Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 13th to 19th May 2012

Articles for the past week:

Leader:  Rock the chamber

News this past week: 

1. Worthing Lib Dems Call For Tory Action As Fuel Poverty Spending Slashed

2. Liberal Democrats Slam West Sussex Tories “Judge & Jury” Takeover Of Scrutiny Process
3. Mayor Making Sees First Lib Dem Deputy Mayor For Five Years
      •     Lib Dems will keep Worthing’s services local
      •     Lib Dems will get on with bringing our town into the 21st century – no more dither and delay
      •     Lib Dems will ensure ‘We are all in it together’ – no more waste and high pay
      •     Lib Dems are the only opposition in Worthing – Labour can’t win here
      •     Lib Dems support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads
      • Leader:  Rock the chamber
Friday not only saw the installation of the new Worthing Borough Council for 2012-13 but also the installation of the new Youth Council.  We found the Youth Council truly inspirational when we visited them on their induction weekend at the beginning of the month, showing an enthusiasm all too lacking in their adult peers.  The turnout for the Youth Council elections was 76% shaming the apathy shown by Worthing’s adult electorate at the recent Borough elections where turnout was a measly 26.8%.
Members of the Youth Council craved for ways to alleviate that apathy and ensure their own generation would not follow in those particular footsteps. Worthing Liberal Democrats were reminded of the Rock the Vote initiative so successful in the United States which achieved a record-shattering 2.5 million registration downloads in the historic 2008 election of Barak Obama. Rock the Vote incites young Americans to register and vote in every US election using music, popular culture and social media to engage.  Celebrities who have appeared in public service announcements for Rock the Vote include Christina Aguilera, Leonardo DiCaprio, Janet Jackson, Macy Gray, Samuel L Jackson, Madonna, Megadeth, Donny Osmond, The Ramones and Justin Timberlake.
Worthing Liberal Democrats were also reminded of the current Rock the House “battle of the bands” type contest in which local Worthing band Neko is being sponsored by Worthing East & Adur MP Tim Loughton.
Rock the House, in its second year, is a Parliamentary live music and venue competition founded by Mike Weatherley MP.  The competition celebrates the very best of up-and-coming unsigned British artists and the live music venues that support them. The object is to raise the importance of intellectual property rights and live music among parliamentarians.  Celebrity supporters include Alice Cooper and Ian Gillan.
These twin thoughts prompted Worthing Liberal Democrats to combine elements from each and suggest a local Worthing version which we have tagged Rock the Chamber – a “battle of the bands” or simply a concert encouraging young people and others to vote. The very title Rock the Chamber lends it to be being held in the Chamber itself but it would depend on interested numbers and perhaps a larger venue would be more suitable.  As the motivation is just to get young people out to vote without regard to party allegiance we see this developing as a cross-party project which is why we e-mailed Leader of the Council Paul Yallop yesterday for his support.  We await his answer with eager anticipation.
Let’s galvanise that Youthful enthusiasm  – let’s Rock the Chamber.
Worthing Liberal Democrats 



Thursday 17th May – Worthing Lib Dem Shadow Member for Health & Wellbeing Michael Donin has today called for local Tories to act as fuel poverty spending is slashed.  Newly appointed, Michael has hit the ground running making the call after reading a shocking new report from the Association for the Conservation of Energy which shows funding to help fuel poor households had dropped by almost a third. To make matters worse, national spending on making homes more efficient will be cut by over 50% by 2013. The latest available figures show Worthing had 6,035 fuel poor households in 2009 – equivalent to 13.3% of the total 45,349 households.  With energy price rises having doubled in only six years, new figures out today will almost certainly show a rise in the number of households forced to choose between heating and eating. Experts estimate at least £4 billion a year should be spent nationally on improving the energy efficiency of homes but only £540 million has been budgeted for next year. Fuel poverty statistics estimate the number of households that need to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, as well as meeting their other fuel needs (lighting and appliances, cooking and water heating). Cllr Donin is particularly qualified to address this issue as he was the original Chairman of the Adur & Worthing Councils’ Fuel Poverty Working Group two years ago.
Michael said: “Everyone is aware of the continual steep rise in energy costs which will push more and more of Worthing’s households into fuel poverty.  With national funding being cut back so severely I am calling today on the Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing to take action to alleviate the situation. It’s time to dip into those healthy reserves.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)
Friday 18th May – West Sussex County Council Liberal Democrats have again strongly criticised the ruling Conservative group for taking all the Chairmanships of the Scrutiny (Select) Committees at County Hall at today’s Annual Meeting (Friday 18 May). All policy decisions at the County are taken by the Council leader, the Cabinet or individual Cabinet members, all of whom are Conservatives. Examining such decisions is the role of the Scrutiny (Select) Committees, which publicly hold the executive to account. The Council’s standing orders state that scrutiny should not be party political, and that a committee chairperson should be the person best suited to the job. Since Scrutiny began a decade ago, there has always been one Liberal Democrat Scrutiny Chairperson. In April, the Conservatives decided to take all the chairs, which are paid positions, for themselves.
Commenting on the decision Dr James Walsh, Liberal Democrat Deputy Group Leader said: “This is an outrageous decision, which will further reduce the public’s confidence in decision making and the County Council in general. In effect they are making themselves both judge and jury for the whole process from cabinet member decisions to their examination in public. Advice from national bodies is that opposition parties should chair some, or even all, of the scrutiny committees. Our own standing orders state that chairing should not depend on party affiliation, but should be done by the most suitable person. The Tories have flagrantly ignored all advice on this matter.”
Morwen Millson said, “This is a matter of natural justice and of public confidence in local government. Parliament itself divides up the chairmanship of all its Select Committees between government and opposition parties, and we should do the same in West Sussex. The Conservatives offered us the vice-chairman posts, but we decided as a group to decline those. The Conservatives also voted against a Labour nominee for just one vice-chairmanship, making the whole thing a stitch-up for party political advantage”.
Friday 18th May – Conservative Councillor Charles James was today installed as Worthing’s Mayor for 2012-13 with Lib Dem Councillor Bob Smytherman as Deputy Mayor.  Bob who takes over as Mayor in 2013-14 will be the first Liberal Democrat Mayor since 2008-09 when Christine Brown held the post. The new Mayor Charles James formally proposed Cllr Smytherman as Deputy Mayor and Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice was delighted to second. Liberal Democrats got a second bite of the cherry as Bob chose Lib Dem Councillor Norah Fisher as his consort.  Also installed today were new Youth Mayor Cam Hughes and new Deputy Youth Mayor Brogan Kirkby-Bott.
Tuesday 22nd May – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
and every third Tuesday of the month
Wednesday 23rd May – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Thursday 24th May – WSCC Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 26th May – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 26th May – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to noon

Tuesday 29th May – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Tuesday 29th May – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 31st May – WSCC Policy and Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 2nd June – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 2nd June – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 3.00 to 4.00 pm
and every first Saturday of the month

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Published and promoted by Worthing Liberal Democrats, 18 Woodlea Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 1BN