Saturday, 24 October 2009

B&NES PCT fails to spend over 85% of allocated money to carers

National charities the Princess Royal Trusts for Carers and Crossroads Care have revealed that government money for carers hasn’t been spent to increase support for carers, as intended.

Nationally, the government allocated £50million of new money for carers in 2009/10, and 80% of this money has not been spent as intended. In Bath and North East Somerset, the situation is worse, with under 14% of the allocated money being spent on carers.

Bath MP Don, who spoke at the local Crossroads AGM last Friday, said, “Carers are the unsung heroes of our society. Over half give up work to care, and 33% are in debt. Yet they provide a service which is worth £87billion per year to the state.

“It is therefore very disappointing the Bath & North East Somerset PCT have chosen to spend money allocated for carers on other projects, with over 85% of the allocated money being spent on areas other than caring

“The government must also take responsibility for the fact that this money isn’t reaching its intended target. They must put pressure on PCTs to spend this money on helping our carers.”

Lansdown Unemployment

Unemployment has risen from 47 to 67 in a year, time to do something ? Although other parts of Bath are suffering worse, 20 is still too many people.

Tories to increase university tuition fees

There is now less than eight months to save a new generation of young people from huge increases in university tuition fees, according to Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, Don Foster

Don was speaking after the Conservatives suggested they will increase tuition fees to £7,000 if they take power at the next general election, which has to be held by next June.

That will see tuition fees for undergraduates more than double. Currently there is a cap of £3,300 in England and Wales.

Peter Mandelson has already suggested that Labour will allow universities to charge more than at present if re-elected – though the party is too scared to push through the changes it wants before June.

Only the Liberal Democrats will scrap tuition fees. The party believes university education should be free and everyone who has the ability should be able to go – and not be put off by the cost.

Bath MP Don said: “I look around Bath and I see people return from university with no job and a bank balance tens of thousands of pounds in the red. What sort of message is that?

“Labour and now the Tories are showing their true colours. They don’t care about young people – they just want to saddle them with staggering amounts of debt.

“The choice is clear: the people of Bath can vote for a politician who will condemn a generation of youngsters or for the Liberal Democrats who will make education free again, giving young people the best possible start.”

More tory inactivity - homeless lose out this time

Commenting on the debate over the proposed homelessness centre near Kingsmead Square, Cllr Will Sandry (Lib Dem shadow Cabinet member for healthier communities and older people and Councillor for Oldfield) said:

"Cllr Pritchard, through indifference and inaction, has lost £2.5M of central government funding for this project and now he is stuck with the James Street West site as it has become the only affordable site.

"The shameful thing about this project is that it is still not clearly defined what will be at the site, but it is accepted that the site is too small to provide the right facilities for the complex needs of homeless people in Bath.

"Cllr Pritchard knows that all he needs to do is pick up the phone to the Homes and Communities Agency to re-establish dialogue. But for some reason he is unwilling to do this.

"The one thing I agree with Cllr Pritchard about is that the facilities at the current Julian House desperately need to be upgraded.

"Unless he sorts this mess out soon, we will be left spending millions on a second rate facility."

It’s time for local MP to wear it pink and help beat breast cancer

Bath MP Don Foster is joining forces with Breast Cancer Campaign to raise awareness of for its award winning fundraising event, wear it pink, on Friday 30 October 2009.

It’s time to wear it pink, it’s time to beat breast cancer and Don is urging residents, young and old to get their pink outfits on. Schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country are encouraged to wear it pink in support of Campaign and donate £2 each to fund innovative world-class breast cancer research.

Last year over one and a half million people took part in wear it pink to help improve survival rates for the one in nine women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime. This recession busting fundraiser is affordable and easy to take part in, giving everyone the chance to help make a difference.

Don Foster MP says “Every year over 45,500 women and 300 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many others, I know people who have lost friends and family members to breast cancer. I would like to encourage everyone in Bath and throughout the country to support wear it pink on October 30, to raise valuable funds for breast cancer research.

Tories say no to Democracy

The Conservative-run B&NES Council is to cancel the forthcoming UK Youth Parliament Elections, which are due to take place in the authority in January.

Lib Dem Cllr Nathan Hartley, who nine years ago was one of the founding members of Democratic Action For Bath and North East Somerset Youth and the UK Youth Parliament elections here in B&NES, said:

“This is an awful decision to make. Now approaching its tenth year of activity the UK Youth Parliament has been extremely successful in engaging young people in the democratic process and encouraging countless teenagers to take an active role in society.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

10:10 climate campaign

Liberal Democrats on Bath and North East Somerset Council have welcomed news that the council is going to do something about climate change

Councillor Ian Gilchrist (Widcombe), who is B&NES Council's Energy and Climate Change Member Champion, commented:

"I welcome the Council's move to sign up to the 10:10 climate challenge. I am pleased to note that the recent LibDem conference called on all local authorities to do so, and am therefore delighted that B&NES has lost no time in following the call. At this point it only remains to ask other public and private bodies, such as the RUH, the universities and businesses to consider doing the same. And if enough private individuals do likewise this will increase pressure on our own government to go to the Copenhagen climate change conference with a clear mandate from the British public in a commitment to CO2 reductions."

The campaign can be seen at

Sunday Xmas buses for Park and Ride

Christmas shoppers and Bath businesses will benefit from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s decision to open its three Park and Ride services on seven consecutive Sunday’s from 8th November 2009 onwards.

The Council will also open its sites at Lansdown, Newbridge, and Odd Down until 9.30pm on fifteen evenings running up to Christmas, some of which coincide with the Christmas Market. A service will also run on Monday 28th December – the holiday in lieu of Boxing Day.

BRT - the road to no where

Bath MP Don Foster has commented on today’s announcement that the Secretary of State will not be calling in the proposed-Bus Rapid Transit link through Newbridge (along with the Newbridge Park and Ride extension) for his own determination.

Don said, “I am deeply disappointed with the decision made by the Secretary of State. However, this does not change my view that processes followed by the Council throughout have been seriously flawed.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

What do councillors declare ?

Do you want to know what the organisations the Lansdown Councillors belong to ? Have they received any gifts ? Thanks to Lib Dem, Roger Symonds, the way to found out has changed.

Until recently anyone wishing to check on B&NES councillors’ membership of organisations, employment, ownership of property or gifts received of over £25, has been faced with a lonely trek to the Keynsham offices. Now anyone with access to a computer can see this sort of detail on the Council’s web site.

Web address:

More houses for bath doing it wrong

B&NES Council has adopted a land-use policy paper setting out options for distribution of land for housing and jobs from 2011-2026.

Liberal Democrat Councillors voted to abstain on the paper citing concerns over the lack of preparation of the document. The Lib Dems have previously opposed the increased housing targets imposed by central government.

“We believe that our community should set housing needs targets, not the RDA or central government in London”, stated Councillor Paul Crossley (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Councillor for Southdown).

“Whilst points in the recommendation before us tonight were in line with our policies on housing and land-use, we did not feel that the ‘spatial options’ paper was ready for publication.

“The Conservative administration of the Council has not allocated enough resources to the planning department to properly prepare the proposals – for example, we have been told that insufficient funds were available to carry out infrastructure modelling.