The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage in Tunbridge Wells and build more affordable homes.
There are currently 988 families in Tunbridge Wells on a waiting list for council homes, down from 1,108 last year.
In addition, official figures show 376 homes in Tunbridge Wells have been empty for over six months.
The Liberal Democrats would introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes, make it easier for local authorities and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.
The party would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%, including second homes. Local authorities could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for over 3 years, to tackle so-called land-banking.
Rachel Sadler, Parliamentary Candidate for Tunbridge Wells commented:
“Hundreds of families in Tunbridge Wells are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home.
“Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder.
“At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.
“The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.
"A Conservative landslide would allow the government to take people for granted, meaning years more soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable housing.
"A better future is available. Have hope, vote Liberal Democrat and we can change Britain's future and build the affordable homes Tunbridge Wells needs."
The Liberal Democrats have today announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £30 million in additional NHS funding in Tunbridge Wells (West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group) and £52.4 million in additional social care funding in Kent. The Liberal Democrats will ring fence £7.5 million of the funding to tackle the historic injustice faced by people with mental ill health.
Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost.
Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £7.5 million of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in West Kent.
This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for his pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.
The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides.
Commenting on the plan, Rachel Sadler, parliamentary candidate, said:
“The Liberal Democrats pledge to spend £7.5 million in West Kent is important as it demonstrates our commitment to ending the historic injustice against people with mental ill health.
"Health, particularly mental health is a key issue on the doorstep. People want action, not just words and the Liberal Democrats neither Labour nor the Conservatives have outlined how they will fund mental health services. .
"We will invest in improving waiting time standards for mental health care in West Kent, end the scandalous use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise national action to dramatically reduce the number of people who take their own lives.
“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservatives, and the only party fighting for genuine equality for those who suffer from mental ill health.”
The Liberal Democrats have announced they will invest £13,508,647 more in schools and colleges in Kent over the next parliament.
The funding for Kent would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from changes to school funding proposed by the Tories.
£9,939,047 of the funding would be spent on protecting the Pupil Premium, introduced by the Liberal Democrats to help the most disadvantaged children.
Rachel Sadler, Tunbridge Wells Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, said:
"Children in Tunbridge Wells are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers - but Theresa May doesn't care.
"Under the Conservatives, funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, while billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.
"This extra £13,508,647 of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.
"We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed."
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:
"A landslide for the Conservatives would allow Theresa May to take parents across the country for granted and cut our schools to the bone.
"Only Rachel Sadler and the Liberal Democrats can provide the strong opposition Britain needs to stand up for Tunbridge Wells.
"Vote for the Liberal Democrats and you can change Britain’s future."
10,162 pensioners living in Tunbridge Wells will receive at least an extra £772 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the ‘triple lock’ for state pensions.
Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats when they were in government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%. However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped. The Liberal Democrats have committed today to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year. This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.
The parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Tunbridge Wells, Rachel Sadler said: “ We intend to finance the triple lock by restricting the winter fuel allowance for the wealthiest pensioners, to ensure that people get the help that they need."
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Rachel Sadler has marked Europe Day today by calling on voters in Tunbridge Wells to support the Lib Dems in standing up to Theresa May's plans for a hard, destructive Brexit.
"On Europe Day it is important to remember that the EU was created to end centuries of war in Europe and bring prosperity to all European countries.
"It is clear that Theresa May is willing to scrap a free trade deal with the rest of Europe in order to pander to UKIP and the far-right of her own party.
"Nobody knows what Brexit will look like. The choices Theresa May will make will affect Tunbridge Wells and our country for decades – that’s your job, your weekly shop, your environment, your safety, where you can travel to and where you can live.
"If you want a strong opposition in Tunbridge Wells fighting for an open, tolerant and united Britain, this is your chance. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain’s future."
Responding to comments made by Jeremy Corbyn that Brexit had been "settled", leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron said:
"Corbyn made his party vote in Parliament with the Conservatives on Brexit, and now he is joining Theresa May in denying the British people a final say on the Brexit deal.
"Be in no doubt, if you are worried about Theresa May’s plans for a hard, destructive Brexit, and if you do not want to see our country ripped from the Single Market with the futures of millions of EU citizens put at risk, the Lib Dems are the only party which is fighting for you."
Local elections Thursday 4th May; Lib Dem membership soars, general election update; high court ruling on air pollution…
County Council elections, Thursday 4th May
Elections are won and lost because of people’s perceptions of who will win and who will lose. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! I would urge you to find the time to vote on Thursday. Your vote really does matter.
I am standing as the Lib Dem candidate in Tunbridge Wells North. I live in Tunbridge Wells and I love my town. The Lib Dems are fighting the election on collapse of local services, transparency on the local council, problems with social adult care and children's services and the right of people to plan their own community. If you vote for me I will fight for…
1. Investment in highways, pavements, potholes and road safety
2. Affordable and sustainable homes with the right infrastructure
3. Cleaner environment through better cycling provisions and a low emission zone on the A26
4. Increasing the social care budget by bringing forward the £700m allocated for 2019
Local Lib Dem membership soars to 312 in total. Most of these have joined us since May 2016 and more recently since the Referendum result and the declaration of the general election. See our parliamentary candidates interview here.
General Election Update
High Court rules against government in air pollution debate
The government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election. Tunbridge Wells is greatly affected by air pollution because of traffic congestion. I am passionate about introducing clean air zones, in particular, St. John's Road and London Road, and welcome this ruling.
Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/27/air-pollution-plan-election-campaign-bomb-court-government
"Hello everybody, it's lovely to see you tonight.
I'm Rachel Sadler: your Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.
I'm excited about this opportunity, and am raring to go!This is a wonderful chance to defeat the toxic Tories and prevent a hard Brexit, which nobody voted for.Greg Clark is clearly out of touch: he turned his back on Tunbridge Wells by triggering Article 50 when we, the people, had voted definitively to remain.This is why this election is a golden opportunity for Lib Dems to make an impact and change the course of British life for the better.What will we do? We'll show that Britain can only remain open, tolerant and united under a Lib Dem government. We'll achieve this via a referendum on the terms of Brexit, with an option to remain in the EU, to let the people decide how we should proceed.
We've already done wonders locally- under our watch the old ABC cinema site has been demolished, and we've convinced the complacent TWBC to introduce glass recycling in principle in 2019.
These are just two examples- when we pool our powers, we are fantastic!
Labour can't win in Tunbridge Wells- we are the only opposition to Conservative cronyism- people who seek to force us into chaos!
We can make a difference!
We can defeat the Tories!
We can save Britain from dropping into Brexit oblivion!"
Andrew Hickey is standing as your Kent County Council candidate for Tunbridge Wells South
My family and I have lived in Tunbridge Wells for 12 years.
I work in information technology and advise a number of global, UK and local businesses on policy and organisational processes. I am also actively involved in the Tunbridge Wells community and secretary of a local youth football team.
As your County Councillor I will focus on:
Infrastructure: our roads, pavements, cycle tracks, and public transport need improved planning and funding to support our dynamic and growing town and county.
Education: our children’s futures depend on a world class education system and we need to make more school places available close to where they are needed.
Health and social care: we all have a duty to help the most vulnerable in our society and we need to allocate our county council taxes more fairly to support health and social care improvement.
Environment: our town and county needs to grow in a sustainable way without further damaging air quality and the environment more generally. We need to take environmental impact more seriously in all development decisions.
I will work on all of these issues at the county level lobbying for improvements for Tunbridge Wells.
EUROPE - WHY STAYING OPEN AND TOLERANT IS VITAL
Brexit has led to uncertainty and worry for many of our town’s and county’s citizens. In Kent we are closely linked to Europe both physically and culturally - this will not end because of Brexit, and we need to continue to recognise and embrace the diversity and tolerance of our local communities and support our local businesses in their trade with Europe.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01892 618 277
To help me and the Liberal Democrats understand the issues the schools are currently facing, I have spent the two previous weeks meeting with the heads of the different schools. They have been open and honest, I am indebted to them. All the Heads said similar things: cuts in funding and changes to the national funding formula are negatively impacting their schools.
"Although under the new proposed funding formula the school is expecting to see an increase of around £88,000 per year, the total schools budget for the formula doesn't take into account increases in teachers' and support staff salaries, increases in pension contributions, higher NIC contributions and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. So, in reality, we will still be facing a real terms cut."
Mr. Marsh admitted:
School equipment and infrastructure doesn't get renewed as often as it should.