Liberal Democrats

lib dem logoAs reported in the Mercury on Friday 6th March 2009, the Liberal Democrats in Hertfordshire are promoting a "six to fix" manifesto for the local elections on June 4th.

Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats outlines their proposals.

"Hertfordshire County Council has been Tory-run for the last ten years. Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats have been listening to what you have been telling us on the door step. You tell us that there are six main areas where the Tories have let you down - the 'Six to Fix'. These are our manifesto commitments to you."

  1. Fix our roads and pavements
  2. Provide more school places
  3. Sort out our failing home help system
  4. Give young people something to do
  5. Protect vulnerable children
  6. Stop the County Council wasting your money and freeze your council tax

FIX 1: Hertfordshire's roads and pavements are among some of the worst in the country. Anyone crossing our county boundaries can see at a glance just how bad things are.

You tell us constantly this is your main priority. On every survey response, on every newsletter reply slip and face to face on the door step, you tell us how disappointed you are with the state of our roads and pavements.

What we will do to change this:

  • Repair and maintain the roads before they deteriorate and need to be completely replaced
  • Get rid of Herts Highways and give residents more of a say to get real results
  • Introduce 'Pothole Moles': a pro-active team to blitz potholes properly so they don't need to be filled in again two days later
  • Strictly enforce the new legislation on utility repairs to ensure roads are only dug up once and are then repaired to a high standard

FIX 2: Provide more school places

We have too few school places in areas where we have growing numbers of children. Parents are constantly fighting to get their child into the school of their choice. In Hertfordshire every year there are hundreds of children who do not get a secondary school place of their choice. There is a similar issue with primary school places.

The system is broken: in many communities there are simply not enough places for our children. Too many parents year on year have to attend appeal hearings to try to get into the schools they have chosen.

What we will do is:

  • Bring forward plans to increase the number of school places where there are clear shortages
  • Bring a halt to school closure plans and review where school provision is needed
  • Create a partnership with schools to create a central admissions system for ALL schools. This will take away the trauma, especially in primary schools, of some parents and children not knowing until after the first day of term whether they have a place

FIX 3: Sort out our failing home help

Home care contracts for the elderly in the county have failed this year. Many of you have contacted us when either you or your relative has been left vulnerable, unfed or neglected by the system.

Carers have been swapped around without notice and not arrived at times they were expected. This is as a result of a change in contracts that was supposed to improve services.

What we will do is:

  • Review all current home care contracts
  • Provide a single contact point if things do go wrong
  • Monitor contracts more carefully, including making sure that staff are properly trained and all security checks are carried out
  • Carry out spot checks on service provision
  • Check with service users that they are satisfied

FIX 4: Give young people something to do

You tell us that you are worried about young people with hoodies hanging around on street corners. Young people tell us they are bored. They also tell us they worry about worrying other people but they have nowhere else to go.

What will will do is:

  • Invest an extra £1 million each year in the youth service
  • Devolve the youth service to the districts - each district is different and will need to deliver schemes which are suited to their locality
  • Provide free travel on buses to anyone under 19 in training or in education
  • Lead a change in attitude towards young people by being positive about them, so as to reverse the hostile media image

FIX 5: Protect vulnerable children

Recent events have shown how not protecting children who are vulnerable can cause death or extreme abuse. In Hertfordshire this system is in danger of failing. The county council is among the worst in the country for protecting children.

We will fix this by:

  • Making the county council focus on children not ridiculous Government targets
  • Reviewing all cases, ensuring that this is not just an exercise performed by officials but one which is supervised by elected councillors to create appropriate challenge to the system
  • Looking to employ trained, experienced social workers to improve and develop our social work team

FIX 6: Stop the county council wasting your money and freeze your county council tax

During a recession every household looks to their own homes and budgets to find ways of saving money. This should be no different at the county council.

What we will do is:

  • Overhaul all policies in County Hall and reduce the headcount
  • Move all county buildings over to renewable, sustainable sources of energy
  • Review all policies regarding to energy use in all our buildings
  • Introduce electric vehicles where possible
  • Reduce the county's massive self publicity budget

AND we will freeze the county council tax next year.

Candidates:  Watch this space for news on the full list of Liberal Democrat candidates for the 2009 local elections.

Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats