Monday, 1 April 2013

Broxtowe Enews 1st April 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. May I give a special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.

1. Tax and benefit changes
I’m starting with a national news story this week for a change, but today sees the introduction of a huge number of changes to tax, benefits and health brought in by the coalition. Some of these are things I’m not desperately happy with and some of them are things that if we were in Government on our own we would not have done, but I am particularly proud of the changes to income tax that incurred today. As a result of specific Lib-Dem policies which we have been able to implement every taxpayer in Broxtowe will be paying £600 less income tax than they were in 2010, with some 5,000 paying no income tax at all. Next year the change will go up to £700 as we achieve our long term goal of having the first £10,000 anyone earns being tax free.  I’m also pleased that Lib-Dem pressures led to alterations to the NHS changes to make it clear that competition should only ever be permitted as a means of facilitating improvements and not as an end in itself.
With the changes to the benefits system local authorities now have a discretionary power to grant extra support for those receiving council tax benefits. The Lib-Dems have surveyed all Nottinghamshire authorities and only one is providing 100 of the support that they are able to. That is Broxtowe, the only one where the Lib-Dems are involved in running the council. Not one of the Labour run council’s has matched the level of support that we have.

2. Chilwell Road
We’ve now had the first few days of Beeston coping without Chilwell Road, which is shut for the next year. Some far traffic seems to be coping without too much difficulty but we are of course in the Easter period, and the real test will come in a couple of weeks time. Hopefully people will have had a bit of a chance to get used to things by then and so the impact won’t be too dramatic. May I also congratulate Matt Goold from the Beestonia for arranging the End of the Road party to celebrate the independent traders on the street, all of which stay open during the road works.

3. Ambulance Service Changes
Not directly linked to the other changes to the NHS which I mentioned above are the changes which are proposed to the ambulance service in Nottinghamshire. I mentioned that these were out to consultation a while back, and they have now been confirmed. This means that all but six of the ambulance stations in Notts will close and there will be one “super-hub” in Nottingham together with 23 community standby points. The ambulance service hope that this will mean that response times will be shorter as the ambulances will be distributed to these community standby points when not out on a call.

4. County Council Elections
Polling cards are being delivered this weekend to residents across Broxtowe for the County Council elections next week. Nominations are open at the moment for candidates and I will be standing for the Lib-Dems, along with Barbara Carr, in the Chilwell and Toton seat. I stood there last year in a by election and we came close, so I hope that we can do even better this time. The other Lib-Dem candidates are Steve Carr in Beeston North, Brian Taylor in Beeston South and Attenborough, Stan Heptinstall and Jacky Williams in Bramcote and Stapleford, Ken Rigby in Trowell and Kimberley and Keith Longdon in Eastwood.
If anyone would like to help deliver leaflets we would be very grateful for the help. Ust contact me and I’ll put you in touch with your local candidate.

5. Youth Parliament
Congratulations to Alex Cargill, aged 15, from Brinsely, who has been elected as the new Broxtowe representative to the Youth Parliament. Along with the Youth Council, which has been going locally for several years, the youth parliament exists to make sure that young people have a voice in politics.

6. George Spencer School
Congratulations to the students and staff from George Spencer School in Stapleford who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for Water Aid. I lived in Africa as a child and climbed one or two mountains there, and Kilimanjaro (which I never did climb) is not an easy mountain to get up so this is an excellent achievement. Water Aid is also a charity I have raised money for over a number of years and so this was a report that caused my eye.

7. Recycling Centres
This is just a reminder of an item that I reported on a few weeks ago. Because of the lighter nights that we now have (it’s not the first time it’s snowed on the day that British Summer Time began but apparently yesterday saw the lowest temperatures ever recorded in the UK for Easter Sunday) recycling centres in Notts, including the one at Beeston, are now open until 8pm.

8. Children’s Holiday Club
The Pearson Centre in Beeston in running a holiday club this week, starting tomorrow. It is open for children ages between 6 and 11 and runs for this week and next. The cost is £15 per day with discounts for Boys and Girls Brigade members. For details ring  0115 925 4112.

9. New Building at the Hassocks
The Borough Council’s development control committee has given planning permission for 130 new houses to be built at the Hassocks in Beeston near to the fire station. This means that 130 less houses will need to be built elsewhere in the borough.

10. Stapleford Parade
The Royal Engineers, based at Chetwynd Barracks, will parade through Stapleford on Saturday May 4th. The parade will start at 10.30am, and most of the soldiers who march will have seen recent active service in Afghanistan. Much as I am utterly opposed to our involvement in Afghanistan I have nothing but admiration for the service put in by our forces and I hope there will be an excellent turn out for the parade. Hopefully it might have stopped snowing by then as well.

11. Emails
A couple of people have mentioned this week that I have been slow in answering emails. Many apologies for this. I’ve been having a break over Easter and I do receive somewhere between 100 – 150 emails a day most days and unlike professional politicians I don’t have any secretarial support to help me with it. I do try and respond as quickly as possible but if I haven’t answered in a few days please send me a chase up because sometimes some do get overlooked. I don’t every deliberately ignore any emails.

12. Newsletter format
May I ask for feedback from readers on a matter please? Ever since I set up this newsletter it has taken the form of a purely text based document with no graphics or other embellishments. I’m now considering whether to change to a different list server which would enable me to offer a wider range of content and also to include a contents list at the start. However before I make such a change I’d welcome readers views on whether this would be appreciated or not.  Lots of people tell me how useful they find this newsletter (and I’m really grateful for this feedback) and I don’t want to make changes that people would find unhelpful. I’d like peoples views and then I’ll decide whether to make a change or not in the next few weeks.

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

Best wishes
Follow me on Twitter at @DavidWatts12.
Visit our Facebook page at
Email me at