Tory County Councillors Vote themselves a 15% Pay Rise

On Thursday July 13th, County Councillors met to consider a report by their Independent Remuneration Panel on the level of the payments made to them as councillors. The IRP recommended a small rise of 1.5% They pointed out that KCC pay levels were already high, and officers had found only 2 councils in the entire country paying more than KCC. They said that KCC staff and other workers in hospitals, police and so on, were being limited to low pay rises. They also said the majority of 30 councillors they interviewed said the pay was ‘about right’.

However, Conservative Councillors proposed out of the blue that their pay rise should instead be 15%. The rise applies not just to the basic allowance of £13,000 that all councillors receive, but also to the Special Responsibility Allowances between £9 to £42K which Committee Chairman, Cabinet Members and others receive. The IRP recommended that should not change at all.

The total cost of the increase is £245,000.

Trudy writes “ I’ve rarely been more angry. The Lib Dems have consistently said that pay for councillors should be set BEFORE the county elections so voters knew what they were voting for. Yet here we were barely two months after the KCC elections, being asked to agree a whacking 15% rise.

Conservative members said they needed to attract younger people to become councillors. True, but you don’t need to do that till the next elections in four years time. In the meantime, it goes into the pay packets of existing councillors. They said they worked hard. Possibly, but so do nurses, police, social workers and others whose pay rises have been far less. They said that the rise was fair compared to lots of other people. Possibly, but the Independent Panel knew all about them, and still said a modest rise was enough

Some extraordinary things were said in the debate. I recommend watching the webcast on the KCC website and that’s not something I do very often!

Only one Conservative Councillor voted against the proposal, saying he didn’t think people outside County Hall would understand such a high rise. Too true! The Lib Dem proposal to accept the IRP recommendation was voted down by all Conservative and Labour councillors.

I have been asked if I intend taking the raised level of my own pay. It’s a fair question. Like other councillors, I use allowances to pay for leaflets and other ways of keeping residents in touch, and in supporting local volunteer groups. So if I do not take the rise, I am disadvantaging my residents compared to others, which I do not want to do. So I shall take the rise, and report back, through Headline, to you on what I do with it. I hope that’s fair. 

Watch Cllr Trudy Dean saying no to the Conservative pay rise. 

Sharp fall in EU nurses coming to UK


There has been a sharp fall in nurses from EU countries registering to work in the NHS, new figures have revealed.

The Health Service Journal reports that monthly statistics show the number of EU nurses registering with the NMC to work in the UK peaked at 1,304 in July 2016, a month after the referendum, before falling to 344 in September 2016 and then to just 46 in April 2017.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said: “These figures are profoundly worrying and the possible implications for the NHS and patients cannot be underestimated. The government has to face up to the impact their refusal to guarantee EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit is having. It is a political choice they have made and it is going to harm our services, in particular the NHS.

“The government must now change this decision. The result of the election last week gives them the opportunity to change their mind, and they now must. Liberal Democrats are clear that EU citizens whose lives are now rooted in the UK must have the right to stay”.

Your new team of Liberal Democrat MPs

Thank you for your support - this is your new team!


Thank you to everyone who has helped to elect these Liberal Democrats MPs:

Tom Brake, Carshalton
Vince Cable, Twickenham
Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland
Edward Davey, Kingston and Surbiton
Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale
Wera Hobhouse, Bath
Christine Jardine, Edinburgh West
Norman Lamb, North Norfolk
Stephen Lloyd, Eastbourne
Layla Moran, Oxford West and Abingdon
Jamie Stone, Caithness
Jo Swinson, Dunbartonshire East

In the next five years, Britain needs Liberal voices standing up for our place in Europe, for our civil liberties, for human rights and for an open, tolerant and united Britain.

Will you be part of what comes next and join us today?

Join the Liberal Democrats



Labour’s NHS pledge is pie in the sky.

This week Labour pledged an additional £37 billion of NHS funding, which sounds to me, as Shadow Health Secretary, like poorly-thought-out, pie in the sky policy.

You can’t solve the crisis in our NHS and social care services by simply imposing more top-down targets on staff and plucking numbers out of thin air.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a fully costed plan to deliver £6bn more per year for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax.

We are the only party that are prepared to be honest with the public that giving the NHS and social care the funding they need will mean us all chipping in a little more.

A group of 26 leading health experts, including the former chief executive of the NHS David Nicholson, have all backed our plans on the NHS in a letter to the Observer today.

To add your voice to theirs and back our plan to save the NHS and social care:

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We will honour Britain’s commitment to international development

We vow to honour Britain’s commitment to international development.

As part of the coalition, the Lib Dems managed to secure 0.7% of Britain’s gross national income for international development. It was one of our final acts in government, and it’s one we’re most proud of.

Since then, 0.7% has been a legal requirement, which has prevented the Conservatives and UKIP from stopping these vital funds getting to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Now, in the face of yet more callous opposition from the government, who are attempting to reduce the funding – the Lib Dems are making a stand.

The British people don’t have to settle for Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain.

Today, we have vowed to protect our 0.7% legacy and ensure that the UK continues to alleviate poverty across the world, helping to build a more secure and stable international community.

Why? Because UK aid prevents unimaginable suffering. It allows girls to stay in school, stops babies from dying from preventable illnesses, and ensures that farmers can sell their crops at a fair price.

And because a healthier, safer and more stable world is better for Britain. We should all be proud of our outward-looking, modern, progressive record as a global leader in international development.

If you want to fight for Britain’s legacy and protect the 0.7% pledge, support us today:

Back our plan to protect international development. Say you're voting for us today:

I’ve told Britain’s property developers: if you won’t build houses, the Lib Dems will

Today the Lib Dems are laying down the law to developers: unless you build the homes that Britain needs, we will.

The Conservative government has given developers a carte blanche to play the property market at the expense of our citizens. And now the country’s in crisis.

Not enough homes. Properties sitting empty. Exorbitant prices. The market is closed and exclusive: a fat cats’ game. That’s not good for people and it’s not good for business.

Today the Lib Dems are laying down the law to developers: unless you build the homes that Britain needs, we will.

We’re tired of the commercially unsound and short-sighted greed of developers, who buy up local authority land and sit on it until it appreciates. We’re tired of absent foreign investors, who’s attractive up-front cash is a false economy – contributing nothing to the improvement of the surrounding public realm.

The Lib Dems are taking decisive action on the housing crisis.

As a modern, pro-business party, we think commercial sense and social justice go hand in hand. That’s why we’ve put a progressive housing package at the heart of our new manifesto. It will include: building 300,000 homes a year by the end of the next parliament and giving local councils the power the charge absentee landlords up to 200% council tax on empty homes.

Why prioritise housing?

Making sure that the housing market is both profitable and socially beneficial is just pure good sense. But I also have personal reasons for standing behind this issue. As a teenager, I was inspired to get into politics by watching Cathy Come Home – a heartbreaking film about a couple who were made homeless – and I joined the housing charity Shelter as a result.

As an MP, I’ve seen first-hand the misery caused not having a proper home. For many people in the next generation, it is virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder. I think they deserve a helping hand.

If you want a government who will fight for everyone’s basic human need for shelter, who has the commercial clout to unpack the property monopolies which hold the market in a vice, then add your name here and say you're voting to change Britain's future on Thursday 8th June:

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The unregulated cannabis market is harming our young people. Something must be done.

The unregulated cannabis market is harming young people. The Liberal Democrats have a plan to change that:

The Liberal Democrats plan to break the grip of criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis.

Why are we doing this?

Because the current approach to cannabis has been a catastrophic failure.

Unregulated cannabis is freely available and widely used, generating significant mental and psychical health problems – especially for young people – who are being harmed by increasingly potent products.

And because organised criminals are making huge profits at the expense of people’s health, in an illegal industry with no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength. The UK cannabis economy is worth an estimated £7bn a year. We could put that money to better use.

Every British government so far has passed the buck of responsibility for this problem, thereby giving total control to the illegal rings who benefit from it. This is irresponsible and dangerous.

It’s time for an honest and pragmatic response. Only the Lib Dems can do this.

We propose a series of strict regulations, such as limiting sales of cannabis to over-18s, making cannabis safer by limiting its psychoactive chemical content, and taxing all cannabis sales (generating up to £1bn for investment in drug education and treatment).

How do we know it will work?

We’ve rigorously consulted a panel of experts, including senior police officers, drugs policy analysts and public health experts. They considered evidence from countries who’ve successfully legalised cannabis.

When a country as eminently sensible as Canada has come to the conclusion that regulation is better than prohibition, you know that the tide has turned. The question is now how to regulate responsibly and effectively. We can do it.

Full details of the regulatory model proposed by the party can be found in the report of the expert panel here:

If you believe Britain’s young people deserve a sensible, progressive policy on cannabis, support us today:

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Ending an historic injustice in mental health care

It's time to take mental health seriously - find out how we do that here:

Excellent healthcare is at the heart of our vision for Britain. As a leading liberal democracy, our public services should – and can be – the envy of the world. The Lib Dems are committed to making this vision a reality.

Last weekend, Tim Farron and I announced our five point NHS and care recovery plan, which laid out our health strategy for the next parliament – generating an extra £6bn funding boost.

Today, we are proud to announce that £1bn of this money will be ring-fenced and dedicated to 12 key priorities in mental health.

These priorities include improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS, providing support for pregnant women, and trebling the number of people accessing psychological therapies.

You can read the full report here.

Why are we doing this? Because services have been stretched to breaking point under the Conservatives, and promises made under the coalition have been broken. Now people’s lives are at stake.

The Lib Dems believe that every progressive, future-facing country should prioritise the mental health of its people.

If you share this vision, support us today:

Have your say on retirement village plan

A PROPOSAL for a retirement village of more than 70 apartments and “cottages” was overwhelmingly opposed by the 40-plus people who attended a public meeting arranged by West Malling Parish Council on April 18 at West Malling Primary School.

Members of the public objected to the use of Green Belt land for housing and felt there were enough properties to cater for retired people in West Malling already.

A number of residents said the greatest housing need in West Malling was for affordable housing for younger families.

Objections also related to the size and design of the apartment blocks proposed for the London Road site.

However the application is an outline one only and therefore the details of such things as parking, and building design provided by the developer were for illustrative purposes only.

The parish council, which is a consultee on the application, has responded to the borough council that it opposes the application on the basis that there is no demonstrated community need for housing of this type to justify development of Green Belt land where it would be an inappropriate use.

Richard Selkirk, chairman of the planning committee, urged residents to send their views to Tonbridge and Malling Council, quoting reference TM//17/0509. 



PEOPLE have been urged to send in their views on the proposed federation of Brookfield Infant and Junior Schools.

Opening in September, the scheme would mean there would be one executive headteacher and single governing body, with a senior leadership structure in each school. Both schools would retain their separate identity in respect of budget, admissions, performance tables and Ofsted inspections.

The proposals were outlined at a parents’ drop in meeting but concerns were raised about the infant school being over-subscribed for the first time this year. County Cllr Trudy Dean said that 22 children, for whom Brookfield was their first preference, have been turned away. They included six who are thought to have a sibling link.

While supporting the proposed federation, Cllr Dean has taken up the issue of admissions with Jared Nehra, Area Education Officer. She urged KCC to consider expanding the school as a matter of urgency to enable it to take at least the pupils who have older siblings in the junior school and Larkfield pupils who have been unsuccessful. A temporary mobile classroom was suggested as the school’s preferred option to accommodate them.

In her response to the consultation, Cllr Dean said: “I think an executive head will strengthen the focus on teaching and learning, and the federation will facilitate inter school co-operation in teacher professional development and cross year working.”

Written responses to the federation proposals should be sent to Rachel Pearson, Clerk to the Governors, c/o School Office, Brookfield Infant school, Swallow Road, Larkfield, or email clerk@brookfield- Closing date is June 9. 

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