My name is Rich Douglas and I’m standing for the Lib Dems in Penn Hill.
I’m a passionate believer in fairness of opportunity and presently work as a primary school teacher in one of the poorest wards in BCP, teaching a class of 10-year olds. Between 2007 and 2017, I worked in counter-terrorism and deployed alongside the UK’s military in a variety of challenging roles, accumulating over a year in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m thus acutely aware of the challenges in the way government works, its use of technology and of security issues.
I was deeply concerned about the merger of councils to create BCP, having experienced several botched public-sector reorganisations first-hand. Therefore, I’m determined that improving vital services should be at the heart of the new council’s agenda. As a Lib Dem, I fully support our manifesto for BCP. See: http://www.poole-libdems.org.uk/manifesto
For me, that means first and foremost BCP must build housing that local people want and can afford; directly if developers will not support us. Second home owners, contributing the least to the area but reaping rewards of property price rises, should help to fund this through council tax, akin to areas of Cornwall.
Secondly, we must resist our fantastic coastline being put at risk in the search for fossil fuels (surely offshore wind is more attractive than oil rigs). Meanwhile, reducing our traffic problems requires investment in convenient and low cost public transport to reduce queuing. There is no money for vanity projects like monorail.
Thirdly, we must spend more to support family and specialist education services in our towns. Too many children come to school without basic skills (including toilet training) and research shows they will then be at a permanent disadvantage. Cuts have left too many children, particularly those with the greatest needs, at risk of failing to reach their potential; which ultimately costs taxpayers more. It also wastes time schools should be spending on teaching the whole class.
One party should not be allowed to dominate any government and take the rest of BCP for granted, wasting money in redundancy and reorganisation. Cuts have hit services that people rely on, so it can be no surprise that crime has nearly doubled in Dorset. This must not be the legacy of the creation of BCP.