“Let’s get devolution right for Gloucestershire” say Lib Dems

On the day Gloucestershire submits a detailed bid for more devolved powers and responsibilities, which means greater local control and influence over resources and priorities. The Liberal Democrats issue their own ‘Statement of Principles’, on which support for a devolution package will only then be determined.

The Liberal Democrat agreed principles are as follows:

1) Liberal Democrats believe that devolution needs to be created by locally led processes and are mindful that devolution as it currently stands to a model set out by Government is not real devolution at all.

2) Liberal Democrats will only support devolution if Government is genuinely interested in giving power back to local communities, but not if the intention of Government is simply to pass cost-cutting measures onto local authorities under the façade of devolution.

3) The new responsibilities handed down from Government to Gloucestershire must come with full powers to decide, manage and innovate at a local level.

4) The Government must ensure that adequate funding is guaranteed now and in the future to support good quality services for residents of the county.

5) The government must ensure that the new arrangements allow for additional funds to be raised locally or through other legitimate means to support enhanced service provision if that is decided by locally elected members.

6) The governance arrangements must be cross-party and fully reflect the political proportionality that exists on the councils that make up the new governing board that will oversee the new devolved services.

7) We will not support the establishment of a metro mayor. Governance of the new additional arrangements must not be handed over to a single person as we believe collective responsibility across all political parties, provides for better services.

8) If we want democracy alongside devolution, then, we ultimately need a fairer voting system for local government in the form of STV.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said:

“We are very much in favour of devolving more powers and responsibilities to local areas, but the deal must be right and it must be in the interests of Gloucestershire as a whole.

“Our ‘Statement of Principles’ are more than just a wish list they are key to us supporting the ‘We are Gloucestershire’ bid, which I believe is being signed and submitted today.

“There are a number of factors to be considered and the last thing we should be doing is to look at devolution through rose-tinted spectacles. While devolution presents a number of exciting opportunities, it will not be easy to commit to achieving better outcomes at further reduced costs and this ought to be fully realised.

“Gloucestershire County Council is in no overall control and it is therefore vital that not only public sector partners are consulted, but that all political parties who are a part of the public sector have a say in what is being proposed and what will eventually be agreed.

“In any deal, the question is: who holds the cards? It is important that through the negotiation process of devolution we don’t allow Government to hold all the cards.

“I believe our ‘Statement of Principles’ goes some way to making sure that when we are in a position to agree a deal it will ultimately be the right one for Gloucestershire.”

ENDS

Notes:
1. Ten of Gloucestershire’s public sector partners have already come together including Gloucestershire Councils, the Police & Crime Commissioner, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to have one conversation with Government about how, through devolution, one can achieve better outcomes and reduced costs.

A Strong Liberal Democrat Group to Fight Back across Gloucestershire

A strong team of Liberal Democrat County Councillors who will work hard for the residents of the county and also keep a close eye on those decisions being made by a Conservative administration where there is no overall control has today been announced by re-elected Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm & Wotton).

Cllr. Hilton said: “Following the Liberal Democrat County Group’s Annual General Meeting held on Friday 15th May 2015, I’m pleased to announce that our strong team of Shadow Cabinet Members are as follows:

Finance & Change – Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (LD: Bourton-on-the-Water)
Long-Term Care – Cllr. David Brown (LD: Barnwood & Hucclecote)
Older People – Cllr. Klara Sudbury (LD: Charlton Park & College)
Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning – Cllr. Joe Harris (LD: Cirencester Park)
Highways and Flood – Cllr. Bill Whelan (LD: Churchdown)
Fire, Planning and Infrastructure – Cllr. John Cordwell (LD: Wotton-under-Edge)
Public Health and Communities – Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton & Warden Hill)

“I look forward to working alongside them all with Cllr. Iain Dobie who I’m delighted will again be serving as Deputy Leader. Despite our recent knock-backs, I’m confident that with a strong team of local county councillors we will continue to work hard to strengthen the local economy, fix the roads and protect the most vulnerable across Gloucestershire all the way through to the county elections in 2017”.

The Deputy Leader, Cllr. Dobie also said: “The recent national and local election results make it more important than ever to field a well-led, challenging and effective opposition team. I am confident that the Liberal Democrats, who are the prime opposition party at the County Council, have such a team.”

The Liberal Democrats six red lines

The Liberal Democrats outlined six ‘red lines’ during the election campaign covering: education, the economy, tax, health, public sector pay and the environment:

1) Invest an extra £2.5bn in education – benefitting 11.5 million pupils aged 2-19

2) Invest £8bn a year by 2020 in the NHS – benefitting 53.9 million people in England

3) £2.7bn of pay rises for public sector workers – benefitting 5.4 million workers

4) Cut taxes by £400 for working people – benefitting 30 million individuals

5) Introduce a ‘stability budget’ in the first 50 days – benefitting the entire UK population

6) Fight climate change and protect nature – benefitting the entire UK population

Vote Liberal Democrat in Gloucester and give Nick Clegg the power to deliver these top six priorities

Private Sector tenants need longer tenancies says Jeremy Hilton

More must be done to protect tenants who rent their home from private landlords says “Gloucester Born and Bred” Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton.

Jeremy Hilton said: “In the last few years there has been a big increase in the number of people who rent their homes in the private sector. There are good landlords and there are rogue ones.

“Most people just have a six month short-hold tenancy agreement. Tenants can be given just two months notice once the six month tenancy ends. This means tenants having just 8 months to live in their home before they have to move out. Imagine moving home every 8 months out of no choice of your own. I believe this is unfair and disruptive to family life.

“I am pleased that the Liberal Democrats will encourage more multi-year private sector tenancies. They will have an agreed inflation linked annual rent increase built in. This would protect the tenants and reassure the landlord the rent keeps pace with inflation.”

‘Protecting Civil Liberties is a high priority’ says Gloucester’s Lib Dem candidate Jeremy Hilton

Jeremy Hilton PPC Gloucester_edited-1

Gloucester’s ‘born and bred’ local man and parliamentary candidate, Jeremy Hilton has spoken out about what the Liberal Democrats in government have accomplished  in terms of protecting civil liberties and the main reason why the electorate should vote Lib Dem on May 7th.

Jeremy Hilton who is also a City and County Councillor for Kingsholm and Wotton said:

“The Liberal Democrats have from its very existence stood up for human rights, equality issues and the protection of civil liberties.

“I’m extremely proud of what the Liberal Democrats in government have achieved over the last five years regarding human rights and civil liberties. We have continuously fought to protect the very rights that I see to be the bed-rock of a free and humane society and the main reason why I joined the then Liberals in the 1970’s.

“The Liberal Democrat record in government speaks for itself – we’ve not only scrapped the expensive and unnecessary ID cards system proposed by Labour, but have in addition ended the police’s permanent storing of innocent people’s DNA, and stopped children from being fingerprinted in schools without parental consent.

“I’m delighted to see that the Liberal Democrats in government have restored the right to protest outside Parliament, and reformed the bureaucratic criminal record checks for ordinary people who work as volunteers and provide an invaluable community service.

“I’m also pleased that the Liberal Democrats have banned the incredibly unfair wheel-clamping operations that happened regularly on private land in Gloucester and across the rest of the country.

“Unlike the Tories, we believe very much in the Human Rights Act and have so far stopped the Conservatives getting rid of this important legislation.

“It is of grave concern that the Tories, if elected and able to govern alone, will repeal the Human Rights Act. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act have and continue to make a real difference to the lives of many people and should be applauded not abolished.

“My message to the voters of this great city is simple, if like me, you believe politics is about striving for a fair and harmonious society, free from prejudice and bigotry and that human beings regardless of gender, race, age or sexual orientation can fulfil their potential, then, vote for the Liberal Democrats on May 7th, I firmly believe we are the only party in this election who believes strongly in individual freedoms and the protection of human rights. These liberties should never be taken for granted and should certainly never be taken away.”

ENDS…

Liberal Democrats issue ten point plan for Gloucester City Council

Jeremy Hilton with Lib Dem colleagues Isabel Brazil & Sebastian Field

Jeremy Hilton with Lib Dem colleagues Isabel Brazil & Sebastian Field

Gloucester City Council Liberal Democrat group have issued their ten-point plan to improve services in Gloucester.

The manifesto “Keeping Gloucester Moving Forward” focuses on how the Liberal Democrats will do better in regenerating Gloucester and improving council services in the future.

Group Leader Jeremy Hilton said: “Liberal Democrats have an imaginative ten point plan to improve services of the city council. We will progress the regeneration of our historic city, with more panache and urgency than the current Tory administration.

“Gloucester City Council needs a new administration that has the energy and ideas to take the city into the 21st Century.”

Deputy Leader Cllr. Sebastian Field said: “Gloucester as a city is on the up, with regeneration projects happening all across the city.  But in many areas of the city, the Conservative council has failed to live up to its promises.

“Recycling rates are low in this city, and these must improve to avoid fines for sending too much waste to landfill. The Kings Quarter redevelopment has been delayed over and over again, and residents are now tired of waiting.”

Gloucester City Council Liberal Democrat Group 2015 Manifesto

Keeping Gloucester Moving Forward

Our Ten Point plan for Gloucester:-

1) Regeneration of our city is a top priority. King’s Quarter has been delayed again and again. We will make sure that the city centre is not forgotten, and will press developers to deliver on time, with developments that local people actually want.

2) Our idea to provide free wifi in Gloucester city centre is being implemented. We will make sure it is delivered in time for the Rugby World Cup. We will create a modern welcome for visitors to our historic city.

3) Liberal Democrats in Gloucester are working to ensure there are clean, modern public conveniences in the city centre. The Tory administration’s Community Toilet scheme is a failure, and Gloucester deserves better.

4) Gloucestershire Airport Ltd (GAL) is owned by the city council, jointly with Cheltenham Borough Council. We shall continue to support GAL as a general aviation airport to provide jobs and air transport services. We shall also deliver our plans to enhance the railway station and the building of a new central bus station.

5) We will lobby the government to provide better infrastructure for Gloucester, from roads and public transport, to superfast broadband for all new developments.

6) We have consistently opposed the massive waste incinerator planned for Javelin Park, Quedgeley. Local Tories on the county council rammed this plan through with the help of UKIP councillors, despite it being unanimously rejected by the planning committee. We will ensure that household waste that is collected by the city council is not burnt in an incinerator when it can be recycled.

7) Gloucester Liberal Democrats will listen to the residents of Gloucester in making their budget decisions. In these challenging times, councils have to make tough choices and innovate to save money and create revenue. We will listen to all ideas for how best to do this.

8) Gloucester Cathedral is a magnificent building at the heart of our city. It could be a World Heritage Site, which would make it even more of a tourist attraction. Liberal Democrats chair a group trying to make this happen.

9) Gloucester has a rich heritage and cultural history. We currently do not have an Arts Council-supported venue in the city, and we would work to make that a reality. Gloucester should be a creative hub for artists, writers, musicians and performers. We will bring more Festivals and events to Gloucester, including a literary festival.

10) Gloucester Liberal Democrats will ensure that the Rugby World Cup is a fantastic celebration enjoyed by all. The city must be spotlessly clean and there must be adequate facilities to accommodate all the extra fans. The council must work with England Rugby to ensure a lasting legacy from the World Cup. We will assist Gloucester City Football Club to return home to Gloucester in their plans to build a new stadium at Meadow Park.

 

 

 

Jeremy Hilton’s vision 4 Gloucester –

Jeremy Hilton explains his vision for Gloucester and why he is standing for parliament.

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I was born in Gloucester and I have lived and worked within ten miles of the Cathedral all my life.

Having served Gloucester for more than 23 years as a local councillor, I believe I can do an excellent job of representing our historic city in Parliament.

If elected, I would be the first MP to represent Gloucester, who was born here.

It would be a great honour to serve as a Member of Parliament for this city, which has been my home for so many years.

I am proud of the achievements of the Liberal Democrats in government. We have worked hard to deliver our manifesto, from the Pupil Premium that is helping disadvantaged children, to the ‘triple lock’ that means pensions rise by at least 2.5% a year. The increase in the income tax threshold means people can now earn £10,600 tax-free.

Vince Cable has led the way on delivering two million new apprenticeships, which equates to more than 1,000 in Gloucester every year.

I remember Labour’s attempt to stamp on our civil liberties with compulsory ID cards. This was scrapped by the Lib Dems in government.

In Gloucester, we must see the regeneration of our city to completion. This will mean the delivery of an upgraded railway station with improved connectivity and a new bus station.

The regeneration of the Kings Quarter and the Blackfriars area around the old prison must be delivered with panache and completed in good time

As the MP for Gloucester, I will want to complete the work I have started on a bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for our magnificent Cathedral.

Too many Gloucester children leave the city to go to secondary school – this is unfair. I will work to ensure that young people from Gloucester are able to get into good local schools.

Fighting Labour’s plan to nationalise or regionalise the fire service, which would see the end of our county fire brigade, would be on the top of my list as a new MP. I remember successfully fighting Labour over plans to move our fire control to Somerset.

Top Five Priorities for Gloucester

· Better public transport, with new/improved bus and railway stations
· Successful regeneration in the city centre and WHS status for the Cathedral
· More apprenticeships, more jobs and strong local economy
· Quality public services, better NHS and a local fire service
· Good local schools open to all Gloucester children

Lib Dems succeed in amending county council budget

Yesterday saw a tremendous breakthrough for the Liberal Democrats in securing nearly a full slate of budget proposals amounting to nearly £0.5million for 2015/2016.

This year’s county council budget setting meeting commenced after the morning’s extraordinary meeting over the incinerator. The Liberal Democrats presented a comprehensive package of recommendations over a range of different service areas including cycling schemes, health, fire emergency support, Wi-fi, adoption and road safety.

The Liberal Democrat proposals agreed included:

1) A £100K investment to undertake the necessary feasibility and advance design work in preparation for delivering cycling schemes in future years.

2) A £10K investment funded from the Sexual Health part of the Public Health ring fenced Grant to carry-out a study into Chlamydia/STI screening and the role of GPs across the county in encouraging more opportunistic screening.

3) That approximately £100K be invested to provide free Wi-Fi in every county and community library.

4) That every elected county councillor in 2015/2016 receives an additional £2.5k (53 x £2.5K = £132.5K as part of a one-off increase to their ‘Highways Local’ money, which may be used for tree maintenance and/or tree planting in their division.

5) That a £10K one-off investment is given to the Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Service in order to double the number of volunteers from 12 to 24. The Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Service provides invaluable support to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

6) A £10K pot of money to provide support in the form of courses for those approved adopters who adopt older children and teenagers where risk of disruption is recognised to be high. The aim is to further support these placements and reduce the chance of the placement breaking down.

7) £50K one-off investment package into a number of Road Safety Programmes including a repeat of all Year 5 pupils at Gloucestershire’s primary schools being given the opportunity to have a session at Gloucester’s SkillZone.

8) That a £20K one-off investment is given to the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Team to work towards doubling the number of children who receive e-Safety in 2015/2016.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said:

“We are delighted in securing these proposals, which are now a part of the 2015/2016 budget. We are hopeful that our recommendations will go some way to making a real difference to the lives of Gloucestershire resident’s in 2015/2016.

“I am especially pleased that support was given for repeating our proposal last year for all Year 5 primary school pupils to undertake a session at SkillZone. Teachers have overwhelmingly reported that their children will be safer after a session.

“I am also excited by the one-off investment that is to be given to the Red Cross Emergency Support Service. They play a pivotal role in providing the basic amenities and emotional support to those going through the horrific experience of an emergency situation such as a house fire, flood or even road traffic accident.

“Users of our public libraries will be delighted that free WiFi will be available in all libraries.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how small pots of money can make a big difference in Gloucestershire.”

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton and Warden Hill) also said: “We welcome the £100K investment to undertake the necessary feasibility and advance design work in preparation for delivering cycling schemes.

“Cycling should be for everyone, not just the speedsters in Lycra. We want to break down the barriers to cycling to school or the shops, to work or for leisure.

“The rewards could be massive: millions of pounds in savings for the NHS, less pollution and congestion, and greater safety and happiness.”
ENDS

Jeremy Hilton backs Lib Dem Plans For Fair Deficit Cut

Liberal Democrats in Gloucester have welcomed plans announced by Party Leader Nick Clegg to cut the deficit without putting an unfair burden on the poorest. Whilst the Conservatives have announced that they want to balance the nation’s books entirely by cuts to benefits of the working age poor, Liberal Democrats say they will increase taxes on the wealthiest and cut tax avoidance.
Jeremy Hilton, Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester, said:
“We have all had to make sacrifices over the past few years to clear up the financial mess left by Labour.  Since the Coalition was formed, we have had to cut spending on benefits and some services though we have protected schools and the NHS.
“As a local councillor in Gloucester it has been hard for me and my colleagues to make savings in the council budget whilst maintaining the services people pay for.
“But Lib Dems in Government have also increased taxes on the wealthiest whilst cutting income tax for people on low and middle incomes. This would not have happened if the Conservatives had won a majority at the last General Election and formed a single party Government.
“Now the Conservatives have announced if they win the election, they will complete the job of balancing the books entirely on the backs of the working age poor. They have revealed their true approach to austerity and public services.
“Meanwhile Labour appear to have learnt nothing over the past five years. They opposed every cut that needed to be made. If they form a single party Government after the election, they will put back the date when the books are balanced, leaving Britain in more unnecessary debt.
“Liberal Democrats have announced that we will take a fairer, balanced approach to wiping out the deficit. There will need to be further cuts, including £4 billion on benefits, but we will be raising £6 billion by tackling tax avoidance and £8 billion in increased taxes on the wealthiest and big business. By 2017/18, the books should be balanced and under the Liberal Democrats we will be able to invest again in public services.”

Astronomical costs to cancelling incinerator contract

In response to the costs associated with cancelling the UBB incinerator contract that have been shared with the Liberal Democrat Group.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said that:

“We have seen the figures for exiting the waste incinerator contract with UBB and it is astronomical. The figures quoted are between £60m and £100m, which is far greater than the £33 million quoted for cancelling a similar contract in Norfolk.

“Labour have acted irresponsibly in calling to cancel this contract before knowing these costs. The Conservatives were reckless in signing such a rigid contract before the planning committee had even considered the application.

“The Liberal Democrats have always been opposed to the building of an incinerator and have continually pushed for alternative technologies such as Mechanical Biological treatment (MBT).

“We will now be looking at these figures in detail and seeking legal advice.

“Both Labour and the Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves in allowing this diabolical situation to develop in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ position.”

ENDS….