Lib Dems plan tax cut to over 6 million pensioners!

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The Liberal Democrats (pictured, Danny Alexander) are planning to burnish their credentials as the tax-cutting party for the low paid and pensioners by floating the possibility of cutting national insurance contributions for anyone earning below £12,500 a year.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat city councillor, Darren Fower said:

“This move will also give a tax cut to over 6 million pensioners. This commitment is part of the Liberal Democrat ambition to develop a generational shift to a fairer tax system that rewards work and helps working people.

“By April next year, thanks to Liberal Democrats in government, a tax cut to over 26 million people worth £800 a year to a typical basic-rate taxpayer, will have been delivered and taken over 3 million out of tax altogether!”

  • Employees currently start paying national insurance on earnings above £153 a week, or £7,956 a year, at a rate of 12%.
  • Lib Dems are working to raise this to £12,500 by the end of the next parliament.
  • The Lib Dems are already set to beat the goal set out in their 2010 manifesto to raise the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 in this parliament, by £500 a month before polling day.
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that aligning the income tax allowance with employee national insurance contributions would lead to tax cuts for 1.2m employees.
What about rewards for reporting faulty street lights?

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After reporting further faulty lights in and around the city, local Lib Dem councillor, Darren Fower, says he thinks it’s time the Council looked at incentivising local citizens to report such matters, by using more contemporary forms than providing a telephone number to call?

Commenting, Darren said:

“We’ve got apps and smart phones almost everywhere we look these days, so why not make use of them?

“Reporting a faulty street light, not only helps the contractors save time and therefore money, it also prevents the wasting of electricity, which is always a good thing.

“I cannot see any reason why each and every street light should not have a QR code place upon it, in order for people to then scan it and have the details sent off to get it fixed?

“In return, say after 10 lights being reported the citizen could receive a decent gift, at the end of the year, the person in the city who’s reported the most broken street lights, gets a year without having to pay Council Tax! Just a thought?”

Q: What do YOU think of Cllr Fower’s idea, good or bad, please leave your thoughts below in the comments box.

APP update for Cllr Darren Fower

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For those who’ve already downloaded Cllr Darren Fower’s app, you should by now have received a notification of the latest updates and improvements?

Improvements included, refreshed contacts page, redesigned news feed, fuller events section and the inclusion of Daren’s latest AudioBoo recordings!

To download the LATEST app now for YOUR phone, mobile device or tablet simply CLICK HERE!

CQC “…were shocked by what they found..” at #Werrington Lodge says report! #BaronCourt

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned national care provider Barchester Healthcare to make urgent improvements at its Werrington Lodge care home in Peterborough to ensure everyone who lives there receives the quality of care and support they are entitled to expect.

During an unannounced inspection which took place on 8 and 12 May 2014, CQC found a number of very significant concerns, including:

  • Some people were left in bed for long periods of time during the day, sometimes in beds that were wet with urine.
  • The home was unclean and people were not protected from the risks of infection. Some areas in the home smelled of urine and there were dirty carpets and furniture in communal areas.
  • People were not being protected against the risks of developing a pressure ulcer or from the risks of falls and injuries.
  • Some people had lost weight and staff had not given them support to maintain their nutrition. Some people had very dry mouths indicating they had not been given enough to drink.
  • Some staff showed a lack of compassion for the people in their care. Calls for help were ignored on occasion and some staff did not have any knowledge of the people they were supporting
  • There was a lack of stimulation and activities tailored to meet individual needs with only one activities organiser employed to support 79 people living in the home.
  • There was a lack of direction and leadership in the home with the manager and the nurses not being visible or leading staff in how they supported the people living in the home
  • At times there was not enough staff to meet the needs of residents which resulted in people having to wait for staff to give them support when they needed it.
  • The systems the provider had in place to assess the quality of services provided were not effective.
  • The systems the provider had in place to check that staff were safe to work with vulnerable adults were not effective.

In light of these concerns, CQC made immediate referrals to Peterborough Council’s Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults team. In addition, Barchester Healthcare was served with eight formal warning notices under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, requiring immediate action to ensure the safety and welfare of the people at the home.

A further inspection was conducted on 12 May, 2014 to check that the provider had made the necessary improvements. Although some progress had been made, further action is needed and six warning notices remain in place.

Reports of both inspections have been published on CQC’s website. CQC will carry out another unannounced inspection in the near future. Malcolm Bower-Brown, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:

“When our inspectors visited Werrington Lodge on 8 and 12 May, they were shocked by what they found. Every care provider has a duty to ensure their services are safe, effective, caring, well led, and responsive to people’s needs.

“At Werrington Lodge we found significant shortfalls against national standards in each of these areas and have warned Barchester Healthcare that they must take action to ensure the people living in the home receive the quality of service they are entitled to expect.

“We will return again shortly to check that the required improvements have been made and can be sustained for the future.

“In the meantime we continue to monitor the situation extremely carefully, working alongside Peterborough City Council and other agencies to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone who lives at the home.

“CQC is the independent regulator of health and care services in England and if anyone has concerns about this or any other registered service, please contact us immediately”.

Full copies of the reports about the inspections carried out at Werrington Lodge are available on CQC’s website.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve. We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

Council’s own Cycling Design Guidelines shows “…that cyclists can mix harmoniously with pedestrians.” @SustransPBoro

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In an article published on the Peterborough Environment City Trusts website a statement from Sustrans reads:

“Peterborough is taking positive steps to encourage cycling through the Travelchoice project, but we are worried that this could be undermined by not making adequate allowance for cyclists in and around the City Centre. Bridge Street is at the centre of the cycle network developed for the city and is an important link for hundreds of people who are cycling to work and school each day, or even just popping to the shops.”

They point out that when the Development Corporation designed the City Cycle Network and removed car traffic from Bridge Street they included Bridge Street as the main north-south cycle route in the city centre. They considered options for building a dedicated cycle route along Bridge Street, but felt that this was incompatible with the need to have a flexible public space. The Development Corporation did not make any alternative provision for cyclists to avoid Bridge Street and there is still no good alternative, because the Corporation allowed for cycling at all times and understood the evidence that this could work well as a shared space.

Other snippets included:

  • Sustrans does not believe that introducing a ban on Sundays to the other days “…is necessarily the best option.”
  • Cambridge found that lifting cycling restrictions was the best option and if an investigation were done, Peterborough would find that the evidence points the same way.
  • The justification for the proposal is that "It is not acceptable to cycle on a busy pedestrianised street. It is not safe for the pedestrian or the cyclist.  Cyclists should therefore dismount and push their bikes along Bridge Street which only takes a couple of minutes.” This does seem to be entirely at odds with Council transport policies and guidance and has major issues for the whole city. The most successful part of the City Centre is surely Cathedral Square where cyclists and pedestrians generally mix well and there are no restrictions. The impressive Bourges Boulevard scheme is currently removing segregated cycling and walking facilities and replacing them with shared facilities, because this is considered good practice.
  • An important issue that seems not to have been considered in this debate is that cyclists can also be City Centre customers. Many cyclists will be using Bridge Street as a through route but others who want to enjoy the street can be valuable customers. Research has shown that shops significantly underestimate the value of business from cyclists and this also needs to be considered.
  • We are keen to emphasise that the research and “…the Council’s own Cycling Design Guidelines has shown that cyclists can mix harmoniously with pedestrians.”

Sustrans concluded, “We do not believe that any changes should be introduced without a review of the whole City Centre in line with the Council’s transport policies and an analysis of what the issues are currently on Sundays.  We are surprised that the Council should consider promoting an order that seems to be completely contrary to their own policies and wonder  how this can have happened.”

To read the full article please CLICK HERE! 

To add your name to the online petition opposing the idea simply touch/click the button below!

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BAN cycles from Bridge Street on a Sunday? There’s no “…sense in it?!” @SustransPBoro

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The Conservative controlled City Council in Peterborough have recently announced they are looking to extend the cycling ban along Bridge Street, in Peterborough City Centre.

In their media release the Council talks about protecting pedestrians, with the Cabinet member for City Centre Management, stated that cyclists should “…..dismount and push their bikes along Bridge Street…….”

In response, Liberal Democrat, Darren Fower has launched a campaign opposing the idea!

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Commenting, Liberal Democrat city councillor, Darren Fower, said:

“I launched the campaign after being contacted by several local people, who said they could not see any sense in it? Some of them are cyclists, but some are not!

“I must admit that, given the complete inability to enforce the present set up, extending it seems nonsensical, which is why I previously campaigned for a common sense approach, by introducing a cycle lane. Despite the campaign receiving hundreds of supporters and me presenting the petition to the Tory’s at a Full Council meeting, nothing happened!

“I’ve also been told by one or two people at the Town Hall, that Marco’s not a fan of cyclists after an incident occurred involving his son? Whether this is true or not, I can’t help but feel there’s almost a personal grudge against local cyclists, who he may like to remember are also the local electorate!

“I also think some city councillors should remember that not everyone has the luxury of parking for FREE at the back of the Town Hall?”

There has also been claims by some that the plan is part of the cafe culture that the Cereste crew want to see introduced along this stretch, and that cyclists/cycling is therefore a potential hindrance to such a set up? Makes you wonder if some of these people have ever been out of the city?

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Commenting on the issue, one local resident added:

“Can the supporters of the ban please ask themselves this simple question; what is it for? Because there has never been a injury caused to a pedestrian by a cyclist on Bridge Street. I have checked with the police. So it is pure bigotry.

“If a proper, kerbed cycleway were provided through a pedestrianized area, we’d get used to it within weeks and wonder what all the fuss is about.

“Cyclists mix with pedestrians in much more crowded cities than ours: Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, etc. So why can’t Peterborough join them as a modern city promoting cycling.”

If you agree and want to add your support to the campaign please touch/click the button below! And of course please do post a comment below this article!

The consultation ENDS on the 15th August 2014.

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Would YOU like to become a City Councillor?

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The Liberal Democrats have a strong and proud tradition in local government.

For the Peterborough Liberal Democrats, local government is key – localism, community politics, and a real commitment to devolved power are all hallmarks of the Liberal Democrat approach.

We pride ourselves on working hard “all year round, not just at election time”.

If you’d LIKE to register YOUR interest in becoming a local city councillor for your area please CLICK HERE!

“Every month, Liberal Democrats in Peterborough knock on hundreds of doors, deliver Focus leaflets, attend community meetings, and speak to residents to find out what local issues people really care about and how we can help them find solutions that work for them.”

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#ChurchStreet faulty light REPORTED! #Werrington #Village

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The street light located outside of number 50 Church Street, Werrington Village, Peterborough, has now been reported to Peterborough City Council, by local LIB DEM ward councillor Darren Fower.

Commenting, Darren said:

“This particular light has been faulty on several occasions in recent months and therefore, I’ve also asked for an update once this particular light gets inspected and repaired.”

If you know of any lights that seem to be constantly faulty, please let us know or leave a comment below!

Werrington Lodge …….. what’s going on?

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At the start of July 2014, a report appeared in the Telegraph newspaper claimed that an investigation was underway regarding the treatment of vulnerable elderly people at Werrington Lodge, care home, at Baron Court, Werrington, Peterborough.

A spot inspection by officials of the national Care Quality Commission, allegedly discovered several areas of concern:

  • Patients left lying in soiled bed linen
  • Strange marks on some residents’ limbs
  • Tone of voice in which some staff spoke to residents
  • Incorrect use of a hoist to help a resident move from a bed to a chair
  • Medication left with patients
  • Inaccuracies in some documentation
  • Food and drink left with residents without staff checking to ensure the person could feed themselves

The news came as a surprise, as the home had been found to be meeting standards by the CQC after an unannounced inspection in December 2013.

Then, another report appeared on the 19th July, again in the Telegraph Newspaper, claiming Detectives had “…stepped up their investigation…” into the standards of care provided.

Now, local Liberal Democrat ward councillors for South Werrington and North Gunthorpe, Cllr Darren Fower and Cllr Julia Davidson, have paid their own visit to the centre.

Commenting, Darren said:

“We were recently undertaking a ward walk about of Baron Court, and were discussing the reports we had recently read, and as we were passing, decided to pop our heads in a say hello!"

“The reports in the media certainly portrayed a worrying set of information, but as always, we also wanted to speak directly to those involved and not rely solely on a newspaper article.”

Both Julia and Darren, spoke directly with the Operations Managers, and are now looking to arrange for a formal tour of the home in the coming weeks.

Darren added:

“Both Julia and myself see the residents here as equally important as any other member of the electorate. We are also keen to make sure that the staff know they can also speak with us about issues or requirements.

“We are now looking to arrange for a more formal tour to be arranged, so that both Julia and I can ask further questions and raise some of the comments we have since received from other local people.”

If YOU have a comment or view on this, please do FEEL free to post it below!

For more information please visit the Care Quality Commission website.

LATEST #ResidentSurvey2014 stats! #Werrington #Gunthorpe

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Your Liberal Democrat FOCUS Team wants to know what you think about local issues. We want your views so that we can campaign to get the City Council and other public authorities to do what you think needs doing here in your area.

To view the latest STATS please CLICK HERE!

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