Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Residents set to choose trees to be planted

As regular readers may remember, I have a passion for street trees - I think they can change how a road looks and feels for residents, help the environment and create a great impression for visitors.  So I find myself continually speaking to the Trees and Woodlands Team trying to find the best way of ensuring we maintain our street tree cover both for now and for future generations.

I believe that residents need to be involved in the decisions regarding which trees should be planted on their road and so I am delighted that the Council are allowing residents of Brocklebank Road a say in which trees are planted as replacements to those set to be removed. 

We are asking residents to let us know which of the six species of trees identified by the Trees & Woodlands Team as being suitable for this road they would like to see planted on Brocklebank Road. 

The tree species available are

1. Acer platanoides Deborah 
2. Acer platanoides Princeton Gold
3. Acer pseudoplatanus Spaethii
4. Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer
5. Sorbus intermedia Brouwers
6. Ulmus Lobel
It is possible to plant one of each or a mixture.  Evidence suggests that having a mix of trees is better for the environment and can help prevent losing all the trees in a road due to disease.
These trees will be planted at the beginning of this year’s planting season, that is at the end of November or beginning of December, which will give the saplings the best chance of survival.  The trees will be planted in slightly different locations to the trees removed.

If you have any questions on the above or would like more information please email sue@bluefountain.com

A Walk in the Park

I took the opportunity this morning of taking a walk in Hesketh Park and once again I was delighted to see how beautiful the park looked in full growth.  I was lucky to walk after a rain shower and the whole park had a wonderful clean and fresh smell.

The Rose Garden looked spectacular as the rose bushes are coming into bloom.  I was very upset to hear that vandals had recently removed two standard roses from the beds here and so was pleased to read that the police have targeted the park as one of their priority areas for the coming months.
I took this photo with my phone and although not David Bailey I hope it prompts people to visit.

I also took a walk up to the Stanmore Rockery and again was pleased to see that some very rude graffiti which I reported to the Park Rangers has been removed.

I would urge any reader to follow my lead and a take a walk in the Park - you don't know what your missing.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Take Back Parliament

Last night saw the Liverpool launch of Take Back Parliament.

The meeting, held on Bold Street in Liverpool, was very productive and is certainly the start of big things for Liverpool in terms of Purple Protests. Events, including a purple picnic, purple gigs and a regular street stall are going to be held over the next few months, and more meetings will be scheduled. Check out the Facebook page:


for more information of upcoming events.

Keep joining and suggesting to your friends, the Southport Liberal Youth campaign ‘Southport is voting YES in the AV referendum’ on the facebook page here:


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Vince Cable: Why the VAT rise had to happen

With annual borrowing of £160bn and a massive blank where Labour’s plans for deficit reduction should have been, this was always going to be a tough Budget – arguably the toughest since the 1980s. Some extraordinarily difficult decisions have been made to avoid an even worse crisis. Foremost amongst these was the decision to raise VAT from 17.5 to 20 percent.

Through the election campaign, all three prospective Chancellors were asked about VAT, and we all answered in exactly the same way: we have no plans to raise it, but we cannot rule it out. In fact, that was my position almost a year ago, when the true scale of the crisis became apparent.

That remained my position until shortly after the election. However, when the Office for Budget Responsibility reported that the structural deficit was £10bn higher, I realised that we had to act decisively, and that this meant adjusting our plans.

No decision to raise tax is taken lightly, but VAT is more contentious than most. One reason is that VAT is often denounced as if it were the most regressive tax of all. However, the truth is more nuanced. As a proportion of expenditure, it is in fact mildly progressive, as the IFS have recently explained. This stems from its exemptions for certain essentials, such as food and children’s clothing, which take a bigger chunk of the spending of poorer households.

VAT is far less damaging for growth than most other taxes, like those on income or employment. It is preferable to even steeper spending cuts that would hurt the vulnerable or damage our ability to grow the economy. Restoring sustainable growth is the essential remit of the Ministry I head, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

There are other far more regressive taxes, and our raising VAT has enabled us to do something about them. For example, under Labour, the poorest decile suffered a 90% rise in council tax, compared to 75% for the richest, which is why we have sought to freeze council tax in England for next year. It also let us increase significantly the Child Tax Credit, fund a £1,000 increase in the income tax allowance and triple-lock annual increases in the state pension – while all the time setting a course that returns the public finances to surplus.

All of these are achievements that strongly reflect the values of Liberal Democrats. There was no way that a responsible government could evade the tough choices that Labour’s mismanagement had forced upon us. But, as Nick explained and I fully endorse, by playing our part we have ensured that the decisions made were guided by fairness – and that includes raising VAT.

As originally posted on www.libdemvoice.org

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

"From now on, Britain will be a fairer place"

Todays Emergency Budget, the first budget of the new Coalition Government, contained a lot for Liberal Democrats up and down the country to smile at. The Budget is tough, the problems we have face are tougher and this budget truly will make Britain Fairer.

  • · The £1,000 increase in the Income Tax allowance will mean that 880,000 low paid workers will be freed from Income Tax altogether. This is the first step towards delivering our manifesto commitment to ensure no-one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn.
  • · The Budget puts in place our promise of a new tax on banks, ensuring that they help to pay to clear up the mess left by the financial crisis
  • Top earners will pay a full 10% more in Capital Gains Tax than under Labour, with no loopholes or tapers or get-out clauses. That change helps ensure those with the broadest shoulders take the greatest strain.
  • We will guarantee that pensioners get a fair deal, putting into effect the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment for a “triple lock”, so state pensions rise every year in line with earnings, inflation, or by 2.5%, whichever is the highest. Never again will pensioners be allowed to fall behind.
  • The Coalition Government will not let regions, towns or cities that depend heavily on the public sector be forgotten. That’s why this Budget establishes a regional growth fund to ensure those parts of the country get meaningful support to help create jobs and opportunities for all.
  • Tackling Child Poverty remains at the heart of the government’s approach. So while we have decided to cut child tax credits for those who can most afford it, we have increased tax credits for the poorest families and put up to £ 2 billion into child tax credits to help ensure children of all backgrounds get a fair start in life.

Commenting on today’s budget, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes said:

“Today’s budget clearly reflects many of the tax priorities which won the Liberal Democrats almost seven millions votes at the election. As a result of this budget millions of pensioners and those on low incomes will be helped and people with greater wealth will contribute most.

Of course today’s budget required compromise, but the country can clearly see the Liberal Democrats have a major influence on UK economic policy. From now on, Britain will be a fairer place.

Liberal Democrats made the correct judgement last month to be influential partners in a majority coalition, rather than be marginalised opponents of a minority Government entirely implementing Conservative policies. We will make sure that the spending reductions reflect Liberal Democrat priorities and always protect the needy and the vulnerable.”

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Greenest Programme for Government Ever

Andrew Stunnel MP for Hazelgrove, gave a speech last night to the North-West Liberal Democrats Regional Dinner. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government said of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Government, "the coalition document is the greenest and most libertarian program for Government ever" and went on to express his opinion that "just eight weeks ago, we couldn't imagine the situation we face now".

Addressing the cuts in public spending, Mr Stunnell said, "imagine you have a family in your constituency, and they earn £300 per week, but they spend £400 per week and put the extra £100 on their credit card. They come to you as their MP or Councillor and ask for help. You ask how much debt they have on their credit card, they say £50,000. These £6 Billion in cuts are simply reducing the £100 they put on their credit card each week to £97. This is the legacy of the Labour party"

Incredibly positive about the chances of success in the new government, Andrew Stunnell highlighted the pupil premium, referendum on switching the voting system to Alternative Vote and ending the 'database state'-including the abolition of second generation biometric passports and identity cards as a step in the right direction for the Government and a success for years of Lib Dem campaigning.

Local Councillor, Sue McGuire, who is also the Chair of the North West Liberal Democrats also gave a fantastic speech, highlighting the success of many Liberal Democrat candidates in the North West including Gordon Birtwistle, MP for Burnley and the increased majority of Southport's own MP John Pugh.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Lib Dems Outline Plans to Support Families

Improving the life chances of children has always been central to Nick Clegg's beliefs. The new taskforce, which includes Liberal Democrat education minister Sarah Teather, will look at ways in which the Coalition Government can make a real difference to children's lives.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today announced a Government taskforce to look at ways to support families and give every child a fair start in life.

The full text of Nick Clegg's speech can be found here:


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brocklebank Road Success

I am delighted to confirm that your Liberal Democrat team have now secured funding to plant replacement trees on Brocklebank Road.

These trees will be planted at the beginning of this years planting season rather than immediately. The decision to plant the trees at the end of November or beginning of December will mean the trees planted have the greatest chance of establishing themselves and are least likely to need removal and replanting.

This action follows contacts made by residents on Brocklebank Road contacting your Lib Dem team with concerns regarding the proposed removal of 8 trees along Brocklebank Road.  We have contacted the Trees and Woodlands Department on your behalf to confirm that these trees must be removed.  We did ask if the removal could be phased with the trees being removed over a 2 year period however we were told that the trees pose a potential Health & safety risk and as a result must be removed together.

A key concern of residents was the lack of any replacement trees which the Council said was down to a lack of funding.  Again we have checked with the Trees & Woodlands Department to confirm that this is actually the case.  Normally funding for trees can be obtained from Section 106 money I.e. Money paid by developers as part of a new build or development in an area however this source of funding has been reduced since the amount of development in the area has lessened.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Blog launched for Southport Liberal Youth

During the recent General Election, the biggest increase in members for the Liberal Democrat party came from students and young people who felt motivated and engaged by our manifesto for a "Change that works for you".  To capitalise on this in Southport and to encourage young people in our town to become actively involved in politics both nationally and locally, we have launched Southport Liberal Youth which is run by young people for young people.

Liberal Youth is the youth and student wing of the Liberal Democrats, representing the interests of all members aged 26 and under, and everyone registered as a student. They campaign, train members, run events, recruit new members and develop policy, amongst other things! If you are a member of the Liberal Democrats aged 26 or below, or you're registered as a student, you are automatically a member of Liberal Youth too.

For more information on Liberal Youth in Southport please follow the Southport Liberal Youth link or click on the title in the Other Lib Dems Sites list.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Simon Hughes is new Lib Dem Deputy Leader

Simon Hughes, 8 term MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, has won the contest to be deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats beating Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

Mr Hughes replaces Vince Cable, who stood down from the deputy leadership role last month to concentrate on the job of business secretary in the new Liberal Democrat-Conservative Coalition Government.

He said he would ensure the Lib Dems "seize the moment" provided by the coalition government.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Deputy Prime Minister outlines plan for Political Reform

In his first speech to Parliament as Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today outlined his radical plans for political reform.

The plans include:
  • A referendum on the Alternative Vote

  • The right to recall MPs who break the rules

  • Fewer, more equal-sized constituencies

  • Making the House of Lords wholly or largely elected

  • Fixed five-year parliaments

  • Devolving greater powers to the Scottish Parliament by implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission

  • A referendum on devolving more powers to the Welsh Assembly

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Liberal Youth Southport

Liberal Youth is the youth and student wing of the Liberal Democrats. It is open to all party members under the age of 26 and all registered students. We represent the interests of young people and campaign on the issues affecting them the most including;
  • scrapping tuition fees and unfair student debt
  • save Darfur
  • the abolition of the ContactPoint database
  • climate change
Liberal Youth is coming to Southport.

We are starting a branch here, in Southport for any and all under 26 who are interested in the Liberal Democrats and want to get more involved.

Watch this space....