More fire service industrial action

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have announced further industrial action as they remain in discussions with government in a dispute about pensions.

The latest stoppage will be a 96 hour continuous period of action starting at 6pm on Friday 31 October and ending at 6pm on Tuesday 4 November.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Dene Sanders, said:

“The Service continues to be tested by this national dispute but we will not be drawn into it locally. We are continually assessing and reviewing our contingency plans so that the best possible service can be delivered to the community at times of strike action.

“We will continue to operate an adequate service during strike action and to achieve this we need to draw on some of our current staff as well as reservists to provide that service. Their efforts are very much appreciated.

“The service will be reduced from what we can ordinarily provide and what the public expect,” CFO Sanders added.

“As there will be fewer fire engines available to attend incidents during periods of industrial action it is even more important that people take extra care to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. I would urge everyone to ensure their homes have smoke detectors and to test them each week; by having working smoke alarms fitted in your home, you will be alerted quickly should a fire break out.

“Checking all appliances are turned off and closing all internal doors is a quick and simple task to help make sure a fire doesn’t start when you go to bed. I would also urge drivers to take extra care on the roads and businesses to take extra safety precautions,” CFO Sanders went on to point out.

Safety information and updates on the industrial action are available on the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service website, www.humbersidefire.gov.uk.

Vince Cable opens pioneering new facilities to help protect the UK from viruses

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable today opened the BBSRC National Virology Centre, a state-of-the-art high-containment laboratory at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey.

The pioneering £135m labs will enhance UK capability to prevent and control virus diseases of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to people.

The laboratory uses new, world-leading bio-containment technologies developed specifically for the Pirbright Institute to enable scientists to study diseases such as bluetongue, foot and mouth, avian influenza and African swine fever.

The new facilities will help to predict and prevent outbreaks and develop vaccines in order to protect the UK from devastating diseases that can affect animals and humans and cost the UK economy millions.

Vince said:

“Disease spreading from animals to humans isn’t a plot from a Hollywood movie. Its results can have devastating impact on our health and the health of the countryside economy. This new centre will help protect both.

“Investment like this is why we are designing a long-term science and innovation strategy, which will help British science to keep breaking barriers.”

Annette Brooke MP Calls for a Review for Park Home Owners

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole yesterday spoke in a House of Commons debate she had called, in light of a campaign against the up to 10% commission on the sale of park homes payable to site owners.

Campaigners have signed a petition, organised by Annette’s constituent Sonia McColl of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign, calling for a reduction in the commission rate. The petition currently stands at over 30,000 signatures from park home residents in 956 different parks across the United Kingdom. Annette accompanied Sonia and other campaigners when they delivered the petition to Downing Street in July, and Annette paid tribute to Sonia for her tireless campaigning on behalf of park home owners.

During the debate, Annette called for a review into the up to 10% commission currently payable on the sale of a park home to the site owner, saying:

“The 10% commission has wide-ranging impacts and they need to be considered. It is only now we are hearing about some of those impacts, as the voices of park home owners grow louder. If we had a review, their input would be vital.”

Brandon Lewis MP, the Minister answering the debate congratulated Annette for the hard work she has done for many years for residents in park homes across the country.

During his speech, the Minister agreed that more work needs to be done to change the culture of the sector and to crack down on the rogues operating within it who give everybody in the sector a bad name and affect the lives of residents unfortunate to live in such areas.

Mr Lewis announced:

“I have asked that a ministerial colleague to bring together representatives from across the sector to identify evidence of poor practice where it exists, and investigate how best to raise standards further and tackle abuse. That group will significantly help to shape the review of the Mobile Homes Act.

I agree with hon. Members, not least my right hon. Friend, that the review should have an independent chair. The review will be undertaken in 2017, which will give us a couple of years to see the impact of the new laws before we review how they are working. However, I would be very happy for that group, under its own auspices, to consider a wider review of the issues that have been raised today.”

Following the debate, Annette said:

“I am pleased to hear about the setting up of a group to look in to the practices of the park homes industry and the ways it could be made better, and it is brilliant news that the commission can be reviewed as part of the work of this group.”

In her conclusion during the debate, she pointed out: “I hope that we have taken another little step forward, but we need to deal with this issue sooner rather than later. We must bear it in mind that there is a general election coming up. I am afraid that each time we have had a general election, we have taken a couple of steps backwards in our attempts to achieve more for park home owners. I hope that we really have made progress today and I look forward to participating in future work.”

To read the debate, please visit http://ht.ly/DDOjF

Andrew George: “Tories should hang their heads in shame” over decision to scupper Anti Bedroom Tax Bill

Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives Andrew George, accused the Prime Minister of abusing the privilege of executive power and denying the will of the House of Commons on Wednesday (29th October). He raised his point at Prime Minister’s Questions after the Tories announced that they refused to grant money for Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Private Members’ Bill.

Andrew George raised his question after the Prime Minister sought to blame the Liberal Democrats for the halting of the Conservatives Private Members’ Bill for an EU Referendum. Andrew George’s Bill is first on the Private Members’ Bill list and should be given the support of the Government before the EU Referendum Bill (which is third). MPs suspect that the Conservatives are using the necessary money resolution as an excuse to scupper Andrew George’s Bill which would effectively scrap the ‘Bedroom Tax’.

Andrew George’s question and subsequent response from The Prime Minister, David Cameron, as follows:

Andrew George (St Ives) (LD):

“If the Prime Minister wants his European Union (Referendum) Bill to proceed, as he claims he does, all he needs to do is demonstrate a level of mature engagement on the granting of money resolutions. Is he proud of the fact that his party is abusing the privilege of Executive power and denying the clear will of this House by denying the money resolution for the Private Member’s Bill to protect the vulnerable and disabled from the bedroom tax?”

The Prime Minister:

“I am afraid the problem with my hon. Friend’s point is that his Bill is literally a Bill: it would cost more than a billion pounds for the British taxpayer. That is why it would not be right to give it a money resolution. But if he believed in democracy, he would recognise that the European Union (Referendum) Bill passed this House with a massive majority and went into the House of Lords. We should reintroduce it as a Government Bill – that is what ought to happen.”

Andrew George described the Prime Minister’s remarks as preposterous. “This is a gross exaggeration. The Tory bedroom tax would save the Government about £350million per annum – and he’s claiming that a Bill to introduce some exemptions would cost more than three times that amount.

“They should hang their heads in shame.”

Norman Lamb: Halloween culture ramps up fears of mental illness

Liberal Democrat Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb is calling on retailers to behave more responsibly and not sell Halloween costumes that demonise mental illness.

Norman warns that “schizo-patient” Halloween costumes are stigmatising people with mental illnesses.

Liberal Democrats believe that mental health should never be ignored or stigmatised.

Speaking today at the National Child and Adult Services conference, Norman will say:

“There is pressure for young people to be a certain way – from every TV, every computer screen and the constantly refreshing content accessible on their phones. The pressure is constant.

“For me it is horrendous that, this Halloween evening, a young person experiencing a mental health crisis could easily come across someone in a ‘psycho ward’ or ‘schizo patient’ costume – complete with handcuffs and ripped restraints – as much as they could see someone in a Dracula costume.

“This Halloween culture is dangerous. It conditions all of us to fear mental illness – to see people as ‘psychos’, or ‘schizos’ or ‘freaks’. It makes us believe that mental illness is something other worldly.

e-petition: Cancel Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in 2016

The Police and Crime Commissioner role attracts little public interest. Further no one person, no matter how brilliant, could ever hope to engage effectively with such a large number of constituents. It has done nothing to increase democratic accountability for the Police so the costly experiment must be brought to an end.

Future management could be brought under the National Offender Management Service to bring together the key criminal justice agencies into one system, making the seamless management of offenders an achievable goal.

The Government should immediately announce that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, scheduled for 2016, will not take place.

Please sign this petition:

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68799/signature/new

Agencies in N E Lincs work together over Halloween and Bonfire period

In the build up to Halloween and Bonfire Night, agencies from across North East Lincolnshire are once again joining forces to ensure that the season goes with a bang for all the right reasons.

The Safer and Stronger Communities partnership involving North East Lincolnshire Council, Humberside Police and Humberside Fire and Rescue Services are taking a joint approach to ensure that the public stay safe at this time of the year.

Their work includes offering advice and monitoring activity in relation to the legal use and possession of fireworks. Additionally, engagement opportunities will be offered to young people around the area encouraging them to participate safely in the seasonal festivities, whilst residents will be urged to refrain from gathering refuse to build bonfires locally.

Spencer Hunt, Safer and Stronger Communities manager, is confident that the collective work from all partners will mean that everyone will enjoy their celebrations.

Mr Hunt said: “We’ve put into a place a number of measures in the build up to Halloween and Bonfire Night to ensure that businesses, the community and agencies work together to ensure that young people, families and vulnerable people enjoy the season.

“We don’t want to spoil people’s fun but this is about ensuring that they do this responsibly and not at the cost of other people’s well-being. We will be issuing a host of advice over the following weeks but initially we want people to start planning what firework and bonfire displays they will enjoy. We would like to encourage people to attend organised events rather than putting on their own displays as often this is where problems can occur.”

The following organised events are taking place:

1/11/14 – Pleasure Island Fireworks Display. 1430 – 2000

2/11/14 – Blossom Way Fireworks Display. 1730 – 2000

5/11/14 – Lucarly’s Fireworks Display. 1700 – 2000

7/11/14 – Scartho Rugby Club. 1800 – 2200

8/11/14 – Waltham Windmill Fireworks Display. 1700 -2100

Inspector Andy Parsons said: “Our aim through Operation Kincorth continues to be to make sure the public can enjoy the festivities at this time of year safely and without having to put up with the sort of anti social behaviour that a small minority of people were responsible for carrying out in previous years.

“As ever, Officers in North East Lincolnshire will be working closely with our partners and communities to ensure that those who want to have fun on Halloween and Bonfire night can do so without the small minority of trouble makers causing problems and potential hazards during the run up and on the nights themselves.

“I would also ask the public to think about their homes and valuables when leaving the house, or parking their cars to go and watch a display. Sadly trick or treaters may not be the only potential visitors looking to come away from your house with a prize, or to have a quick look what you might have left in your unattended vehicle.

“Please make sure your doors and other easy access points are securely locked, even if you are in your garden enjoying fireworks or simply in another part of your home and this could greatly reduce the chances of becoming a crime victim.

“Finally we particularly ask that while enjoying the Halloween and Bonfire night period, all members of the public look to do so in a way that will not harm or upset others. Parents and those with caring responsibilities for children have a very important part to play and should know where their children are, what they are doing and ensure that they have an understanding that not everybody will be wishing to take part in the ‘festive spirit’ and to respect their privacy and wishes accordingly.”

If you are a Trick or Treater you are urged to follow the Haunter’s Code. Householders can use our posters to indicate whether Trick or Treaters are welcome.

2568-thumbThe Haunters Code                                      2569-thumbNo Trick or Treaters

N E Lincs Council calls for more adopters in National Adopters Week

Throughout National Adoption Week North East Lincolnshire Council is calling out to anyone considering adoption to come forward to find out about how they can provide a secure, permanent and loving home for two or more children.

Making the decision to adopt is one of the biggest steps anyone can make; it can also be the most rewarding. Adoption is all about making a difference to children’s lives by providing a stable, loving and permanent home.

North East Lincolnshire Council is looking for adoptive families for 18 children. Among these are five sibling groups for whom it is very important to stay together. One group of three and four groups of two are all looking for a caring and loving home. Being placed with a brother or sister can help a child settle into a new family and have a positive sense of who they are. For most people their relationships with their brothers and sisters are the longest lasting relationship they will have.

Adopters, Mark and Sarah said about their adoption experience:

“Since we adopted a sibling group of two under-5’s we haven’t looked back. The bond between the children is great to see and having each other has been the one constant in their lives – which they will continue to have throughout childhood to adulthood. Adopting a sibling group is not easy – it’s life changing – and can be more work than a single child. We definitely didn’t know what being tired was until they came to live with us but for us it was definitely the right decision to do and it has made our family complete.”

Have you been thinking about adoption? Come along to our information events to find out more:

• Tesco’s community room, Cleethorpes, Tuesday 4 November between 1:00pm and 3:00pm
• Kenwick Park Hotel, Tuesday 4 November between 6:00pm and 8:00pm
• Humber Royal Hotel, Thursday 6 November between 6:00pm and 8:00pm

Or contact us in the following ways:

Web: www.nelincs.gov.uk/adoption
Tel: (01472) 326292 option 2
Twitter: @fosteradoptnel

Annette Brooke MP urges ‘Get Ready for Winter’

With winter on the way, Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Mid Dorset and North Poole, has called on her constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills. This week, Annette attended an event with British Gas to learn more about what help was available.

Annette said:

“It is really important to be prepared for winter and I want all my constituents to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is so important and I advise everyone to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy said,

“We know that household budgets are tight and many people will be concerned about their winter energy bill. There is help available, and we urge customers to get in touch to find out what advice and support is on offer.”

“In the long term, energy efficiency is still the best way to save money on bills. British Gas is pleased to be working with the Government to roll out help much more widely – 90 per cent of homes that need insulation can now get it for free, and you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to sign up. We’d advise everyone to find out if their home needs help to avoid missing out.”

British Gas has provided the following information in relation to getting ready for winter:

Insulate your home

One of the best ways to be energy efficient and keep your home warm is to insulate it. British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation which is available to 90% of homes that need it. Loft insulation can save up to £145 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £150 per year. To find out more you can call free on 0800 316 4051 or visit britishgas.co.uk/insulation

Get the best deal

Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. There are lots of deals and fixed prices to help you control your costs..

Financial support

Constituents may be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year around 550,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount – a one off discount of £135 on the electricity bill, rising to £140 this year. British Gas customers should call 0800 072 8625.

British Gas Energy Trust

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. The Trust is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Over the last decade British Gas has provided it with more than £75 million to help 120,000 people with grants and debt advice.

British Gas has teamed up with 18 debt centres across the UK to fund support workers to help people apply for a grant and provide face-to-face advice. You don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply. For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: britishgasenergytrust.org.uk

N E Lincs cemetery and crematorium charges set to rise

Fees and charges at North East Lincolnshire’s cemeteries and crematorium were discussed by the council’s cabinet today.

Coincidentally, this took place only days after it was revealed by insurer SunLife that the “cost of dying” is more than 10 per cent higher nationally than it was this time last year.

According to their annual report, the company revealed that in the UK, the average cost of services including probate, headstones, flowers and the burial or cremation fee is now £8,427.

Locally, the fees and charges levied by the cemetery and crematorium service have remained low in comparison to the national picture and, more specifically, to neighbouring authorities.

For example, North East Lincolnshire Council currently charges £579 for an exclusive rights of burial, in comparison to £930 in North Lincolnshire and £1,250 in Hull.

The cost of a cremated remains internment in the borough is also currently the lowest in the region at £88, in comparison to £98 in North Lincolnshire and £220 in Hull.

The cabinet also agreed to align local fees with North Lincolnshire Council, relating to cemetery burials, woodlands burials, non-viable foetus and over-running of cremations charges.

A copy of the full cabinet report can be viewed at http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/committees.aspx?commid=10&meetid=2267