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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)

  • Woollen poppies
    Article: Nov 9, 2018

    You can find readings from War Poets including the one below, here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBKQgmAn7FngNQlAy_NnKt0BLqZCz55aY

    Not all war poets were British men

    Not all soldiers were white

    Not all battles were fought in Europe

    The Neuve-Chapelle Memorial commemorates more than 4,700 Indian soldiers and labourers who lost their lives on the Western Front during the First World War and who have no known grave.

  • Bins
    Article: Oct 2, 2018

    Newcastle Liberal Democrats would like to hear from you about domestic waste and public litter bins to inform our response to the City Council'c review of its waste strategy and our manifesto for the 2019 elections. So we invite you to complete the survey which can be found at here

  • Dr Nick Cott
    Article: Sep 13, 2018

    Newcastle City Council's budget for children's social care is set for an overspending by £6.5m this year - following the budget being blown last year by £5.66 million. The money is used for around 550 looked-after children in care.

    The city's Liberal Democrat opposition has questioned whether the council itself can do more to get the situation back under control.

  • David Down in Lord Mayor's office
    Article: Sep 7, 2018

    l'shanah tovah tikateiv v'tichateimu

    The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr David Down, wishes Happy Rosh Hashanah to all who will be celebrating it from Sunday onwards.

    He will be attending the Newcastle Reform Synagogue in Gosforth on Monday.

    This follows the unanimous approval on Wednesday of a Liberal Democrats-proposed motion to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism, following a determined effort by protestors to disrupt the Council's proceedings. David had tried to calm the disruption by talking to the protestors, who had previously been allowed to address the Council for 5 minutes. When it was councillors turn - and they would have been limited to 3 minutes each - a protestor told David "we can see we got nowhere so we just wanted to stop it".

  • City logo
    Article: Sep 6, 2018

    The Council meeting on 5th September was the 20th anniversary of his first council meeting after the election of Cllr Greg Stone to Newcastle City Council in a by-election in the then Dene ward.
    "At the time I remember being struck by the size of the electorate of my ward, which contained more than 12,000 voters. The then smallest ward had just 3,100 voters. This level of imbalance in representation struck me as unequal and unjust. It was obviously problematic that one ward had four times as many voters as another. Fortunately, this was addressed in a boundary review in 2004, which brought about a happier outcome, " he told a Council meeting discussing his motion for a new boundaries review to establish fairer electorates.
    This motion acknowledges the 2016 Electoral Review was carried out in good faith with good intent. The ward boundaries are broadly sound in terms of geographic communities. However, the ward population projections have turned out to be well adrift from what was forecast.
    The council has a corporate priority of being Fit for Purpose. This motion suggests the Review has turned out to be un-fit for purpose. Both of the identified criteria for intervention apply to the city's current position. The new arrangements are demonstrably less fair and less equal than previously.
    The Local Government Boundareis Commission for England (LGBCE) has clear guidance on this. An electoral review is mandatory for a local authority if one ward exceeds 30% variation, or if 30% of wards are more than 10% from the average electorate for the authority.
    The 2016 Review was triggered because one ward appeared to have reached a 33% variation from the citywide average. We now have two wards exceeding 30% variation. Using May's electorate figures, one is 35.7% under quota and another is 31.3% under. More than 30% of wards exceed the recommended 10% variation. Four wards exceed 20% variation. The largest has an electorate not far off twice the smallest.
    At no point was the likelihood that the new ward sizes exceeded the LGBCE trigger for a new Review reported to Constitutional Committee or to Council. The issue was only raised at all at Constitutional Committee in March because I challenged officers on figures buried in an Appendix listing total electoral registrations per new ward.
    It's not a matter of party political expediency. The disparity in ward sizes affects all of us. Castle and Parklands are currently the biggest and both will grow further through new housing in coming years. Other wards like Denton & Westerhope, and Walkergate are more than 20% over quota.
    In terms of compliance with the legal criteria, we have to scrutinise why the Review has achieved greater electoral inequality. We are in a situation where another Review is now inevitable. The finding of the review that "all wards will have electoral equality by 2021" is not credible. There is no way this will happen on the current trend: If anything, the divergence is likely to be more extreme.
    No doubt it is inconvenient to have to repeat the exercise. It will mean extra work and reorganisation. But surely as night follows day, we will need to do this again in the near future. We need to review the methodology used, and ensure we have more robust projections next time. Something went badly awry in this process.
    Lord Mayor, this motion calls on Constitutional Committee to implement what we might call a Democracy Review. It is the responsibility of all us to uphold local democracy by ensuring fairness and electoral equality across our city. Abandoning that principle is a backward step - and is potentially illegal in terms of compliance with the LGBC criteria. I call on the Leader of Council and colleagues on both sides of the chamber to fight electoral inequality tooth and nail.

  • Grey's Monument
    Article: Sep 2, 2018

    The Liberal Democrats have published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system to cut taxes for businesses

    Local Liberal Democrats business spokesperson Cllr Robin Ashby described the plans as "exactly the sort of policy we need to boost local investment and ensure businesses in Newcastle thrive".

    The report - Taxing Land, Not Investment - calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL).

    The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses.

    Liberal Democrats members will debate and vote on the proposals at the party's Autumn Conference in Brighton later this month.

    Robin Ashby said: "Time and again I have heard concerns about the devastating impact of business rates on struggling high streets and the wider local economy.

    "It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to ensure that our businesses are able to thrive, but ministers are not doing anywhere near enough.

    "Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why we are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in Newcastle

    "Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy. They are a tax on productive investment at a time of chronically weak productivity growth, and a burden on high streets struggling to adapt to the rise of online retail.

    "Many of the areas around the country that voted for Brexit feel they have been left behind. In place of policies the Brexiters offer only rhetoric. Great swathes of the country demand better, and this policy offers change to the manufacturing industry and the small towns passed over by economic growth."

    The Liberal Democrats have carried out a detailed study of business rates and alternatives. Key recommendations from their report include:

  • EU Brexit protest Parliament
    Article: Jul 12, 2018

    Two years ago the UK voted by a small margin to leave the EU, Liberal Democrats Cllr Wendy Taylr has reminded Councillors in Nerwcastle. People voted for many reasons, but at the time few people really knew the details of what leaving the EU might mean, particularly for our region. Two years on from the referendum we're not much further forward. The Government is in total disarray with the Tory Party lurching from crisis to crisis as they try to pander to the Mogglodites on the right, while trying stopping the pro Remain Tories from putting their country before their party. And in the meantime the Government is failing to tackle the issues that matter to people in the North East- the NHS, social care, education, housing, environmental sustainability and employment. What a splendid opportunity for her majesty's opposition to make the case for avoiding the biggest strategic mistake this country has ever made. As both Phil Wilson the MP for Sedgefield and Keir Starmer have said the country voted on the principle of leaving, not on the terms. The detail is therefore important. Unfortunately the Labour leadership has totally failed to show real leadership on this issue, either tamely leading MPs to vote with the Government or ordering Labour MPs and Peers to abstain on crucial votes. We are delighted that so many Labour Peers have ignored this advice, but seeing Labour MPs split 3 ways on a vote to stay in the EEA must have left the Tories laughing all the way home.

  • Dr Wendy Taylor
    Article: Jun 27, 2018

    I have worked in the NHS for almost all my working life and I'm hugely proud of what the NHS achieves, Cllr Wendy Taylor who speaks on health and social care issues for the Liberal Democrats, told Newcastle City Council tonight.

    As a doctor, I can't overstate how important it is to me to be able to offer my patients the best treatments available, without having to ask how much they can afford to pay. Yet as the motion says, the NHS is facing many difficulties including lack of funding, loss of staff and increasing debt. The impact of Jeremy Hunt's attack on junior doctors has been devastating, with over 50% of doctors not taking up a training post when they complete their basic training. Many are going to New Zealand or Australia, others are giving up medicine altogether. Of course many will come back to train as a GP or Consultant at a later time, but when I think of the enthusiasm and excitement of medical students when they apply to study medicine, it is so sad that much of this is lost once they qualify. And the loss of the bursaries for student nurses has been just as damaging.

  • Article: May 26, 2018

    The Newcastle Liberal Democrats Councillors Group consists of 19 people, representing new wards in our City.

    New councillors are :

    Tom Gordon - Manor Park Ward

    Aidan King - Castle Ward

    Colin Ferguson - Gosforth Ward

    Phil Hall - Gosforth Ward

    Peter Lovatt - Fawdon and West Gosforth Ward

    Returning councillors

  • Article: Mar 24, 2018