undermines North West interests
FOLLOWING David Cameron's
speech on Europe on Wednesday, 23 January 2012, North West Labour
Euro MP Arlene McCarthy said:- "Cameron's speech was not
about advancing Britain's interests in Europe or speaking to the
nation. Cameron has only succeeded in kicking the referendum into
the long grass for 4 more years. His speech was riddled with 'ifs'
and 'buts' - if he is re-elected and if he can negotiate a "new
settlement" with Europe; it's hard to know exactly what the British
people are being offered. Only 3 months ago Cameron flatly rejected
the idea of an in/out referendum. This speech is a deception and a
con designed to placate Eurosceptics in his own party. In 2012, the
North West's exports reached its highest ever level. Germany, France
and Ireland are among our 5 biggest customers, despite the Eurozone
crisis and exports to the Netherlands and Belgium are growing. In 3
months alone we exported goods worth 3.42 billion pounds to the EU;
more than any other country. Outside London and the South East we
are the biggest exporter region in the UK. Companies wanting to
invest in the North West are none the wiser after this non-speech.
On the contrary, the uncertainty of this government's commitment to
Europe and our economic future persists. It is an unnecessary gamble
and risks jobs and investment at a time when people want jobs and
growth to be the top priority. My priority as a Euro MP is to
continue to encourage the EU to invest and trade with the North
Arlene pledged to continue to work with business to ensure the North
West gets the benefits of EU membership. She added:- "So far
Cameron's actions have failed to impress any of our EU partners and
he has no chance of getting reform with this attitude. We will get
on with our quiet diplomacy, working towards a flexible, adaptable
and open EU and speaking up for North West people and business'
France responded quickly to Cameron's speech and offered to
"roll out the red carpet" for Britain if it chooses to leave
the EU. France stands to gain hugely from the relocation of
businesses seeking to remain in the internal market if Cameron is
preparing Britain's exit.
GMB SAYS BIS
WORKPLACE DISPUTES MEASURES WILL NOT LEAD TO MORE NEW JOBS
THE use of "settlement agreements"
with no pre-existing dispute, sends a signal to employers that it is
acceptable to sack employees for any arbitrary reason says GMB.
The union commented on the package of measures to stop workplace
disputes ending up at Employment Tribunal that was set out on
Thursday, 17 January 2013, by Employment Relations Minister. See
notes to editors for press statement from BIS.
Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for legal and corporate affairs,
said:- "The measures announced by the Employment Relations
Minister today on resolving workplace disputes, are more 'slash and
burn' of employee rights at work. Where is the evidence that any of
this will create jobs or growth?"
Employees who have been unfairly dismissed should receive
compensation that reflects their losses. This arbitrary 12 month cap
on the compensatory award fails to do that, particularly in the
current difficult environment. It will disadvantage vulnerable
groups such as older workers who are more likely to have accrued
higher pension rights and who find it more difficult to find new
The use of "settlement agreements"; whereby an employer can offer an
employee a sum of money and a settlement agreement in return for
leaving their employment even though there is no pre-existing
dispute; sends a clear signal to employers that it is acceptable to
sack employees for any arbitrary reason.
Theoretically employees may be able to refuse an offer, but they
will know that if they remain in work they will be victimised and
bullied. The lack of clarity over the meaning of "improper
behaviour" proposed in the Code continues and will result in more
confusion and litigation.
The Government has already slashed employee rights. The introduction
of fees for employment tribunals later this year and extending the
qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim to 2 years
will make it much harder for employees to pursue claims in any
Cutting back on employee protection by watering down TUPE is a
disgrace. TUPE protects employees who transfer from one employer to
another after the acquisition of a business. Removing service
provision changes; which often arise in public to private transfers;
from the scope of TUPE will encourage unscrupulous employers to cut
terms and conditions. The inclusion of service provision changes in
TUPE by the previous Government had created certainty in an area
which had previously been fraught with litigation over when TUPE
applied. This litigation will return."
What are your views on this?
Do you agree with the GMB or not?
Email your views to our newsroom, via emailing us
CALLING COMMUNITY CHOIRS:
CHANCE TO PERFORM WITH WORLD CLASS VIRTUOSO GUITARIST EDUARDO NIEBLA
"THIS is about resilience, protecting the
frontline and planning for the future." That's the message
from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire.
Clive Grunshaw has been speaking after unveiling his
first Budget, which will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel
on Tuesday, 29 January 2013. The Commissioner is asking residents to
pay 5 pence extra per week for Policing in next year's Council Tax
Some of the additional revenue will be used to fund an extra 50
The Commissioner said:- "I want to ensure that Lancashire
Constabulary remains resilient in the current financial climate and
to enable an additional 50 Police officers to be recruited to
maintain frontline Policing numbers. My proposed budget for 2013/14
is realistic and prudent and that approach combined with the
efficiency programme is designed to help the Constabulary maintain
the impressive level of service provided to our local communities."
Clive Grunshaw will present his proposed Budget report to the Police
and Crime Panel on 29 January 2013. The Panel will be asked to
review and make a report on the proposed increase in the Policing
element of Council Tax by an extra £3 per year for a Band D
property, equivalent to just over 5 pence extra per week.
"Protecting the frontline…"
The Commissioner added:- "I pledged to protect the frontline
and this budget allows me to do that by recruiting an extra 50
frontline Police officers to ensure resilience. I committed to keep
the Policing precept as low as possible and while I recognise that
this will cost households a few pounds extra, I know from recent
consultations that Lancashire residents will support this modest
"Planning for the future…"
In proposing this increase, the Commissioner rejected the offer of a
one-off 1% government grant for freezing the Policing precept:-
"I am disappointed that the Government has not reflected the
particular circumstances and pressures facing Lancashire by
providing a higher threshold for referendums as it did in 2012/13.
We have the 6th lowest precept of any Shire area and our funding
problems remain acute. I believe that acceptance of the Government
grant would hurt the service in the long term by storing up greater
financial pressures onto what is already a difficult budget and
could potentially result in future reductions in the Police service.
This Government fought to introduce locally elected Police and Crime
Commissioners and is at the same time trying to stop them from doing
what local people want."
Consultation across Lancashire on the budget showed that 82%, of
respondents were willing to pay more than the required £3.75 needed
to maintain current service levels and that continued delivery of
high quality, visible Policing services were a priority.
To date (Dec 2012) £31 million has been saved through a series of
organisational reviews and Constabulary has sought to use its
resources as effectively as possible.
This proposed budget for 2013/14 will see a further £6 million saved
and plans are already in place for a further £3 million saving. A
further £20 million saving is required over the next 3 financial
The Commissioner continued:- "The continued drive to realise
further savings from the Police budget, above that already taken out
is extremely challenging. While there can be no doubt that the
financial prospects over the next 2 years remain daunting, it is my
responsibility to ensure a stable resource base over the coming
year, so that the Constabulary has the resources needed to continue
to deliver high quality services."
* This figure relates to a Band D property. Band D Council Tax will
increase from £149.93 in 12/13 to £152.93 in 13/14.
Have a fling on Burns Night
SCOTTISH people and non-Scots alike are being
invited to join in Liverpool's newest Burns Night celebration. St
George's Hall is holding a ceilidh on Friday, 25 January 2013, the
first time a Burn Night celebration has been staged in the hall. The
night marks the birthday of Scottish national poet, Robert 'Rabbie'
Burns and is celebrated throughout the world with music, food and
dance. Merseyside Band Gallimaufry will be performing, and guiding
everyone through the dance steps at the ceilildh, an evening of
Scottish/Celtic dancing. Everyone is taught the dance by the band's
caller, and dances are performed in large mixed groups. You don't
have to be a dancer to take part, just willing to have fun. As well
as the dancing and music there is also a traditional Scottish buffet
of Haggis; with a vegetarian variety; neeps (turnips) and tatties
(potatoes) and a bar where wee drams of whisky will be plentiful.
Deputy Lord Mayor and trustee of St George's Hall, Councillor Gary
Millar, said:- "In the words of the Scots Bard,,, 'Don't be a
wee sleekit cowerin' tim'rous beastie.' No, you don't have to be
Scottish to enjoy Burns Night, everybody is welcome; it's going to
be a lot of fun and we hope it is the start of a tradition at St
George's Hall." Doors open at:- 7.30pm and entrance is via
the North entrance (opposite Walker Art Gallery). Tickets are:- £10
per person (includes buffet) and can be purchased in advance from:-
St George's Hall Heritage Centre, St Johns Lane on:- 0151 225 6909
or 0151 225 6903.