Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Colorado and Economic Recovery

While in Colorado for a friend's wedding, I passed two major roads being widened with signs saying that the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" was responsible for the new infrastructure. The Act was passed this year. The road improvements are being built now. What a contrast to the often promised but not delivered upgrading of the A14.

Before the knee-jerk anti-Americans reach for their pens at this observation, Colorado is submitting a plan for a high speed rail project too.

Richard Normington

"Not the Comfy Chair!"

Cambridge City Council spent £543.20 each for two plush chairs for its CCTV staff.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This is a ridiculous and excessive expense that is simply unnecessary. Yes, monitoring CCTV cameras involves sitting down all day, but so do most other jobs and no other office workers need such expensive chairs. The council have got to realise that local taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet in the recession, and that means the people spending taxpayers' money must be more careful with it. Luxuries like this in council offices should be a thing of the past."

Surveillance staff may, to some, be the equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, but this takes Monty Python too far.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cambridgeshire Should Now Rule Out Congestion Charging

The Cambridgeshire Transport Commission has now released its report into transport and congestion in Cambridge.

Cambridge City Conservatives say that the Transport Commissioner's report, which was released today, does not go far enough and should rule out congestion charging completely.

The Transport Commission has taken the third way and wants to accept the government's conditions by kicking congestion charging into the long grass.

The commission has failed to take into account that a general election is due in less than a year. If elected, the Conservatives have nationally pledged to allow TIF bids to be submitted without the congestion charge blackmail.

Much of the report's reasoning assumes massive levels of housing development forced through by government targets, but a Conservative government would scrap housing targets leaving us with the more managable situation of organic housing growth.

Commenting on the news Richard Normington, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge, said:

"We will want to read the report carefully. However, the question of charging is now clearly in the hands of the County Councillors.

"Cambridge needs investment but not at the price demanded by this government. The Conservative Group called for the congestion charge to be decoupled from the bid for money. The Group should now stand by its principles and reject Labour's blackmail."

21st July 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Government spends 52% more on News and PR

From today's Guardian comes the story that the government's 'Spend on "news and PR" grw by
52% year on year from £26.9m to £40.9m.'

And some people thought the priority would be 'education, education, education'.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Conservative Campaign to Improve Conditions for the Disabled.

“The very painful thing about disability," said David Cameron,"whether your own or your loved one's - is the feeling that the situation is out of your control. When the system that surrounds you is very top-down, very bureaucratic, very inhuman that can only increase your feelings of helplessness. So the really big difference you can make is not just to make the interaction with the state more personal - through health visitors and local voluntary organisations not just to make it less combative, through sensible statementing or more compassionate, with regular respite care.

The big boost you can give people is putting power and control right into the hands of parents, carers or those with disabilities - through personal budgets and direct payments. That means that instead of giving a little bit of money from health, a little bit from education, a little bit from children's services, we say 'here is the total budget for you or your child, you choose how it's broken down.'

One pound in every four that the state spends on children with disabilities goes on the form-filling and commissioning - and not the care. David Cameron said, “In these times of tight budgets, we need to make sure the money we do spend is better spent. If we don't we are failing disabled people and their families. And it's not just expensive for the state - it's exhausting for the parents. Instead of having to bash down every door, the door marked disability permit, the door marked special education, the door marked benefit entitlement, why can't we have one door that opens on to all the things parents need?”

Read the full speech at

19th July 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why wait six months for training?

Individuals on Job Seeker's Allowance should be allowed to volunteer immediately for retraining instead of being made to wait six months. With record unemployment figures coming out, people need help, not delays.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tory Aid plan to Boost Aid, Not Bureaucracy.

"Today’s Green Paper on International Development is good news. For example, we have some great, but small, charities here in Cambridge. So I welcome in particular a performance-based Poverty Impact Fund which will enable some of the smallest NGOs to access government funding," commented Richard Normington, Cambridge's Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman.

13th July 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia

I have just returned from a three-country tour promoting British financial, insurance, accounting and legal services. It is wonderful to be back in time for Green Britain Day, with the great blue sky, but the first-hand experience of helping British companies compete with world-class rivals was a great one.

There are a lot of countries looking to Cambridge for inspiration and for investment. One vital element in a successful financial services sector is a trained workforce. Education and training are some of our country’s great exports. A British qualification is an esteemed sign of success, and the English language remains a passport for prosperity. Cambridge can offer both.

We also found a lot of interest in how cities are planned and services are provided. When one Malaysian complained bitterly that his council ignored its own planning guidelines, I could tell him I know exactly how he felt about it!

Richard Normington

Green Britain Day

Well done to those Cambridge companies, organisations and individuals who supported Green Britain Day today.

Green Britain Day is a focal point for people to take action towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The initiative aims to inspire the nation to work together and lower the country's carbon footprint by the time the Olympic and Paralympic Games arrive in London in 2012.

10th July 2009