Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Labour group leader’s Jim Allan and Grant Davey released their own joint comment ahead of the North Tyneside motion

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072

Press Release
Tory Mayor called to condemn ‘illegal and ill judged’ Northumberland Tory motion
‘Northumberland Tories incompetence will damage jobs push’ Davey and Allan

Northumberland Tories who tabled an illegal motion are facing calls from another council to admit they got it wrong on a controversial motion seeking to ‘drastically cut renewable energy subsidies’ and ‘outlaw wind turbine developments illegally’ even in parts of Northumberland who may want them.
At the forthcoming meeting of  Tory run North Tyneside Council on Thurs 27 Sept, the Labour party group have tabled a motion calling for the council’s Tory elected mayor to ‘stand up for jobs on the North Bank of the Tyne Enterprise Zone’ and rein in Northumberland Tories deputy leader Glenn Sanderson who tabled the motion at County Hall last week.
The Labour motion at North Tyneside will also call for the Tory mayor, Linda Arkley to write to the North’s Tory MP’s, Guy Opperman (Hexham), James Wharton (Stockton South) and John Stephenson (Carlisle) urging them to publicly distance themselves from a letter signed by 106 MP’s including Mr Wharton calling for a damaging removal of subsidy from the emerging renewables industries and the Northumberland Motion.
The Northumberland motion tabled by Councillor Sanderson attracted wide spread criticism and led to 5 abstentions from Councillor Sanderson’s own group and led to his leader Councillor Peter Jackson being banned from the debate. In a separate incident, Councillor Jackson was revealed to have submitted at least two planning applications for wind turbines on his own land. The five Tory abstentions included the Chairman of the West Area Planning Committee, Councillor Ian Hutchinson and long serving Tory Terry Robson from Hexham.
Labour MP’s Ronnie Campbell and Ian Lavery have joined in to add their weight to the calls for Sanderson to withdraw his attack on the renewables industry. They previously released a joint comment which ‘accused Sanderson and the Tory group of undermining ‘Con/Dem’ attempts to attract jobs to the North East and of undermining local renewable energy businesses’.
Labour group leader’s Jim Allan and Grant Davey released their own joint comment ahead of the North Tyneside motion
‘The Elected Mayor in North Tyneside needs to distance herself from the actions of her own party in Northumberland and her Tory colleague in Stockton South, James Wharton MP who signed the letter to the Telegraph which we think sends out the wrong messages to potential investors in the North Bank of the Tyne Enterprise Zone. Northumberland Tories illegal and incompetent motion will damage the North East job push.
We’re calling for her to write to Councillor Peter Jackson and Councillor Glenn Sanderson and the Tory MP’s of the region to ask them to publicly back the renewable energy industries and to withdraw their support for the withdrawal of subsidies to the renewables industries.
The Northumberland Motion may have been illegal but it sent out the message that the Tory party in Northumberland wasn’t backing the North East LEP and we want to make sure Mayor Arkley sends a clear message that sort of political ‘gimmick’ isn’t on and doesn’t reflect Tory sentiment in North Tyneside’.

Notes To Editors
·        Attached Press Releases which include the Northumberland Motion - Conservative motion will ‘kill Northumberland jobs’
             Calls for Tory Leader to get a grip on ‘fractured party’
·        http://www.northtyneside.gov.uk/browse-display.shtml?p_ID=538217&p_subjectCategory=40


   

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Update on the parking issue as you will know Grant was on Look North on Friday 21 September 2012

In Northumberland we have 130,000* active drivers, over half of those live in South East Northumberland and enjoy free parking in Council owned car parks in Ashington, Blyth and Cramlington plus two hours time limited parking in privately owned car parks.

The Lib Dem administration's Councillor Andrew Tebbutt told the public the revenue from Car parking is £4M in Northumberland.

It means families living in the North and West of the County with access to one vehicle, potentially pay an additional £60+ per year. Northumberland County Councils Parking permit costs £110 annually.

Northumberland Labour Group would like Parish Councils in the North and West to produce traffic management plans to see if Northumberland County Council can introduce free parking in their areas. Some Parishes have informed the County Council they require parking charges in place to manage traffic management problems and discourage the local workforce from blocking car parking spaces for tourists and shoppers.

Labour Group believes that the work undertaken by the Vale of the White Horse Council, increased casual trade by two thirds, can be replicated across Northumberland and that Parishes should consider first hour free, first two hours free, or if they can manage traffic without charges. Some car parks are massively under utilised Monday to Friday, as Northumberland has a huge elderly population who can visit areas on those days, Parishes need to seriously consider this in their parking plans before more shops and businesses are starved out in their areas.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We’re disappointed that the Liberal Democrats in County Hall and Sir Alan Beith in Berwick have, in our view, deliberately sought to play politics with an issue which is already benefiting the economy of Cumbria but it’s indicative of a party that isn’t interested in jobs and better living standards for the people of Northumberland’.




Northumberland Labour Group
                                                                                        
Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 627000


Press Release
Tesco moves to block ‘cross border Off Sales'
Liberals urged to think about jobs rather than votes as supermarket giant acts to ‘entice customers to stay North of Border’.
Super market giant Tesco have moved to tackle the flow of Scots across the border seeking to take advantage of cheaper alcohol costs as the Scottish government introduces the policy of minimum unit pricing of booze designed to tackle the effects of ‘binge drinking’.
Moves by the Scottish Government to ban so called ‘multi buy offers from 'off sales' in shops and supermarkets have met with a pointed campaign by the supermarket giant which is also one of the largest employers in Northumberland.
Respected trade magazine, the Scottish Grocer has reported ‘that 'Off Sales' in Scotland had dipped slightly as people travelled south to stock up in English shops primarily in Cumbria and Northumberland.
Tesco have sent its Scottish customers, thousands of emails pointing out that if they bought via Tesco’s wine store, the wine is sent from Daventry, Northamptonshire, and thus immune from the multi-buy ban and this marks a change in approach from the big four supermarkets with some leading supermarkets such as Morrisons and Sainsburys, who have absorbed the change. It is believed that the market share of these supermarkets has remained stable
Northumberland Labour Group who have called for the county council to launch an advertising campaign to highlight the opportunities offered to Northumberland’s shops by taking advantage of the Scottish Government move to stop multi-buy alcohol sales have reacted to Tesco’s move
Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said:
"It’s a pity our suggestion to use Northumberland’s economic advantage has been misconstrued by the Liberal administration at County Hall. We’ve put forward a sensible idea which reflected an opportunity to help businesses in Northumberland as a whole but from Berwick in particular. The county and the town have some of the lowest levels of disposable income in Britain and we saw this as a trading and jobs opportunity to help tackle that imbalance. We’re disappointed that the Liberal Democrats in County Hall and Sir Alan Beith in Berwick have, in our view, deliberately sought to play politics with an issue which is already benefiting the economy of Cumbria but it’s indicative of a party that isn’t interested in jobs and better living standards for the people of Northumberland’. 

Notes to Editors







Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tesco Derails Cross Border 'Off Sales'Tesco sent its Scottish customers thousands of emails pointing out that if they bought via Tesco’s wine store, the wine is sent from Daventry, Northamptonshire, and thus immune from the multi-buy ban,

Tesco Derails Cross Border 'Off Sales'
The attacks on Northumberland Labour Group who had the foresight to see a way to increase retail income and therefore jobs in hard pressed north Northumberland through taking advantage of the Scottish Government stopping multi-buy alcohol sales and its advertising, have been brought to an abrupt end. Not by political change, or by members of the Coalition parties, but by one of Britains largest Multi Nationals, TESCO.
The Scottish Government banned multi buy offers from 'off sales' shops and supermarkets. This did lead the Scottish Grocer to report that 'Off Sales' had dipped slightly as people traveled South to stock up in English shops.
Some leading Supermarkets welcomed the change such as Morrisons and Sainsburys, trading on both sides of the Border their market share held up.
However, Tesco sent its Scottish customers thousands of emails pointing out that if they bought via Tesco’s wine store, the wine is sent from Daventry, Northamptonshire, and thus immune from the multi-buy ban,
Northumberland Labour Group Leader said: "Its a pity it hasn't come off in a big way for North Northumberland's businesses, People from Berwick have some of the lowest levels of disposable income in Britain and we saw this as a trading and jobs opportunity." "but of course TESCO have the capability, the finance and the logistics set up to tie up and miss out communities like ours." "Labour Group will keep plugging away to see if we can improve the lot for our residents and hope other opportunities however controversial, offer themselves up sooner rather than later."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Councillor Romer has once again sought to hijack a sensible discussion over a very important issue for her own party political advantage. She knows that her party have nothing to say about the Northumberland economy after 4 disastrous years in charge at County Hall. The so called 'booze cruise' debate is about an economic opportunity for the county not about a very serious health issue of alcohol abuse. I'm happy to continue to stand up for Northumberland's economy while the Liberals seem to want to stand up for Scotland'.

Councillor defends bid for booze cruise trade


 Published on Wednesday 19 September 2012 08:50
NORTHUMBERLAND County Council Labour group leader Grant Davey has defended his call for tourism chiefs to try to lure Scottish booze cruisers south of the border.

His call for businesses in the county to seize the opportunity afforded by the Scottish government introducing a 50p-per-unit minimum price for alcohol hit headlines nationally.
County council chiefs are discussing following the Scots’ example by putting up alcohol prices.
However, at a meeting held at Morpeth Town Hall on Monday to discuss such a move, Coun Davey, of Kitty Brewster in Blyth, said that even if they did do likewise, there was no reason why Northumberland should not seek to profit in the meantime.
“For us, it was an economic issue about raising trade and getting more money in the tourism pot as more people from Scotland would be visiting our towns and areas of beauty, similar to people coming from Scandinavia to the north east and going from Dover to France,” he said.
However, he was criticised by Hartley councillor Anita Romer, the authority’s executive member for health and public protection.
She said: “His continued lack of support for what Scotland’s government is doing to tackle the country’s problem with alcohol is seriously irresponsible.
“Alcohol abuse is going to be one of the council’s highest priorities when it takes on the responsibility for public health in Northumberland next year, and minimum pricing of alcohol is one of a number of measures we can implement in order to reduce the harm to individuals and the county as a whole.”
The authority will decide on its response to the government’s consultation about minimum alcohol prices at a full council meeting later this year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

‘It’s hard to keep up with Councillor Sanderson’s ‘tax increases’




                   Northumberland Labour Group 

                                                                                     

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 627000




PRESS RELEASE
Tories branded ‘tax em’ til they drop’ party
Tory deputy ‘in speed camera u-turn
Tory group Deputy Glen Sanderson faces the unwanted title of ‘Top Tory Taxer’ after his latest call to introduce more speed cameras on Northumberland’s roads as his government pledged to reduce and eventually eliminate speed camera’s. Many organisations like the Tax Payer’s Alliance have branded the camera’s ‘akin to stealth taxes on motorists’.
Councillor Sanderson is believed to be set against the Coaltition government’s plans to leave the number of Speed Camera’s and sites at their current level and ask Councils to consider reducing their number if possible and put in additional signage to reinforce speed limits on A-Class Roads.
Scotland has already put in place legislation to ensure that speed limits are clearly sign posted replacing many of their National Speed Limit Stripes with 60 or 70 mile per hour signs.
 Labour Group leader Grant Davey said
‘It’s hard to keep up with Councillor Sanderson’s ‘tax increases’ his call for new speed cameras across Northumberland without evidence of need is simply an attack on Northumberlands hard pressed motorists. Labour Group members have expressed the opinion that slowing zones from National Speed Limits prior to villages the method used in North Yorkshire would negate the need to increase cameras.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Liberal controlled Executive Members of Northumberland County Council could overturn the views of the Local South East Area Commttee Held at Newbiggan

Two sites put forward to house illegal travllers two sites have been identified in Northumberland’s biggest town as the preferred locations to help council bosses tackle the problem of illegal gypsy and traveller encampments.
Sites at Ennerdale Road and Coniston Road in Blyth – on the edge of the town’s industrial estates – have been earmarked as the best places to put the eight-pitch transit facility.
They have scored highest in terms of suitability after the county council examined a total of 14 potential locations for the site, which will be built using £311,000 in funding from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency.
Executive members of the council will be asked to decide next month which of the two sites should be chosen for the submission of an application for planning permission.
The site will make it easier for the authority to act against unauthorised travellers’ encampments, set up in Northumberland.
Last year 700 people signed a petition after travellers were allowed by the council to temporarily move on to the caravan and camp site at Wansbeck Riverside Park, near Ashington.

It’s telling that of the five Tories who refused to vote in favour, one chairs the North Northumberland planning committee and another chairs the planning committee for the west of the county Tories refuse to support one of there own Coun Sanderson

Floodgates have opened for windfarms, warns councillor

Published on Monday 17 September 2012 11:03
A STREAM of wind turbine schemes is now on the way in Northumberland, says the man behind a failed attempt to curb them.
County councillors voted against Coun Glen Sanderson’s motion last Wednesday after a senior councillor condemned it as illegal.
But he stood by it afterwards and warned that the issue will not go away.
Executive member Tom Brechany said a planning policy change required evidence and public consultation.
Coun Sanderson told the meeting at County Hall: “I think virtually all of us are going to have a battle on our hands sooner or later.”
He said many places were in the firing line such as Berwick, Belford, Tranwell, Elsdon, Alnwick, Longhorsley and Chevington.
His motion called for the cumulative impact of the structures to be considered, a greater distance from homes imposed and called on the Government to slash drastically the subsidies to onshore wind turbines.
Labour and Liberal Democrats generally voted against, with Conservatives the main supporters. It was lost 40 to 13, with seven abstentions, including five from Tory councillors.
Labour Group Leader Grant Davey, who with local MPs had criticised the motion as undermining the renewables industry in the county’s south east, asked if the motion was illegal.
Chief Executive Steve Stewart replied: “It’s one thing to pass a motion, it’s another thing to implement it. Ultimately it would have to be decided by the courts.”
Coun Davey said the authority would then generate court costs which under the new Localism Act might fall on individual councillors. His motion that the question be put was passed and ended the debate.
Before that, Coun Sanderson had argued that the £400million national subsidy to turbines weighed most heavily on people with low incomes because their energy tariffs were high. And Northumberland suffered “the shame of some of the worst fuel poverty in the country”.
Coun Richard Dodd said: “We have a historic county –we’re destroying it.”
He said farmers were getting notes through their doors asking if they’d considered turbines, which brought laughter as it was said some take it up — a reference to Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson, on whose farm a company sought planning permission for a turbine last year.
This year it was revealed he had been a party to talks about a turbine elsewhere on his land in 2010. He was absent from the council meeting.
Coun Sanderson said after the meeting: “Other councils are grasping the nettle on this issue and it’s high time that we did as well.
“We need to be more proactive and listen to what residents are telling us. New turbines should not be approved unless there is a stronger planning case than what is being used at the moment.
“I’m going to carry on the fight and I’ll continue to raise these important points.”
Coun Brechany said afterwards: “Coun Sanderson tried to make a political point and it was left to the Lib Dems on the executive – supported by some of his more sensible colleagues – to point out just how impractical, not to mention potentially illegal, his anti-wind power plans were.
“It’s telling that of the five Tories who refused to vote in favour, one chairs the North Northumberland planning committee and another chairs the planning committee for the west of the county.”


Its Children Not Schools We Care About in Northumberland

Northumberland Labour Group are incensed at the actions of the Coalition Government on the GCSE marking scandal. Government Officials took decisions to downgrade pupils who had passed GCSE's at Grade C down to D as in their words "too many students passed at level C." The Government press releases have concentrated on the fact that 140 schools missed their exam targets and may either be forced to close, set Interim Boards to improve things or transferred out of Local Authority control and steered to Academisation.
Grant Davey Northumberland Labour Group Leader said, "I think its disgraceful that the Coalition Government have spun this news towards Schools, We in Northumberland Labour Group are more concerned for the young people who have lost out in this disgraceful downgrading exercise." "Young people who are not the top 20% rely their whole lives on the pass rate, this downgrading of children from C to D spoils the life chances of so many and it appears this Government doesn't care."
"We demand a full report from the Director of Education on the numbers of young people affected and a plan to see how we can help those who need their Council at this time either to have their marks re-assessed honestly or be aided to resit."
" Northumberland has an average of 23% of all children in poverty, in some areas such as Croft Ward in Blyth its as high as 60%, children from the Blyth, Wansbeck and Rural Coalfield Wards who are not born with silver spoons in their mouths need the comfort of the pass rate as many are not from families that can afford or can give additional educational help. This stripping out of 10 Marks at GCSE through a Government whim to 'improve' is one of the worst examples of attacks on working families we have seen to date."

Labour calls county wide free car parking in Northumberland




                                                                                        
Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072

Press Release
Labour call for county wide free car parking
‘Economy needs a jump start and the council can help’ – Swithenbank
The Labour party are proposing to end car parking charges as the county economy struggles through the current recession after it emerged that the ruling Liberal Democrat group spent over £1.53m on consultants and interim managers.
Northumberland Labour Group are proposing to devise local ‘car parking plans’ with Town and Parish council’s across the county to come up with the short term aim of reducing and then eliminating car parking charges.
Labour group Chair Ian Swithenbank said
‘It’s our view that Northumberland can afford free parking and it’s a question of priorities. It will bring in a fair amount of shoppers and tourists and it will complement the ‘Buy Northumberland campaign’ launched with the Prime Minister last week at the House of Commons. It’s the Labour group view that by involving the Town and Parish council’s in devising local parking plans, we can enable localities to decide how they want to manage their own traffic. I’m afraid that in the current economic environment, we see car parking charges as a tax on motorists to park their vehicles on land they already own’.
The Labour group are confident that the revenue from car parking charges can be offset against drastically reduced costs of external consultants as the council ‘all party committee’ overseeing the Liberal proposals to outsource services prepares to encourage ‘in house expressions of interest’ to run various council services.
The move by Labour comes after Liberals and Tories welcomed a ‘buy Northumberland’ campaign launched by Tory MP Guy Opperman in Westminster attended by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Labour Group leader Grant Davey said
‘We welcome the recent launch of the ‘Buy Northumberland’ campaign but we think instead of standing on the sidelines the Liberal County Council should put their money where their mouth is. Our town centres are crying out for a helping hand and Labour is clear – the council must show where its priorities are – consultants or small businesses?’  

Coun Davey, also the council’s Labour group leader, added: “Instead of sending out negative messages to say Northumberland doesn’t want to work in this exciting industry, we need to rebrand Northumberland and North Tyneside as the place to manufacture all forms of renewables and become the technological base of this embryonic but steadily growing worldwide industry.

Stop biting hand that feeds us, opponents of wind farms urged


The new wind turbine which has been erected on Blyth Quayside dominates the town, as seen here from Waterloo Road. The new wind turbine which has been erected on Blyth Quayside dominates the town, as seen here from Waterloo Road.

OBJECTORS to plans for wind farms in south east Northumberland are being urged to stop biting the hand that feeds them for the sake of the county’s economy.

Blyth county councillor Grant Davey has hit out at opponents of wind farms accusing them of risking deterring further investment in towns such as Blyth, currently at the forefront of the renewable energy industry.
He believes that a boom in the green energy industry on the way for south east Northumberland could help fill the gap in the jobs market left by the closure of Lynemouth’s Rio Tinto Alcan plant earlier this year.
Coun Davey, of the Kitty Brewster ward in Blyth, said: “We are extremely concerned that negative talk in this field will be detrimental to the growth of our embryonic wind farm industry.
“We would like to see a more positive atttitude from councillors for onshore and offshore renewables, and we wholeheartedly support the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth.
“We see one of the largest manufacturing strands for the future of the councils situated north of the Tyne to be in the renewables sector.” South east Northumberland is seen as having significant wind energy resources, making it an attractive location for renewable energy schemes.
“It has already been identified for small to medium-scale wind farm development within a broad area of search of the region and in addition is largely within an identified wind area of search.
Last month, the first of seven new turbines lined up to replace the existing ones in Blyth was put in place on the pier.
The existing turbines will be taken down at the end of this month.
Developers say the new turbines are much more energy efficient and will keep Blyth at the forefront of the renewable energy industry.
“With the loss of both Alcan and Northumbria Foods at Amble, we now need a manufacturing base we can rely on,” added Coun Davey.
“The new growth industry is in the field of renewables, backed up by the use of carbon capture from undersea coal.
“By utilising our assets of a great workforce to build up the renewables industry and the natural resources lying just off our shores, the need to erect and manage the effects of traditional power stations can be diminished for ever.”
Work by Narec on part of a multi-million-pound wind turbine test site began last month off the coast at Blyth as part of a project estimated to be worth in excess of £300m.
The research facility will form part of the 100mw-capacity offshore wind demonstration site proposed for Blyth. It is due to begin measuring wind speeds next month to add to data collected over the last two years.
Coun Davey, also the council’s Labour group leader, added: “Instead of sending out negative messages to say Northumberland doesn’t want to work in this exciting industry, we need to rebrand Northumberland and North Tyneside as the place to manufacture all forms of renewables and become the technological base of this embryonic but steadily growing worldwide industry.
“The opportunity is almost within our grasp. Let’s make sure we don’t allow it to slip away through loose talk.”
News Post Leader

Action Stations for county farmers from Northumberland Labour Group

Monday 17 September 2012     Morpeth Herald

Action stations for county farmers

AN action plan to help Northumberland’s farming industry should be set up now, county councillors have said.

Members of the county’s Labour group are calling for more support for agriculture in light of failing harvests, squeezed price margins and uncertain economic conditions.
The calls come as harvests in many areas have been badly damaged by the wet summer and, by week seven in the British harvest season, only 45 per cent of combinable crops had been brought in, with machinery only able to work half the time it could normally due to the conditions.
Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: “This is an uncertain time in the Northumberland economy with the loss of two major private sector employers in Alcan and Northumberland Foods so it’s important we make sure we protect as much as we can the farming industry during a time of economic strain.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Councillors thought that as the main direction of travel for known families is towards Cumbria for both the Appleby Fair and their winter quarters that a mid Northumberland location near Hexham would be the most suitable to ensure Northumberland fulfills its obligation to look after traveling folk.

Gypsies and Travelers

At South East Northumberland Area Committee on the 12 September 2012 the consultation report for Gypsy and Traveler transit sites was discussed.
The Government guidelines for the development of sites takes areas travelers use regularly and areas they travel through as the prime elements for the scoring mechanism.

In South East Northumberland, Gypsies and Travelers congregate on the Riverside Industrial Estate during the summer months. In recent years traveling families have also used green space off Cowpen Road, Kitty Brewster, Blyth in the Taylor Street area and set up illegal encampments causing many problems for local residents. Two sites have been identified through the Governments process, Coniston Road and the former Sustrans site at Ennerdale Road. One must be chosen to serve the South East corner of the County.

Local Ward Councillor Grant Davey said, "although Government guidelines has steered the proposed south east secure transit site to Kitty Brewster I believe its better for both the traveling folk and local residents to have a full facility site available rather than people being on illegal encampments all over Cowpen and Kitty Brewster. The County Council needs to ensure they build up the confidence of local people that this maximum 21day stay transit site will be both well managed and that travelers will be encouraged not to illegally camp in South East Northumberland once their stopover period expires."

Interim Housing Manager Paul Leo informed the Area Committee that without proper encampments with full facilities, Courts will not implement orders against illegal encampments. He said the Government will fund another site to assist traveling through Northumberland.
Councillors thought that as the main direction of travel for known families is towards Cumbria for both the Appleby Fair and their winter quarters that a mid Northumberland location near Hexham would be the most suitable to ensure Northumberland fulfills its obligation to look after traveling folk.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member Arthur Pegg labelled Councillor Sanderson as ‘opportunistic and hypocritical’ after Conservative group leader Peter Jackson was disqualified from attendance at the meeting on this motion because of past controversial applications for wind turbines on his own land


 Northumberland Labour Group


                                                                                        
Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072


Press Release

Labour condemns ‘wind turbine stunt’
‘The illegal motion was a major embarrassment for Tory leader’. 


A row in Northumberland County Council between Tory Deputy leader Glenn Sanderson and the counties ruling Liberal Democrat group was described by Labour group leader Grant Davey as a ‘distraction from the real job of creating and safeguarding jobs in the county’.

The Labour group, along with MP’s Ronnie Campbell and Ian Lavery have launched a concerted effort to push for more support from the coalition government and greater cross party effort to create and support more jobs in the county. Labour have called for the extension of the proposed Port of Blyth Enterprise Zone to take in the former Alcan site at Lynemouth, have backed calls for the dualling of the A1 and have called for council investment in the county’s ‘under pressure’ farming industry through an all-party action plan.

It was feared that the row over the illegal Conservative motion would undermine future renewable energy investment in Northumberland.   

The row broke out after the senior Conservative tabled a ‘controversial motion calling for the drastic reduction in subsidies to the renewable energy industry and increased planning restrictions for onshore wind turbines’. The motion was ruled ‘illegal’ by the council legal officer.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member Arthur Pegg labelled Councillor Sanderson as ‘opportunistic and hypocritical’ after Conservative group leader Peter Jackson was disqualified from attendance at the meeting on this motion because of past controversial applications for wind turbines on his own land.

Labour Leader Grant Davey said

‘The row between the Tories and Liberals over wind turbines sends out the wrong message to potential investors in renewable technologies. At least 54 businesses exist across the county that rely on this growing sector and we should be looking to encourage more not to cut opportunities. Councillor Sanderson’s illegal motion was ill conceived, anti-growth and was a major embarrassment to Councillor Jackson who seems to be a fan of renewable technologies’.

We want Councillor Bradbury to appear before the all party committee to discuss his proposals for leisure services especially his ‘giveaway of a £20m council asset in Ashington that hasn’t even been built yet. From the speculation about his privatisation proposals he needs to come clean and his leader should live up to his pledge to the council on 4 July to ‘pause his ill-conceived privatisation. The Labour group will be coming forward with outline plans to create a ‘super trust’ which would allow the current advantages to be maintained along with some efficiencies and a more flexible use of the council subsidy. We want to make sure that the council maintains its assets and we count staff in that category’.





                                                                                         Labour Group
Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072


Press Release

Labour calls for leisure ‘privatisation’ rethink
‘Super Trust’ model put forward by opposition.


Liberal Democrat plans to ‘soft market test’ leisure services across the county have been called into question after fears were expressed that the exercise was a prelude to ‘privatisation’ and a ‘fragmented service’. The council which is facing further cuts of £74m after its emergency budget in May is considering ‘outsourcing’ all services with leisure service provision believed to be the ‘pilot’.
Leisure services are currently delivered through a series of ‘trusts’ which are commissioned by the county council. 
The largest groups, BVAL, who manage ex- Blyth Valley and Wansbeck Leisure Services and Leisure Tynedale who are based in the West of the County are Council formed trust companies who now face uncertainty because of the ‘secretive market testing’ approach chosen by the Liberal Democrat leadership.
Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member Neil Bradbury is piloting the proposals to save over £4m by providing incentives such as the ‘giveaway’ of the yet to be built £20m ‘state of the art’ Ashington Leisure Centre to private sector providers but his plans have already come under fire for being ‘secretive’ and ‘privatisation through the back door’ after Liberal leader Jeff Reid pledged to listen to put ‘wholesale privatisation on hold’ at 4 July meeting of the Full Council.

Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘We want Councillor Bradbury to appear before the all party committee to discuss his proposals for leisure services especially his ‘giveaway of a £20m council asset in Ashington that hasn’t even been built yet. From the speculation about his privatisation proposals he needs to come clean and his leader should live up to his pledge to the council on 4 July to ‘pause his ill-conceived privatisation. The Labour group will be coming forward with outline plans to create a ‘super trust’ which would allow the current advantages to be maintained along with some efficiencies and a more flexible use of the council subsidy. We want to make sure that the council maintains its assets and we count staff in that category’. 



End





Saturday, September 08, 2012

Labours Councillor Deirdre Campbell said: Upsetting the balance and removing confidence in peoples employment is not the way to manage public services, Jeff Reid and Neil Bradbury are playing with people's livelihoods".

Northumberland Labour Group are concerned for the future of Leisure Services in Northumberland following the Administrations insistence on cheapening the service through the privatisation of all Leisure Services.

Labour who do not back the Administrations use of very expensive interim project managers to drive the privatisation of all services out of the hands of the Council on the sole wish to reduce the number of people engaged in the public sector.

Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: "Its as if Jeff Reid and his cohorts believe the Public Sector to be a pariah, their wish to separate people from the public sector and create a pseudo private sector by letting contracts to the cheapest bidder is abominable."

The Coalition Government has expressed a desire to increase the number of private sector jobs nationally and has failed to do so. In Northumberland the private sector has diminished rapidly with the loss of Northumberland Foods and Alcan. It is Northumberland Labour's belief that this privatisation project is being rushed through in order that contacts are in place before the Local Government Elections in May 2013.

Grant Davey said "the user experience of leisure services, run by various methods across the former District Council areas is that its currently an all-encompassing service that appeals to a wide age group.
The largest groups, BVAL  who manage ex- Blyth Valley and Wansbeck’s Leisure Services and Leisure Tynedale who are based in the West of the County are Council formed trust companies, they make a grand job of running Leisure and a blend of the trusts to ensure Staff feel a sense of belonging to the Council would be Labour's chosen method of managing Leisure in future."

Labours Councillor Deirdre Campbell said: Upsetting the balance and removing confidence in peoples employment is not the way to manage public services, Jeff Reid and Neil Bradbury are playing with people's livelihoods".


Monday, September 03, 2012

Conservative motion will ‘kill Northumberland jobs’Sanderson motion contradicts coalition plans for renewable energies

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072

PRESS RELEASE
Conservative motion will ‘kill Northumberland jobs’
Sanderson motion contradicts coalition plans for renewable energies.

Only 24 hours after Conservative Chancellor George Osbourne and Liberal leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg announced a ‘brave new dawn in the North East for the fledgling renewable energy industry’, Conservative councillors in Northumberland have tabled a motion calling for ‘a drastic reduction in subsidy to renewable energy sector’ which it is feared will hit private sector investment plans in Northumberland and on the North Bank of the Tyne enterprise zone project.
Northumberland has a big stake and potential to increase economic investment in the renewable energy sector with the biggest non retail private sector employer NAREC located in the county and the motion is being interpreted as a ‘major attack on job creation in Northumberland and the North East.
In a visit to the North East only 24hrs before the Conservative motion, presented by Tory deputy leader Glen Sanderson was tabled for discussion at the next council meeting on 5 Sept, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was claiming ‘he continues to stand up for Tyneside jobs in the face of opposition to wind and renewable energy subsidies’.
The motion calls for ‘the Council to write to the Secretary of State to request that the subsidies for onshore wind power via the Renewables Obligation, the Feed-in Tariff, and the forthcoming Electricity Market Reform package are drastically reduced to prevent speculative and inappropriate development’.
Labour leader Grant Davey who represents Kitty Brewster ward in Blyth said
‘Since the sad demise of Alcan, NAREC is now the largest non retail private sector employer in Northumberland and this motion will damage the chance to attract new jobs in the renewable energy sector for our county and the North East as a whole. This will damage business confidence and just as the coalition are signalling that they want to ‘grow the private sector’, this motion is a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Northumberland Tories obsession with wind turbines is dangerously inward looking and I fear this motion seeks to put party politics before economic prosperity. We should be backing local business and local jobs and many employees at NAREC have relocated to the county (especially Cramlington) because they thought the council was backing ‘green investment’. This motion shows the local Tories have lost the plot and are now undermining the aims of their own government’.
Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth said
‘Local Tories are attempting to kill off job creation in a very important new industry. NAREC is very important to the future of the Northumberland economy and it’s important to my constituents. I’m amazed that 24hrs after his own Chancellor George Osborne and the Deputy PM Nick Clegg were urging more private sector investment to create jobs in the North East, Northumberland Tories were calling for drastic reductions in the subsidy to attract these new jobs. This is a massive slap in the face from Northumberland Tories to their government and I hope councillors will give this madcap motion short shrift on Wednesday’.
Labour MP Ian Lavery of Wansbeck said
‘At a time when the Labour team in Northumberland are lobbying the coalition government hard to secure subsidies to help create new business in the proposed Enterprise Zones, we have local Tories attacking local job creation. How do they think we’ll attract the new renewable industries to Northumberland when they are showing they are so patently anti-growth and anti-jobs? My prediction is that if this motion is carried on Wednesday, we’ll see fewer jobs created in Northumberland and that’s a disgrace. I’ve already lost Alcan and now local Tories want to stop new employers relocating into the area to create highly skilled ‘renewable jobs. Nick Clegg and George Osborne say they’ll stand up for North East jobs and this is their first test, they need to rein in Northumberland Tories.
End






Saturday, September 01, 2012

SENIOR politicians are calling for the government to think outside of the box to help unemployed people in south east Northumberland.

Government urged to include Alcan in its enterprise zone

Rio Tinto Alcan smelter at Lynemouth. Rio Tinto Alcan smelter at Lynemouth.
SENIOR politicians are calling for the government to think outside of the box to help unemployed people in south east Northumberland.

Labour MPs Ronnie Campbell and Ian Lavery, along with group leader Grant Davey, have called on chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Vince Cable to help the county.
The trio believe the government should extend the recently announced Blyth Enterprise Zone to include the area around the former Rio Tinto Alcan site in Lynemouth.
Mr Osborne was in Sunderland last week to highlight the benefits of the city’s enterprise zone and how it was helping attract private sector businesses to the region.
And Labour officials believe Northumberland could enjoy similar benefits if the Port of Blyth Enterprise Zone was extended, helping boost the economy and bring in more jobs.
Enterprise status will give enhanced capital allowances for private investment, business rate relief, subsidy to employ, and transport link help.
Coun Davey, leader of the Labour group on Northumberland County Council, said: “It is time that political parties in Northumberland concentrated on creating the conditions to foster growth.
“There’s too much talking about creating private sector jobs and not enough support to allow communities to get on with it.
“That is why the chancellor and his government need to hear the message from all parties in Northumberland.
“They need to extend the enterprise zone as a priority.”
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who campaigned to keep the Rio Tinto Alcan site open after bosses first said it would close, added: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make sure this coalition has got the message that its policies are hitting south east Northumberland hard and the extension of the Port of Blyth Enterprise Zone is practical help now.
“The chancellor needs to listen to those on the ground who are dealing with unemployment and squeezed living standards and we’re hoping the county council will support our lobby to make this happen.”
Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “We see this extension as being unfinished business.
“I have many former Alcan workers in my constituency and I’ve promised I won’t leave them behind.
“This isn’t party political, which is why I hope (Berwick MP) Sir Alan Beith and Coun Jeff Reid, leader of the council, will back Labour’s plan to attract jobs to south east Northumberland.”