Friday, 23 December 2016

State nurseries: we need more, not less.

‘Early intervention’ before kids start primary school is vital for giving children an opportunity to fulfill their potential. It reduces the life chances gap and combats the postcode lottery, by closing attainment disparity between disadvantaged and affluent kids. This is why the last Labour government introduced free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, created Sure Start Centres in every community and expanded school nurseries.

Unfortunately, in the last decade, 500,000 poorer children were not school-ready by the age of 5. And since 2010, the Tories have closed more than 800 Sure Start centres and 1,000 childcare providers. 45,000 childcare places have been lost.

Yet despite this, the Government plans to drastically cut funding for state nurseries even further. Through its new funding formula, childcare provision will be threatened in every region and 750 providers (both state and private) now fear closure.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Accrington Postie Strike

Accrington Postie Strike

This is about bullying at the Accrington depot. Bullying by one seƱor manager. Bullying that had been resolved until Royal Mail decide to renege on an agreement and keep the said manager at Accringtion Office. And then things got worse.

Going on strike means a loss of pay and our posties don't get paid a great deal. If you want to contribute to the strike fund then donations can be sent to:

Ben Barnes
CWU East Lancs Treasurer
Burnley Delivery Office
Bank parade
BB11 1DY

Yesterday I joined the Accrington posties on the picket line. Bullying in any workplace is unacceptable. Makes peoples lives miserable and can lead to all sorts of personal problems.

No postal worker wants to loose money & neither do they want to take strike action especially at Christmas, They work all year round come rain or shine & are the greatest asset Royal Mail posess.

No Postal worker should have to attend work to be shouted at with foul & abusive language by their manager. They should be properly renumerated for work performed over and above their contracted hours.

This is not the case at Accrington delivery office. For some time now the management of this office has ruled with fear & intimidation.

The CWU who represent workers at Accrington engaged with Royal Mail to try to resolve the issues being raised. This ended up with mediation under our mutually agreed processes. The outcome of the mediation process was that both sides agreed the manager should be removed from the office. However Royal Mail have refused to act on this recommendation. Whilst clear evidence exists that the
manager bullies his staff he is seemingly allowed to carry on with impunity making the senior management responsible complicit in these bullying actions.

The CWU members within the unit have balloted to take industrial action and have started a series of 24 hour walkouts to defend their absolute right to attend work without the fear of being bullied & harassed in an unprecedented move from
a office with no history of industrial turmoil.

We call upon Royal Mail to take its duty of care to its staff at Accrington seriously & resolve this dispute in a mannor where its greatest asset 'The Postie' can go to work with dignity and without fear.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

My LT column. Tories to bring in Bedroom Tax for Pensioners

So the Tories are to bring in a Bedroom Tax for pensioners! Do you want me to repeat that? They have also said they will no longer protect pensions after 2020. The the nations poor finances under the Tories the reason why. They are starting with grandparents who have the spare bedroom for the grandchildren.

I’m all for going after scroungers but non-scroungers (aka people who need genuine help) need a leg up the ladder, not a snake all the way to the very bottom.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


I'd like to thank Miles Parkinson who has worked tirelessly for many months to save these libraries. I'd also like to thank all the community activists who have come forward for without their help these facilities would have been lost.

For both of us this has been a huge issue that has consumed an awful lot of time and resource. I have had countless discussions with County Hall, raised petitions in Parliament, spoken in Parliament, spoken with ministers and made the case personally to the Prime Minister. 

Hyndburn Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, today welcomed news that Lancashire County Council have agreed to explore proposals by community groups and other organisations to take on responsibility for running libraries in Oswaldtwistle and Clayton-le-Moors.

Cllr Parkinson said; “It’s absolutely wonderful news that Oswaldtwistle and Clayton–le- Moors look set to have their own independent community libraries soon, housed in two much loved iconic buildings, providing a fabulous resource for local people.”

Cllr Parkinson added; “Hyndburn Council has fully supported the bids in the run up to the County Council’s decision, which is has meant a lot of hard work and dedication by so many community volunteers, who always give their time, energy and expertise so freely. A huge thank you should go to them.”

Under Lancashire County Council’s proposals:

Oswaldtwistle Library will be transferred to the Oswaldtwistle Lamp group to provide an independent community library. Lamp is also proposing to strengthen trade and encourage new business by offering space to entrepreneurs, as well as offering volunteering opportunities to increase people's employability and reduce social isolation.

It has also been agreed that an independent community library can be established by Mercer 1842 at the Arthur Wilson Centre, Hyndburn, using the book stock and resources from the former Clayton-le-Moors library. The Arthur Wilson Centre is not a county council building.

All of the proposals are subject to further discussion and final agreement on the terms of the transfer.

Media Contacts Cathy Kierans- Senior Marketing and Communications Officer 380108

Accrington Victoria Walk in Centre is changing

The Walk in Centre at Accrington Victoria which provides a free GP service from 8am to 9pm to people who cannot get a GP appointment with their doctor.

The reply I have received from the CCG is at the foot.

I have long opposed the closure of this and had numerous conversations with the CCG over the last few years expressing my feelings. Notably three;

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Please support the CWU ongoing Post Office campaign by writing to Theresa May

The CWU has launched a campaign to save the Post Office. Our members working in the Post Office have already taken 2 days industrial action, as a result the government has now launched a consultation into the future of the Post Office Network.

As part of the campaign we need thousands of postcards to be signed across the UK. Our target is to have 500,000 postcards signed by 12th December. Stand up for local Post Office workers and send this card to Margot James, Minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility.

Backing the campaign to help shoppers get problems with faulty goods solved

I am backing National Consumer Week, a campaign to help people use their consumer rights to get problems with faulty goods like TVs, laptops and mobile phones resolved.

Research from Citizens Advice has revealed that two thirds of people had a problem with faulty electrical goods in the last two years.

However, 1 in 4 people were turned away by retailers when they tried to get a refund, a replacement item or get their item repaired, despite it being the retailer’s responsibility to help.

The research also showed that persistence paid off, with 61% of people who were initially turned away going on to get some form of solution.

NHS want feedback: learning disability and/or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

NHS England is consulting for a period of 12 weeks starting today, December 1st , on how low and medium secure services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) should be provided across the North West. For further details and to take part in the consultation please see : .