Introducing Julia Bird, your Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Broxbourne

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After more than fifty years with a Conservative MP, now is the time for a change. The Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne are demanding better for our community.

Julia Bird is our Liberal Democrat candidate for Broxbourne when the next general election is called.

Committed to improving the lives of Broxbourne’s residents, Julia and the Liberal Democrat team will work hard to ensure the community’s needs are being addressed.

As an economist working in London, with a particular expertise in Urban and Transport Economics, Julia has helped develop Liberal Democrat policies, including our recently adopted

“Fairer Share for All” plan, which fights against the deepening inequalities in the UK, recognising that everyone deserves a decent income, decent services, with opportunities to make their lives better.

Julia and all the Liberal Democrat team here in Broxbourne are concerned about a number of local issues:

  • In Cheshunt, at the A10/College Road crossing, monitors have recorded the 8th worst air pollution level in the UK for any borough outside London. With a large secondary school and a nursery nearby, greater pressure is needed to reduce risks for all children and young people in this area.

 

  • We are so fortunate to be in the wonderful Lea Valley Park providing, as it does, a fabulous space for recreation. However, it is under pressure too. Julia will be vigilant in following up any changes to ensure the park is protected from further pollution.

 

  • Given the growing population of Broxbourne, we should be seriously considering either better transport to the nearest Health Centres and hospitals or perhaps invest in our own more local option – Cheshunt Community Hospital for example.

 

  • The incinerator planned for Rye Park has been rejected, but now there is a new plan to build a much larger gas fired power station on the site. Residents need to have a say in any decision. Our climate is facing critical risks and building more fossil fuel burning power stations will make that worse.

Julia says:

I am delighted to be standing for the Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne at the next General Election.

This is a real opportunity to demand better for everyone in this constituency. Thanks to the reckless behaviour of the Conservative Prime Minister, we are in a period of national crisis. We are all facedwith the real risks of No Deal Brexit - medicine shortages, higher food prices, a damaged economy and inevitable job losses. The Liberal Democrats are demanding better. We need better health care, better education for our children, and a better future. It is time to stop Brexit and focus on the real issues again. Housing in the Borough is in short supply, and often very expensive. The Borough Council, as the planning authority, has the opportunity to demand developers include “Affordable Housing” in any new housing estate. Too often they seem to be missing the chances this can offer.

This is especially important for the young people of the Borough who, of course would like to have their own place but find it increasingly hard to afford, if they want to remain in the area they grew up, close to family and friends.

I am looking forward to listening to your views and sharing the Liberal Democrat vision for Broxbourne with you over the coming weeks and months.

For more information, please contact Julia on juliabirdLD@gmail.com

Housing Crisis in Broxbourne

The leafy Borough of Broxbourne has one of the worst rates of
homelessness in the Country (ranked 22nd in a recently published list of
50 homeless hot spots around the UK)

There is no night shelter
in Broxbourne and, at the Council’s estimate, you can expect to find
three or four people sleeping rough within the Borough most nights. It’s
easier to become homeless than you might think. Lose your job or your
partner, face a period of illness or unemployment, fall behind with the
mortgage or the rent, and you and your family could be on the way to
losing your home.

Sleeping rough is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are many more homeless in temporary accommodation, more than 200
households in Broxbourne alone. Homelessness is particularly tragic for
children. If your childhood is blighted, you never get it back and the
effects can last a life time.

If you have a job and an income you
should at least have a home. Time was when local authorities and
housing associations built 200,000 affordable homes nationwide each year
but since 1980 construction of social housing has plummeted. House
prices in affluent areas like Broxbourne have soared to an unaffordable
8* average salary. “Generation Rent” must struggle to rent privately in
a market where rental costs are increasing faster than pay. Small
wonder that this poorly regulated sector has grown by 38% in Broxbourne
since 2000.

Unfortunately, the government seems intent upon
making a bad situation worse for the most vulnerable renters. The roll
out of Universal Credit will replace Housing Allowance paid directly to
the Landlord with an, inadequate, capped monthly benefit payment to the
claimant after an initial five-week delay in payment. The process seems
designed to create further arrears, debt and distress.

Housing has become a national crisis and solutions are urgently needed at both national and local level.

  • The Government must commit to building 300,000 new homes nationwide by 2022. That’s affordable and energy efficient housing within well planned new towns, not speculative “premium” developments shoe horned on to land filched from the Green Belt.

  • Local authorities need additional powers to require affordable homes within all new developments and to prevent developers from reneging on commitments.

  • Renters in the mushrooming private sector need better protection, to end discrimination by landlords and insurers against tenants on benefits and to outlaw “no fault” evictions.

Safe, secure and affordable housing is a basic human right and we deserve better.

A piece by a Broxbourne Liberal Democrat campaigner, David Payne

Broxbourne in top eight of the UK for illegal air pollution.

Broxbourne suffers with some of the highest levels of illegal air pollution in the country. A government air pollution plan, ordered by the High Court earlier this year, revealed air pollution in Broxbourne to be much worse than previously feared, in fact it is amongst the eight worst areas in the country outside of London.

The main pollutant in the air is nitrogen dioxide and the main cause of that is traffic.

Amongst the worst air in the borough is along the A10 in Cheshunt but there are several others in the borough including Waltham Cross and Wormley that well exceed the minimum accepted levels.

The area has been above the legal limit for some time but originally it was expected to be able to get down to the legal limit by 2019. After reviewing just how bad the problem is, Broxbourne Council revised that date to 2028.

The most likely way the Council will address this problem is by implementation of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) ie vehicles entering the area that do not comply with the specifications required will be charged a fee. They are hopeful this would enable the area to get to minimum compliance by 2023. This still leave us all breathing dangerous levels for another four years.

A final plan on how they intend to address the issues must be with Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by October 2019.

Broxbourne council currently ask residents in the area not to make short car journeys – I would suggest better, and more frequent bus routes should be implemented so short car journeys are less necessary.

In addition, Broxbourne District council are in direct opposition to Hertfordshire County council. Herts instigated the proposal for a 350,000-tonne incinerator that will pump further nitrogen dioxide into the Broxbourne Lea Valley and generate another c98,000 lorry movements – so huge potential for even higher levels in the north of the borough.

A Piece by Elaine Thatcher – Chair of the Broxbourne Liberal Democrats

Upcoming Dates for your Diary

Hoddesdon Incinerator Public Inquiry Tuesday, June 19th

The Public Inquiry re the proposed Hoddesdon Incinerator begins at High Leigh Conference Centre, Lord Street Hoddesdon EN11 8SG on Tuesday 19th June at 10 am. There will be a brief protest by individuals and groups opposed to the development outside at 9.20 am Please come along to represent the Lib Dems at the protest as it is most important for people to attend in large numbers to send a clear message to the inspector.

Lib Dem Pint

There will be a special Lib Dem Pint on Monday 25th June at 8.00pm in The Red Lion 1 High St, Stanstead Abbotts SG 12 8AA. Kate Beajeux who works in the pharmaceutical industry will be coming along to talk about Brexit as it affects the industry. As the talk is likely to prove popular please let me know if you plan to come along.

EU Final Say March

A lot of us will be going to the march for a peoples vote in London on Saturday 23rd June. It is very important this gets a high turnout and is reported widely. If you are going please don’t forget to RSVP to the party event so they can update you when the meeting point is known

We also hope to meet up locally and travel down together so if you are planning to go, please email andrewporrer@ntlworld.com with which station you will be going from and he will try to coordinate times.

Your Candidates for the May 2017 Local Elections

We are pleased to announce that the Liberal Democrats will be fielding nine candidates in the Broxbourne Borough Council elections on 3 May – the greatest number in over a decade.

The current Conservative domination of politics in Broxbourne isn’t good for anyone, and we have heard disheartening stories of your concerns being ignored when raised with your councillors.

We are proud to play our part in democracy, by offering another choice for voters across the borough, aiming to bring balance to Broxbourne’s political scene. If elected, Liberal Democrat councillors would take time to listen to your concerns and incorporate ideas into plans for the area.

From left to right: Lisa Naylor, David Payne, Gianluca Perotti, Fabio Bonfante

The full list of Liberal Democrat candidates is as follows:
Hoddesdon North: Ruth Everness
Hoddesdon Town and Rye Park: Gianluca Perotti
Broxbourne and Hoddesdon South: Kirstie de Rivaz
Wormley and Turnford: Lisa Naylor
Goffs Oak: David Payne
Flamstead End: Kypros Savopoulos
Cheshunt North: Kostas Inchenko
Cheshunt South and Theobalds: Deborah Highfield
Waltham Cross: Fabio Bonfante

#SaveOurDemocracy

On Saturday 24th June #SaveOurDemocracy are holding a national demonstration and action summit to demand and plan for the end of our undemocratic voting system.

You can sign up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1740200812687579/

Or go to their website: https://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/local-meetings/ge2017-demo 

All of us should have a vote that counts, one where seats in parliament match the votes that we cast – now and in every future British General Election. The UK is one of the minority of developed democracies that are routinely governed by a Parliament that ignores the choices made by their voters.

Thank you as always for your support!

Don’t let the Tories take you for granted

Disappointingly, there is little doubt that the Conservatives will win this election, or that Charles Walker, the Tory candidate, will once again be returned as MP for Broxbourne.  In each case, all that is really in question is the size of the majority.

So, why bother voting?  Every extra seat the Conservatives win, every extra percentage point in Charles Walker’s majority, every person who doesn’t vote at all – all these send a signal to the Tories that they can take the voters of this country, and particularly those in “safe” seats like Broxbourne, for granted.

Theresa May has already made it clear that she would rather govern with no meaningful opposition, and Charles Walker’s voting record (for example, consistently voting against slowing the rise in rail fares) is symptomatic of someone who does not have to worry about losing his seat.  Strong opposition is a vital part of our political system, helping ensure that voters are not forgotten between elections.  The Liberal Democrats are ready to provide that opposition, and set out their ideas for a better direction for our country.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote that says “I believe in a better vision for this country”.  Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote that says “I believe the best governments, and the best MPs, are properly held to account.”  Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote that says “I will not let the Conservatives take me for granted.”

NHS Hacking: Why Has it Got to This?

The Conservatives try to paint themselves as the party of law and order but crime has changed and they have failed to keep up. Instead of investing in the security of the systems that our public services rely on, they have chosen to extend surveillance systems instead.

Only the Liberal Democrats will stand up against mass surveillance, for cyber-security and a properly funded NHS and we have demanded an inquiry into why the Conservatives failed to support our cyber-security by cancelling a £5.5m deal with Microsoft.

Lib Dems to give £770 boost to 19,210 pensioners in Broxbourne

19,210 pensioners living in Broxbourne will receive at least an extra £772 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the ‘triple lock’ for state pensions.

Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats when they were in government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%. However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped.

The Liberal Democrats have committed today to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year.

This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Nigel Quinton said:

“Protecting the triple lock will mean an extra £772 a year by 2021 for the 17,170 people receiving the state pension in this constituency.

”

“The Liberal Democrats are making a clear commitment to older people in Welwyn Hatfield, unlike the Conservatives who have repeatedly refused to give this guarantee.

”

“The triple lock has succeeded in lifting thousands of pensioners out of poverty, but many are still struggling to get by.

”

“An important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly. This commitment will ensure older people are able to meet their basic needs and that their living standards will be protected, especially with prices set to rise in the coming years.”

 

Notes to Editors


Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in August 2016, there were 19,210 people living in Broxbourne in receipt of the state pension (link)

The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to keep the ‘triple lock’ protection for state pensions. All of those receiving the full state pension would enjoy a rise from £122.30 to at least £137.15 a week by 2021, the equivalent of an extra £772 a year.

The Liberal Democrats would also limit some non-pension benefits for the wealthiest pensioners. The Winter Fuel Payment would be withdrawn from those pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). The Liberal Democrats would retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.

The Conservatives have hinted strongly that they will drop the Triple Lock. Theresa May has refused top guarantee the triple lock when asked, and Conservative senior figures have spoken out against it (link)

Labour increased the State Pension by just 75p in 2000. Help the Aged described the 75p increase as “just unacceptable”.

Labour had 13 years to restore the earnings link to pensions which Margaret Thatcher severed in 1980. The Liberal Democrats restored the link to earnings within six weeks of getting into government.

Lib Dems penny for NHS would raise £126.6million extra for Hertfordshire

The Liberal Democrats have announced they would plug funding gaps for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax, in their first major manifesto commitment of the election campaign.
 The tax would raise an additional £126.6million for Hertfordshire, with £82million for the NHS and £44.6million for social care each year.

This is the party’s flagship spending commitment and its first major policy announcement for the election. The Liberal Democrats manifesto will also set out a ‘five-point recovery plan’ for NHS and social care services in their manifesto.

At least 70% of Brits would happily pay an extra 1p in every pound if that money was guaranteed to go to the NHS, an ITV poll found last October (link).

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Nigel Quinton said:



“Having attended today my first briefing as a new County Councillor it is clear just how much the additional funding for social care especially is needed. Right now in Hertfordshire we are seeing urgent operations being cancelled and the elderly being denied the care they need, and beds being blocked due to the lack of community and social care available.

”

The Liberal Demo crats are prepared to be honest with people and say that to secure the future of the NHS we will all, especially those who can afford it most, need to chip in a little more.

“A penny in the pound would allow us to invest in improving local NHS services and ensuring the elderly receive the care they deserve.

“This Conservative government has left our health and care services chronically underfunded – and while the crisis gets worse they just don’t seem to care.

“We cannot continue asking the system to deliver more and more, without giving it the resources to do so.”

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson and former health minister Norman Lamb said:



“The NHS was once the envy of the world and this pledge is the first step in restoring it to where it should be.

“A penny in the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view.

“But simply providing more money on its own is not enough and that’s why this is just the first step in our plan to protect health and care services in the long-term.”