"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and
open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values
of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall
be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
Monday, November 28, 2005
Harlow's Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington joined his Labour counterpart to host an informal reception at the Civic Centre for local organisations in the town. Chris said:
"We wanted to update our partner organisations on the Council's achievements over the past year, the challenges facing both the Council and the town, and to discuss ways we can work together to build a better future for Harlow."Guests represented organisations ranging in size from Harlow College to Neighbourhood Watch. The joint leaders gave a presentation and answered questions, at the first of what it is hoped will be an annual event.
Friday, November 25, 2005
The re-opening of community facilities formerly run by Harlow Council is going well, Liberal Democrat councillor Lorna Spenceley said this morning.
Lorna was giving a presentation to the Monitoring Board which is overseeing the council's 'recovery' from its past status as a 'poor' council.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Local Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington and deputy leader Cllr Ian Jackson joined "the largest gathering for a number of years" at Netteswell Cross for the annual Remembrance Sunday event, and to lay a wreath in memory of those who have lost their lives in war.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Cllr Lorna Spenceley represented the Liberal Democrat Group at the two minutes' silence held outside the Civic Centre at 11:00 this morning.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A visit to Whitehall
Local Liberal Democrat leader Chris Millington was in Whitehall today, putting Harlow Council's case to ministers to demonstrate how the council is improving. Together with representatives of both the other parties, Chris met government minister Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss Harlow Council's 'recovery'. Chris says:
"A great deal of work has gone into the improvements we've made on the council already. There's much still to do, but at last the council is beginning to head in the right direction."
Brays Grove School merger or closure consultation
Commenting on the shock announcement by Essex County Council that it is to consult on the merger or closure of Brays Grove School, local Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington said:
"I am extremely concerned at this announcement from Essex County Council, and the potential impact on young people and families in the area served by Brays Grove School. I am also concerned that, contrary to the impression given by Cllr Castle in his press statement, no discussion took place with district councillors in advance of the County Council's announcement.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Government council tax indecision won't help pensioners and low paid
The government's plan to put off the revaluation of council tax until after the next General Election won't help pensioners and low paid workers in Harlow already burdened by council tax bills.
That's the view of local Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman Lorna Spenceley, following yesterday's debate in the House of Commons cancelling the planned revaluation. Lorna Spenceley said:
"Postponing revaluation will do nothing to help local pensioners and families who are struggling to pay their council tax now.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Lib Dems support opening up family law courts
Liberal Democrats on Essex County Council have pledged their support to a parliamentary motion that seeks to remove the 'veil of secrecy' from family legal proceedings.
Councillor Tom Smith-Hughes, Liberal Democrats leader at Essex County Council said:
"It is vitally important that the public has confidence in our legal services and especially those involving children. It is difficult to maintain this trust when decisions are made behind closed doors - justice must be seen to be done.The motion is Early Day Motion No 869 entitled Working of the Children Act 2004, proposed by Eric Pickles MP. Over 120 MPs have signed the motion so far, including Bob Russell, Essex's Liberal Democrat MP. The full text of the EDM is as follows:
"That this House urges the Government to remove the veil of secrecy from the workings of the Children Act 2004; considers that the closed door policy of the family courts breeds suspicion and a culture of secrecy which does nothing to instill confidence in those using them, which affects not just the courts but the social services departments of local authorities; and believes that it is possible to preserve the anonymity of children involved in the proceedings without the cumbersome rules which obstruct parents from receiving advice and support, which in particular works to the disadvantage of parents with special learning difficulties."
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Lib Dems launch 'Save Our NHS Dentistry' campaign
Local campaigner Lorna Spenceley has today called on the Government to tackle the crisis in NHS dentistry. She referred to figures which show that
Lorna Spenceley is calling for:
"In Harlow, at least one in five local people are not registered with an NHS dentist. Under Labour charges for check ups are rocketing. Charges for check ups prevent problems being picked up early enough. They should be scrapped. Tony Blair must keep his promise to get to grips with the crisis in dental care. Every patient deserves to be able to register with a local NHS dentist - and not to feel put off by the cost of check-ups and treatment."Recent changes to dental charges proposed by the government mean that the cost of a check up could more than double from £6 to £15. Charges for simple treatment such as fillings would be £41. These charges would be likely to increase the proportion of local residents discouraged from getting a dental check up, and even from seeking treatment when it is needed.
British Dental Association research shows that nearly 60% of high street dentists will either reduce their NHS commitment or quit the NHS altogether as a result of initial plans for a new dental contract.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Local Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington joined an all-party delegation today to accompany a government minister on a tour of Harlow.
Chris joined Baroness Andrews, parliamentary secretary at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, on a visit that included the new football stadium and sportcentre sites. Chris says:
"This was an excellent opportunity to show the minister the potential Harlow has, but also the need for government support for regeneration of our town."
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Black cabs: no limit
Harlow Council's Environment & Community Committee has agreed not to put back a limit on the number of licences the council issues for black cabs.
Cllr Lorna Spenceley said in the debate:
"The facts show that over the last year, applications to join the trade have levelled off almost to zero. This means the black cab market is limiting itself naturally, so there is no need for the council to intervene and set a fixed limit.The suggestions in the consultants' report include:
Over 1,600 local pensioners missing out on Pension Credit
New figures on the take up of Pension Credit show that over 1,600 pensioners in the Harlow constituency are missing out on money that is rightfully theirs.
Local Liberal Democrat spokesperson Lorna Spenceley, who was the candidate for Harlow at the last General Election, said:
"It is a scandal that so many poorer older people are missing out on money they should be getting as of right. And for Harlow, this represents a loss to the local economy of as much as £63,357.The Pension Credit application line is (freephone) 0800 99 1234. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 8am - 8pm and Saturdays 9am - 1pm.