Saturday, 22 October 2011

Liverpool Lib Dems - give us your views on long term vision.

Liverpool Liberal Democrats this week launched a discussion document and listening exercise.

The document makes suggestions about the long term vision for Liverpool and asks for views from individuals and organisations.

Copies have been mailed to organisations across the City and the party is keen to get views from as many people as possible.

The document and a survey is available here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Statement on the Liverpool Riots

Liverpool Liberal Democrats were shocked and saddened at the actions of a minority who took part in the riot in South Liverpool overnight. 

The actions involved were nothing short of criminal and it is hard to see what if anything could be gained by what they did. 

The real Liverpool however was clearly visible this morning when communities spontaneously arranged clean ups and showed real support for each other.

We are concerned that reports are saying that children as young as ten were involved or were close by.  It's really important that parents make sure that they know where their children are and make sure they are not out putting themselves in danger.

The police and emergency services deserve real praise for their actions in attemping to deal with the events last night.  The police put themselves at risk in some cases.  We too often take the emergency services' work for granted and it's important that we don't do this.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

We need tighter rules on opaque glass says South Liverpool Councillor

Lib Dem Councillor Flo Clucas is calling for tighter rules in Liverpool on opaque glass in planning agreements.

Cllr Clucas, who represents Allerton and Hunts Cross, raised the issue in a motion to the City Council.

The problem is that sometimes planning permission involves the need for opaque glass, but officers allow material which can be stuck on and peeled off.

This means that windows that overlook private areas and are meant to be opaque to prevent this are in fact perfectly clear.

Cllr Clucas is worried that this could lead to a "snoopers charter".

The motion will go to the Cabinet member for regeneration for a reply.  The text is pasted below:

Council notes that where ‘opaque glass’ is specified in planning applications, that often an opaque film, stuck on the existing glass is accepted by the Planning Department.  For those with children, or women living alone, such a practice can be most upsetting, as the film can easily be removed from the glass, leaving a clear view of gardens, bathrooms, and other sensitive areas of homes, creating a ‘snoops charter’.  It is particularly distressing where the Planning Inspectorate has specified ‘opaque glass’, yet a removable film covering of clear glass is deemed adequate by officers.  This has recently happened in Allerton and Hunts Cross to the distress of those women whose homes are overlooked.

Council requests the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport to consider that the practice of accepting the use of sticky backed film, on clear glass instead of opaque glass is no longer approved and that opaque glass is required, where it is specified within the application.’

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Lib Dems demand explanation about bus service

Woolton's Lib Dem Team is demanding an explanation from Merseytravel after news that the 173 and 174 bus services won't run next week (beginning 11 July).

The company that ran the two services has had its contract stopped early because of its poor record.  But Merseytravel says the new company can't start until 18th July, leaving people reliant on the service with no bus for a week.

Says Lib Dem Malcolm Kelly " We can't understand why this action is being taken hastily at the eleventh hour without an immediae replacement.  Our area has many elderly residents who depend heavily on local buses for essential travel"

The Lib Dem Team in Woolton is delivering a special leaflet across the area affected by the bus cancellations to let as many local people as possible know not to wait at a bus stop in vain next week.

Information about the services is available at

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

First Councillors Call for action in Liverpool - Erica Kemp.

Liverpool’s 1st Councillor Call for Action
Liberal Democrat councillor Erica Kemp, ward member for Church Ward is set to become the first Liverpool councillor to use the ‘councillor call for action’ powers.

The power for members to use the ‘councillor call for action’ has been in place since 2009 but since then no Liverpool councillor has used this power to help residents.

Cllr Erica Kemp has been forced to use this little known local government power due to the failure of the council to address a road resurfacing issue in the
Heydale Road
Meredale Road
Bleasdale Road
Rosedale Road
Mapledale Road
Limedale Road
Elm Hall Drive
, L18 area of her ward over the last 3years.

Cllr Erica Kemp said, ‘Back in April 2009 I held a site visit with officers to discuss complaints from residents about the council’s resurfacing of ‘the dale’ roads. Since then the council has taken too long to deal with this issue. They have procrastinated and failed to resolve the problem.’
‘Prior to 2009 the council resurfaced these roads using a temporary blue chip surface dressing. The council has since abandoned this method of road treatment but my residents are still suffering from the bad job done 2 years ago. It’s an utter disgrace’.
‘I’m not asking for these residential roads to be bumped up the resurfacing list for the City. I’m simply asking that the problem created by the council is resolved by the council.

Mr and Mrs Coton, Residents of L18 have welcome Erica’s efforts saying; ‘Cllr Erica Kemp has tried everything to get the council to take action but we are being ignored. The blue chips from the road surface get everywhere, they are regularly trodden into our carpets causing damage and the councils promise to sweep the pavements has come to nothing. This ‘Cllr call for action’ is, as far as we can see our last ditch attempt to get something done’.

Letter from Liberal Democrats re budget setting - 20 June

20th June 2011

Dear Cllr Anderson

I write in response to your offer to the Liberal Democrats to take part in a joint budget process and your outlining of conditions attached to that.

I have now discussed this with Shadow Cabinet and Liberal Democrat Group members.
We have decided not to join the joint process. 

I think it important to outline the reasons.

Firstly, we do not believe it to be realistic to ask any party, or any individual Cllr to sign up at the beginning of a decision making process to all the outcomes whatever they may be.  This effectively asks people to ignore strongly held opinions as well as the opinions of the people they are elected to represent. We believe it is the duty of Cllrs to speak up for the people who elect them

Secondly, we believe that effective, robust and questioning opposition is good for the City This does not mean that we intend to oppose everything the administration does but it does mean that we intend to ask probing questions and, when we think a decision or potential decision is wrong, to say so. 
The good of the City is not served by the suspension of democracy and while there are clearly areas on which parties can work together (examples would include my member officer relationship group and Cllr Moores work on emergency preparedness) it serves no one if there is no effective opposition.

Thirdly, we have clear Liberal Democrat positions on some of the key service areas in the City which we intend to argue for. You will, for example, be aware of the disagreements last time over the Sure Start Children’s Centres which we want to protect.

I am disappointed that someone saw fit to leak your letter to the party leaders to the Post and Echo on the very day it was received.  I understand that this leak did not come from your office and want to assure you that it did not come from mine. I have treated the letter as private and therefore restrained from taking public issue which some of the points you made about the Liberal Democrats.

However I will say that not only do we have written confirmation from the City Treasurer that what we suggested in our budget amendment last year was legal, I believe if the LDL option had been selected you would have put your considerable influence behind speeding things up.

Finally,I do want to say thank you for making the offer.  You told me previously to my face that this would not happen and it is refreshing to see a politician who is not afraid to change their mind. I know that Cllr Storey made offers in the past to Labour of some joint budget working, something I understand Labour turned down at the time. I don’t question your reasoning then so I trust you won’t question ours now.

Liberal Democrats intend to take an active role in scrutiny, in holding the cabinet to account for their decisions on behalf of the people of Liverpool, and in the development of our own ideas . I will be contacting officers to confirm previous reassurances about the availability of papers.

Cllr Paula Keaveney
Liberal Democrat Group
Liverpool City Council

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Let's boost reading say Liverpool Lib Dems

More Books for Children to boost skills

Lib Dem spokesperson for Education & Children Services Cllr Rosie Jolly is calling action to get children reading more books.  

The call comes in a motion to next week's Education and Children's Services Select Committee,  as evidence  published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research shows that reading helps to boost children’s’ social skills and tackle difficult behaviour.

Councillor Jolly said ‘Reading at home with children is something that should really be encouraged. Often it’s the one thing that gets squeezed out of a busy day’.
 “Schools and parents need to work together to maximise the benefits of reading for children.’
 ‘The Council should be promoting reading at school and at home. It’s a simple thing that can make a real difference.’

Full text of motion to Ctte: Education Select Ctte – 23rd June
Committee notes with great interest the findings of a recent study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research ‘ Reading to Children Boosts Social Skills’.

Committee welcomes the study, which examined 15,000 children born in the year 2000 and its key outcomes pertaining to the benefits of home tutoring, particular reading to children outside of core school hours. Committee acknowledges that reading on a daily basis is one of the strongest ‘predictors’ of early child development and as such should be encouraged within the cities primary schools as part of the school, parent/carer partnership.   

Committee accepts the studies findings that the activity of parents/carers reading together with children in the home environment also helps to foster emotional security and develop verbal skills. Furthermore it also accepts that reading plays a key role in preventing children from becoming difficult and/or hyperactive in school and that the activity is also a contributory factor in reducing the social and/or emotional problems in three to five year old children.

Committee requests that the Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services writes to all primary schools in the City to establish how local schools embrace, encourage and monitor home reading activity in partnership with parents/carers, in order to support the early year’s development of all primary school children.

Move to Stop Pool Closure - Liverpool Lib Dems - Culture and Tourism committee 14th June.

Lib Dem spokesperson for Community Safety , and Cllr for Mossley Hill,  Cllr Lynnie Williams is calling for the halting of the closure of the pool at I M Marsh.  

The call comes in a motion to tonight's  (14 June) Culture and Tourism Select Committee of the City Council.

The pool at JMU campus is due to close in September as part of the redevelopment and closure of the campus.
‘So far no alternative arrangements have been made to relocate the diving club which uses the site.’
‘The pool is used by the whole community and the I M Marsh pool is the only facility in the area which provides specialist diving training’
‘The Council has a duty to help find an alternative venue for this group. Time is ticking by. There’s just weeks before a long term solution needs to be found’

Full text of motion to Culture and Tourism Ctte: Pool Closure at IM Marsh Campus – Cllr Lynnie Williams

”Committee notes that the pool at IM Marsh will be closed from September this year as part of the redevelopment and closure of the campus. The pool provides the only facility in the area for specialised diving. The pool is well used and much needed. Committee requests that the relevant Cabinet Member assist in the identification of alternative venues for this sport or potential charitable organisations who may be willing to assist in offering specialised diving.”

The link to the agenda is 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Labour's charges for parking at the park!

Liberal Democrats have criticized Labour plans to introduce charges for parking around Sefton Park.

The Labour Cabinet is expected to rubber stamp the suggestion that there should be charges at its meeting next week (17th June).

Says Lib Dem regeneration spokesperson Malcolm Kelly:

“Introducing charges could deter people from visiting the park, which after all belongs to the citizens themselves.  We could also see more traffic displaced onto other roads causing more problems”

“What’s more, is this the thin end of the wedge for residents and our green spaces.  Will we see charges to park near our other fantastic parks rolled out across the city?”

‘Our city’s parks are green oases which should be enjoyed by everyone. The last thing we should be doing as a council is deterring people from taking healthy exercise by forcing people to pay to walk outdoors.’

The Cabinet report talks about occasions when there are parking problems caused by big events.  Liberal Democrats however believe the Council should be talking to the organizers of the events, some of which are commercial, to explore measures to deal with this.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Lib Dems Call for the end to the aggressive marketing of electronic cigarettes.

Lib Dem shadow spokesperson for Health, Cllr Tina Gould has called for the aggressive selling of electronic cigarettes to be banned.

The Liberal Democrats who led the national campaign for a ban on smoking in public places is now calling for a clamp down on electronic cigarettes.

Said Councillor Gould: ‘There is no proof that these substitute cigarettes are harmful, however they do continue to promote smoking as a habit’.

 “The aggressive selling of these devices and seeming lack of regulation of this market is major cause for concern’.

‘I believe that the promotion of electronic cigarettes is undermining the excellent work done by former exec member for health Cllr Gould together with the council’s partners in healthcare to reduce smoking and promote better life chances in Liverpool .’

‘I would urge this City Council to launch as a matter of urgency a campaign to end the hard sale of these devices and to promote instead smoking cessation methods for Liverpool residents.

‘The health effects of this product as yet unknown however I believe we should listen to our health professionals and take steps now to tackle this problem and protect residents targeted by the marketing of these devices’.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Let's do more to celebrate local history say Lib Dems -meeting 14 June

Lib Dem Culture Spokesperson, Cllr Barbara Mace, is calling on Liverpool City Council to do more to recognise the distinct local history of the City.

Barbara has put in a motion to next week's Culture Select Committee (14th June) calling for more to be done to mark and celebrate the very distinctive history of many parts of Liverpool.

Some of Liverpool's villages and districts are mentioned in the Domesday book and have a long, long history that could be recognised more.

The text of the motion reads:

“Committee recognises the rich history of parts of Liverpool, many of which are mentioned in the Doomsday book.

Committee recognises that while the world heritage site status has brought even more welcome historical attention to Liverpool, many areas outside the City Centre could equally well be highlighted.

Committee believes that ways of marking and celebrating more of our historic "villages", including West Derby, Woolton and Wavertree, should be looked at.

Committee believes this would not only reinforce local pride in local history, but would be a welcome addition to some aspects of the Liverpool visitor economy

Committee recognises that in some parts of Liverpool there are thriving cultural and historical societies which could play a great part in further highlighting the history and heritage of their areas, such as Merseyside Civic Society, Woolton, Gateacre & Wavertree Societies.

Committee therefore calls on the Cabinet member to report back to the next meeting of this Committee on what can be done, in conjunction with local historical societies and other interest groups like the National Trust, to better mark and celebrate the very local history of Liverpool. This should include attention to old local place names, previous sites of local monuments and stories of local relevance.”

Monday, 23 May 2011

Let's have volunteer of the year award says Lib Dem

Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson and Cllr for Allerton and Hunts Cross, Flo Clucas, is calling for more to be done to recognise the work of volunteers.

She wants the City Council to look into whether there can be an award each year for the City's volunteer of the year.

Says Flo: "There are so many people making such a huge commitment to our City with their voluntary work that it would be great if there were some sort of civic award"

Cllr Clucas has submitted a motion to the City Council meeting tomorrow (24th May).  The Leader of the Council will be asked to respond in the coming weeks.

The text of the motion reads:

"That this Council, mindful of the commitment of thousands of Liverpool residents, who are involved as volunteers with organisations across the city, places on record its gratitude to those volunteers in this the European Year of the Volunteer.

Further, the Chief Executive is asked to investigate the potential for establishing an annual award for Liverpool's Volunteer of the Year."

Control phone masts better says Liverpool Lib Dem leader.

Liverpool needs to get much better at controlling telephone masts.

That's the view of Cllr Paula Keaveney, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on the City Council.

She's put in a motion, for tomorrow's  (24 May) Council meeting, to ask for the problem to be dealt with.

Says Paula: " When operators get planning permission for masts they can end up riding roughshod over local people.  I've seen conditions ignored and Liverpool City Council behave as if there is little it can do.  In reality if conditions are agreed they need to be enforced or they are meaningless"

Problems recently have included operators turning up without doing the promised envionmental checks and not painting masts the right colour.

Paula , who is also Councillor for Cressington ward, is asking the Cabinet member for regeneration to have a proper look at this and see what can be done to tighten things up.

She adds: "The Council often insists that phone masts are painted goose grey.  In the real world this often translates into 'standout white'.  Surely we can come to a better agreement whereby residents have more of a say about the colour that will work in their area"

The motion is submitted to the City Council meeting on 24th May. It will be considered by the next meeting of the Council's regeneration committee.

The text of the motion, also signed by Lib Dem Councillor Pat Moloney, is below:

"Council notes that the installation of telecommunications masts in residential areas is often highly controversial and that there is often much resident opposition based on, among other things, health fears and appearance.

Council notes that some installations, despite what operators have said, clearly spoil the appearance of areas and stand out from surrounding trees, plants etc.

Council accepts that for citizens to have access to mobile telecommunications coverage, some phone masts are essential.

Council however believes that conditions on masts operators needs to be tightened up to avoid causing problems for residents. It notes that there are cases in which operators have simply ignored conditions applied by the Council and the council has not been able to properly enforce its own agreements.

Council therefore calls on the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport to –

·              institute a time limited review of current practice when it comes to setting conditions and carrying out enforcement.  This review should include the arrangements made for receiving and monitoring information from operators and the decisions which are made when agreeing conditions on issues such as colour and tree/shrub planting

·              survey a sample of residents affected by those phone masts installed or reinstalled in the last three months to ascertain views on what could or should have been done to make the outcome more agreeable to residents.

·              report back with a view to making any changes identified as necessary."

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Liverpool Labour threaten City's green spaces - Flo Clucas 3 May

Liverpool’s Green Spaces threatened by council drive for 37,000 new homes, says Cllr Flo Clucas

Greenfield sites and open spaces in Liverpool big enough to cover the size of more than 100 football pitches are being earmarked for housing development, Lib Dem leader Cllr Flo Clucas reveals today.
Cllr Clucas fears an ambitious city wide plan for 37,000 new homes threatens the city’s prized green spaces.
She said: “In the 1980s the  City Council were accused of selling off the family silver. If this huge land disposal is approved the council will be accused of selling off the crown jewels.”
Cllr Clucas said alarm bells sounded when she read a council report calling for 37,000 new homes to be built over the next 16 years.
Initially 85% of the new homes were earmarked to be built in and around the city centre on brownfield sites. The other 15% were to be built in other parts of the city.
But in a recent change of plan it is now proposed to build 30% of the total – more than 11,000 homes – in Liverpool suburbs, with several thousand earmarked on green spaces and former schools and playing fields.
Cllr Clucas added: “When I saw the figures I realised the only way to create this high level of home construction would be to sell green sites and open spaces.
“I then discovered the council had hired a firm of development consultants to look at the availability of hundreds of sites in the site suitable for new housing.
“Each site has been carefully examined and scored as to its suitability, even detailing how many homes could be built on each site.
“What I find alarming is many of the sites would only accommodate small numbers of homes, but when you look at the locations on a map and add up the totals you realise this is the biggest ever assault on our cherished green spaces. This doesn't include potential developments within what is known as Liverpool's Green Wedge from Woolton to Calderstones and Sefton Park, which faces possible incursions as well.
“If the council is doing this merely as a fishing exercise, why go to the expense of hiring land experts to examine hundreds of sites.
“We should be insisting on using up brownfield sites for new homes. I was shell-shocked when I read the dozens of individual site reports.”
Consultants Roger Tym and Partners carried out the detailed examination of each site for the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.
Added Cllr Clucas: “I have copies of each assessment report and around 30 relate to what are described as Greenfield sites and another 16 relate to former schools and school playfield fields. This is potentially a serious assault on our green spaces in Liverpool.
“Building around 2,800 on these green spaces will ruin what is one of the ace cards we have in Liverpool – our wonderful green acres, envied by cities all over the UK.
Green sites earmarked for new housing span the city from Woolton, Allerton , Childwall, Aigburth, Anfield West Derby, Wavertree, Picton, Old Swan,  Knotty Ash, Greenbank, Croxteth to Mossley Hill where 280homes could be built in the grounds of the Univerity of Liverpool Carnatic and Dale Halls. More than 70 homes could even be built on the site of the council’s Greenhill Nursery, currently home of the city’s world famous orchid collection. The consultants say 77 homes could be created at Calderstones Park Mansion House and Stables.
Said Cllr Clucas: “We need to look at sites for new house building, but selecting dozens and dozens of greenspace areas is a backward step, I will fight to preserve these areas for future generations to enjoy.”
The details emerged as a result of a strategy document known as The Liverpool Local Development Framework which sets out the city's needs for housing and economic development over the next few decades. Part of the document's role is to allocate sites for housing and other other developments. The document recognises as significant the doubling of proposed suburban housing development to 30% of the planned needs.
“The document says the strategy is supported by consultation responses in 2010, but I have never been asked for my views of whether we should raid our green spaces and I don't know of any other people who have been asked,” added Cllr Clucas.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Liverpool Lib Dems cry foul over plans to axe support for most needy - 26th April

Councillor Flo Clucas cries 'Foul' over plans to axe support for 1,400 of Liverpool's most needy.

Liverpool's Acting Liberal Democrat leader Flo Clucas slammed as a ‘foul’ a decision to hold two crucial public meetings over social care on the eve of local council elections.

The two 'limited places' meetings will take place at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium on May 4 – the day before the council elections.

As part of a money-saving exercise the Labour-controlled council wants to withdraw 'moderate' social service support currently offered to around 1,400 people.

Said Councillor Clucas: “I re-affirm my commitment to the provision of moderate social care to those who need it. If these people need this support today, they need it tomorrow, next week and next month. You just cannot pull the plug on this vital service currently offered to people who are among the most vulnerable in our city. Yet Labour is planning to pull that plug.

The two biggest spending departments of the council are education and social services, and that's because they are the cornerstone of local government. I know we face a tough financial challenge, but we cannot abandon our most needy and vulnerable. The Liberal Democrats have fought for years to maintain proper care for the elderly and those who need it. Ending moderate care provision is fundamentally and morally wrong.

This 'moderate' care includes attendance at day centres which will be lost if moderate care provision is abandoned. Those visits are a crucial lifeline.”

Councillor Clucas described as a sham, the decision to stage these two public meetings on the eve of the council elections.

Councillor Ron Gould, Opposition spokesman on Social Care said: “The benefits of moderate care cannot be underestimated, affecting many hundreds of families. The council should use money it is holding in reserves, reported to be some £122 million, to protect this most precious service to our most vulnerable people “

Saturday, 26 March 2011

End traffic chaos say West Derby Lib Dems

West Derby Lib Dem Councillors, Norman Mills and Graham Hulme, are calling for action at a troublesome traffic junction in their area.

The Councillors think that changes to traffic light filtering would make a big difference on Queen's Drive when motorists are trying to turn into Mill Bank.

The two Lib Dems will be making their call at this week's meeting of the Council's Regeneration and Transport Select Committee (31 March)

The  text of their motion is below:


There is a constant traffic problem at this major junction of Queens Drive, which we would request the Director of Regeneration to address. Traffic driving From the direction of Muirhead Avenue/Walton/ Bootle, upon reaching the Traffic Lights at the Junction with Mill Bank (near to Holly Lodge School) and needing to turn Right into Mill Bank- is being forced to back up in appreciable numbers during Rush hour periods.

A Filtering system is required to enable at least half a dozen cars to be able to turn Right into Mill Bank – heading towards Tue brook and the City. At present, only 2 or 3 vehicles maximum can turn right when the main traffic flow on Queens Drive is stopped, and before Traffic driving up Mill Bank to cross Queens Drive have the Green traffic light to proceed.

Apart from the numbers of vehicles coming from the Walton/Bootle direction which attempt to turn Right at this point into Mill Bank, there is also considerable traffic coming from the Three Butt Lane estate, and Marlowe Drive estates, which have no other alternative but to carry out this manoeuvre. This is a large area of Housing, with a considerable number of vehicles.

At present, Long lines of Vehicles are backing up in the third (Outside) lane at busy periods, which is not a specific (Designated) Lane for vehicles turning right. There is a potential Hazard created here, by other vehicles Not wanting to turn Right- trying to move left out of the line of vehicles, and motorists turning Right racing across Queens Drive before the Traffic coming from Mill Bank has the Green Light to do so.

The far side of Queens Drive has had a Filter system for Traffic turning Right for many years into Mill Lane, which operates very well. We request that a similar Filter system is created on the Holly Lodge side of Queens Drive creating at least a Filter Light system,- and hopefully a Filter Lane- for vehicles Turning Right into Mill Bank. This would not only make this Junction safer, but reduce the Stress upon Motorists waiting for lengthy periods to turn Right at this Junction.”

Friday, 25 March 2011

Extra cash for pothole repairs from Coalition Government

Liverpool is to receive more than one million pounds of extra Government money specifically to pay for pothole repairs.

That's as a result of an announcement in this week's budget, and an announcement earlier this year.

Says Lib Dem regen spokesperson Paula Keaveney:

" This extra funding is good news for the City.  As a cyclist I notice on a daily basis how badly potholed some of our roads are. In fact my route to the station is really the Garston slalom! This money should go some way towards making inroads on the repairs needed"

It's not yet known where exactly the extra money will be spent.  All Councils getting the extra funds have to publish details of how the money has been used.  Paula has submitted a question to the Regeneration Committee, which meets next week (31st March) about how the decisions will be taken.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Lord Storey's maiden speech in the Lords

Lord Storey, (Baron Storey of Childwall) made his maiden speech in the House of Lords today (Thursday 17th March) focusing on childhood and early intervention.

You can find the text of the speech here

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

More than a hundred thousand in Liverpool pay less tax thanks to Lib Dems

Income tax changes coming into effect next month will mean nearly 175,000 Liverpool residents will pay less tax.

One of the four main goals in the Lib Dem General Election manifesto was to take low earners out of tax.  The aim, is to move the tax threshold up so that no one earning less than 10,000 pays any income tax at all.

A first step was taken in the last Co alition Government budget with the tax threshold being lifted this April so that the very lowest earners get out of income tax and many many more see their tax decrease.

In Liverpool this April an estimated nearly 6,000 people will be taken out of income tax altogether.  A further 168,000 will see their tax bill reduced.

When the £10,000 objective is reached, the number of people in Liverpool being taken out of income tax will be an estimated 24,840.

Says Lib Dem spokesperson Paula Keaveney : "One of our key aims has been to lift the lowest earners out of tax and give them back some of their own money.  I'm delighted that a first step has been taken towards our £10,000 goal"

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Save Children's centres say Liverpool Lib Dems

Liverpool Lib Dems will this evening be moving an amendment to the City Council budget to save four threatened children's centres.

The party has drawn up a  short list of changes which it wants to see in the budget and will be proposing changes in some budget lines to enable extra spending in others.

The proposal, which is costed according to the City Council's own budget figures, includes the following:

* funds to retain the four Children's centres threatened with closure (West Derby, Dovedale, Childwall, Hunts Cross)
*an increase of one million pounds to the voluntary and community sector support money
*the reintroduction of free leisure passes for children and young people
* the retention of "moderate care" for adults  (this is part of the social care budget)

Says Leader Warren Bradley: " We have been working together with other parties on the budget.  We have managed agreement on many things and have been able to share our expertise with each other.

We believe however that some of the proposals need to be changed and our amendment seeks to do that."

The City Council budget meeting takes place at Liverpool Town Hall at 5 this evening.  Information about the meeting is available at (About the Council section)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Council papers show Pupil Premium will benefit Liverpool.

In the run up to the Liverpool City Council budget setting, there has been much debate about the effect of the new "Pupil Premium". 

The Premium involves extra money per pupil for schools where the pupil is either on Free School meals, is a looked after child or a child with parents in the services (armed forces)

Labour Councillors claimed that the Premium would actually leave Liverpool children worse off.

But papers published by the Labour Council ahead of the budget setting next month appear to tell a different story.

Says Lib Dem Councillor Paul Clein, chair of the Finance Select Committee and a former Executive Member for education and schools

"Figures released in a public document by Liverpool's Labour Council have clarified what will be the likely effect for Liverpool schools of the coalition government's new Pupil Premium funding . The Medium Term Financial Plan update says that Liverpool's Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) will contain an extra £3.5 million in 2011/12 because of the Pupil Premium. This money is targetted directly at children on free schools meals and means schools will get an extra £430 for each such pupil."

The documents are published as part of the budget setting and area available on the City Council's website at

The Pupil Premium, designed to give extra funding for children from deprived areas, was one of the four main planks of the Liberal Democrat manfesto at last year's General Election.  It was also a core part of the agreement negotiated as part of the Coalition arrangements.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Student fees, student debt and higher education.

Given the current ongoing debate about tuition fees, student debt and how University education is funded, it's interesting to see some of the points that were made when tuition fees, and top up fees, were introduced (by Labour in case you were wondering)

Below we reproduce an article written by Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Clein and published in Liberator magazine back in 1998.  It makes very instructive reading when compared to some of the statements Labour Parliamentarians (the people who voted for the fees) make today.

(article starts)
Labour’s plans to pull up the ladder by introducing tuition fees and doing away with maintenance grants for students has caused heated debate, but rather less than might have been anticipated. One has to admire the cunning manner in which discussion in the week after the initial announcement was all about the so-o-o sad plight of the handful of students taking a gap year in 1997-8 rather than focussing on the untold millions of students who will be in debt for decades to come after 1998. And I still cannot understand why students with poorer parents will be exempted from having to take out loans to the same extent as the rest. The supposed logic is that graduates earn more than average by having had the privilege of a university education and can thus afford to repay loans; if so, then the proposed exemptions can only be explained as a sop to get wavering Labour MPs onside and ameliorate criticism from the party at large.
However, little attention has so far been given to the possible knock-on effects of this radical change of policy, which I believe could be profound. It seems likely, for example, that the housing market will be markedly affected. Graduates tend to have graduate partners. If a household consists of two people, each with student loan debts of £20k or more, could they afford a mortgage? Will this cause greater demand for cheaper properties? Will this cause an incremental shift of house prices across the range? How long would having children have to be postponed? How many will choose not to have children at all, or have fewer, later for economic reasons? What effect will there be on credit ratings? Will sales of cars and other consumer goods on credit be reduced? A big boost to DIY and furniture stores? Don’t think so …
This is also a policy likely to discriminate against those from ethnic minorities and women, especially women who take time out to have children. Currently, regrettably, salary levels for these are lower than average and could see such graduates in debt till death do us part from their student loans.
We have already seen sizable reductions this year in the number of students applying for certain universities and a sharp decline in the number of mature students. (And by the way, you won’t be eligible for student loans if you’re over 50. So much for lifelong learning.) Can we expect to see a shift towards 3 year courses rather than 4? Will courses currently four years or more be reduced in length to avoid smaller numbers of applicants? Would the breadth of quality of some courses be reduced? Will this accelerate a move towards a longer university year and shorter vacations in order to cut the length of courses to try to make student debt less burdensome? Will the viability of some institutions and/or certain faculties be threatened? It would be ironic if the only students able to afford to apply for, say, veterinary science or medicine turn out to be only those from very affluent or very poor backgrounds. In any case, one would expect to see a sharp reduction in numbers of students opting for those courses with less promising or less immediate earnings potential post graduation. Can we thus expect to see shortages of practitioners of certain professions? Who would be daft enough to do a PGCE and incur an extra year of loans – unless this ends up being another exemption. Who would be able to afford to be a teacher if current pay levels continue anyway? Prospective students will certainly need to be more careful choosing their courses. Pick the wrong one and you could end up with an extra year of loans to repay. What will be the debt situation for those who drop out or fail their courses?
The job market will probably also be distorted. Those firms willing and able to afford to offer paying off graduate debt as a recruitment incentive will have a distinct advantage. However, will employers insist on tying graduates into tighter or longer contracts as a quid pro quo? Perhaps the graduate equivalents of Premier League footballers will cost companies a transfer fee? And if you want to take out a loan and start your own small business after graduation – who will lend you the money if you already have personal debts of £20k or more?
These are just a few of the dominoes likely to fall during the coming years if this policy goes through unchanged. It is possible that not only is it ill thought out in terms of its execution, but also that no thought has been given by Labour to long term consequences. It is also possible – depending on whether you subscribe to conspiracy theories or not – that there is a hidden agenda and this is deliberate social engineering on the part of the Labour Party kontrolmeisters to engender fundamental changes in the workings of our society. One thing seems highly probable – this policy will not achieve its stated aim.
Published in Liberator magazine, February 1998.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Success for Lib Dem Councillors on dog fouling fines

The City Council looks set to increase the fines for dog fouling following pressure from Greenbank ward Lib Dems, Paul Clein, Jan Clein and Elaine Allen.

The Lib Dem Councillors submitted a motion to the last City Council meeting calling for the fines to be increased. 

Now a report to the environment select committee last night (9th Feb) has made it clear that this advice is being followed and that Council officers are considering an increase to £80.00

According to the most recent figures, which lag a little behind the current date, Liverpool hands out more dog fouling fines than other Councils - a testament to the determination of the previous administration.  However dog fouling is still a major source of complaint and its clear that there is more to be done.

It's hoped that the increase in fines will be one further move in tackling this behaviour by selfish dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Supporting Landshare - committee motion 9 Feb

Lib Dem Councillor Berni Turner is calling on the City Council to support the Landshare scheme. 

Berni has submitted a motion to the next meeting of the Environment and Climate Change Select Committee on 9th February.

The motion reads:

This Council welcomes the Landshare website ( which is there to connect people who want to grow their own fruit and vegetables, to people who have space to share.

It is also a community website that enables people to share knowledge and resources, encourage debate and discussion, plus lower barriers to entry into the "grow your own" movement.

Council resolves to support this initiative by: 

Putting a link to the website on the Councils website
Place an article in the next City magazine
Publicise to all those customers on allotment site waiting lists
Continue to promote the Councils allotments”

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Get tougher on dog fouling say Lib Dem Councillors - 19 Jan meeting.

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Greenbank ward, Paul Clein, Jan Clein and Elaine Allen, are calling on Liverpool City Council to be tougher when it comes to fining people who allow their dogs to foul the pavement.

The three Lib Dems have submitted a motion calling for higher charges to the City Council's meeting next week (19th Jan)

The text of the motion is below

(text begins)

That this Council notes that the fixed penalty charge for illegal dog fouling in Liverpool is currently £50. Council notes that this is relatively low compared to other similar local authorities. Council therefore asks the Cabinet Member for Community Safety to consider increasing the level of this charge by a significant amount in the coming budget to (a) try to discourage such actions by some dog owners and (b) to apply any subsequent increased revenue from this source to finance increased enforcement action on dog fouling by Council officers.

(text ends)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Council failed West Derby during snow says local Lib Dem - regen question 6 Jan

Councillor Norman Mills, a Lib Dem Councillor representing West Derby ward, is calling on Liverpool City Council to re think it's gritting routes after snow and ice caused major problems in the centre of West Derby.

Councillor Mills is pressing senior Labour politicians and the Council's Chief Executive for action and answers.

As part of his campaign he's put in a question to the Council's regeneration select committee, which meets tomorrow (6th Jan).  The text of the question is below

(text starts)
During the recent heavy snowfalls, Three Major Roads through the centre of West Derby Village and the Ward were not gritted causing considerable problems. When I contacted Senior Managers in the Planning and Transportation  Departments, I was informed that none of the Roads was included in the Gritting Programme, and therefore would not be treated.

I have written to the Chief Executive and the Executive Councillors for Regeneration and the Environment, but would like assurances that this situation will be looked at urgently before the situation occurs again in this bad Winter. The Three Roads, Town Row, Almonds Green and
Leyfield Road
, are Major routes from East to West Liverpool for thousands of motorists, and intersect at West Derby Village- which is the heart of West Derby Ward. There are at least 4 large Primary schools on these Roads, and also the Secondary schools of Cardinal Heenan and Broughton Hall at the
Leyfield Road
Honeysgreen Lane
junction. Town Row and
Leyfield Road
are major routes to Yew Tree and Knotty Ash wards, whilst Almonds Green is an access route to Fazakerley Hospital, Clubmoor and Croxteth wards.

The majority of motorists in West Derby use these three Roads to either drive to work, take children to School, to access shops, or to visit family and friends.  Residents of West Derby, and I are amazed that major bus routes such as these three Roads are not included in the Gritting Programme. If the local schools had not been on holiday during the snowfalls, there would have been massive congestion on these three roads, as well as many more minor accidents unfortunately.

Can I ask for assurances from the Executive Councillor and this Committee that the situation will be reviewed urgently? (To date ( 4th January) I have had no reply from the Chief Executive, whom I wrote to on the 22nd December).

(text finishes)