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  • Article: May 24, 2017
    By Trevor Carbin

    A message from Churches Together:

    "Unfortunately this evening's hustings at All Saints, Westbury, has had to be cancelled. Nationally, in the light of the Manchester tragedy, the cancellation of campaigning has impacted on local events with one of the major parties deciding it is appropriate to continue standing aside from all national and local campaigning activity. It may be that other parties clarify similar expressions of ongoing suspension as the day unfolds. Some will see this as an appropriate decision, while others will see it as a victory for terrorism.

  • Article: May 20, 2017

    The "start-up allowance" would help entrepreneurs with living costs in the first six months of setting up their business.

    The party is making a bold pitch to be the party of business with Tim Farron the only major party leader committed to Britain's membership of the single market.

    Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Business spokesperson, said: "Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of a thriving economy but I know from my own time in business, the early months can be really tough. This will really help get small businesses off the ground and let the economy grow. It takes courage to set up a business, and we are on the side of entrepreneurs."

    Tim Farron said: "While the Conservatives focus on giving tax cuts to giant corporations, our focus is on small businesses seeking to grow. And unlike Labour and the Conservatives, we would stay in the single market."

    Other key policies include reviewing controversial business rates and expanding the state-owned British Business Bank to make it easier for firms to borrow.

    Tim Farron added: "Many firms are struggling to borrow to invest, and that is suffocating an economy being propped up on consumer spending. The Conservatives have lost the right to call themselves the party of business. The Liberal Democrats are now that party.

    "A Conservative landslide will be bad for you and your family. Bad for your job. Bad for your bills. Bad for the NHS. Bad for our schools. But have hope. A better future is available."

    The Start Up Allowance: budding entrepreneurs would receive £2600 over the first six months (£100 a week) of setting up their new business. It is to help with living costs in the testing early stages.
    The British Business Bank: founded by Vince Cable to investment in young, fast growing companies. The initial objective was to unlock £10 billion of new finance and bring greater choice. We want to expand that, and include mentoring.
    Costings/Savings
    The Start Up Allowance will cost £36m in 2018-19. In total, it would cost £146m by 2021-22.
    Implementation
    We aim to expand the British Business Bank in the next Budget, and introduce the Start Up Allowance by 2018.

  • Article: May 20, 2017

    "Child poverty has recently reached 4 million - and is projected by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to rise to 5.1 million by the end of the next parliament (assuming it's a five-year term). It's an urgent issue that requires urgent action.

    At Child Poverty Action Group we work on behalf of the one in four children in the UK growing up in poverty. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children's lives to put forward policies that will prevent and solve poverty - for good. And we work with policy makers to identify practical changes that will make a difference to families.

  • Article: May 20, 2017


    Recent figures published by the Health Service Journal show the number of GP's in the Bath, Wiltshire and Swindon area over 55 is one of the highest in the country.

    With more doctors leaving the NHS than joining it, fears are spreading that there could be a crisis as demand for services increases.

    The Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for South West Wiltshire Trevor Carbin said: "These figures are concerning when you take into consideration the pressure the NHS is already under. The Government now needs to do more to encourage people to take up a career in healthcare. Currently many are being put off, with almost half of junior doctors leaving the NHS after two years on the job training."

    Liberal Democrats have committed to introduce a 1p tax on income that would directly benefit the NHS and social care, raising £6bn a year.



    THE 11 AREAS AT HIGH RISK OF FACING A GP SHORTAGE
    Region Total GP number GPs per 10,000 population Percentage of GPs over 55
    Kent and Medway 851 4.73 24.2
    Somerset 338 6.3 24
    Lincolnshire 363 4.93 22.5
    Mid and South Essex 562 4.84 22.4
    Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton 454 4.92 21.9
    Gloucestershire 346 5.61 21.2
    Hertfordshire and West Essex 739 5.1 20.4
    Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire 474 5.3 19.3
    South West London 823 5.61 19.1
    Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly 314 5.69 19.1
    North East London 967 5.02 19


    Source: Health Service Journal

  • Article: May 20, 2017

    Vodafone 4G is now live in Trowbridge.

    In total, Vodafone say they have invested more than £2 billion in their network and services since 2014 and expect to spend another £2 billion over the next three years. In a sign of its confidence in the strength of its network, Vodafone recently introduced a Network Satisfaction Guarantee giving new and upgrading customers a 30 day trial to experience for themselves the quality of the network before they fully commit.

  • Article: May 20, 2017


    The Liberal Democrats have condemned Theresa May's proposed "dementia tax," as official figures have revealed the number of people diagnosed with dementia reached a record high last month.

    NHS statistics show that in April 2017, the number of patients recorded by GPs as having dementia was 442,000, more than double the 220,000 cases recorded 10 years ago.

    People with dementia often need care in their own homes for many years, meaning they would be hit with crippling costs to pay for their own care under Conservative proposals.

    Over 134,000 patients with dementia were below the age of 79, while 307,000 were 80 or older.

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb commented:

    "These figures reveal the impact Theresa May's dementia tax will have on thousands of vulnerable people across the country.

    "Frail and elderly people receiving care in their own home will now face a 'Personal Death Tax' charged against their home. And the more help you need, the more Theresa May will snatch away when you die.

    ""It is a betrayal of those who work hard all their lives, end up with a condition like dementia through no fault of their own and will now be hit with crippling costs to pay for their care.

    "The Liberal Democrats will stand up to Theresa May's cold, mean-spirited Britain, and fight for a cap on social care costs to protect people in their old age."



    Notes:

    NHS digital figures on dementia diagnoses published today can be found here

    Under Conservative proposals, for the first time, many people who receive care at home will have their home taken into account, to meet the costs when they die. This will apply to the almost half a million people who receive domiciliary care in the UK. Figures on the share of the average family home expected to be spent on social care costs by area can be found here, based on calculations provided by Royal London.

    The Liberal Democrats in coalition secured a commitment to introduce a cap on care costs from 2016. However this was first delayed by the Conservative government and has now been scrapped. The Liberal Democrats have committed in their manifesto to implementing the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission, which would mean a cap on care costs of £72,000

  • Article: May 16, 2017
    By Trevor Carbin

    The Refugee Council, Refugee Action and Scottish Refugee Council, are asking parliamentary candidates to sign the Refugees Welcome Pledge, which emphasises the importance of ensuring Britain continues to protect people fleeing conflict and horrific human rights abuses, as this country has done throughout history.

  • Article: May 16, 2017

    A message from The Prescription Charges Coalition, which is led by Parkinson's UK, Crohn's and Colitis UK, and National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society:

    .................................

    Aside from the prescription charge exemptions relating to age, pregnancy, income and other factors, there are exemptions for people who hold a valid medical exemption certificate. The list of conditions for which medical exemption certificates are issued has barely changed since 1968, and does not include most long-term conditions that are prevalent today.

  • Article: May 14, 2017

    Responding to Labour's announcement on NHS funding today, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:

    "You cannot solve the crisis in our NHS and social care services by simply imposing more top-down targets on staff and plucking numbers out of thin air.

    "The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a fully costed plan to deliver £6bn more per year for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax.

    "This is a plan endorsed by senior health experts including the former head of NHS England David Nicholson.

    "We will be honest with the public that giving the NHS and social care the funding they need will mean us all chipping in a little more."


    A group of 26 leading health experts including the former chief executive of the NHS David Nicholson, the ex-head of the Royal College of Nursing Peter Carter and the former chair of the Royal College of GPs Clare Gerada all backed Liberal Democrat plans on the NHS a letter to the Observer today (link).

  • Article: May 14, 2017

    Lib Dems: We need "Careers for Heroes"

    Liberal Democrats have today announced a package of measures aimed at tackling recruitment and retention challenges across the Armed Forces.

    These measures include cash incentives for new STEM graduates who join up, and a new "careers for heroes" scheme to pay for the full cost of further and higher education for Armed Forces personnel who have served for twelve or more years.

    These ambitious policies have been announced on the same day that the Liberal Democrats have committed to the NATO target of 2% defence spending.

    Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron said:

    "Liberal Democrats believe in a strong, credible UK Armed Forces which is properly equipped and trained for the challenges and threats we face in the 21st century.

    "This relies on proper investment in the men and women who serve our country, people who have been shamefully overlooked by the Conservative government for too many years. A Conservative party who would rather buy big ticket platforms than invest in the people needed to run them.

    "A recent independent report was a damning indictment of armed forces recruitment and retention, with some units facing 14% shortfalls in manpower.

    "That's why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will set out a bold set of measures to support personnel and address the critical skills shortfalls. We will incentivise STEM graduates to join the Armed Forces with a £10,000 golden handshake for those who sign up. Alongside this, we will fund further and higher education for those who leave the services with a 'Careers for Heroes' scheme.

    "Our Army, Navy and Airforce deserve the best and the brightest serving in them, and we must not stand by as those who have served face disadvantages.

    "The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can challenge Theresa May and stand up for the rights of those brave men and women who serve."

    Notes:

    1. The STEM scheme will be a cash incentive of £10,000 for those who commit to serving for five or more years, aimed at addressing capability shortfalls outlined in the 2017 Armed Forces Pay Review, which can be read here.
    2. The 'careers for heroes' scheme will offer full funding of higher or further education, at undergraduate level, up to a value of £9,000 per annum.