Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 8th to 14th January 2012

Articles for the past week:
Leader:  Is every Tory happy?         
News this past week:
1. Extra £2m Social Care Cash Must Mean Better Help At Home For People In West Sussex – Bob Smytherman
2. Two Worthing Tories Go Independent
3. WBC Cabinet Member For Resources Expects £250,000 Theatre Savings
4. “We Should Promote Worthing Car Parking” Says Tory Chair
5. Housing Benefit Changes Worry Worthing Housing Department
6. Fuel Poverty – Green Deal Is The Only Game In Town
7. Lynne Featherstone To Speak At Arundel & South Downs Lib Dems Dinner
  •    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:  Is every Tory happy?
This week saw Jaqcui Marsh and Graham Fabes quit the Tory ranks on Worthing Borough Council and go independent. Both said the decision was made for personal reasons. Tory Tim Montgomerie goes further on his Conservative Home website blog:
“I gather the dispute involved Cllr Marsh difficulty with the constraints of a Conservative “councillors contract” and her view that the wishes of residents associations should be paramount. Without knowing the full details it sounds as though becoming an independent is the right decision for her.

But while councillors should listen to the views of residents associations they should not make the mistake of assuming that the views of residents associations are always synonymous with the views of residents. The best way to find that out is something called canvassing.”

Which suggests that some Tory councillors are out of touch rather than “in touch” as the name of their leaflets imply.  We are proud that Worthing’s Lib Dem councillors take the time and trouble to go out, knock on doors and listen to the wishes of Worthing’s residents. And not just at election time.

Whatever the reason it is clear that Jacqui and her father were unhappy with her Tory colleagues and it has been clear from some time that the Tories are not the united front they wish to portray. They appear split on Europe – accepting European funding for Worthing but rejoicing in David Cameron’s “veto” in Europe. They appear to be split on the decision to keep the theatres in house.  They appear split on the Cabinet system. They appear split on licensing decisions. 

Which goes some way to answer our rhetorical question:  Is every Tory happy?  You bet your life their not.

Worthing Liberal Democrats 

Monday 9th January An extra £2,032,426 for social care in West Sussex will mean people can leave hospital earlier and receive better care at home. This comes from an extra £150m announced by the Coalition Government recently to be spent on shortening hospital stays across the country during the busy winter period. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, the cash can be used to access various preventative services such as better home care support, crisis response teams and specialist equipment for people in West Sussex. This is on top of the £648m already given to Primary Care Trusts this financial year to support social care services, and the cash is due to savings made in the Department of Health’s budget.
Commenting, West Sussex Lib Dem Adult Services Spokesperson Bob Smytherman said: “At this time of year it is of particular importance to do everything we can to ensure people are cared for at home in a safe and familiar environment, with their family and friends close by. Nationally the Coalition is already doing the right thing and providing an extra £7.2bn in social care funding over the next four years. This extra cash for West Sussex further shows how the Liberal Democrats recognise that we all prefer to be out of hospital, receiving care in our own home. By reinvesting these savings in social care we can offer more help and support to older people leaving hospital. It is absolutely crucial that the NHS and the County Council work together to help people leave hospital when they are ready. The benefits are on all sides – patients get to go home with the support they and their families need, and hospital beds are freed up.This money will help cut the delays in getting the equipment and adaptations that people can need to enable them to live independently at home – saving them from an unnecessary stay in hospital or going into residential care.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

Monday 9th January  Worthing Borough Council’s legal officer confirmed today two Worthing former Tory councillors were no longer part of the Conservative group.  Cllr Mrs Jacqui Marsh who represents Salvington ward and her father Cllr Graham Fabes who represents Offington ward will sit in future as Independents. Jacqui Marsh, up for re-election this year, is chair of Worthing Borough’s Licensing Committee and Graham Fabes is Deputy Chair – Jacqui hopes to remain in the position. The council make-up is now 23 Tories, 11 Lib Dems and 3 Independents.
Alan Rice, Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader, said: “Obviously all is not happy in the Tory camp which we has suspected for some time.  Will they lose more members as we approach the May elections is the burning question?”                         


Thursday 12th January –  Steve Waight, Worthing’s Tory Cabinet Member for Resources, was interviewed at tonight’s Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny and questioned on his portfolio. Lib Dem committee members were particularly interested in Cllr Waight’s thoughts on the recent decision to retain Worthing’s theatres’ management in house.  The Cabinet Member has been assured a business plan will be forthcoming to achieve savings of 25% in the first year 2012-13 – a saving of £250,000. The business plan will be presented to the Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee in March. Last year Worthing Leader of the Council, Paul Yallop, had stated the theatres lost £3,000 per day which prompted the management being put out to tender. Although seventeen bids were made it was decided none were satisfactory and the management was retained in house.
Alan Rice, Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader, said: “A 25% saving still means a daily loss of £2,250 or to put it another way almost 10p in every pound of the council tax received by Worthing Borough Council from Worthing’s residents will still go to subsidise the theatres. There also appears to be no Plan B if the savings are not realised except to close them.”                         
Thursday 12th January  Worthing Lib Dems attending tonight’s Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee wondered whether they had misheard Worthing Tory Car Parking Review Group Chair, Cllr Roger Oakley, when he blamed the media for Worthing’s bad car parking reputation and went on to say that Worthing should promote the benefits. The comments were especially surprising as there were two journalists in the public gallery listening to the debate – an unusual occurence at a council committee meeting. Were the comments addressed to them? The committee was discussing an update on car parking from the review group both off-street and on-street and both in Adur and Worthing.  Not so surprisingly Tory Cllr Mrs Nikki Waight rejected the recommendation that on-street car parking charges should be decided by the Worthing County Local Committee rather than at the sole discretion of the West Sussex Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport as at present. 
Bob Smytherman, Lib Dem Member of the Car Parking Review Group, said: “I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Cllr Oakley – so I expect a denial.  I could believe my ears when Cllr Mrs Waight rejected the right of Worthing deciding its own charges.  Localism doesn’t seem to have reached Worthing’s Tories yet.”     
Thursday 12th January –  Adur & Worthing Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee received a report from the Executive Head of Housing, Health & Community Safety updating the committee on current housing issues where worries about benefit changes were expressed.  The private renting sector is experiencing unprecedented growth, and the cost and affordability of rents is a major concern for many tenants. The affects of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) reforms from April 1st 2011 is anticipated to further compound the unaffordability of the private rented sector.  From April 1st LHA rate is calculated as 30th percentile whereas previously it was the 50th percentile. This led to an immediate drop of 5-10% in LHA rates which will affect more and more people in the coming months as their ‘protection period’ expires.  The eligible age for single room rent will rise in this month from under 25 to under 35 years. This means that any person under 35 cannot receive more than the shared rate which is £295 in Worthing. Universal Credit 2013-17 will be introduced to replace the current benefit system with one payment of a maximum of £26,000 per annum. This will further exacerbate problems in the private sector especially for families who require larger properties of 3 and 4 bedrooms.


Thursday 12th January –  Bob Smytherman in reaction to tonight’s update on the Adur & Worthing Fuel Poverty Overview & Scrutiny Committee review said that shortly the only game in town to ease fuel poverty would be the ‘Green Deal’. Better insulation is one of the best ways to ease fuel poverty and that would be provided under the deal. Under the ‘Green Deal’ which becomes law in October, bill payers will be able to get energy efficiency improvements without having to front up the cash. Instead, businesses would provide the capital, getting their money back via the energy bill.  At the heart of the offer is one simple rule: estimated savings on bills will always equal or exceed the cost of the work. 
Bob, Shadow Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing & Chair of Worthing & Adur Joint  Fuel Poverty Review, said: “Come October the ‘Green Deal’ will be the only game for fuel poverty in time.  That is why I am calling on the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing for Worthing Borough to become a provider.”
Saturday 14th January –  Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities at the Home Office, is to speak at Arundel & South Downs Lib Dem Constituency Dinner to be held on Saturday March 3rd at Mid Sussex Golf Club, Spatham Lane, Ditchling, Hassocks at 7.30 pm.  Tickets for the dinner cost £25 including service but excluding dinner drinks which can be ordered on the night. To book a place or for further details please e-mail at maureen.girard@btinernet,com.   
Tuesday 17th January – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am 
Tuesday 17th January – ADC & WBC Joint Planning Committee – Council Chamber, Adur Civic Centre at 6.30 pm
Tuesday 17th January – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
                                       and every third Tuesday of the month
Wednesday 18th January – WSCC Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 18th January – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Friday 20th January – WSCC Strategic Environmental Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 21st January – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring 10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 21st January – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 11.30 am 
Thursday 19th January – WSCC Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Monday 23rd January – WSCC Governance Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Tuesday 24th January – ADC &WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Council Chamber, Adur Civic Centre at 6.30 pm
Wednesday 25th January – WSCC Adults’ Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 25th January – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Wednesday 25th January – WSCC Worthing County Local Committee – Chatsworth Hotel, Worthing at 7.00 pm
Thursday 26th January – WBC Licensing and Control SubCommittee B Hearing Tesco 24-26 Goring Road – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 10.00 am

Thursday 26th January – WSCC Community Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Friday 27th January – WSCC Policy & Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Tuesday 31st January – WSCC Cabinet – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 4th February – 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 4th February – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm  
                              and every first Saturday of the month
Wednesday 8th February – Worthing West & East Arun Lib Dem Annual Dinner speaker Steve Webb – Beechwood Hall, Worthing at 7.00 for 7.30 pm
Friday 17th February – WSCC County Council Meeting (Council Tax Setting -meeting will be webcast) – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Tuesday 21st February – WBC Council Meeting (Council Tax Setting) – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Saturday 3rd March – Arundel & South Downs Lib Dem Annual Dinner speaker Lynne Featherstone – Mid Sussex Golf Club, Spatham Lane, Ditchling, Hassocks at 7.00 for 7.30 pm
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Published and promoted by Worthing Liberal Democrats, 18 Woodlea Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 1BN