Liverpool City Region Councils prepared to pay so that HS2 reaches city?

Liverpool presses to part-fund HS2 extension

ResPublica* has drawn up a plan for the six authorities of the Liverpool city region, which would see them part-fund a £3bn extension of HS2 so that it would reach the city.

Financial Times ran this story today

* We [ResPublica] are an independent non-partisan think tank based in Westminster that seeks to establish a new economic, social and cultural settlement for the United Kingdom. Our interventions in public policy and public debate have been decisive, and our ideas have been adopted by politicians of all parties.

With thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for spotting this story via the LGiU

MP’s say ‘don’t force Metro Mayors on communities’

The Parliamentary Communities and Local Government Select Committee has told ministers they should refrain from imposing elected mayors on local areas as a condition of devolution.

The cross-party committee of MPs said regions who wanted “substantial devolved powers” but were not in favour of having a mayor “should be allowed to propose an equally strong alternative model of governance.”

The committee has also called for the role of residents to be more prominent in devolution, saying: “We have found a significant lack of public consultation and engagement at all stages in the devolution process.” [i.e. bugger all, not a sausage, less than nothing in the Liverpool City Region]

Elsewhere, the Guardian’s Susanna Rustin says that a push toward devolution highlights gender inequality which suggests none of the elected mayors will be women. She cites figures which show that despite 30% of England’s 18,000 councillors being women, just 14.6%, or one in seven, of 352 English local government leaders are female.

With thanks to John Dodd and the LGIU for the lead to this posting

Dog attack law change

A Freedom of Information request has found that some of the country’s biggest police forces reported a rise in the number of animals seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act last year. The figures come as an amendment to the Anti–social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act comes into force tomorrow enabling owners to be prosecuted for dog attacks on private property. An opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph questions whether the new rules will be adequate.

In today’s Daily Mirror Page: 17, The Daily Telegraph Page: 19, Daily Express Page: 30

Having been bitten by a dog whilst delivering leaflets (the person responsible for the dog was taken to Court by Sefton Council and received a fine) and knowing others who have been it is high time that owners were made to take responsibility for their dogs. No ifs no buts, your dog is your responsibility and if 99% of dog owners can act in a responsible way those who choose not to have to take the consequences.

The BBC has the story:-

With thanks to the LGiU for this story.

Clegg’s bid to stop developments on Green Belt land

Clegg ‘Put partisan politics aside for housing solution’

In an article for the Telegraph, Deputy PM Nick Clegg calls on David Cameron to publish a prospectus for future housing developments including plans to build two garden cities in Kent and Buckinghamshire. A report on future developments is said to have been drawn up as long as two years ago, however, the Conservatives have repeatedly denied that a report on garden cities exists. Mr Clegg said: “We need to create planned communities: whole new towns with the infrastructure and amenities they need. Bloated towns and cities are being forced to expand further bit by bit, and the green belt is being eaten away. Garden cities are a way of protecting the countryside. It is possible to create them without building on any green belt, National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And by doing it we could deliver homes people can afford in places they want to live.” Housing minister Kris Hopkins said that he was not “aware of any report which was supposed to have been published by the government but which has been ‘suppressed’.”

Now this may be a sensible way forward Nick, so long as it does not mean building on high grade agricultural land! But having said that I still come back to the issue of the consequences of our population rising year on year – surely this is unsustainable. Planning and environmental policy making in the UK needs to be brought together.

With thanks to the LGiU for this story.

Minimum Wage – The right proposes a centre left way forward!

My posting of 11th January showed Labour proposing a right wing policy (teacher bashing) in an attempt to win votes now the Tories are trying to adopt a centre-left policy by saying they want to increase the minimum wage! Politics can be a cynical world.

Chancellor backs minimum wage rise

George Osborne has called for an above-inflation rise in the minimum wage stating that the economy can now sustain an increase from £6.31, for over-21’s, to its pre-recession value of £7 per hour. The chancellor did not set a timetable for a rise and insisted any final decision rested with the Low Pay Commission. Despite opposition to a rise from employers concerned about the continuing fragility of the economy, Mr Osborne said that real increases in the minimum wage would not harm job creation, citing the recent sharp falls in unemployment. However, John Cridland, director-general of the CBI business group, said: “An unaffordable rise would end up costing jobs and hit smaller businesses in particular. Any increase in wages must reflect improved productivity.” Mr Osborne added that the government was planning another “big increase” in the amount of money people can earn before paying income tax. [A Lib Dem policy that the Tories have been dragged into. To think that the Tories would have assisted the less well off without the Lib Dem foot on the back of their neck is laughable.]

With thanks to the LGiU for this story.