Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 27th November to 3rd December 2011

Articles for the past week:
Leader:  Indian!         
News this past week:
1. Kitties Field Gets Low Level Lighting At Last
2. Adur Tory Deputy Leader Suggests Putting Council Money Into India
3. Council Tax Payments over 12 Months?
4. “We Are Potentially Facing The Demise Of The Euro By Christmas” – Sharon Bowles MEP
5. Doing The Right Thing On Disability Living Allowance – Norah Fisher
6. West Sussex Liberal Democrats Demand More Cash Help For Littlehampton and Lancing
WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
27TH NOVEMBER TO 3RD DECEMBER 2011
  •    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:  Indian!
Mr “Everything comes from India”, a character in the BBC TV comedy series “Goodness Gracious Me”,  would almost always answer his own questions about the origins of  everything with “Indian!”  This included William Shakespeare, Cliff Richard (true), Leonardo da Vinci, the British Royal Family (with the exception of Prince Charles) and even Superman.
The Adur Deputy Leader Julie Searle appeared to agree with him last week as she suggested the answer to the dearth of banks that Adur and Worthing could safely place deposits was “Indian!”  Cllr Searle recommended the treasury management officers to investigate the use of Indian banks in view of India’s recent economic vitality. Yet according to the previous week’s issue of the Economist the current speed of the rout of India’s currency (Rupee) “has been scary for a place that was supposed to be largely insulated from the rich world’s troubles” and further “Mumbai’s financial types say that firms are scrambling to find dollars and that desparate euro-zone banks, which supply about half of India’s foreign loans, are cutting credit lines.” 
Treasury management of councils’ money has been under the microscope recently – following the Icelandic bank collapse, the 2008 bank crisis and now the Euro-zone crisis. The Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, urged banks last week to brace themselves for a potential Euro-zone collapse. Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European’s Parliament’s powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, echoed that in a speech last week to a conference of mortgage industry leaders warning of a potential collapse of the Euro-zone by Christmas.
Worthing Borough Council successfully avoided the Icelandic bank crisis, unlike West Sussex County Council and the Sussex Police Authority, through the astute advice of their treasury advisers at the time Arlingclose.  West Sussex County Council subsequently appointed Arlingclose as their advisers – Worthing Borough Council dropped Arlingclose as theirs.
Faced with so few opportunities for safe deposits councils are tempted to relax their stringent rules but in view of the current atmosphere they need to be extremely careful and get the best advice – better safe than sorry.  Greek, Italian, Spanish and even French banks are not on the approved list at the moment. Italy has an “A” sovereign credit rating with a negative outlook (Standard & Poors 19.09.11) , India’s outlook is stable but with a rating of BBB- (Standard & Poor’s 5.08.11).
We recommend Adur & Worthing treasury management officers investigate thoroughly before taking Cllr.Searle’s advice to go “Indian!”
Worthing Liberal Democrats NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK

KITTIES FIELD GETS LOW LEVEL LIGHTING AT LAST

Tuesday 29th November – Worthing Liberal Democrats welcomed the decision by tonight’s Joint Strategic Committee to put low level lighting for Kitties Field into the Capital Programme for 2012-13. Tory Broadwater borough councillors have been saying for over two years they were on the case but the promises only became reality after Victoria Taylor was elected as Liberal Democrat for the ward.  Victoria in a well aimed question at the last Council wrong-footed the Cabinet Member for Environment who claimed to have no knowledge of the long term wish for lighting in Kitties Field. The Tory Cabinet suddenly leapt into action as the issue gained momentum with Broadwater Police Neighbourhood Panel upping the pressure for something to be done. The lighting was at the bottom of the reserve list in the report presented to the Joint Strategic Committee but Tory Cabinet Member for Resources Steven Waight intervened to have the item moved up into the programme for 2012-13 – along with play equipment for Goring Recreation Ground. Cllr Waight is the ward councillor for Goring.  Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice welcomed the move but queried why the project only scored four points on the capital programme scoring matrix as against 30 points for Goring. Kitties Field is on the doorstep of a lower super output area where child poverty is 39.7% and yet officers say deprivation is a factor considered when scoring.

Victoria said: “At last the Tories have seen the light on the low level lighting but this is only the start. The play equipment in Kitties Field is old and run down and in urgent need of replacement.

We will now push for new play equipment and trust we won’t have to wait another two years plus. We want this green space to be a place that people want to go and not one to be avoided as it is at present.”

Alan, who is West Sussex County Councillor for Broadwater, added: “Deprivation may be taken into account when scoring for projects but obviously not enough when Kitties Field scored so low. Worthing Liberal Democrats will insist a long hard look is taken at this scoring matrix to ensure this doesn’t happen again in future.”

ADUR DEPUTY LEADER SUGGESTS PUTTING COUNCIL MONEY INTO INDIA

Tuesday 29th November – Safe places for the Council to invest are few and far between in the current economic climate but Adur Deputy Leader Julie Searle came up with a new one at tonight’s Joint Strategic Committee – India.  Cllr Searle suggested officers look at investigating placing Adur and Worthing Council deposits with Indian banks in view of India’s economic vitality. The suggestion was approved as a recommendation from the committee as was the treasury management’s officers request to place money with the top five UK building societies by asset value.  This adds Yorkshire, Coventry, Skipton and Leeds building scieties to Nationwide – previously the only building society to be approved.

COUNCIL TAX PAYMENTS OVER 12 MONTHS?

Tuesday 29th November – Central government is proposing to amend a number of council tax issues in the context of the localism agenda with effect from 1 April 2013. Members of the Joint Strategic Committee were asked tonight to consider Adur & Worthing Borough Councils’ officers response to the proposals. Worthing Cabinet Member for Resources Steven Waight expressed surprised that officers didn’t consult with members before writing the response. One of the suggested changes by government was the “default” number of months for payment of council tax instalments should be changed from the current ten monthly payments to twelve. The officers’ response was “No, the Councils do not support this proposal”.  Cllr Waight didn’t agree as he favoured the change to twelve monthly payments carrying the Committee with him in support of his view.

DOING THE RIGHT THING ON DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE – NORAH FISHER

Thursday 1st December – Commenting on the announcement that the Coalition Government is to drop plans to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance from people in residential care homes, Worthing Lib Dem Deputy Group Leader, Cllr Norah Fisher, herself a wheel-chair user said: “I am delighted that after months of pressure these proposals have finally been dropped. Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed these plans, which would have cut a vital lifeline for many disabled people, and the Party passed a conference motion earlier this year calling for the decision to be overturned.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

WEST SUSSEX LIBERAL DEMOCRATS DEMAND MORE HELP FOR LITTLEHAMPTON AND LANCING

Thursday 1st December – West Sussex County Council Liberal Democrats have slammed the ruling Tory group for ignoring three of the towns with the worst levels of deprivation, unemployment and skills in the County.  Liberal Democrat County Councillors are concerned that no consultation has taken place with backbench and opposition councillors over the sharing out of this fund, and not enough consideration of the specific needs of the areas of deprivation along the Coastal strip. The leader appears only to have spoken with the Tory leaders of the District and Borough Councils, but ignored many of the elected representatives across the county. This is not democratic, and neither is it in accord with the new “Localism Act” of the Coalition government
Deputy Group Leader Dr James Walsh (Littlehampton East) said: “How is it that the Tories can find £1.5 million for Chichester Festival Theatre, but not a penny for Littlehampton , Lancing or Selsey. There are long-term problems in these three towns which are crying out for new skills and new jobs, as well as social and health improvements, but the County Council leadership is choosing once again to ignore them.  While we welcome the £15m investment in some of the infrastructure of West Sussex (and especially the Broadband upgrade, Home Energy Efficiency and town centre improvements) there are serious questions to be answered over the giving of 10% of the fund to just one (albeit important) theatre.”
Morwen Millson, Lib Dem Group Leader said:”We would prefer to see a fuller and more open discussion of area funding across the county, taking into account factors such as social, educational  skills and youth deprivation especially along the coast to ensure that all the deprived areas get a share of the scarce resources we now have to live with. To do otherwise will merely ensure that these communities remain deprived or even worse, decline still further.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

“WE ARE POTENTIALLY FACING THE DEMISE OF THE EURO BY CHRISTMAS” – SHARON BOWLES MEP

Friday 2nd December – Sharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament’s powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has warned that there may not be a Eurozone come Christmas.

Speaking to a conference of mortgage industry leaders yesterday, Ms Bowles said: “We are potentially facing the demise of the Euro by Christmas and if that happens it will wreck our economy.

“Contrary to what the Eurosceptics say, the issue now is not whether the UK remains in the EU but how we contain the Eurozone crisis. If the Euro breaks up, I think there will be rampant protectionism. Even if you get a smaller Euro with just the AAA countries huddling together they will still go down the track of protectionism. If the Euro breaks up then countries, including the UK, should work to save the EU, so that we continue to benefit from the Single Market and avoid a situation of every man for himself. We need something concrete and substantial next week from leaders.  Promises and packing up for Christmas holidays will not do.”  (South East Liberal Democrats Press Release)

DIARY

Monday 5th December – WSCC Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Monday 5th December – Worthing West & East Arun Lib Dems Christmas Curry Night – Shafiques Restuarant, 42 Goring Road, Worthing at 7.30 pm

Contact Jackie Cranefield on 01903 266143 or mobile 07973 961003 e-mail: jackie@cranefield.freeserve.co.uk.

Wednesday 7th December – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm

Thursday 8th December – WSCC Policy & Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Thursday 8th December – ADC & WDC Joint Governance and Audit Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm

Saturday 10th December – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring 10.00 to 10.30 am

Saturday 10th December – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 11.30 am

FURTHER AHEAD

Tuesday 13th December – WBC Council Meeting – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Friday 16th December – WSCC Council Meeting – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am   (meeting will be webcast)

Monday 19th December – WBC Standards Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Tuesday 20th December – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm

and every third Tuesday of the month

Wednesday 21st December – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Saturday 7th January – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – St Pauls Centre, Chapel Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon

and every first Saturday of the month

Saturday 7th January – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm

and every first Saturday of the month

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