Failed Tories say please send Commissioners

On the doorstep people are saying they are angry with the Conservatives’ mismanagement of the council

‘Failed’ Conservative run Northamptonshire County Council has written to the government to ask that it sends in its commissioners as soon as possible. Because of the failures by local Conservatives, Northamptonshire County Council together with all the district and borough councils in the county are to be scrapped in two years’ time. Two new unitary authorities are being considered to replace the existing two-tier county and district council system.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chris Lofts says: “Following a damming report into the way the Conservatives have mismanaged the county council, the government made clear they were of a mind to send commissioners. It goes to show just how bad things are that the Tories themselves are asking that commissioners are sent in as soon as possible. The irony is local council taxpayers will have to pay for the commissioners who will oversee finance and governance.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns said: “Having already agreed to almost £40m of cuts for this year’s budget and used up all its financial reserves, further cuts to local services are expected soon. The Conservatives may wish to blame additional cuts on the government’s commissioners but I think most local people know by now who’s been at fault in this sorry affair.”


Conservatives admit NCC has run out of cash

Only days ahead of the end of the financial year Conservative run Northamptonshire County Council has admitted it’s run out of money. Similar sized local councils are said to hold reserves of over £500m, NCC has less than £17m. Two government civil servants are taking over control of NCC’s finances, and will oversee how other key decisions are scrutinised. It’s also been revealed that local tax payers will have to pay for the salaries and expenses of these civil servants.

Liberal Democrat Leader at South Northants Council, Councillor Chris Lofts says: “Liberal Democrats have been saying for years that the Conservatives were steering the council towards disaster, but they weren’t listening. To try to balance next year’s books the Tories say they must spend every penny of NCC’s financial reserves. In doing this, they will have to try building new reserves and the only way of achieving this is to make yet more cuts to services. Local residents are being punished again because of the mismanagement of their council by the failed Conservatives.”

Councillor Chris Lofts adds: “Even this Conservative Government has lost patience with local Tories and are sending civil servants to run NCC’s finances. To add insult to injury it is local council tax payers who will pick up the bill for civil servant salaries. Once again when Tories fail it is communities that suffer.”

Lib Dems have campaigned against the Tories cuts to bus services

Commentating Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns says: “The Conservatives had been in the last chance saloon for some time and must now spend all that was left of council taxpayers’ reserves. It’s a scandal that our county council and the local services many people rely on has been destroyed by such incompetence. My concern now is that many more local services will be run down or closed all together in the months to come.”

Tory Northamptonshire ‘worst-run in the country’

Our Conservative run council dubbed the “worst-run in the country” is under investigation over allegations it used millions of pounds ring-fenced for public health to prop up other services. The BBC is reporting that Northamptonshire County Council is in talks with Public Health England about the possible “claw-back” of up to £10m.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader at South Northants Council, Councillor Chris Lofts says: “Bad news about the Conservatives disastrous approach to running NCC’s budget and our local services just keeps on coming. Having made massive cuts to services and yet still failing to balance their books, NCC may now have to pay back up to £10m in miss-used funds. It’s difficult to see how the Tories can avoid yet deeper cuts to its services in the near future.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns adds: “Government has already sent an inspector to investigate the Conservatives poor management of its finances and services. There is likely be very bad news for local residents to come, with the most vulnerable including the elderly in our community suffering the most.”

Tories Coalition of Chaos


In which her body was a question-mark

querying her lies; her mouth a ballot-box that bit the hand that fed. Her eyes? They swivelled for a jackpot win. Her heart was a stolen purse;

her rhetoric an empty vicarage, the windows smashed.

Then her feet grew sharp stilettos, awkward.

Then she had balls, believe it.

When she woke,

her nose was bloody, difficult.

The furious young

ran towards her through the fields of wheat.

Carol Ann Duffy

Invest in our children and schools

Headteacher Richard Camp welcomes      Chris Lofts to Towcester Primary

Chris Lofts, Liberal Democrat candidate for South Northamptonshire has been focusing on spending on schools and colleges. During the campaign Chris Lofts has visited schools across the constituency and also visited Silverstone University Technical College (UTC).

The Liberal Democrats say they will invest more in schools and colleges in South Northamptonshire over the next parliament. The funding would reverse cuts to local school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from changes to funding arrangements.

Funding would be spent on protecting the Pupil Premium, introduced by the Liberal Democrats to help the most disadvantaged children.

Locally for example, under the Conservatives by 2019 Sponne School will see its budget cut by £627,695, Nicholas Hawksmoor by £85,910, Towcester Primary by £100,491, Stoke Bruerne by £64,383 and Tiffield Primary by £62,652.

Chris Lofts says: “Children in South Northamptonshire are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers – but Theresa May doesn’t care. Under the Conservatives, funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, while billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools. This extra funding would ensure no school and no child loses out. We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

The Conservative’s disastrous record on education has done untold harm to our schools, teachers and young people across the country – enough is enough.”

Chris Lofts added: “A big majority for the Conservatives would allow Theresa May to take parents across the country for granted and cut our schools to the bone.

Only the Liberal Democrats can provide the strong opposition Britain needs to stand up for South Northamptonshire.

Vote for the Liberal Democrats and you can change Britain’s future.”


Let local people decide on Rail Terminals

Chris Lofts campaigning in Blisworth

Chris Lofts, Liberal Democrat candidate for South Northamptonshire, has been out on the campaign trail again. Chris spent part of Friday morning with a visit to Silverstone University Technical College (UTC). Chris made his visit to get a greater understanding of the difficult financial issues facing the whole of education.

Later, Chris and his Lib Dem campaign team were battling with the rain in Roade and Blisworth, where there are plans for massive Rail Freight Terminals. Commenting Chris Lofts said:

“There are two separate proposals, each would in my opinion blight our countryside, as well as damage the quality of life in Roade, Blisworth and Milton Malsor. The traffic generated would badly affect surrounding areas too. There would be even more congestion and air pollution on the M1, and local trunk roads, including the A508, A45, A43 and the A5.”

The Conservative’s want these plans decided centrally, by a Government minister and bureaucrats in London, bypassing local communities and the usual planning process.

Chris Lofts added: “I recently attended a public meeting in Roade, where it was plain there is considerable local opposition to these plans. Our former MP was also there and added her concerns, but overall her views were the same as her Conservative Government; ‘let market forces decide’, and that means, not local people. We need a change of approach and a strong local voice.”

Chris Lofts concluded: “As your MP I would fight to stop Government ignoring local opinion. I’d fight to scrap policies that put developers’ profits before our environment and people’s lives.

As your MP, I wouldn’t be a poodle of Government.

With the Tory landslide, we need a strong opposition, and in South Northamptonshire, I would provide that strong local voice.”

Lib Dems: A penny on tax to end NHS crises

Chris Lofts, Lib Dem candidate for South Northamptonshire, has been campaigning with supporters, listening to people in Brackley, Kings Sutton and Middleton Cheney. One of their main concerns is about the crises in NHS and social care funding.

Chris Lofts said: “People are very worried about delays to treatment and longer waiting times for operations. In the growing community of Middleton Cheney, the GP’s surgery closed last October, forcing those who are ill to travel to Banbury.

In Banbury, the Horton Hospital provides services to the Brackley area. Services, including maternity care, are under threat. Our former Conservative MP, has offered warm words of support, but she has always voted with the Tories to starve the NHS of adequate funding.

As I said at a public meeting in Brackley earlier this year, we can’t go on like this, starving the NHS of the money it needs to give families the care they deserve. Liberal Democrats would put a penny on income tax and ring-fence this money for the NHS and social care.”

Chris Lofts adds: “The Lib Dem plan is clear, credible, and supported by doctors and health professionals. Liberal Democrats say South Northamptonshire needs action to save our NHS and social care, not just warm words of sympathy from the Conservatives.”

Where’s Andrea?

BBC’s Newsnight has been speculating: ‘where’s Andrea Leadsom‘? South Northamptonshire’s former MP has gone missing.

Presenter Kirsty Wark wondered why Andrea had gone missing in – inaction, and referred to her as the ‘nowhere woman.’ The Government announced its anti-pollution strategy last week, we might have expected her to be on tv or radio, but no, so where was the Secretary of State for the Environment?  Andrea was nowhere to be found for interview or comment. Andrea had gone missing again…

Reporter John Sweeney went off in search of the Environment Secretary. He visited Towcester, after failing to get in touch with Andrea’s staff. They weren’t returning his calls. She wasn’t in Towcester, Andrea was, according to Twitter, off to Cornwall, home of our former Tory County Councillor who retired there some years ago – but failed at that time to remember to resign as a councillor; until pushed.

John Sweeney tried and tried but failed to find Andrea Leadsom, who it seems, is even more reluctant to meet real voters than her erstwhile leadership contender and now Prime Minister.

Do let me know if you have an idea where our former MP might be hiding.



Local people concerned about air pollution

Chris Lofts, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for South Northamptonshire, visiting Towcester’s Farmers’ Market today, to listen to people’s concerns about air pollution in the town.

Chris Lofts said: “Stall holders and shoppers expressed their worries about the failure of the Conservatives to take action to improve air quality in Towcester. This view was shared by those I spoke with who run town centre businesses and residents I met, walking along Watling Street. We have a great monthly market in Towcester and excellent small shops but locals tell me air pollution and heavy traffic is badly affecting trade. Of course, it’s badly affecting our health too. The excellent monthly Farmers’ Market should by right, be in the market square, but lack of a bypass / relief road makes this impossible.”

Recently a judge ordered our former MP Andrea Leadsom, to publish her highly embarrassing report on air pollution. Justice Garnham said the environment secretary was in breach of a court order to take action in the shortest possible time. Despite the court’s order, the Conservatives still put their own party politics before public health and didn’t publish their report until after the local elections.

Liberal Democrat Chris Lofts added: “Andrea Leadsom has finally been forced to publish her ‘action plan’ to reduce air pollution, but this has been universally ridiculed by health experts, as offering no solution to the very serious public health issue of air pollution; a problem which is causing up to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. We urgently need a scrappage scheme for older diesel vehicles and tax incentives to promote cleaner more efficient cars, buses and HGVs.

It’s disgraceful that the Conservatives are still ducking measures to reduce the air pollution blighting many of our cities and towns, including Towcester and other locations across South Northamptonshire.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning hard for Towcester’s relief road. The Conservatives still claim they support the Lib Dems on this but have failed to take action. All we get from the Tories is ‘hot air.’

We need action on air pollution, not just words…”