Foster MEP pledges to continue her fight to ensure that e-cigarettes
are freely available
MEMBERS of the European Parliament's Environment and Public
Health committee (ENVI) have voted in favour of regulating
electronic cigarettes as a medicinal product. A move that the
Parliament's own Legal Affairs committee said constitutes a ban.
Jacqueline Foster MEP, a leading member of the ENVI committee, was
one of a group of MEPs who voted against this proposal, believing
that medicines regulation would undermine the proven potential of
electronic cigarettes in weaning hardened smokers off tobacco.
The final decision on this issue will be taken in September when all
MEPs will vote on this issue. Ahead of this vote, Jacqueline Foster
visited Totally Wicked, a North West based electronic cigarette
manufacturer, to discuss the outcome of the vote and the concerns
that Totally Wicked have.
Fraser Cropper, CEO of Totally Wicked said:- "We were
delighted to be able to welcome Jacqueline Foster to Totally Wicked,
so soon after the ENVI committee vote. Jacqueline has been one of a
number of MEPs who has been very supportive throughout this whole
process and for that we thank her.
Medicines regulation would clearly have a negative impact on our
business and the people we employ as it adds costs, imposes burdens,
applies restrictions, and holds back innovation. It would result in
many smaller and more innovative producers of e-cigarettes going out
of business. More importantly however, medicines regulation creates
a default prohibition and requirement for approval, leaving tobacco
cigarettes as the only easily marketed source of nicotine. We
believe as an ethical supplier, which has invested significantly in
recent years in being able to offer our customers the best possible
vaporising devices and nicotine solutions, that irrespective of what
happens to our business, the real casualty of such disproportionate
regulation will be our customers. We believe that our moral mandate
is defined by the free availability of government sanctioned
cigarettes. As long as these products remain available for general
sale, we have an obligation to offer our products as the only viable
alternative for the recreational smoker.
MEPs have an incredible opportunity to craft regulation that
reflects the reality of e-cigarettes; they are nicotine-containing
consumer products that compete with cigarettes but with many
superior characteristics, mainly by virtue of not using combustible
tobacco. Tobacco cigarettes have been unequivocally proven to
contribute to the early mortality of the European population.
However, our legislators have been unwilling or unable to ban
cigarettes, a product that if it came onto the market today, would
without question be prohibited. Surprisingly, rather than be
applauded and encouraged by our elected representatives as the
potential panacea to the smoking epidemic, we find Article 18 of the
draft Tobacco Products Directive, stifling the potential of these
products and effectively handing over the product's concept to the
pharmaceutical sector, destroying a safer alternative."
Following her visit, Jacqueline Foster MEP said:- "I was very
happy to visit Totally Wicked today. The Environment and Public
Health Committee in the European Parliament took, what I believe, is
the wrong decision to classify e-cigs as a medicinal product,
instead of a 'consumer product.'
This is contrary to the EU's definition of what a medicinal product
is; it cannot be a tobacco, alcohol or caffeine-based product.
The vote could mean that e-cigs become more regulated than tobacco
and, bizarrely, more regulated than alcohol. So, under the EU's
plan, we could buy a litre of vodka at the corner shop but not an
e-cig! I believe very much that, as consumers, we should be
able to choose the products we want, in an informed way, taking
responsibility for our decisions."
Efra report backs CLA's concerns
over barriers to rural growth
THE CLA welcomed the
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report
identifying 4 major barriers to rural growth previously highlighted
by the Association. The CLA identified digital infrastructure,
planning and rates, affordability of housing and access to finance
as major barriers to rural growth during the Efra Select Committee
hearing. CLA North Director Dorothy Fairburn said:- "It is
reassuring that the Committee has listened to our concerns and we
hope Defra will work more closely with other Government departments
to progress these issues that frankly are now urgent. For rural
communities to be successful, they need a mix of people who live and
work there, and it is vital for Defra to deliver improvements to
broadband, mobile coverage and funding for our rural businesses.
Broadband is a necessity for the growth of the rural economy, and
with our remote and sparsely populated areas across the North, we
feel that we will always be left behind. Deadlines have not been
met, and Government must make it clear when those in rural areas can
expect to receive a proper service. Government keeps calling for
growth in the rural economy, but if this is to happen, businesses
also need to receive better financial support and they must have the
same access to funding as urban businesses. Like the CLA, the Efra
report also welcomes the planning changes that have come through the
National Planning Policy Framework and we hope that local Councils
will engage with this fully rather than selectively. Affordable
local needs housing is desperately needed in many rural communities
for both social and economic sustainability. We mustn't forget that
thriving economic activity will underpin not just our rural
communities but also the natural environment around them."
unemployment across Liverpool City Region
A review into the support
available to help young people into work across Liverpool City
Region has been completed. The review findings were endorsed at the
City Region Cabinet meeting on Friday, 19 July 2013.
The review was commissioned by the Liverpool City Region's
Employment and Skills Board, agreed with the Government through the
Liverpool City Region Deal, due to the high levels of youth
unemployment in the Liverpool City Region in early 2012. At this
time, the number of young people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance for
more than 6 months remained high at 7,170.
The Board committed to halve the level of long term youth
unemployment within three years; from 7,170 in March 2012 to 3,585
in March 2015. After just 1 year, the City Region has achieved a
34% reduction in long tem youth unemployment, a reduction of 1,205
As part of the review, the Youth Unemployment Task Force, made up of
young people and businesses in the region, was established to
understand the issues and suggest ways to address them.
Key findings from the review were:-
► The majority of young people (94%) seek employment via the
internet, with newspaper advertising the 2nd most popular choice
► 75% of business survey respondents stated they had employed
somebody aged 18 to 24 in the last 2 years; 62% stated it was to
grow their existing workforce and 56% to create skills that will
help businesses plan for replacement demand.
► 72% of businesses stated that they were looking to employ a young
person in the next 2 years.
► A lack of training, qualifications and work experience were
barriers to employment for young people.
► Preparation for work needs to start early in school with in depth,
relevant careers advice with appropriate work experience placements.
Following the review, an action plan has been developed which is
progressing a number of key findings. This includes maximising
Talent Match; a national investment of up to £100 million over five
years to deliver creative ways to help long-term unemployed young
people find work or start their own enterprise; creating more work
experience opportunities, businesses to have a more prominent role
in careers education, review financial incentives through
reinvesting savings and removing restrictions and limitations which
discourage career development and growth.
Stephen Roberts, Vice Chair of the Employment and Skills Board
said:- "Youth unemployment has a significant effect on our
communities. The work of the Task Force has already delivered
improvements, which we will now continue to build on. We are on
target to achieve our pledge of halving youth unemployment across
the City Region, which has been possible due to listening to and
acting upon the views and experiences of young people and business
across the City Region."
Cllr Pat Hackett, Cabinet Member for the Economy at Wirral Council,
said:- "It is vital to support our young people and help them
to get a foothold in the labour market. The commissioning of the
Task Force was an innovative and bold move by the Employment and
Skills Board in directly seeking the views of the region's young
people and the businesses who employ them. It has been a pleasure to
support them, and indeed an eye opener. I would like to personally
thank everybody who took part for their time, effort and commitment
and for sharing their views and experiences so readily, which at
times, as a local Councillor, has been a challenging listen."
Cllr Hackett added:- "This report is only the beginning and
now the hard work really begins as we take on board the findings and
recommendations to truly make a difference to the lives of young
people in our City region."
Sue Riley, District Manager for the Department of Work and Pensions
added:- "Throughout the review, we ensured that the views of a
cross section of young people and businesses was captured. The
results of this review will help to accelerate improvements within
the City Region, helping to make a different to the lives of young
people and support our businesses to thrive."
"Let us decide on Welsh
Streets" - Mayor
THE Mayor of Liverpool is demanding that a decision on the
future of the Welsh Streets be decided locally. The City Council's
planning committee has approved plans for a £15m regeneration of the
area, which will see 150 new high quality homes developed as well as
the refurbishment of 37 terraced properties and 280 homes will be
demolished. The plans was drawn up after extensive consultation with
residents. Following the committee's decision, the Department for
Communities and Local Government issued a directive which meant that
the planning consent was put on hold until the Secretary of State
decides whether to intervene or not. Now the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe
Anderson, is calling on the Minister, Eric Pickles, to let the
scheme proceed. He said:- "The local community have said in no
uncertain terms what they want in the Welsh Streets and as Mayor I
have listened to them in progressing these proposals. They are fed
up with constant unnecessary delays which are stopping them having
the good quality homes they deserve. There now needs to be certainty
for the future. Eric Pickles also has to listen to them and decide
that this is a decision which should be made locally by people who
know and live in this neighbourhood. For a government which is
supposed to champion localism it would be a travesty if this
decision was made in Whitehall rather than Liverpool. His own
government has even supported this scheme through grant allocations
so I can't imagine what reason there is for any further delay. I
urge the Secretary of State to stop any further prevarication,
listen to the overwhelming local opinion and let the regeneration of
the Welsh streets go ahead as soon as possible."