New Leader for Suffolk County Lib Dems

New Suffolk County Council  Lib Dem leader and Suffolk County LibDem Green and Independent Group Deputy Leader, Caroline Page, with new Suffolk CC LDGI Leader Andrew Stringer (Green)

After  May’s AGM , Suffolk Lib Dems has a new leader: Cllr Caroline Page. Cllr Page was also also elected  the  Deputy Leader of Suffolk’s Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group. The new Suffolk LDGI Leader is Green councillor, Andrew Stringer.   

Cllr Caroline Page, the county council’s first group spokesperson for Women,  is a passionate campaigner on a diverse range of issues.

She says “David Wood has been a fantastic leader, and I am excited at the prospect of building on the foundation he set out.  I am very grateful for all that he has done for Suffolk LibDems over the past years. I am excited to be taking on this new responsibility for the party, and alongside Andrew Stringer, for the LDGI group. We will continue to hold this administration to account and work for the good of residents across Suffolk As a group we all believe gender balance in politics is important, so it is pleasing to see this better reflected within our own leadership structures.” 

The LDGI Group was formed following the elections in May 2017, bringing together 12 councillors from different political backgrounds. The Group has pledged to work together to hold the Conservative administration at Suffolk County Council to account, whilst still encouraging free thought, debate and voting within the Group. If you would like to find out more about it, click here

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Speaking Up for Suffolk’s Women

Caroline Page, LibDem Green and Independent Group Spokesperson for Women

When the Suffolk County Council LibDem Green and Independent Group was formed, Caroline Page was appointed Group Spokesperson for Women.  She says:

“We are the first and only Group in this county to have this role. Interesting, because there IS no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.

So why am I spokesperson? Exactly because there is no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.  And this has significant consequences for the women and girls of Suffolk.

29% (22) of Suffolk County Councillors are women –  which is below the national average. But even nationally the picture is poor. Latest research shows:

  • Only 33% of local councillors are women 
  • 28% of women councillors say childcare is a barrier, compared with 18% of men.
  • 47% of women (almost double the % of men) experience clashes with other caring duties. Unsurprising, considering half of all women aged 59 are, or have been, unpaid carers. Men don’t achieve such odds till age 75. 
  • 38% of women councillors report sexist comments within their party, and one-third in council chamber
  • 43% of women councillors have faced sexist assumptions about what they could do based on their gender rather than their career, qualifications or capacity.
  • Yet women councillors are just as ambitious as their male counterparts: 45% of women and 47% of men say they want to progress to a more senior role in the council

This  lack of recognition, representation and respect  of women within local authorities, results in lack of local authority recognition and funding for issues that disproportionately affect women – whether it be outcomes for girls, or the plight of family carers or the funding of refuges and safe houses. We see examples of all these in Suffolk.

Seems that Suffolk – nursery of those indomitable seekers after equality, Elizabeth and Millicent Garrett – is in need of a reminder that equality is still a long way off.

We need Spokespeople for Women to ensure that gender equality in Suffolk is a fact rather than a fiction, to make sure that the best person gets the job, that the girls in our schools are wholly supported to have same aspirations and futures as their male peers.

Alongside this we need a clear understanding of the utter necessity for certain woman-specific provision. We can all dream of an equal society, but whilst 1 in 4 women experiences domestic violence, whilst one British woman is killed by a man – generally one she knows – every 2.4 days, women and children desperately need refuges,  support, safe spaces for access, and the funding for all this. And everyone, whatever their gender who believes in equality realise this as truth.

But without a woman to speak up for equality in the Suffolk administration – what happens to it?  It is ‘assumed’ as existing without existing. The funding gets lost because the issue has no direct relevance to those in charge – and the whole county suffers.

Sad but true.

So  I am going to be here to carry on pointing it out, until the Suffolk  administration realises this too.”

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Suffolk County Council LibDem, Green & Independent group

 Suffolk County Council Liberal Democrats  are happy to announce that we will be joining forces with the Suffolk County Council Green and Independent councillors for the 2017-2021 electoral term to form the SCC  LibDem, Green and Independent Group.

This will allow all LibDem, Green and Independent councillors better representation on county council committees than could otherwise have been possible – which wilĺ make us much more able to hold the administration to account and to bring our constituents’ concerns to the fore.

The group  will also be eligible to have the support of a group researcher.

We will however continue to retain our individual party identities within the group.

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