Local MP Welcomes Government Progress on Fairer School Funding

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Chris Pincher MPTamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, has welcomed the progress, which has been made in implementing the Government’s pledge for fairer funding for schools across the country.

The Government is currently at the consultation stage of the process to redesigning the funding formula.  There are two stages to the consultation and the Government has completed the first stage of the consultation, with the second stage of consultation about to commence.

Mr Pincher said, “I am pleased to say that the Government has completed the first of two stages of consultation in the process of introducing fairer funding for schools.  This first stage has discussed the basic foundations and the method of implementing the fairer funding formula.

“This means that we are one step closer to seeing fairer funding for Staffordshire and Tamworth.  If we get it right, that will be of huge benefit to Tamworth.  I will keep local schools up to date so they know what to expect and what we can all do to encourage a better set of school funding rules.

“This something a number of us at Westminster have been pressing for several years.  We will keep at it.”

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Local MEP’s Report Says all Farmers Must Benefit from Technological Advances

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Anthea McIntyre MEP

Anthea McIntyre MEP

Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, Anthea McIntyre, has secured European Parliament approval for a report calling for the greater use of technology in agriculture.

It calls for sustained investment in research and help to ensure new ideas and techniques are commercialised.  Innovative breeding to develop disease resistant crops and precision farming are among the advances that should be made available to all farmers, whether beef or arable, large or small, conventional or organic.

Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said, “Feeding a growing population while preserving the environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our world.  I believe harnessing technology is the only way to square this circle.

“We need to develop technological solutions not only to increase production but to improve the means of distribution and to tackle food waste.  We must raise awareness and understanding of new advances among both farmers and the general public.

“For example, agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water use but this can be significantly reduced by the use of precision farming techniques.”

The report stresses that EU regulations must not act as a barrier to innovation and urges a partnership between academia, industry, breeders, the agro-chemicals sector, farmers and food manufacturers to ensure European agriculture does not fall behind its international competitors.

Miss McIntyre added, “We must all work together to ensure we have the best research and that we translate research into practice.  From lab to farm to fork.”

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Pincher Speaks out on Queen’s Speech

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Chris Pincher MPChristopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, last week contributed to a debate on the Economy and Work following the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons.

He welcomed measures for delivering security for working people, increasing life chances for the most disadvantaged, and strengthening our national security.

The Queen’s Speech he believes will improve lives across the country, and contains measures that will continue progress in delivering the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments.  Since 2010, the Government has been working to do this, and we have seen:

  • 31 million people given a tax cut
  • 58 million people in work, up 2.5 million since 2010
  • Over 2.6 million new apprenticeships started across England
  • 9 million workers directly benefiting from the introduction of the National Living Wage
  • Over 753,000 new homes provided

In his speech, Mr Pincher praised the success of West Midlands and Tamworth firms in driving the local economy forward.  He paid tribute to local employers Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Invotech and Alcon.

He also praised the Government on their work with the Help to Buy scheme, which has been seminal in getting people on to the property ladder.  However, he called for more homes that people want to live in the West Midlands and urged the Chancellor to encourage smaller SMEs and small developers into the supply chain.

Crucially, he also used the opportunity to call for further work to improve and upgrade the A5 running through Tamworth.  Mr Pincher believes Wall Island must be redeveloped and the Stonydelph junction near the M42 re-drawn to stop traffic backlogs.

Mr Pincher said, “This was a Queen’s Speech for aspirational people who want to do the right thing and get on.  That is why we made gains in the local elections in my constituency just a few weeks ago.  In a town that had nearly 30 Labour councillors 16 years ago, there are now just seven.  After the general election, Jon Cruddas was quite right to write in his, I hope, non-ironic document “Labour’s Future”, Labour lost because voters didn’t believe it.”

Following the debate Mr Pincher added, “We’ve seen people’s taxes cut, wages boosted, more homes built, and jobs and apprenticeships created.  New Bills will help people save money, buy a home, get fast broadband access, as well tackle some of the deepest social problems in our country, and strengthen our national security.  All of this will mean a better and brighter future for Tamworth.”

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Sue Arnold Re-Appointed as Deputy PCC

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Matthew Ellis and Sue ArnoldLocal Conservative Sue Arnold is looking forward to continuing her work as Staffordshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner following her re-appointment on Monday 23 May.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis proposed the re-appointment, which was confirmed following a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel.

Mrs Arnold, former Conservative councillor for Clifton Campville on Lichfield District Council, was appointed Deputy PCC in November 2012 and has spearheaded work on behalf of the PCC to provide a revolutionary new approach to giving victims more effective, tailored support.

She has also been instrumental in the successful introduction of the Police Cadets service across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and led campaigns to tackle female genital mutilation, modern slavery, domestic abuse and business crime.

Mr Ellis said, “Sue has brought real drive to her role over the past three and a half years and a new approach to all of the areas I have asked her to lead on.

“She has led the development of the Police Cadets on my behalf which has enhanced the lives of many young people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Mrs Arnold said, “I’m really looking forward to continuing the important work we have started with the challenge now to take the PCC ‘working model’ on to its next stage of development.

“Personally, I feel very positive about its future direction, in particular as I see how PCC’s can make that crucial difference to local communities.  Much work is ahead of us and I will relish the challenge to serve the people of Staffordshire and help produce results that deliver a safer place to live and work.”

Police and Crime Panel Chairman Frank Chapman said, “The Panel recognise the valuable contribution that Mrs Arnold has made to the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner, especially in the area of domestic abuse, and are pleased to confirm her re-appointment.”

For more information on the new approach to victims through the Staffordshire Victim Gateway, click here.

Businesses are invited to become Patrons or Sponsors to help fund uniforms and equipment for the Cadets.  For more details on Cadets and the patronage scheme click here.

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Local Conservative Appointed New Chairman of Lichfield District

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Cllr David SalterLocal Conservative and District Councillor for Shenstone, David Salter, has been appointed the new Chairman of Lichfield District Council.

Cllr Salter was sworn in at Lichfield District Council’s Annual Council meeting last night, Tuesday 17 May.

As the Chairman, Councillor Salter will represent the district at a range of events that take place across the district and region, including any royal visits, community events and formal openings.  He will also chair council meetings throughout the year.

Cllr David Salter, said, “I am honoured to take on this role and I am looking forward to representing Lichfield District at the many events and functions I will attend over the year.  It will be interesting to meet people who work to improve the district, and to find out more about their work.”

Cllr Salter replaces Cllr Norma Bacon after a year in the role.

Cllr Bacon said, “It’s been such a brilliant, if not busy, year as Chairman.  I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting a huge range of people and finding out so much about what is going on across the district.

“From opening new play areas and shops, to showing fellow civics around Lichfield’s heritage attractions and the National Memorial Arboretum, there have been plenty of highlights.”

You can keep up to date with Cllr Salter throughout his year as Chairman by reading the Chairman’s online blog.

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Matthew Ellis Calls for Changes to the Voting System for Future PCC Elections

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Matthew Ellis 04Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, has called for a change in the voting system for future PCC elections.

Mr Ellis, who was re-elected with a majority of 8,487, spoke out after 4,065 ballot papers were spoilt in the recent election held across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

He said, “My preference would be that we go for a traditional ‘first past the post’; it’s clear, it’s tidy.  A number of people vote for a candidate, that candidate gets in.

“The current system might seem fairer but if we go through the rigmarole of having a massive proportion of people utterly confused then as far as I’m concerned it defeats the object.”

In the five PCC elections held across the West Midlands region, 46,277 ballot papers were spoilt and the election for the West Midlands Commissioner had 28,346 spoilt papers, the largest by far.

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West Midlands Conservative MEP says Simpler Rules mean Growth and Jobs

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016
Anthea McIntyre MEP

Anthea McIntyre MEP

Simpler legislation and greater flexibility are the only way to ensure that Europe’s economy grows and unemployment falls, MEPs were warned today.

Creating the right environment for growth and job-creation was the EU’s key challenge, Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre cautioned.

The West Midlands MEP said, “They can only do this if the market allows for it, if they can find qualified workers and if labour markets are sufficiently flexible.  And if they are not over-burdened with regulation.

Speaking during a debate in Strasbourg on growth and youth unemployment, she welcomed a recent agreement between the EU’s Parliament, Commission and Council on how to ensure better law making.

She continued, “Legislation which is simpler, more easy to understand and implement, will help member states create an environment that will encourage companies to hire and manage staff, while protecting basic workers’ rights.

“Europe’s strength lies in its diversity and we must use this diversity to learn from one another.  There is no “one size fits all” template.”

Encouraging Europe to take the UK’s lead, she said, “Many member states, including my own, have already put in place successful structural reforms.  This has enabled Britain to attract investment, to grow its economy and to create more and better jobs.

“Our employment rate is now over 74 per cent.  While the unemployed claimant count is at its lowest for 40 years.  There have been over 2.3 million apprenticeships since 2010 giving people the chance to learn skills and get on in life.

“Ultimately, Europe’s greatest need is for growth.  Growth that will allow our businesses, especially SMEs, to thrive, to create new jobs and to provide a good future for all of Europe’s young people.”

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Christopher Pincher Thanks Rawlett Students for Honouring His Great Grandfather

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, has thanked Rawlett students William Pritchard and Billy Green for honouring the memory of his great grandfather who was killed in the First World War.

William Pincher, a Territorial Army soldier, fought with the South Staffordshire Regiment.  He was killed on 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme though his body was never found.  His name is inscribed on the Thiepval memorial in France, which commemorates the 73,000 British servicemen who fell on the Somme and who have no known grave.  Rawlett School visited the memorial earlier this year and William and Billy found William Pincher’s name.

During Culture Questions last month, Mr Pincher thanked the two pupils in the House of Commons and asked the Government to encourage more schools to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and learn more about our local history.

Mr Pincher said, “I was grateful to William Pritchard and Billy Green from The Rawlett School, who laid a wreath in memory of my great-grandfather, who was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916.  In this, its centenary year, may I ask my right hon. Friend to encourage school visits to the Somme battlefield memorials, to remember the men who made such a sacrifice all those years ago.”

In response, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale MP said, “My hon. Friend illustrates what has become very clear, that almost every person in this country will have had a relative who served in the First World War, many of whom died.  I am delighted to hear about the tribute that was paid to my hon. Friend’s great-grandfather.

“It is incredibly important that young people learn about the First World War, which is why we put in place the school battlefields tour programme, under which two pupils and one teacher from every state-funded secondary school in England can visit the First World War battlefields.  More than 3,500 pupils and teachers have already been on that programme.”

Afterwards Mr Pincher ordered two copies of Hansard, the official daily record of the House of Commons, and gave them to William and Billy.

He said, “It was a very nice gesture of Will and Billy to find my great grandfather’s name.  The Battle of the Somme was meant to be the “big push” to break the deadlock of the war.  But it failed and cost Britain 96,000 dead – 19,000 on the first day of the battle alone.

“I think it is a very good think for young people to learn about the history of that war, the huge sacrifices that were made but also the comradeship and spirit of the army, especially as we mark the one hundredth anniversary of that battle.  The South Staffordshire Regiment played an important, and tragic, part on the Somme.”

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Matthew Ellis takes Oath for Second Term as Staffordshire PCC

Monday, May 9th, 2016

2016 PCC election - Matthew Ellis accepts roleMatthew Ellis has taken the oath accepting the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire for a second term.

The Declaration of Acceptance of Office was held at Staffordshire Police headquarters today, Monday 9th May, following Mr Ellis being declared winner of the PCC election last week, Thursday 6th May.  The new 4-year term officially starts on 12th May 12.

Mr Ellis, who represented the Conservative Party in the PCC election, said, “I am delighted to have been elected for a second term and will continue with the strategy I set out three years ago which has also been at the heart of my campaign.

“Spending money better, putting more of the available budget to the frontline and making sure policing in Staffordshire is equipped to tackle changing crime in a changing Internet-enabled world remain the priorities.  Continued financial stability is crucial in order to provide Staffordshire Police with the right tools for the job and will ensure Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent communities are safer into the future.”

Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Jane Sawyers was present for the Oath of Office by the PCC, which was witnessed by the Chair of the Central and South-West Staffordshire Magistrates’ Bench Mrs Marlene Longman J.P.

David Sidaway, City Director of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, was also present as the “Appropriate Officer” and Head of Paid Services for the Local Authority undertaking the election is required to be at the Acceptance of Office under the Police Reform Social Responsibility Act 2011.

John Tradewell, Director of Strategy, Governance and Change at Staffordshire County Council, was also present at the oath taking, representing Frank Chapman, the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel in Staffordshire.

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) sets the annual budget for Staffordshire Police and holds the Chief Constable to account for delivering an effective and efficient police service.  He is also responsible for setting out and delivering against a Police and Crime Plan – the Commissioner’s Safer, Fairer United Communities strategy that can be read at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/saferfairerunited – as well as appointing the Chief Constable.

The PCC also sets the part of the council tax that goes to policing, called the precept, and makes grants available for organisations including, but not limited to, Community Safety Partnerships.  The PCC assesses, supports and challenges the overall performance of Staffordshire Police against the priorities agreed within the Police and Crime Plan.

The Chief Constable is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Staffordshire Police but is accountable to the public via the PCC.  The Declaration of Acceptance of Office is a legal requirement that needs to take place before a new term of office for the PCC begins.

The PCC took the Oath of office at Staffordshire Police headquarters in Stafford.  To find out more about the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire, go to the website for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire at: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk.

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Matthew Ellis Re-Elected as Staffordshire PCC

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

2016 PCC election victoryMatthew Ellis has been elected Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for a second term.

Mr Ellis, Conservative Party candidate, was declared the winning candidate following a second round of votes that saw him poll 75,000 votes against Labour’s 66,513.  Three other candidates were eliminated after the first round of counting.

After the result was confirmed, Matthew said, “We will put all the resources into frontline policing we can.”

Turnout across Staffordshire was up to 21.57%, up from 11% four years ago.

Results after the second round of votes
Conservative – 75,000 votes
Labour – 66,513 votes

Results after the first round of votes
Conservative – 63,123 votes
Labour – 54,753
UKIP – 27,550
Independant – 22,155
Green Party – 6,527

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