Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Staffordshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said today that he aims to see the return of local bobbies to pound the streets of a dedicated beat.
Mr Ellis has also committed to giving special constables the same equipment as full-time police officers.
He said, “Specials are important people and have the opportunity to do more and I think we need a greater understanding of what they can do. I want people who are recruited from within a specific area who will police in that community and be known by that community.
“We also need to look at joining up their expertise and seeing what they can offer the police service. They have to be absolutely dedicated to the work they can do.
“The police force also has to make their job satisfaction better than it is now. That is why for the first time I am going to issue them with the same standard of equipment as their full-time colleagues get.”
Mr Ellis said he was going to launch a review into the use of special constables to make sure they are used in the best possible way.
He continued, “We have special constables with one of the lowest levels of power in the country. We need to improve that. These people give up their time so we need to make sure we are giving them satisfaction and that their time is well spent.
“We need to get policing back to the way it was having the face on the street that everyone knows. We’re not going to hurl away specials from the areas they come from; we are going to have them working in their communities.
“Police presence is one of the biggest issues for our communities and it was one of my pledges before the election.”
The pledge comes weeks after the force took on 14 new full-time police officers, bringing to an end a three-year recruitment freeze.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Cllr Danny Cook
Conservative controlled Tamworth Borough Council will have the same Cabinet for 2013/14 as last year after Council Leader Cllr Danny Cook announced no changes to his team, although some of the roles and responsibilities have been slightly changed.
The unchanged line-up of the 2013 Cabinet was unveiled at the Full Council meeting last Thursday.
Cllr Danny Cook remains Leader of the Council, while Cllr Robert Pritchard retains the position of Deputy Leader.
The full Cabinet and responsibilities is as follows:
- Cllr Danny Cook – Leader of the Council. Portfolio: Overview of performance, financial planning, strategy and reputation
- Cllr Robert Pritchard – Deputy Leader of the Council. Portfolio: Operations & Assets
- Cllr Jeremy Oates: Portfolio – Community Development & Voluntary Sector
- Cllr Steve Claymore: Portfolio – Economy & Education
- Cllr Stephen Doyle: Portfolio – Environment & Waste Management
- Cllr Michael Greatorex: Portfolio – Public Housing & Vulnerable People
Cllr Cook said, “I am very pleased with the work of this Cabinet and the support they have given me over the past year.
“This is the right Cabinet for me and the right Cabinet for this council. The work of this Cabinet speaks for itself and I am happy for that to continue.”
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
Tamworth’s library is one of 13 across Staffordshire to have solar panels fitted to save the Conservative controlled authority around £350,000 over the next ten years.
The scheme is on track to cut over £10,000 from the authority’s electricity bills each year, with a further £26,000 to be gained from the Government’s Feed in Tariffs.
The thirteen library buildings were fitted with solar PV (photo-voltaic) panels in July 2012 as part of the Council’s commitment to boost the use of renewable technology, make savings and reduce carbon emissions.
Staffordshire County Councillor, Mike Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Community, Culture and Localism said, “We are always looking at ways of developing our libraries whilst providing great value for money for our tax-paying residents. We are also totally committed to embracing new technologies to improve the services to our customers.
“Solar panels are only one of many recent innovations in our libraries. We have also installed a brand new computer library management system, self service kiosks and have now over 1,800 e-books available to borrow.”
The initiative has benefited from the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) which was introduced to help kick start the market in small-scale renewable projects, by paying for each KWh of renewable energy generated from solar panels.
Staffordshire County Councillor, Gill Heath, Cabinet Support Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs added, “Solar power offers a huge win-win situation for both the Council and our local taxpayers alike. The scheme allows us to not only cut our energy costs but also generate extra energy that we sell back to the national grid.
“Our use of solar panels on many Council buildings, combined with biomass heating and the hugely energy efficient Staffordshire Place, is really helping us lead the way in value for money and renewable innovation.”
The £330,000 investment in libraries is expected to be paid back in just over 9 years, and is helping to put Staffordshire at the forefront of renewable technology use. After the panels have paid for themselves, the Council will continue to receive free electricity and the Government’s incentives for a further 15 years.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Yesterday in the House of Commons Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, called for a debate on job provision and the role that job clubs can play in helping people to find work.
Mr Pincher said, “May we have a debate on job provision and particularly the role that job clubs can play in helping people to find work? We have three job clubs in Tamworth, and I have no doubt that they have played their part in helping people find work and reducing local unemployment—down by 314 over the last 12 months to the benefit of local families and households.”
The Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, replied, “Yes, my hon. Friend is right. I am glad that he and other Members have been actively involved in job clubs in their constituencies, helping people to find work. That is tremendously important. There are more vacancies in the economy, and we want to match people to jobs as best we can.
“As my hon. Friend knows, it is also important for this Government to support job creation. Since the election, we have seen an increase of one and a quarter million in the number of private sector jobs. We knew when we came to office that we could not sustain the number of public sector jobs, which have been reduced. Happily, though, the private sector jobs are increasing at a rate several times more than the loss of jobs in the public sector.”
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Cllr John Garner – Mayor of Tamworth 2013/14
Cllr Richard Kingstone reading the oath for the office for Deputy Mayor of Tamworth
Conservative Cllr John Garner is the new Mayor of Tamworth, after being sworn in following a unanimous vote at the Annual Council meeting held at the Town Hall tonight, Tuesday May 14.
Cllr Garner, who represents Amington, is one of the longest-serving members of the council. Last year Cllr Garner undertook the role of Deputy Mayor and he is also a former Leader of the Council and previously served as Deputy Mayor in 1987 and as Mayor in 1988.
Cllr Garner replaces outgoing Mayor Cllr Tina Clement, who paid tribute to her colleagues on the council and officers who had supported her during her term. The Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Cllr John Faulkner and Cllr Richard McDermid, both paid tribute to Cllr Clements for her year as Mayor, working tirelessly for the good of Tamworth.
Conservative Cllr Richard Kingstone, who represents the Mercian Ward, was sworn in as Deputy Mayor and Conservative Cllr Daniel Cook was re-elected as Leader of the Council at the meeting.
Although, the new cabinet is not due to be officially announced until the full council meeting on Thursday, May 16th, Cllr Cook told a packed Town Hall that his current cabinet of Robert Pritchard (Deputy Leader of the Council), Cllr Steve Claymore, Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cllr Michael Greatorex and Cllr Jeremy Oates will not be changing at Thursday’s meeting.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
The Conservative Party out polled all of the opposition Party’s in the Tamworth Constituency in last Thursday’s County Council election.
Had last week’s vote been to select Tamworth’s MP, Conservative Christopher Pincher would be returning to Parliament for a second term.
In the mid term election when the so called political pundits predicted doom and gloom for the Conservative Party, this result shows the majority of the Tamworth constituency are happy with the work being done by the Conservative Party both locally and nationally.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Christopher Pincher and Michael Fabricant hand the Secretary of State for Transport letters calling for better compensation for properties affected by HS2
Two local MP’s, Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) and Michael Fabricant (Lichfield), called for the maximum compensation for all residents affected by the proposed HS2 route in Parliament yesterday.
Michael Fabricant said, “The Queen’s Speech also included the High Speed 2 Bill, in fact, there will be two Bills. I generally support the paving Bill, because it will make funds available to compensate people who are now suffering from blight. But the main Bill will be a hybrid Bill and I suspect it will reach Third Reading only after the next general election. That Bill will determine how and where HS2 will be constructed.
“HS2, as formulated, is causing an unnatural disaster in Staffordshire, and terrible problems in other counties—such as yours, Mr Speaker.
“It almost seems that the route of HS2 has been deliberately designed to be as damaging as possible to rural England. That cannot be right. I am not one of those who oppose HS2 in principle, for the simple reason that the west coast main line—as anybody who uses it will know—is the most congested line in Europe. Anyone who has waited at Euston railway station knows that the slightest problem—whether it be signal failure, a fault on the line or a broken down train —will cause delays of three to five hours. At least at Euston station one is under cover. At Lichfield Trent Valley station, we do not have cover, so unless one is under the railway bridge one is exposed to rain and everything else while waiting for a train. The west coast main line is working at 100% capacity. I therefore accept that we need two extra railway lines to connect north and south.
“I have to say that the Government did themselves no favours in 2010 when they argued that the reason for HS2 was to shave five minutes off the journey from Birmingham to London. That is not the reason for HS2. They did themselves no favours when they argued that time on a train is dead time and valueless. A very senior person in the Department for Transport—I dare not mention his name—said to me two or three weeks ago, “Michael, I see people on trains working on computers. Myself, I just stare out of the window and look at the cows.” The point is that even that activity is valuable time. No, the reason for HS2 is the north-south capacity problem on the west coast main line. I therefore accept the principle that we need HS2, but boy could it have been done in a worse way than how it is now being done? No, it could not.
“We have chosen a route that carves a devastating line through some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside. The biggest irony of all is that in opposition, we opposed the Labour route, and the Labour route is the one we have adopted. In opposition, we said that we should adopt the route that the consulting engineers Arup proposed, which would use an existing transport corridor as they do in Europe. It would go up either the M1 or the M40 and then follow the line of the M6 and go into central Birmingham that way and northwards. But no, we adopted the Adonis plan. By the most wonderful trick of irony that we sometimes see in politics in this place, I believe that it is now official Labour party policy to use that route we supported in opposition. The Opposition policy, whether Labour or Conservative, is the route that I support. Why? It is not because I am being a nimby, but simply because it will do far less damage to the environment. Thousands of homes are blighted by the route that HS2 is currently taking.
“The Prime Minister has said—I mentioned it earlier when I intervened on my right hon. Friend Mrs Gillan, that the Government will be generous in their compensation. They have to be and they should be, and we must hold the Prime Minister to account.”
Christopher Pincher intervened, “Will my hon. Friend give way?”
Michael Fabricant replied, “I am very happy to give way to my hon. Friend, my next-door neighbour from Tamworth.”
Christopher Pincher said, “I am obliged to my hon. Friend, who is my next-door neighbour in Lichfield. He is right to say that the Prime Minister has said that the compensation scheme must be generous. Does he agree that it must also be swift? We both have constituents, as do you Mr Speaker, whose homes and lives are blighted now. As much as the scheme needs to be generous, it needs to be swift to deliver fairness for them.”
Michael Fabricant replied, “My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Their homes are not just blighted now; they have been blighted for three years, even since this God-forsaken route was published. I know elderly people who want to downsize, but cannot sell their homes. They are now, one might say, asset rich, but very cash poor. They cannot afford the homes they live in as they are retired, and they cannot sell them because they are blighted. It is essential that the Government are generous and swift in their compensation. I welcome the paving Bill, because it will, I hope, enable swift compensation. The Government are currently conducting a compensation consultation on phase 2. I do not know whether you responded to the phase 1 consultation, Mr Speaker, but I did. It was very tightly worded to such a degree that in the end I began to ignore the questions being asked, because I thought they were completely wrong. The phase 2 consultation has been formulated much more openly and satisfactorily.
“I have been trying to find out from the Department for Transport whether, when it finally reaches a conclusion on the phase 1 and phase 2 compensation consultations, the compensation packages will be the same. I certainly hope that they will be, because it would be grossly unfair if people living south of Lichfield were treated differently. Incidentally, I am in a unique position because phase 1 ends in the Lichfield constituency and phase 2 begins there. A former chairman of the Conservative party, now chairman of the BBC, might have described that as a double whammy.
“As my hon. Friend Christopher Pincher pointed out, this route is blighting homes, it is blighting lives, and it is blighting the environment. The HS2 policy, as it stands, is not a Conservative policy in the pure, theoretical sense of what conservatism is all about. We need to think carefully, not about whether we need HS2, but about how we should execute the project. Otherwise, many people will think that in adopting Labour’s route, proposed by Lord Adonis, the Government have betrayed the vote that they cast in 2010.”
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Cllr Ben Adams (Perrycrofts)
Cllr Michael Greatorex (Watling South)
The Conservative Party has kept control of Staffordshire County Council for four more years following Thursday’s election results.
Prior to the election on Thursday, 2 May, sections of the media suggested control of the County Council would change, but despite those claims the Conservative party kept control with a reduced majority.
Both the County Council Leader, Phillip Atkins (Uttoxeter Rural), and Deputy Leader, Ben Adams (Perrycrofts), held onto their seats.
Despite losing seats, the residents of Staffordshire have said business as usual for four more years!