Saturday, December 15, 2007
Oh, and if you live anywhere near Basildon, go and see the panto!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
No policeman and no person across the country would thank us if their pay rise was wiped out by inflation...Except it's not inflation, it's government finances that are the problem and everyone knows this. Gordon wanted an end to Boom and Bust. Let's hope he has a Plan B.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Commenting on a letter he received from Health Minister Ivan Lewis MP today in response to his correspondence of 2nd November, John Baron MP welcomed news that the local campaign against an Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) in Basildon has paid off. Ivan Lewis confirmed that “Basildon is not currently one of the sites being considered”. Despite rumours about the local project being cancelled, this is the first time the Department of Health has admitted that plans for an ISTC locally have been shelved.
This is great news for local NHS patients – our campaign has really paid off. An ISTC would have disrupted existing services, taken resources away from Basildon Hospital, and had a knock-on effect on training budgets and cross-subsidy of emergency services. It is no wonder that the hospital and SW Essex Primary Care Trust were both opposed.
Having raised this matter in Parliament and in writing many times, I am relieved the Government has finally listened to the views of local people. It would have been completely wrong to impose an ISTC against the wishes of the local NHS. Ministers admitted as much to me months ago, but now we have a concrete assurance.
Lack of trust can have very serious effects. Some Councils, for example, will not talk to potential developers in advance of a planning application because their Councillors are terrified of an appearance of impropriety. This is a disastrous policy if you want to attract investment for the good of your community, but at least you don't get investigated by faceless bureaucrats. In Basildon we have had a series of press articles probing our regeneration efforts, stirred up by the so-called Wickford Action Group, who feel empowered to spray accusations and innuendo around at anyone they happen to disagree with. To be fair, most community groups aren't like that even when they are arguing against Council policy. I have a lot of respect for those concerned about the Sporting Village project for example, who have put their case very forcefully and effectively without resorting to accusation and abuse. They are the sort of people you listen to. Others get filed with the Masonic cult chap.