Friday, July 07, 2017

Welcome for Gateshead Energy Plant

Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead, Jonathan Wallace, has welcomed the news that the Gateshead Energy Centre will be open for business shortly. Cllr Wallace's comments were made following a visit to the plant in central Gateshead recently.

The move by Gateshead Council to create an energy company and generate heat and electricity came about after Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government changed the law that prevented councils from setting up and running their own energy providers.

"The plant will generate electricity and hot water which will be pumped to other buildings in central Gateshead," said Jonathan. "Older power stations don't use the hot water from the electricity generating process. It is simply thrown away. In Gateshead it will be used to heat businesses, public buildings and people's homes.

"The profit will come back to Gateshead Council to support local services. We need to look now at how to set up similar plants elsewhere in Gateshead and to look at how renewable fuels can be used to generate power."

£1bn DUP deal could have paid for 10 extra teachers in Gateshead

Whickham School Mar 15 2

The government's £1bn deal with the DUP could have paid for at least one extra teacher for every secondary school across the UK, including 10 more teachers in Gateshead, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Official figures show there are 4,169 state-funded secondary schools in the UK and that the average cost of employing a teacher is £44,500. This means if the additional £1bn had been distributed evenly among the UK's schools, each would receive £240,000, enough to hire one additional teacher in each secondary school over the next five years.  

This would have meant an additional £2.4 million of spending on schools in Gateshead, enough to hire 10 teachers in each secondary school in the borough.

Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, Jonathan Wallace, said, "The £1 billion Theresa May has spent on her deal with the DUP could have been spent employing 10 extra secondary school teachers in Gateshead.

"When it comes to the Tories clinging to power, it seems the magic money tree does exist after all. This simply won't wash with parents in Gateshead seeing their schools considering laying off teachers as a result of crippling cuts.

"The Conservatives must start investing more in our schools and not just on keeping Theresa May in Downing Street."

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Blaydon Bridge Section Replaced

Blaydon Bridge replacement Jul 17 (3)

The missing section of the Blaydon Footbridge was successfully replaced on Saturday 1st July. Work on the bridge caused the closure of the eastbound A695.

The damage to the bridge was caused in August 2016 when a lorry hit it. Gateshead Lib Dem Councillors have raised the issue of who pays for the repairs. An answer is awaited.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Road closure to install new Blaydon bridge

The eastbound carriageway of the Blaydon Highway and the adjacent Tyne Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday 1st July from 6am to allow contractors to install a new section to the footbridge over the A695.

The closure is required to allow the new prefabricated bridge span to be delivered on a low loader and also allow for the positioning of a crane to lift the new footbridge section into position.

A signed diversion route will be in place to divert traffic from the A695 Blaydon Roundabout via Shibdon Road onto the B6317 Chainbridge Road. The A695 Westbound highway will remain open to traffic.

The length of time required for installing the new bridge section will depend on weather conditions, but it is hoped that the work can be completed within the day.

Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes if possible and to allow a little more time for their journey.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dementia tax victory welcomed in Gateshead

David and Jonathan Wallace Oct 16

Liberal Democrat campaigners are celebrating a victory for pensioners and families across the UK as the hated ‘Dementia Tax’ is removed from the Queen’s Speech

The Conservatives have been forced to u-turn on the dreaded ‘Dementia Tax’. With no mention of their horrific policy in the Queen’s Speech, they have been forced to kick their plans into the long grass.

This is a big victory for Liberal Democrats who campaigned hard to scrap the ‘Dementia Tax’ and to save the ‘Lib Dem pension Triple Lock'.

Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, Dr Jonathan Wallace, said, “The Conservatives should be ashamed of their plans. We now demand assurances from the government that the ‘Dementia Tax’ is gone for good!

"As the Conservatives set out their plans for the country in the Queen's Speech, there was no mention of stopping real terms cuts to the NHS, the police or to our schools. In addition, the economy was barely mentioned either.

"What once was the crutch of the Conservative party is now broken - with more debt every day and a large Brexit bill to pay."

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Race night winnings boost Whickham Christmas fund

Lighting Up Whickham Race Night May 17 (3)

The funds for the Whickham Christmas tree and decorations have been boosted significantly following a race night held at the Whickham Glebe Sports Club on 13th May. Nearly 100 residents came to the event to help boost the funds needed to ensure the village has Christmas tree. Gateshead Council stopped providing funds for Christmas trees and decorations throughout Gateshead four years ago.

Cllr Sonya Hawkins, chairman of Lighting Up Whickham, said, "The Race Night was great fun and raised lots of money towards our goal of extending the decorations this coming winter to St Mary's Green. But there's still lots of fundraising to do to reach our target."

If you would like to help Lighting Up Whickham raise more funds, please contact Cllr Sonya Hawkins.

Whickham's Chase Park at risk from housing development

Cllr Jonathan Wallace interviews Cllr Peter Maughan about Gateshead Labour Council's proposals to sell off Whickham's Chase Park for housing. There are fears this could be the thin end of the wedge. The area for sale also includes the main entrance to the park off Rectory Lane. Cllr Maughan is leading the campaign against the sale.

“Thousands of Homes at risk from Tories Dementia Tax in Gateshead and South Tyneside” - Peter Maughan

Liberal Democrats in Gateshead and South Tyneside have warned that thousands of local homes are at risk from Tory plans to force older people with extensive care needs to pay for their own care.

Peter Maughan, candidate for Jarrow constituency, said, “The Tories’ are beginning to show their real colours. Theresa May is trying to take many elderly people for granted and if she can get away with it, she will force the sale of family homes to pay for the cost of social care.

“By failing to put a cap on the overall amount people are expected to pay, the Tories are putting an unreasonable and heavy burden on the families of those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from long term health problems that need long term care packages when living at home.

"My message to those thinking of voting for Theresa May is this: don't bet your house on it.

"Liberal Democrats will lead the fight against the grossly unfair Dementia Tax that could wipe out half the value of the average home.

"On Thursday, you can elect me as you Liberal Democrat MP to be your voice in Westminster and stand up for you on the Dementia Tax and the NHS."

Residents are being encouraged to sign the petition against the Dementia Tax at

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Call to keep European green laws

 Path Head Quarry Mar 15 3

Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, is calling on the Government to retain EU environmental laws when the UK drops out of the European Union.

“Protecting the environment has been one of the great successes of the EU,” said Jonathan. “As a result of Europe’s green laws, our rivers and seas are cleaner. There are fewer pollutants in the air we breath. Green technologies have been encouraged. The amount of rubbish dumped in landfill has dropped and the amount of recycling has increased. We can thank the EU for this.

“I fear that many Conservatives are itching to dump EU green laws. For example, on 6th December at a meeting of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, leading Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg said that, after the UK leaves the EU, our environmental and employment rules could be slashed to a level ‘good enough for India.’

“Throughout Blaydon constituency, we have lots of landfill sites. Liberal Democrat Councillors have taken the lead in pressing for stronger action to control these sites and to prevent the leakage of waste and rubbish from them. European green laws have been a vital tool in helping us to press for action.

“The Liberal Democrats are campaigning against cutting back rules that will make us all worse off after we leave the EU. I am pleased that Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP has stated that as a party we are pressing for green laws to remain in place to ensure we pass on a world worth having to future generations.”

Photo above: Jonathan Wallace outside the entrance to the Pathhead landfill site.

300 sign Lib Dem petition to stop executive houses plan

Watergate Park Jan 15 3

Liberal Democrats have collected 300 signatures on their petition opposing Labour’s plans to build up to 582 executive houses on Dunston Hill.

In a long running battle, Gateshead Labour Councillors  agreed to take large swathes of land out of the greenbelt so that executive houses could be built. Land at Ryton, Crawcrook, Streetgate and Dunston Hill, amongst other areas, have been stripped of their greenbelt protection and on some of the sites, the developers’ bulldozers have already moved in.

Now, developers are chomping at the bit to develop land to the south of Whickham Highway at Dunston Hill.

Lib Dem campaigners Kevin McClurey, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan have led the campaign to defeat the plans.

They launched a petition recently when a planning application was submitted for up to 582 houses on the site.

“When Labour agreed the Local Plan for Gateshead, we fought to have brownfield sites used for housing instead of areas of the greenbelt,” said Kevin.

“Labour used their majority on the council to force through the plan which stated the Dunston Hill site should be used for 550 homes.

“The recent application goes beyond this number. We have argued all along that the roads can’t cope with existing traffic, never mind the extra that will be generated by 582 new executive houses. There are no plans for additional public services such as schools and family doctors. These plans will make the area burst at the seems.”

When the application comes before the Council’s planning committee in the near future, Cllr Peter Maughan will be putting the case for the house-building proposals to be rejected.

Photo above: Kevin McClurey, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan: 300 people so far have signed their petition against Labour’s plans to build up to 582 executive houses at Dunston Hill.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Labour's magic money pots

Following the announcement that Labour would spend £300 million on the police service raised from cancelling a cut in Capital Gains Tax, Liberal Democrats in Jarrow constituency have pointed out that Labour have already promised to spend the money elsewhere.

Lib Dem Candidate, Peter Maughan, said, “Capital Gains Tax (CGT) was increased by Lib Dems in the Coalition as we believe it is right that the wealthier members of society should pay a fair share of overall taxes.

“The Conservatives’ decision to cut CGT shows just where their prorities lie. However, Labour have now promised to spend the money raised by not cutting this tax four times over.

“In March last year, they said they would use the money to bail out the British steel industry. In August last year they said they would spend it on art for primary school children. In March they offered the money to the health service. Now it is to be spent on the police.

“Labour seem to think they have a magic pot of money. Every time you empty it to spend the
money, it magically fills with cash again.

“No wonder, no one trusts Labour with the nation’s finances. People still remember the terrible mess the last Labour Government left behind when a quarter of the money spent by Labour ministers was borrowed.

“While no one seriously believes Labour are credible on the economy, thankfully, Labour will not have a chance to put their Magic Money financial policies into action. Everyone knows Labour cannot win the election.

“What we do need however is a strong opposition to the Conservative Government. Labour have failed in that role. If you want a strong opposition, vote Lib Dem on 8th June.”