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Ann Bell visits Macduff Marine AquariumCompetent & Caring Local & Fair

Welcome to Banffshire and Buchan Coast Liberal Democrats web site. Designed to keep you up-to-date with local events as well as what's happening nationwide.

Consultations

A number of consultations have been initiated recently, some by Aberdeenshire Council. Local authorities will need funding from the Scottish Government to implement the recommendations of the consultations, especially as with Council Tax frozen local authorities raise little money themselves compared to what they spend. Funding by the EU normally requires match funding from either the Scottish Government or the local authority, which in practice means local authority will ask the Scottish Government for the funds required. It will be disappointing if the Scottish Government is keen to encourage consultation exercises so that it appears to be listening to communities but does not provide the funds to implement recommendations.

Macduff & Banff

Consultation re what would improve Macduff and Banff.

Fisher Associates were appointed by Aberdeenshire Council to consult and produce proposals which will promote improvements in Macduff and Banff with Macduff harbour and the harbour frontage receiving specific mention. The initial consultations including public workshops during the week commencing 17th May and the follow on draft plan and further consultations are welcome. We hope for positive recommendations and that EU and other funding will be found to take the recommendations forward and to implement these for the benefit of both towns. We made proposals to Fisher Associates in principle to the effect that there should be improvements including investment in Macduff harbour but did not go into detail leaving that to those consulted.

Aberchirder

This appears to be a more modest consultation but it is important that our communities have the opportunity to make recommendations to allow our communities to thrive.

A947

We all know that this is a dangerous road which should be improved. We hope that recommendations will lead to improvements and whilst there will always be accidents caused by driver error an inherently safer road would reduce accidents.

Local Liberal Democrats choose General Election candidate.

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Recent updates

  • Article: Sep 1, 2015

    My daughter was zooming through the toy aisles at Wal-Mart with her walker; I was chasing her and asking her to stop or else there would be no Lala Loopsie. Actually, she had more of a run-run-glide thing going on. One of the workers was standing on a ladder arranging shelves and noticed; I was sure he was going to ask her to stop running, but instead, he looked down at me and said, "I am so so sorry she's like that." And his face was contorted with great pity and sadness. He thought my daughter's disability was a great tragedy.

  • Article: Sep 1, 2015

    If you are among the approximately 1.4m children and adults in the UK born with a learning disability, it's likely that through no fault of your own you will experience a number of injustices in your life. From feeling largely invisible and isolated to being excluded from many of the activities that make life worth living - friendship, love, employment, leisure and further education - the chance of you living the kind of life you want to is vastly reduced if you have a learning disability.

  • Article: Sep 1, 2015

    New analysis for the first time looks at research into public attitudes towards people with a learning disability

    The report, published today by Mencap and UCL (University College London), finds that there are many methods that have been successful in improving attitudes towards people.

    These methods should be introduced for people with a learning disability, including:

  • Article: Sep 1, 2015

    Scottish Liberal Democrats has called on the Health Secretary to act after figures published today showed the number of consultant posts lying vacant has trebled over the past four years.

    Over 447.5 posts for specialists doctors were vacant in June 2015, compared to 127.9 in June 2011.

    Of these posts, 188 whole time equivalent were vacant for more than six months, an increase of 95.1 posts since June 2014.

  • Article: Aug 31, 2015

    Iain Duncan Smith's policies have not always been well-received by those with disabilities.

    Today the DWP secretary will say he wants more disabled people to have jobs and that he believes that work can heal people of illness.

    "There is one area on which I believe we haven't focused on enough - how work is good for your health," he is expected to say.

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    "Work can help keep people healthy as well as help promote recovery if someone falls ill. So, it is right that we look at how the system supports people who are sick and helps them into work."

    Here are some of his most controversial previous policies.

    Closing Remploy factories

    The Work and Pensions Secretary called time on Britain's system of Remploy factories, which provided subsidised and sheltered employment to disabled people.

    People employed at the factories protested against their closure and said they provided gainful work.

    "Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee?" Mr Duncan Smith said at the time, defending the decision. "I promise you this is better."

    The Remploy organisation was privatised and sold to American workfare provider Maximus, with the majority of the organisation's factories closed. The future of the remaining sites is unclear.

    Scrapping the Independent Living Fund

    The £320m Independent Living Fund was established in 1988 to give financial support to people with disabilities.

    It was scrapped on July 1 2015, with 18,000 often severely disabled people losing out by an average of £300 a week.

    The money was generally used to help pay for carers so people could live in communities rather than institutions.

    Councils will get a boost in funding to compensate but it will not cover the whole cost of the fund. This new cash also doesn't have to be spent on the disabled.

    Cut payments for the disabled Access To Work scheme

    A wheelchair user Sanctions have been blamed for significant hardship (Getty Images) Iain Duncan Smith is bringing forward a policy that will reduce payments to some disabled people from a scheme designed to help them into work.

    The £108m scheme, which helps 35,540 people, will be capped on a per-used basis, potentially hitting those with the more serious disabilities who currently receive the most help.

    The single biggest users of the fund are people who have difficulty seeing and hearing. The cut will come in from October 2015.

    The charity Disability UK says the scheme actually makes the Government money because the people who gain access to work tend pay tax that more than covers its cost.

    The DWP does not describe the reduction as a "cut" and says it will be able to spread the money more thinly and cover more people.

    Cut Employment and Support Allowance

    The latest Budget included a £30 a week cut in disability benefits for some new claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

    The Government says it is equalising the rate of disability benefits with Jobseekers Allowance because giving disabled people more help is a "perverse incentive".

    The people affected by this cut are those assessed as having a limited capability for work but as being capable of some "work-related activity".

    A group of prominent Catholics wrote to Mr Duncan Smith to say there was "no justification" for this cut. Mental health charity Mind, said the cut was "insulting and misguided".

    Risk homelessness with a sharp increase disability benefit sanctions

    Official figures in the first quarter of 2014 found a huge increase in sanctions against people reliant on ESA sickness benefit.

    The 15,955 sanctions were handed out in that period compared to 3,574 in the same period the year before, 2013 - a 4.5 times increase.

    The homelessness charity Crisis warned at the time that the sharp rise in temporary benefit cuts was "cruel and can leave people utterly destitute - without money even for food and at severe risk of homelessness".

    "It is difficult to see how they are meant to help people prepare for work," Matt Downie, director of policy at the charity added.

    Sending sick people to work because of broken fitness to work tests

    In 2012 a government advisor appointed to review the Government's Work Capability Assessment said the tests causing suffering by sending sick people back to work inappropriately.

    "There are certainly areas where it's still not working and I am sorry there are people going through a system which I think still needs improvement," Professor Malcolm Harrington concluded.

    The tests are said to have improved since then, but as recently as this summer they are still coming in for criticism.

    In June the British Psychological Society said there was "now significant body of evidence that the WCA is failing to assess people's fitness for work accurately and appropriately". It called for a full overhaul of the way the tests are carried out.

    The WCA appeals system has also been fraught with controversy with a very high rate of overturns and delays lasting months and blamed for hardship.

    The bedroom tax

    The Government's benefit cut for people who it says are "under-occupying" their homes disproportionately affects disabled people.

    Statistics released last year show that around two-thirds of those affected by the under-occupancy penalty, widely known as the 'bedroom tax', are disabled.

    There have been a number of high profile cases of disabled people being moved out of specially adapted homes by the policy.

    In one case publicised by the Sunday People last week, a 48 year old man with cerebral palsy was forced to bathe in a paddling pool after the tax moved him out of his home with a walk-in shower.

    The Government says it has provided councils with a discretionary fund to help reduce the policy's impact on disabled people, but cases continue to arise

  • Article: Aug 31, 2015

    Education can really shape who we are as individuals, It gives you the knowledge and power to move forward in your life and acts as a mechanism to break down barriers that prevent you from achieving. During some time I spent in India five years ago, I learned how valued education was and how enthusiastic Indian children were to go to school and learn. The image of children living in quite extreme poverty, turning up to school every day with big smiles on their faces, will stay with me for the rest of my life and I've become very grateful for my own education and how much I've achieved.

  • Article: Aug 31, 2015

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has today backed an agreement to act on climate change.

    The agreement, brokered by WWF Scotland, commits Scotland's parties to providing comprehensive plans to tackle climate change in their 2016 manifestos.

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently nailed their green credentials to the mast, with 5 green laws featuring on the front pages of the party's Westminster manifesto.

  • Article: Aug 31, 2015

    Scottish Liberal Democrats are to seek to put democracy back into Scottish policing, it has been revealed today.

    Radical proposals to make the senior police chief in each of Scotland's 32 council areas accountable to the local authority, end one-size-fits-all policing, and reform the Scottish Police Authority will be debated at the party's autumn conference in October.

  • Article: Aug 31, 2015

    Scottish Liberal Democrats are to seek to put democracy back into Scottish policing, it has been revealed today.

    Radical proposals to make the senior police chief in each of Scotland's 32 council areas accountable to the local authority, end one-size-fits-all policing, and reform the Scottish Police Authority will be debated at the party's Autumn Conference in October.

  • Article: Aug 28, 2015

    A disabled football coach has been recognised by the prime minister with a national volunteering award, even though that work is threatened by a legal battle over the "bedroom tax" with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

    Lifelong Liverpool fan John Smith was presented with the Point of Light award in front of tens of thousands of fans at half-time of his team's Premier League match with Bournemouth on Monday.