Heather Kidd to contest Ludlow for Liberal Democrats

Community campaigner Heather Kidd has been selected to fight for the Liberal Democrats in Ludlow constituency, which includes Bridgnorth, Church Stretton and Bishops Castle, in the forthcoming general election.

She is a formidable campaigner on rural issues with a long-track record of work for South Shropshire.

Heather is the high-profile Shropshire county councillor for Chirbury and Worthen. She regularly lobbies ministers for a fair deal for rural areas as one of the senior members of the UK-wide Local Government Association. 

Outside politics, Heather is a former science teacher at Bishops Castle Community College, and has lived in the constituency for 32 years.

“There has never been such an important time to stand up and be counted. The very thought of the effect of a ‘No deal’ Brexit on local farmers and the rural economy has made me want to stand up for the area I love,” Heather Kidd said.

“People need someone to fight their battles in Parliament, and that is what I pledge to do.”

NHS crisis

Over Christmas 4 Shropshire Maternity units were closed because of Staff shortages in Telford. The obvious concern being that this is a cynical strategy to undermine the midwife-led units and soften up protests to the idea of them becoming Birthing Centres. You may recall that Birthing Centres aren’t staffed overnight, where women in Labour must call the units to arrange for them to be opened or place an emergency call for an ambulance to take them A&E, which we all know are facing massive pressures already. Crazy.

The Bridgnorth Campaign Group have a meeting set up with Philip Dunn MP who might offer assistance as a Government Health Minister. We hope we are wrong but I expect platitudes and little or no action. According to comments on Facebook he has said that Bridgnorth Maternity Unit needs to have 100 births a year to stay open and currently has 80. Shropshire’s MPs have failed miserably to defend Shropshire’s Corner and ensure Shropshire got it’s fair share under the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) allocation. If Shropshire had received the same STP Allocation as Cornwall then Shropshire’s NHS services would have been better off to the tune of an extra £200m! Cornwall has a similar population to Shropshire but was allocated 24% more money. Shropshire’s Leaders asleep at the wheel it seems.

Shropshire Star article on the closures:

If you haven’t signed the petitions of the Government website yet here are the links to both Maternity Unit petitions:

Save Oswestry Maternity Unit

Save Bridgnorth and Ludlow Maternity Units

Both petitions are currently running at just under 1,500 signatures at the time of writing this.

Just about everybody knows the NHS is in crisis, apart from the Government it seems. For years the problems have been mounting and successive Governments have been content to pass the buck, tinker around the edges and allow the demands on the NHS and A&E to escalate. The current Conservative Government has taken this to new levels, propelling a crisis into a ‘Humanitarian Crisis,’ a term more usually associated with war-torn countries,  and a term dismissed as “irresponsible and overblown” by Theresa May.

We all know people who have been caught up in delays and heard stories of bed blocking because of the failure of the social care system. A social care system also facing a similar crisis. It is widely accepted that there will be a funding gap of £30bn in the NHS by 2020, and a shortfall of around £6bn in social care, which will have serious consequences for patient care.

Last September the Liberal Democrats set a new independent commission to examine the future of the NHS and social care system. The pressure being so severe that now we need to consider how we fund the NHS and Social Care in the national interest. The new Beverage Commission made up of industry experts was asked to explore how to fund the NHS and Social care, and if a new tax was part of the mix.

The Liberal Democrats think that a new ring-fenced income tax top up of 1p in the pound to directly fund the NHS and Social Care is now needed. We also think that the NHS and Social Care should be merged into a new National Care and Health Service. Research by YouGov shows the public are open to the idea of raising money through tax or National Insurance in the face of this crisis.

Under-funding of the NHS of the scale we are seeing is a scandal of massive proportions. Patients waiting on trollies in A&E corridors, because A&E departments are full. Two people dying on A&E trollies in Worcester – one after waiting for 35 hours for a bed is wrong on every level and IS an outrage to humanity. Ambulances are delayed at A&E waiting to hand over patients. A&E departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December in England – a 63% rise on the same period in 2015. 42 such diversions happened over Christmas Week.

Last August, 237 hours of ambulance time were lost at the Royal Shrewsbury and a further 127 lost at the Princess Royal. 364 hours in total. Every minute an Ambulance is delayed at A&E or on a diversion it has potentially life-threatening consequences if those Ambulances are not out in the field.

Another Gain and two holds in by-elections

Last night saw two more strong holds and a great gain for the Liberal Democrats.

Libdem Pint in the Crown

There is a Lib Dem Pint arranged for this next Tuesday evening (9th) in the Crown in the High Street Bridgnorth from 7pm onward.

Bridgnorth Branch Chairman, Colin Taylor, said:

“This is a totally informal get together to talk politics if you want to or any other topic you want to engage in.  It is an opportunity to meet up with like minded people and other members.   If you want to come along with a friend that’s no problem, the more the merrier.

“We hope to see you there”

Brexit shock pushes UK services and manufacturing into contraction says new survey | Business News | News | The Independent

The Brexit shock has given the economy “a good kicking” according to a special set of surveys of businesses taken in the wake of the European Union referendum vote, which suggest the UK economy is now contracting at its steepest pace since the last recession in early 2009. The “dramatic deterioration” will significantly increase the odds of a major monetary stimulus from the Bank of England next month to support the economy.

Source: Brexit shock pushes UK services and manufacturing into contraction says new survey | Business News | News | The Independent

4 Liberal Democrats gains dominate Super Thursday 

Yesterday there were a dozen council by-elections which some commentators had dubbed ‘Super Thursday’ after the American style when they have multiple primary elections. Whilst yesterday’s election weren’t on anything like the same scale it was a Super Thursday for the Liberal Democrats who stormed to victory making 4 Gains from Conservatives, UKIP and Independent. 


In Bridgnorth Morfe there was also a by-election on Bridgnorth Town Council where local Lib Dem campaigner, Richard Fox, came a good close second. The votes were 221 votes Jean Onions, 216 votes Richard Fox and Elliott Lynch 30 votes.

Police force could lose 22,000 jobs in new cuts

Huge Police cuts threatened

Without the Liberal Democrats in Government, we are seeing what the Conservatives true priorities are for our area.

These cuts could see hundreds of police officers taken off the streets and local crime could dramatically increase without the necessary resources to investigate.

Whilst crime is falling, there are real concerns about the impact on cuts from the Home Office and the effect that this could have on front-line policing in our communities.

The Police Federation have warned that these cuts, “…would leave the service in real danger of being unable to properly protect the public.”

We need to fight for tough action to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour but this needs police left on the front-line. Public safety must come first.

Major reduction in funding could see number of police officers in England and Wales fall to 40-year low

Source: Police force could lose 22,000 jobs under new spending cuts | UK news | The Guardian