit further into the Phillimore site, in the field on the left as you go in. Thanks to JR Tech, Shepreth, for its generous donation toward teas and cakes for participants – to be supplied as last year by the Teapot, Phillimore.

The A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign’s next meeting is Wednesday April 2nd, 7:30PM, at the Melbourn Hub – doors opening at 7PM for tea and coffee.   Membership is free and more information is available at www.a10corridorcycle.com.

NETWORK RAIL: LOCAL SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

Network Rail is in the process of implementing safety improvements at Shepreth Station by closing off the gate leading down to the crossing from the London platform.  More information at http://susanvandeven.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/03/25/network-rail-responds-to-shepreth-station-vulnerabilities/.

At Meldreth, visibility on both approaches of the Station Road bridge has been greatly enhanced through cutting back of vegetation, line painting, speed limit signs and reflective markings.

FOXTON CROSSING PEDESTRIAN GATE PADLOCKED, STATION SIDE

Foxton Crossing’s pedestrian gate on the station side has been out of use all this week, due to problems with a hinge.  Network Rail is trying to get this sorted with an engineering firm, and has opened up access to the contingency pedestrian path.  This path takes pedestrians closer to moving vehicle traffic.

COMPOST BIN FOR STATION GARDEN - SUMMER ANNUALS NEEDED

Another compost bin has been donated and will be placed at Meldreth Station Flower and Veg Garden, which this weekend had its first tidy-up of the year with help from Melbourn and Meldreth residents aged five upward.  The watering rota for Shepreth Station is being organized by Philippa Hart (philippajhart@btinternet.com), for Meldreth Station by Tim Gane (tim@meldreth.fsnet.co.uk) and for Foxton Station by Susan.  Please get in touch if you would like to join in with planting up the tubs, help with watering, or if you have any summer annuals to donate.

SECTION 59 ORDERS: MELBOURN HIGH STREET CAR PARK

Jose, Susan and Cllr Val Barrett are supporting the Police in their work to monitor vehicle nuisance in the Melbourn High Street car park.  Thanks to residents for contributing to problem-solving efforts, by taking the time to report incidents to 101 – the non-emergency police number which creates a log of events, key to deployment of police resource. The Police have indicated that they will deploy Section 59 powers to seize vehicles ‘that are driven in an Anti-Social manner.’

FENNY LANE CROSSROADS

A meeting of county and parish officers and councillors took place earlier this week to look at options for making this crossing safer, after a spate of accidents, in spite of the new 30MPH speed limit.  Some of the options suggested by councillors were not feasible due to stringent regulations set down by government – including stop signs.  The costs of traffic lights and roundabouts are exorbitant – in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, and therefore not realistic.  However, a range of small but sensible measures to improve visibility and awareness were discussed to be taken forward, and will be reported at Meldreth Parish Council’s meeting this Thursday, April 3rd, 7:30 PM.

CLEAR CRESCENT AND MEDCALFE WAY PARKING SORTED

A new parking layout is now in place at Clear Crescent and Medcalfe Way, creating extra provision and alleviating pressure. Jose approached district council officers with his idea for the new layout, and work was completed in early March.

MELBOURN HIGH STREET LIGHT COLUMN: ONE YEAR ON

A year ago Balfour Beatty promised to relocate a new street lamp in Melbourn High Street back to its original position.  Affected residents have been reminding the company of its unfulfilled promise, and only recently did we receive a message indicating that placing the column in its original position is in fact not possible. This week Jose and Susan are meeting on site with Balfour Beatty and affected residents to work out a solution.

RAINBOW FLAG

In the same week that gay marriage has been legalized, Cambridgeshire County Council has voted through a Lib Dem motion to join Cambridge and South Cambs District Council in flying the Rainbow Flag during LGBT History month.

INTERACTIVE MAP: HOW MANY JOBS NEAR YOU?

An interactive map pinpointing steps toward successful job creation in our area can be found at http://www.libdems.org.uk/how_many_jobs_near_you.

SUPPORTING LOCAL LINKS TO KENYA COMMUNITY WORK

Link Murang’a is a small organisation within the Parish Churches of Melbourn and Meldreth that supports the Diocese of Mt. Kenya Central in its community work.  This includes the building of a dispensary in a remote village that currently has no health care available, and the building of a girls’ dormitory in a residential vocational training centre.

On Sunday 27th April the group is holding annual its annual walk to help raise funds, and would welcome more walkers.  A donation of £5 is requested in exchange for a goodie bag containing a bottle of water, snacks, and a map of the walk area.  The walk is approximately eight miles through beautiful Essex countryside, mostly off-road and on established footpaths.  The start and end point is the car park outside the church at Chrishall, and will set off at 11am.  For further details and to book a place, ring Sue Cane on 01763 262320 or David Hollamby on 01763 261082.

DROP-IN ADVICE SURGERY

Our surgery continues on the first Monday of the month, 2:30-3:30 PM, at the Melbourn Hub – next one on April 7th. If this is not convenient and you would like to arrange an appointment for a different time or closer to home, please let us know.

ANY ITEMS TO RAISE?

If you have any issues which you would like us to help address, or to highlight via this newsletter, please let us know.

Sincerely yours,

Susan and Jose

Susan van de Ven,
County Councillor, Foxton, Heydon, Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and the Chishills
District Councillor, Meldreth and Shepreth
Contact details at www.susanvandeven.com
Twitter@susanvandeven

Jose Hales
District Councillor, Melbourn, Heydon and the Chishills
jose@josehales.me.uk
Tel 01763 221058

County Council Meeting, 25 Mar 14 by Cllr David Jenkins

It was another significant meeting for the County Council this month on the road to the new structure which will be implemented in May. We had a full meeting, a visit from Cambridge’s MP, a unanimous vote, a debate about money (allowances) and six motions. We started at 1030 and finished at 1750. That’s the latest I’ve known.

There was a low key start with prayers from a Methodist minister. It was short and to the point with a nice last message: ‘may they work together for the common good’. Then there was a petition about the state of pavements in Cambridge presented by Juiian Huppert (Cambridge MP and former Lib Dem group leader at the Council). He was accompanied by a Cambridge resident and budding para-Olympian. We all had our photos taken beforehand which will make for good publicity.

Then it was on to the substance of the day which began with three items for determination from Cabinet.
  • First there was a bad tempered exchange about the new statement of community involvement which, it transpires, does not include area committees in Cambridge along with parish councils despite their rough equivalence. An amendment came in at the last minute but Tories never like last minute amendments because it forces them to think on their collective feet. Then common sense rules and the Tories come up with a rational compromise. Tories agree to make appropriate changes. Amended policy agreed.
  • Then we got a smoke free policy proposal which would ban smoking outside but close to Council buildings. Difficult issue because it also bans e-cigarettes and poses reputational risk because of the sight of huddles of CCC employees on the streets and otherwise nearby. There’s another amendment on the fly to delete the reference to e-cigarettes. This opens a can of worms because it appears to allow e-cigarettes within Shire Hall, but it seems they’re allowed anyway! Free votes: amendment falls 44 to 18; main motion carried 34 to 27 voting all over the shop.
  • Thirdly the City Deal: harmony all round. We had to endorse Cabinet decision and we did. Mike Mason spoke and managed to bring in drainage. Voting 66 to zero! First unanimous vote I’ve seen.
Next item: CEO’s remuneration. There was a complicated and technical amendment which seemed to be understood and accepted but no, leading Tory clearly doesn’t understand but accepted half of the amendment. Rest of the amendment lost 36 to 21. Main motion carried 54 to 1.

Then the big pay deal. Independent Review Panel recommendation was tabled followed by a cross (opposition) party amendment which said that a big increase in basic allowance was unethical and needed to recognise the need for Spokes. Leader said he was very disappointed in IRP. He also cautioned councillors about voting for a scheme designed by politicians. Then there was some confusion about costs so we went to lunch and left the section 151 officer (effectively CCC’s finance director) to sort it out.

The section 151 officer did his work over lunch and produced new numbers: IRP proposal £780275; amendment £777910; current cost £840702 (worst case) £789090 (actual). Then we voted on the amendment: won 34 to 25! Just a couple of Tories voting for it, a few abstaining. Vote on the motion as amended: won 38 to 17, 11 abstentions with more Tories for.

Finally … on to the motions:
  • first was about a flexible approach to highways schemes. Proposed by Lib Dems, Tory seconder! I spoke in support and highlighted the StAC scheme as one which would benefit from such an approach. Motion carried 64 to 1.
  • then a motion on the March to Wisbech railway proposed by Labour. I proposed an amendment to recognise the historical context (I proposed a similar motion 5 years ago and its been a regular feature of Lib Dem alternative budgets), to ensure full support continues to be given to the Wisbech 2020 vision and to add value and to take it further. Tories against because of ‘omissions’. UKIP split. Lost 50 to 15. Main motion 62 to 0 with 3 abstentions. Not quite unanimous but close.
  • motion number 3 was about flying the LGBT flag during LGBT history month: I spoke about group leader decision 4 or 5 years ago to fly the union flag every day (which I did not support), the role of symbols and the minority experience. Motion carried 29 to 23.
  • the subject of motion 4 was openness in democracy advocating live broadcasting of council meetings. motion passed 46 to 14 (obviously some councillors had already gone home!)
  • then a substantial motion about the threat of moving Papworth to Peterborough instead of to Addenbrookes. Motion carried 58 to 1 
  • and finally motion number 6 from Mike Mason about, would you believe, the Guided Bus! I spoke about the fundamentals of decisions and the need to be honest and make sure we don’t make similar mistakes when we spend the City Deal money. Motion lost 21 to 33 Labour voting with Tories (historical note: Labour has supported the Guided Bus from the very beginning so this was not surprising).
And finally oral questions and I asked about the recent ‘windfall’ of schools money. I was referred to the School’s Forum. When I said I did not understand that answer I was told that I would be written to.

It was a long day and for the most part it was conducted in good humour with just occasional rancour but that can be accepted. There was plenty of positive compromise behaviour (especially by UKIP!) in the interest of getting the best available deal which augurs well for next year. But there is still the worry that the Tories don’t and will not like it and will not contribute appropriately. That would be a pity because there’s talent all round and we need it.

LD Councillor attacks wage division between management and lowest paid

Leading Liberal Democrat County Councillor, Ian Manning has accused councillors of dividing the council’s upper management and the lowest paid.

His attack came after some councillors failed to support his bid to protect the authority’s lowest paid members of staff by making sure their wage scales kept pace with the highest.

Cllr Manning, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Resources on Cambridgeshire County Council said the move created a clear division between upper management and those who are the backbone of front line services for residents.

“Often those on the lowest wages provide vital council services, so they should not be made to feel undervalued compared to the most senior management,” he said. “But councillors who have failed to support this move have done exactly that, making a clear division between the upper management and those who are the backbone of services on which our residents rely.

“If we look after staff conditions in a modest way, staff are more loyal to the organisation and this is to everyone’s benefit.”

Cllr Manning’s bid to make wage scales fairer came in an amendment to the proposed pay policy at a full council meeting. It aimed to reinstate a policy not to widen the gap between the chief executive’s pay and the median staff wage.

But Tory Cabinet Member for Resources, Steve Count failed to support the amendment claiming staff transferred from other organisations should not be treated differently despite TUPE legislation being designed to do exactly that.

Cllr Manning’s amendment was defeated 36 votes to 21.

“Liberal Democrats believe in a fairer society – and this must be reflected by ensuring the pay differential does not widen,” he said.

Liberal Democrat Budget Update

This recovery wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government.  Forming the coalition has provided the country with the stable Government it needs to sort out Labour’s financial mess.  Liberal Democrat policies are at the heart of the government’s economic plan that is delivering jobs and growth.

While there is still a lot more to do, we have ensured that growth is back, employment is rising, unemployment is falling and inflation is under control.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society.   This Budget boosts fairness by:

  • The Liberal Democrats have fought for rises in the amount of money that people can earn before paying income tax right from the start of the coalition.  We have already delivered an increase to £10,000 by April this year.  That gives millions of tax payers a £700 tax cut.  Nick Clegg set our key priority ahead of this Budget on the Andrew Marr show in November  to go further to increase the tax threshold to £10,500. We’ve been successful in our campaign and the personal tax allowance will rise to £10,500 in April 2015 which will give millions of tax payers another £100 tax cut taking the total tax cut in 2015 to £800.
  • Giving people control over the money they have saved in their pension ‘pots’.  We are removing the need for people to be tied into buying annuities.  They will have access to, and control over, their money.  This work has been pioneered by Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb.  It’s the biggest shake up in pensions in almost 100 years.
  • The Budget announces that from April 2015, the tax rules for how people access their defined contribution pension savings will be radically simplified to allow individuals aged 55 or over with defined contribution pension savings to withdraw their savings however they wish, subject to their marginal rate of income tax.  As a transitional step, from 27 March 2014:

- The minimum income requirement for accessing your pension savings flexibly will reduce from £20,000 to £12,000.
- The capped drawdown limit will increase from 120% of an equivalent annuity to 150%.
- The total pension wealth that can be taken as lump sums will increase from £18,000 to £30,000.
- The size of a pension pot that can be taken as a lump sum regardless of total pension wealth will increase from £2,000 to £10,000.
- The number of small personal pension pots that can be taken as lump sums will increase from two to three.

  • We’ve reduced tax on savings for people on low incomes and increased the levels and flexibility on ISAs.
  • Frozen duty on spirits to help the Scotch Whisky industry. Cut Beer duty by 1p.  Frozen duty on cider.  Abolished the above inflation escalator on wine. 
  • Cut Bingo duty from 20% to 10%.
  • Launched more measures to clamp down on tax avoidance, including new measures to force tax avoiders to pay their taxes up front just like everyone else.
  • Doubled the number of £1m prizes on premium bonds and raised the holding limit from £30,000 to £40,000 with plans to go to £50,000.

To support growth, the Government has already decided to:

  • Cut corporation tax from 20% by April 2015 from 28% in 2010.
  • Introduce an employment allowance of £2,000 for every business from April 2014.

The Budget 2014 builds on this by:

  • Doubling the amount of money that companies can set off against tax for investing in new equipment to £500,000.
  • Increasing the level of financial support for exporters to the most competitive in Europe.
  • Reducing business energy costs by freezing the Carbon Price Support rate and giving special help to companies who are ‘energy intensive’, whilst maintaining  full support for renewable investment.
  • Extending the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, setting up a fund of £500 Million to help SMEs in the house building sector and building a ‘Garden City’ at Ebbsfleet.

The coalition’s priority remains fixing the economy and clearing up the mess left by Labour. This budget shows that our economic plan is working and is delivering jobs and growth.

The independent OBR has:

  • Revised up its growth forecast up to 2.7% for 2014.
  • Revised up its employment forecast to 31.4m people being in work – a record number.
  • Confirmed its belief that inflation will stay at or near the forecast level of 2% for the rest of the forecast period.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Bar Hill Skate Park Consultation ** TODAY @ 10:30am **

later today Parish Councillors who are looking at building a new Skate Park her in Bar Hill are looking to meet with local residents and skate park users to try an determine what people are expecting from the new park.

We'd love to see as many people as possible at the this event.

It's being held between 10:30am and 12:30pm in the Octagon (next to the parish Council Offices).

Alternatively if you have any views you'd like us to consider you can drop me an email at;

andy.pellew@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Nick v Nigel: After The Debate

The only reason this debate happened was because Nick Clegg challenged Nigel to the debate - as part of the debate Nick got his message, that Britain is Better off IN Europe, across to millions of voters. His key message was that we need to be Europe to protect the British Economy, British Jobs, and our future prosperity.

Nick made the best arguments, making the case for why Europe is good for British jobs, security and influence in the world.

Following the first debate YouGov made a poll and while I'm sure that you know the result (57% of people thing Nigel Farage won, 36% Nick Clegg, and 7% didn't know) what you might not know is that if you look at the result for people who identified themselves as Labour or Conservative supports Nick did a lot better with 51% of Labour voters thinking Nick won, and even 27% of Conservatives

Liberal Democrats want Britain to stay in the EU because we are fighting for a stronger economy – fighting to defend millions of British jobs which are linked to our trade with the EU. Being in Europe gives us more strength when negotiating trade deals with global players like the US, China, India and Brazil. We are the party of in – In Europe, In Work. Liberal Democrats are working to defend millions of British jobs, create millions more and put thousands of pounds back in your pocket by making it easier for British companies to export and slashing red tape for small businesses.

The Conservatives are now openly flirting with exit. And the Labour Party don’t have the courage of their convictions on this – they won’t lift a finger to keep Britain in the EU.

The Tories and UKIP are putting millions of British jobs at risk and jeopardising billions of pounds of investment by undermining our membership of the EU through their eurosceptic obsession. Their anti-EU ideology has gone so far that they have gone soft on crime. Liberal Democrats in Government stopped them from pulling Britain out of key crime fighting tools such as the European Arrest Warrant that are crucial in combating criminal gangs, terrorists and paedophiles.

UKIP MEPs are also amongst the laziest in the EU and don’t stand up for Britain in Europe when it counts.  

Labour can’t be trusted with the economy at home or abroad. Labour’s reckless spending and failure to regulate the banks crippled Britain's economy and Liberal Democrats in Government have been cleaning up their mess ever since. Not content with causing economic chaos in Britain, Labour MEPs have supported measures that would impose huge burdens on British businesses such as to end the UK opt out to the 48-hour limit in the working time directive.​

The First Debate: Facts and Rebuttals
Claims
Claim: Over 3m jobs are linked to trade with the EU. The uncertainty of a ref would threaten these
Source: UK JOBS DEPENDENT ON THE EU- South Bank University- Brian Ardy, Iain Begg and Dermot Hodson

Claim: EU membership benefits every household by up to £3,300 as govt figures show.
Source: THE UK AND THE SINGLE MARKET- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills/DfID 2011

Claim: The EU is the world’s largest economy
Source: World Bank and the IMF both say the EU is the world's largest economy

Claim: Migrant entrepreneurs set up 1 in 7 new businesses
Source: Centre for Entrepreneurs

Claim: From 2001-2011 EU migrants put £22bn into the UK economy
Source: Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration November 2013

Claim: This week we have seen Siemens create 1,000 new jobs in Hull

Claim: The European Arrest Warrant has put hundreds of people behind bars.(Government figures.)

Claim: UKIP voted against the reforms which guarantees Brits arrested abroad have access to basic information
Source: Votewatch (record of voting records)

Claims: In Sunderland, Nissan employs 6100 people and exports 80% of output to Europe

Claim: We've tightened the rules on migrants claiming benefits.
Source:  In order to pass the improved Habitual Residence Test, migrants will have to answer more individually-tailored questions, provide more detailed answers and submit more evidence before they will be allowed to make a claim.

Rebuttals
Claim: Membership of the EU costs £55m a day
Fact: Even UKIP's own figures say otherwise-  in their own document- “How much does the European Union Cost Britain” they estimated the cost would be £22.8m.

Claim: The Lib Dems promised a referendum and haven’t delivered it
Fact: We are consistent & clear - a referendum when fundamental change - but on In / Out, not simply on treaty

Claim: Immigrants are taking away jobs from British workers
Fact: 9/10 of all new jobs go to British citizens
Source:  Office of National Statistics Labour Market Statistics November 2013

Claim: 75% of laws are made in Europe
Fact: House of Commons Library say 6.8%, not 75%, of our laws come from EU.

Claim: Immigrants are claiming huge sums in benefits
Fact: Only around 2.2% of benefit claimants are from Europe
Source: House of Commons Library SN/SG/6077

Claim: EU Regulations are stifling our businesses
Fact: 5 EU Countries are in the top 10 most competitive in the world
Source: The Global Competitiveness Report

Claim: Criticism of the European Arrest Warrant
Fact: The European Arrest Warrant has put hundreds of people behind bars. (Government Figures) and the police say it is an "essential weapon"(Sir Hugh Orde to Home Affairs Committee).

Claim: The author of the [South Bank University] report that claims over 3 million jobs are linked to our trade with the EU has disowned the figures
Fact: He has not disowned the report.

Claim: Iceland has a trade deal with China- you don’t have to be in the EU
Fact: Iceland took 6 yrs to sign China trade deal. In EU, it would have had more influence.

Claim: European Army
Fact: We don't need a European Army, the UK has the 4th biggest defence budget in the world

Cambridge MP Newsletter: Fix Our Pavements Petition, Lifeworks Saved ... For Now And Cambridge United FA Trophy

Taking the fight to fix our pavements to the County Council

On Tuesday Paralympic hopeful Claire Connon and I presented our petition to the County Council calling on them to do more to fix our pavements. After joining Claire on a tour of Cambridge in a wheelchair I discovered just how hard our city is to get around thanks to the poor state of pavements and roads. I’ve since held a debate in Westminster on the issue and I’m glad that more money is now being allocated by central government to making sure our pavements are in good repair – the County needs to take action too.

I hope that by showing the County Council the hundreds of signatures we’ve had to our petition we can get them to do more and do it quicker. If you want to support this campaign or highlight dangerous pavements in your area log on to: www.fixourpavements.co.uk

Lifeworks Mental Health Drop-In Centre Saved for now

Mental healthcare in Cambridgeshire is nothing like as good as it should be, and is poor around the whole country. It has always been considered as a less important cousin of physical health, and has not had the support it needed. We need to do far more to boost it up the priority scale here and across the country.

The financial pressures on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Trust – coupled with poor governance in the past – have put at risk many services that we need to keep. The most recent casualty was the Lifeworks clinic, which supports people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Thanks to pressure from me, Kilian Bourke and others, this has now been put on hold. However, we need a long-term solution. I am determined to make sure that this happens.

Cambridge gets a rotten deal when it comes to health care funding thanks to an out of date funding formula which means Cambridge is left short-changed by £46.5 million each year. I am campaigning hard in Westminster to get that changed.

Cambridge United win FA Trophy

On a lighter note, it was fantastic to be at Wembley to see the U’s win the FA Trophy – we should be proud of our local team and how well they performed. The next step is to seek promotion back into the Football League – I’m sure we can do it!

Newsletter from the European Parliament, Friday 28 March 2014 - Sir Graham Watson MEP

This was a quiet week for MEPs, with few committee meetings. It allowed me to attend to EU Liberal Democrat Party business in Barcelona on Monday afternoon and in Bilbao on Tuesday morning, to travel to Hamburg Wednesday afternoon to take part in a live Deutschlandfunk radio debate and to leave again on a flight at 0700 Thursday for the College of Europe in Bruges, where I debated the merits of UK membership of the EU with Liam Fox MP at a business conference sponsored by Deloitte. In between these engagements I managed some useful meetings and dealt with correspondence in my parliamentary office.

The biggest buzz around Brussels was Barack Obama's visit for the EU-USA summit. MEPs were invited to a concert hall to hear his address, but neither Nigel Farage nor I attended: it clashed with my radio programme in Hamburg and his LBC radio debate against Nick Clegg. I am told that Obama urged EU countries to work together more closely and to spend more on defence. He had earlier discussed climate change, energy security and aspects of the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership with Barroso and Van Rompuy and fitted in a visit to Flanders' fields to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Important meetings also took place on Monday and Tuesday in The Hague. On Monday the G7 met for the first time since Russia was invited to join (thus making it the G8) in 1998. The seven countries (USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan) decided to suspend Russia from membership, ie. to revert to being the G7. And on Tuesday many government and international organisation leaders attended the third nuclear security summit. These meetings seek to improve security of storage of radioactive materials and prevent terrorist groups getting their hands on them. Since 1993 there have been 2,500 reports of such materials going missing or being used illegally.

Agriculture Ministers met at the start of the week. Most of them (including the UK minister) opposed the Commission's proposal to label meat with the country of origin. They also gave EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos (EPP, Romania) a rough ride over EU support for marketing of food produce; he argued that the EU should not fund the promotion of competing products. The Commissioner proposed a tightening of the rules on organic farming which would oblige farmers to choose between conventional and organic production and subject organic producers to random checks. Organic production in the EU has more than doubled over the past fourteen years, but demand has risen four fold.

A work experience student from Sutton Benger in Wiltshire, Peter Carlyon, was with me this week; he heard me urge young Liberals from across the continent, gathered in Brussels, to recognise the importance of closer links with the USA despite the tensions created by the revelations of mass electronic spying by their National Security Agency. Although I was not aware of it when I addressed them on Wednesday, the USA is reviewing the way it treats data about EU citizens and may propose changes to American laws governing its use.

I have no constituency commitments this weekend, having decided to treat my wife and myself to a weekend at a spa resort. I think Alexander Pope hit the nail on the head when he wrote in his Essay on Man 'Let power or knowledge, gold or glory please, / Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease.' I normally don't get enough of the latter.

Regards


Sir Graham Watson Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar

Businesses Backing Britain To Stay IN Europe

When it comes to the debate about whether Britain should be IN or OUT of Europe, it's clear what British businesses want.

According to a report by the CBI, 8 out of 10 businesses would vote to stay IN Europe. Here are just a few of them:

Easyjet
"EasyJet is a product of the EU's deregulation of Europe's aviation market. Without deregulation we would not exist."
Vodafone
"The Internal Market has allowed Europe to influence economic policymaking in other regions of the world far more effectively than the UK could have done on a unilateral basis, allowing UK firms to enter and participate in global markets which might otherwise be less accessible to them"
Kelloggs (which operates out of Manchester)
"The biggest short term risk to Manchester's competitiveness in the EU is a simple one. It is the risk the UK could leave it."
Nissan
"The UK is part of the European Union - [that] is very important....From the foreign investor point of view I hope that the UK will remain as an EU member."
Unilever
"The UK economy is not strong enough [on its own] in a globally interdependent world. We tend to take for granted the good things the EU brings to Britain, [but] don't expect the same benefits if you are out."
BT
"The EU plays a vital role opening market access world-wide, with far greater leverage (for example into Asian markets) than could be obtained by nations acting individually."
Nestle
"From a purely economic point of view, I can't see that the withdrawal of the UK [from the EU] would be favourable for any UK industries. It would isolate the UK economically. Every company would be forced to re-evaluate the implications of investing in the UK. It would no doubt have an impact on its ability to supply European markets"
Federation of Small Businesses
"The internal market offers easy access for first-time exporters with a market of 500 million customers and 23 million businesses on their doorstep. The internal market creates some legal certainty and a level playing field throughout competition rules and many harmonised rules. This means that businesses can save considerable cost when selling to EU countries."
Scottish Whisky Association
"Sales of Scotch Whisky within the 27 EU Member States totalled more than half a billion bottles, or about 42% of the industry's volumes. The EU is vital to the industry's long term sustainability, both as an internal market and as a strong voice in international trade negotiations."
Ford
"Don't discuss leaving a trading partner where 50 per cent of your exports go, that would be devastating for the UK economy"
Siemens
"If we were not within the EU, Siemens would make it quite difficult for me to continue to invest in those factories."
Tata Steel
"As the largest single market in the world, the EU has a strong bargaining position in trade negotiations. Conversely, on its own, as a relatively small market, the UK would not be as attractive for third countries to negotiate with and would not have the same bargaining power."
BAE Systems Chief Executive
"Do I think it is the right thing for the UK to stay? Yes, to maintain the stability we have got."
Bosideng UK
"As the UK re-examines its relationship with the European Union, we would certainly like to see the UK remain within the EU. Like us, a lot of other Chinese firms choose the UK as a base to address Europe as a whole, and the UK being in the EU certainly helps with that. If the UK withdrew, those investors might think again."
AB Sugar
"It is particularly advantageous to operate within a trading bloc allowing the UK to have greater influence globally than might otherwise be the case."
Deloitte
"The Europe debate does not help to create certainty. When I talk to US clients who have not been immersed in the European debate as we have, they say that what they need is clarity. There is no question it will impact business - it will hit investment into the UK."
Honda
"Anything that weakens our ability to trade with the region would be detrimental to UK manufacturing.... There would have to be some penalty to being outside rather than inside that's the risk I think."
Hyundai
"Everything is much easier because of the single market, and if that scenario was changed it would make it more challenging.
Kingfisher
"Kingfisher is a steadfast supporter of the Single Market. As a pan European retailer with large operations in the UK, France, Spain and Poland and with joint ventures in Germany and Turkey, the company has a clear interest in the harmonisation of certain standards and legislation across the EU."
CBI
"There are some who say that we could retain access to the single market without being a member of the EU; that the UK could withdraw and have a relationship more akin to Norway's or Switzerland's. I'd urge them to really look at the detail."
Airbus
"Airbus Group, we note, would never have achieved its success to date without a working and effective partnership of countries and companies within Europe, which only collectively can deliver the scale required to be globally successful."
Citigroup
"It's not that international companies will stop investing in Britain, but their investment just won't be at the scale we have become accustomed to"
Boticca.com
"One of the reasons we decided to set up Boticca in London is because its melting pot affords entrepreneurs immediate and easy access to the best European talent."
BMW
"The UK not only has to be part of Europe. It has to be a fundamentally active part of Europe. To think about the UK being outside of Europe doesn't make sense."
Diageo
"We are a trading company. We must stay in Europe, we must position Europe for the future, which is more competitive, less regulation"
DHL Express
"If something went dramatically wrong with the trading relationships between the UK and the EU, it would affect us and a lot of businesses. If a parting regressed into protectionism towards the rest of Europe, then that would be a bad thing and a backward step."
Goldman Sachs
"In all likelihood we would transfer a substantial part of our European business from London to a eurozone location - the most obvious contenders being Paris and Frankfurt."
Hitachi
"The UK should be a member of the European Union from the standpoint of our operations. I had a meeting with the Prime Minister and I strongly requested him to do that. For Japanese businesses, the UK and the Continent are very complimentary."
The minute you go away from the single market, you reduce the certainty"
JP Morgan
"The UK acts as a gateway to Europe for many financial institutions and corporates from around the world. Their establishment and subsequent growth in the UK is no coincidence but is linked to the country's membership of the world's largest single market, the European Union"
Llyod's
"Competence over international trade and investment negotiations should remain with the EU. The EU's economic size and political influence give it substantial weight in the negotiation of bilateral and multilateral agreements with third countries."
City of London Corporation
"The UK must remain a full part of the EU single market, while also continuing to have full access to the decision-making process that sets the rules for this single market."
Automotive Council
"The Automotive Council believes that the UK's active membership of the EU is an essential factor in the automotive industry's current and future success."
Sanofi
"The points outlined above clearly show the many benefits of the EU's trade agenda. Member states gain from being part of the EU as it allows them to benefit from the preferential arrangements included in EU trade agreements."
CityUK
"It is really poppycock to believe that the City can survive in its present form if it is not an integral part of the European financial services framework. London must have complete and unfettered access to the wholesale Euro markets"
British Retail Consortium
"Put simply, UK retailers get better terms of access to certain third country markets by virtue of their membership of the EU."
EEF, UK manufacturers' organisation
"The UK's economic well-being is heavily linked to our biggest trading partner and we cannot afford to risk the disruption that leaving the EU would cause...... Rather than raising doubts about our future in Europe, the government should focus on making it work better for Britain."
British Bankers' Association
"The single market for financial services is a significant factor in the success of the UK as a financial centre and therefore of considerable value to the UK economy"

Bar Hill Skate Park Consultation - 29th March 2014 ** TOMORROW **

On Saturday the 29th March Parish Councillors who are looking at building a new Skate Park her in Bar Hill are looking to meet with local residents and skate park users to try an determine what people are expecting from the new park.

We'd love to see as many people as possible at the this event.

It's being held between 10:30am and 12:30pm in the Octagon (next to the parish Council Offices).

Alternatively if you have any views you'd like us to consider you can drop me an email at;

andy.pellew@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Richard Branson: Don't Let Great Britain Become Little Britain

Just hours before the first debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage about Britain's membership of Europe, Richard Branson has called on people to back the case for staying IN Europe.

Writing in his blog, Branson said that although Europe has it's faults, "the last thing the UK should do is leave it, as it would then have no say on how to improve it and make it more productive for all countries involved."

He also highlighted the economic and business benefits that Britain gets from being a member of the largest free trade area in the world:

"It is entrepreneurs who create the jobs of the future; the last thing the government should want to do is make things more difficult for them by cutting ties with the EU. Fewer companies would set up business in the UK if they could only trade with 60 million people, rather than 500 million."


Cambridge MP Joins Charity Supporters Over World Water Crisis

Julian joins Dr Rosemary Westwell to
support the Water Aid campaign
Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert teamed up with campaigners and supporters of a leading charity in Westminster to discuss the international water and sanitation crisis.

Julian and Witchford-based supporter, Dr Rosemary Westwell added their support to the Water Aid Everyone Everywhere campaign that calls access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation for all by the year 2030.

And on Saturday, March 29 Julian will be attending a charity dinner and auction organised by students at Cambridge’s Anglia Ruskin University to raise money for Water Aid. The event will take place at Downing College.

Organisers of Water Aid, an international development charity, told Julian and Dr Westwell how the water and sanitation crisis claims the lives of 700,000 children under the age of five every year.  

Julian said: “This is an international tragedy that we can do something about. Children should not be dying for the sake of basic necessities in the modern age.

 “It is good to see students from Anglia Ruskin University supporting this hugely worthwhile charity; I hope others will follow their lead so that diseases such as Cholera and other water borne illnesses can be consigned to the history books across the world as happened in our own country 100 years ago.”

The charity meeting in the Houses of Parliament came after Water Aid released a report showing that just a quarter of global water and sanitation aid gets targeted at the world’s poorest countries despite those countries being the most in need.

 Water Aid claims that the UK has a good track record of making sure aid money earmarked for water and sanitation projects goes to some of the world’s poorest communities. This could serve as an important example to other governments attending the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in Washington DC, in early April it says.

Rhian Lewis, WaterAid UK Campaign Manager said: “This meeting in Washington DC could set the world on the historic path of ending water and sanitation poverty. With the support of MPs such as Julian we can ensure that the UK continues to lead from the front in tackling the international water and sanitation crisis.”

British Criminals Behind Bars Thanks To European Arrest Warrant

Thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, British criminals can be brought back to Britain and placed behind bars. If Ukip get their way and the EAW is scrapped, many criminals will sleep more soundly.

Here are some that have been brought back to Britain thanks to Europe.







Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Great Britain, Not Little England

Nigel Farage just showed his true colours. In the first European debate with Nick Clegg he attacked gay marriage, dismissed the 3 million British jobs that depend on Europe and admitted that he had simply made up his claim that 75% of our laws come from the EU.

Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to fight for our place in Europe and protect those jobs. If we’re going to win this fight, we need your help.

Will you join today and help us fight back against UKIP?

As Nick said, we believe in Great Britain, not little England. By joining the Lib Dems you’ll be supporting the only party prepared to stand up for the three million British jobs that depend on Europe.

The European elections are only a few weeks away, if we’re going to win this fight we need your help now:

www.libdems.org.uk/join

Thank you,

Austin Rathe
Head of Members and Supporters
Liberal Democrats

Build Chisholm Trail With First Round Of City Deal Money - Cllr Killian Bourke


A call for Cambridge’s long-awaited Chisholm Trail to be funded with the first tranche of money from the City Deal has been made by Liberal Democrat County Councillor, Kilian Bourke.
 
Cllr Bourke, who represents Cambridge’s Romsey ward, suggested the strategic cycle route should be a top priority as county councillors discussed the government’s approval of the Greater Cambridge City Deal at full council yesterday (Tuesday, March 25).

His call comes after he put forward a motion two years ago urging the county council to adopt the Chisholm Trail as policy.   

Although his motion was rejected by the administration, the trail was subsequently included in the list of possible projects for funding by the City Deal and is expected to be be adopted as policy in the final version of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Transport Strategy.

Cambridge City Council has also included the trail in its Local Plan which sets out how Cambridge will develop in future years. 

Cllr Bourke said: "The Chisholm Trail is a vital project for the City and South Cambs.  It would run all the way from Addenbrooke's Hospital to the south of the city to the Science Park in the north, alongside the railway tracks. It would link up many key centres of education and employment, including the existing railway station and the new one in Chesterton too.

"This would enable massive numbers of people who are currently too scared to cycle to work on our busy roads to do so, by creating a safe, convenient route for them."

"The trail could be created on the cheap in a piecemeal way, but I think we should use this massive injection of capital funding to be really ambitious. We should be aiming to create a European standard cycle route on both sides of the railway tracks, with high quality access links throughout."
 
"I urge all of the Councils involved to press ahead with this project and to fund it with the very first tranche of City Deal money.  The case for the Chisholm Trail is overwhelming.”

Pupil Premium: £50m Additional Investment & Universal Credit

Nick Clegg also announced a £50m extension in 2015-2016, of the Liberal Democrat Pupil Premium to help the most disadvantaged early years children.

This Early Years Pupil Premium can be spent by providers, how they see fit. They could, for example employ more highly qualified staff or increase access to services such as speech and language specialists.

Universal credit

85% of childcare costs will be met under Universal Credit. To help more families move off benefits and into employment, the Government intends to cover the bulk of the cost of childcare for around 300,000 families making sure work always pays.

Bar Hill Skate Park Consultation - 29th March 2014 (This Saturday)

On Saturday the 29th March Parish Councillors who are looking at building a new Skate Park her in Bar Hill are looking to meet with local residents and skate park users to try an determine what people are expecting from the new park.

We'd love to see as many people as possible at the this event.

It's being held between 10:30am and 12:30pm in the Octagon (next to the parish Council Offices).

Alternatively if you have any views you'd like us to consider you can drop me an email at;

andy.pellew@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there!

LBC Nick Clegg vs Nigel Farage: IN or OUT Debate ** TONIGHT @ 7pm **

Just a quick reminder that tonight at 7pm LBC will be hosting a debate featuring Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage on Europe.

The debate is available via Digital Radio or online via the LBC website;

http://www.lbc.co.uk/

LBC has a section it's website in relation to the debate which allows you to send in your questions prior to the broadcast;

http://www.lbc.co.uk/clegg-v-farage-the-eu-debate-86749

Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cambridge Park & Ride Charges Update

Just a quick recap. I wrote back in February to the County Council objecting to the introduction of parking charges at the Cambridge Park & Ride sites. The points I raised as part of my objection were as follows;

- This charge will increase congestion and create new on-street parking issues as workers act to avoid paying this new charge. There is no information on how this will be mitigated or even if it's been considered
- The 12-hour limit before the huge (1000%) jump in the price makes no logical sense and practically guarantees appeals from people who just managed to cross the deadline as well as penalising people who work long hours - for example who are commuting to a job in London - will be very prone to public transport delays
- The weekly cost is the same as the daily cost - thus increasing the administrative overhead as there is no incentive for people to purchase weekly tickets - surely the weekly cost should be cheaper?
- The consultation is too short and will have prevented Parish Councils meeting and forming a view on behalf of their residents
- I do not believe the effect of people using Trumpington Park & Ride to access Addenbrookes (for work, visiting relatives, etc) has been considered. In addition there does not seem to have been an assessment done for displacing parking in adjacent streets

Today I have received, from the County Councils' Bus Operations & Facilities Manager the following update;
Thank you for your recent representation regarding the proposed introduction of parking charges within the Cambridge Park & Ride sites. 
The points raised in your representation were reported to the Cambridgeshire County Councils Cabinet at its recent meeting on the 4th March.  Following careful consideration of the matter the Cabinet decided to approve the introduction of car park charges. They also resolved that in response to the objections, it was proposed to extend the period covered by the £1 charge from 12 hours to 18 hours, assisting shift workers and people who wished to remain in Cambridge at the end of the working day.
The largest number of representations were concerns about the risk of parking being displaced, in particular in the village of Milton and increasing the level of traffic around Milton Primary school.  Mitigation is proposed in the Cabinet report to ensure this situation is carefully monitored and managed if necessary.  In recognition of concerns about possible displacement of parking into the village of Milton it is proposed to undertake before and after surveys to identify and if necessary address the consequences of any displaced parking.
It is also proposed to introduce parking controls on the roads next to the sites, where these don’t already exist.  Traffic Regulation Orders will be advertised for sections of Butt Lane (near Milton site) and Cherry Hinton Road and Babraham Road (near the Babraham Road site).  The draft orders will prohibit parking on the highway and also the highway verge.  This is necessary to maintain the safe operation of the highway and avoid potentially dangerous parking on the highway verge.  Cambridgeshire Constabulary were consulted on these proposals and have supported the proposals.
Yours sincerely
Campbell Ross-Bain
Bus Operations & Facilities Manager
Whilst this far from ideal the new 18-hour window should significantly improve things for people who travel to London every day as part of their jobs as well as help the evening economy in Cambridge by ensuring that people aren't rushing back to their cars after work to avoid the huge jump in charges.

It's also good to see some acknowledgement of the issue of displaced parking.

It's very disappointing not to see significantly higher discounts for season ticket purchasers. Clearly the Conservative County Council cabinet with their UKIP allies see this as a way to raise money from already hard-pressed Cambridge and and South Cambs residents!

Here's the original document (via google drive).

Number of Households Where No-one Works Falling

New figures released today show that the number of households where nobody works has fallen by 137,000 in just one a year.

The figures also show that there are now 450,000 fewer workless households than there were in 2010 when Liberal Democrats entered Government. There are also 290,000 fewer children living in households where no one has a job.

A huge part of this has been thanks to the Lib Dem efforts to make work pay. For too long under Labour, people could actually lose money if they got off benefits and into work.

Now, we have made sure low and middle earners can keep more of their income, by delivering an £800 tax cut. And we're reforming the welfare system to make sure people are always better off in work than on benefits.

Nick Clegg's Tax-Fee Childcare Commitment

This week Nick Clegg announced a new childcare package to help millions of parents with the cost of living and give children the best start in life.

The new tax-free childcare scheme, announced last year by the Liberal Democrats, will be worth up to £2,000 per child and the scheme will be brought forward to Autumn 2015.

This means working parents, earning at least £50 per week will get 20% off the cost of childcare up to a limit of £10,000 for every child under the age of 12.

Those working part-time, who are on maternity leave, or starting up their own business will also be eligible for support with their childcare costs.

LBC Nick Clegg vs Nigel Farage: IN or OUT Debate ** TOMORROW @ 7pm **

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow night at 7pm LBC will be hosting a debate featuring Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage on Europe.

The debate is available via Digital Radio or online via the LBC website;

http://www.lbc.co.uk/

LBC has a section it's website in relation to the debate which allows you to send in your questions prior to the broadcast;

http://www.lbc.co.uk/clegg-v-farage-the-eu-debate-86749

Looking forward to it!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Nick v Nigel #whyiamIN

The Liberal Democrats and UKIP have reached agreement with two national broadcasters, LBC and the BBC, to host hour-long debates between Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and UKIP Leader Nigel Farage.

A radio debate will take place on LBC on Wednesday 26 March from 7-8pm, hosted by Nick Ferrari.

A televised debate will then take place on BBC Two on Wednesday 2 April from 7-8pm, hosted by David Dimbleby.

Nick Clegg said: “I challenged Nigel Farage to a debate because I wanted the British people to see that there is a very real choice at the upcoming European elections: between the Liberal Democrats as the party of IN and UKIP as the party of OUT.

“I am delighted that it has been confirmed that these debates will now definitely happen.

“I'm relishing the prospect of talking about how the Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep Britain IN Europe to protect British jobs while UKIP want to yank us OUT and threaten our recovery.

“I hope the voters will enjoy what I am sure will be a lively contest.”

#whyiamIN

In the Liberal Democrat Party Political Broadcast, Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats are the only party prepared to fight to keep Britain in the European Union. He said:

Are you IN or are you OUT? That's the real question at stake at the European elections on May 22nd.

UKIP wants to take Britain out of the EU – even though it would wreck the recovery and destroy jobs. The Conservatives are now openly flirting with exit. And the Labour Party don’t have the courage of their convictions on this – they won’t lift a finger to keep Britain in the EU.

So I am asking you to vote for the Liberal Democrats – the party of IN. IN for the sake of British prosperity and jobs.

OUT means fewer jobs.

OUT makes it harder to catch criminals that cross our borders.

OUT means we can’t work with our neighbours to tackle climate change.

OUT means we pull up the drawbridge and turn our backs on the world.

IN Europe means being in work.

IN means working with other European countries to keep our streets safer and protect our environment.

IN means standing tall in the world because we stand tall in our own backyard.

If you are for IN, make yourself heard. Don’t wait for a General Election. Don’t wait for a referendum. Don’t let anyone put jobs at risk and don’t let anyone throw our recovery away.

Let’s keep Britain prosperous, safe and strong. Be for IN. Vote Liberal Democrat.

www.libdems.org.uk

Comedian Joins Forces With Cambridge MP To Promote Charity Appeal

Julian joins forces with comedian Jon Culshaw to
support charity appeal
Impressionist and comedian, Jon Culshaw teamed up with Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert to support the Great Daffodil Appeal to raise money for cancer care.

Jon, award winning member of the Dead Ringers cast, and Julian met up at a Parliamentary event organised by the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity to encourage people to donate and wear one of the charity’s daffodil pins.

Julian said: “It was good to meet Jon who is a committed supporter of this charity.

“Marie Curie Cancer Care carries out excellent and much-needed work across Cambridgeshire, providing free nursing and hospice care to terminally ill people.

“Cancer touches so many lives and many of us will have a family member or friend who has been affected by this disease. It is good to know that charities such as Marie Curie Cancer Care are there if we need them. I hope everyone will support this appeal by giving a much-needed donation.”

Imelda Redmond, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Marie Curie, said: “We are grateful to have the support of Julian and Jon Culshaw, as our fundraising activities are vital to ensure we can continue to provide more free care to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes and in the charity’s nine hospices.”

Public Consultation On North West Cambridge Primary School

The University of Cambridge will be holding three public exhibitions on the proposals for the University of Cambridge Primary School to be located on the North West Cambridge Development.

The public consultation period runs until Friday 9 May 2014. Drop-in sessions that will be open to the public will be held at Gravel Hill Farm, Madingley Rise, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0FU on Saturday 12 April from 10.30-2.30pm; Thursday 24 April from 6.30pm-8.30pm; and Monday 28 April 6.30pm-8.30pm.

The University of Cambridge Primary School will be a three-form entry primary school that will provide high quality education to all its pupils. The proposed primary school will be open to local children aged 4 – 11 and will be a mixed-ability co-educational school. It will be a highly inclusive school in which pupil diversity is welcomed and where all children will be encouraged and enabled to excel. It will not have a specific religious character, nor a particular faith ethos. Its admissions policy will be developed in consultation with existing Cambridge primary schools, as an expression of the University’s commitment to the principle of partnership. The school will be linked closely to the University’s Faculty of Education and will join the well-established network of partner schools in the area.

Earlier this year the Department for Education supported the application made by the University of Cambridge to open a new primary school with nursery and teacher training in North West Cambridge, which will open in phases from September 2015, subject to the completion of a funding agreement. The current consultation is to determine whether there is support from the local community for the Primary School to enter into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education. This consultation is a requirement of Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010.

Members of the public will be able to find out more about the primary school due to open for the academic year 2015/16 and give their feedback on the proposals. For more details visit www.nwcambridge.co.uk/primaryschoolconsultation.php

Liberal Democrat Tax Cut

The Budget has confirmed victory for the Liberal Democrats in our campaign to deliver an £800 tax cut for people on low and middle incomes.

Cutting income tax by £700 – by raising the tax-free allowance to £10,000 – was the top priority on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. That comes into effect next month and the Budget today has confirmed that the Liberal Democrats have now been able to go even further. The tax-free threshold will rise to £10,500 next year, giving a tax cut of £800 for 25m working people since 2010.

Liberal Democrat policy is to continue to increase the threshold in the next Parliament to £12,500.

The Tories are keen to try and claim credit for our tax cut, but in reality they came into the election arguing for an inheritance tax cut for millionaires, which we blocked, and have argued in Government for a tax cut for some married couples and to reduce the top rate of tax.

It is clear you cannot trust the Conservatives to act fairly. Labour on the other hand not only wrecked the economy, leaving us to clear up the economic mess they left in 2010, but also abolished the 10p tax rate when they were in Government. Labour simply cannot be trusted to deliver a strong economy.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Wednesday, Danny Alexander said:
“Cutting taxes for working people has been the Liberal Democrat flagship policy right from the start of the coalition.

“We’ve forced it onto the agenda at every Autumn Statement and Budget and by April this year will have delivered a tax cut worth £700 to 25 million working people.

“I’m delighted that the Liberal Democrat campaign to go even further has been successful.

“But many Conservatives wanted us to do something different.
“You only have to listen to what some Tory back benchers have been saying in the run up to the Budget urging action on the 40p rate instead.

“Those siren voices in the Conservative Party also miss the point that raising the personal allowance helps nearly all taxpayers, including the majority in the 40p band. 
“While raising the personal allowance is fair and popular it seems that many Conservatives don’t like this because it’s a Liberal Democrat idea. 
“The Budget is ‘good news’ for the entire UK, and with strong support for Scotch Whisky and North Sea Oil it shows that the interests of the Scottish people are best served in the United Kingdom.

“There’s been the inevitable attacks on this Budget and our progress to date from Labour. That’s what oppositions have to do.

“But the reality for them is that the people who crashed the car are not usually in a strong position when commenting on other people’s driving.

“They made the mess, we are clearing it up and making Britain stronger and more competitive in the process. 
“We are now a significant way down the road to recovery, and this Budget paves the way towards the stronger economy and fairer society that our country deserves.”

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ukraine, Putin, Russia, and Crimea

The steps taken by President Putin on 18 March to attempt to annex Crimea to Russia are in flagrant breach of international law and send a chilling message across the continent of Europe.

The choice remains for President Putin: take the path of de-escalation or face increasing isolation and tighter sanctions.

Preparatory work is now underway for a third tier of European Union sanctions, including economic and trade measures.

The Government has cancelled this year's French, Russian, UK, US naval exercise, and suspended a proposed Royal Navy ship visit to St Petersburg.

The Government believes that under current circumstances there is a compelling case for EU member states to act on defence export licences.

The UK will now with immediate effect suspend all extant licences and application processing for licences for direct export to Russia for military and dual use items destined for units of the Russian armed forces or other state agencies which could be or are being deployed against Ukraine.

The European Council will consider further measures later this week in the light of President Putin’s speech on 18 March and Russian’s actions in recent days.

The British Government is clear that further measures need to be taken.

The Government regrets that the Russian Federation has been unwilling to engage constructively in resolving this crisis.

Lib Dem MEPs Vote To End Mobile Roaming Charges By December 2015 Despite Conservative Opposition

Mobile roaming charges across the EU are set to be abolished altogether by December 2015 following a vote in the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee today. These include costly charges for data roaming, which are currently capped at £376 per gigabyte in the EU.

However, Conservatives voted for an amendment that would reject the proposals altogether. Meanwhile UKIP MEPs did not turn up for the vote but have made it clear in the past that they oppose efforts to cut the costly fees.

Commenting, Leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs Fiona Hall said:

"UKIP and the Tories have once again put their anti-EU ideology ahead of the interests of British consumers and businesses.

"Ending costly roaming fees will give UK citizens travelling in the EU the freedom to use their phones just like they do at home, whether that's using maps, downloading apps or sharing photos online.

"But a more connected continent will also benefit Britain's thriving digital economy, including app designers who currently lose out because people don't use their phones abroad.

"Liberal Democrats are the Party of In because we believe that engaging in Europe is the best way to deliver for Britain. That means driving down costs for families, creating jobs and opening up new opportunities for businesses overseas."

eCops: Theft Of Garden Machinery From Lorry 23/03/2014

On the 20/03/2014 a scania heavy artic parked  and stopped in a layby on the A14 A14approximately 1/2 mile before CAMBRIDGE SERVICES on the Southbound carriageway at 2035hrs.

The driver went to sleep straight away and woke at approximately 0555hrs the following morning and found that there were pallets strewn across the grass verge on the left handside of his trailer. On closer inspection, the driver found that the left hand side curtain on his trailer had been sliced and then opened and 12 pallets of Bosch Lawn Mowers were missing. All the packaging including the 12 pallets that they were stood on were all discarded inside the trailer or in the close vicinity.

The trailer had 33 pallets on board and these carried 346 garden machinery products from BOSCH LAWN AND GARDEN LTD,

If you have any information on the following please contact us via 101.

Regards
PCSO Paul Lancaster

Budget Announcement

This recovery wouldn't be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government.  Forming the coalition has provided the country with the stable Government it needs to sort out Labour’s financial mess.  Liberal Democrat policies are at the heart of the government’s economic plan that is delivering jobs and growth.

While there is still a lot more to do, we have ensured that growth is back, employment is rising, unemployment is falling and inflation is under control.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

This Budget boosts fairness by:

  • The Liberal Democrats have fought for rises in the amount of money that people can earn before paying income tax right from the start of the coalition.  We have already delivered an increase to £10,000 by April this year.  That gives millions of tax payers a £700 tax cut.  Nick Clegg set our key priority ahead of this Budget on the Andrew Marr show in November , to go further to increase the tax threshold to £10,500. We’ve been successful in our campaign and the personal tax allowance will rise to £10,500 in April 2015 which will give millions of tax payers another £100 tax cut taking the total tax cut in 2015 to £800.
  • Giving people control over the money they have saved in their pension ‘pots’.  We are removing the need for people to be tied into buying annuities.  They will have access to, and control over, their money.  This work has been pioneered by Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb.  It’s the biggest shake up in pensions in almost 100 years.
  • We’ve reduced tax on savings for people on low incomes and increased the levels and flexibility on ISAs.
  • Frozen duty on spirits to help the Scotch Whisky industry. Cut Beer duty by 1p.  Frozen duty on cider.  Abolished the above inflation escalator on wine.
  • Cut Bingo duty from 20% to 10%.
  • Launched more measures to clamp down on tax avoidance, including new measures to force tax avoiders to pay their taxes up front just like everyone else.
  • Doubled the number of £1m prizes on premium bonds and raised the holding limit from £30,000 to £40,000 with plans to go to £50,000.

To support growth, the Government has already decided to:

  • Cut corporation tax to 20% by April 2015 from 28% in 2010, which will encourage businesses to invest in the UK and help create jobs. 
  • Introduce an employment allowance of £2,000 for every business from April 2014.

The Budget 2014 builds on this by:

  • Doubling the amount of money that companies can set off against tax for investing in new equipment to £500,000.
  • Increasing the level of financial support for exporters to the most competitive in Europe.
  • Reducing business energy costs by freezing the Carbon Price Support rate and giving special help to companies who are ‘energy intensive’, whilst maintaining  full support for renewable investment.
  • Extending the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, setting up a fund of £500 Million to help SMEs in the house building sector and building a ‘Garden City’ at Ebbsfleet.
  • The coalition’s priority remains fixing the economy and clearing up the mess left by Labour. This budget shows that our economic plan is working and is delivering jobs and growth.

The independent OBR has:

  • Revised up its growth forecast up to 2.7% for 2014.
  • Revised up its employment forecast to 31.4m people being in work – a record number.
  • Confirmed its belief that inflation will stay at or near the forecast level of 2% for the rest of the forecast period.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Bar Hill Skate Park Consultation - 29th March 2014

On Saturday the 29th March Parish Councillors who are looking at building a new Skate Park her in Bar Hill are looking to meet with local residents and skate park users to try an determine what people are expecting from the new park.

We'd love to see as many people as possible at the this event.

It's being held between 10:30am and 12:30pm in the Octagon (next to the parish Council Offices).

Alternatively if you have any views you'd like us to consider you can drop me an email at;

andy.pellew@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there!

South Cambs Lib Dems Elect New Leaders

Cllr Bridget Smith and Cllr John Williams
South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have named Councillor Bridget Smith as their new leader.

Bridget Smith takes over from Sebastian Kindersley as group leader with John Williams becoming the new deputy leader.

Cllr Bridget Smith, who has represented Gamlingay on South Cambridgeshire District Council since 2008, was elected last night following Cllr Kindersley's decision to stand down as group leader at the end of his term.

Cllr Smith said: "It's been a privilege to work with Sebastian both within the group and in our division. He has led our group through challenging times and I'd like to thank him for his hard work over the last few years."

"This is a very interesting time for the District Council and I look forward to continuing his fight to ensure that this council makes the right decisions for all the people of South Cambs. Given the national challenges it's important that a strong liberal voice is reflected in local policy and I, and my team, will be working hard to ensure that is the case."

Cllr Kindersley said: "I've enjoyed my time leading the group and am looking forward to focusing on my work as County Councillor and Vice Chair of the County Council. I've known Bridget for many years and look forward to working with her in the future."