Lib Dems produce bill to stop Government’s publicity stunt approach to plastics

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael has presented his Plastic Pollution Bill in Parliament.

The Bill, supported by Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute, aims to phase-out all non-essential single use plastics by 2025 and obliges the Government to produce a strategy that will end plastic pollution by 2042.

Ahead of presenting his Bill, Alistair Carmichael said:
“The Conservative Government have grabbed the headlines with their bans on plastic straws and coffee stirrers, but we need a government that produces more than a series of publicity stunts.

“The plastic in “The Great Garbage Patch”, a floating pile of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean three times the size of France, was found to be 46% from discarded fishing nets.  Governments need to do more to tackle this.
“This Bill sets meaningful targets in law, and creates an advisory committee, like the climate change committee. This, in turn, will lead to meaningful action to tackle plastic pollution, and set an example around the world. Michael Gove’s single-use gimmicks must be consigned to the political recycling bin.”

Reporting Back: Health Scrutiny Committee

Last month was the Bury’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports:

The Committee’s role involves reviewing and scrutinising any matters relating to the provision and operation of health services in the area of the Council, scrutinising organisations external to the Council and holding the Leader / Cabinet Members to account. Bury’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets in public and includes a public question time at the start of the meeting. Scrutiny committees actively welcome involvement with the public and seek the views of members of the public on services that are being considered. Scrutiny committees also welcome suggestions for subjects to be considered for inclusion in the scrutiny work programme.

Geoff Little, Chief Executive Bury Council provided an update on the Health and Social Care Reforms. Chris O’Gorman, Local Care Organisation Independent Chair, and Julie Gonda, Director of Adult Social Care, provided an update on Bury Local Care Organisation. John Hobday, Consultant in Public Health, provided an overview of key health and well-being data for Bury and Highlited areas for future interventions. Mr Little explained how, despite amount of money being spent, outcomes and health expectancies for Bury people are still not acceptable. In Holyrood life expectancy for 2013 – 2017 for a male was 77.6 years to 79.5 years (inSt. Mary’s it is 79.5 years to 81.4 years)and for females was 82.4 years to 84.1 years (in St. Mary’s is 84.1 years to 85.7 years). Bury “One Commissioning Organisation” wants to have a program of reforms based on the needs of Bury residents, clients and patients. Ultimately and over time the Bury “One Commissioning Organisation” will encompass all strategic commissioning from the Council and CCG and other public services where possible. The main goals are to:

  • Empower Bury people to remain well and make healthy decisions
  • Close the financial gap and improve outcomes 
  • Create a different model based on understanding of families and carers
  • Take control of the system as whole 
  • Improve services in the community for the most vulnerable
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I commented on the importance of education and especially promoting health and wellbeing of children under 5. I also welcomed Bury Council’s plan to empower Bury people to remain well for longer and supporting and caring for people in their homes. However, I pointed out that the Planning department is probably not aware of the objectives of the “One Commissioning Organisations”. I gave as an example the planning meeting that I attended on the previous day, in which a Community Centre at the heart of a residential area, which could be used for exercising classes and health promoting activities, was changed into offices and a block of apartments (in Green Belt and in Conservation Area) had received planning permission even if the 16 apartments were missing the most basic accessibility and inclusive design standards.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Stop Brexit Event – Saturday 6 July 2019

Please join us to reflect on the most relevant issues pertaining to the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the latest Brexit odds under the final two leadership candidates of the Conservative Party and the strategies that the remain parties should adopt in order to defeat the Brexit Party.

Speakers:
Jane Brophy MEP
Cllr John Leech (Manchester)
Lord Andrew Stunell

Moderator:
Graham Hughes, writer and activist

The event will be held on Saturday 6th July at:
Our Lady of Grace Parish Hall
11 Fairfax Rd
Prestwich
M25 1AS

16:45 Doors
17:00 Welcome (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
17:15 Speakers
18:00 Q&A
18:45 Raffle (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
19:55 Conclusions

Tickets:
Tickets are free but please register for your free admission ticket on Eventbrite
http://tiny.cc/pzle8y

or send us an email:
info@burylibdems.org.uk

We are looking forward to seeing you on the 6th July in Prestwich.

Campaigns Internships (Paid)

The Liberal Democrats in Greater Manchester are currently recruiting for paid Campaigns Internships for the 2019-20 period. 

The internships are based at the offices of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors in Salford Quays, and the work includes campaigning with local Lib Dems including the team here in Prestwich and Bury.

ALDC is now in the sixth year of its internship programme with 100% of last year’s interns going on to find other jobs in the party. 

  • Full-time, Manchester, UK Living Wage (currently £14,942.40 for over 25s). The post is temporary to 30 June 2020.
  • Successful candidates must have sympathy with the aims and values of the Liberal Democrats.
  • The deadline for applications is 9am Friday 12 July.
  • Interviews will take place in our offices on Tuesday 16th July (travel expenses to attend the interview will be paid). Interviews will not take place on any other days. 

Applications by email, including a CV and a covering letter/email explaining why you think you would be suitable for the role to: Ed Stephenson, Campaigns and HQ Team Manager, ed.stephenson@aldc.org, by 9am on 12 July.

Reporting Back: Planning Committee

Last week was the monthly meeting of Bury Planning Control Committee. This is the meeting made up of the 11 Councillors who represent the various wards of the borough of Bury. The committee determines planning applications for certain major developments and others where objections have been received. 

Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports: 
Details of all the planning applications mentioned below can be found here

Prior to the Committee meeting, a site visit took place in respect of planning application 63630.

The following applications received approval without major concerns:

Radcliffe – East App No. 63523
We discussed the proposal for a new 3-bedroom detached house in Radcliffe. The building utilises an oddly shaped plot of land, which is bounded by houses and commercial units and is accessible from a back street (App No. 63523). 

Radcliffe – West App No. 64199
We discussed the proposal for the erection of two rows of terraced houses, with 4 dwellings each, on either side of Hutchinson Way, Radcliffe. The site did contain a number of trees, but these were removed prior to the application being validated and processed. The Committee commented on this matter and this issue will be reported to the Forestry Commission. I commented on the development lacking any architectural creativity and that aesthetic should also be considered when granting planning permission to developments that shape our streets and towns.

The following applications received approval but we raised several concerns:

Prestwich – Holyrood App No. 64173
We discussed a proposed change of use for Heaton Park Congregational Church in Bailey Street, Prestwich. The application, which was submitted by Bridge-it Enterprises, proposes to change the ground floor from church/community space (Class D1) to office (Class B1) and converting the multi-purpose space into three offices with a lobby. Bridge-it Enterprises is closely linked to Bridge-it Housing, which works with former offenders and homeless clients, and receive several visitors during the day. 

The residents’ representative expressed concerns about security, traffic and parking issues. The representative of Bridge-it Enterprise stated that the offices would just be used to undertake administrative work by only approximately five staff. Both Cllr Steve Wright and Cllr Tim Pickstone talked about the importance of listening to local residents and of good communication, “if a meeting with the residents had been arranged by Bridge-it Enterprises the matter could have been cleared before escalating to the Planning Committee”. 

I commented on the importance of community centres and that right now our local community has very limited spaces and that we should cherish safe spaces for young people and families to go to that they can engage and congregate. As a result of the concerns raised, the application was amended and a condition was included to reassure the residents that the building will only be used for admin work.

Summerseat – Bury App No. 63630
We discussed the proposal for the erection of a block of 16 apartments, of 4 storeys, by the river Irwell and off Kay Street.

The site, used in a recent past as a car park, is located within Green Belt and in the Brooksbottoms Conservation Area. The residents’ representative and the ward councillor argued that the proposal was detrimental to the local community and raised their concerns regarding the significant impact on the local environment. The representative for the developer focused on the real need for houses in Bury, the constructive relationship that the architects and the Planning Department had to agree the most appropriate mass, location and materials.

I raised some concerns as, in my own opinion, the development is not sympathetic to the “Spinnings” and the “Gatehouse”, two Grade II listed buildings on the opposite side of the river Irwell, and its elevations are not responding to the local context and main views. I was happy that the proposal had included electrical vehicles charging stations but I also noted that the Council should encourage and promote cycling and that the development is missing at ground floor level a secured storage area for bicycles.

However, my real main concern was that the building is not suitable for older people, disabled people and families with young children. The building is 4 storeys high but there isn’t a lift and none of the ground floor apartments provides accessibility features. As a result of my concerns, the application was amended and two conditions were included: (1) The developer should submit an Inclusive Design Statement and (2) a bicycle parking facility should be added.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Updated Bee Network Cycle Map

Greater Manchester’s councils have published an update map of the ‘Bee Network’ a proposed network of cycle and pedestrian-friendly routes and areas, as well as announcing a number of new schemes across the city region.

The revised map shows the proposed network of cycle friendly routes, as well as the ‘busy bee’ routes earmarked as major cycle friendly routes in the future.

The new map can be accessed here. A a change from the previous map published last year a section of Bury Old Road and Heywood Road has been included as a ‘Busy Bee’ route as an alternative to coming through Prestwich village.

Also announced yesterday is a new set of infrastructure projects across Greater Manchester to begin to implement this strategy. When the first set of projects were announced Bury failed to have a single scheme included.

In the new proposals there is a cycle friendly scheme proposed around Fishpool, just south of Bury town centre, at a total cost of £3.6 million, which is welcome. Bury remains the ‘poor relation’ with schemes every other Borough included in the scheme getting more money – in Salford and Wigan’s case £30 and £32 million respectively.

A full list of the current proposed schemes is here.

Meet new MEP Jane Brophy

Newly elected MEP for the North West will be speaking at an event in Prestwich on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road Prestwich. 


The event has been organised by Bury Liberal Democrats, but is open to all supporters and friends. Jane will be joined by member of the House of Lords Lord Andrew Stunell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Manchester Council Councillor John Leech and the writer and presenter Graham Hughes. 


Stop Brexit in Bury 
6 July 2019, Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road, Prestwich. 4.45-8.00pm

Speakers:
Jane Brophy MEP
Cllr John Leech (Manchester)
Lord Andrew Stunell

Moderator:
Graham Hughes, writer and activist

The event will be held on Saturday 6th July at:
Our Lady of Grace Parish Hall
11 Fairfax Rd
Prestwich
M25 1AS

16:45 Doors
17:00 Welcome (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
17:15 Speakers
18:00 Q&A
18:45 Raffle (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
19:55 Conclusions

Tickets:
Tickets are free but please register for your free admission ticket on Eventbrite
http://tiny.cc/pzle8y

Why I joined the Liberal Democrats

New Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna reveals why he has joined.

I went into politics to put something back into the community I am from and to take our country in a progressive direction. My progressive values lead me to strive to work for a fair and open Britain, which has a strong, mixed market economy, in which everyone can achieve their dreams regardless of their background.

I am unapologetically an internationalist which is why I oppose Brexit and am fighting for the UK to remain in the European Union. These are very much the values of those I represent in Streatham and the same things that I stood on at the last General Election.

Our country is one of the greatest in the world and has so much potential. But too many people in my constituency and across the UK face barriers in fulfilling their aspirations and people don’t get the support they need.

Unfortunately, we are deeply divided and unequal nation in 2019. As the fallout from the 2016 vote to leave the EU has illustrated, Britain is crying out for change.

Our politics is broken and the two main parties, which sit at the heart of the system, are simply not up to addressing these challenges because they are part of the problem, which is why I left the Labour Party earlier this year – I was not prepared to stand idly by and do nothing.

They have exacerbated the problems and are fuelling the divisions not only within their parties but in our country too. They have failed to provide the leadership and clear direction which the UK desperately needs, and to properly fulfil their constitutional duties as a government and opposition.

The local and European elections illustrated that millions of voters agree with this assessment about the appalling state of the two main parties. It is clear the tectonic plates are shifting and the public is now more in favour of upending the two party system than at any time in my lifetime.

This provides a historic opportunity to realign, change the system, fix our broken politics and resolve the problems which caused people to vote for Brexit in the first place.

After leaving Labour, I had thought that Britain needed a new party and I believed that was what the millions of politically homeless people in Britain wanted. I was wrong.

You have your ups and your downs in politics. Politicians are all human, and we have our flaws. I have plenty! The important thing is to learn the lessons from your mistakes, to listen to what your constituents and the electorate are telling you, and to strive to do better.

I massively underestimated the challenge of building a new, fully fledged party like Change UK in the midst of a national political crisis and attempting to do so at the same time as running a national election campaign.

Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was right to point to the importance of having a party infrastructure and existing relationships with hundreds of thousands of voters which hugely contributed to the party’s recent election successes.

There is also no doubt that under the First-Past-The-Post electoral system used in Westminster elections, there is space for only one main centre ground offer. That is clearly the Liberal Democrats.

Beyond Brexit, many have pointed out to me that the progressive values that I champion and hold dear, and the policies I have advocated, are almost exactly the same as those promoted by the Liberal Democrats.

There is no denying this fact, so what more was stopping me from joining?

I found it hard to come to terms with the impact of the public spending cuts which were instigated by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of 2010-2015.

I did not disagree with the need to reduce the public sector deficit and debt – indeed Labour’s last Chancellor Alistair Darling accepted this.

But I did disagree with the speed and severity of fiscal consolidation, and the extent to which cuts to public spending as opposed to tax increases were made to carry the burden.

Four years on from their time in office, things have changed. 

The Liberal Democrats have voted against every Tory budget since 2015. They stood on an anti-austerity manifesto in 2017 with, for example, commitments to end the public sector pay cap, increase tax to pay for the NHS and reverse cuts to housing benefit and Universal Credit.

Senior figures – including Vince – have since said that, although they curbed George Osborne’s worst excesses, they should not have allowed measures like the bedroom tax to be introduced.

They also accept that a major mistake was made in making and then breaking a pledge on university tuition fees, which should never happen again.

Most importantly, the biggest impediment to ending austerity currently is pressing on with Brexit. 

According to the Conservative government’s own economic impact assessment, the UK will be poorer under any form of Brexit. In every Brexit scenario tax receipts will be hit hard, depriving the Exchequer of much needed revenue to invest in public services.

Both Labour and the Tories are committed to facilitating Brexit which will make ending austerity virtually impossible.

The Liberal Democrats are not – they were committed to a People’s Vote and remaining in the EU from the start.

For all these reasons, I have joined the Liberal Democrats because it is at the forefront of a renewed, progressive and internationalist movement in British politics that shares my values.

I am convinced the Liberal Democrats, as the spearhead of a broader progressive movement in civil society, offer the best chance to improve the lives of those I represent as well as countless other citizens across our country. 

The time has come to put past differences behind us and, in the national interest, do what is right for the country. So I urge others to join the party too.

Consultation on GM Clean Air Zone closes 30 June 2019

The current public consultation phase on Greater Manchester’s proposals for Clean Air Zone’s closes on 30 June 2019.

The proposals are for daily charges in Greater Manchester for lorries, buses, taxes and vans that do not meet strict emissions regulations – these would be £100 per day for lorries and buses, and £7.50 per day for taxis and vans.

Before proposals are taken further, members of the public are being asked for our views. Take part in the consultation here.

To find out more about our Clean Air proposals visit: https://cleanairgm.com/

Liberal Democrat Membership – Highest its ever been!

105,480 – That’s how many people had joined the Liberal Democrats as of last weekend! That makes it official – our party is the biggest it’s ever been.

First of all welcome to our new members – you’ve joined Britain’s biggest liberal family. We couldn’t be more excited to have you on board.

It’s been a brilliant month for our party – We’ve elected more councillors in one set of local elections than ever before, we’ve gained more MEPs than ever before and we’ve topped a nationwide Westminster voting intention poll for only the third time since the 1980s

Our movement is going from strength to strength – and we aren’t going to stop. We’re fighting to give the people of Brecon and Radnorshire the chance to elect a new, pro-EU MP. We’re going to elect a new leader to take our party into its bright new future. Our campaign to stop Brexit gains more momentum every day.

The Conservatives are going to waste this Brexit extension squabbling amongst themselves. Jeremy Corbyn continues to fight to drag Britain out of the European Union. Public opinion has changed – the people want to stop Brexit. Only the Liberal Democrats will give you, not politicians, the final say on leaving the EU.

Join the Liberal Democrats here.