Sunday, 30 December 2007

David Cameron's New Year Message 2008

I want 2008 to be the year in which we offer the people of this country the hope of real change, by setting out a clear and inspiring vision of what Britain will look like with a Conservative government.

So in place of Labour’s hopeless mismanagement of the NHS, we will offer the hope of a health service where we get rid of the top-down centralisation and bureaucracy and make sure that taxpayers’ money delivers the high quality service they’ve paid for and have a right to expect. In the year of the 60th anniversary of the NHS, we will be the party standing up for the NHS against yet more onslaughts from the Labour bureaucracy machine.

In place of Labour’s hopeless acceptance of mediocrity in education, which has seen Britain tumble down the world league tables just when we need our children to be doing better than those in other countries, we will offer the hope of a decent education for every child, with immediate action to raise standards and radical reform to end the state monopoly over new school places.

In place of Labour’s hopeless surrender to violence on our streets, with
overcrowded prisons and police tied up in red tape, we will offer the hope of civilised communities which are safe for everyone, based on radical police reform and more prison places in prisons which actually reduce re-offending.

In place of Labour’s hopeless failure on social breakdown which has left Britain with more children growing up in broken homes, higher unemployment and a £100 billion a year bill for social failure, we will offer the hope of real change: to strengthen families, reform welfare, and make British poverty history.

On the economy, on the environment, on defence and fighting terrorism, there are tremendous challenges ahead. In the fight against terrorism, we were reminded last week how hard the road to democracy is. The death of Benazir Bhutto must strengthen, not weaken our resolve to defeat the enemies of freedom.

This will be the year in which we show that there is hope for the future: that there is a clear and credible alternative to this hopeless and incompetent Labour government.

And let us be clear about the reason why.
It is not just that we offer the hope of a fresh start on policy after so many years of Labour headline-chasing short-term tricks with no real substance behind them.

It is that we offer a clear vision of the Britain we want to see, and a clear idea of how we will govern differently.

My vision for Britain is clear: to give people more opportunity and power over their lives, to make families stronger and society more responsible, and to make Britain safer and greener.

And we will inaugurate a new era in government: government for the post-bureaucratic age, where we devolve power to people and communities because we understand that a government that tries to control everything ends up not being able to run anything.

I sense that Britain feels it's time for a change. There probably won't be a General Election this year but we will behave and work as though there is. And in doing so prove that you can once again trust a Conservative government to take this country forward.

We must show from the very beginning of and throughout this year that we can set the agenda with our new thinking and clear understanding of what people want for themselves and their family.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

MP taking credit for Post Office decision is opportunism

Below is a selection of letters from today's Lincolnshire Echo, including one from Giles McNeill (first), Nettleham Ward candidate for West Lindsey District Council.


I Am pleased for the Bailgate businesses and residents whose post office will remain open (December 13).

But I am sorry for the people and businesses in and around St-Peter-at- Gowts and others across Lincolnshire whose post offices will close.

Such despicable action by the Labour Government makes it all the more galling to then read the local Labour MP for Lincoln, Gillian Merron, attempting to take all the credit for the reprieve of the Bailgate post office. No-one saw her at any of the public meetings and no-one saw her actively supporting any of the campaign initiatives. Did she even sign the petition, as it attacked her own Government's decision? Nearly 7,000 Lincoln people did - and she is a paid minister in that Government, supposedly for the East Midlands.

Miss Merron in my view did very little actively behind the scenes either, and her trying to grab the spotlight is outrageous opportunism when so many people organised so many campaigns.



As a Park Ward councillor, I would like to put on public record my opposition to the decision of Post Office Ltd to close St Peter-at-Gowts post office.

The reasons given by Post Office Ltd for the closure of St Peter's are that it is only 0.8 miles from Sincil Street, that public transport is available in the area, and that there are other branches in the Lincoln area providing alternative services.

I believe that Post Office Ltd has disregarded the evidence presented to it - that many of those living in the Sincil Bank area, the elderly in particular, do not have personal transport, do not live anywhere near the High Street, and therefore must undertake long walks either to catch a bus into town or cross Pelham Bridge or the railway bridge to get to Sincil Street.

Further, Post Office Ltd appears to have conveniently forgotten it cited St Peter's as an open "alternative" facility during the last round of closures.

The city council as a whole believes that the logic of the decision relating to St Peter-at-Gowts is flawed and may breach the Post Office's own guidelines regarding access. Thus the access argument is being closely examined so that a last-ditch attempt to head off closure may be made.

I am ashamed the Labour Government is involved, no matter how indirectly, in a closure that will hit some of the poorest in the city.

COUN BRENT CHARLESWORTHPark Ward Councillor (Labour).


Although it is wonderful news Bailgate post office has been saved (December 13), I cannot help wondering how Post Office Ltd thought it was going to save money by closing a viable business unless it assumed trade was going to be redirected elsewhere. Clearly the evidence was that the financial viability of the area was going to be devastated.

How many other post offices are being killed off by these slash and burn tactics?

Although it is understandable the Government wants to balance its books, there seems to be no evidence that its politics with Post Office Ltd give any meaningful move in that direction. The loss-making post offices will still exist because nobody seems to be interested in making them pay for themselves.

Governments in Britain and elsewhere look at Russia as having little more than an elective dictatorship, yet the way Britain has been run over the past 28 years suggests that our governments now do very much as they like.

People running departments are afflicted with the same authoritarian manner because they do not see it in their interests to raise questions.

It is hardly surprising that many people feel that voting is a waste of time.

THOMAS E. ROOKES Ruskin Avenue, St Giles, Lincoln.


I am very pleased that all those who signed the petition and wrote letters on behalf of the Bailgate post office can see their actions brought about a change to the cold hearted Post Office puppets of this Labour Government.

A shame, however, the Post Office ignored all other protestations.

It was obvious this Government was determined to have exactly 2,500 more post offices close across our nation, while curiously in Scotland more are being opened.

This round of post office closures brings the total to nearly 10,000, roughly half the total branches that were open in 1997.

Personal information is lost willfully on two computer disks; more than 11,000 security guards are illegally working here but passed security checks to work in the UK; the European policy of Gordon Brown is a sham and embarrassing.

Every taxpayer has lent Northern Rock more than £1,000 - that's a total of £30bn. Would a bank in the South East have been treated the same?

But don't worry, no-one is to blame and no-one will resign.

They aren't likely to go unless they are removed from office by the great British public whenever the next General Election is called.

KARL McCARTNEY Lincoln Conservative PPC.


Monday, 17 December 2007

Risks of village flooding discussed on LincsFM

Giles McNeill has today been interviewed by Andy Marsh of LincsFM about the flooding of Nettleham earlier in the year.

Talking about the floods in Nettleham and in the broader context of the Sir Michael Pitt's report (available here) into flooding, Giles McNeill said:
"At all levels we need to take seriously the problem of flooding. Sir Michael's report highlight's the urgency with which this matter needs to be treated. I am happy to have supported Nettleham Parish Council's own investigations into the summer floods since they occured."

"It is my attention to meet with colleagues on Lincoln City Council to discuss the concerns local residents have of further development upstream."
The interview is being played during hourly news bulletins. click here to connect to LincsFM.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Labour giving criminals a break – as they walk free from local jails

Worrying new figures expose scandal of convicted criminals being let out early

New analysis of Government statistics revealed this week that 1,340 criminals have been let out of prison before finishing their sentences across the East Midlands Region since June, under Labour’s controversial new early release scheme. In HMP Lincoln, Greetwell Road, Lincoln, 36 criminals have been let out onto the streets.

Across the country, 11,000 criminals have already walked out of prison early under the ‘end of custody licence’ system, with an estimated 25,500 criminals to be let out over a full year. They include violent offenders and foreign nationals convicted of serious offences. The scheme was introduced because a shortage in prison places, thanks to a funding crisis caused by Gordon Brown.

Labour Ministers are now planning a new sentencing quango, which would, for the first time, link sentences to prison capacity, so that when jails are full, criminals could receive shorter sentences or not be sent to prison at all.

Giles McNeill said:
“By definition, being sent to prison means someone has committed a serious offence. Yet Labour is giving criminals a break, by letting them loose on to our streets."

“Serious crimes should be punished by a prison sentence, not least to protect the public. It is no wonder that violent crime has doubled under this Government when Gordon Brown is giving the culprits a ‘get out of jail’ card this Christmas. This is fundamentally wrong. Sentences should fit the crime, not this week’s prison capacity.”
Conservatives are calling for:

· An immediate halt to the early release scheme, and the introduction of an emergency prison places programme using the savings from scrapping the flawed Identity Card scheme.

· Doubling the sentencing powers of magistrates to 12 months and repealing any new restrictions on their ability to hand down suspended sentences.

· Honesty in sentencing so that convicted criminals serve the minimum sentence handed down to them by the courts.

· Sufficient prison capacity to hold all those sentenced by the courts – and reforming prison regimes to break the cycle of re-offending.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Flooding in Nettleham Village Report

Today a report, produced by Faber Maunsell, was published regarding the summer flooding in Nettleham. It is an important document that is due for discussion at an open meeting of the Parish Council on Wednesday 30th January 2007 at 7:30pm in the Large Hall of the Old School.

Giles McNeill said:
"I am happy today to see that the report, commissioned by the Parish Council in Spetember, following the summer floods, has been Published."

"I do hope that this, clearly excellent, report will provide the building blocks for ensuring that we protect Nettleham from risks caused by future development and produce tangiable results which will reduce the risk of this kind of flooding happening again. I hope that a good number of villagers, together with the Environment Agency, Lincoln City Council. Lincolnshire County Council, West Lindsey District Council and Anglian Water will all take note."
The report is available from the Parish Council's website. Click here.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

"Most important" Parish Council Meeting will not be attended by either District Councillor

A special meeting of the Nettleham Parish Council, described as "the most important meeting of the Parish Council in years" by one member, will not be attended by either incumbent Liberal Democrat District Councillors Malcolm Leaning or Alf Frith.

The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, 9th January 2008, is a special meeting of the Parish Council, which was notified to parish councillors at the start of November to make sure that all councillors would be able to attend, the meeting will be discussing matters related to future development in and around Nettleham.

Giles McNeill said:
"If I were Malcolm and Alf I would be at the Parish Council's meeting on the ninth - the meeting is likely to discuss some very serious issues. Having spoken to a member of the committee admin staff in general terms at the District Council it was my impression that only the Chairman was obliged to attend."

Both Malcolm and Alf serve on the District Council's Planning Committee and a meeting of that body is arranged for the same evening. The chairman of the Parish Council went to some lengths to emphsise the importance of this meeting, but Alf and particularly Malcolm remained implacable. However, since Malcolm is no-longer the Chairman of the committee (currently Bernard Theobold, Conservative Group Leader) and it is almost certain that he will be attending to chair the meeting, an absence to attend this crucial meeting of the Parish Council seems the responsible course of action.

At last night's Parish Council Meeting the counciladopted, formally, a policy to ensure that the planning officers and our district councillors are given responses earlier, before planning meetings so they can be better briefed. Malcolm even warmly welcomed the change say that being well briefed was essential. So what is the real reason for his absence? - a question left unanswered.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Labour councillors seek higher pay, more perks and better pensions

A major report, commissioned by the Government, overseen by Labour supporters and to be handed to Local Government Minister Hazel Blears on Monday, is to recommend massive payments to councillors. Council tax bills will be hiked to help the cash-strapped Labour Party and unemployed Labour cronies.

In a move that will outrage local taxpayers as they face council tax bills edging towards £1,400 on Band D bills from April, the Labour-dominated ‘Councillors Commission’ is to recommend shocking cash handouts for councillors across the board. The plans also include a systematic dismantling of rules introduced in the 1980s to protect local taxpayers from ‘loony left’ councils and ‘jobs for the boys’ corruption:

Higher salaries for all councillors is demanded – including parish councillors. Under rules passed by the Labour Party in 2006, all Labour councillors must now make direct debit payments from councillor pay packets to Labour Party funds; the higher the salary, the more money for Labour.

Golden goodbyes - cash handouts will be given to those “who lose office through the action of the electorate”. Labour’s unpopularity in the polls will thus be rewarded with state cash.

State funding for local political parties, tied to meeting state diversity and equality targets. Term limits will also push out popular councillors because they are too ‘old’.

Pensions for all councillors, whilst ordinary pensioners struggle to pay their bills. A press release suggesting pensions for councillors was the ‘bad news’ that disgraced Labour spin doctor, Jo Moore, infamously ‘buried’ following the 9/11 terrorist atrocity.

Propaganda on the rates – via a new ‘Communications Allowance’ for councillors like MPs. Restrictions on political propaganda advertising by local authorities will also be torn up. Only last week, the Taxpayers’ Alliance exposed how the publicity bill has already soared to £450 million a year.

State benefits and dole - letting councillors keep their town hall salaries and still claim benefits, giving a boost to Labour councillors who are unable or unwilling to find a job.

Jobs for the boys - weakening controls on council officers who are also councillors. Such rules were designed to prevent municipal corruption and local civil servants becoming politicised.

Abolishing by-elections, because local democracy is too inconvenient for the electorally-challenged Labour Party.

Three jobs: Requirements to turn up to meetings to vote will be scrapped, but councillors will still be paid in full. This will make it easier for Labour councillors to hold down a day job and a night job at the same time as being a councillor.

Eric Pickles MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government, said:
“Councillors have a valued role to play in holding town halls to account, and making sure that councils deliver good quality, responsive frontline services. But it is vital that councillors are fundamentally arms-length volunteers - and do not become the bankrolled staff of the town hall dependant on the municipal pay packet. At a time when council tax bills will hit almost £1,400 this April, local residents will be outraged at the prospect of Labour politicians wanting to fleece them even more to bankroll the morally and financially bankrupt Labour Party. These policies are all about more cash being stuffed in the pockets of Labour, jobs for the boys and back-door state funding. Conservatives will fight these plans and stand up for the interests of the local taxpayer.”

Giles McNeill has already blasted the recommendations of the Councillors' Commission:
"The suggestion that councillors should get more perks, benefit from golden goodbyes, fritter away communications allowances and not even have to turn up to council meetings sums up the conceited attitude of the Labour government towards our democratic system."

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Worrying new figures reveal cancer care unfairness – Giles McNeill

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Council, voiced his serious concern today following the publication of new figures that reveal huge variations in the amount spent on cancer patients in different areas of the country.

The new statistics reveal huge discrepancies in funding between Primary Care Trust areas: each cancer sufferer Lincolnshire receives just £9,163 a year – by contrast, cancer sufferers in Nottingham receive £17,028 a year.

The figures may help to explain not only why inequalities in cancer death rates have widened during Labour’s ten years in power, but also why access to drugs for the treatment of cancer varies so much across the country.

Giles McNeill said:
“The Labour Government’s own statistics have revealed a huge disparity in funding for cancer services. I very much value the hard work by doctors and nurses in Lincolnshire but it is being hampered by Whitehall officials who are distributing health funding across the country unfairly.

“This is yet another example of Ministers mismanaging the NHS, taking no account of the needs of cancer patients, and creating a two-tier service. Unequal access to cancer care and treatment which is so apparent in various parts of the country cannot be tackled while there are such large variations in the funding for it.”

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Action plan to raise school standards and offer opportunity for all

Giles McNeill offers support on plans to give children the best education.

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, welcomed new proposals this week to raise standards in schools, create more good school places and increase equality of opportunity. The action plan, entitled ‘Raising the bar, closing the gap’, has been published by Conservative leader, David Cameron.

The paper outlines plans to raise the standards of the worst-performing schools so they can catch up with the best, improve school discipline, get every child who is capable of doing so reading by the age of six, allow new schools to open and create an additional 220,000 good school places. Other proposals include:

· Charities, voluntary groups and groups of parents would be assisted in setting up new schools in the state sector.

· Increasing teachers’ ability to stop the distruptive use of mobile phones in classrooms.

· Promoting best practice and excellence, including school uniform policies, more extra-curricular activities, a system of prefects, and awards for pupils for academic and sporting achievement.

· Strengthening the powers of head teachers to expel pupils who ruin others’ education.

Giles McNeill said:
“I welcome these proposals which will help raise standards in our schools, tackle unruly behaviour, and deliver more teaching by ability to stretch the strongest and help the weakest.

“It is right that we make it easier for charities, groups of parents and other providers to start new schools where there is a need for more good local schools. They should be helped to do that, not blocked by the Government or town halls. These plans will complement the excellent work Lincolnshire County Council is already doing to help raise standards for all our children.”

Friday, 23 November 2007

Families face ‘double whammy’ of bin taxes and council tax – Giles McNeill

Local environment will suffer from this new stealth tax say Conservatives

Families in Grange-de-Lings, Nettleham and Riseholme face the prospect of new bin taxes on top of council tax, Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, warned today. After confusion in Whitehall, Labour Ministers have finally confirmed that new taxes for bin collections will go ahead.

It is currently against the law for town halls to charge for standard collections of household rubbish. In July, a cross-party Parliamentary Committee savaged the bin tax plans, warning of more fly-tipping, neighbourhood bin wars, non-payment by the public; it said that the plans would raise the overall burden of taxation.

News of higher taxes comes as new official figures published by the Government have exposed that fly-tipping across England is soaring. In West Lindsey, 1,259 incidents of Fly-Tipping were recorded in 2006-07 up 56% from 805 in 2004-05. In total, cleaning up after fly-tipping across West Lindsey has cost local taxpayers £166,439 over the last three years. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign is warning that new bin taxes will make the problem even worse.

Giles McNeill said:
“Bin taxes would harm the local environment and public health by leading to a surge in fly-tipping and backyard burning. The set-up and running costs of such a complex tax, installing microchips in every bin, will mean the overall burden of taxation will rise. Families now face the double whammy of record council tax bills and new bin taxes.

“Yet the soaring costs of waste are yet another example of how Whitehall and EU burdens are being imposed on West Lindsey District Council. The answer is not to create new local taxes. Labour Ministers must stop imposing unfunded obligations and red tape on local communities and cease hiking up local taxes by stealth.”

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Give residents in West Lindsey a veto to stop council tax rises says Giles McNeill

Council tax hikes should be put to a vote say Conservatives

Local residents across West Lindsey will be given new powers to stop high council tax increases, under proposals announced by Conservatives.

In a new initiative on council tax launched by David Cameron, and welcomed this week by Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, any local authority - including fire and police authorities - that wanted to introduce a high council tax increase would have to receive the support of local people in a referendum. Council tax bills have soared across the country under Labour. In West Lindsey, overall bills have risen by 95% since 1997, from £682 to £1,329 on a Band D home.

Under the proposed plans, the local authority would have to explain to taxpayers why they wanted to raise taxes by so much and they would have to show what they would do – a shadow budget – in the event of their plans being rejected. Tax referendum ballots would be sent out with the annual council tax bill. If people voted against the high rise, the rebate would be credited to them at the end of the year, to avoid the cost of posting out new bills.

In addition to the plans for direct democracy, Conservatives have pledged to:

· Relieve councils of the unfunded burdens, regulations, inspection and red tape that have forced up council tax, through decentralisation and deregulation.

· Give councils more freedom and discretion to fund their own local priorities not Whitehall’s, ending the ring-fencing of local authority budgets.

· Give power back to local people, such as through the abolition of the unelected and unwanted regional assemblies, allowing more local discretion on planning and licensing, and introducing directly elected police commissioners.

· Scrap Labour’s ongoing plans for a council tax revaluation in England, and abolish council tax inspectors’ rights of entry into people’s homes.

Giles McNeill said:
“Council tax has become so unpopular under Labour because of the year on year rises that have been cooked up by Gordon Brown. We need to end Labour’s fiddled funding and burdens which ave forced up councils’ costs. Local councils deserve more freedoms.

“But these new powers need to be backed up with a stronger voice for local people, so they have the final say on whether or not local taxes are going to rise. We need to replace state control with social responsibility and democratic accountability.”