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.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

“We Need a Strong Opposition to the Conservatives”- Wallace

Liberal Democrat candidate for Blaydon, Jonathan Wallace, has accused Labour of being incapable of forming an opposition to the Conservative Government, never mind a Government-in-waiting.

In a message to voters, Dr Wallace said, “Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have failed in their role as the Official Opposition to the Conservatives. They threw in the towel when it came to fighting a Hard Brexit. They have failed to stand up to the Conservative Government.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour have wasted their time fighting themselves rather than the Hard Brexit Conservatives. Four out of five Labour MPs opposed his Leadership and demanded his resignation last year.

“No one seriously believes that Labour will win the Election or Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister. But Labour voters in Blaydon can vote for a real opposition to the Conservatives by voting for me to be their new MP.

“The more Lib Dem MPs elected, the stronger the opposition to the Conservative Government and Hard Brexit.”

Former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Alistair Carmichael said, “Jeremy Corbyn is incapable of providing a strong opposition to this Hard Brexit Conservative Government.

“It is only the Liberal Democrats who stood up when it counted. Labour cowered in the corner. Liberal Democrats will provide a strong opposition to the Conservatives.

“The more Liberal Democrats are elected on the 8th June, the better the chance we have of defeating a hard Brexit.”

Concern at barriers to EU skilled workers

One in five small firms in the UK employ workers from the EU and 59% of these are worried about accessing people with the skills they need post-Brexit, according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses.

13% of small businesses with employees from the EU would consider moving their business abroad if there were additional barriers to recruiting EU workers.

Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem candidate for Blaydon, said, "Small businesses are the backbone of the economy in the North East. Many of them rely on skilled workers from the EU.

“The report of the Federation of Small Businesses shows small firms are set to bear the brunt of Theresa May's divisive hard Brexit.

"The Conservatives’ reckless decision to leave the single market and not to guarantee the rights of EU workers has plunged small businesses into uncertainty, with many now even considering moving abroad.

"Meanwhile skilled EU workers who contribute to our economy, pay their taxes and help fund our public services are being made to feel unwelcome."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said, "The Conservatives have lost any right to call themselves the party of business. This election is a chance to change the direction of our country and protect the economy from a disastrous hard Brexit."

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sinking Sales Show Brexit Storm Clouds Ahead - Gateshead Lib Dems

Figures showing UK retail sales had their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in March have sparked a warning from Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, Dr Jonathan Wallace, that consumer spending is being hit by the fall in the value of the pound.

A fifth of the value was wiped off Sterling following the Brexit vote last year and this is now driving up prices in the shops. Inflation is now running at 2.3% while wages are rising 2.2%. Incomes are therefore starting to be squeezed.

Dr Wallace said, "Our economy has been sustained by consumer spending, based on substantial and unsustainable amounts of consumer debt. That now appears to be coming to an end.

"Consumers are being hit with a Brexit squeeze to living standards caused by rising prices and the falling pound.

"What the country needs is substantial investment to raise productivity, but this is being inhibited by all the uncertainty around a hard Brexit. This election is a chance to the change the direction of our country, prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the single market."

“No Coalition Deals” - Wallace

In a message to voters in Blaydon constituency, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Jonathan Wallace, said, “The Liberal Democrats will not enter into any coalition deal with either Theresa May’s Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

“On Thursday 8th of June, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to change the direction of our country and stop a hard Brexit.

“Under no conditions can we sign up to Theresa May's Hard Brexit agenda; a hard Brexit will be a disaster for Britain. It risks crashing our economy and leaving us isolated on the global stage.

“And Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for the country - he has no plan for the country and our economy and he offers no leadership – as Labour leader, every time it has mattered he has given Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said, “In this election, we're going to offer the British people a real alternative and a vision of a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Together, we are going to elect more Liberal Democrat MPs and change the direction of our country.”

Liberal Democrats commit to maintaining a nuclear deterrent

The Liberal Democrat commitment to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent has been welcomed by Dr Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon.

The Liberal Democrat plans would end the current system of continuous-at-sea deterrence by employing a number of new measures, such as gaps in patrols and irregular patrolling patterns.
Such an approach would maintain the ability to surge to more frequent armed patrols, or drop down to a low-readiness posture if the security situation allows.

Dr Wallace’s backing for the policy followed confusing remarks by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn about Labour’s policy, which differs from his personal position of being opposed to Britain’s independent deterrent. Mr Corbyn has made clear that if he were Prime Minister, he would never press the nuclear button.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said, “Our nuclear deterrent keeps us at the top table in this Post-Brexit world.  All this means that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister – he is a rare combination of being both weak and dangerous.

“If you say that you would never press the button, as Jeremy Corbyn seems to have suggested, that makes a mockery of having a deterrent or indeed sound defences.”

Dr Wallace said, “Liberal Democrats are strong internationalists. We are committed to NATO, the European Union and the United Nations. We believe that our safety and security as a country is best achieved through co-operating with the UK’s allies.

“That is why we are committed to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent, because there is nothing to gain from walking away from the table and turning our back on those who rely on our protection.

"Our long term goal will always be a nuclear-free world, and we must use the UK's position to lead international efforts towards multilateral disarmament.”

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lowrey's Lane car park

The Council has now decided to rebuild the wall at the bottom of Lowrey's Lane car park. The  wall  was  in  a  state  of  disrepair  for  a number  of  months  before  the  Council removed the collapsed bricks.

Councillor Daniel Duggan said: “This wall was never needed in the first place. Instead of rebuilding it every time it gets knocked down the  Council  should  just  remove  it.  It's disappointing  that  the Council  is  wasting money  rebuilding  this  wall  when  other priorities, like cleaner streets, need attention'”

Kells Lane Park

There have been reports of anti-social behavior happening in Kells Lane park at night. This has included vandalism and residents being verbally abused.

Lib Dem Councillros in Low Fell have raised this with the police who have been visiting the park daily. The Council has also said that they will lock the park each night.

Councillor Susan Craig said, “Kells Lane park is for the community's enjoyment  and  it's  important  we  keep  it  that  way.  We  would encourage everyone to report any anti-social behaviour to the police and the Council's community safety team on 433 2168 or by emailing”.

Making progress with Low Fell’s ponds?

The ponding between the Gateshead Arms and  Carters  Lodge  is  finally  being addressed. The drains have been unable to cope  with  anything  more  than  showers, making walking difficult and in icy weather, dangerous.

After  normal  rainfall,  dangerous  and unsightly ponds have remained for days. While some problems elsewhere on Durham Road were dealt with last year, engineers identified this area as requiring major work.

Lib Dem campaigner Frank  Hindle said,  “Councillors  and residents have been calling for action on the site for more than two years. It is about time that residents were able to walk on dry land after it rains and we hope that this work resolves the problem.”

Work started in early April, and was due to finish later in April, but has been extended into  May. Lib Dem Low Fel Councillors Daniel  Duggan  said  “We appreciate that this work has meant delays for motorists and bus passengers, but it really has been necessary”