Thursday, 25 April 2013
Spokesperson for the Labour candidates in Morpeth, Debbie Davies said'It's clear that only Labour aren't playing politics with parking in this election and our plan to give communities the final say over free parking in Northumberland. This should be an issue that crosses the party political divide and we believe the decision for free parking should be made in communities not in County Hall'
Political row rages over free parking in Morpeth
by David Black, The Journal
Apr 25 2013
A POLITICAL row has erupted over a long-running campaign by business leaders for a fairer system of car parking charges across Northumberland.
Furious officials at Morpeth Chamber of Trade say they feel “threatened and bullied” by an accusation from a local Liberal Democrat councillor that the business organisation is a “front for the Conservative party”.
Coun Ken Brown also said the town council may withdraw its annual £1,000 grant to the chamber because of its allegedly party political stance.
The row has blown up just days before voters go to the polls to elect new members of the county, town and parish councils.
Morpeth chamber of trade has been campaigning for years against the current system, which sees parking fees levied in the rural market towns while drivers park free in south east Northumberland towns such as Ashington and Blyth.
The chamber has distributed leaflets and window stickers in advance of next week’s county council elections urging people to Vote for Free Parking – and setting out the current policies of the three main political groups on the issue.
The Conservatives have promised to introduce free parking for all Northumberland residents if elected, Labour has pledged to phase out parking charges in consultation with local communities and the Lib Dems say scrapping charges is unaffordable in the current financial climate.
The Lib Dems have now accused the chamber of urging people to vote Conservative – an allegation which it strongly refutes.
In an email to chamber chairman, George Williams, Mr Brown said the organisation was to “publish a leaflet in support of the Conservative Party’s policy of free parking”.
He said this would have “ramifications” for the chamber, including the Lib Dems identifying it as a front for the Conservative Party. Mr Brown also said Morpeth Town Council will not subsidise any organisation that engages in political activity.
He added: “This would prevent payment of the annual £1,071 subsidy to the Chamber, would bring into question joint projects such as Northumbria In Bloom and will probably tear apart the Town Team.”
The chamber held an emergency committee meeting last week and unanimously agreed to press ahead with its campaign for free parking.
Yesterday vice-chairman Charles Robinson said the chamber was non-political and didn’t support any one party.
“There is a great deal of anger, frustration and disappointment at the stance which the Lib Dems have taken on this,” he said.
“We were incensed by this attack on us and feel threatened and bullied. We have been running our campaign against the unfair system of parking charges in Northumberland for almost five years. All we have done in the leaflets is to set out the current policies of the three parties on this issue.
“As a chamber we wish to make it absolutely clear that our policy in having fair and equal car parking charges throughout the county is supported by both the Labour and Conservative parties – and that it is they who support us, not vice versa.”
Andrew Tebbutt, who is the agent for all Morpeth Lib Dem candidates at the county and town council elections, said his party was “astonished and disappointed” that the chamber of trade had taken a political stance in the election campaign.
“We can understand that they want free parking, but to come out in support of a political party on a single issue is not what is expected from a chamber of trade,” he said.
Peter Jackson, leader of the Conservative group at County Hall, said the Lib Dems were “acting like petulant children”. He said: “They have been forced into a corner as the only group which wants to maintain the current unfair system of parking charges.”
Read more: Journal Live http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2013/04/25/political-row-rages-over-free-parking-in-morpeth-61634-33232443/#ixzz2RT5yAa9K
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Senior local politicians and Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery have waded into the row about the council’s failure to log thousands of resident’s names describing the council’s lack of action as ‘deeply disturbing’ and an affront to the people who signed Labour’s petition which demanded free parking across the county.
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Combination of cuts hits most deprived areas hardest
New analysis by the Labour Party shows that the most deprived areas of the country are getting a double hit from local government cuts and cuts to tax credits and benefits.
The North East of England is the worst hit area, with cuts amounting to £566 per head. Least affected is the South East, where the combined impact of local government and welfare cuts is just over half as great, at £292 per head.
The worst-hit area, Knowsley in Merseyside, sees a total loss of £850 per head – £515 per head in welfare cuts and £336 in local government cuts. The least-hit area, Mole Valley in Surrey, sees a total loss of £182 per head – £164 in welfare cuts and £18 in local government cuts.
Two thirds of those affected by cuts to tax credits and benefits are in work.
By region, the loss per head is as follows
North East £566
North West £508
Yorks and Humber £421
West Midlands £388
East Midlands £364
South West £334
South East £292
Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“The Tories are zeroing in on areas in need and hitting them hard – twice.
“Communities facing the biggest hit to local government are also losing most from cuts to their tax credits and benefits, yet instead of helping working families the Tories are giving millionaires a tax cut. That tells you everything you need to know about this Government’s priorities.”
1. The analysis by the Labour Party combines two separate datasets - not originally compiled by the Labour Party - to show the impact of local government cuts and welfare cuts in 2014/15. A spreadsheet is attached.
2. The welfare cuts information was compiled by the Sheffield Hallam University Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, and published as "Hitting the poorest places hardest: The local and regional impact of welfare reform", April 2013, http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/hitting-poorest-places-hardest_0.pdf
3. The original data was calculated to show the cut per working age adult by local authority. Labour has divided the total cut in each local authority by the total number of residents to give a per head figure instead.
4. The local authority spending cuts dataset was compiled by Newcastle City Council, and gives cumulative per head of population change in Revenue Spending Power in 2014-15 compared to 2010/11. Their dataset is available here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdHlyTlZGMFhyNXFsU2JlQjZkVkNGUHc#gid=9
5. The City of London has been excluded from the figures.
Sent by email from the Labour Party, promoted by Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour Party, both at One Brewer's Green, London SW1H 0RH. Website: www.labour.org.uk to join or renew call 0845 0922299
Labour MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery branded the decision by the town council to ignore resident’s petition as ‘wrong’
Labour MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery branded the decision by the town council to ignore resident’s petition as ‘wrong’ and said
‘It’s clear that we need a new public convenience in the town but the choice of location has turned a public convenience into a potential public inconvenience. Alan Thompson has led the plans to site this toilet next to a restaurant and someone’s home and he’s got to think again. He may have won the planning inspector over to his plans but he’s not won the most important people over and that’s the people who will be affected by this decision. He has a chance to come up with a new location and I’m urging him to think again and look at a new location. The ball is in his court and he needs to listen to the views of his residents not the planning inspector’.