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The B&NES Conservative Cabinet will decide today (25 January 2017) whether to build an East of Bath park and ride on the Bathampton water meadows.
Lib Dem opposition Councillors are attending the crunch Cabinet meeting to speak out against the plans:
- Councillor Alison Millar (representing Bathavon North ward, Alison is the only non-Conservative Councillor in the ward in which the park and ride would be built).
- Councillor Dine Romero (representing Southdown ward, Dine is the Leader of the Lib Dems on B&NES Council).
- Councillor Neil Butters (representing Bathavon South, Neil the Lib Dem Council Group’s transport spokesperson).
The proceedings of the Cabinet meeting can be viewed online: webcast; and the Cabinet decision papers can be seen on the Council's website: papers. The Lib Dem Councillors' speeches can be viewed below.
Lib Dems: Plans to roll out monthly bin collections are "bonkers"
Families are being forced to burn trash to avoid it rotting outside homes, it was reported today, as a council in North Wales cuts bin collections to once every four weeks.
The scheme is now set to be rolled out across UK, in a sign of the crippling cuts being faced by local councils.
Commenting on the news, Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh said:
"This shows that life under the Tories is rubbish. How can families be expected to burn rotting food?
"In what world should this plan be rolled out nationally. It's bonkers.
"It's easy to blame local councils, but when local authority budgets are being slashed to the bone it's clear the fault lies squarely with this Conservative government.
"The Department for Communities and Local Government needs to step in, today, and ensure this scheme is not introduced in streets across the country."
Papers for next week’s Special Cabinet meeting, which will decide on the location of the East of Bath park and ride, have been published today (Tuesday, 17 January 2017).
The Cabinet is proposing to promote site 'B', on Bathampton Meadows, as the preferred site for the new park and ride, and if this is not deliverable, site 'F', which is also on the Meadows. You can read the full report here: Special Cabinet meeting agenda papers.
Responding to a warning from CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn on the risks of a "disorderly" Brexit, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Tom Brake said:
"Bluster and bravado from the leading Brexiteers is not enough. They should admit that crashing out of the Single Market without any fall-back plan would have serious consequences for jobs, businesses and the public finances.
"It's about time this government listened to the advice of business leaders instead of recklessly pursuing a hard and destructive Brexit that would sink the economy.
"It would be a betrayal of British businesses if Theresa May went into these negotiations waving the white flag on membership of the Single Market
"Labour under Corbyn are failing to hold the government to account and are now cheering Brexit along from the sidelines.
"Only the Liberal Democrats are providing a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit government and fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.”
Blue Monday: data shows 11 million days lost due to depression - Lib Dems
Coinciding with Blue Monday, figures show that the total number of working days lost due to depression in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case. Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb said these startling figures should force the Government to sit up and take notice of the mental health crisis facing the UK workforce.
The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.
In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.
Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures including tight deadlines, too much responsibility, and a lack of managerial support.
Commenting on the NAO report showing that HMRC dramatically over estimated the savings from plans to move to regional hubs, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, said:
“How can the public have confidence in our tax system when the organisation charged with bringing in money it so utterly reckless with how it spends it? HMRC refused to listen when people warned of the dangers of rushing to regional centres.
“Their actions cost jobs in local HMRC centres and cut businesses and taxpayers off from advice and yet they are now saying the move will cost over £300m over the next decade. These HMRC offices that have closed were the final part of government infrastructure that was in a lot of towns throughout the UK, with them gone, and the jobs, it means another nail in the coffin for many small and rural communities.
Commenting on a survey of 200 financial institutions which found half have started to relocate staff six months on from the Brexit vote, with a third planning to move their entire European operations, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:
“Concerns over hard Brexit are already leading to an exodus of workers.
“Yet Theresa May continues to drop heavy hints that she is hell-bent on taking Britain out of the Single Market, ignoring the threat to passporting rights and the jobs dependent on trade with the world’s most lucrative market.
“The financial services sector is crucial to the UK's future prosperity.
"If Theresa May does pull Britain out of the Single Market, she will go down in history as the Prime Minister who crashed the economy.”
Data shows the NHS is creaking under pressure:
- 24% increase in people leaving A&E without receiving treatment.
- It’s taking 7% longer to receive treatment in A&E units.
- 14% increase in people having to go back to Accident & Emergency Units within 7 days.
Data released today by NHS Digital today shows the NHS on the edge of a Winter Crisis as data shows that Accident and Emergency is creaking under the pressure.
Data for September 2016 compared to a year ago shows that a rocketing 53,000 people leaving Accident and Emergency Units before receiving treatment. In the equivalent 2015 data it was 42,461. This is a hike of 24% in just a year.
The time to treatment is now nearly an hour, taking 59 minutes, and has increased by 7%, when in comparison, in 2015 it took only 55 mins.
The total time in the department is also 4% longer in the department, taking 2 hours and 4 minutes.
The number of re-attendances within 7 days of a previous attendance at A&E is up 14% from 119,856 in 2015 to 137,164 in September 2016.
Funding for Culture outside London
Responding to the Culture Media and Sport Committee's report that says more must be done to the address the imbalance in arts funding between London and the rest of the country, Jane Bonham Carter, Liberal Democrat Culture Spokesperson, said:
"This is a worrying trend that runs throughout our economy. The regions are frequently overlooked whilst money is repeatedly pumped into London and the South East.
"No one should be denied access to culture based on where they live and we would like to see the economy re-balanced if the Government are really committed to growth, social mobility and our creative industries."
The Liberal Democrats will vote against an amendment in the Commons tonight that would tie MPs to voting unconditionally for Article 50, the mechanism which would see Britain begin divorce proceedings from the European Union.
Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “We cannot support a parliamentary stitch up that would deny the people a vote on the final deal.