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  • COVID-19
    Article: Apr 8, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Group leaders from all three political parties on Rugby Borough Council have thanked staff for their hard work and dedication, as letters to all households have started arriving through letter boxes.

    Cllr Seb Lowe, Leader of Rugby Borough Council and leader of the Conservative Group, has been joined by Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, Leader of the Labour Group, and Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, in a cross-party show of support for the work of the council to support the borough's most vulnerable residents.

    Since the nation has been subject to restrictions on movement and on social distancing, many council staff have been re-deployed from non-urgent roles to support the council's response to coronavirus. While essential services such as waste collections and the Lifeline service continue, other staff have transferred to help run the Foodbank, set up and operate the council's Community Hub, and provide back up to telephone or other support services.

    Meanwhile, support staff have sent out more than 48,000 letters via Royal Mail to every household in the borough. The letters explain how residents can get help if they need it during the current restrictions.

    The group leaders said: "The dedication of the council's staff over the last few weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary. Whilst continuing with statutory responsibilities such as planning and environmental health, staff have completely reorganised council services to support people in financial difficulties, pay business support grants, house rough sleepers and homeless residents, and of course run the Foodbank and create the Community Hub to support the most vulnerable with food and emotional support.

    "Across all services, including back-office support services, staff have shown flexibility and creativity, all whilst also dealing with their own personal circumstances. We would like to acknowledge their effort and thank them, on behalf of all our communities."

    While the most important council services are continuing, some non-essential services have been stopped, either to support social distancing or to provide extra cover for other services.

    The group leaders continued: "The tremendous efforts to support our most vulnerable residents and keep essential services going mean that other work must stop for now.

    "We would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as services like grass cutting, gardening and leisure services are suspended. We hope that everyone will agree with us that these services can wait while staff support other parts of the council."

    In acknowledging the work done so far the leaders also identified more work that would need to be done. They said: "Whilst much of the work to set up new systems and processes has been done, the hard work will continue over the coming weeks.

    "So far only half of the businesses that are eligible for small business grants have come forward and completed their Confirmation Statement, so we will need to contact the remaining businesses to make sure they get their payment.

    "And as people's circumstances change, we will need to support neighbourhoods and communities as they help each other, and provide financial or practical support to the residents for whom no-one else can help.

    "As group leaders, we are jointly committed to doing what is right for Rugby: we will help the residents who need us the most."

    Information on financial support, support for businesses, the foodbank, community hub and changes to council services can all be accessed from www.rugby.gov.uk/coronavirus. Residents without access to the internet can call the council on (01788) 533533.

  • M6 road sign
    Article: Apr 8, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    From 17 April 2020 to 24 April 2020, Highways England will be resurfacing the M6 junction 2 southbound entry slip road.

    The work will include repainting road markings and replacing road studs. They'll also be resurfacing junction 1 northbound entry slip and southband exit slip.

    To resurface the M6 junction 2 southbound entry slip, the area will be closed from 8pm on Friday 17 April to 6am on Monday 20 April. This will then be followed by an overnight closure from 8pm on Monday 20 April to 6am on Tuesday 21 April.

  • Houses of Parliament
    Article: Apr 4, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Responding to the news that the Prime Minister has invited opposition party leaders to attend a briefing on the coronavirus, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "We will of course engage with the Government about its strategy to tackle the coronavirus during this national crisis, continuing the constructive approach to questioning we have adopted from the start.

    "There are vital issues to address, not least how testing capacity is expanded faster, how our frontline health and social care staff access proper protective kit and how to cushion the economic crisis so groups of people aren't unfairly excluded and our most vulnerable citizens aren't left behind.

    "The best way to work together to combat this crisis is to ensure opposition parties are able to question the Government effectively so we can improve policy.

    "Opportunities for scrutiny must not just come by invitation from the Prime Minister - this should be an ongoing Parliamentary process. That is why the Liberal Democrats have been calling for the creation of a New Zealand-style virtual Coronavirus Select Committee, with representation from across the House, chaired by the Leader of the Opposition and an early recall of a streamlined, virtual Parliament."

  • Rugby sign (lighter)
    Article: Apr 4, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Rugby Borough Council is preparing to deliver emergency food supplies to vulnerable residents who have been identified as needing extra support. The food parcels will be delivered to residents who have been instructed by the NHS to stay at home for 12 weeks because of medical conditions, and other residents who have been assessed as needing urgent support.

    The service has been put in place for residents who are unable to source their own supplies and do not have family, neighbours or other support available from their communities. It will continue throughout the travel and social restrictions that are in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

    The hub will also provide social and emotional support, while residents in financial hardship will be referred to Rugby Foodbank.

  • A collection of Rugby Borough Council bins
    Article: Mar 30, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Rugby Borough Council plans to carry on collecting residents' recycling and rubbish bins during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Waste and recycling teams have been declared 'key workers' by the Government and the council has confirmed collections of black, blue and green bins currently remain unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

    However, residents with symptoms of the coronavirus have been reminded to follow Government guidelines on self-isolation, including the 'double-bagging' of all waste - recyclable or otherwise - and waiting 72 hours before putting it in the black bin.

  • Liberal Democrats, open, tolerant and united
    Article: Mar 29, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Liberal Democrats suspend Leadership Campaign until May 2021

    Today, as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, the Liberal Democrat Federal Board has decided to postpone the leadership election until May 2021.

    President of the Liberal Democrats Mark Pack said:

    "The country is currently going through our biggest crisis since 1945. Our party has decided that we must put all our attention into dealing with fallout from the Coronavirus.

  • St Andrews Church in Rugby (April 2015)
    Article: Mar 29, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Responding to reports that the Government has written to all local councils asking them to find homes for all rough sleepers by the weekend of 28/29 March 2020 to protect them from the coronavirus outbreak, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

    "It is right that the Government is taking urgent action to find secure accommodation for rough sleepers, as Liberal Democrats have called for since this crisis began.

    "The Government must also equip local authorities with the financial resources to provide sufficient secure emergency accommodation to meet demand. Ministers must also make specialist support available to those who struggle with addiction or other mental health issues, as is the case for so many people sleeping rough right across the UK.

    "Ultimately, this annoucement must be the first step towards long term efforts to end rough sleeping, not just in the face of the current crisis. The Government can make that commitment today by supporting my Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act, repealing a Dickensian law which needlessly criminalises rough sleepers."

  • Rugby Town Hall
    Article: Mar 29, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Rugby Borough Council has reached an agreement with the Rugby Foodbank to take over the operation of the food bank.

    The agreement comes after the food bank had to suspend its operations due to the impact of the coronavirus on their volunteer base and the need to maintain social distancing to keep volunteers and public safe.

    Rugby Foodbank have kindly donated their stock which allows the council to start distributing food with no pause in services.

    The council will operate the warehousing and distribution of food packages until the food bank is able to return to normal operations.

  • LD demand better
    Article: Mar 24, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Today Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, challenged the Chancellor to "move as fast as possible" to roll out a financial support package for the five million self-employed people in the UK.

    In an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, Davey highlighted that the self-employed, who are excluded from current financial support for businesses and employees, are under "real stress" and are "literally running out of money" as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

    Following his Urgent Question to the Chancellor, Ed Davey said:

    "As the days tick on, millions of self-employed - from cleaners to hairdressers from taxi drivers to builders - face mounting worries about their future. Ministers must move far faster to provide help, as they did for businesses and employees.

    "Most of the self-employed have very modest incomes and aren't well off. Without help, they won't be able to pay their mortgages, rent and bills, facing ruin."

    "Every day of delay increases the strain these millions of individuals are under. That is why - this afternoon - I challenged the Chancellor to explain how he will support self-employed people through this crisis. So far we are just being told by Ministers to wait a little longer.

    "Without action, those who are self-employed may be forced to ignore government guidance to stay home and plough on with their work, or face real hardship.

    "Last week Liberal Democrats welcomed the Chancellor's financial package for businesses and for employees, but this will remain incomplete and inadequate until we see proper measures for the five million self employed people across the country."

    Notes to editors:

    Please see below for a transcript of Ed Davey's Urgent Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject of government support for the self-employed.

    Ed Davey:

    Can I thank the Chief Secretary to the Treasury for that answer.

    He knows that parties on all sides of the house have been supportive of the
    way the Chancellor and the Treasury have given support to businesses
    and to employees, but I have to tell him for the five million self-employed
    people across the country, who are in all our constituencies, they are in
    real stress.

    They are deeply worried and while we all understand there are
    complications, the government has to move as fast as possible to meet
    their concerns, because they are literally, in many cases, simply running
    out of money.

    I want to say this to the treasury bench: It's important we remember who the self-employed are. 80 per cent of the five million self-employed are sole traders. They are our neighbours, our friends, our family. The vast majority are not wealthy people; they are cleaners, they are taxi drivers, they are plumbers, they are hairdressers, they are musicians, tutors and journalists they are builders and electricians, they are childminders.

    These are people who are literally running out of money now, and we have to support them. Of course there will be those stories of people who are wealthy who are self-employed of, but they are the minority, and if you look at the figures - HMRC's own data - 36 per cent of sole traders (the majority of the self-employed) have taxable incomes of less than £10,000 a year, and that compares with just 15 per cent of employees on incomes that low. So we are talking about people on low incomes. 60 per cent have profits of less than £10,000 a year so these are people who were struggling before the coronavirus pandemic and are now facing ruin.

    Mr Speaker, I think that an urgent package of help is needed now, and it needs to be at least the equivalent to that that has been offered to employees.

    While we all know the problems that the treasury are facing getting this, can I say to him: if the package is capped in the way it was for the employees, if it is temporary as it was in the case for the employees and if, especially for the self employed, there is some sort of clawback mechanism if people are being given money that they didn't need, then surely we can come together as a house, as a country, to make sure that these people get the support that they need?

    It is not uncommon for the self-employed - when they do their annual self-assessment tax return - to have to pay money back to the Treasury. Surely if money is given now so they can deal with the cashflow, capped in a temporary scheme, then that can be clawed back next time they do their self-assessment if it turns out that they didn't need it?

    So I honestly urge the Treasury, Mr Speaker, to move fast and not to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. People need the money now please, please act now.

  • Ed Davey
    Article: Mar 22, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    On Wednesday 18 March 2020, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey has set up a Coronavirus Community Taskforce to coordinate Liberal Democrat councillors', members', activists' and supporters' response to the Coronavirus crisis in their communities.

    Setting up the network of Liberal Democrats across the country, Ed Davey said "we must do everything we can to support our communities during the crisis".

    The taskforce will be chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, the former Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation, and will see local Liberal Democrats helping the most vulnerable in their areas during the crisis. The Taskforce looks set to advise and guide thousands of Liberal Democrats right across the UK who want 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.

    Following the announcement, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

    "The Coronavirus crisis is leaving the most vulnerable in our communities at risk. People across the country are rightly worried about their loved ones, with many more keen to do something to help.

    "That is why today I am announcing the Coronavirus Community Taskforce. This will coordinate our network of thousands of Liberal Democrats who want to help those most in need in their communities during the crisis.

    "We are in an unprecedented situation and we believe that the Liberal Democrats, with our strong and historic links to local activism and community politics, have a wealth of knowledge and unique ability to go into our communities and offer support. This will be scaling up of what Liberal Democrats do - day in, day out - helping the most vulnerable in our communities".

    "I'm delighted Sir Stuart has agreed to chair this new taskforce for our party. He brings huge knowledge, experience and expertise to help guide our work.

    "We must do everything we can to support our communities during the crisis. Each and every one us needs to do what we can during this difficult time and I am proud to say that the Liberal Democrats will step up and take that role very seriously."

    Chair of the Coronavirus Community Taskforce, Sir Stuart Etherington, said:

    "It is critical that vulnerable people in our communities receive the support they need. It will be communities themselves that have to respond to take the pressure off our excellent but hard pressed statutory services.

    "It's time for the altruistic instincts of volunteers to play their part and I'm pleased to assist this welcome Liberal Democrat initiative."

    Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and Vice-chair of the Coronavirus Community Taskforce, Dick Newby, said:

    "We are going to need unprecedented levels of community volunteering to support people required to stay at home because of Covid-19.

    "I am delighted that Sir Stuart has agreed to chair this task force to ensure that Liberal Democrat members play their full part in this vital national effort."

    The Coronavirus Community Taskforce will be chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, who was the Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.