Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 9, 2019

Suspicious OWLs Update

Cllr Adrian Owens writes “There’s an old saying that the Cover Up is worse than the “crime”. My colleague, Ian Davis has highlighted a link between Lord Derby’s Estate and Savills, a leading and large property agent. This is especially in relation to the council’s plans to establish a Development Company to build houses and the current Local Plan Review.

“So concerned is Ian that he has written to the council’s Chief Executive over the matter. I doubt those concerns will have been allayed by the sudden change today (8th January) to the LinkedIn profile of Simon Waller, Estates Director at Lord Derby’s Estates.

“Having had the connection between his employment at Savills and Lord Derby’s Estate publicly commented upon by a councillor and with two local websites carrying the same story just today, Simon Waller has suddenly altered his LinkedIn page to remove all reference to employment by Savills.

“Is he still employed by Savills? We don’t know. Was he previously employed by Savills? One assumes he must have been from his LinkedIn entry until today. What is interesting is that he feels so embarrassed by the connection that he should feel the need to completely remove all reference to employment by Savills from his profile. Why would he want to do that?

“Here’s a screenshot  of the LinkedIn profile he doesn’t want you to see, which was current until sometime earlier today (8th January)”.

Also relating to the subject of the Development Company, we the public are barred from attending the cabinet discussion of it on 15 January 2019…8. MATTER REQUIRING DECISION. View the background to item 8. Forming a Development Company. View the reasons why item 8a is restricted. “It is recommended that members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined. View the background to item 8a (Relevant Portfolio Holders: Councillors Forshaw, Moran & Yates). 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 9, 2019

How Rosie Cooper Voted

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper voted in support of the Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s amendment to the Finance Bill seeking to prevent the Government from implementing the no-deal provisions of Clause 89 of the Bill without the explicit consent of Parliament  for such an outcome.

As the sensational press wonks claim, on the face of it this might sound alarming, and some media coverage last night certainly felt sensationalist as we heard of a “significant defeat” and a “Brexit crisis”. But in reality, Clause 89 of the Finance Bill concerns minor and technical changes to tax law post-Brexit and the amendment was about anti-No Deal MPs making their presence felt rather than really amending the law of the land.

As Sir Bernard Jenkin explained “This amendment is only to restrict the use of powers in the Finance Bill to make ‘minor amendments to certain taxes, not including VAT or customs or excise duties, in consequence of EU withdrawal’. The proposers of this amendment are attempting to sabotage other government business because they know Parliament has already set the Brexit date in law for 29th March, with or without a Withdrawal Agreement, and they cannot change that. All this would require is for the government to use other legislative means to make any necessary tax changes. It’s not a big deal”.

Talking of “Brexit crisis”, outside the parliamentary lunacy, the real world goes on. The Deputy Calais Mayor says they are preparing for a no-deal Brexit and “we will be ready”. No more trucks will be stopped crossing the Channel than at present, he says. The UK Government’s efforts to move trade away from Calais to other ports are “shocking” and “disrespectful”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 8, 2019

Scam HM Revenue and Customs Alert

 What you need to know about an “Action Fraud” that has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation. Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud .

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 8, 2019

Are We Mistaken?

Is Amber Rudd a Conservative MP? Is Greg Clark a Conservative MP? Is Michael Gove a Conservative MP? Is David Gauke a Conservative MP? Is Margot James a Conservative MP? Apparently they are, but seem to be the variety of Conservative MPs who are intellectually challenged. Rudd is reported to have claimed “that the UK would be less safe if there was a no-deal Brexit”. Clark has reportedly claimed “a no-deal exit in March “should not be contemplated”. Gove said that those considering rejecting Mrs May’s agreement in the hope of securing a better deal “were like swingers in their mid-50s waiting for film star Scarlett Johansson to turn up on a date”. Gauke is reported to have quipped “that it was like waiting for Scarlett Johansson on a unicorn”. Comedians!

So what of their commitments to the Conservative General Election Manifesto on which they were elected? 

“We will get on with the job and take Britain out of the European Union. The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give and take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK.” (pp. 35-36) .

“Brexit has a key place in the Conservatives’ manifesto which reaffirms all of the Government’s existing commitments on Brexit, while adding concrete pledges in further areas, including leaving the EU Customs Union and Common Fisheries Policy. Here, we take you through all the key points in the Conservatives’ manifesto on Brexit and what they mean, as well as related pledges on trade and immigration.

“As we leave the European Union, we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union. We will seek a deep and special partnership including a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. We will pursue free trade with European markets, and secure new trade agreements with other countries .

“Legal commitments. Our laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, and interpreted by judges across the United Kingdom, not in Luxembourg. We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. This rules out any continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg over British courts after Brexit, as well as ruling out any further role for the controversial Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law, both vital steps in regaining sovereignty and taking back control of our laws.

“We will enact a Great Repeal Bill. The bill will convert EU law into UK law, allowing businesses and individuals to go about life knowing that the rules have not changed overnight. The bill will also create the necessary powers to correct the laws that do not operate appropriately once we have left the EU, so our legal system can continue to function correctly outside the EU. Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation .

“As well as the Great Repeal Bill, we will bring forward a number of additional bills to ensure that when we have left the EU there is a clear statutory basis for United Kingdom authorities to exercise powers that are currently exercised through EU law and institutions.

“Trade. We will ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organization, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound whilst still a member of the European Union. We will seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements and support the ratification of trade agreements entered into during our EU membership.

We will continue to support the global multilateral rules-based trade system. We will introduce a Trade Bill in the next parliament. We will create a network of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to head nine new regional overseas posts. These commissioners will lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas. We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom. The United Kingdom will be a global champion for an open economy, free trade, and the free flow of investment, ideas and information. We believe the UK must seize the unique opportunities it has to forge a new set of trade and investment relationships around the world.

“Fishing. When we leave the European Union and its Common Fisheries Policy, we will be fully responsible for the access and management of the waters where we have historically exercised sovereign control. To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention. This provides an unequivocal commitment for the first time that the Conservatives plan to withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy and the earlier London Fisheries Convention, which will restore the UK’s entire Exclusive Economic Zone to which it is entitled under the UN Law of the Sea. This will doubtless be welcomed by fishermen around the country, who have always been overwhelmingly opposed to the CFP”.

No, we are not mistaken, they put their collective names to election manifestos, but their lips moved. That’s politicians for you!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 8, 2019

Our Colonial Status Application

Austin Mitchell delights in entertaining us while the remoaners are in full anger mode.     He writes “According to TS Eliot, April is the cruellest month. In 2019 January, February and March are going to run it pretty close. The outcome is as unpredictable as Trump’s mental processes. Unlike the pundittieri I’ve got neither crystal balls nor a God-given ability to predict the future. Fortunately, also unlike them, I’m not driven by a hard instinct and can admit errors. So let me make a few guesses.

The pundits themselves, their house journal The Guardian and their think-tanks in Treasury and the Bank will go into a euro-enthusiastic frenzy, predicting immediate disaster if we Leave, or a dragged-out version of it if we accept Theresa May’s application for colonial status. They’ll hold out the prospect of eternal bliss, prosperity and rallying the world against Trump, Putin and even Kim Jong Un if we stay.

Theresa will beg for a pretty (but unbankable) promise from the EU not to be too beastly and, if she can get it, permission for small dogs to enter the EU without a photographic passport taken by a French photographer. Her task now is to persuade enough Brexiteers that hers is the best deal any human being could possibly get while claiming that the EU may eventually be released from the tagged probation if we behave nicely. She hopes that this will get enough people to vote for her Brexit Postponement Bill.

The Labour Party will continue to fall apart. Corbyn will claim that cochons will fly under a Labour government. Meanwhile the bulk of his party will shuffle off to the soft option of a People’s Vote which will both allow them to creep back into Europe and ensure that Corbyn won’t be able to implement any of his radical plans.

The rampant Remainers will continue their collusion with Brussels. The Tony Blair Foundation will provide winter clothing for more parliamentary flag-wavers. The master propagandists, Campbell and Adonis, will promote a Remainer People’s Vote while prophesying doom, disaster and bubonic plague if we crash, crawl, eject or stagger out.

As for the great British public, they won’t revolt like the gilets jaunes. Stoicism is the British rebellion, not riots. Yet they are becoming fed up and alienated as they realise that their political leaders are not only incapable of delivering what the people voted for, but totally incompetent – having done little except blame the people for their vote while allowing clever EU bastards to humiliate them.

In short, it’s totally unpredictable but certain to be a mess. However, I can say what should happen. If Theresa’s sell out doesn’t get through Parliament, there can’t be another referendum because there’s nothing to vote on. Remainers will generate a frenzy of fear about a no-deal departure, though that can come only if the Government gives up. So the Government must resume negotiations with new proposals.

The EU has constantly claimed that they want positive proposals from Britain. Make them. Make them stronger. Demand an extension of the two years to negotiate them. The EU will bluster and try to refuse it on the grounds that they’ve made their best offer. They haven’t. The Government can’t get it through Parliament. So it lapses.

The EU have already indicated that they’ll allow an extension to conduct a referendum. That’s impossible until we have a deal Parliament can accept. Which puts the ball back in their court. If they won’t offer one, they damage themselves when their economy is already doing badly. In the face of the world trend to freer trade and facing failure with the euro, they won’t dare to humiliate us.

Fudges end every argument in the EU. If they can’t manage one now, the responsibility for a no-deal departure is theirs. Forcing it will rally the British public to it and the necessary concomitant measures to support industry and expand the economy. It’s certainly better than limping into humiliation because the Government has no guts and Remainers have reduced a proud nation to gibbering with fear at the prospect of quitting a leaking hulk to join a prospering world.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 8, 2019

Suspicious OWL Hovering Over WLBC Housing Development Arm?

The suspicious OWL Finance Spokesman is raising questions about the proposed new Housing Development Arm of the Borough Council .

The company advising WLBC on establishing a separate house building organisation is reported to have links to Lord Derby’s Estate. The Estate may stand to benefit from the sale of large landholdings if the council releases green belt land in the Borough under the controversial proposals for a new local plan. But there is no link between the land ownership and any developer including WLBC. Councillor Ian Davis has now written to the Borough Council’s Chief Executive over the matter .

Cllr Davis said “Lord Derby’s Estate Director lists a Directorship at Savills on the social media site, LinkedIn. Savills have been awarded a £250,000 contract to advise the borough Council on setting up a house building arm to enable the council to build houses for profit. Savills may well hold the two non-Executive Directorships, at least in the short term on the new Council Development Company”. Cllr Davis continued “A report is coming to cabinet this month and council in February seeking to establish this new council housing building arm. Once established this new Development company will be looking to purchase land in West Lancashire for house building.

“Given the connection between Lord Derby’s Estates and Savills and the controversial proposals to build thousands of houses on land currently owned by Lord Derby, I have written to the council’s Chief Executive seeking assurances that Savills will not be appointed to the non-Executive Directorships. Further, I am seeking assurances as to the council’s longer term intentions and potential for conflict over its role as the planning authority and potential development by this new house building arm”.

WLR is confident that the WLBC legal department will have done due diligence on the matter of the £250,000 contract. The development of any land at issue will be the subject of the new Local Plan and the Public Inquiry that will confirm it. 

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 8, 2019

EU Politics Exposed?

Yesterday in Parliament

Greg Hands MP  Conservative Chelsea and Fulham “Did my right hon. Friend see the interview in the Augsburger Allgemeine on 11 December given by Martin Selmayr, secretary-general of the European Commission in which he said about the Commission: “We have negotiated hard, and realised all our objectives”? He says that the agreement “shows that leaving the EU…doesn’t work”. Other Brussels officials have said that the UK is “locked in” and that “losing Northern Ireland is the price Britain has to pay for Brexit”. Is my right hon. Friend really as enthusiastic as Martin Selmayr and the Commission about this agreement?

Stephen Barclay MP  The Secretary of State For Exiting the European Union “My right hon. Friend brings to the House his specialist interest, understanding and engagement in German politics, but the Prime Minister has been clear throughout—the political declaration itself makes this clear—about the sovereign position on Northern Ireland. Its constitutional status is unequivocally guaranteed and the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it are preserved. She has made that extremely clear, and the political declaration also makes it clear, but of course politicians in Germany, like those in the UK, will make a range of statements”.

Kate Hoey MP  Labour Vauxhall “Does the Secretary of State agree that the British public understand this whole debate about the EU much better than they are sometimes given credit for here? Does he also agree that some of the wording and scare stories put about on the possibility of going over to WTO rules are outrageous? Will he as Secretary of State make sure that his Department does everything it can to ensure that the full truth of what WTO would mean gets across to the public, who I think are already aware that this is a way forward?”

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 7, 2019

Important Reminder For Claimants Of Universal Credit Who Work

The Council  is reminding claimants of Universal Credit who work and who were paid early prior to Christmas of important information affecting their benefits.

Some companies bring their December payday forward so that their employees are paid in advance of Christmas. For some, this can result in two pay cheques being received in the same Monthly Assessment Period, and this could reduce or even completely cancel your entitlement to Universal Credit.

If this happens to you, you must make a rapid reclaim straight away or risk having to apply for Universal Credit all over again. To make a rapid reclaim log on to your Universal Credit claim and follow the instructions from there.

If you need any more information please contact the Council’s money advice team either by calling 01695 712557 or email moneyadvice@westlancs.gov.uk

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 7, 2019

Have You Ripped-Off The NHS? Have A Gong!

Among the many recipients of awards in the New Year’s honours list, one name may have come as a surprise to Times readers. Vijay Patel, who was appointed OBE for services to business and philanthropy, was the subject of a 2016 front- page investigation by the Times newspaper into his company, Atnahs . “We revealed how multimillionaire Mr Patel exploited a loophole in NHS pricing rules that enabled his company to buy up the rights to old drugs that had lost patent protection and massively jack up their prices. Atnahs raised the price of one antidepressant from £5.71 to £154 and an insomnia treatment from £12.10 to £138.

“Although the practice was exposed, increases meant that seven of the company’s medicines alone cost the NHS  an extra £16.3 million in 2017″.

Atnahs states “Our focus is mature branded medicines globally. We want to be the preferred acquirer for large cap or speciality pharma businesses choosing to divest their “mature”, “established” or “tail” off-patent branded medicines. We commit to continue the high-quality manufacturing and management of the medicines. At the same time, we aspire to breathe new life into the medicines, investing in them to make them stable and sustainable over the long-term”.

Their Kytril® (granisetron hydrochloride) is an injectable and oral treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by other medical treatments.

I guess I might become philanthropic IF I ever managed to fool the NHS into converting £5.71 into £154! Meanwhile I might have succumbed to a bout of nausea requiring a dose of Kytril®, but not from Atnahs! 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 6, 2019

How The Europhiles Are Blowing Up Britain

Daniel Hannan MEP  wrote for the Washington Examiner “You want to know what’s going on in British politics at the moment? Frankly, cousins, it’s a bloody shambles. I would use stronger words, but American newspapers are more fastidious than their British counterparts when it comes to profanities. Overseas commentators look wonderingly at the chaos. What has happened, they ask, often with a hint of schadenfreude if they’re from Europe, to a nation that used to be famously level-headed? Have British politicians lost their minds? Are Brits experiencing some sort of collective nervous collapse?

Mental health metaphors are rarely helpful in politics. We are not witnessing a moment of communal psychosis. What we’re seeing has an altogether simpler and more prosaic explanation, and it’s this: When members of Parliament decided to allow a referendum on European Union membership, it never occurred to them that people might disregard their advice and vote to leave. When the result came in, the establishment felt the rejection keenly. They refused to interpret it as a vote for more democracy or for a more global trade policy. Rather, they saw it as a rejection of everything that they,that is the elites, had built up over decades. In company boardrooms and university common rooms and parliamentary committee rooms and civil service briefing rooms, there was a sense of injured disbelief.

Rather than accept the verdict, a number of politicians, officials, and cartel business leaders immediately set to work to overturn it. Part of their strategy was to delegitimize the result (“Leavers lied! Leavers cheated! Leavers took Russian cash!”), but the bigger part was to ensure that no equitable exit deal could be struck. And, in that aim, they have succeeded. In any negotiation, you have to have a bottom line. In this one, the bottom line for both parties was to refuse to agree joint disengagement terms and instead simply to abrogate the existing treaty.

This outcome, the so-called “no-deal Brexit,” would hurt both sides. The EU believes it would hurt the U.K. more, because cross-Channel trade matters more, in proportionate terms, to Britain than to the continental states. But there would be losers on all sides, perhaps especially Ireland, which based on the volume of trade would be worse-affected still.

So even though the EU felt it had the upper hand in the talks, it didn’t want a no-deal outcome that would damage everybody. But from day one, British Europhiles were signalling to Brussels that they wouldn’t allow such an outcome in the first place. In June 2017, in an ill-judged election, Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority. And from that moment, Brussels lost any incentive to reach a deal. It understood that a coalition of pro-EU MPs and peers would prevent a no-deal outcome, thus taking away Britain’s bottom line. If Britain couldn’t walk away because its parliamentarians wouldn’t let it, then by definition it would have to accept whatever Brussels put in front of it.

By the end of 2017, the EU was making commensurately harsh and vindictive demands, including a “divorce” payment, the regulatory annexation of Northern Ireland, and ongoing control of British trade policy even after Brexit. The idea was to offer a deal that was obviously worse than either withdrawing properly or staying properly, so that most Brits would reluctantly give up on Brexit. And that, my friends, is the essence of our current political turmoil. Having offered a referendum and promised to implement its result, MPs are now balking. This is not, as pundits allege, “a constitutional crisis.” The constitution is working fine: The Queen is on her throne, the Church of England is established, no one is seeking to postpone or cancel a general election. As far as political breakdown goes, Britain is unusual in the EU in not having a populist anti-immigrant party in its main legislative chamber.

Nor is this a wider societal crisis. On the contrary, Britain is booming, with more people in work than ever before in our history, rising investment, booming exports, a record stock exchange, surging wages, and unprecedented numbers of start-ups. This week, Forbes magazine pronounced the U.K. the best place in the world to do business.

The “crisis” is narrowly focused in Westminster and takes the form of MPs seeking, at first by stealth but now more or less openly, to undo the decision of the electorate. What’s truly shocking is not their anti-democratic leanings, but their sheer chutzpah. Having spent two years seeking to frustrate Brexit, systematically undermining Britain’s negotiating position, doing everything in their power to ensure the worst possible outcome, they now have the gall to say “This is all proving frightfully sticky, why don’t we just drop the whole thing?”

Incredibly, they might get away with it. When Italy’s Eurosceptic government ran a deficit, the EU forced a new budget on it. When France’s Euro-fanatical President did the same thing, the EU waved it though. Who could have predicted such a thing? After all, didn’t Kenneth Clarke MP, a  devout remoaner, dismiss the 2016 referendum as a ‘one off opinion poll’?

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