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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

  • Pensive Old Woman
    Article: Mar 12, 2018
    By Rob Bird

    Retirement can be challenging, especially if people are facing a reduction in financial circumstances, are living in a home unsuitable for an older person or have become isolated. We need to recognise that older people can and are making positive contributions to society, given the right environments.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Mar 8, 2018

    Kent Liberal Democrats are demanding assurance from the Conservative administration on Kent County Council that the county will not face gridlock should Brexit go ahead in March 2019.

    At the County Council meeting next Thursday, opposition leader Rob Bird will ask Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, if he will echo the promises made by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, earlier this month that the Government will ensure free-flowing trade post Brexit *.

    Rob Bird will also ask for confirmation from KCC that they are satisfied that Highways England can maintain a free-flowing M20 from next March whenever there is congestion at the Port of Dover. As yet the Department for Transport have given no details of their proposed alternative to Operation Stack.

    About 11,000 lorries pass through Dover every day and there is a real risk the county could face almost permanent Operation Stack if customs checks are imposed at the port.

    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 £250 million. Kent Police also faced a hefty bill of more than £700,000 for managing the closures.

    To put the risk into perspective, 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, according to evidence presented to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

    Rob Bird said: "It is the people and businesses of Kent who will bear the brunt of failure to ensure a free-flowing border should Brexit go ahead. We know the consequences all too well - 30 mile queues blocking the M20, gridlocked roads and millions of pounds worth of lost business and policing costs.

  • Snow in Faversham, Kent 28 Feb 2018 (Antony Hook)
    Article: Mar 1, 2018
    By Antony Hook

    Liberal Democrats at Kent County Council hope that everyone has been able to stay safe during the snowy weather this week.

    It has been lovely to see children enjoy that snow, although the conditions are also disruptive to public services and local businesses.

    Here is the latest information from Kent Highways on roads across the county. Please take care.

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Mar 1, 2018
    In article previously published on Liberal Democrat Voice

    Speaking in the House of Commonts, Layla Moran expressed disbelief that funding to tackle homelesness was being cut by Government when the supply of housing was going down and homelessness was rising due to Universal Credit. She highlighted the case of a constituent, a mother who works full time, who couldn't find somewhere she could afford. How did we get to this stage, she asked.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Feb 20, 2018

    Out of touch Conservatives are cutting front line services to Kent's most vulnerable, despite awarding themselves a massive 15% pay rise last year.

    In today's budget debate the Conservatives at Kent County Council pushed through further service cuts and hiked council tax by an above inflation 4.99%.

    This is a gloomy picture for the people of Kent, particularly those struggling at the margins, and an even gloomier prospect for Kent residents and council tax payers in the future.

    Leader of the Opposition, Rob Bird, said: "Back in July, Kent's Conservatives showed just how out of touch they are by awarding themselves a 15% pay rise just a couple of months after the county elections.

    "This budget demonstrates that they have learnt nothing from the massive public outcry that caused, and they continue to be focused on cutting local government services when they should be investing for the future.

    "For the past seven years, Kent's Tories have tried to persuade the electorate that front-line services were not affected by the £600 million plus reduction in Central Government grants thanks to back office efficiencies, better commissioning and 'new ways of working'. The reality is very different.

    "Even with the extra monies found since the draft was published a few weeks ago, we were presented with a budget which fails to meet current needs and rising demand. It heaps up problems for future years.

    "KCC has become heavily dependent on commissioned service providers. But we have seen that we are still not getting the quality of service which residents expect from many of these providers."

    During the debate, Conservative councillors voted down all opposition budget amendments including the three proposed by the Liberal Democrats.

  • Antony Hook
    Article: Feb 19, 2018

    Kent Liberal Democrats press for £250,000 budget to support community organisations tackling social isolation and helping to prevent the onset of dementia.

    Antony Hook comments, "Social isolation can lead to a variety of problems including dementia and other mental health issues. Addressing these issues can reduce or prevent health problems, thus easing pressure on health and care services.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Feb 19, 2018

    The Liberal Democrats are calling on all councillors at KCC to join them in raising Kent's minimum pay rate to £8.50 per hour.

    Leader of the Opposition, Rob Bird, writes: "Road crossing patrols, catering and domestic assistants, country park wardens - what do these people have in common? They are amongst the lowest paid staff working for Kent County Council. Many of them are on KCC's minimum wage.