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Opposing the Governments Policing Green Paper

On the 26th January I will put forward a Notice of Motion at Fylde Borough Council to debate the proposals in the government’s Policing Green paper to change the make up of police authorities. Currently Lancashire Constabulary are held to account by councillors and independent lay members.  The policing Green Paper would see councillors replaced by directly-elected crime and policing representatives.
Hundreds of councils and police authorities have already written into the Home Office to oppose the plans for crime and policing representatives. They fear that with crime likely to rise in a recession, the close working relationship between the police and councils will be undermined by the Green paper proposals.  A recent report from the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee has also questioned whether crime and policing representatives will make police more accountable to the local people they serve.
“Hard time always mean crime goes up. We’re going to see more burglary, robberies and thefts as the recession bites.  We have already seen an increase in organised car theft in the Borough.  The government shouldn’t be tinkering with who gets to sit round the table with the chief constable.  Instead they should be giving the police and councils the freedom to get on and tackle the crimes local people are worried about”
“The proposals for crime and policing representatives will make it more difficult for the police and councils to work together. The representatives will also encourage buck-passing and blame shifting as they try and dodge responsibility for initiatives that don’t work or go wrong”
“When we’ve already got councillors holding the police to account, we don’t need more elections for more politicians.  Instead of electing 400 more politicians the government should be putting the £15-45 million the elections for crime and policing representatives will cost into getting more police officers on our streets.  If we put £30 million more into policing instead of elections we’d get another 700 police officers.  That’s a better way to cut crime”
I would ask anyone supporting this view to log onto the Local Government Association 10 Downing Street, on-line petition at  and register your protest.

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Supporting the Small Shops & Town Centres in Fylde

Small shops are at the heart of our high streets and town centres. They offer diversity and choice and provide a really personal service to their community.

Yet in many communities these independent retailers are under threat. They face a rising burden of regulation and tax, a daily battle against crime and violence, and competition from the growth of out-of-town shopping centres. It is estimated that 2000 shops close every year.

Join our campaign to support Britain’s small shops by signing our petition today.

In the Summer, Conservative MPs published a report which set out the challenges facing small shops and ideas for the way ahead. It concluded that we must stand up for small retailers and recognise the vital role they play at the heart of our communities.

So we are campaigning to promote and save our small shops. In particular we are opposing Labour plans to make it easier for more out-of-town development, by scrapping the so-called ‘needs test’. If implemented, this will further undermine small, town centre shops.

You can help save your local shop. Become part our campaign to keep small shops at the heart of our communities.

Mark Prisk MP, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Small Businesses – “If you value your local shops then join our campaign to help them. You can make a difference.”

“Cllr John Coombes added in Fylde we have prided ourselves on our shopping centres and our smaller retail centres such as Whalley Place and St Albans Road, but success runs the risk of all of us becoming complacent about their long term future which can lead to outside funding being diverted away from Fylde, our local campaign to get local retailers and business owners working together and with the Council should help strengthen our voice and ensure that we all have a part to play in developing a long term plan for our town centres“

“We also need to urge residents to shop local and to support local retailers. By walking around the corner to the local shops we are securing their future as well as saving the environment – buy local and buy British has to be the mantra during these difficult trading times“


Sign our petition at

Read the report and send your comments and ideas to the Office of Mark Prisk at or write to him at Mark Prisk MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA
Write to the Government to say NO to scrapping the needs test. Address your letters to Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA

Download our poster via

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Tell us how best to help new mothers?

I am fully behind Maria Miller, Shadow Minister for the Family, who has launched an on-line survey to help with the development of Conservative proposals to provide professional home support to new mothers in the first few days.In a recent article Maria said “We are looking at adopting the policy similar to that in the Netherlands called Kraamzorg.  Maternity nurses come into your home to provide practical and clinical support to help with the extra work that comes with the arrival of a new baby – for example, with breastfeeding, looking after older children and preparing meals”

If the system is working well in the Netherlands, why reinvent the wheel.

“As I am just about to become a Grandad! I feel It is vital that we can asses the amount of help needed for young mums, especially when they may not have family living close by, there is a fine balance between Nanny State and providing a service so the feedback from this survey will be useful and I hope that as many young mums from across Fylde will take part”

To take part just copy this link into your browser, thanks for your help:

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Government Failures to reduce Carbon emissions is putting Fylde at Risk

Government emmission targets go up in smoke!

Government emission targets go up in smoke!

Government is failing to ‘Step up to the plate’ on the issue of Global Warming, in light of recent Government figures that show that the Government is failing to lead by example. 

Figures show that ‘Over half of all Government departments have increased carbon emissions since 1999-2000 and 15 Government departments are less energy efficient. Carbon emissions from Government vehicles increased 1.5 per cent last year’ (Sustainable Development Commission, ‘2007 Sustainable Development in Government’, March 2008).  whilst at the same time they are setting challenging targets for Town Halls across the Country.

Residents across Fylde have thrown their support behind initiatives such as re-cycling, taking up Council grants on home insulation and purchasing low energy light bulbs however, Nationally, Carbon emissions are rising.

Fylde Council has introduced policies to ensure new vehicles are powered by LPG and that the proposed new Town Hall project will be the most energy efficient possible, not only reduce CO2 emissions but also reduce energy bills by hundreds of thousands of pounds each year’

Despite Labour’s promises in three manifestos to slash emissions by 20 per cent by 2010 below 1990 levels, carbon dioxide emissions have risen since 1997.  A report by the National Audit Office reveals that the figures may be even higher as the Government’s reporting on greenhouse gases is ‘unclear’(DEFRA, Statistical Release, 31 January 2008; National Audit Office , UK greenhouse gas emissions measurement and reporting, March 2008). 

      By their own admission Government Ministers have in the past admitted that Labour are expecting to miss their target to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010.  This is a huge failure of   Government policy, although they were on target to meet their Kyoto targets, Labour fail to inform the public that this is purely down to the Conservative Policy in 1995 to move away from Coal fired power stations.  The massive increase in Aviation promoted by the Government mean that by 2050 Domestic Aviation emissions will account for a third of all CO2 output in the UK’.

      As a result, Global Warming will affect Boroughs such as Fylde and that is why Conservatives on Fylde Council has been pushing to be recognised as an area of urgent need by DEFRA for urgent funding.  Joint working with the Sea Defence Teams at both Blackpool and Wyre Councils has identified almost 9 million pounds of urgent sea defence improvements are needed  at Grannies Bay in Ansdell in the first instance. 


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Protecting the Nations Interests through Defence Policy

Fylde jobs dependent on Tranche 3 deal

Fylde jobs dependent on Tranche 3 deal

The Economic turmoil is rightly taking centre stage at the moment, much of the focus is on the individual saver and on the banks themselves, perhaps it is a little too early to assess just how much damage has been done to the UK’s industry – one thing for sure is that a future Conservative Government will be left with the mess!

So, trawling through the various policy documents on I headed for the “Defence Policy”. I was concerned at the lack of content, taking into consideration that the Nations Defence and it’s Armed Forces would probably be back at the top of the news agenda if it were not for the economy.
Fylde my own District, is home to BAE Systems main flight development and production factory at Warton.  The company is a significant contributor to Local, Regional and National GDP and guesstimates suggest that over 250,000 jobs in the UK are in some way dependent on BAE’s continued success. 
I am concerned that we are considering an “off the shelf” approach to Defence procurement.  I fully appreciate the fact that recent projects such as the Eurofighter programme had massive cost overruns, but this in the main, was down to the Government/MOD not knowing what it wanted in the first place, rather than a manufacturer having the client over a barrel.  This example should not lead to a total re-think of our defence procurement strategy, without first considering the long term implications of losing our independence, by not retaining a UK Defence manufacturing industry.
The recent example for us to use is the one of the US Super Tanker Contract.  This tender was won by EADS.  However it was later over turned, after fierce lobbying from Boeing.  This is a good example of an uneven playing field when it comes to Global competition and more worryingly of US protectionism, when US jobs are at risk.  I wonder if a UK Government would have had such a sympathetic reaction to a UK Defence company’s pleas?
Conservatives have committed to a new Defence Review, but this will take years to complete.  The 2005 Defence Strategy highlighted a vision that although not perfect, went some way to settling UK Industry nerves and securing future investment and jobs in the UK, amazingly the Strategy has not been implemented by Labour and as a result a climate of limbo has ensued.  This lack of commitment may see tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs and the associated tax revenues from them moving abroad.  Should we not pick up the batten on this one?
One of the key threats to our Armed Forces and the Nations Security will be our inability to meet the equipment needs of our ever changing Theatres of War, today we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and Air Superiority may not be necessary – but in ten years time we may be firmly in the grasp of another Cold War or have deteriorating relationships with the Far East, first class aircraft will be the order of the day then.  Could we win a modern day Falklands War?  or have enough serviceable Battle Tanks should Russia decide a land invasion of a neighbouring Country? I’m not sure – however, I will pose the question, would we sleep sounder in our beds knowing that, should we need to, we could equip our services with first class UK equipment, built by a workforce with a National interest rather than relying on foreign goods. 
The consequences of not having our own ship building industry in 1558 would have resulted in a very different Nation today.  Lets be grateful that Queen Elizabeth 1 had the vision not to rely on procuring all her Ships from King Phillip of Spain – I hope our Party can adopt that long term vision.

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Greg Clark MP – New Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change

Today I posted the following article on the Conservative Home website.

One of the last untouched Forests on the Planet

One of the last untouched Forests on the Planet

Whilst I welcome Greg Clarks appointment I think it’s about time the Party started to think outside the box on the issue of climate change and perhaps in the first instance get back to the easy quick wins in respect of deforestation. Take the critical issue regarding the future of Guyana’s pristine Rain Forest and the dilemma facing the Countries President Bharrat Jagdeo. Bloggers may not have watched the BBC’s three part series relating to the Forest? It made compelling viewing and I was shocked not only to learn that such a pristine area existed, but that an offer had been made to the UK Government offering to hand over the Rain Forest for protection through the Carbon Credits Scheme. I have been informed that allegedly discussions are taking place behind closed doors, but nothing “official” has yet been decided, even though the offer was put forward in November 2007! As we know an American company is now believed to be researching a potential programme of logging. The thin edge of the wedge no doubt.

As the Leader of a Coastal District Council I am more than aware of the potential risks and effects of climate change. Whether it be higher tides or stronger winds Fylde in particular, is exposed. The Council itself is embarking on an ambitious carbon reduction programme, championed by the local MP Michael Jack, we are doing our part. However, this could be seen as futile if the British Government, the EU and all other Governments stand by and ignore this once in a lifetime offer made by Guyana – once the forest has gone – it’s gone.

I urge Mr Clark to take the lead on this issue and give a clear pledge that a Conservative Government would not only take up President Jadeo’s offer, but would also look to encourage other Governments in South America to follow suit and start to reverse the clearance of their natural habitats for timber or the production of bio-fuels.

A stronger, clearer set of policies and commitments to this vitally important example is urgently required. whilst I appreciate there is no quick fix, it seems ludicrous for a Government to be using taxation to force it’s citizens out of larger vehicles, whilst at the same time, it stands by letting the greatest form of carbon reduction known to man to be destroyed.

I would welcome bloggers views on this subject and an assurance that Mr Clark will raise this issue in particular with the Prime Minister at his earliest opportunity.

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Local Government Finance – the NNDR debate

All political parties talk about localism, but can this really become a reality without Local Government being trusted to raise it’s own finances and being released from the vagaries of the annual Revenue Support Grant settlement.  David Cameron has admitted that the Conservative Party was guilty of centralising more power than any other Party in the 90’s and that he now realises the need to devolve more responsibility to Town Halls.  One possible solution to the total restructuring of Local Government Funding could be the return of the National Non Domestic Rate paid by local businesses to Councils, whom then pass it on to Government.


The current process was again thought up by the Conservatives in the early 1990’s as it jostled with the poll tax policy.  This was a genuine attempt to restructure an outdated system of local tax collection and although the poll tax failed the NNDR changes went through.


As a District Council Leader and small business owner it is becoming increasingly obvious how detached the business community is from the decision making processes within Local Government.  This is mainly due to the fact that their rates go out of the Borough and therefore it is always local residents, not business that have the loudest voice when it comes to dividing up limited resources.  However, without SME’s, retail outlets,. Hotels, Pubs etc our town centres and job market would die.


By allowing Town Halls to retain the NNDR it collects, local politicians can rebuild it’s relationship with local industry and directly target business related issues and projects to help stimulate and maintain local economies.  In 2007 the LGA carried out significant research into this subject and has concluded that there is a possible way forward.  Perhaps if we are serious about a New Localism we need to address the thorny issue of funding first – I suggest that the return of the NNDR could be the best way forward to stimulate the debate and move true localism forward?

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