Mental Health Services underfunded in Medway


Rise in deaths and suicides at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS trust show mental health services are being under funded

There has been a rise in serious incidents at Kent and Medway NHS Trust including 162 unexpected deaths and suicides, Liberal Democrats can reveal.

The figures from NHS England were unearthed by the Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb, and cover serious incidents reported between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.

Paul Chaplin, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Medway said: “331 serious incidents is pitiful and shows Kent and Medway NHS Trust is still not taking mental health provision seriously. These incidents show the problems are getting worse.”

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb said:

Norman Lamb said: “The Clinical Commissioning groups should be equally focused on mental health as well as physical health.

“At the moment whenever they feel under pressure to cut budgets, it’s the unprotected mental health services that get sliced.

“Year after year the problem occurs, and year after year the problem gets worse.

“This cannot continue any longer. People are literally dying as a result of the horrific under funding. People are losing their lives as a consequence of the institutional discrimination of mental health.

“The way that funding gets allocated to mental health always means that it loses out.”


Paul Chaplin calls for tougher laws to tackle criminal driving

Paul Chaplin, Medway Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Spokesperson, calls for tougher laws to tackle criminal driving

Tougher penalties for dangerous drivers aimed at reducing deaths on Gillingham & Rainham’s roads are being championed in parliament.

Paul has joined forces with long term safer roads campaigner Greg Mulholland MP for Leeds North West to introduce a bill to strengthen penalties for drivers who injure, or kill, people.

Last year 389 people were killed because of dangerous driving. Campaigners argue that sentences are too light and do not reflect the severity of offences.

On Tuesday Greg Mulholland proposed a range of measures including;

  • increase the length of sentences,
  • redefine criminal driving,
  • amend bail conditions,
  • enhance investigation standards by both the police and in courts,
  • improve the treatment of victims and their families.

 Paul Chaplin said:

“Victims of criminal driving and their families must always have confidence that our legal system will deliver justice, but time and again they feel let down. I support the bill and hope we can finally begin to deliver the proper justice that campaigners have long called for.”

Greg Mulholland MP said:

“As a long term campaigner for safer roads I proposed the Criminal Driving Bill to support families whose lives have been affected by a reckless driver and who feel let down by our legal system. We will continue the campaign for tougher laws until proper justice is delivered.”

 Alice Bailey, Campaigns and Communications Officer at road safety charity Brake, also added:

“Brake is very pleased to see Paul Chaplin helping to lead the Criminal Driving Bill and fight for victims of criminal driving and their families. We have long believed that our legal system gives them a raw deal and that’s why it is vital Parliament brings forward some much needed changes.”


Medway Lib Dems call for more support for small businesses

Fining big suppliers who fail to pay up on time and improving broadband access are at the heart of a plan to help small businesses in [area].

Medway Liberal Democrats have used Small Business Saturday (December 5) to set out the five point plan.

They said more needs to be done to support the 2760 small and micro business owners in Gillingham & Rainham, including ensuring they have access to a well-educated, highly-skilled workforce, and access to finance to help them grow.

The plan aims to support those ‘small for good’ businesses that are the backbone of local communities, as well as the ‘small for now’ businesses, with big ambitions to grow rapidly.

The five point plan includes:

  1. Give the new Small Business Commissioner real teeth to tackle late payments by big businesses, including fining big suppliers who regularly fail to pay on time.
  2. Boost access to finance by requiring diversity within the financial sector, including encouraging new online lenders and supporting a regional banking network.
  3. Ensuring businesses get the skills they need, by investing rather than cutting Further Education, supporting apprenticeships and creating new training programmes.
  4. Ensure businesses have access to high quality broadband by investing now in a real high speed universal services to every part of the country.
  5. Support small businesses with big ambitions to scale up, by encouraging a new generation of venture capitalists to invest in good ideas and promote business growth through equity financing rather than debt.

Paul Chaplin, Parliamentary Spokesperson, said:

“Small and micro businesses make up 96.8% of small businesses in Gillingham & Rainham  They are the backbone of our community to employ thousands of people and helping our local economy to grow.

“Small Business Saturday is a chance to say ‘thank you’ for all the work small businesses owners do for our area, but the fact is that we need to do more to support them in return.

“All too often small businesses owners end up paying themselves below the minimum wage in order to keep staff on.  They work incredibly hard and sacrifice an awful lot, the least the Government can do is help them to succeed.

“The Liberal Democrats five  point plan for small businesses is about ensuring we support small business both now and in the future.  It is vital for [constituency] and the whole of the UK economy.”

Back our bobbies- Paul Chaplin, Parliamentary Spokesperson, Medway Liberal Democrats

Kent faces a loss of £ 48.1 million over the next four years. It comes as part of potential Conservative cuts to police budgets as part of Wednesday’s Autumn Statement.

These cuts are likely to hit Neighbourhood Policing teams hardest and put 352 PCSOs at risk in Kent. The Liberal Democrats are clear that Neighbourhood Policing teams are vital to community safety and cohesion and are campaigning against the looming cuts.

Speaking ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, Lord Paddick – the Liberal Democrats Home Affairs lead in the Lords and former Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner said:

“Neighbourhood policing has been a great success in providing reassurance to communities.

“By building trust and confidence between the police and the people they serve, neighbourhood policing teams are the front line in preventing radicalisation and trusted routes through which community intelligence can be passed, information on issues from drug dealing to terrorism.

“The government must ensure police forces are given the resources they need to maintain this vital part of policing.

Paul Chaplin, party spokesperson added:

“I know how hard our local policemen and women work to keep us all safe, day in and day out. It is shocking to see that the Conservative Government are failing to do right by them.

“I am calling on the Government to rethink these damaging cuts and back our bobbies.”



Tories plan council house sell-off despite 18773 families on waiting list in Medway

Hundreds of properties in Medway could be sold off under government plans to reduce the number of council homes.  

Liberal Democrats have criticised the move as “irresponsible” and said it would ramp up demand for housing and increase rents.

It comes despite figures from homeless charity Shelter which show there are 18773 families on the housing waiting list in Medway

The Housing and Planning Bill – debated in the House of Commons on Monday – includes plans to force councils to sell low rent homes in high value areas, as the Conservative Party rolls out its Right to Buy scheme.

Paul Chaplin, Medway Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson said: “The Tory plans are irresponsible and will reduce the number of low rent, social homes in the places they are needed most.

“Once they are sold off to the private market, they are lost as affordable homes forever. It means more families on low to middle incomes will struggle to get a decent home.

“The Liberal Democrats are committed to defending social housing. As a party we are making the case that the government should not be forcing the hand of local councils to sell off much needed housing which will hurt Medway


Paul Chaplin Backs Lib Dem Plans For Fair Deficit Cut

Liberal Democrats in Gillingham have welcomed plans announced by Party Leader Nick Clegg to cut the deficit without putting an unfair burden on the poorest.

 Whilst the Conservatives have announced that they want to balance the nation’s books entirely by cuts to benefits of the working age poor, Liberal Democrats say they will increase taxes on the wealthiest and cut tax avoidance.

 Paul Chaplin, Parliamentary Candidate for Gillingham & Rainham, said, “We have all had to make sacrifices over the past few years to clear up the financial mess left by Labour. Since the Coalition was formed, we have had to cut spending on benefits and some services though we have protected schools and the NHS.”

 “But Lib Dems in Government have also increased taxes on the wealthiest whilst cutting income tax for people on low and middle incomes. This would not have happened if the Conservatives had won a majority at the last General Election and formed a single party Government.

 “Now the Conservatives have announced if they win the election, they will complete the job of balancing the books entirely on the backs of the working age poor. They have revealed their true approach to austerity and public services”

.“Meanwhile Labour appear to have learnt nothing over the past five years. They opposed every cut that needed to be made. If they form a single party Government after the election, they will put back the date when the books are balanced, leaving Britain in more unnecessary debt.

 “Liberal Democrats have announced that we will take a fairer, balanced approach to wiping out the deficit. There will need to be further cuts, including £4 billion on benefits, but we will be raising £6 billion by tackling tax avoidance and £8 billion in increased taxes on the wealthiest and big business. By 2017/18, the books should be balanced and under the Liberal Democrats we will be able to invest

Paul Chaplin Backs Plans for Zero Carbon Britain

 Paul Chaplin, Liberal Democrat candidate for Gillingham & Rainham, has backed the Party’s drive to double the amount of clean, renewable electricity produced in Britain by 2020 and make Britain zero carbon by 2050.

 The aim is to stop adding to climate change. In Government the Liberal Democrats have already more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables such as wind and solar.

 “We have overseen the single biggest reform of the UK’s energy infrastructure since privatisation, created a lowcarbon, pro-renewable, and energy secure nation less reliant on unstable regimes for energy needs,“ said Paul

 “Liberal Democrats are prioritising the environment in the coming General election by putting green issues at the front of our election manifesto.”

“If in Government after the General Election, we will take the fight against climate change further by introducing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill.”

 Measures in the Bill will include:

Families in Gillingham & Rainham to Gain from Lib Dem Child Care Plans

Plans announced by Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg to expand free child care have been welcomed by Paul Chaplin, Parliamentary Candidate for Gillingham & Rainham

If Nick Clegg’s Party continues in Government after the General Election, they will provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to all children of working parents aged between 9 months and two years, saving a typical family £2,670 a year. They will also give all two-year olds 15 hours free childcare per week, saving a family £2,450 a year.

“Liberal Democrats recognise that pressure on working parents to budget for their childcare costs doesn’t just start when their child is two years old,” said Paul. “That’s why we plan to introduce measures that will save families money.

“Over the last five years, we’ve made it one of our biggest priorities in this Government to ensure that every child –whatever their background or circumstances – gets an equal shot at the successful future they deserve.

“We want to build on that progress. So, in the next Parliament, the Liberal Democrats will start by providing 15 hours a week of free early years education to every family with a two year old.

“The Liberal Democrats will make 15 hours of free early years education available to all working parents from the end of their paid parental leave at 9 months right through until their child is 2, and the existing provision begins.

“We are the only party with the clear commitment and plan, backed with the funding needed, to make it happen. We want a stronger economy and fairer society for Britain, where every child – whatever their circumstances or background – gets the best possible start in life.

“This will be a great help to young families in Gillingham & Rainham, saving them money when household budgetsare tight, and helping people to get back into work.”

Key Children’s Policy Successes from LibDems in Government

The following are key Liberal Democrat achievements in Government on children’s policy, in addition to those outlined above. Use them in conversations with young parents.

Pupil premium and free school meals working in Gillingham

Gillingham’s parliamentary candidate, Paul Chaplin, joins local Councillor, Diana Smith, in checking out the large poster outside a local school. Paul would like to see Liberal Democrats returned to Government to push for more help for families – ”already we have introduced the pupil premium by which schools that educate pupils from a low income background will, this coming year, receive £1320 additional cash for each child, and of course a free hot meal every day for all infant children.” Said Paul

A local resident who has 3 children had the following to say, “Free school meals has made a sizeable impact in our weekly food budget. Not only are we saving money but my daughter is benefiting from a varied diet. In these times of economic hardships this is a real boon to working families like mine””.

We would urge parents who would be eligible for free school meals in any case to let their school know this. Without this information the school will not receive the pupil premium for that child and our hard working schools need every penny to help Gillingham’s children receive the first class education they deserve


Cllr Diana Smith and Paul Chaplin outside a local school