The news that all but two of Luton’s schools are to be hit by a massive cut in their annual per-pupil funding has been slammed by Liberal Democrat candidates Andy Strange (Luton South) and Rabi Martins (Luton North).

“It’s bad enough that Luton schools will lose £2.2M of government funding this year but the new formula means our local schools will be worse off to the tune of at least £3.7M every year starting next year” says Andy Strange. “It is impossible for schools to deal with cuts on this scale without seriously affecting educational standards and damaging our young people’s future.”

Rabi Martins comments:
“The Tory government admits Britain has a skills shortage; its solution is to force schools to sack teachers and increase class sizes. 59 Luton schools will be hit with 12 of them losing more than £100,000 a year. The Liberal Democrat manifesto launched last week by Tim Farron makes it clear we would reverse these savage cuts.”

According to Department for Education figures Icknield High School’s per pupil grant will be cut by £220,000, Ashcroft High by £180,000, Denbigh High by £182,000, Challney Girls’ £168,000 and Stopsley High by £130,000.

The Liberal Democrats have announced they would find the extra money for our NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson and former health minister Norman Lamb said:
“The NHS was once the envy of the world and this pledge is the first step in restoring it to where it should be. A penny in the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view. But simply providing more money on its own is not enough and that’s why this is just the first step in our plan to protect health and care services in the long-term.”

Andy Strange, Liberal Democrat candidate for Luton South, and Rabi Martins, Luton North, have both endorsed Norman Lamb’s plan.

Andy Strange commented:
“This tax increase is the first part of the Lib Dems’ Five Point Recovery Plan for health and social care. The plan includes an Independent Office of Health and Care Funding which would report publicly on the resources the service needs so that politicians’ decisions on funding could be judged in the context of an independent needs assessment.”

Rabi Martins said:
“We are prepared to be honest with people and say that we all need to chip in a little more. The Liberal Democrats will be the strong opposition Britain needs, with a plan to rescue the NHS and social care.”

Luton South candidate determined to campaign against a hard Brexit

“The effects of a hard, Tory Brexit on the employment opportunities for young people is one of my main concerns.” says Andy Strange, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Luton South. “Major employers all over the Country are already announcing plans to open, or expand existing operations in other EU countries and large Luton employers like Vauxhall will be seriously disadvantaged if the deal is not right. Unless the current EU licensing arrangements are continued our successful airport, responsible for around 10,000 mainly local jobs, will suffer.”

“By their confrontational approach to Brexit negotiations, the Tory government seems determined to convert all the people who will influence the outcome into enemies right from the start. We need an effective opposition in Parliament to make the government see sense and Labour is simply unable to provide that opposition.”

Brought up in Luton, Andy Strange attended local schools and Luton Sixth Form College. He has degrees from the University of Portsmouth and London Metropolitan University. Andy now runs a small web development business based in Luton.

A former Luton Borough councillor Andy served for three years on the Council’s Executive. Andy Strange is on the Board of Trustees of Luton Culture which is the charity that runs the town’s libraries, museums and arts venues including The Hat Factory.

Luton Liberal Democrats have selected Rabi Martins as their candidate for the Luton North constituency for the 8th June 2017 general election.

Rabi Martins is a senior Liberal Democrat activist with 20 years of local government experience in housing, planning and sustainable development.

Rabi faces an exciting campaign, fully supported by the active Luton local Party. The general election comes at a time when Liberal Democrats across the country are seeing a huge increase in membership and success in local council by elections taking council seats from both Labour and Tory parties.

Rabi Martins is a member of Amnesty International, has campaigned on the Kashmir issue for several years, is a local authority Mental Health Champion and chair of a Fairtrade Steering Group.

“This government’s policies have put housing out of the reach of most young people” says Rabi Martins, “The failure to deal with this issue has increased the power of developers and more needs to be done to increase the supply of affordable and social housing This situation is creating social problems across Luton which, as a member of a strong group of Liberal Democrat MPs I will do something about”.

“They want people to recycle more of their waste and so they’ve decided to make recycling more difficult, how logical is that?” – Cllr. David Franks.
Luton Council’s Scrutiny Board has agreed to a proposal from Liberal Democrat councillors asking Executive Committee members to rethink their plans to close the town’s two tip sites one day a week and reduce the opening hours on the days they will remain open.
Liberal Democrat leader David Franks said his colleagues think Labour has lost sight of the basic housekeeping necessities.
“The officer report they were considering said reducing the opening hours of the two Council recycling centres would not save money and may lead to more fly-tipping. But they are going to do it anyway. It’s the latest part of Labour’s plan to make our town even dirtier than it already is.”