Over 25,000 pensioners living in North Dorset will receive at least an extra £772 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the 'triple lock' for state pensions.
North Dorset has one of the highest number of people receiving state pensions in the country, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats when they were in government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%.
However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped.
The Liberal Democrats have committed today to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year.
This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.
Liberal Democrat candidate for North Dorset, Tom Panton, said: "Protecting the triple lock will mean an extra £772 a year by 2021 for 25,000 people receiving the state pension in North Dorset.
The Liberal Democrats are making a clear commitment to older people this area, unlike the Conservatives who have repeatedly refused to give this guarantee.
The triple lock has succeeded in lifting thousands of pensioners out of poverty, but many are still struggling to get by. An important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly.
This commitment will ensure older people are able to meet their basic needs and that their living standards will be protected, especially with prices set to rise in the coming years."
We are pleased to announce that Tom Panton has been selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for North Dorset.
The only credible alternative to the Conservatives in this constituency, Tom and the Liberal Democrats will fight a campaign on the issues that people here care about: cuts to public services; schools funding; retaining local health services; and affordable housing for all.
Living in Stour Row in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, Tom is proud to call this beautiful part of the world his home. He is passionate about education, support for rural communities and getting young people involved in politics – especially those disaffected by the Brexit vote.
This election provides voters in North Dorset with an opportunity to change the direction of the country. Only a strong Liberal Democrat presence in Parliament will provide the decent opposition to the Conservatives. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is the only way to protect the local economy by staying in the Single Market and avoid going over the cliff-edge with the Tories’ reckless Hard Brexit. Tom will take this message to all corners of the constituency in this campaign, and will look to engage young people across North Dorset.
Tom has been a researcher in the House of Commons, worked in hospitality and studied at the universities of Southampton and Bergen in Norway. When he is not walking his two dogs in Duncliffe Woods, he enjoys reading, watching his football team and playing cricket.
The Liberal Democrats can put up a challenge here. North Dorset has had a Conservative MP since 1950. It is time for a change and a credible local alternative.
FURTHER devastating cuts are set to hit Dorset’s bus services as the county council announced savings of £1.85million, slashing the number of services it supports from 35 to just seven.
These bus routes are at risk of being completely withdrawn, as Dorset County Council pulls its subsidies on 28 services.
The county has already suffered from many rural bus services being cut and it is feared that the withdrawal of these services will hit the vulnerable the hardest.
Liberal Democrats in Dorset believe the cuts will have a devastating effect on everyone who doesn’t have access to a car, risking increasing isolation for those on low incomes, poor mobility and the elderly. It will most affect those who live anywhere that isn’t close to a town centre, who will struggle to do their shopping or get to the doctors or the hospital. Some may be able to rely on family or friends some of the time, but many others will not.
Lib Dems have launched a petition at www.west-dorset-libdems.org.uk and are working with effected parish councils and bus users to challenge the process.
Tory Cllr Peter Finney, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for environment, highways and infrastructure, said: “As agreed by the county council last year, we need to save a further £1.85million from our public and schools transport budget in 2017/18 on top of the £500,000 saved from our subsidised bus routes in 2016/17.
Please take a few moments to sign and share the petition below to keep Britain in the Single Market.
As Tim Farron says "The single market has allowed Britain to prosper and become one of the strongest economies in the world, and given people the ability to travel, study and do business across Europe.
Theresa May believes that no deal is better than a bad deal – contrary to the widely felt views of the business community not to mention all the young people whose future she has just jeopardised.
A great piece in the Guardian recently highlighting the resurgence of the lib Dems in our area.
"Lib Dem strategists are pinning their hopes for rebuilding after the dire results in 2015 on a resurgence in the south-west, their former heartland, where the party lost all 10 of its seats in the last election. Since then, the party has been quietly notching up its best council byelection results in 20 years, with a net gain of 28 seats compared with net losses for Labour of four seats, Ukip of three and the Conservatives of 33 seats."
There is a real chance that your GP surgery may close by 2021.
Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are considering a strategy document that is proposing a drastic reduction in the number of what they call “sites delivering Primary Care” or what we call GP’s Surgeries.
The North Dorset locality currently has nine GP practices across fourteen locations, two Community Hospitals with beds and one Community Hospital with no beds.
The proposal is to reduce this to just three main "community hubs"serving a registered population of approximately 86,882.
North Dorset has a higher than average number of residents who are aged over 65 and 3.8% of the population is over 85 with many of these people requiring regular visits to local surgeries.
Cuts to rural bus services have already made travelling around North Dorset more difficult for those unable to drive and these proposals will create even greater concerns for those most in need in Dorset.
Full details of the proposals can be found here.
Dorset Lib Dems are united in our condemnation of a government proposal which would force parish and town councils to hold a referendum if they want to put up their precepts by more than two per cent. We feel that this proposal is both completely unfair and also profoundly undemocratic.
It is unfair because, increasingly, parish and town councils are being forced to provide services which formerly were provided by either district councils or the county council: a situation caused by the way in which the Conservative government is consistently starving district and county councils of central funding. Either the parish and town councils have to assume responsibility for providing these services, or they are lost forever. To provide them , they sometimes have to put up their precepts: it is as simple and stark as that. Examples in Dorset are Bridport Town Council's assumption of responsibility for their youth centre; for grass-cutting; minor road repairs and public toilets. In Blandford Forum, the town council has taken over numerous amenity areas, including trees; public conveniences ; the outdoor market; the funding of the leisure centre and responsibility for the Tourist Information building. Similar situations exist in parish and town councils right across Dorset.
The government 's proposal is also profoundly undemocratic, because it interferes in the relationship between the town and parish councils, and the voters to whom they are ultimately accountable at the ballot box. Liberal Democrats strongly believe that the level of precept should be decided locally, and not by central government based in Westminster.
We will be campaigning against this pernicious measure, and we will begin by asking Dorset's Conservative councillors and MPs to have the courage to stand up for local services and local democracy, against this gross interference from their own government.
Hugo Mieville - Liberal Democrat PPC, North Dorset
Andy Canning - Liberal Democrat PPC, West Dorset
Annette Brooke - Chair, Mid-Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrats
Janet Dover - Leader, Dorset County Council Liberal Democrat Group
Liberal Democrats in neighbouring Mid Dorset and North Poole are celebrating a stunning by-election success, winning the seat from the Conservatives with nearly 70% of the vote.
Congratulations to Vikki Slade and the team over in Broadstone and to our own supporters from North Dorset who helped during the campaign.
The full result was as follows:
LIB DEM - 2,184
CON - 733
UKIP - 132
GREEN - 57
LABOUR - 45