Monday, 8 June 2015

Strong opposition means no easy ride for Labour on Redcar and Cleveland Council

When the election result for Redcar and Cleveland Council was so close, the minor Groups were prepared to work in a rainbow alliance that reflected the way residents had voted.

Under this system cabinet positions would be proportionate to the number of seats won.

Labour rejected this proposal and were handed power for the next four years by the Eston Independent.

A rainbow alliance would have mitigated the Ed Miliband left wing leanings of many in the Labour Group.

To counteract this, the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Independents have formed a Coalition opposition group and will work to ensure that policies fair to all of our residents are implemented and that extreme policies planned by Labour are strongly opposed.

We plan to be a strong opposition, which holds Labour to account and gives high importance to matters which will improve the quality of life for all residents and supports business in order to bring jobs and prosperity to our Borough.

The Shadow Cabinet portfolios will not exactly mirror Labour’s, as the Coalition believes that these should reflect the priorities of the Council: improving health, particularly of the disadvantaged; giving choice and control over their care to disabled and older people; increasing education and skills opportunities; and providing high quality environment services, as demanded by residents.

The Shadow Cabinet is:

Area of Responsibility

Name

Shadow Leader of the Council

Valerie Halton

Corporate Resources

Glyn Nightingale

Public Health and Housing

Mary Ovens

Social Care and Wellbeing and
Shadow Deputy Leader


Josh Mason

Lifelong Learning

Steve Kay

Rural Affairs and Tourism

Graham Jeffery

Economic Development, Culture and Leisure

Philip Thomson

Environment

Chris Abbott

Community Safety

Stuart Smith

Highways, Planning and
Infrastructure


Mary Lanigan


Friday, 29 May 2015

Independent puts Labour in charge of Redcar and Cleveland Council

Voters in Eston ward will be appalled to learn that their so-called “Independent” councillor Ann Higgins handed control of Redcar and Cleveland Council to Labour.

Councillor Higgins voted for Labour’s nominee for Mayor. The new Mayor was then able to use her casting vote to put Labour in all key positions, including Leader of the Council.

Councillor Josh Mason, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said:

“The hypocrisy of Eston Independents is breathtaking. Only weeks after getting elected by attacking Labour, she is now cosying up to them.

“There is no way this is what the people of Eston put her there to do.

“Nevertheless, the Liberal Democrat Group will continue to fight for the best deal for residents across the borough and make the Labour administration accountable for their actions."

Cllr Mason, who was Deputy Leader of the Council between March and May this year, added:

“I am very proud of what the Lib Dems achieved during our brief time running the Council.

“We have been delighted to deliver a Council Tax cut this year, promoted the borough with the Yorkshire brand, and fought for a real pier in Redcar.”

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Youth behaviour problems in the area between West Dyke Road and Roseberry Shopping Centre at Redcar

In response to numerous complaints from residents in the area between West Dyke Road and Roseberry Shopping Centre at Redcar. my daughter Kelly Seaman and Prospective Lib Dem MP for Redcar Josh Mason have been keeping local people informed of actions being taken to deal with nuisance problems and damage being caused by local youths.

We have also reported issues raised with us. and we have also sought to talk to the local youths and advise them about the various youth facilities that are available in the area.                                                                                                  
A couple of examples of incidents reported involved youths taking short cuts through a gate leading to the rear of Oxendale Road and Dovedale Court; damaged  damaged property and sheds being broken into in West Dyke Road, Ambleside Avenue and Westmorland Road; vulnerable residents being picked on and abused. We recently received a detailed response from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's Anti Social Behaviour Officer listing the interventions that have been implemented to address the problems and with the exception of a couple of items which refer indirectly to individuals I have posted it below:
  • A number of young people have been identified as being involved in antisocial behaviour and accordingly were issued with warning letters as part of the Acceptable Behaviour Campaign, this also involves being spoken to in front of their parents.    
  • A number of young people have been issued with Acceptable Behaviour Agreements.
  • Warnings in respect of acceptable behaviour for tenants have also been given to those that have Coast and Country tenancies.  
  • I can also confirm that some other actions continue to support intelligence and evidence gathering.  
  • Neighbourhood Policing Teams have stepped up patrols in the area and residents have been circulated with a questionnaire to support the intelligence gathering.
  • Negotiations are currently underway with our partners exploring possible “design out crime” initiatives.
  • The Police continue to use the new Dispersal Powers as and when required.  
  • The issues / concerns in this area are also the subject of a ‘Task and Finish Group’ that reports to the monthly, multi-agency Community Safety Group meetings.  These task and finish groups have proved successful in bringing together a range of agencies / partners to address the issues and identify both immediate and long term solutions / interventions.  This includes looking at diversionary activities as well as enforcement action.
  • The local youth and community centre 25k Centre is close by and this provides regular diversionary activities for young people.  In addition to this Roseberry Square was identified as one of the areas where young people may be interested in taking part in a new boxing scheme designed to get young people off the streets and in to the positive discipline of sport. 
  • I understand that some of the stolen property from the sheds has been recovered and that arrests were made.
  • The Local Authority are currently in the process of purchasing a mobile CCTV.  
  • Coast and Country are currently exploring the possibility of installing security systems to the communal doors of the flats on Roseberry Road.
  • The Antisocial Behaviour Officer and Targeted Youth Support are due to commence a 10 week Ambassador Programme at Redcar Academy.  Such Programme is aimed at those young people at risk of being involved in antisocial behaviour.    

Monday, 23 March 2015

Stan Wilson

Today I received the sad news that my friend and former colleague on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Stan Wilson has passed away..
A former Labour Councillor, serving on Redcar Borough Council from 1963 to 1966 Stan became a stalwart member of the Liberal Party in Redcar from the early 1970’s.
Stan, a real character, whom we had known since he had acted as agent in the Cleveland and Whitby constituency at the 1979 General Election, was almost on our doorstep to greet us when we moved to Redcar in May 1984. As we opened the door on the day we moved in there was a card from Stan welcoming us to the town and informing us of the date of the next meeting. 
Stan was my Lib Dem ward colleague serving Newcomen Ward from May 1987 to May 1999 after he had retired to Sowerby following a long career in teaching and youth work. He was a great inspiration to me and many other people whom he encouraged to stand for the Council. He always seemed to have time to stop and chat to everyone he passed in the street or met in meetings. 

For many years Stan acted as a Steward at Lib Dem Conferences and was eventually awarded a life membership of Conference. 
Stan was well known as a keen local sportsman playing football for Redcar Albion, Shildon and for a short spell on the books of Darlington FC as an amateur. He turned out as a playing member of Redcar Cricket Club in no less than five decades.
Stan leaves a wife Stella and two sons Peter and Trevor.
The funeral takes place at Sowerby Methodist Church, Front Street, Thirsk, Yorkshire, YO7 1JQ, on Monday 30th March at 1pm, followed by an internment.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Lib Dems and Inds to pay living wage to Council staff

Liberal Democrats and Independents on Redcar and Cleveland Council today announced a rise in pay for council staff that will ensure all receive a “living wage”.
From 1 April 2015 the Redcar and Cleveland Minimum Wage will be raised to match the National Living Wage, which is £7.85 per hour.
All staff will receive a 2.2% pay rise, except those on £100,000 or more, whose pay will still be frozen.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale (Ormesby ward) said:
“Labour froze pay for council staff in 2008. Now all except those on over £100,000 will get a 2.2% pay rise. And the Living Wage will be introduced.
“People who work for the Council will continue to be motivated to do their best for local people.”
"Council officers have made a major contribution to bringing change in the organisation through the Shaping Our Future initiative."
Councillor Josh Mason, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council, added:
“This move will ensure that all Council staff earn at least a Living Wage. It is also right that those who earn the most do not receive an increase.

“This is part of our commitment to a stronger economy and a fairer society.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Lib Dems and Inds serve up historic 1%+ Council Tax cut to residents


Since taking control of Redcar & Cleveland Council with Independent partners, Liberal Democrats have found a way to offer residents a cut in Council Tax bills and made it a reality by voting it through at today's budget setting meeting of the Council.
Labour regularly increased Council Tax when in control, and in 2012 gave Redcar and Cleveland residents the biggest Council Tax rise in the country.
This year, local people will get a cut of just over 1%. This has been done without cutting any services. It is believed to be the first ever Council Tax reduction by the Council.
In return for not raising Council Tax, the Council will get £631,000 from Central Government. In addition, the Council will be using surplus savings to pay for the cut, and not accepting the recommended rise in councillors’ allowances.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale (Ormesby ward) said:
“Labour’s faulty financial planning caused them to make the wrong assumptions about how much money there would be. They hiked up living costs by keeping money in the Council’s coffers and refusing Government money.
“It’s time to start returning the money to residents. And we have found a way to do that without cutting services.”
Councillor Josh Mason (pictured), Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council, added:
“This budget will help to deliver a stronger local economy and a fairer deal for Council Tax payers.

“Ed Miliband talks about the cost of living crisis, so why did his party never do anything about it in Redcar & Cleveland?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lib Dems offer new hope in Redcar pier fight


Since taking control of Redcar and Cleveland Council, Liberal Democrat Cabinet members have asked officers for a report on the possibility of providing a traditional pier at Redcar.
The Ind/Lib Dem led Council will be looking at basic structures and trying to find a realistic option that is achievable. A feasibility study is expected in the next three weeks.
The Council is examining various funding possibilities but none can be addressed until the pier is included in the Council’s masterplan.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Councillor Chris Abbott (Newcomen ward, pictured right) said:
“Liberal Democrats in Redcar have a long history of fighting for a real pier in Redcar.
“I was sad to see the demise of the Redcar Pier Association, but residents can rest assured that the fight for a proper pier for the town goes on.”
Councillor Josh Mason, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council (pictured centre), added:
“My family’s roots in Redcar go back over 300 years. Many of my ancestors were involved in fishing and marine professions. This is part of our area’s DNA and it’s important that we celebrate our heritage and promote tourism in the future.”
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Ron Harrison (pictured left), said:
“The political will now exists to begin to make a proper pier in Redcar a reality. It’s time regeneration of the borough included things that people ask for. There are exciting ideas in the pipeline that we have asked officers to investigate.”