Local MP chuffed to be on board Seaford Line railway 150 years celebrations


Norman Baker Seaford 150th

Local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker attended the celebrations of 150 years of the Seaford Line railway on Saturday 7 June.

An exciting programme of events was laid on by Sussex Community Rail Partnership, with local volunteers. These included a family cycle ride from Newhaven Town, a film screening at Bishopstone, vintage vehicle display at Lewes and a community picnic at London Road.

Norman says: “This was a fantastic day of events celebrating Seaford Line railway, with the local community out in force.

“The next challenge is to open the Lewes-Uckfield line, which would allow the return of hourly direct services from Seaford and Newhaven to London via Uckfield.

“Full steam ahead for the next 150 years!”

Thousands of local parents to get help with childcare costs


A major tax-free childcare package will help 13,940 families in East Sussex, local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker said today and 2,660 of those will be in Lewes District.

Working families will get up to £2,000 to ease the cost of childcare as part of a scheme to be rolled out in Autumn 2015. It means a family with two children under 12-years-old could benefit by up to £4,000 a year.

Norman says:The announcement in the Queen’s Speech provides a huge boost to families in East Sussex. This is something Liberal Democrats have fought for and are now delivering in Government.

“We are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society and this helps children get the best start in life.” The Queen’s Speech outlines the legislative agenda for the Coalition Government over the next 12 months.

Norman added: “I am also really pleased that the Lib Dems have managed to secure free school meals for every infant, which will help their health and educational development.

“It comes on top of 15 hours free weekly childcare we have already delivered for all three and four year olds and pupil premium to help our schools.

“All these measures will help parents go to work and provide security for their families.”

Pavement parking in Lewes could finally be on its way out

Local MP Norman Baker has for years been campaigning to outlaw the anti-social practice in the town but was originally told by the county council they had no powers to deal with it. He then, while transport minister, wrote to them to give them the powers they needed, but still no action followed. Now, following more pressure, the council looks likely to finally act.

In a letter to the MP, the council says: “A report will be presented to Lead Member meeting later this year outlining a process by which some localised restrictions could be introduced and enforced. High Street and School Hill in Lewes will be included in the assessment of that report

Norman says: “This action is long overdue, but I am glad that it seems that the council is finally taking action. Only this week I have had a local resident contact me who had a nasty fall tripping on a broken pavement which required hospital treatment”

“For too long thoughtless drivers have been damaging paving stones, costing the council unnecessary expenditure at a time of tight budgets, and also forcing pedestrians out into the road.”

The MP has also asked the police to take action against pavement parkers when they come across them.

Local MP launches new campaign to protect girls and young women from FGM


Local Lib Dem MP and Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker is launching a new poster campaign today to flag advice and support to protect girls and young women, announced by the Home Office.

Mothers who suspect a girl in their community is at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are urged to call NSPCC’s dedicated helpline for advice and support. Over 200,000 girls under the age of 15 could be at high risk of FGM in England and Wales each year with nearly 66,000 women having experienced FGM.

The campaign is specifically aimed at mothers in Somali, Kenyan and Nigerian communities, which have been identified as having a higher than average prevalence of FGM. Posters will be placed on panels in public toilets across London and seven cities in England and Wales.

The posters will direct mothers and carers to telephone the free, 24-hour NSPCC FGM helpline (0800 028 3550) if they are suspicious a girl they know is at risk of having the procedure. The helpline is available to anyone and people can report this suspicions of FGM anonymously. They can also ask for advice and support if their own child is at risk of FGM. The posters will be sent to schools, GP surgeries, police stations and hospitals around the country so they can be displayed in staff areas.

Norman says: “We need a complete cultural change on FGM and we are working to support communities to abandon the practice themselves.

“Mothers have the power to stop this happening to their daughters and the next generation. Through our new campaign we want them – as well as anyone else who is concerned – to contact the NSPCC FGM helpline in they believe their daughter or a girl they know is at risk

“Political or cultural sensitivities must not get in the way of preventing and uncovering this terrible form of abuse. The law in this country applies to absolutely everyone.

The campaign will run until August in order to reach communities during the school holidays when most girls are at risk.”

John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations says: “FGM is a hidden crime and we need to bring it out into the open if we are to end it.

“Encouragingly, we have been contacted by over 200 people since we launched our FGM helpline last year – but we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg and that thousands of children may be vulnerable to abuse.

Last week Norman gave a talk on the subject of FGM to the local branch of Soroptimist International at Beechwood Hall, Cooksbridge.

For further information on this campaign please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-campaign-calls-on-mothers-and-carers-to-end-female-genital-mutilation

A YouTube video is also available on this campaign http://youtu.be/E0Tm9hyKQdU