Monday, October 22, 2012

On Wednesday 24th October 2012 at County Hall Morpeth a petitions committee is to be held at 09:15am prior to The Administrations Executive Committee at 10:30am. A petition has been submitted, signed by 677 residents of Cowpen and Kitty Brewster against the siting of a proposed Gypsy and Roma Travellers site at either Coniston Road or Ennerdale Road, Riverside Industrial Estate, Cowpen, Blyth.

Labour backs residents in gypsy site wrangle

Councillor’s welcome ‘massive show of local feeling’.

On Wednesday 24th October 2012 at County Hall Morpeth a petitions committee is to be held at 09:15am prior to The Administrations Executive Committee at 10:30am. A petition has been submitted, signed by 677 residents of Cowpen and Kitty Brewster against the siting of a proposed Gypsy and Roma Travellers site at either Coniston Road or Ennerdale Road, Riverside Industrial Estate, Cowpen, Blyth.

Local Councillor Grant Davey spoke to the press following the report to Northumberland’s South East Area Committee on 12th September and said

‘The County Council needs to ensure they build up the confidence of local people that this maximum 21day stay transit site will be both well managed and that travellers will be encouraged not to illegally camp in South East Northumberland once their stopover period expires’.

Councillor's Susan and Grant Davey will attend the petitions committee to assist and support the petitioners from their wards through the process.

Councillor Susan Davey of Cowpen ward said

‘Since the Area Committee meeting on 12th September Northumberland County Council have sat back and done nothing. I am disappointed for local residents but not surprised by the Administration’s actions that the time has not been put to better use to explain the reasons for choosing this site above all others, particularly the site preferred by Blyth Town Councillors behind NCC's waste disposal facility at Bebside".

Councillor Grant Davey of Kitty Brewster ward said

‘The council chose a number of sites and wheedled them out using the DCLG scoring criteria, most are situated on industrial land in Blyth. They were also offered a site at Barrington Road Industrial Estate by the landowner but turned it down because it was industrial land. They mustn't realise that industrial estates in Blyth are also situated on industrial land!" “I hope the committee take notice of local feelings and instruct the Administrations Executive accordingly as a report has already been prepared that recommends only one site, that at Ennerdale Road. They are asked to move the issue to the planning stage and change this industrial land to Housing Land. It’s my view that the council must listen to the strength of feeling and take this into account or they will stand accused of riding roughshod over local views’.

People claiming this benefit will have to able to pass a test of identification.



                                                                                        
Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072


Press Release
Wake up call for universal benefit ‘shake-up’
Residents urged to sign up or they may miss out
Northumberland Labour Group has joined the list of organisations concerned about the effects of the coalition government flagship universal credit benefit shake-up will have on the county 
It is not just a change of name for benefits; it is the replacement of the whole benefit structure.  For instance, workers reliant on benefits to top up their income or pay for housing will have to demonstrate they are seeking to earn more or face a sliding scale of cuts to their income. This will be defined by an earnings threshold, the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the national minimum wage (currently £212.80). Workers who fall below this threshold will have to demonstrate they are actively looking for additional hours, an additional job, or new, job.
Residents in Northumberland who may be in receipt or may be entitled to a range of benefits are being urged to sign up to the electoral register as new changes introduced by the coalition government are being introduced to parliament.
Universal Credit will be debated in the House of Commons during the autumn period. The Coalition Governments aim of this benefit is to make work pay by ensuring that people are better off for each hour they work and every pound they earn. People claiming this benefit will have to able to pass a test of identification.
Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said
"People won’t be entitled to Universal Credit if they are unable to prove who they are and what they are doing at all times. We want to make sure people are aware that the government are changing the benefits system
One of the ways people can be easily identified is from the Electoral Register, People need to ensure they make contact with their council or if they don't have internet access, attend a local community centre with IT access to ensure they get themselves on the register as soon as possible.

Notes to editors
Organisations who have concerns about Universal Credit
  • CAB,
  • Women’s Refuge,
  • Shelter and
  • Age UK

Liberal Cabinet member Neil Bradbury has already presented outline plans to replace five leisure trusts that run council leisure services with one ‘outsourced’ provider and Labour are seeking answers about these privatisation moves. A controversial idea put forward by Councillor Bradbury was to ‘use the soon to be built £20m Ashington Leisure and Community Centre as a ‘giveaway sweetener’ to bring in an external provider.

Press Release

Council accused of ‘secret privatisation’.
Leisure services in line for sell off despite promise to halt privatisation moves

Labour politicians in Northumberland have called for the Liberal administration to ‘come clean’ over moves to privatise leisure centres and services across the county after the county’s ruling Liberal executive announced plans to ‘cave in’ to Labour and Tory pressure over plans to privatise ‘unspecified services’.

Liberal Cabinet member Neil Bradbury has already presented outline plans to replace five leisure trusts that run council leisure services with one ‘outsourced’ provider and Labour are seeking answers about these privatisation moves. A controversial idea put forward by Councillor Bradbury was to ‘use the soon to be built £20m Ashington Leisure and Community Centre as a ‘giveaway sweetener’ to bring in an external provider.

The authority has confirmed that Councillor Bradbury’s controversial plans are still on-going and are separate to the leadership’s pledge to halt wholesale privatisation.

Labour Leader Grant Davey said

‘This is a worrying move by the Liberals to continue with a backdoor privatisation while assuring residents that they haven’t made any decisions about outsourcing county services. This move by Councillor Bradbury raises very serious concerns over value for money as he has already indicated on record that he favours using the new £20m Ashington Leisure centre as a ‘sweetener’ to an outside provider. The council have already indicated they’re borrowing the money for Ashington leisure centre only to give the centre away. That can’t be good economic sense and coming on the back of additional £1.53m the council have so far spent on their abortive privatisation programme, we’re calling for assurances from Councillor Bradbury and his leader that the leisure privatisation will be stopped too until at least May 2013. Labour is calling for the Liberals to stop this rush and consider looking at our proposal to support a creation of a ‘single trust’ to cover the whole county.


Guy Opperman, Peter Jackson, Phil Butler and Anne Marie Trevelyan have never been this silent before and we say they must back a ‘zero tolerance’ bullying policy. It’s just simply not good enough to say this was a ‘disagreement between two members’ when the report says it was a serious case of bullying. Senior Tories simply have to condemn these actions by Councillor Hutchinson’

Press Release

Bullying row continues

Calls for senior Tories to condemn Northumberland Tory bullying


As the row over the failure of Northumberland Tories to tackle or even acknowledge a damning report issued by Northumberland County Council Standards Board which found a senior Northumberland Tory guilty of bullying a female colleague and bringing his office into disrepute continues, Northumberland Labour group have called for senior Tories in the county to ‘make their position clear’.

It has emerged that Northumberland Tories including Guy Opperman and Berwick PCC Anne Marie Trevelyan, along with the Tory group on the council have failed to condemn the bullying behaviour of Councillor Ian Hutchinson of Haltwhistle.

Labour are now calling for senior Tories including Northumbria Police candidate Phil Butler to condemn Councillor Hutchinson’s actions and to set out clearly that they will follow a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy of bullying. Labour claims this matter is bringing ‘politics into disrepute in the county’. 

Labour group leader on Northumberland County Council Grant Davey said

‘Senior Tories in the North East are failing ‘the leadership test’. It’s time they condemned the actions and behaviour of their Councillor Ian Hutchinson instead of brushing it under the carpet. Bullying shouldn’t be tolerated and their failure to lead on this issue raises serious questions over their attitudes to bullying in general. They must make their position clear. Guy Opperman, Peter Jackson, Phil Butler and Anne Marie Trevelyan have never been this silent before and we say they must back a ‘zero tolerance’ bullying policy. It’s just simply not good enough to say this was a ‘disagreement between two members’ when the report says it was a serious case of bullying. Senior Tories simply have to condemn these actions by Councillor Hutchinson’.