Nick Hollinghurst

Liberal Democracy – equal opportunity for all, freedom within a fair society, security in a greener world

Diary Dates

August 22nd, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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st barts flowersFlower Festival “All God’s Gifts”

St. Bartholomews Church, Wigginton, Tring, Herts HP23 6DZ 

Saturday 23 August  10am-5pm
Sunday 24 August 12noon-5pm
Monday 25 August 10pm-5pm

Refreshments available   ~   Books and other stalls

 


Wendover Arm Trust – Canal Restoration

www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/

Next Restoration Work Party… Friday September 5th - Thursday September 11th

Come and see what we do – new volunteers will be most welcome and are neededto continue the job – if you would like to help please call Ray Orth on 01494 786868 for details or email [email protected]  You can also call the Trust on 07457 181857.  Any offers of help will be greatly appreciated - thankyou

Restoration Open Day… Sunday 7 September 12.30 to 4pm

  • Free admission
  • Take a guided tour of the canal restoration site
  • See the volunteers at work
  • Tea & Cakes on sale

Car parking at St Mary’s Church, Drayton Beauchamp HP22 5LS ~ Donations welcome

 

Ringfencing the Science Research Budget

August 21st, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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business-innovation blogA Liberal Democrat government would introduce a package of measures supporting innovation in UK businesses.

The manifesto plans include ringfencing the science research budget and introducing a green innovation arm to the British Business Bank.

The plans also provide further support for the ‘Catapult’ programme, which bridges the gap between universities, research institutions and business through £100m of funding over the next Parliament.

The green innovation arm of the British Business Bank would deliver an expansion of innovation funding in the UK green technology sector.

In July, Vince Cable launched the driverless cars developments, which had benefited from this programme.

The announcement came after Vince demanded that the £4.6bn science research budget was ringfenced. This funding is mainly allocated through universities and science research councils. Ringfencing helps support Britain’s innovation research.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable said:  “Supporting innovative businesses is crucial to building a stronger economy in Britain. There are hundreds of businesses and individuals across the country with a good idea, pioneering groundbreaking research or working tirelessly to bring their product to market.

“In Government we have fought to protect funding for these innovations, and we will continue to do so in the next Parliament. We will not allow others scrap this vital funding because of a short term outlook, rather than invest in the people who are building the businesses of tomorrow.

“Liberal Democrats recognise that providing the support that these businesses need is central to our work to build a stronger economy and a fairer society where there is opportunity for everyone to get on in life.”

Tackling Child Poverty

August 21st, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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LD bird BLOGThe Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to introduce new child poverty measures it has been announced.

The manifesto will feature the three child poverty targets which were blocked by the Conservatives:

> reducing relative poverty;
> reducing gaps in life chances;
> and reducing entrenched poverty.

The announcement forms part of our ongoing commitment to creating a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life.

Commenting, Chair of the Liberal Democrat manifesto group, and Education Minister, David Laws said:  “Liberal Democrats know you can build a stronger economy and fairer society at the same time, and will not let political dogma, or headline chasing, damage someone’s opportunity to get on in life.

“Labour’s ‘poverty plus a pound’ strategy made a statistical impact but it left people’s circumstances and future prospects largely unchanged.”

“Our changes will change the focus in order to lift young people out of poverty for good by generating real opportunity.”

“Rather than spending billions of borrowed pounds on welfare payments designed to move someone from just below, to just above, the official poverty line, we intend to invest in education and skills so people can be work their way out of poverty and towards a future of self-reliance and success.

“The Conservatives have been keen to point up the failings of Labour’s child poverty measures but less keen to replace them with decent, effective and supportive measures.

“Their desire to shrink the state by continuing to cut spending long after the deficit has been cleared trumped their rhetorical commitment to expanding opportunity for young people.

“Clearly a political dividing line on fiscal policy matters more to them than the effort to reduce poverty and expand life chances.”

Free Access to National Museums and Galleries

August 20th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALiberal Democrats would maintain free access to national museums and galleries under their 2015 manifesto plans.

The party would ensure free entry and continue to make this a condition of government funding.

Museums and galleries play a crucial role in the cultural life of the UK, attracting millions of visitors each year and the Liberal Democrats want to see that continue.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:  “Our museums and galleries are some of the best in the world. They are a source of inspiration and education for millions across the country.

“The fact that attendance is at record levels and that last year was the first time a majority of people had visited a museum or gallery shows that free access is a policy that works.

“The Liberal Democrats are now committing to maintain that free access in the next parliament so people from all backgrounds and income groups can make use of these great institutions without concerns about the cost.

The Liberal Democrats believe in offering opportunity for everyone in order to build a stronger economy and a fairer society. This is another way of making sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to get on in life.” 

Tring in Bloom – A Fine Display at Entrance to Award Winning Gardens

August 19th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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TringMemorialGardenAug14Several years ago Dacorum Borough Council invested over £50,000 in a comprehensive redesign and improvement of the Tring Memorial Garden. With the pond relined and repaired, a new fountain, some judicious pruning and the removal of some of the less successful trees and – with the help of the Friends of Tring Memorial Garden – some new flower beds and imaginative planting, the gardens are once again a beautiful and attractive feature of the town of Tring.

The whole area is now lighter, brighter, with better views and no furtive corners, peaceful and pleasant – and as a result the gardens have won the prestigious Green Flag Award twice.

The picture shows the flower bed along the London Road opposite the Robin Hood pub at the entrance to the gardens.

Top marks to Dacorum, not only for a successful project, but also for keeping the standards high year after year.

If you’re visiting Tring, take some time to relax and enjoy the Memorial Garden.

Hertfordshire Finally Comes Clean on £1m Cuts to Waste Services

August 19th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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BerkTipPicWebWordsSecret plans to save over £1m have finally been exposed by the Liberal Democrats on Hertfordshire County Council. 

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Stephen Giles-Medhurst has found out, and now forced the County to make public, that their plan to close two household waste sites and cut opening hours at others,  will save not the £750,000 reported to councillors back in early July, but over £1m. After discovering the true figures,  Cllr Giles-Medhurst threatened to go public with it unless the council did.

The Council had wanted this “saving” to be kept confidential despite having already awarded a contract to Amey Cespa for this.

Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Leader of the Lib Dem Opposition on HCC said: “We always knew the supposed “consultation”  exercise  and the planned closures were nothing to do with improving services  for local residents.

“Finally we have the truth.This is a £1 million  pound cut in services.

“The County Council consultation is a fraud. I wonder how many leading Tories knew that the saving was far more than was being let on, that both Elstree and Hoddesdon could be kept open and they could still save £750,000?

“This whole exercise stinks. They should be looking at each waste site to see what the needs of residents are. Why cut the opening hours at Waterdale  in Watford by 44% when it’s the most used site both for tonnage and visitors?.

“Whilst savings could and need to be made, the Tory blanket cut across all opening hours,  and to close two sites – with no background as to usage and no local input is just like the bus cuts, a “lets cut - we do not care” approach.

“Localism under Herts Tories seems to work like this:  they will tell you about the cuts; ask you about them; then make them – whatever you have told them you think.

“Why have they hidden the true figure of the cuts?  What more are they keeping back?  Or is this  just a  PR exercise saying we will close two sites then reprieve them because they are in Tory held areas. They knew all along they would not need to close them because  they can still save the suggested £750,000 by  just cutting hours and days of opening at all the sites. That is the only answer that stacks up and its a disgrace.”

Record Numbers Off to University

August 18th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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uni nos blogA record number of students have been accepted into university this year, with over half a million expected to take up places despite results being slightly lower.

There has been more flexibility introduced, so universities can recruit more students, making it possible for more young people to access the institution of their choice.

Applications rates for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds has also risen to a record high. Thanks to the safeguards put in place by the Lib Dems, the gap is narrowing between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged university students.

The Liberal Democrats recognise that we couldn’t deliver our policy on tuition fees. The truth is that both Labour and the Conservatives supported higher fees, so we were unable to carry out our promise without backing from the two parties.

Although that’s no excuse, we have worked to make sure the system is as fair as possible in order to protect lower earning graduates. No student pays up front and they only pay back once they’re earning over £21,000.

Liberal Democrats have also increased the number of apprenticeships available, so that there are more options open to students. There are now 1.8 million apprentices, the biggest expansion since 1950s.

“Now we want to go even further and lift the amount of money people can earn before paying income tax to £12,500.  This will take hundreds of thousands more low earners out of tax altogether and give millions of working people a further tax cut of £400.

“This move will also give a tax cut to over 6 million pensioners.  When we’ve reached £12,500 we will seek to raise the level that people start paying employee National Insurance.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party in British politics with a long-term commitment to cutting taxes for the working people of Britain. We’ve delivered the largest programme of tax cuts for a generation over the last four years, despite all of the other financial pressures.

“These manifesto commitments will mean nothing less than a generational shift to a fairer tax system that rewards work and helps working people. That’s the way to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get on in life.”

Tell Hertfordshire County Council what you Think About the Bus Cut Proposals!

August 17th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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387 004 blogAfter confusion in the Cabinet, fumbling with figures and obfuscation from the officers, Hertfordshire County Council has finally launched its public consultation on bus service cuts.

The quick fix that they have dreamed up is to reduce all subsidised routes by cutting out

  • every service that departs after 6. 30 p.m. and
  • all services that run on Sundays.

This strategy will leave commuters travelling on the later trains unable to get back from their home stations at the end of their working day. It will also cut out the evening services, e.g. 501, between towns like Tring and Aylesbury or Hemel Hempstead and Watford and leave villages totally without transport on Sundays. A Sabbath day’s journey will soon be even shorter than it was in biblical times!

Services Affected in  (a) Hemel Hempstead: 2, 3, 4, 301, 320, 352, 353, 501;  (b) Tring 387, 501

Take part in the consultation – copies available in local libraries.

Or participate online at https://consult.hertsdirect.org/bus-services/

The consultation is open until 8th October, 2014.

Help us to help you by signing the Liberal Democrat petition online at http://signme.org.uk/985

Use Tring’s Friday Charter Market – or lose it!

August 17th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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Tring Mayor at Tring Market cutting Jubilee Cake

Tring Mayor at Tring Market cuts Jubilee Cake

You’ve heard it before – use it or lose it!

Tring has had a Charter Market since 1315. It’s conveniently located, with easy parking, keen prices and good quality. From oranges to olives, from cheese to chicory, from fish to flowers, from fruit to fennel and more besides – vegetables, clothes, cards, household goods, a cup of tea – it’s all waiting for you!

Here it was in 2012 participating in the Jubilee Celebrations.

Tring Town Councillors are pledged to support the Charter Market. We’re making 8 more car parking spaces available on market days and a working party has been set up to publicise it. Help us to help the town – give our Charter Market a new lease of life!

Lib Dems plan to cut your tax bill further

August 16th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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clegglowtaxA Liberal Democrat government will make further cuts in Income Tax and reduce National Insurance for millions of workers under manifesto plans announced yesterday.

The party plans to raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of next Parliament.

This move would cut income tax for 30m workers and be worth £400 per year to a typical basic rate taxpayer.

Pensioners have not benefitted from the previous increases in the personal allowance, but the increase to £12,500 will benefit more than 6m pensioners.

And in a new proposal announced today, Liberal Democrats will seek to raise the amount people can earn before paying National Insurance once the personal income tax allowance has reached £12,500.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “Our tax system must be fair and help to make being in work pay.  That’s why cutting income tax for working people, particularly those on low and middle incomes, is a top Liberal Democrat priority.

“It was on the front page of the 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto and we have fought to keep it on the agenda at every Budget.  By April next year we will have delivered a tax cut to over 26 million people worth £800 a year to a typical basic rate taxpayer and taken over 3 million out of tax altogether.

“Now we want to go even further and lift the amount of money people can earn before paying income tax to £12,500.  This will take hundreds of thousands more low earners out of tax altogether and give millions of working people a further tax cut of £400.

“This move will also give a tax cut to over 6 million pensioners.  When we’ve reached £12,500 we will seek to raise the level that people start paying employee National Insurance.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party in British politics with a long-term commitment to cutting taxes for the working people of Britain. We’ve delivered the largest programme of tax cuts for a generation over the last four years, despite all of the other financial pressures.

“These manifesto commitments will mean nothing less than a generational shift to a fairer tax system that rewards work and helps working people. That’s the way to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get on in life.”

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