This is the most important issue facing the UK and Liberal Democrats are the only major party standing up against the worst excesses of a disastrous decision
Negotiations have just started between the EU and Tory Brexit teams. Some are saying “let’s just get on with it!” but as it becomes clearer that Brexit is going to be a disaster the Liberal Democrats are renewing their campaign to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union.
The implications of the threat of Hard Brexit are already being seen – in reduced access to grants for research; EU trained nurses, overseas students, and seasonal workers disappearing; less inward investment; and rises in food and petrol prices caused by the drop in the pound.
Liberal Democrats believe that the best place for Britain is at the centre of Europe. Exiting the Single Market would mean massive constitutional change and disruption and see the country facing long-term chaos and uncertainty.
Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats are leading the fight against a Brexit Coalition of Chaos between the Tories and Labour. The Labour party are supporting Tory plans for a Hard Brexit and betraying all those young people, here in Camden and across the country, who voted for a better future.
Polls are showing a growing appetite for a review by the public of the terms of the deal, if and when it’s made. Liberal Democrats will stand up for the people’s right to choose.
On 10 July a major fire ripped through Camden Market. This is not the first time in recent years this iconic area has been devastated.
Camden Market is part of the character of Camden and the Liberal Democrats are determined that better safety should be built in to any replacement while retaining its unique spirit.
Serious doubts are emerging over the Council’s health & safety enforcement: two market fires; fire doors and unsafe gas installation at Chalcots; pavement encroachment in Queen’s Crescent; to name just a few.
Local Liberal Democrat Jill Fraser said, “The market’s owner has said it may not be possible to save parts of the building. Any replacements should retain the character of the original market. We want to keep hold of what makes Camden special.”
Local Lib Dems are opposing yet more cuts to social care. The Labour-run Council has pushed through new transport charges for the elderly and the disabled. They are also closing the Netherwood Centre in West Hampstead, the only specialist day centre for people with dementia.
In the general election, the Lib Dems proposed we should all pay 1% more in income tax to tackle the funding gap for care services and the NHS. By contrast, the Conservatives are planning a ‘dementia tax’, which will put much greater burden on the families of those who suffer from dementia to pay for their care.
Rubbish complaints keep coming in, including missed collections and bins being left on the pavement.Local councillor Flick Rea has now asked Camden Council to consider whether
Local councillor Flick Rea has now asked Camden Council to consider whether failure to put bins back is a breach of contract and Camden are taking this up with Veolia, the contractors.
There are also concerns about the cost of garden waste, which has led to the recycling centre at Regis Road being inundated with garden waste. Camden Liberal Democrats are committed to a thorough review of this policy.
Camden’s air pollution is close to the worst in Europe, and it’s a killer. Air pollution contributes 40,000 premature deaths in the UK a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. This year, London exceeded its annual air pollution target in just five days. The Government announced on Wednesday 26 July their latest proposals, but instead added to their long list of failures to act to protect the people of Camden, London and the UK.
We urgently need a Green Transport Act, a new Air Quality Act, a diesel scrappage scheme and in addition to incentivise low polluting vehicles via fuel duties and modernising vehicle taxation. Locally, we also must introduce an Air Quality Action Plan, that picks off those issues, where local authorities can make a difference, one by one. The council needs a plan, a plan that is more than a glossy document, one that is actually acted upon and then enforced.
The UK must have the ambition to create the next generation of ultra low-emission vehicles, which would generate jobs and new industries.
Stephen Crosher, Camden’s Liberal Democrat spokesperson on energy & climate said:
“I’m excited about one of my current projects, that seeks to create the next generation of ultra low emission construction vehicles. Construction sites are a major source of the problem we face in Camden and its only going to get worse with HS2”
“However, despite hundreds of organisations, including our local Camden Air Action, actively involved in finding ways of reducing air pollution, we see yet another attempt by this Government to U-turn on their promises to tackle the crisis”
“Air pollution is damaging our children, but the Government plans allows three more generations of children to be poisoned by allowing diesel cars to be sold until 2040, which in turn means polluting diesel on our streets until 2055. It is yet another example of a despicable and uncaring government failure, that is imposed on future generations.”
“A bold move, putting UK industry at the forefront of change, would be to end all new diesel sales by 2025.”
“Its now hard to imagine any parent, prospective parent, or grandparent in Camden voting for a Tory government after this announcement.”
Vince Cable and Jo Swinson are the new leader and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Vince - widely respected for his experience and economic expertise - wants the Lib Dems to lead on Brexit, education, the economy and the NHS.
“I am ambitious for Britain, and I want the Liberal Democrats to represent the many millions of people who share our values,” Vince said.
“The Conservatives are in disarray - more focused on infighting than leading the country."
“And Labour are backing the Conservatives all the way on Brexit. They support leaving the single market."
“With the economy approaching the Brexit iceberg, only the Liberal Democrats will make the case for taking the country in a new direction."
Jo said, "I am very proud to have been elected by a newly energised and strengthened parliamentary party."
"The government has no majority and no mandate for its extreme version of Brexit, which would do such damage to the health of our economy and the fabric of our society."
"In this balanced parliament the Liberal Democrats will be a powerful influence and a strong voice for people who want to see an open, welcoming and tolerant United Kingdom."
Camden Lib Dem Councillor, Flick Rea, welcomed the new leadership team, "I have known both Vince and Jo for many years, both have been fantastic local MP's and both are best placed to build on Tim Farron's work and fight to change the direction of Britain."
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Camden Liberal Democrats fully support the call made by the Camden New Journal and others for an independent inquiry into the events leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents from the Chalcots towers. This review should examine the decisions and actions taken by councillors, Council officers, contractors, subcontractors and the fire authorities, and any other interested parties, from the setting up of the Chalcots PFI until the evacuation. We would of course wish to contribute to that review where appropriate.
We support the immediate concern by those leading the Council to do everything they can to mitigate risk to residents, both in the Chalcots and in other tower blocks in Camden, and to make sure that the residents evacuated from the Chalcots are able to return to their homes as soon as possible, and in the knowledge that they will be safe there. We welcome the news that some residents are starting to returning to their homes.
Those Camden staff members and the many volunteers who have helped the residents evacuated have handled a difficult situation, which was clearly a major logistical challenge to the Council, with great dedication and they deserve thanks and praise.
What matters now for residents in Camden and across the country is a full understanding of the Grenfell disaster, what has emerged from it at national level and, closer to home, regarding the Chalcots situation.
Social housing that is safe to live in is not only crucial to many Camden residents but a vital part of Camden itself: there should be no question that all our tenants and leaseholders deserve to feel safe at night, not worried by the risk of fire. It is vital that lessons learnt from the Grenfell disaster should be implemented as soon as possible, both nationally and here in Camden.
Chair, Camden Liberal Democrats
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us in the general election. Thank you for putting your faith in our positive vision for a brighter future.
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Camden Council has been evacuating residents from the Chalcots Estate in Camden, after the London Fire Brigade identified a range of safety issues.
Fortune Green Councillor Flick Rea asked the Council about the safety of tower blocks in the West Hampstead and Kilburn area and obtained assurances that they were also being checked, alongside colleagues from the Fire Brigade.
The Council has since announced inspections of all blocks in Camden. More information can be found here: http://news.camden.gov.uk/wave-of-enhanced-fire-checks-ordered-for-every-camden-tower-block/
The 20th June is United Nations World Refugee Day - a campaign to express solidarity with people forced to flee their homes and countries.
The #WithRefugees campaign encourages governments to take action to help those in need and to live up to their pledges and commitments.
In 2016 public pressure forced the Government to offer sanctuary to 3,000 refugee children.
This is only a small number of the many children making treacherous journeys to Europe only to be left stranded in camps in France, Greece and Italy.
But it was a start. Sadly, in February Theresa May and the Conservative Government broke that promise. They closed the scheme down having taken only 350 refugee children.
These children remain alone. They face exploitation, hunger and homelessness. They need our help. Britain offered to help 3,000 of them – and then simply walked away.
Together, we can make the Government think again.
Public pressure forced the Government to offer help in the first place. If enough people back the campaign, public pressure can do the same again.
Liberal Democrats will continue to push for Britain to live up to it’s responsibility to help those in need and fleeing war or persecution.