A message from Andy Graham and the Brox Lib Dems on London

Keep our minds clear of fear, as terrorists and others are using this fear to dampen our spirits and infect our minds with hate and despair. Instead do one good deed however small for others each day: say good morning, buy the big issue,donate to a charity and we will show our true spirit full of hope. We can then say we acting together like this are indeed a great nation!

Our thoughts and feelings are at one with those in London, Manchester and elsewhere across the world

A Black Ribbon in commemoration of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in London on Saturday the 3rd of June 2017

Andy Graham, Supporting the rights of those with Disabilities in the face of Tory cuts

Andy Graham, our candidate for the general election 2017 passionately supports the rights of those with disabilities and the social care system that supports them, and other vulnerable people. The conservatives plan to drastically reduce funding available to those in need and even dismiss their concerns as “a childish wish list” when confronted.

Disabled people should not have to live in undignified ways or move to other parts of the UK where devolved administrations provide more.

Andy Graham has signed the Leonard Cheshire petition to make sure all MP’s support Disabled rights and has vowed to fight for their rights, should he be elected on the 8th of June. If you would like to sign it, please click here

Scrapping free school lunches would waste £2,474,003 spent upgrading kitchens in Hertfordshire

Plans by Theresa May to axe free school lunches would waste the £2,474,003 invested in Hertfordshire to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Liberal Democrats.

It comes after figures revealed 34,532 children in Hertfordshire are set to lose out under the Conservative proposals.

When in government, the Liberal Democrats invested £160m upgrading school kitchen facilities to enable them to prepare hot lunches, including almost £2.5m in Herts.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Broxbourne commented:

“The Liberal Democrats in government invested £160m to give schools the kitchens they needed to ensure that no infant would go hungry, including £2.5m in Hertfordshire.

“This policy was extremely successful and guaranteed that local children received at least two of their five a day in their school lunch.

“But now Theresa May is threatening to throw that money down the drain.

“A Conservative measure designed to save money will waste money. Not only is it heartless, it is bad economics.

“I challenge my Conservative opponent to say whether, if elected, he would vote against their own party to ensure that children in Broxbourne receive a decent lunch.

“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The government announced £150 million of funding to upgrade school facilities in 2015 (link)

An additional £10 million of funding was announced in 2015 to support the schools which most needed it (link)

The Liberal Democrats introduced free school meals when in government and have committed in their manifesto to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils (link, p.30)

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats on Town Centres and Planning

Town Centre Regeneration
Waltham Cross town centre has long been neglected by the Conservatives in the borough. Each plan that has been created to improve the area has involved adding plants, trees and flowers and repaving certain areas, but have never dealt with underlying problems facing the area. Whilst improving the town centre visually is very important to make it a more pleasant place to spend time, residents of Waltham Cross deserve much more than window dressing.

The town centre lacks affordable parking, despite having a huge, barely used multi-storey car park and the parking charges are not redeemable in the town’s anchor shops such as Sainsbury’s. There are many unused units in the town which could provide a huge opportunity to create more jobs in Waltham Cross whilst making it a nicer place to shop, eat and live. The Liberal Democrats want to make changes to the town centre that benefit all. Local residents, market stall holders, small businesses and our long time anchors, like Fishpools, all deserve better.

Waltham Cross Town Centre, Image Courtesy of Herts Mercury

Local Planning
The Conservatives in Broxbourne have long treated the planning system locally as a way of allowing big developers to snatch up large plots of land and build small and inadequate homes. The Broxbourne Liberal democrats recognise the need for more housing in the borough, particularly as our young people are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the area they have grown up in, but new development must provide well designed, visually appealing homes that are fit for today. The Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne would also ensure that new development is sustainable, our local infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and parks must be well maintained, fit for purpose and be able to keep up with changes in the built environment.

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats also support making changes to local planning rules to allow home-owners to invest in their homes, community and future.

Andy Graham on School Funding and Young People

As part of our campaign for the general election 2017 the Broxbourne Liberal Democrats asked Andy Graham, our candidate, to answer some questions about a wide variety off issues facing the residents of Broxbourne. Here Andy talks about Schooling and young people.

 

How you have found working in Broxbourne’s schools and your views on current funding levels?

As Executive director of Snap Theatre for 26 years working extensively in Hertfordshire Schools, including Goffs and Presdales in Broxbourne, with education projects that supported the needs of schools with one day residencies on Sex Education, Road Safety and literacy has made a huge impact reducing teenage pregnancy, raising standards and most of all keeping young people safe through awareness of the decisions they make in their lives and the consequences of their action.

Snap Theatre won the Prince Michael Award arising out of this work.

Funding in schools is under threat by the increase in class sizes and the overburdening on teachers to be constantly testing.. Funding levels in real terms has to be increased in order for teachers to be recruited and the professions status is recognised by taking off the cap on teachers pay and security of the pupil premium being retained to support those children who need the additional support is not squeezed by ever increasing demands on their budgets.

Education is the heart of children and young people-s future we must invest in it and support the teaching profession in doing what they know best and that is teach so that young people reach their maximum potential!
How being chair of the youth committee (and working with young people) helps you to understand the issues they are facing?

Youth forums and working with young people in youth clubs to this present time, talking to young people, listening to young people and being challenged by them have helped me realise that many young people are positive, and deserve better. The old institutions of local and national government often are so alienating that young people play less of an active role in decisions that affect them now and in the future. This must change through the need of political and social history taught in schools to help inform culture and identity together with the voting at 16 as recognition of their responsibility in the wider society. Use of technology needs a complete overhaul to ensure apps of introduced to ensure that the world of governments and the aspirations of young people are not neglected by a generation who currently govern and engage by out of date means of communication.

For more information about Andy please click the ‘candidates 2017’ above or send us an email at contact@broxlibdems.org.uk

Conservative plans will take lunches away from 34,532 children in HERTS

34,532 schoolchildren in Hertfordshire will lose out on free lunches, under plans announced in the Conservative manifesto.

Free school lunches for pupils from reception to Year 2 were introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government, but Theresa May now plans to scrap them. The changes would cost families an average extra £480 a year for every child.

The Liberal Democrats have called on Conservative candidate Charles Walker to make it clear whether or not he would vote for the plans.

The Conservatives are also proposing to make older people pay for social care costs from the value of their own homes when they die. This means on average, families in Broxbourne would expect to see 71.90% of the value of their home spent on care costs.

Liberal Democrat Andy Graham commented:

“This Conservative manifesto shows the nasty party is back.

“Margaret Thatcher was known as the milk snatcher, it seems Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher.

“She is cynically snatching meals away from thousands of children in Hertfordshire, while the elderly receiving care in their own home will face a ‘Personal Death Tax’ charged against their home.

“Charles Walker must now come clean over whether he will vote to take away free lunches from the children of hard-pressed families.

“The Liberal Democrats will offer a brighter future by extending free school meals to all primary schools.

“We will stand up to Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain, protecting those that need the most help and fighting for more funding for our schools and hospitals.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Figures on the number of children per school and local authority benefiting from universal infant free school meals can be found here. Universal free school meals for infant pupils (up to Year 2) were introduced by the Liberal Democrats in coalition government. Currently the government subsidises lunches for infants by £2.30 – these changes will mean removing £480 subsidy per child, per year.

Under Conservative proposals, for the first time, many people who receive care at home will have their home taken into account, to meet the costs when they die. This will apply to the almost half a million people who receive domiciliary care in the UK. Figures on the share of the average family home expected to be spent on social care costs can be found here, based on calculations provided by Royal London

Letter on Free School Meals

I would like to publicly ask the Conservative candidate at this election Charles Walker if they will vote in favour of denying kids in reception, year one and year two a hot school lunch if they are elected to the House of Commons on June 8th or if they will commit to the Liberal Democrat plan to extend free school meals to all kids at primary school?

The Conservative manifesto shows the nasty party is back. Theresa May wants to take away free school meals from kids in reception, year one and year two even though all the evidence shows that it helps kids academically.

Theresa May has made the wrong choice. By cruelly snatching away these hot meals tens of thousands of kids in Hertfordshire will lose out, and it will cost families £480 a year per kid. For a family with 2 kids that’s almost £1,000 a year, a betrayal of working families and breaks the promise they made only two years ago at the last election.

There is of course another way. A different choice. My party, the Liberal Democrats would introduce free school meals for all primary school children, so that the benefits to kids’ education currently limited to infants can be extended to all. That is a much better choice.

Liberal Democrats want to give all children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other.

A message from Andy Graham and the Brox Lib Dems on Manchester

I am sure many have said words on the tragic events last night. All I will say is this: Let not the hatred of others affect our values of tolerance, respect, and acceptance of difference. Let’s double our efforts to find in our hearts understanding and above all love and sympathy to all those families who are suffering deeply at this time.
It is indeed a sad time but together we are stronger

-Andy Graham

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats would like to echo Andy’s words and would like to pay our respects to those who lost their lives last night. Our thoughts are with their families and with anyone else affected by this awful incident. Please note that Andy Graham will not be attending the question and answer session at Goffs School tomorrow evening (24th May 2017) out of respect, but will be able to answer any questions you may have via our social media or email in due course.

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.”

Husting at Goffs School #GE2017 #LibDems #BroxLibDems

Next Wednesday 24th there will be a husting at Goffs School (Goff’s Ln, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross EN7 5QW) with Q&A. It is from 6 to 7pm and is open to the general public. You must register first rgr@goffs.herts.sch.uk as if your name is not on the list you won’t get in. Please attend and support Andy.

 

Update: Following Monday’s terror attack in Manchester and the decision to suspend all campaigning across the parties, tonight’s Q&A session has been cancelled.

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.