Author Archives: Annette Brooke MP

Annette Brooke MP writes…Choice at the end of life is vital – free social care can make that happen

Annette BrookeThere are no dress rehearsals when it comes to where we are and who we are with when we die – so it’s crucial that people have as much choice and control over the situation as possible.  This is important not only to the person who is at the end of their life, but also those close to them. A person’s last days will stay with family and friends forever, so it is important that they should be left with a lasting, positive memory of their loved one receiving good quality care in a place of their choice.

What is not acceptable is for someone to end their days against their wishes in an expensive hospital bed, purely because they did not have the right support to die at home. Sadly, we know far too many people currently do not die in a place of their choosing. Macmillan Cancer Support found that 36,000 people with cancer who wanted to die at home died in hospital in England in 2012. In fact, 73 per cent of people living with cancer would prefer to die at home, but figures show only 30 per cent are currently able to do so. We cannot continue to have final experiences and enduring memories shaped by the absence of choice for people at the end of life.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes… This Mothering Sunday let’s commit to making preventable newborn deaths a thing of the past

New BornLike many mothers and grandmothers in my constituency and around the UK, I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day on Sunday. Not just because it’s welcome time spent with the family, but also because it reminds me of the years of joy I’ve had watching my children and now my grand-daughter grow up.

It is however, a sad time for many in this country who have suffered bereavements. And we also think of the millions of mothers around the world who have not had the chance to watch their children grow …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Reform of the Planning System

As Co-Chair of the DCLG Parliamentary Policy Committee I am pleased that Motion F5 ‘Reform of Planning’ will be before Conference on Saturday 8th March. The members of our committee are very clear that a pledge for 300,000 homes per year to be built (Federal Conference motion September 2012) requires planning permission for 300,000 homes per year!

Do Liberal Democrats have the political will to address our housing crisis?  Do we only have that will as long as the homes are not in our own backyards?  We present our motion for debate with the belief that the answer to the first question …

Posted in Conference | Tagged | 17 Comments

Planning Consultation

Houses being builtPlanning policy is a crucial issue for Liberal Democrats. We believe in supporting and strengthening local communities – and the development of the built environment locally, and residential, business and other opportunities on offer, is critical to that. We believe that the revised National Planning Policy Framework has defined the broad parameters of the planning process, but we have further aspirations for our planning system to deliver strategic vision both nationally and locally.

The Liberal Democrats Communities & Local Government Parliamentary Committee – chaired by myself and Lord (Graham) …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes…What I hope to achieve in my new role

I was very pleased this week to become Chair of the Parliamentary Liberal Democrat Party. I was elected unopposed, and took my place as Chair at the Parliamentary Party meeting, in what many would consider a slight baptism of fire, having only had my new role confirmed hours before!

I am delighted to be embarking on this new role. The job is an extremely important one and I am really excited to be taking it on. As I am retiring at the end of this Parliamentary term, I feel that while many of my colleagues will need to be focusing …

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Welcoming the report of the Child Poverty Action Group

For many years I was the child poverty champion for the Liberal Democrats. I urged leading members of our parliamentary party to sign up to the targets, which aimed to halve child poverty by 2010 and eliminate it by 2020. I was delighted when those targets were enshrined in law, with cross party support in 2010.

Even though the UK will have missed its half way target, it is expected that at least 900,000 children will have been lifted out of poverty and a similar number prevented from falling into poverty between 1998 and 2010 which is a significant achievement.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes: Progresss at last for park home owners?

Many of you will know that I have been campaigning on park home issues for many years. Working with Sonia McColl, a constituent and founder of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign, I have been trying to raise awareness and press the Government to take action over the issue of unscrupulous park owners.

The campaign to end injustices for park home owners and close loopholes in the 1983 Mobile Homes Act has been long running. These loopholes allow some park owners to interfere with the selling of homes and abuse their position by using interviews to put off and intimidate prospective …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes… A much improved national planning policy Framework

Back in October 2011, I submitted a response to the National Planning Policy Framework consultation on behalf of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Policy Committee on DCLG issues which I co-chair with Lord Graham Tope. The response was robust, so much so that The Telegraph claimed it as a huge Lib Dem rebellion. But, I believe that the committee was right to submit its concerns in an honest and straightforward way. Our role within the coalition must be to offer constructive criticism when we feel it is necessary! And I am very glad that we did. The document which was published …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

The Local Government Slot: Fighting for a Better Deal for Park Home Owners

We have recently seen a lot of activity in Parliament on the issue of park homes and the problems park home owners are facing across the country.

To some extent 2011 saw familiar frustrations and delays that have, unfortunately, often characterised attempts to solve park homes problems in the past.

However 2011 also saw headway being made. The tireless efforts of campaigners and activists have built real momentum and an appetite for change amongst my colleagues in Parliament. I firmly believe this is filtering through and that the Government will be drawn to action soon.

Events such as the Park Homes Justice Campaign’s demonstration in October have been hugely successful in raising awareness. As part of this campaign Downing Street was presented with new evidence showing that as many as 23,473 homes from across the UK could be living under the regime of an unscrupulous park owner. The fantastic work of this campaign, and of its organiser Sonia McColl, has had a real impact over these last months. Also of real importance has been the large number of letters written to MPs. I can only encourage this – the more letters that are written, the more MPs will push for change and the more chance we have of succeeding.

Posted in Local government | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Council Tax – why not a premium for second homes?

In addition to the Government’s proposals to allow councils to charge full council tax on second homes, other Liberal Democrat MPs and I have tabled an amendment to the Local Government Finance Bill to give councils the discretion to introduce a Second Home Premium. Second home owners often ask why they should be ‘punished’ in this way just because they choose to spend their money on a second home or because they need a second home for work purposes. They may add, ‘we spend money in the area and we do not have the same call upon services as …

Posted in News and Parliament | Tagged , and | 24 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes… Decent start to Decent Homes Programme

Hot on the heels of last week’s eagerly awaited Housing Strategy comes some more good news on housing. Most of the debate on housing is rightly focussed on the need to build more houses, or get the ones we have already brought back into use. We need more homes to ensure that we can keep up with the numbers of new households forming every year, and ensure that everyone can have a roof over their heads. But too often, the debate forgets to focus on the quality of houses with the same intensity. This is something that, as Liberal Democrats, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments
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  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 8:08am
    "Reduce the number of people in poverty by 25%.. " Maybe the Lib Dem constitution should also read "At least 25% fewer people shall be...
  • User AvatarChris Perry 5th Jul - 7:57am
    Care Homes. There appears to have been a lack of understanding of the structure of health and social care from the outset as evidenced by...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 5th Jul - 4:04am
    The objectives discussed are not objectives for the party. They might be objectives for the country. We urgently need objectives for the party. What format...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jul - 2:06am
    Tony Blair has recently offered his thoughts on the future of progressive politics in the UK https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/12/tony-blair-s-speech-future-labour-and-progressive-politics-full-text “To win power, we need self-discipline not self-indulgence;...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 12:07am
    @ George, ".....you don’t remember any of my counter-arguments." You could be right. At least I thought so because I genuinely can't! But, you've written...
  • User AvatarPeter Kenny 4th Jul - 11:39pm
    The Windrush scandal followed directly from the 2014 Immigration Act, supported by almost all MPs - only 7 voted against, none of them Lib Dem’s....