The Government’s obsession with London is holding back our creative industries – and the recovery

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This post originally featured on the Liberal Democrat Voice website

As a failed rock guitarist but still passionate consumer of music I always look forward to the Mercury Music awards at the end of October, and this year’s nominees were as interesting and eclectic as they usually are. What wasn’t as diverse was where these acts originated from. Over 60% were from the Greater London area and only four were from outside the south east of England, which is surprising when you consider the award covers the whole of the UK and Ireland. It seems the advice I heard fifteen years ago during my short and unsuccessful music career is still true – ‘if you want to make it, move to London’. Continue reading

Hinkley Point C and The Multiplier Effect

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Some great news on local jobs today in the Knutsford Guardian:

Nuclear engineering firm AMEC, based at Booths Park in Knutsford, is one of the key partners in EDF’s nuclear new build programme – the first of its kind in the country in almost 20 years.

Earlier this week, it was announced the Government and EDF Energy reached a commercial agreement on the key terms of a proposed investment contract for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

Following the news of the deal, AMEC said it expects to create up to 300 jobs in the North West before the building programme ends with a ‘fair portion’ of the vacancies to be allocated to the Knutsford office.

Frank Stokes, of AMEC, said: “We currently have well over 100 people working on the UK new build programme in both the UK and France, and we expect this figure to increase significantly as the programme develops.” Continue reading

Nick’ Position On Welfare For Rich Pensioners Is Confused And Needs Clarifying

This article was first posted on the Liberal Democrat Voice website

Poverty-Lane

In its first annual report, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has proposed cuts in welfare for well-off pensioners, including currently universal benefits such as the winter fuel allowance, free bus pass and free TV license, proposing the money should be used to help children in poor families.

Proposing a fundamental shift in welfare support from pensioners to the young the report says:

We do not believe that favouring pensioners over their children and grandchildren will be a sustainable position over the long term if a meaningful dent is to be made in the UK’s high levels of child poverty and low levels of social mobility.

Writing in the Telegraph yesterday Nick Clegg welcomed the majority of this report but has rejected one particular aspect.

Nick wrote:

It also makes some more debatable assertions, about the appropriate balance of fiscal consolidation between different age groups, for example – punishing pensioners isn’t going to help a single child achieve more in life.

This seems at odds with what the Deputy Prime Minister has said in the past, publicly advocating the need to look again at universal pensioner benefits and that welfare “should not be paid to those who do not need it”. Continue reading

An End To The Perverse 5 GCSE’s Target

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David Laws yesterday announced a little publicised but crucially important change to the way we’re measuring school performance. For many years our secondary schools have been judged by the proportion of pupils that achieve 5 GCSE’s at grade C or better, including English and Maths.

Although this was a well-intentioned target, it’s had a perverse effect. To boost their ranking under pressure schools have focussed on pupils that are on the D/C borderline at the detriment of both higher achievers and lower achievers at the school.  If a child is tracking towards an E grade (or worse), forget about them. Continue reading

Tonnes Of Responses To The Petition Leaflet

Overrun with responses to the recent flyer 🙂

Mobberley R.A.M.S

Rams Post

Slowly getting round to sorting out the HUGE response to the leaflets that got delivered around Mobberley a couple of weeks ago. In total we received an additional 151 signatures and another 25 people signed the e-petition during the period. Someone even took a paper petition away with them to get people at church to sign 🙂

So combining this with the previous petitions and we’re getting close to 400 signatures in total.  Pretty good for a small village like Mobberley!

I’ll give it a few days more and then send this set of signatures off to be included in the next round of discussions on ‘Smaller Sites’ in Cheshire East, which is due to be finished next year.

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Good News! – Mobberley Sites Not Part Of ‘Core Strategy’

Good news on the opposition to the huge housing developments planned in the village

Mobberley R.A.M.S

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We got a copy of the agenda for the Strategic Planning board meeting on the 26th and the Mobberley sites have not been put forward by the planning team as ‘Core Strategy Sites’ hence they’re not being put forward for discussion.  On the face of it this sounded like great news!!  So does that mean the developments wont go ahead?

Unfortunately its not at simple as that 😐 I contacted the spatial planning team via email and this is what they said:

“The Strategic Planning Board (SPB) are not being asked to consider including them in the Core Strategy. The list of sites that is to be considered by SPB however is not final and could be subject to change. It is also possible that those promoting the land for inclusion in the Core Strategy may submit a representation to the next stage of the production of the document (called…

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Don’t Confuse Declining Membership With A Decline In Politics

This article was first written for the Liberal Democrat Voice website     http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinon-dont-confuse-declining-membership-with-a-decline-in-interest-in-politics-36432.htmlSEEC

A couple of months ago I was thinking about going to the Glasgow conference. I’d never been before. ‘You’ll enjoy it’ said some fellow local party members, “and you can be a voting rep too if you decide soon.”

My wife spotted the chance of a weekend away from the children.

‘Can I come?’

‘Well I was hoping you’d come but you’ll have to join the party’

So we both decided to go at the last minute, with her joining the party the week before. With a little complication on getting her security cleared we went for three days until we’d exhausted the goodwill of babysitting grandparents.

First impressions were not great.  We had no idea what to do, where to pick up our passes, what was on the agenda or where to go.  Important looking people milled past with clipboards and the place was like a rabbit warren, endless corridors looping round on themselves. However we made it into the main conference room eventually and sat down for our first debate. Continue reading