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Reports on some of the contributions of Liberal Democrat councillors to meetings of Newcastle City Council.

You can find agendas and papers HERE

and videos of the whole proceedings of Full Council HERE (about 2 weeks after the event)

  • Fawdon litter pick
    Article: Feb 17, 2018

    Earlier this week Newcastle City Council announced a major clean-up of the city "a spring clean" as they're describing it.

    £1m has been found from reserves to sweep the streets, pick up litter, remove dog mess, erase graffiti and cutback overgrown shrubbery. New posters will appear on litter bins and livery on council vehicles.

  • City logo
    Article: Feb 13, 2018

    Newcastle City Council dropped Environment and Sustainability as a priority at the change of administration in 2011, replacing 7 years of rapid progress with 7 years of drift.

    In particular, there is a crisis in the waste recycling system leading to potential contractual penalties of almost £750,000 per annum according to the Leader of Council.

  • Buses
    Article: Feb 8, 2018

    A £3.3m project to improve air quality by cutting harmful emissions from buses has been given a cautious welcome by Newcastle's Liberal Democrats.

    The scheme will see 191 buses operating on 20 routes in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside fitted with new engine technology which significantly reduces levels of pollutants.

  • Care home
    Article: Jan 13, 2018

    For over 20 years successive Governments have failed to to introduce a sustainable system of funding for social care, Cllr Dr Wendy Taylor, LIberal Democrats spokesman, has told a meeting of Newcastle City Council.

    The issue of paying for social care has been considered in depth - by the Royal Commission in 1999, the independent King's Fund in 2005 (which the Government subsequently acknowledged), and the "Dilnot Commission" in 2011 - and some important changes have been made, but the key features of the means-test remain broadly unchanged since 1997, while the issue of very high lifetime social care bills remains unresolved.

  • Dr Wendy Taylor NHS
    Article: Jan 12, 2018

    Our health spokesman Cllr Dr Wendy Taylor (in the red jumper) has received this email:

    "We thought you'd like to know that following the Cabinet re-shuffle , Jeremy Hunt remains as Health Secretary and will also have explicit responsibility for social care. So, with a stark winter facing us all, I think we can safely say no immediate change.

  • Parks
    Article: Dec 15, 2017

    Ten year plan - Newcastle Liberal Democrats say "Labour's plan for our parks is risky, expensive and unnecessary. They just want to get rid of their responsibilities!"

  • Newcastle Civic Centre
    Article: Nov 20, 2017

    You can complain about the Council's performance to your councillors (and you often do!) or

    • By phoning the Corporate Complaints Office on 0191 211 5180
    • By email to complaints@newcastle.gov.uk
    • Online at newcastle.gov.uk/complaints
    • By filling in a form in the "If you have a complaint" leaflet, available at all council offices
    • By letter to the Complaints Office, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 2BN
  • Grit bin
    Article: Nov 17, 2017

    Liberal Democrats councillors have been assured that existing grit bins will be filled. This work has just started and should be completed within the next couple of weeks, we are assured.

  • Vince Cable, Greg Stone
    Article: Nov 1, 2017

    Newcastle City Council's Liberal Democrats Opposition will table a motion at tonight (Wednesday's) city council meeting calling for the council to support growing calls to halt implementation of the Universal Credit single payment scheme.
    Universal Credit is high on the political agenda, with recent calls for the Government to ensure that the UC helpline is made free for users, after reports that some people were facing long delays in getting through whilst incurring high bills due to the helpline's call cost per minute.
    The Government has now acted on this issue, but significant problems and delays continue to be reported as recipients are being forced to wait for more than the target 6 week date for processing new claims, leading many to face financial desperation and driving many to need to use food banks. Housing organisations are also reporting significant increases in tenants getting into rent arrears due to the delays in receiving UC payments, which replaces housing benefit.
    The Lib Dem motion, proposed by Cllr Greg Stone, will call on the council to support calls to Government for greater flexibility and assistance to applicants for the benefit whilst their claims are being processed, and to pause the implementation of a planned acceleration of the introduction of Universal Credit. This has given rise to fears that many people face the prospect of waiting up to three months for their first payment, and having no income until well after Christmas.
    Although the principle of combining numerous benefit payments into the unified Universal Credit, and of allowing people to receive Universal Credit whilst returning to work is widely seen as being worthwhile, with all main parties having indicated broad support for its introduction, it is increasingly clear that the implementation is leading to significant difficulties for many people who are waiting far longer than stipulated for their payments to be set up.
    Housing provider Your Homes Newcastle estimates that as many as 58% of its tenants receiving UC are now in rent arrears as a result of these delays. Nationally, one in nine recipients have faced waits as long as 10 weeks for payment, and in some parts of the country, the average waiting time is as high as 12 weeks. 57% of recipients are believed to have had to borrow from friends or family to bridge the gap, and there are fears that some have had to resort to "payday lenders" or loan sharks.
    Newcastle has been one of the first major cities to take part in the transition to Universal Credit and the council and YHN know that this is causing real problems for benefits customers in the city. It's clear that the Government needs to act and needs to do more to ensure that people get genuine help in the shape of 'advance' temporary payments, options for frequency of payment, and improving advice and online support rather than expecting people to wait for hours for phone calls to be answered.
    The situation is made worse by reports that some benefits recipients are being encouraged by DWP and Job Centre Plus to make an early switch to the new Universal Credit system without it being made clear that this is likely to mean them receiving lower total payments than at present. The Lib Dems believe this is misleading and unacceptable and want this practice to be reviewed and if necessary stopped.
    Cllr Greg Stone said
    "The principles behind Universal Credit are valid. It can simplify a currently very complicated social security system, help incentivise people back into work, increase take up and income for people who rely on it, and can help to reduce fraud and error. However, it is increasingly apparent that the roll-out by Government is deeply problematic and the delays in payments are causing financial misery to thousands of people.
    There is growing pressure on Government to delay forthcoming phases of the Universal Credit roll out until it has got a grip on the problems that are causing delays. It cannot be right that people have to wait up to three months to receive their benefits, and it is increasing poverty and stress for people who are literally left with nothing for food and housing."
    The Lib Dem motion also calls on the Government to reconsider other aspects of its welfare reforms, including reversing recent cuts to the 'work allowance' component, introducing a second 'work allowance' for couples receiving Universal Credit, abandoning the two child cap on benefits, and ending the freeze on working age benefits which is affecting some of the people in Newcastle on the lowest incomes.
    Cllr Stone said:
    "The Lib Dem Opposition is slightly surprised the Labour council administration has not spoken out sooner on these issues. The Lib Dem general election manifesto made commitments to reverse Conservative benefit cuts, and we hope that Labour will join with us in the council chamber this evening to support our calls to Government for a pause in extending Universal Credit to new beneficiaries, and for a rethink on cuts to some of the poorest people in Newcastle

  • Shut up
    Article: Jun 30, 2017

    Frightened Newcastle residents called liars and told to "Shut Up!" by a leading Labour councillor.

    At this week's city council meeting Newcastle residents, scared for their safety in council owned high-rise buildings after the events in London, came to seek assurances from the council. The reception they received was less welcoming.