Stephen Lloyd MP meets with the department of health!

I met with Department of Health neo-natal and maternity Senior Policy Officers in Parliament this week joined by long-term advisor to the cross-party Save the DGH Campaign, Conservative Councillor Robert Smart. The meeting was arranged after I requested the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, agree to a meeting with Department of Health officials to discuss the Save the DGH campaign’s concerns around the levels of still-births in Eastbourne during 2016. 
It was a productive discussion and our specific request that the Department of Health secure an independent review into the worrying number of local still births will be explored. We also raised the failure of the Trust to comply with the Independent Reconfiguration Panel's decision that Consultant-led maternity services should be provided at Eastbourne as well as Hastings, along with recent performance and new evidence. 
The Officials agreed to take back to the department our requests. I will keep pressing them on this as, like, many local people I really do believe we deserve a proper independent review of our maternity services.
I would also like to thank Councillor Smart for joining me in this meeting. He has been a long-term advisor to the cross-party Save the DGH Campaign Group and his specific knowledge of NHS processes, as a former non-executive Director of the Trust, has always been very valuable and today’s meeting was no exception.

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Responding to Cllr Andrew Povey's comments on BBC Radio Surrey this morning, Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said today:

"I am pleased that Cllr Povey agrees with what the Liberal Democrats and I have been saying about Surrey County Council's finances over the last 18 months. He is right to draw attention to the criticisms of the County Council contained within CIPFA's report "Financial Resilience Review - Surrey County Council". This report was commissioned by the current Leader of the Council and was kept hidden from county councillors for months.

"He is correct in his judgement of the folly of the Leader of the Council in pursuing a doomed policy of a 15% council tax rise which was subsequently abandoned. The CIPFA report clearly stated that such a referendum was unwinnable but the Leader of the Council refused to act on their advice.

"Instead of blaming the government for lack of funding and backing an unwinnable referendum, the Conservative administration should have been working on identifying sensible efficiencies and a realistic level of deliverable savings without cutting services. It should also have acted much earlier on the many empty buildings it owns across the county, which have cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to maintain.

"Surrey County Council is in a poor financial position with no clear plan to improve the situation. Unless a solution is found, then we only have to look to Northamptonshire County Council to see the consequences of when the money eventually runs out."


A link to Cllr Povey's interview on BBC Radio Surrey can be found here (starting at 2:07:35):

A link to the CIPFA report can be found here:

Cllr Andrew Povey was Leader of Surrey County Council from 2009-11, and was elected in 2017 for the division of Cranleigh & Ewhurst.

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"Children's mental health services must improve" say Surrey Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have expressed their concerns over the long waiting times faced by children and young people with mental health problems in the county.

Ahead of next week's Children and Education Select Committee, where the matter is due to be discussed, Cllr Chris Botten, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Children & Education, said:

"After the fury we expressed at the last meeting in November, I am shocked to see that for many children with mental health problems waiting times for assessment can be over 160 working days (this includes children in care) and for treatment, assuming some is deemed necessary, the wait can be between 10 and 75 working days.

"This shocking state of affairs is not going to be resolved by contract managers shouting at the providers - the fact is demand for these services is going through the roof and the services are underfunded.

"Children's mental health is in my view the greatest public health crisis nationally. A child who is self-harming or suicidal will be marked by such trauma for life unless they get urgent support. In Surrey they can't always get the support they need in a timely manner and that is not good enough for our children."


The agenda for the Children and Education Select Committee meeting of 20th February 2018 can be found here (Item 6):

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Campaign launched against plans to scrap one of Maidstone's high speed train services

The campaign, which has the support of the Kent Messenger, has gained more than a thousand signatures. Services in the area will be under a new rail franchise from December and a document said bidders were given the option of running services to Abbey Wood rather than St Pancras. KM reporter Tom Pyman and KCC Lib Dem leader Councillor Rob Bird joined us in the studio to tell us more.

Click here, to watch the video.

Click here, to sign the petition.

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Martin Rose selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for Rochester West by-election

Medway Liberal Democrats are pleased to announce Martin Rose has been selected for the by-election on 8th March. Martin has lived in the area all his life, including four years in Rochester, with a strong desire to improve the quality of services in Medway.

Currently working as a public transport planning specialist in London, Martin holds degrees from the Universities of Kent and Westminster. If elected, he will use his knowledge of public transport, environmental and town planning issues to seek a better deal for people living in Rochester West.

Since joining the party just over a year ago, Martin has been active on a number of issues including our campaign to improve the quality of local mental health care, which in turn would reduce the burden on resources in the police, social services and housing.

Martin joined the party in early 2017, after becoming frustrated and concerned about the Government's dogmatic attitudes to austerity and Brexit. He passionately believes that Britain is better off in the EU. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to give the final say to the British people in a referendum on whether to accept the deal or remain in the EU.

If you believe that Medway Council needs greater representation of pro-European views, people who will speak up for residents' rights and the need for the ports and borders to function efficiently and thus avoid holds ups on the M20 and the need for lorry parks in Kent, only the Liberal Democrats can make that case.

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Liberal Democrat Councillor Janet Baah has been elected mayor of Lewes Town Council.

Ghanaian-born, she is the first ethnic minority mayor to be appointed in Lewes since the Borough Council (the Town Council’s predecessor) was incorporated in 1881.

“Today you have made history in electing someone like me,” Councillor Baah told the council after her election. “I feel very excited, honoured and grateful to live in a town where I am respected and whose councillors have elected me to serve the whole people of Lewes.

“Mayoral duties can be difficult because you have to deal with issues concerning the law and individual freedom, but I lo0k forward to supporting everybody’s democratic rights and fighting for the needs of the whole town.”

Baah came to Britain in 2001. She obtained a master’s degree at Brighton University and is now completing a PhD at Sussex University. Her research involves studying the education system in a slum in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

“Janet will be a great champion for Lewes, she has already made a big impact in Malling, where she is admired for her work in the local community,” said Lib Dem Group Leader on the town council, John Lamb. “She will do a great job as town mayor.”

Elected a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bridge Ward in Lewes in 2016, Baah also sits on the group that advises the county council on inclusivity in social care. She is a non-executive director of Breaking Down Barriers, an organisation that provides inclusivity training.

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Eastbourne MP calls for inquiry into Carillion as thousands of jobs put at risk

Eastbourne’s MP has called for an inquiry into the government’s actions after Carillion announced it had gone into liquidation on Monday, 15 January 2017.

Stephen Lloyd has spoken out after the major construction firm crumpled after failing to reach a deal in talks with the government – threatening thousands of jobs.

Mr Lloyd, who is the Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesman, said, “The government must now take responsibility to ensure the pensions are properly protected for the tens of thousands of Carillion employees. “We also need a parliamentary inquiry into some of the very questionable decisions made in the past few months, including the issue of the former chief executive still being paid his salary, plus perks and bonus.

“Meanwhile, the Carillion pension scheme has a deficit of £580 million, meaning there isn’t currently enough money in the scheme to meet the promised pension payouts.

“The actions of this government and the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, have been lamentable. To continue awarding contracts to Carillion despite the profits warnings is appalling. Chris Grayling needs to consider his position!”

The firm, which was the second-largest construction company in the UK, is a landowner at Sovereign Harbour.

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MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, Stephen Lloyd secures a debate last week on the impact Universal Credit is having on the private rental sector

MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, Stephen Lloyd secures a debate last week on the impact Universal Credit is having on the private rental sector.

This is an issue I tried to address when I was last your MP. The then Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, was insistent UC tenants should receive their housing benefit direct and, in theory, they’d then pass the housing benefit onto the landlords themselves. I saw all those years ago this would lead to major problems - particularly in the private sector where, frankly, many landlords already don’t like letting to tenants on benefit and that this stipulation could kill the market stone dead. With 1.2m tenants in the private sector on benefit across the UK many of which are on automatic payments to landlords, as part of the previous benefits regime, and all of whom over the next few years will be moved to UC. So you can understand where I’ve been coming from!

On my return to parliament I saw immediately that I’d been proved right and landlords 'were' refusing to take UC tenants as all too often either the money wasn’t being paid over or there were long delays. So I ramped up my opposition again straight away, joined by many others including a number of the landlord trade associations all of whom I met soon after the election. They told me clearly what was happening on the front-line and it wasn’t pretty. I raised these concerns in the Chamber, by letter and generally lobbied as hard as I could for the government to finally see sense. Then, credit where it is due, they finally began to acknowledge what we’d been telling them - in my case for years - and did a U-turn announcing in the recent budget that it would now be possible for landlords to receive money direct on behalf of their UC tenants if they were on automatic payments under the old benefit system. There are still too many caveats though so I aim to keep pushing to get to where I believe the policy really should be; an automatic default payment to private landlords for anyone on UC. In the debate this week I was, unusually, also supported by three conservative MPs so I am hopeful we will win this one. Not least as it’s common sense.

Click the image below to view Stephen's speech in the debate.

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Eastbourne & Willingdon's Profound Sense of Community: Your response to my request for Christmas presents for those elderly and frail people in the DGH and in the community who would be on their own and not be receiving any presents on Christmas Day, was nothing short of sensational. Over 200 gifts were donated along with well over 300 individual gifts of Xmas nibbles. The feedback since from our wonderful NHS nurses both in the hospital and in the community who delivered the gifts on the day to their patients, has been just heartwarming to hear. The sheer difference to so many individual's day that your generosity made possible. Over the last few days I've had relayed back to me lovely stories of how peoples' whole face lit up when they received their surprise present. Just magnificent. My office team had also added a handwritten card to every single gift saying 'Happy Christmas, from Eastbourne' and that's exactly what it was. Thank you all for your kind support.

And of course my initiative was just the tip of the iceberg for what our town does over the Christmas period. I know that there were dozens of other similar acts of generosity across the community, which is why I am sure our town really does get that wise old maxim, "that to keep what you have, you must first give it away." Be it Eastbourne Rotary organising Christmas lunch for their home-alone guests at Our Lady of Ransom or Don and Abby McPhee's brilliant Variety Show on behalf of the Mayors two charities, Embrace and Rebourne Corner, at the Willingdon Golf Club a day or two before Christina's Day, or on the day itself at our beautiful Bandstand where there were plenty of volunteers collecting for Eastbourne Cancer Research and St Wilfred's; all these and so much more would have been going on across the community over the last week. I am absolutely convinced it is one of our town's core strengths - the commitment and passion to serve others, to put out our hand to help someone in need. And that is my New Year's message, my friends. We live in challenging times at the minute, of course we do. We can all see that, but if we approach 2018 with optimism and a continuing desire to help others less fortunate than ourselves, along with a continuing love and appreciation for our lovely Eastbourne. You know what - I believe we'll be just fine!

Happy New Year, folks, and I hope to see you around town.


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Another great week in Council by-elections

Fresh off of our fantastic November, with no less than SEVEN council by-election gains, we've had a great final week of by-elections for the year - holding both of the seats we were defending and gaining another seat in Waveney from nowhere!

Those fantastic results mean that at the end of 2017, we're the ONLY major political party to make net gains in Council by-elections - racking up a tally of +15!

The Liberal Democrats, under Vince Cable, are winning seats up and down the country and against all opposition parties.

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Our local campaigning is second to none, and the hard work of Lib Dem councillors and activists is being recognised in surges of support in by-elections across the country. So, without any further ado, onto the results!

💪 A stunning win from nowhere

Godalming Central & Ockford (Waveney) result:

LDEM: 37.8% (+37.8)
CON: 35.0% (-6.5)
LAB: 21.5% (-4.6)
GRN: 5.7% (+5.7)

No 'Something New' party (-17.0) and UKIP (-15.4) as prev.

📈 Holding AND increasing our vote

Watcombe (Torbay) result:

LDEM: 57.5% (+14.4)
CON: 31.1% (+7.9)
LAB: 10.6% (-8.4)
GRN: 0.8% (-5.3)

Liberal Democrat HOLD.

No UKIP (-8.6) as prev.

🌠 A brilliant hold

Handside (Welwyn Hatfield) result:

LDEM: 52.4% (+16.7)
CON: 32.8% (-9.3)
LAB: 12.3% (-3.5)
GRN: 2.4% (-3.9)

Liberal Democrat HOLD.

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