Friday, 27 September 2013

Leader of Council Grant Davey said; "I will ensure that the Chief Executive of the Council, Steve Stewart fully investigates the antics of these Councillors and if it found they have breached the Standards procedures they will be brought to justice. I believe he needs to get them to explain why they have tried to frighten the public without reason and apologise unequivocally to businesses and customers across Northumberland who's trade may have been damaged through their childish attempts to make political gain at the expense of others

Labour Group members in Northumberland can’t believe the press statements of Tory Councillors today regarding the food standards audit report which took place in October 2012 whilst they were in charge of scrutiny on behalf of the coalition parties.

Their comments may have rendered untold damage onto the food industry across Northumberland and the unsubstantiated remarks made by them may have breached the Councils strict standards procedures.
The council took immediate action before receiving the audit findings in December 2012 to address areas highlighted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in an audit conducted in October 2012.
In addition to developing a comprehensive audit action plan, the detail of which has been agreed by the FSA and the majority of actions now implemented, the public protection service continues to proactively develop service improvements so residents can be confident about food safety in Northumberland.

In 2012/13, officers undertook a total of 2,496 visits to food establishments, including programmed food hygiene inspections and food sampling visits.

Since the creation of the commercial Food Team in 2011, there are currently nine trained and qualified people working in food hygiene, which is an overall increase of two since 2011.Overall, we have a very good standard of food businesses within Northumberland, with 94% of those businesses that supply food direct to the consumer achieving a three, four or five star rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Labour took up office on May 22nd this year and had a report brought to the June Policy Board for clarification on this issue, that report indicated the work to bring the Council up to the standards stated in the FSA Auditors report was on track

Leader of Council Grant Davey said; "I will ensure that the Chief Executive of the Council, Steve Stewart fully investigates the antics of these Councillors and if it found they have breached the Standards procedures they will be brought to justice. I believe he needs to get them to explain why they have tried to frighten the public without reason and apologise unequivocally to businesses and customers across Northumberland who's trade may have been damaged through their childish attempts to make political gain at the expense of others"

Notice of Motion on Pay Day Loan sites.Council resolves to Block Access to Pay Day sites on Council buildings

NOTICE OF MOTION

(a) Notice of Motion No.1

In accordance with Rules of Procedure No.10, Councillor L. Pidcock to move the following motion, received by the Committee Services Manager on 24 September 2013:-
"The rising cost of living and falling income is causing genuine problems for people with their finances. Among those who borrow from high cost credit companies on average borrow around £326 per month. The interest paid on this money is punishing; many are unable to make the repayments.

This council resolves to block access to Payday loan websites through the public PC's in libraries and other council buildings across Northumberland and from its employees' computers unless and until the industry, including its advertising practices, is effectively controlled.

This Council pledges to investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of Payday loan companies and pay weekly furniture providers who force maintenance and insurance agreements on customers, on our high streets

This action should be taken to enable the Council to protect people from taking out high interest loans from companies that fail to check that they can repay the loan, often leading to them becoming trapped in a spiral of debt.

This council is committed to strongly support recognised Credit Unions within our county as a sustainable alternative to high cost, short term credit.

We also call on this Government to legislate and effectively regulate Payday lenders and protect our communities from the growth in easy debt to bring closure on austerity as early as possible".

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

LABOUR WILL REPEAL THE BEDROOM TAX, WITHOUT EXTRA BORROWING

LABOUR WILL REPEAL THE BEDROOM TAX, WITHOUT EXTRA BORROWING

At a time when this Government is standing up for a privileged few by giving a tax cut to millionaires, it’s appalling that vulnerable people, many of them disabled, are being plunged into arrears and debt as a result of David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax.

Labour has announced that in Government we will repeal the Bedroom Tax. We’ll pay for that by reversing Government measures including the recent tax cut for hedge funds, the shares for rights scheme (which opened up a massive £1 billion tax loophole) and tackling tax scams in the construction industry.

This will provide a glimmer of hope to the over 400,000 disabled people hit by David Cameron’s cruel and unfair measure.

The move also demonstrates what life under Labour will be like. Not borrowing more in these tough times, but using Labour values to guide a different set of Labour priorities.

The fact remains that the Bedroom Tax does not deal with the problem that it’s supposed to solve, that of under-occupation. In fact, the Government’s costings on the amount raised from the Bedroom Tax explicitly assume that people do not move into smaller properties.

Labour will deal with under-occupation by funding local authorities who are able to help people with the costs of moving to suitable accommodation, using the funding set aside by the Government through Discretionary Housing Payments for dealing with the problems caused by the Bedroom Tax.

In tough times, Labour will make tough choices on all spending – including social security. Ed Miliband has set out that we won’t borrow to pay for this or any social security change.

It is because Labour is serious about getting the social security bill down that repealing the Bedroom Tax is the right thing to do. As well as being cruel and unfair, growing evidence shows that the Bedroom Tax costs more than it saves, partly because those forced to move to the private rented sector will end up costing more in Housing Benefit.

Housing Associations say that tens of millions of pounds are likely to be lost through the build up of arrears.
There will be many tough choices ahead for Labour, like cutting the winter fuel allowance for the wealthiest pensioners.

But what is distinctly Labour, is our belief that we need a recovery that benefits everyone, not just a few at the top.

Our approach to bringing social security down will be to ensure that more people are in work. That is why we want to help to make work pay by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax – paid for by a mansion tax – and to repeat the tax on bankers’ bonuses to pay for a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people.
I’m ready to make tough choices. But it will be in a distinctly Labour way.

Families in Northumberland facing the ‘big squeeze’

Families in Northumberland facing the ‘big squeeze’
‘Coalition priorities are targeting the wrong people’ – Grant Davey

Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey has attacked the governing coalition for ‘sticking up for the wrong people’ as figures released by the House of Commons Library saw average earnings fall by £1,350 since the last General Election. In Northumberland, wages have fallen by an estimated 5.8% and the average family is spending £360 per week just to keep pace with price rises and living costs such as energy and fuel.
Labour are also pointing out that in a rural county like Northumberland, families are spending a disproportionate amount of disposable income on the cost of running a car. Figures released by Aviva, show the average cost of running a car has risen to £51 per week.
Now Grant Davey, the Labour group leader and the leader of Northumberland County Council has waded into the cost of living debate by highlighting how coalition cuts and tax increases are hitting those least able to afford it the most.
He said
‘It’s clear where the priorities of this coalition are with a tax cut for millionaires while increasing VAT which hits ordinary families disproportionately. Coupled with falling living standards that show the average working family has lost £1,350 since the coalition took power, families in Northumberland now have to face up to the fact that the council has to cut at least £70m as well in the next two years. That means every household will lose services worth £222 per year. It’s high time that Conservative and Liberal Democrats councillors and MP’s in the county made their voices heard in Westminster and started to stand up for ordinary families facing a coalition ‘double whammy of service cuts and falling living standards’.


Notes for Editors

1. £1,350 average wage fall – House of Commons Library – Based on average median weekly wage for all employees – 2010-12 adjusted by RPI
2. Aviva Household Spending Data here