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Sally Symington Portrait

Our candidate for the 2019 General Election is Sally Symington (@SallySymington)

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The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

News

  • Article: Jul 29, 2020

    Opposition Liberal Democrats at County Hall have slammed a decision by the Conservative run council to spend an extra £11m that the council has been given for road and footway repairs on new roads instead.

    A few months ago, the government provided increased funding for highways maintenance, increasing the funding for this year for England from £1bn to £1.5bn. Hertfordshire County Council's additional funding is just over £11m.

    The council has decided that instead of using it for what it was intended, it will spend it covering the cost of new roads at the A120,A602 and at Essex Road Bridge in East Herts. This is despite the fact that the council has over £300m in contingency funds for the major schemes.

    This information became public during a question at Full Council last week when the Executive Member for Highways, Phil Bibby, admitted that the money was not planned to be used for what the government had allocated it for.

    Liberal Democrat opposition Leader, Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who found out the facts, hit out, " Frankly this is a disgrace and an insult to
    both the government and residents. The government rightly understood that more needed to be spent on highway and footway maintenance and to not do so from what is claimed to be a flagship Conservative authority is an insult to ministers and to all of us who have lobbied for this extra cash."

    "This money should be used to improve uneven and unsafe footways, cut back overgrown paths and cycleways and improve maintenance on our side streets. This was the government's intention. The County council has millions in reserves that it could use to support any extra road building costs - instead, it is saving it for its election year. By all means, ask the government to meet increased costs but we must put our residents first and not new roads. As usual, the Conservatives have got their priorities wrong in the green agenda."

  • Tring Market
    Article: Jul 19, 2020

    Despite the hard times of the covid-19 pandemic, Tring's Friday Charter Market, first established under a Royal Charter from Edward II in 1315, has kept going.

    Tring was, apparently, also granted the right to hold a Fair every year lasting 10 days and starting on 29th June, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.

    This 10-Day Fair, seems at some time to have fallen into abeyance, which is not surprising considering the amount of stamina you would need to keep a fair going for 10 days. What with all the drinking and naughtiness which was customary at mediaeval fairs, agricultural productivity would have been seriously compromised, with a corresponding dent made in the profits of the Lord of the Manor.

    It would appear then, that good manorial fiscal governance made common cause with the advocacy of piety and the upholding of moral virtues leading to the 10-Day Fair being more honored in the breach than in its observance. High Summer in Tring calmed down and 29th June is now celebrated in a more wholesome manner as the Patronal Day of the Parish Church.

    However, be that as it may (or may not) have been, the Charter Market on Fridays proved a steady earner down the centuries and stood the test of time.

    And it was certainly in full swing a couple of days ago, now in its 705th year.

    Business was brisk, with well-separated queues, social distancing respected and in a tenth of the time that shopping now takes in a big supermarket.

    So don't let our good market and hardworking traders down - shop at the Friday Market, save time, support small businesses and help get our local economy back on its feet!

    And that's not all, on every second and fourth Saturday of the month we also have the Tring Farmers Market. Next one on 25th July, 2020.

  • Article: Jul 7, 2020

    Herts County Council has missed out on £450,000 of government funding for emergency measures to improve pavements and cycle ways. The council was promised nearly £1.7 million from the government for work that could be done in the next few weeks if it could come up with suitable schemes. Having looked at the council's proposals the government has cut the funding to just over £1.2 million. It is one of 22 councils who have missed out on their full allocation whilst 32 were given everything that they were promised. Hertfordshire's reduction is the third largest in England.

  • UK Aid
    Article: Jun 19, 2020

    The day before yesterday the Prime Minister announced that the Foreign Office and Department for International Development are set to merge.

    The Liberal Democrats have always made absolutely clear our unequivocal support for Britain's role as a world leader in providing aid to those most in need. UK aid prevents suffering.

    By working internationally we can achieve so much more than we can alone.

  • Article: Jun 5, 2020

    Conservatives show lack of commitment to climate change by generating extra carbon emissions.

    The Conservative-run Herts County Council has been slammed by environmental campaigners and the Liberal Democrat opposition for its
    failure to reduce carbon emissions from street lights.

    The Liberal Democrats proposed at a county meeting on Tuesday that all street lights that are switched on to full illumination at 5am in the
    morning be reduced to 50% illumination till 6am to save money and carbon emissions.

  • Article: Jun 4, 2020

    Liberal Democrats have called for an independent inquiry into the number of deaths of Hertfordshire care sector residents from COVID-19.

    Lib Dem Group Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst said "We raised grave concern at a Special County Council meeting on Wednesday about the reported high level of deaths in the care sector in Hertfordshire.

    "The Lead Conservative member on Herts County Council admitted deaths were high especially in the Watford and Hertsmere areas compared to other districts in Hertfordshire. There could be a number of reasons for that but no one yet knows for sure why so it's wrong to speculate. We need an independent review to establish all the facts.

    Cllr Giles-Medhurst added "With now over 500 COVID-related deaths in the care sector reported by the county council this needs investigating. It's 500 too many. We need to know if this number of deaths and suffering could have been avoided and how. Were all the actions needed to minimise them taken? An inquiry would help us all understand that and help us learn and put in place better protection for our vulnerable in the care sector. It will also help families understand what occurred and help in their grief and loss."

  • Article: Jun 3, 2020

    Callum Robertson, Chair of the East of England Policy Committee, interviews Ed Davey MP.

    Photo credit: Uk Parliament licensed under CC BY 3.0.

  • Article: May 28, 2020

    Although there are 235 deaths listing COVID 19 registered in Hertfordshire between 10th April and 15th May according the Office of National Statistics, Herts Liberal Democrats have calculated that as many as 500 deaths are likely to have occurred according to figures that the County Council has collected from care homes. The Liberal Democrats have also raised concerns that a far higher number of deaths have occurred in care homes in Watford and Hertsmere than in other districts.

  • Article: May 28, 2020

    The evidence is clear. Because of the failure to provide adequate testing arrangements, the Government has no scientific basis on which to tell Primary Schools that they should reopen on 1st June. Each and every school has been forced to carry out its own risk assessment in deciding when it will be appropriate to reopen. This must be based on the physical limitations of the school buildings, the number of staff who are able and prepared to come back to their classrooms, and most importantly the number of parents willing to send their children to school.

    The County Council has to make it clearer to every school that it should feel under no pressure to open unless all these conditions are met. County Councillor Mark Watkin, Lib Dem Opposition spokesperson for Education comments: "There has never been a more important time for the County Council to give strong and clear guidance to schools and support them in whatever decision they take. Every day that our schools stay closed, our children's education suffers. It is imperative that the Government introduces reliable testing systems as soon as possible so that Heads and Boards of Governors have reliable information on which to base their decision. We also want to see more evidence that the County Council is actively helping schools to ensure that as much as possible is done to provide education for the pupils, and especially for those in danger of slipping behind due to prolonged absence from school."

  • Article: May 28, 2020

    "Must do better and be more pro-active" was the message from opposition Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall to the four pilot schemes announced by the County Council that they brought in last weekend to encourage active travel and support for social distancing as more retail premises open.

    Levels of walking and cycling have increased dramatically across the UK during the lock down. The Government recently announced a package of £250m of support to councils for changes as more people begin travelling to work again and there is an easing of restrictions, while capacity on public transport is still significantly reduced due to the ongoing need for social distancing.