The Lib Dems have written to the Secretary of State for Energy Kwasi Kwarteng demanding that he backs the party's call for a 'Robin Hood' tax on the super-profits of oil and gas firms to raise money to support local families facing soaring energy costs.
The proposed one-off levy could raise over £5 billion to help support families in Woking, across Surrey and the rest of the country as their energy bills sky-rocket.
Andy Caulfield, who was elected Chair of the South Woking Action Group shortly after its formation by residents in the summer of 2019, has announced he will be running to be a Lib Dem Councillor for the Hoe Valley in May's local elections.
After plans were launched to build a 10,000 seater stadium and over 1,000 flats around Woking Football Club's Ground, as well as relocating David Lloyd to Egley Road in Mayford, local people set up the South Woking Action Group to oppose the plans.
These plans were widely seen as completely inappropriate for the Kingfield and Westfield area. The development would have resulted in 5 blocks of flats, up to 11 storeys high, being built around the football ground. However, after a strong campaign by SWAG, the plans were overwhelmingly rejected by the public, the Council's Planning Committee and more recently by the Government Planning Inspector and Secretary of State.
Following his success with SWAG, Andy Caulfield now wants to get more involved and is running to be Hoe Valley ward's next Councillor.
Andy Caulfield said, "The effectiveness of SWAG lay in our Hoe Valley community coming together to fight the ridiculous Goldev plans initially supported by the Council and the Club. However, our relentless factual campaigning caused many to understand the fallacies of the PR spin by the developers, the misleading of fans and the Club and the shambolic pursuit of this project by the failed ex-Council leadership."
"The more SWAG has become immersed in local politics over the last 2 years, the clearer it is that residents need a strong voice on the Council, as it is harder to influence Woking Council from the outside. I therefore am delighted to stand as Councillor for Hoe Valley to continue holding the Council to account, to further push for greater democracy, openness, transparency and modernisation of all Council practices and processes putting residents first at every stage."
Surrey Lib Dems are challenging Surrey County Council to roll out a bigger and bolder programme of schemes to implement 20 mph zones using signs only, in a bid to facilitate better conditions for walking and cycling and improve road safety.
The Lib Dems group is bringing a motion to the Council meeting on 18 January 2022. It will press the Council to follow many other highways authorities such as Lancashire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire to radically change their approach to the introduction of 20 mph speed limits in areas where it is currently 30mph. This would affect all roads in Surrey with a 30 mph limit unless there is a good reason to leave the speed limit at 30 mph, and would include roads outside schools, residential areas and busy pedestrian streets.
Stagecoach took over many local bus services from Arriva on 18 December. Expectations were high and the transfer went smoothly. What a shock to learn just days later that Stagecoach are short of drivers and bus services are being cut.
Popular, well used services are being cut, such as the 91 that serves Goldsworth Park and Knaphill which is reduced to 3 buses an hour and hourly in the evening. Services covering Kingfield, Westfield and St John's will have half of their previous services.
"Passengers now face long waits in the cold, more crowded buses and less capacity for wheelchair users and parents and carers travelling with buggies" said Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Woking Council and a Goldsworth Park councillor.
"If passengers are heading into Woking they then face further delays from the traffic chaos into and out of the town" continued Cllr Barker.
This is a kick in the teeth for those who rely on the bus service and those who are trying to do the right thing and leave their cars at home.
At a time when people are being encouraged to use buses Stagecoach's failure to offer the service they have committed to provide is beyond disappointing.
"We understand that a lack of drivers is the problem, the same issue affecting waste collections in Woking" said Cllr Barker.
Conservative-run Woking Borough Council has agreed to cut grants to community and voluntary groups by 19%.
The Council has previously granted £922,000 to support local community and voluntary groups, but the most recent Executive meeting decided to give £272,000 less funding for the forthcoming year, a 19% cut in support.
The Lib Dems are on track to win seats across the country at the next General Election including here in Woking following the historic by-election victory overnight in North Shropshire.
The Lib Dems won the once safe Conservative seat of North Shropshire overturning the Conservatives majority of almost 23,000 votes. It is the second parliamentary by-election the Lib Dems have won against the Tories this year following their victory in Chesham and Amersham over the summer.
The Lib Dems in Woking have today called on the Government to bring in the army to help drive ambulances in the area, as the latest figures reveal 19 patients were stuck for more than 30 minutes in ambulances outside at the Accident and Emergency department at St Peter's Hospital in one week alone.New official figures published today reveal that ambulance response times to emergency 999 calls are exceeding Government pledges in the South East Coast Ambulance Service area.
In November, the average response time for Category 2 calls (emergency calls involving a serious condition that may require rapid assessment and/or urgent transport, such as a stroke or chest pain) was over 30 minutes - much more than the 18 minute target.
Meanwhile, 19 people spent more than 30 minutes waiting to be handed over from an ambulance to staff at St Peter's A&E in the week commencing 29th November.
The findings come a month after the Lib Dems secured confirmation from the Government that the South East Coast Ambulance Trust is now at REAP Level 4 - the highest alert level, indicating "extreme pressure" - along with all other ambulance trusts in England.
Both the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the College of Paramedics have warned that delays are causing patients harm and putting them at risk.
In response to these alarming figures, the Lib Dems have set out an emergency five-point plan to tackle the growing crisis of ambulance delays that is leaving seriously ill patients in Woking waiting hours to be treated. In addition to calling in support from the armed forces, the plan includes reversing ambulance station closures, launching an official inquiry, passing a new law to increase transparency over waiting times, and launching a new campaign to recruit more paramedics and other ambulance staff in Woking.
Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, said:
"People in Woking are watching loved ones in agony and distress, waiting hours for an ambulance or stuck in the back of one outside St Peter's Hospital. Some have even watched them die. This is heart breaking and it cannot go on."
"The Conservatives have run our NHS services in and around Woking into the ground, breaking waiting time promises for years and years."
"Our plan would relieve some of the immediate pressure and help fix the ambulance crisis for good, so that the people of Woking know that they can get to hospital in an ambulance and receive the care they deserve when they need to."
Daisy Cooper MP, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, added:
"Boris Johnson's Conservatives have neglected health services for years, and patients in Woking are now suffering as a result."
"The Prime Minister must stop sticking his head in the sand, get a grip of this crisis, and do whatever it takes to stop communities facing record waiting times."
After seeing the ITV video which shows Downing Street staff laughing last year about a Christmas party, Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster has called on Woking's MP asking him to condemn Boris Johnson's behaviour and apologise on behalf of their party.
Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, said:
"Boris Johnson's Conservative party is taking this country for fools. People in this area will see right through his poor excuses and evasive answers. I hope Jonathan Lord condemns this."
"People in Woking spent their Christmas away from loved ones, and sadly too many, lost family and friends to this awful virus. At a time of great sacrifice when the pandemic was at it's worst, it is disgraceful to think that people in Downing Street were laughing about holding a Christmas party."
"I think enough is enough. This Government must be held accountable to an inquiry into all their rule breaking; from Barnard Castle to this latest episode. It cannot be one rule for them and another for the rest of us."
The Lib Dem motion calling for the aggregate yard to be moved out of Woking town centre received unanimous support at last week's Woking Borough Council meeting.
The Borough Council will now use its best endeavours to encourage Network Rail, Surrey County Council and other organisations to move the aggregates yard to a non-residential location away from Woking town centre.
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