People's Vote March on Saturday, March 23rd

Join the Liberal Democrats tomorrow to march for a people's vote. Councillors Ben Chapelard and Mark Ellis with some of our members and supporters will be taking the 10:09 train from Tunbridge Wells (10:12 from High Brooms). The march will start in Park Lane at noon and walk to Parliament Square. Information can be found here. Please join us! 

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Dave Funnell Speaks Out for Rusthall

Dave Funnell, a former civil servant walks down Rusthall High Street. It’s a walk he’s done often being Rusthall born and bred. Dave grew up and has spent his whole life living in the village surrounded by an extended family.

"We are so lucky to have a vibrant high street with no empty shops. You have almost everything you need in Rusthall High Street. How many villages let alone places can boast a vibrant high street these days?"

He believes in shopping local and supports many of the village businesses groups and associations. "There really is no better place to live in Tunbridge Wells for a wonderful community spirit."

Dave intends to stand in Rusthall as the Liberal Democrat Candidate and for Rusthall Parish Council for the forthcoming elections in May and wants to be able to continue in a family tradition and try to serve the community as best he can. He, alongside his wife is currently a General Committee Member of the Bonfire and Fete Group (something his aunt and uncle helped to start over 40 years ago). Dave also volunteers with the elderly lunch club and the library plus is also involved with other community groups in the village.

"Having lived in Rusthall all my life, my neighbours and my community’s concerns are naturally my concerns. When I talk to people on their doorstops, they voice the very same concerns I and my family have had. Three things that come up constantly are: - speeding, parking and congestion."

Dave has volunteered for the speed watch campaign and does his training within the next two weeks. One issue he really wants to address is speeding in the village via the 20 is plenty campaign and other traffic calming measures working alongside the Parish Council. 

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Conservative Led KCC Raises Price of Bus Fares for Young People

After several years of sustained pressure from the Liberal Democrat opposition, Kent County Council has finally agreed to accept monthly payments for the Young Persons Travel Pass (YPTP) in the coming year. This will come as some relief for parents faced with an inflation-busting £60 increase in the cost of the pass to £350 in the next school year from September.

Under the new arrangements, parents will be able to pay the total £350 cost in 8 monthly instalments payable from August 2019. There will however be a £10 administration fee for those paying by instalments.

The Lib Dems first proposed payment by instalments some 5 years ago. Although the Conservative Administration acknowledged this need, the costs of the passes have continued to rise each year without any scheme for monthly payments being introduced up to now.

Tunbridge Wells Lib Dems press officer, Dr Alan Bullion, said: “The new £350 charge will be a heavy burden for many local families. We hope the new monthly payment scheme will make budgeting a little bit easier when finances are tight. We also welcome the decision to scrap plans to impose a £400 charge for travel passes for young persons over the age of 16 with special education needs or disabilities (SEND). We recognise that local government finances are tight, but our council tax bills are rising again this year above inflation by almost 5% to help pay for vital services, while Kent is having to find emergency funds in the event of a no-deal Brexit to keep these services running smoothly as possible across the county.”

Local party chairman Andrew Hickey added: “The £350 charge represents a 21% increase year-on-year in a year when the official inflation rate is 1.8%. It is highly likely drive more cars onto the road. The bus services are currently so patchy and unreliable that many kids get off the bus early, or don't get on it at all, due to delays from congestion and frequent road repairs. The winter is a lottery of late school arrival. It also disproportionately taxes lower-income families who have no means of relief, while wealthier families who have their children in local private schools are unaffected.”

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