House to home with MP Stephen Lloyd: Cardiac proposals were bolt from blue

Stephen Lloyd MP
Stephen Lloyd MP
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THE DECISION to reduce cardiology services at the District General Hospital hit me like a bolt out of the blue.

I have been working hard over the past few months, exploring every single political avenue with the ever present and hardworking chair of the cross-party Save the DGH campaign, Liz Walke, to preserve maternity services at the DGH, only to be faced with this further blow.

We had a fantastic turnout at the protest and this will send a clear message to the senior managers at our NHS hospital Trust.

It is estimated more than 200 people attended and I would urge others who were not aware of the protest to email me at stephen.lloyd.mp@parliament.uk, so I can add you to my mailing list and keep you in touch with future developments.

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Building further on the fantastic results from my 100 Apprenticeships in 100 Days campaign (for those yet to hear, we reached the massive figure of 181 apprenticeships locally!), last week I met with a number of our secondary school heads, training providers and key local businesses.

This is part of my wider initiative to not only increase the number and range of apprenticeships on offer in Eastbourne, but to also increase the quality of the apprenticeships available and to ensure there is sufficient communication and co-operation between schools and colleges and employers so the young people in our town get the best possible employment opportunities.

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All is progressing well reviving the carnival, under the ever-capable stewardship of local businessman Dave Cooper, who is leading on the carnival on behalf of the MP’s Commission.

I have received some fantastic feedback in recent weeks, and I can tell you we’ve already had in excess of 60 expressions of interest, which is brilliant news.

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I recently made a couple of visits to the Waterfront Marina. It was superb; the sun was out, the restaurant tables were packed, the shops were thriving and the boats looked great. A genuine visitor attraction for our town!

It’s also really positive news that we’re now making progress in the harbour around improving the community facilities. All the different groups are now working together well.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this, in particular the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association – their input has and remains vital.

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I have been contacted by numerous people locally and from all over the world who are also keen to see the Beachy Head Lighthouse retain its stripes.

Shortly I am due to meet the Deputy Master of Trinity House, responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouse, to urge them to live up to their responsibilities to maintain the lighthouse in its current state.

If unsuccessful, I will be taking an active role in the fundraising campaign, headed by the Herald, the Facebook group ‘Keep the Beachy Head Lighthouse’s Stripes’ and the Rotary AM Eastbourne club, which has picked up on my initiative to ensure this renowned landmark keeps its stripes.

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It is impossible to get away from the fact that we are all living longer and the state pension in its current form is an increasing burden on the taxpayer.

Equality laws dictate the pension age for men cannot be increased, until the pension age for men and women is equalised.

Once equalised the government are proposing to increase the state pension age to 66 in 2018 and again to 67 in 2026.

In my view this will have a disproportionate impact on a particular group of women born in 1953 and 1954.

I have been lobbying the government particularly hard, alongside Age UK and a number of my colleagues in the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party to ensure provisions are made to address this particular group.

I’m hopeful, even at this late stage, that the government will provide some transitional arrangement to ensure that particular group of women, aged 54 - 57, are treated fairly.

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As always, I am available to contact by email (stephen.lloyd.mp@parliament.uk), phone (01323 733 030) or post (Stephen Lloyd MP, 100 Seaside Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3PF).

Alternatively, feel free to drop into my constituency office at 100 Seaside Road - open daily.