School reopening: parents need clear plans not empty promises

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to set out a clear plan to keep schools open in January.

It comes following reports in the Sunday Times that Boris Johnson has committed to keeping schools open, without making clear what mitigation measures will be put in place to keep Covid cases down.

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Air purifier in every classroom half cost of Royal Yacht

Lib Dem Education spokesperson Munira Wilson MP tells the Government it has a week to act before schools reopen.

Liberal Democrats estimate that putting an air purifier in every classroom in England would cost around £140 million, around half the price of Boris Johnson’s pet project – the new £250 million Royal Yacht.

The cost would also be a fraction of Government expenditure on a botched Test and Trace system and dodgy PPE contracts. 

At present, Government guidance suggests that teachers should open external windows and internal doors to improve “natural ventilation” and schools “should balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature” – difficult to do during the cold winter months.  

With criminal record checks acting as a brake on moves to get retired teachers to return to the classrooms, and barely half of teenagers yet to receive one jab, the dangers of schools remaining closed at the beginning of January are acute.

Instead of a proper solution – purifying the air – the Department for Education has made CO2 monitors their target. While the monitors give useful information on where more airflow is needed, they do not fix the problem in themselves – especially when it is cold outside and opening a window does not solve the issue. 

To add insult to injury, the DfE has opened a “market place” for Dyson purifiers that are six times the price of others on the market.  But the DfE has still not agreed to pay for them.  

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Eastern Gateway plans will damage our town

Anne Pallett and the local Lib Dems are working hard to get the current plans for the Eastern Gateway changed.

The developers’ proposals will add hundreds of houses to the town but won’t bring the benefits local people want to see. Too many of the houses will be unaffordable for local people.

“Local families need homes they can afford, hundreds of more houses that local people can’t afford is not what Soham needs,” says Anne.

Anne pictured above at the allotments on Kents Lane describing the plans for the proposed Eastern Gateway development.

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We need a safer crossing at the A10 BP roundabout now

There is no doubt that last year’s changes to the layout of the BP roundabout on the A10 at Ely have made the junction even more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Crossing the A10 and A142 at this point has always been difficult. But the new layout means people travelling on foot or by bicycle are taking their life in their hands. Some residents are already telling us they are stopping their children cycling to school as it’s now just too dangerous.

The Conservative approach would mean waiting a decade. They say that dualling the A10 will include a safe crossing at this junction, solving these problems at a stroke. But no funding has been offered, let alone guaranteed, for such a scheme - and the overall plan will cost half a billion. Such a scheme could easily take ten years or more to complete.

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Lib Dem Backing for Energy Initiative secures Council Support

Liberal Democrats in East Cambridgeshire have ensured the District Council will back a Local Electricity Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

On 16 July, Cllr Mark Inskip (Lib Dem, Sutton) proposed to East Cambs’ Full Council meeting that the Council should support the cross-party Bill, which would enable local renewable energy generators to sell their electricity to local customers.

The Bill would make the setup and running costs of selling electricity to customers more proportionate to the size of the supplier. Councils and local community co-operatives could then become providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local people, businesses and organisations.

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East Cambs Lib Dem Move For More Affordable Homes In Rural Parishes Set To Be Backed By Conservatives

A Liberal Democrat move to increase affordable housing in rural parishes in East Cambridgeshire is set to be backed by Conservative councillors tonight.

A motion from the Liberal Democrats to the Council meeting on Thursday (22 October) includes a call for the Council’s Finance & Assets Committee to examine the potential for the Council to apply for them to be formally designated as a rural area so that they can have greater influence over housing developments. Where parishes have been designated as a rural area the District Council can set for itself the point at which a housing development must make a contribution to local affordable housing needs—opening up the possibility of more affordable homes in small villages.

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ECTC Concerns


Some of the East Cambridgeshire District Council Lib Dem group after being denied the chance to scutinise the Council's trading companies

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Liberal Democrat Group, consisting of 13 of the 28 councillors on the council, has issued an open letter concerning the governance of the Council’s trading companies, and in particular East Cambs Trading Company Ltd (ECTC).

The published accounts of ECTC disclose losses of £3/4m. We are concerned that the finances of ECTC, its business plans and the governance of the company place both East Cambridgeshire District Council and the residents of East Cambridgeshire at risk of serious financial loss.

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ELy Folk Festival Parade

'Faceless bureaucrats' blamed by Ely Folk Festival for banning traditional Morris and molly procession through the city's market place

Ely Standard 30 June 2019

In response to the threat by East Cambs Markets not to allow the traditional parade through Ely Market Place, the Liberal Democrat Councillors wrote the following to the District Council expressing their concern that the 22 year old parade would not be able to go ahead.

In response, the District Council are now planning a meeting with the organisers to try and find a solution. 

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newly elected Liberal Democrat councillors for Ely North Alison Whelan and Simon Harries at the MOD site in Ely.

Liberal Democrats on East Cambridgeshire District Council are calling for half the soon to be refurbished MOD homes in Ely to be affordable.

A significant number of those affordable homes should be for rent, they add, in a motion they have submitted for debate at the Annual Council Meeting on 30 May.

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Spin Doctors - Paid for by You!

2 extra spin doctors for Mayor Palmer at £39k each. Paid for by you!

Cambridgeshire’s notorious Mayor, James Palmer, is to employ two extra spin doctors at taxpayers’ expense.

The plans were approved by his Conservative colleagues on the Combined Authority Board.

Each spin doctor will be paid £39,000 a year funded from the Mayor’s inflated budget. He promised his Combined Authority would cost £850,000 a year to run but now it’s a staggering £5.6 million.

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