The absurd and childish decision of Mayor Anderson

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This sad and battered Teddy is believed to be the very Teddy that Mayor Anderson threw out of his pram yesterday in his ongoing spat with Mayor Rotheram!

Having been a campaigner in Liverpool for 43 years I thought nothing would ever surprise me again about the way that Labour behave in our City. I was wrong. To say my jaw dropped when I heard from the Liverpool Echo that Mayor Anderson had withdrawn both himself and Liverpool staff from the Combined Authority is an understatement.

The City Region only exists because Anderson fought for it. It only has a Mayor now because he managed at the last moment to herd the fighting cats of the LCR Labour Leadership to make a last minute and incredibly weak bid to meet government deadlines and requirements. This time last year he approached me and through me the Lib Dems across the Region because he felt that we needed to work together in the face of the problems that our Region would be faced with post the BREXIT vote. Lib Dems agreed with him, met with Labour Leaders and even put forward a set of suggestions of our own about the policies and procedures that we could work with Labour on.

That, of course, came to nothing when Anderson did not get the Mayoral go ahead from the region’s Labour Party. We heard nothing back despite several attempts and in the end the idea petered out. So now we have the situation where Anderson will not speak to two important people. He won’t talk to the MP for Walton, because he was beaten to that job and he won’t talk to the Mayor of the City Region because he didn’t get that job. Well the situation that our Country and Region is in means that we will talk to both of those people although we would have preferred to see Kris Brown as the MP for Walton and Cllr Carl Cashman as the Regional Mayor.

There is never a place for Toy Town politics and there certainly isn’t a place when our economy nationally is tanking and our Region is set to go the same way. Now is a time when we do agree to work together and we do, wherever possible, set aside our differences and see what common ground there is to campaign together for the common good.

So I have written to City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram offering Lib Dem support to both him and the Combined Authority in the aftermath of Mayor Anderson withdrawing Liverpool Council support for the City Region.

I make clear that the Lib Dems in the City Region agreed last year to meet with Mayor Anderson and work with him and that nothing came of that offer. I am repeating the offer to Mayor Rotheram because we believe it is important that the LCR works well in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and the worsening financial state of the Country.

This is a genuine offer to bridge the political divide and work together to provide hope for the people of our communities across the City Region. I hope that Mayor Rotheram responds to this more positively than Mayor Anderson

The full letter to Mayor Rotheram is appended

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

Richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk

                                                           07885 626913

Steve Rotheram,

Mayor,

Liverpool City Region,

Mann Island

By e-mail

23rd June 2017

Dear Steve,

The day after the EU referendum last year I was surprised to get a phone call from Mayor Anderson. You will appreciate that this is not something that happens often! He asked to see me because of his concern that Merseyside would suffer after EU for a whole variety of reasons and that all Parties in the region should work together to mitigate the effects of Brexit. He approached me because the Lib Dems are the major opposition Party in Merseyside and the only one who, like Labour, have representation on every council.

I called a meeting for all our 6 Group Leaders and they agreed to cooperate with Mayor Anderson, who was then leading the Combined Authority, and 5 of us attended a meeting with all the Labour Leaders after a CA meeting and agreed to put forward some areas for discussion where we thought we could work together. We did this is a paper which not only looked at policy areas but also mechanisms for establishing effective joint working operations in this time of stress and concern.

We believe that the LCR which you lead is a weak organisation. The deal negotiated by the 6 Labour Leaders in the Combined Authority is vastly inferior to the one that Manchester has. BUT it is the only deal that is now available to us. We took the view that even though the powers were limited the influence of an LCR Mayor would be great if we all work together.

We submitted the paper and waited for a response. A response that never came! Of course what happened soon after that was that you became Labour’s candidate for the LCR Mayoral position.

I am writing to you because I have been both astonished and appalled at the fact that Mayor Anderson has now withdrawn both his presence and that of Liverpool staff from the Combined Authority. He is doing something that contradicts his own opinion of just 12 months ago that we needed to work together in these troubled times.

So if Mayor Anderson will not work with you let me reiterate the offer made by the Lib Dem Group Leaders 12 months ago that we will. We do not agree with you on everything. We put a lot of effort into supporting Cllr Cashman in May and in defining a radical manifesto which had many similarities but also crucial differences to yours.  But we still agree with what Mayor Anderson said last year that we need to overcome our political differences and work together to ensure our success as a City Region.

On that basis I would be pleased to coordinate a meeting with you and the 6 Lib Dem Group at which we could look at our ideas and yours and work out if and possibly how we could suspend hostilities and work together at LCR level to fight for the cash, the jobs and the influence that we believe the people of our area both need and deserve.

If you are interested in taking this further please do not hesitate to contact me and I will coordinate things with my Group Leader colleagues.

I am releasing this letter to the press not in any way to try and force your hand, your decision is your decision, but because I believe that all people of good will need to come together to defeat the ‘bull in a china shop’ attitude of Mayor Anderson.

I look forward to hearing from you

Yours sincerely,

 

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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4 Unanswered Questions about our Chief Executive

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Liverpool Council is not the model of transparency and good governance that I think it should be!!

For the past few weeks I have been trying, with limited success, to get a response to a number of questions that I think the taxpayers of Liverpool are entitled to know about the way that our Chief Executive is being treated and why he is being treated differently than any other member of staff.

The 4 questions (which encompass a number of other questions) are:

  1. I want an assurance that no money is being for any legal assistance or advice from any source within the council for anything to do with the past employment of Mr Fitzgerald.
  2. I want to see all instructions to and invoices from Eversheds.
  3. I want to see all Counsel’s advice regarding the current employment of Mr Fitzgerald and his treatment in relations to his arrest and subsequent bailing.
  4. I want to know why the Council is treating Mr Fitzgerald one way and all other staff another.

You will see from the full letter which is appended that no other council in the Liverpool City Region behaves like Liverpool Council does and no other council anywhere in the Country as far as I have been able to find out.

In addition to these questions there are three more questions which I am sure strike you as much as they strike me:

  1. Why am I only getting partial answers to questions?
  2. Why is the Council taking so long to reply?
  3. Why haven’t arrangements been made for me to see documents which I am entitled to see as an elected member of the Council?

If you read the letter you will also see that I am being assisted by council staff from outside Liverpool at a very senior level who are appalled at the way Liverpool is behaving and the way that this will, inevitably, drag down the whole of our sector. It will be obvious to all that I am not clever enough to think up these questions by myself!!

I have asked several times for the Improvement and Development Agency to undertake a review of our corporate governance. This would involve experts from the sector coming in at no cost to Liverpool to examine the way we do things. Of course that suggestion has never been taken up by Liverpool Council

Let me make clear to you and the wider population of Liverpool that I will not give up asking these questions. What is happening in these regards is just a small part of the Stalinist centralisation of control within our Council. I should not have to keep reminding the controlling group that the Council and the City belong to the people and are answerable to the people and not a small cabal of politicians and developers whose opinions seem more important than anyone else’s’

My letter to a senior council officer:

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

Richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk

                                                           07885 626913

Xxxxxxxx  Xxxxxxxxxxxx,

XXXX XXXXXXXXX,

By E-Mail

19th June 2017

Dear XXXX  XXXXXXXX,

Re:       Ged Fitzgerald

You will no doubt recall that I have e-mailed you on several occasions  asking a very specific series of questions about the way we are treating Mr Fitzgerald the Chief Executive both in relationship to his previous employment with Rotheram Council and his being arrested and bailed on matters relating to LDL and OCL Ltd.

You will recall that in that in my first substantive e-mail I asked whether the council was making any payments in regard to previous the employment of Mr Fitzgerald in Rotheram.

In response to your reply to this I asked the following question:

“I am, as you know, a bear of little brain. Is the summary of all your responses that we are not paying any solicitor/counsel anywhere to work on issues relating to prior employment of Mr Fitzgerald and never have done?

Your response was, “Mr Fitzgerald has not had the benefit of the City Council indemnity for legal fees for any matters relating to prior employment”

As this only partially answered my question I responded with a question written by another local authority solicitor from a major authority:

“I understand that in relation to an investigation being undertaken by external solicitors on behalf of Rotherham Council which includes the time Mr Fitzgerald was Chief Executive there, Liverpool City Council may have instructed external lawyers to act either on its behalf or Mr Fitzgerald’s behalf. I believe that firm is Eversheds. Please confirm whether they or any other lawyer is instructed, on whose behalf, since when, and what payments have been made by the council in respect of any such advice. If indeed lawyers are instructed, please confirm who is instructing them and with what powers /authority.” 

You will further recall that on 7th. June you e-mailed me saying that you had to divert your activity to General Election work, which I accepted, but that you would respond to the above and other questions after the election.

I also asked, which I understand that I am entitled to do under audit rules, to see the instructions for solicitors or counsel and solicitors in this regard and copies of the invoices which pertain to the employment of Eversheds in this area of work

You will note that I e-mailed you again on 15th June saying that I was expecting a reply. I have yet to get an answer from you on these and the issues which I now raise again below.

I now turn to the current situation regarding Mr Fitzgerald who has today been further bailed without charge until almost the end of August. This will mean, if the same conditions apply to his employment with us as pertain today, that we will pay £50,000 to Mr Fitzgerald to do nothing!

In my e-mails to you I pointed out that I am advised by other local government solicitors that the payment of salary to Mr Fitzgerald is ultra vires unless he has been suspended without prejudice according to his contract. We simply have no power under section 112 of the Local Government Act 1972 to make payments to staff for not working. They point out that a small length of time might be acceptable. We might, for example, grant extra paid compassionate leave for a short period of time in the case of death or family difficulty, but three months is not a short time!

I have asked to see the advice that you received from counsel in this matter. I have yet to see this advice as you have made no arrangements for me to do so. In particular I now wish to know what advice the Council has received about the time span in which a sympathetic employer must move to a fully contractual situation with staff to avoid being ultra vires.

I would also like to deal with the question of the way that we deal with all our staff. Whilst it is absolutely true that all citizens are treated equally before the law it must also be true that all employees are treated equally by the council.

The Mayor told us in full Council that the Council had received advice that even if we had suspended without prejudice, that act in itself was prejudicial. That is, of course a nonsense. According to information from the HR staff of the Council Liverpool has suspended 58 members of staff since 2009 of which 3 were suspended in relation to police action. Of these 58, 36 returned to work and 22 did not. Again according to our HR staff no other employee has been allowed to voluntarily relinquish work and still get paid for it.

On enquiring to the other 5 councils in the Liverpool City Region all of them use the practice of suspending without prejudice where necessary to protect both the council concerned and the member of staff. In enquiries further afield I have yet to find a council or other public or private sector body which does not do likewise.

Does the opinion of counsel indicate why the Chief Executive should be treated differently than any other member of staff? If not would you please give your justification for doing this?

So could I summarise?

  1. I want an assurance that no money is being for any legal assistance or advice from any source within the council for anything to do with the past employment of Mr Fitzgerald as in the detailed question above.
  2. I want to see all instructions to and invoices from Eversheds.
  3. I want to see all Counsel’s advice regarding the current employment of Mr Fitzgerald and his treatment in relations to his arrest and subsequent bailing.
  4. I want to know why the Council is treating Mr Fitzgerald one way and all other staff another.

I think have been very patient in the time that I have been waiting for a response to you regarding these issues and look forward to receiving an early reply.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

AT LAST A RESPONSE FROM THE COUNCIL WHICH BASICALLY SAYS THAT IT CANNOT GIVE ME A RESPONSE!!!!

1. The City Council has had cause to seek advice from Eversheds on an issue relating to the Chief Executives previous employment at Rotherham. The employment of Eversheds to deal with this issue was authorised by both the Monitoring Officer and the s151 Officer. The advice sought by the City Council was pertinent to the position of the City Council and not the Chief Executive personally.

2. Instructions to Eversheds were given initially in a meeting and subsequent instructions followed in a telephone conference call. No final invoice has been issued by Eversheds as we are in discussion about level of fees.

3 and 4. Counsel has not advised as to the issues you set out at 3 and 4 . External solicitors advised orally at a meeting and that Advice is to be confirmed in writing. The external lawyer advising has been away for a short period  so the written Advice has not yet been received. Once the written Advice is to hand , any disclosure of that Advice will be subject to the Access to Information Rules in accordance with legislation and the City Councils own Constitution

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Some small good points in today’s car crash of a Queens Speech

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I am delighted that Norman Lamb has been reappointed as Lib Dem Health Spokes although he may soon be called to higher things!!

Amongst the wreckage of the Tory Manifesto which was not announced in the Queens Speech today there were a couple of things which pertain to my national spokes role on Health and Social Care at the LGA which I think are worthy of mention!

SOCIAL CARE PROPOSALS

Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers are united on the need for the Government to take urgent action to secure a sustainable funding solution for adult social care both now and in future years.

While the £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget by the previous government was a step in the right direction, adult social care is at a tipping point. The Government must now set out in detail its proposals at the earliest opportunity for how it will close the £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, and provide the vital services not just for older people but all adults requiring support, including those with physical and learning disabilities, and mental illness. There is a massive staff turnover in the sector where pay is still poor given the demands of the job despite the creation of the national living wage. People need the certainty of the costs cap proposed by Andrew Dilnot and accepted by the Government in 2013 if families and councils can plan effectively for social care costs for individuals and communities.

This must also include consideration of how best to share the costs of social care fairly between the state and individual. The idea that we can continue to increase council tax, which is a very unfair tax, to meet the huge needs created by increased long-life is naïve. That is why the Liberal Democrats set out clearly at the General Election policy that we should increase income tax by 1% and that the £6.1 billion that would be raised would be shared fairly with social care and public health providers.

While this is difficult territory, local government and the Lib Dems stand ready and waiting to work with government to deliver a long-term sustainable funding solution for social care. Indeed Norman Lamb MP our health spokesperson has already tried to instigate the development of an all-party consensus on how to assure the long-term sustainability of the of health and café systems. Money alone is not the answer. There has been a 71% increase in real terms in NHS spending between the financial years 2004/2004 and 2015/2016 but no one thinks that our health is 71% better or that the NHS is performing 71% more efficiently.

Councils and Lib Dems are clear that all solutions must be on the table for discussion in the interests of securing the cross-party consensus that is needed to forge a way forward.”

MENTAL HEALTH REFORM

The mental wellbeing of our local communities is fundamental to a healthy and prosperous society and a new Draft Mental Health Bill provides an opportunity to prioritise this. We have seen in Liverpool that the CCG does not accord mental illness the same importance as physical illness. This is despite the very clear linkages between the two and the numerous reports which make clear that strong metal health leads to enhanced physical health for many people.

Additional funding for the NHS to tackle mental illness is clearly a good thing, but it is important to remember that councils have a significant role in addressing this as well.

Future money for mental health must explicitly include investment directed towards supporting the work councils do. Councils deliver a range of mental health services, such as providing a home and support for people who have received treatment for a mental health condition so they can move out of hospital, or helping people get active, stop smoking and cut down on drinking. Councils also provide services that help people recover, get back into work and that help their families and carers during difficult times.

Of course the work that we as councils do is not only in our housing, public health and social care roles. Everything that we do well from the provision of parks and libraries to the strategic provision of transport and the planning of effective and viable communities either helps or hinders health outputs and outcomes. Keeping the community healthy is the very raison d’etre for our existence.

Lib Dems are also pleased there will be a Green Paper on children’s mental health. Councils have been clear that we need a root and branch overhaul of children’s mental health services that ensures children get access to the right treatment at an early stage. This should also include talking about mental health at school to help children become resilient, reducing future need for mental health treatment.

Community based services can help keep children out of hospital and it is vital that specialist referral systems are also adequately funded to allow intensive counselling to children who need it.

Unless we all raise awareness to overcome the stigma associated with mental health issues and provide parents with information on how to discuss mental health with their children, then vulnerable youngsters may remain under the radar, causing lifelong damage and preventing them reaching their true potential.

Norman Lamb has been reappointed as Health Spokes (although he might move on to other things!) I have already met with him since the General Election to see how we can work together on the independent review of social and health care and the creation of a cross-party consensus on health. I look forward to working with him no matter which hat he is wearing and continuing my role within the LGA working with councillors from all Parties in a consensual way on these crucial issues which affect us all.

On a lighter (slightly) note I have been a very good boy! I actual did my bowel cancer screening test – don’t ask for details – and have got an all clear. I went last week for a blood test and followed it up with a trip to my GP. I know some will be disappointed but I have been signed off as in sound health for an old codger with perhaps a slight tendency to drink too much causing minor cholesterol problems. Don’t worry I will be delivering Focus for decades to come.

More seriously it is important that we all undertake the tests and screenings available to us. Not only does this save our health but it also saves the health service a fortune in acute care costs. Women are much better at doing this than men. Don’t be the strong silent type. That is a killer. Get on with it, get the rubber gloves out, do the tests and if there are problems they can be caught early and cheaply.

Here endeth the lesson!

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So who should the next Lib Dem Leader be?

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Tim Farron was a great Leader of our Party. He should be proud of his achievements in just 2 years in terms of increased numbers of members, councillors and MPs

Before answering the question of the day for us Lib Dems I just want to reflect for a few moments on our current and soon to be ex-Leader, Tim Farron.

I voted for Tim in the last election. It was a close call but I saw many strong characteristics in Tim just a few more than I saw in Norman. For me, however, the final choice was one of proximity. I live and campaign in the North West and so does he. I would have been happy, though, whichever of the candidates had been elected and would have worked solidly with them. Indeed circumstances caused me to work most closely with Norman as I became the Lib Dem spokes on Health & Social Care at the LGA.

It is a disgrace that Tim’s religious views became the object of such intensity that he thinks it obscures, and crucially will obscure, his political campaigning. I have known Tim for many years. I am not a Christian or hold any religious faith. Tim has known this and has never tried to convert me and has never tried to prove his politics via his faith or vice versa. It may well be that some of his more fervent policies such as caring for refugees and environmentalism stem from his religious faith. However I hold exactly the same views on these and almost every other issue without that faith background.

It is a sad reflection of our times that journalists seek to concentrate on prurient delving into sexual issues than concentrate on big picture stories. If Tim’s religion had caused him to say and do things which were incompatible with liberalism and the concepts enshrined in our Party’s constitution he should never have become our Leader. BUT they are not. Tim is a man of great integrity. He simply would not have joined our Party unless he did believe in those basic concepts.

So let’s turn to the runners and riders. Again I can honestly say that I don’t care who our next Leader is not because I am disinterested in the choices but because I am absolutely confident that any of them will be a great Leader and build on the improvements in membership, councillor and MP numbers that is Tim’s legacy. I have already told one of the potential candidates that if they choose to stand I will quickly, publicly and energetically support them. But if they do not stand I will absolutely understand the reasons for that and assist another candidate.

So let’s look at the runners and riders in turn. For reasons of strict neutrality I am doing it alphabetically:

Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable. Vince is a man of huge gravitas and humanity. He can equally dance across the ballroom floor or across the economic statistics which a Shadow Chancellor or Leader has to deal with. There is no doubt in my mind that he is very much respected by both commentators and public alike. He was the only politician who warned us of the finance downturn to come pre 2007. As BIS Secretary he pushed manufacturing onto the agenda after years of decline in which Tory and Labour Government alike thought that trickle down from the city of London would solve all our problems.

Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey. I have known Ed longer than most. In fact he met his wife as a member of a Housing Policy Group which he and I chaired. He was a Post Office Minister when I acted as an adviser to them but it was as Environment Secretary that he made his mark. He understood the importance of both local and global actions on climate change supporting both the Paris Agreement and a concordat with the Local Government Association for which I was the LGA signatory. He too has a fierce intellect and understanding of the way that Government and the World work. He can, and does, talk about many issues with passion but it is the crucial area of the environment that is his passion.

Norman Lamb would probably be offered a sainthood by most of people in the NHS who I meet. He understands the need for cultural change in the organisation that he defends to the hilt on a daily basis. But he knows that defending is not enough. He established the independent commission on the funding of NHS and social care which led him to propose the very popular policy of increasing income tax by 1% to provide £6.1 billion. However despite the pressures on the NHS he suggested that most of this should be spent on public health and social care. Come to think of it I first really worked with him when he was Post Office Minister as well!

Jo Swinson is the final contender and just to complete my work with the Post Office she too was a Post Office Minister when I worked for them! Some people underestimate her because of her friendly style and lovely personality. That is their biggest mistake. Jo is one clever woman who would take forward our causes in terms of gender equality with a vengeance but is in no way a one-trick pony. I have heard her speak on a number of subjects with particularly strong views on the business and commercial sectors which will feature so clearly in coming months as the Government botches and bungles our exit from the EU.

I suspect that over the next few days we will all know who is going to stand. I haven’t a clue who will win partly because I don’t know our membership as well as I did. At the time of our last leadership election we had about 50,000 members. Now we have well over 100,000. I would be delighted to arrange hustings meetings in Liverpool for any and all of these four fine people although I will quickly make my own preference known.

I hope that the election will be conducted with the same grace and good will as the one in 2015. And I hope that just as we did in 2015 we rapidly fall in behind the new leader to add even more councillors to our tally in the short term and MPs to our Parliamentary Party in the long-term.

 

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Lib Dems call for Urgent Review of the running of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

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The NHS needs to have people within it capable of developing long-term strategies in the light of short term difficulties.

Today I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement asking his organisation to undertake an immediate inspection of the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group in the light of its announcements of cuts to two front line community care organisations, YPAS and the Alzheimer’s Society and its negligent governance revealed by Labour MP for West Lands Rosie Cooper.

In a letter to the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement I have said,

“I am writing to you to ask you to take urgent action to review the capacity of the Liverpool CCG to undertake its affairs in a strategic and effective way

I am prompted to do this by three things:

  1. The cuts of almost 50% to the Young Persons’ Advisory Service
  2. The cuts of more than 50% to the Alzheimer’s Society.
  3. The obscenity of the 30% increase in payment for some Board members without due process or authorisation.

We know that the NHS is facing severe pressures as are all parts of the public sector. But we also know that the only way to relieve the pressure on our acute services is to do more in terms of stopping people becoming ill (Public Health) and treating them in the community at all stages where possible (Primary and Social Care). The cuts being made by the CCG fly in the face of this knowledge.

These two cuts (and there may well be more that I do not know about) will not save money. They are penny wise and pound foolish. By not helping young people with mental health problems and the elderly with dementia in the community the result will be more people needing expensive acute beds which are already under severe pressure”.

Bearing in mind my national brief as Lib Dem spokes on Health and Social care at the LGA I have also said, “Liverpool and all parts of England need to have in place CCGs and Trusts capable of thinking ahead and taking hard decisions about hard priorities. I now have no confidence in the ability of the CCG in Liverpool to do this”.

The full letter to NHS Improvement Chief Executive Jim Mackey is appended.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

Richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk

                                                           07885 626913

 

Jim Mackey

Chief Executive,

NHS Improvement,

Wellington House,

133-135 Waterloo Road,

London SE1 8US

14th June 2017

Dear Sir,

Re:       Liverpool CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)

I am writing to you to ask you to take urgent action to review the capacity of the Liverpool CCG to undertake its affairs in a strategic and effective way.

I am prompted to do this by three things:

  • The cuts of almost 50% to the Young Persons’ Advisory Service
  • The cuts of more than 50% to the Alzheimer’s Society.
  • The obscenity of the 30% increase in payment for some Board members without due process or authorisation.

We know that the NHS is facing severe pressures as are all parts of the public sector. But we also know that the only way to relieve the pressure on our acute services is to do more in terms of stopping people becoming ill (Public Health) and treating them in the community at all stages where possible (Primary and Social Care). The cuts being made by the CCG fly in the face of this knowledge.

These two cuts (and there may well be more that I do not know about) will not save money. They are penny wise and pound foolish. By not helping young people with mental health problems and the elderly with dementia in the community the result will be more people needing expensive acute beds which are already under severe pressure.

The priority of the CCG appears not to be to have long-term strategies being developed to move money from acute care but to line the pockets of people who are, at least in public sector terms already very well paid.

Although relations between the CCG and its predecessors have always been good I am afraid that I now have no confidence in their ability to chart the way for the NHS through troubled waters in Liverpool. As an elected representative on the Health & Well Being Board I do not feel that information is being shared with us to ensure that we fulfil our role of undertaking the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and the policies and programmes that should flow from this.

I would be pleased to talk with you at greater length about this but in the meantime I seek an urgent assurance from you that you either are or will be looking at the workings of the Liverpool CCG to examine both their strategies and their processes to ensure that the People of Liverpool are being looked after properly in these troubled times

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Leader Liverpool Liberal Democrats,

Lib Dem Spokesperson on Health & Social Care, Local Government Association

 

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So what the hell happened at the General Election?

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The bird is still flying with a 50% increase in MPs compared to just 2 years ago. Another 436 votes in 4 constituencies would have given us 4 more MPs

Ok I was wrong. I didn’t see at the start of the campaign how Labour wouldn’t be net losers of seats. I don’t feel bad about this error as it was shared by most commentators and politicians including most politicians in the Labour Party. I still don’t know how much of the result was pro-Labour as distinct to anti-Tory so let’s examine each of the Parties in turn:

The Tory Party were clearly the big losers in the election campaign. For the first time that I can ever remember in 50+years their campaign was an utter disaster. To begin with it was an unnecessary election. May had a working majority and the size of her majority cuts no weight with our EU members. But it went from bad to worse. Three things particularly struck me during the campaign:

  1. That the Tories had an uncosted manifesto. Can you imagine what they would have said if the Labour or Lib Dem Parties had done so. In fact they claimed at one stage that it was not an uncosted manifesto but a manifesto that had not yet been costed! This led to the next two errors:
  2. Their ill-thought replacement for free school meals for infants children which when dissected meant that breakfasts would have to cost no more than 7p per breakfast including staff costs to meet the £60million available
  3. The dementia tax which had to be withdrawn during the campaign because some smart-alecs in CCHQ had no idea how the system worked and what the costs and effects would be.

The Greens were also big losers. In all but 2 or 3 seats their vote is derisory. In Liverpool they lost all 5 deposits after losing £5,000 in the Mayoral election just 5 weeks ago. They have been shown to be of little value within the political system with almost all their valid green policies already being pursued by Lib Dems and Labour

UKIP have almost disappeared. With few seats fought and nowhere in contention even in areas where last time they were getting 20% of the vote they are now totally irrelevant. I suspect though that Nuttall is even now recrafting his CV to prove that he was elected Prime Minister yesterday. I can only wonder if the BBC will continue to give this semi-fascist rump the oxygen of air time that they have not deserved since 2015.

Labour were clearly the big winners. They fought a good campaign although many of their programmes were uncosted and undeliverable. Corbyn discovered at the last minute a gravitas that has eluded him for 40+ years in the Commons. Many of their other leaders, notably Diane Abbott, were poor and often their approach was muddled. However their policies had resonance with people who are seeking way out in difficult times. In that way, and that way alone, they have a similarity with the Trump surge in the USA. Undeliverable hope which people cling to but in Corbyn’s case will not be tested.

The SNP had a score draw in my opinion. Yes they lost 21 seats overall including their deputy and former leaders. But if you had said in 2014 that they would have the majority of Scottish MPs everyone, including the SNP, would have laughed at you. They have been shown that independence is not the only issue which Scottish people are interested in and that governing is a difficult business.

The Lib Dems also fought their way to a score draw position. Our national share of the vote went down but our number of MPs went up. From a 2015 low of 8 we returned 12 MPs including heavy hitters such as Ed Davey on green issues, Vince Cable on Economic and business issues and Jo Swinson on women’s and science issues. And it’s a diverse team as well. In 2015 just 8 men were elected. This time its 8 men and 4 women. Still not gender equality but a very credible base for a way forward. Tim Farron performed well and with passion and is now much better known than prior to the election.

Outside the main political movements there were three seats that I personally think are worthy of mention.

Sheffield Hallam where Nick Clegg lost his seat. Nick is a good man with a tremendous intellect and a huge grasp of the issue which will dominate UK politics for the next 2 years – BREXIT. His is a loss not just for the Lib Dems but for Parliament as a whole as it attempts to grapple with this huge issue.

Shipley where the loathsome Phil Davies lost his seat to Labour. He comes from a bad family his father was English Defence League Mayor of Doncaster. He is a loathsome misogynist and parliament is well rid of his loathsome filibustering to stop reasonable progressive Bills becoming Acts of Parliament.

North Norfolk where the marvellous Norman Lamb retained his seat. I have never met an MP who is so respected across the political divide as Norman. His reputation as a good man, a good politician and a fervent believer in a good NHS stood him in good stead yesterday as people of all political persuasions joined together to keep him fighting for them.

So what next? On a personal level I am off for two days on a surprise holiday for Erica. I want to spend loads of time with her after 10 hard weeks campaigning. I just hope she wants to spend loads of time with me!

Politically every Party needs to ponder and think about themselves and the future. We have clearly seen a lurch to left and right in this election and I still fervently believe that politics needs to regroup around a progressive centre where good economics is balanced with good social policy.

I will be meeting colleagues both locally and nationally over the next few weeks to discuss ways forward at all levels for our Party and my role in it.

In the meantime thanks to all that supported our Party and all that voted for. Today is just the start of the next campaign!

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Thank you so much the people of Liverpool

Rally

The Lib Dem team for Liverpool say, “Thank You” to the people of Liverpool for the wonderful and friendly reception we have received during the 2017 Geberal Election

I am writing and posting this on behalf of all the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates in Liverpool.

Firstly I would like to thank you for the courteous and friendly reception that we have received as we have criss-crossed the City talking to people or responding to the thousands of e-mails that we have received and corresponded with. So many people have complimented us the work that we are doing as the only opposition to the disastrous Anderson regime in the City. In fact many of you have wanted to engage us more on crucial local issues such as vanity schemes, the sale of parts of our Parks and the inefficiency of the Council than on the national issues.

We have dealt on the doorstep and in the media and at a limited number of public meetings with fox hunting; the state of the NHS; hard or soft Brexit; social care, the state of our Parks and how to stop Joe Anderson developing them; persecution of Christians; International Aid; benefits …… the list is almost endless! We hope we have replied to all the e-mails sent to us but if not please accept our apologies we have each had hundreds of them so some may have been overlooked.

We have particularly campaigned on Brexit because the consequences of a hard Brexit outside the single market will have terrible consequences for Liverpool and on the NHS where for more than 30 years successive governments have failed to prepare for the increasing number of elderly and the health problems that so many of them have.

The decision now is yours. We just want to remind you of one thing. That the seats in Liverpool will be won either by Lib Dems or by Labour. The Tories have not elected an MP in Liverpool since 1979. They have not even elected a councillor here since 1985. Last year in the Mayoral elections I came a very clear second to Mayor Anderson with the Greens getting less than half my vote and the Tory losing his deposit.

Whatever the result we can assure you that we will continue to campaign on behalf of the people of Liverpool all year round. For Liberal Democrats an election campaign is only part of our work. We campaign all year round with people from within the communities that we represent and hope to represent because at the end of the day that is what politics should be about.

Kind regards,

Richard

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Liverpool Wavertree

Also on behalf of

Kris Brown, Lib Dem Candidate for Liverpool Walton

Anna Martin, Lib Dem Candidate for Garston & Halewood

Paul Parr, Lib Dem Candidate for Liverpool West Derby

Tom Sebire, Lib Dem Candidate for Liverpool Riverside

Published and Promoted by Kris Brown of 509, Smithdown Road, Liverpool 15 on behalf of the above mentioned Lib Dem Candidates for Liverpool Constituencies

 

 

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