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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.

"You can find out more, including how to keep in touch or join the Liberal Democrats, on this site."

Recent updates

  • Article: Feb 7, 2016

    Hundreds of thousands of people with learning disabilities are being left isolated and lonely because of attitudes towards them, says charity Mencap.

    It's spoken to more than 300 people aged 18-35 with a learning disability.

    The research suggests around a third spend less than one hour a day outside their homes on a typical Saturday.

  • Article: Feb 7, 2016

    Channel 4 is launching a "year of disability" to increase representation of disabled people in broadcasting including a commitment to double the number of people with disabilities appearing in its 20 most high-profile shows such as Googlebox and Hollyoaks.

    The initiative includes a £300,000 fund to foster new talent, some of which will be used to help support the careers of 20 disabled people working behind the camera in Channel 4's biggest suppliers, and the channel will also ringfence half of its apprenticeships and 30% of work experience places for disabled applicants.

  • Article: Feb 7, 2016

    Jessica blogs about her experience with depression and how she feels about so-called 'Blue Monday'.

    Tonight after a perfectly lovely day I suddenly feel absolutely dreadful. Maybe I'm tired, or a bit stressed or getting a cold which is making my head hurt, or all or none of these things. I don't know, but I'm annoyed that my depression has just hit me out of nowhere again. I was feeling fine a few days before now I'm tearful and frustrated with the world and wondering how I will get through the next hour, let alone the next day, when I feel so useless and worthless.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016
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    photo credit: Knox O (Wasi Daniju) via photopin cc

    Nearly 150 disabled people are to "lobby Parliament" over welfare cuts proposed in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which they claim could be detrimental to the health and well-being of people with disabilities.

    The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), comprising of more than 60 national charities and organisations, are campaigning for changes to be made to the Bill to help prevent disabled people from being "negatively affected".

    Campaigners highlight three key welfare changes, and are urging disabled people to speak with their MPs and share their own experiences of the benefits system.

    The three main issues being highlighted by campaigners are cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the Benefit Cap and a two-year 'freeze' on the value of social security benefits.

    Related: Benefit Cuts Put Cancer Patients At Risk Of Homelessness, Charity Warns

    DBC are calling on the Government to scrap a proposed £30 a week cut for people in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA, as well as an exemption for disabled people and their family carers from the Benefit Cap and Benefits Freeze.

    Official Government statistics show that 30% of families with a disabled member are living in poverty. DBC say there is an "urgent need for the Government to invest more money, not less, in benefits support for people with disabilities and their families."

    The lobby will take place on Wednesday 13 January between 12.30pm and 5.30pm.

    Further information about the event can be found through this leaflet and DBC website.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016

    Why is this important?

    A single paragraph in the Local Government Finance Settlement published before Christmas sounded the death knell for attendance allowance (AA).
    The government is to launch a consultation on abolishing AA for all new claims and handing the money over to local councils to pay for support for older people.
    We are writing with our grave concerns about the abolition of Attendance Allowance, we believe that taking away this financial support from people who may not meet the substantial/critical criteria that Social Services work to will impact on the health of people who may not meet this level of need.
    We must bring this to the attention of the public and media as people don't realise what attendance allowance is, this is a benefit payable to people over the age of 65 who have care needs, they do not have to actually receive the help, they just need to have difficulties with everyday tasks, such as dressing and washing, this money can make all the difference between living and existing.
    for example.
    A Lady who now suffers with problems with Arthritis, affecting her mobility, would mean she could no longer shop, cook for herself. keep her home clean, or access the community.
    At present she could use the benefit to pay for a cleaner and someone to do/take her her shopping and extra heating,or running her car, she also gains some company from this and could pay for transport to get her out of the house, without the benefit, she will no longer be able to get her shopping, she may be forced to use the expensive corner shop, she cannot use the internet, her home will get progressively more unclean, this will become a health hazard to both mental and physical health, her mental health could deteriorate as she becomes more isolated, she will be at risk of falls, her diet will become worse, she used to go out in a Taxi she can no longer afford this, leading to isolation, this will lead to hospital admission and more strain on social services.
    Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2010). Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill (Marmot, 2010).
    Assessments carried out by social services often fail to get a true picture of home the person copes on a day to day basis as they are often too proud to admit to having problems, these people will be left with no help whatsoever leading inevitably to further cost down the line.

    These cuts will also lead to people getting into debt, they will struggle to keep warm, older people need the extra money for things such as heating and the warm home grant is simply not enough to cover these costs, increasing frailty and lack of mobility mean the person cannot move around to keep warm and more people will die from hypothermia.
    A further example is a 73 year old man who was granted Attendance Allowance in November 2015 on the grounds of his increasing immobility and diagnosis with throat and larynx cancer. He was unable to walk to local shops (about 250 yards away) without either stopping for a break every few yards or being taken by a friend. For longer distances, he has to travel by taxi.

    Since then, he has been in hospital undergoing a tracheotomy and laryngectomy. Because he was in hospital for more than 28 days, his Attendance Allowance had to stop. Now that he has been discharged, he will have his AA re-instated. His needs have increased as he can no longer speak and his mobility is gradually deteriorating.

    He is considerably weaker than when he was admitted to hospital and will not be able to look after his home in the way that was once able. He will require the services of a cleaner and a carer to help him prepare meals, neither of which he would be able to afford without his Attendance Allowance.

    Aside from the difficulties and hardship that will be caused to those in most need, local authorities will find that administering such an allowance could be stretching their resources, not least because of staffing cuts created by this Government. Additionally, what guarantees will there be that local authorities will have sufficient funds to match the current rates?

    This is yet another swipe at the most vulnerable in our society, potentially depriving them of a quality of life that Attendance Allowance helps to provide.
    Just to clarify this will NOT affect current claimants.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016
    Nobody would expect a person who suffers blackouts to drive a bus or bin waggon once they had thought through the potentially devastating consequences. But political, cultural, psychological and financial coercion is being used to force people sick and disabled people to work - the government continues to cut welfare, which was calculated originally to cover only the costs of meeting basic needs.

    Cruel sanctions and strict, inflexible, often unreasonable behavioural conditions are being imposed on lifeline benefit receipt, adversely affecting some of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens; unemployed and disabled people are stigmatised in the media - all of this is done with an utterly callous disregard of a person's capacity to work, and importantly, the availabilty of appropriate and suitable employment opportunities, and this can have tragic consequences.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016

    To: The Government

    Stop the new welfare and work bill and make the assessment procedure fit for purpose.

    Why is this important?

    My daughter has a life long incurable disability. She did not choose to be so disadvantaged. She was born with the condition and her fiance has the same impairment. Both have autism, are highly intelligent, and like 90% of other people on the autistic spectrum are unemployed. The DWP placed them both in the 'support' group. This is a curious name as neither actually receive any extra assistance, financially or practically. It basically means they are 'unemployable', which is not great for self esteem. Neither chose to be out of work, on benefits and to live in poverty. What stops them, like others with disabilities, getting a job is employer attitudes, an individual's health, lack of experience and job opportunities, a review by the house of lords found in 2015.

    They were planning to get married this year and we were all looking forward to the day. It would have been a small family occasion, but something to celebrate. Even this small piece of happiness has been smashed by the latest revelations in the Guardian. Under the Tory welfare 'reforms' - I think the word 'changes' is more appropriate - if they marry, they will be moved over onto universal credits, which are less generous than the tax credits and ESA they currently receive. So much for the Tory endorsement of strong families.

    They have very little money now. Married, that would be even less. The hypocrisy amazes me. Iain Duncan Smith's speech in the summer of 2015 made the point that if the government wants to reduce the employment gap for those with disabilities, then support and financial investment are vital. Instead, these cuts are driving some of the poorest households into further poverty and penalising people who are too disabled, or sick, to work

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016

    The public body responsible for 18 of Britain's biggest rail stations is following the lead of the Olympic Delivery Authority and putting disabled people at the heart of its design process, according to its access and inclusion manager.

    Margaret Hickish - who was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours, and is herself a wheelchair-user - said Network Rail hoped to "lead the way" for the railway industry on improving access and inclusion.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2016

    A committee of MPs has called on the government to stop local authorities discriminating against disabled people who need financial help following the introduction of the "bedroom tax".

    The work and pensions select committee's report on the local welfare safety net - which focuses on England - warns that many councils are failing to follow government guidance when deciding whether disabled people should be awarded discretionary housing payments (DHPs).

  • Article: Feb 5, 2016

    North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes today urged people affected the recent floods to apply to a recovery appeal fund for support.

    Foundation Scotland launched its appeal on 8 January in response to some of the worst flood damage seen in Scotland for a century. The fund total has now reached £300,000 thanks to generous support of the public, businesses and funders.