Lib Dems stand down in Exeter to help Remain vote, but will not stand down for strongest candidate in East Devon

The decision whether to stand is apparently taken at local level. Exeter Lib Dems have agreedtheu will stand down in favour of the Green candidate.

East Devon Lib Dem candidate Eleanor Rylance has presumably refused to stand down for the strongest candidate in East Devon – Claire Wright. Far, far more likely to win than the Green in Exeter – she gained 35% of the vote in 2017.

If splitting the Remain vote leads to a Tory victory – your local Lib Dem group will be to blame.

In East Devon, if you vote Lib Dem you stand a good chance of getting a Tory.

Exeter story here:

If you don’t fill out this consultation you might lose out on rural broadband

“People in Somerset and Devon are being asked which areas have the biggest need for broadband, ahead of the process to appoint a new contractor.

In September Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) terminated its contract with Gigaclear as it significantly fell behind schedule.

CDS wants to establish which areas lack infrastructure and where the private sector has no future plans to invest.

A replacement contractor is likely to be in place by next November. ‘Biggest impact’ CDS is a partnership between Devon and Somerset county councils to deliver broadband to rural areas.

Responses to the consultation will help inform how the contract is shaped.

The procurement process is due to begin next month.

Devon County Council’s cabinet member, and CDS board member, Conservative, Rufus Gilbert said the consultation would help them set out the proposed areas and where to focus efforts.

Somerset County Council has added that it wanted to ensure the public funding as the biggest impact in increasing coverage.

The consultation closes on 10th December.

Consultation here:

The hidden benefits of registering to vote

Do it here:

“Did you know that registering to vote could help you with buying or renting a house?

Even if you don’t vote, there can be some benefits of being on the electoral register.

If you do want to vote in the general election on 12 December, the deadline to register is midnight on 26 November.

Here are some of the ways being on the electoral register (also called the electoral roll) could help you – that are nothing to do with politics.

It could help you get a bank loan

In fact, it can help you in any situation where you get a credit check – buying a car, getting a mortgage or getting a phone contract.

That’s because banks and other lenders that check credit scores look through the electoral roll.

It’s part of their checks to verify your identity – and your credit score can improve if lenders know you are who you say you are.

It can be particularly useful if you don’t have a long credit history, if for example it’s the first time you’re getting a loan or phone contract. …”

Affordable housing: cause and effect?

Do you think these two things might be linked?


“Redrow hit by shareholder revolt over bosses’ bonuses and controversial new chairman”

… Former boss and founder Steve Morgan, 66, will still be entitled to bonuses, even though he has retired.

He has a 20 per cent stake in the company worth £422million.

There has also been anger at former chief executive Tutte, 63, becoming executive chairman, in breach of City rules for best practice in the boardroom.

Tutte is not considered independent enough because of his previous years at the company.

It prompted investor advisory services Glass Lewis and ISS to urge shareholders to oppose both changes. …”


“Affordable homes built at ‘pitiful’ rate despite increase

The number of affordable homes built in Britain has risen for the second consecutive year but analysts warned that the current level of housebuilding remained woefully inadequate.

Sixty thousand homes classed as affordable were supplied between April 2017 and March last year, according to official figures. While this is an improvement on the 43,473 built in 2015-16, it is still below the ten-year average of 62,400.

Affordable housing includes properties for social rent, shared ownership and other intermediate tenures. In 2017 the government set up a £7 billion fund to increase the supply of affordable homes by 40,000 within four years. As chancellor, Philip Hammond promised £3 billion to fund an extra 30,000 affordable homes through the scheme this year.

Scotland supplied the most affordable homes per person last year, at about 16 homes per 10,000 people.

England produced 8.5 homes per 10,000 people, although this was an improvement on six per 10,000 people in 2015-16. At 47,100, the number of affordable homes built in England last year was below the long-term average of 50,800. Wales also dragged on the long-term average, while Northern Ireland and Scotland registered growth.

The government also promised that 300,000 homes a year would be under construction by the middle of the next decade to increase affordability, but the present rate is about 220,000. Analysts have warned that the government will only hit its target if it increases funding for affordable housing because it can no longer rely on the private sector.

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, an estate agency, said: “Just 60,000 homes delivered in a year and no change in the level of social housing in a decade is pitiful.

“Affordability is an issue not just in the London market but nationwide, and an issue that is largely exacerbated by a failure to build more homes at all levels to keep pace with a growing population and an increase in buyer demand. We must build more and this, in turn, will help boost affordability.”

Last month L&Q, one of Britain’s leading builders of affordable homes, withdrew from the market citing a “serious downturn” due to persistent uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Source – TIMES (pay wall)

Councillor Paul Millar’s thoughts on Swire – from his vantage point in Parliament

In recent weeks outgoing Conservative MP Sir Hugo Swire for East Devon has been unrelenting in his attacks on Claire Wright.

At a time in which women in politics are leaving Parliament in droves, the bombardment has felt a little insensitive. Yet, it’s water off a duck’s back for Claire, as she remains focussed on the issues that matter in East Devon rather than the kind of Punch-and-Judy politics Sir Hugo is indulging in.

In Sir Hugo’s last interview, he concedes that Claire Wright is a “good campaigner” but suggests she wouldn’t be a competent “legislator”.I must admit the statement puzzled me, because in all his years in Parliament, Sir Hugo failed to have any meaningful impact on any legislation which has benefitted the people of East Devon. In my time he never campaigned for any legislative change.

Campaigner and legislator are not two mutually [exclusive things]. I would go as far as to say that I had more impact on legislation my three years as a mediocre researcher than he has in over 22 years as an MP. I rarely saw him in the Palace of Westminster, except when he was dining foreign dignitaries and party donors in Strangers Dining Room, one of the many plush restaurants in the House of Commons subsidised by the taxpayer.

At times one felt a cardboard cut-out might’ve had more influence than Sir Hugo – he never once did any serious cross-party work, and the fact he keeps his constituency work “confidential” rather suggests he was never too interested in helping constituents with appeals for disability benefits and such like. When I approached his office for a request for help with a benefits case for a constituent, I was told it was not their policy to assist.

Most backbenchers do important work and have influence on Select Committees – Sir Hugo refused to serve on any Committee in his last nine years of parliamentary service.

All the while Sir Hugo has been wining and dining, Claire Wright has been working hard and proving herself as a brilliant Councillor. She has excellent values and has done excellent investigation and campaigning work on saving hospital beds and local health facilities. She revealed last week that she had turned down a £5,000 donation from a business.

If elected, forget the torment of Brexit, Claire would make an excellent Member of Parliament, she has the hunger to campaign, she is passionate about improving people’s lives, she has the humility to listen and consult, she has the eye for detail to legislate and make good policies from the backbenches. These are all qualities Sir Hugo lacks.

Being an Independent is no handicap as I have found in local politics. Next month, some will vote for who they want to be Prime Minister; I will be voting for whom I want to be my MP, and the candidate whom I am convinced is best for East Devon. Claire Wright is a breath of fresh air, so I hope all Owl readers will vote for a candidate who so clearly cares about our communities.

About Author:

Paul Millar worked as an aide to the late, independent-minded Labour MP Paul Flynn (2016-17), going onto work as a senior aide to Geoffrey Robinson MP and leading the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill through Parliament.

He is now an Exmouth Town and East Devon District Councillor