County Councillor Chris Lofts Lib Dem Towcester & Roade
Chronicle and Echo 26th January
"Help Needed For Flood Repair & Recovery" Tim Farron
By Andrew Thomas in Westmorland Gazette
Tim Farron urges the Government to give funding and support to flood-hit South Lakeland
THE water may largely have gone and the weather taken a turn for the better, but as I visit places across South Lakeland it is clear that the effects of the flooding are very much still being felt, not least for those who have been forced to leave their homes.
As media focus shifts to 'new' news and government interest fades, our challenge is to hold the authorities' feet to the fire to ensure that South Lakeland gets the support it needs to recover and to help make our communities more resilient to flooding.
In the short-term, there is an urgent need to restore damaged infrastructure, while in the longer term we must look at comprehensive, whole-systems approaches to flood prevention. For far too long, the government has sought to make short-term savings at the expense of long-term investment which would have helped to provide protection from the floods.
The single biggest infrastructure challenge we face is the continued closure of the A591. Although the government has finally committed to undertake in full the required repairs, this crucial route connecting the north and south of the Lake District is due to remain closed until the end of May. Local business people expect thatthis could cost the local economy up to £100million. If this happens, businesses that rely on the tourist trade will go under, and with them the jobs they supported. I am urgently pushing for a solution that will provide relief for local businesses.
Ultimate betrayal of Britain's steel as Government plans to build Royal Navy ships with cheap imports
Unions branded the move a “betrayal” of staff - thousands of whom face the dole - working in a proud industry that was once the envy of the world
The Tories could snub UK steel firms and use cheap imports to build new Navywarships.
Branded by one union chief as a potential "national scandal", it is a further blow for an industry already battered by closures and job losses.
Experts warned that the industry will be plunged deeper into crisis if the frigates are built with cheap imports.
And revelations heartless David Cameron may snub UK firms in favour of foreign products make his pledge to “buy British” when it comes to major public projects look like yet another empty promise.
Furious union leaders rounded on the Government after Defence Minister Philip Dunne let slip steel for the fleet of Type 26 frigates could be supplied from abroad with multi-billion pound contracts – denying our own foundries the sort of vital cash that could secure their futures.
Unite’s Tony Burke branded the move a “betrayal” of staff who have worked in a proud and historic industry that was once the envy of the world.
It is still reeling from the announcement Tata will shed 1,050 jobs at its plants in Port Talbot, South Wales, Corby and Hartlepool.
That is on top of the 1,200 posts it axed last year in Scunthorpe and Scotland– along with 2,200 workers fired at SSI’s foundry in Redcar, Teesside.
Steelworkers’ union Community president Alan Coombs said: “Britain’s warships should be built using British steel.
"The current steel crisis is a result of unfair trading by China, but this government could do a lot to help.
“Big projects like the new Type 26 frigates are the perfect opportunity for Cameron to put his money where his mouth is.
“We make some of the best steel in the world. There is no question over our ability, just over our government’s willingness to support this vital industry.
“Just this week, David Cameron said he wanted a strong British steel industry, if he really meant it then he must ensure the Type 26 frigates use British steel.”
Unite assistant general secretary Mr Burke added: “It would be a national scandal if British steel wasn’t used to build the Navy’s new frigates.
“The warm words from ministers on using British steel in major government projects would turn to dust and be nothing more than empty rhetoric.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron accused the Tories of “utter hypocrisy”.
He said: “Despite the crisis, the Government is not committing to supporting UK industry by building these ships with homemade steel. This is a small announcement that would make a massive difference.
“They could say they would use British steel on British ships. They are not.”
Do you want to join the campaign to keep the UK in Europe?
Sign up online now: strongerin.co.uk/join
Being part of Europe means UK businesses get free access to over 500 million customers in the EU – and can trade with no tariffs or barriers.
This helps them grow and create jobs here in the UK. 200,000 UK businesses trade with the EU(Source: HMRC) and one in every ten UK jobs is linked to our trade with the EU (Source: Office for National Statistics and House of Commons Library).
And it’s estimated that remaining in the EU will mean another 790,000 jobs being created across the UK over the next 15 years – creating more opportunities now and for the future.
Got those January Blues? Why not come along to our post Christmas get together?
Tuesday 26th January at 7 p.m Kingsley Park Working Mens Club, Northampton, NN2 7HJ
Open to old and new members, friends and gentlefolk from Northampton and the county.
A hot supper for only £8 and beer at club prices.
Contact David Garlick 01604 784634 if you are coming
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please accept apologies for previous post of wrong dateRead more
Late last year the Liberal Democrats in Parliament scored a huge victory when pressure from our MPs and peers helped to force George Osborne to re-think his plans to cut tax credits, whilst Labour only proposed delays.
Sadly, despite Osborne's claimed U-turn in his Autumn Statement, the Conservatives are still pressing ahead with cuts to Universal Credit from 2017.
These cuts would see new claimants, or those who move home, losing an average of £1,080 a year.
Tim Farron and The Liberal Democrats in both The Commons and House of Lords are pledged to fight this proposal which is another attempt by Tories to claw back money from working families.
Sign our petition at www.libdems.org.uk/universal-credit
A motion calling for the Conservative Party to pay back £36,000 of donations Northampton South MP David Mackintosh received for his election campaign was turned down by the Tories at the Guildhall last night.
In what turned out to be a fiery debating point at the December full Northampton Borough Council meeting, the Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth said the Tories had a duty to repay the money.
Councillor Sally Beardsworth.
Her call came after it emerged former council leader Mr Mackintosh had received at least two £10,000 donations to his 2015 fighting fund from business associates of Howard Grossman, the Bushey-based man who was sole director of the development firm tasked with managing the Sixfields stadium revamp in 2013. Neither of the two associates were connected to 1st Land and there is nothing illegal about businesspeople donating money to election funds. Both the police and the Electoral Commission have said they are not investigating.
Mr Mackintosh has said in the past that the payments were given on the basis of national issues, not local ones, and he said he had not discussed Sixfields or the loan to anyone who donated money.
But with the borough council now pursuing legal action to reclaim that £10.25 million it loaned to Northampton Town in 2013 for the stadium revamp, last night Councillor Beardsworth said it should also seek to recover £36,000 of donations to Mr Mackintosh’s fighting fund as well.
The motion read: “Given that the loan money has gone missing, it is essential we retrieve as much as possible of the £10.25 million and that we avoid any perception of propriety [sic] beyond what cannot be avoided.
“Therefore this council resolves to formally request the return of all and any donations linked to anyone that could have financially benefitted from the loan from this council from the Conservative party to be counted against the NTFC loan.”