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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

  • Ian and Dave with Caption
    Article: May 12, 2018

    Following the successful National Productivity Investment Fund bid, Kent County Council has been awarded £9.4m of Government allocation. This combines with £1.5m in developer contributions and £500k investment from Maidstone Borough Council to deliver a congestion busting improvement on the A249 Bearsted Road. This involves the widening of the carriageway between Bearsted Road and New Cut Road roundabouts, the connection onto the M20 and other works necessary to join other connecting local roads.

  • Rob at CH
    Article: May 3, 2018

    Kent mums with difficulty breastfeeding may not be able to access specialist care when they need it under Conservative plans to redesign the county's breastfeeding support services.

    At Tuesday's meeting of the Health Reform and Public Health Cabinet Committee, Conservatives refused to give an assurance that new mothers with breastfeeding problems would be able to see a specialist Lactation Consultant within two days, under the new Infant Feeding Scheme.

    Access to Lactation Consultants, who are able to help with more complex infant feeding problems, is key for both mums and babies, and was one of the main concerns of mothers who campaigned against the Conservative's infant feeding service proposals.

    Up to one in ten babies is born with tongue-tie. This may require a small specialist procedure and/or more specialist breastfeeding advice for the mother. Crucially, unless this issue is dealt with quickly, the child will struggle to put on weight, which is vital in early days, and the mother will be suffer from increased stress and anxiety.

    KCC proposes just one Lactation Consultant clinic per week in eleven of Kent's twelve districts (with Dartford and Gravesham sharing a clinic) together with home visits and telephone advice.

    Additional Lactation Consultant support will be 'spot purchased'. However, no-one can guarantee that Kent's mums will be able to see Lactation Consultants when they need to.

    In recent years fewer than one in five mums has been provided with infant feeding support in Kent. UK rates of breastfeeding are amongst the lowest in the world, and at 71 per cent Kent's rate is below the national average of 73.8 per cent.

    Two boroughs, Swale and Gravesham, have breastfeeding rates well the national average at 64 per cent and 63 per cent respectively.

    There are significant and well known health benefits breastfeeding brings to both baby and mother.

    For the baby, breastfeeding brings early resistance to infection, fewer cases of Infant Sudden Death, childhood leukaemia, obesity, and cardio vascular problems, and possibly better speed of learning.

    For mums the immediate benefit is a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, and internal organs shrinking to normal size together with reduced long term incidence of breast and ovarian cancer.

    Leader of the Opposition at County Hall, Rob Bird said: "The Liberal Democrats strongly support the provision of a universal service across Kent, but we remain concerned about fast access to Lactation Consultants when new mothers need it most.

  • Trudy with Millicent Fawcett
    Article: Apr 27, 2018
    By Trudy Dean

    Yesterday, Rob and I visited the House of Lords to speak with Baroness Jolly who is the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health. We asked her to pursue the failure of every one of Kent's NHS Trusts to use any of their Apprenticeship Levy to fund a single Nursing Apprenticeship in Kent.

    Employers with a pay bill of over £3 million have been liable since April 2017 to pay a Government levy which will fund Apprenticeships nationwide. Half of the money paid can be claimed back by the employer to fund their own Apprenticeship schemes. But despite crying out for nurses, none of Kent's NHS Trusts has claimed this free money back to do so. The money is lost to the employer if not claimed back within two years.

  • Antony Hook
    Article: Apr 25, 2018

    Liberal Democrats have called on the county's MPs to put Kent and the country's interests first, and support remaining in the customs union.

    As a Commons vote looks increasingly likely, MPs are being urged to put party politics aside and vote to protect more than 45,000 Kent jobs directly related to European trade.

    Any disruption to free-flowing trade with the continent could have catastrophic consequences for the county. Many sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, fishing and transport rely on the customs union to be able to trade freely and easily with European customers and suppliers.

    And as the UK's gateway to Europe, Kent will bear the brunt of delays and disruption caused by border checks. About 11,000 lorries pass through Dover every day and there are fears the county could face almost permanent Operation Stack if customs checks are imposed, gridlocking Kent's roads and causing untold damage to livelihoods and the economy.

    Councillor Antony Hook, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Economic Development, said: "As the catastrophic implications of Brexit become clear, our MPs owe it to the people of Kent to defend their interests in the face of the government's disastrous and short-sighted policies.

    "Remaining in the customs union would go some way towards protecting jobs and businesses, but we will continue to campaign for a people's vote on the final deal once we know the facts."

    Last year Kent Liberal Democrats tabled a motion calling for Kent County Council to write to ministers asking them to "take all necessary steps to ensure to continued free flow of freight between Kent and continental Europe, at least as seamlessly as present."

    It asked Parliament to consider all legal possibilities for Kent and the UK outside the EU, including retaining membership of the single market and customs union. The Channel Islands, which are not EU members yet retain access to the customs union, offer a potential model.

    A lorry from within the EU typically takes two minutes to clear customs at Dover, while a lorry from outside the EU takes 20 minutes. At the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee last month, Chancellor Phillip Hammond sent his clearest warning yet that Dover could 'grind to a halt', if customs checks were imposed.

    In July 2015 Operation Stack gridlocked Kent for several weeks, with queues of lorries stretching more than 30 miles down the M20. The cost of the disruption to the UK economy has been estimated by the Freight Transport Association at more than £250m.

    Kent Police also faced a hefty bill of more than £700,000 for managing the closures.

  • Dan at Surgery
    Article: Apr 24, 2018

    The West Kent CCG has now confirmed that The College Practice will be opening a new branch in Allington following the closure of the two existing Allington GP surgeries at the end of May. The new surgery will take over the premises currently used by Allington Clinic.

    The College Practice is currently based in College Road, Maidstone and has a branch in Marigold Way, Barming. Patients registered with the practice will be able to visit any of the three surgeries.

  • Dan at Surgery
    Article: Mar 26, 2018

    The news that both GP practices in Allington are to be closed at the end of May, due to the retirement of both the doctors, has been greeted with dismay by your councillors.

    County Councillors, Dan Daley and Rob Bird are pressing the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (WKCCG), which is responsible for this provision, to tell us soon what their plans are to maintain this primary care close to residents in Allington. We are heavily critical of the Commissioners for not having dealt with the situation sooner and better.

  • Trudy Dean
    Article: Mar 19, 2018

    Just a quarter of Kent roads were gritted during the recent snow emergency, forcing many schools to close unnecessarily and disrupting bus services.

    Following a question from Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Trudy Dean, at a meeting this week, Mike Whiting, Conservative Cabinet Member for Highways, told councillors, that only roads in the 'Primary Route' Network, which is mainly A and B roads, were salted or gritted during the snow emergency earlier this month.

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