Lib Dems tell Labour “Cut the grass not the jobs”
Plans to axe all 30 of Birmingham’s park keepers have been revealed by the city’s Liberal Democrat councillors. Details of the nearly £3 million of cuts came to light after pressure on the council to reveal their plans. The plans to cut costs in our parks and grass verges include not cutting the grass as often and grassing over some flower beds.
Following publication of the plans in the Birmingham Mail, Labour parks chief Lisa Trickett backtracked, describing the proposals as only a “worst case scenario”. Birmingham’s Lib Dem leader, councillor Jon Hunt, said: “The scale of the cutbacks proposed in the parks service is truly shocking. Birmingham has benefited in recent years from an explosion of friends of parks groups. These cuts risk demoralising groups risk losing their unpaid service in making this city a decent place to live.”
Gisela Stuart has been accused of a "clear betrayal" of her constituents after voting in favour of triggering Article 50 this week without giving the public the final say on the Brexit deal.
Edgbaston voted by a clear majority to remain in the EU referendum, and the Liberal Democrats have said it should be represented by someone who also opposes a damaging hard Brexit.
The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment in Parliament this week to give the public the final say on the Government's Brexit deal, with the option of accepting it or remaining in the EU. However this was defeated after MPs including Gisela Stuart voted against it.
The Liberal Democrats have seen a huge surge in membership in Birmingham since the EU referendum, with many new members joining the party due to its strong stance against an economically damaging exit from the Single Market. This week figures by the respected Institute for Fiscal studies predicted the UK economy will be 3% smaller by 2030 as a result of hard Brexit, with years more austerity and tax increases expected.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Colin Green commented:
"Gisela has betrayed her constituents this week by voting through a hard Brexit without giving the people the final say on the deal. She has also betrayed EU citizens living in the UK by voting against the amendment giving them the right to remain.
"Our area deserves an MP that will stand up against a reckless exit from the Single Market that would mean higher taxes, less funding for public services and huge damage to our local economy.
"The Liberal Democrats have seen a huge surge of new members who are worried about the direction our country is going in and want to do something about it.
"Both the Conservatives and Labour are now holding hands towards a hard Brexit.
"We will be the rallying point for all those in Edgbaston who want to hold this government to account and keep Britain open, tolerant and united."
Birmingham’s Labour Council are pressing ahead with a £10 million redevelopment of Centenary Square. The plans feature a reflective pool to make people walk round, rather than across the square.
Local Lib Dem Colin Green said: "It is a complete waste of our money. How can Labour justify this when they’re cutting £10m from the homeless and domestic abuse budgets? Their spending priorities are just wrong.”
Ian Garrett added: “The council are failing to make their planned savings, meaning even more cuts this year. Yet they want to blow £10 million on a reflective pool. Centenary Square was only redeveloped a couple of years ago when the new library was opened. It is a great space that is used for craft markets and community events. It doesn’t need a new look.
“Labour needs to rethink its priorities over where it spends our money. When they’re making ever more cuts, this pool is an extravagant waste.”
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The high court has today ruled that only Parliament can trigger 'article 50' to leave the EU. Until now, Prime Minister Theresa May had claimed that she could trigger article 50 using the Royal Prerogative. She believed that she could leave the EU without winning a vote of MPs.
If elected to Parliament in an early General Election, I would vote against triggering article 50. Leaving the EU would be a disaster for Britain, its people, the economy and the jobs it supports. We would be worse off if we left. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the genuine concerns of the people who voted to remain.
The referendum was very close. 52% to 48%. So neither a Hard Brexit nor a Hard Remain properly reflects the view of the whole population. Large sections of the public are concerned by the effects of immigration. The pressure on jobs, on the wages of the low paid, on housing and on schools. They feel left behind by the widening gap between the extremes of society. But these genuine concerns cannot be fixed by Brexit. Jobs and wages will be harmed by the damage caused leaving or watering down our free trade with Europe. And we will be less able to afford to build the houses and school places we need with a weakened post Brexit economy.
I believe we are better off in Europe. But we must tackle low pay, housing shortages, education pressures and unemployment. Government should build a Britain that works for everyone. By leaving people behind we have created this Brexit crisis for ourselves. Leaving the EU cannot fix it. So we must build a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, where everyone believes the country works for them. But a Britain that remains open and tolerant.
For too long our NHS has not got the investment it needs. Brexiters claimed that the NHS will get £350million a week when we leave Europe. This has already been shown up as a cheap con trick from Gisela Stuart and Vote Leave.
Our NHS needs more money and that is why Lib Dem Health spokesperson Norman Lamb has called for honesty and straight talking on the cash crisis facing health and care sector. At the Lib Dem conference, he discussed putting a penny on income tax, dedicated to the NHS.
Theresa May’s government looks set to deliver a so called ‘Hard’ Brexit. But is that what Britain voted for? Does she have the authority to do this?
The people voted for the question on the ballot paper and on the promises of the Vote Leave campaign. The ballot paper simply asked if we should leave the EU. Leave campaigners stood on a platform of maintaining free trade with Europe, saying “Germany will still want to sell us their BMWs and France their wine.” The Brexit vote cannot be taken to mean the people want to leave the free market. Vote leave also promised a transfer of power from Brussels to our own Parliament in Westminster using the slogan ‘take back control’. The Brexit vote gives the government a mandate to deliver these 5 pledges:
The Liberal Democrats set out their plan for Britain in Europe at their party conference this autumn. The British people should have their say on the final deal in a referendum.
This would not be a re-run of the last referendum. Theresa May's Conservative Brexit Government triggers looks set to trigger 'article 50' and take Britain out of the EU. We want the British people to have their say on what comes next.
The Lib Dems will try to block Theresa May's plans to allow schools to convert to grammar schools. They argue that
Secondary Moderns delivered a second class education to the majority of children. Around 3 in 4 children went to Secondary Modern schools. Studies show that children do less well at Secondary Moderns than at Comprehensive schools.
The Centre for Educational Studies found that there is less social-class inequality in a comprehensive system. Grammar school places tend to go to parents who can afford private tutors to coach for entrance exams.
Local Lib Dem Colin Green commented: “Would you like your children to go to a secondary modern school, knowing they're
likely to do less well than they would at a comprehensive?"
“The Lib Dems believe in equality of opportunity. We believe that everyone should be given the chance to achieve their full potential, not just the privileged few. It’s part of our aim to build a fairer society where everyone can get on in life."
Local Lib Dem Colin Green has issued a statement challenging the new government to protect EU funding for Birmingham.
Colin said: "The Leave camp in the referendum made much of the money we send to Brussels. But they neglected the money Brussels spends in Birmingham. Between 2007-2013, Birmingham got £640 million from the EU. It helped revitalise important facilities like the Town Hall, the ICC and the Hippodrome, as well as money for community projects all over the area - all important to the city's economy and tourism.
“If we leave the EU, will the new government commit to matching EU funding? Or does Brexit really mean Brexit?
“EU investment in Birmingham was on target to top £1 billion in the next few years. If we are to leave the EU, we won’t be sending any money to Brussels. So we need a quick, firm, commitment from the government that they will ensure Birmingham gets at least the same amount of our money as Europe would have repaid us. I want a commitment from government that we will get Not a Penny Less for Birmingham.”
Local campaigner Colin Green has been selected to contest Birmingham Edgbaston, if there is a snap general election.