Month: May 2019

Time To Drain The House Of Lords Swamp?

The Guardian

devoted itself to its investigation into the attendance and voting records of some members of the House of Lords. Particularly Lord Brookman

among dozens not to speak, raising fresh questions about the chamber.

The former trade union general secretary David Brookman was among dozens of other lords and baronesses who never took part in a single debate, while almost a third of the 800 peers barely participated in parliamentary business over a 12-month period despite costing almost £3.2m in allowances.

It reports that 46 peers failed to register a single vote last year. One Labour peer is said to have claimed almost £50,000 in attendance and travel expenses covering every day the Lords was sitting, despite never speaking or asking written questions.

The newspaper suggests the data will raise fresh questions about the size and effectiveness of the Lords, and the funds that can be claimed by those who fail to regularly contribute. The findings show: Eighty-eight peers, about one in nine, never spoke, held a government post or participated in a committee at all; Forty-six peers did not register a single vote, including on Brexit, sit on a committee or hold a post. One peer claimed £25,000 without voting, while another claimed £41,000 but only voted once.

More than 270 peers claimed more than £40,000 in allowances, with two claiming more than £70,000. The Lords allegedly plays a crucial role in scrutinising government legislation, but its critics have long complained the chamber is bloated, anachronistic and inefficient.

The largest claim for attendance and travel expenses was from the former Labour minister Jack Cunningham

who chairs one of the chamber’s most important committees scrutinising secondary legislation. He claimed £75,122 for 154 days’ attendance, £23,108 of which was for air travel.
Receipts obtained through freedom of information requests suggest Lord Cunningham took dozens of flights to and from London. It is not clear whether or not Cunningham travelled business class.

It’s all a public swindle, time to drain the swamp and reform it for an elected house.

German Interference In Brexit?

It’s reported that Germany will block another delay to Brexit

at the European Council unless the UK announces a second referendum or general election by October, the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee chair has warned.

“In a sign that Berlin is near the end of its tether on Brexit, Norbert Röttgen, a former minister and senior MP for Germany’s ruling CDU party, said there could be no extension to the Article 50 process unless the UK offered a concrete reason, such as a public vote.

“He also warned Tory leadership candidates against trying to “blackmail” the EU by threatening to leave with no deal unless the Brexit deal is changed”.

The UK’s trade performance has deteriorated because the single market and the customs union are designed to suit other countries, Germany in particular, but not Britain. “It is not surprising that our trade deficit with the EU continues to grow, because the single market and customs union does not represent a free trade area. It is a free trade area only in goods. Manufactured goods represent Germany’s comparative advantage, whereas ours is in services.

“We have entered into a lop-sided arrangement under which all impediments to trade have been removed from areas where our trading partners are strong but not from areas where we are strong. So obviously our overall trade deficit with them has gone on rising, and will continue to do so”.

£99billion and rising. No wonder Germany wants the UK to remain!

Which Parts Of The Local Plan Have been Scrapped?

In “Lettters to the Editor”

Gavin Rattray of Burscough asks the question that many people are interested in.

He states that “Unfortunately for residents they should not believe it. He quotes a letter from the WLBC that the decision of Cabinet on 12th March was “That the Local Delivery Scheme be amended to allow time for the reconsideration of the proposed Local Plan timescale and the preparation of and consultation on a new Local Plan Preferred Options. The preparation of a new Local Plan therefore continues”.

“Note not a single mention of scrapping and the appearance that all options are still open to WLBC! WLBC need to clarify exactly which parts of the plan, if any, have been scrapped”.

English Short-Changed On Care Funding

The BBC has revealed that public spending

on care for the elderly and disabled is much higher in Scotland and Wales than England.

In England, £310 per person is spent each year on services such as care homes and home help for daily tasks such as washing and dressing.

But in Scotland, £445 is spent, 43% more than in England, and in Wales it is £414, 33% more.

The analysis has been produced by the Health Foundation using official spending and population data. The think-tank said the differences were “huge” and had a major impact on the care that could be provided by councils to these vulnerable groups.

Care spending is likely to be a significant factor in this given it accounts for more than half of local authority budgets. Ministers in England have promised that new plans for care, including funding, will be published soon.

In England, anyone with assets of over £23,250 has to pay the full cost of their care. But in Scotland personal care, such as help washing and dressing, is provided free to everyone assessed as being entitled to care. In Wales the cost of help in the home is capped, currently at £90 a week.

This is a disgrace, but where is the will for equality for England? Not among this current bunch of self-serving elected politicians, that’s for sure!

Council Cock-Up

Public speaking at a meeting of the Council

WLBC has published this guidance for public speaker hopefuls “To request to speak, members of the public must contact Member Services with their request by 10am on the Friday of the week preceding the relevant meeting. For example a request to speak at Cabinet in January 2019 must reach us by 10am on Friday, 7 June 2019″.

How much are we paying the WLBC Press Officer? Whatever it is it’s too much?

How Ordinary Are We, Compared With MPs?

‘500 ordinary people would make recommendations back to parliament’

International Development Secretary @RoryStewartUK suggests the idea of a citizens assembly to help solve the #Brexit deadlock. Do you agree?

Well no, isn’t the House of Commons just 650 ordinary people in assembly? This idea indicates a village has lost its idiot? But he could be our new Prime Minister!

Meanwhile

There’s a pledge, apparently, by Tory leadership hopefuls, to be nice to one another! As if!

And over in Peterborough

People are asking if A) a simple majority of the votes for one candidate will be enough to elect the new MP, or B) will the combined votes for second and third be compared with A to decide the winner?

 

From LCC Independent Cllr Greenall

LCC Independent Cllr Paul Greenall writes

“I asked a question @ a Full County Council meeting about proposed transport infrastructure improvements in West Lancashire should thousands more houses be built. Attached is the written reply I received a few days ago”.

From CC Greenall for CC lddon

West Lancashire Borough Council recently published its Local Plan Review Preferred Options document, which contains proposals to build almost 16,000 dwellings in West Lancashire. Given that Lancashire County Council supports the broad quantum and location of the proposed growth, but acknowledges it will need to be supported by appropriate levels of transport infrastructure and associated services, can the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport please advise what type of transport infrastructure will be offered to the people of West Lancashire East, given they already encounter serious problems with traffic congestion in the areas where the construction of over 6,000 dwellings is proposed?

Cllr lddon Response:

Highways officers here have been working with West Lancashire Council with regard to the preparation of their next local plan which it is in its early stages of development. Initial discussions between officers were for a plan which extends for many years (30years). West Lancashire Council commissioned transport consultants White Young and Green to prepare a technical note which identifies necessary highway changes as a result of new development in line with their plan period. I note at this stage the plan period is not fixed.

Until the above work is completed and agreed having regard to an agreed plan period, it is not possible for highway officers to identify what will be required to satisfy the additional demands of the transport network and when it is required. What is certain is that additional demands on the highway network will increase over time and will be influenced by development. The technical work when completed and agreed will identify the key highway changes to support the local plan, it is the implementation strategy which links development to highway changes, this is key to ensure appropriate timing and delivery of changes.

Highway officers can and will continue to work closely with West Lancashire officers and developers to ensure that highway schemes are delivered in advance of them being needed. However, this does not imply that measures will be delivered prior to development. Highway changes will be delivered through planning related triggers. Progression, adoption and the local plan period is the responsibility of West Lancashire Council, however its delivery requires close working with the highway authorities (LCC and Highways England) and with developers, which Highway officers are committed to.