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Liberal Democrats in Bury have welcomed proposals made by the party’s Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne MP to tackle youth crime.The plans aim to deter crime and get young people involved in positive activities that benefit local communities. They include: 

  • The creation of a Youth Volunteer Force, to engage with young people, involve them in community projects and give them skills to benefit them in later life;
  • Establish Community Justice Panels across the country, where offenders admit their guilt to the community and agree on a Positive Behaviour Order as a course of action;
  • Create a dedicated PCSO youth officer within every Safer Neighbourhood Team to identify and work with teenagers most at risk of offending;
  • 10,000 more police on the streets by scrapping the ID cards scheme;
  • Intelligence-led stop and search and ‘hot spot policing’ targeted at gun and knife crime;
  • Restorative justice programs to be run in every community, specifically targeted at early intervention with widespread use in schools and care homes.

Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said, “These proposals could potentially go a long way to reduce youth crime. By having more police and by focusing on crime hotspots, we will be able to deter crime more effectively from happening. 

“But we also need to give young people positive alternatives to do. Too often they get into trouble because there is nothing for them to do. The Youth Volunteer Force will be a great way to get young people involved in activities that benefit themselves and the area where they live. “I am also keen to ensure that those who do break the law or cause disturbances or vandalism have to pay back the community they have wronged.  

“That is why restorative justice is important. It will mean that those convicted of offences will have to work on cleaning up vandalism or on projects that benefit communities as part of their punishment. Even now in this area we are seeing the benefits of this approach as some of those responsible for recent graffiti have agreed to clean up the mess and face the consequences of their actions.

 “Residents of Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich often tell me of their worries about youth crime. I believe that the proposals the Liberal Democrats have put forward will go a long way to addressing those concerns.”


Lib Dems are demanding assurances over hospital cleanliness after it emerged that Pennine Accute NHS Hospitals were visited 855 times by pest control officers in just over 2 years to deal with insect and pest infestations.

Pennine Acute NHS Trust covers both Fairfield Hospital and North Manchester as well as hospitals in Oldham and Rochdale.

Pennite Acute came 4th highest on a national list of 89 hospital trusts that had received more than 50 visits between January 2006 and March 2008.

Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem, Parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said, “This is absolutely appalling. Patients and their families need to have the utmost confidence that treatment and operations are being undertaken in a clean, pest free environment. This once again raises questions about the privatisation of ancillary and cleaning services in the NHS and whether the stringent budget controls imposed by Labour are affecting hygiene and cleanliness.  “These statistics amount to 30 pest control visits per month or 360 per year. It’s a good job they don’t run restaurants – they’d be closed down!“I will be calling on Pennine Acute to make public details of these pest control visits and to explain what actions they are taking to deal with the problem. They need to offer assurances that this issue is both under control and being dealt with.


LIBERAL Democrats in Bury are calling for tougher action against those caught selling knives to children and young people.

Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bury South made the call after being sent figures for prosecutions that were uncovered in Parliament by Chris Huhne MP, the party’s Shadow Home Secretary.

The figures reveal that:
• Only 71 people have been successfully prosecuted for selling knives to children in the last five years
• None were sent to prison and only one was given a community sentence
• 56 people were fined, but 21 of them were given fines of less than £200

“This is a completely inadequate deterrent to unscrupulous shop keepers who flout the law to sell these weapons to children and young people,” said Vic D’Albert.

“These tiny fines and a lack of custodial punishment is the wrong signal to those who profit from the illegal sale of knives.

“These figures are particularly worrying as they came to light only days after the release of other figures showing 2294 serious crimes in Greater Manchester area involved a knife in 2007/8. Knife crime is 20% of all serious crimes taking place here.

“These figures do not record children and young people separately but they do show that knife crime is a serious problem. It is too easy for children and young people to get hold of knives. Too many are being drawn into a culture of carrying and using knives.

“Liberal Democrats believe that the courts must take a much stronger stand against those who are fuelling knife crime by illegally selling knives to children and young people.

“Cutting the supply of knives will be one of the most effective ways to reducing knife crime in the first place.”

MAKE IT HAPPEN – Vision for Britain, Vision for Bury

clegg.jpgLiberal Democrats in Bury have welcomed the launch of the Liberal Democrats’ vision for Britain by Party Leader Nick Clegg MP. Called ‘Make it Happen’, the paper will be debated at the party’s conference in Bournemouth in September. In ‘Make it Happen’ the Liberal Democrats say: 

      They will cut taxes for ordinary families

If your local hospital can’t see you on time, they will pay for treatment elsewhere

They will switch taxes from people to pollution – so it pays to go green

To improve standards in education, they will fund extra help for those who need it most

      They will put Britain at the heart of Europe to make us a force for good in the world

They will stop ID cards so we can keep control of our privacy

They will change the voting system so everyone’s voice counts

They will bring communities together with local people in charge

They will give communities a say in how offenders pay for their crimes 

Vic D’Albert, Bury South Parliamentary spokesperson said, “I am delighted to be able to back ‘Make it Happen’. It sets out how the Liberal Democrats will run Britain. “No resident of Bury has escaped the rising cost of food and fuel. The credit crunch is biting hard and local people are feeling the pinch. “Nick Clegg has set out how we can help ordinary people through cutting taxes on those on low and middle incomes. Thousands of people in Bury will benefit from this. 

“We are taking the plans in ‘Make it Happen’ to the people of Bury during the summer to get their response.  And in September, we will be heading to the Liberal Democrats’ conference where we are looking forward to taking part in the debate. ‘Make it Happen’ is available at: 


knives1.jpgThe Liberal Democrats have outlined radical plans to tackle youth crime.
The dual approach aims to stop young people committing crimes in the first place by enabling them to play a full role in society through increased training and volunteering, as well as stopping criminal behaviour early by making young offenders face up to their crimes.
The main proposals :

  • The creation of a Youth Volunteer Force, to engage with young people, involve them in community projects and give them skills to benefit them in later life
  • Establish Community Justice Panels across the country, where offenders admit their guilt to the community and agree on a Positive Behaviour Order as a course of action
  • Create a dedicated PCSO youth officer within every Safer Neighbourhood Team to identify and work with teenagers most at risk of offending
  • 10,000 more police on the streets by scrapping the ID cards scheme
    Intelligence-led stop and search and ‘hot spot policing’ targeted at gun and knife crime
  • Restorative justice programs to be run in every community, specifically targeted at early intervention with widespread use in schools and care homes

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Affairs Secretary, Chris Huhne said:“This Government has spent 10 years trying to sound tough while failing to cut youth crime.
“In fact, ministers have embarked on the mass criminalisation of a generation of young people. By dragging more and more young people through the criminal justice system, they have reduced the fear of a criminal record and contributed to the problem.
Instead of shock tactics to grab headlines, we need practical measures that are proven to work.
“Only the Liberal Democrats propose a dual approach to stop kids from getting involved in crime in the first place, and measures to make them face up to the consequences of their actions if they do.

Bury South Parliamentary spokesperson,Vic D’Albert commented, “I think we all recognise that this problem bears all the hallmarks of getting out of hand. Partially due to the fashion amongst some young people to be seen carrying knives.

“But gimmicks and off-the-cuff policy announcements will not help. We need a considered response that aims to send the right signals to anyone that thinks its cool to carry knives and at the same time seeks to address the underlying long term issues associated with (especially) youth problems in our communities.

“These proposals are balanced and tough and would at least start to tackle the issue on both fronts.

“In addition I reiterate previous comments about kitchen knives. Most stabbings are committed with kitchen knives. Knives that don’t actually need a sharp pointed end! If the design of kitchen knives was addressed then that would reduce the availability of some of our most dangerous knives and perhaps make it easier to regulate or even ban many of the others.” 

Local MPs condemned for blocking independent audit proposals

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Bury North MP David Chaytor have been attacked by local Liberal Democrats for helping to vote down proposals for external auditing of all MPs’ expenses.

148 Labour MPs, 21 Conservative MPs and UKIP’s only MP united on Thursday night [3rd July] to vote down the proposal for an independent audit of all MPs’ expenses claims.

No Liberal Democrat MP voted against the audit plans.

Commenting, Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said:
“This decision by MPs is foolish and wrong. It is a disaster for anyone who believes in cleaning up our politics and improving Parliament’s reputation. The House of Commons had the chance to vote for proper auditing of everything MPs do with public money, but an unholy coalition of Labour and Conservative MPs prevented it.

“I am deeply disappointed that both Ivan Lewis and David Chaytor voted against allowing all MPs’ allowances to be externally audited. 52 of their Labour colleagues joined the Liberal Democrats and some Conservatives in voting for independent auditing. Ivan Lewis and David Chaytor must tell us – why did they vote to water down the proposals?

“Rarely a week seems to pass without a story in the press about MPs apparently fiddling their finances. The vast majority of MPs are not corrupt. But so long as they resist having their expenses and allowances subject to robust, external audit, the public can be forgiven for wondering what they have got to hide.”

Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South welcomed the announcement by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that his party is committing to unilaterally introduce proposals rejected by Parliament yesterday, including independent spot checks of the expenses of the party’s MPs:

“It is good to see Liberal Democrat MPs setting an example and showing that they have nothing to fear from open, independent scrutiny of their expenses.

“I hope that the Labour and Conservative leaderships will follow Nick Clegg’s lead in implementing these measures, and we can begin to restore public confidence in politicians.”

Details of how MPs voted can be found here:

Bury Liberal Democrats welcome “No” vote to an elected Mayor for Bury.

A referendum on the issue of an elected Mayor took place on July 3rd, when local people were asked whether they wished to change the way the Council is run. The option to replace the current system with an elected Mayor was defeated.

Commenting on the result, leader of Bury Liberal Democrats, Cllr Tim Pickstone said, “The Lib Dems in Bury campaigned hard for a “No” vote in the referendum, and I am glad that the idea of an elected Mayor has been rejected by local people.”

The “Yes” campaign suggested that the voting for a Mayor would help defeat plans for a congestion charge. Cllr Pickstone rejected this view,: “The idea that a Mayor could stop the congestion charge was always false, and I always thought that local people wouldn’t believe it. Bury Lib Dems continue to oppose the congestion charge, and the Council is now free to carry on working hard to get improved public transport for Bury without this additional tax.”

Cllr Pickstone added, “The issue of the Mayor was always about more than the congestion charge. A Mayor would have meant a less democratic system for local people, and would have cost a small fortune every year. Liberal Democrats believe that decisions should be taken in local communities, not by one person at the Town Hall. We also believe that tax payers money should be spent on better services and lower taxes, not on a big car and a big office for an elected Mayor. The rejection of the Mayor gives us the best chance to continue fighting for real power for local people, and better local services for everyone.”


Vic D’AlbertCommenting on the news that nearly 1m people have lost their NHS dentist since the Government introduced a new contract for NHS dentists in March 2006, local Lib Dems accused the Government of “ignoring the plight of the low paid and building a dental health time-bomb.” 

According to figures from the NHS Information Centre a total of 338,000 people lost their NHS dentistry in the last three months of 2007 – 3,674 people a day.

In the North West the number of people treated plummeted by 61,000 in the 24 months to December 2007, compared to the period up to March 2007.  4 out of 10 North West residents were not treated in the last 24 months.

Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bury South commented. 

“If evidence were needed that the new dental contract is failing then this surely is it.” “This Government is overseeing a crisis in NHS dentistry and as a result more and more people either don’t have a dentist, can’t find an NHS dentist or can’t afford the exorbitant cost of treatment. With dentists and hospitals treating more and more serious dental problems it’s now clear that the long term legacy of this Governments mishandling of NHS dentistry is a dental disease time-bomb.
” We need an urgent review into why reforms undertaken just two years ago have completely failed to improve access and action to get NHS dentistry back on track.”


Vic D’AlbertA leading local Liberal Democrat has called on the Government to start tackling knife crime head on, by first dealing with knives in the home. 

In response to health service research that has identified that most knives used as weapons are kitchen knives, Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South is calling on the Government to press for changes to kitchen knife design. 

Vic D’Albert said, “Most kitchen knives have a sharp pointed end which is rarely if ever needed. Most kitchen knives are needed for chopping and cutting and we just don’t need a pointed end for stabbing! Even my bread knife has a pointed end – god only knows what that is needed for. “Health research has proven that many of these knives end up being used as weapons. If the Government is serious about reducing knife crime then every avenue has to be investigated.  

“Clearly it is a traditional that knives have a pointed end, even when not required. In my mind it is blindingly obvious that at a stroke we could make the home safer and cut the number of dangerous knives in the public domain by designing out the problem. Its time manufacturers responded and the Government needs to make sure that they do”. 

Lib Dems back National Recycling Week

recycle.jpgA UK-wide campaign to encourage people to recycle more of their household waste has been backed by Liberal Democrats in Bury. 

National Recycling Week is being held on 2nd – 8th June. This is the fifth year it has been held. It is run by Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a national organisation set up to help people produce less waste and advise on how best to deal with rubbish in an environmentally friendly way. 

Vic D’Albert, Parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said, “In Bury the recycling and composting rate is 23%. That means we still have a long way to go before we are dealing with our waste in a way that does not leave a lasting problem for generations to come. 

“Liberal Democrats in Bury are delighted to be able to back National Recycling Week. We are encouraging as many residents as possible to make small changes in their lifestyles which will make large strides to ensuring we do not wreck our environment. 

“We waste a huge amount of food each year – on average we throw away 112kg of food each, most of which is still usable. People can avoid this waste by doing simple things such as producing a shopping list of what food is needed, rather than wandering around the supermarket buying what takes your fancy! 

“Last year in the UK, it was estimated that we spent £8 billion on food that was still fit to be used when it was thrown away. Being green can save money! But if you do produce food waste, why not get a compost bin if you have a garden? 

“People should also try to buy food and other goods which have less packaging. And full use should be made of recycling facilities to dispose of waste. It is better that waste is turned back into something that is useful rather than dumped in the ground. 

 “There is a limit to how much rubbish we can throw into holes in the ground. There comes a point when we have to say that we cannot go on getting rid of waste in this way. 

“I am therefore we could support National Recycling Week  and I hope by highlighting the issue nationally it will be a great success and will help residents of Bury to cut waste and live greener lifestyles.”