Sunday, 3 March 2013

Broxtowe Enews 3rd March 2013

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, the leader of the Lib-Dems on Broxtowe Borough Council. 

Just before I start with the local news I just need to mention the Eastleigh by election. I was there during the week and accurately predicted the result that eventually happened. The message that the Lib-Dems put forward was of how we are delivering in Government on many of our key beliefs. We have improved the situation for pensioners by restoring the link between pensions and earnings, we’ve invested in schools with the pupil premium and we’ve created thousands of new apprenticeships, the highest level ever. We’ve taken hundreds of thousands of the lowest paid out of paying tax and given most working people a £600 tax cut. All this and more really resonated with voters and the fact that we are getting better at getting our message out really helped as well.

Let’s now turn to the local news.

1. Budgets
Last week the County Council agreed its budget for next year. This means that there will be no increase in council tax for their share of the tax. The Lib-Dems supported the Conservatives over this. However I did receive a tweet from a Labour councillor complaining about it and so presumably he wanted an increase. I did read this week that 40% of councils are increasing council tax this year despite the Government making money available to keep levels as they were.

On Wednesday of this week the borough council will set its budget for the year. The Lib-Dem/Labour administration here are proposing that we keep council tax the same for the coming year. We benefit from the financial controls that Michael Rich and I introduced when we were the leaders of the council, making sure that the council have only spent what we can afford.  This put us in a better position to face the current financial climate than we would otherwise have been.

2. Fire Authority
Last week the Fire Authority also met to consider it’s budget. The Labour group was proposing an increase but my colleagues from the Lib-Dems managed to defeat that. However we weren’t able to stop the Labour group then awarding their members a pay rise, so that more of the money from the authority will go on councillors and less on front line services. I’m very disappointed by this and by contrast councillors on Broxtowe Borough Council have not had an increase in allowances for the past four years.

3. Recycling Centres
As of  tomorrow all the recycling centres in Nottinghamshire, including the one in Beeston, are adopting new, longer, opening hours. They will now be open from 8am to 6pm.

4. Obesity
There were some interesting figures revealed this week about the levels of obesity in Nottinghamshire. Apparently the NHS spends £2.5 million on weight loss operations each year in the county, more than any other county in the country. Why this is isn’t clear, but I do also wonder how much money these operations actually save in not having to treat more serious symptoms from weight related issues later on.

5. Notts Police Recruitment
Notts police have now begun the process of recruiting 150 new officers for the coming year. Full details for anyone interested in applying are on their website.

6. HS2
The Government have this week announced that £150 million will be spent on planning and preparation work on HS2 in the immediate future to ensure that the best possible information will be available as the scheme is taken forward.

7. New Girl Guides
A new Girl Guide troop has been set up in Nuthall, partly funded by a donation from my colleague Cllr Ken Rigby. The group meet in Kettlebrook Lodge in Kimberley and St Patrick’s Church in Nuthall, and further details are available by phoning 0800 16905901.

8. First Time Buyers
Notts County Council has now confirmed the details of its “Lend a Hand” scheme to help first time buyers get on the property ladder. £15 million is being made available and if buyers  can fund a 5% deposit the council will lend them the rest of the money for the deposit that the bank require. The scheme is being operated through Lloyds TSB and applies to properties worth £150,000 or less.

9. Charity Fundraising
Congratulations to the staff of Giltbrook company Payne who raised over £6,000 in a charity cycle ride. The money has been donated to the Notts Hospital Charity and to Treetops Hospice.

10. Colourful Words
Colourful Words is an off-beat workshop combining creative writing, poetry and mandala-making.  It is being run by local writer and artist Dave Wood and takes place at The Other Space, 6 – 8 High Road, Beeston, on Thursday 28th March,  10am – 4pm. The cost is only £10 per person.  Wear messy clothes. This day course needs 6 participants for it to go ahead. For details/booking, phone O77O9 977684. 

11. Enterprise Zone
The Enterprise Zone at the South of the borough, based on the Boots site, looks like it may receive a share of a new £59 million fund announced by the Government to kick start development. Some £25 million has already been earmarked for the site, made up of a combination of public and private money.

12. A52 Bus Lane
The police have now carried out a second enforcement exercise to catch drivers using the bus lane on the A52. This is the second time this month that such an exercise has been carried out and this time 11 drivers were caught. (Earlier this month they caught 15 people.)

13. Bramcote Buses
Congratulations to my colleague Stan Heptinstall who has persuaded Yourbus to introduce new stops on their Citylink Service. The bus will now stop at the Nurseryman and at Bramcote Leisure Centre.

14. Public Service Display 
This Wednesday, 6th March, between 2pm – 3pm, there will be an exhibition at Kimberley Parish Hall in Newdigate Street for people to find out more about public services. There will be displays by the borough council, Notts Fire  and Rescue, The Police, the NHS and other agencies.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter, and any feedback is gratefully received.
Best wishes
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