Saturday, September 15, 2007
I reckon that Northern Rock customers have got it right. The question is how correct are the Chancellor and the Bank of England on this one? They are being much less sympathetic than the the Fed or the ECB. This could turn out to be a mistake, especially if the Northern Rock collapses.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Following recent obscure White Paper publications, John Baron MP has criticised Government plans to increase the number of houses that councils will be forced to build and to limit the power of councils to block the building of incinerators and sewage plants. He has also attacked the Government’s record on social housing.
A series of recent obscure White Papers and announcements show the Government’s Housing policy is in a mess. We need more houses across the region, but forcing ever higher house-building targets on local councils and communities is not the way to do it. This policy can only put pressure on our already-overstretched public services, and it will also threaten our greenbelt and the environmental protection which this provides.
It is also undemocratic – local residents should decide the type and extent of new development, not politicians sitting in London. I don’t buy the Government line that local communities cannot be trusted to make these decisions.
Meanwhile, an obscure White Paper has revealed that Gordon Brown is planning to strip local communities of their say over incinerators, rubbish dumps, and sewage plants. The Government has sided with large developers, rather than the people. These decisions will now be made by a new central Government quango, which will be unsackable and unaccountable. So much for a more ‘open’ style of politics.
Evidence that the Government’s housing policy is in a shambles is its record on social housing. Less social housing has been built in every year under the Labour Government since 1997 than in any year under the last Conservative Government. I have asked the Housing Minister what she intends to do to put this right. Once again, Government action has not matched its spin.
John has written to the Government asking for answers to these points.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
So, Brown is in trouble and even cheerleaders like Simon Heffer are laying into him, though in this case via a moronic economic analysis. When even New Labour apologists like Heffer turn against you then you know you've got a problem.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
31st August 2007 Ref: JB/TDTerence Gandy is a Councillor on Billericay Town Council and he deserves congratulations along with John for gripping this issue. The Trust is on notice on this one. Billericay as a community will fight for our local health facilities.
Dear Alan ,
St Andrews Centre, Billericay
I am writing to express my concerns and those of local residents about the current review that is being undertaken regarding the future of St Andrews Centre, Billericay.
Whilst accepting that you are obliged by Monitor to ensure that your assets are being properly utilised, you need to be fully aware of the extent to which St Andrews is relied upon by the local community, and the extent to which we will resist any downgrading or closure of services. I have sent a 1,000 signature petition and 78 letters of support to SW Essex PCT to illustrate the strength of feeling on this issue – and my thanks go to Cllr Terence Gandy for helping to collate all these. I will be sending the PCT a further tranche of petitions once they have been collected. I have directed these petitions to the PCT as I fear that any possibility of closure could be driven by cost considerations.
We are determined to fight to keep St Andrews open and fully operational, and would therefore appreciate your written confirmation that this will be the case. You should be aware that, if this confirmation cannot be given now, I will be inviting the PCT to a meeting with local residents to which you will also be invited.
On a related issue, I have also made the PCT aware that I find it somewhat unfortunate that relevant stakeholders were not consulted about this issue – for one thing, it cannot be good for staff morale to first hear about this in the newspapers.
I look forward to hearing from you
John Baron MP
cc: Cllr Terence Gandy
Mr Alan Whittle
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Essex SS16 5NL