LGA Lib Dems: Council Group of the Year Awards – Winners Announced

The hard work of Liberal Democrat council groups has been recognised at an awards ceremony at their spring party conference in York. Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at the LGA, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, presented the awards to the winners at a packed reception.

Cllr Vernon Jackson said: “We have over two and a half thousand Liberal Democrat councillors and they are the trusted face of the party in local communities up and down the country. From installing LED streetlights in Bath to supporting community groups in Kirklees, I am incredibly proud of our Lib Dem councillors and the work they do for their residents. We want to ensure that their achievements are appreciated and valued.”

The Liberal Democrat Group on Stockport Council were the overall winners, making sure the council used its borrowing power to invest in schools and town centre development, renew all pavements and roads in the borough – and deliver a plan to save £30 million in the council’s budget. A full list is below:

Kirklees Liberal Democrat Group – Community Champions Award
Bath and North East Somerset – Green Liberal Democrat Council Group of the Year
Southwark Liberal Democrat Group – Residents’ Champion Award
Hinckley and Bosworth Liberal Democrat Group – Excellence in Town Centre Achievement Award
Peterborough Liberal Democrat Group – Best use of Social Media Award
Cambridge Liberal Democrat Group – Putting Liberal Values into Practice

The Details

Stockport – Liberal Democrat Council Group of the Year

The Lib Dem group running this council – currently via a minority administration – delivered a plan for £30 million of savings and managed to divide the opposition on its response. They have used their borrowing powers to invest in schools – both new and expanding ones – and town centre redevelopment in their most deprived areas. They have £100 million plan to renew all the roads and footpaths in their borough over 8 years.
Bath and North East Somerset – Green Liberal Democrat Council Group of the Year

This Lib Dem council is working hard on environmental issues – installing LED street lighting, extending and improving the cycle network, including a cycle hire scheme for council staff. They have worked hard on the Green Deal and a community energy strategy that tackles fuel poverty. They have invested in local bus services when so many other councils are cutting theirs and are leading the way on re-opening two railway stations. They are expanding a scheme to cut down on lorry deliveries to the centre of Bath. Less than a third of their waste now goes to landfill.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Group – Residents’ Champion Award

The Lib Dems on this council have shown that currently being in opposition is no bar to getting things done. They have persuaded the council to ballot staff for an ethical pensions policy which could involve investing in local housing instead of tobacco firms. They have fought for community facilities including better library services and a cinema. They exposed the council’s cabinet for running a botched consultation on the naming of a re-development scheme which would put North Korea to shame!
Hinckley and Bosworth Liberal Democrat Group – Excellence in Town Centre Achievement Award

This council was one of the first Lib Dem councils to pay the living wage to its staff and are working on their suppliers too. They have the 9th lowest council tax in the country. They have worked hard on regeneration, bringing in over 5,000 new jobs to the area including town centre regeneration and over a billion pounds of investment. They are working with a motor industry research firm and the International parcel firm DPD to create even more jobs.
Peterborough Liberal Democrat Group – Best use of Social Media Award

While this small and hard working group keep the paper focuses flowing, they know the importance of social media with one member of the group having over 14,000 twitter followers, updating them on his work in the ward and on the council.
Cambridge Liberal Democrat Group – Putting Liberal Values into Practice

Rather than simply backing the opposition in their call to “clear the streets” of homeless people, this group ensured its council works with charities and the police to produce a programme which focuses on rehabilitation and education for rough sleepers and street drinkers. They have also introduced the Living Wage
Kirklees Liberal Democrat Group – Community Champions Award

This group have worked hard to support their local communities and to champion local causes. They have got local people together to raise thousands of pounds for charity in a community running event, bringing together voluntary groups, businesses and public sector bodies.

They have formed a Friends Group to massively improve a local recreation ground, and are working hard on attracting over £150,000 of investment.

They launched a “Walkers are Welcome” accreditation scheme to attract tourists and visitors to an especially beautiful part of their borough, and support, advise and help the local community in furthering this work.

And in the year that we see the country mark the centenary of World Ward 1, we recognise the work Lib Dem council group members past and present have done to support a museum gifted by a local man to the council almost 100 years ago in the memory of two nephews killed in that war. The Labour council said there was no more money for it so local Lib Dem councillors helped to set up a Friends Group to secure almost £200,000 in external funding so parts of the building could be re-opened to visitors and a new war memorial garden established.

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