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Building confidence and coping with challenges, run by Ron De Brito 

This was our second successful forum. On this occasion we focused on preparation for getting out into our community in support of the Labour Party, ensuring that we listen to residents and deal with their concerns in our campaigning work. 

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Successful Womens' Forum training event

Building confidence and coping with challenges, run by Ron De Brito  This was our second successful forum. On this occasion we focused on preparation for getting out into our community...

Woody Guthrie - campaign fundraiser

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Herts Valley Clinical Commission Group (HVCCG) is proposing to make £40m worth of spending cuts.
 
The cuts are wide ranging and serious and a list of the proposals are included at the bottom of this blog.  This is the latest in a series of debacles brought about but the chronic underfunding of the NHS and a failure by the government to address social care issues.
 
There is increasing concern about the competence of our elected local officials and clinical commissioning group to deal with issues that matter to real people. 
 
Why, for example, has HVCCG opted to invest in Watford Hospital rather than in a new cost effective hospital, built on a greenfield site to the East of Hemel, while Dacorum and St Albans Councils are quietly complicit in building thousands of new homes and expanding the industrial estate in East Hemel between Woodhall Farm and Leverstock Green  – the very area suggested for a new hospital?
 
Thanks to Dacorum Action Hospital Group (DAHG) residents will  have the opportunity to what the proposed cuts and can make  comments by attending one of the meetings and/or completing the survey online at www.healthierfuture.org.uk/nhsletstalk
 
The Hemel public meeting will take place on Wednesday, 9th August, 7-9pm, South Hill Centre, Cemetry Hill, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1JF.
 
If any Labour members intend to go please let us know by email. For more information or to let HVCCG know you are attending ring 01442 898884 or email enquiries.hvccg@nhs.net
 
Proposed health cuts
  • stopping providing IVF or specialist fertility treatment on the NHS
  • stopping female sterilisation and vasectomies,
  • stopping providing on prescription a list of over the counter medicines such as antihistamines, indigestion treatments (omeprazole, Ranitidine etc) medicines for travel, moisturising creams, gels and oitments,threadworm tablets, eye drops and eye oitments available over the counter for dry eyes and conjunctivitis eg chloramphenicol and acne treatments.  Lots more on the survey.
  • not operating on obese people for non-urgent surgery until they have lost weight.  Patients with a BMI over 30 will not be referred for routine surgery until they reduce their weight by 10% over 9 months or reduce their BMI to less than 30 (whichever is the greater weight loss)
  • not operating on smokers for non-urgent surgery until they have stopped smoking for 8 weeks
  • no longer providing gluten-free food on prescription for people with Coeliac disease.

Proposed Hertfordshire Health Cuts

Herts Valley Clinical Commission Group (HVCCG) is proposing to make £40m worth of spending cuts.   The cuts are wide ranging and serious and a list of the proposals are...

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Our MP, Mike Penning, has felt the need go online to explain the reasons why he voted against lifting the 1% pay cap for public sector workers, which he did in the House of Commons on Wednesday night. Here are Tory MPs cheering when the result of the vote was announced.

The reason, he said, was that the vote was a "political stunt intended to bring down the government" which would mean “the government would fall and we would be forced into a general election”.

No, Mr Penning this was a political stunt designed to lift the public sector pay cap for workers whose wages have been outstripped by inflation and who, in some cases, are being forced to use food banks to feed their children.

This is a stunt designed to help firefighters and police who put their lives on the line at London Bridge, Manchester Arena and Grenfell be able to afford the rent in places like London where their lives are at risk every day.

This is a stunt designed to shake the magic money tree which Theresa May is using to fund a £1.5bn deal with the Ulster Unionists to keep her in power after losing her Parliamentary majority and her mandate to govern in our name.

Let’s be clear. Losing an amendment in the House of Commons would not bring down the Government. If the Government falls it will be because of the choices it is making on things like pay freezes and the £2m worth of cuts coming to Hemel schools which are deeply unpopular.

Mr Penning never tires of telling us that he used to be a firefighter. I wonder if he could look his former watch in the eye and explain to them that they don’t deserve a pay rise because it’s just a political stunt?

This from an MP who voted through 11% pay rise for MPs last year and once claimed for a dog bowl on Parliamentary expenses.

No Mr Penning – removing the public sector pay cap is not a political stunt

Our MP, Mike Penning, has felt the need go online to explain the reasons why he voted against lifting the 1% pay cap for public sector workers, which he did...

Emotions are running high over plans by St Albans Council to build 2,500 new homes and extend the industrial estate on the edge of Hemel Hempstead. 

Residents are voicing concern that Dacorum public services and infrastructure will be put under too much strain because the development is closer to Hemel than it is to St Albans.

They are urging locals to attend exhibitions at Redbourn Village Hall (Fri 23 June, 4-8pm) and Leverstock Green Village Hall (Saturday 24 June, 10am-2pm) and put their questions to the developers (St Albans District Council and Crown Estate). 

The plan will mean 2,500 new houses built in two separate estates on land between Woodhall Farm and Leverstock Green with the industrial estate extended between Buncefield and the M1. 

By any standards this is a major development which will have a mix of accommodation along with three schools, two new parks, shops, and a health centre. One campaigner said "St Albans Council's strategic plan is to build at least 6,104 new homes over the next 14 years. By contrast Dacorum's is planning for 10,000 new homes by 2030 with many of them earmarked for Maylands. Combine them together over an invisible district border and you can see where the problems begin for local services". 

Labour’s spokesperson for Hemel Hempstead, Mandi Tattershall, who is a housing professional, said “It’s important to establish the facts and we will be supporting local residents to get to the bottom of the plans”. 

Mandi says that during the recent General Election housing came up time and again. “People are concerned on three fronts” she said. “First that there’s not enough housing for young people and families, secondly that when houses are built they’re unaffordable, and thirdly that the Council passes badly-planned applications that our town's infrastructure can’t support and which damage the green belt in places like Pouchen End”. 

Residents say that while there are extensive plans, nothing is yet set in stone and want to put a number of questions to the developers including: 

  • Is this plan supported by Dacorum Borough Council and Herts County Council? What services will DBC have to provide and will SADC repay the cost of them? 
  • Is the loss of so much Green Belt really for 'exceptional circumstances' (as per government policy)?
  • Will the housing needs of Hemel, as well as St Albans, be met, including the level of affordable and social housing? 
  • No details yet on building quality or materials, nor on what the proposed density of development means in real terms.
  • Will the timing of new transport provisions fully take account of already overcrowded roads? What new links will be in place before construction starts? Additional access to the M1 for HGVs etc from the new industrial area needs to be provided before the new traffic hits the roads (currently delayed to Phase 2 and to be part-funded by the eventual occupying businesses).
  • Will public transport links between the different new areas and Hemel be put in place promptly and be adequately funded as HCC's record in this area is poor (subsidies by the developers need to be in place as the developments are occupied)?
  • Air quality and pollution need to be addressed in more detail not only around housing but especially along the busy main roads, the M1 and around the new schools. Can current pollution monitoring data along the M1 (for the past 6 months) be made available? Projected figures for when the developments are complete are being worked on as well and should be made available to the public.
  • Are other amenities eg shops, medical facilities, adequate and in the correct places?
  • Is it wise to build more so close to Buncefield and what further protection will be provided for the properties and the motorway?
  • Why does this development not include a new hospital?

While the details are currently unclear, residents have been made aware that the development will comprise: up to 40% 'affordable' dwellings; a range of sizes (57% 3-beds, less than 30% 1- and 2- bed dwellings, a high proportion being flats, and the rest (approx 15%) 4- and 5-bed houses.  Additionally over the two areas there will be 3 schools, shops, health centre, 2 park/sports facilities, plus a new industrial area which in part runs between the M1 and Buncefield.

 

 

 

Questions over St Albans housing plans for Hemel

Emotions are running high over plans by St Albans Council to build 2,500 new homes and extend the industrial estate on the edge of Hemel Hempstead.  Residents are voicing concern...

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