Saturday 16th: my Surgery AND Helen Korfanty visits the Thoroughfare

Just a reminder that my surgery is tomorrow, Saturday 16 April 9-11 in the Woodbridge Library as ever. No appointments necessary.

And from 10 to 12 Suffolk’s LibDem PCC candidate will be in the Woodbridge Thoroughfare to answer questions ans to talk about your concerns.

Helen, a solicitor, has worked in Suffolk for over 30 years in Family and Criminal Law, while volunteering with  both Victim Support and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

She has committed herself to abide by the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s ethical checklist  on how a PCC should conduct themselves in office.

If elected Helen intends to:

  •  – encourage a collegiate, consultative culture to decision making  in policing in Suffolk, respecting and  tapping into the wisdom and experience of  front line workers
  •  – be the advocate for the people of Suffolk to ensure that we can live in a safer community.
  •  – help find financial savings and efficiencies in the Police Service so that resources can be found to fight growing serious crime such as child abuse, cybercrime and fraud.
  •  – encourage policies and technological innovation aimed at reducing crime and re-offending
  •  –  encourage the referral of people with physical /mental health and addictions to the best agency to deal with their problems effectively and away from the Police Service.
  •  –  ensure that those who experience domestic abuse and violence are able to access support and achieve the best outcomes for their individual needs
  •  –  encourage cooperation with other police services to maintain specialist skills and respond to unexpected challenges.
  •  – negotiate with central government for the maximum financial resources for the police service
  •  – support and encourage the voluntary sector who support the victims and bring innovative approaches to the causes of crime.

Prepared by Martin Redbond on behalf of Helen Korfanty (Liberal Democrats) both at Blacksmiths Cottage, Ashbocking Road, Henley, Ipswich, Suffolk IP6 0QX

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What’s been happening in Suffolk: March & April

So, this month deals with the SFRS cuts consultation, community transport , the PCC elections,  and  devolution

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service cuts  The independent report into Suffolk’s proposed cuts having been published.  Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will make recommendations to May’s Cabinet.

The public consultation  were summarised as the following:

FIre consultation

The public focus groups were groups of people chosen at random by telephone number and given briefings as to the situation.  Their conclusions seem in stark contrast to the rest of the consultation. In March’s Full Council I put the local case for Woodbridge retained fire station and its need for the continuing support of Ipswich fire crews,. Interestingly, the public focus group looking specifically at the Ipswich proposals were divided in their opinions, and didn’t support the cuts.

The same link will give details about

Rural Transport At the same meeting  (March 18), in  addition to raising the my concerns about the new rural transport  franchises (details of my speech as LD spokesperson for Transport can be found here http://blog.suffolk.libdems.org/2016/03/18/lib-dems-support-community-transport/ )

I also asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Transport
Norfolk is conducting a review of its HGV routes because of high-profile tv coverage of HGVs taking inappropriate routes and causing damage. Suffolk County Council’s route hierarchy has not been reviewed in the round for 30 years. In light of Suffolk’s current and future expansion and development, and the continuing increase in the size of HGVs, will the Cabinet Member agree to conduct a similar review for Suffolk, with the purpose of ensuring that as many HGV movements as possible are made via main roads rather than using unsuitable routes through rural villages and small towns such as Woodbridge – which continue to struggle with such traffic movements    I got a rather inconclusive response.

Devolution for East Anglia  A devolution deal for East Anglia was announced by the Chancellor in midMarch and now needs to be ratified by all County and District and borough councils and the (unelected) LEP boards involved. ( This may not be plain sailing – Cambridge City and Cambridge County have already shown themselves to be against this).

Although it is very difficult to get the Suffolk person in the street interested in devolution, it is vital that we do so  because it is about a fundamentally different relationship between Government and local public services and it affects all of us.

The East Anglia Deal would see decisions currently made by Government on things such as infrastructure, growth, employment and skills being made by the Board of a new Combined Authority, consisting of all the Leaders of County and District Councils – and a directly elected Mayor. In other words it would be pretty much like the Cabinet system that currently operates in Suffolk County Council – with such noticeable democratic deficit.

 It is proposed that the first mayoral elections would be in May 2017 alongside county elections.

The directly elected Mayor would act as Chair to the East Anglia Combined Authority and would have:

  • Responsibility for a multi-year, consolidated and devolved local transport budget
  • Responsibility for a new Key Route Network of local authority roads, managed and maintained by the Combined Authority
  • Powers over strategic planning and housing, including £175m ring-fenced funding to deliver an ambitious target of new homes; the responsibility to create a non-statutory spatial framework for the East and to develop with Government a Land Commission and to chair the East Joint Assets Board for economic assets

The East Anglia Authority, working with the Mayor, would have:

  • Control of a new additional £30 m a year funding over 30 years (£900m), to be invested in the East Anglia Single Investment Fund, to boost growth
  • Responsibility for chairing an area-based review of 16+ skills provision, the outcomes of which will be taken forward in line with the principles of the devolved arrangements, and devolved 19+ adult skills funding from 2018/19
  • Joint responsibility with the Government to co-design the new National Work and Health Programme ‘designed to focus on those with a health condition or disability and the very long term unemployed.’ (I am concerned that the longterm unemployed and the disabled are seen in the same sentence – aren’t you? ) There is also a commitment to continue improvements to local health and social care services, including continuing to join up services and promote integration between NHS and local government

I don’t know about you, but  I am deeply concerned that any future deal involving  education or NHS trusts will NOT involve the people of East Anglia shouldering the burden of PFI  debt incurred by central government  on educational an health sites (not only the local debts such as the PFI debt on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson building, but also the mountainous ones on the Addenbrookes site). I have asked for further information on this.

PCC election  The election for Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner will  be on May 5. There will be a hustings  for all candidates in Ipswich at University Campus Suffolk, 6-8  on 21 April  http://www.stop-watch.org/events/details/suffolk-pcc-hustings-6pm-8pm.

All the candidates’ details can be found here 

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Fire Services and Community transport: Suffolks Full Council March 2016

Full Council at Endeavour House today. I will be speaking on the LibDem proposed motion to stop the proposed reduction in Fire appliances and crews; on Rural Transport; and will be asking this question about HGVs on rural roads:
Norfolk is conducting a review of its HGV routes because of high-profile tv coverage of HGVs taking inappropriate routes and causing damage.
Suffolk County Council’s route hierarchy has not been reviewed in the round for 30 years. In light of Suffolk’s current and future expansion and development, and the continuing increase in the size of HGVs, will the Cabinet Member agree to conduct a similar review for Suffolk, with the purpose of ensuring that as many HGV movements as possible are made via main roads rather than using unsuitable routes through rural villages and small towns such as Woodbridge – which continue to struggle with such traffic movements
Update
In supporting the Fire & Rescue Services  I put the case for Woodbridge’s need for the continuing support of Ipswich fire crews, especially in light of the development which is likely to be taking  place.
I also spoke  anxiously about the likely viability of the cynical new rural  Community Transport model – tasked with doing so much more for so many more  with so much less – all in the name of ideology. You can read what I said here
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Speak Up for Epilepsy – end avoidable deaths

EpilepsyJust having epilepsy takes as much as ten years off your life. People with epilepsy die young or younger – and 4 out of 10 deaths are avoidable. That’s the heartbreaking thing!

Epilepsy is all around us, but because its a hidden condition you do not notice it.

Statistically, there will be about 20 students with epilepsy at Farlingaye, 110 people in Woodbridge, 1250 in Suffolk Coastal, 7,300 in Suffolk…

Everybody knows someone – and all of you know me!

I’m asking our MP Therese Coffey to support a new National Sentinel survey from the DoH to record and audit all epilepsy deaths in the UK (as epilepsy deaths for starters – you wouldn’t believe how often they aren’t even recorded!)  and act on the findings – to ensure that in the future nobody with epilepsy will die needlessly & before their time.

I’ll tell you how I get on!

UPDATE:   19-03-2016

Yesterday I met my MP, Therese Coffey and persuaded her of  the need to commission an up-to-date National Audit of Epilepsy deaths and act upon it.  Dr Coffey, currently deputy-Leader of the House of Commons, has agreed to speak to the most appropriate minister, and hopefully arrange a meeting of MPs to talk to Jeremy Hunt. I know a lot of people over the country have already contacted their MPs.

If you think this is as important as I do,  you can email your MP  in this nationwide campaign (- even if its Dr Coffey again) .It will make this VITAL audit more likely to happen!Speak Up for Epilepsy – and help save lives please!

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Caroline Page, County Councillor for Woodbridge