All ears for better phone coverage in Gloucestershire

A call is being made to improve mobile phone coverage across the county. The issue will be discussed at a County Council meeting next Wednesday at Shire Hall.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Change and recently appointed Chair of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson will call for an investigation on how mobile phone companies can provide better coverage in Gloucestershire. 

Cllr. Hodgkinson said: “There are many black holes across the county in so many villages and even towns where there is little or even worse no mobile coverage.

“If you live in an isolated village or travel on quiet roads you want some reassurance that you can contact someone easily.

“Better mobile coverage not only adds to personal security but is also an essential pre-requisite for running a business from home. There are many small businesses based in our villages and they require easy communication.”

“As I travel around my own district in the Cotswolds there are only two areas I can get a 3G or 4G signal – around Tetbury and Cirencester. In lots of other places people would be happy with 1G let alone anything else!

Cllr. Joe Harris who will be supporting calls for better phone coverage also said that:

Residents and businesses across the county should be getting the service that they rightly deserve. It is for the mobile phone operators to start listening to people’s frustrations and get on with providing good and reliable coverage.

“Calling for better mobile phone coverage goes hand in hand with calling for personal security something that really must be taken seriously by those operators across Gloucestershire”.


Votes at 16

Do you back our campaign to give young people the vote?

Here's a statement from Cllr Paul Hodgkinson about giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to have their say:

"We need to stop denying our young people their rights.

I regularly meet lots of young people in the Cotswolds. They’re passionate about such a wide range of issues - from the cost of local buses and their education, to climate change and international affairs.

The time has now come to give 16 and 17-year-olds a say on the issues that affect their lives.

We often hear people say they don’t understand politics. But this can’t be said of the younger generation, who are the first to receive a proper education in citizenship and democracy.

They understand what’s at stake. We’re teaching them how to be a full and active citizen but not letting them take part.

Most of us are quite happy to allow a 16 year old to serve us in a shop or to help protect us in the Army. We allow them to get married, have sex, pay taxes and drive cars.

Yet we are stopping them from having a say in how their taxes are spent or what direction our country goes in. Imagine how frustrated and angry you’d be if you were denied the same rights.

In the next two years we are going to decide whether Britain stay or leaves in the EU. This decision matters – it matters to our jobs and prosperity, and its impact will be felt for decades.

It would be so wrong to prevent those young people in the Cotswolds whose future we are talking about from having a say in this decision.

Last year, 16 and 17 year olds were allowed for the first time to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum. Three-quarters of them did.

This proves young people can and will engage when given the opportunity. That’s why I am pleased Liberal Democrat MPs voted to amend the bill on the EU referendum to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote.

Liberal Democrats have actively supported changing the law on this issue for over ten years. Now there is growing support throughout Parliament and the Conservative Government must listen to us and stop denying young people a voice.

If you support this, please sign our petition: http://change.libdems.org.uk/votes-for-16-year-olds?utm_campaign=220615b&utm_medium=email&utm_source=libdems


Improving the Corner of Watermoor Road


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Cllr Jenny Hincks, Members of the Watermoor Community Group and the staff of Kwikfit Cirencester making the corner of Watermoor Road a nicer place for people to sit. The area is still under improvement with a new surface being laid, trees and seats being installed before the area can be fully reopened.

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Our contact details have changed!

Our contact details have changed as of Friday 19 June, including our correspondence address and email.

You can find out how to get in touch with us at www.cotswoldlibdems.org.uk/contact.


Call for Integrated Multi-Agency Approach toTackling Mental Health

A profile giving a picture of people’s health in Gloucestershire produced by Public Health England at the beginning of this month (June 2015) shows a county that is healthier than the England average, with life expectancy for both men and women higher than the national average.However figures in the report also show concerns over the county’s suicide rate and high levels of hospital stays for self-harm.

The newly appointed Liberal Democrat Chair for the County Council’s Health & Care Scrutiny Committee and county party Spokesperson for Public Health, Cllr. Iain Dobie (Leckhampton and Warden Hill) commented:

“We may well be healthier as a county, but it is deeply concerning that the figures in terms of the suicide rate and hospital stays for self-harm are rated 'significantly worse' than the national average.

“A high suicide rate and high levels of hospital stays for self-harm is indicative of a much greater need for our health agencies to work together in improving mental health across the county not just for adults, but children and young people too.

“I was delighted that an additional £450K was subsequently secured by the Liberal Democrats in the budget settlement for use over 2014-16 to help develop ways to tackle the issue of deliberate self-harm in young people through promoting emotional resilience. A multi-agency approach has been adopted to improve outcomes for young people. I am keen to see what other measures of effectiveness will be put in place this year and for us to start seeing a reduction in the number of young people who self-harm. Early intervention is the key to heading off longer term problems."

In February 2014, the Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council called for an additional investment from the Public Health Budget to reduce the rising numbers of Gloucestershire children and young people who deliberately hurt themselves.


Faster broadband for the Cotswolds

Following on from the first rollout of faster broadband to some Cotswold towns and villages, the County Council has now announced a second phase.

Speaking to journalists following the announcement of new faster internet provision for some 6000 houses in the district, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson welcomed the news but criticised the plans for not going far enough:

“...It means that quite a lot of people will still miss out on what is now an essential service in the 21st century. I was in Greece recently where even in the remotest areas there was  a 4G phone signal and fast broadband – if they can do it so can we! 

"I will continue to fight for every house to get access to a better service.”


Thank you for voting for the Liberal Democrats

Thank you to the 10,568 people who voted for Paul Hodgkinson at the general election. Although this wasn't the result we'd hoped for, the Cotswolds had the 59th best result of any Liberal Democrat candidate nationally and the constituency will remain a competitive seat between the Conservatives and ourselves in the future.

In the local elections held on the same day as the general election the Lib Dems won 11 seats including Wotton-under-Edge and all eight Cirencester wards. We also secured 13 of the 15 seats on Cirencester Town Council. In several other Cotswold wards we finished a close second, giving us a great opportunity to make gains at future elections.

The local party is now looking forward to holding the new Conservative government to account and optimistic of a strong performance at the district and county council elections in 2016 and 2017.

It's really encouraging to see that since the polls closed, more than 15,000 new members have joined the Liberal Democrats. The surge continues as Liberal Democrats across the country have been fighting back and making the case for liberal values of freedom, liberty and change.

To become a member of the local Liberal Democrats please go to www.libdems.org.uk/join.


'Getting things done' election campaign launched

The Liberal Democrats have launched their Cotswolds election campaign with a message of ‘getting things done’ for the local community.

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Lib Dem move to freeze Cotswold Council Tax rejected by Conservatives

tax.jpgLib Dem Councillors proposed a Council Tax freeze at Cotswold District Council today which was rejected by the Conservatives.

The move would have continued the coalition government’s efforts to freeze Council tax to help hardworking families across the Cotswolds without affecting frontline services at the Council.

Cllr Joe Harris (Lib Dem, Park Ward) Leader of the Lib Dem group said: “We are living in uncertain financial times, the money local Councils receive from Government is reducing and we have to make the money we have stretch further.”

He added: “Our proposal to freeze Council tax would have meant that Council services are protected without hitting local residents in the pocket. Conservative plans to cut the budget will mean we go into an uncertain future with less cash at our disposal to protect from financial risk.”

The Lib Dem group also proposed to remove Sunday car parking charges in Cirencester’s Brewery Car Park, invest £40,000 on tackling litter along the Cotswolds main roads and invest £40,000 to support initiatives to tackle isolation and hardship amongst younger and older people.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Lib Dem, Churn Valley), who is standing as the MP for the Cotswolds on May 7th, proposed the amendment to invest £40,000 on tackling litter along Cotswold roads and said: “The Council’s litter collections are so infrequent many people are taking the matter into their own hands and doing litter picks themselves. This cash would have supported local resident’s efforts by providing the Council with more resource to undertake more frequent litter picks.”

He added:” “I know many people take huge pride in the Cotswolds and want to see it kept clean and tidy. I’m annoyed the Conservatives won’t take litter seriously and ultimately it’s our beautiful area that loses out.”


Bin the litter!

A call is being made to keep the Cotswolds cleaner.

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