Category Archives: NewsWatch

Mr Grunshaw Wants 46 Pence Per Week More Off Band D Pensioners

We wrote a few weeks ago about the latest Police financial settlement for Lancashire, increased by £6.8m, but the Commissioner  wasn’t impressed as it “doesn’t even cover the increase to employer pension contributions for policing, announced in September”.

The real world consequences of dealing with this pensions deficit alone, is forecast to cost Lancashire Constabulary around £7.1m per year from 19/20, the equivalent to over 150 police officers.

However, since 2010 Lancashire Constabulary has had to make over £84m of savings as a direct result of the Government cutting £50m of central funding during the same period, with an additional £18m of savings required by 2022. In the same period Lancashire has lost 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff, meaning there are increasingly fewer places where savings can be made. Despite the cuts, the Constabulary is still deemed to be efficient and effective by external inspectors .

Clive Grunshaw says “I strongly believe that more funding should come from the Government and I will continue to lobby the Home Secretary and Policing Minister. The current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demands on the police and the financial settlement allows me to raise further funds but only through passing this burden onto council tax payers. This isn’t fair and it isn’t sustainable.

“However, raising funds through council tax contributions is the only option the Government have given me to protect and bolster policing and if I did not consider this, it would mean a cut to our budget. There are over a million calls for service every year to Lancashire Police and investment is needed to keep up with ever increasing demands on policing and to deliver a service the public expect. Police officers and staff are working round the clock to keep people safe but, they are over stretched”.

Well, Mr Grunshaw, we’ve said it before, but you want us pensioners to pay out of our limited incomes to make sure your police pensioners receive full pensions, and as far as I’m concerned the answer is no, enough is enough. The precept we already pay increases year on year. For 2018/2019 your Band D precept rose by 7.25% [ ] .How we pensioners wish OUR pensions rose so much!  Learn to live within your means, and don’t make pensioners your only option!

Have Your Say On The Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan

A first for West Lancashire, as residents, businesses and landowners in and around Burscough are being encouraged to give their views on an exciting new plan for their local area . The Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared by Burscough Parish Council in consultation with the local community and has now been passed to West Lancashire Borough Council to take forward for examination in line with national legislation.

The Neighbourhood Plan contains a vision, objectives and planning policies for the Burscough parish area, covering a time period to 2027. It will shape what development takes place in the future and where, what new buildings will be expected to look like, what new infrastructure may be needed and which sites, such as open spaces, should be protected.

Read it here

A public consultation is taking place on the neighbourhood plan between 9 January and 20 February 2019 during which time comments are invited. The consultation is open to anyone, but the Council would particularly like to hear the views of people living and working in Burscough. Once the consultation ends the neighbourhood plan and responses received will be sent to an independent examiner who will consider if the plan is satisfactory.

If so, there will then be a referendum for people living in the Burscough Parish area to decide if they are in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan. If a majority are in favour, the Neighbourhood Plan would then be adopted as West Lancashire Borough Council policy. It would then be used to determine planning applications in the Burscough parish area alongside the West Lancashire Local Plan and other local and national planning policies.

Councillor John Hodson, portfolio holder for Planning, said “The Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan has been drafted by Burscough Parish Council and is the first such plan to be produced in West Lancashire. The Parish Council have spent a significant amount of time working with the local community to decide the content of the plan. The public consultation is a great opportunity for residents, businesses and landowners to have a further say upon the neighbourhood plan and shape the future of the local area.”

To see a copy of the Neighbourhood Plan and find out how you can give your views please visit Neighbourhood Planning from 9 January 2019. Paper copies of the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan and response form can also be obtained from Burscough Library and also Martland Mill and the Grove Community Centre, both of which are in Burscough, as well as West Lancashire Borough Council offices, 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk.

Rail Day Of Action

On 30 November 2018, Merseyrail announced that its ticket prices will increase by an average of 2.9% in January, ensuring that it still offers some of the lowest fares on the railway. Its popular Day Saver ticket, which offers unlimited travel after 0930 on weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays, will rise by just 1.9% to £5.30 for an adult all-zone ticket.

Believe it or not, many elderly and disabled retired people pay income tax, which funds Merseytravel/Merseyrail services.  .

Despite us campaigning for years for publicly funded Merseyrail/Merseytravel [£94.4Million grant current year; latest Reserves £70,921Million] to allow off peak rail concessions for all areas its trains operate in, Merseyrail  still insists that its policy of discrimination against West Lancashire elderly and disabled people is legal. It hides behind its “franchise” agreement in denying liability that the age and disability protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 protect. The Public Sector Equality Duty is ignored. Merseytravel also ignores the Equality Act commitments.

Merseyrail part-owner Abellio is the international passenger transport subsidiary of the Dutch national railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which provides rail, bus and tram services to 1.7m customers per day across the UK, Germany and in the Netherlands.

Merseyrail’s other part-owner Serco is an international service company, which, tongue in cheek, “combines commercial know-how with a deep public service ethos. Serco supports governments, agencies and companies who seek a trusted partner with a solid track record of providing assured service excellence” [but don’t mention Beacon Park Golf Course in Skelmersdale, currently rubbished by Serco Leisure Operating Limited]”.

Merseyrail “Is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce. Our aim is that our workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and each employee feels respected and able to give their best. To that end the purpose of this statement is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and not to discriminate on grounds of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination”.

Apart from those it chooses to ignore! Time for that Rail Revolution?

Has A Village Lost Its Idiot?

Former diplomat John Kerr, who is now an unelected member of the Doss-House of Lords as Kerr of Kinlochard   and who was a member of the European Convention that devised the mechanism under which Britain is set to leave the bloc this year, has been campaigning for a second referendum. Kerr told the Herald and the Edinburgh Forum “Scots of all parties and none should rally behind the People’s Vote cause. Glasgow and Edinburgh have long been great European cities. We mustn’t let short-sighted Little Englander prejudice hem us in”. 

Speaking in public he has said “We native Brits are so bloody stupid that we need an injection of intelligent people, young people from outside who come in and wake us up from time to time”. In response to the remarks, Peter Lilley MP (a Eurosceptic Conservative) walked out of the event, and said he had considered reporting the peer to the police for hate speech and being “racially abusive of the British people”. Lilley said “I think these comments revealed the contempt that some Eurocrats like Lord Kerr have for ordinary British people. They think they are there to rule the country and hugely resent any interference by the electorate. To say the British people are stupid and then to suggest that housing has nothing to do with immigration displays such profound stupidity that one wonders why he lectures other people. It is particularly odd coming from a man who is racially abusive of British people”.

In January 2018 Kerr told the Lords “We will huff and puff but, in the end, we will basically come to heel [pic from ConservativeHome]. The 27 will tell us that, provided it is for a limited period, a transition agreement, a standstill agreement, can be written on an Article 50 legal base, but the key will be that it should be a very short deal, so it is a part of the withdrawal process rather than a continuing new relationship between a third country and the EU. We will huff and puff. Mr Johnson will say, “Ah, but there are no new EU regulations or laws”. Mr Gove will say, “Ah, but no CFP”. Mr Fox will say that he wants to be free to undercut the common commercial policy, but the other side will say that we cannot cherry pick. We will come to heel in the end, probably quite quickly, because it is very important to avoid the cliff edge next year”.

“My Lords, conversation with continental friends is becoming a little awkward because they are embarrassed at the scale of our humiliation. The declaration evokes particular derision and surprise, surprise because Article 50 called for the drafters of the withdrawal treaty to take account of the framework for the future relationship. That sequence has been reversed. The divorce came first”.

He has voted in only 31.5% of Lords divisions. Kerr was Foreign Office Permanent-Under-Secretary from 1997 to 2002, after spells in HM Treasury (where he was Principal Private Secretary to Chancellors Howe and Lawson), and as Ambassador to the EU (1990/95), Moscow, Pakistan and the US (1995/97). In 2002/3 he was Secretary General of the EU Convention under President Giscard d’Estaing. He “Has never voted on raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year; Generally voted for more EU integration; Generally voted against an equal number of electors per parliamentary constituency; Has never voted on university tuition fees”.

Are you up for “coming to heel” in this land of “Little Englander prejudice”? Or when will the village have its idiot returned?  

ConservativeHome states “We close our opening to 2019 by reflecting on Kerr’s favourite phrase. Into those mere three words is packed a universe of assumptions: about the supposed inevitability of Britain remaining in the EU – despite the British people deciding otherwise, in the biggest popular vote in our history; about the relationship between rulers and ruled; about the omniscience of an ascendancy class that crosses national boundaries, and so can’t be held accountable at all. Coming to heel means knowing your place. The implications for even a country as historically stable as Britain are baleful.

“Kerr has whistled, clicked his fingers, and now expects us the rest of us to fall into line behind the class of which he is a member, conceding our place in the natural order of things. If we do so, we cannot simply blame the absence of Vote Leave, the ascendancy’s sense of ownership and entitlement, or even the Government’s failings (not to mention those of Jeremy Corbyn)”. 

Burscough Food Firms Highlighted In Disregarded Food Report

Michael Gove has appointed a food waste tsar to end the ‘moral scandal’ of Britain’s throwaway culture. The Environment Secretary has appointed businessman Ben Elliot with responsibility for tackling discarded produce. This picture  making reference to Burscough firms is shown in the report.

Unpaid, Mr Elliot will attempt to slash the 10.2million tons of food needlessly thrown away by households and businesses each year. The announcement is particularly timely, coming just after Christmas, when many families find themselves throwing out food having bought too much for the festive period.

Around 43,000 tons of surplus food from retailers and manufacturers is already redistributed every year, according to Whitehall figures. However, the equivalent of 250million meals a year is still estimated to go uneaten. Food waste is likely to be particularly high over the festive period. Figures from the charity Wrap suggest Britons binned as many as 3.5million mince pies and 7.1million pigs in blankets last year.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimates that 10.2million tons of food is wasted every year. Of this, 1.8million tons comes from food manufacturers, another million from the hospitality sector, and 260,000 from retailers.

The remainder, more than 7million tons, comes from households. The appointment of a ‘food surplus and waste champion’ is part of the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. Ministers aim to end the practice of sending food waste to landfill by 2030.