All posts by Caroline Page

Lib Dem County Councillor for Woodbridge, Suffolk; Elected 2008, 2009,2013; LD spokesman, Transport; Vice-Chair Education Transport Appeals; Speed Limit Panel member ; Campaigns for Rural Transport, Buses, Rail, Cycling, Young People, Libraries, Disability, Epilepsy & Carers

David v Goliath: Suffolk LibDems see off Hadleigh Tescos

Dave Busby reaches the end of Movember - and hits Decembeard?

Twenty six years after it first proposed a store in Hadleigh, Tesco has at last admitted defeat and has withdrawn its application to build a supermarket there.

The supermarket giant has finally conceded that they cannot get past spirited public defence of Hadleigh High Street – which on this final occasion was led by Lib Dem David Busby and the Babergh Planning Committee.  District councillors voted seven to six to reject the plans. They decided they would be gambling  on the future of the whole town’s economy if they  the 2,500 square metre store to go ahead.

“Tesco would do more harm than good,” said Cllr Busby.“If we get the decision wrong and the high street goes down, we will never get it back.”

However he warns that the future of the town doesn’t end here.  ”This can only be seen as the start of the survival of the High Street, it doesn’t guarantee it,” says Cllr Busby.  ” A sustainable future can only be ensured by constant attention.It is now down to the people of Hadleigh, the retailers and the town councillors to make it happen!

 

Warning: Suffolk Coastal tidal surge tonight

Looks like the Suffolk Coast may be in for a hammering battering tonight, with the Environment Agency strongest tidal surge in 60 years predicted. Already there are Severe Flood Warnings right along the Suffolk Coast, from  Felixstowe to Lowestoft .

However a Major Incident has been announced – so keep aware.

  • The Environment Agency Warnings link identifes trouble spots. It  is  updated every time there is a change to predicted circumstances.
  • When flooding is likely, the Environment Agency issues flood alerts and warnings through the media –  broadcast on TV and local radio. You can register with the Environment Agency to receive free floods warnings by phone, text or e-mail. You can also  get advice and information via Floodline on 0845 9881188.
  • Suffolk Police Emergency Helpline: 0845 603 2814
  • If there is any risk of danger to people, property or the environment as a result of flooding you should not hesitate to ring 999.
  • Further general information can be found on the Suffolk County Council flood risk  webpage

Keep an eye on warnings and keep safe!

Carers should have rights every day of the year!

Caroline PageToday, 29th November is officially Carers Rights Day – the day when the UK  celebrates family carers and tells  them what they are worth.

” I am offended by the whole concept.  Carers Rights Day seems to be a day when well-paid professionals and media pundits gather together to pat each other on the backs and declare they care.  The brutal truth is that they don’t.  Society doesn’t. Successive governments don’t.   And when I once asked Unison strikers why they were not striking for family carers they memorably replied “Because you don’t work!” ,” says Woodbridge Councillor, Caroline Page

“Carers wouldn’t need a Carers Rights Day if the state had ever given Family Carers any meaningful rights.  And the right to be accepted as a worker rather than patronised as a rather dim and unworldly saint  comes top of the list,” Cllr Page –  a longterm family carer – maintains.

“If carers were seen as the workers they are, the real cost of that care: the working hours, the loss of careers, the impact of poverty and poor health, the absence of employment-related pensions – all these might be factored into the support offered to them. As it is, people suggest they may like a session of aromatherapy!

“The welfare state has traditionally relied  on the love carers feel for those they care for to save the state the real cost of that care. Yet carers suffer from blighted careers, poverty, poor health (fulltime carers are twice as likely to be in bad health than their peers) and can look forward to little more than an impoverished old age.  Thousands of people like myself have worked unsupported 168 hour weeks for years. It is perfectly possible we might just get worn out!”, says Caroline Page.   “This is not only sad and wrong, it is also very expensive.  How much does it cost to replace 24/7 specialised, knowledgeable care? Five years ago the cost of home care was estimated as between £18 and £27 per hour depending on whether it was daytime, evening or weekend. Goodness knows what it is in 2013.

Every day should be Carers Rights Day – and everyone should recognise and remember they are a single step away from being either a carer or someone who needs  care.”

Caroline Page is calling on the government to look at and act on her wish-list :

  1. Carers Allowance should be viewed as a wage rather than a benefit, awarded to all full-time carers . Currently family carers can claim £59 odd a week -if they don’t earn more than £100:  meaning carers are expected to live and further their careers on £8368  a year. If, of course you earn a little more than £100 a week, you get no carers allowance at all. Yet the constraints on your lifestyle of fulltime caring are very equivalent to those of disability.
  2. The state must further relax rules on ‘other employment’ to allow carers the ‘luxury’ of being able to work, and have some non-caring life outside their responsibilities.
  3. The state should pay into the equivalent of an occupational pension for carers to accurately reflect (ok at minimum wage) the real hours spent caring. This could be established by reference to the cared for’s DLA returns and would give carers the prospect of a securer old age with recognition of what can be decades of real – if unpaid work.
  4. When a family carer is bereaved they are simultaneously made redundant. The state should set up robust and appropriate  training to provide  carers for genuine, satisfying jobs when their caring roles (often sadly) end. This isn’t a luxury – it is a reward for all the unpaid work they have done without prospect of career advancement. 

Caroline Page