Month: January 2019

Pork Barrel Cash For West Lancashire?

It’s reported that Theresa May is preparing to pump millions of pounds into Leave-backing constituencies as she tries to entice wavering Opposition politicians. The ‘pork barrel’ tactic is effectively an admission that Mrs May cannot get a package through Parliament with just Tory and DUP votes. West Lancashire is listed as a possible beneficiary!

Show us the money

The move was hailed by some Labour MPs, with John Mann urging the PM to ‘show us the money’. But Tottenham MP David Lammy, who has been demanding a second referendum, branded his colleagues ‘fools’ for working with the government. ‘Socialists my arse. Cowards and facilitators. History will be brutal’ he said.

Respect the referendum

The wrangling comes amid increasingly frantic efforts to forge a cross-party consensus. Labour MP Lisa Nandy insisted her party now had to make ‘real choices’ and respect the referendum. 20 constituencies might benefit.

Austin Mitchell says

The North needs more government spending and a far better deal whether we stay in the EU or leave. It shouldn’t be a bribe. It’s Justice! But if the Government is going to do as it should and boost aid to the regions left behind, then Grimsby needs a much fairer share. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?

A Housing Need Figure Is Not A Target

A letter sent to Wirral Council Opposition Conservative Group leader Ian Lewis  by James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State for Housing , Communities and Local Government is concerned with the local political debate about how housing need figures are calculated. 

It reads 

“Thank you for your letter of 13 December regarding the standard method for assessing local housing need. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to engage with our recent consultation.

“The technical consultation closed on 7 December and the Government is currently considering the responses received. The response to consultation will be published in due course. I would emphasise that a housing need figure is not a target. Local authorities should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes their communities need, using the standard method as the starting point in the process. Once this has been established, planning to meet that need will require consideration of land availability, relevant constraints, and whether the need is more appropriately met in neighbouring areas. This will then be scrutinised as part of the examination undertaken by an independent inspector”.

Demonstrate a clear path

Wirral Council has been warned if it fails to “demonstrate a clear path” to developing a blueprint for the future of housing in the borough then the Government will take over. In a letter addressed to council leader Phil Davies, secretary of state for housing and local government James Brokenshire warns the town hall must publish an action plan, report monthly to officials on its progress and designate a lead councillor and lead official to progress the preparation of the so-called Local Plan.

Mr Brokenshire states Wirral is one of only 11 authorities who is yet to publish such a plan. He criticised planning policies for not being kept up to date, the last local plan for the borough being adopted in February 2000.

Consistent failure

The minister warned that due to Wirral’s “consistent failure” to meet milestones for a local development scheme, it would be quicker for the Government to intervene in preparing a masterplan that would be put in place as soon as possible. Mr Brokenshire believes Wirral’s problems are not caused by it being an area “where there is higher housing pressure” but are due to the fact the council has failed to plan for new homes for residents.

In responding to Mr Brokenshire’s letter town hall boss Phil Davies said he would comply with its demands. The Labour group leader pointed out a councillor and official have been put in place for the Local Plan along with appointing a QC in autumn to ensure the council is fully compliant with legislation.

Old Warriors

Two old Labour warriors have again expressed their long held views of the EU.

Austin Mitchell tweets   and explains he gave up being an MP because “birthdays caught up with him”. He’s 84.

And Dennis Skinner

writing in September 2017 “I’m the only person in the whole of this #Parliament who’s voted against every treaty of the #EU…As a matter of principle for 47 years I’ve done the same thing. Isn’t that a good thing to be able to say?” It’s 48 years now. Two days ago he wrote T May does Neville Chamberlain. “This morning the British Ambassador in Brussels handed the EU a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to allow us to withdraw, a state of Brexit would exist between us”. Olive branch? Wonderful stuff!

Rosie Cooper 4 More Brexit Votes

Deferred Divisions – Exiting The European Union (Consumer Protection) (30 Jan 2019) Voted no (division #314; result was 310 aye, 268 no)

Deferred Divisions – Exiting The European Union (Financial Services And Markets) (30 Jan 2019) Voted no (division #315; result was 310 aye, 261 no)

Deferred Divisions – Exiting The European Union (Agriculture) (30 Jan 2019) Voted no (division #316; result was 311 aye, 267 no)

Delegated Legislation – exiting the European Union (Merchant Shipping) (30 Jan 2019) Voted no (division #320; result was 289 aye, 243 no)

Rosie Cooper On Brexit?

An Ormskirk resident has raised the subject of Rosie Cooper MP and her position on Brexit with the Champion. 

He asks about open meetings he may have missed

Has she spoken in any debate, what is her view on no deal, what are her views on Article 50, what are her views on a People’s Vote.

Leaving aside a long period when she was under a death threat and consequently away from public meetings but attending private events, anyone can visit her website and read her news on local and parliamentary events. And she provides a news email too.

But that’s not the only method of following her views.

Registering on “They work for you” brings news of everything she says in Parliament. She has stated that although West Lancashire voted to leave, she doesn’t believe they voted to be worse off. Not that anything of that kind was on the referendum voting options.

What she is clear about is “we are not at a point where a “Peoples’ Vote” could be considered. We already had one Rosie, June 2016. What we do need is to leave, clean break, and recover our sovereignty at the end of March. That’s democracy.

Lancashire County Gritting Latest

Busy gritting teams warn of ice risk as big freeze continues, and Lancashire County Council’s gritting teams are working around the clock to keep the county moving. 

All the priority routes were treated a number of times on Tuesday

before the band of wintry weather arrived, and crews have since been working non-stop to deal with ice and snow, and keep the main routes open.

The gritters have been busy again today (Wednesday), with the second priority routes being treated in the worst-hit areas of East Lancashire. Gritting teams are on duty again this evening and overnight to treat the priority routes as required. They will also be on duty tomorrow morning to treat secondary routes and footpaths where necessary, as long as the main routes are clear.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice overnight. Wintry showers are forecast to continue through the evening before dying out later in the night, with the risk of ice from the showers and as the snow melts.

County Councillor Keith Iddon 

cabinet member for highways and transport, said “Our gritting crews have been very busy over recent days. The worst of the snow has passed for now, but there remains the risk of ice as temperatures are due to stay low over the coming days. There have been difficulties on some roads due to the snow, despite all our efforts – people still need to be extra careful due to the continuing risk of ice, particularly on untreated roads.

“Some of our local roads in the south of the county were also affected earlier today by major disruption on the M6 southbound, which meant traffic taking local routes which increased traffic congestion and slowed our gritting operations. We do everything we can to keep traffic moving on priority roads and we are open about the fact we cannot grit every road in Lancashire. Even if we had the resources needed we couldn’t grit them quickly enough to make a real difference.

“No council does this and its important people understand there are limitations to the service we can provide. Even roads which have been gritted can remain icy and everyone needs to drive according to the conditions. I’d also ask everyone to think about how they park to make sure there’s room for a gritter to get past.”

Lancashire County Council has a fleet of 45 frontline gritters

which can treat the 1,500 miles of the county council’s priority road network within around four hours, but may take longer in severe conditions.

For further information and advice visit http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/winter. Follow us on Twitter for news and updates at http://www.twitter.com/lancashirecc or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lancashirecc.

Snow Suspends Refuse Collections

Having just ventured out, the first thing I can’t see is any grit on our local Aughton roads. LCC seems to have missed us.

Perhaps this  is why ?

Now, WLBC has stated “Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions we have had to suspend the collection of refuse and recycling this morning. The situation will be reviewed later this morning and if conditions improve collections will resume. For the time being residents should leave their bins out for collection and further details will be released, in due course on how we will catch up with collections.

Heidi McDougall Director of Leisure and Environment
West Lancashire Borough Council

Update

WLBC states “Refuse and recycling collections are now taking place in most of West Lancashire but some rural locations still remain inaccessible to our crews. Please keep your bin out ready for collection, although we are still experiencing delays due to the adverse weather”. Well done to the crews, magnificent effort. 

But the Ormskirk Market for Thursday 31 January has been cancelled due to the forecast for continued adverse weather.