Brexit is ‘blocking economic growth in Welwyn Hatfield’

Money down the drain

Britain's economy has grown at the slowest annual rate in almost a decade, according to official figures, from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published this week.

Year-on-year growth in the three months to end-September slowed to 1% from 1.3% in the second quarter, the ONS said on Monday, slowing growth to its lowest rate in almost a decade.

Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Paul Zukowskyj said that Brexit had already cost taxpayers at least £55 billion in lost growth and that this impact could be felt on the continuing squeeze of local services such as our NHS, roads, schools and public transport.

He said: “These growth figures are not a cause for celebration. Instead they show clearly that Brexit is blocking economic growth in the UK and in our local communities where residents are struggling to go about their daily lives because of chronic under-investment. There’s now tens of thousands of civil servants working on Brexit. Their salaries are costing us dear. Instead of working on better roads, better care, better services, they’re spending all their time on Brexit.”

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Footbridge closing

Councillors Malcolm Cowan, Frank Marsh and Siobhan Elam on the footbridge at Welwyn Garden City railway station

It has recently been announced that the footbridge between Hydeway and the railway station in Welwyn Garden Ciy will be closed for 4 months for upgrading and repainting. While this long-overdue refurbishment is welcomed, Lib Dem councillors have expressed concern over the timing and duration of this closure.

Malcolm Cowan, Liberal Democrat group leader and a Peartree councillor said “The work is desperately needed and overdue, and it is great that there is finally agreement to get the it done, but the length of the closure will come as a massive shock to my constituents who use the bridge to get to and from the station and the town centre.”

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Paul Zukowskyj makes his climate change pledge

Paul Zukowskyj makes his climate change pledge

Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem candidate for Welwyn Hatfield has signed up to the Friends of the Earth Climate Change Pledge:

"I’ll make the climate crisis a deal-breaker in how I vote in Parliament. I’ll vote to support measures that help us rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions and build a fairer and greener society."

Effective Action on climate change is a corner stone of Lib Dem policy. Citizens’ assemblies will be convened to decide what action should be taken on the climate crisis the Green Investment Bank will be revived.The Lib Dems have also committed to bring back a department of climate change, give local government new powers to cut emissions and end fracking.

Our aim is to achieve net-zero carbon status in the UK by 2045 – five years sooner than current government plans.

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Mountains of rubbish – why?

Overflowing recyling bins at Moors Walk and Waitrose

Yet again, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is failing local people. The majority of our recyling bins are full to overflowing, and are surrounded by mountains of uncollected rubbish abandoned by frustrated residents.

When asked to comment, Malcolm Cowan, our group leader on the council, said "All parties signed our Climate Emergency motion recently. An absolute basic is that there are proper recycling facilities, yet every site I visited this weekend had its paper and cardboard bins rammed full, with loads more left on the ground. – Moors Walk, Haldens, Waitrose car park, Church Road, Woodhall.

"The council will rightly say people should not dump their paper and card on the ground, but we have to make it easy to recycle, not hard. Anyone going off for a day and wanting to recycle their waste on the way is not going to want to take it with them when the bins are full.

"And all the sites had black sacks as well – I can only imagine what is in those.

"This is far from the first time the collection system has failed – why has the problem not been sorted? The council needs to step up, and fast."

Welwyn Hatfield Local Housing Plan ‘Shambolic’


Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats have been critical of the Borough’s Local Plan for years. The Liberal Democrats consider the plan badly thought through, due to its adverse impacts on residents access to green belt and green spaces, while failing to deliver sufficient social housing or the schools, NHS services, road improvements or sports facilities that all residents need.

The latest letter from the Planning Inspector, received on August 8th, suggesting the council should consider withdrawing the plan and starting again, was a body-blow to the council.

This week, however, the committee tasked with discussing the Local Plan and progress towards it, the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP), due to meet on 12th September, was cancelled without reason and without notice.

Lib Dem CPPP committee member, Cllr Paul ZukowskyjCllr Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem member of the CPPP committee, commented “I received an email. Short and sweet, ‘committee cancelled’. No reason was given. Perhaps they think there’s nothing to discuss?”

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Democracy under attack

On 28th August 2019, The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, launched an assault on the heart of our democracy and requested proroguation of Parliament in order to to drive through a no-deal, hard Brexit, against the majority wishes of Parliament, that will be catastrophic for the vast majority of British people and EU citizens currently living in the UK.

Paul Zukowskyj calls on everyone who values our precious democracy to join us and send a clear message: This Tory tyranny can not and will not be allowed to succeed.

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QEII Closure - Fact Check

Grant Shapps, Mike Hobday, Nigel Quinton and other campaigners delivering the cross-party "Save QE2" petition to the PCT

Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times


Dear Sir or Madam,

Last week’s letter, from Labour’s parliamentary candidate (Welwyn Hatfield Times, 3rd July 2019), was full of righteous indignation, but short on facts or serious solutions.

She needs someone who lives in Welwyn Hatfield to tell her what actually went on with the closure of the old QEII. It was the 2001-05 Labour government that originally promised us a new ‘super-hospital’ in Hatfield to replace the QEII, but they reneged on that promise when they lost to Grant Shapps and the Conservatives in 2005. After both Grant and I had kicked off our own campaigns, a cross-party campaign was subsequently formed to fight this decision, which her predecessor, Labour PPC Mike Hobday joined too. Thousands of signatures were collected, a great deal of hard work was put in and detailed evidence was presented, but sadly, the Conservatives at county hall chose not to refer the decision to the Secretary of State. The decision was taken to expand the Lister at Stevenage, and to replace the old QEII with what we have now. This all happened under a Labour government, before 2010.

We all have political history in our parties of which we can be less than proud. I am proud of some of what the Lib Dems achieved in coalition, on tax reform, renewable energy and equality especially, and angry about what we allowed the Conservatives to get away with, but you can’t always get what you want. We will continue to try, and to demand better of ourselves and others.

Nigel Quinton
County Councillor for Handside & Peartree

Meadow Verges in Welwyn Hatfield

Meadow verge with Tamsin Jackson-Mynott

Last year Lib Dem Councillor, Tamsin Jackson-Mynott, instigated trials of verge meadows, as an alternative to cropping the grass on a very short cut every few weeks.

The meadow verges being trialed are now in bloom and are thriving with life. Sandwiched between the A1 and B197 there is now a mini meadow full of bees, beetles, damsel flies, moths, butterflies and many more; at Southway there is even more - Knapweed, Vetch, Red Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Hawksbit, Cowslips and a host of fine grasses so important to productive habitats. At the Community Orchard at Woodhall Open Space the pollinators finally have proper habitat to breed - which means more fruit for residents to enjoy!

Tamsin is thrilled with the progress of the meadow verges: “With proper management these will flourish and improve year on year with more flowers and habitat and so more lovely bugs and beasts can thrive within them. In future there may well be some planting required to improve on this year’s success, but given that one update I posted on social media last week had over 250 positive responses so far asking for more, I would love to deliver this for residents.”

Fauna on Digswell Hill Verge

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QE2 Urgent Care Centre threatened

QE2 Urgent Care Centre, Welwyn Garden City

Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to news that the Urgent Care Centre at the QE2 may close at night, making the whole of Eastern and Central Herts depend on the Lister.

“I know Lister A and E and Urgent Care Centre is overwhelmed – I was there for around 5 hours recently” said LibDem council group leader Malcolm Cowan. “Having people like me sent up to Stevenage is one of the reasons it is overwhelmed. We need a publicity effort to tell people they can be treated locally at QE2. We are losing everything to Lister, after we were told the Urgent Care Centre – already a step down from a full A and E service – would be available 24/7. And for anyone without access to a car, this is even worse, buses become almost non-existent in the evenings, let alone overnight when an expensive taxi is all that is available”.

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Wel Hat Lib Dems call for a Climate Change Emergency

Declare a Climate Emergency

We are proud to announce that we have asked for a Special Meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council on June 19th to declare a Climate Emergency.

It would be great to have lots of support there, to show that the people of Welwyn Hatfield really do care about the future of our planet.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30pm in the Council Chamber, Campus East, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6AE

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