Coronavirus Information

It is likely to be a tough time for all of us over the next few weeks and months as the coronavirus crisis continues.

It is vital we all take Coronavirus seriously and follow the advice being given. Your Woking Lib Dem team want to make sure everyone here is able to access the most up to date advice and support.

UK Government guidance states we should all, unless we are keyworkers, be staying at home. We can still leave home to buy essential food and medicines and for one form of exercise a day, but maintain social distance from others when we do. Those self-isolating or part of a vulnerable group should stay at home.

The NHS and the Government is regularly updating their advice here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Surrey County Council's libraries and other public facing non-essential services have closed, bus services are running on a reduced timetable and local schools are only open for key workers.

Surrey County Council has launched a dedicated helpline number: 0300 200 1008. This community phone line is to help direct residents who need support such as picking up shopping, prescriptions or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to those services who can provide them.

Please see the latest updates from Surrey County Council here: www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus/council-services.

Woking Borough Council has closed its Community Centres, HG Wells, leisure facilities and playgrounds. See the latest information on Woking Borough Council's services here: www.woking.gov.uk/coronavirus-service-updates.

We know our community is at its best when we pull together and I know we want to support each other as best we can right now. Volunteer groups are being set up to support the most vulnerable. If you are able to help out, you can find your nearest group by visiting this website: www.covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/.

Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster said:

"Many people will be anxious about the steps the Government has taken ordering an effective lockdown of the country, but it is the right decision to restrict our normal way of life to tackle this crisis."

"We must do all we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and I urge people to play their part by following the guidelines, and not risk their own or others' health and wellbeing by ignoring guidelines - please stay safe."


  • Will Forster supporting NHS hospital in Woking
    Article: Apr 22, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster
    The Lib Dems have launched a campaign calling for a 'Frontline Support Package' a five-point plan to give frontline workers the support they need and the recognition they deserve as they get us through this appalling coronavirus crisis.

    Acting Leader of the Lib Dems Ed Davey thanked the "army of workers protecting us" in hospitals, care homes and hospices and asked the Government to support these "coronavirus heroes" properly.

    The package proposed by the Lib Dems includes measures to scale up the procurement of PPE, a frontline service reward and a deployment allowance of £29 per day in line with the Operational Allowance Armed Forces personnel deployed to dangerous areas receive.

    Acting Leader of the Lib Dems, Ed Davey, said:

    • "In our hospitals, care homes, hospices and in the wider health and care sector an army of workers are protecting us in this national struggle. The Lib Dems believe the Government must support these coronavirus heroes properly."
    • "The top priority for frontline staff is protection. We should never ask our military to risk their lives without the proper kit and we shouldn't be leaving health and care workers without sufficient protective kit either. It is simply unacceptable that so many key workers do not have the equipment they need to protect them from coronavirus in the line of duty. The Government must do far more."

    Lib Dem spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, added:

    • "When the country emerges from this crisis we must properly recognise those who were willing to serve and make a sacrifice just as we do with military forces. The Government must look at creating a frontline service reward similar to the deployment allowance frontline troops receive."
    • "Quietly, key workers on the frontline every day, undertake acts of bravery both big and small to save lives. The Lib Dems and I are campaigning so they get the protection and support now - and get the recognition and thanks they deserve when the epidemic has passed."
  • Dale Roberts Lib Dem campaigner and activist
    Article: Apr 16, 2020

    Dale Roberts, a Knaphill man and Lib Dem campaigner/activist, reached out to global software giants for a local solution to help vulnerable residents, and found that international technology works best when it is powered by the local community.

    Dale Roberts, explained "I wanted to find a way to connect those that needed help with those that could provide it using one of the many 'Uber like' applications. As a technologist, I know that they are immediate, efficient and require little administration, which was perfect for doing something quickly with a volunteer community with variable availability". He started conversations with Ikea owned, TaskRabbit, an app that connects people to local traders or 'taskers'. They immediately saw the opportunity to open their app to volunteers but needed time.

  • Article: Apr 9, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster

    The Lib Dem Group on Surrey County Council has called for the Council to reopen its Community Recycling Centres with social distancing measures to avoid fly tipping.

    This follows the latest advice from the Government that stated that Household Waste Recycling Centres can be open, but should have social distancing measures in place.

  • Will Forster with solar panels
    Article: Apr 7, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster
    The Lib Dems are calling on the Government to extend a scheme that saves £140 on energy bills to households struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic helping an estimated 3,174 homes across Woking Borough.

    In a warning from the Lib Dem Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse, the MP said these measures were needed before families are forced "to choose between heating their home or eating".

    The party's plans would see all households that fall into the government definition of fuel poverty access the Warm Homes Discount. The move would see some 2.5 million households across the UK - many of whom are not currently eligible for the scheme - benefit from £140 credit on their energy bills.

    In a letter to the Government backed by a cross-party group of 28 MPs Ministers have also been encouraged to bring forward plans to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country in order to reduce fuel poverty in the long term. This comes on top of Lib Dem proposals to scrap VAT on energy bills and freeze Council Tax during the Covid-19 lockdown.

    Lib Dem Environment Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

    "No-one should ever have to choose between heating their home or eating let alone in the face of the current health crisis. It is essential that the Government takes action to ensure no one is forced to do so."

    "I am therefore delighted so many cross-party colleagues across the House of Commons have joined me in writing to the Business Secretary to back this proposal."

    Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, added:

    "The Government already offers a Warm Home Discount on fuel to the poorest pensioners. Extending this to all those who meet the current definition for fuel poverty - 3,174 across Woking and 37,473 across Surrey - would make an enormous difference to thousands including many families with children."

    "We are also calling for a more focused effort to end fuel poverty permanently such as more insulation. This would be a win for both society and the environment: with better insulation, less energy is needed, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels."

  • Article: Apr 1, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster

    Following a request from Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster, Surrey County Council has agreed to postpone its planned increase of residential parking permits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The County Council wants to increase the cost of residential parking permits in Controlled Parking Zones and was intending to advertise and consult the public on the increase in April and then implement the increase soon after that. However, the consultation and increase will be postponed until after the coronavirus crisis has been resolved.

  • Article: Mar 31, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster
    The Lib Dems are calling on the Government to pick up the bill for Council Tax payments in order to ease the financial pressure people are facing as a result of coronavirus.

    According to the Lib Dems, their proposals would save residents in Woking Borough an average of £462 over the next three months.

    The party's proposals include a complete moratorium on payments for all households in Bands A to E, and a 50% reduction in payments across other bands. The Treasury would make up the shortfall in tax revenue with direct payments to councils.

    The Lib Dems would like to see these measures implemented for a minimum of three months, with an option to extend the scheme as required.

    Lib Dem Communities, Housing and Local Government spokesperson, Tim Farron, said:

    "Millions of people are facing financial hardship as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis. More must be done to ease the pressure on families facing financial hardship. Scrapping Council Tax bills before they kick in again in April is one such step."

    "Councils and local authorities provide vital services and, of course, they must be able to continue that work. That's why the Lib Dems are calling on Government to foot the bill until the current crisis passes and people can start to rebuild."

    Councillor Will Forster added:

    "In Woking, people in Bands A-E are being asked to pay an average of £1,847 in Council Tax this year. As the coronavirus crisis escalates, thousands will be unable to pay, and may fall into arrears if steps are not taken to suspend payments. Rapid action is needed, or many more families will be under unbearable financial pressuring in the coming weeks."

    "Councils have been hit hard by government funding cuts over the last five years. Every penny is now vital to ensure Woking Borough Council can continue to operate. Under these proposal councils would receive equivalent funding from Central Government to make sure they can continue to provide the services that people in Woking in rely on."

  • Ann-Marie Barker and Deborah Hughes
    Article: Mar 25, 2020
    By Cllr Ann-Marie Barker

    Independence of Scrutiny committee confirmed

    Councillor Deborah Hughes has been vindicated in a complaint brought against her by lawyers acting for Woking Football Club and the developers behind the Cardinal Court development proposals. The complaint has been fully dismissed as wholly unfounded.

    Councillor Hughes, the Liberal Democrat Chair of Woking Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee said:

  • Article: Mar 23, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster

    The Lib Dems have set up a taskforce to help coordinate the party's network of Councillors, members and activists in the community to ensure the most vulnerable are being supported during the coronavirus crisis.

    The taskforce, which is part of a national initiative by the Lib Dem Party, will help coordinate the Lib Dem response to the coronavirus crisis to ensure all those self-isolating, especially the vulnerable and elderly, get the support they need. As well as helping people with basic supplies the network of volunteers will help share best practice and the best ideas and ensure those in their communities are able to follow the guidance being put forward.

    The Coronavirus Community Taskforce will be chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington the former Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation.

    Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, said:

    "As the Coronavirus crisis continues people in Woking are rightly concerned about their family, friends and loved ones. Even more people are keen to do something to help."

    "This crisis is leaving the most vulnerable in our communities at risk and we are determined to do what we can to help them. That is why the Lib Dems are setting up the Coronavirus Community Taskforce. This will coordinate our network in Woking, Surrey and across the whole country who will ensure those who are in most need get support."

  • Will Forster
    Article: Mar 9, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster

    Ahead of the budget the Lib Dems are calling on the Chancellor to scrap business rates and replace them with a landowner levy to "breathe new life" into high streets in Woking.

    Acting Leader of the Lib Dems, Ed Davey, has warned that "the retail sector sounded the alarm bell on business rates a long time ago and Brexit has made these pressures even worse" and urged the Chancellor to fully adopt his party's policy in the Budget.

    The Lib Dems want to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy based on the value of the land only. This would take the cost off businesses and help support high streets. By taxing landowners rather than businesses half a million small businesses across the country would be spared the burden of property taxation. The proposals would cut taxes for businesses across Woking Borough.

  • Will Forster Fast Train
    Article: Mar 3, 2020
    By Cllr Will Forster

    The Lib Dems have revealed there were 11 incidents involving offensive weapons on trains or at rail stations in Woking since 2017. 9 incidents occurred at Woking Station including 3 so far this year.

    Lib Dem Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP has said the new figures "show the utter failure of Tory Ministers to keep people safe from crimes involving offensive weapons especially knives."

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