Monthly Archives: March 2013

Letter to the Editor: Council Services are Valued

Dear Editor

As the County Council Elections approach, it is worth remembering that council services are highly valued. Try hacking Social Care, attacking schools, reducing library staffing or leisure centre hours – and the protests erupt. Actually all these attacks HAVE been perpetrated over the last four years by Shropshire’s slash-and-burn Tories.

These services need paying for. In a sparse area like rural Shropshire they can be expensive and Governments are not keen to recognise this. But ask the public – as Lib Dem – led South Shropshire Council did – and they will support worthwhile services.

This is by way of responding to the Conservatives’ only election cry “  We keep Council Tax down! – what an inspiring vision” – which is both injurious to residents – and UNTRUE.

In the Coalition Council of 2001-05 I was Lib Dem leader,   we had to face up to this. To develop keenly – sought service improvements AND plug the gap left by harsh government under-funding, we had to increase council tax a lot – although not much different from counties average. That sound budget led to a step change in public services. It proved robust enough to keep things on an even keel until 2009, when Keith Barrow’s Tories took office.

Needless to say our Council Tax increases were attacked by the Tories but THEY NEVER reduced it once they got power in 2005. They promised to reverse our increase: but they didn’t. They promised to reduce Council Tax: but in fact increased it each year (except election year, of course). You cannot believe Tory promises!

In recent years, the Coalition Government has provided extra cash to keep Council Tax frozen. The Tory minister, Eric Pickles, advised councils’ not to hoard away reserves but to maintain services. Cllr Barrow and crew are piling up £40m into reserves at the same time as they fire hundreds of staff ; ration social care ;cut library staffing and leisure centres; close our small schools….etc…etc..

In sum, the callous dismantling of council services in Shropshire.

The Conservatives have lied year on year over Council Tax – their only policy – and about the impact on the residents of Shropshire.

Check what your Council  Tax  SHOULD  be if the Tories had kept their promises to (a) cut out all rises we made in 2001-05; (b) not to increase council tax in the years since  they’ve  been in power. IS your band D down at £600 or something?! Not much!



Peter Phillips, Shropshire Lib Dem Leader 1999-2009

Deputy Leader SCC 2001-2005


Pensions Minister to Visit Shropshire


‘’Shropshire’s Lib Dems have  a winning  record !!’………….

 LIBERAL  DEMOCRAT  PENSIONS  MINISTER  STEVE  WEBB  is to visit Shropshire in April. His visit is timed to give a boost to Local Liberal Democrats ahead of the Council Elections on May 2nd.

‘Shropshire Lib Dems have a terrific record of success,’said Professor Webb. ‘A record of wins,with a promise of more !! Their suucess in winning council by-elections,and their astonishing success in recruitment,are nationally applauded. I am very much looking forward to coming to Shropshire, to help encourage further successes in May.’

Mr Webb has been prominent in the media for his proposals on Pensions reform…a demographic time-bomb which no government has yet confronted. ‘Dignity and security in retirement must be for everyone,’he said,’and also put on an affordable and sustainable basis.’

Cllr Heather Kidd,who has managed Shropshire’s election campaigns,is delighted.’I was really flattered when Steve said he wanted to come-not just for myself,but for all the enthusiastic grassrouters in the County who have won such great results. Winning a ministerial visit is pretty difficult so to have one actually WANTING to come is a real compliment..’


Mr Webb is coming on April 9th. His itinerary has yet to be confirmed but he will be visiting locations in Ludlow constituency.

Above: with Cllr Heather Kidd (Chirbury and Worthen)

Letter to the Editor: Rennard allegations

Dear Editor,


Liberal Democrats,like me,were a trifle suspicious at the explosion of the Lord Rennard allegations just a week before the Eastleigh by election. Wall to wall, 24/7, the national press screamed it aloud.

 But the LibDems, despite all the negative noise-surround, won.

 And now the Rennard story has vanished!

 Stretching coincidence a bit far, isn’t it ?


Peter Phillips,


Bishops Castle Lib Dems…Frogs Gutter,the Bog,SY5 0NL

Bennion and Barnes back curbs on Bankers’ Bonuses




SHROPSHIRE EURO MP Phil Bennion has welcomed the EU move to cap bankers’ bonuses and blasts Britain’s Tories for being ‘utterly out of touch’ with the public mood.

 The farmer and economics expert said: “This is just one instance when our colleagues in the EU have clearly shown themselves to be more in touch with the public mood than Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne. 

 “There can be no justification for these lottery-number bonuses, or indeed salaries, being awarded to financiers whose dubious practices have led to so much disaster. The banking industry seems still to be unashamed at the damage wrought by their top people on astronomical rewards.


“My Lib Dem colleague Sharon Bowles MEP led for the Parliament on this issue – the cap on bonuses is there because of pressure from MEPs, it was not originally in the proposal. She has done a great job and won an important victory for the ordinary citizen. 

 “National governments – including Britain – have been too cautious and fearful in tackling the banks and the bonus culture head-on. Ordinary people needed elected MEPs to fight for them.”

 Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesman, Cllr Heather Kidd, commented: “We have just heard that state-owned RBS has paid £600million in bonuses at the same time as making a loss of over £5billion last year.

 “I find it outrageous that the Government, with 80% of the shares, has not stepped in. The Tory influence is clear and malign. It is another example of Brussels being better able to see what is right than Westminster; or at least the Tory part of it.”

 “Many ordinary people are suffering falling living standards and real cuts in income – whether earnings or wages,” added Charlotte Barnes, Lib Dem councillor for Bishop’s Castle.

 “A cap on bonuses is just a small step in the right direction. These bankers seem immune from the harsh realities of the real world. Bob Diamond, the ex-boss of Barclays who left under a cloud, apparently drew more than £20million pounds! The gap between the super- rich and the rest of Britain, let alone ordinary people in Shropshire, is frankly unbelievable and dangerous.”

 Dr Bennion concluded: “We expect the debate between Cameron’s friends in the City and the rest to continue. The EU is trying hard to win better regulation of the banking industry. Britain’s Conservatives, led by Cameron and Boris Johnson, are fighting against this.

 “Yet it was weak regulation (and complacent and weak regulators) that allowed the banks to plunge us into this desperate financial crisis in the first place.”