Government

Last chance to register for elections

Your vote matters - don't lose itIf you want to vote in the General Election or
the Victoria Ward by election
you must be registered by 11:59pm tonight.

Register now:

Online

You will need to provide your national insurance number to register. This can be found on your national insurance card if you have one, or on paperwork such as your payslip, letters about benefits, tax credits and some pension documents. Please make sure you enter it correctly as it will be checked before you can be registered.  If you do not have a national insurance number you can still use the website to make an application but it will ask you to give a reason and you may be contacted for more details.
www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Telephone

the Electoral Services Office on 01233 330402,

Write to

Electoral Services
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1PL

Am I already registered?

It is not possible to check online whether or not you are already registered. You can contact Electoral Services on 01233 330402 if you want to discuss any issues around your registration or call into our offices to view the current electoral register. Please note Electoral Services will not discuss your registration with anyone else including family members.

Electoral registration

About My Vote www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote

gov.uk www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Ashford Bourough Council www.ashford.gov.uk/electoral-registration

#YourVoteMatters

Voters with no fixed address

Your vote matters - don't lose itYou can still register to vote even if you do not have a fixed address. This may be because you are:

  • A patient in a mental health hospital
  • Homeless
  • A merchant seaman
  • Part of the gypsy or travelling community
  • Living on a boat or other moveable residence
  • A person remanded in custody

If you are staying at an address for an extended length of time then you can be considered as residing there and can register for that address. This could be a hospital, hostel, prison facility or similar place.

You can register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.

If you do not have a permanent address, you can register at an address where you spend a substantial part of your time or have some connection. This could be a previously permanent address, shelter or similar place.

You can register by filling in a form called a ‘Declaration of local connection’. You can download a Register to vote form (no fixed address) from gov.uk. There are two forms – one for people in England and Wales and one for people in Scotland. Alternatively, you can get the form from your local electoral registration office:

Telephone

the Electoral Services Office on 01233 330402,

Write to

Electoral Services
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1PL

You can read more detailed information relevant to you on the Your Vote Matters website
www.yourvotematters.co.uk/can-i-vote/registering-to-vote-with-no-fixed-address

You must register to vote by the coming Monday, 22 May, to vote in the General Election or the Victoria Ward By-election

Voting for those with visual impairment

Your vote matters - don't lose itVoters who have sight loss or visual impairment can get help when voting.

In partnership with the Royal National Institute for the Blind, The Electoral Commission has produced an information sheet to help those with sight loss, explaining how to vote and register to vote and explaining what help they can get.

We have reproduced the text below or the document can be downloaded as a pdf from the Your Vote Matters website. www.yourvotematters.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/226827/FINAL-RNIB-factsheet-UKPGE-2017.pdf

If you want to vote, you must be registered. You can apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by contacting the electoral services department at your
local council.

The deadline to apply to vote in these elections is Monday 22 May (more…)

NCSC: International ransomware cyber attack

 

“It is important that organisations reduce the risks of these attacks happening to them.  There are three pieces of important advice to help protect your organisation:

1) Make sure your security software patches are up to date
2) Make sure that you are running proper anti-virus software
3) Back up your data somewhere else because you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre said:

“Today we have seen a set of global cyber attacks against thousands of organisations and individuals in dozens of countries.

“The National Cyber Security Centre is working round the clock with UK and international partners and with private sector experts to lead the response to these cyber attacks.

“The picture is emerging that this is affecting multiple countries and sectors and is not solely targeted at the NHS. As the Prime Minister said, we have no evidence that UK National Health Service patient data has been stolen.

“We are very aware that attacks on critical services such as the NHS have a massive impact on individuals and their families, and we are doing everything in our power to help them restore these vital services.

“It is important that organisations reduce the risks of these attacks happening to them.  There are three pieces of important advice to help protect your organisation:

1) Make sure your security software patches are up to date
2) Make sure that you are running proper anti-virus software
3) Back up your data somewhere else because you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

National Cyber Security Centre 12 May 2017
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/statement-international-ransomware-cyber-attack

Election candidates announced

The candidates have been announced for the parliamentary constituency of Ashford and for the Ashford Borough Council Victoria Ward.

General Election

The candidates Ashford Constituency for the  are:

Name of Candidate Home Address Party
GATHERN Sally 16 Hoppers Way, Singleton, Ashford, Kent, TN23 4GP Labour Party
GEE-TURNER Adrian John 41 Western Avenue, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1LY Liberal Democrats
GREEN Damian Highlands, Charing Hill, Charing, Ashford, Kent, TN27 0NG Conservative Party
O’BRIEN Gerald Michael (address in the Sevenoaks constituency) UKIP
ROSSI Mandy (address in the Ashford constituency) The Green Party

By-election

The candidates for the Victoria Ward  are:

Name of Candidate Home Address Party
GALLOWAY James Angus 21 Jemmett Road, Ashford, Kent, TN23 4QD Liberal Democrats
GOLDENBERG Serge 42 Beaver Road, Ashford, TN23 7RP UKIP
PIZZEY Maria Ann 24 Lynsted Close, Ashford, Kent, TN23 5RZ Green Party
ROBEY David The Old Farmhouse, Faversham Road, Throwley, Faversham, Kent, ME13 0JN Conservative Part
SUDDARDS Charles 35 Queen Street, Ashford, Kent Labour Party

 

www.ashford.gov.uk/current-by-elections

To participate in these elections you have to be registered.

Your vote matters - don't lose itIf you have not already registered

Register now:

Online

You will need to provide your national insurance number to register. This can be found on your national insurance card if you have one, or on paperwork such as your payslip, letters about benefits, tax credits and some pension documents. Please make sure you enter it correctly as it will be checked before you can be registered.  If you do not have a national insurance number you can still use the website to make an application but it will ask you to give a reason and you may be contacted for more details.

You can use this service to apply to register to vote or to:

  • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
  • change your voting preferences, for example to vote in person or by post
  • change whether you’re on the open register

It usually takes about 5 minutes.

www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Apply for Postal or Proxy Vote

https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/postal-voting

Telephone

the Electoral Services Office on 01233 330402,

Write to

Electoral Services
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1PL

Am I already registered?

It is not possible to check online whether or not you are already registered. You can contact Electoral Services on 01233 330402 if you want to discuss any issues around your registration or call into their offices to view the current electoral register. Please note Electoral Services will not discuss your registration with anyone else including family members.

Your vote matters

Your vote matters - don't lose itTime is running out to make sure you can take part in the General Election on 8 June. Take action now if you are not already registered to vote. It’s quick and easy to register, but after the deadline of 22 April, it will be too late.

For residents in Victoria Ward there is also a by-election for your Ashford Borough Council councillor on 8 June.

Research shows that young people, students and recent home movers are particularly less likely to be registered to vote. So if you have moved house recently, then make sure you’re registered correctly. If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to have your say on issues that directly affect your day-to-day life.

If you will be unable to attend your polling station on 8 June you can apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote. You can apply for all elections or for a single election for which you are unable to attend the polling station. If you are in Victoria Ward don’t forget to apply for the by-election as well as the General Election – you can do so by applying for a postal vote or proxy for a period that includes the election day.

Register now:

(more…)

Housing problems likely to persist for years

The Public Accounts Committee report says Government lacks ambition in addressing housing need and is dependent on ‘broken’ market.

Housebuilding lagging behind demand

The number of homes built in England has lagged behind demand for housing for decades.

The effects of this long-running shortfall in housing reveal themselves in the growing barriers people face in getting on the property ladder, or simply affording their rent.

The human costs are emphasised by the growing problem of homelessness, with the number of families living in temporary accommodation rising from 50,000 in 2011–12 to 72,000 in 2015–16. Almost 120,000 children in England live in temporary accommodation today.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (the Department) has an ambition to deliver 1 million new homes over the five years of this Parliament.

But despite acknowledging that the housing market in England is “broken”, it remains dependent on the existing market, which is dominated by a handful of private developers, to realise its ambition.

Plans to deliver will not come close to matching demand

Even if this is achieved, the Department acknowledges that it will not come close to meeting the actual level of housing need, so problems of affordability and homelessness are likely to persist for years to come.

The Department’s lack of ambition on such a fundamental issue is matched by a lack of information, in particular on the impacts and value for money of the roughly £21 billion the government spends each year on housing benefit.

The Department has recently published a White Paper outlining proposals for accelerating housebuilding, and the Committee looks forward to monitoring the development of its programmes.

Commons Select Committeefor Public Accounts 28 April 2017
www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/housing-report-published-16-17/

Tougher measures to target rogue landlords

New rules in force from 6 April 2017 will help crackdown on rogue landlords that flout the rules and improve safety and affordability for renters.

Announcing the measures, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed the powers will give local authorities the tools to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords who shirk their responsibilities.

This comes as part of the government’s plan set out in its housing white paper to create a bigger and better private rental sector that meets the needs of tenants and landlords alike, giving those who rent a fairer deal.
www.gov.uk/government/publications/fixing-our-broken-housing-market

Councils are now able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences. They will be able to retain all of the income to make sure it is used for private sector housing enforcement purposes.
www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-penalties-under-the-housing-and-planning-act-2016

Rent repayment orders, which can be issued to penalise landlords managing or letting unlicensed properties, have also been extended to cover a wider range of situations. These include the illegal evictions or harassment of the occupiers of a property, using violence to secure entry and the breach of a banning order.
www.gov.uk/government/publications/rent-repayment-orders-under-the-housing-and-planning-act-2016 (more…)

Banning letting agent fees paid by tenants

Department for Communities and Local Government

Opens: 7 April 2017
Closes: 2 June 2017

This consultation seeks views on the implementation of a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants.

The government announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement that it would consult on introducing a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants, to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay.

This consultation paper invites views and comments on how the ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants in England should be implemented and enforced.

To support the consultation process, the government has organised a series of workshops. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and the workshops will be tailored to different parts of the sector. Find out more details on the workshops and book your place. (more…)

Overview and scrutiny in local government inquiry

Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government

Opens: 24 January 2017
Closes: 10 March 2017

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee launches inquiry into overview and scrutiny in local government. The Committee will consider whether overview and scrutiny arrangements in England are working effectively and whether local communities are able to contribute to and monitor the work of their councils

Governance failings

Overview and scrutiny arrangements were introduced by the Local Government Act in 2000 as a counterweight to increasing decision-making powers of Leaders and Cabinets or directly elected mayors. Shortcomings have been exposed, however, following a number of high profile cases, including child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, poor care and high mortality rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and governance failings in Tower Hamlets. (more…)