Barnstaple North Lib Dem County Councillor Brian Greenslade said “It feels like Christmas for North Devon. Firstly the news of the Tour of Britain cycle race coming to North Devon again and within a couple of days confirmation that the Government will help fund major improvements to the North Devon Link Rd is super news for our area and when delivered will make a significant contribution to improving safety on this road and also help regenerate the local economy.
I have long campaigned for improvements to the Link Rd which has a bad reputation for road safety. I know this will please our former MP Nick Harvey who secured a commitment from senior Cabinet Members for improving the Link Rd prior to the 2015 general election. Also thanks to the Journal for their campaigning in support of winning funding for these improvements.
Devon County Council Liberal Democrats will ask County Councillors to support their motion, to be proposed at the full meeting at County Hall on May 24th, calling on Devon MPs to oppose the Government’s proposal to give Grammar Schools an extra £50 million while Devon Schools remain significantly underfunded compared to the national average.
Brian Greenslade, Lib Dem County Councillor for Barnstaple North, who sits on the DCC Health Scrutiny Committee , says that the sudden rush to introduce Integrated Care Systems between the NHS and Organisations like Devon County Council is being rushed through on financial considerations, not what is necessarily right for the services people need.
"To present a report to the County Council Cabinet in March just three week’s before the 1st April, with little commentary on governance arrangements and no prior consultation with the public and the Health Scrutiny Committee, is just not acceptable.
"It smacks of the same approach that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was up to when he tried to slip Accountable Care systems through without reference to the Commons Health Select Committee. Thankfully the Health Select Committee Chair robustly and successfully intervened.
A recent vote in Parliament will threaten the availability of free school meals says Barnstaple Lib Dem County Councillor Brian Greenslade. He made this comment after Liberal Democrat’s at County Hall obtained a break down of the eligibility for free school meals across the county. This shows that 9,522 out of 99,389 pupils, 9.6%, are eligible for free school meals.
The threat to free school meals arises from the Government ploughing ahead with changes as part of the Conservatives Universal Credit Welfare policy. As a result of the vote the earnings threshold for free school meals for children, apart from years one and two, will be £7,400.
Local school budgets are being squeezed by real terms cuts from the Conservative government. In Devon, our schoolchildren receive over £260 LESS than the national average.
The cuts mean our schools are trying to deliver the same education but with less money. Teachers are overworked and it is our children who will pay the price.
The Liberal Democrats have proposed a bold new plan to fight these cuts. They will protect school budgets in real terms - meaning no pupil will be worse off.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £6 billion a year to protect the NHS, paid for by an extra penny on Income Tax.
The money raised will be guaranteed for the NHS and social care services, which is currently in crisis with delayed operations, full hospital beds and record numbers left waiting in A&E.
Lib Dem councillor, Ian Williams said:
“Our NHS is at breaking point. With the Government planning even more cuts, our health service needs a necessary funding injection and only an increase in income tax can feasibly help.”
Lib Dems in Devon have voted for increased investment in areas just like North Devon.
Braunton Lib Dem councillor Derrick Spear said, “We believe that all communities – whether rural or urban – should have the opportunity to flourish, although too often areas like North Devon get overlooked.”
Liberal Democrats would build affordable homes on all developments.
The Liberal Democrats are fighting for a new solution that would tackle the growing problem of rough sleeping in North Devon at its root.
The plan includes extra investment in mental health services as well as investment in thousands of new council houses.
If put into action, the Lib Dem plan would put money from the sale of local council houses back into a pot which North Devon Council could use to build more council homes and tackle homelessness in our area.
New plans will put money and power back into the hands of local people and local councils. Councils would even be able to choose to end ‘right to buy’ locally if it was deemed to be damaging.
Alan Rennles, the new chairman of the North Devon Lib Dems said “I am delighted with the recent by-election victories where we won two District Council seats and two Town and Parish seats from the Tories. This resurgence has been seen throughout Devon where we recently won three other by-election seats in Teignbridge and Chudleigh”. These are challenging times and we are restructuring ready for the 2019 District, Town and Parish elections.
As temperatures seem set to rise Shadow NDC Leader and County Councillor Lib Dem Brian Greenslade says a very big thank you is due to so many who have gone more than the extra mile to help keep the community safe and secure during the extreme cold snowy weather.