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  1. Aidan permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:05 pm

    What an excellent sentiment! Good luck with your quest to reduce inequalities such as this. Do you think recent changes to University Tuition fees, the EMA or NHS advertising (e.g. No Flu vaccine campaign) are going to help? What might might we see replacing these measures?

  2. ColinW permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:36 pm

    Not just the Pupil Premium though, the big increases in pre-school provision for poorer children will have even more impact on improving the educational prospects of those at the bottom. Coupled with the University premium which provides a free year at universities charging up to £6K & two free years at universities charging over £6K, the education changes are squarely aimed at those who Labour neglected for the 13 years they were in power.

    All students will benefit from the new funding proposals, paying a Graduate Tax of 9% of income above £21K earnings. As the tuition fee debt is purely notional, being dependent on income, not affecting credit rating or mortgage applications, the argument over debt is a red herring. Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert puts it well here:

    http://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2010/12/03/the-argument-over-student-loans-could-kill-the-next-generations-education/

    As for EMA, possibly the most poorly-targeted benefit ever invented. Just why should those with parental incomes up to £31K get it anyway? A cheaper, properly targeted replacement will be introduced to support those who actually need it.

  3. Aidan permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:53 pm

    I agree that the new tuition fee system is fairer in respect of the details you outline above but with such huge amounts of money at stake it WILL put off students from poor backgrounds more than those whose parents encourage and support them. I don’t know if EMA is ‘poorly targeted’, but I do know that it helped many of my friends through college. Remember a parents income does not guarantee their support. Furthermore any replacement to EMA hasn’t been announced yet. If a replacement is planned lets hear about it.

  4. January 27, 2011 3:35 pm

    As a smoker and drinker I find your attitudes to poeple with these addictions reprehensible.

    WE pay LOTS of tax on our chosen lifestyles. That money goes straight in to front line services such as the NHS.

    I am not condoning smoking and drinking but would like to point out that people who do these things pay a high price both monetary and sometimes healthwise.

    We are not a burden on the state.

    We paid the reaper before we fell.

  5. Rob permalink
    January 27, 2011 5:31 pm

    I work in a Bristol City Council run nursery in one of the more deprived areas of Bristol. Our per pupil funding next year will be static at best(effectively a reduction) but none of our pupils aged 3 or 4 on free school meals (30% of those having dinner) will get the pupil premium. It doesn’t apply until they reach primary school age. How is this fair? How does this sit with your easy words about targetting resources at pre-school children? You can trumpet new plans but those of us working at the coalface increasing the life chances of young people have no faith that you or your Government will make any positive difference with these plans.

    • January 28, 2011 12:27 am

      school budgets will stay flat for the next three years of the comprehensive spending review period. The pupil premium is EXTRA £2.5 Billion and yes it is for 5 year olds and above.

      • Rob permalink
        January 28, 2011 8:26 am

        No Stephen, the words you use are not accurate. Schools receive funding in several different ‘pots’, the main component (about 80%) is per pupil funding which we are told will remain flat. My schools capital budget for buildings is being reduced by two thirds, leaving us little money to maintain or improve buildings. Other ‘pots’ or grants are being reduced or disappearing. The total amount disappearing from the Education budget is more than the pupil premium money. You are an accountant, and you have access to the figures. It really is time you stopped rehashing election slogans and promises and woke up to the impact you and your government are having on young children and families most in need. Your rhetoric is not matchedtbh the numbers I can see in next year’s school budget. Come to the frontline and see for yourself.

  6. Christopher Marshall permalink
    January 27, 2011 6:34 pm

    Far too little too late Mr Williams. With your choices in backing (I say backing as I feel abstaining is the same thing!) Tory Led Government cuts to EMA and the raising of tuition fees the damage has already been done.

  7. Ben Goodhind permalink
    January 27, 2011 7:17 pm

    These are just words, in reality all your going to do is side with all the Tory cuts which are making so many people accross the city redundant. 20% of probation officers in your constituency to be laid off, teachers, social workers, civil servants. This city is going to the wall thanks to the cuts.

    Your words mean so little after you didnt even bother to vote on tuition fees. No doubt you will be joining us all in the job centre after the next election.

  8. Ex Lib Dem voter permalink
    January 27, 2011 8:25 pm

    Stephen Williams’ Achievements 2010-2011

    1. Trebled Tuition Fees
    2. Scrapped EMA
    3. £1.5 billion useless reorganisation of the NHS
    4. -0.5% cut in growth
    5. Rising unemployment

    You must be so proud of yourself Stephen

    P.S. Another division in Bristol is you from reality

    • January 28, 2011 12:28 am

      afraid to reveal your identity?

      • thebristolblogger permalink
        January 28, 2011 8:03 am

        Probably one of your Lib Dem council employees who can be sacked for writing things on the internet. Very liberal isn’t it Stephen?

  9. curtis davis permalink
    January 27, 2011 9:32 pm

    Stephen – your constituency is in a mess and all you can do is chair groups about the bleeding obvious. Oh is smoking bad ?. People are losing their jobs accross your constituency and its down to panic cuts with little thought. Cutting prison places yet cutting probation officers. Who exactly is going to protect my children ?. How are they going to get an education ?. We have the joanna yeates murder on our doorstep and rather then make your constituents feel safe your cutting public protection jobs. Crime is going to soar as poverty kicks in. There is hardly a family I know without redundancies and I don’t see you being pro active to protect jobs at all. Your job is to serve your constituents not serve yourself.

    • January 28, 2011 12:29 am

      not sure how being concerned about gaps in educational attainment or premature death from smoking is “self serving”…

  10. Your worst nightmare permalink
    January 27, 2011 11:55 pm

    For many Bristolians the place where they grow up will decide how well they do in school and whether they go on to university

    This is bare breeze I grew up in St Pauls got my 1st gcse at the age of 13 got my 1st aleval at 14 got 15 GCSE’s got 5 alevals and a 1st in my degree and to top this off I am black

    So where you live doesn’t determine if you go to uni

    The only reason I succeeded is because I had 1 to 1 tuition something you are scrapping
    Because of ema I was able to attend college some you are scrapping and I was able to attend uni which you are making more expensive

    Because of you my brothers and sisters can’t attend uni

    You should rot in hell

  11. steve conway permalink
    January 28, 2011 8:31 am

    You could improve Bristol South West greatly……By resigning, you got in the coalition by lying, and the whole point of being in government is to vote on policies, yet all you libdems do is abstain, if you are not competent enough to stand up for your priciples then I suggest you should go to the NHS and ask them to take the splinters out of your @rse, to much sitting on the fence will get you absolutely nowhere, the only time you do get off the fence is when its feeding time at the trough. Yes resign have some dignity, come the elections, please come knocking on my door and we will continue this conversation further. Better bring a bodyguard.

    • Rob permalink
      January 29, 2011 12:03 pm

      I hope that Stephen Williams loses the next election through the democratic process. Your implied threats of violence completely undermine your argument and sadly devalue the comments of the rest of us on this blog.

      • steve conway permalink
        February 1, 2011 2:24 pm

        Cheers Rob, errrmmm next time Santa comes, maybe you should ask him for a sense of humour

      • steve conway permalink
        February 2, 2011 9:32 am

        one further point, he wasnt elected for this government.

  12. February 1, 2011 1:24 pm

    Hi Stephen, I think it’s great you are responding to so many comments on this blog. I’d really appreciate it if you’d write a posting on your views on the cuts to DLA, in particular the proposed removal of DLA mobility allowance for people in care homes. I and others have contacted you with our concerns about this several times, but have received no response. I can’t see signs of you raising it in the Hansard or other internet forums. People with disabilities also make a significant proportion of your constituency; they too suffer from the gross inequalities you were right to highlight in your article. They might shout less loud than other sections of society, but surely that’s more reason for you to speak up for them. Please could you respond to our concerns and give us your thoughts on what you are going to do to help.

    If you’d like to hear more about how cuts to DLA, changes to ESA and social care will affect people’s lives, you couldn’t do much better than to go here:

    http://onemonthbeforeheartbreak.blogspot.com

  13. February 2, 2011 12:11 pm

    hi stephen – one of the joys that people of all ages, incomes and experiences have is the gorgeous countryside, public forests and beautiful scenery that surrounds bristol. rich or poor, we all love our forests.

    so don’t vote for privatisation of public forests.

    please.

  14. Gavin Saunders permalink
    February 4, 2011 9:20 am

    I smoke and drink.Stop patronising me ,looking for favour for your “good cause”.More importantly,what are you doing about the ridiculous plan to sell the forests?No one voted for you.

    • February 5, 2011 2:29 pm

      “No one voted for you” I think you’ll find that’s not entirely true – if you have a glance at http://bbc.in/eHYEIL, you’ll see that actually 26,593 people voted for him.

  15. MJS permalink
    February 4, 2011 6:21 pm

    Dear Mr Williams,

    Thank you for the opportunity to post the following comment: I wish I had never voted LibDem at the last election. It was somewhat naive of me perhaps to believe you would actually create a fairer society or even attempt to, but I thought it was worth a shot – just in case. I look forward to the rapid demise of your party at the next election.

    regards

    MJS

  16. Amy permalink
    February 4, 2011 8:42 pm

    Why haven’t you commented on your vote to sell off our woodlands? I think you need to respond to this. I want to know why.
    I have to say that I am disgusted that I voted for you when all you’ve done since is go against your election pledges (tuition fees anyone?) And this privatisation of forests smacks severely of Thatcherism. You haven’t voted against anything the Tories have proposed since the coalition. It’s unbelievable hypocrisy and makes me feel sick and horribly powerless.

    • February 5, 2011 2:43 pm

      Amy, if the Lib Dems had another 270 seats, I think you could quite legitimately complain that they’re not implementing their election pledges. But they didn’t. They are the minor party in a coalition government – they have just under 16% of coalition MPs (57 out of 364), so I would say they fair thing would be for them to have 16% of their policies implemented.

      The pupil premium, lower taxes for low earners (the personal allowance goes up by £1000 in a couple of months), constitutional reform, the Green Investment Bank and high speed rail are all examples of Lib Dem policies which wouldn’t have happened under a Tory government. I don’t think it is fair therefore to say “all you’ve done since is go against your election pledges”.

      Unfortunately, that means that some non Lib Dem policies will also become a reality – tuition fees, which you mention, is on example of that. But that’s called “compromise”, something you seem unable to understand. Are you one of those selfish people who expects to get her own way, all the time, on everything?

      • February 10, 2011 9:14 pm

        £10,000 income tax zero rate band – moving the tax burden from progressive income tax to regressive VAT.

        pupil premium- the £2.5bn is not extra money as you promised but rather a re-arrangement of existing funding.

        The Green Deal is being paid for by slashing WarmFront’s budget, CCS was already in progress and the Green Investment Bank isn’t really a bank.

        (paraphrased from another post)

        “so I would say they fair thing would be for them to have 16% of their policies implemented…But that’s called “compromise”, something you seem unable to understand”

        So the tories get to
        -privatise the NHS
        -sell off public forests and allow dangerous deep sea oil drilling
        -cut public services such as libraries while giving massive tax breaks to multinational companies
        -stop junk food regulation
        -cut public sector jobs while state owned banks pay out million pound bonuses again
        -hand more power to Rupert Murdoch

        and the lib dems get… a possible vote on AV. Thats quite a compromise you’ve got there.
        How about instead of trying to soften the blow for disastrous policies that no-one voted for you stand up to them? Is your commitment to a coalition with the party for the super-rich more important than your commitment to the people you are supposed to represent? Rather than insulting and patronising people ‘PJ’, why don’t you try listening?

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