With the Conservative party in control of the country, County and Borough we need to hold them to account. We need to challenge every decision that has a detrimental impact on the people of Redditch.
Be that to cut funding to our vital Voluntary and Community Sector, or to scrap A&E waiting targets, or to cut vital services to vulnerable local people, we need people like you to hold them to account.
We need people like you to fight for liberal ideas and values, to make sure that the most vulnerable in our society do not get left behind when the cuts kick in.
We need people like you to fight for the rights of our European citizens in the aftermath of Brexit.
We need people like you to stand as Liberal Democrat candidates at a local, county and national level.
We need people like you to make a difference to YOUR communities.
Please take five minutes to click on the button below and take a look at what is involved in being a local councillor.
If you want to make a difference, now is the time to do it
Redditch Liberal Democrats have met with senior Conservative
councillor, Cllr Mike Rouse, to set out a compromise position ahead of
Tuesday’s decision regarding the Council’s concessionary rents scheme and VCS
grants funding which it believes will protect and enhance the Voluntary and
Community Sector in Redditch.
This follows the decision taken at the Overview and Scrutiny
meeting on Thursday evening to push ahead with plans to cut some or all of the
funding to VCS groups.
Andy Thompson, spokesperson for Redditch Liberal Democrats said
“it was made clear by Cllr Thain that the council faced bankruptcy if savings
were not made. Having heard the evidence presented on Thursday night it became
apparent that something needed to be added to the plans to protect and enhance
the VCS once these cuts come into force.”
Redditch Liberal Democrat’s would like to commend Cllr Rouse
for putting party politics aside and agreeing to meet with us to hear our
ideas. We recognise that changing things at this late stage is difficult but we
believe that our ideas can be incorporated into the plans going forward.
Our plan, which will see the bulk of the remaining grant pot
ringfenced to appoint a specialist funding and community development role for
three years with three specific aims:
To support those
organisations affected by the decision regarding concessionary rents identify
avenues to meet the increase in rent due.
To support other
VCS organisation to identify and secure funding from external funding bodies.
To support VCS
organisations in enhancing governance and business planning so that they are
able to become increasingly self-sufficient.
With the likely outcome that the grant pot will be cut to
just £43k in year one, there is a need to be creative with how that money is
used. This creation of this role, which we see located within a suitable VCS
organisation, should help local organisations bring in far more funding than
would be available through the council and would be the catalyst in
transitioning the VCS towards resilience and self-sufficiency – something that
Cllr Thain stated he wanted to achieve.
We also recognise that for many organisations, having secure and affordable premises is something that is vital to their ongoing success. We believe that the council must make a positive commitment to enabling Community Asset Transfers to suitable VCS organisations.
The transferring of council assets into community control is possible under existing legislation and, if the council does this on long leases, the community organisations that take over responsibility for running the property can secure funding to invest and improve the properties.
We recognise that there is a great deal of work involved in getting organisations ready for this but we believe that, with the support of the specialist funding and community development post holder, that this could become reality in a few years’ time. When local government funding is in crisis and services are cut to the bare bones, it is the Voluntary and Community Sector that steps up to help those vulnerable people who fall through the gaps when services are stretched.
We believe that now is the time to be brave and to invest in our Voluntary and Community Sector so that those who need help the most continue to get it as the cuts kick in.
A huge thank you to all those in the Redditch constituency who voted for the Liberal Democrats in last week’s general election. As your candidate, I was very proud and honoured to stand up for liberal values across Redditch and for an open, welcoming and inclusive society.
Although we are obviously disappointed with the results nationally, there were some notable positives for us locally. Almost 3,000 people in Redditch and the surrounding villages voted to support our liberal vision for the country and constituency, more than doubling our vote from last time. I am certain that many more share this vision and can be persuaded to vote for us in the future. We need to show them what liberalism means for them and this, for me, has to be one of our key priorities for the next five years, as well as holding the conservatives to account locally and nationally.
If, like me, this election has filled you with determination to see Liberalism reassert itself at a time of growing nationalism, then I urge you to come with me as we build a strong liberal movement here in Redditch and the villages.
A very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all.