Pendle Labour Party - Archived items: 2011
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Last updated: Sunday 30 December, 2012

Saturday 31 December 2011
Tory County Council abandoning Nelson
Nelson South Labour County Councillor George Adam has expressed deep disappointment at the announcement by Lancashire County Council to close Marsden Resource Centre in Nelson in 2012.

Cllr Adam said “For months now rumours have been circulating that the Centre is to be closed and many users have challenged County political bosses to come and explain their reasons but they have chose to ignore the people of Nelson. This is no surprise as the closure of this centre is yet another example of the Conservatives abandoning areas such as Nelson, in recent months we have seen the closure of:

  • Social Service offices
  • Welfare Rights closed • Switching off of the timetable at Nelson Bus Station
  • Highways offices closed
  • Waste Recycling Centre in Colne – to be closed in March

I am angry that our Tory Councillors in Pendle are happy to sit back and watch their bosses at County Hall taking services away from Pendle, they need to wake up and challenge these stupid decisions.

It’s not a Happy New year for Pendle residents Thanks to the Tories”

Wednesday 21 December 2011
Tories block reconsideration of closures of waste centres
At the meeting of the Lancashire County Council Scrutiny Meeting, Conservative Councillors voted en block against the motion to "Call In" the decision to close four waste recycling centres across Lancashire.

Brierfield and Nelson North Labour Councillor Mohammed Iqbal said:

"This is a clear message to the 13,000 plus people who objected to this proposal that the Tories do not care about Lancashire residents. They proved that they are putting money before people by endorsing the decision to close these very well used centres. I am very angry and sad for everyone who fought against this".

Thursday 15 December 2011
Challenge to Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council to face the public in Pendle
Brierfield and Nelson North Councillor Mohammed Iqbal and Nelson South Councillor George Adam are calling-in a decision made today by Tory Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council, Cllr Albert Atkinson to close 4 Household Waste Recycling Centres across Lancashire including Colne in Pendle.

Cllr Iqbal said "It is a dark day for the people of Lancashire when Cllr Atkinson ignores a call made by over 17,000 people to keep our recycling centres open. He has ignored the arguments and pushed ahead with his and the Tory Party's project to let the people of Lancashire down. The centre at Colne is very well used and is manned by a group of excellent employees who help elderly, disabled people to dispose of or recycle household waste"

Cllr Adam added "I would invite the Scrutiny Committee and Cllr Atkinson to come to Pendle and listen to evidence direct from members of the public who are directly affected by this decision. It's a shame if the centre at Colne is allowed to close in March 2012 thanks to the Tory cuts. Where are our Tory Councillors and MP on this issue- they are very quiet”

Thursday 17 November 2011
The out of touch Tories are letting young people in the North West down.
One in five young people in the region are out of work and nearly 65,000 aged 16-24-years-old are claiming jobs seekers allowance.

The latest unemployment figures show that since January there has been a 87% rise in young people on the dole in the North West for six months or more. Eight North West constituencies are in the top 25 worst hit in the country

Chuka Umunna, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills during a visit to Chorley in Lancashire explains why there is a better way; Labour's five point plan for jobs. Labour's #jobsplan includes a tax on bank bonuses that would create up to 18,000 jobs for young people in the North West. Watch Chuka's LabourNorthWest YouTube video now.

Then please sign Labour North West's #BankBonusTax online petition

Friday 04 November 2011
Ed Miliband visits Pendle
County Councillor and Leader of Pendle Labour Group Mohammed Iqbal commenting on Ed Miliband’s visit to Daisy Communications said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome the Labour Leader on his first visit to Pendle and a good opportunity for Ed Miliband to see and discuss how much this area is being neglected by Tory/Lib Dem cuts.”

“He was encouraged to see local people setting up business in Pendle and prepared to invest in young people of the area who have been abandoned by this Tory/Lib Dem government.”

Ed Miliband had said:

“Unless we get people spending and take action to get young unemployed people back into work, we’re not actually going to get the growth we need to help manufacturing.”

Tuesday 01 November 2011
Europe Vote a Distraction
Commenting on Andrew Stephenson’s column in the Nelson Leader / Colne Times series published on Friday 28 October, John Pope, Pendle Labour Party Vice President said:

Another missed opportunity by our spineless Member of Parliament to say something relevant to the people he represents.

In last week’s “From The House” we had Stephenson facing both ways on Europe.

Europe was identified by 1% of voters as an important issue in a recent poll.

Even Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire funder of the Tory party and bankroller of Stephenson’s 2010 election campaign, was furious at the Tory obsession with Europe. His comments came after last Monday’s vote.

If our MP is ever going to make a meaningful contribution to the local political debate can he please concentrate on what concerns his constituents here in Pendle. I would like to know his views on the destruction of the local NHS services and on the job losses at County Hall etc. etc.

Sunday 30 October 2011
Remember these Tory promises from 2010?

"Only the Conservatives can stop the closure of Burnley Children's Ward"

"Andrew Stephenson is leading the fight to get services returned to Burnley"

"The only way to protect local NHS services is to vote Conservative"

And what happened ?

  • The Children's Ward went to Blackburn
  • A&E has stayed at Blackburn

It gets worse:

  • Burnley's Urgent Care Centre is no longer being staffed by a specialist accident and emergency doctor overnight.
  • Seven wards at Burnley General are now disused
  • Pathology and mortuary services at the Burnley site are under review with no guarantee of them staying.
  • Pendle Community Hospital is being reviewed for closure.
  • Plans for Colne’s new Health Centre have been delayed.
  • And forthcoming budget cuts mean East Lancashire NHS Hospitals are due to lose a staggering 600 staff.

If you believe that you can help save our community hospital, please download the petition, ask friends, relatives, neighbours and work colleagues to sign it and return to Pendle Labour Party at the above address. You can also help by by signing our online petition.

Please return completed petitions to The Secretary, Pendle Labour Party, 33 Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 7JS

“I ask for your patience.”
Meanwhile Pendle’s and Burnley’s MPs, who were elected on the strength of their promises about the NHS, just hope the issue will quietly go away.

There isn’t a single mention of Burnley’s A&E on Andrew Stephenson’s website. And when a Labour Party supporter wrote to him and asked him to call for a Parliamentary Debate on the issue he ducked the question.

No urgency like before the General Election.

No Parliamentary Questions on why Independent Review recommendations from last year haven’t been carried out.

Just “I ask for your patience.”

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is selling off our Health Service
Pendle’s Tory MP, together with his Lib-Dem colleague in Burnley, has voted for the biggest top-down re-organisation of the NHS ever - which could delay any A&E changes by years.

An outcry from medical organisations has led to some minor changes, which are being rushed through Parliament this Autumn. But the private sector is preparing to take over the NHS even before the Bill is passed.

This reorganisation had no mandate and should be thrown out.

Sign Labour's petition to protect the NHS by downloading a copy or sign online

Saturday 15 October 2011
‘Hands Off’ our Community Hospital
Pendle Labour Party members were on the streets of Colne and Nelson on Friday and Saturday collecting signatures to a petition to oppose any reduction of service levels at Pendle Community Hospital.

Judging from the comments of signatories, there is considerable concern over the proposed withdrawal of services that have already been announced and the possibility that the 72 rehabilitation beds at the hospital could be axed.

The obvious concern is that if these beds are axed other remaining services and clinics will also be under threat.

George Adam, collecting signatures in Nelson noted that several people had remarked that it was a betrayal of the commitments given when Reedyford and Hartley Hospitals were closed.

Sheryl Waterhouse, who was collecting signatures in Colne said:

“People were shocked and upset that the beds, wards and services at Pendle Community Hospital are under threat and we took 291 signatures just from today!

“People told us personal stories of themselves or family members that have used the hospital and think it's disgusting that its services are threatened.

“I met an Irishman called Denis who not only signed the petition but bought me some red and white flowers from the market stall too!”

If you believe that you can help save our community hospital, please download the petition, ask friends, relatives, neighbours and work colleagues to sign it and return to Pendle Labour Party at the above address.

Tuesday 11 October 2011
Whose Quantitative Easing? – nothing in it for Pendle
John Pope considers the likely effect of the Bank of England intervening to increase the money supply by buying £75 billion of financial assets:

This week the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee have done a 180 degree turn in agreeing to spend £75billion of tax-payer’s money, called quantitative easing or QE2.

Could it be that this vast sum of money is being used to keep the Tory government backer’s, from the financial sector, afloat when the Euro zone finally allows Greece (and others!) to default on its unpayable debt’s? This will result in banks everywhere nursing huge losses on their loans to Greece.

QE2 is neither going to help the two and a half million unemployed nor the growing number of young people who cannot find a job. George Osborne sits back and waits for the stagnant business sector to grow when household spending is being cut to the bone. Increased inflation is going to hit anyone on a fixed income for years to come.

Incidentally, £75billion is about twice Britain’s annual defence budget, or the same as the entire market value of BP.

It would be good to know what our Tory Member of Parliament’s views are on the issue and its likely effect on Pendle.

Monday, 10 October 2011
The NHS Bill Has No Mandate - Robert Oliver
"The Lords should be affronted by the slipshod way our health system is being blown apart before they can even debate it".

Can we count on Lord Greaves to defend Pendle's NHS by voting to support proper scrutiny of the Health Bill this week, and not just to toe his Party line again? Polly Toynbee's article on Saturday must surely have given him pause for thought.
And after all, he did call for proper debate in his motion to Pendle Council in April.

Saturday 08 October 2011
Storm in a Tea Shop
Pendle Council’s Development Management Committee has dismayed Barrowford Parish Council with its recent decision to refuse permission for the change of use of a shop on Gisburn Road, Barrowford from a Travel Agent to a Café.

The recently opened Tea Time café at 99 Gisburn Road was an attractive addition to the main shopping area of Barrowford, but has been forced to close because of the recent planning committee’s decision.

The reasons for the refusal are given as “… the proposal would result in the proportion of non-shopping uses along this designated Primary Shopping Frontage being above 25%.” Planning Policy 26 encourages retail centres by aiming to limit non-retail space to 25%.

John Pope, Chair of Barrowford Parish Council said:

“The fact is that changing the former Travel Agent into a café would have increased the non-retail space on the west side of Gisburn Road from 26% to 36%. But if you take into account both sides of the road the overall proportion is only 18% with the new café included.

“To make the decision even more questionable is the fact that Barnoldswick already has a stretch of primary shops where 33% are non-retail.

“The Parish Council discussed the issue at last Wednesday’s meeting and were left wondering, who is pulling the strings. In these difficult economic times it seems any business that is willing to try something new and innovative should be encouraged, especially as Barrowford is putting effort into encouraging visitors to the village and persuading locals to ‘shop local’.”

It appears that the decision by the Development Management Committee was proposed by Lib Dem Cllr John David and seconded by the council leader, Tory Mike Blomeley. It was passed by 4 votes to 3. It just happens that Cllr David is one of Pendle Council’s representatives on the Heritage Trust for the North West’s board, which runs the Pendle Heritage Centre and its café!

The question being raised with this ‘storm in a tea shop’ is, are the elected councillors being allowed to use their ‘common sense’ to arrive at decisions that are best for the community of Pendle, or, are they being persuaded to implement policy based on rigid percentages, by the council’s officers?

Thursday 06 October 2011
Pendle Community Hospital Closure Threat

Pendle Labour County Councillors George Adam and Mohammed Iqbal are demanding a public assurance from local Health bosses over rumours that Pendle Community Hospital is to close completely in 2012.

Cllr George Adam said “I have been approached by a number of concerned patients/staff of the hospital that there are plans to close it down next year. I am furious at this back-door style of management and demand an urgent public assurance that Pendle’s only hospital will remain open to people”.

Cllr Iqbal added “Only a few months ago, I asked the question over the future of the hospital and was told there were no plans to close it but I am concerned that people across Pendle are being isolated in terms of healthcare provision. We all remember the previous Tory government closing down Reedyford,Marsden,Victoria and Hartley hospitals all of which were Community based. It seems that this Tory/Liberal government want to continue the axing policy of their predecessors”.

Thursday 22 September 2011
Letter to Leader Times

Dear Sir,

It really is a bit rich for Pendle’s MP to be complaining about the proposed new constituency boundary for Pendle.

It was his government that set up the constituency reduction in the name of less costly and fairer democracy, and I don’t remember any complaints from him at the time he voted for it in Parliament last year (along with Lord Greaves).

Voices inside and outside Parliament warned that such a large reduction in the number of seats, combined with a very narrow margin of 5% above or below the new standard number of electors per seat, would lead to a break-up of geographical and local authority links. But little notice was taken.

Given these limitations, the Boundary Commission has made the best of a very bad job, and if West Craven is to move into Ribble Valley constituency it is quite clear where the real blame lies. Dozens of other constituencies have had to be lumbered with similar problems.

But to my mind there is an equally bad consequence of this boundary re-organisation : until it is complete, opposition parties in constituencies up and down the country are being prevented from even beginning to select their next Parliamentary candidates. You can hardly expect people to put their names forward until they know whether a constituency is still going to exist, and, if it does, what its geography is and therefore how winnable it might be.

Our current MP of course had a well-financed three years and more before the last General Election in which to get himself known in the Pendle constituency. But the new constituency boundaries for the next General Election, which cannot be later than May 2015, will not become law until late 2013. So new candidates in Pendle will get only 18 months at best, and quite possibly a lot less, giving the incumbent MP a further advantage. Hardly very fair and democratic.

Cynics have put it to me that our MP’s complaints stem more from a fear that his majority might disappear in the proposed Pendle & Burnley North seat, rather than from his love of overlapping local authority and constituency boundaries. I would find it hard to ascribe such low motives to an Honourable Member. But I think we should be told.

Robert Oliver
Pendle CLP

Wednesday 14 September 2011
All change for the Pendle Parliamentary Constituency?
As part of the political deal which brought about the ill fated attempt to adopt the alternative voting system the Conservative/Lib Dem government agreed a reduction and reshaping of parliamentary constituencies.

Arising from this The Boundary Commission has announced plans to split up the Pendle parliamentary constituency.

Under the proposals instigated by the coalition government Nelson, Colne, Brierfield, Barrowford and the wards of Blacko & Higherford, Foulridge, Higham & Pendleside and Old Laund Booth will be joined with the Briercliffe, Lanehead, Daneshouse with Stoneyholme, Queensgate and Bank Hall wards from Burnley to form a new constituency of Burnley North and Nelson, with an estimated 74,989 voters.

The West Craven wards of Coates, Craven and Earby would become part of a new Ribble Valley constituency stretching from the Forest of Bowland in the north to the outskirts of Preston in the south, with an estimated 73,653 voters.

These changes would not reshape the existing borough councils, but will inevitably lead to confusion in understanding the relationship of local government areas of operation with parliamentary constituencies.

The plans will now go out for public consultation for three months and revised proposals may be brought forward in 12 months time.

Monday 25 July 2011
Pendle Labour Party members send their condolences to the  people of Norway
The response of the Norwegian people has been humbling – a poignant contrast to those who so quickly and hysterically sought to blame Muslims for this act of extremist terror. Instead of vengeance, the Prime Minister of Norway called for more democracy, asserting that their values would not be shaken by the politics of hate made so violently real.

"Hope not Hate" have opened a book of condolences to the Norwegian people.

Tuesday 19 July 2011
Colne Waste Recycling Centre - you can help to keep it
Labour Party members in Colne are urging all Pendle residents to become active in campaigning to keep the Colne centre open.

You can help by printing out the petition and collecting signatures and also writing to Lancashire County Council using  the model letter as a guide.

Even easier please sign our online petition
Tuesday 05 July 2011
Plans for Nelson school get go ahead - Lancashire Evening Telegraph
A new primary school is to be built in Nelson after plans were approved by the county council. Councillors on the development control committee at county hall delayed making a decision two weeks ago to undertake a site visit to the area in Whitefield. The plans involve demolishing run-down empty homes in a conservation area to make way for the school.

But following the site visit councillors unanimously voted to give plans for
Whitefield Primary School the green light.

County Coun George Adam said the community wanted the school to be built. He said: “This school is the heart of the community, the children want it, the parents want it and Pendle Borough Council want it.

“It does complement the regeneration that has already happened and those that went on the site visit saw the boarded-up terraced houses, which have been boarded up for donkeys years, and because of the Elevate funding being withdrawn it might be donkeys years again before these houses can be made good.”

Plans for the £3.5million school were first unveiled in 2009 but faced delays after English Heritage and the Heritage Trust for the North West objected to the demolition work. Both eventually withdrew their objections before the application went before the council.

Monday 04 July 2011
Labour councillors push for action on Social Care cuts and Police Station closures in Pendle
At Thursday night’s Pendle Council meeting (30 June) newly elected Reedley councillor Bob Allen succeeded in getting cross-party support for his motion on Lancashire County Council’s cuts to Social Care.

Speaking after the meeting, Bob Allen said “I was pleased that the Council backed my view that these are unacceptable cuts to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The County Council is proposing to remove all care support for older people, people with physical difficulty, people with learning disability, and people with mental health problems assessed with moderate needs.”

“They also appear to be proposing to reduce the care support  for vulnerable people with substantial or critical needs  (by reducing formal support from 100% to 70% and looking for unspecified ‘community capacity’ to fill the gap in provision) to meet the balance of its cuts.”

“My motion, which was passed with some amendments,  instructs Pendle’s Chief Executive to write to Lancashire County Council to express this view and seek that they reconsider these damaging cuts.”

Police station cutbacks
At the same meeting Labour’s Councillor for Brierfield, Naeem Ashraf, spoke against the proposal by Lancashire Constabulary to close the front desk of Brierfield Police Station. Cllr Ashraf said “This will be sending entirely the wrong message about policing in Brierfield if it goes through. I know that the Constabulary have to find a horrendous £42 million of cuts as a result of the Government’s so-called austerity measures, but effectively closing a station that was only opened a few years ago can’t be the right way.”

“I was happy to combine my motion with a similar Lib Dem one calling on the Chief Constable and a member of Lancashire’s Police Authority to attend a special meeting of the council to listen to the concerns of councillors and local residents.”

“We are also calling on local MP Andrew Stephenson to support Pendle people, and not the Tory party for once, by voting against the introduction of elected Police Commissioners. Nobody wants them and setting them up will waste over £100 million of money that should be going into policing.”

Monday 04 July 2011
Pendle Council supports Taekwondo Star
Pendle Council’s Nelson Area Committee councillors are supporting rising taekwondo star Aneila Afsar in her Olympic bid.

Councillor Nadeem Younis, who chairs the committee said: “We’re proud to support her with £1,000 towards her travel and training expenses and wish her well in the future. “This young lady is proof that there are talented youngsters from our town who are helping to put us on the map in a positive way.”

Thirteen year old Aneila from Nelson, is a student at Pendle Vale School. She has just become British taekwondo champion in the under 49kg category which she won at the Velodrome, Manchester.
Her success is increasing her chances of competing in the Olympic games in London 2012.

Aneila started Taekwondo at the age of six, and now, just seven years later she’s going to European tournaments. Aneila will be competing in London in July, Dublin in October, Germany in December and Holland in February. She said: “Taekwondo’s not about fighting, it’s really fast and I like the adrenaline.”

Her mother, Janat Afsar said: “I wanted to get her involved because she was quite quiet and shy. “I’d like her success to bring more people, especially girls, to the sport.”
Tuesday 28 June 2011
Protect Our NHS in the North West
Waiting times for hospital treatment have reached their highest level for three years, but this is just the tip of the iceberg…

David Cameron has already broken his pledges to stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS and protect the NHS budget

The NHS is a top priority for Labour and we will always support it.

Together we can show Cameron that Our NHS deserves better. Nearly 5 million NHS patients each week and 1.4 million NHS staff deserve better. Help us to send a message to this Tory-led Government...  Please sign our petition

Friday 24 June 2011
Pendle Folk say The NHS is not safe in Conservative hands
In a recent online survey conducted by the publishers of the Nelson Leader/Colne Times series, 94% of those responding voted that the NHS was not safe in Conservative hands.

We believe that this is a fair reflection of the concerns that most people have.

It was also interesting to read in the Nelson Leader that Mr Pendle picked up Gordon Prentice's point: that if a political party says it will do something, it should be held to it.

And if it finds it can't deliver, it has to be forced to say why.

I wonder who they were both aiming that at?

Incidentally, Andrew Stephenson has gone very quiet on Burnley A&E and the Deerplay Children's Ward!

Tuesday 21 June 2011
‘Any Questions’ comes to Pendle
The long-running Radio 4 programme, 'Any Questions' will be broadcast from The Ace Centre, Nelson, on 19 August 2011.

The panel members are currently not known, but you can ensure that it it is a lively debate of moral and social issues which are of national interest.

Visit the
ACE Centre in Nelson, or give them a call on 01282 661080 and they will reserve you free tickets to be picked up within 7 days - numbers are limited; 1st come, 1st served!

Sunday 05 June 2011
One year on Andrew Stephenson 'buries' the Burnley Children’s Ward and A&E.
Last year, a month or so after the General Election, Andrew Stephenson’s website went off-line.

The website has recently returned, remodelled and considerably slimmer than the old one. Notwithstanding that some of the content has been copied and pasted from Gordon Prentice's website.

One notable change is the removal of a page posted on 11th April 2010 which carried a message, that he was currently leading the campaign to stop NHS bosses closing down our Children's Ward in Burnley and was continuing to fight against the closure of the A&E service also at Burnley.

The future of the Children’s Ward and A&E were key campaigning issues for both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in both Pendle and Burnley in the lead up to the 2010 General Election. Andrew Lansley the current embattled Secretary of State for Health and Nick Clegg the current hapless Deputy Prime Minister visited the area during that election campaign. Both gave reassuring words about returning/retaining those services at Burnley.

The reality is that the expectations that they raised amongst local people have been shattered. So far, it appears that it was a shabby electioneering sham. The situation has been exacerbated by the news that plans to build a multi-million-pound mental health hospital in Hapton have been axed by health bosses to save cash and instead facilities will be extended at Blackburn.

All of these cutbacks in services for Burnley and Pendle do not augur well for the future of hospital facilities locally.

There is no mention on Andrew Stephenson’s new website about him campaigning for the Children’s Ward, the return of A&E or the mental health facility.

Perhaps he has a different understanding of his stated belief
“Andrew believes the most important role of an MP is to represent their constituents and to work hard to resolve local problems”, than we have.

It is time that he put his own future prospects to one side and stood up for the people of Pendle by holding Lansley and Clegg to account.
Page from Andrew Stephenson's old web site (PDF 110KB)

Monday 30 May 2011
Magazines to be axed from Lancashire's libraries - LET
Magazines are to be axed from Lancashire's libraries in a cost-cutting move.
Around £30,000 per year will be saved when Lanacashire’s library service cancels the subscriptions for a range of magazines ranging from Good Housekeeping to Top Gear, Family Circle and Lancashire Life.

But Nelson North and Brierfield’s Coun Mohammed Iqbal said the decision could alienate hundreds of elderly readers who cannot afford £4 or £5 for specialist publications.
Friday 06 May 2011
Borough of Pendle Elections May 2011
The Labour Party has won two seats from the Liberal Democrat Party and one seat from the Conservative Party and retained the two Labour seats that were contested at this election.

We would like to extend our thanks to our other candidates who took part in elections elsewhere in the Borough and offer our congratulations to Nawaz Ahmed, Bob Allen, Richard Smith, David Whalley & Nadeem Younis on being elected.

Wednesday 04 May 2011
Sydney Silverman remembered
The annual Sydney Silverman Memorial lecture was held on 29th April at Primet Community Centre

The lecture was given by Graham Jones MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn.

Prior to the lecture a short address was given by Mr Tim Ormrod the NW President of the Cooperative Party- the joint sponsors with Pendle Labour Party of the lecture.

Mr Ormrod reflected on the socialist principles of Sydney Silverman and his commitment and passion for important moral issues and talked briefly about the principles of the cooperative movement founded by the Rochdale Pioneers in the middle of the 19th century.

Graham Jones gave an excellent lecture highlighting key issues for political campaigning from his years as a councillor in Hyndburn and his success at the May 2010 general election in winning Hyndburn very much against the odds.

He also reflected on his first 12 months as an MP, his nervousness of facing the chamber for the first time and the changes that are taking place within the labour party under the leadership of Ed Miliband. A question and answer session took place at the end of the lecture with questions on council housing, campaigning parliamentary constituency boundaries and health matters

Wednesday 04 May 2011
Presentation of Silentnight Petition
Barnoldswick Labour Party members came to Nelson Town Hall today (4 May) to present their petition in support of Silentnight. The petition calls on Pendle Council to press Government Ministers to support the company through its present difficulties. It has been signed by hundreds of Barnoldswick and other Pendle residents of all political affiliations.

Ian Tweedie, Labour candidate in Coates ward, said: “The Chief Executive was pleased to receive the petition from us and was in full support of what we are doing. This is a major issue for Pendle.”

Monday 02 May 2011
Support for Silentnight from Barnoldswick and beyond
Townspeople were queuing up in Barnoldswick last Saturday morning (30 April) to sign Pendle Labour’s petition in support of Silentnight. The company is seeking a Company Voluntary Arrangement following a withdrawal of financial backing.

The petition is calling on Pendle Council to put what pressure it can on Ministers to support the company through its difficulties. The petition will also be sent directly to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Ian Tweedie, Labour candidate for Coates ward in the town, said “We had a tremendous response with hundreds of signatures in a few hours. People welcomed the opportunity to express their concern, including of course members of the workforce.”

Bill Roberts, who is standing in Craven ward, said “Both my Lib Dem and Conservative opposite numbers signed the petition, as well as a Conservative councillor from Earby. I hope they don’t get into trouble from Tory MP, Andrew Stephenson. The local view is that his rude and complacent response in the paper to what we’re saying has made people wonder if he’s up to his job. Does he really think that banks would be withdrawing support from businesses if the economy was in a better state? The company needs to be helped through its present difficulties.”

We welcome anyone downloading a copy of this petition and circulating it in workplaces, retail premises, clubs, religious bodies etc. When you return it to the Freepost address please write on where you have collected the signatures. This will enable us to demonstrate that the support is across our community.

Wednesday 27 April 2011
Petition in Support of Silentnight Launched
A petition to support Silentnight has been launched by Pendle Labour Party.

Ian Tweedie, who is standing for Labour in Coates ward said, “Pendle can’t afford to have companies like Silentnight in difficulty. The government’s austerity cuts are causing our economy to stagnate and we need to put growth back into our economy to support local firms. It’s also concerning that Silentnight is having problems with the banks removing credit at this critical time. When will this government make banks, many of which we own, start to loan again?”

Bill Roberts, candidate in Craven ward, said, “We are holding a stall in Barnoldswick this Saturday to get signatures on a petition calling on Pendle Council to put pressure on ministers to assist the company and its workforce. It is a critical issue for the local area. We’ve also offered a meeting with the Chief Executive of Silentnight to discuss the issues.”

County Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, leader of the Labour Group in Pendle Council, said, “A matter of concern about the proposed Silentnight CVA is that, according to the press, the company is looking to reduce its pension responsibilities to solve its liquidity problems. If, as has been reported, the CVA would mean 65 pence in the pound for creditors what does that leave pensioners with?”

Sunday 24 April 2011
Same old tactics from Nick Clegg’s Pendle Liberal Democrats
David Foat, the Labour & Co-operative Party Candidate for the Horsefield ward of Pendle Council is shocked and dismayed by profoundly untrue assertions about his honesty in a Liberal Democrat published leaflet.

David said, “The Lib Dems were quite wrong to say I was lying. Labour Party member Jean Jarvis spoke at the Colne Area Committee meeting on the 8th May 2008 against the Lib Dem plans to put the new Colne health centre on the Kippax site with the help of their friends at Barnfield Construction but without consulting the Primary Care Trust. I and Labour Party member John Pope attended PCT meetings about the new health centre. Once the Kwiksave site had been chosen by the PCT, Lord Greaves further delayed matters when he upset the architects and developers by pouring scorn on their detailed plans and on the Colne Surestart Centre that had been built by the same people.”

We invite the people of Colne who have received the Liberal Democrat leaflet, to make up your own mind about Liberal Democrat tactics.
Friday 22 April 2011
Silentnight looking for life-saving deal
Silentnight, which employs over 600 workers in Barnoldswick, has announced it has applied for a Company Voluntary Arrangement, an agreement between a company in financial trouble and its creditors.

Labour County Cllr George Adam said  “This is very worrying news from one of Pendle’s major employers and reflects the inability of this government to boost the economy.  It’s all very well for Andrew Stephenson to go round getting his picture taken at local firms but what is his government doing to help them? Without a proper policy for growth, companies like Silentnight are suffering the biggest squeeze on consumer spending power since the 1970s. And there is no serious pressure to force banks to increase lending.”

Tuesday 05 April 2011
Lib Dems Jumping Ship in Pendle
Four Pendle Liberal Democrat Councillors are standing down at next month’s local elections and the party is unable to field anything like a full state of candidates across the Borough.

In Barnoldswick neither Allan Buck in Coates ward nor Martin Bell in Craven is standing again, while in Nelson former County Councillor Sonia Robinson is standing down in Southfield and Gary Bird is not contesting Clover Hill.

Liberal Democrats are not putting up candidates in Barrowford, Blacko & Higherford, Brierfield (where their former candidate is supporting the Labour Party), Foulridge, Higham & Pendleside and Reedley.

Pendle Labour Group Leader, Cty Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, commented: “Pendle Lib Dems are clearly in disarray, as they have only been able to field a full slate of candidates in Colne. And I don’t think their chances there can be very high – how many voters in Colne will support a party whose local leader, Lord Greaves, helped push the Tories’ £9000 tuition fees through Parliament? Do the Lib Dem candidates support the cuts that have led County Hall to close Social Services offices throughout Pendle? Or the cutting of school improvement funding to Fisher-More, Park and Primet?”

“Just two months ago Lib Dem Councillors got together with the Tories to impose a cuts budget on Pendle which meant further reductions in services. They have completely lost their way and I hope voters will tell them that on 5th May.”

Tuesday 29 March 2011
Brierfield Lib-Dem candidate switches to Labour -  “Last week’s budget impacts worst on the poor and vulnerable,” says Pervaz Afzal
Brierfield’s 2010 Lib-Dem candidate for Pendle Council, Pervaz Afzal, has switched to the Labour Party. Mr Afzal, who was expected to stand again for the Liberal Democrats in this May’s elections, has said he is fed up with the way his former party has been kow-towing to the Tories’ cuts agenda.

“When Vince Cable said last spring that large scale slashing of public services would be reckless, I believed him. But he and the whole of the Lib Dem leadership are supporting the Tories in doing exactly that. Last week’s budget showed us quite clearly that growth is stalling and that tax and benefit changes will impact most on the poor and vulnerable.”

“Here in Pendle we’ve seen children robbed of school improvements in Colne and Barnoldswick, students’ education maintenance allowances slashed, College courses cut, Social Services offices closed, front-line police jobs going and VAT being put up.”

“In Brierfield the Canal Corridor regeneration has ground to a halt with the cutting of the Housing Market Renewal funding, and the Family Tree Sure Start nursery is about to close. To cap it all, the Pendle Lib Dems got into bed with the Tories last month to agree their cuts budget.”

“I look forward to supporting Labour Cllr Nawaz Ahmed in his campaign for re-election in May.”

Monday 28 March 2011
Post Office loses Benefits Contract

Sue Nike the Labour Party candidate for Barrowford is incensed that Barrowford pensioners, benefit recipients and those on disability allowance will have to cash in their giro cheques at off-licences and petrol stations next year .

The Conservative/Lib Dem government has removed the contract to process the cheques from the Post Office and awarded it to Paypoint (a Citibank subsidiary).

Sue says “This decision flies in the face of ministers’ promises to make the Post Office the ‘front line’ for government business.

The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters believes Paypoint is making below-cost bids for contracts by driving down rates paid to their agents. Paypoint is not suitable for dealing with vulnerable benefit recipients. Their shop staff lack the experience and training of Post Office employees.”

“Taking government business away from the Post Office will cause the biggest closure programme we’ve ever seen. “

“Three years ago Andrew Stephenson was going round Pendle getting photos taken of himself with a “Save Our Post Offices” poster. He was silent then on the real Conservative policy. Will he speak out now against this decision?”

Saturday 26 March 2011
Pendle Labour Party rally focuses on closure of Social Services offices in Pendle
The rally held in support of the TUC March for Jobs and Growth was held outside of the Carr Road office of Social Services in Nelson (the office is targeted for closure soon as part of the cuts programme).

Labour Party members then proceeded to the office of Andrew Stephenson MP to present a petition of 3,000 signatures opposing the closures.

Mr Stephenson was not available to receive the petition.

Friday 25 March 2011
Funding cuts at Nelson & Colne College a “disaster”, says Pendle Labour Leader
Pendle Labour Party is calling on MP Andrew Stephenson to lobby for a reduction in the drastic funding cuts being imposed at Nelson & Colne College.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Labour Group said: “The £600,000 cut to College funding is a disaster to both the quality and breadth of education at the College. Music and performing arts courses are going, as well as staffing in other areas. It’s hardly surprising that students joined staff on a mass protest at the College yesterday.

“This is yet another blow to the only post-16 education provider in Pendle, a well-known centre of excellence in FE. The government has already cut the Education Maintenance Allowance, and lecturers’ pensions are also being hit.

“Our MP, who has been happy to have his photo taken at the College when it suits him, has stayed completely silent on the issue, as on so much else. What is he doing about it?

“Equally, how does John David square his conscience as College chair of governors with his continuing leadership of Pendle Lib-Dems, supporting a government that is cutting too deep and too fast?”

Thursday 24 March 2011
Rally against Golvernment Cuts
Pendle Labour Party is holding a rally in Nelson this Saturday 26 March at 11.00 in support of the TUC March for Jobs and Growth in London that day.

The rally will be held on the Car Park of Christ Church, opposite the Lancashire County Council Welfare Rights Office which is scheduled to close at the end of this month together with other Social Services offices throughout Pendle.

Wednesday 23 March 2011
Further local concern about Tory/Lib Dem pre-general election commitments
Citizens in north-east Lancashire will hardly be surprised to read of local campaigns over A&E and other ward closures in various parts of the country (Tory MPs accused of false election promises that could put nation's health in jeopardy, 17 March); even less surprised, no doubt, at the accusation of "false election promises". Burnley's A&E department went to Blackburn over three years ago and the Burnley facility was downgraded to an urgent care centre.

Before the election Andrew Lansley was reported as saying that he could not see why Burnley should not have its own A&E department. Nick Clegg, visiting Burnley days before the election, said the Lib Dems had a firm commitment to restoring A&E to Burnley. Throughout the election campaign, voters in Burnley and Pendle constituencies were invited to infer from Liberal and Tory publicity that A&E would indeed be returned to Burnley. The two constituencies returned Liberal and Tory MPs in Burnley and Pendle respectively, replacing Labour, and one is left wondering if the aforesaid publicity should be regarded as promise, pledge or mere aspiration.

Dr Tony Pickles
Colne, Lancashire
Thursday 17 March 2011
Déjà vu mon ami?
The web coordinator for this site has been following the painfully and slowly unwinding story of promises and pledges made by Tory/Lib Dem coalition partners to restore A & E to Burnley General and also stop the closure of the Children's ward.

These commitments are well documented and were made prior to last year's General Election.

Anyone who voted Tory or Lib Dem because they believed that these commitments were genuine, might translate the contents of this Guardian article to an experience they have 'already seen'!

As a certain Agatha Christie character might say, 'Sacré bleu!'
Thursday 17 March 2011
Eric Robinson obituary
Visionary educationist and driving force behind polytechnics

Pendle Labour Party mourns the loss of one of Nelson's most influential sons and we offer our condolences to his family.

Eric Robinson, who died earlier this year at the age of 83 played a major role in the development of British higher education policy. In the 1960s, as adviser to Anthony Crosland, the education secretary, he was instrumental in the creation of polytechnics and all that they symbolised in terms of opening up higher education to the wider population. His long career culminated in seven years as director of Lancashire Polytechnic, but thereafter he continued to write and was active in the Socialist Education Association, of which he was vice-president when he died.

A fitting obituary can be read at the
Guardian website
Friday 11 March 2011
Labour gains Burnley council seat from Lib Dems
The Liberal Democrats had been defending a 57-vote majority in the by-election prompted by the resignation of Julie Johnson, but its candidate Kate Mottershead could only manage third place.

Labour's Beatrice Foster secured a 233 majority over her nearest challenger.

Monday 07 March 2011
Which type of Big Society would the people of Pendle choose?
Clement Attlee in his first book, "The Social Worker", attacked the idea that looking after the poor could be left to voluntary action. He wrote:

'Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim'.

He went on to write:

'In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community. The first way is intolerable, and as for the third: Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice'.

Friday 04 March 2011
Pendle Labour Party Congratulates Dan Jarvis on winning Barnsley Central by a 'Coalition Crushing' 30% majority
It is interesting that the 'Mail Online' reported the outcome as "Liberal Democrats humiliated into SIXTH place as Labour take Barnsley by storm"

The reality is that it was also a very poor night for Cameron as the Conservative vote collapsed by two-thirds, halving their proportion of the vote from 17% to 8%. They were beaten into third place by UKIP.

We do however agree with the comment from the 'Mail Online':

"The tactics - and result are likely to increase tension between Mr Clegg and activists as they prepare for the party's spring conference in Sheffield next week."

It is very difficult to describe the collapse of the Lib Dem vote from 17% to 4% as anything other than a humiliation for Clegg and the role the Lib Dems play in Westminster. How many more deposits can they stand to loose?
Thursday 24 February 2011
Tree House Nursery closure a terrible blow for families says Brierfield Councillor
The Children and Families Manager of NHS East Lancashire has announced that Tree House Nursery, Brierfield, is to close in less than two months’ time.
Brierfield Councillor Nawaz Ahmed said: “This is a terrible blow for families in Brierfield and Reedley.  The nursery, based in the Sure Start Children’s Centre in Tunstill Square, looks after children between 6 months and 5 years all day for five days a week. I understand that 43 children are affected. Quite apart from the disruption to them, it is not clear how quickly alternative arrangements can be made for them locally.

“At the same time I am told five full-time members of staff are to lose their jobs. I expect they will remember Andrew Stephenson MP telling us before the election last year that Sure Start centres were safe. This is yet another coalition promise that has been broken.

Wednesday 23 February 2011
Nelson residents suffer due to loss of Number 2 Bus Service
Nelson South Labour County Councillor George Adam has expressed his deepest dismay at the re-routing without notice of the Number 22 Bus Service which ran from Barrowford to Burnley via Hibson Road.

Due to County cut-backs the replacement service, no 65, will now terminate at Burnley General Hospital instead of Burnley Bus Station.

Cllr Adam said, “Many residents both elderly and young used this popular service. The Tories at County Hall have withdrawn this with no consideration for local people. There was no consultation with the users of this service by County Councillor Tim Ashton. I am calling for it to be re-instated.”

Wednesday 23 February 2011
No-Show of Portfolio Holder!!
Pendle residents who used Marsden Resource Centre over a number of years invited County Councillor Mike Calvert for a face to face meeting over 6 weeks ago. They are still waiting for him to turn up to discuss the cuts he has imposed.

Nelson South County Councillor George Adam said, “I was inundated with complaints from people and wrote to Cllr Calvert to come and meet the people face to face. Despite him promising to do so, people are still waiting!!! This is not acceptable and I would publicly challenge him to come and face the people who he and his party are punishing due to these savage cuts”

Tuesday 22 February 2011
Colne: a 'Walkers are Welcome' town
Local Labour Party Secretary, David Foat said "Labour Party members in Colne welcome this new initiative to make Colne a "Walkers are Welcome" town. This will be another initiative like the Colne Blues Festival that commands popular cross-party support. Having led walks for the Pendle Walking Festival, I would like to add that John Belbin has done sterling work to get the Pendle Walking Festival a national annual event on the walking calendar and wish him well as he announces his retirement from this job. I hope that Tom Partridge will be able to keep up the high standards established for this event in future". Walkers are Welcome website
Friday 18 February 2011
Ian Tweedie questions why local Lib Dems sat on their hands
Local Labour Party activist Ian Tweedie in replying to a Letter from Derek Mann published in the Leader/Times on 11 February 2011 has made the following response:

“Derek Mann avoids the point. The mantra of  a 'profligate Labour administration', which tries to airbrush out of history the global banking crisis that Labour had to deal with, will not reduce the need for the Lib Dems locally to protest about what is being done to Pendle by this government.

Last week in fact gave them the perfect opportunity. Why did Pendle Lib Dem Leader John David not put his name to the letter from over 90 Lib Dem Council and Group leaders stating publicly that local government is being let down by Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles? 

We can only presume from this silence that the Lib Dems in Pendle support the Conservatives in their policies which are threatening to destroy jobs and services and hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest.”

David Foat adds his contribution to the debate
People who think that Gordon Brown was a profligate spender are a bit deluded.  The previous Labour Government had to skillfully deal with a global banking crisis and they managed the situation with great skill and acumen.  Calculating what Britain could afford, Labour put together a fair package based on our international credit rating.  Additional schemes to prop up failing industries such as the car scrappage scheme worked very effectively and efficiently at preventing our manufacturing base collapsing. 

The current attack on public services by the likes of Danny Alexander led by the nose by the Conservatives is completely free-market-ideological and may, in part, be motivated by the inadequacy felt by the Lib Dem front bench while in opposition. 

Following the Icelandic referendum on their debt repayment terms, the £3 billion owed to the UK and the Netherlands after the collapse of Icesave will not be fully repaid until 2046 which seems like a reasonable timescale in the circumstances.

Britain is neither Greece nor Ireland and we do not need to be a role model for them in their predicament.  There is really no reason for the public service cuts to repay what the UK has borrowed in double-quick time.  As if to illustrate the truth of this, the Lib Dem Tory government has just made a £3.25 billion loan to Ireland to help them in their predicament.

The danger is that what the UK is fast turning into with its whacky coalition is another Italy under Silvio Berlusconi - hardly a paragon of democracy. 

hursday 17 February 2011
 Labour Councillors to withdraw from Pendle’ s shared Executive
 Pendle Labour Group is announcing the withdrawal of its four Councillors from Pendle Council’s Executive.
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Labour Group Leader, said:

“Labour is working hard for the people of Pendle but we feel the best way to do this is by holding this Tory-led Council and Government accountable in opposition.

“The Conservative-led government and their Liberal Democrat allies have broken numerous promises by raising VAT, trebling tuition fees, cancelling EMA and axing police numbers. These cuts are not only unfair but they are the wrong long-term choices for the future of our country. And they were all supported by Pendle’s MP and Pendle Conservatives.

“In December we were hit with the most savage cuts to Local Government anyone can remember.”

He added: “I and my Labour colleagues have attempted to work as part of a shared Executive and have been fighting to get the best deal for Pendle. Our work on the Executive has helped Pendle avoid the worst of the job cuts that were originally threatened.

“We have been working hard to find savings but the fact is that these cuts go too far and too fast; hitting jobs, economic growth and the vital frontline services people rely on.

“Tonight’s budget meeting has once again highlighted the extent of the cuts by this Tory-led Government; they are an attack on our ability to deliver basic services and will have their worst effect on the most vulnerable in the community as well as on hardworking families in Pendle.

“The budget has been pushed through by a Con-Dem coalition, with both groups being told what to do by their masters.”

Thursday 10 February 2011
Parking Charge increase kept down by Labour Councillors
Labour Councillors at Pendle’s Executive Committee on Tuesday 8 February have kept a proposed increase in fees for residents-only parking bays to a fraction of the proposed amount.

Cllr Naeem Ashraf said: “The Conservatives had proposed a massive increase from £15 to £25, which local residents had understandably objected to. Conservative Executive members wanted to ignore those concerns, but we were able to push through a sensible increase of only 10 per cent, to £16.50.”

Thursday 10 February 2011
“Third World” back street upgraded at last
Brierfield Councillors have welcomed the completion this week of work on improving the back streets behind Livingstone Street and Stanley Street in the town.

Cllr Nawaz Ahmed said: “Back Livingstone Street has been an eyesore for a long time, worse than in a third world country. The previous workers on the site did a pretty shabby job with spray tarmac and that was all damaged by the Council’s recycling wagons.

“I’m pleased that the Area Committee was able to find funding this year to put toward improving it, which, together with £100 contributions from residents, has meant a proper job has been done this time.”
The photograph shows (left to right) Cllr Nawaz meeting the contractor, Frank Barnes, at the start of the work, together with Brierfield Cllrs Naeem Ashraf and Mohammad Arshad.

Wednesday 02 February 2011
LCC Labour Group response to budget proposals.
The Labour Group on Lancashire County Council has expressed its deep concerns over the future of services within the County following the Conservative County Council's budget proposals. The Group believes that the government is forcing Lancashire to pay too much too soon and that the long-term effect of the cuts will be grave. The Group has taken an active and vocal role throughout the budget consultation and will continue to protect the most vulnerable in our County.

Labour Group Leader, Jennifer Mein, commented 'As a result of the Conservative-led government's austerity measures we are witnessing a dismantling of the services on which our residents rely. From care homes to schools, highways to recycling centres the very services that residents rely on are being threatened or axed. These choices are being made without any national vision or strategy for growth and therefore the cuts that we are now witnessing will be disproportionately hard on our County'.  

Lancashire County Council has seen a budget settlement that is worse than the shire county average and coupled with the huge cuts that districts are currently implementing the Group fear for the future of our North West region.  

Labour Group Deputy Leader, Kevin Ellard, added 'The Conservatives are choosing to make the majority of their cuts in the next 3 years from frontline services and will pass the remaining burden back on to residents through charges and stealth taxes. It is the most vulnerable who will suffer and we believe this to be wholly unfair'.

Tuesday 01 February 2011
Labour welcomes extra cash for Pendle – but “nothing to celebrate”, says Councillor
The news that Pendle Council is to receive £1.3 million more than originally expected from the Department of Communities and Local Government has been welcomed by Pendle Labour Group leader, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal.

Giving his first reaction to the announcement, Cllr Iqbal said:  ”This is certainly good news, but hardly a cause for celebration. In the context of the £50 million cut to Housing Regeneration in East Lancashire, the closure of the Building Schools for the Future programme in Colne and Barnoldswick, the slashing of the Education Maintenance Allowance for hundreds of Nelson & Colne College students, and - Eric Pickles’s Christmas present to Pendle - a massive cut in local government grant, it’s not going to make much difference.

“I hope the Conservatives and their dwindling band of supporters in the Lib Dems won’t have the brass neck to try to sell this as a success story.”

Monday 31 January 2011
Pendle Liberal Democrat trying to put voters off the scent - Tweedie
Local Labour activist and Colne resident Ian Tweedie commenting on a letter written by Derek Mann and published in The Leader/Times series said:

 “It seemed obvious to me that he is desperately trying to separate national politics from local. I am not surprised. He quite rightly realises the damage being done to the Liberal Democrats.  What he does not comment on is the collusion with the Conservatives by the Lib Dems.

The government have raised VAT to 20%, are making a massive amount of people redundant, cutting back on public services, implementing increases in tuition fees, scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance and now are looking at selling off our forests – none of this could be done without the full support of the Liberal Democrats.

He says that this is beyond local control but we are not hearing any protests from local Lib Dems. Their deafening silence locally is reflected at national level. No wonder he is worried about the impact on the local Lib Dem vote!"

Friday 14 January 2011
Pendle Labour Party congratulates Debbie Abrahams
Debbie Abrahams the Labour Party Candidate in the marginal Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency romped home with 3,558 more votes than the Lib Dem candidate. The Conservative vote fell by 7,000.

Many former Lib Dem voters supported Debbie Abrahams, whilst the desertion of the Conservative vote appears to have been split between those who directly moved to Labour and others who voted to shore up the Conservatives coalition partners; offering cold comfort to Nick Clegg from the windswept Saddleworth Moors.

Of local interest, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson was the Campaign Manager for the Conservative Candidate Kashif Ali. We suspect that Mr. Stephenson will be relieved that he will not suffer the same fate as a Football Manager who delivers a similarly woeful performance.

Perhaps Mr. Stephenson can now get back to his previously avowed intent of concentrating on working hard to resolve local problems and to help fight for the local Pendle community on the issues that matter most to them. 

A good starting point for Mr. Stephenson would be to address the following issues created by the Tory led Government:

  • the axing of Pendle Council's budget;
  • the cessation of the Housing Market Renewal Programme;
  • County Council Office closures in Pendle;
  • cancelled school building programmes;
  • the massive increase in university tuition fees and changes to EMA;
  • the impact of the VAT increase on poorer families
We are also waiting patiently to see if his confidence in Andrew Lansley resolving the closure of the Burnley Hospital Children’s Ward is rewarded.
Wednesday 12 January 2011
Communities Secretary refuses to come to Pendle
Communities and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has snubbed a request from Pendle Council to come to the Borough. At the last full Council meeting in December a Labour motion, supported by the Liberal Democrats with slight amendments, called for him to come and see the Borough’s housing needs in the light of the axing of Housing Market Renewal funding in two months’ time.

Pendle Labour Group Leader, Mohammed Iqbal, said: “I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr Pickles, who last month added to our misery by announcing a massive cut to local council budgets, is afraid of showing his face here. He is completely shutting down the Housing Market Renewal programme in March, and whole swathes of Nelson, Brierfield and Colne will remain derelict. The Council and its partners can only do so much. But now that the Government has closed down the North West Regional Development Agency, local authorities have had to spend months arguing about the form of a new partnership that will bid for the reduced funds available.”

Cllr Iqbal added: “The Council motion also called on local MP Andrew Stephenson to make representations to Ministers to provide necessary funds to continue the housing improvements. But we have heard nothing. Stephenson would do better to spend his time here in Pendle rather than in Oldham running a by-election campaign for the Conservative candidate there, who isn’t even being properly supported by David Cameron.

“Stephenson should note that local Lib Dems are clearly fed up with their leaders’ support for the so-called coalition, as they voted with Labour against Education Maintenance Allowance and School Sports cuts, as well as the Housing ones.”

Monday 03 January 2010
Pendle Council critical of the actions of both the Conservative led County Council and Conservative led National Government.
The December meeting of the council carried several strongly worded resolutions in opposition to decisions taken by the County Council and the Government.

Both Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors moved and supported motions opposing the closure of County Council Offices in Pendle, the cessation of the Housing Market Renewal Programme, the slashing of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and ending the entire budget for School Sports Partnerships. During the debate on the motion opposing the closure of County Council Offices in Pendle, Labour Councillor Eileen Ansar presented a petition signed by 2,000 Pendle residents.

Whilst the Labour councillors welcomed the support of the Liberal Democrat councillors, it underlined how much the Liberal Democrats in the coalition government are out of touch with the views and aspirations of local Liberal Democrat councillors. We believe that this situation is likely to deteriorate further, as the Liberal Democrat MPs faced with a public opinion backlash, have no alternative other than to hang on to their positions in the Conservative led coalition government.

We also believe that Liberal Democrat supporters will be having difficulty in understanding how the party they support can have a duplicitous regard for social liberalism, reflected at local and national level. It doesn’t augur well for the future of the Liberal Democrat Party as a radical force.

Nonetheless, we congratulate the councillors who supported the resolutions and it is interesting to see that effective opposition is already creating some backtracking of contentious government decisions affecting children, including  ‘School Sports Partnerships’ and ‘Bookstart’.

Download the full wording of the resolutions here (PDF 25KB)
Saturday 01 January 2011
Cycling on pavements

David Foat has written to the local press calling for compromise and reasonable thinking when Colne Area Committee discuss this issue at their meeting to be held on 06 January 2011.
Download a copy of the letter (PDF 23KB)

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