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Lib Dem councillor urges voters to use by-election to send a clear message to Conservatives over public service cuts

People living in Lichfield have been urged to use their vote to make a statement over the “catastrophic” state of public services in the area.

A by-election has been called in the Stowe ward on Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council following the resignation of Conservative member David Smedley.

Paul Ray

Paul Ray

Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Ray has called on residents to use the ballot to make their feelings known about the impact of cuts across Lichfield and Burntwood.

“Last year Conservative-run Surrey County Council took on the Government to get more funds for residents. The vast majority of councillors and MPs in Staffordshire are Conservative, so why aren’t they standing up for their county like Surrey did?

“Budgets are being set now and Staffordshire County Council is facing a massive £12million black hole which will hit our schools, roads and in particular care services.

“Theresa May has been forced to apologise for tens of thousands of delayed operations. Many local NHS trusts are now on high alert due to staffing shortages and a lack of beds caused by Conservative failure to invest in social care.

“Every day seems to bring more bad news about the state of the health and care service and the blame lies firmly at the Government’s door. Patients are paying the price for heartless Conservative cuts.

“It’s time to give the Conservatives a direct message.”

Jeyan Anketell will be contesting the seat on behalf of the Liberal Democrats and Cllr Ray said his party were the obvious answer for disillusioned voters.

“We have the policies to invest in our public services – and these are sensible and properly funded, unlike Labour,” he said.

“By voting Jeyan Anketell people will give the Conservatives a direct message that our public services can’t take any further strain.

“It’s time the NHS and care services get the extra cash they desperately need. The Lib Dems would do this by putting a penny on income tax to raise an extra £6billion a year.

“This would mean millions more for the NHS and Staffordshire County Council, ensuring people get high-quality care when they need it.”

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7 Comments

  1. Steve Norman

    23rd January, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    But these cuts started in 2010 under the LibDem Coalition so my advice would be to vote Labour. Not just to protest against the LibDem and Conservative policies still affecting people in Stowe Ward but Labour councillors are the only ones holding the Conservatives to account month in month out!
    And in anticipation – The Bank of evil (formerly Lehman Brothers) was American.

  2. Ken

    23rd January, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    And so the bickering begins…

    Steve’s absolutely right about the Lib Dems helping to lay the foundations of Tory austerity, but if we’re talking track records let’s not forget that last year’s Labour manifesto kept £7bn of welfare cuts planned by George Osborne (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/20/labour-manifesto-keep-planned-tory-benefit-cuts-resolution-foundation).

    As for holding the Conservatives to account locally – really? Where’s your evidence? There’s a world of difference between sitting opposite the Tories in the council chamber and actually being an effective opposition. What difference is a fifth Labour councillor going to make against 41 Tories?

  3. Ron Nicholls

    23rd January, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Spot on Steve!

  4. Chris Rapley

    23rd January, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Labour is hardly holding the Tories to account. Corbyn consistently whips MPs (Article 50 & EU Withdrawal Bill) to ensure that Tory Brexit goes ahead. Lib Dems were in coalition with Conservatives in 2010. Tories take credit for everything positive that Lib Dems achieved, and blames them for Tories’ own failures. Lib Dems are the only party along with the Green Party to be insisting that the people have a meaningful vote in a Referendum on any Brexit deal. Labour is refusing to back down from Corbyn pro Brexit stance. Lib Dems care about public services and want a democratic exit from catastrophic Brexit.

  5. Steve Norman

    23rd January, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Locally a Labour victory would send a signal to the local Conservative representatives that they can’t take the electorate for granted as their MP clearly does – and probably why some of them regularly leave long before the end of a meeting.

    For example when Labour councillors ensured Council Taxpayers were able to express their views in the detailed consultation about 3 years ago only a tiny number supported charging for brown bins or having a chauffeured car for the Council’s Chairman. The District Council have now gone ahead and ignored this – but it is up to voters to help the Opposition in their fight by (at least) going out and voting for them.

    Another Tory at the District would just mean another vote for these cuts (though I doubt they would ever speak at a Council meeting as that has been the case for the majority for years) and when the LibDems were the official Opposition briefly at LDC – no one seems to have noticed.

    Of course people can just give up and let them do what they want or attend a Council meeting and judge for themselves.

  6. Ron Nicholls

    23rd January, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Not sure LDC had much influence on the outcome of the EU referendum? However, the good folk of Lichfield did (59% Leave). Not me I hasten to add. I don’t blame local government Tories for the cuts imposed from above, but we are all suffering now from the decisions made a while back and the source of these cuts shouldn’t be forgotten. However, local government is a different animal. I would say, look at the candidates and if you believe they will do a good job for you, locally, then vote for them. Don’t waste your vote to ‘send a message’. No-one’s listening.

  7. Sue Woodward

    23rd January, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    We’re talking local here. Pop in to any Council meeting at LDC and you’ll see that the Labour Councillors are the ones who question, challenge, open up debate and discussion and hold the Tory controlling Group to account. As Opposition Leader, I’m proud of the work we do, and our work-rate and attendance, when the Tories have 10 times the number of Councillors that we have. Too many of them have become lazy and simply do their masters’ bidding without any active contribution.