Lib Dems announce £30 million of funding for health in Tunbridge Wells

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.”

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Lib Dems will invest £13,508,647 to protect school funding in Kent

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."

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Rachel Sadler and Lib Dems Commit to Triple Lock on Pensions

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."
 
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LIB DEMS IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS STAND AGAINST HARD BREXIT ON EUROPE DAY 

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. 

Rachel said:

"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."

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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

See my video here. To find out where your nearest polling station is please see here.

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

 

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Speech from Rachel Sadler, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

The Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats recently held a members' event at the George in Tunbridge Wells on April 26th where Rachel Sadler spoke. Here is the content of her speech:
"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!"

For more information about Rachel, see here. See Rachel speak here. If you would like to support the local Liberal Democrats, please contact Rachel on RachelSadlerTW@gmail.com 

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Personal Statement from Andrew Hickey, KCC Candidate for Tunbridge Wells South

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 andrew.t.hickey@gmail.com or 01892 618 277

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Government cuts impact Tunbridge Wells secondary schools

Lib Dem County Council KCC candidate (for St. John's, Southborough and Southborough High Brooms)

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. 
 
Most of Tunbridge Wells’ outstanding secondary schools are in the north of the town. It’s this area – Southborough and St Johns – that I’m standing as Lib Dem candidate in the upcoming County Council elections. The schools are at the heart of the local community here, and their prosperity directly links to the community’s prosperity. Any challenges they face challenge the fabric of our community – which is why I’m writing this piece, to alert you all to some of the difficulties they face. 
 
Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys 
Mr Marsh, Head of Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys highlights that:
"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:
 "This year we have cut GCSE Statistics from the curriculum, and we have also cut back on the daily newspapers and on lunchtime cover. We fear that unless something is done soon to address the ongoing failure to adequately fund education, we may have to reduce staff numbers and introduce further changes to the curriculum."
 
St. Gregory's Catholic School 
Mr. McQuillan, Head Teacher of St. Gregory's Catholic School said that “the educational services grant is set  to fall by 57.1%.  This is currently about £86,394 but will disappear into the national funding formula for the under 16 allocation.  So even though national funding is increased by 3.63%** students' health and educational needs pre-16 will be reduced and that "lower level" needs will have to be supported by the teaching staff.”
He also fears that there will be changes to teaching and curriculum particularly to sixth form and post 16 allocation which has been losing funding over the past three years so, even with an increased budget, these pupils will suffer.
 
He says he has  to balance the curriculum to make it as attractive to pupils to meet the demands of students and to meet their needs within the budgetary constraints. 
 
TWGGS
 
Mrs. Wybar, the Head Teacher of TWGGS, said "The current funding situation is very challenging and indeed has been for TWGGS for several years. In response, we increased class sizes in the 6th form to a maximum of 26 many years ago and jointly deliver some A level subjects, such as German, with The Skinners' School to obtain optimum class sizes. This is only a small part of the cost-cutting measures taken; there is now nowhere left to cut!"
 
"Like most other schools, parents are asked to make an entirely voluntary contribution of £40 per pupil at the beginning of the academic year in order to help to fund extra curricular activities. This money does not fund teaching and learning." 
 
Skinners' Grammar School
 
Mr. Wesson, Head Teacher of Skinners, said  "Since 2010, funding for the school has been flat and the school has lost around £650,000 from its budget. This has led to higher class size in the lower school as well as in the Sixth Form.
 
With respect to the A-level curriculum, we will constantly have to review it in light of the current situation."

School equipment and infrastructure doesn't get renewed as often as it should. 
 
The staff are paid according to the national pay scale.  However, once long term staff leave, they tend to be replaced with lower salaried staff.
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Snap Election Chance for Liberals to Get Their Voice Heard

Within the last few hours, the Prime Minister has announced that she will ask the House of Commons to call a snap general election on June 8th. This is a chance to have our voices heard and to stand in unity to demand a fair, tolerant and open Britain. Since the announcement, over 1,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats.

Please join with me to campaign, not only on a local front, but also on a national and international front, to push back the shortsightedness of extreme nationalism and to stand united as Liberal Democrats in demanding a free, tolerant and humane Britain where vulnerable people are properly supported and where the most vulnerable refugees are welcomed and encouraged to integrate into our society.

Click here to join the Liberal Democrats today.

Kind regards,

Gillian

Gillian Douglass, Chairperson

Liberal Democrats Tunbridge Wells

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Personal statement from Alan Bullion, KCC Candidate for Tunbridge Wells West

Alan Bullion is standing as your Kent County Council candidate for Tunbridge Wells West -

Brought up in Tonbridge, I’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells for the past 40 years.

I work for a publishing company in London, and have also been an Open University lecturer and local secondary school governor.

As your County Councillor I will focus on:

* Safer streets and 20mph zones, especially around schools

* Keeping the air where you live safe to breath

* Building up care at our local hospitals

* Delivering additional school places

* Keeping social care to support older people

* More capacity and fairer fares for rail and bus travellers

* Fixing streets and pavements more effectively

TACKLING THE SOCIAL CARE CRISIS IN KENT

Social care is in crisis as Conservative imposed “austerity” has cut 40% from council budgets across the country. Your Kent council tax is going up 4% - yet social care cuts will mean costs incurred by the most vulnerable people in our community are going to

double in some cases. I will fight hard to protect social care services threatened by a £78m Tory budget squeeze.

EUROPE - WHY STAYING OPEN AND TOLERANT IS VITAL

Kent is Britain’s gateway to Europe. Thousands of jobs depend on strong links. Many vital workers - especially in the care and food sectors - come from Europe. Some are already leaving due to uncertainty and intolerance.

We want the position of everyone who contributes to our community, and their families, to be guaranteed now so they can live their lives and plan the future.

And you must have a say on the eventual deal we get with Europe, a democratic check on the small band of government ministers pushing for Brexit at any cost.

Please contact me at alan.bullion@informa.com or 07840 854328

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