Thanks to all our helpers in the County and General elections

Dear Supporter,

Ten days after the General Election our thoughts are with the tragedy in Kensington. In the most affluent area of Britain, it poses big questions about how less advantaged people are heard, and how we build our open, tolerant and united Britain.

Many thanks to everyone who helped our County and General Elections. Here in West Kent we managed to raise our vote share in Sevenoaks and Gravesham, and hold it in Dartford. We also managed to help target seats win in Eastbourne, Kingston, Twickenham and Carshalton with leaflets, canvassing and phone calls. It made a difference. I’m glad to see Steven Lloyd, Vince Cable, Jo Swinson and Ed Davey back in Parliament – and to see new MPs from Bath, Oxford, Edinburgh and Caithness.

Theresa May seems determined not talk to other parties as Vince Cable has urged her to. But after losing her mandate it can’t be ‘business as usual’. I hope Tim Farron’s decision to step down doesn’t distract our national party – because we have work to do here!

On Friday we called a by-election in the vacant Sevenoaks District Council seat of Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Fordcombe. Richard Streatfield has a strong local campaigning record, came close in 2015, and can win. The election will be held at the end of July, in a land of village pubs, tearooms, castles and amazing countryside. Just the place to spend the summer! Please come and help; contact me or richard@hoathhouse.com to sign up.

We had already planned a fund raising barbecue at Hoath House, Chiddingstone on the evening of 6th July, from 6pm and this will go ahead. £15 a head for two courses and drinks – please contact Pam Walshe at pamwalshe@supanet.com or Margaret Robarts at margaret.robarts@talktalk.net or on 01959 522853 to book your place.

Individual constituencies are holding post election thank you events. Because we had one in Sevenoaks after the County poll in May, and to because of our by-election the Sevenoaks party will be on August 27 or September 3rd. We will keep you posted.

Thanks once again.
Tony Clayton
Chair, Sevenoaks Dartford & Gravesham Liberal Democrats
01732 45 1087

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

Richard Streatfeild

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Lib Dems call for urgent buildings safety review after Grenfell Tower fire

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to urgently publish a long-awaited review of building regulations on fire safety and implement its recommendations, following the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower.

Sal Brinton, Liberal Democrat Party President and member of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, commented:

“My heart goes out to the victims of this tragedy, their family and friends and the emergency services who have shown such bravery in appalling circumstances.

“It is too soon to say the exact causes of this deadly fire, but we must not shy away from asking difficult questions.

“In particular, we need to look at why the lessons of the past seem not to have been learnt.

“Ministers have been asked repeatedly to upgrade fire safety regulations but have done nothing, including on sprinklers and strengthening compliance rules.

“The government must conduct an urgent review into fire safety and building regulations, with recommendations implemented as soon as possible.

“We must also hold a public inquiry into what caused this tragic fire and how it could have been prevented.”

Former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell told the House of Commons in October 2016 that part B of the building regulations, which cover fire safety, would be reviewed following a 2009 fire at Lakanal House tower block.

The All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group on fire safety has repeatedly called for a review into fire safety regulations, including last March when it warned the government delay in reviewing building regulations could be endangering tower blocks throughout the UK.

Alan Bullion added that local tenants groups and residents always need to be listened to:
“When residents and tenants groups speak out about safety and security concerns they should be listened to and appropriate urgent action taken by local councils and government bodies.”

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

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Many thanks to our 4,280 Lib Dem voters

Many thanks to everyone who voted Lib Dem in Sevenoaks and Swanley constituency on June 8th. Thanks also to all our campaign helpers and supporters.
The result was an increase on 2015 and would not have been possible without you all spreading the anti-Brexit message.
Congratulations also to our 12 MPs.

action@sevenoakslibdems.org UK

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Vote Lib Dem in Sevenoaks & Swanley

Vote for Alan Bullion, your Lib Dem candidate, on Thursday June 8th. Polls are open from 7am to 10pm.

In a final pitch to voters before the country goes to the polls, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

“Theresa May went into this election expecting a coronation. Yet the more voters have learned of her plans, the less they like them, from the heartless dementia tax to more cuts to our hospitals and schools.

“She has ducked debates and now expects a blank cheque to trash our economy by choosing the most extreme form of Brexit.

“That will mean more cuts to the police, making us less safe, and less funding for our NHS and schools.

“If you are a Conservative voter, do you really trust Theresa May with five more years to cut your local school or hospital?

“And if you support Labour in a seat where only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives, I need you to lend us your vote.

“We will stand up for you on Europe, on schools and hospitals and to stop the heartless dementia tax. So stand up and make your vote count for the Liberal Democrats today.”

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

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Sevenoaks Lib Dems welcome extra funding for schools and hospitals

The Liberal Democrats have announced a £17 billion infrastructure fund to repair and restore schools and hospitals across England.

Local headteachers are increasingly forced to use money that should be dedicated for books, teachers and equipment to fix leaking roofs and crumbling buildings. The new infrastructure fund would give an extra £7bn for schools in England, enough to repair every school to allow them to focus spending on education rather than maintenance.

Another £10bn would be allocated to hospitals over the lifetime of the next parliament, helping address a £5bn delayed backlog in delayed repairs to NHS buildings and infrastructure. This investment would help transform the NHS – repairing run-down hospitals, bringing them up to date with modern technology and building new infrastructure to reduce overcrowding. It would contrast with the £350m for the Conservatives committed to repairs in the NHS in 2015-2016.

The infrastructure fund would be in addition to the extra £7bn the Liberal Democrats have committed to invest in schools over the next parliament; and the £6bn more a year the party would invest in NHS and social care.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Olney said:

“Under Theresa May’s Conservatives, our children are being taught in crumbling schools and our sick and elderly are being cared for in overcrowded hospitals.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. We will invest an additional £7bn in our schools, enough to repair every school in the country.

“This will allow school budgets to be spent on books, teachers and equipment instead of being diverted to fix leaking roofs.

“This week, you can elect Liberal Democrat MPs who will stand up for you on the NHS, schools and Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:

“We have seen with the recent cyber-attack how inadequate the existing infrastructure is for many hospitals.

“Under the Conservatives, money that is intended for capital investment is being diverted to plug holes in day-to-day spending. This cannot be allowed to go on.

“We will invest an additional £10bn of capital spending in the NHS to fix our run-down hospitals, reduce overcrowding and build a modernise our health service.

“This is on top of the £6bn a year for the NHS and care we would raise by putting a penny on income tax.”

Vote for Alan Bullion, Your Lib Dem candidate, on Thursday June 8th.

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

Posted in Brexit, Business, Children, Economy, Education, Health Services, Sevenoaks, Swanley, Tax, Welfare, Work | Leave a comment

Sevenoaks hustings meeting cancelled

Sevenoaks Churches Together has cancelled the Hustings meeting tonight as a mark of respect to all affected. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all.

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Conservatives must come clean on business rates relief

With the general election just days away, the Conservatives have still not told small firms if they will receive business rates relief – despite promises by Sajid Javid that he would confirm details before the general election.

The Liberal Democrats announced in their manifesto they would review business rates to reduce burdens on small firms, and make small and medium-sized businesses the priority for any future business rate cuts.

Liberal Democrat Business spokesperson Susan Kramer said:

“The Conservatives used to call themselves the party of business, but their failure to provide the relief to small business owners that they promised shows they just don’t care.

“Theresa May was dishonest about whether she was going to call an election and now she isn’t playing straight with small businesses.

“It is time that Theresa May comes clean over what pain the Conservative Party plan to cause to small businesses.

“Only the Liberal Democrats offer a clear plan that will help people grow their small businesses.”

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

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15 questions Theresa May and Michael Fallon must answer

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has laid down 15 questions for the Conservatives to answer on the big issues of national security, schools, health and social care, welfare and their manifesto.

He has attacked them and their leader Theresa May for ‘hiding their real agenda from the public.’

Commenting on the release of the questions, Tim Farron said:

“The Tories seem to think – if we ignore any difficult question – we don’t have to tell the public the truth. If they cannot tell us even the most basic things why should we trust them at all.

“Theresa May seems to be hiding their real agenda from the public.

“The Tories cannot tell us anything about their plans and they are doing it on purpose. They hope to secure a colossal majority and then to take the country for a ride. We cannot let this happen – our schools, hospitals and social care are at risk

“After the debacle on the Dementia Tax, the only policy they gave us detail on, it is no wonder they are trying to hide things from us. They need to come clean and tell us the truth.”

Fifteen questions for the Conservatives:

Security

1. Why are the Conservatives insisting on a Brexit negotiation strategy that will automatically prevent access to the vital EU Schengen Information System – used 16 times a second by UK police forces to track terrorists and criminals?

2. Why has only one individual out of hundreds who have travelled to fight for ISIS in Syria been subject to the Temporary Exclusion Order powers introduced by the Coalition?

3. How will the Conservatives ‘ban encryption’ without weakening internet banking security for millions of British citizens?

Schools

4. How many children will lose their free school lunches?

5. How much money will the Conservatives spend on providing free school breakfasts instead of lunches?

6. Exactly how much money will the Conservatives give to schools to plug the the hole in their budgets, and why is their pledge unfunded?


Health and social care

7. How many people risk losing their house as a result of their social care policy?

8. At what level will losses be capped for people with long-term degenerative conditions like dementia?

9. How will the NHS cope with the loss of 26,000 EU staff who are planning to leave because of Brexit?

A report by the Nuffield Trust has found the NHS could face a bill of almost half a billion pounds if retired British people currently living in other EU countries decide to return to the UK because their access to healthcare abroad is withdrawn after Brexit.

The report also calculates that care homes and home-care agencies could end up as many as 70,000 staff short by 2025/26, if migration of unskilled workers from the EU is halted after Brexit.

Welfare

10. How many people will lose their winter fuel payments?

11. How many lives will be lost as a result?

12. Will the coldest areas of England and Wales be exempted, as Scotland has been?

How will they pay for their manifesto policies?

13. Why should anyone vote for a manifesto without costings?

14. How many billions will be lost to the public finances as a result of the Conservatives’ plan to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands?

15. How much will they raise taxes and national insurance by in order to pay for their pledges?

action@sevenoakslibdems.org.uk

Posted in Brexit, Business, Children, Education, Europe, Fairness, General Election, Health Services, Hextable, Sevenoaks, Swanley, Tax, Welfare, Work | Leave a comment

Swanley CAB will shortly move to new central site

Swanley Citizens Advice will shortly get its own dedicated site in the Centre next to Specsavers.

Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Alan Bullion said: “I was delighted to learn on a visit to the CAB offices in Sevenoaks that a new advice centre will open in August for Swanley, once building work is completed. This move from the Hub is long overdue and will be welcomed by many local people in Swanley and Hextable.”

Local White Oak resident and former Lib Dem county council candidate John Owen Jones also welcomed the good news, as he has been having to use the Hub for medical appointments.

action@swanleylibdems.org.uk

Posted in Fairness, Hextable, Swanley, Welfare, Work | Leave a comment

It’s ever so easy to switch! Sevenoaks Lib Dem candidate Alan Bullion benefits from CAB Energy advice session

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Alan Bullion visited Sevenoaks Citizens Advice to have a one-to-one energy advice session with their Energy Champion for the South East, Louise Walford.

Louise can help you to reduce your energy bills by switching supplier, changing tariff and through energy efficiency measures in the home.

The CAB invitation followed the admission on BBC Breakfast (May 9th) by Energy Secretary Greg Clark (Conservative candidate for Tunbridge Wells) that he had not switched.

Mr Clark said: “I haven’t switched, one of the reasons is… it is quite a hassle to do so.”

But Alan Bullion went through the process with Louise and found it both easy and straightforward.

Most of the work of the CAB has been specifically aimed at pensioners, those on low incomes, the disabled, and families with young children. But anyone who wants to reduce their energy bills can benefit from their advice, as Alan has found. Perhaps Greg Clark should pay a visit?

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