One step closer to enshrining international aid spending in law

Liberal Democrat Peer Jeremy Purvis has welcomed the successful progress though the House of Lords of the Lib Dem Bill to enshrine the UK’s aid spending target in law.

The Bill, which was proposed in the Commons by Michael Moore MP and which would ensure 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income is spend on international aid, cleared its Report Stage despite sustained pressure from a small minority of Peers set on derailing the proposals.

The Bill will now be scheduled for its Third Reading – the final test it must overcome before being signed into law.

International Aid - Africa

Commenting, Jeremy said:

“Michael Moore’s Bill is now just one step away for becoming law. I am hugely grateful to all those, from all sides of the House of Lords and particularly my Liberal Democrat colleagues, who came out in force to support the Bill and vote down amendments designed to wreck it.

“I am also grateful to the many people outside Parliament who have made clear their support for this vital legislation. We have overcome a crucial stage of the process and now it is important we do all we can do finish the Bill’s passage before the election.

“UK aid has the capacity to change lives, by passing this Bill we can move the debate on from how much support we give to how we ensure our support goes to those who need it most. I look forward to making sure the Bill overcomes its final hurdle and gets onto the statue book.”

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Have your say on pharmacy services in North East Lincolnshire

Time is running out for people in North East Lincolnshire Council to give their views on the current provision of pharmaceutical services across the area and how this meets the needs of the population

The authority is consulting on the draft pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) 2015-2018 for North East Lincolnshire. The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) looks at current provision and also identifies any potential gaps in service delivery. The PNA will be used by NHS England to help decide whether to approve applications for new pharmacies.

PNAs are used by the NHS to make decisions on which NHS funded services need to be provided by local community pharmacies. The PNA will help NHS England when making decisions on whether to approve applications to open new pharmacies and will help to gauge the adequacy of current services and what future needs there might be.

The consultation asks people if the draft PNA clearly explains what pharmaceutical services are currently available in North East Lincolnshire, and whether the pharmaceutical needs of the North East Lincolnshire population are reflected appropriately.

Using the findings from this consultation and from other feedback, a final PNA for North East Lincolnshire will be published April 2015.

The consultation, which began in January, runs until March 12 and the draft PNA along with a corresponding questionnaire can be found and completed online via the North East Lincolnshire Council website www.nelincs.gov.uk/pna

For more information or to request a paper copy please email: nel.phintelligence@nhs.net or call 07768 688900.

Cycling receives multi-million pound investment across the nation

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced £115m in funding for cycling projects across the UK.

The money will be split between eight major cities, with each using the money to improve the safety and accessibility of their cycle routes.

key_cycling_invest.gif

This covers:

  • £22m for Birmingham, with plans to build the infrastructure needed to double the number of cycling journeys made there by 2023.
  • £19m for Bristol, with a proposal to improve the city’s cycling network and routes across urban areas and Bath.
  • £6m for Cambridge, with plans for new bridge over the River Cam, segregated cycling routes in the city and more links in South Cambridgeshire.
  • £22m for Leeds, with plans to expand its current cycle superhighway and improve links to Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and York.
  • £22m for Manchester, with plans to develop more than 45km of new or improved cycle routes as phase two of its Cycle City plan.
  • £10.6m for Newcastle, intended to make it easier for cyclists to get to work from in and around the city.
  • £8.4m for Norwich, with plans to redesign 31km of key cycle routes.
  • £3.m for Oxford, intended to provide better links between the city centre and south east of the city.

In government, the Liberal Democrats have worked to boost cycling infrastructure. Following Nick’s announcement last year of £100m for improving cyclist and pedestrian access along key roads in Britain, the government’s total investment in cycling was brought up to £588m.

Nick said:

“We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce this investment for these major cities to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.

“With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”

Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions helping to bridge generations and bring community together

North East Lincolnshire Council<!– –><!—-><!—->

This month the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions are launching two community projects which they hope will help to close the generational gap and support elderly and isolated residents in North East Lincolnshire.

Terry Brown, president of Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions said:

“Our club is dedicated to helping to improve the lives of residents within our local community and has a proud record of achievement in this regard. In these projects we wish to address the issue of loneliness and isolation of some of our more mature population, especially during the long dark winter months.”

Working alongside North East Lincolnshire Council, the first of the latest Lions community projects sees them contacting local secondary academies with a request to “twin” with a local care home or sheltered scheme.

Terry added:

“Many elderly people, some of whom, but not all, live in care homes or sheltered accommodation, have very limited contact with the outside world and in particular with young people. Examples of what could be provided might include regular contact by the school choir or musicians, cooking meals or purely groups of older pupils just chatting to the residents and giving them company. We of course welcome suggestions as to other activities. We really hope that all of our secondary academies agree to take part.”

The Lions will bring schools and the appropriate homes together with the support of the council who are giving the project full support at cabinet level and are assisting with mapping the location of care homes.

The second of the projects, a pensioner’s shindig, will take place in the community room at Freeman Street Market on March 27 at 3pm.

60 local older people will be transported to the event where they will receive a buffet and refreshments, entertainment in the form of the GI girls and a gift of an Easter Egg before their carriages arrive at 6pm.

Humberside Police: Drug Drive campaign 2015

Today (2 March 2015) a new drug drive law will come into force in England and Wales. The new law will make it illegal to drive with a specific controlled drug in the body above the accepted limit for that drug. This new law will provide a more effective tool for police officers when dealing with the danger posed by drug drivers.

Casualty Reduction Officer Barry Gardner; “All Roads Policing officers are also trained to detect drivers who are under the influence of drugs, there are a worryingly number of drivers now caught drug driving.
“This new law will help reduce the time, expense and effort involved for the police and the courts when prosecutions fail because of the difficulty of proving that a driver is impaired by a particular drug under current legislation.“
What is it all about?
  • The law is changing in England and Wales to make it easier for the Police to catch and convict drug drivers.
  • A drug drive conviction will have a serious effect on your life including a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban and a fine of up to £5,000. It could also cost you your job.
  • Drugs impair your driving and driving under the influence of drugs is unacceptable. Get caught and you will have to suffer the shame of your family, friends and colleagues knowing you’re a drug driver.
  • THINK! don’t take drugs and drive.
  • It will be illegal to drive with certain drugs above specified blood levels in the body.
  • Limits will be set at very low levels for eight illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine.
  • Some medicines will also be included in the new law but if you are taking medicines as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law. To find out more, ask your doctor or a member of the pharmacy team.
  • The new legislation will make it easier for the police to tackle drug drivers.
What will it mean for prescription drug users?
  • The new legislation covers both illegal drugs and prescription drugs. The Department for Transport (DfT) will therefore run communications to reassure those patients who may be affected by the change in legislation because of the medicines they take.
DfT is working in partnership with healthcare professionals including GPs and pharmacists to help prepare patients for the change in the law and raise awareness once it comes into force.
  • Certain medicines may affect your ability to drive.
  • This new law states that it is an offence to drive with certain drugs above specified blood levels in the body, whether your driving is impaired or not. This will make it easier for the police to tackle drug drivers.
  • The new law sets limits at very low levels for eight drugs commonly associated with illegal drug use, such as cannabis and cocaine, to tackle illegal drug use and driving.
  • The law also includes eight medicines that are sometimes abused that have been set at higher limits to reflect their use as medicines, with limits based on the available evidence of the road safety risk. These medicines are:

– morphine used to treat pain – opiate/opioid based medication will metabolise (chemically change) into morphine and show in a blood result.

– diazepam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam used to treat anxiety or inability to sleep

– methadone used to treat drug addiction

– Amphetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease are also planned to be included.

If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired then you are not breaking the law 
The majority of patients that are fit to drive and are taking medicines as directed are unlikely to be above the specified limit and therefore would not be committing the new offence.
Even if you are above the specified limit but your driving is not impaired and you are taking your medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet you will also be within the law.
It will remain an offence to drive whilst impaired by drugs and, if in doubt, you should not drive.
The new law provides a medical defence if you are taking medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional – provided you are not impaired.
  • Always take your medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional or printed in the accompanying leaflet.
  • To find out more ask your doctor or a member of the pharmacy team. www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law
Drink or Drug Driving – the consequences are the same
The penalties for drink or drug driving are the same.
If you are convicted you will receive:
  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison or both
The consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include:
  • Job loss
  • Loss of independence
  • The shame of having a criminal record
  • Increase in car insurance costs
  • Trouble getting in to countries like the USA
Barry Gardner says, “The public can help us too, if you suspect someone is going to take drugs and drive you can phone the police on the non-emergency number 101.  We will act on information received by members of the public so I would encourage people to report any such incident to us immediately.”
You can also phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report anonymously on the Crimestoppers website www.crimestopppers-uk.org.

Liberal Democrats aim to double UK production of renewable energy by 2020

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Liberal Democrats have set out plans to double the UK’s production of renewable electricity by the end of the next parliament and make Britain zero carbon by 2050.

This would end the UK’s adverse impact on climate change for good.

key_wind_turbine.jpg

In government the Liberal Democrats have already more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables.

We have overseen the single biggest reform of the UK’s energy infrastructure since privatisation, created a low-carbon, pro-renewable, and energy secure nation less reliant on unstable regimes for energy needs.

Liberal Democrats have also led the way in boosting Europe’s energy security through creating a fully functioning European Energy Market.

Liberal Democrats are prioritising the environment in the next election by putting green issues at the front of our election manifesto.

Under Liberal Democrat plans, the production of renewable electricity will be doubled by the end of the next Parliament.

If in government after the General Election, the party wants to take the fight against climate change further by introducing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill in the next parliament.

This would form part of five green laws to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change for good by 2050.

Other measures within the Zero Carbon Bill include:

  • A new legally binding target for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050.
  • A new legally binding decarbonisation target for the power sector  by 2030 to support investment in all forms of low carbon electricity.
  • Establishing an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation to fast-track new green tech including tidal power, renewable heat, ultra-low emission vehicles, energy storage and CCS.
  • Applying Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) to existing coal plants from 2025 to end use of unabated coal generation
  • Full borrowing powers to the Green Investment Bank, to further boost investment in low carbon technology

Commenting on the launch of Lib Dem manifesto plans for a Zero Carbon Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

“It’s no exaggeration to say our future, and that of our children, depends upon us tackling climate change head on. The more we delay, the more we are at threat from this ticking time bomb.

“This is why if in government again we will set about making Britain zero carbon, securing more home grown renewable energy whilst also reducing our reliance on regimes who use western energy needs as a blunt foreign policy tool.”

“Our plans are a bold ambition to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change completely, but I believe it can be done within my lifetime.

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

“Lib Dems in government have already more than doubled the amount of renewable electricity in the UK and on Thursday I announced a host of green energy projects had won contracts from Government which together could power the equivalent of all households in Wales. Our plans for the future take this to a whole new level.

“Our Zero Carbon Bill will make a huge contribution to creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. A stronger economy means a quarter of a million new green jobs over the next 5 years, and establishing Britain as a world leader in renewable technology.

“A fairer society means not mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren by acting now to end the adverse impact of climate change and protect the British landscape and wildlife.”

“The five green laws are nailed to the front page of our manifesto and over the coming days we will flesh our plans to deliver this ambition.”

One step closer to enshrining international aid spending in law

Liberal Democrat Peer Jeremy Purvis has today welcomed the successful progress though the House of Lords of the Lib Dem Bill to enshrine the UK’s aid spending target in law.

The Bill, which was proposed in the Commons by Michael Moore MP and which would ensure 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income is spend on international aid, cleared its Report Stage despite sustained pressure from a small minority of Peers set on derailing the proposals.

The Bill will now be scheduled for its Third Reading – the final test it must overcome before being signed into law.

key_uk-aid.jpg

Commenting, Jeremy said:

“Michael Moore’s Bill is now just one step away for becoming law. I am hugely grateful to all those, from all sides of the House of Lords and particularly my Liberal Democrat colleagues, who came out in force to support the Bill and vote down amendments designed to wreck it.

“I am also grateful to the many people outside Parliament who have made clear their support for this vital legislation. We have overcome a crucial stage of the process and now it is important we do all we can do finish the Bill’s passage before the election.

“UK aid has the capacity to change lives, by passing this Bill we can move the debate on from how much support we give to how we ensure our support goes to those who need it most. I look forward to making sure the Bill overcomes its final hurdle and gets onto the statue book.”

Health and wellbeing website for young people launched

The ‘Rise Above’ website, launched today (27 February 2015), offers help for young people on how to deal with personal and societal issues.

Created by young people for young people, the ‘Rise Above’ website aims to build emotional resilience in individuals aged 11 to 16 by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to make informed decisions, and help deal with the pressures of growing up. It also encourages conversations about the key health and wellbeing issues that affect teens and young people.

‘Rise Above’ tackles topics that young people are most concerned about, such as puberty, relationships, alcohol, self-harm, smoking, contraceptive choices, drugs, body confidence, peer pressure and mental health.

Meter tampering and energy theft

Tampering with gas or electricity meters can lead to explosions, fires and sometimes death. Those who tamper with meters may save money but in doing so are putting others in real danger. In one year alone a single energy provider reported two deaths and 36 injuries as a result of gas theft. This is not a victimless crime.

What is meter tampering?

When someone alters their electricity or gas supply without the authority of their supplier, they are meter tampering. This tamper prevents the device from recording the correct energy usage and therefore the meter is undercharged.

What are the signs of meter tampering?

Meter tampering occurs in many forms and the list/imagery below details some of the signs to look out for

Signs of gas meter tampering

 

Gas Meter Backtofront 300Px
Back to front meter.

Gas Meter Rubbertubing 300Px
Rubber tubing used where pipes would normally be.


No visible dial.


Credit has run out but gas is still available.

Back to front meter.

Rubber tubing used where pipes would normally be.

No visible dial.

Credit has run out but gas is still available.

Signs of electricity meter tampering


No casing or damaged meter casing.


Extra wires attached in or around the meter with simply constructed metal connectors.


Melted meter casing or burn marks on the casing.


Credit has run out but electricity is still available.

No casing or damaged meter casing.

Extra wires attached in or around the meter with simply constructed metal connectors.

Melted meter casing or burn marks on the casing.

Credit has run out but electricity is still available.

Have you seen a tampered meter? Report a tampered meter to us completely anonymously.

Why are we focusing on this?

Meter tampering is a crime which can lead to a fine and a prison sentence of up to 5 years. Most importantly it can cause harm to innocent people. Even if you have not tampered with your own supply you could be affected by a landlord, employer or neighbour who has tampered with theirs.

What are the dangers of meter tampering?

A domestic electricity meter contains 240 volts and a commercial meter could contain up to 460 volts. If tampered with, this voltage could be left exposed and could cause shocks, severe burns or electricity fires.

Gas explosions can occur when as little as 5-15 per cent of gas gets mixed with air in a room and therefore people tampering with these meters could cause catastrophic explosions. Such explosions have been known to destroy multiple properties in a street and therefore cause harm to innocent homes and people.

One incident saw four people, including two children, injured in a suspected gas explosion in Sheffield that also left one home destroyed and adjoining properties badly damaged. While the cause of the fire could not be confirmed, it was found that five of twenty homes of the same street were stealing gas, and two of them were stealing electricity. Had this not been discovered, the results could have been devastating for more homes and families.

Energy theft and meter tampering also occur outside the home with businesses looking to cut costs by breaking the law. In September 2013, five restaurants along Manchester’s ‘curry mile’ were raided, and four of them were found to have tampered meters, with another having its gas supply altered. Officials at the time said that “lives had been put at risk.”

What can I do about energy theft and meter tampering?

By liking and sharing the campaign, you are helping show others the dangers and consequences of this crime. If you suspect someone to be meter tampering report it to us completely anonymously.

New skills and experiences for half a milllion jobseekers

jobs lib demJobseekers have taken part in more than 469,000 voluntary placements through Jobcentre Plus since January 2011, according to new figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Around seven in ten participants were young people able to gain skills and experience to help them move into paid work. Accordingly, the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is now at its lowest since the 1970s.

The numbers include:

  • More than 300,000 work experience placements
  • More than 169,000 placements in employer-led training schemes
  • Nearly 24,000 opportunities taken up by people over the age of 50
  • More than 84,000 opportunities taken up by people with disabilities

These education and training schemes are providing people of all ages with the necessary skills and confidence to gain further work. Over the period covered, 42 per cent of people undertaking work experience placements were offered a position when they finished.

Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and providing opportunity for everyone. Today’s numbers, especially following last week’s announcement of record high employment, indicate that the job is getting done