Liberal Democrats launch 2015 pre-manifesto

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Liberal Democrats have unveiled the party’s pre-manifesto, which sets out out the vision for Britain in the next Parliament

The policies in the pre-manifesto, which has spreading opportunity for the next generation at its heart, will be debated and voted on by our members at the upcoming Party Conference in Glasgow.

Liberal Democrats in government have played an essential role in rescuing Britain’s economy, creating more than 1m jobs and bringing the economy back to growth.

We are proud of this record of delivery and the pre-manifesto document sets out our promise of more in the next. Our focus will be on a ‘manifesto for the next generation’ with a host of policies aimed at improving opportunities for children and young people, including plans to expand free childcare to all two year olds, introduce free school meals for all primary school children and triple the early years pupil premium.

A summary of some of the key points in the pre-Manifesto is below. If you would like to read the full document, please click here.

Are you able to help our colleagues in Frome?

During the last set of local election our Liberal Democrat colleagues from Frome in Somerset came up to help our campaigning in Bury. Now Damon Hooton who was in Holyrood and St Mary’s wards on polling day is standing in a County Council By-Election on 25 September. It’s going to be a close election so anything you can do to help would make a huge difference. It would be fantastic if we could help repay the Damon and the Frome Liberal Democrats’ generosity by making some phone calls for them. If you can help, the VPB code can be found here: https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/636CEL-7709.

Equally, if you fancy a trip to Somerset, please contact Damon on 07850 681163! Some activists from Bury may be going down for Poling Day please let Victor know on 07977240568 if you may be able to join them.

Free school meals for all primary pupils

Liberal Democrats in government are delivering free school meals for all infant school pupils – now we plan to go one step further and extend the scheme to all primary school pupils.

Following evaluation of this policy, the free school meals scheme would be extended, as resources allow, while ensuring that school food standards apply to all schools, including free schools and academies.

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The benefits of free school meals is clear. Pilot areas show that where children were given a free school lunch, they were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere.

Extending the scheme would make sure that every primary pupil gets a healthy meal in the middle of the school day, boosting their education, health and saving parents money.

Liberal Democrats are making sure that every child gets a fair start in life. Our pupil premium has given schools extra money targeted at the children who need the most help. We have expanded free early years education and introduced free school lunches for all infant school children.

Get the facts about free school meals here.

Prestwich – Manchester Cycle Way

In 2013 the Government granted monies to Greater Manchester which will allow for a £20 million investment (over two years) in cycling infrastructure. The aim is to increase the percentage of journeys that are made in the county by bike.

One of the first aspects of this investment is a proposed Manchester – Prestwich cycle route, which links the city centre to Prestwich and Middleton ending in Heaton Park.

The proposed route goes from Heaton Park and uses quieter roads and some new ‘cycle only’ paths through Collyhurst and the Irk Valley towards the city centre.

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There is also some discussion (and some Government money) for improvements on the Prestwich side of the border, but more information to follow on these as the scheme is developed.

On the main route to Manchester Bury Liberal Democrats have already made a number of comments but would be interested to hear from other people – both cyclists and potential cyclists on the proposals. Let us know your views by emailing tim@burylibdems.net

This investment is a great opportunity but it is important we get it right!

Save our Children’s Centres

Bury Council will tonight (Wednesday 3 September 2014) consider a proposal to close EIGHT of the borough’s Children’s Centres.

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Currently the service is a ‘universal’ service (i.e. anyone can make use of the services), but if the proposals happen the the only service that would be offered would be a ‘targeted’ service – i.e. for those people who are identified as being most in need.

The proposal is that seven of the eight Children’s Centres would be rented out to nursery operators to run as nurseries.

The government is extending the current nursery provision to offer 15 hours of nursery care for less well off families so the Council have identified a need for more nurseries.

We are extremely concerned by these proposals. It’s great about the child care guarantee from Government, but Children’s Centres have only been open a few years in Prestwich, but many families have found them a great service to help give children a good start in life.

Cllr Tim Pickstone said “Toolde Hill is actually the ONLY council run facility in Holyrood Ward, and one of the few community venues we have which seems a great shame to lose. We are very concerned that parents and families in most need will not make the journey to Sedgley Park to use services which is significantly less convenient to people than Cuckoo Lane.”

A campaign group has been set up oppose the proposals which, if agreed, will see a twelve week ‘consultation’ period.

Find out more and add your support at their Facebook Page here.

Read the Bury Times article on the subject here.

Members update: Summer Barbecue, Members Meeting, PPCs Selection and Congratulations!

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Bury Liberal Democrats Annual Summer Barbecue 
Our Annual Summer Barbecue is this Sunday (31 August) at Donal and Joanne O’Hanlon’s home, 15 Lowther Close, Prestwich M25 9LN from 4.00-7.00pm.
 Come and join us on in a friendly and informal barbecue and catch up with friends old and new. All welcome – friends, family etc! Tickets for the food are £5 per person (children free). Any donations of drink or raffle prizes welcome. If you can let Donal know that you are coming that would be helpful so we know how much to put on the grill! donal@burylibdems.net or 07897 360130
Parliamentary candidates selection and Members meeting
Just a quick reminder as well that the selection of Parliamentary Candidates for Bury North and Bury South is on Monday 29 September 2014 at 7.00pm Venue TBC (details nearer the time). Our next members meeting is an important meeting as we will be selecting our Parliamentary Candidates for the 2015 General Election for both Bury North and Bury South constituencies. The meeting will also be an opportunity to update members on our current campaigns and strategy for the elections in 2015. The meeting is only open to members of the Liberal Democrats – but if you’re not a member and would like to be then you can join for as little as £1 a month (50p a month for people on benefits and £1 a year for young people/students). Join online at libdems.org.uk or on the night.
Congratulations to Richard and Tamsin!
Just to let everyone know that our former Councillor Richard Baum and his wife Tamsin have just had a second baby daughter. Bonnie Abigail Thomson born on 21 August 2014. Congratulations to Richard and Tam from all of us in Bury!

Protecting the NHS budget

Liberal Democrats will protect the National Health Service budget in the next Parliament.

Under plans announced in the party’s manifesto, NHS spending will rise by at least the rate of inflation over the next Parliament.

As well as protecting the NHS budget, Liberal Democrats will also pool health and social care budgets. This would help make care more tailored towards individual patients and reduce inefficiencies.

This follows the announcement of a Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment to establish a mental health research fund worth £50m per year by 2020.

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Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

“The NHS was a Liberal idea and we are proud to be committed to protecting funding over the next Parliament.

“In this parliament the Government has had to make difficult decisions to cut the deficit and build a stronger economy. We have protected the NHS and Liberal Democrats will continue to protect the NHS budget from cuts in the next parliament.

“We are clear that a crucial part of building a fairer society, where there is opportunity for everyone, is ensuring that once the deficit is eliminated public services are protected.

“Labour have said that this is irresponsible, and in Wales they have cut the NHS budget by 8%. They are wrong and will be judged on this record.”

Tripling the early years pupil premium

Liberal Democrats will more than triple the early years pupil premium to £1000 per child under manifesto plans announced today by Schools Minister David Laws.

The early years pupil premium was introduced in March 2014 and is currently worth £300 for every disadvantaged child.

Liberal Democrats want to extend this to £1000, helping to ensure that every child has got a fair start in life and is ready to learn when they start school.

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This increase will benefit more than 170,000 disadvantaged children from 2015-16.

Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:

“Liberal Democrats have delivered huge amounts for the early years in our time in Government. We have given extra free hours of early years education to all three year olds, and introduced free early years education to two year olds from the most hard pressed homes.  We have introduced new Early Years Teachers, and we vetoed Tory plans that would have meant adults looking after up to six two year olds at the same time.

“By committing this extra money to help the youngest disadvantaged children in society, we will ensure that they get the best possible start in life and have an opportunity to get on.

“Investing in early years is one of the best ways to build the fairer society that Liberal Democrats want to see and we are ambitious about delivering for future generations. This extra investment will mean a huge amount of support for the people who need it most and demonstrates our strong commitment to education.”

Campaigning for a fair deal from our local NHS

The NHS in Greater Manchester is currently consulting with members of the public about its proposals for the future of some aspects of healthcare in Greater Manchester.

This is a very important consultation which will affect how we receive healthcare in future years. In particular it will affect which hospitals we need to attend for some services.

We arse keen to ensure the best possible deal for Bury residents and are asking residents for their views on these proposals by taking part in this short survey.

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Much of the emphasis in the review is about trying to ensure that as much healthcare as possible can be delivered sensibly outside of hospitals and closer to people’s homes. This has been a long term ‘direction of travel’ for the NHS and many of us will be familiar with accessing services in health centres.

The most significant changes relate to some hospital based services. At present Greater Manchester has 12 hospitals. At 10 of these hospitals (including Fairfield and North Manchester) a full 24/7 service is provided.

The proposal is to reduce the number of hospitals with the capacity for full emergency surgery to just 3-5 hospitals.

Crucially for us in Prestwich, Whitefield and rest of Bury, these 3-5 hospitals will NOT include EITHER of our local hospitals – Fairfield and North Manchester.

In the proposals:
Manchester Royal Informary (MRI)
Salford Royal (Hope)
Royal Oldham
will definitely have the full emergency surgery service.

There is a consultation on which one or two of:
Bolton
Wigan
Stockport
Wythenshawe
will have the full service.

In the consultation there are NO options which allow for the full service at:
Fairfield
North Manchester
Tameside
(Rochdale and Trafford who already do not have the full 24/7 service)

What is proposed
To designate 4 or 5 hospitals in our region as specialist hospital for patients needing an emergency or complex operation.

In simple terms my understanding is that this means life-threatening things which could require emergency surgery – e.g. a blue light ambulance incidence, but could be anything up from a complex appendicitis. Apparently this is about 1 in 30 current attendances at A&E.

The majority of patients needing emergency care and patients needing routine operations will continue to receive their care locally in local General hospitals.

More detail on these proposals can be found in our Consultation Document and
our Guide to Best Care.

What does this mean to us
The main impact to us in Prestwich, Whitefield and the rest of Bury is that we will need to travel further for a major medical condition – most likely to either MRI, Hope or the Royal Oldham.

The proposals make the very valid point that what matters is getting the very best medical care, and that lives could be saved if there were fewer specialist hospitals.

However, the pre-consultation document identified that around 50% of people could be adversely affected by a longer public transport journey AND by a longer car or ambulance journey. MPs from across the region have raised concerns about the consultation in Parliament. Bury South’s Labour MP did not speak in the debate

The consultation is currently underway, and we are really interested in your views, and in particular on the transport impact to people of having to use MRI or Hope as opposed to Fairfield or North Manchester.

We’ve done a short survey to ask you about access and transport to our local health services. The results of this can be fed into the consultation by local councillors.

Please take a minute to fill the survey in.

 

Lib Dems plan to cut your tax bill further

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A Liberal Democrat government will make further cuts in Income Tax and reduce National Insurance for millions of workers under manifesto plans announced today.

The party plans to raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of next Parliament.

This move would cut income tax for 30m workers and be worth £400 per year to a typical basic rate taxpayer.

Pensioners have not benefitted from the previous increases in the personal allowance, but the increase to £12,500 will benefit more than 6m pensioners.

And in a new proposal announced today, Liberal Democrats will seek to raise the amount people can earn before paying National Insurance once the personal income tax allowance has reached £12,500.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

“Our tax system must be fair and help to make being in work pay.  That’s why cutting income tax for working people, particularly those on low and middle incomes, is a top Liberal Democrat priority.

“It was on the front page of the 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto and we have fought to keep it on the agenda at every Budget.  By April next year we will have delivered a tax cut to over 26 million people worth £800 a year to a typical basic rate taxpayer and taken over 3 million out of tax altogether.

“Now we want to go even further and lift the amount of money people can earn before paying income tax to £12,500.  This will take hundreds of thousands more low earners out of tax altogether and give millions of working people a further tax cut of £400.

“This move will also give a tax cut to over 6 million pensioners.  When we’ve reached £12,500 we will seek to raise the level that people start paying employee National Insurance.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party in British politics with a long-term commitment to cutting taxes for the working people of Britain. We’ve delivered the largest programme of tax cuts for a generation over the last four years, despite all of the other financial pressures.

“These manifesto commitments will mean nothing less than a generational shift to a fairer tax system that rewards work and helps working people. That’s the way to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get on in life.”