Today, Kent Liberal Democrat Leader Antony Hook challenged County Council bosses over failures to answer requests for information from Kent residents within legal time limits.
Speaking at today's meeting of Kent County Council's Policy & Resources Committee, Mr Hook said the county's failure to meet its legal obligations was deely troubling and must be urgently addressed.
Two years ago Kent Conservatives promised to deliver support to all children with Special Educational Needs within 20 weeks. In 2021 only a third are getting the support they need in that time. Not only is it a broken promise, it is also a failure of political leadership and will only add in time to an adult social care budget spiralling out of control.
The rainbow Pride flag, celebrating equality for LGBTQ+ people is flying over County Hall for the whole of June.
This is a Liberal Democrat achievement having been proposed by the Liberal Democrat Group four years ago.
It was accepted by the then Council Chairman on the advice of the council's equalities officer.
Antony Hook has made his first speech to Kent County Counci in his role as Leader of Kent Liberal Democrats.
In his four-minute speech Antony:
Antony Hook has been elected as new Leader of Kent Liberal Democrats.
He will lead the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall and was elected unaniously by Liberal Democrat county councillors.
Antony Hook is 41, married with two daughters and represents Faversham on Kent County Council.
He is fomer Member of the European Parliament for South East England.
Following the Kent County Council election on 6 May 2021, the following Liberal Democrats were elected:
Ian Chittenden - Maidstone North East
Dan Daley - Maidstone Central
Trudy Dean - Malling Central
Antony Hook - Faversham
Richard Streatfeild - Sevenoaks Town
Mike Sole - Canterbury South
Antony Hook said,
"We need the collective wisdom and ideas of all our members and supporters, to assemble the ideas that will change Kent for the better."
That's the message from County Councillor Antony Hook, Economic Development Spokesmasn for Kent Liberal Democrats. The party in Kent is launching a policy working group on Economic Developement and all party supporters are invited to apply to join it.
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.
Kent Liberal Democrats are calling on the County Council to take a lead role in ensuring that crucial preparations are ready for Brexit in March 2019. Failure to put coordinated plans in place now could result in chaos on the county's road network after Brexit.
The Government's refusal to provide information about their preparations for post Brexit road disruption in Kent is a cause for alarm and serious concern. If there really are plans in place, then these need to be shared with all key agencies as a matter of urgency.
At today's County Council meeting Kent's Conservatives voted to increase member allowances by 15%. Liberal Democrat and other opposition councillors voted against the proposal as did one Conservative. Nine Conservative councillors abstained.
Earlier in the debate Conservative councillors set aside the Liberal Democrat proposal that councillors should follow the advice of the independent Member Remuneration Panel which had recommended a modest 1.5% rise.