A Liberal Democrat Alternative by Kirsten Johnson, Lib Dem PPC for North Devon
Across the South West, people are worried as the services they rely on suffer cut after cut, while the Conservatives are infighting over delivering a Brexit which will make the country poorer.
The wealth gap between the richest and the poorest is larger than ever. Vital public services, schools, hospitals and police stations are buckling under the strain of being underfunded and understaffed, while large corporations are making huge profits and not paying their fair share of tax.
During my recent visits to schools across North Devon, Heads tell me that school funding and support is at a 28-year low.
The current Conservative MP for North Devon pledged to oppose these cuts and asked people NOT to vote for him if he did not do so. By voting for this Conservative Budget he has, once again, broken his promise to the parents and children of North Devon.
Kirsten Johnson, North Devon Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, visited Chulmleigh Community College and spent some time discussing the funding issues faced by rural schools. Mike Johnson, Headmaster said "We were delighted to welcome Kirsten Johnson, to the College. We explained the difficult funding situation for all rural schools, but particularly here in North Devon where we receive £300 less per pupil. Whilst we are pleased with the funding for the new school buildings, received from the last Coalition administration, we are now very concerned that the government seems to believe that it is possible to run schools on a shoestring."
Kirsten Johnson, Prospective Lib Dem MP for North Devon was pleased to attend the National Farmers Union Harvest Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, October 14th at Grosvenor Church, Barnstaple. Kirsten was invited by Barnstaple NFU Chairman, Mr David Chugg.
The service was attended by over 300 local farmers and their families. The sermon was given by Rev Tim Sutton who spoke of the spiritual harvest that should be sown and reaped in the same way farmers sow and reap their crops.
Kirsten Johnson, the first woman to have been selected to stand for Parliament in N Devon is to hold her first Westminster surgery at the Councillors’ Surgery on Saturday, 13th October. She will be at The Amory Centre in South Molton from 10 – 11am. No appointment is required.
She will hold her second surgery at Lineal, on The Strand in Barnstaple on Friday, October 19th from 2.00pm until 4.00pm. Again, no appointment is required. Both venues are disabled friendly.
Cllr Leaver supports the Red Box Project seeking to ensure that no young person has to suffer the trauma of period poverty.
Many young women miss school because they can’t afford to buy sanitary products. The Red Box Project is working with local schools to ensure that no young woman goes without access to menstrual protection.
Cllr Leaver is one of a number of councillors from North Devon Council to award a Community Councillor Grant to Red Box. “It’s a privilege to be able to support such an important service” says Cllr Leaver. “Menstruation affects half the population, with period poverty impacting badly on some young women’s education. As a society we need to support young women to achieve their best, and the Red Box Project helps in a very practical way.”
To learn more about the Red Box project, follow this link: www.redboxproject.org/about/
This letter to the North Devon Journal is reproduced with the permission of Mr. Bradshaw:
"I have just arranged my six-monthly check-up at N Devon Hospital's Eye Clinic. They admitted they had a backlog, as they always have. Discussions with my consultant over the 11 years I have been in their care reveal an ongoing shortage in funding and staffing. I don't blame them, they provide a wonderful service. Other issues at the hospital have been well documented and the Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) organisation does sterling work. Nationally the NHS has troubles.
Our local schools are suffering due to funding discrepancies which PM Mrs May refuses to budge on. Local councils are suffering from a shortage of funding from central government and services are being decimated.
There is a risk of free TV licences for the over-75's being removed due to the government passing responsibility for funding over to the BBC (the government saves money and the BBC are the bad guys!). I don't benefit, by the way!
We have little idea about what is happening with Brexit, the Tory party is being torn apart by the May/Johnson spat, and time is running out. Where are our emerging trade deals?
Minette Batters, the first female President of the National Farmers Union (NFU), in over 100 years of its history, is set to visit North Devon at the invitation of Kirsten Johnson, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC). Kirsten is the first woman to stand for Parliament in North Devon.
Following a meeting with Liv Phoenix, NFU External Affairs Manager, Kirsten Johnson issued the invitation. She says, “I am delighted that Ms Batters is open to visiting North Devon, where agriculture, food and farming are vital parts of our culture and economic prosperity. The future for farming is daunting – with Defra’s own statistics showing that up to 25% of farms will be forced to shut down as a result of increased tariffs and the removal of Common Agricultural Policy subsidies. I welcome this opportunity to introduce her to some of our farmers and agri-employers, in my role as the North Devon Lib Dem PPC: working hard on issues that really matter to North Devon”.
North Devon Liberal Democrats on North Devon Council successfully led a motion which will ensure that businesses and services in North Devon will have a chance to prepare for Brexit by ensuring that they are aware of any new regulations that might impact on them, post Brexit.
Cllr David Worden, Leader of the ND Lib Dems says;
“Brexit is the biggest challenge to North Devon in my lifetime. The future prosperity of North Devon depends very much on being prepared. I had hoped that, as my Independent colleagues did, the Conservatives would also see the sense in setting up a Cross Party symposium to achieve this. However, with a couple of exceptions, they sat on their hands and either opposed this pragmatic and crucial vote or abstained. I cannot think of a more cynical act of dereliction of political responsibility”.
Kirsten Johnson, Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson for North Devon, has been speaking at the 2018 Liberal Democrats Conference in Brighton.
She speaks on three topics of vital concern to all who live in this part of the country.