All posts by Caroline Page

Lib Dem County Councillor for Woodbridge, Suffolk; Elected 2008, 2009,2013; LD spokesman, Transport; Vice-Chair Education Transport Appeals; Speed Limit Panel member ; Campaigns for Rural Transport, Buses, Rail, Cycling, Young People, Libraries, Disability, Epilepsy & Carers

What’s Happening at SCC : December 2012

Preparing for Winter : Gritbins With the first of the winter cold on the way, I have been using my locality budget to fund 4 further grit bins in areas of Woodbridge that still require them: Millview Close/Naunton Road, Peterhouse Crescent, Nelson Way and Barton Road. If you know of any other areas that still might need covering –and if there is at least one volunteer prepared to grit – I still have locality money for the purpose.

New Greater Anglia hourly service Lowestoft-Ipswich This started on 9 December. I travelled on the opening train of this service along with other County, SCDC and Town and Parish Councillors and took the opportunity to ask Greater Anglia Customer Service Director Andrew Goodrum about proposed ticket machines at Woodbridge station.

You will be pleased to know there is absolutely no need to lobby for these as they have been purchased a while back. (They are not yet installed as they need weatherproofing because they are designed for indoor use.)

However, as a frequent traveller on the Network I alerted Mr Goodrum about the difficulty of purchasing that most invaluable of Greater Eastern discount tickets – a Day Ranger – at the Ipswich ticket machines, and he undertook to make sure that this would be remedied both here and at Ipswich.

Cabinet:   Today, the SCC Cabinet will be discussing a range of matters including –

  • whether to enhance Suffolk’s Concessionary Fares further – as a result of the consultation after the last Lib Dem call in. This long running saganhas now notched up yet another level of intensity after the Equality and Human Rights Commission wrote to CEO Deborah Cadman to complain about SCC’s initial poor level of consultation, and the fact there had been no initial Equal Impact Assessment. It has asked to have written notification of the outcome of today’s meeting
  • Procurement of Highways services – and decide formally whether to award the contract to Balfour Beatty.
  • Suffolk Rail Strategy – creation of a rail prospectus for Suffolk which is aiming for hourly services between Ipswich and Peterborough, and new inter-city rolling stock.

Council Budget – Round 1:   At the end of November, the County Council announced the first version of the 2013 budget. This was discussed and questioned at the recent Scrutiny Committee.

This year will see a further reduction of £24.9m, as part of a two year programme to reduce the budget by just over £50m. As seen last year, many of the services are looking to efficiencies rather than specific service cuts, however the Lib Dems are extremely concerned that these reductions will hide damage to the County’s frontline services. Aongst the most concerning are that there will be a significant reduction in Adult and Community Services of £7m, and another reduction of £2.5m in Children and Young People’s services. There are both areas which have significant pressures, and help to protect the vulnerable in our community. The Lib Dems are very concerned that the continual savings being sought in these areas will impact on those people we need to help.

There is also a significant concern about the number of services that are currently divested, and questions about how these contracts will be monitored, and whether us as Councillors will be able to scrutinise the services that the public are paying for.

I will continue to keep you updated as to the latest news regarding the budget for 2013 as the process continues.

Surgery:   My last surgery of the year will be on December 15th, 10-12 at the Library as ever. If you are lucky, there might even be mince-pies

East Suffolk Line – all change at last

Longterm champions of sustainable travel:                      Suffolk Coastal District/Woodbridge Town Councillor Diana Ball and Suffolk County Councillor Caroline Page board the first hourly East Suffolk Line train from Lowestoft as it reaches Woodbridge.

 

Today is the first day of the hourly rail service along the East Suffolk line – ensuring regular reliable rail travel between Ipswich and Lowestoft. This will make such a difference!
Now what we need is to have a fully integrated bus service to meet it. Oh, and decent provision for bicycles – particularly when the rail service is replaced by buses

Police & Crime Commissioner Elections

“Caroline, what should I be looking for when voting for a Police Commissioner?”

Several people asked me this today.

Well, I’ve no intention of telling people how to vote but I’m more than happy to tell them what I think.

For me, the crucial things one should be looking  for in such an election are true democracy and non-party affiliation. You want to elect the best person for this taxing job – not one rich enough to risk the deposit or backed by a major political party, standing with a political agenda. Law enforcement needs to be above political ideology.

In these PCC elections  you needed a £5000 deposit to stand  (ten times more than the £500 required to stand as an MP) and there was no freepost delivery . This second point is very important –  the single free postal delivery that every candidate in a general election is allowed is what gives them a fair chance to address the whole electorate and explain what they want to do, however poor and unsupported they may be.

The current circumstances mean that nobody could stand, or put out a leaflet unless backed by a party or other wealthy organisation.

Is this democracy? I would say not!

So did I vote?

Of course I did. At least, I went to a polling station and I entered a polling booth with a voting paper in one hand and a pencil in the other.  And how I used that pencil is between me and my conscience!