Rob Bird and Dan Daley are jointly county councillors for Maidstone Central Division which covers Allington, Bridge, Fant, Heath and High Street wards. Rob was first elected in 2012.
In 2017 Rob was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and became Leader of the Opposition at Kent County Council. He is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for finance at County Hall. He is determined to make the County Council better run and more accountable to the people of Kent.
Rob has lived with his family in the Maidstone area for over 30 years. Until he retired 10 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."
Rob is Chairman of the Trustee Board at Citizen Advice Maidstone where he previously worked as a volunteer advisor. He is a keen gardener and, when time permits, he enjoys watching Kent playing cricket.
If you have any issues please do not hesitate to contact Rob.
Tel: 07887 897427 e-mail email@example.com
News and Updates from Rob Bird
Trudy Dean and Rob Bird have written to Roger Gough, the Leader of KCC, asking for the County Council to provide Free School Meal Vouchers during the forthcoming Christmas holidays.
The letter follows on by the call by Trudy Dean, the Lib Dem Spokesperson for Children, Young Persons and Education at County Hall, for Free School Meals to be provided to all eligible children throughout the year, not just at term time.
The County Council stepped in at short notice to provide Free School Meal vouchers during the recent half-term. Medway Council did the same. Previously, the Government voted down an Opposition motion calling for Free School Meals to be provided during the school holidays. None of Kent & Medway's Conservative MPs supported the motion.
The KCC vouchers were provided for almost 20,000 eligible children in Kent. Sadly, close to 30,000 more children missed out, though some will have been supported by foodbanks and other local organisations.
We very much hope that KCC will provide vouchers for the Christmas holidays and many more eligible children will benefit from the scheme.
The letter sent to Roger Gough is reproduced below.
Rail operators recognise the needs of the growing numbers of people who need to combine home-working with part-time commuting to their office or other place of work. Proposals for flexible ticketing were presented to the Government back in July. Three months later, the Government is still sitting on its hands as it continues to discourage rail travel during the Covid pandemic.
"The Government's proposal to require hauliers heading for Dover or the Channel Tunnel to obtain a Kent Access Permit has caused much amusement", says Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. "But it's not a joke. It is another ill-conceived bureaucratic burden which will affect hauliers and businesses throughout the County."
Some thoughts by Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Kent County Council
Earlier this month Minister of State, Simon Clarke, stated that the Conservative Government is pressing ahead with the publication of its Devolution White Paper in the Autumn. The Minister stated that the Government is aiming for 'many more elected mayors and more unitary councils following in the footsteps of Dorset, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.'
Minister admits that Government is planning for significant disruption in Kent at the end of the Brexit transition period
Earlier this week the Government completed the purchase of the so-called "MOJO" customs clearance site and lorry holding area next to Jct. 10a on the M20 near Ashford. The Government's plans first came to light last Friday week. They were previously kept secret from Ashford Borough Council and local residents, although the Cabinet Member has confirmed that Kent CC was aware of the Government's proposals.
Kent County Council has agreed to waive the £190 license fee it was charging for catering business for setting up tables and chairs outside their premises. The fee will now be waived for 6 weeks. The move follows pressure from opposition councillors at County Hall and outcry from traders across the County.
Traditional season tickets are unlikely to be attractive for many rail commuters in the future. The rail operators need to provide more flexible ticket options.
During the lockdown working from home has become a new routine for many people. Home working has had some positive benefits both for staff and for employers. Now, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Instead, many staff are expected to adopt more flexible arrangements, going into work just occasionally.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff in Kent and Medway to ensure "world-class" support for those tackling the virus head on.
Highlighting the "deep scar" coronavirus will leave on health and care staff in Kent and Medway, the Liberal Democrats are proposing a package of mental health measures, including:
Amongst all the shocking statistics of deaths attributable to Covid-19 it is easy to forget the large numbers of people who die from other natural causes each day. Many of these people are cared for, with compassion and dignity, in our hospices.
Hospices are an intrinsic part of our society. They also take pressure of our hospitals and social care services, which is vital at the current time.
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP has called for all social care workers to be tested for coronavirus, alongside NHS staff, and has asked the Health Secretary for clarity on the issue of testing for the virus.
After raising the question of coronavirus testing in the House of Commons, Munira Wilson said:
"Some of the most vulnerable in our society live in care homes. Shortages in the care workforce are already a problem. That's why staff at care homes must be supported to the same level as staff in the NHS.
"It is essential that front-line NHS staff are tested for coronavirus. It is also critical that front-line social care workers are tested. That is why I raised this issue with the Secretary of State for Health in the House of Commons today.
"At present, the Secretary of State is not providing sufficient detail about how this will be achieved and the timeframe for this. We need urgent answers.