Friday, January 29, 2010

A1 in “slow lane” plan attacked by Lib Dems

A PLAN by the Government’s Department for Transport to cut traffic speeds on the A1 from Birtley to Blaydon have been slammed by Liberal Democrats as putting the area into “the slow lane”.

The plans to cut the speed limit from 70mph to 50 mph are being put forward by the Government as the alternative to investing in upgrading the road.

Neil Bradbury, the Liberal Democrats’ prospective MP for Blaydon, described the plans as little more than a joke that will do nothing to solve the serious congestion on the road.

Neil said, “The A1 from Birtley to the bridge over the Tyne at Blaydon is one of the most congested in the North East. It carries far more traffic than it was designed to take.

“In rush hour, the road slows to a snail’s pace, so the idea that congestion will be solved by lowering the speed limit to 50mph is laughable.

“This stretch of road has room for a third lane. Changes are also needed to create a better flow of traffic into and out of the Metrocentre.

“The plan by Labour to solve the problems of this road by cutting the speed limit is nothing more than a window-dressing exercise on the cheap. It will have very little practical benefit.

“The A1 in Gateshead is a strategic road and congestion there damages our local economy. It needs real investment, not daft and irrelevant plans that put us in the slow lane.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Council spending consultation “remote and inaccessible for many”

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon constituency have slammed a consultation process by Gateshead Council into spending cuts as “remote and inaccessible.” And they have compared it to Northumberland’s consultation which they describe as “open and in touch.”

Gateshead Council are currently looking at cuts of up to £60 million over the next three years, caused by Government ministers slashing the amount of cash given to councils to support local services.

Gateshead held two consultation meetings for residents but Neil Bradbury, a leading Liberal Democrat campaigner in Blaydon has attacked the Council for holding both sessions in Gateshead town centre.

Neil, who is hoping to be elected as the MP for Blaydon in the general election in a few weeks’ time, said, “Gateshead is a large borough. Blaydon constituency covers the western half of the borough and is made up of small towns and villages.

“Gateshead’s decision to hold both consultation meetings in the town centre will make them inaccessible for many of the people I hope to represent after the general election.

“It seems to me that the views of people from the west of the borough are being ignored by Labour. This is not on. Labour must rethink its consultation and hold meetings in towns such as Birtley, Whickham, Blaydon, Ryton and Rowlands Gill.

“The contrast with Liberal Democrat run Northumberland County Council is remarkable. There we have held 12 meetings around the county. In Gateshead, people will only be let in to the meetings if they apply in advance. In Northumberland they are open to all residents.

“The difference in approach between Lib Dem Northumberland and Labour Gateshead is remarkable. All councils are having to face up to huge cuts as Labour are slashing the amount they are giving to councils to spend on services.

“But in Northumberland we have made it much easier for people to come along and give their views. Labour in Gateshead have a great deal to learn from us.”

Liberal Democrats choose Tom for Jarrow

Liberal Democrats in Jarrow Constituency have chosen Tom Appleby as their candidate for the general election.

The constituency includes parts of eastern Gateshead such as Pelaw and Heworth as well as Hebburn in South Tyneside.

At 25 years old, Tom will be one the youngest Parliamentary candidates in the North East. He currently works as a supervisor for a major retail chain but is also studying for a law degree at Northumbria University.

“I am looking forward to the campaign, even though it will be a big challenge!” said Tom.

“We already have councillors in Pelaw and Heworth in Gateshead and Hebburn in South Tyneside. I will be working with them to ensure the Liberal Democrat message of fairness is heard in the coming election.

“I will also be fighting hard to stop Labour taking the area for granted and to end their decades of complacency.”

Welcome for creamery takeover

A creamery in Blaydon that closed during the recession with the loss of 300 jobs is to get a new lease of life.

The closure last year of the plant in the town owned by Dairy Farmers of Great Britain was a shock to the local economy.

Now, Medina Dairies, Britain’s largest, independent dairy group, has bought the plant and will begin production again. 50 jobs will be created initially.

Liberal Democrat Neil Bradbury, who hopes to be elected the town’s MP in a few weeks’ time, said, “This is good news for the economy of Blaydon and hopefully lead to more jobs in the future.

“Losing the Dairy Farmers of Great Britain creamery was a blow for local people. Hopefully the plant will prosper under its new owners.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blaydon Liberal Democrats demand fairness for local people

The battle between Liberal Democrats and Labour for Blaydon constituency has hit the ground running with Liberal Democrat candidate Neil Bradbury declaring that fairness for local people is at the top of his election bid.

In a message to local residents, Neil said that Blaydon has suffered because Labour and the Conservatives have created an unfair Britain.

“Under both Labour and Conservative Governments, people on low and middle incomes pay a higher share of their income in tax that the most wealthy do,” said Neil. “That simply is not fair.

“Under Liberal Democrat tax plans, no resident of Blaydon will pay tax on their first £10,000 of income. That will go a long way to making the tax system fairer.

“We will make the tax system fairer. Tax cuts for people of low and middle incomes will be paid for by ending the unfair tax loopholes used by the richest people to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

“Labour and the Conservatives allowed the banks to get too powerful. They created an unfair economy which has been a poor deal for Blaydon.

“Liberal Democrats will make the economy fairer, helping hundreds of unemployed residents of Blaydon back into work who have unfairly had to pay to price for the Government’s mismanagement of the economy.

“We will do this by investing in public transport, more home insulation and new affordable housing for local families. Not only will this create jobs, it will lead to better transport, cheaper heating bills for local residents and more badly needed homes for residents. We will pay for this investment by using savings made elsewhere in Government spending.

“We will give every child in Blaydon a fair start in life by ensuring additional funding is given to those schools whose children come from the most deprived areas.

“And finally, we will scrap the unfair voting system that denies people a real choice in elections and has for decades given us Labour/Conservative Governments that are out of touch with the people.”

Blaydon Labour MP David Anderson is defending a majority of only 5,000. The Conservatives are out of the race, taking only 3,000 votes at the last election.

Opencast company pays up in Gateshead

A company that attempted to appeal against refusal to grant planning permission to set up an opencast mine near Whickham, Gateshead, has had to foot a £75,000 bill.

Hall Construction Services of Rushyford, County Durham, were all set to take the rejection of their plans by Gateshead Council to an appeal but withdrew it days before the planning inquiry was due to start in 2007.

But in the meantime, Gateshead Council had notched up a bill of tens of thousands of pounds to prepare the case in support of the decision to reject the application.

The plan to opencast the site at Skons Park, which overlooks the historic Gibside Estate, was rejected in October 2005 following a campaign led by local Liberal Democrat Councillor Jonathan Wallace.

He co-ordinated a petition which was signed by over 16,000 people – the largest ever handed in to Gateshead Council – which called on the plans to be rejected.

Residents feared the plan would lead to damage to the countryside and heavy lorries on local roads whilst damaging the growing tourism industry of the area.

Dr Wallace, who represents Whickham South and Sunniside on Gateshead Council, said, “There is no way the taxpayer should have to pick up the bill for the actions of this company.

“A great deal of officer time and council resources were put into preparing the case against the appeal. The decision by Halls to withdraw their appeal at the last minute should not lead to Gateshead residents being out of pocket.

“I am therefore pleased that the costs of £75,000 have been paid by Halls to Gateshead Council to recompense the authority and, more importantly, local taxpayers.”

The announcement that the cash had been paid by Halls was made at Gateshead Council’s planning committee on Wednesday 13th January.

Friday, January 08, 2010

MP accused of being “asleep on the job”

LABOUR MP for Blaydon, David Anderson, has been accused of being “asleep on the job” after he called on fellow MPs to turn up for a debate that was scheduled to take place nearly a year earlier.

Mr Anderson decided to sign an out-of-date Early Day Motion in Parliament on 11th November 2009 which called on MPs to back the Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau Bill on 13th March 2009, 8 months previously.

However, despite Mr Anderson’s call for action 8 months after the event, it turns out Mr Anderson himself was not present for any of the votes held on 13th March 2009.

And to add to Mr Anderson’s embarrassment, the bill itself was abandoned by its sponsor, Andrew Dismore MP, before it was even due to be debated on 13th March!

Now Liberal Democrats in Blaydon constituency are demanding that Mr Anderson explain himself.

“I wonder if Mr Anderson has been asleep in the job,” said Dr Jonathan Wallace, a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Blaydon constituency. “He seems to live by the saying ‘Better late than never’.

“It is bizarre that he demanded other MPs should attend a debate even though 8 months had passed since the debate was supposed to be held. It is even more bizarre that he demanded his colleagues be present even though he himself wasn’t present that day.

“But the most ludicrous point is that the bill was abandoned before the debate he asked other MPs to attend could take place! He is therefore asking MPs to attend in the past an event that did not happen to support a bill that did not see light of day.

“I think Blaydon deserves representation that is far more on the ball than Mr Anderson appears to be.”

Lib Dems in Blaydon launch appeal to Labour voters

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon constituency are urging disillusioned Labour voters to switch to Nick Clegg’s party, following the latest failed attempted by Labour MPs to get rid of Gordon Brown.

Former Cabinet members Geoff Hoon MP and Patricia Hewitt MP launched a failed bid to topple Mr Brown on Wednesday 6th January, the latest in a series of attempts by Labour MPs to dump their leader.

Neil Bradbury, who hopes to be elected as the Lib Dem MP for Blaydon in the general election in just a few weeks’ time, said that people in the constituency who have normally voted Labour were now “fed up to the back teeth with Gordon Brown and his squabbling party.”

In a message to constituents on his blog, Neil writes, “I have lost count of the number of people who have voted Labour for years who now want nothing to do with their traditional party.

“In Blaydon, people are fed up with this failed Prime Minister. They are fed up with a Labour Party that is more interested in fighting itself rather than getting on with the task of sorting out the economic mess.

“People want a government that is putting the country back on the road to recovery and they are simply not getting that from Labour. They don’t believe David Cameron’s shallow, bland promises and they know he can’t deliver for Blaydon.

“My message to those people is to vote Liberal Democrat in Blaydon. The constituency is my priority and as MP for the area, I will fight hard for a fair deal.

“But staying at home rather than voting is a recipe for no change and the same old, failed business-as-usual under Labour.

“That’s why I am making a special appeal to former Labour voters to vote for a new MP and real change in Blaydon by voting Liberal Democrat.”

Neil’s hopes in Blaydon are high because the Labour majority is only 5,000, one of the lowest in the North East. The Conservative vote last time was only 3,000, making Blaydon one of the most unwinnable seats for David Cameron anywhere in the UK.