Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Birkdale bins and the strike

With many wheelie bins in Birkdale due to be collected tomorrow I have received the following press release from the council:

Due to national public sector strike action planned for Wednesday, November 30, 2011, waste collection services across Sefton will be affected.

 The weekly green box and food waste recycling collection services will continue to operate in all areas as normal on Wednesday, November 30 and for the rest of the week.

 All households that are due to have their grey or green wheelie bin emptied on Wednesday, November 30, will not receive a collection on that day.

 Residents scheduled for a grey wheelie bin collection on November 30 are being asked to place their bin out for collection by 6.30am the following day (Thursday, December 1) and leave it out until collected - this maybe on Friday, December 2. These details also apply to residents on the clear refuse sack collection.

 For residents who have a grey wheelie bin collection on Thursday and Friday, December 1 and 2, these will operate as normal.

 Due to the strike action, no green wheelie bin collections for garden waste will take place between November 30 and December 2. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 The wheelie bin collection service will operate as normal from Tuesday, December 6 onwards, and residents are asked to refer to their collection calendar for details.

 For more information about this service and to check the pattern of collections during the Christmas/New Year holiday period please visit www.sefton.gov.uk or call 0845 140 0845.



Birkdale’s Lib Dem councillors have been working hard to try and minimise massive disruption expected in Birkdale Village from next week.

A £1 million scheme to rebuild the pedestrian subway under the railway line at Birkdale Station is due to start on Monday 5th December – just days before Christmas.

The project will mean that the present Liverpool Road entrance to the 90 space Birkdale station car park will be closed for 2 months to allow a site compound to be located next to the subway. 

Birkdale Lib Dem councillor Richard Hands has voiced his concern at the early December start date for the scheme in the heart of Birkdale Village.

“I am appalled that Network Rail have decided to start this project just before Christmas.  There was certainly no consultation with local councillors about this.  It is going to cause a lot of upset to residents and commuters.”

“What concerns me is that, after the town centre, Birkdale village is one of Southport’s premier shopping locations.  In these difficult times, it is vital that organisations like Network Rail don’t cause more disruption than they have to.”

In a letter to residents, Network Rail point out that “the entrance to the station car park will be closed for the duration of the works and access to the station car park will be locally diverted to the South entrance off Welbeck Road.”

Following representations from local residents Councillor Simon Shaw has been active in pressing the Council to introduce temporary double yellow lines in part of Welbeck Road.  Residents have been worried that commuters trying to access the temporary entrance to the station car park could cause gridlock.

“Richard and I recognise that residents in the area face a difficult two months or so.  That’s why I met with Network Rail and their contractors on site recently to discuss a number of concerns raised by people who live nearby,” said Cllr Shaw. 

“I asked the rail authorities whether there was any other option to the temporary closing of the present entrance to the car park.  However there really does seem to be no alternative.”

“There were also concerns about the safety of pedestrians using the footpath from Dover Road to the station who will now find cars entering or leaving the car park crossing their path.  Network Rail have agreed to erect safety barriers on the footpath.”

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lancs flag

At the raising of the Lancs flag to celebrate the victory of Lancs County Cricket Club at Southport Town Hall today

The photo shows Warren Hegg Lancs cricketer, The Mayor, IBB, Hadn Preece etc

Flying The Lancashire Flag at Southport Town Hall

A press release from Sefton MBC

This follows on from the motion I proposed last month at the Southport Area Committee which arose from a question from Geoff Carter. The flag at Southport was donated by Brian Birch of Birkdale

A special flag is flying at Southport Town Halls to celebrate Lancashire County Cricket Club winning the County Championship.

 It was the first time in 77 years since the county won the championship outright and the Lancashire Flag will be seen flapping above both civic buildings in recognition of the cricket club's achievements.

 The flags will be seen for a week commencing Monday, November 2 - this coincides with Lancashire Day which falls on Sunday, November 27.

 It was agreed at Full Council on October 27 to fly the flags following a motion submitted by Lib Dem Cllr Tony Robertson.

 The motion also congratulated Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club who hosted a championship match at their Trafalgar Road base which drew record crowds.

 To celebrate the occasion, former Lancashire County Cricket Club captain and wicketkeeper, Warren Hegg, joined the Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Paul Cummins, at Southport Town Hall to unfurl one of the flags.

 Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Paul Cummins, said: "A big congratulation must go to Lancashire County Cricket Club for their achievement on winning the County Championship last season.

 "To wait 77 years for the honour shows just how hard it is to win such a coveted title.

 "The fact one of their games was also held in the borough, which I attended, was a real coup and it gives me great pleasure to see the Lancashire flag flying at both Bootle and Southport Town Halls in recognition of their fantastic exploits at the crease."

 Warren Hegg from LCCC added: "We are delighted that the Lancashire flag will be flown at Bootle and Southport Town Halls in recognition of the team’s achievement.

 "We were well supported during our match at Southport last season and I know the lads were very grateful for the backing they received.”


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Liberal Party business model at 60+

The Liberal Party has promoted various forms of co-ownership for nigh on a century. The chief example used by Liberals in the time of Grimond/Thorpe /Steel was the Northamptonshire employee owned firm of Scott Bader.

It is sad the Liberals do nor speak with such conviction about the advantages of employee ownership and if it is mentioned at all it seems to be in relation to public service reform or a marginal measure of mutualism

The model developed by Scott Bader and other forms of employee ownership are more relevant today than ever before. In the aftermath of the collapse of neo-con economic dogma a different model of capitalism is required. Many of the issues that the crude market economics failed to address- excessive executive pay, poor productivity, the shortermism of Directors focused solely on shareholder value, the failure to build sustainable job, the maldistribution of wealth etc find answers in employee ownership

Vince Cable's search for a way to control excessive pay would end if employees owned the company. The most impressive entrepreneur support system has been developed amongst employee owned companies.They have created and expanded businesses with an eye on the long term.

Who can forget the Kraft takeover of Cadbury's.

Anyway Scott Bader is now over sixty and has produced a little video which is well worth watching:

A little light amongst the gloom

UNEMPLOYMENT in the North West has dropped by 2.3% in the three months to September, official figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that a total of 293,000 people were unemployed in the region between July and September, 7,000 less than in the previous quarter.
The region’s unemployment rate was 8.5%.

Read More http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2011/11/16/north-west-unemployment-drops-by-2-3-92534-29787073/#ixzz1du3hbd4U

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The men of Birkdale who gave their lives...

Tomorrow morning I will go to St John's Birkdale . On Remembrance Sunday young people read out the names on the War Memorial of men who died in two World Wars.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Will Southport be to shale gas what Aberdeen is to North Sea Oil

John Pugh has made a speech on fracking. This is a very important issue around here. John's speech can be found here. It concludes:

The ball is in the Government’s court. If they and the agencies that want to exploit shale gas can show to all and sundry that they will hold the various companies concerned to the fire, until they agree to what is appropriate, safe and satisfactory and what passes all reasonable scientific tests, there may be an answer in shale gas for British energy supplies.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

What about a bout of Co-operative Quantitative Easing?

I'm not one of those who react with tribal anger to COMPASS's Plan B for the economy. I was actually quite pleased that at least some sections around the Labour Party were seriously engaging in the issue of how to get growth going, I also have a sneaking suspicion that if we had not taken on the burden of sharing government with the Tories(chiefly because the Labour Party had lost the public's confidence and hence their votes) we would be floating plans not too distant from Compass Plan B but with some distinct differences.

Like many Liberals I have been impressed with the arguments that David Boyle and others have put forward for 'Green  Quantitative Easing'. :

  • Put it directly into the new institution, buying small business bonds.
  • Buy bonds in the new Green Investment Bank, so that the money goes directly into loans that build the green economy (green quantitative easing).
In addition part of fixing the banking mess is to create regional (mutual) banks. I have long envied the regional banking structure in Germany and as I have mentioned before part of what most impressed Jo Grimond on his visit to the Mondragon Workers' Co-ops was their hybrid mutual bank which was the engine behind what has been called 'the most successful entrepreneurial support programme ever seen anywhere' .(The bank mentored and funded well over 100 businesses virtually without failure, all of them employee owned, independent and democratic....)David Erdal in Beyond the Corporation 

I have long believed (and so had our party) that we need to transform the ownership of businesses. We have the most regressive form of company ownership in Western Europe. The Director's only responsibility is to share holders who take short term decisions for a quick buck. We need to change the basis of ownership not to the hydra headed multi stakeholder model beloved by some new Labour folk, but straight forwardly to acknowledge the role of workers in wealth creation by giving them at least the same rights as share-holders and promoting outright employee ownership as our preferred model. Was I was young it was simple, Labour believed in Sate Ownership, Tories believed in Capital ownership and we believed in Employee Ownership. In some measure the others tacked towards the position we appear to have abandoned!

In the quest to get the banks to lend we want that to happen to sustainable businesses which create jobs and products for the long term. We are not interested in fattening up companies to be sold off and dismantled where the most significant beneficiaries are the investment bankers and the senior managers. Local Banks like Mondragon's Caja Laboral Popular should be our model and if the next round of quantitative easing can fund such new institutions well that is surely better than pouring money into the existing banking structure.

David Boyle interviewed in the Ecologist magazine made a similar point -but without the essential ingredient, Employee Ownership.

 DB: We are not going to sort out banking in this country until we split them up into a smaller scales. I don't just mean splitting up the investment banks from the ordinary retail banks. I think they've got to create a new small banking sector. Some of that is going to come out of the existing banks.
We are incredibly impoverished in this country, in our banks, compared to all the nations we compete with - France, Germany the US - where there is a huge diversity of banking and local banking.
I think we need a Community Reinvestment Act like they have in the States, which has in effect capitalised the new community banking sector.
I spent the first two months of this year is a town in western Massachusetts where there are 11 banks. Sure, there are arguments about whether or not they are vulnerable. But the fact is, they are flexible, they've got local knowledge, they can understand their local market and can lend on things other than property bubbles, which is currently all that our banks are lending on.
The Liberal Plan C should be based on reforming the company. That is the case we have argued for nigh on a century. For it to work we need financial institutions that will fund it as the present banks are failing. If we want businesses that are here for the long term spreading wealth through co-ownership and creating jobs that last we already know some of the key measures that need to be taken

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Empty Homes -an issue for Southport.

Well over 2000 homes are empty in Southport. Some have been left vacant for years. Whilst out canvassing on Sunday resident drew our attention to two such homes and several others are known to me. This issue impacts in several ways:

  • neighbours get very upset when they are striving to keep the property in good order when there is a neglected house in the street
  • there is a health risk from neglected properties from vermin, decaying structures etc
  • worst of all someone else is deprived of a home -especially when we have such a severe shortage
  • new homes are being proposed in the Green Belt before empty ones are brought back into use
Councillors are looking at ways to deal with this problem and there is a meeting tonight which will address the issue Our MP, John Pugh, has also been taking this issue up in parliament:

 John Pugh MP (Southport, Liberal Democrat)

What are the Government doing about empty homes and, in particular, homes above shops as a way of easing pressure on the green belt?

Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. We now have some 700,000 empty homes, of which over 300,000 have been empty for more than six months, and it remains a key priority of this Government to bring them back into use so that some of the 1.7 million families on council house waiting lists and the many more who would like to purchase their homes can do so.

Personally I welcome the move by the Government to tax empty properties at the full level of Council Tax. We have far too many properties left vacant above shops that could be brought into use and others where absent owners are just waiting for the property price to rise.