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update from your LibDem Councillors - Friday 8 January 2020

January 8, 2021 7:12 PM

Dear friends, welcome to our first update of 2021. We hope you and your loved ones are in good health and have managed to have some rest over the holiday period. It looks like 2021 is starting off no better than 2020 but let's keep trying to make things better. In an attempt to do so, here are our key bits of information since our last update:

COVID - local and national:

  • We all expected Lockdown 3, and the statistics show why it is needed. It's based on Lockdown 1, but more shops are open as are nursery facilities for little ones. It is depressing that singles tennis and golf are banned again and this seems (from a source at the House of Lords) that the medical experts fear that much of the spreading is due to small-scale transmission, rather than any "super-spreading" events. So regrettably we are all going to have to hunker-down.
  • As before, please be wary of relying on media summaries of what you can and can't do. Government website is here.
  • Information about council (Borough and County) services is available on their websites here and here as before. The usual Epsom weekday markets are mostly continuing, but specialist monthly markets have been cancelled at the moment.
  • We are seeing huge inequalities in education arising from the pandemic, even across our small Borough, with massive pressure on heads and all teaching staff trying to cope with staff shortages and regularly changing guidance about which children should be allowed in.
  • Finally, you may find the information from our local NHS group helpful, which is here. Covid-19 vaccinations en masse start at the Racecourse on 11th January provided they get supplies of the vaccine. Nonsuch Mansion is also being used.

Other local news:

  • The full scale of costs associated with the pandemic will be better known at the council's Budget Meeting in February.
  • We don't know if County Council elections are going ahead in May (Tories say they are) or could be postponed until July (if they do a U-turn). Whatever the case, registering for a postal vote is a good idea and it's easy. Download the form here which can be scanned and emailed in, or dropped off at the Town Hall (details on the form).
  • We were somewhat astonished at the recent Tory leaflet claiming that the Residents' Association was responsible for all the queues (pre the November booking scheme) at the Blenheim Road Recycling Centre when it is the Tory controlled County Council which runs all the centres.
  • Our Motion to Council to enable Parking Wardens to ticket idling vehicles outside schools should be heard on 26th January (after it was forgotten in October!), but it could take time to implement (not an issue at present given the COVID situation). The Wardens can only operate in this way in an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and there's only one of those in the borough at the moment (Ewell Village). We want cars waiting outside schools to be ticketed.
  • The lockdown does encourage/force us to shop on-line. However just a small plea to try and "shop-local" whenever you can do so in a safe way. A particular "shout-out" that one of our readers has asked us to mention is for InkPlus in Ashtead (OK, not quite in our Borough but near enough) with details here.

Wider issues:

  • We have seen in the USA in the last few days what happens when lies go unchallenged and polarisation is encouraged. Let's make sure we don't go the same way and can discuss our different views calmly and rationally.
  • The consequences for businesses (and people) from leaving the Single Market are starting to be felt with stories in the FT(sorry, paywall so can't share) and elsewhere of businesses giving up trying to export to the EU because of the significantly higher costs involved with all the red-tape our government has put in place.
  • The agreement with the EU also does nothing for Services (70% of our GDP, and for which we had a trade surplus). For our Borough with all the workers in financial services this is extremely worrying.

Julie and David

Stay safe please - and be a good example to the community!

Friday 8 January 2021

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