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  • Article: Jan 15, 2014

    We eagerly scan the newsagents for headlines and pictures of queuing buses and extra inbound flights bringing the hordes of immigrants from Romania & Bulgaria so confidently predicted by our tabloid print media. Over two weeks after restrictions were lifted, and no doubt to their huge disappointment, such pictures were there none. The UK Border Agency has not published any figures. Holland has - 21 Romanians and 15 Bulgarians. The Romanian Ambassador to the UK says 24 of his countrymen have come here. Wind back to 11th November & the Daily Mail reported " The mayor of two Romanian villages has claimed that up to half of their residents will move to the UK - - - ". According to Private Eye [No 1354] a Romanian Newspaper went to investigate & discovered that an English Lady, who did not disclose she was a journalist, went to village and offered a fantastic job in the UK to an individual who not surprisingly said he would come. He was mortified when told the truth as was the angry mayor. Another putty medal for British tabloid investigative journalism.

  • Article: Jan 15, 2014
    By James Lyons in http://www.mirror.co.uk/

    One Labour MP accused the cuts of bringing "absolute poverty" back to Britain for the first time since the Victorian age

    Inquiry: MPs have voted to explore the impact of Government benefit cutsInquiry: MPs have voted to explore the impact of Government benefit cuts
    George Clerk

    MPs have voted for an inquiry into the impact of Government benefit cuts.

    A cross-party motion calling for a proper assessment of the affects of slashing welfare payments was passed by a majority of 123 after coalition MPs boycotted the vote.

    Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said the 125 to two result was a fresh evidence that the Government was a "shambles".

    Ministers will be desperate to ignore the result but it will fuel demands for the Tory-led coalition to properly investigate what is happening to the poor and vulnerable.

    It came after veteran Labour MP Michael Meacher warned that the brutal cuts had brought "absolute poverty" back to Britain for the first time since the Victorian age.

    The left-wing former minister accused Chancellor George Osborne of causing the "cruel and unnecessary imposition of poverty".

    And he slammed the "Dickensian" bedroom tax and Atos, the firm tasked with carrying out work capability assessments.

    "I think it is clear something terrible is happening across the face of Britain - we are seeing the return of absolute levels of poverty which have not existed in this country since the Victorian age more than a century ago," he said.

    Michael Meacher in the Commons'Dickensan': Michael Meacher slammed the bedroom tax in the Commons

    Tory MP David T.C. Davies claimed his party was united in backing the welfare cuts - and sparked fury by suggesting that the jobless are "watching television all day".

    Unemployed people should have to take the first job that becomes available to them, the Commons select committee chairman said.

    "That is the way forward and that is what the Government is trying to encourage at the moment, through the use of sanctions and through, frankly, making it difficult for people to just around watching the television all day."

    Labour's David Winnick, said his remarks were proof that the Tories were "in a state of denial over the increasing poverty in this country" as a result of their policies.

    Mr Winnick said it was "a repeat" of Tory claims that growing poverty was "a figment of our imagination" that he first heard under Thatcher.

    "It wasn't a figment of our imagination then, and it's not now."

    Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley, who jointly proposed the motion, said: "What we need is a commission where we have statistics we can all rely on, as we do at the ONS (Office for National Statisitics), IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) and the Office for Budget Responsibility."

    Lib Dem John Hemming, who also put his name to the motion, added: "My own preference would be for a parliamentary inquiry."

  • Article: Jan 6, 2014

    At his monthly News Conference Chancellor George Osborne has warned that a further £25bn spending cuts - much of it from the welfare budget - will be needed after the next election. Only by reducing welfare, he suggested, could a future government avoid either cuts in areas such as education, "big tax rises" or increased borrowing. So there we have Tory ideology in a few words: NO TAX RISES. As the Tories move ever further away from the Party that the LibDems initially supported in coalition Nick Clegg's reaction was that expecting all future sacrifices to come from the working poor was extreme unrealistic and unfair. He said he had a "very different vision" from the Conservatives about how to balance the books during the next Parliament and believed the wealthy should pay more in tax. At his own monthly news conference, Mr Clegg said the "black hole" in the government's finances needed to be addressed and he fully supported the government's aim of eliminating the structural deficit by 2017-8 but he said he strongly opposed welfare cuts on the scale set out by Mr Osborne whose plans showed the Conservatives wanted to "remorselessly pare back the state for ideological reasons" and make "cuts for cuts sake". The LibDems would set out their own plans in due course to do it in a "fairer way".

  • Article: Jan 6, 2014

    This article was originally published in the North Devon Journal.

    As we near the end of 2013, we look back at a turn in Britain's economic fortunes. Employment is at a record high, and unemployment at its lowest in nearly five years. Since the spending review of 2010, a staggering 1.6 million new private sector jobs have been created.

  • Article: Oct 23, 2013

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

    "I am saddened to hear of INEOS' plans to place petrochemicals business into administration, particularly because of the impact it will have on the workforce and local community.

    "While respecting INEOS' right to make this decision, it is regrettable that both parties have not managed to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement that delivers a viable business model for the plant.

    "Even at this late stage, I urge INEOS to continue dialogue with the workforce, and Government will offer help and support with this.

    "INEOS have informed us that the refinery will stay open and the management wish to restart full operations as soon as possible.
    "We stand ready to help with discussions between the management and the union to ensure this can happen.

    "Fuel supplies continue to be delivered as usual and there is no current risk of disruption to supplies.

    "I continue to work very closely with the Scottish Government, and other colleagues across Government to share information with them."

  • Article: Oct 17, 2013

    Figures from the Office for National Statistics show crime against households is down by 7 per cent compared with the same time last year and has hit the lowest level since the record began in 1981.

    Norman Baker said:

    "The drop in number of crimes is very welcome. It shows we are tackling crime better than any time during the last 30 years and are providing safer communities for people than Labour ever did.
    "Police reform is working and crime is falling. Recorded crime has dropped yet again and now by more than ten per cent under the Coalition Government.
    "People have the right to go about their daily lives without being scared of becoming victims of crime, and it is Lib Dems in the Coalition Government who are helping to make their lives safer."

  • Article: Oct 16, 2013

    Across the UK the number of unemployed people in the UK has dropped by 18,000 in the last three months.

    The figures released show that the number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance has fallen by 41,700.

    Today's figures also show that the total number of people in employment is at a new record high, with 29.87 million people in work between June and August.

    Commenting, Liberal Democrat Minister for the Department of Work and Pensions Steve Webb said:

  • Nick Clegg and school dinners (Dave Radcliffe)
    Article: Sep 18, 2013

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg used his speech to Liberal Democrat conference to announce that all pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from September 2014, with equivalent funding for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    In addition, disadvantaged students at sixth form colleges and further education colleges in England will also be eligible for free school meals also from next September. Money is also being provided for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but as education is a devolved issue, it will be up to those running schools there to decide whether to spend the money on free lunches.

  • Article: May 9, 2013

    A massive thank you to everyone who worked hard in this year's local elections. It's been another tough year in our journey from a party of protest to a party of Government, but where it matters most, in our Parliamentary seats, we've stayed strong and even made gains, beating the Conservatives by 5% of the vote.

  • Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable
    Article: Apr 28, 2013

    Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has launched the first phase of a business bank aimed at helping smaller firms struggling to access finance.

    A £300m will be initially invested in the venture, the first slice of £1bn of new capital with the first transactions likely to take place by the autumn, although small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were urged to submit an expression of interest by 22 May.

Video of Recent Devon County Council Meetings