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Forest of Dean Liberal Democrats

2018 Local Policy Manifesto

Our Core Belief

"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.

Our Policies

LOCAL COMMUNITIES

We deplore the governments dismantling and destruction of local services and therefore support initiatives taken by local communities to preserve local amenities such as libraries and youth services where necessary running them themselves.

Recent initiatives taken by the District Council to meet local people and provide forums for the sharing of ideas, problems and solutions are welcome.. Decisions affecting local communities should be debated, and implemented, at the lowest possible level.

NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE

The National Health Service is grossly underfunded and struggling to provide an acceptable standard of care despite the efforts of a committed andhighly professional workforce. This crisis is made worse by the continuing exodus of European nationals who are leaving the NHS in large numbers as a result of unnecessary uncertainty and insecurity caused by the government's inept handling of Brexit. We believe that this underfunding crisis can be alleviated in the short termby a 1p increase in income tax thus providing an injection of £6b into health and social care.. In addition far more medical training should be provided and the nursing bursary needs to be restored without further delay.

The community hospital plans for the Forest of Dean must maintain at least the number of beds currently available. Mental health services must be up-graded to the level of other health provision and social care must be properly funded to avoid bed blocking and to protect vulnerable patients. Community hospitals must be preserved at all costs. The Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, although providing excellent medical services is too far distant for many people living in the heart of the Forest. Likewise, GP services must be fully protected and resourced.

ROADS AND PAVEMENTS

Roads and pavements throughout the Forest of Dean often fail to meet basic safety standards. Potholes present a constant hazard to motorists as do uneven and dilapidated pavements to pedestrians. The County Council must address this problem as a matter of urgency if necessary funding essential improvements from reserves.

BROADBAND

Broadband speeds in many parts of the Forest are lamentably slow causing a problem to many local companies. Business growth is being seriously hampered and the Government must establish a Commission to identify the causes of this problem and to initiate appropriate solutions.

EDUCATION

The interests of local children are best served when decisions affecting schools are made locally and not by academy trusts who lack democratic accountability. We Liberal Democrats believe that the forced reduction in services provided by the Local Authority should be arrested and reversed.

THE ENVIRONMENT

An environmentally sustainable economy and society is at the heart of Liberal Democratic beliefs.. Climate change, pollution and the degradation of the natural environment poses a huge threat to future generations.

We would seek to further increase local re-cycling rates to rapidly expand the range of accepted plastics and to promote the reduction of single use plastics.

Woodland and water within the Forest of Dean must be managed and protected in a sustainable manner. Liberal Democrats oppose fracking and look to more environmentally friendly energy sources for the future using innovative technology. House insulation, reduction in air pollution, and a green investment bank are some of the measures we support that would benefit local people and businesses.

SOCIAL HOUSING

The Forest of Dean is woefully short of affordable social housing particularly for young people. This problem must be addressed by our District Council otherwise we are likely to face an exodus of vital skills from our area. The selling-off of social housing reduces the availability of cheaper property and should immediately cease.

HEALTH, SOCIAL CARE AND YOUTH SERVICES

The state of social care in Gloucestershire is dire. Children's services have had two poor Ofsted reports both of which clearly indicate serious failures in management and leadership. Investment in funding and expertise is urgently needed to produce sustainable improvement.

Youth services have been decimated as a result of funding cuts with the burden falling on local authorities who have to largely rely on volunteers to run these much needed services. Liberal Democrats want the government to recognise the vital need for this provision and to restore the required funding.

POLICING

The Government is seriously underfunding the police who are consequently unable to provide an effective public service. Technology and community networks can help some of the problems but are no substitute for a local police presence. More resources must be allocated to this vital area.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST!

BREXIT

The ultimate decision to leave the European Union must not be taken until the full and final terms are approved by the British people who must have the last say on the final Brexit deal. . If notright for Britain's future, then they must have the power to reject it and instead have the option toremain within the EU.