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Last updated: Wednesday 31 December, 2014
Friday 19 December 2014
Tory Councillors Vote to cut Parish Grant, whilst senior councillors told to stand outside chamber
Pendle Tory Councillors last nigh voted to cut 50% of the grant given to Town and Parish Councils and in a bizarre move, forced senior Tory Councillor Linda Crossley and Rosemary Carroll to stand outside the chamber rather than vote with a Labour amendment to maintain the current level of grant.
Leader of the Labour Group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said
“At the start of the debate, Cllr Crossley spoke and asked that there be no cut to the grant. However, the Leader of the Council Cllr Joe Cooney proposed a 50% cut in the grant".
A Labour amendment was moved not to cut anything in 2015/16 as it’s clear that this Tory led Council is forcing Town and Parish Councils to take on services being cut by Pendle Borough Council with no support or money to do so.
"In a bizarre move, both Cllrs Crossley and Carroll left the meeting and after I asked the Leader where they were, he informed the meeting that they had gone to the toilet but it became clear that they were both stood outside the chamber waiting for the vote to take place.
"For the Leader of the Council to give detention to 2 senior members of his group is poor leadership. They were speaking their mind and it raises the question: is this how he runs his group?”
The named vote was defeated by Tory and Liberal Democrat Councillors voting to cut the grant by 50% in 2015/16 and nil thereafter.
Tuesday 25 November 2014
Red Rose County to become first White Ribbon County
Organisations from across Lancashire are uniting against violence towards women.
Today is White Ribbon Day, which marks an international campaign to help stop domestic violence against women.
The campaign encourages men of all ages to take a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, and to make their commitment public by wearing a white ribbon for 16 days.
To help make Lancashire the first White Ribbon County, organisations are being called upon to pledge their support.
Leading the way are Lancashire County Council, a number of district councils, Lancashire Police, and the office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, who have all committed to become White Ribbon Campaign organisations.
Reports of high-risk domestic abuse in Lancashire have increased steadily over the past three years.
The vast majority of these incidents are carried out by men against women, and figures confirm that since April 2009 more than 87% of perpetrators were male.
Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said:
"I'm very proud that we are working towards becoming the first White Ribbon county by encouraging other major organisations in Lancashire to sign up.
"Ten organisations have already joined us, and it would be an outstanding achievement for all local authorities and public sector organisations to attain White Ribbon Campaign status.
"If men wear a white ribbon, including on a coat or jacket so that it's visible outdoors, it shows a clear commitment to the principles of the campaign and to becoming a part of the solution to the continuing problem of male violence against women – something that should have no place in our society."
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said:
"I am committed to tackling domestic abuse through my role as Police and Crime Commissioner, and have put funding into raising awareness and supporting services for victims.
"But organisations alone cannot bring an end to violence against women – society needs to ensure this behaviour is seen as totally unacceptable, and condemn those who commit abuse. That is why the White Ribbon campaign is so important, and why it continues to have my full support. "It is a public condemnation of abuse, and I hope others across Lancashire will join me in pledging their commitment to it."
Chris Green from the White ribbon Campaign organisation said:
"Engaging men and boys in making the pledge taps into a fantastic resource to reduce violence and abuse towards women. We fully support the work ongoing in Lancashire and seeing their projects in action and improving the lives of those at risk of violence.
"Increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding of domestic violence will help to guide people who are experiencing domestic abuse to safe and appropriate support."
Of additional Pendle interest:
Lancashire County Councillor and Labours Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pendle Azhar Ali, has been appointed an Ambassador for the 'White Ribbon Campaign'
"Over many years I have worked with the victims of domestic violence and seen at first hand the hurt and trauma this causes. This is why I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign. This campaign aims to ask men to condemn both physical and emotional domestic violence in all its forms and to stand up to those who inflict this damage on women."
Friday 21 November 2014
Recently Robert Oliver a local Labour Party member wrote to the Nelson Leader in response to a visit from a government minister.
In his letter Robert wrote:
I refer to your “Restoration tour” report of 31 October on the visit of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to Nelson and Brierfield, which for some reason was splashed across a full page of the Colne Times and the Barnoldswick & Earby Times as well as the Nelson Leader.
Surrounded as he was by the local Conservative bigwigs, I suppose it was unlikely Mr Pickles would be confronted by the reality of what he personally has done to destroy local lives and undermine the finances of Pendle Council. But had he gone a few hundred yards down Every Street to Nelson Citizens Advice Bureau he could have sat in on the work being done, day in day out, to sort out the horror stories caused by his slashing of Council Tax benefit. The only ‘restoration’ visible from that office is in the finances of local bailiffs.
Had he stayed until the recent meeting of Nelson Town Council with Pendle Borough Council he would have seen our new Council leaders, Philip Mousdale and Dean Langton, trying to persuade Town Councillors to help dig the Borough Council out of the £4 million black hole it is in thanks to Mr Pickles’ slashing of council budgets nationwide.
If the Town Council does agree to take on services previously run by Pendle, Nelson householders can expect massive increases in the precept part of their Council Tax bills. And the same applies to every Town and Parish Council in the Borough. But of course Mr Pickles and Andrew Stephenson and co will be able to continue with their hollow boast of not having put Council Tax up.
In fact our ‘VIP’ visitor has turned the role of Secretary of State upside down. Instead of fighting to protect his department he seems to have invited the Chancellor to tell him how much local government is to be cut by, and meekly acquiesced.
Friday 21 November 2014
Azhar backs Fisher More school’s bid for sports facilities
Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, visited Fisher More R.C. High School this week to offer his support for their bids to Sport England and The Football Foundation to provide new sports facilities.
Azhar, who is currently Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, met with school staff to confirm the County Council’s backing for the project.
“I have worked closely with Head of Physical Education Simon Atkins, and his team to ensure that the funding package is in place to support these bids. Should these be successful, we will have the only full size, synthetic turf, football and rugby pitch in Lancashire, plus new grass pitches and tennis courts which will transform the opportunities for the children at the school and allow the whole Pendle community to use these facilities out of school hours. Lancashire County Council is delighted to allocate additional funds to help deliver a truly significant project for Pendle.”
Wednesday 19 Novenber 2014
Labour’s Azhar Ali slams local MP for failing to stand up for local pubs
On Tuesday, Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle voted against a new cross-party clause to the Small Business Bill which offered new protections for local publicans against the predatory practices of large pub owning companies (known as Pubcos) and opposing plans to give local pubs and landlords a fairer deal.
Following a report into the industry by the cross-party BIS Select Committee in 2010, Labour have campaigned alongside a broad coalition of groups in the industry – including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business, CAMRA, FairPint and the GMB and UNITE trade unions – to call for greater protection for local pubs and put a stop to unfair treatment and restrictive practices by Pubcos.
The government’s provisions to regulate Pubcos in the Small Business Bill, debated in Parliament this week, but these fell some way short of Labour’s plans and campaigners’ demands. Labour therefore supported a cross-party clause to strengthen the Bill. However, despite several of his Tory/Lib Dem colleagues defying their whip to vote for this new clause, the local Tory MP voted against it.
Azhar Ali (Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate said:
“When the cameras are around he is more than happy to hold up placards and campaign to save local pubs, but he had the opportunity to vote for new measures which would help support local landlords, instead he chose to stand up for the large pub companies and to allow them to continue to exploit their tenants.
“27 UK pubs close every week and 57% of landlords who are tied to a large Pubco earn less than £10,000 a year. These are scandals which must be addressed, and so I was proud that Labour MPs voted to make this important change. If I am elected in May, people in Pendle can be assured that I will always support local pubs with deeds as well as words.”
Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister said:
“Labour has led calls for a proper statutory code with teeth on pub companies, giving tenants the protection they need and putting an end to the unfair treatment they’ve received from large pub companies. Our plans have won support from a broad coalition of campaigners including CAMRA, the Federation of Small Business, trade unions and the cross-party BIS Select Committee.
“Over the past three years ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way on this issue, and now they have been dealt a resounding and humiliating defeat in the House of Commons. Ministers must now act immediately to ensure there is a proper statutory code with a free-of-tie option to protect local pubs, and must not ignore the will of the House of Commons, after their desperate and shambolic attempts to stave off defeat have failed.”
Tuesday 11 November 2014
Child Poverty – Cllr Robert Allen
Reedley Councillor Robert Allen has written to the local press concerning the lack of response from leading political figures in Pendle.
The content of Cllr Allen’s letter is shown below:
"The recent child poverty figures for Pendle and particularly Brierfield are an absolute disgrace in the 21st century. Since the publication, in your paper, showing that 50% of children in Brierfield live in poverty I have waited a couple of weeks to see if our political leaders in Pendle were going to do anything. Nothing has been reported to date, no statements from our MP, Andrew Stephenson, no press release from the leader of Pendle Council Joe Cooney.
"I understand that Brierfield Town Council are intending to bring agencies together to look at ways forward to tackle problems and I will be keen to support them.
"Young people are our future and giving them a good start in life is essential. This coalition government sits back and says the solution is cutting budgets and the economy will take care of itself. It’s not working, particularly in Pendle. Families at the bottom need a decent living wage this is an economic and moral imperative. The Labour Party is committed to real increases in the minimum wage and spreading the movement for a living wage and I hope they can do more. More jobs and decent wages bring children out of poverty.
"It is a fact that the more unequal the society the greater the likelihood of recession. If people can afford to buy things then producers and shop keepers sell and everyone benefits. Currently we have a government that hits the less well off and does little to, tackle the immorality of tax avoidance and evasion that is occurring on an unbelievable scale."
Friday 07 November 2014
Shock at Rolls-Royce Aerospace Job Losses
Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member and Labour's Parliamentary Candidate in Pendle Azhar Ali has expressed his shock at the announcement by Rolls Royce that 2500 jobs are to go from their Aerospace division. County Councillor
Azhar Ali said" “This is potentially devastating news for advanced manufacturing in East Lancashire and particularly for Pendle. Clearly we do not yet have any details and Lancashire County Councils Economic Development team are in touch with Rolls Royce and have asked for further meetings so we can provide support and to find out what impact there will be on our local Barnoldswick plant”
"The government needs to wake up and smell the coffee and do much more to support Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace as we cannot afford to lose skilled engineering jobs to the Far East"
Tuesday 04 November 2014
Last night Councillors in Nelson rejected plans to build a 47 metre high structure at Back Lane Southfield.
Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate and local County Councillor, Azhar Ali attended the meeting in the packed council chamber and spoke in support of the residents and asked Nelson Area Committee to reject outright this application.
County Councillor Azhar Ali said:
"This application will be detrimental to visual amenity and harm the natural wildlife and local ecological systems in the area.
"It beggars belief that Pendle Council officers can recommend refusal in some parts of Pendle whilst supporting wind turbines in others. There is a clear problem with the way this government is forcing Councillors to approve crazy proposals which would destroy our beautiful countryside."
Azhar Ali also made a plea on behalf of residents who claimed that they were suffering from sleep deprivation and noise nuisance from the existing turbine.
Cllr Ali said:
"I have written to Pendle Council Chief Executive asking for the Council to urgently send its environmental health teams to talk to residents affected; as it is Pendle Councils responsibility to monitor the impact on the health & wellbeing of the local community"
The application was moved for rejection by Labour Councillor David Whalley and this was carried unanimously.
Wednesday 29 October 2014
Funding agreed for disabled changing facilities at Nelson’s Victoria Park pavilion
Lancashire County Council has announced that Victoria Park, Nelson, is to receive a grant of £15,000 to install changing and toilet facilities which will meet the needs of disabled visitors to the Park.
The facilities will be located in the Park’s pavilion at Carr Road, now being run by the Victoria Park Pavilion Community Interest Company.
Petra Wilson, director of the social enterprise, says:
“This is fantastic news. Victoria Park is the most visited park in Pendle and, being almost entirely on flat ground by Pendle Water, gets a lot of disabled visitors. This new facility will make a considerable difference to the amount of time they can spend in the Park and making use of the Pavilion.
“It will complement the major work being done at the moment to refurbish the main rooms of the Pavilion for café and community use, thanks to an earlier grant of £30,000 from Lancashire Environmental Fund.
“We hope to re-open in December when the work is finished.”
Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, Executive Director for Health and Wellbeing in Lancashire, added:
“I’m delighted the County has been able to fund four proposals for disabled people under the ‘Changing Places’ scheme, at Chorley, Preston, Accrington and here in Pendle. Victoria Park pavilion is an ideal location to develop in this way.
” Anyone who would like to know more about the social enterprise or get involved in the cafe or other community activities, please get in touch with Petra Wilson on 07929 849 763.
Friday 24 October 2014
Child Poverty Nelson Leader/Colne Times series
Responding to the front page report in today’s publications, Malcolm Birk Vice President of Pendle Labour Party has written a letter for publication to the editor. A copy of the text is reproduced below:
Your recent front page report commendably brought to attention the fact that in Pendle 33% of children are living in poverty, after housing costs are taken into account. I am sure that most readers will find this figure shocking. The level of untold and largely unrecognised suffering going on around us is hard to contemplate.
The members of Pendle Labour Party continue to campaign for a fairer and more equal society. The actions of the current government have exacerbated inequality by giving tax cuts to the rich whilst driving down wages for the majority. Also, by not dealing with the chronic lack of affordable housing, the government has forced housing costs up for most people. As a result of their actions, the number of working households living below the bread-line has grown and grown.
There is another way. The Labour Party have set out in detail how they will reduce inequality and child poverty and stop the powerful vested interests at large in the country from exploiting people and fuelling the divide in our nation. These measures include freezing energy bills, introducing a lower 10p tax rate, new controls on rents and tenancies, increasing the minimum wage and banning exploitative zero-hours contracts. We would like to ask members of the public to join with us in this fight against the poverty in our midst.
Friday 24 October 2014
Pendle Tory Councillors forced to withdraw stray dog tax
The Labour Leader on Pendle Council has forced Tory run Pendle Council to withdraw ill-thought plans to increase the stray dog fee to £100 with effect from 1 January 2015.
Cllr Iqbal said “I want to dedicate this forced U-turn by the Tory Councillors to people power in Pendle. This was a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ tactic last month by Cllr Cooney and his Tory party. However, they have tonight been forced to back down and withdraw this increase. They should realise that we will not stand by and let them introduce back door taxes against the wishes of people"
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud’s Comments - Pendle CLP Disability Officer Wayne Blackburn
Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn, commenting on the remarks made by Lord Freud concerning paying disabled people as little as £2 per hour said:
“I am shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud's comments. To suggest that some disabled people ‘are not worth the full wage’ once again proves how out of touch the Conservatives truly are.
“Disabled people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and have proven time and again that they can contribute immensely to society. It is disgraceful that a Government Minister would contemplate something so ignorant and derogatory.
“These views have no place in modern society and, as a disabled man myself, I am insulted by the suggestion that I should not be paid as much as a non-disabled person."
Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP added:
"On top of the bedroom tax which has had a huge detrimental impact on disabled people, we now have one of the welfare ministers that was responsible suggesting that disabled people are not worthy of equal status when it comes to earning potential.
“Printable words fail me, how in today's society can any person, let alone a government minister, think that such a view is acceptable. It is derogatory and Lord Freud should take the only real option open to him and that is to resign with immediate effect"
08 October 2014
Tuesday 07October 2014
Tory/Lib Dem Councillors refuse to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle.
Reedley Ward Labour Councillor Yasser Iqbal presented a motion to the full council meeting in Pendle asking that the £25 per bin ‘Garden Tax’ introduced by the Conservative led Council be scrapped immediately. However, the motion was defeated with Tory and Lib Dem Councillors joining forces.
Cllr Iqbal, Leader of the Labour Group said
“Over the last 8 months since this charge was introduced by the Tory leadership, I have been inundated with complaints from residents who feel that this is a back-door increase in Council Tax by the Tory Councillors.
“Why should people living across Pendle be forced to pay this ‘Garden Tax’? It is the case that only 25% of eligible households have signed up for this scheme and I am disappointed but not surprised at the Conservative party and their Liberal colleagues refusing to axe the Garden Tax”.
Tuesday 07 October 2014
Labour demands that the Pendle MP supports the end of the ‘Bedroom Tax’
Labour Councillors have publicly criticised Andrew Stephenson MP over his continued support of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and a demand has been made through the full Council meeting that he stand up for disabled, elderly residents who are struggling to pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’ imposed by the Tory led government.
At the full Council meeting a few days ago, Labour Councillor Robert Allen moved a motion asking that the MP votes to scrap the bedroom tax and not to do as the Tory whips instruct him to do.
Cllr Allen said
“It was ironic that not a single Tory Councillor spoke to defend their colleague, Andrew Stephenson but true to form, they voted against my motion. However, this motion was carried with a majority of Councillors demanding that the MP stand up for Pendle residents. “We wait with anticipation to see what he will do”.
Monday 06 October 2014
Outrage at Murder of Alan Henning
Pendle Labour County Councillors Azhar Ali and Mohammed Iqbal today publicly condemned the murder of aid worker Alan Henning from Salford by ISIS.
Cllr Ali and Cllr Iqbal who signed an open letter 2 weeks ago in a national newspaper were shocked at the murder by people claiming to be Muslims. Cllr Ali said "I am very angry that someone who went out to help people in Syria as a human being was kidnapped and then murdered by people using Islam as a cover.
I would ask that our government makes every effort to bring Alan's killers to justice in the international criminal court. These people are not Muslims but murderers!”
Web Developer’s comment: A similar item was posted on this website on 22 September calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed. The item was sent to the Nelson/Leader/Colne Times series and Lancashire Telegraph for publication. To the best of my understanding they chose not to publish it.
Saturday 27 September 2014
Nelson Leader Series Publication
Pendle Labour Party have paid for a 4 page spread in the Nelson Leader/Colne Times series of publications.
The initial feedback from readers has been encouraging and welcoming of the Labour Party's proposals. If you have been unable to purchase a copy you can download a PDF copy (1.13 MB) of the spread here.
Monday 22 September 2014
Not In My Name - Pendle Councillors join with Muslim Leaders nationwide to urge ISIS to release UK hostage
Labour Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, and the Leader of the Labour Group on Pendle Council, Cty Cllr Mohammed Iqbal , joined dozens of imams and other Muslim community leaders in a letter to the Independent last week calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed or commit the “worst condemnable sin” against Islam. They also express their horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines.
Cllr Ali said:
“The letter pleads with those holding the British hostage to accept that he was on a mission to Syria to help innocent civilians, and to see the errors of their ways.
“A social media campaign has been launched by the British charity Active Change Foundation. Anyone can add their name to the list and show their support by using the #NotInMyName hashtag.”
Friday 19 September 2014
Give the English Regions a voice – Azhar Ali
Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Pendle County Councillor Azhar Ali has today welcomed the decision of the Scottish people who voted 'No' and will remain in the United Kingdom.
Azhar Ali said
"I am delighted that Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom and will get more powers from Westminster, but it is now the time to have a national debate on giving the English a voice on transferring powers away from London and Westminster to local communities and regions.
"Over recent years the North/South gap has grown with London and the South East benefitting from investment whilst places like Pendle and East Lancashire have been hit by over £400 million of Conservative cuts.
“It's clear, that if it is good enough for Scotland to be given more powers, then it's also time that the English regions had the same powers too."
Tuesday 09 September 2014
Pendle MP “letting down his poorest constituents”
Pendle’s MP was slammed today for choosing his Party before his constituents in a key vote in the House of Commons last week.
In a vote on a Bill calling for major exemptions to the Bedroom Tax, Andrew Stephenson voted to keep the current policy. But with Labour promising to repeal the tax, the Government was roundly defeated, as Lib Dem and even some Conservative MPs jumped ship.
Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, commented: “Andrew Stephenson continues to let down his constituents by supporting this failed legislation, which hits some of the most vulnerable in our community. His dogged devotion to the Tory Party line will keep him in favour down in Westminster, but will win him few friends in Pendle, where hundreds of people have been caught by this Tax.
“The Department of Work & Pension’s own analysis of the policy in July showed that it wasn’t working, with only 4.5% of tenants being able to move into a smaller home, and thousands being forced into ‘heat or eat’ financial hardship.
“As a result of policies like this, combining incompetence with unfairness, the coalition is falling apart. Even Lib Dem ministers are voting against the Government now, despite having been co-architects of the Bedroom Tax policy.”
Nelson resident Wayne Blackburn, added
“The Bedroom Tax has been a disaster for disabled people like myself, with many facing hardship and difficulties because of this hated policy. Disabled people need MPs who’ll stand up for us and commit to scrap it. Whilst Friday's vote was a welcome one, we must continue to push for an end to the Bedroom Tax."
Thursday 04 September 2014
Wanted - A fairer way for Pendle's young people
Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, came to Barrowford today to to visit Standel Dawman, a successful local manufacturer of electric golf trolleys. He was joined by Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, the Principal of Nelson & Colne College, Amanda Melton, and Phil Kyle, Managing Director of Standel Dawman.
Chuka said: "It was great to meet apprentices from across Pendle who are studying at Nelson & Colne College."
Azhar Ali added: "It's fantastic to see so many of our young people starting out in manufacturing. However far more needs to be done to bring higher quality, well-paid manufacturing jobs to Pendle. Too many of our young people are being exploited on zero-hours contracts.
"A future Labour government has committed to end this outdated Victorian practice."
Tuesday 02 September 2014
Azhar Ali visits Nelson Fire and Rescue Station
Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Azhar Ali, visited Nelson’s Bradley Road Fire Station on 28 August to discuss key issues as part of his Lancashire County Council role as Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.
Cllr Ali talked to a number of fire and rescue staff about their community safety roles and their close working with social services.
He said: “I am massively impressed with the dedication of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue staff, and the quality of the equipment that they have available.
“But I am deeply concerned about how Tory government cuts to Lancashire will affect the Fire And Rescue Service’s ability to carry out its work over the next few years.”
Photograph (Left to right): Former Pendle Mayor George Adam, Station Manager Denise Odgers, Cllr Ali, Nelson Cllr Yvonne Tennant, Firefighters Shabaz Shah and Ian Donohue, and Acting Crew Manager Dave Harris
Wednesday 06 August 2014
Response to letters in local press attacking Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali has written to the local press in response to recent attacks the content of the letter is produced below:
Over recent weeks there have been a few letters questioning my record on the NHS so I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight.
I am proud of the work I did in the NHS primarily as a non-executive director and then as Chairman of Burnley NHS Trust, as well as currently chairing the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing board.
When I became Chair (Burnley NHS Trust) we were rated as a one star Hospital Trust and under my leadership we went to the highest rating of 3 stars with a record number of doctors and nurses, huge investment in infrastructure including a new MRI scanner and high staff morale.
When the new leadership of the East Lancashire NHS Trust decided to close the A&E at Burnley I led the campaign in Pendle holding public meetings and a public march against the closures.
I also led the campaign and fight to 'save' Pendle Community Hospital from Tory cuts with over 8000 signatures.
Our Tory MP was still living in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire and working out which seats he was going to apply for whilst we were fighting for vital services locally.
So instead of the MP hiding behind a Tory letter writing campaign I would challenge Mr Stephenson to a public debate on the ‘State Of The NHS'.
All he has to do is name the place and time and let's allow the public to decide whether the Tory agenda of privatising the NHS is the one they want - where you have to pay to see your GP or where you have an American style insurance scheme.
Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle
Saturday 02 August 2014
Pressure growing for rolling stock for Todmorden Curve - Lancashire Telegraph
Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood toured East Lancashire’s railways stations yesterday to talk to communters as part of the campaign to improve rolling stock and train services in the area.
The shadow minister visted Accrington, Nelson, and Burnley Manchester Road stations and discussed issues including frequency of services, reliability of trains, and a lack of trains on the Todmorden Curve Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, joined her in Accrington, in Nelson she was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali More>>
Tuesday 27 May 2014
Friday 16 May 2014
Tory and UKIP collusion!
Commenting on Pendle Borough Council nominations, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of the Labour Group said:
"It is interesting to read that the Tory party candidate in Bradley ward, Bernard Variam has signed the nomination paper of the UKIP candidate in the same ward - Tony Leather. This is a clear case of collusion between UKIP and the Tory party who allegedly say they disagree with UKIP policies but their own candidate supports the UKIP candidate".
Tuesday 13 May 2014
Time has come for landlord licensing - Malcolm Birks
Speaking to a recent meeting of activists, Malcolm Birks, Vice-Chair of Pendle Labour Party said:
" A lot of people in Pendle have told my colleagues and I that they have a problem with landlords who don’t keep their properties up to a decent standard and also respond very slowly to problems. In many other local authorities, such as Burnley and Blackpool, licensing schemes have been used in targeted areas to try and address this problem. The blight of poor quality rental properties is clearly affecting many families up and down the country.
"Pendle Council’s own website describes all the advantages that such a scheme would have whilst admitting that there are no such schemes in place in Pendle. It says: ‘Poor housing management and low standards in the sector can lead to the failure of a local housing market. People leave the area, house prices fall, speculative landlords move in, and the local community becomes weaker. Low demand and antisocial behaviour can result in unsettled communities, along with other social and economic problems.’ Under a licensing scheme ‘bad landlords will be forced to improve their practices or leave the market".
The website also explains the advantages for landlords: ‘Licensing creates a level playing field, so decent landlords will not be undercut by an unscrupulous minority.’ Local Lib Dem and Tory councillors appear to have done precious little to address the issue of poor quality rental accommodation, so Pendle Labour Party has begun a campaign to ask Pendle Council to introduce a Selective Licensing Scheme in appropriate areas.
To join their campaign text 07792 992870. A petition has been started and momentum is building.
Friday 09 May 2014
Increase in Pendle residents claiming help with their rent – Mohammed Iqbal
Commenting on the number of residents claiming help with their rent, Leader of the labour group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:
“it is an absolute scandal that Pendle has the country’s third highest increase in the number of hard-working people being forced to claim help with their rent. We have a Tory and Lib-Dem council who returned to the government over £50,000 of available cash, which was intended to help families who are struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis. We have a Tory leader of the council whose has no control on this matter and should apologise to Pendle residents for his failure on this"
Labour candidate for the 2015 general election in Pendle, Azhar Ali added:
“An increase of 77% of people who are in work who are being forced to make claims for housing benefit, is a damming indictment of this Tory led government. I am meeting people from across Pendle who are suffering at the hands of the coalition government. We have a MP who is not prepared to stand up and fight for hard-working families but instead supports every cut and every attack against people in Pendle".
Saturday 03 May 2014
Potential plans to tender out GP out-of-hours service – Robert Oliver
Robert Oliver the Labour candidate in Boulsworth ward, responding to an article in the Colne Times dated 25 April 2014, has written to the newspaper, with the following comments:
The ‘statutory duty to ensure that we receive value for money’ mentioned in the local Clinical Commissioning Group’s statement is a cover for the privatisation that Labour fought against when debating the Tories’ Health and Social Care bill two years ago (along with the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing). Sadly the bill was passed with the help of the Liberal Democrats, with only minor amendments.
Now chickens are coming home to roost and the local service provided by East Lancashire Medical Services will have to tender against the private providers. People’s views in the consultation will of course be taken into consideration. But how much will they count against the financial muscle of companies like Harmoni, already the largest provider of out of hours services in the country?
When Pendle Labour Party held a public meeting at the Ace Centre on this legislation in 2012, I was pleased to hear Dr Ions, Chair of the CCG, express his opposition to ‘out and out privatisation’. But will his statutory duties in fact allow him and his colleagues to oppose it?
Friday 02 May 2014
Michael Dugher meeting Colne residents
Today (Friday 02 May), Michael Dughar joined Pendle Labour Party activists, including prospective parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali and local candidate Russell Tennant, for canvassing in Vivary Bridge, Colne.
Michael commented on the beautiful setting of the area surrounding Alkincoats Park and talked to local residents about their concerns. Many expressed worries regarding low wages in the area and problems with dogs with inconsiderate owners.
The Labour Party are working to address the current Cost of Living crisis and have a ten-point plan for improving conditions for the many and not just the few. More Information concerning the ten point plan
Thursday 01 May 2014
Labour’s response to unwarranted and divisive insinuations from Paul White.
Pendle Labour Party strictly follows the electoral commission code of conduct which is very clear in terms of guidance for campaigners. We do not see what additional power the local agreement brings to the table as every sentence starts with "I urge", there needs to be actual powers used by the Chief Executive and the Police.
It's actually ironic for the Tories to be using this as a smokescreen whilst accepting at the meeting that their national party is collating postal vote applications at a central address in Birmingham before sending them onto local councils.
In addition, both Lib Dem and Tory agents refused to accept an agreement which prevents voter intimidation outside polling stations which is common by their people
All Labour candidates have signed the national code of conduct without any hesitation as we have nothing to hide unlike certain Tory campaigners who were kicked out by the Lib Dems in Pendle for illegal activities.
Pendle Labour Party agent for Nelson, Robert Oliver said
"We attended the meeting and were honest with our comments and constructive. We were not seeking a cheap publicity stunt unlike the Tory party. The Chief Executive accepted that the one-sided piece of paper he has drafted has NO LEGAL POWERS. Pendle Labour Party is wanting the Tory party to defend their record in office both locally and nationally and here we have their election supremo trying to use a smokescreen.
Friday 25 April 2014
Labour vows to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle
Pendle Labour Councillors have today made a public pledge that they will scrap the deeply unpopular ‘Garden Tax’ of £25.00 per bin if they take control of the Council in May 2014.
Leader of the Labour group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said
“At the budget meeting, Labour was the only party which refused to impose this back-door increase on over 25,000 households across Pendle. The Tory and Liberal coalition increased the Council Tax and chose this back-handed half-thought-up scheme to hit people in the pocket by an increase of 3% in their Council Tax bill. I make a public promise to scrap this tax on garden waste if Labour takes control of the Council after the local elections 22nd May 2014. This Tory led Council is out of touch with the struggles of Pendle's people”
Cllr David Whalley added:
“I have been inundated with complaints from residents from across Pendle who are demanding answers from their Tory and Liberal Councillors, but they refuse to respond. I would ask people to vote for a party which was upfront with its budget instead of this Tory led coalition which is increasing taxes via the back door on hard-pressed families across our Borough.”
Pendle's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, Azhar Ali, added:
“This coalition government has cut millions from Pendle Borough Council which has resulted in community centres and public buildings being closed. I am disappointed that the Tory MP is quiet over this issue. He needs to stand up against his Tory colleagues on the Council and support the Labour Group’s position. I and the people of Pendle wait with anticipation for him to stand up for Pendle.”
Tuesday 15 April 2014
Thursday 10 April 2014
Cut in help for vulnerable residents
Pendle Council has received a reduction of over 7% in Discretionary Housing Payment money given by the government to help residents struggling to pay their rent/council tax due to a shortfall based on their entitlement or as a direct result of the Bedroom Tax.
Bradley ward Labour Councillor, Mohammed Iqbal said:
“Due to the failure of the Tory Leader of the Council in spending the allocation in 2013/2014 where he ended up returning over £50,000 back to the government at the same time as rejecting a third of applications, his government has now further reduced the allocation for Pendle by 7% down to £131,000 for 2014/2015. I would demand that he wakes up out of his bubble and gives leadership in ensuring we don’t send any money back this year”.
Pendle Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party Azhar Ali added:
“I have promised to vote for the scrapping of the Bedroom Tax if Labour form the next government in 2015. It disappoints me that our Tory MP voted for the bedroom tax and now in partnership with the Tory run Council, they are sending money back to the government which is intended to help vulnerable, disabled, elderly residents”
Tuesday 08 April 2014
Nelson Commitee budget reduced by 40%
The Chairman of Nelson area committee has attacked the reduction in the budget for the area committee which has dropped from £112,100 in 2012/13 to £66.650 in 2014/15.
Cllr Younis said:
"The budget has been used effectively across Nelson to fund much needed investment and help projects get off the ground. Projects such as the additions to the war memorial were deemed important by Nelson councillors but due to the severe cuts passed down by the Tory government and Tory led council, people across our town need to realise that a 40% cut is not fair!"
Monday 07 April 2014
Why Andrew Stephenson should call for Maria Miller’s resignation
Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party has written to the Nelson Leader explaining why Andrew Stephenson MP should be calling for Maria Miller’s resignation regarding her over claimed expenses and subsequent behaviour.
Below is the content of the letter:
On his web site Mr Stephenson declares "When I was standing for election I said that I would only claim for what was necessary to do the job and not claim for things like food, TV's or furniture. The MP Expenses scandal broke down trust between the public and MP's and I'm determined to restore that trust. MP's also should lead by example during the tough economic times our country is in."
Most of us would agree that it is profoundly wrong for MPs to fiddle their expenses and to obstruct the bodies that are charged with ensuring that MPs comply with good practice.
John Mann MP complained about the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the expenses Commissioner because he believed that she had manipulated her second home expenses allowance. The Commissioner concluded that she should pay back more than £40,000 to the taxpayer. A committee of MPs watered this down to £5,800, but criticised her attitude to the inquiry and asked her to apologise to the House of Commons.
Many people have registered their dismay at Maria Miller’s approach to the inquiry, and her glib apology to the House of Commons. It is remarkable that a Minister in a Government that is inflicting damaging cuts affecting thousands of vulnerable people felt able to stand up in Parliament and offer nothing more than a 30-second response for over-claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It is even more remarkable that the Prime Minister wishes to draw a line under this affair.
This situation is a test for Mr Stephenson’s credibility, if he does not indicate that Maria Miller should resign, his web site statement will sound extremely hollow indeed.
Friday 04 April 2014
There is a choice – Malcolm Birks
Malcolm Birks Vice-Chair of Pendle Labour Party and Labour’s candidate in Horsfield has written to the Colne Times regarding the future of Trawden Community Centre.
Malcolm’s letter is reproduced below:
The sad news that Pendle Council is to abandon Trawden Community Centre (Colne Times 28/3) is yet another example of the impact of the cuts forced by central government upon local services. The grant to Pendle Council from central government has been cut by 60%. Local Tories and Lib Dems try to wash their hands of responsibility but the fact is that there is a choice and their parties are the ones making it. Cuts to local services, such as these, are not inevitable - there is another way.
This government believes it has enough money to give a tax cut to millionaires and to make sure that Banker’s bonuses and energy companies are not taxed further but when it comes to money for local services, from community halls to lunch clubs for the elderly, from green-bin collections to the upkeep of the roads, it says there is not enough money.
There is a choice. Great damage is currently being done and it is deeply unfair. We all need to speak out and force a different set of choices to be made.
Tuesday 01 April 2014
Questions over transparency of planning application
The Labour Councillor for Vivary Bridge ward on Pendle Borough Council, Cllr Ian Tweedie has questioned the issue of Conservative Councillors voting on a major planning application by Libra Textiles to build a garden centre, café and farm shop in Colne.
Cllr Tweedie said
“It is fact that the parent company of Boundary Mills, Libra Textiles donated £20,000 less than 12 months ago to the local Conservative party and here we have a major planning application submitted upon which questions could be raised by a neutral person looking at this application if it is passed and the voting record of Tory Councillors .
I and the Labour group are not against employment opportunities in Pendle for our residents but the system needs to be a fair and transparent one.
Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Iqbal added
“ It is a matter for the Pendle Conservative party and their councillors what they do but £20,000 was a large donation and in such a short space of time the councillors have a big decision to make, the people of Pendle will be watching closely”
Thursday 28 March 2014
Opening of the new Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General Hospital
On Wednesday afternoon (26/03/2014) dignitaries gathered at Burnley General Hospital to mark the official opening of the new Urgent Care Centre.
The plaque was unveiled by the Chair of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, Professor Eileen Fairhurst who thanked everyone involved in particular the support the Trust has received from Lancashire County Council and asked Lancashire's Health & Wellbeing Board Chairman, Councillor Azhar Ali to say a few words.
Cllr Azhar Ali said:
"As a past Chair of the former Burnley NHS Trust, it was a privilege to speak at the opening of the Urgent Care Centre, but Burnley needed at least £25 Million in capital spending to modernise and develop a new surgical unit and a new ophthalmology unit coupled with modern accommodation for clinicians.”
He continued to warn, that the government was still pursuing plans for ‘super hospitals’ in Lancashire which could have a massive impact on the future of services in East Lancashire.
Monday 24 March 2014
Government Road Repair Fund “Too Little Too Late”
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, and senior County Councillor, Azhar Ali has this week launched a staunch criticism of plans announced by the Government to release just £2.2 million of a £173 million pound pot to Lancashire in a move which he describes as “just another example of the Conservative’s leaving Lancashire and Pendle behind.” The fund has been granted to Councils throughout England to tackle the entire country's escalating pothole and damaged roads crisis following this year’s bad weather.
The Government announced in March that the fund would set aside just £36.5m extra to target the most severely damaged roads right across the country and will allocate only £103.5m to be shared out between Councils throughout England.
Coun. Ali said “Once again the Conservatives have given Pendle the mouse’s share of funding, at just £2.2m for the whole County to fill the £8m hole we face for road repairs in Lancashire every year whilst the likes of Surrey and Oxfordshire have received over £10 million.
“We are losing out because our current Conservative MP would rather use his time in Parliament congratulating his ministerial colleagues than standing up for decent hard-working people here in Pendle. For all the ministerial visits he has had in the last year, why has he not used a single one of these opportunities to win Pendle the funding it needs to help support our vital infrastructure for local residents and businesses. Why should Pendle always lose out to the Home Counties and the South?”
“Luckily at Lancashire County Council Labour has made clear our commitment to improve our highways and infrastructure and have announced an increased £56m fund in our transport capital programme for road repairs over the next year. We’re serious about investing in Lancashire even if the Government isn’t.”
Council’s in England currently face a £10.5bn shortfall to repair damaged roads, a problem which for many has been exacerbated by one of the wettest winters on record.
Monday 03 March 2014
Pendle Council News Release - On Housing Benefit but struggling to pay your rent? There may be help available – claim it now!
Leader of the Pendle Labour group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal has challenged the manner in which the Leader of the Council, Cllr Joe Cooney is on the verge of returning money back to the government due to this money not being spent. Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:
"The point was highlighted to Cllr Cooney months ago about the him not keeping a finger on the pulse on this matter. Pendle council has left it until now to make a plea to people to apply, there is still 50% of this budget left to spend, he will more than likely be sending money back at a time when 1 in 3 requests have been refused. He needs to wake up and help people struggling across Pendle instead of returning money back to George Osborne!"
Monday 10 February 2014
Consultation Update – Subsidised Bus Services
Labour Party members who took part in the recent consultation regarding Barnoldswick and Pendle Witch bus services have received the following reply:
“Thank you for your recent letter concerning proposals to reduce the amount of subsidy available for non-commercial bus services.
“The reductions were considered as a result of the local government finance settlement and existing budget pressures, where Lancashire County Council (LCC) need to find further estimated savings of £300m between 2014 and 2018. This means that the council has to consider making these savings by reducing costs and reshaping the way services are delivered.
“LCC has undertaken a public consultation exercise in respect of the proposals and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, County Councillor John Fillis, has listened carefully to the many views expressed in support of retaining the evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday services subsidised by LCC.
“As a result of the consultation process, the removal of subsidies to these services will not be going ahead. It is now intended to review each route when individual contracts are considered for renewal over the next few years.
“I hope that this clarifies the current position, and I would thank you for letting me know your views.
Bus & Supported Transport Environment Directorate”
Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party and Borough Council candidate for Barrowford said.
“I am pleased that the County Council has listened to the comments that I and other Labour Party members have made in making the case for retaining these essential services. Obviously, we will keep in mind that there will be further reviews on individual contracts and there may be a need to make further representations on behalf of local people.”
Saturday 08 February 2014
Barkerhouse Road zebra crossing work to start next week
Following extensive work by Labour Councillors in Southfield, work on the much needed zebra crossing on Barkerhouse Road, Nelson is due to start on Monday 17th February 2014.
Nelson South County Councillor and the Labour Party’s candidate for the General Election , Cllr Azhar Ali said “ I have been working with local Labour Councillors to fund this zebra crossing and despite the government cuts, Lancashire County Council believes this zebra crossing is much needed and I congratulate all involved in finally seeing their efforts coming to fruition”
Labour Candidate in Southfield in May and Nelson Town Councillor Mohammed Ammer added “I have spoken to residents over the last few months and they are excited at the zebra crossing works starting and hopefully in a few weeks work will be finished. This is an investment in the safety of the community in Southfield”.
Southfield Labour Councillor Sheila Wicks added “I along with my colleagues helped secure money from Nelson Area Committee and in partnership with Lancashire County Council; our dream is to become a reality with this £25,000 zebra crossing”.
Friday 07 February 2014
Lake Burwain footpath repairs
Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, Ian Tweedie, is delighted that funding has finally been found for essential repairs to the footpath round Lake Burwain.
The footpath is popular with locals and tourists alike as well as anglers and an agreement between Pendle Council and Canal & Rivers Trust to share the cost of repairing the footpath comes as very welcome news.
Cllr Tweedie said: "I was pressed about this issue when I was elected in 2012 as the Council had failed to provide routine maintenance for a number of years. We need to ensure that our tourist attractions and recreational amenities are maintained to a decent standard first and foremost. With Pendle's Countryside Access Officer, Tom Partridge, as well as other Colne Area Committee Councillors I look forward to seeing this footpath made good and maintained from now on."
Saturday 01 February 2014
Public opposition forces £38m Colne to Foulridge bypass rethink - Lancashire Telegraph
Public opposition has forced a rethink on plans to build a £38million Colne to Foulridge bypass. Lancashire County Council revealed the proposal to construct the long-awaited link road by 2021 along with a preferred ‘Brown route’ in October.
Lancashire county council cabinet member Azar Ali said:
“We are mounting a study to see if spending £38million on this bypass is justified. If it can’t be justified and the problem can be dealt with without one, there will be no-bypass.”
Coun Ali said the meeting of 400 residents at Colne Library was very divided between supporters and opponents of a new bypass. Read more at the Lancashire Telegraph Web site
Saturday 25 January 2014
Bid to bring HS2 college to Brierfield – Pendle Today
Nelson county councillor Azhar Ali has written to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, calling for a meeting to discuss the Government’s plans to build a dedicated college to train engineers.
County Coun. Ali said:
“Everything is in place here to make a success of the new skills college. “In Nelson and Colne College and the UCLan campus in Burnley, we have outstanding higher and further education facilities in this area and the perfect venue at Brierfield Mills. Read more on Pendle Today
Friday 17 January 2014
‘Rat-run’ victory for concerned Pendle residents - Lancashire Telegraph
Residents in the Birtwistle Avenue and Harrison Drive areas had faced years of traffic misery as motorists used the streets as a short-cut to the busy North Valley Road.
In July last year, pensioner Eric Judson suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a van while getting a shopping bag from his car.
Pendle county councillor Azhar Ali took up the residents’ fight at county hall and a £60,000 traffic calming scheme for the area has now been secured. More>>
Saturday 11 January 2014
Condolences to the family of Paul Goggins MP
Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP, speaking after the news of the unexpected death of Paul Goggins MP said:
“Pendle CLP would like to pass their sincere condolences on to Paul's family at this very sad time our thoughts are with them.
“There are many within the local party that remember Paul came to support Gordon Prentice's campaign at a rally held just before the 2005 General Election.
“Azhar Ali (Pendle CLP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) believes, with some justification, that it was the success of that rally that ensured Gordon of his majority a few days later. Pendle CLP was and will always be grateful for this contribution.
“We know Paul will be sadly missed by many within the party and we are sure that there will be many more with fond memories of Paul; all with their own stories of how Paul's kindness touched them in some shape or form. We hope that during this difficult time, his family will take some comfort from knowing that he was well respected by those that knew him.”
Friday 03 January 2014
Pendle Labour Party mourns the death of Alan Evans, who died on Christmas Day 2013 at Victoria Hospital Blackpool.
Alan served on Nelson Council from 1963 to 1974 and Pendle Council from 1974 to 1991.
He served as the Mayor of Nelson 1971/72 and Mayor of Pendle in 1989/90.
Alan was also a member of the of Pendle Twinning Association and served on the committee from 1974 until his death. He was chairman from 1989 to 2002.
The funeral arrangements are:
Committal at Burnley Crematorium on Monday,13 January, followed by a Memorial Service at Christ Church, Carr Road, Nelson.
Wednesday 01 January 2014
Pendle hardship funds could be returned - Lancashire Telegraph
"A Senior councillor has voiced fears that around half of a major hardship fund, awarded to Pendle Council, could be returned to the Government
Under its discretionary housing payments scheme, the borough council has £142,000 to give to the hardest-hit households, including those left worse off by the Government’s controversial bedroom tax." More>>
Tuesday 17 December 2013
The Season’s Greetings from Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party
Reflecting on the past year as 2013 draws to a close, I know that for many families across Pendle the last twelve months have been extremely challenging, not least because of the strain on household budgets caused by rising energy costs and food prices, and real term pay cuts as wages have failed to keep pace with inflation.
Looking forward to the New Year, 2014 will be just as challenging, but I and the other members of Pendle Labour Party are still committed to trying to secure a better deal for the people of Pendle.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all party members for their hard work throughout the year. I hope they get some well-earned rest and come back refreshed and ready to take up the challenge in 2014 with the Borough and European elections in the spring.
I would encourage members to check up on other members and residents they know to see if they are managing and to get in touch if they need extra help this winter?
Finally I would like to wish all the people of Pendle a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year - and please take care over this festive period.
Promoted by Pendle Constituency Labour Party - 33 Carr Road, Nelson, Lancs BB9 7JS