Thursday, 30 April 2015

Julian Huppert praised for standing up for students and voting against tuition fees

Students across the country have praised Julian Huppert for voting against tuition fees and standing up for them in Parliament.

The National Union of Students, which represents seven million students in 95 per cent of higher and further education student unions, claims Julian’s record in Parliament “makes him a good friend to the student movement”.

The tribute in NUS News says: “When it came to the infamous vote, Huppert stuck to his word and voted against the increase in top-up fees.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for keeping his word on tuition fees, and for supporting students once in Parliament.

“He was at the forefront of the campaign to protect the Disabled Student Allowance, calling MPs to a Parliamentary debate to stand against the proposed changes,” the union says.

“He has also been a great champion of postgraduate education and has campaigned for a fairer, more accessible funding model. Huppert is also secretary to the newly established All Party Parliamentary Group on Students, which the NUS provide the secretariat to.”

Julian said: “I am delighted that students in Cambridge and nationally know that I stand by my word. I promised to vote against tuition fees, I signed the pledge and I stuck to my promise. Cambridge’s former Labour MP, on the other hand, made a promise to the students on tuition fees and broke that promise betraying the students.

“In the longer term I want to see fees abolished altogether but in the meantime it is important that we continue to make sure there are bursaries and scholarships so that everyone can have the chance to go to university.

“Students know that I stand up for them and I worked hard to give them a voice in government making sure that they had their say on the issues that are important to them.

“I worked with the National Union of Students and students from the student unions at Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge Universities to protect the Disabled Students Allowance because it is such a lifeline for the huge numbers of students with disabilities. I couldn’t stand by and watch the rug pulled from under them.

“And I want to make sure that post graduate students can go further in their studies and not be prevented from doing so by financial restraints. The new postgraduate loan scheme will give thousands more students that opportunity.

“The future of our health service is one of the most important issues we face and I have fought for more money for our health service including mental health. I have campaigned for a fairer deal for rental sector tenants and championed new legislation on revenge porn. And I have lobbied government to set targets to tackle climate change to protect our environment.”

Julian joins students in the fight to protect the Disabled Students Allowance

Cambridge MP joins lobby to get cleaners living wage

Julian Huppert is pushing Cambridge store, John Lewis to pay its cleaners the living wage and will join a peaceful lobby of customers on Saturday (May 2).

He has signed a petition which calls on the company’s board of directors to address the issue for cleaners working both at John Lewis and Waitrose.

Julian, an avid supporter of the living wage, has worked with Cambridge University and other companies across the city encouraging them to pay the living wage to their staff.

And when the Liberal Democrats ran Cambridge City Council they gave staff the living wage and encouraged outside companies working for the council to do the same. Their work led to the council receiving national accreditation.

Julian, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge said: “The living wage can make a real difference to people on low wages especially in a place like Cambridge where the cost of living is high. And it’s good for businesses because it shows they value their staff and helps them to retain valuable workers.

“But we need the big employers like John Lewis to come on board and support the living wage and set an example. This petition and the lobby will hopefully make the company think again and encourage the board of directors to make their businesses living wage employers.”

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Housing in a nutshell! (by Lib Dem PPC Sebastian Kindersley)

Many residents have asked us about our policies on Housing; we hope this clear and concise statement will help.

For far too long Britain has built many fewer homes than we need; unless we build enough to meet demand, year after year, we will find housing costs rise further out of reach.

That is why we have set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of house building to 300,000 a year. Within the first year of the next Parliament, we will publish a long-term plan that sets out how this goal will be achieved. Our plans will include:

  • At least ten new 'Garden Cities' in England, in areas where there is local support, providing tens of thousands of high quality new homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport. We will encourage rural local authorities to follow these principles on a smaller scale, too, developing new garden villages or suburbs as part of their plans for growth.
  • Up to five major new settlements along a "Garden Cities Railway" between Oxford and Cambridge. This will be subject to communities deciding for themselves to put forward their names for Garden City Status and will not be imposed upon them.
  • Ambitious targets for development on unwanted public sector sites through the Homes and Communities Agency, with local authorities given new powers to ensure development happens on any unused site in which the public sector has an interest.
  • A review of Compulsory Purchase legislation to facilitate site assembly, including for Garden Cities. We will also pilot techniques for capturing the increase in land values from the granting of planning permission, helping to deliver our Garden Cities.
  • A government commissioning programme to boost house building towards our 300,000 target; where the market alone fails to deliver sufficient numbers, government agencies will directly commission homes for sale and rent to fill the gap. We are already piloting this direct approach in Cambridgeshire.
  • A new government-backed Housing Investment Bank to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and help attract finance for major house building projects."

Julian Huppert comes out with top marks for his work as Cambridge MP

Julian Huppert has come out with top marks on a report card which reflects his performance during five years as Cambridge’s MP.

According to the website mpreportcard.co.uk he took part in more than twice as many debates as average, he attended more votes that average and he asked more than double the average number of written Parliamentary questions. In contrast, his expenses were £12,542 less than the average MP.

The report card compares the activities of all 650 MPs grading them on Parliamentary and constituency performance.

While dealing with more than 32,000 pieces of casework Julian, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge also replied to more letters sent through the website Write to Them than average.

Julian also put Cambridge before party loyalty voting against his party much more often than the average MP - in the top 10 per cent of rebellious MPs.

He said: “I have been honoured to stand up for Cambridge in Parliament and I have taken every opportunity possible to speak out on the issues that are important to our city and make sure our residents’ voices are heard.

“I have always put Cambridge first and voted against tuition fees, Andrew Lansley’s Health Bill and military action in Syria and Iraq because it was the right thing to do.

“I have campaigned hard to get an extra £23.2 million for our schools and almost the same again for our health services, including extra for mental health. I have fought for a fairer deal for rental sector tenants, to protect our independent shops and pubs and put cycling at the top of the government’s agenda.

“I also spent as much time as I could in the constituency, giving people the chance to meet me at my surgeries or raise issues through my constituency office which dealt with more than 32,000 pieces of casework on a huge range of issues.”

Julian’s report card shows that he:

  • Spoke 1,130 times in 686 debates – the average was 280 debates;
  • Attended 954 out of 1,239 votes – an attendance of 77 per cent – the average was 70 per cent
  • Answered 977 written questions – the average was 325;
  • Signed 802 Commons’ Early Day Motions – the average was 331.

Cambridge MP scores another victory over Labour at student hustings

Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert scored another victory over Labour at the latest student hustings, with Labour falling into third place at the end of the debate.

His performance at the event held by Anglia Ruskin Student Union, together with CamFM last night (Tuesday, April 28) represented a 6.5 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats from Labour.

By contrast, Labour's vote share fell by almost 10 per cent from 29 per cent to start with to 19.1 per cent after all the candidates had spoken.

Julian's latest victory follows a similar impressive performance at the Cambridge Union where the Lib Dems again scored victory with a 12 per cent swing from Labour.

On that occasion, Julian started the evening with 17 per cent of the vote increasing to 39.5 per cent by the end of the hustings - a rise of 22.5 per cent - and taking an outright win.

In contrast, Labour began the evening on 24.2 per cent but lost votes over the evening.

Julian said: 'It is great to hear that when students listen to all the candidates, they are more likely to vote for me and less likely to vote Labour. I think students know I have stood up for them in Parliament, and share many of their values.

'They trusted me on tuition fees and I didn't let them down, sticking to my promise and voting against the fee increase. By contrast, the previous Labour MP promised not to introduce fees and then broke that promise.

'I have also fought to deliver financial help for post-graduate students, who normally had to pay their fees upfront. This caused huge problems for social mobility, and I am glad that after working with the NUS and others, our campaign was successful.

'I fought to get more money for our health services, including mental health, changed the law to ban revenge porn and campaigned for a fairer deal for rental sector tenants. When the students hear me speak they know that I am on their side and working for them.”

Student survey reflects Cambridge MP's concerns over mental health

Many Cambridge University students have suffered some form of mental health problem and struggled to get the treatment they needed even though most sought help, a survey by Julian Huppert has discovered.

The survey found that that 75 per cent of those who took part had experienced mental health issues either while at university or at another time.

Most said they would go to their GP for assistance but more than half said they would seek help from their colleges. Almost 40 per cent said they would look for answers on the internet.

But those who sought treatment had mixed experiences with many feeling they did not get the help the needed.

Although others found the treatment they received from their colleges was generally good they struggled to get an initial counselling appointment or were only offered a limited number of sessions because services were over-subscribed with long waiting lists.

One contributor to the survey said: “My experiences with mental health care are broadly on a par with those who have found space for their support. There are few who manage to receive help so quickly, and there are obvious downsides to this.”

Some of those surveyed were worried about the stigma of mental health problems and said it prevented them from seeking help and they worried that it would affect them getting jobs in the future.

“I was very depressed during my first two and a half years at university,” said one contributor, “though due to the stigma surrounding depression I didn’t inform anybody. I now regret waiting so long to seek treatment.”

Another said: “I'm scared of there being a physical record of it if I had a mental health issue (e.g. if future employers ever asked for a medical history) so would avoid seeking help unless I was absolutely desperate.”

Julian, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge said: “This survey produced some extremely worrying results and my thanks go to all these students who have taken the time to speak out so openly about the problems they have suffered.

“For decades we have seen chronic underfunding of mental health services leaving young people with mental health problems waiting far too long to get initial appointments. The stigma that still surrounds mental health is a further massive barrier people face in getting support.

“It is totally unacceptable that a young person can sometimes wait for months before receiving any support. In some cases, this can have tragic consequences. We know that early intervention can make a real difference to a young person in the longer term helping them to lead normal lives.

“But despite the fact that one in four of us will suffer a mental health problem during our lifetimes, only £1 in every £9 of NHS spending has been on specialist mental health problems in the past. I set out to change this, lobbying Parliament to call for more money for health and mental health in particular. As a result, in Cambridgeshire we received almost £23 million more including £4.2 million extra for mental health.

“But I want us to do much better than that which is why I launched my petition calling for an extra £500 million year-on-year nationally for mental health. And for the first time we have put spending on mental health on a par with physical health.

“We have begun introducing maximum waiting time standards for mental health - the first ones ever. We also invested £400 million to provide access to talking and psychological therapies and a further £150 million to provide extra care for those suffering from eating disorders.

“We transformed mental health crisis care with our Crisis Care Concordat, to which Cambridgeshire has signed up, which will promote more joined up working between health services and the police. And we have ended the detention of mentally ill young people in police cells.

“There is still so much more we can do. We need more research to find better treatments and we need to end the stigma around mental health so that people don’t think twice about seeking help in the same way as they would for a physical problem.”

Julian’s survey received responses from 289 students. 55.56 per cent had experienced a mental health problem while at university with a further 19.7 per cent experiencing it while they were not studying.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Conservative MEPs refuse to back EU targets to slash plastic bag use

MEPs are set to give the final seal of approval today to binding targets to cut plastic bag use in the EU by 80 per cent by 2025.

Conservative MEPs are expected to abstain in the vote, after having refused to back the new limits in a committee vote last month.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:"This is a huge step forward in tackling the plastic waste in Europe's oceans that kills thousands of marine animals each year.

"Liberal Democrats had to fight tooth and nail against the Conservatives to ensure a 5p charge on plastic bags will be introduced in England later this year.

"By refusing to back these much-needed targets across the EU, Conservative MEPs have shown their true colours.

"Left to their own devices, the Tories would lurch to the right on green issues. Only Liberal Democrats in government will ensure the environment stays at the top of the agenda."

Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey added:
"This is another clear example that Conservatives simply can't be trusted to deliver on the green agenda. 
"In Government we've dragged them kicking and screaming to agree to Liberal Democrat priorities including charges for plastic bags. 
"It's essential to have Lib Dems in Government as a toxic BLUKIP alliance would see the green agenda ripped up."

New online election map for South Cambs voters

A new interactive polling station map has been launched, allowing South Cambridgeshire voters to check online where they can cast their vote on 7 May.

By putting their home postcode into our "Find your polling station" map, voters will be able to see the address and location of their polling station, plus which elections are being held in their village.

Election infographics are also available for the first time, showing which candidates are standing in the South Cambridgeshire Parliamentary and District Council elections and the results for the last time each seat was contested. The infographics can be found at General and Local Elections - 7 May 2015

As well voting for MPs in the South Cambridgeshire and South East Cambridgeshire constituencies, local elections are being held in 19 District Council wards and for four Parish Councils.

Jean Hunter, chief executive and elections returning officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We want to encourage as many people to turn out to vote as possible on 7 May, so have brought as much election information together in one place as we can. We hope that voters will find our new map and infographics useful both in the run-up to election day and on the day itself.”

Lib Dems invite all primary pupils to sit down to free school dinner

All primary school children in Cambridge will benefit from free school meals under Liberal Democrat plans to extend the scheme.

Julian Huppert, who joined the pupils at the city’s Spinney School last September to find out how the initial phase of the plan was working, said the initiative would save money on the family budget and give children a healthy lunchtime meal.

The move would benefit more than 200,000 children across the East of England saving around £400 per child a year.

Julian, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge said: “Our free school meals have been well received in the city and it was great to see the youngsters at Spinney School enjoying lunch with their friends.

“Studies have shown than free school meals lead to children eating healthier food and improve concentration and results.

“We want to make sure that all children have the best chance to make the most of their education. Our free school meals for all primary children along with our Pupil Premium to help disadvantaged youngsters and free nursery school places go a long way to helping to achieve that.”

Friday, 24 April 2015

Lib Dem victory as five year fight sees first new pub for 30 years

Cambridge’s first new pub for 30 years will open in the city today (Friday, April 24) thanks to a five year campaign by the Liberal Democrats.

They went into battle backed by residents who signed a petition after the Queen Edith pub was threatened with demolition to make way for housing in 2010.

Lib Dem Cambridge City Councillors at the time, Jean Swanson, Amanda Taylor and Viki Sanders, argued that it was vital to preserve a pub on the Wulfstan Way site because it was an essential community facility. They voted against the plans defeating them.

Developers submitted another planning application to build a new pub alongside a one bedroom apartment for the pub manager, a two bed apartment and a separate block of 12 two bed apartments with car parking.

Now five years on, the new Queen Edith will be run by Milton Brewery and will open its doors for business at noon today.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Amanda Taylor, who represents Queen Edith’s said: “We are delighted that this new pub will be opening for business and we wish it every success.


“We have lost so many pubs in Cambridge over the last 10 years that it’s good to see a new one opening at last. Our pubs are so vital for our communities and we hope everyone will give the Queen Edith their support.”

Friday, 10 April 2015

Candidates for Parliamentary and District Council elections

The candidates seeking election as South Cambridgeshire’s next MP along with those standing for South Cambridgeshire District Council have been announced after the deadline for nominations closed.

Residents will head to the polls on Thursday 7 May to elect their next MP along with councillors for a third of the seats on the District Council – 19 in total.

To make sure residents can have their say in the elections, they are also being reminded to make sure they are registered to vote. If you still need to register to vote please visit the Electoral Commission’s website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk – the deadline is Monday 20 April.

Postal and proxy applications can also be printed from the Electoral Commission’s website, or by calling the District Council’s elections team on 03450 455 214. Postal vote applications must be received before 5pm on Tuesday 21 April, and proxy applications before 5pm on Tuesday 28 April.

Parish Councils in Barton, Coton, Foxton and Hardwick will also be holding elections and information about who is standing can be found on the District Council’s website www.scambs.gov.uk/Elections

Parliamentary candidates for the South Cambridgeshire Constituency:

Allen, Heidi Suzanne - The Conservative Party Candidate
Greef, Dan - Labour Party
Kindersley, Sebastian Gerald Molesworth - Liberal Democrat
Mason, Marion Ann - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Saggers, Simon Peter - Green Party

District Council candidates:

Balsham
Batchelor, John Dennis - Liberal Democrats
Buxton, Imogen - Labour Party
Crane, Ellie - Green Party
Turner, Richard Michael - The Conservative Party Candidate

Bar Hill
Delderfield, Clare - Liberal Democrat
Green, Helene Yvette - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Hall, Roger - The Conservative Party Candidate
Roland, Claudia - The Green Party
Smith, Alexander - Labour Party

Barton
Burkitt, Francis William Miles - The Conservative Party Candidate
Gomori, Anna - The Green Party
Shepherd, Janet - Labour Party

Bourn
Clayton, Gavin John Lawson - Labour Party
O`Brien, Des - The Conservative Party Candidate
Pitcaithly, Marcus - The Green Party

Comberton
Margetts, Andrew John - The Green Party
Scott, Tim - The Conservative Party Candidate
Shepherd, John Samuel - Labour Party
Tattersall, Annette - Liberal Democrat

Cottenham
Coe, Colin Cyril - The Green Party
Gymer, Richard William - Liberal Democrat
Heaver, Eric - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
McCormack, Mark John - Labour Party
Wotherspoon, Timothy John - The Conservative Party Candidate

Duxford
Bohme, Wendy - The Green Party
Martin, Mick - The Conservative Party Candidate
Prince, Jean Ellen - Labour Party
Young, Peter Nicholas - Liberal Democrat

Fowlmere and Foxton
Evans, Paul - The Green Party
McMillan, Mark Daniel - The Conservative Party Candidate
Merritt, David John - Labour Party
Roberts, Deborah Patricia - Independent

Fulbourn
Charrot, Rosie Ndiuza - Labour Party
Cone, Graham David - The Conservative Party Candidate
Ranken, John - Green Party
Scarr, Neil John - Independent
Williams, Nancy Louise - Liberal Democrats

Hardwick
Atkinson, Nigel John - Liberal Democrat
Chamberlain, Grenville James - The Conservative Party Candidate
Crowther, Norman Alexander - Labour Party
Rankin, Clare Jane - The Green Party
Webster, Joe - UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Histon and Impington
Cahn, Aga - Labour Party
Cotterell, Darren Paul - Green Party
Cross, Christopher John - The Conservative Party Candidate
Macaulay, Yemi - Liberal Democrats

Milton
Smith, Christine Linda - The Conservative Party Candidate
Smith, Hazel Marion - Liberal Democrats
Wilson, John James - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Wood, Alison - Labour Party

Orwell and Barrington
Sharp, Ian - The Conservative Party Candidate
Smith, David Stephen - The Green Party
Stone, Turlough Francis - Labour Party
Van De Weyer, Aidan Thomas - Liberal Democrat

Papworth and Elsworth
Clements, Gaynor - The Green Party
Hersom, Mark Peter - Liberal Democrat
Patrick, Angela Mary - Labour Party
Wright, Nick - The Conservative Party Candidate

Sawston
Bard, David Roy - The Conservative Party Candidate
Berridge, Sophi - The Green Party
Toner, Mark - Labour Party

Teversham
Fisher, Oliver Edward - The Green Party
Herbert, Elizabeth Gemmell - Labour Party
Hunt, Caroline Anne - The Conservative Party Candidate
Platt, Barry John - Liberal Democrats

The Abingtons
Fiddes, Barnaby Daniel - Labour Party
Orgee, Tony - The Conservative Party Candidate
Skottowe, Timothy - UK Independence Party (UKIP)

The Shelfords and Stapleford
Fane, Peter - Liberal Democrat
Nettleton, Mike - Labour Party
Whitebread, Linda Jane - The Green Party
Whiteman-Downes, David - The Conservative Party Candidate

Willingham and Over
Burling, Brian Roy - The Conservative Party Candidate
Hale, Martin - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Lee, Tom - Liberal Democrats
Monks, Ben - Labour Party
Stocks, Helen - Green Party

Election candidates announced for Cambridge

ON THURSDAY 7 May, elections take place across the city for 14 of the 42 seats on Cambridge City Council, as well as for Members of Parliament for the Cambridge constituency (in 13 city wards) and the South Cambridgeshire constituency (in Queen Edith’s ward).

Nominated candidates for the UK parliamentary election in the Cambridge constituency are as follows:

Chamali FERNANDO (Conservative)
Keith GARRETT (Removing the politicians)
Julian HUPPERT (Liberal Democrat)
Patrick O’FLYNN (UKIP)
Rupert READ (Green)
Daniel ZEICHNER (Labour)

For details of candidates in the South Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency, please visit www.scambs.gov.uk/content/recent-and-forthcoming-elections

Nominated candidates for the Cambridge City Council elections are as follows (* denotes sitting councillor seeking re-election):

Abbey
David COWAN (Conservative)
Caroline HART (Labour)*
Monica HONE (Green)
Nichola MARTIN (Liberal Democrat)

Arbury
Eric BARRETT-PAYTON (Conservative)
Celia CONWAY (UKIP)
Stephen LAWRENCE (Green)
Carina O’REILLY (Labour)*
Tim WARD (Liberal Democrat)

Castle
Martin BONNER (Green)
Valerie HOLT (Liberal Democrat)
Simon MITTON (Conservative)
Patrick SHEIL (Labour)

Cherry Hinton
Mark ASHTON (Labour & Co-operative)*
Phillip BARNETT (Green)
Alex CROWSON (UKIP)
Timothy HAIRE (Conservative)
Ed SEXTON (Liberal Democrat)

Coleridge
Sam BARKER (Conservative)
Jeremy BENSTEAD (Labour)*
Simon COOPER (Liberal Democrat)
Shaun ESGATE (Green)
Bill KAMINSKI (UKIP)

East Chesterton
Gerri BIRD (Labour)*
Alex BOYD (Conservative)
Peter BURKINSHAW (UKIP)
Peter POPE (Green)
Shahida RAHMAN (Liberal Democrat)

King’s Hedges
Dave CORN (UKIP)
Angela DITCHFIELD (Green)
Anette KARIMI (Conservative)
Hugh NEWSAM (Liberal Democrat)
Kevin PRICE (Labour)*
Ian TYES (Independent)

Market
Daniel COUGHLAN (Conservative)
Oscar GILLESPIE (Green)
Danielle GREENE (Labour)
Dom WELDON (Liberal Democrat)

Newnham
Sam CARR (Conservative)
Markus GEHRING (Liberal Democrat)
Kate HONEY (Green)
Ewan McGAUGHEY (Labour)

Petersfield
Kevin BLENCOWE (Labour)*
Ben FLOOK (Conservative)
Atus MARIQUEO-RUSSELL (Green)
Elizabeth PARKIN (Liberal Democrat)

Queen Edith’s
Andrew BOWER (Conservative)
Joel CHALFEN (Green)
Candido CHANNELL (UKIP)
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)*
Matt WORTH (Labour)

Romsey
Donald ADEY (Liberal Democrat)
Jane CARPENTER (Green)
Rahatul RAJA (Conservative)
Anna SMITH (Labour)

Trumpington
Ceri GALLOWAY (Green)
Nick GAY (Labour)
Richard JEFFS (UKIP)
Daniel JOHN (Conservative)
Zoe O’CONNELL (Liberal Democrat)

West Chesterton
Har KAUR (Green)
Mary KING (UKIP)
Mike SARGEANT (Labour)
Damien TUNNACLIFFE (Liberal Democrat)*
Linda YEATMAN (Conservative)

Antoinette Jackson, acting returning officer for the general election in Cambridge and returning officer for the local elections said: “Voting at these elections means you will help decide on a member of parliament and on local councillors to represent your interests in your area.

“Even if you’re not sure you want to vote, I would encourage you to register by 20 April so you have the option to vote on 7 May in the local and national elections.”

Please remember:

  • You should be registered to vote by 11.59pm on Monday 20 April
  • If you know that you are not registered to vote or have moved recently you can register by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your National Insurance number to hand in order to register. 
  • You can apply to vote by post before 5pm on Tuesday 21 April  by visiting www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
  • You can apply to vote by proxy before 5pm on Tuesday 28 April by visiting www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

High levels of pollution in UK show need for Europe-wide limits

Air pollution in the is set to high levels today, prompting health warnings from the government. Those with heart or lung problems and the elderly are being told to completely avoid strenuous physical activity, while even healthy people are being warned to cut down on the amount of physical exertion they do outside.

The high levels are being caused by mix of local pollution, south-easterly winds blowing pollutants in from the continent and dust from the Sahara.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, who is currently negotiating new EU limits on air pollution, commented:

"Yet again we are seeing extremely high levels of pollution in the UK, caused in part by smog blowing in from the continent.

"We cannot ignore this problem any longer. We urgently need strict EU limits that will force all governments to improve our shared air quality.

"Unless action is taken across Europe, the quality of the air we breathe will continue to be at the mercy of whichever way the wind is blowing."

Lib Dems call on Labour to make affordable homes a priority

Liberal Democrats are calling on Labour's city council administration to rethink its plan to invest the lion's share of the council's available funds in commercial property and instead to make its priority alleviating the city's affordable housing needs.

The move comes in a motion to next week's meeting of the full council in the names of Lib Dem leader Cllr Tim Bick and colleague councillors Catherine Smart, Andy Blackhurst, Nick Avery and Phil Tucker.

"It is quite extraordinary that Labour is continuously commentating on the housing needs of the city, but when it has the resources, it's first instincts appears to be to pour them into commercial, rather than residential property investment," said Cllr Avery.

"There is no shortage of investors in commercial property in this city. But there is a huge need for homes in which young people can get started and the city council has it in its power to help. Even at affordable rents, these can generate a good financial return to the council as a long term investment"

"We brought forward a proposal in the council budget earlier this year which we had worked up with council officers. This would have seen 100 new homes built on council owned land - all at sub-market rents. 40 per cent would have been at social rents; the rest would have been 'intermediate' homes at 80 per cent of market rents to help those in need but are unlikely ever to satisfy the criteria of social need.

"The proposal was ridiculed and rubbished by Labour. But the fact is: people do expect their council not to operate just like a banker or a financial institution, but to marry up sound investment plans with the needs of the community. Labour seemed to miss this point. If this matter is delayed any longer the money will have been committed elsewhere.

"We are bringing this motion next week to give Labour an opportunity to think about this a bit more before it's too late. Hopefully they could come up with a better plan than they have done so far for the needs of the city."

The wording of the motion is as follows:
"Council calls on the Executive to reconsider the priority it has adopted to use the council's general funds to invest in commercial property above building more affordable homes for the people of the city."

eCops: Daily Crime Update 10/04/2015

In the past 24hrs, in the Histon sector, there have been 4 crimes reported to the police.

At 09:00 hrs on 09/04/2015 unknown offenders have taken a black ladies Dawes, Discovery cycle from Circus Drive. Orchard Park, Cambridge. CF0137190415.

Between 18.00 hrs on 08/04/2015 and 07:00 hrs on 09/04/2015 unknown offenders have entered into a house and taken some decorators tools from a building site in Ring Fort Road, Orchard Park, Cambridge. CF0137310415

Between 18:00 hrs on 08/04/2015 and 09:00 hrs on 09/04/2015 unknown offenders have damaged a garage door and taken some scrap metal from a house in Telegraph Street, Cottenham. CF0137350415

Between 07:00 hrs on 08/04/2015 and 00:10 hrs on 09/04/2015 unknown offenders have taken the wheels, saddle and seat from a Giant, Roam cycle at the Guided Bus Way, Longstanton. CF0139170415

If you have any information which may assist with the investigation into these crimes please call 101, reply to this message or call crime stoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.

Regards
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Home insulation grant scheme extended

A solid wall insulation scheme, which provides funding to help insulate older homes in the county, has been extended until September 2015.

The scheme, run by Action on Energy Cambridgeshire, a partnership of local councils, was set up in March last year to encourage the uptake of energy saving improvements in older properties.  Over 1000 owner occupied and private rented households have embarked upon the scheme so far.

A spokesperson for the Partnership said: “More and more people are looking to insulate their homes to bring up the level of comfort and bring down the bills.  Cavity wall insulation is not an option if you have an older home with solid walls, but internal or external insulation is a suitable alternative. This scheme makes it easier to get the work done, and brings the cost down to an affordable level.”

Homeowners could receive a grant of up to £6,000 towards the cost of installing solid walled insulation. Landlords could receive grants of up to £8,000 per property for measures including solid wall and cavity wall insulation, new boilers and thermostats.  

Joan Pidgeon from Whittlesford, who has had external wall insulation on her home said: “It was really easy to get the work done and for the first time since we bought the house the bathroom is actually warm in the morning. Amazing!”

Abigail who lives in Ely and is currently having work done on her house, said: “Our house is really cold especially as we are at the end of a terrace. Now I’m at home with our toddler most days, we have seen our energy bills increase, so we’d love to save some money on the heating. We realised properly insulating our home would make the house warmer and more energy efficient and make it look better too. This is why we started looking into what we could do to make things better.”

“I would urge anyone in Cambridgeshire whose home is in need of better insulation to get in touch with their local council. There are grants of up to £6,000 available to improve your home – so why wouldn’t you do it?”

Kim and Charlie Browne from Cambridge, who recently had external solid wall insulation installed on their house, explained what prompted them to have the work done: “The thought of having a warmer house that was also healthier for the environment was at the top of our list. Obviously we are hoping for lower utility bills too. We were confident to go ahead with this scheme as it was a joint council initiative.”

Action on Energy is open to all Cambridgeshire homeowners and landlords.  To apply for this funding, contact Action on Energy to arrange for an assessor to carry out an assessment of your property.  This is being offered at a reduced rate of £29, which is reimbursed if you go ahead with any of the recommended energy saving measures through the scheme.

Access to the scheme is primarily delivered by Climate Energy Ltd but the funds can also be accessed through three other approved Green Deal Providers.

For more information contact Action on Energy on 0800 093 3303 or visit www.actiononenergy.net

The project is led by Cambridge City Council on behalf of a consortium of councils which also includes Cambridgeshire County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The scheme is available for residents in Cambridgeshire only. Further details are available at www.actiononenergy.net, or by calling 0800 093 33 03.

Details of other Green Deal Providers registered with the scheme are available at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/green-deal-communities

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Julian and team mark Onesie Day for autism charity

Julian Huppert and his campaign team will be dressed in colourful onesies tomorrow (Thursday, April 2) to mark World Autism Awareness Day and raise money for charity.

Onesie Day at the Team Julian campaign shop at 28 Hills Road, Cambridge will boost funds for the National Autistic Society.

Julian, who is standing as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge has been an avid supporter of the society’s work joining forces with Cambridge Regional College and the local Jobcentre Plus to promote the benefits of employing people with autism.

And he pressed the government on its strategy to help adults with autism after fears that many are still not getting the help they need.

Former Lib Dem MP David Howarth was instrumental in getting The Adult Autism Strategy published in March 2010 after Parliament passed the Autism Act the year before.

Julian said: “Onesie Day is a fun event with a serious message – celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of people with autism and acknowledging the contributions they can make to our communities. And at the same time we will be raising money for the NAS which supports people with this condition.

“People with autism in Cambridge tell me they have problems finding and staying in work; anything we can do to raise awareness of the problems and encourage employers to give them a chance is worthwhile.

“These people have skills and talents which could contribute greatly to the workplace if only they are given the opportunity.

“I hope people will come and join us and support this charity.”

Onesie Day will take place at Julian’s campaign shop at 28 Hills Road on the corner of Coronation Road at 10am tomorrow, Thursday, April 2.

Lib Dem MP stands up against racism

Julian Huppert will stand up against racism on Saturday (April 4) when he takes part in an event in Cambridge.

He has been invited to join the Love Mill Road Hate Racism Picnic in the Park to show that hatred and bigotry are not acceptable in the city.

The event follows the recent racist incident in Petersfield Park when a Muslim mother and her baby were subjected to racist taunts and abuse.

Julian, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge said: “This was an ugly incident which was extremely frightening and upsetting for this young mother. Unfortunately it is not the first time that we have had racism displayed in our city and centred on the Mill Road area.

“We are very fortunate in Cambridge to have a diverse city where people from different nationalities and cultures live and work. They contribute greatly to our communities and we have been recognised as the most equal city in the Centre for Cities report.

“We cannot let a small minority tarnish that reputation and that is why I am supporting this event to show that racial hatred is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Love Mill Road Hate Racism Picnic in the Park, Saturday, April 4 at 12 noon at Petersfield Park opposite Parkside Pool.