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Recent updates

  • Article: Jun 20, 2017

    Council leader Jane Scott has announced changes to the way the council is managed. The new structure will see the number of corporate directors increased from three to four. Details below. The aim of unifying health and social care, which has been much discussed over the years but with little progress, is to be encouraged by the adult social care post being jointly funded by WC and the NHS. The structure will see an additional cost to the taxpayer of 0.5 FTE.

  • Article: Jun 16, 2017

    The Wiltshire Online programme is designed to provide a fibre broadband service to those premises that commercial providers consider to be financially non-viable - about 40% of the county. The council's approach is designed to deliver fibre broadband to the greatest number of premises for the budget available.

  • Article: Jun 10, 2017

    What(ever) next? Here's a message from Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the European Movement.

    ………………………………….

    "At the beginning of the General Election campaign Theresa May said she was seeking a mandate to negotiate her sort of Brexit; the result denies her that mandate.

    The Prime Minister's version of Brexit was set out in the Conservative election manifesto; it said that sovereignty was a red line, and concluded that Britain must withdraw from both the Single Market and the Customs Union. In doing so it threatened our economic interests, and funding for our public services.

  • Article: Jun 6, 2017

    An application for change of use of the Westfield Road pub, which has been closed for some time, has been submitted to Wiltshire Council. It would be turned into a convenience store with a flat above and with five houses to the rear of the site.

    More details on WC website here

  • Article: Jun 2, 2017

    The NHS in the Wiltshire area could lose scores of staff as a result of Theresa May's extreme version of Brexit, the Liberal Democrats have warned.

    42% of nurses and over half of all doctors from the EU are considering leaving because of Brexit, according to recent research. This means, forexample, that an estimated 150 NHS staff are at risk of leaving the Royal United Hospital including 14 doctors and 45 nurses.

    This could create a million pound bill to re-hire doctors and nurses from the EU after 2019, due to Theresa May's plans for a £2000 immigration skills charge for each doctor, nurse and health worker brought in from abroad.

    The Liberal Democrats have called for an immediate guarantee that all EU nationals in the UK, including those working in the NHS and social care, can stay after Brexit.

    Liberal Democrat candidate Trevor Carbin said:

    "Our hospitals in depend on doctors, nurses and other support staff from the EU. But many are now planning to leave because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

    "We must guarantee their rights to stay here immediately to prevent a damaging exodus of these skilled and hard-working people. Our NHS, and the care we all rely on, would suffer without them.

    "The NHS is far too precious to be damaged by Theresa May's decision to pursue a UKIP-style Brexit.

    "The Liberal Democrats will resist Theresa May's extreme Brexit and would give the people the final say, with the choice to remain in the European Union if they don't like the deal on offer."


    Notes

    1. More than half (55.6%) of the 10,000 doctors from the EU working in the NHS are now considering leaving the UK because of the referendum result, according to a survey conducted by the General Medical Council (link)

    2. Survey data suggests that up to 26,500 members of NHS staff from the EU could leave the UK as a result of Brexit (link)

    3. Full figures on the number EU nationals by local NHS trust and estimates of those considering leaving the UK because of Brexit can be found here

    4. The Liberal Democrat manifesto commits to immediately guaranteeing the rights of all EU nationals working in the NHS and social care. (link)

  • skoluncs
    Article: Jun 1, 2017

    A message from headteachers via Change.org:

    "The Conservatives have pledged to abolish universal free school lunches for infants. Instead they are proposing free breakfasts for every child. As a headteacher I know first-hand how important free school lunches are and the damage taking them away will do - for example unlike school lunches, breakfasts have no minimum fruit and vegetable portions.

    This policy change will damage children's health, well-being, attainment and academic results. Scrapping free school lunch for infants is simply bad decision making.

    This country is facing an obesity epidemic; one in three children leave primary school overweight or obese. Giving children a proper, nutritious cooked meal in the middle of the day has also been shown to improve a child's overall diet, not just at school. School meals are a vital weapon in the fight to improve our nation's health. To undo this work would be irresponsible.

    We know that the poorest children benefit most from free school lunches. Alarmingly, without universal access to free school lunches, two thirds of children who live in poverty would still not qualify for free school meals - without these, they'll miss out, every day. Currently, all disadvantaged infant kids have access to a hot meal everyday at school and, for some, this may be the only proper meal they eat all day. Meanwhile, 99% of packed lunches do not meet the nutritional guidelines set for school food - without a free lunch, the number of kids eating packed lunches is certain to increase.

    Importantly, school lunchtime is an opportunity for staff and pupils to sit together and talk about issues that concern them. Children get quality adult time and staff can also use the time to encourage children to eat healthily. Free school lunches encourage this essential childhood development. Lunch also has a far wider reach than breakfast. Increasing the number of breakfast clubs in schools is a great idea. But it can't be breakfast versus lunch. Not all kids will be at school in time for a free breakfast, but they will all be there for lunch.

    Please join our call to protect our children and keep universal free school lunches."

    Tim Baker, Headteacher, Charlton Manor Primary School, Greenwich, London and...

    Jason O'Rourke, Headteacher, Washingborough Academy, Lincolnshire
    Richard Dunne, Headteacher, Ashley Primary School, Surrey
    Darren Rubin, Headteacher, St Paul's Whitechapel, London
    Terry Bennett, Executive Headteacher, St Paul's Whitechapel & St John's Bethnal Green CE Primary Schools, London
    Nerissa Nicholas, Headteacher, St James Catholic Primary School, Millom, Cumbria
    Emyr Fairburn, Headteacher, King's Cross Academy, London
    Headteachers from Collaton St Mary, Galmpton Primary, St Margaret's Academy, Hayes Primary, Sherwell Valley, Roselands Primary, Devon
    Karen Collett, Headteacher, Haddenham St Mary's, Buckinghamshire

    Photo credit: Reach Academy Feltham

  • Article: May 29, 2017

    Plans by Theresa May to axe free school lunches would waste the £786,427 invested in the county to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Liberal Democrats.

    It comes after figures revealed 13,630 children in Wiltshire are set to lose out under the Conservative proposals.

    The coalition government invested £160m upgrading school kitchen facilities to enable them to prepare hot lunches.

  • 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.