Monday, 21 December 2009

Mandelson to abolish exemption for charities from music licensing rules

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is abolishing an exemption for charities from music licensing rules – hitting them with huge bills for holding events with recorded music. Community groups say they will be forced to abandon hundreds of services for the elderly and children because of the new rules. Abolition of the exemption will affect old people's homes, charity discos, tea dances, youth clubs, salsa groups, sports clubs, coffee mornings and even charity shops which have a radio in their staff room.

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar said "this is a typical New Labour move. A hasty change to legislation with no consultation and little thought of the consequences. Once again we can expect a public outcry, more Government spin and a complicated climb down. In the meantime I will have to eliminate the music round from the occasional quiz that I run for a local organisation.

Save the British Forces Post Office


The Government is planning to stop the British Forces post Office (BFPO) which helps families and friends keep in contact with people serving abroad. You can post a letter to wherever they are serving with just a normal UK stamp. The decision also means that all free post (under 2kgs) to Afghanistan will be stopped.

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, said: "When our servicemen and women are fighting and dying for our country, the Government is once again treating them with contempt.

"The BFPO has for decades provided a lifeline that is utterly vital in maintaining morale and now they want it cut.

"I know from when my daughter was working for the forces in Gibraltar just how important the service is.

"MPs have granted themselves £7,000 a year postage - but they seem to be happy to put extra costs on service families.

I urge everyone to sign the 10 Downing Street petition here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Corus - let's plan for a future in steel making - Ian Swales

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar is calling for more action on planning a positive future for Corus.

He has published a new plan for Corus at Redcar which has been sent to the company, the Government and the Trade Unions.

Ian Swales said "There can be a much more positive future for Corus if the Government and the company really want to see it happen. We need a site owner who really believes in the future and is prepared to invest. There has been a lack of investment for over ten years. We need a Government who believe in manufacturing industry and can see the devestating impact of running it down.

My plan outlines what needs to be done and where the money could come from. I'm calling on the Government to bring all the interested parties together and plan for a long term future for steel making on Teesside. We have the site, the port and the people. We just need backing. Short term subsidies will give the plant a slow lingering death rather than a quick one. What we need is investment in steel to get Teesside's economic heart beating again.

Copies of the plan can be downloaded here.

Manufacturing industry as a % of GDP fell from 25 % to 22% under Margaret Thatcher. It fell to less than 13% under Tony Blair and is now less than 12%

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Corus - Labour MP's need to get involved

MP for Middlesbrough, Sir Stuart Bell is being criticised after press comments he made about the Corus situation. He claims that matters will be helped by a pipe order for Shetland gas fields that he has been working on for two years.

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar said "Sir Stuart Bell should know that steel from the mothballed plant does not go into pipes. He also talks about his hopes that the steel mill will be mothballed for the shortest possible time. The coil plate mill on the site was sold to the Chinese nine years ago and the beam mill is unaffected by the Corus announcement. It is the basic iron and steel making on the site which is mainly affected.

If we are to have any hope of getting out of this mess it's important that local MP's really get involved with what is happening at Corus. To not do so is letting down the local community.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Call for clarification on Redcar Steel Carbon Alowances

Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesman for Redcar Ian Swales has called for clarification on what will happen to the carbon emission allowances allocated free to Teesside Cast Products.

Responding to a statement from Corus, Mr Swales said:
"I have never wished to imply that Corus were motivated to profit from unused carbon allowances. But the situation remains very unclear.

"It is vital that the Government and Corus come forward now with a clear statement about what is going to happen to the 7 million tonnes of annual CO2 allowances.

"Clarity on this issue goes hand in hand with supporting the efforts of local Corus managers to save the TCP plant in Redcar."
Full statement issued by Bob Jones (Group Head Media Relations) on behalf of Corus:
"The Teesside Cast Products plant is to be partially mothballed, which is not the same thing as permanent closure. The question of what is to happen to TCP's 2010 allowances under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is therefore undecided. But any allegation that Corus has been motivated by the desire to profit from the mothballing via the ETS is totally without foundation and insults the efforts of all those who have spent the past eight months desperately searching for a long-term viable future for the plant."

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Government gives up on steel industry - Ian Swales

Any hope that the Government will support the local steel industry while it looks for a buyer who will invest in the site looks to be over. A £60m package of investment announced by the Government makes no mention of a future steel industry. Lord Mandleson, speaking after a meeting with the area's business and political leaders, said the investment was designed to help the area's transition beyond traditional heavy industry. He seems to have given up on Teesside's core industries.

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, said:

"This confirms what we have thought all along, that the Government has no commitment to a future steel industry on Teesside. It's a very sad day for local people.

"The package announced is welcome but in the short term will do little to help the 25,000 currently out of work in the Tees Valley or the thousands about to join them.

"The Government also need to be clear about how the £60m will be spent and how much of it is new money. The £30m announced for Wilton does not sound like anything new compared to what has already been proposed.

"People will rightly be very sceptical about claims that this investment will create 3,000 new jobs."

Wife of local steel worker says Government have given up on steel industry

A Redcar Councillor, who is the wife of a local steelworker, has hit out at the Government's announcement of £60m which she feels is not going to to help the steel industry?

Coatham ward Lib Dem Councillor Irene Curr said:

"There's some for Wilton, which certainly needs help, some for apprentices and some to help start-up businesses all of which is old news. The rest is to help the area move away from heavy industry.

"This is all very noble but the country needs a manufacturing industry, and therefore a steel industry, if it is to avoid relying on other countries for manufacturing. We are already at the mercy of other countries for our water, gas, electricity, and oil."

"If the Labour Government and Council think this is a good deal then they have obviously already given up on the steel industry!"

Friday, 4 December 2009

Corus Closure is worst possible Christmas present - Ian Swales

Reacting to the news of Corus closure, Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar said:

"The news about the Corus closure is devastating for Teesside. Unfortunately it's not a great surprise as this is the end of a long process caused by lack of investment and world market conditions. It has also been clear that the Government had no intention of helping the Teesside plants survive.

"I hope that the process of finding a new owner for the plant will continue and that "moth balling" is not just a device to avoid the massive environmental restoration that will be needed in future.

"I have been saying for a long time that we urgently need economic regeneration on Teesside. We also need a broader based economy and welcome the news that, yet again, the Government is talking about moving Civil Service jobs out of London.

"In the meantime my thoughts are with the workers losing there jobs. This is the worst possible Christmas present for them and their families."

Lib Dems cruise to victory in Ormesby Ward


Redcar and Cleveland Liberal Democrats are celebrating their fourth by-election win in Redcar constituency in just over twelve months.

Candidate Ann Wilson cruised to victory in the Ormesby Ward By-Election with a majority over Labour of 874. The result was as follows:

Ann Wilson (Lib Dem)..1084 (73.5%; +12.4%)
Steven Goldswain (Lab).210 (14.2%; -5.1%)
Martin Bulmer (UKIP)...103 (7.0%; +7.0%)
Colin Jones (Con).......77 (5.2%; -14.4%)

Majority 874
Turnout 29.55%

Lib Dem hold

The by-election was held due to the resignation of long serving Lib Dem Councillor Eric Empson and was the sixth in just over twelve months in Redcar constituency. The Lib Dems have taken three from Labour and held one. Labour have held two.

Ann Wilson, who lives in the ward, said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of highly respected Councillor Eric Empson. I will do my best to repay the confidence people have placed in me and I look forward to representing the views all residents of Ormesby Ward regardless of their political affiliation.”

Lib Dem Prospective MP Ian Swales said: “The result is a massive boost for the Liberal Democrats in Redcar constituency and is most encouraging for the coming General Election campaign.”

Ormesby Ward Councillors Glyn and Irene Nightingale said: "We are delighted that the residents of Ormesby and Nunthorpe continue to have confidence in the Liberal Democrats."

The composition of the Council is now:

Labour - 25
Liberal Democrats - 16
Conservative - 11
Independents supporting Labour - 4
Independents – 3

In Redcar constituency Liberal Democrats now hold 16 seats, to Labour’s 16 and the Tories 3.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Teessiders losing Postcode lottery in domestic violence programmes - Ian Swales

Offenders convicted of domestic violence are facing longer and longer waits for their court-ordered programmes. According to research by the Liberal Democrats, Teesside has one of the worst records in the country. Offenders are waiting an average of 42 weeks for their programmes with the longest waits being over a year and a half. In the whole of England only Essex has a worse record.

A full regional breakdown is attached

Commenting, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, said:

“The Teesside position has worsened dramatically in the last few years. The Government is about to introduce yet more legislation on domestic violence but it is delivery not laws we need most. It is clear from these figures that the measures they have already introduced are not yet working.

“It is unacceptable that local perpetrators of domestic violence are not going on behaviour changing programmes for over nine months after sentence or release from prison.

“For the sake of victims, violent domestic abusers need urgent help with their problems and it should not take so long to give it to them. It risks creating new or repeat victims of this terrible crime.

“Victims of domestic violence are less likely to come forward if they think their attacker will not be dealt with for months.

“With the Attorney General warning that domestic violence will rise in a recession, it is important that we give top priority to this issue.”

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Chris congratulates local musician Dean

Rock musician Dean Heslop, 19, of West Dyke Road, will release his first CD album entitled simply “Dean Heslop” on 14 December. An earlier EP he put out has been played extensively on US college radio.

The CD will be released on Middlesbrough-based Weedspell Records. The video to his song “Say You’re Sorry” was directed by Saltburn’s Adam Steele, and filmed in Middlesbrough, Saltburn and New Marske.

At tomorrow’s meeting of Redcar & Cleveland Council, Redcar Councillor Chris Abbott will ask the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Tourism to join him in congratulating Dean on his achievements.

Chris said:

“Dean is an exceptionally talented young man who deserves the Council’s congratulations.

“Modern music may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is one of the few areas where Britain still leads the world, so it is right that our Council supports and encourages local talent.”

Ian Swales's pledge to students

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, is supporting the National Union of Students campaign on student fees. He has signed the following pledge.

Ian Swales said:

“I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.

"Like many others of my generation I was only able to go to University as the fees were paid. Leaving University with no debt enabled me to get on with my life without huge repayments weighing me down. It's no wonder that fewer children from poorer backgrounds are going to University. This saddens me and given the chance I will fight hard to restore equality of opportunity for young people."

Daniel meets Kop Cat

We took our Grandson Daniel (5) to his first game at
Elland Road tonight and he met his new friend Kop Cat.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Lib Dems not put off by Council's negative response to pier campaign:

Ian Swales collecting signatures on Redcar High Street.

Ian Swales and the Redcar Liberal Democrats are delighted by the initial response to their campaign for a pier at Redcar. There has been extensive media coverage and an enthusiastic response from residents and visitors to the town.

So far Redcar and Cleveland Council have not embraced the idea and have been defending their stance on not allowing the sea front redesign to include a pier.

Lib Dem Council Group Leader Chris Abbott said: "The reasons given by the Council for not wanting a pier just don't stand up to examination. They have mentioned the impact on a site of scientific interest towards South Gare. This is nowhere near the possible pier sites. They have also mentioned the impact on tides and sea defences. We are proposing a pier, not a breakwater,. This would have minimal impact on water flow."

Ian Swales said: "The Council have immediately jumped to defend their concept of a viewing tower which they dub a "vertical pier". We have no objections to this but cannot agree that it is any kind of replacement for a proper pier. It says something about their poverty of ambition that they see it as an either,or, decision. Redcar needs major investment in many facilities as is happening in towns all over the country including Middlesbrough and Stockton. We will carry on campaigning. We will not be put off by the Council's negative response."

You can sign the petition on-line here or download paper copies to gather signatures.

Press report untrue say Leeds United

Leeds United have issued the following statement in response to an article which appeared in the Telegraph and Argus:
Leeds United Football Club would like to clarify a newspaper story which appeared on Monday November 23.

The story, which appeared in the Telegraph and Argus, alleges that the club has refused to supply tickets to family members of the Yorkshire Regiment, who are due to take part in a presentation at half-time of our game against Huddersfield on Saturday December 5.

The club can confirm that this is categorically not true. The newspaper was told that the matter was due for discussion this week and that the allegations were unfounded. Unfortunately, the newspaper chose to ignore this and ran the story.

The club will be supplying 30 tickets to the Yorkshire Regiment for use among the families of the 12 servicemen, both Leeds United fans and Huddersfield Town fans, who will be honoured during the half-time interval of the game.

The club has always prided itself on having a strong relationship with the Armed Forces.

Last season members of the Yorkshire Regiment were given a standing ovation by the Elland Road crowd when they were our guests at a game, we have long been actively involved with the Help For Heroes charity and we are keen supporters of the Military Section at Selly Oak Hospital.

In addition, HMS Ark Royal is the nominated ship of Leeds United, and at the end of every season, our playing kit is sent to Catterick Garrison for distribution around the world. Elland Road has also staged regular Army recruitment events.

The club is seeking a retraction and a full apology from the newspaper concerned.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Switching on the Christmas lights at Redcar

Pouring rain did not spoil the fun at the switching on of
Redcar's Christmas lights.

Grandson Daniel with his friend Bob the Builder

Granddaughter Jessica with dad Ashley

Granddaughter Charlotte (brown coat) sang carols with
fellow Lakes Primary School pupils

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Free parking at Christmas

Redcar and Cleveland Council is offering a pre-Christmas gift to motorists across the Borough - free parking in its car parks after 1pm from Saturday, 21st November 2009.

The offer, which will run until Sunday, 27th December, covers all pay and display car parks in Redcar, Guisborough and Saltburn. The only exceptions are the supermarket car parks for Morrisons.

On-street charges will also be suspended from Saturday, 21st November.

Monday, 16 November 2009

LET'S HAVE A PIER AT REDCAR:


Ian Swales and Redcar Liberal Democrats have started a petition to try and get a new pier out to sea at Redcar.

The Council have announced major expenditure for Redcar sea front but no pier is included.

Ian Swales said "it's clear from talking to people around the town that the majority would like to have a proper pier again. Historically there were two piers. One at Coatham and one at Redcar. A new pier would be a fantastic asset that would bring anglers and many other visitors to the town. The report on the Council's "Love it, Hate it" sea front consultation with residents includes the statement "many people suggested a breakwater or pier".

It's not just local residents who feel this way. Within 10 minutes of starting to collect signatures on the High Street we met a visitor from Australia who said that Redcar beach was a perfect place for a pier.

We know there would be limitations on siting but there are possible locations close to the Regent cinema."

Chris Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Redcar and Cleveland Council, backs the idea as do ward Councillors Irene Curr and Josie Crawford. Chris said "we need a whole series of attractions to bring people to the town and a pier, costing around £3m, would be an exciting addition."

You can sign the petition on-line or download paper copies to gather signatures by clicking here.

Photo shows, from left, Ian Swales with Redcar Councillors John Hannon, Irene Curr and Josie Crawford.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Government threat to our heritage

The Government is planning to remove legal protection from listed buildings in Britain. The provisions are contained in draft legislation which will encourage local authorities to demolish listed buildings on economic or social grounds. This legislation threatens numerous buildings including 19 in the Redcar district alone.

Local conservationist Alex Stamp said "to remove legal protection is unacceptable and an astonishing indication of the Governments hostility where distinguished architecture is concerned., the idea that local Councils could demolish buildings such as Redcar clock, Saltburn war memorial or Middlesbrough railway station when they like will be a shock to local people. Professional bodies are already describing the move as a "wreckers charter".

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar Ian Swales is taking up the cause. He said "I was saddened but not surprised when I heard of these proposals. The Labour Government's changes to Planning Laws are all designed to make demolition easy, smooth the way for developers and take local people out of the process. They have set up the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol who regularly allow developments despite local opposition. Redcar Lane, Redcar and Church Lane, Eston are two recent examples. They have also set up the Infrastructure Planning Commission who will be able to sanction nuclear power stations, airport runways and other large structures without reference to local people. Now they want to be able to bulldoze any of our fine old buildings that stand in their way".

Friday, 6 November 2009

Four in fight for Ormesby Ward By-Election

Four candidates are standing in the Ormesby Ward By-Election for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, which takes plave on Thursday 3rd December 2009.

Martin Bulmer (UKIP),
Steven Goldswain (Labour),
Colin Jones (Conservative),
Ann Wilson (Liberal Democrat).

The vacancy has been created by the retirement of Lib Dem Councillor Eric Empson due to ill health.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Daniel, Jessica and Charlotte

Grandchildren Daniel, Jessica and Charlotte

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Yorkshire Ridings Society 35 years and still going strong

The Yorkshire Ridings Society held its first meeting in Beverley in November 1974 and may be one of the longest running campaign groups in the United Kingdom.

At its Triennial General meeting held last night in the Black Swan at York Redcar Councillor Chris Abbott, who was re-elected Chairman of the Executive Committee, said:

"We must be one of the longest running campaign groups in the United Kingdom. We were formed in response to the 1974 re-organisation of Local Government to campaign for the continued recognition of the three Ridings of Yorkshire in spite of the fact that some parts of the county were transferred to other "counties" for administrative purposes.

"Encouraged by Government statements that the changes were for administrative purposes only and for all other purposes Yorkshire is still Yorkshire, the Ridings Society has doggedly fought to keep alive the historic three Ridings. The earliest known written reference appears in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles of 876.

"We successfully campaigned for the abolition of Cleveland County and Humberside and our role since has been to ensure that the Ridings of Yorkshire remain in existence for all cultural, ceremonial, sporting and postal purposes. Local Government changes make no difference as long as we accept that our historic counties exist alongside them.

"To this end the Society successfully introduced Yorkshire Day in 1975 (the first county in the UK to have its own special day 1st August) which has grown in popularity each year since. We have also been successful in arranging for the erection of Ridings boundary signs on the roads in many areas along the boundaries of historic Yorkshire. At our next meeting in December we are meeting to review our aims and plan for the next few years of campaigning."

Founder member, Mr John Dargan of Goole was re-elected Treasurer, a position he has held since the day the Society was formed. Other officers elected were President - Mrs Judith Anderson of Hull, Vice Chairman - Mr Roger Sewell of Goole, Secretary - Mr Gavin Gibb of London, Minute Secretary - Mrs Hilary Holt and Membership Secretary Miss Hilary Slights of Hovingham.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Longstanding Lib Dem Councillor steps down

Former Redcar & Cleveland Council Leader Eric Empson has today announced his resignation from the council.

Eric, who will be 85 next month, has represented Ormesby on the Council since 1989, initially on Cleveland County Council and later the borough council. He led the council from 2003 to 2007, when the Council achieved a 4-star rating.

But Eric feels the time is right to step back now.

Eric said:

“After discussions with my doctor I feel my health will not allow me to continue to represent the people of Ormesby and Nunthorpe to the full.

“I was proud to serve as Leader of the Council. It was a special privilege to represent my fellow citizens in local, regional and national forums.

“I would like to thank the people of Ormesby and Nunthorpe for electing me, and thank everyone who has worked with me as a councillor.”

Councillor Chris Abbott, Liberal Democrat Group Leader at the Council, said:

“I thank Eric for his excellent hard work over the years. His experience and wisdom will be missed by many.”

Lib Dem Group Chair, Councillor Irene Nightingale, who also represents Ormesby ward, added:

“It has always been a pleasure to work with Eric in helping local constituents. Local residents will miss his dedication in representing their interests.”

Friday, 23 October 2009

Opening of Redcar Boating Lake and Mo Mowlam tribute in pictures

Dr Mo Mowlam 1949-2005.
The red jumpers of Coatham Primary School pupils
stand out amongst the spectators.
Pupils from Coatham and Wheatlands Primary schools
entertain the crowd.
Mo Mowlan's brother and sister with former Councillor Vilma Collins
shortly after unveiling the mosaic.
Members of the Mo Mowlam tribute
Committee admire the finished work
.
Our Grandson Daniel was more interested in the
Fire Engine speeding past.

GDP figures show we could be in deepest recession on record - Cable

Commenting on today's GDP figures, which show the economy shrank by 0.4% Between July and September, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable said:
"For all the hopes of a quick recovery, these figures make it clear we are still in the longest and what could yet become the deepest recession on record.

"For all that has been thrown at the economy to try and stimulate a recovery it is clear that massive structural problems remain, particularly in the banking sector.

"This news adds to serious concerns over the realism of Government plans to deal with the burgeoning public debt. It is critical ministers spell out a credible path as to how they will deal with the deficit.

"With the legacy of unemployment likely to remain for years after the end of the recession, we need radical measures to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 1990s which left millions on the scrap heap."
Prospective MP for Redcar Ian Swales said:
"The fact that the country is still in recession is more bad news for our area. With unemployment already at high levels, and more threatened, we desperately need a turn round in the country's fortunes. While other countries like France and Germany are growing again we are still faced with decline and a collapsing currency due to the reckless policies of the Labour Government."

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Local Labour MPs' vote against 10:10 motion

It is sad to see that local Labour MPs failed to support the Lib Dems 10:10 climate change motion debated in the House of Commons yesterday but it was not unexpected.

The 10:10 campaign is gaining support fast. Around 40,000 individuals are already signed up along with hundreds of organisations, businesses, schools and colleges. Almost 10,000 people emailed their MP calling on them to commit to a 10% reduction in emissions during 2010. But only 12 Labour MPs supported the motion. Vera Baird, Ashok Kumar, Sir Stuart Bell and Dari Taylor all voted against, whilst Frank Cook didn't vote.

It is particularly important that we do all we can to reduce emissions in the Teesside area with all our heavy industry and our MPs should be seen to set an example. Their refusal to back the motion shows they are out of touch with public opinion and like their refusal to be open and transparent about their expenses they just don't appear to care.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

North Yorkshire County Council Lib Dem Group sign up for climate change measures

On the day Parliament debates whether or not to sign up to the 10:10 Campaign, the Liberal Democrat Group on North Yorkshire County Council has today signed up to the movement.

Last week the Lib Dem group put a motion to the Tory-run council which would have meant the council joining the campaign aimed at driving forward cuts in carbon emissions.

The 10:10 campaign calls on individuals, businesses and other organisations to work towards a 10% cut in carbon emissions in 2010.

However, the ruling Tories, along with Labour and Independents, refused to sign up.

Councillor Bill Hoult (pictured), Lib Dem Leader at County Hall, said:

“This week is very important for our environment. Parliament will today debate a Lib Dem motion about whether or not to commit Parliament and the Government to achieving a 10% reduction in carbon emissions in 2010. I hope that all North Yorkshire’s MPs will be supportive.

“It is also Energy Saving Week, so what better time to sign up?

“The Tory council may not be signing up, but my group intends to set an example to the rest of the councillors at County Hall. We are already looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact.” to reduce our environmental impact.”

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Guardian banned from Elland Road

Posted by Chris;

The news that Leeds United have banned the Guardian from Elland Road because of stories written by journalist David Conn comes as no surprise.

Serious questions have been asked about the ownership of the club and Ken Bates has resorted to his usual tactic of shooting the messenger.

The Guardian joins a long list of people and media organisations that Chairman Ken has locked out of his football grounds. These include members of Chelsea's successful 1970's side, The Daily and Sunday Mirror banned from Stamford Bridge, former Chelsea Vice-Chairman Matthew Harding, who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash, BBC Look North banned from Elland Road, Melvyn Levi who won a libel case earlier this year against Bates, Peter Ridsdale, former Leeds chairman.

Then there was the nonsensical decision to give in house Yorkshire Radio exclusive coverage of United's home games in spite of an attractive offer from BBC Radio Leeds who had covered Leeds matches for 40 years.

Forgive me if I have missed anyone out. I am sure there must be more.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Local students could face £7,000 tuition fees

There is now less than eight months to save a new generation of young people from huge increases in university tuition fees, according to Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Redcar, Ian Swales.

He was speaking after the Conservatives suggested they will increase tuition fees to £7,000 if they take power at the next general election, which has to be held by next June.


That will see tuition fees for undergraduates more than double. Currently there is a cap of £3,300 in England and Wales.

Peter Mandelson has already suggested that Labour will allow universities to charge more than at present if re-elected – though the party is too scared to push through the changes it wants before June.


Only the Liberal Democrats will scrap tuition fees. The party believes university education should be free and everyone who has the ability should be able to go – and not be put off by the cost.


Ian Swales said: “I look around Redcar Constituency and I see people return from university with no job and a bank balance tens of thousands of pounds in the red. What sort of message is that?


“Labour and now the Tories are showing their true colours. They don’t care about young people – they just want to saddle them with staggering amounts of debt.


“The choice is clear: the people of Redcar Constituency can vote for a politician who will condemn a generation of youngsters or for the Liberal Democrats who will make education free again, giving young people the best possible start.”

Redcar and Cleveland Council plan a celebration to unveil Mo Mowlam mosiac

Redcar and Cleveland Council is hosting an afternoon of celebration to officially unveil a memorial mosaic to honour the life of the late former Redcar MP Mo Mowlam at Redcar's newly-refurbished boating lake on Friday, October 23.

Mo's brother and sister Jim Mowlam and Jean Jacques, together with Mo's close friend, former councillor and Mayor, Vilma Collins, will reveal the mosaic, an intricate circular pattern of 800 ceramic tiles, set in a three-metre raised circle near the water's edge.

The mosaic, created by artist John Todd, illustrates Mo's life and interests, with her portrait as the centrepiece surrounded by images including the beach where she loved to walk, racehorses at Redcar Racecourse, where she celebrated her wedding, the steelworks, the Zetland lifeboat, clasped hands and doves to symbolise the Northern Ireland peace process and the Houses of Parliament.

The project has been organised by a working group of former Redcar and Cleveland Mayors, including Mrs Collins, and councillors Peter Spencer, Madge Moses and Norah Cooney, and was funded by public donations, which raised £12,000, including contributions from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, fellow MPs, elected Members, businesses, unions and, of course, local people.

Plans had been in place to instal the mosaic last year, but the major refurbishment of the boating lake has delayed the installation and now a double celebration is planned, with the public welcome to attend.

The entertainment will begin at 1.40pm, with a performance from the Marske Fishermen's Choir, followed by the official reopening of the boating lake by the Council's Mayor, Councillor Brian Briggs.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Still angry and frustrated at Leeds United's failure to secure Thorp Arch deal

Posted by Chris:

It is more than 24 hours since the alarming news broke that Leeds United had failed to meet the conditions laid down by Leeds City Council in time to meet the midnight on Thursday deadline to purchase back Thorp Arch training ground.

The current market value of this world class facility is said to be £11m. United had the opportunity to get it back at the exclusive price of £5.8m and the more I think about it the more angry and frustrated I get.

With the Council borrowing the money and the cost of that covered by a leasing agreement with United there would have been no cost to Council Taxpayers. And United would have been able to buy it from the Council at reasonable terms when it recovers its financial credibility. They have missed out on a more than good deal that will probably now cost Leeds at least twice as much in the future, whilst they continue fork out £486000 per year in rent to its current owner, Manchester-based company Barnaway, rising by around 3% per year.

I am angry at Chairman Ken Bates blame anyone but me attitude. I am frustrated at the lack of openness and transparency.

There may have been legal reasons why little could be said about the questions United failed to answer before the deal fell through but surely now we can be told what they are? The Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and the Guardian have all failed to get satisfactory answers. Probably they wrote their stories up straight from Ken Bates press statement without being able to contact the Monaco based businessman. Perhaps someone will have to make a 'Freedom of Information' request to the City Council to find out?

I hope there is someway of turning this missed opportunity around. I suspect it has a lot to do with the concerns about who actually owns Leeds United and the lack of transparency about it.

The actual owner is the Forward Sports Fund, which is registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven. The ownership issue has caused concern since June 2007 when Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dem MP Phil Willis raised serious questions, after the club went into administration with debts of £35m and was then resold to the same owners.

Richard Murphy explains in his Tax Research UK blog why it is important to know who owns the club:
Why does this matter? For several reasons. First, as the litigation proves, those dealing with the club have no real idea who is behind it and how to assess its credibility. second, here we have an institution of public significance (I think) that is owned by unknown persons, maybe paid for out of criminal funds.Who knows? Third, there is a fit and proper process meant to apply to owners of football clubs. It cannot apply in this case. Fourth, most owners of private companies exercise considerable management influence. Many are shadow directors. We have no idea who these people are in this case. Fifth, the relationship between a private company and its owner is a matter of tax significance in the UK. Why should tax authorities not be able to access data on this issue without having to commence enquiries to find out?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Lib Dems Persuade Redcar Council to Support 10:10 Climate Change Campaign

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council today successfully persuaded the council to back a campaign aimed at driving forward cuts in the authority’s carbon emissions.

Lib Dem Councillor Irene Curr (Coatham Ward) submitted a motion to today’s Council meeting calling on the Labour-run Council to sign up to the “10:10 Campaign” to reduce carbon use.

The 10:10 campaign calls on individuals, businesses and other organisations to work towards a 10% cut in carbon emissions in 2010.

The campaign also aims to show world leaders that there is public support for dramatic cuts in global fuel consumption in the hope of encouraging an international agreement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which meets in Copenhagen in December.

Councillor Curr said:

“I am pleased that the Council has agreed to give a lead on carbon reduction. 10% will be a tough target to achieve, but if the Council has the will to do it I am sure it will be possible.”

Her colleague, Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Carling, seconded the motion, adding:

“I hope that many local residents and businesses will also sign up to the 10:10 Campaign.”

“In these tough economic times it makes sense, not only for the environment, but in cutting fuel bills too.”

Friday, 9 October 2009

Who can switch on the X-Factor?

Young people across the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland are being urged to bring their cheerleaders to auditions that offer them the chance to show off their talents when Redcar's Christmas lights are switched on next month.

The Council's Mayor Councillor Brian Briggs will be chairman of the judging panel in the church hall at Christ Church, Coatham on Friday, October 16, Saturday October 17 and Friday, October 23, in X-Factor style auditions.

The shows start at 7pm, each with different age group auditions. On Friday,October 16, there will be performances for Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds, on Saturday, October 17, it will be Key Stage 2 (8-11) and on Friday, October 23, it will be Key Stage 4/College (14-21).

The winners from each age group will be part of the lights switch-on on Saturday, November 21, when they will perform on the High Street stage, starting at 10am.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lib Dems support 10:10 climate change campaign

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council will next week call on councillors to back a campaign aimed at driving forward cuts in the authority’s carbon emissions.

Councillor Irene Curr (Coatham Ward - pictured right) has submitted a motion to the Council meeting on 15 October calling on the Labour-run Council to sign up to the “10:10 Campaign” to reduce carbon use.

The 10:10 campaign calls on individuals, businesses and other organisations to work towards a 10% cut in carbon emissions in 2010.

The campaign also aims to show world leaders that there is public support for dramatic cuts in global fuel consumption in the hope of encouraging an international agreement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which meets in Copenhagen in December.

Councillor Curr said:

“The Council should be giving a lead on carbon reduction. 10% will be a tough target to achieve, but if the Council has the will to do it I am sure it will be possible.”

Her colleague, Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Carling (West Dyke Ward - pictured right), seconded the motion, adding:

“I hope that many local residents and businesses will also sign up to the 10:10 Campaign.”

“In these tough economic times it makes sense, not only for the environment, but in cutting fuel bills too.”

Football League to discuss ownership of Leeds United

The Guardian today Reports that the Football League, under chairman Lord Mawhinney, will discuss the ownership issues surrounding Leeds United.

They also provide some useful questions and answers:

Q: Why is Leeds United on the agenda: doesn't Ken Bates own the club?

A: Leeds United's actual owner is the Forward Sports Fund, which is registered in a tax haven, the Cayman Islands, where shareholders' identities are kept anonymous. Earlier this year, Bates stated that he and his financial adviser, Patrick Murrin, co-owned the only shares in Forward, but now he has said that was "incorrect".

Q: What has Bates said now about who owns Leeds?

A: He has now said that in fact Forward Sports Fund has 10,000 shares, held by people who have not been identified. Bates stated it was "an error on my part", when he previously said he and Murrin jointly owned Forward.

Q: How did Bates make such an "error" over whether or not he owned the club himself?

A: He has not explained that, either in answers to questions from the Guardian or in his match programme notes, a regular treat for Leeds fans, who can read their chairman's insightful views on people and subjects of significance to the club.

Q: What does the Football League have to consider regarding Leeds?

A: Two different questions. If Leeds previously supplied Bates and Murrin as the owners of Forward, have the club and their directors broken the rule which requires them to state truthfully and accurately to the league who the owners are? Also, the league needs to discover who the actual owners of Forward are, and make sure they are "fit and proper people".

Lib Dems carry the torch for North East Olympic hopes

North East Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign to bring the Olympic flame to our region as part of the UK celebrations in 2012.

Led by Berwick’s MP Sir Alan Beith, Liberal Democrats from around the north east have written to Lord Coe as Chairman of the London Organising Committee asking for the flame to visit the North east. Other signatories are: Fiona Hall MEP, Cllr John Shipley, Leader of Newcastle City Council; Cllr Jeff Reid, Leader of Northumberland County Council, Ron Beadle, parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North; Greg Stone, parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East; Carol Woods, parliamentary spokesman for Durham City; and Ian Swales, parliamentary spokesman for Redcar.

Sir Alan Beith said

"The Olympics is a wonderful opportunity to encourage many people to get involved in all kinds of sporting activity. Bringing the Olympic flame to the north east will remind people that although the focus of the Games is London, we can all get involved.

"The Lib Dem team presented Lord Coe with a letter inviting the Olympic Flame to the North East at an event to promote London 2012 at the recent Lib Dem party conference in Bournemouth."

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I am shocked at Government response - Ian Swales

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar Ian Swales has responded to the news about lack of Government support for the local chemical industry.

He said: "I am shocked that the Government is doing so little to protect this country's vital strategic industries. Lord Mandelson's reply amounts to an insult when we're talking about such a big slice of the national economy. This is not just about jobs although that is absolutely vital for Teesside. It's also about security of supply for the important materials that our society needs. I worked at Wilton and Billingham for over 20 years. I can't believe that the Government would allow the chemical infrastructure here on Teesside to collapse.

"The suggestions from the industry looked very sensible and no less than companies will be getting elsewhere. With so much of our industry now foreign owned, companies will choose which plants to keep and where to invest based on many factors. A supportive political climate both locally and nationally is absolutely key.

"With its failure to back both our steel and chemical industries and failure to move Civil Service jobs here it looks as though the Government is quite content to see Teesside become an industrial wasteland with mass unemployment."

Nick Clegg and Ian Swales say Save our Steel


Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, Ian Swales took the Save Our Steel campaign to the recent Liberal Democrat conference.

He is pictured with Lib Dem leader and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg.

Nick said " I am very concerned that our Government is not working with other European Governments to ensure a level playing field for our steel industry."

Ian Swales said "we have to get as many people as possible behind the campaign to save the local steel industry. I was fortunate to be able to state the case to so many parliamentarians at the Conference."

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

HOW THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE ARE HAVING THEIR SAY

Redcar and Cleveland Council is giving thousands of young people across the Borough the chance to have their say on local democracy.

Council staff have created a range of activities for young and old in primary schools, youth centres and a care home, including helping with mock and real elections.

Now, to coincide with Local Democracy Week, the Council is bringing young people into Redcar and Cleveland Town Hall's Council Chamber at Eston for a series of innovative events.

The meetings, in the shadow of the Council's imposing crest, United We Endeavour, will be a Democracy Commission on Friday, October 9 and a mock Council meeting, chaired by the Mayor, Councillor Brian Briggs, that gives young people the chance to put questions to Cabinet Members on Tuesday, October 13.

There will also be a special Council Chamber presentation on Wednesday, October 14 from the Parliamentary Outreach Officer for the North of England Daniel Wood, who, along with the Council's Mayor Councillor Brian Briggs, will address the Council's newest recruits, 20 apprentices, explaining the role of Parliament and how young people can get involved.

To find out more about how you can get involved in consultation with the Council, log on to the Council's website.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Ken Bates true to form, answers Phil Willis MP with smears

Posted by Chris:

As predicted in my previous posting Leeds United Chairman Ken Bates has misused his column in today's match programme to smear Harrogate and Knaresborough's hard working Lib Dem MP Phil Willis.

Chairman Ken never learns. His vendetta against Melvyn Levi, in his scurrilous programme notes, cost him an estimated £1.5m in libel fees. When I read the match programme I want to read about Leeds United not Ken's vindictive remarks about anyone who dares to ask questions he does not want to answer.

I will not repeat here what Ken has written. It does not answer the questions that Phil has asked about the ownership of United.

There is a question mark over who really owns Leeds United. Phil Willis and other local MPs are right to be concerned. Harrogate and Knaresborough provides a huge proportion of the Mighty Whites fan base and they pay a fortune to support the team. They have a right to know who actually owns the club and be reassured that there is nothing untoward about it.

The ironic thing about this is that Leeds United have been baled out by Lib Dem led Leeds City Council, who are buying the Throp Arch training ground and are leasing it to United, at no cost to Council Taxpayers in a deal which will allow the club to buy the facilities off the Council when it is in a financial position to do so. This is a massive help to the club who cannot obtain finance itself at this time having only recently been in administration.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Who owns Leeds United?

Today's Guardian has a story about the growing mystery surrounding the ownership of Leeds United.

Once again Liberal Democrat MP, Phil Willis, has risked the wrath of Ken Bates matchday programme notes by calling for a Football League investigation into the ownership of the club:

"Leeds United is a fantastic football club whose loyal and dedicated supporters have stuck by it through thick and thin," Willis said yesterday. "They have a right to know who owns their club and that those people are fit and proper. The Football League must revisit this case to ensure that its rules, that owners must be passed as fit and proper, have been met."

Ken Bates needs to act quickly to avoid this issue dragging on. It is clearly not going to go away and the failure to clear up the confusion over who really owns the Mighty Whites only adds to the concern and speculation.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

ADVICE SESSIONS ON CHRISTMAS CRUNCH

Redcar and Cleveland's Children and Young People’s Trust is offering advice on how to manage the family Christmas budget in the credit crunch.

A host of experts will be on hand to give financial advice, particularly for anyone who has been made redundant or whose job may be at risk at three sessions next week.

There will be representatives from the Redcar & Cleveland Moneytree Credit Union, Job Centre Plus, Routes to Employment, Funding for training, Coast and Country Housing, Citizens Advice Bureau, Welfare Rights, Redcar and Cleveland Financial Inclusion Team, Redcar and Cleveland Energy Management Team, Redcar and Cleveland One Stop Shop Team. Sure Start and the Family Information Services.

Dates and venues for the sessions, all open from 10am-6pm and set up with funding from the NHS Trust:

Monday, October 5 at Loftus Co-Op building.

Wednesday, October 7 at James Finegan Hall, Eston.

Friday, October 9 at Coatham Memorial Hall, Redcar.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Ian Swales on the Politics Show

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, has appeared on the BBC Politics Show criticising the new Regional Grand Committee. The Committee met in Middlesbrough last Friday and is an attempt to bring Parliament out of Westminster into the regions.

Ian said:
"It was an interesting bit of theatre but contributed little to the Government of the region. The fact that only 14 of the regions 30 MP's bothered to turn up shows that it is already low in their priorities right from the start.

"The Committee also shows the absurdity of the first past the post electoral system. Full attendance would have seen 28 Labour MP's and just 1 Liberal Democrat and 1 Conservative at the Committee. The recent European elections were held under a fair voting system and the region returned 1 Labour, I Conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat to Brussels.

"Finally I would question the wisdom of adding to the cost of running Parliament and taking a large number of police away from their normal duties. When so many of our local front line services such as social workers, neighbourhood police and the probation service are making cutbacks it seems insensitive to bring this show into town."

Friday, 25 September 2009

FARMERS MARKET RETURNS TO REDCAR

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is welcoming the Northern Dales Farmers' Market to Redcar High Street, for the final time in 2009 on Thursday 1st October.

The market will be open between 9am and 4pm, there will be a range of high quality, locally produced products including pork, beef, lamb, pies, vegetables, herbs and plants.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

RESIDENTS LET DOWN BY SWINE FLU ARRANGEMENTS - IAN SWALES

Residents in Redcar and Cleveland are being let down by the swine flu arrangements.

Those needing Tamiflu are expected to go to either Stockton or Whitby to pick up the drug.

Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar has personal experience. He said: “I had some flu symptons and rang the help line. After a long pre-recorded introduction I was put through to two of the staff arguing between themselves and they couldn't hear me. Eventually I got through and was given all the help I needed. However I was amazed to be told that I had to nominate a "buddy" to go all the way to Teesdale in Stockton to pick up the Tamiflu. The pharmacy is only open between 2pm and 6pm. The nearest public transport is at Thornaby railway station which is over 10 minutes walk away for a fit person.

"Many residents will have problems with these arrangements especially those who are elderly or infirm. Not everyone knows someone who could spend most of an afternoon travelling to Stockton and back.

"It's unbelievable that Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust has not provided a single pick up point.”

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Catch Swine Flu in Redcar and travel miles for medication

We learned today that people in Redcar suffering from Swine Flu have to send a buddy to Stockton or Whitby for their Tamiflu medication.

There used to be a flu bank at Guisborough and other local centres but these closed when the outbreak tailed off. But it is increasing again and suffers are not allowed to collect their medication themselves they have to find a buddy to go for them. The nearest place Stockton is a 30-mile round trip.

We are contacting the PCT to press for a local facility to be re-opened.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Stunning royal jewels discovered and saved for the North East thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund


Stunning royal jewels discovered and saved for the North East thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund has today awarded £274,400 to help Redcar and Cleveland Council showcase the life and death of a royal Saxon princess,whose grave was uncovered in an East Cleveland farmer's field. A collection of rare Anglo- Saxon jewellery that was found at the grave in Streethouse, Loftus will now be kept and displayed at the Kirkleatham Museum.

Some of the pieces from the collection are associated with a rare Anglo-Saxon ‘bed burial’ in which a female body is laid out on a decorated wooden bed accompanied by fine gold jewellery. Due to its rarity, this find is of huge national importance, and these finds are unparalleled across the Anglo-Saxon world.

As well as the acquisition, the project will also create a new Anglo-Saxon gallery in the Kirkleatham Museum. This will be home to an interpretation of Anglo-Saxon life in the area and of the Streethouse finds; a reconstruction of the burial bed and the newly acquired objects will take pride of place on display. Other elements of the project will include a touring exhibition, learning and outreach activity and volunteering opportunities, these will enable the collection to be seen and appreciated by local residents and visitors alike.

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East Ivor Crowther said:

“These rare finds are a spectacular insight into the lives of the people who lived in the region long ago. This is the only discovery of this kind and of this calibre in the North East and it is really important that we keep the pieces here for local residents and visitors to come and admire. The jewellery will provide an excellent learning tool and thrilling museum exhibition. By providing volunteering and work placement opportunities, the project provides tangible historical and archaeological skills that can be used for future job and learning possibilities. We are delighted to have been able to largely support this project and are excited to witness the development of the plans.”
These sorts of burials are extremely unusual with only 12 recorded in the country and none recorded in the North East making it hugely important for the heritage of the region and the country. The jewellery was discovered by archaeologist Steve Sherlock with the help of the Teesside Archaeological Society.

The pieces are of such high quality that it is widely believed to be a royal burial ground which adds to the wonderful story behind the jewels. The cemetery at Street House has five high status female graves and one sword burial, with the stunning finds thought to date from the second half of the seventh century (after AD 650). During this time the Northumbrian royal family was being established in and around the smaller areas of Bernicia, north of the Tees and Deira across Yorkshire.

Alan Pearce, Museums Curator for Kirkleatham Museum at Redcar said:

“I am absolutely delighted with this award which recognises the quality of the objects and the unique story of a princess and her royal bed burial in East Cleveland. We can now conserve and research the jewels and create a stunning exhibition to enable everyone to appreciate and get close to them. The exhibition will open before Easter 2011 and will include state of the art virtual touch technology and an exciting community outreach programme. I am enormously grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project to enable us to secure these very rare and precious finds for Kirkleatham museum."

HAVE YOUR SAY ON BUILDING SCHOOLS FOR THE FUTURE

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is currently undertaking Statutory Consultation on its Building Schools for the Future plans.

The consultation which runs until Sunday 25th October, focuses on the following proposals:

*to discontinue Gillbrook College and expand Eston Park School

*to discontinue St Peter’s Catholic College of Maths and Computing, South Bank and expand Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School – A Specialist Science College, Redcar

*to discontinue Freebrough Specialist Engineering College. An Academy at Freebrough is planned. This will be subject to a proposal by the Secretary of State. This will not affect the day to day operation of the College. A full and thorough consultation process about the Academy will take place next month.

Have your say at one of the following drop-in sessions:

Expansion of Eston Park School: Wednesday 23rd September, at James Finegan Hall, Eston, 4pm-6pm and Wednesday 14th October, at City Learning Centre, Eston, 5pm-7pm.

Catholic provision in Redcar and Cleveland: Wednesday 30th September, at James Finegan Hall, Eston, 4pm-6pm and Wednesday 21st October, at Sacred Heart RC School, Redcar, 5pm-7pm.

An Academy at Freebrough: Wednesday 7th October, at Freebrough Specialist Engineering College, Brotton, 5pm-7pm.

The full consultation document is available on the Council's website www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk, follow the link from the homepage.

COUNCIL PLAN MAINTENANCE WORK ON MAJOR ROADS

Redcar and Cleveland Council is ready to start maintenance work on stretches of four major roads across the Borough, including grass cutting, gully cleaning, sign maintenance, street lighting maintenance, litter picking and road repairs.

The timetable for the weekend working, which will involve lane closures, but no road closures, is:

A171 Swans Corner Roundabout to Guisborough Road Roundabout: Saturday, October 3 - fast lanes, Sunday, October 4 - slow lanes.

A1085 ICI West Gate to Kirkleatham Lane: Saturday, October 10 - slow lanes, Sunday, October 11 - fast lanes.

A174 Greystones Roundabout to Redcar Lane Roundabout: Saturday, October 17 - fast lanes, Sunday, October 18 - slow lanes.

A66 Cargo Fleet lane to ICI West Gate: Saturday, October 24 - slow lanes, Sunday, October 25 - fast lanes.

Friday, 18 September 2009

One rule for us and another for Redcar's Labour leader

Those people who have received a notice under their windscreen wiper informing them they should park properly in Redcar & Cleveland Town Hall Car Park will be interested to see this picture of the Council's Labour leader parked in a prohibited area right next to the Town Hall entrance.

Councillor George (I'm and ex steel worker - save our steel) Dunning's foreign car was parked all morning without getting a notice put on it.

Peeping through the window, on the left, is George's sidekick deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke who almost blew a gasket in the lobby because we dared to take a picture of the car.

Lib Dems move closer in South Bank

Steven Abbott (third left) with Glynis and some of the Campaign team after the Count.

Our lad Steven improved the Lib Dem vote, on a lower turnout in Labour's safest seat to move within 88 votes of winning South Bank ward in yesterday's by-election.

The result

Sue Jeffrey (Lab).................. 442 (43.6%; -6.3%)
Steven Abbott (Lib Dem)......... 354 (34.9%; +12.8%)
Vince Smith (Ind).................. 102 (10.1%)
Martin Gordon Bulmer (UKIP)...... 69 (6.8%)
Joan Bolton (Con)................... 47 (4.6%; -0.1%)

Turnout 21.3%
Majority 88
Lab hold
9.55% swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats


The result last time:

Marilyn Bramley (Labour).... 652 (49.9; -0.6)
Toni Meir (Liberal Democrat) 288 (22.1; +12.3)
Bernard Collinson (BNP)..... 206 (15.8; +1.4)
Oz Sadiq (Independent..... 101 (7.7; -7.3)
Joan Bolton (Conservative 59 (4.5; -5.8)

Turn out 27.6%
Majority 364
Lab hold
Swing 6.45% Lab to LD
Percentage change is since May 2007
Based on highest placed candidate for each party in 2007

Monday, 14 September 2009

PAT GEARS UP FOR REDCAR TOWN CENTRE CHALLENGE

Redcar and Cleveland Council's newly-appointed Town Centres Manager Pat Cambage is gearing up to the main challenge of reviving the fortunes of Redcar Town Centre.

Pat, who went to school in Redcar and studied at Teesside University, brings a wealth of business experience to the role - and an understanding of the area.

He said: "I've a lot of friends in the area, I know a lot of the business people so I have a vested interest in helping the community."

His varied working life began by completing a trainee pub management course over evenings and weekends at the Red Lion on Redcar High Street in the 1980s during his studies.

He also worked at Cleveland Potash Mine at Boulby before he began a 25 year involvement in the motor industry, moving from major dealerships on Teesside to roles in international companies, Daimler Chrysler and JCB.

Pat explained: "I'm bringing transferable skills from a variety of sectors that I'm sure will stand me in good stead.

"It's vital we all work together - the Town Centre management, our stakeholders and the Council - to create a platform for progress."

He believes: "The common aim will be to improve the prosperity and quality of life in Redcar’s town centre."

Pat has had close Teesside links throughout his life, achieving Master of Business Administration and Diploma in Management Studies after four years studying at Teesside University, from 1998.

A married man, with two grown-up daughters, Pat is a Middlesbrough football fan and participates in many sports ranging from cycling, walking, and climbing to martial arts.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Is the Leeds United Academy in decline?

Posted by Chris:

Former Leeds United defender, Peter Swan, has told the Yorkshire Post that the reason young players are being poached by other clubs is because the standard of coaching has declined at the Leeds Academy.

This seems hard to believe when you look at the likes of Fabian Delph, Ben Parker, Jonathan Howson and Aidan White but Leeds have declined to comment and this sets alarm bells ringing.

The most damning allegation concerns Swan's son George (14), who was recently lured away by Manchester City, along with another promising youngster, Louis Hutton, also 14.

"Already, he is benefiting as the medical team have discovered he has one leg longer than the other, which is quite common, so he now wears specially adapted boots.

"City believe this could have been the reason for the niggling injuries he has suffered. He was at Leeds for five years and yet no one ever spotted this."
If this is true it really is shocking news. United have a proud record for producing top quality young players going right back to the late 1940's and this is the first time in my recollection that the quality of the Academy and its coaches has been questioned in this way.

Leeds United need to answer the points made by Peter Swan, declining to comment is not an option. Ken Bates and others have been quick to attack clubs for poaching players and they have led us to believe that it was all about money. He may be right but these are serious allegations which need answering.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Redcar and Cleveland Council mags are dumped


If you wondered why you didn't get your copy of the Redcar and Cleveland Council's magazine, well, it's here dumped in the NEDL compound in the cut between Sandsend Road and Kirkleatham Lane. Attempts to get NEDL to clean up the place takes for ever but we will persevere.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Counting votes on Friday morning might be a good thing

Posted by Chris:

There has been much comment on the blogsophere in response to the Daily Telegraph article about the possibility of a quarter of Councils abandoning the traditional election night count in favour of counting votes on the Friday morning.

Mark Pack was one of the first to come up with a list of good reasons why we should stick to counting votes as soon as the polls close, whilst Guido Fawkes has been inundated with comments opposing his suggestion that electronic voting would have the whole thing over in a minute or two.

The huge increase in postal voting, with returns now allowed right up to the close of poll, and the need for stringent security checks, is the main reason why some Councils' are opting for Friday morning counts.

My view on the issue is a rather selfish one:

I have been involved in a count straight after every election but one since October 1974. If it is only an additional 25% that is counted on the Friday morning I am hoping that Redcar constituency is one, so that I can sit and watch the whole of election night on TV for a change. Okay there is often a telly in the counting hall and you get to hear about some of the results but you feel guilty if you are not concentrating on the counting.

Redcar and Cleveland's four recent Council by-election counts have all been held on the Friday morning and it has been great.

Everyone worked right up to the close of poll and no-one left two hours early to "get ready for the count." I was able to concentrate on the counting, fresh from a night's sleep.

We did win three of them and moved up from fifth place to second in the other, so I might have had a different view if we had not done so well. And the General Election will be different as I would still be up until about 4 am but I am sure I will be less stressed out.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

COUNCIL PLAN ANOTHER SOIL GIVEAWAY

Keen gardeners are being given the chance of getting free soil conditioner in the second green giveaway organised by Redcar and Cleveland Council.

There will be a three bag limit for every vehicle that arrives at Eston Sports Academy car park, Normanby Road, South Bank on Saturday, September 12, from 10am-noon.

Shovels will be provided for the giveaway on a first come, first served basis for ten tonnes of soil conditioner, but people will need to bring their own bags.

The first giveaway last month at Belmont House, Guisborough was a huge success - with the five tonnes of free soil conditioner shovelled up in just an hour.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The modern way we mark the Ridings



A modern West Riding sign at Eastoft village.


On the other side Lindsey which historically was also divided into three Ridings.


Similar North Riding signs on the boundary roads maintained by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were paid for by the Yorkshire Ridings Society.

Signs which stand the test of time


Continuing the historic road sign theme started by Jonathan Calder over at Liberal England, here is another Lincolnshire road sign photographed at Winterton this morning, originally erected by the former Lindsey County Council.

Having read Jonathan's reports of his tour of historic Lincolnshire this week we decided to have a day out around the marshland and villages of north Lincolnshire, along the south bank of the River Humber.

It is amazing the number of original road signs that have survived. As far as we know the yellow bellies do not have an equivalent to the Yorkshire Ridings Society, who have in the past spent much time repairing and restoring these traditional road signs, particularly in the West Riding, around Otley and Ilkley.

Lincolnshire is divided into three parts - Holland, Kesteven and Lindsey. Lindsey was divided into a North Riding, a South Riding and a West Riding. Holland and Kesteven were not.