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.”