David Ward MP backs call to end delay on Meningitis B Vaccine

David Ward MP and Meningitis B CampaignLiberal Democrat MP for Bradford, David Ward is backing a charity’s call to end delays and introduce a vaccine to protect babies against Meningitis B as soon as possible.

David Ward recently attended an event with leading charity Meningitis Now, to discuss the impact meningitis has in the UK and meet families affected by the disease.

The UK has one of the world’s highest Meningitis B rates and it kills more of the country’s under-fives than any other infectious disease.

Meningitis Now said there have been 1,000 cases of meningococcal group B disease (Meningitis B) since the new vaccine Bexsero received its licence in January 2013 – yet the vaccine still hasn’t been given to babies.

Of these cases, around 400 people will have died or suffered disabilities, which cost the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds over a lifetime.

Back in March, the Government said the vaccine would be given free to babies up to age one on the NHS, subject to price negotiations with developer Novartis.

Now David Ward MP is backing the call to finish negotiations and get the vaccine implemented.

Commenting David Ward MP said:

“It’s very frustrating to know that we have a vaccine for Meningitis B that works but it’s not being given to babies because they are haggling over the price.

“This is simply not acceptable and should not continue.

“I’ll be contacting the Department of Health to make them aware of my very strong views on this important issue in order to get them to sort this situation out quickly so that more children do not die unnecessarily.”

Founder of Meningitis Now Steve Dayman MBE, who launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby son Spencer to the disease in 1982, believes “enough is enough”.

Steve, who won a Pride of Britain Award for his 32-year crusade, earlier this month, said:

“Negotiations have gone on too long – cut the red tape now, so no more lives are needlessly lost.

“It’s ridiculous that talks are still going on 8 months after we were told the vaccine will be on the NHS.

“The award-winning vaccine is the most monumental leap forward in the meningitis fight – the time is now to bring in this vaccine.”

The UK’s largest meningitis charity launched Beat it Now! to unite supporters to call for the vaccine.

The campaign, which saw a 36,500-name petition delivered to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, now focuses on speeding up negotiations.

To join Beat it Now! or for more information visit www.MeningitisNow.org.

You can also contact Meningitis Now on 01453 768000 or communications@meningitisnow.org

N E Lincs Trading Standards: Steer clear of fake booze

This warning comes as hundreds of bottles of counterfeit alcohol have been seized in other parts of the Yorkshire and Humber region and tests show that many are not safe to drink because of the chemicals in them and because people can’t trust the stated alcohol strength.
During tests some have been found to contain levels of methanol which has been shown to cause nausea, dizziness, blindness and in the most severe cases can kill. Even chloroform was found, an surgical anaesthetic, not what you expect when drinking spirits.

Information leaflets are being distributed locally advising people of seven things to look out for. These include:

  • The label on a bottle may be at an odd angle
  • The label may feel bumpy and there may be glue around the edges
  • It might be an unfamiliar brand name
  • Spelling mistakes on the label
  • No manufacturer or importer name and address
  • Incorrect duty stamp. it might be missing or the wrong size or be for the wrong product eg: whisky stamp on a vodka bottle
  • Sediment in the bottle

Neil Clark, community protection manager responsible for Trading Standards, said: “At this time of year, illegal alcohol sellers know that many people will be buying alcohol to celebrate with their friends and relatives, so it is a good time for them to sell their illicit goods.

“If the price of the bottle seems too good to be true then you need to be very wary about what you are buying. It can look very convincing and you might think that you are on to a bargain, but you could pay a much bigger price in the long run.”

Anyone who thinks they might have been sold or offered illegal alcohol is urged to telephone Trading Standards via Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

N E Lincs to receive over £10m from Government to repair potholes

North East Lincolnshire has been awarded £10,416,000 of Government funding to spend on repairing potholes over the next six years as part of an allocation of almost £6 billion Department for Transport earmarked for helping local authorities tackle the problem.

The money will be paid in amounts of £1,996,000 for 2015/16, £1,829,000 for 2016/17, £1,774,000 for 2017/18, £1,606,000 for 2018/19, £1,606,000 for 2019/20 and £1,606,000 for 2020/21

Fake Nike trainers worth £1m seized by N E Lincs Trading Standards

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team working with officers from the UK’s Border Force have seized a shipment of fake Nike Air Max trainers with a street value of £1-million.

Border Force officers stopped a container lorry after it arrived at Immingham docks from Esbjerg in Denmark.

They suspected the contents to be counterfeit and referred the matter to the council’s Trading Standards team.A fake Nike shoe seized by Trading Standards

Officers found 12,444 pairs of imitation Nike Air Max trainers that were thought to have been made in a factory in Lithuania and were destined for an address in South Yorkshire.

They were confiscated, inspected and following further checks with Nike, the Trading Standards team confirmed the trainers were fake.  Nike has since paid for the shipment to be destroyed.

It comes as the Trading Standards team is again warning shoppers not to buy counterfeit goods during the countdown to Christmas.

If you’ve been conned into buying fake goods, or know where they are being sold, report it to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or email trading.standards@nelincs.gov.uk.

Neil Clark, community protection manager responsible for Trading Standards at NELC, said: “As this latest seizure shows, the trade in counterfeit goods is a multi-million pound operation that stretches around the globe.

“Working closely with colleagues in the Border Force we’ve removed a valuable shipment of fake trainers from the supply chain, but we know there are plenty of other imitation products out there.

“Criminals exploit the internet and social networking sites to offload bogus goods on unsuspecting shoppers who can’t see for certain what they’re buying.

“It’s a trade that undermines legitimate businesses and puts consumers at risk – don’t fall for it.”

£6 billion fund announced to help tackle potholes and improve local roads

A record £6 billion will be spent on tackling potholes and improving local roads between 2015 and 2021, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (23 December 2014).

The investment amounts to £976 million a year, enough to fix around 18 million potholes across the country.

It is the first time councils have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which will help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.

Patrick McLoughlin said:

“Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period as people travel to see family and friends.

“It is vital we have good quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1 billion more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous parliament.

“The £6 billion funding I am announcing today will put an end to short term fixes and will mean we have committed £10 billion between 2010 and 2021.

“This huge investment is part of our long term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.”

The Department for Transport allocates funding to local authorities based on local need, so councils with larger highway networks receive more of the funding.

Over £4.7 billion will be shared between 115 councils, while a further £575 million will be available through a new challenge fund to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure such as junctions, bridges and street lighting.

Details of funding allocations are available as an interactive map.

It was also announced today that £578 million has been set aside for an incentive fund scheme which will start in 2016 to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements.

Matthew Lugg, director of public services for Mouchel Infrastructure Services and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said:

“Taking a more holistic approach to planning roads and services can be game changing and deliver greater efficiencies.

“Councils who think about long term planning and how they work together to share their resources, achieve greater economies of scale and keep the road surface in good repair, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. Today’s announcement by the government will help to deliver this.”

Geoff Allister, executive director of the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said:

“We congratulate the Transport Secretary in taking the step of introducing an incentive element from 2016/17 into the local highways maintenance funding for councils.

“Those that can show they truly understand the value of their asset can plan greater efficiencies and deliver cost-effective, preventative maintenance, making the available money go even further.”

Details of funding between 2015/16 and 2020/21 are available on GOV.UK.

The highways maintenance funding levels between 2011/12 and 2014/15 have been published on our local capital block funding page under the heading ‘local transport capital block allocations’.

Over 1.6 million children take up free school meals in England’s infant schools

According to LocalGov,more  than 1.6 million children have taken up free school meals in England’s infant schools since they were introduced in September.

The Government has hailed the policy as a resounding success with 85% of all infant school children now accessing free meals, saving parents up to £400 a year on the cost of packed lunches.

Schools minister David Laws said the high take up was a ‘testament to the efforts put in by school staff, caterers and local authorities’.

‘Free school meals save parents money and ensure children are focused and able to concentrate throughout the day,’ he said:

‘Now we want to encourage more schools to focus on quality, and continue building on the huge steps we have already made since September.’

When free school meals were piloted in Newham and Durham there was a 23% increase in the number of children eating vegetables at lunch and an 18% drop in those snacking on crisps.

Nutritionist Amanda Ursell said:

‘We know that a healthy school lunch can improve a child’s academic performance. Pilot studies showed children eating a free school meal were up to two months ahead of their peers in maths and English.’

Bedroom tax – it’s not too late to scrap it

Commenting on his campaign to scrap the so-called “bedroom tax”, West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, is urging fellow opponents not to give up in the battle to scrap the tax.

Mr George took part in a Commons debate last week.  He had urged the Labour Party to use the opportunity of Parliamentary time to press the Government to bring forward a measure to help him unblock his “Axe the Bedroom Tax” Bill, which has been adjourned at Committee Stage since November.  Mr George expressed regret that Labour chose instead to use valuable Parliamentary time for an inconsequential debate which “would merely re-rehearse the now well established disagreements, but would change nothing”.

Mr George said after the debate:

“It’s not too late.  As the already strong campaign grows with thousands of supporters around the country signing the petition, we can put pressure on the Conservatives to grant my Bill the Money Resolution it needs to get it moving in time and to get through both Houses of Parliament before the General Election in May.

“In politics we should work together, where we agree, to help people; not just use Parliament to score points and help no-one.

“I have always voted against the Tory “bedroom tax” – and against the “bedroom tax” in the private rented sector which Labour presided over when they were in Government.  It is unfortunate that Labour misjudged matters last week.  They had a chance to either help people or to merely score party political points.  Unfortunately they chose the latter.  It’s not too late to retrieve this situation before the next General Election.”


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Over 70 NHS heroes are fighting Ebola this Christmas

The government extends a special thanks to the doctors, nurses and health specialists from across the UK who will spend Christmas Day in Sierra Leone helping to treat Ebola patients, Development Secretary Justine Greening said today (22 December 2014).

More than 70 NHS volunteers have travelled to the West African country directly to work in British-built treatment centres, while many more are working with local hospitals and community centres on the ground, supported by UK aid.

Video: British medics on the frontline of Ebola

Doctor Stacey Mearn’s – On the frontline of Ebola

Their efforts are part of the £230 million UK effort to contain, control and finally defeat the disease in Sierra Leone.

Nurse Donna Wood joined the first wave of NHS volunteers to work directly in the British-built treatment centres.

Since arriving in Freetown on 7 December, Wood has undergone training in the hot, oppressive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits that form the only barrier between the health workers and the disease.

With temperatures in Sierra Leone regularly topping 30°C, someone who spends just one hour in the PPE suit can lose over a litre of water due to the heat.

Since completing the training she has been treating patients in an Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town, just outside the capital Freetown. The British-built and British-funded centre, which opened last month, is being run by Save the Children.

Nurse Wood said:

Working on the Ebola response has and continues to be a huge challenge. It is often physically and emotionally draining. However on the occasions that you witness patients recover and be discharged home to their grateful families it makes it totally worthwhile.

From the day I arrived in country almost four weeks ago I have been amazed by the positive atmosphere here. The local people have been so friendly and welcoming and are truly grateful to us for being here.

Being away from my family this Christmas is just a small sacrifice that the people here in Sierra Leone are worthy of.

Doctor Stacey Mearns has been volunteering with the King’s Health Partners on the isolation ward at Connaught Hospital, Freetown since October – backed by British aid.

She was determined to help however she could and understands the commitment of her colleagues through the Christmas period.

Dr Mearns said:

I have a real love for Sierra Leone and felt devastated by what was happening here.

There is nowhere else I would rather be in the world right now. I just want to be here, doing whatever I can to contribute to the response

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

While many of us wind down over Christmas, hundreds of Brits will be carrying on the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. The disease continues to claim the lives of men, women and children every day.

These NHS heroes, like Donna, spending Christmas on the Ebola treatment wards are an absolutely essential part of our efforts to contain, control and defeat this terrible disease. I’m sure I speak for the British public in offering them our thanks for the vital work they are doing this Christmas.

There have now been over 8,000 reported cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Nearly 2,500 people have succumbed to the disease.

The deployment of NHS volunteers is one part of the UK’s £230 million response to the Ebola response in Sierra Leone. This response includes:

  • supporting more than 700 treatment beds to help up to 8,800 patients over 6 months
  • shoring up the country’s stretched public health services to help contain the disease. This includes vital supplies such as chlorine and protective clothing for thousands of health workers
  • training over 4,000 healthcare workers, logisticians and hygienists including Sierra Leonean Army and Prison staff, led by UK military personnel who ran the UK-led Ebola Training Academy in Freetown
  • opening up to 200 Community Care Centres where people who suspect they might be suffering from the disease can seek swift and accurate diagnosis and appropriate care
  • building, running and staffing three new labs in Sierra Leone to help check the spread of the deadly Ebola virus and double the number of tests that can be carried out every day
  • supporting charities on the ground to work with people to agree practices which will allow them to honour their friends and relatives, while ensuring bodies are safely buried
  • doubling the number of burial teams in Freetown – and providing over a hundred across the country. With UK support IFRC burial teams in Sierra Leone’s western area, which accounts for approximately a third of the country’s population, are now burying 100% of reported bodies within 24 hours.

Humberside Police work with partners to tackle domestic violence this Christmas

As part of Humberside Police’s Operation Yuletide this festive period, Humberside Police and partners are continuing their work combating domestic violence this Christmas with work on-going through the festive period.

Extra resources are made available, so that officers and support agencies can act immediately to respond to calls for service which are of a domestic violence nature throughout December into early 2015.
Police staff and officers will be available to answer calls and manage investigations swiftly and effectively, and sign post all of the relevant parties to specialist support services where applicable. Please note the services are not only free and confidential, but that they can be approached without police involvement.
Detective Inspector Craig Nicholson from the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit said: “It is vital that people contact us or one of our partner agencies if they feel they are victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence or they are questioning their behaviour towards their partner or spouse. We can offer support, and more importantly, prosecute without the victim having to go through the court process.
“Christmas is a stressful time for everyone, so we want people to realise that actions and comments which may be conceived as insignificant or someone just experiencing a ‘bad day’, could quite easily turn into something a lot more sinister, if it is left to develop over time.
“We want people to recognise that certain behaviour is just not acceptable and offenders will be brought to justice. Harming someone, either emotionally or physically, is not love. It’s abuse.”
If you, or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please contact one of the agencies below – free, confidential and approachable without police involvement.
Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership
Confidential, practical and emotional support including one to one work and group work for domestic abuse victims/survivors.
Contact: (01482) 318759
You can also access the Hull DAP

Domestic Abuse Partnership (D Div).

Website at www.hulldap.co.uk

Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership Male Support Service
Confidential, practical and emotional support.
Contact: (01482) 613978
Strength to Change
For men who want to address their abusive behaviour in their relationships.
Contact: (01482) 613403
East Riding of Yorkshire
Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership
Confidential, practical and emotional support
(01482) 396330
North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire
It’s My Right
Confidential, practical and emotional support
0800 197 47 87
You can also access the It’s My Right website at www.itsmyright.co.uk/
For further advice on keeping yourself and property safe in the run up to Christmas visit our virtual advent calendar which was launched at the beginning of the month http://ow.ly/F20NG. Behind each window of the calendar you will find useful messages, images and videos that are aimed at helping to keep you safe and sound throughout the holiday season.
We will also be talking about our campaigns and operations on Twitter and Facebook so follow us @Humberbeat and look out for the hashtag #xmascrime, like our page www.facebook.com/humberbeat.

85,000 troubled families have had their lives turned around

The government’s Troubled Families programme has now helped turn around the lives of over 85,000 of the hardest to help households, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today (22 December 2014).

With over 99% of families the Prime Minister pledged to support now being actively worked with, councils have had payments-by-results made for over two-thirds of their families.

This means that in 85,303 troubled families in England:

  • children have been back in school for a year when they were previously truant or excluded
  • youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been significantly cut across the whole family
  • or an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for 3 months or more

Bristol has turned around all 1,355 of its troubled families and Nottingham has done the same with 1,200 of its. Liverpool has helped 1,987 of the 2,105 it promised to get back on track.

The success of the programme means that a second wave of councils are now beginning work with more families ahead of schedule, and up to 40,000 additional families can begin to be helped by dedicated workers in this financial year in the highest-performing areas.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

The Troubled Families programme demonstrates exactly what our long-term economic plan means for people.

New opportunities for families to turn their lives around and make something of themselves; more economic security for local communities blighted by worklessness; and more economic stability for taxpayers, as we reduce the bills for social failure and get this country living within its means.

It’s a triple-win; an amazing programme; and we’re going to extend its reach as far as possible.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

I helped establish the Troubled Families programme because improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable is one of the best ways to achieve our aim of a stronger economy and fairer society.

I am proud that this programme is delivering real results, having helped turn around the lives of families by putting children back into school, cutting anti-social behaviour, and moving adults into work.

It’s great news that more than 85,000 troubled families in England have seen real, tangible improvements in their lives thanks to this programme, and that 99% of eligible families are now being actively worked with.

Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said:

To have turned around the lives of over 85,000 troubled families – who have an average of 9 serious problems each – in 2 and a half years is a credit to the councils, the frontline staff and most of all to the families themselves.

This programme works because it is joined up and it seeks to simplify things rather than make them more complicated. It focuses on whatever it takes to do what really matters: getting kids into school, the toughest families out of trouble with the police and adults into a position where they can find a job.


Further information

The Troubled Families programme applies to England only. Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families. The government’s £448 million 3-year budget for 2012 to 2015 is drawn from 6 Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families.

Troubled families are defined as those who:

  • are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
  • have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting
  • have an adult on out-of-work benefits
  • cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems, an estimated average of £75,000 per year without intervention

Turning around troubled families means:

  • getting children back into school
  • cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family
  • getting adults into work
  • reducing the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems

See full details of the government’s payment by results framework for troubled families.

The figures from local authorities on progress within the government’s Troubled Families programme have been collated from the latest quarterly returns submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Troubled Families team from all 152 upper tier local authorities in England in August 2014. These do not constitute official statistics.

The Understanding Troubled Families report showed that families within the programme have an average of 9 different serious problems including health and mental health, domestic violence and debt.

At the Spending Review last year it was announced that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded to work with up to 400,000 more families. This publication explains how that figure was calculated.