Exit from Brexit
As part of the European Day of Action, Hexham Liberal Democrats shall be staging an event.
46 Fore St
Hexham NE46 1NA
Education in Wonderland
Philip Latham, Chairman of the Hexham Liberal Democrats, sets out his view…
Harold Wilson said that a week is a long time in politics.
So, what about four years?
It was four years ago that the Tory part of the coalition came up with the idea of Regional Schools Commissioners to run the growing number of academies, being created outside local authority control to improve education standards.
As Liberal Democrats we would claim that their big idea, the pupil premium, has done more in that direction than academies and there is empirical evidence to back this up.
Our mistake was not to focus on early years – the research was there- and the latest policy to treble payments to £1,000 for early years pupils could be a game changer if the kids are not frequent movers because their landlords are indifferent to their plight.
However even a £1,000 payment is small beer when comparing it to the 121 academy trusts who pay their senior staff more than £150,000. Perhaps not quite the scandal of university vice chancellor pay, but the figures are getting close. Perhaps it’s not surprising that there have been several Regional Schools Commissioners who have taken up lucrative posts with academy trusts to whom they had given the green light.
The current flurry of Tory protestations in West Northumberland about ensuring that the voice of parents is heard amidst the current storm of proposals for changes to schools reflects that they are damaging some of their new support gained in recent elections. It was only seven years ago that parents in the Hexham Constituency saw off an attempt by Northumberland County Council –‘three cheers for three tiers’ to abolish middle schools.
However, seven years ago the County Council backed down when faced by a well-run campaign. This time round we have the Hadrian Learning Trust –Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle school – applying to become an 11-18 school. This, should it be approved by the RSC, (see above) shall impact on many of their feeder schools. This is likely to lead to school closures.
At the same time the Tory-led County Council has now proposed restructuring schools in the West of the County which could also lead to school closures – especially in the smaller communities.
We have what we could call a perfect storm which hopefully won’t lead to the same destruction as Storm Emma and the beast from the East.
But whilst adverse weather may be temporarily disruptive, in the Liberal Democrat view such changes shall have much longer-term implications.
And yes, Liberal Democrats would abolish Regional Schools Commissioners. But what about the high salaries for some of the heads of academy trusts?
Chairman – Hexham Liberal Democrats
EVENT: What’s happening to the NHS?
A happy New Year to all.
2017 was a crazy year.
Chaos, elections; Brexit bunglings, Corbyn mumblings…
So roll on 2018…
On 11 January Hexham Liberal Democrats welcome you to a special event
‘What’s happening to the NHS’
An open discussion on Thursday 11 January with Peter Roderick
(Barrister & Principal Research Associate, Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University; co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill)
Hexham Community Centre
Gilesgate, Hexham, NE46 3NP
Doors open at 7pm. Light refreshments
For more information, please find us on Facebook.
Fiona Hall was the Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for ten years, 2004-2014, and leader of the Lib Dem MEPs 2009-2014.
As an MEP, Fiona worked with North East companies to make sure that EU laws were supportive – for example with Nissan on electric car charging points. She played a key role in the establishment of strong 2020 goals to save energy and tackle climate change, and in the successful campaign to make lorry design safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
In the referendum campaign last year, she campaigned tirelessly to keep Britain in the EU and is committed to fighting a hard Brexit.
She says: “I shall continue to fight to keep the UK in the single market and for a second referendum on the terms of the final deal, with the option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper.”
Fiona is deeply concerned that a hard Brexit will cause an economic crash, threaten livelihoods in Northumberland and further reduce investment in public services that have already suffered crippling cuts under the Conservatives.
She says: “The Conservatives’ national funding formula for schools is a disaster, with schools in the Hexham constituency facing deep budget reductions and the loss of teachers.
“Our NHS and social services are facing one cut after another, with a result that the elderly are left unsupported and sick people face long, tiring journeys to Cramlington instead of being able to access 24-hour care in Hexham.
“We need to invest in our schools and hospitals and that is what the Lib Dems will do, with an extra £13bn already committed.”
Fiona has lived in Whittingham, Northumberland, since 1981. Before serving as an MEP she worked as a teacher and parliamentary researcher and chaired the Druridge Bay Campaign to stop nuclear power and sand extraction on the Northumberland coast. She has two grown-up daughters.
Labour has failed to select a candidate for Hexham with the general election just weeks away. The news has been revealed by the Liberal Democrats, who say that it shows Labour has “given up”.
There are over 340 constituencies Labour has still not selected for in England, including seven in the North East.
In contrast the Liberal Democrats have selected 92% of their candidates in England.
Liberal Democrat candidate Fiona Hall said:
“It seems that Labour have simply given up on places like Hexham.
“This election is now clearly a two-horse race between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.
“Labour claimed to be prepared for a general election, but many of their approved candidates are simply refusing to run under Jeremy Corbyn’s banner.
“And who can blame them? They see a leader who is ineffective and a party that is too divided to stand up for local people or fight against a hard Brexit.”