EyeSpy Oh how the mighty are fallen!

Eye Spy Eye of HorusDavid Conway was not the only one with a big smile on his face Friday morning as Labour awoke to the short sharp judgement of the residents of Springfields and Trent Vale. Whilst it might not stop the move, the backlash against the move to the CBD was apparent, which raised the spirits of many council officers on Friday morning. Parking in Stoke may not be perfect, but the thought of a daily game of ‘musical parking spaces’ followed by a forced tutorial on how you should cycle to work rather than moan about paying £25 a year to spend 20 minutes looking for a parking spot before abandoning hope and parking in Tesco, is a step too far for some.

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500 Words From Harold Gregory Conservative Candidate Springfields & Trent Vale

My name is Harold Gregory, I live in Riverside Road, Trent Vale, and am married with 3 children, one attending St Joseph’s and one at St Teresa’s. I spent 20 years in the Army, serving in the first Gulf War and also in Northern Ireland, as well as many other postings around the world. Continue reading

Conservatives Select Harold Gregory For Springfields & Trent Vale Byelection

Stoke-on-Trent Conservatives have today confirmed that their candidate in the forthcoming Springfields and Trent Vale byelection will be local father of 3 and former soldier Harold Gregory.

Harold, who lives in the ward, now works for Network Rail however spent many years in the Army, stationed all around the world. In his spare time, he volunteers as an instructor with local Army cadets, using his skills to help young people. Continue reading

Politician reveals how he was brought under the party’s influence

People join political parties for a variety of reasons, usually because of political views or sometimes because family and friends are members.

However former councillor Ross Irving joined Stoke-on-Trent’s Conservative Party because the beer was better.

He had also been a member in Newcastle to help out in the 1966 General Election, before moving to Stoke. He then decided to stand for council. Continue reading

In minority but making a difference

Jack BreretonYoung people are often seen as disengaged in politics. However Jack Brereton is different. Rochelle Owusu-Antwi speaks to one of the only two Conservative councillors on the city council, and he is the youngest at just 20 years old

Stoke-on-Trent’s youngest ever councillor Jack Brereton is encouraging more young people across the city to get involved in politics.

The 20-year-old politician believes the council should be a diverse mix of younger and older generations working together to form a more representative and democratic body. Some of the 44 councillors Jack works alongside are three times his age. Continue reading

Anthony Bamford and corporate dependency

I met one of the Bamfords, it might have been Anthony, in the mid 1980s. I was being interviewed for the position of Magistrate. The interview took place at Fenton Court. Mr Bamford was interested in my political activity especially whether I had demonstrated. Asking someone on the left during the middle of the Miners Strike if they had taken part in a demo was like asking whether a duck had taken to water. I had no problem with it and was perfectly open about my political affiliations and actions.

We move forward a quarter of a century and Sir Anthony Bamford’s political affiliations and actions are under scrutiny. His response seems to be far less open than mine all those years ago in Fenton. It seems that he has been funding the Tory Party and that over time he been providing leading Tories with all sorts of perks. Continue reading

Cameron’s use of the Veto did Britain Proud

If you have read Bill Cawley’s article on the site about David Cameron’s
use of the veto at EU negotiations last week, you’d be forgiven for
thinking that the city might cease to exist as a viable entity at any
moment solely as a result of Mr Cameron’s actions. I’m afraid that Bill’s
piece was of course entirely wrong, biased and misleading-and deliberately
so, as he openly admits in the first paragraph, he has been an apologist
for the EU since the project was first devised in the backrooms by
politicians with a plan to create a new superstate all those many years
ago.

It’s not going to do anyone any good for me to start having a go at Bill
for his support of the EU project because we all know the arguments, we
all have out views and I doubt anything we say here will change them on
either side of the debate. Neither am going to get into his absurd talk
about the dangers of withdrawal because-much as many of us might like it,
and much as we know it would benefit the country-that was not on the
agenda at this summit.

So what does it boil down to? EU nations-excluding Britain-will be able to
hold secret meetings on how to prop up their all or nothing Euro project.
Not exactly the biggest disaster to have befallen our country I’d have
thought, since as one of the few country’s to have taken the very wise
decision to stay OUTSIDE the Euro we had little or no real influence on
the development of that particular folly anyway.

Second, EU countries-excluding Britain-will now have to submit their
budgets to the approval of unelected EU beaurocrats and face tough
controls on their debt and public spending plans. As was pointed out in
the House of Commons on Monday, if Britain had signed up to such an
arrangement it would actually render the policies of the Labour Party here
in the UK completely illegal as the bonkers plans of Miliband and Balls is
to further increase the debt and spend even more public money to boost the
economy. Presumably, Bill Cawley and all the other socialists that have
cheered him would think such an arrangement intolerable. Indeed,
Stoke-on-Trent would have been very hard and very directly hit if David
Cameron HAD signed up to such an agreement last week. perhaps that’s why
behind the public protests, even Mr Miliband is now accepting that he
would have done precisely the same thing and used the veto in Mr Cameron’s
place.

Third, the EU wanted to put regulations and restrictions onto financial
transactions 80% of which take place in the City of London. It would
effectively have been a special City of London tax designed to EXPORT jobs
and business from the UK to the continent, propping up their Eurozone
project but hitting the UK economy very hard indeed. Bill Cawley gives us
all the usual socialist propaganda about banker bashing and City of London
spivs receiving unfair protection, but lets be quite clear that the City
of London creates jobs and creates wealth that all of us mere mortals rely
upon for our country’s economic stability and well-being. Cameron would
have been an absolute fool to have agreed to the sort of regulations that
the EU were proposing.

Bill talks a good talk about the plight of the ordinary person who is
already hurting thanks to the economic catastrophe that we inherited from
Gordon Brown. But will Bill do more than offer tea and sympathy to those
people who would be made unemployed here in Stoke-on-Trent if the very
regulations he has written in defence of had been agreed by David Cameron
last week? I think not.

At the end of the day, the most important thing that a British Prime
Minister is charged with is defending the British national interest and
security. We must not allow swivel-eyed Euro obsessive’s across all
parties and none to mesmerize us into agreeing to everything the EU
demands even if it is against our own national interest. To be honest, not
many of us give a damn about the well-being of France and Germany when it
is our own people who are hurting. They look after themselves and so must
we.

We cannot sacrifice our national interest on the alter of Europeanism just
so that our leaders can say that they are at the heart of the EU project
and exercise some mythical ‘influence’ that cannot really be defined. And
ANY politician or activist who says otherwise should condemn themselves.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council December Meeting Details

The December meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council takes place this Thursday at 5:30pm in the council chamber.

Some interesting public questions for this meeting including ones relating to the offer to tender to run the now close City Farm.

Councillor Paul Breeze has put a motion forward to ask the council to Say No To The Name City Sentral, the motion is seconded by Councillor Lee Wanger

Meeting Agenda

1. Minutes of a previous meeting of the City Council held on 20/10/11
2.Apologies for absence
3.To welcome visitors (if any)
4.To receive official announcements (if any)
5.To transact business of a non-contentious and/or urgent nature specially brought forward by the Lord Mayor or Chairman
6.Declarations of Interest
Members to give notice of any personal or prejudicial interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.
7.Report of Petitions Received
8.Public Questions
To deal with any public questions received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.
9.Members’ Questions
To consider any questions (notice of which have been given under Council Procedure Rule 9.02)
10.Appointment of City Council Representatives to Serve on School Governing Bodies in the City of Stoke-on-Trent
11.Council Tax Base 2012/13
12.Changes to the Council’s Constitution
13.Safer City Partnership Plan, 2011-2014
14.Local Development Framework – Joint Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Waste Core Strategy 2010-2026
15.Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority – Periodic Report of the Chairman
16.Staffordshire Police Authority – Periodic Report on Police Authority Matters
17.To consider the following Notice of Motion, moved by Councillor Breeze and seconded by Councillor Wanger SAY NO TO THE NAME CITY SENTRAL
18.Minutes of the Cabinet (27/10/11 and 3/11/11)
19.Report of the Chair of the Development Management Committee (26/10/11 and 23/11/11)
20.Minutes of the Audit Committee (10/11/11)
21.Minutes of the Human Resources Committee (4/11/11)
22.Minutes of the Licensing and General Purposes Committee (19/10/2011)
23.Minutes of the Standards Committee (12/10/2011)
24.Minutes of the Adult and Older People’s Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee (3/10/11 and 2/11/11)
25.Minutes of the Business Services and Chief Executive’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (5/10/11 and 16/11/11)
26.Minutes of the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (17/10/11 and 9/11/11)
27.Minutes of the City Renewal Overview and Scrutiny Committee (26/10/11)

No New Enterprise Zone For Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire

Despite the Prime Minister, David Cameron saying that the Government would ‘look favourably at any bids from the area for a Local Enterprise Zone’ during his visit to Stoke-on-Trent in April, this morning Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire woke to the news that it has missed on being granted a Local Enterprise Zone.

After the announcement of 11 Enterprise Zones in March it was announced that a second ‘competitive’ wave would be held in July. The 11 successful locations chosen from 29 applications for this second wave of Local Enterprise Zones announced this morning are

  • Alconbury Airfield in Cambridgeshire
  • Daresbury Science Campus in Runcorn
  • Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent & Enterprise West Essex in Harlow
  • Great Yarmouth in Norfolk & Lowestoft in Suffolk
  • Humber Estuary Renewable Energy Super Cluster
  • MIRA Technology Park in Hinckley Leicestershire
  • Newquay AeroHub in Cornwall
  • Northampton Waterside
  • Rotherwas Enterprise Zone in Hereford
  • Science Vale UK in Oxfordshire
  • The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus Airfield in Gosport
We are determined to do everything we can to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

Enterprise Zones are a major step towards delivering this; cutting business taxes, easing planning restrictions and giving business the tools they need to invest and expand.

These new Enterprise Zones will be trailblazers for growth, jobs and prosperity throughout the country.

Too many of our towns and cities have been left behind, but the answer has never been to impose ineffective sprawling regional structures. It is local business and commerce that drive the private sector growth, jobs and wealth this country needs. This Government’s job is to foster local enterprise and create the conditions for businesses to thrive in. That is why low tax, low regulation Enterprise Zones are being planted across the country and will give businesses all the incentives they need to grow their local economy and create thousands of new local jobs.

The Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire Enterprise Zone was to be based at Etruria Valley, with specialised sites at Keele University Science Park and the Hadleigh Business Park at Blythe Bridge.

It was hoped that the LEZ would have delivered up to 115 hectares of prime development land ready to go for business, with capacity to create up to 10,000 jobs by 2015.

The first wave of Enterprise Zones saw

  • Leeds
  • Sheffield
  • Liverpool
  • Greater Manchester
  • West of England
  • Tees Valley
  • North East
  • The Black Country
  • Derbyshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • London

being given Local Enterprise Zone status.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Stoke-on-Trent in April this year,

You are not missing out on an enterprise zone. There will be an enterprise zone within the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP area, and we will be advised by the LEP as to where it will go.

Reaction

The Government Enterprise Zones will be a ‘shot in the arm for the British economy’
We have lost out and have to go it alone regardless of Cameron promising there would be one for this area.

North Staffordshire needs jobs and investment. I supported the LEZ bid as did many others- from the Chamber of Commerce to the voluntary sector and lobbied all government ministers on this.

It had full cross party support including all MPs and Staffs County council all backing the Local Enterprise Partnership’s bid.

This government has abolished the regional development agencies but put nothing adequate in their place. It has gone back on its word for Stoke on Trent.

Eric Pickles says previous Enterprise Zones “set up a load of retail parks” – something which will not be seen with current set.
We are extremely disappointed at this news.

Stoke-on-Trent needs jobs and private investments as we made that clear in our application to Government and our recently announced Mandate for Change. We will endeavour with or without Government help to make Stoke-on-Trent a ‘great working city’ to shout the message on the regional, national and global market we are very much open for business.

Of course this is a huge blow for us but we are determined to succeed.

We will be urgently asking for more details and feedback on this decision and exploring if there are any further opportunities for future Enterprize Zones or any other similar Government initiatives.

However the Enterprize Zone on its own was never going to be the solution. We need investment and expansion from the private sector and we are working hard to make this happen.

So Cameron lied. We’ll just have to work harder 2 bring new business to Nth Staffs despite no EZ. SoT has great assets to promote
Everyone in North Staffordshire will be disappointed and somewhat astonished this morning to find that the promises of the Prime Minister just before the local elections have been abandoned; we are not getting the promised Enterprise Zone. It is all the more frustrating that this announcement has been made while Parliament is in recess and so I must wait a couple more weeks before I can try to question the Prime Minister on his reasons for this u-turn. Given his usual form, I don’t expect any sort of proper answer from Cameron.

While this is indeed a setback I know that our city and North Staffs have so much to offer businesses, from land and building availability to a fantastic workforce, with excellent road, rail, and air links into the bargain. I will continue to work with the City Council to approach potential businesses and of course support the Local Enterprise Partnership and North Staffs Chamber of Commerce in all our efforts to promote Stoke-on-Trent as the best place to come to set up businesses.

I am writing to the Business Secretary to see what other support government will make available but I think the message is a clear one – we must stand and fight alone, without the Tory-led government’s help. That means we must all now focus our efforts on singing the praises of Stoke-on-Trent and not allow anyone to talk down the area and those working to promote it.

We have a fight ahead but working together we can win and see North Staffordshire prosper.

Rob Flello MP

It is of course a huge disappointment that the government has let down Stoke on Trent. Despite the promises of manufacturing-led regeneration, David Cameron has decided to turn his back on one of the great industrial centres of Britain.

I was sceptical of the LEP going for a three site bid when the application would have been better focussed simply on the Etruria site.

This round looked like a party political fix, rather than a clear enterprise zone priority.

That said, when parliament reconvenes, together with the other Stoke-on-Trent MPs, I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Vince Cable to understand their decision making process.

It really is beyond ridiculous to prioritise Oxfordshire and Hampshire above Stoke-on-Trent. But Stoke-on-Trent is bigger than this: we must create our own enterprise zone in the Etruria valley.