Save the Tivoli for our community

Local Lib Dem councillors and campaigners joined with other local community groups to ask that development plans for the Tivoli cinema building are rejected.

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Corridors into Chesterton: A10 study response

On Thursday 8th February, the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee will consider a study into the future of the A10 corridor: item 7 on this agenda .  Along with fellow Lib Dem Councillors I've submitted a response to it.

In addition to the joint response I've stated that the corridor should include segregated cycleways.

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Lib Dems Propose Budget to Restore Children's Centre Funding


Labour Leader slaps down democratic decision of housing committee over amended housing budget

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Council Leader, Labour’s Lewis Herbert, has slapped down the democratic decision of the Council’s Housing Committee by deciding to ignore the committee’s support for the opposition amendment to the Housing Budget.

Members of the committee, including the council tenant representatives voted to support the amended Housing Budget.  Council officers confirmed the amendment would have still resulted in a balanced Housing Budget being delivered.

Rod Cantrill, Shadow Liberal Democrat Housing Spokes, commented:

“The amendment would have meant that larger families renting one of the new 500 council houses in the city would save up to £2,000 a year.  This would be a big difference to people struggling to make ends meet in Cambridge. 

In addition, it would have better protected larger families from the benefit cap under Universal Credit and enabled work to start on the much-needed improvements to the sorry state of communal areas on the council housing sites.  Not only that, It would have ensured that council tenants living in sheltered accommodation would still be able to rely on the council to undertake repairs to their properties without having to pay for them.

Rather than force through their own Budget, Labour and their Leader Lewis Herbert and the Executive Councillor for Housing Kevin Price should have reflected on the clear message that the Housing Committee sent.

Council tenants agree with the non Labour members of the Housing Committee, including the Council Tenant representatives, that the proposals in the amendment are really needed. 

Instead, whichever way elected representatives actually voted, we have ended up with a Labour Housing Budget, that has had to be forced on to the Council and tenants.  Labour has failed to listen to the views that council tenants have voiced and to make the most of what can be achieved for them in a very tough environment.  It is a very arrogant step that the Labour ruling group has taken and makes a mockery of their concerns about inequality.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to listen to council tenants across the city and act as a champion for their views against the increasingly remote ruling Labour Group.”


County Council budget surprise as it's 5%

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In a surprise move earlier today, Cambridgeshire’s Conservative councillors announced that they plan to increase the county council’s portion of the council tax this year by 2.99 per cent, on top of their planned 2 per cent increase for adult social care.

The move comes as they struggle to plug a budget gap of £4.3 million in their spending plans, and prepare for worse to come.

For several years now, Liberal Democrat councillors have pointed out that increasing council tax is the only way to protect the services local residents value. Inflation takes its toll. The Government has massively reduced its funding to councils. The population is ageing. The number of children in care continues to increase. Patients are stuck in hospital because there is nowhere appropriate for them to move to. Roads crumble.

All of this is familiar and expected – no surprises – but Conservative councillors have chosen not to act, until now. Having resisted pleas to raise the cash needed over the last few years, the funding crisis is more acute than it need have been.

Now that Conservative councillors have belatedly joined the consensus that ‘we can’t go on like this’, the real differences between the parties at Shire Hall are about what to do with the 2.99 per cent (£7.969 million) extra to be raised when the budget is set next month.

All parties must use most of the money to plug that £4.3 million gap.  As for the rest:

  • Conservative proposals are that all of the remainder should be put away into a ‘smoothing reserve’, to help sort out more financial problems ahead in three years’ time.
  • Liberal Democrat proposals are that the remainder should be spent – reversing the children’s centre cuts, a bus pass for 16-18 year olds to help them get around to college or work or leisure, highways and footpath maintenance and improvement, street lighting, air quality monitoring. They also want to reverse the massive increase Conservative councillors awarded themselves this summer, and reduce the number of council committees.
  • Labour proposals are that most of the remainder should be spent on street lighting, libraries, children in care, local highways projects, and cycling. The rest should be put into a ‘strategic reserve’ for children’s centres and for beds to enable people to be discharged from hospital.

The final decision (a foregone conclusion, given the Conservative majority on the council) will be made on Tuesday 6 February.


Rod Cantrill Welcomes Call to Lift Borrowing Cap to Build Council Houses

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge, Rod Cantrill has welcomed the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee’s Autumn Budget 2017 Report that was published today.  The report calls for the government to remove the Local Authority Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap to enable councils such as Cambridge to build more council houses.

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Lib Dem Success: Graffiti removed from Nun's Way

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The King's Hedges Lib Dems are pleased to have brought about the removal of graffiti from Nun's Way.

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Cllr Manning radio interview on Chisholm Trail

I did a radio interview on the effect that Carillion's collapse will have on the Chisholm Trail - for those interested, check it out here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05rq8fb#play - starts at 43 minutes in.


Fen Road problems update 2018-01-19

Residents will be aware that criminal incidents are still happening along Fen Road, though thankfully there has been no repetition of the smashed windows from before the new year.

Read the latest...

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Housing Scrutiny Committee Supports Liberal Democrat Budget Amendment

The Housing Scrutiny committee voted to support the Liberal Democrat housing revenue amendment when it met on Wednesday evening.  The amendment included helping larger families, who will be tenants in the 500 new council houses being built, save up to £2,000 a year by setting the council rent at a lower social rent rather than the higher Local Housing Allowance level that the council is proposing to charge.

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