Dear Editor [of the Hastings and the Rye Observers],
Local Post Offices are the beating heart of our communities and provide a vital service for vulnerable and elderly residents across Hastings & Rye.
That is why I am delighted that Liberal Democrats have thrown a crucial lifeline to Post Offices that will help keep the network strong, as well as supporting the disabled and elderly people who rely on the post office network.
I know from my own work in social care, and speaking to local people with a political hat on, that many rely on the post office: from collecting pensions and other benefits, to other crucial everyday personal finance activities.
The Post Office Card Account provides simple banking services for people without a traditional bank current account and has around 2.5 million users. It was due to expire in March 2015 but a £250m deal secured by Liberal Democrat pension minister Steve Webb means it will now last until 2022 at the latest.
I know that this news will be welcomed by readers across the constituency, and will also encourage sub-postmasters to keep post offices open. The increased footfall from providing these services helps generate income for their businesses, and I hope will help ensure that our local Post Office network stays strong for years to come.
Nick has visited Sacred Heart primary school in Hastings Old Town with local restaurateur Nick Hales (of St Clement’s restaurant) to publicise National School Meals Week.
Since September this year 1.8 million infants – defined as pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – have been entitled to a free hot meal at lunchtime. This is something that Liberal Democrats have fought for within the Coalition Government.
Speaking after the visit, Nick Perry said:
‘I am delighted to see that free school meals for Reception and Years 1 and 2 are being taken up by parents and children. It is fundamental that we provide good nourishing food to children in their early years because it helps them to develop, to concentrate better and achieve more at school. This is particularly important in a constituency like ours where many families are struggling to make ends meet. I am delighted that this has been a Liberal Democrat priority in government, and we will seek to roll it out further. ’
Local chef Nick Hales added,
‘I am really behind this initiative. It takes the pressure off parents to give their children a balanced diet and helps them to learn about food – especially foods that they might not always have at home.’
Nurseries, childminders and other early years providers in East Sussex are set for a £350k cash injection to help three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged families.
Children from low income families have often fallen behind more well off classmates before they even start school.
But from April 2015, the Early Years Pupil Premium – which has been backed by groups like Barnados, 4Children and the Child Poverty Action Group – will mean extra money to make sure every child gets a fair start.
Nick Perry, Lib Dem candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye said: “By investing nearly £350k in East Sussex to help the most disadvantaged three and four-year-olds, Liberal Democrats are ensuring that children are getting the best possible start in life.
“All the evidence shows that helping children as early as possible is key to making sure they do not fall behind. That is why this announcement is fantastic news for children in our constituency.
“It is all part of creating a fairer society, and opportunity for everyone. And the difference to be made is especially vivid for me at the moment, because my youngest daughter is 4 years old, and has just started at school this Autumn.”
Nurseries and schools will be free to choose how to spend the money, which is part of a £50m Government pot.
It comes on top of Lib Dem-led changes in Government to help families, which include shared parental leave, tax free childcare, Free School Meals, and a pupil premium for school age children.
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws added: “Every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, whatever their background.
“Liberal Democrats in government have already extended free early years education for all children in East Sussex.
“Now this cash boost will mean extra support for those children who need it most.”
The basic state pension will rise by at least £2.85 a week thanks to the Liberal Democrat triple lock. It means 119,763 pensioners in East Sussex will benefit from an increase in their pension.
This rise will bring the level of the state pension to at least £115.95 and will benefit millions of pensioners across the UK. This is £18.30 more, each week, than in 2010 when the Liberal Democrats entered coalition. This means pensioners on the full basic state pension are £950 a year better off than they were under Labour.
The triple lock delivers a pension rise of whichever is the greater of average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, meaning pensioners across the South East will see more money in their pockets.
The Liberal Democrats campaigned for it in opposition, have delivered it in Government and have pledged to write it into law in the next Parliament.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:
“This is fantastic news and proof that the Liberal Democrats are delivering in government.
“Thanks to the triple lock commitment in our manifesto pensioners across the country have benefited from a substantial income boost this parliament.
“I am proud of this record of delivery and that we are the only party with a 2015 manifesto promise to write the triple lock into law.”
Commenting further, Nick Perry, the Lib Dem candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye said:
“Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, and that means treating pensioners with the respect that they deserve.
“The triple lock ensures that pensioners are guaranteed the security of a steady rise in their pensions, allowing them to plan for their future and giving them dignity in their retirement.
“We have ensured, through Steve’s work in Government, that pensioners in East Sussex are never again subjected to the indignity of the 75p rise they saw under Labour.”
Dear Jeremy and Sarah,
I get it.
I understand that you want to advocate for Hastings (and Rye) and be seen to do so. And not just because there is a General Election a few months away.
It is of course right and proper that scrutiny should be brought to bear on funding decisions – whether in the NHS or from Central Government funds like the Coastal Communities Fund.
But I hope that I am wrong in discerning a pattern in the way that you have campaigned both in respect of the recent Maternity proposals, and also in response to the monies awarded after the tragedy of the pier fire in Eastbourne. You seem to want to set Eastbourne and Hastings against each other?
As you know, I am no fan of the Tory part of the Coalition Government. It seems pretty clear that the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s visit to Eastbourne had a political capital dimension to it?
But I am told that you, Jeremy, did not write to David Tutt in Eastbourne to express your sympathy about the fire when other District Council Leaders in East Sussex were quick to do so.
Rather, you took to the airwaves blaring your criticism of the Conservative Party.
That is of course your choice. And it speaks volumes about the way you conduct your politics too.
If I might be so bold, I think Labour is sailing close to the wind on the ethics of monies for piers. I remember not too long ago a big GMB Union donation to Hastings Pier that came just at the same time as a major photo opportunity for Labour’s parliamentary candidate (who is backed by the same Union)?
If the people decide against Labour in Hastings & Rye next year, it will be, in part, due to the tenor of campaigns such as this.
Nick Perry, the Liberal Democrat candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye has criticised Amber Rudd’s recently launched 2020 Vision for planning and the environment.
Mrs Rudd had spoken in favour of linking the Country Park with Combe Valley, and criticised the local planning department for recent gaffes.
Mr Perry said, ‘I am pleased that Amber seems to have had a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience, and is now willing to champion our local environment and sustainable transport.
‘We have disagreed about environmental issues in the past, most notably about the controversial Link Road, however her recent comments are, in my opinion, nothing short of breathtaking hypocrisy.
‘Let’s not forget that Amber and her Conservative councillor colleagues have totally failed to protect the hoped-for Greenway linear park through our town centre.
‘Whilst the local paper has been hailing the Station Plaza student accommodation plan as an unmitigated boon, Labour and Tory councillors have agreed a planning application which will grossly disfigure the Greenway that we all hoped for. The Greenway could have been a wonderful cornerstone for the sustainable transport plan that Amber has now started to talk about.
‘I am afraid that due to her short-sighted approach to issues such as the Greenway, Amber’s 2020 Vision can only now be delivered by laser treatment.’
Please don’t forget to use your vote, tomorrow, to elect a Councillor who will put Castle first. Click here to view in your browser.
It is nearly time to vote! I am so grateful for the kind reception that residents have given to the Focus Team on the doorstep over the last few months. It seems clear that Castle Ward wants, and deserves, a councillor who lives and works in the ward, and knows its needs well.
As I hope you have seen through the newsletters that we have been putting through your letterbox – rain or shine – we believe in the importance of keeping in touch; as well as attention to detail regarding the needs of our community. Whether it be getting a new road sign for Vicarage Road, unblocking gullies in Castle Hill Road, or campaigning for the delivery of the Greenway at Station Plaza and beyond, we are on hand, and we care.
If we can work together, I believe we can make a real difference to our town centre. That is why I am asking for your vote, even if you have not voted Liberal Democrat before.
I live with my young family in Manor Road on the West Hill. And I work (for local mental health services) at Cavendish House on the seafront. I know this part of our town like the back of my hand and, over the years, have been active in local organisations such as the Castle Ward Forum, the West Hill Against Communal Bins group; and I am a member of Blacklands (and St Andrew’s) Church.
Unchallenged domination of the Council by the Labour Party is not healthy. There is a need for constructive scrutiny of the Council’s actions. You can be sure that you will get that from a Liberal Democrat councillor in the heart of Hastings.
There is so much more work to be done in Castle, and a clear mandate from residents will help us to achieve more. That is the long and short of it: we need your help. Please make your vote count. Use it to help me represent our ward at the Town Hall.
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Hastings Liberal Democrats have issued a statement of the Main Policy Themes they intend to pursue on the Borough Council after the May 22nd Elections:
- All Council services should be audited for their impact on struggling families.
- Liberal Democrats want to see an expansion of current house building and improvement efforts. Liberal Democrats want to avoid incoherent and environmentally damaging development schemes. Instead we want to see prioritised the regeneration and development of the great historical and cultural assets we have already got.
- Liberal Democrats want to help deliver a significant improvement in our connectivity, both along the seafront and with other places. We want to see more work done with our local, national and EU collaborators.
- The Liberal Democrats want to see the Council avoid unnecessary fiascos like the re-location of the Tourist information Office.
- We want the Council to apply the highest standards to the scrutiny of projects and planning applications. We want to see the Council become a beacon of sustainability and environmentalism.
- The Liberal Democrats want to halve the number of Councillors from 32 to 16, reduce the powers of the Leader and Cabinet, and return to a Committee system which is more transparent and democratic.
Summarising their approach, Chris Lewcock, Chairman of Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrats said,
“Liberal Democrats want to help build a Council that cares; a Council that is sensible and competent on development priorities; a Council that gives attention to detail and promotes quality in all it does; a slimmer Council – and one in which Councillors can make a full contribution for the wards they represent.”