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Local MP Welcomes Announcement of New Automotive and Engineering Hub in Tamworth

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

engineeringChristopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, welcomed the announcement of a new Automotive and Engineering Hub (AEH) at Torc Vocational Centre.

The AEH is part of a £2million funding boost from the County Council and the City Deal to meet the demands of the surrounding area as part of expansion plans of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and JCB. The centre will offer courses from anyone over the age of 14 and prepare pupils to work in engineering and the automotive industry across the West Midlands.

Commenting on the opening of the new centre Mr Pincher said, “The investment from Staffordshire County Council and the City deal is fantastic news for the young people of Tamworth who are looking at going into an engineering career.

“In a recent business survey I conducted, one of the main reasons local employers say they are challenged when hiring young local people was a perceived lack of specific skills. I hope that the AEH centre with sector based work and skills will start to address some of these concerns and meet the needs of our local engineering firms as they continue to grow and create jobs.”

The centres will continue to offer existing courses to 14 to 16-year-olds, but from September will be opened up to people of all ages who will be able to benefit from the new provision.

Staffordshire County Council is investing £1million in the project, while new state-of-the art equipment will be installed thanks to a further £1million, which has come as a result of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership’s Powerhouse Central City Deal.

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Conservative Controlled Council Says Counterfeit Goods Harm People and the Economy

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

fake counterfeit sports shoesConservative controlled Staffordshire County Council is urging local bargain hunters to be vigilant about counterfeit goods if they are visiting markets and car boot sales this Easter bank holiday weekend.

The county council’s trading standards leader is reminding people that counterfeit items harm the economy and can harm people. Events will be taking place throughout the county during the first holiday weekend of the year.

Shoppers are being reminded that counterfeit goods are shoddy imitations that will leave them out of pocket and could cause serious harm. Counterfeit electrical goods are hazardous as they can cause fires and electrocution. Harmful substances such as high lead levels in perfume are a risk with counterfeit cosmetics.

Legitimate traders suffer as a result of counterfeit sales; harming the local economy in the process. Money made also goes into the pockets of organised criminal gangs.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards Cllr Gill Heath said, “We want people to have a safe and enjoyable time when visiting bank holiday markets and car boot sales. That is why we want them aware of safety risks caused by counterfeit goods and also reiterate that they are bad for our economy.

“Unfortunately these events can attract traders who knowingly sell counterfeit goods, ripping people off and depending on the item, potentially endangering them. We would therefore like to remind people to be vigilant, especially when they see goods, which may appear to be a bargain.

“Counterfeit goods are increasingly hard to detect just to look at, so when something is being sold at a knock-down price, people should be extremely wary. We always say that if something is too good to be true, it usually is.

“Anyone who buys counterfeit goods will land themselves with shoddy goods which may be dangerous and at the same time line criminals’ pockets. We want to protect the public and legitimate business and we will continue to target counterfeiters.”

Some of the hidden dangers of counterfeit goods include:
• Counterfeit alcohol such as vodka contains dangerous chemicals which can cause may health problems such as blindness
• Counterfeit perfume can often burn skin or leave a nasty rash and may contain lead
• Fake sunglasses often offer no UVA protection, causing eye damage
• Fake tobacco often contains unknown chemicals
• Counterfeit children’s toys can often be unsafe with unsuitable small parts and children’s clothes may be inflammable

Anyone wanting to report counterfeit goods sales can call the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.

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Get Your Quiz Night Tickets Now

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

World Cup quiz night

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Christopher Pincher Welcomes Latest Inflation Figures

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

cashTamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, welcomed figures released this week, which shows, for the first time since the recession, wages are rising faster than inflation.

Figures published by the ONS show that the average wage in Britain increased by 1.7% up from 1.4% in January. At the same time, inflation continues to fall for the 6th consecutive month to 1.6%.

The figures released this week shows that wages are increasing faster than the cost of living for the first time in 6 years.

Responding to these figures Mr Pincher said, “This is good news for my constituents. For the first time in 6 years, average earnings increases outstrip the effects of inflation, a further sign that this economic recovery is going in the right direction and our long-term economic plan is working.

“This government is helping hard working people ensure they keep more of their money and this news coupled with the recent fall in local unemployment and the tax threshold increasing to £10,500 helps ensure families and individuals have more money in their pockets to spend on what they want.

“However we must not become complacent as our economy is still healing. We still have some way to go before we see wages increase at the rate of pre-recession levels and we still must eliminate Labour’s huge budget deficit so we live sensibly within our means.

“We must continue on our long term economic plan of keeping taxes low, encourage businesses to offer more jobs and manage our spending. We cannot tax or spend our way to growth.”

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Trust Announces Further Review of Day Care Services and Car Parking at Sir Robert Peel Hospital

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Sir Robert Peel hospital

Sir Robert Peel hospital

At last Thursday’s Tamworth Borough Council meeting of the Healthier and Safer scrutiny committee, the Chief Executive of Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust announced a further review of the day care theatre and surgical ward and the management of the car parking at Sir Robert Peel hospital will take place.

The meeting with Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the scrutiny committee was originally called to discuss car parking at Sir Robert Peel hospital, however, following the announcements of changes to services Helen Ashley agreed to give an update on the proposed changes and answer questions from the members.

The Trust’s Chief Executive, Helen Ashley, attended the meeting along with the Director of Operations, Mark Powell, and they answered questions on both current and future services at the hospital and the current car parking scheme.

Mrs Ashley informed the committee that the Trust will be carrying out a further review of the day care theatre and surgical ward despite previously announcing both facilities would close. Cllr Andrew James, committee Chairman, told the Trust that a meeting is being arranged with South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsular CCG to discuss future services at Sir Robert Peel hospital and Helen Ashley said that the Trust will attend the meeting to ensure all questions put from elected members are answered.

Mrs Ashley then informed the committee that elected members from Tamworth Borough Council would be invited to sit on the stakeholders panel, which will carry out the review of future services at the hospital.

The committee was also told that the current car parking scheme in place at the hospital is to be reviewed, although, there are no plans to remove the charges from the car park.

Mrs Ashley also admitted that the Trust had made mistakes with its communication process over the plans, which had led to concerns over the future of the hospital.

After the meeting committee Chairman, Cllr Andrew James, said, “I am delighted with the outcome of our meeting with the Trust, it was to good hear that the day care services will be reviewed and it was pleasing to be told that our members will be taking part directly in the review of future services at hospital.

“I am looking forward to Tamworth’s elected Borough Councillors working closely with the Trust and local clinical commissioning group on the future services at the hospital, we use the hospital and it important that our voice is heard along with the County Council, Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board and the CCG.”

Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, who has raised the issue of Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Sir Robert Peel hospital in Parliament and is due to meet both the Health Minister and local CCG added, “I am pleased that the Burton hospitals trust has promised to look again at it’s original proposals. It is important that they consult as widely and as fully with the local community as possible.

“It is not right that changes are “done to” our local community without their involvement. I am still determined to press ahead with my meetings with our local clinical commissioning group, and with Health Minister Daniel Poulter MP to discuss my wider concerns for the Burton hospitals Trust and I will report back to my constituents.”

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MP Welcomes Fall in Tamworth Unemployment

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

job employment opportunitiesChristopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, welcomed figures released this week which show unemployment in Tamworth has fallen once again to a new medium term low.

Figures published by the ONS show that the number of unemployed claimants in Tamworth constituency in March 2014 was 968. This represents a rate of 2.0% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. This number of claimants is a massive 730 lower than March 2013 and 99 lower than in February 2014.

Responding to these figures Christopher Pincher said, “I welcome the news that unemployment in Tamworth has fallen once again and continues to drop below levels seen before the Labour government’s recession.

“Together with the fall in inflation which we also saw this week, there is now compelling evidence that the government’s long term economic plan is working. But we must not be complacent, there is still much to do. We must make Tamworth the place to set up or expand a business.

“Local businesses are looking to take on staff of all ages and experience, South Staffordshire College currently reports there are around 50 apprenticeships still looking to be filled.

“There are opportunities out there for hardworking people who aspire to get on in life and I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget raising the income tax threshold to £10,500. This means 38,199 people in Tamworth will benefit from a tax cut and 4,477 people have been taken completely taken out of tax since 2010. The tax take from April’s pay packets will be cut.

“Also, businesses will no longer have to pay National insurance contributions for employing under 21s encouraging companies to take on staff, grow and further reduce levels of unemployment. We are firmly on the side of jobs and it is important we continue back small businesses so they have the opportunity to become bigger businesses.”

Tamworth is well above the regional and national levels of employment, which also continues to rise. Nationally unemployment is down 77,000 to 6.9% at a 5 year low.

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UK Inflation Falls to 1.6%

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

cashThe UK inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell to 1.6% in March from 1.7% in February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the third consecutive month inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target rate and the lowest rate since October 2009. The largest contribution to the fall in the rate came from petrol prices.

The rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation also fell to 2.5% from 2.7%.

Petrol prices were unchanged between February and March compared with a rise of 2.2p a litre a year earlier. A smaller rise in the prices of clothing and footwear, compared with last year, also contributed to the drop in the inflation rate.

It is the sixth consecutive month that the rate of inflation has fallen, marking the longest consecutive fall since modern records began.

The drop in the rate of inflation means that the gap between average wage growth and the rise in prices has continued to narrow. Average total earnings, including bonuses, rose 1.4% in the three months to January compared with a year earlier, according to ONS figures released last month. Excluding bonuses, wages grew by 1.3%.

The ONS will release its latest figures for average total earnings in the three months to February on Wednesday.

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Local MP Calls for Parliamentary Debate on Local Export Drives

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Chris Pincher MP 04Yesterday in the House of Commons Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, called on the Leader of the House of Commons to organise a Parliamentary debate on local export drives.

Mr Pincher said, “As this is export week, will the Leader of the House grant time to discuss the value of local export drives such as the one that I am organising in Tamworth with UK Trade & Investment, and the help that local retail banks can provide in sponsoring and promoting those events?

“We often hear about the less attractive side of banking, but retail banks can help small businesses to export, and a debate would help to even up the balance.”

The Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley MP, replied, “My hon. Friend is quite right, and I pay tribute to UKTI, which, with the Government’s active support, not least that of our excellent trade Ministers, has dramatically improved the level of support available to small and medium-sized businesses in particular.

“I know that the Government are pushing hard for many medium-sized businesses to be given one-to-one tailored support that enables them to be active exporters.  I hope we can achieve more of that, and I pay tribute to what my hon. Friend is doing with his colleagues in Tamworth to help to make that happen.”

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More Money from Conservative PCC for Community Safety in Tamworth

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
Tamworth Borough Council Leader Daniel Cook and PCC Matthew Ellis

Tamworth Borough Council Leader Daniel Cook and PCC Matthew Ellis

More money has been allocated to fund community safety in Tamworth through the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis’ Locality Deal Fund.

It will deliver what’s important to local people based on the four priorities set out in the Commissioner’s Safer, Fairer, United Communities Strategy – tackling the root causes of crime through early intervention, supporting victims and witnesses better, reducing reoffending and increasing public confidence.

Mr Ellis said, “It’s time to trust local areas to deliver what’s right for local people.  That’s what I’ve committed to do and that’s what I’m doing.

“I have significantly increased the funding that Tamworth and other local areas have to make their communities safer.  Providing more money at a local level in this way will help deliver the best community safety solutions for people in Tamworth.

“What’s more, this funding is guaranteed until 2016 rather than on a 12-month basis which gives a greater chance for continuity instead of having to plan ‘exit strategies’ at the outset.”

Funding will go to Tamworth Community Safety Partnership for the financial year 2014/15.  Eighty per cent will be provided initially with a further 20 per cent following in October subject to successful evaluation of local achievements.

Councillor Daniel Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council said, “Community safety in Tamworth is incredibly important and our community safety partnership is one of the best in the country; additional funding will help us improve it even more.  Crime in Tamworth is relatively low but we know we still have work to do on tackling the fear of crime.

“In addition, having this money until 2016 means we can have more impact on our communities and invest the money in a sustainable way which will make a difference to people’s lives.”

The Locality Deal Fund is the largest part of £2.5 million of Commissioner’s Community Funding for 2014/15.

Two other funding streams will provide funding to local community safety projects.  The Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Fund is seeing 100 per cent of funding received by Staffordshire Police going back into local communities, through grants of between £3,000 and £15,000.  It is made up of money seized from criminals as Staffordshire Police continue to robustly strip offenders of their assets.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner’s People Power Fund empowers local groups to find solutions to community safety problems through smaller grants of between £100 and £3,000.

For more details click here

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Christopher Pincher Leads Adjournment Debate on Sir Robert Peel Hospital

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Chris Pincher Robert Peel Parking Petition 2013 04 30Last night in the House of Commons Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, lead the days adjournment debate on Sir Robert Peel hospital and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Opening the debate Mr Pincher said, “As our colleagues rush to watch the last half of the Manchester United match, I should like to raise an issue of somewhat greater importance to my constituents.  Although the title of the debate is narrow and focuses on the effect on my Tamworth constituency, the wider implications for users of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also affect the constituents of my hon. Friends the Members for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant), for North West Leicestershire (Andrew Bridgen), for South Derbyshire (Heather Wheeler) and for Burton (Andrew Griffiths)—I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Burton is in his place.”

Click here to read the full adjournment debate on Sir Robert Peel Hospital via Hansard

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