Deputy PM works with high street names in the north to bring buildings back to life

Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is speeding up plans to bring empty buildings in the north back to life with support from some of the largest land-owners, businesses and local authorities in the region.

Just 2 months after his Northern Futures initiative  highlighted the need to tackle the chronic problem of unused sites sitting empty across the region, Nick Clegg and local charities have formed a working group with Legal & General, The Co-operative Group, Network Rail, Capital and Centric, Carillion and others.

Making empty buildings available to charities, community groups, artists and entrepreneurs will help give a boost to local projects, stimulate growth in local businesses and create jobs.

The group is responding to calls to breathe new life into empty sites by arranging for local entrepreneurs, artists and community groups to use them on a temporary basis to test their ideas.

The working group, part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Northern Futures initiative, will meet in February to consider project proposals and agree how plans can be put in place. It has already begun match-making local authorities, property companies and land-owners with community groups and business ventures desperate for space in the north.

Working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, the working group will pull together plans for establishing a series of flagship projects in cities across the north before April 2015. Potential sites are being discussed in Manchester, Newcastle, Hull and Liverpool, with conversations also underway in Leeds and Sheffield.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“In just a few weeks we have seen major businesses come forward to embrace the idea of keeping our town centres alive with flourishing entrepreneurs and community projects.

“This is part of a huge revitalisation of northern cities. Through my Northern Futures initiative, we’re encouraging a stronger economy by giving start-ups a chance to grow, whilst keeping our cities buzzing from the centre to the outskirts.

“Leaving useful land in the north to languish is not only bad for business, it affects an area in so many ways. I’m pleased to be bringing landowners together to make incredible spaces available for artists, start-ups, and other entrepreneurs to restore the buildings’ purpose and appeal.”

The north has nearly twice as many hectares of vacant land and buildings than the south, with 10,130 hectares in the north compared to just 5,580 hectares in the south.

The Co-operative Group is already offering space within its portfolio for charities and community groups. In the run up to Hull’s year as City of Culture in 2017, the council will build on its experience of developing its Fruit Market area to turn unproductive and underused buildings elsewhere in the city centre area into thriving start-up and community spaces.

Capital and Centric, the award-winning property developer, and Carillion, the multinational construction company, are both considering meanwhile uses at sites in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere. As part of the project, Network Rail will also consider proposals to use its estate around stations and bridges in the north.

The Co-operative Group has plans to make surplus space available for use by charities and community projects, sharing news of potential sites online with over 40 sites already offered UK-wide. Other companies have shown interest in supporting meanwhile use across the North. Legal & General are exploring a site that it is redeveloping as part of its major regeneration of Salford through the English Cities Fund and Capital and Centric Plc in Liverpool are developing the old Littlewoods pools building into residential and commercial space.

Geoff Player, Director of Commercial & Investment Property at The Co-operative Group, said:

“We are pleased to be involved in this initiative: offering temporary access to short-term occupation of certain surplus properties that would otherwise be vacant fits well with our Group purpose of a better way of doing business within these communities. Our Community Property Project is still in the process of being developed, and we hope to bring more buildings back in to use in the months and years ahead.”

In November, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited collaborative working space Betahaus in Berlin to see how derelict land had been redeveloped for creative industries and to learn how similar projects could be supported in the north. The initiative was inspired by a pitch at the Deputy Prime Minister’s Northern Futures Summit in Leeds in November, where Liverpool-based landscape architect​ Elaine Cresswell called for more ‘meanwhile use’ of vacant properties in her city.

Since the Northern Futures initiative was launched, many of the ideas arising through the consultative process have been taken forward. More than 2,000 people were engaged and 9 ideas were pitched at the Summit. TechNorth has been developed, a project to support and coordinate growth of the tech sector across Northern cities. With £2 million pounds of investment for the project, recruitment is underway for the head of the initiative. £10 million was also committed to boosting tourism in the north.

Millions of families benefit twice from Lib Dem tax cut

New analysis has revealed 8.3m families will benefit twice from the Liberal Democrat tax cut.

Thanks to Liberal Democrats increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,600, these families will on average be £1,330 better off each year.


New research using HM Treasury’s tax and benefit model shows that our flagship policy of increasing the amount that people can earn before they pay income tax is vital in creating a fairer society.

Income tax cuts for working people were a top priority for Liberal Democrats when we entered the coalition in 2010 and one which we are proud to have delivered for millions of people.

In government Liberal Democrats have fought tooth and nail to deliver a tax cut worth £825 for more than 26m working people – something which the Conservatives said was not affordable.

And by raising the personal tax allowance to £10,600 we have lifted more than 3m people out of paying tax altogether.

As well as helping families make their money go further we’re also lifting the lowest paid out of paying tax.

By April:

  • 340,000 sales and retail assistants will no longer pay tax.
  • 169,000 care workers and home carers will no longer pay tax.
  • 162,000 cleaners will no longer pay tax.
  • 136,000 catering assistants will no longer pay tax.
  • 91,000 teaching assistants will no longer pay tax.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

“This shows that our Liberal Democrat flagship policy of dramatically increasing the amount that people can earn before they pay income tax amounts to the greatest revolution in the tax landscape for working people in living memory.

“Repairing our economy after the 2008 crash has been a daunting task.

“Tackling it, and tackling it fairly, was the main reason that we formed the coalition in 2010 and income tax cuts for working people are top of our fairness agenda.

“Recovering from the crash of the Labour years is a long process.  There is a lot more to be done to fully repair the economy and to continue to get the financial pressure of families.

“That’s why we Liberal Democrats are committed to raising the personal allowance still further, to £12,500 over the next Parliament.”

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“These figures underline like never before the sheer scale of the tax cuts delivered by the Liberal Democrats for working households across Britain.

“Many, including the Prime Minister, said it could not be done, but Danny Alexander and I have cut taxes for low and middle earners while pulling our country’s economy back from the brink where it was left by Labour.

“And it’s not over yet. The Liberal Democrats may have cut people’s taxes by £825 but if we are in government again after 2015, we will cut them by a further £380 by raising the point at which you start paying tax to £12,500.”

Grimsby Muslims issue a statement condemning Paris killings

A statement issued by the Grimsby Mosque on Weelsby Road reads condemns the terrorists who killed 17 people in Paris earlier this month. The statement says :

“The Grimsby Muslim community reacted with shock and horror following the attack on a number of employees of the French satirical weekly magazine, Charlie Hebdo, recently in Paris.

“We express our profound horror and shock for this unimaginable senseless act of criminal violence unleashed by misguided individuals who claim to be doing that in the name of Islam.

“We unreservedly condemn these brutal, evil acts which have no basis in Islam, a religion that preaches peace, tolerance, mutual respect and harmonious coexistence across all world communities.

“We call upon our communities in South Humberside and the UK at large, to stand together in the condemnation of these criminal acts and to stop these misguided individuals from disuniting us.

“The Islamic guidance is patience and healthy discourse, even in the face of ridicule and deliberate acts of provocation.”

Dr Bukar Wobi, spokesman for the mosque, added:

“We understand that the atrocious events in Paris will make people feel anxious and as a community, let me assure you that we feel aggrieved the people have committed these acts in the name of our prophet and religion.

“The teachings of Islam are straightforward and the values set out in the Quran are there to enable believers to be better members of their families, communities and nations.

“You cannot just cloud the clarity of the religion for your own gain; you cannot just call yourself Abdul and be a Muslim if you are then going to go out and devilishly take another person’s life.”

Simon Cross, chair of North East Lincolnshire inter-faith forum, said:

“The way I look at it (Paris attacks) is that criminal acts were carried out by criminals and I think the vast majority of people within the community can recognise that, rather than blaming Muslims for what took place.

“Anyone who knows anything about Islam will be aware of the message of peace within the religion but, unfortunately, some people have a different approach to suit their own agenda.

“I want to reassure my Muslim friends that we do not think they are criminals and, in fact, at our church we have made some cards to send to the mosque to remind them they’re loved.”

He added:

“I don’t hear people saying ‘Christianity is a violent religion, just look at the plantation owners, the slave traders, the genocide of native Americans, the Klu Klux Klan, the anti-abortion bombers, the Irish and northern Irish gangs of the 70s & 80s, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the NSCN and NLFT in India…’ And that is quite right, those people are no more representative of the peace and love of Christianity, than Al Quaeda or IS are of Islam.

“We need to recognise that an awful lot of this is really about politics, greed, control and even gangsterism. The horrendous happenings in Paris are likely to be as much about a propaganda battle between Al Quaeda and IS – two rival political factions – as they are about anything else, just as the dreadful killings in Nigeria are really about political power and money.”

Ending child illiteracy by 2025

Liberal Democrat manifesto plans will include a commitment to end child illiteracy by 2025, Nick Clegg has announced today (Sunday 18 January).

The plans mean that every child born in 2014, who will leave primary school in 2025 will be able to read and write at a standard identified to lead to success in secondary school and beyond.


Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, the Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to protect the education budget from cradle to college.

Our plans include using that budget to invest in ending illiteracy.

To help us meet our commitment to end child illiteracy by 2025, we will boost the early years Pupil Premium to an even higher level than the primary school Pupil Premium.

We will also overhaul early years teaching qualifications by letting nursery staff work towards Qualified Teacher Status and by 2020 requiring a qualified teacher graduate in every school or nursery delivering the early years curriculum.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“I am proud of the scale of our ambition. We are raising the bar on what children should be able to achieve by the age of eleven and want all children to get over the bar by 2025.

“The Coalition Government has cut illiteracy but it is nothing short of a national scandal that a fifth of children are still leaving primary school unable to read at a level that will allow them to succeed in later life.

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build a stronger economy in a fairer society where there is opportunity for everyone and the key to that is education.

“It’s pretty hard to get on in life without being able to read and write, which is why the Liberal Democrats are committing to eliminating illiteracy by 2025.

“We are the only party who can make this commitment because, astonishingly, we are the only party committed to protecting the education budget from cradle to college in the next five years.

“In the Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats have protected the schools budget; introduced the Pupil Premium; expanded free childcare and made sure every infant gets a free, healthy meal every day to help them learn.

“Conservative plans to savage the education budget by £13bn puts all of these achievements and much, much more at risk, while Labour’s silence on this issue doesn’t fill me with confidence.

“You can’t build a fairer society for free. If we want to continue raising standards in schools, and making sure every child can succeed whatever their background, you simply have to invest in education. That is exactly what the Liberal Democrats will do.”

IFS report confirms that the richest have shouldered the highest share of the burden

The IFS report released today (Friday 23 January) confirms that the richest have shouldered the highest share of the burden as we move to repair the public finances.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that we expect those with the broadest shoulders to pay their fair share towards deficit reduction.

Treasury analysis has shown throughout the parliament that the richest 10 per cent of households have made the largest contribution to reducing the deficit.

The Treasury presents the most complete, rigorous and detailed record of the impact of this government’s policies on households, so unlike the IFS’s work this includes impact of key Liberal Democrat policies such as the introduction of the Pupil Premium and support for childcare for disadvantaged two year olds, directly supporting low income families with children.

The Treasury publishes this analysis twice a year and every time it has shown the same thing-everyone has done their bit, but the best off have contributed the biggest share of their income to pay down the deficit.

And at the Autumn Statement in December this confirmed that the richest 20 per cent of households will contribute more to reducing the deficit than the remaining 80 per cent put together.

Danny Alexander has also been clear that fairness will be at the heart of the economic policy of any government that we are part of in the next Parliament, which is why he proposed a “fairness rule”, so that the best off continue to contribute the biggest share of their income to help pay down the deficit.

Any plan to deal with the remainder of the deficit without further tax rises on the wealthy-as proposed by the Conservatives-would clearly fail this test.”

142 drivers found to be over the drink drive limit in Humberside Police Winter Drink Drive Campaign -

During December 2014 Humberside Police’s Winter Drink Drive Campaign to prevent and detect drink and drug driving, 2007 drivers across the Force area were tested. 142 of those tested were found to be over the legal limit for drink driving.

Officers from across the Humberside force area carried out breath tests where the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person;

a) was the driver at the time of a road traffic collision as per force policy.

b) is driving, attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, with alcohol in his/her body, or has committed a moving traffic offence.

c) has been driving or attempting to drive, or has been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in his/her body.

d) has been driving or attempting to drive, or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place and has committed a moving traffic offence.

e) where information provided by a member of the public leads to the suspicion that someone may be drink driving.

PC Barry Gardener, Casualty Reduction Officer for Humberside Police said: “Incidents, as a result of drink driving, have remained fairly constant over the past five years due to the consistent approach and enforcement of our drink drive laws.  This year’s campaign targeted specific areas where we had intelligence to suggest that we could prevent and detect drink drivers.

“The message I wanted to get out to drivers is that no one should ever think that they might get away with it, I have attended many serious road traffic collisions caused by drink drivers and I can honestly say that it’s never worth the risk to drink and drive.

“We also received an encouraging number of calls from the public reporting incidents of suspected drink driving.  We acted on this information and dealt with those drivers, some of whom were found to be over the legal drink drive limit and were dealt with appropriately.”

Humberside Police warning of the dangers of sharing private intimate images and video on the internet

Humberside Police are warning members of the public about the dangers of sharing private intimate images and video on the internet following two recent cases of people being black mailed after sharing such content on-line.

In the most recent case a man visited a on-line networking site and became friendly with a woman on the site. After some time the woman encouraged him to video call her, on this call they both performed intimate acts. The woman then stated that she had copied that footage and threatened to share the footage on-line if he didn’t pay her. Fearing this may happen the man contacted the police.
Members of the public are reminded that any images or video messages on-line have the potential to be used by other people on the world wide web. It is vital that images and video are only uploaded or agreed to if they trust the person they are in contact with.
On Social media networking site people should only share content they are happy for people to view and re-post, while ensuring privacy settings are set to an appropriate level.
Options are available to people who have had images or videos shared on-line by a third party. These include using the moderation functions on most sites to report issues.
Another option is to visit which has guidance on cases that they will review on a case by case basis. If the content is deemed by them to meet set criteria they will consider assisting in the removal of images and videos on UK hosted sites.

Ibrahim Taguri named Liberal Democrat Race Equality Champion

Ibrahim Taguri, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brent Central, has been named as the party’s Race Equality Champion.

Ibrahim will engage with all communities and ensure the party continues to include commitments reflecting a diverse Britain in our manifesto.


The new appointment was announced by Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg at a reception for the BAME community on Wednesday evening (21 January).

Commenting on his new role, Ibrahim Taguri, said: 

“I’m glad to be given such an important role at a vital time for the country when the politics of extremism and division are on the rise.

“I intend to work closely with all communities in order to promote cohesion, social justice and equality of opportunity so everyone has the opportunity to get on in life, regardless of their background.

Ibrahim was selected as the party’s candidate for Brent Central following Sarah Teather’s announcement that she would not be seeking re-election in May.

He says his mission in politics is to end child poverty by 2020 – an issue which he is passionately campaigning on in Brent.

Ibrahim added:

“As the most diverse constituency in the country, Brent Central represents the very best of what it means to be British.

“And yet many here still feel that their voices aren’t heard. This role demonstrates a serious commitment to making our political process more inclusive and responsive to those voices.

“This is an opportunity to address the monumental challenges we face in Brent and beyond, from eradicating child poverty, to improving education and attainment for young people, to creating fulfilling jobs.”

Announcing the new role, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said:

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Ibrahim Taguri as our Race Equality Champion. Ibrahim will be working closely with us on policy development, campaigning and implementing our proposals in Government, post-election.”


N E Lincs Council want your views on the future of Children’s Centres

children's centres consultation

A consultation on changes to the use of North East Lincolnshire Council’s children’s centres launches this week

In light of significant reductions in government funding, decisions are being made on more effective ways of delivering services while still meeting community needs. To support this, the council wants to use its children’s centres to deliver services to a broader age range of children and young people. (changing the age range from prebirth – 5 to prebirth -14 years (and 19 years for some services))

To do so, the council needs to formally de-designate some centres and cluster them into five areas, pooling staff skills across each cluster. Each cluster will still have one designated children’s centre but will also provide a network of family hubs that are easily accessible to all families. The proposed new provision will not compromise outcomes for children, particularly the most disadvantaged, as services provided at the family hubs will be linked to local community need. Those centres that are de-designated will not have to meet the full core purpose of a children’s centre, but can concentrate on the improvement of outcomes for families in greatest need.

More information on the proposed changes can be found on the council’s website

This consultation runs from January 5 to February 13 2015. Take part in the following ways:

1. Complete a survey:
• A paper version is available in all children’s centres
• Electronic versions of the form are available in the related forms section of the web page above.

2. Attend a focus group held in one of the children’s centres:
• Cleethorpes Reynolds – Stay and Play, Friday 30 January at 9.30am
• East Marsh – Musical Monday – Monday 26 January 1.30pm-2.30pm and Tiny Tiggers Tuesday 27 January at 1pm
• Highgate – Splatter and Splodge, Wednesday 14 January at 9.15am
• Immingham – Let’s Get Messy, Monday 12 January at 10am
• Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park – Baby Talk, Tuesday 13 January at 9.30am
• Scartho – On Your Marks, Thursday 29 January at 9.15am
• Queensway – Bookworms, Thursday 5 February at 2pm
• Riverside – Active Tots, Tuesday 3 February at 10am
• West Marsh – Stay and Play, Thursday 15 January at 9.15am

3. Attend a public consultation event:
• Grimsby Town Hall – 12 January at 3pm – 4pm
• Cleethorpes Library – 22 January at 5pm – 6pm
• Immingham Resource Centre – 28 January – 9.30am – 10.30am

4. Visit a Children’s Centre where there will be a display of the proposed changes and then post your comments in the box provided.

5. Provide your comments and send by post to:
Head of Children’s Centres, Highgate Children’s Centre, Trinity road, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8TJ

Improvements to highway in busy Cleethorpes street

North East Lincolnshire Council, working in partnership with Cofely, is investing in a number of improvements to one of Cleethorpes’ busiest shopping streets

The improvements are part of the council’s highway maintenance programme and include resurfacing the road, renovating the crossing near St Peter’s Church Hall and upgrading the drainage.

Work is due to start in St Peter’s Avenue on Monday 9 February 2015 and will take about 12 weeks to complete.

The works will take place at the following locations:

• From the junction of St Peter’s Avenue and Bowling Lane to the roundabout at the junction with Highgate
• Between the roundabout on St Peter’s Avenue near to St Andrew’s Methodist Church and into Cambridge Street.

Other measures to cut congestion in the area near St Peter’s Church will see the removal of two of the on-street parking bays nearest the zebra crossing outside the church hall.

Work will be carried out in phases and 24 hour road closures put in place to reduce disruption to traffic and provide a safe working environment for the contractors.

Advanced warning signs will be displayed and local diversions put in place closures will be set up to advise motorists and residents before the works commence.

All traffic management will be removed and the road open for traffic during the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Visit for the latest live travel information and click on the alerts tab to register for email alerts about road works in your area.