Thursday, 28 February 2013

The 'Message in Barrel' campaign - Help for Britain's Pubs

The 'Message in Barrel' campaign has called for help with beer duty in the March Budget by sending a special ‘message in a barrel’ to the Chancellor at an event in Parliament this.

The hand-crafted oak barrel, an iconic symbol of Britain’s world-renowned brewing and pub industry,  is a reminder of how important brewing and pubs are to the Haslingden and Hyndburn constituency.

The barrel, containing messages of support to Britain's ailing pubs, was later delivered to the Treasury by MPs and representatives of the British Beer & Pub Association, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers).

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tory-led changes to welfare state targeting the poorest

The Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill is an attempt by the Government to use legitimate public anger over benefits cheats to attack the welfare state and the safety net that is there to stop children going hungry, to protect familes form the worst of unemployment. People at the bottom for whom price rises has the biggest impact and for whom an extra 1% rise would only equate to pennies.

People who cheat the benefits system should feel the full force of the law, and obviously there are people who have bought into a dependency culture where they would rather claim than seek work. I see this in Hyndburn week in week out, and it is something that I am written to about by constituents a lot. I am sick of it and it needs to end, which is why I support Labour’s Job Guarantee, which would ensure that there is an ensured place of work for everyone who has been long term unemployed; if they refuse to take it then sanctions would be put on their ability to claim benefits.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The future of Oakenhead Day Centre and its services

This Monday I had a meeting with Geoff Driver, the Leader of Lancashire County Council regarding Oakenhead day centre. It was a constructive and useful meeting, and I am pleased to say that Geoff and I agreed on broad principles of delivering and improving adult social care.

I believe it is important to protect the physical day care facilities in Lancashire, and avoid an across the board shift towards the type of personal budgeting that isn't conducive to community, interaction and advancement.

Losing Oakenhead day centre without a comparable or better facility within distance would represent a retrograde step. Council Leader Geoff Driver was adamant that the new facilities, whilst much further away provide a much more satisfactory service and this bore out in user satisfaction feedback.

Though we agreed on a lot, I am nonetheless still concerned about the future of Oakenhead, and I intend to visit Enfield Day Centre in the near future. I made clear my concerns that day centres are being replaced by cost cutting measures dressed up as personal care budgets.

Tory millionaires day


In just under 40 days 13,000 millionaires will get a tax cut from this Tory-led Government.

On the same day that millions of working families have their tax credits cut, millionaires will receive a giveaway worth on average £100,000.

That's why Labour is today launching its campaign to highlight the unfair choices David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg have made following their economic failure.

We want to tell millions of people about the Tory-led Government's choice - click to help here

This weekend we found out that the Government has even failed on its own test – keeping Britain's AAA credit rating. But struggling families and businesses don't need a credit rating agency to tell them this Government's economic plan isn't working.

Next month's Budget is their last chance to put things right. Ed Miliband and I are clear that in this Budget Labour would:

* cancel the tax cut for millionaires and the raid on tax credits for working families;

* bring back a lower 10p starting rate of tax to give 25 million people on middle and low incomes a tax cut, paid for by a mansion tax on houses over £2 million;

* and take action to kick-start this flatling economy by bringing forward infrastructure investment, building thousands of affordable homes and boosting lending to small businesses.

The longer our economy stagnates, the more long-term damage will be done, the harder it will be to get the deficit down and the worse off people will be.

And with our economy flatlining it cannot be right to give millionaires a tax cut while making working families pay more.

Click to start the campaign and help us tell millions of people about this Government's millionaires tax cut


Ed Balls

Alzheimers Society. Accrington shared reading classes

Monday, 25 February 2013

Letter to Eric Pickles about taxis in Hyndburn and Rossendale

Young People's Workers Needed

Interested in working with teenagers?
  • Do you think you have the ability to communicate well with young people?
  • Do you want a job where you can really make a difference to young people's lives?
  • Are you available for work in the evenings and/or weekends and maybe some school holidays?
We have job opportunities right across Lancashire in the Young People's Service.
Want to know more? And how to apply?

Then come to our 'Recruitment Event'

Hyndburn District
Tuesday 26th February 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Hyndburn Youth Zone, New Era Centre, Paradise Street, Accrington, BB5 3LT

Rossendale District
Monday 25th February 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Rossendale Youth Zone, The Old Fire Station, Burnley Rd, Rawtenstall, BB4 8EW
All necessary training, support will be provided.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Metal Theft National Taskforce funding ending?

I have campaigned for 18months to change the legislation and have a coordinated national approach to the problem of metal theft. In reply to my request for funding to continue, the ministers has sent the following reply.

North West Ambulance Services

Friday, 15 February 2013

Fairer Britain: Ed M says he'll bring back 10p tax rate paid for by new mansion tax

I am putting Labour where it should always have been, on the side of working people and families – with an economic recovery built by the many, not just a few at the top.

We would cancel David Cameron's millionaires' tax cut, and a One Nation Labour Government would make the tax system fairer by taxing mansions and reintroducing the 10p tax rate to help working families.  

Join the campaign for a One Nation Labour budget by sharing the image below

One Nation  Economy

David Cameron's economic vision is of a race to the bottom in wages and skills, rewarding those at the very top but leaving everyone else squeezed as never before.

The last two years show that David Cameron's approach doesn't work.  The economy isn't growing – it has now flatlined for over two years, and the deficit is going up.

I believe that we can only build prosperity, when everyone plays their part in building our economy.

A fair tax system is a central part of building a successful One Nation economy. That's why we would use the money raised from taxing houses worth over £2m million to cut taxes for working people, reintroducing the 10p tax rate.

A One Nation Labour Government would cut tax for millions – not give a tax cut to millionaires.

You can help make this happen - show your support for our campaign by sharing the image above on Twitter and Facebook, or forwarding this email to your friends

If we all do our bit we can do this.

Thank you

Ed Miliband 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The future of Haslingden Pool

Last weekend I met with Rossendale Council leader Alyson Barnes for the nth time to discuss Haslingden baths, which currently has the sword of Damocles hanging over it.

There have been cries that the abandonment of the proposed new baths is tantamount to an act of betrayal. With a draconian £3m of council cuts made by central government, Rossendale Council been left with far less funding for capital projects; funding that would have seen the new build Haslingden swimming pool go ahead.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

In the last hour the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill passes through Parliament

My national campaign to tackle metal theft about to get Royal Ascent

In the last hour the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill has successfully passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords and will soon become law following Royal Assent.

Back in autumn of 2011 I began a national campaign in Parliament to combat this scourge and followed it with a private members bill.

It received universal support from industry, the media and the police.

Politics kicked in and the success of my campaign which reached a national crises with a series of unsavoury thefts and daily thefts crippling Britain's infrastructure receiving a high media profile. The government rather than back my bill made last minute changes to the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill to be seen to be doing something to combat metal theft - half baked measure to increase sentences and outlaw cash transactions whilst failing to tackle the 1964 licensing act.

The government ultimately squashed my private members bill in April 2012 to much consternation. Only then to support Richard Ottaway MP (Conservative) to bring forward an identical private members bill. Congratulations must go to Richard for taking this Bill forward.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Beware the consequences of Biomass demand on wood prices & Hyndburn's furniture industry

Raising the issue last week in Parliament.

I am currently serving on the Public Bill Committee for the Energy Bill, and during a recent session of the committee I raised the issue of burning biomass for energy.

There are a large number of Hyndburn residents who are employed in the furniture manufacturing industry, the raw material of which is largely wood. It has been a concern raised by many people in the past, including by me in the main chamber of the Commons, that burning wood causes the price of wood to increase, which is bad for the furniture industry.

According to the industry, due to Government subsidies for the burning wood for electricity, the price of wood has risen by over 55% in the past 5 years. It is government subsidies that is at the heart of rising wood prices encopuraging teh growth in the numbers of wood burning biomass plants.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Supporting free school meals for 16-18 year olds

From this September all children have to stay on in education or training for a further two years raising the participation age to 18.

I am supporting my colleague Nic Dakin MP's Private Member's Bill, which would compel the Government to fund free school meals for eligible 16-18 year olds attend colleges. This would bring them into line with the existing arrangements for young people who currently attend schools, academies and free schools.

A free school meal for one year has a cash value of £386, which is a significant proportion of annual income for someone on very low pay. Barnardo's has calculated that for a lone workless parent with two children, this could equal 5% of income.

It is an anomaly that those who go to colleges do not get these free meals. Indeed research by Barnardo's has shown that the most disadvantaged young people are more likely to go to colleges than sixth forms should they go on to further education. This represents in and of itself an example of the poor targeting of much needed resources, and it can be resolved very easily.

I hope that the Bill is able to make some progress, and that the Government will listen closely to the arguments made by Nic, by Barnardo's and other groups that see the value in this.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Grit bins across Hyndburn

With the winter wether arriving gritting has cropped up as an issue. I have received correspondence regarding extra grit bins in Hyndburn. The official reply from LCC is that there is a limited supply and they must be allocated according to specific criteria to avoid any risk of litigation.It is a very frustrating issue, one that I have tried to resolve in various ways over the last few years


Three years after Labour produced a detailed proposal for the building of high speed rail (HS2) routes in Britain, the Tories have this week finally announced their own scheme. Unfortunately the wasted years of uncertainty means work won’t begin until 2017 at the earliest.

The best that can be said of these delays is that it’s ‘better late than never’, especially for our economy which is on the brink of a triple-dip recession and which needed the investment months ago. But now that the government is committed to this infrastructure project, we must seize the opportunity and help the future career development of tens of thousands of young people.

Tackling the menace of drugs: illegal highs

I have always had a dim view of drugs. From the to get high artificially rather than live a full exciting life to the misery addiction causes to the individual and those around them to the hellish consequences of killing, guns, torture, mutilation, oppression in the production and distribution.

At the other end of the scale is the menace of drug dealers peddling legal highs. People who crawl around the bottom of society plaguing their toxic wears on those gullible enough to buy them. I have written to LCC to ensure that they are doing all they can to make life impossible for these parasitic individuals and to reassure worried parents that every effort that should be made, is being made.

NPower and E.on on tackling cannabis farms