Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Coalition's Economic Myth Making

During yesterday’s budget George Osborne continued to peddle the myth that the UK economy is in an extraordinary mess with an extraordinary level of debt.

Today he claimed that “having inherited from Labour the largest budget deficit in Europe bar Ireland, the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has been forced to take drastic action”.

The reality is that as a result of the prudent early decisions of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown we entered the recession with the 2nd lowest level of debt of any of the G7 countries. One of Labour’s key decisions was to use the £20 billion plus windfall from the 3G auction (the mobile phone spectrum) for debt repayments.

The OECD figures for G7 countries for the calendar year 2009 give general government net financial liabilities as a percentage of GDP as:

Japan – 108.3%

Italy – 101.0%

United States – 58.2%

France – 50.6%

Germany – 48.3%

UK – 43.5%

Canada – 28.9%

The OECD figures for 2010 show that the UK’s general government net financial liabilities as a percentage of GDP is 53.5. Lower than the Euro zone average of 59.5.

Other EU countries which have higher levels of debt are:

Italy – 104.1%

Greece – 97.8%

Belgium – 83.3%

Portugal – 64.3%

Hungary – 60.1%

France – 57.2%

Labour put the country on a steady footing to weather the recession. Because of this the budget deficit could have been reduced at a steady pace, without the risk to future growth and without the raid on the most vulnerable in our society. Instead The Coalition has opted to slash public services and hike up taxes in a direct attack on hard working families in this country.

(Credit to Liberal Demolition)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VAT goes up to 20% - with LibDem blessing

Lest we forget!

LibDems campaigned against Tory attacks on Vat a mere six weeks ago. Look at them today during the budget, sitting next to Gideon (known as George) Osborne now, nodding and smiling while VAT rises to 20% with their complicity and support.

The North of England, Scotland, Wales, urban cities, industrialised Britain, the working classes, students, etc will never forgive them for this gross betrayal - very sadly one of many we will expect and experience.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Update on Assistant Cabinet Member position

I have now agreed with Councillor Ann O'Byrne and her lead officers to take on a day to day role with Community Cohesion and Hate Crime too, as well as Equality and Diversity, I will be chairing the city's Hate Crime Forum for instance. We also intend to get a Women's Network up and running within Liverpool.

I had a really productive meeting yesterday too with Councillor Paul Brant's lead officers to talk about the work I would be doing to support him in his portfolio, particularly around the implementation of the single equality scheme and the further development of equality impact assessments, the appointment of E&D champions within the council, mentoring schemes for under-represented groups at senior levels in the workforce, all sorts really. I am looking forward to getting my teeth into it all.

Huge relief for Edge Lane and for Liverpool

Huge relief all round today as the ConDem coalition finally agreed to honour the commitment of our Labour Government to invest millions in the plans to complete the Edge Lane West project

Whatever one thinks about the rights and wrongs of this controversial scheme, leaving it half finished, semi demolished, houses boarded up, shops lost, traffic chaos would have been a nightmare and very wrong.

A sustained campaign by Liverpool's Labour MPs and the leader of the Council since May 6th has ensured that this scheme and the plans for a new Liverpool Royal Hospital have been saved and protected.

We are still waiting to hear about some of the other important projects put on ice.

(Photos taken by Louise Baldock from a vantage point not accessible to the public, so some will be from an angle you wont have seen before, and some are of cleared sites that you wont have seen at all)

The ultimate marketing message?!

I was in my advice surgery yesterday morning in a certain branch library in Liverpool.

As usual, one of the staff brought me over a cup of coffee and a few biscuits, to sustain me through the session. Looking over both shoulders and lowering her voice as she handed over the plate she said, "I've given you something very special there today, we have just discovered them, it's a dark chocolate Tunnock's Tea Cake... and it's better than sex!"

I am looking forward to the advertising campaign!!

Congratulations to Sarah Jennings, new Leader of the Green Group on Liverpool City Council

I have just noticed that Councillor Sarah Jennings has become the leader of the Green Group on Liverpool City Council, presumably to balance out the jobs, as John Coyne has become the Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Select Committee.

Does this make her Liverpool's first female group leader?

Well done Sarah! I am absolutely delighted, good luck and best wishes with the role

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Illegal action against LGBT by Greencoat pub in London.

Dear Sirs

Labour LGBT is a group within the national Labour Party with thousands of members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Today we held our AGM in Victoria, London and booked a room at the Greencoat Public House to retire to, for drinks and conversation.

Imagine our horror to be turned away by the manager of the pub who said he would not have taken the booking had he known who was making it.

I would like to draw your attention to the legislation of 30th April 2007 which outlaws discrimination of gays etc. in the deliver of services.

This has already become a national incident. Within a few short hours, we have used our extensive social and other networks to publicise this disgrace across the country, many Members of Parliament, European Parliament, Councillors and lawyers are already aware of this illegal, unfair, discriminatory incident.

It is in your hands now to dismiss this manager and to prove your ongoing commitment to upholding the rule of law and to supporting groups like ours.

I look forward to your official and detailed response. I am also posting this email on my website, where your answer will also be recreated, when you are able to furnish me with one

Yours sincerely

Councillor Louise Baldock
Labour - Kensington and Fairfield ward
Chair of Labour Party North West of England
Chair of City and North Liverpool District
Assistant Cabinet Member for Community Safety

I should say this was the royal "we",I was not there myself.

Response from Brewery

Dear Councillor Baldock,

Thank you for your email. Representatives from Punch Taverns are today meeting with the LGBT in London so your colleagues will be able to update you further following this meeting.

In the interim, please find our formal response as follows:

Punch Taverns seeks to provide open and welcoming venues to everyone. We are shocked and saddened that the Labour LGBT did not experience this at The Greencoat Boy last night and apologise unreservedly.

Across our estate, diversity and inclusion are a core part of our ethics and are clearly referenced in our recruitment process, our equal opportunities policy and training. We would like to stress that this is an isolated incident; we have a good track record on equal opportunities and we do not tolerate homophobia in our pubs, whether from guests to other guests, or involving our employees.

We are currently conducting a full investigation of the incident and the Deputy General Manager will not be on site until the investigation is concluded. We are co-operating fully with the police and have entered into constructive dialogue with the LGBT Labour Group to discuss how we can work together to further improve our policies and procedures.

In addition, we have contacted all of our general managers and pub teams to remind them of our equal opportunity policy and will seek to work with external partners to further enhance our training to ensure that inclusion remains at the heart of it.

Best regards,
Giles Thorley

Response from Chair of Licensing at Westminster Council

'Westminster strives to make its pubs, restaurants and all licensing premises pleasant for everyone to visit and I was mortified to hear of the apparent breach of this approach at the Greencoat Boy.

On hearing about the incident I immediately informed the police officer responsible for licensing in Westminster. He has now confirmed that a criminal investigation has commenced in relation to individuals at these premises. I understand that if a conviction ensues the court involved would decide what action to take about any personal licence held under the Licensing Act.

I think that it is right, given the seriousness of the accusation that a process of investigation takes its course, to be fair to both sides in this matter. But I am satisifed that the pub's management team is taking this seriously, and has already suspended the staff member allegedly responsible while it conducts its own investigation.

I anticipate that the information gathered during this investigation will assist the Police Licensing Unit for Westminster, which is responsible as the relevant 'responsible authority', to decide what action should be taken in relation to these premises such as calling for a review of the licence under the Act. Reviews can only be brought if we have a relevant representation, and in this case that needs to come from the police; we don't have powers to act without this representation.

I will keep a close eye on progress to a satisfactory resolution.'

Councillor Audrey Lewis

An advert for Costco

At our European Neighbours Day one of the international foods we had on offer for our lovely residents were these giant pizzas. Only £7.50 for an 18" pizza (I have never seen one so big before!), they were bought and cooked at Costco.
A pizza bargain!

Glamorously modelled here by Ben from VHA, the photo does neither justice

Rosa is 4!

Rosa May Shilling celebrated her 4th birthday in May. She had a great party with lots of her little friends and mummy made a fantastic cake, perfect for a princess.
The rabbit jelly was great too - I am very proud of that because although I had no hand in its creation whatsoever, I did shake it gently out of the mould.
Happy Birthday!

Liverpool has the best parks in the country!

Here are some photographs of some of the wonderful shrubs and flowering trees in Liverpool parks.

First we have trees in Sefton Park taken in early May 2010 - pink blossom next to white blossom and a glorious orange blossom (small "o" and "b" because I think there is something actually called Orange Blossom and I suspect that is not what this is, but it is nonetheless blossom of a distinctly orange hue), followed by Azalea blooms (rather than Rhododendrons I think, although the same family) from Calderstones Park taken in early June 2010.

(Sorry to be so vague about the names of the trees and bushes, I can admire and photograph but I am not an expert on horticulture)

Simply glorious!

Kenny has been made over!

Kenny in his original home and his original clothesKenny as Father Christmas at the 12 Days of Christmas in the Lodge in Newsham ParkKenny in his new home in the reception of Venture House on Boaler Street, Kensington
Kenny's front legs - the Academy and Venture House
Kenny's back legs - typical Liverpool terraced houses on Boaler Street, Kensington

I spent the day at Venture House on Wednesday enjoying European Neighbours Day - and planting dozens of free hanging baskets for enthusiastic local residents.

But the highlight of the day was the unveiling of Kenny the Superlambanana with his new look. He was always gorgeous - having been decorated initially by Barbara Gault and children from local Kensington schools but he was getting very grubby and needed a total overhaul.

He used to stand on the corner of Kensington and Hall Lane but was moved to the reception of Venture House on Boaler Street at the end of the Capital of Culture in 2008.

He has now been given a complete refurbishment by pupils at St Francis of Assisi Academy in Newsham Park, Fairfield, just a few hundred yards away from his new home.

To reflect his new life in his new home, he has a fab painting of Venture House on one front leg and the Academy on the other. His rear legs depict typical Liverpool red brick terraced houses on Boaler Street, Kensington.

Isn't he a little smasher?

Before and After Pics!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Citizens Advice Bureau service for Kensington and Fairfield

Email from Alan Tapp at Kensington Community Learning Centre

During our recent consultation meetings with local residents, one of the most popular requests from residents was for improved access to the services of the Citizens Advice Bureau. As part of our new Information and Skills for All Programme, KCLC are delighted to announce that the CAB will be offering a drop-in service at Kensington Community Learning Centre starting from Tuesday 15th June. Initially this will be a weekly surgery, every Tuesday between 10am and 12 noon. If there is sufficient demand we will be looking to extend the service.

Anyone needing to talk to a qualified member of the CAB team can drop into KCLC between 10am and 12 noon every Tuesday morning starting from Tuesday 15th June.


291-299 KENSINGTON (Opposite McDonalds)

Tel. 0151 260 1006