Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 15th to 21st December 2013

Leader: Council Tax Freeze
News this past week:
1. ‘Use It Or Lose It’
2. More Plants Than On The Seafront
3. Bob Smytherman For Mental Health Champion?
4. New Fishing Quotas To Rebuild Fish Stocks in 2014
5. Beach Chalet Tenants Lose Out
WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS NEWSLETTER
15TH TO 21ST DECEMBER 2013
  • Lib Dems will keep County services local where ever possible
  • Lib Dems will devolve more money to be spent locally and allow residents to decide how it’s spent
  • Lib Dems will ensure vulnerable people are safeguarded and support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads
Leader: Council Tax Freeze
In Council on Tuesday Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice asked the Tory Cabinet Member Dan Humphreys as West Sussex County Council had indicated freezing Council Tax next year whether he was going to do the same. Alan went on to point out West Sussex had done so before the settlement grant from central government was published and asked whether Cllr Humphreys was clever enough to emulate them. Cllr Humphreys said he wasn’t clever enough and was adopting a ‘wait and see attitude’.
The very next day the settlement grant was published – for Worthing almost exactly in line with expectations we understand. Worthing faces a cut of £518,000 to next year’s budget. The budget forecast prepared by officers is based on a 2% rise in Council Tax in 2014 which was ‘noted’ by Worthing’s Cabinet at a recent meeting. With Cllr Humphreys reluctance to commit on a freeze it would appear a 2% rise is still on the cards.
The Tories have stuffed Worthing Borough Council reserves over the years – excessively so according to their very own Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Eric Pickles. These reserves are for rainy days but for so many hard pressed and vulnerable residents it’s been raining for some time. Worthing Liberal Democrats have tried to prize open the reserves box over the years – we proposed an actual Council Tax reduction, a restoration of Sunday and evening bus services and this year a fund to underwrite the building of new homes. Every time the Tories said it couldn’t be done but on Tuesday it was done to underwrite the cheap parking three month trial.

With plenty of reserves available Worthing Liberal Democrats will commit to a Council Tax freeze.

Will Cllr Humphreys do the same?

Worthing Liberal Democrats

‘USE IT OR LOSE IT’
Tuesday 17th December – Unsurprisingly the Tories pushed through tonight the underwriting of next year’s three month trial of town centre multi-storey car park charge reduction. The lowering of tariffs from £1.70 to
£1.00 per hour needed a vote tonight to authorise use of £118,000 of council taxes reserves to cover potential losses. Liberal Democrats voted against or abstained. Naturally the Tories and their supporters painted our stance as a vote against cheaper parking but it was a stance against the unnecessary gambling of council tax payers’ money. Unnecessary because tariff control could have been regained and cheaper parking achieved without the car parks going ‘in-house’ with its expensive cost basis. The Council’s own car parking review actually said so. Council Leader Paul Yallop said the public should ‘use it or lose it’ as if the three month trial is not successful the rates would go up again.

Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “We have been consistent in trying to get the best value for council tax payers. The evidence based report from the Car Parking Review Group chaired by Conservative Cllr Roger Oakley concluded taking Off-Street car parking in house ‘should be excluded because of cost implications.’ The Cabinet ignored the report and took car parks in-house any way. That is why they needed this £118,000 of council tax payers’ money to underwrite their scheme. But we lost the debate and Worthing Borough Council is committed to risking the money. That is why I now also urge motorists to ‘use it or lose it’ to lose as little of council tax payers money as possible.”

MORE PLANTS THAN ON THE SEAFRONT
Tuesday 17th December – Tory backbenchers lined up at tonight’s Council to ask flattering questions during Cabinet Member question time. Worthing Journal editor Paul Holden commented on Facebook: “Tory councillors asking Tory councillors loaded questions so Tory councillors could say how wonderful things were under the Tory administration, eating into the 20 minutes allocated for the opposition Lib Dems to probe ruling party policies, i.e. democracy in action. Very sad, it happens in Parliament and at West Sussex County Council, but never seen it before at Worthing Town Hall and I’ve been covering meetings there for 30 years.”Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “The Tory backbenchers miraculously found their voices tonight – they usually sit in studied silence. But the questions were all plants as Paul Holden noticed. In fact at this rate there will be more plants in the Town Hall next year than on the seafront.”

BOB SMYTHERMAN FOR MENTAL HEALTH CHAMPION?

Tuesday 17th December – Worthing Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice moved a motion tonight to appoint a Mental Health Champion for Worthing Borough Council and named Mayor Bob Smytherman as the choice. Bob has chosen three Mental Health charities for his Mayoral year and also this year instituted the first Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week. The motion further called on the Council to sign up to the Local Authorities’ Mental Health Challenge run by the Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Young Minds.There was cross-party support for the idea but the Council agreed more work should be done on finding out on what signing up to the Local Authorities Mental Health Challenge entailed. The motion was deferred.

NEW FISHING QUOTA TO REBUILD FISH STOCKS IN 2014

Wednesday18th December – National ministers meeting in Brussels have set annual fishing quotas that will allow fish stocks to recover in 2014. The reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy, which will legally require fishing quotas to be set at sustainable levels based on scientific advice, does not technically come into force until 2014. However, ministers agreed to abide by the new rules for setting the catch and days-at-sea limits for 2014. Under the new quotas, 30 fish stocks will be at scientifically-advised maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels by 2015, up from 25 stocks at present. Fishermen are also to receive support to help them adjust to the forthcoming ban on discarding fish.

Local Euro-MP, Catherine Bearder, vice-president of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group to campaign for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, commented: “This is an important step towards sustainable fishing in Europe. Ministers have shown they are at last willing to implement reforms and to set quotas in line with scientific advice. I am concerned that the small fishing fleets like those in Hastings and Eastbourne get their fair share. It’s important to remember that these are the people who have always fished sustainably.” (Catherine Bearder Press Release)

BEACH CHALET TENANTS LOSE OUT
Wednesday 18th December – Beach chalet tenants lost their fight tonight against the planning application to convert the chalets to artist studios. Local ward councillor David Chapman who supported the tenants throughout the campaign praised the way they had conducted themselves.David said: “The Chalet Residents put up a very spirited campaign to preserve the chalets and should be commended on that. However they have a good reason to complain that their case has not been treated fairly and impartially. They were denied the right of a debate in at a full Council Meeting on false grounds, the decision at the initial planning meeting was switched from being a rejection to a deferral with no adequate explanation. There was only a few days notice of the intention to resubmit the application which limited the possibility of some interested parties registering their views. There are still outstanding questions as to the wisdom of developing an arts area with a cycle track going through it. Overall the process does not reflect well on Worthing Borough Council democratic processes.”

DIARY

Saturday 28th December – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards Church, Maybridge 10.00 am to 10.30 am
Saturday 28th December – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Parade shops 10.00 am to 11.00 am

Saturday 28th December – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church 10.30 am to noon

FURTHER AHEAD

Saturday 4th January – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to noon and every first Saturday in the month

Saturday 4th January – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – Muldoons Coffee Shop, Cricketers Parade, Broadwater 3.00 to 4.00 pm and every first Saturday in the month

Tuesday 7th January – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea at 6.30 pm

Thursday 9th January – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Christ Church Hall. Grafton Road 3.00 to 4.00 pm and every second Thursday in the month

Monday 13th January – WBC Full Council – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Wednesday 15th January – WSCC Environmental and Community Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Wednesday 15th January – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Thursday 16th January – WSCC Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Thursday 16th January – ADC & WBC Joint Governance & Audit Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm

Monday 20th January – WSCC Governance Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm

Wednesday 22nd January – WSCC Health and Audit Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Thursday 23rd January – WSCC Performance and Finance Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Friday 24th January – WSCC Sussex Police and Crime Panel – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Monday 27th January – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Tuesday 28th January – WSCC Cabinet – County Hall, Chichester at 11.00 am

Tuesday 28th January – WBC Licensing & Control Committee A – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Thursday 30th January – WSCC West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board – County Hall at 2.30 pm

Thursday 30th January – ADC & WBC Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm

 

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