HARD WORKING COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS WIN AGAINST A TOUGH NATIONAL PICTURE

In both urban and rural areas of West Northamptonshire, the Liberal Democrats have gained councillors, meaning a solid Liberal Democrat base on the new West Northamptonshire Council.

First result to be declared on Friday’s count at Silverstone was Dennis Meredith winning in Talavera before eyes turned to the ward of Towcester and Roade where the numbers were looking incredibly close. Lisa Samiotis won but the national picture saw a disappointment: David Tarbun pipped to the post by only a handful of Conservative votes. The next Lib Dem win was Rosie Humphreys in Braunston and Crick, the first ever win in the Daventry area for the party at this council level. This was followed by Sally Beardsworth topping the poll in Kingsthorpe South. The long count ended on a high on Friday evening with Jonathan Harris winning in Brixworth to take the seat of the former Conservative Leader of Daventry District Council.   

Despite the Conservative financial and service provision failures at the old councils, the national picture helped secure victory for enough Conservative councillors to run the new West Northamptonshire council. Labour failed to break through seeing some long time Labour areas turn blue in the vote and the Greens did not win any seats.

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NORTHANTS ROADS ARE IN A DIRE STATE OF REPAIR

What can be done about the dire state of local roads was the topic of discussion on Daventry Radio on Sunday.  “I live on the Northants and Warwickshire border,” said guest Andrew Simpson, “and when you drive on the same road from Northamptonshire into Warwickshire you can see straight away that the road in Warwickshire is in a better state.”

“It would be more cost effective to address road problems in advance when you know you will need to, rather than wait for problems,” Malcolm Simms speaking on behalf of the Asphalt Industry Alliance to Daventry Radio said. He added, “ We need £1.5 billion per year over the next ten years, so £15 billion in total, to get roads in the UK where we would like them.”

How much it will cost the new council of West Northamptonshire to deal with its backlog of road repairs is estimated in the tens of millions. With a local Conservative councillor telling the radio show that there are “about 30 roads within half a mile of where I live” that need resurfacing, it is clear that the problem is much greater than just filling in a few potholes.

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AN HISTORIC DAY FOR NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OR JUST REARRANGING THE DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC?

Tomorrow sees an historic reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire with the County Council and District Councils being replaced with two new councils, West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire.

Cllr Chris Lofts, who worked for 35 years in local government followed by 12 years as a Liberal Democrat councillor, spoke to BBC Northampton this afternoon and was asked what the future might hold. His biggest fear that while the councils might be new, Northamptonshire’s problems haven’t changed and people are suffering from chronically underfunded services. “The role of a council isn’t to be a business,” said Chris Lofts. “It is there to provide a service and most of all, look after the vulnerable.”

 

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CONSERVATIVES SAY NO TO LIB DEM CALLS FOR LOWER COUNCIL TAX AND COUNCILLOR ALLOWANCES

The Conservatives, while only having 1% to offer nurses, have pushed through an inflation busting 5.9% rise in Council Tax from April for residents in Daventry district and 5.3% for residents in South Northants. Coming with this extra Council Tax is no improvements to local services that under the Conservatives have suffered years of cuts.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Lisa Samiotis says: “Following the failures and repeated mismanagement by the Tories, a new council takes over in April. However, this budget continues down the well-trod Tory path of inadequate local services and now, higher taxes.
Liberal Democrats proposed a fully costed alternative budget that would have seen a lower rise in Council Tax, as well as being able to ring fence £1 million into climate emergency initiatives.
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FOOTBALL CLUB SCANDAL

The scandal of the 'lost' (or stolen) £10.25 million lent to the Cobblers rumbles on with questions raised in the House of Lords.
The Conservative administration lent the money without any security even though a previous Lib Dem administration had determined the Club (at that time, it is now under new ownership) was too high a risk for an unsecured loan and that they did not have sufficient assets to guarantee any loan.
As the BBC article reminds us, The Northampton South Conservative Association then received some £37,000 in donations from people associated with the developers. Strange that!!
This was a major failure of the administration's duty of care for public money.
They simply cannot be trusted.

LIB DEMS CALL FOR LOWER COUNCIL TAX AND FOR THE CREATION OF £1 MILLION CLIMATE EMERGENCY FUND

Liberal Democrat Councillors will propose at the meeting of the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive on 23rd February 2021 that average council tax rises across the district should be at 3.99%, a fifth less than the proposed rises of 4.99% on the table from the Conservatives.
“The choice to impose the maximum possible Council Tax increase has been made not because it is needed for in-year spending, but to rebuild contingencies and reserves. It is wrong to penalise current tax payers for the failings of previous Conservative Leaders to balance their books,” Councillor Mark Allen will say at the meeting. “The suggested approach of averaging Council Tax rises hides the real impact on both Daventry and South Northamptonshire. As these areas have lower current tax rates residents will see substantial increases for years to come. Daventry residents will suffer nearly 6% annual increases and South Northamptonshire residents over 5%.”
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NORTHANTS ROADS 'SOME OF THE WORST KEPT IN ENGLAND'

 
All around we can see the signs of failure with crumbling roads and pavements affecting every town and village in Northamptonshire and an estimated backlog of roads repairs standing at around £100 million.
 
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Compared to other areas the roads in Northamptonshire are in a poor state and simply patching up potholes and poor stretches has led to uneven and dangerous roads.
 
“Despite spending tens of millions of pounds on roads maintenance, poor oversight and little scrutiny by Conservative run Northants County Council continues to leave our roads in a dangerous state and left us with some of the worst kept roads England,” said Lib Dem Christine Ware.

LOCAL ELECTIONS TO GO AHEAD ON 6th MAY

It has now been confirmed that local polls will go ahead on 6th May this year. Who do you want as your local representatives? You may not have had a say since 2015 given the Northamptonshire local council switch and the pandemic so it is more important than ever to vote and vote wisely. The switch of local government in Northamptonshire will see the county divided into two large councils; West and North.

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UNFAIR COUNCIL TAX RISES PROPOSED

UNFAIR COUNCIL TAX RISES PROPOSED
The Conservatives are considering options to raise council tax across Northamptonshire but what is certain is that residents in Daventry and South Northamptonshire will be asked to pay over and above and more than their fair share. Above inflation increases in council tax could be nearly 7% in Daventry and almost 5% in South Northamptonshire whilst those in Northampton will face increased bills as well. These extra bills will hit residents next May.
 
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KEEPING RESIDENTS INFORMED AND VOLUNTEERS SAFE

Statement from West Northamptonshire Liberal Democrats

26th Jan 2021

Local Conservatives have made allegations that West Northamptonshire Liberal Democrats have been breaking the current lockdown restrictions by continuing to use volunteers to deliver our campaign literature and in particular our new ‘Northamptonshire Citizen’ newspaper.
We want to be clear that we have at all times been following the public health guidance with respect of keeping residents and our own volunteers safe.
 
We suspended using volunteers to deliver our newspaper when the latest lockdown was announced, except in a couple of areas where we paid for commercial delivery. This complies with the current advice which was further updated this week.
 
Lib Dem councillors and volunteers have continued delivering other useful information to residents in some areas. This has included Covid-19 specific information, advice and useful contact numbers such as the local COVID helpline number. We see this as an important part of our role in representing and supporting our local community and our residents, particularly those residents who do not have access to online information.
 
The Northampton Chronicle & Echo newspaper has also criticised us for producing a tabloid style leaflet and suggested it contributes to ‘fake news’. We first started producing tabloid-style leaflets in Northampton in the 1980s. This is nothing new and has been used by other political parties and in fact some businesses as a means of creating interest. Anyone reading our paper would be very clear from the outset that it is from the Liberal Democrats. We reference our website in the first article, and it only runs to 4 pages, and “Liberal Democrats” are mentioned at least 15 times. As required we also provide our contact details as the publisher.
 
Most of the remaining newspapers in this country, like the Chronicle & Echo, are owned by large business groups with often obscure interests and connections. With many national newspapers being known for their political bias. 
We urge people to judge for themselves by reading our newspaper here.
 
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