West Midlands NO!

Regional government: unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted

Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

Shropshire Star: MP calls for action on baby unit

Posted by wonkotsane on December 12, 2006

MP calls for action on baby unit

A Shropshire MP has urged regional health managers to intervene to prevent to closure of beds at Shropshire’s main maternity unit.

Daniel Kawczynski, pictured, said the planned closure of 16 of the 47 consultant obstetric beds at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital was a “big mistake”.

The Shrewsbury Tory MP voiced his concern over the cost-saving move during a meeting yesterday with the chairman and chief executive of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority.

Mr Kawczynski said: “They have promised to look into it for me.”

Danie Kawczynski is opposed to regional government and the West Midlands NO! Campaign is featured on his website.

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Worcester News: Why can Whitehall overrule council?

Posted by wonkotsane on December 11, 2006

Why can Whitehall overrule council?

SIR – In consideration of the proposals for the destruction of the environs of Bevere Green by industrial development.

Could I please be enlightened through your pages by a responsible member of Worcestershire County Council as to how in a liberal democracy an unelected and unwanted quango – the West Midlands Regional Assembly – can impose diktat from a New Labour politician in Whitehall so as to influence and indeed drastically alter the county structure plan as well as the democratically approved and tested policy and procedures of the involved planning authorities.

My concern is directed through knowledge of various other regional schemes dictated by the same Whitehall source that have patently failed and have ruined other beautiful areas together with considerable loss to the Department of Trade and Industry and ultimately the taxpayer.

Laurie Ward, Bevere, Worcester

(link)

Posted in Press, WMRA, Worcestershire | Leave a Comment »

More city region lies from Telford

Posted by wonkotsane on December 5, 2006

On the front page of the Telford edition of today’s Shropshire Star is a story about the cost of the city region to the council taxpayers of Telford.

Taxpayers are likely to stump up more than £100,000 over the next few years to finance Telford’s new role in the West Midlands City Region, it was revealed today.

Borough councillors are being urged to spend £22,571 on “management and administration costs” in the current financial year. And this is likely to be an ongoing demand on the authority’s budget, says a report to Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet.

The decision to join forces with Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country in a new role on the West Midlands City Region was made by the cabinet in April.

Gerry Dawson, the man in charge of Telford & Wrekin’s city region project, has told the cabinet to set aside £100k to cover their share of the administrative and managerial costs of the city region for the next 4 years.

What is interesting isn’t the fact that all this taxpayers money is going to be spent on an unelected quango without the electorate getting a say in it but the fact that Telford & Wrekin Council still claim not to have any idea of how much the city region or any of the other quango’s cost the taxpayers of Telford.  In fact, just yesterday Gerry Dawson claimed not to know how much membership of the West Midlands Regional Assembly costs.  Where does the money come from?  How does anyone know if it is cost effective for Telford to be a member of any of these quango’s if they don’t even know how much it costs?

Telford Council Watch have this to say:

Telford and Wrekin Council have recently issued a press release with regards a 3% increase in Council Tax and openly stated that they

“Operate with tight Financial Constraints”

But are still able to juggle budgets to finance schemes THEY WANT.

Initially it was £1.3 million into a private venture that was known as Telford First – now known as “Transforming Telford”.

Now

The Council are prepared to pay huge sums of Tax Payers Money into an unelected quango that is not needed, cumbersome and ineffective. Again this is a venture that has been shrouded in Secrecy and AGAIN the Residents of Telford and Wrekin are being forced to Finance an expensive Political Mechanism and not allowed to have a say.

£100,000 will, without a doubt be a minimum figure. There will be a huge amount of other costs associated with the City Region that the Council will hide.

It is clear, that Council Chiefs operate a Policy of Secrecy and even avoid answering questions that are asked under The Freedom of Information.

It is about time that all who oppose these Dirty Tricks carried out by the Council Unite as one voice, they cannot turn our Democracy into an autocracy.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Posted in Press, Propaganda, Telford | Leave a Comment »

Birmingham Post

Posted by bigfred on December 4, 2006

From the Birmingham Post today:

West Midlands MEP Philip Bradbourn is adamant that one thing we don’t need is city regions.

The proposed Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region is giving me a sense of deja vu.

I seem to recall a very similar plan to implement a “strategic overview body” ending disastrously in 1986, after just 12 years in existence. This, for anyone fortunate enough not to remember it, was the West Midlands County Council. I do not wish to see a repeat of this unpleasant chapter of local government in the West Midlands.

From talking to my constituents, I have come to the firm conclusion that most local people do not want this added layer of government, especially as they will ultimately have to foot the bill. If the current system is not working then the problem needs to be addressed directly, not added too.

Even the name, ‘The Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region’ strikes me as ill-thought out and ridiculous.

If the aim of the Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region is to re-brand the West Midlands as a national and global competitor for business and enterprise, we have failed at the starting block. How can people be expected to have faith in this idea if the people behind it cannot even get the name right?

One area of city regions of which many people are not aware is the change it could bring to how we operate within the EU. Essentially, city regions are another means of sneaking in the doomed EU Constitution by the back door. The EU Constitution proposed plans to bypass central Government and deal with member states through their regions, outlining a “Europe of the Regions”. Decisions would be made without the parliamentary scrutiny of Westminster when, for example, funds are distributed, opening the door to a further diminution of the nation state.

If the plan for the proposed city region in the West Midlands goes ahead, we will become one step closer to the break up of the United Kingdom into bite-sized chunks’. What, instead, is surely needed is for local government to be given back the powers and influence taken away from it by regional quangos and to focus on its core activity – that of providing services for people.

But the greatest worry with this proposal is what it does not reveal. It does not reveal the growing army of bureaucrats which recruited to staff the existing regional agencies…and for what purpose? n Philip Bradbourn is Conservative spokesman on local government in the European Parliament.

Posted in Politicians, Press | Leave a Comment »

Shropshire Star: Dragged into the pointless city region

Posted by wonkotsane on November 23, 2006

Dragged into the pointless city region

Telford & Wrekin Council are forging ahead with plans to be part of a city region despite public opposition.

How much support is there for the city region? There has only ever been one referendum on regional government in England and that resulted in the people of the North East – apparently the most pro-regional part of England – rejecting it with a 78 per cent no vote.

Telford & Wrekin Council refuses to hold any public consultation until Telford is well and truly tied into the city region.

David Wright knows how much support there is – over a year ago he wrote to me admitting that there is very little support for regional government in Telford. This didn’t stop him working with David Milliband on the city region project, though.

When West Midllands NO! was launched last month we wrote to all MPs in the West Midlands. To his credit, the Labour MPs, only David Wright chose to reply.

A number of Conservative MPs responded saying that they too opposed regional government but they all said that they would have to wait until the Conservatives were in power to do something about it. Whatever happened to HM Opposition?

When we launched our campaign we challenged Telford & Wrekin Council to justify its actions. It is yet to do so and we ask members again to stop taking decisions behind closed doors, stop ignoring what the people of Telford are telling you and tell us why you are taking us into a city region that won’t benefit us and that we don’t want.

Stuart Parr
West Midlands No!

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Blists Hill gets £10m regional grant

Posted by wonkotsane on November 6, 2006

Blists Hill museum, part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, has been given a £10m grant by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund to secure its future as a viable attraction.

This is good news for Blists Hill and I am personally very glad that the museum will continue to do the excellent work that it does and provide fantastic days out for families, my own included.

However, it is important to put this grant into perspective and to remember that the organisations controlling such vast sums of money are unelected and unaccountable to the public.  There are upwards of 5.3m people living in the West Midlands euroregion and the cost of EU membership is estimated at £873 for every man woman and child in the UK every year.  This means that the West Midlands alone has contributed in the region of £4.6bn to the EU which makes the £6.5m that the EU contributed via the West Midlands Government Office look positively puny in comparison (0.1% of our contribution to be exact).  The other £3.5m was donated by Advantage West Midlands.

So yes, it is fantastic that Blists Hill has been recognised as such a valuable site and been given a large grant but it isn’t new money, it is our taxes being handed over to unelected, unaccountable quango’s for distribution to whoever they decide is worthy.  The public aren’t involved in the decision making process, they are simply required to fund it.

Posted in EU/Europe, Press, Propaganda, Shropshire, Telford | Leave a Comment »

David Wright MP wants us to have say on local government

Posted by wonkotsane on November 6, 2006

Telford MP, David Wright, is urging his constituents to have their say on local government.

He can be contacted at info@davidwrightmp.org.uk

Might I suggest something like:

Dear David,

I saw your piece in the Shropshire Star inviting people to get in touch and have their say on local government. About time someone asked!

Giving more power to local authorities is a good idea. Great idea in fact. But it mustn’t be touted as the answer to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies. Devolving power to local authorities isn’t the same as having a national government and there is no way a local authority could ever hope to compete with the power and influence the devolved governments in the rest of the UK have.

Also, regional government has to be swept away. Completely. Devolving power to local authorities and then leaving a vast, unelected, unaccountable regional bureaucracy poking its nose into local affairs completely defeats the object. There’s no point devolving transport, environment, etc. to local authorities and then having a city region, regional assembly, regional government office, etc. having their own policies on the same subject which may or may not be of benefit or fit in with the local policies.

Regards,

Stuart

Posted in Press, Telford | 1 Comment »

Reid still believes in city regions

Posted by bigfred on November 5, 2006

The Birmingham Post says:

“Midlands businessman Ben Reid yesterday insisted he still believed in the city region – and he denied his departure as business community member of the Birmingham, Black Country and Coventry City Region executive board was connected to the Government’s apparent loss of enthusiasm.

The Local Government White Paper last week favoured elected mayors but appeared to have abandoned radical plans for city regions. Mr Reid, chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative, the society formed a year ago when Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative merged with West Midlands Co-operative, said the White Paper had been “disappointing” and “an opportunity missed”.”

I find it rather discomforting to see people of high position in companies turning over hundreds of millions of pounds have sufficient time to take further demanding duties in public life. Either they are extremely energetic and make us mere mortals appear like sloths on sleeping tablets and whisky, they are a simple expedient non-contributory figure head in their Companies and get easily bored or there is something it for them.

When these giants of trade take to vigourously promoting bigger and more controllable public bodies with bigger budgets and less accountability my inkling can be pursuades to veer toward the latter.

Now that Mr. Reid has left the Quango and it has been said that his ambition followed the rumoured demise of City Regionalisation. “If there ain’t going to be that big megalith then I don’t want to know.” “Disappointing & an opportunity missed,” He said. For who say I?

It could not have been the welfare and benefit of the people of the Midlands that he was interested in or he would have stayed on and ensured that they got the best he could help arrange.

Could it be a case of “If I don’t get what I want I am buggering off?”

It appears that every one with any enthusiasm for this whole regionalisation scheme has something to gain.

The politician sees it as an opportunity to tune boundaries in line with voting trends and a structure that he can use to fine tune infinate control over every aspect of of every individual’s life.

The public official sees the opportunity of bigger departments, bigger staff, bigger salaries and bigger pensions.

The business community see it as a less accountable, bigger organisation with bigger budgets and bigger requirements all organised into nice recognisable departments under the control of a few ambitious jobsworths. Conveniently negotiable.

The Party hacks and vested interests at Westminster, who certainly do not have the interests of England at heart, and their mates the europhiles see it as an opportunity to complete a process that they have jointly been working toward for decades. That ambition is to complete the fragmentation of England and finish her once and for all.

Left wing pressure groups see it as a big organisation that can more easily be infiltrated and educated to pursue the dreams of those who would apply the destructive dreams of the Liberal left.

The common man sees it a little differently:

He sees ever increasing rates and tax bills.

He sees a commitment not of his making to pay the inflated pensions of bureauracrats for decades to come.

He sees more bureaucracy, more regulation, lowering public service standards, the break up and obliteration of his country, culture, history and way of life.

He sees a heart and soulless organisation that will abandon local needs in favour of the current policy of harmonisation, integration and a conveyer belt to channel benefits to all and sundry regardless of need or common justice.

He sees channel of control for an ever more controlling political elite at Westminster.

And possibly considers it a vehicle of such awesome destruction that he will join the ever-increasing columns of native English that are seeking refuge in better parts of the World because they have lost all say in their own Country.

Mr. Reid’s departure may be one small ray of light that will yet illuminate the road back to common sense.

Posted in Birmingham, Press | Leave a Comment »

Telford First opposing regions

Posted by wonkotsane on November 2, 2006

Supporters of the West Midlands NO! Campaign, Telford First Limited, have appeared in the Shropshire Star again criticising the city region.

When only 29% of businesses think the city region will benefit their business, it’s good to see them actually speak out against it.

You can view a scan of the newspaper article here.

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Birmingham Post calls for referendum on elected mayor

Posted by wonkotsane on October 27, 2006

The Birmingham Post has called for referenda to be held to directly elect mayors for city councils and for the city region.

Given the opposition within the city region project to any form of democracy or accountability to the electorate, the Birmingham Post are about as hopeful as we are:

“One of the most important aspects of the White Paper, indicative of whether the Government is serious about empowering local communities, will be the new guidelines for elected mayors – at both city, county and city region level. It is abundantly clear that all of the big metropolitan councils, Birmingham in particular, will do anything they can to prevent this matter from being discussed and certainly have no intention of asking people what they want.”

Posted in Press | 1 Comment »

icCoventry: Call for poll on regional assembly

Posted by wonkotsane on October 27, 2006

A little late in noticing this article on icCoventry covering our launch:

Call for poll on regional assembly
Oct 4 2006

A GROUP of people opposing plans for regional government in the West Midlands are calling for a referendum on the matter.

Members of the West Midlands NO campaign want local councils in Coventry, Birmingham and the Black Country to let people vote on whether or not to have a regional assembly similar to the one in Wales.

They are concerned the decision may be made behind closed doors.

Spokesman for the campaign Stuart Parr said: “The West Midlands No campaign is calling on local authorities involved in the proposed Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region to hold binding referenda on whether to join the city region instead of making the decision privately and behind closed doors.”

Campaigners believe a referendum would show that most people in the West Midlands don’t want regional government.

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Birmingham Post Survey shows little support for regional quango’s

Posted by wonkotsane on October 27, 2006

The Birmingham Post published the results of a survey yesterday on the performance of the myriad unelected (mostly regional) quango’s that have been set up to “support” them.  The results make interesting reading.

The regional quango with most support in West Midlands businesses was West Midlands Business Link – set up and funded at the taxpayers expense by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) – with 36% of business thinking it benefited them.  Ironically, it is to be disbanded and replaced with another quango by AWM.

West Midlands Institute of Directors is bottom of the list with 17% of businesses believing that they get anything positive from them.

Interestingly, when asked for an opinion on the city region, only 29% of business feel that the city region will bring them any benefits.  When the purpose of the city region is suppoed to be to attract investment and promote business in the region, this must be a serious blow to the city region project.

Once again we have to point out that there is very little support for the city region and question why local authorities continue to press ahead with the project when they have no mandate to do so.

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Regional Congestion Charge plans at risk

Posted by wonkotsane on October 25, 2006

A plan for a region-wide congestion charge is in doubt because the region is demanding too much money from the British government in return.

Was anyone asked if they wanted congestion charges?

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Shropshire Star: £200,000 for new housing

Posted by wonkotsane on October 24, 2006

 The following story was on the front page of the Shropshire Star tonight:

£200,000 for new housing 

Telford & Wrekin has received a £200,000 cash boost to help build an extra 13,000 homes and create new jobs in the borough over the next 10 years. A further £200,000 has been put aside to help build 3,500 homes in Shrewsbury and Atcham. The government windfall has been hailed a “lifeline” by Telford & Wrekin Council’s leader, who said it would save Telford from having to fend for itself as a “half finished town” in the future. The funding is a share of a £40 million cashpot.

Councillor Keith Austin said councillors had been concerned that after 2011, current regional plans for Telford propose a decrease in housing and employment growth.

But the new plans, earmarked as part of a £40 million government initiative, mean that Telford can continue to develop for at least a further 15 years.

Telford has been unveiled as one of 45 New Growth Points – towns and cities across the country with the potential to deliver new housing and jobs.

The money will act as start-up funding to support infrastructure, unlock sites for new housing and to assess and mitigate the impact of proposed projects on the environment.

The Government hopes the moves in Telford and Shrewsbury will help attract business investment to the areas, and assist first-time buyers eager to get on to the property ladder.

Councillor Austin said the council hoped to create a master plan in the coming year and that councillors and officers would be working hard over the coming months to put together a project plan and timetable that would include a public consultation.

He said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Government on this initiative. It recognises that Telford – as part of the Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region – has an important role to play in accommodating growth in the West Midlands region.

“The council has been promised funding which will enable us to carry out studies to determine what level of housing and employment growth is right for Telford.

“We will also be able to get a clearer picture of the economic benefits and the infrastructure and inward investment required to support a sustainable and prosperous community.”

The first thing that springs to mind is “Wow!  £200,000!  That’ll pay for what, 2 houses?”.  The second thing that springs to mind is “what has this got to do with the city region?”

Of course, there is a regional element to this.  West Midlands Regional Assembly currently has a regional policy that states how many houses will be built in different parts of the euroregion.  The City Region has its own ideas of course and Telford has been described as a “stop tap for developments” which means that if targets aren’t being met elsewhere, they’ll be built in Telford which is surrounded by prime green field development sites.

Telford & Wrekin Council has a plan to turn Telford into a “green city” by 2026.  The plan involves building thousands of houses on green field sites such as the town park which attracts visitors from all over the West Midlands (I know this from personal experience).  The City Region government has a plan to grow the urban areas of the West Midlands euroregion that makes up the City Region without a thought for what will happen to the rest of the euroregion as the divide between the urban and rural economy grows.

One of the most interesting things that Keith Austin says is that a public consultation will take place but what will be the point?  The City Region will decide how much housing is built, when and where.

Posted in Press, Propaganda, Telford | 2 Comments »

Farmers in region selling up

Posted by wonkotsane on October 21, 2006

On the front page of today’s Shropshire Star is a story about farmers in the West Midlands euroregion selling up.

Shropshire is the most rural county in England and the farming is a big part of the local economy yet over 2,000 farmers have folded or sold up in the last 10 years.

It looks like the West Midlands Regional Assembly’s decision to appoint a Birmingham City councillor as its rural affairs portfolio-holder hasn’t been the roaring success you would expect from appointing a city councillor to look after rural affairs.*

* Apologies for the sarcasm, I couldn’t help myself

Posted in Press, Quango’s, Shropshire | Leave a Comment »

Shropshire Star: Campaigners bid to halt city region plan

Posted by wonkotsane on October 2, 2006

Campaigners bid to halt city region plan

By Sunita Patel

A campaign to halt regional government plans that will see Telford swallowed up into a West Midlands-wide city region dominated by Birmingham was launched today.

The West Midlands “No!” campaign is calling for a referendum on the issue. It follows the proposal for a Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country City Region to boost skills, transport and the economy.

But those opposed to the change claim people do not want it. They say it will have a negative impact on trade and industry in fringe areas not included within the new boundaries, which will be forced to compete against the city region for national and European funds.

All the local authorities involved, including Telford & Wrekin Council, were today urged to hold “binding referenda” on whether to join the city region “instead of making the decision privately behind closed doors”.

Support
One of the campaign leaders, Stuart Parr, of Telford, said: “Nobody in the West Midlands has been elected to office on a manifesto of regionalisation and therefore nobody has a mandate to make such fundamental changes to local government in the West Midlands without first gaining the consent of the electorate via a referendum.

“Democracy is not a spectators sport. We want local people to have their say. We really don’t think there is any support for a city region.
“It is going to be a detriment to the rural parts of the region.

“It will take skills and money away from the rural sections of the West Midlands in Shropshire and Staffordshire that are not included and will have to compete against the city region for funding – places like Shrewsbury and parts of the Welsh borders.

“The north-east is the only region to hold a referendum on this issue and rejected an elected assembly with a 78 per cent “no” vote.

This year, Local Government Minister Phil Woolas said the Government favoured city regions run by elected mayors.

Posted in Press | 3 Comments »

More on that £5m grant to the “City Region”

Posted by wonkotsane on September 18, 2006

According to the Shropshire Star, the West Midlands City Region was awarded a £5m grant by central government.  Following some investigation, this was uncovered as a complete fabrication here on West Midlands NO! – the City Region doesn’t even exist, how can it receive a grant?

I was referred to the Learning & Skills Council who, it transpires, were the recipients of the money that was supposedly granted to the City Region and to the DWP who were the central government department that granted the money.

I emailed the DWP on Saturday as follows:

To: Welfarereform@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Subject: Grant to West Midlands City Region

I am writing to ask for an explanation of the decision to grant £5m to the West Midlands City Region.

The City Region does not exist and is not expected to do so until early next year.  The reason why it doesn’t exist is that the final proposals haven’t been drawn up yet.

Firtly, how has the DWP managed to grant £5m of taxpayers money to a City Region that doesn’t exist and secondly, how can the DWP justify granting £5m of taxpayers money to a non-existent City Region without knowing whether the City Region will actually be fit for the purpose to which the money has been allocated.

To my surprise, I received the following email this morning:

Stuart,

Thanks for your message below, which has been forwarded to me as the lead official on the DWP city strategy initiative.

The background to this is that the welfare reform green paper back in January set out proposals for improving employment rates in the most disadvantaged parts of the UK by bringing together the public, private and voluntary sectors in a concerted local partnership – what we are calling a consortium – to improve the way support for individual jobless people is co-ordinated and delivered. The aim is that these local consortia provide drive and focus to cross-agency activity to help jobless residents move into and progress through work.

The green paper promised that there would be some seed-corn funding available to help kick-start the work of these consortia in the initial pilot phase. There was a selection exercise in the early summer which led to the announcement of fifteen pathfinder areas, one of which covers Birmingham and other parts of the West Midlands region (however, as with all the successful proposals, the West Midlands pathfinder will be targeting particular wards with high levels of worklessness, not the whole region).

The £5m pot you refer to below covers all the pathfinders, not just the West Midlands. The idea is that each area has a small amount of money to build partnership capacity and develop a detailed delivery plan which sets out their priorities and strategies for helping more people into work. To make use of its share of the seed-corn money, each pathfinder area will need to designate a lead body to which we can pay the money e.g. a local authority or another local statutory agency. They will also need to set out in a business case exactly how they propose to use the money and this will have to be endorsed by the Department before it can be released to them. They will also need to provide regular updates to the Department to demonstrate that it is being used in the way intended.

Regards

Simon Wood

So, not only was the money granted to the LSC and not the non-existent “City Region” as claimed, but the £5m for the “City Region” is actually a pot of money intended for the whole country.  As I have said before and will continue to say, if the City Region is such a good thing then why are the people affected by it kept in the dark and why the need for a tissue of lies to try and sell it?

The most important thing to come from this is that the local authorities in the West Midlands can apparently secure extra funding from central government by co-operating with other local authorities in the West Midlands without having to sign up to yet another expensive, taxpayer-funded regional government.  Voluntary co-operation means that the local authorities can co-operate on issues and projects that will be of benefit to their particular area rather than being forced to participate in projects that will be of no benefit.  The decisions made by the City Region will not be option, they will be compulsory and decisions that will be detrimental to one area will have to implemented.

There is nothing that the City Region can bring to the region that can’t be achieved by voluntary and selective co-operation and this whole sorry affair goes to prove that.

Posted in Press, Propaganda | Leave a Comment »

Shropshire Star: New Map of Europe

Posted by wonkotsane on September 16, 2006

New map of Europe

eu-flag.jpgA few weeks ago one of the Labour councillors for Malinslee was singing the praises of the super city because Telford had been awarded £5,000 to be shared between Donnington and Malinslee for social improvements.

What he omitted to say was that the total amount available to all councils in the proposed super city region was £500,000. Put the £5,000 in perspective against this amount with Coventry, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Solihull, part of Staffordshire, north Worcestershire and Birmingham, with the share being divided out based upon the population for each council, and it is easy to see who takes the lion’s share.

If this super city is such a wonderful idea why was the West Midland County Council created in 1974 by the then Labour Government and disbanded by a later Labour Government as a failure?

In the Shropshire Star of September 5 there are the proposed new maps of Europe drawn up by German map makers on instructions of the EU showing the UK as part of Holland,Germany, France and Spain.

Has anyone in the UK other than Government officials been consulted over this? No. Has your local MP consulted you about this? No. The United Kingdom Independence Party has consistently told the truth about what EU membership means for the UK.

R Knight, Telford & Wrekin UKIP

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

MP in worry over jobs

Posted by wonkotsane on September 1, 2006

The following is an excerpt from the newly-redesigned (and frankly appaling) Shropshire Star website on the city region.

MP in worry over jobs

Telford will be losing out on jobs and investment because its name has been left off the newly-planned West Midlands city region, it has been claimed. It was announced today that the proposed new strategic policy-making body will be called The Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country City region. Telford and Solihull councils are the only two to be ignored by the new title.

Today Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said leaving Telford out of the title would mean it would not benefit from the same opportunities as the named areas. But bosses at Telford & Wrekin Council said the work and decisions of the body was much more important than the name.

This is all well and good Mark but I warned you a while ago that Telford was going to be shafted and did you listen? No, you wanted to wait and see what happened before you did anything. Well, I told you so and even now that you can see that Telford really is getting taken for a ride I bet you still do nothing about it.

Posted in General, Press | Leave a Comment »

£5m grant awarded to non-existent City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on August 5, 2006

The West Midlands City Region propoganda offensive took a giant leap forward yesterday with the following article in the Shropshire Star.  The propoganda office at Telford & Wrekin Council have got it all in this piece of propoganda – disabled people, poor people, unemployed people, they’ll all benefit from being told what to do by unelected quangocrats in Birmingham.  This money is a bribe – how can the British government give money to a quango that doesn’t even exist?  Why can’t this money be channelled into Telford anyway?  Why do we have to comply with Labour Party policy in order to get funding which we obviously need?

Slice of £5m set to aid borough people By Deborah CollinsPeople in Telford could benefit from a slice of £5 million aimed at boosting employment in disadvantaged areas across the region.

The West Midlands city region, which includes Telford, is to benefit from money granted as the result of a successful bid to help increase levels of employment and improve people’s skills. The cash, from central government, will tackle unemployment, social exclusion and child poverty across the region, A share of the money, to be distributed through a city strategy, will be used in Donnington and Malinslee to help people with special physical or learning needs get access to employment.

Staff from the Learning and Skills Council and JobCentre Plus will be working with employers to improve employment rates.

Successes

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council Keith Austin welcomed the news.

“It underlines the fact that our commitment to being part of the wider city region community is already bringing real benefits to help people in Telford,” he said.

“I am sure that this will be the first of many successes from our partnership working with other local authorities and I am pleased that, locally, disadvantaged people will be among the first to be helped.”

Richard Webb, corporate director for adult social care said the cash would bring real benefits.

“The city strategy is about putting excluded people at the heart of our ambitions for a dynamic city region,” said Mr Webb.

“Finding and keeping a job is vital for everyone’s self esteem, health and well-being.

“This successful bid and our joint working with the primary care trust means that we are well placed to help people with disabilities and long term illness to either get back into work or to take the first step into a real job”.

The West Midlands City Region includes eight local authority areas across Birmingham, the Black Country, Telford, Solihull and Conventry.

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Brownites snub city regions

Posted by wonkotsane on July 25, 2006

Source: Campaign for an English Parliament 

Brownites snub city regions

IC Birmingham reports that Brown’s lieutenants will today snub Government plans for city regions. The New Local Government Network report, authored by Ed Balls, John Healey and Chris Leslie, is very sceptical about the prospect of city regions:

“In our view, the success of the elected London mayor cannot be easily replicated within the English regions or imposed on city regions.”

“We do need new powers for local government in economic development – including for the London mayor – and greater encouragement for cities like Manchester or Birmingham to under-stand their wider regional responsibilities. But we must make sure this does not happen at the expense of the rest of the North-west or exclude towns and cities across the West Midlands.”

Via Daily Pundit.

Previously reported, in Sheffield Today, Ed Balls and John Healy had called for ministerial regional champions to be appointed and for parliamentary time to be allocated for regional issues:

A MINISTERIAL champion for each of the English regions, including Yorkshire and the Humber, should be created, two senior ministers have said.
John Healey, MP for Wentworth in Rotherham, and Ed Balls, MP for Normanton, have called for the move in a document setting out their vision on how to boost areas outside London.
They suggest a monthly question time in Parliament for each region where MPs could grill ministers about specific issues and specially set up committees which would scrutinise policies in more detail.

If regional government was the settled will of the English people I could see how this would make sense, why not have regional lists in Westminster and time allocated for regional issues? However, every indication is that the people of England do not want regional government, so why bother compounding an already grievous constitutional mistake?

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Cameron: Regions are ‘very bad idea’

Posted by wonkotsane on July 23, 2006

Source: Leeds Today 

Ambitious Government plans to create city regions run by powerful mayor-style leaders has been slammed by the Tory leader as an attempt to revive rejected elected regional assemblies.

David Cameron accused ministers of offering the same thing in a different guise and called the move an attack on local government.

 

If counties want to collaborate, I can see a case,” he said. “But the idea of big regions and a new bunch of politicians is a very bad idea.

 

“It’s a case of déjà vu all over again.

“We saw this in the 90s when our government ran out of steam and we said ‘let’s have a review of local government’ and we got a giant raspberry back. We are getting it all over again.”

Ham

 

He added: “Sometimes the temptation in politics when you offer people ham and egg and they say no, well you come back and say have a double ham and egg.

“And that’s what happened with regions. They were rejected in the part of the country where they were meant to be most popular, the north east.

“The Government, having been rebuffed, is now trying the double ham and egg option, with another attack on local government.”

The Government’s plans for regional assemblies were dropped after voters in the north east rejected them.
Ministers will unveil a White Paper on the future of local government in the autumn.

They have already said they would be willing to give new powers to city regions which have a strong and visible leader.

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