Monthly Archives: April 2020

“Promises Promises” Of 100,000 Tests?

At the press conference when the “goal” was first announced on April 2, Health Secretary Matt Hancock

said “I am now setting the goal of 100,000 tests per day by the end of this month. That is the goal and I am determined that we will get there”.

From the Daily Mail

today “Will Health Secretary Matt Hancock reach his self-imposed daily target of 100,000 tests by tonight’s deadline? Almost certainly not. Does it matter? Many will say that although he missed his mark, capacity has been significantly ramped up allowing far more tests to be carried out in the community. But there are questions of confidence and trust. If a minister makes a promise and fails to keep it why should we believe him next time”?

So a goal became a target that became a promise. But the Daily Mail publishes a “Clarifications & corrections” section which also today states “An article in Monday’s paper about Laurence Fox’s new relationship said that King Edward VI High School for Girls “costs £40,014”. In fact the school’s annual fees are £13,338. We apologise for the error”.

If a national newspaper that we should trust publishes incorrect facts why should we believe it next time?

The Lowest Of Low Standards In LCC?

We no sooner write about low standards in the West Lancashire Borough Council that we hear about even lower standards in the Lancashire County Council.

LCC has a Conduct Committee, after its Standards Committee was abandoned in 2012. “The purpose of this Committee is to determine whether a councillor or co-opted member has failed to comply with the Council’s Code of Conduct and if so, to determine what action, if any, to take. The Committee also considers the granting of a dispensation to a member or co-opted member allowing him/her to participate in any discussion at a meeting or vote in relation to any matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

“The Committee will normally be dealing with confidential information and consequently the greater part of its meetings will be in private. Further information about the Committee can be found in the Constitution.

“All County Councillors will represent their communities and bring their views into the Council’s decision-making process, i.e. become the advocate of and for their communities; deal with local issues and act as an advocate for constituents in resolving particular concerns or grievances”. You are a member or co-opted member of the Lancashire County Council and hence you shall have regard to the following principles – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership”.

Email to WLBC Cllr Owens “You wasted your time collecting signatures for your petition which I have just dispatched to the bin. I have previously explained at length to you why our HWRCs are closed but if you tell me which part of the government instruction “stay at home, except for essential journeys, in order to protect the NHS and save lives”, you do not understand, I will do my best to explain it to you in simple terms.

I know that government is reviewing this matter and if they change the classification of ‘essential journey’ to include a trip to the HWRC, then of course we will reopen them. In the meantime, Lancashire will abide by government instructions. I cannot speak for any other local authority so you will have to ask them why they are prepared to encourage their residents to make none essential journeys.

“Geoff Driver”.

County Council Leader Geoff Driver has been criticised by an Independent Borough Councillor after he described resident concerns over the closure of household waste sites as a waste of time saying he had “dispatched to the bin” a petition from more than 260 concerned West Lancashire residents.

Ormskirk Councillor Kate Mitchell from Our West Lancashire described Cllr Driver’s outburst as “rude and petulant”.

“As Leader of the County Council, he should reflect on the concerns of local residents who signed this petition and the many others from across Lancashire including our Borough Council Leader, Ian Moran and the other political groups at County Hall. His response was a disgrace to democracy.”

However, within hours of the petition being received, LCC shifted their position, issuing a new press statement in which they talked about plans for a re-opening of the waste and recycling sites.

Cllr Mitchell said “It seems our petition, along with many other voices, has helped to shift the County Council forward. Our petition called for a plan for a controlled re-opening of the sites, and it seems that is now what the County Council are moving towards. What a pity that County Councillor Driver has to be so dismissive of the views of Lancashire residents that he binned those concerns immediately upon receipt”.

Press release from OWL: A petition launched by Our West Lancashire and signed by more than 250 residents has been sent to Lancashire County Council this morning calling for a controlled re-opening of Lancashire’s waste and recycling centres. The move coincides with news that waste centres in Merseyside and Greater Manchester will be opening in the next few days.

Our West Lancashire now say that Lancashire risks standing out like a sore thumb in refusing to change. OWL Chairman, Cllr Adrian Owens “Recent guidance is that household waste and recycling centres should be open wherever possible. Some have not shut at all during the crisis and many more are now re-opening.

“This petition shows the strength of feeling in West Lancashire. I hope it will encourage Lancashire County Council to catch up with their neighbours and re-introduce this important service for residents. It can be done safely as other councils have shown.”

Driver has form. For the record, Lancashire County Council Conduct Committee Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 13th August, 2013, “The Committee considered a complaint made under the Code of Conduct by County Councillor Bill Winlow against County Councillor Geoff Driver. The process for the consideration of complaints in accordance with the principles agreed by full council were set out, along with the specific issues in the case as set out in the report. Resolved: That, having regard to the views of the Independent Person, the conduct of County Councillor Driver at the meeting on 21 May amounted to a breach of the Code of Conduct in that he had failed to treat Cllr Winlow with respect. Resolved: That, i. having regard to the views of the Independent Person, County Councillor Driver should provide a written apology to Cllr Winlow in respect of Councillor Driver’s conduct at the meeting on 21 May. ii. the terms of the apology were not prescribed”.

Seems nothing much changes at LCC, low standards stay low even 6 years on! And LCC takes the vast majority of our council tax to be led by this!

A Message From The Chief Operating Officer

A Message From The WLBC Chief Operating Officer

On “Joining a Council which is ‘Ambitious for West Lancashire’ – our Economy, Environment and for Health and Wellbeing”. 

“The Council’s aims are to pursue inclusive economic growth, further enhance the environment and improve the health and wellbeing of local people. There is a determination to maintain and improve performance in priority areas, whilst balancing the budget year on year. Consequently the Council is pursuing innovative, community-based and commercial approaches, together with the digitisation of services, to deliver increased income and efficiency at a time of unprecedented financial challenge”.

And if you believe that you will be gullible enough to believe anything. Enhance the environment? What, with no improvement of often flooded Burscough?

Improve the wellbeing of local people? What, with the appalling landfilling of the Beacon Park Golf Course for the filling of private pockets of the developers Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd, the Oakland Golf and Leisure Pension Scheme with Jonathan Russell Snellgrove and Sharon Marie Snellgrove both of Mill Cottage, 20 Rockery Road, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5AS as Trustees, and Serco Leisure Operating Ltd with vast amounts of royalties, no public recording of VAT payments to HMRC, and a course that looks like it is, a public rubbish tip?

And a “Standards Committee” that, “promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by councillors and co-opted members and operating the “Standards regime”, spent just 10 minutes on 17th September 2019 and 25 minutes on 19 March 2019 in noting nothing of interest to anybody other than that “reports be noted”. Imagine that, 35 minutes of attention to council standards in one whole year!

Printed minutes “STANDARDS COMMITTEE HELD: Tuesday, 19 March 2019 Start: 6.30pm Finish: 6.55pm“. Printed minutes “STANDARDS COMMITTEE HELD: Tuesday, 17 September 2019 Start: 5.00pm Finish: 5.10pm”.

So how did the Standards Committee promote the “high standards of two elected members who do not attend while drawing allowances”? The Chair and the Vice-Chair, in full knowledge of both, that absence was and is ongoing, and taxpayers were and are paying the bill? Answers please on the back of a postage stamp!

Total Now Reaches 111 Coronavirus Deaths In West Lancashire

One more coronavirus death has been confirmed today at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

The patient died on April 28 at the trust, and this brings the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 111.

Lancashire has been one of the worst affected areas in the country when it comes to the number of coronavirus cases. As of yesterday (April 28), there were 3,315 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the red rose county. Of these, 2,634 have been reported in the area managed by Lancashire County Council, which includes the likes of Preston, Lancaster, Morecambe, Burnley, Clitheroe, Chorley, Accrington, and Leyland.

And the county council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, has said why the county has been so badly hit by the virus. He said it comes down to “underlying issues” from “pre-Covid times”, including poverty, lifestyle, and access to public services.

Dr Sakthi also said it is down to the sheer number of tests that may have been undertaken in the county to tackle coronavirus. And he suggested the numbers may also be high due to how strictly lockdown rules have not have been followed.

West Lancashire, NHS West Lancashire CCG is made up of 15 practices, who care for around 114,100 patients. A total of 163 online assessments for coronavirus have taken place. Some 57 have also taken place over the phone via 111 or 999.

Turbulent Virgins

“BA can’t get it up!!

You might remember, in 2016, when the London Eye, which was sponsored by British Airways, had a technical problem and they could not erect it, Richard Branson had a field day. He scrambled a blimp with the text “BA can’t get it up!!“ and flew it near the London Eye.

Now, two Virgin Group airline brands, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, have entered some turbulent air during the COVID-19 crisis. The Australian branch has entered administration in order to cut its fat and return to profitability. Virgin Atlantic was rumoured to be put on sale by Richard Branson after the British government refused to provide it a $621 million (£500 million) loan.

Branson‘s spokesperson denied the rumour of a happening sale. However, the investment bank Houlihan Lokey was hired to find a fresh round of investment into the Britain-based airline.

Starting from its inception in 1984, Virgin Atlantic’s communication was cheeky, to say the least. The company was not afraid to take the mick out of its competitors, mainly British Airways. The trend has stayed the same until recently, when Virgin Atlantic launched the “Two Flag Carriers” initiative in order to secure its place in the sometime-in-the-future expanded Heathrow Airport (LHR).

When Virgin Blue, the former name of Virgin Australia, was launched in 2000, Richard Branson stated that domestic flight prices in Australia were “far too high, with far too many restrictions and it’s about time Australians can fly without having to spend their entire pay packet”. Now, they might be able to buy a whole airline for the cost of an entire fag packet! Virgin, of course!


Floods, West Lancashire, A Parliamentary Tale Of Incompetence

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th April 2020

Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire “To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter from West Lancashire Borough Council sent on 11 March 2019 on flooding in West Lancashire”.

Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs “I can confirm that Defra received the letter from West Lancashire Borough Council on 15 March 2019. A response was not issued due to administrative error. A reply is now being drafted and will be sent to the council in due course”.

DEFRA, LCC, WLBC, Jacobs Report, developers, all inconsiderate of the risks of flooding in Burscough and other parts of West Lancashire, and now a cock-up in reply to a letter. You couldn’t make it up!


Further Covid-19 Loss Of Lives Reported In West Lancashire

As of Tuesday (April 28), 594 people with Covid-19 have lost their lives under the care of Lancashire’s five NHS trusts. The total is an increase of 24 from Monday. There are  reports of 5 further deaths in West Lancashire. The total is now 110. One patient died on April 24 and four died on April 26 at the Southport and Ormskirk hospitals. 

Millions more people, including all over-65s and those living with them, have become eligible for coronavirus testing under plans announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Older people over the age of 65 plus anyone in their households are also eligible, but only if they have symptoms.

Coronavirus Testing For Key Workers In Lancashire

A new Government website is available for key workers with symptoms to book a Coronavirus test.

The tests are available for key workers or anyone in their household, if they are showing symptoms.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi

director of public health for Lancashire, said “We know that this situation is a difficult time for people. Through testing we can understand more about the scale of this situation and help us to bring normal life back again, once it’s appropriate to do so. By making key workers in the county aware of the testing facilities, it will help us to keep vital services running at this time and protect the key workers themselves”.

The Lancashire Resilience Forum is working closely with partner organisations to create additional mobile and satellite testing sites in the county. Key workers are asked to remain patient while trying to book a test, as the website has been busy at certain times.

The NHS already have their own testing process in place. People experiencing symptoms must follow the government and NHS advice. Find out more or to book a key worker test by visiting:

New Use Found For Ormskirk Properties?

A man has been arrested

after police found a huge cannabis growing farm in Ormskirk town centre. The drugs were spread across four rooms and in various stages of growth, when police executed a search warrant at an address in the town centre.

“Acting on community intelligence, the Neighbourhood Task Force have today executed a drugs warrant at a property in Ormskirk town centre”. 

Makes us wonder, what with all the empty premises in Ormskirk, could this be just one of many illegal uses being made in some, even council owned, properties!