Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
A new relationship between central government, local government and local people starts today.
Like all Conservative Councillors in England, I've just received a letter from Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, with some information about the Localism Bill and Local Government Finance Settlement. I thought it would be useful to post the letter in full. Here is is.
Localism Bill and Local Government Finance Settlement
Today the Coalition Government has published the Localism Bill and announced the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for English councils. I wanted to take the opportunity to outline some key political points on these two major announcements.
Local Government Finance Settlement
Local government finance is notoriously arcane and ridden with
· This is all about how we raise and spend taxpayers’ money. Every part of the public sector needs to do its bit to help reduce Labour’s legacy of debt and the massive overdraft they left the nation. The Labour Government had been living a credit card lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense, and now it is time to pay off some of those bills.
· This is a progressive settlement – we are taking into account that some councils are very dependent on central government grants, and we are taking steps to mitigate the effect of spending reductions in those needy areas.
· The Localism Bill overturns decades of central government interference and gives power back to local communities. We are not just devolving power to local councils – we are also giving more power to citizens, community groups and neighbourhoods, to help local people shape and influence the places in which they live and help build the Big Society.
· We are giving more freedoms and flexibilities to councils, from reducing ring-fencing to bringing in a general power of competence in the Localism Bill. By cutting the red tape and
A Government press release on the Bill can be found at:
My Ministerial colleague, Greg Clark, has also today published a pamphlet on our decentralisation agenda which is available at:
Key policy initiatives in the Bill which may be of direct interest to your ward include:
· The abolition of Labour’s Regional Strategies and top-down system of planning. This legacy of John Prescott threatened environmental sustainability, and it completely failed to deliver the homes that communities wanted by fuelling resentment at development.
· A new system of neighbourhood planning to put local communities in charge of the look and feel of their locality. Parish councils and new neighbourhood forums of local people – rather than town hall officials – will lead the way in shaping their community. Incentives, such as the New Homes Bonus and a reformed Community Infrastructure Levy, will ensure that local people directly benefit from new development.
· Protection for local taxpayers from Labour’s planned tax hikes. We are abolishing Labour’s bin taxes, cancelling Labour’s planned council tax revaluations in
· New rights to protect community facilities and build the Big Society: A Community Right to Buy will give local groups new rights to protect vital community asset including local shops, pubs, libraries and leisure centres, giving them the opportunity to take over services which face closure. An accompanying Community Right to Challenge will open the door for local community and voluntary sector groups, as well as parish councils and council employees, to bid to take over and improve local council services.
We have a strong message that the Coalition Government is championing the interests of local taxpayers in difficult times, and is putting more power and responsibility into the hands of councils, communities and citizens.
Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government
Friday, December 10, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Recycling on Barnwood Road. The Council officers are preparing a leaflet with all of the necessary information, which will go out to all properties from tomorrow onwards.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
- Under 5’s Corner
- Face Painting
- Words on Wheels Bus
- Health Bus & Health Checks
- Local Police
- Local healthcare
- Fire Service
- Children’s Centre
- and many others
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today, I was very pleased to meet with a group of 16-year-olds who are all doing The Challenge, which takes place in the summer after Year 11.
The programme consists of lots of different activities, including some you design yourself. It lasts two-and-a-half weeks full-time during the summer, plus four days over the following five weekends.
This particular group has decided to campaign around road safety in Quinton, which is something that the local Councillors and Police have been working hard to improve over the last few years. We talked for about an hour, exchanging ideas about how they could campaign and how I could help. They were also interested in what being a Councillor is really like, so maybe we'll see some of them in the Chamber in a few years.
It was great to see some young people engaging so positively in such an important topic, and I wish them well in their campaign.
For more details, about The Challenge in general, please visit www.the-challenge.org, call on 020 7921 4203 or text on 07503 849738.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
3. Knotweed reported at a particular address. This has been passed to the Housing and Parks Departments who are investigating, and obtaining a quote for dealing with it.
4. Alleged litter spillage and recycling crew throwing boxes around Lower White Road. The Ward Manager has interviewed the crew about their behaviour and reminded them of their obligations. The Council is performing additional performance monitoring.
6. The missing litter bin on Quinton Lane has now been replaced.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
From 25th July, the 636 bus will be extended from its current terminus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital into the City Centre, terminating on Upper Dean Street, close to the markets. This will provide direct access to the City Centre for residents of Welsh House Farm.
Get your bus pass out!
Monday, July 05, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Now to more positive news. Naturally, I would like to welcome the new government as it starts work on its programme of change. The coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with the Conservatives as the larger party, mirrors the progressive partnership we’ve had in Birmingham for the past six years. We’ve demonstrated locally that such an arrangement can be stable, successful and can be made to work for everyone’s benefit.
I thought it would be useful to pick out a few key policies that are particularly relevant to Quinton.
1. Council Tax will be frozen for at least one year, possibly longer. It won’t be difficult for us to meet this challenge locally as we’ve only had below-inflation rises since the current partnership entered office. The Council will also publish details of all spending above £500.
2. The local Council will be given new powers to make it much harder for people to build by ‘garden grabbing’. Unfortunately, we’ve seen quite a lot of this in Quinton and the Council has been powerless to act until now.
3. The local Police will be made more accountable and responsive to local needs through oversight by a directly elected person.
4. We will give the Council and the local Police powers to permanently close places that persistently sell alcohol to youngsters, and double the maximum fine for doing so. We will also ban the irresponsible sale of alcohol as a ‘loss leader’; that is, below cost price.
5. Communities, charities, parents and teachers will be able to set up their own local schools.
I look forward to working with the new government as it puts these policies into action.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
The second in the series of videos shows the support that Edgbaston Constituency and the Conservative-led Council give to young readers...
Friday, March 05, 2010
Quinton's in Edgbaston Constituency, which is chaired by our fantastic Parliamentary Spokesman Deirdre Alden. The Constituency has commissioned a series of videos dealing with proper issues that concern local residents. The intention is to show them on public screens (muted!) and I am also making them available online.
This the first video and it illustrates the fines you can face if you park inconsiderately - you have been warned!
If you represent a local authority and would like to have this video customised for your own use, please let me know!
P.S. Never mind the quality - feel the width! ;-)
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the full City Council. For me, the most interesting and important part was the debate on ID cards, where the following motion was put forward by two LibDem Councillors:
This council reaffirms its resistance to Identity Cards. Despite widespread political and public opposition, the Government appear intent on pursuing the implementation at a reported cost of £4.74billion for British and Irish Nationals and an additional £311million for Foreign Nationals over the next 10 years.
- Abolishing this invasive scheme would save enough money to employ 10,000 more police on our streets.
- The new IT systems implemented at the Post Office, Passport Office, Probation Service, Police Service, Courts Service and Child Support Agency have all run massively over budget, the ID card scheme would be the biggest and most expensive public sector project ever undertaken.
- The implementation of the NHS computer system has cost billions and resulted in the reduction of frontline services as maternity and A&E departments are closed across the country.
- The ID card will undermine the contract between the Police and the Public resulting in an increase in harassment and discrimination
- There is no proof the ID card will help fight crime and terrorism – tests have proved that criminals have the capability of duplicating ID cards with little or no difficulty, rendering the ID card worthless.
- There is no proof it will prevent illegal working, the fact that illegal immigrants will not be able to get ID cards will not change anything as long as there are unscrupulous employers and lax Home Office enforcement.
Given the UK's current financial situation, the financial loss to the individual and implications to civil liberty this council objects to the implementation of ID cards.
I agree with every word of this and wholeheartedly voted for this motion, as did all of the Conservative Group.
As the 'named' vote was called, all of the Labour members suddenly seemed a lot more interested in their BlackBerries. Not one used the voting machines to vote Yes, No or Abstain - they even abstained from abstaining!
I can't see how the government can carry on with this scheme when they don't even have the support of their own elected members - they should scrap it now.