Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Need for Congestion Charging with a Conservative Government

A Conservative Government would drop Labour's demands for Congestion Charging to be included in TIF bids for vital transport infrastructure funding.

With the recent resignation of Ruth Kelly as Transport Secretary, Cambridge Conservatives call upon Labour to drop their congestion charging blackmail and allow Cambridgeshire to submit a bid for the funds that we need to support the growth planned for our area without having to wait for a Conservative Government.

Andrew Bower

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two-year freeze in council tax welcomed.

The announcement of a council tax freeze at the Conservative Conference will save a typical Band D household over £200 a year.

For years the council tax was used by Labour as the ultimate stealth tax. Now, instead of council tax bills going up year after year under Labour, people will get help at the time they need it most. The costs for the council tax freeze will be shared between local and central government. Any council that makes savings to keep its annual council tax increase to 2.5 per cent or below will receive extra money from central government to reduce council tax bills by a further 2.5 per cent.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Conservatives to Restore Weekly Rubbish Collections

City Conservatives welcome the news that a Conservative Government would help to restore weekly refuse collections.

The Labour Government has been bullying individuals, families and local councils with ever more draconian measures to force them to recycle, including land fill taxes for overstretched local authorities, the prospect of microchips in bins and encouraging neighbours to spy on each other.

Conservative-controlled Cambridgeshire County Council is streets ahead of the rest of the country with a recycling rate of 54.4%, compared with an average for England of 33.9%. A survey by the County Council shows that residents are enthusiastic about playing their part in looking after our planet. But many people, while willing to do their best to separate their rubbish out fully, find the two-week gap between collections leads to storage difficulties and hygiene problems.

The proposals from Conservative Local Government spokesman Eric Pickles include:

  • Changing Whitehall policy so that there is an expectation that councils should offer full weekly collections, reversing Labour’s policy of bin cuts

  • Offering central funding to all councils for a proper weekly collection, as well as comprehensive recycling collections

  • Scrapping Gordon Brown’s plans for new bin taxes

Local campaigner Andrew Bower says, "Improving the service experienced by residents does not have to lead to a reduction in recycling rates. With some imagination we should be able to improve both. These latest proposals from Eric Pickles are just what we need in Cambridge."

27th September 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Liberal Democrats finally get a mention in 'The Sun'...

"Taxes for Libs"

"WE RARELY waste space on the unworldly Lib Dems.

They spend too much time trying to raise taxes, increase spending and surrender to Brussels.

That’s why they are on a miserable 16 per cent in the polls.

But what’s this? The sandal-wearers have had a brainstorm. They want to SLASH spending, CUT taxes and ditch plans to join the euro?

Why don’t they save time and just join the Tories?"

.... Because the leadership will say anything to gain a vote, is the most likely answer. Just as they chased Labour supporters in earlier elections to maximise an anti-Conservative vote, now the Lib Dems are trying to be 'more anti-Labour than thou' in search of Conservative support.

The choice at the next election is between a Labour or a Conservative government. Ticking the 'don't know' box will not move Labour out of Downing Street, and having a 'don't know'' MP means that the city will never get a voice heard at the heart of government, able to influence debates and stand up for the city's interests on the issues that matter.

Richard Normington

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lib Dems Refuse to Reform Scrutiny at Guildhall

Once again the Lib Dems running Cambridge City Council ducked an opportunity to improve the quality of decisions made by the council at a full meeting of the council last night.  They should learn from the County Council, which this year won an award for the quality of its scrutiny.

Since the Local Government Act 2000, district councils, like the City Council, have been required to adopt one of a number of 'strong government' models.  Cambridge therefore replaced the old committee system with a set of 'executive councillors'.

Unfortunately the Lib Dems have chosen to stuff all of the scrutiny committees with chairmen from their own group, rendering those committees completely useless at holding the executive to account.

While City Conservatives respect the right of the elected ruling Lib Dem group to try to implement its own set of priorities, the crony scrutiny system is unacceptable.

Both Lib Dem and Labour county councillors from within Cambridge have been known to praise the County Council for running an effective scrutiny system and allowing opposition councillors to chair scrutiny committees and even the Lib Dem leader, Mr Clegg, has praised (p. 6) his party in Kingston for running such a system.  We challenge the local Lib Dems to think again.

Andrew Bower

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today's Letter on Post Office closures

This letter was published in today's Cambridge Evening News, but not in the online edition:

Dear sir,

The letter (3rd September) from a Labour spokesman on Post Office closures was both eloquent and deficient.

He is right to point out the failures of the closure consultation process. The plans to shut St Johns Post Office in Hills Road are deeply flawed for reasons that he, and Chris Howell his Conservative successor as a Coleridge councillor, have set out.

However, from his letter there is no sense of Labour’s responsibility for the closure scheme in the first place. He does not, for obvious reasons, tell us that it is a Labour government that started the closure process. Labour have set the guidelines for deciding those closures with no positive campaign to find better ways of delivering Post Office services, or expanding into new services.

When even Labour candidates distance themselves from their own government, isn’t it time for change?

Yours faithfully,

Richard Normington

Richard Normington

Parliamentary Spokesman

City of Cambridge Conservatives

Monday, September 8, 2008

Union reveals Cambridge City tax collection rate worsens.

Cambridge City Council’s tax collection rate worsened by £110,000 compared to last year, according to figures released today by the GMB trade union. 

A grand total of £1,139,000 of tax was not collected by the Liberal Democrat council.  It continues to hold the unenviable position at the bottom of the county’s collection efficiency league table.   


Sunday, September 7, 2008

More Reasons to Doubt ID Card Plans

Today the Government announced losing the details of a further 5,000 people, this time employees of the Justice Ministry. See “Data on 5,000 justice staff lost" - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7602402.stm.

These are 5,000 further reasons why the proposed national identity register, a necessary part of the ID Cards scheme, needs to be stopped.

The ID Cards database would become a government-hosted one-stop-shop for identity thieves.

Richard Normington

Thursday, September 4, 2008

If They Haven't Heard You, You Haven't Said It

If there are issues that concern you or your family, and you want to know where the City Conservatives stand on them, don't wait for the local press but use the feedback forms to get in touch.

If They Haven’t Heard You, You Haven’t Said It,” is a quote from a former Downing Street adviser. One of the roles of this website is to enable Cambridge residents to read views and comments that are not found in the local papers. This absence is not due to a lack of press releases, or not attending meetings, but because the information is not always taken up by the media.

Examples this year of news omissions or diversions include…
Richard Normington

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labour's Stamp Duty Dithering

Today’s announcement on Stamp Duty is almost two months after the city Tories called for action.

Richard Normington, the City’s Conservative spokesman, said, “We called for action on Stamp Duty on 4th July. Labour reacted two months later. Labour’s Stamp Duty dithering stalled the housing market unnecessarily. This is too little, too late.”

"We believe in encouraging homeownership, not putting obstacles in people’s way. And that is why the next Conservative Government will abolish Stamp Duty for 9 out of 10 first-time buyers. Anyone who buys their first home for under £250,000 will pay no Stamp Duty at all. This will take 200,000 people a year out of Stamp Duty altogether."

The economy has not improved in the two month dither:

“Today the OECD, an independent judge of Britain’s economic performance, predicts the second half of the year will see us in recession. So much for Labour’s supposed end to ‘Boom and Bust’. ”

2nd September 2008