Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Budget will hit low earners & business says Cable

The Chancellor should have cut income tax to make the tax system permamently fairer, say the Liberal Democrats

Commenting on today's Pre-Budget Report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable said:

"The Government acknowledges that the UK tax system is inherently unfair, but then announces that it will hit those struggling to make ends meet with yet higher tax bills by increasing National Insurance. Everyone earning over £19,000 will be hit.

"The new 45p Income Tax rate is nothing more than a fig leaf to cover a £5bn tax hike which will hit millions of low earners and businesses.

"The Government has missed a golden opportunity to make the tax system permanently fairer which it could have done by cutting income taxes for those on low and middle incomes, paid for by getting rid of tax loopholes for the wealthy.

"Instead of increasing investment in sustainable capital projects which benefit the country tomorrow as well as today, the Government has opted for a temporary cut in VAT which will benefit big spenders the most and not give the economy the boost it needs.

"At a time of economic emergency, Gordon Brown has once again failed those who need help the most."

Monday, 24 November 2008

Working with "One Vision Housing"

Lib Dem Councillors Sue McGuire and Carmel Preston arranged for One Vision Housing staff to revisit Fernley Grange on Fleetwood Road to explain the proposed installation of a digital aerial and answer residents questions.

Sue and Carmel raised a number of other issues with the One Vision team including the state of the back passages in and around Eden Avenue. Richard Perrett, One Vision Housing Area Manager has agreed that these passageways are the responsibility of One Vision and is arranging to get them cleaned up.

Local Liberal Democrats have also asked One Vision to take a closer look at how their complaints procedure is operating.

Petition for safer crossing on Leicester St/Lord St

Local Liberal Democrat Councillors Sue McGuire and Carmel Preston are pleased to be supporting residents from Sandown Court, Leicester Street and surrounding area in a petition to make crossing at the busy Leicester Street/Lord Street roundabout safer.

Our Children's Services Victory

Following a five year battle, NHS Sefton (formerly Sefton Primary Care Trust) have finally agreed to local peoples' pressure and announced that they will be having a walk in centre in Southport which will treat the vast majority of local children.

Local Councillor and longtime health campaigner Sue McGuire has met with senior managers from NHS Sefton to look at plans for a children’s walk-in centre in Southport. Options for the location of the centre and how it would be run were discussed at the meeting. NHS Sefton’s commitment to developing a minor injuries and ailments walk-in centre for children and young people, and consulting local people on the options for such a scheme was restated at the meeting.

A 12 week public consultation with local residents is expected to before the end of December. Two possible locations for the walk-in centre have been identified. They are Southport Centre for Health and Wellbeing or on the Southport Hospital site.

Councillor Sue McGuire pictured outside Royal Loverpool Children's Hospital following her recent visit (formerly Alderhey Children's Hospital)

Battle for Southport's Sandy Beach

Local councillors Sue McGuire and Carmel Preston went with Southport MP John Pugh and Councilor Lord Ronnie Fearn on the beach north of the Pier, to investigate the growing problem of Spartina grass colonising our sand. Councillor Sue McGuire explained "People are growing increasingly concerned about the loss of Southport's Golden Sands. Councillor Preston added; "In the past the Council have removed the grass here - initially by spraying and more recently by mechanically means but the Council have not done this for several years."

Councillor Sue McGuire recently attended a one day conference on Sefton's Dynamic Coast where this and similar issues were discussed.

Making Warmer Homes for All

As fuel prices soar, your Lib Dem Councillors are growing increasingly concerned about fuel poverty in our area and so have asked for information from Sefton Council about schemes or grants available to make homes warmer. The following grants and schemes are available

Warm Front 2
A Government grant providing a package of heating and insulation measures up to the value of £2700 available to homeowners and private tenants in receipt of certain benefits/allowances

SEARCH Small grants for loft and cavity wall insulation and home visiting support where a member of the household suffers from a cold related/respiratory illness (Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) areas only)

Home Energy Loans Project (HELP) – Up to £1,000 interest free loans offered to home owners for energy efficiency measures such as boilers, insulation and solar water heating (subject to acceptance)

Health Through Warmth Provides a crisis fund to finance heating and insulation measures for people with an illness or disability who fall outside of government and other grant schemes

Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) - Offered by various Utility Companies to provide insulation measures at a reduced cost – we would advise clients to obtain quotes from at least 2 or 3 Utility companies to compare prices – please note that these offers can be intermittent

For further information about accessing any of the above grants and loans, or to arrange a home visit please contact:

Christina Smith- Affordable Warmth Worker - 0151 934 4705

The Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre (ESTAC) offers free, impartial advice on energy efficiency, call free on 0800 512 012

United Utilities taken to task by Carmel & Sue

Lib Dem Councillors Carmel Preston and Sue McGuire brought UU bosses to Southport to see for themselves a range of problems being experienced by local people. These problems include;
  • Poor re-instatement of roads after mains replacement
  • Flooding/drainage issues
  • Lack of water pressure in some streets
A follow up meeting is scheduled soon and the results from this second meeting will be posted on the e-Focus shortly.