We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

County Councillor Rob Bird for Maidstone Central

Rob Bird

Rob Bird and Dan Daley are jointly county councillors for Maidstone Central Division which covers Allington, Bridge, Fant, Heath and High Street wards.

Rob has lived with his family in the Maidstone area for over 30 years. Until he retired 5 years ago, his professional background was in financial management and operational planning. This has provided him with the experience and expertise to be the Lib Dem Group's spokesman on financial affairs and to keep a watchful eye on how the County Council spends its money.

Rob writes: "Many residents are concerned they are about current financial wastage at Kent County Council, the substantial cuts to front line services and proposed further cuts in the future. With KCC looking at alternative means to providing essential public services it is crucial that councillors scrutinise the new arrangements to ensure that standards are maintained or improved."

Having previously been a volunteer adviser, Rob is now a trustee Maidstone Citizens Advice. He also acts as a mentor with Kent Foundation helping young people to set up and manage their own business.

If you have any issues please do not hesitate to contact Rob.

Tel: 07887 897427 e-mail rob.bird@kent.gov.uk

News and Updates from Rob Bird

  • 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.

  • Ian Chittenden
    Article: Mar 16, 2018

    'It is unacceptable that a "double-whammy" has been dealt to rail passengers in mid-Kent' were words used by the KCC Leader in response to a question from Liberal Democrat Environment & Transport spokesperson, Ian Chittenden,

    At yesterday's County Council meeting Ian Chittenden asked what steps the KCC Leader, Paul Carter, is taking to ensure that the Secretary of State puts Kent's County Town back on the rail map.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Mar 16, 2018

    Kent Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of creating a smugglers' charter after the transport secretary suggested throwing open Britain's borders.

    Speaking on the BBC Question Time programme last night, Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling stated that "We will maintain a free-flowing border at Dover, we will not impose checks at the port, it is utterly unrealistic to do so. We don't check lorries now, we're not going to be checking lorries in the future."

    This is an astonishing admission by one of the chief architects of Brexit. During the referendum campaign, the over-riding mantra of the leavers was 'taking back control'.

    Leader of the Opposition at KCC, Rob Bird, said: "Mr Grayling is proposing an open border at Dover, allowing anyone and anything to come into the UK. Far from taking back control, the Tories appear to be creating a smugglers charter with the country left undefended against shoddy imports and contraband.

    "The only viable way of maintaining a frictionless border at Dover, and in Ireland, is for Britain to be in a Customs Union with the EU.

    "It's time for Mr Grayling to stop making totally unrealistic promises about a post Brexit utopia and to come up with credible and viable solutions."

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Mar 15, 2018

    The Conservatives' promise to guarantee free-flowing trade and avoid almost permanent Operation Stack has been thrown into doubt after it was revealed that Highways England is 'still testing' traffic solutions with just 12 months to go.

    Today Rob Bird, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on KCC, demanded assurance from the Conservative administration that the county will not face gridlock should Brexit go ahead in March 2019.

    But Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste, replied Highways England has so far proposed no solution, and is "still testing" measures to mitigate the worst of the chaos.

    Rob Bird said: "Like so many post-Brexit promises, the guarantee of free-flowing trade and a county free of congestion is crumbling under the cold, hard reality of our situation.

    "I fear the worst - with just 12 months to go, it's shocking that both the Government and Kent County Council are not better prepared should Brexit go ahead. Knowing Highways England is still in the testing phase is hardly reassuring, and there was no mention of the much-vaunted 'technological solutions' to keep trade flowing freely.

    "Like everyone else in the county, I don't want to see a return to the summer of 2015 when lorries lined the M20, costing the Kent economy an eye-watering £1.45 million a day. But this is the reality we face if Conservatives at every level of government continue to bury their heads in the sand."

    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 £250m. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Feb 11, 2018

    The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has now confirmed residents' fears about the future of rail services from Maidstone and Northwest Kent to London.

    Instead of delivering more high-speed trains from Maidstone and Snodland to London St Pancras, Mr Grayling confirmed that only two services will be required in the morning and evening peaks. Alternatively, the existing high-speed trains could be dropped completely and replaced by a service to Abbey Wood where passengers would need to change to continue their journey on the Crossrail line.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Jan 15, 2018

    Kent residents will suffer increased council tax bills next year as the County Council is set to increase its council tax charge by 4.99%. This means an increase of £52.32 pa for a Band C homeowner. The Government is cutting its funding of the County Council by another £46.4 million. Meanwhile the County Council's Conservative Cabinet is struggling with increased demand for crucial services and cost pressures.

    Despite additional council tax revenue from increased housing , KCC is planning savings of £53.4 million largely through service cuts and increased charges. Further staff cuts are planned saving £6.4 million and putting further pressure on KCC's beleaguered workforce. £8.2 million of the planned cuts have not yet been specified.