Highest employment ever

UnemploymentIt has taken some hard choices – and the remarkable effort of millions of people and business around the country – but this marks another positive step on the road to a stronger economy.
There are two million more people in private sector jobs, fewer unemployed young people, long term unemployment is falling and we have more women in work than ever before.

The only way we have been able to play our part in turning the economy around is by taking the long view.  Back in 2008-09 who would have thought the Britain would have the highest growth in Europe (bar Iceland) and the seven highest in the OECD (after Chile, Iceland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey).

But, in my view, we have a long way to go.  Part of the solution is to ensure that any government at the national level is elected with the majority of the voters.  It is unlikely that the recovery would have happened if the Liberal Democrats had not stepped up to provide Britain with a strong and stable government in tough times.  The coalition was elected with 59% of the vote.  There has not been a British national government elected with a backing of over 50% of the vote since the 1930s.  Indeed, in peacetime the present coalition was elected with more support than any other government since the Liberal landslide in the 1860s under Gladstone.

British voting since 1832

Elmbridge Retailer of the Year

An outstanding number of votes were received this year for Elmbridge Retailer of the Year 2014 but not one of the winners came from Weybridge.  Did you vote? The voting closed on Tuesday,  6 May.  The winners were:

  • Best restaurant/café – Dolly’s Tea Rooms, Molesey
  • Best for hair and beauty – Academy, Claygate
  • Best for clothes or gifts – Zebra Boutique, Walton
  • Best deli/grocery/speciality foods store – Paul’s Fruit and Veg, Ditton
  • Best for speciality products – The Art Agency, Esher
  • Best independent retailer in Elmbridge – Ceramica, Claygate

Europe set to have cap on credit card fees

Credit Card websiteThe European lower house (European parliament) voted this month to cap credit card fees to 0.3% and debit card fees to 0.2% of the transaction value (or 6p if lower). These caps would apply across Europe.

Research has shown that a cap in fees could provide retailers with nearly £5 billion in savings and lead to lower consumer prices. However, the upper house (Council of Ministers) has to concur before such caps can become law.

Each year businesses suffer from unregulated and unjustifiably high fees when a customer chooses to pay by card.  Capping these transaction fees will mean businesses can and should be able to pass on savings to consumers, which will directly benefit households across Europe and contribute to economic growth and consumer confidence.

As the Party of In, Liberal Democrats want to strengthen and protect our vital trade links with the rest of Europe. By cutting unnecessary costs for businesses Britain can increase its competitiveness within the world’s largest single market – Europe.

Morrison Noise and Deliveries

Proposed view of Morrisons SmallMorrisons has withdrawn its application for the variation to the planning conditions laid down by Elmbridge.  The reference was 2014/0484  Variation of Conditions 5 (Deliveries/Servicing) and 10 (Plant Noise) of planning permission 2013/1611 (New food store).  There were 228 objections.


Elmbridge Independent Retailer of the Year Competition 2014

Baker Street websiteHave you been given excellent service by a Weybridge shop, cafe or restaurant then give them your vote in this year’s retailer competition.

The retailer competition takes place once again this year. Voting will close on Monday, 6 May.  This year, there are six categories to vote on:

  • Best restaurant and café
  • Best for hair and beauty
  • Best for fashion and gifts
  • Best for deli/grocery/speciality food and drink
  • Best for specialty products
  • Best independent retailer in Elmbridge

Online voting opened on 7 April 2014 – cast your vote now.  Closing date for votes is 6 May 2014.  For more information

Weybridge Health Awards 2014

GSK OfficesLast year GlaxoSmithKline donated over £25,000 to local health-related charities to help them make a difference in people’s lives?  In 2014 GSK is offering six awards of £5,000 each to small charities through their annual health awards programme.

The GSK Weybridge awards programme seeks to recognise and develop the success of charities involved with mental, emotional or physical health issues. They invite all health-related charities based within Weybridge and the surrounding towns to apply for an award.

The six winning charities will be invited to the Health Awards event in Weybridge in October where they will be presented with an award of £5,000 each. These cash awards are for use as the charity sees fit and may be used for core funding as well as project work. The winning charities will also receive support from GSK Consumer Healthcare Weybridge throughout the following year in the form of volunteer projects.

Applications for the GSK Consumer Healthcare Weybridge Health Awards must be from community-based groups rather than main branches of national funded organisations involved with any emotional, mental or physical health issues. This may include groups of benefit to the ill, disabled or elderly people, those with mental health issues or learning difficulties or simply those offering emotional help to families coping with difficulties. The programme also includes those charities which assist in the care of the above groups including respite care for carers and hospices.

Any local health-related charity will be considered. All you need to do is complete the application form and return it to us by 30 June 2014. The winning charities will be announced by September 2014. GSK Consumer Healthcare representatives will then visit the six successful candidates to learn a little more about how the organisation works and meet some of the people involved in its day-to-day activities.

For more information and/or an application form please contact Elmbridge community support services on 01372 474474.

Talk to Morrisons

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

Morrisons will be holding an information event for site neighbours and local residents at 4-7pm on Wednesday, 19 March at the social club in Springfield Lane.  There is more information about the event to the project website later this afternoon (www.morrisonsweybridge.co.uk).

The building is at an important stage now is the groundwork preparation stage should be completed next week.  Morrisons is about to begin the main construction phase   This will see them putting the steel structure for the building in place and then completing the wider building skeleton, followed by internal fit out work.

Elmbridge Budget

Next Wednesday, Conservative-led Elmbridge plans to decrease the council tax in real terms for next year by keeping the rate the same. Prudent stewardship or a gradual collapse into private wealth and public squalor?

National government taxes like: income tax, national insurance, VAT and corporation tax increase each year automatically in line with either income or prices (unless income or prices fall) – known to economists as fiscal drag.

But the single tax supporting local government – council tax does not. So if council tax is not adjusted each year then it gradually falls – it does not keep up with prices or salaries.

So, oddly, if you want council tax to fall in real terms simply don’t change it.

The whole situation is greatly affected by the extra freeze grant that the national government hands out to local government to encourage no increase in the council tax rate. This grant is powerful because if Elmbridge raised the council tax by just 0.1% it would mean a total loss of the grant.   And this year the coalition guarantee the freeze grant for two years in succession (to get them past the national elections in 2015.  What a way to run the country!

What’s your view?

European Jobs

Liberal Democrats want Britain to stay in the EU because we are fighting for a stronger economy – millions of British jobs are linked to our trade with the rest of the EU, and being in Europe gives us more strength when negotiating trade deals with global players like America, China, India and Brazil.

Some people claim that even if Britain left the EU, trade would continue as normal under a free trade agreement and that jobs would not be put at risk. The EU does have preferential trade agreements with several countries who have either decided not to join the EU, such as Norway, or are long-term candidates for admission, such as Turkey.

Norway and Switzerland, which have both decided against EU membership, make substantial contributions to EU funds in return for trade concessions, while denied any part in decision-making that affects their economies and companies.

Weybridge Town Council

Weybridge, a hamlet in Byfleet manor, was governed since Saxon times from Chertsey. It became a self-governing village in the fourteenth century and a town in 1894.  By that time Weybridge had grown into a town of sufficient size to govern many of its own affairs. Weybridge built its own hospital, a fire station and an electric generating station. In 1933 the national government forceably removed Weybridge’s local government.


I think that it is time for Weybridge to consider establishing its own government again. A number of people are planning to come together to initiate such a campaign.  Do contact me should you want to be a member of the working group.