Claire Wright – damaged and stolen poster boards “unfair and disappointing”

Press release:

“In the past week Claire Wright has received growing reports of her A1 poster boards going missing or being damaged across the East Devon constituency.

More than 300 boards are now in place across towns and villages in the area, however, in the past week, she has received reports of boards going missing or being damaged, including at: Sidmouth, West Hill, Ottery St Mary, Budleigh Salterton and Woodbury Salterton.

She said: “We don’t know who is damaging the boards and it is really disappointing because it is a practice I would always condemn.

“With my 600 strong army of supporters I am fighting really hard to win this election. But I will always fight fairly and honestly.

“It is particularly disappointing because my campaign is funded exclusively by local residents who have been amazingly generous, donating an incredible £9000 over two weeks. Each board costs over £5, so it is local people’s money that is being needlessly wasted and that is deeply regrettable.”

I hope that whoever appears to be targeting my boards will now stop.”

Strong …ly weak and stable..y wobbly on home care charges!

Summary: May is panicking … she will say ANYTHING … as long as it REALLY means NOTHING!

What Owl thinks: the bigger your house, the more money you will be able to leave to your relatives. Yeah, that sounds more like a Tory policy!

“Theresa May has refused to say how high the Conservatives’ new cap on social care costs would be, after announcing an unprecedented U-turn on her manifesto plan to remove the limit.

The Prime Minister became increasingly flustered as she faced a barrage of questions from journalists, having seemingly watered down a key element of the Tory manifesto.

Asked by Channel 4 News’ Michael Crick where she would set the limit, Ms May said: “We have not changed the principles of the policy we set out in our manifesto. Those policies remain exactly the same.”

May waters down ‘dementia tax’ in U-turn after poll lead slashed
The Conservative manifesto’s section on social care makes no mention of a cap. Previously the plan had been to introduce an upper limit of £72,000 on the lifetime cost of a person’s care by 2020.

It said a green paper would be drafted to “address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care”.

But Ms May told journalists at the launch of the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto: “The plans that we set out were very clear in the manifesto, you can look in the manifesto … We said we would issue a green paper and of course within that green paper we’ll be consulting on the details of the proposals.

“Nobody is going to have to pay for their care, nobody is going to have to pay for their care … while they are alive. Nobody is going to have to lose their family home.

“We have not changed the principles we set out in the manifesto.”

She added: “We will have an upper limit, absolute limit, on the amount people will pay for care.”

It came after a pair of polls showed Labour narrowing the gap on the Conservatives to just nine points, following the launch of Ms May’s manifesto.

The Tories’ lead has halved compared to a week ago, according to Survation, with Theresa May’s party on 43 and Labour on 34.

The poll of 1,034 adults was taken over 19 and 20 May and showed people were more likely to say Labour had the best policies for older people and the NHS.

A YouGov poll had Labour on 35 per cent, their highest of the campaign so far, with the Tories on 44 per cent.”

“Claire Wright stands up for pensioners”

“Claire Wright, the independent County Councillor fighting to win the Devon East constituency, is opposing what she deems a triple-pronged attack on pensioners, revealed in the Conservative manifesto this week.

She said: “The Conservative manifesto contains some appalling attacks on the very people who can bear it the least.

“In recent years we have seen younger people, those on benefits and disabled people, lose vital financial support and it seems that the Conservatives are now targeting older people.

“The winter fuel allowance will be so restricted that an estimated 10 MILLION people out of 12 million will lose out. That’s almost everyone.

This will create terrible hardship for older people who are already struggling to make ends meet in addition to heating their homes.

The pension triple lock is set to be lifted, which could see the same people who are struggling to make ends meet suffer hardship as they see their state pension lose value year after year.

“Meanwhile insurance companies circle like sharks, trying to cash in by providing schemes with high premiums. What kind of caring Conservatism is that? They’re taking apart the welfare state and selling it off piece by piece.”

“I’ve received messages from pensioners who are concerned, upset and angry. These are people who’ve worked hard for 40 years or more, paid their taxes and National Insurance like good citizens do, and simply want to pass on their home to their children or their grandchildren.

“And the Conservatives are aiming to take it away: Incredible! Many of them are core conservative voters. They’re telling me that they will never vote Tory again and that they’re happy to find an Independent they can back instead. One couple called it ‘an insult to our generation’.”

“It is deeply unfair, especially when the government is prioritising spending billions on projects that are nothing to do with improving lives of people living here, such as HS2, a third runway at Heathrow, building brand new roads, free schools and new grammar schools, to give just a few examples.

East Devon is well known as a beautiful place to retire to. The Guardian named it number five in the country in a 2012 article. The 2011 census showed that 28% of our local population is aged 65 and over, and that three quarters of people here are owner-occupiers. Both of those statistics are significantly higher than the national average.

So East Devon will be particularly hard hit by this misguided policy. Our local pensioners, who’ve paid into the system for decades, are being deserted by the government.

Meanwhile Hugo Swire, the Conservative candidate, is tweeting about Brexit and refusing to come to hustings.

“Theresa May talked about ‘Mainstream Britain’: that’s precisely what she’s attacking right here in East Devon!”

The Conservatives plans have been questioned by politicians and others across the spectrum.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes raised concerns. The National Pensioners Convention is worried, and the term ‘dementia tax‘ seems to have caught on.

Even the Bow Group, the oldest Conservative think tank in the country, has described the proposal as “the biggest stealth tax in history”.

Claire continued: “We need to pick up the Dilnot Commission’s proposal from 2011, for a cap on what an individual would have to pay on care in their lifetime. The Commission was appointed by the coalition government, and proposed a cap of £35,000.

“Implementing this would ensure security for our pensioners: thousands of people in East Devon who deserve better.”

“If I’m elected to parliament on June 8th (and that’s looking increasingly likely), this is precisely the kind of assault I will stand up against.

I will work with MPs in other parties, just as I’ve been working with councillors from other parties for the last six years. I will do my best to protect ordinary people here in this beautiful constituency from the ravages of the Conservatives.

Unlike other MPs who have to follow the whip and worry more about their party leaders than the people who put them there, my focus will always be the welfare of the people of East Devon.”

Source: press release

Tories “paying for Google ads to lead people away from negative ‘dementia tax’ stories”

“The Conservatives are buying up Google ads to stop people reading about the controversy around its “dementia tax”.

The party has come under huge pressure over its new care plan, which will see older people have to pay for the services they use. The controversial policy has been called a dementia tax, since it means people who need care as they get older will have to pay far more than they did before.

Now the party appears to be attempting to limit that controversy by stopping people reading about it. It is spending probably thousands of pounds to keep people from reading about the widespread opposition to the party – and encourage them to click on its own website instead.”

Ads are being placed at the top of Google searches for “dementia tax” to direct people onto a special page on the Tory website.

Underneath the ad shows an array of stories about the dementia tax, all of them negative. The three top stories at the time of publication was a piece in The Guardian reporting that Theresa May is “under pressure” over the plan, a Financial Times report on the fact that senior Tories were “kept in the dark” over the dementia tax and an article in The Independent on Liberal Democrat claims that nine out of 10 homes would be sold to fund care costs under the policy.

The Google ads are unusual in taking on the terms defined by Labour, which first referred to the policy as a dementia tax. The Tories have mostly referred to the policy as its “social care plans” – which is the way it is defined when people click through on the ads.

The ads presumably reflect growing concern that the dementia tax is losing the Tories votes. The page attempts to stem those concerns, arguing that the policy is required because the country is getting older and claims that the policy emerged because the Tories “have chosen to act, in the national interest”.

It has been blamed in part for the shrinking lead that the Tories have over Labour. That has been cut into single figures since the Conservative manifesto and the dementia tax were announced.

And the policy has even been criticised by Conservative candidates, who say that it is playing badly during campaigns. Senior Tories were not even told about the policy before it was announced, according to the Financial Times.”

Honiton hustings – Thursday 25 May 2017

Unlike East Devon hustings, which Hugo Swire refuses to attend, Neil Parish will be attending.

“The public will be able to grill the four candidates for the Tiverton and Honiton Parliamentary seat at a Question Time event.

The session, organised by Honiton Senior Voice, will be held at the town’s methodist hall on Thursday, May 25.

Conservative’s Neil Parish, Labour’s Caroline Kolek, Green Party’s Gill Westcott and Liberal Democrat Matthew Wilson are all vying for the coveted seat.

Senior Voice chair June Brown said: “This is probably the only opportunity Honiton people will have to hear direct from the four parties contesting locally and to question them in a single event. We are hoping for a good turnout.

“The event will again be impartially chaired by Roger Trapani, chair of Seaton Senior Voice, to whom we are very grateful.”

Doors open at the methodist hall at 1.30pm for 2pm start.

Refreshments are available and donations to cover the cost of the event are welcome.”

REAL Hustings in East Devon – minus Swire who refuses to attend

Hustings are booked in so far at:
Friday 26 May – Cranbrook (details to be confirmed)
Tuesday 30 May, 7.30pm – Exmouth – Holy Trinity Church

Swire says he will do his own hustings alone, though how you can “hust” on your own is a bit of a puzzle! We like to see ALL our candidates answering the same questions at the same time at hustings. Alas, this will not happen in East Devon. Claire Wright and other candidates would rather it did.

Neil Parish (Con) IS attending hustings in his Tiverton and Honiton constituency.

“Claim ‘too many decisions at EDDC made by officers’ “

Owl’s question: why is EDDC involved in running a theatre at all? Perhaps it’s because Leader Diviani has a soft spot for them as he worked in the entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s!

“A debate over pay-and-display parking charges at a Sidmouth venue spilled over into claims key parties were not consulted and that officers repeatedly go over councillors’ heads.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee raised concerns the proposed regime – aimed at raising up to £30,000 a year for the Manor Pavilion – could deter users and be ‘counter-productive’.

Members were told they could not ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to approve the new charges, but they could make recommendations on the implementation.

Graham Liverton, an honorary alderman of the council, said: “I do appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to get this on the agenda, but I fear it won’t make a jot of difference.”

He chairs the Manor Pavilion steering committee, but said he had received a letter from an officer saying it is ‘no longer required’.

The meeting heard that, while members can still meet, it will no longer be administered by an EDDC officer.

Mr Liverton said: “In other words, because we disagreed with the decision [to introduce charges], we get the sack. I think that’s a great shame. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been disgraceful.”

He said many key users had to learn of the proposals in the Herald, adding: “The communication from EDDC has been so abysmal – it’s beyond belief.”

Officers said Sidmouth’s ward members had been told about the proposals, but admitted the town council was not consulted.

Councillor Maddy Chapman raised concerns no vote was taken about the future of the steering committee, adding: “Too many decisions are being made in this council that aren’t going through the proper channels. 
“Any amount of money won’t be enough to put new chairs in that theatre. It’s not going to work.”

Cllr Cathy Gardner added: “This is another example of how the council seems to be acting in a heavy-handed way of ‘we know best’. There are ways to make this usable for people who actually use the Manor Pavilion.

“If it means people don’t use the car park, that’s counterproductive. I can’t see how much money it will raise – it could have a big negative impact.”

The income from the car park’s 21 spaces will be ring-fenced for investment in the theatre and arts centre.

Theatre manager Graham Whitlock said its 277 chairs ‘will not last’ another five years and a previous quote said they would cost £150 apiece to recondition.

EDDC also hopes to bring in an online ticketing system he said will cost £10,000 a year.

“By charging for the car park we can continue to develop for the future,” added Mr Whitlock.

Scrutiny committee members backed EDDC’s plan to extend the maximum parking time from three to four hours, and called for the charges to end at 6pm, not 8pm as proposed.

They also said consulting users, ward councillors and Sidmouth Town Council should be an important part of the process.