Monday, 22 December 2008

Santa Claus puts Gordon Brown on the 'Naughty List'

Santa Claus has this year placed Gordon Brown on the naughty list, and thus the Prime Minister will not be receiving any presents.
Conservative Future activists obtained a leaked document showing that the Prime Minister has been moved to the naughty list in reaction to the large debt he is placing on future generations.

The leaked document, from Lapland's Department of Poetic Justice, shows that other prominent politicians have also been added to the naughty list:

Alistair Darling – for his part in saddling the future generation with huge debt and tax increases.

Michael Martin - for not teaching the Sergeant at Arms that the Police need a warrant before searching a premises/Parliamentary office.

Jacqui Smith - for her bullying students to get an ID card in order to obtain student loans.

Commenting Lincolnshire Conservative Future Area Chairman, Giles McNeill, said:

"OK, so this story is a bit of fun, but it has a serious message at its centre: the politicians who are on this list have performed a grave disservice to young people of both Lincolnshire and this country.

"The people on this list have eroded democracy, scored cheap political points, recklessly borrowed for electoral gain and, just for good measure, are leaving the next generation with a huge bill to pick up - all in a vain attempt to remedy the follies of the last eleven years."

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

New blow to Lincolnshire’s housing market from new HIP fines and red tape

New Home Information Pack rules will hurt housing market

Giles McNeill, Prospective County Council Candidate for the Nettleham & Saxilby Division, expressed concern today at the announcement by the Government that Home Information Pack regulations will be tightened, pushing up the costs for Lincolnshire’s residents trying to sell their home. This will include forcing town halls to become more aggressive in issuing fines for breaching the burdensome rules. Home Information Packs became compulsory for all homes one year ago on 14 December.

Government research into Home Information Packs has recently found that there is minimal public knowledge and interest in HIPs; that the industry thinks they are a waste of time; that they duplicate costs and that buyers are not bothering to consult HIPs. Yet the Government has announced the following changes:

• Heavy-handed fines: Town halls will be instructed to “identify specific cases of non-compliance and enforce the requirements”. This raises the prospect that Lincolnshire County Council will be forced to start fining home owners £200 a time who do not follow the rules.

• Making it more difficult to advertise your home: From April 2009, the Government is cancelling the “first day marketing” provisions. These allow sellers to place their home on the market if a HIP has been ordered, but has not yet been completed. The cancellation will be mean that sellers will have to wait longer before they can put their home on the market. They will be fined if they advertise their property without a HIP.

• Gold-plating the Packs: The time to complete a Pack will increase, as sellers must personally fill out a detailed new ‘Property Information Questionnaire’ as part of the Home Information Pack. Yet this will be of little interest to buyers, who will instinctively treat information provided by the seller with a touch of scepticism.

Giles said:
“Home Information Packs have already harmed the market and discouraged sellers. The last thing Lincolnshire needs is the prospect of heavy-handed fines being levied by town hall officials.

“The housing market is on its knees and Labour’s response is to make it more difficult and expensive to sell your home.

“Conservatives will scrap Home Information Packs. If anything, Ministers should be using their emergency powers to suspend HIPs and provide a shot in the arm to Lincolnshire’s ailing market.”

Monday, 8 December 2008

Lincolnshire’s pubs being ripped off in tax inspectors’ cover-up

Government hides admission that pubs are paying too much in rates

Local pubs in Lincolnshire are being denied business rate cuts by the Government, Giles McNeill, Prospective Conservative Candidate for Lincolnshire County Council in the Nettleham & Saxilby Division, warned today. Pub landords could be paying thousands of pounds over the odds in tax, but are being kept in the dark by Government tax inspectors who want to avoid paying out tax refunds.

This follows a revelation earlier this year that tax inspectors were hiding the fact that hundreds of thousands of homes could be paying too much council tax. The tax officials kept quiet about the information to save money and save face.

• Five pubs closing every day: The British Beer & Pub Association has estimated that pubs are now closing at the rate of 36 a week - five a day. They are paying a heavy price for smoking ban, fragile consumer confidence, ruthless competition from supermarkets and – not least – higher beer taxes imposed by Gordon Brown.

• Government guidance on taxing pubs: Parliamentary Questions have brought to light unpublished internal guidance by the Valuation Office Agency (an arm of HM Revenue & Customs) on how local firms should be charged business rates. It admits that they have been giving out the wrong advice to firms on the effect of the smoking ban. Until recently, tax inspectors refused to give any business rate reduction for the loss of custom due to the ban. Their latest guidance now admits – thanks to advice from top lawyers – that the smoking ban represents a ‘material change’. Pubs can use this to make a claim for a lower ‘rateable value’ and so cut their yearly rates bill. For example, a £5,000 reduction in rateable value would save publicans £2,300 a year in tax.

• Local firms kept in the dark: Pubs can only apply for this tax cut if they make an appeal and fill out complex paperwork. The Government has made no announcement about potential refunds to local pubs across England and Wales. The Government is happy to hike tax bills, but it will not tell people when their bills could fall. Business rates are the third biggest cost to local firms after rent and staff costs.

Giles said:
“Local pubs in the villages that comprise the Nettleham & Saxilby Division are a vital part of our social fabric and community life. Whilst big pub chains may be making money out of Labour’s new drinking laws, small everyday pubs are suffering from the combined onslaught of higher beer taxes, a weakening economy, supermarkets selling alcohol below cost price and the smoking ban.

“Whatever people’s views on the smoking ban, it has had a major impact on many pubs. The Government’s own tax inspectors have now admitted that pubs may be eligible for refunds on their business rates, but local pub owners are being intentionally kept in the dark about this U-turn. This is yet another tax cover-up from the same inspectors who have conspired to hide council tax errors.

“Ministers are only interested in changing the tax system when it raises extra money for Gordon Brown’s coffers. Thanks to Whitehall secrecy and this stealth pub tax, local firms are going to the wall and everyday pub-goers are being hit in the wallet.”

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Challenge Now for the Conservative Party

Commenting on the Pre-Budget Report, Gainsborough Constituency MP, Edward Leigh says:
"Thank God, David Cameron and George Osborne renounced Labour’s spending plans last week. We were like passengers who had to decide what’s more dangerous: stay on the runaway coach or leap off and risk a broken leg?

"Well, now we know. The coach is careering full-tilt over the cliff, and if we had not jumped off and been given a few bruises by the establishment commentariat, we would now be heading for political oblivion. The scale of Government borrowing projected for next year is staggering, more than we’ve ever let ourselves in for in history: £118 billion, or around £4,680 for every household in the country.

"What point would the Conservative Party have had if we had endorsed this? What purpose would we serve? For months, no, years, we on the Tory Right have begged our leadership to steer our own course. Ours is a party of fiscal rectitude or it is nothing. As for the cut in V.A.T., we can argue that’s the worst thing to do. We must oppose it. Who can argue against the fact that high marginal tax rates have destroyed the working-class culture of thrift and work?

"If tax cuts are needed now, thresholds should have been raised to take people out of paying tax altogether and encourage them back into work, to spend their money as they have to.

"How will it help the poor to give them a few pence more off consumer items they don’t need?

"As for the promised tax rise for the “rich” – i.e. people who create wealth – this all adds up to a picture of a return to the Callaghan years.

"I firmly believe the corner is turned and the Conservatives are on the way to victory. We now have to work out how we’re going to achieve the same outputs for a lot less spending. This is an enormous challenge for an incoming Conservative government. We need to work on it now."

Friday, 21 November 2008

Action needed to stop energy firms ripping off Lincolnshire’s households

Vulnerable families and pensioners need help in face of rocketing energy bills

Giles McNeill, Prospective Conservative Candidate for Nettleham & Saxilby Division’s County Council seat, called today for urgent new measures to help families and pensioners across Lincolnshire who are facing soaring energy bills and are struggling to make ends meet this winter. The average gas and electricity bill in the East Midlands has now soared to £1,264.00 a year.

One in five families is now estimated to live in fuel poverty. According to Age Concern, there are more winter deaths in Britain than in colder European countries‚ such as Finland‚ Denmark and Austria.

Conservatives have launched a series of proposals to tackle fuel poverty, which would:
• Cut the fuel bills of the poorest households by introducing tough new rules that make it illegal for energy companies to charge over the odds on pre-payment meters.
• Oblige every energy company to offer ‘social’ tariffs to vulnerable households.
• Make energy companies provide information on energy bills that shows customers whether they are on the cheapest tariff available – and, if they are not, makes clear how much they would save if they switched to the cheapest tariff, and how to do it.
• Reform Post Office Card Accounts so that people can pay their utility bills through direct debit style payments, cutting the energy bills of up to four million ‘unbanked’ people by £100 a year.

Giles said:
“With gas and electricity bills at record highs, people across Lincolnshire face their toughest winter for years. Without immediate help, many will have to choose between staying warm and going into debt.

“It is completely unacceptable that the most vulnerable people on pre-payment meters should be targeted by the energy companies to pay more than their fair share. That should be banned at once.

“And all customers should have the right to be told what the cheapest tariff is – instead of paying more because they are baffled by the complexity of what energy companies offer.

“The Government must end its dithering and act immediately to save the poorest from spending this winter worrying whether they can afford to keep warm.”

Monday, 17 November 2008

Tax cuts needed to keep Lincolnshire working says Giles McNeill

Action required to boost the economy and reduce unemployment

Ahead of the publication of the Government’s draft Budget - the so-called Pre-Budget Report on 24 November, Giles McNeill, Prospective Conservative Candidate for Lincolnshire County Council in the Nettleham & Saxilby Division, has called for tax cuts to help Lincolnshire’s economy and reduce unemployment. The latest official Government figures show the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the Gainsborough constituency is now 1,200 a rise of 202 from this time last year.

Conservatives are calling on the Government to introduce tax cuts to create new jobs, under an innovative scheme which will help firms take on extra employees, boost the economy and reduce the damaging social costs associated with unemployment.

Private sector firms who hire someone who has been claiming unemployment benefits for more than three months and who has not previously worked for that company in the previous year, would receive a credit against employers’ National Insurance bills.

This would be funded by using money that would otherwise be spent on welfare payments to give tax cuts worth £2,500 per head over a year. It is estimated that the plan could create around 350,000 new jobs across the country over the next year. Simple safeguards would prevent abuse by ensuring that only genuinely new jobs would be eligible.

On top of this, Conservatives have already proposed:
• A two-year council tax freeze, paid for by cutting back on government advertising and consultancy fees.
• Taking family homes out of inheritance tax and nine out of ten first-time buyers out of stamp duty, funded by introducing a levy on non-domiciles.
• Allowing small businesses to delay their VAT payments by six months.
• Cutting payroll taxes for the smallest companies.

Giles said:
“I am very concerned about the state of the economy. Jobs, businesses and livelihoods across the Nettleham & Saxilby Division are at risk, and it is clear that we cannot rely on Gordon Brown to produce the positive policies that will help us cope with recession. Change is desperately needed.

“Cutting taxes for local firms who create new jobs is one of the ways that we can support our local economy, in a fiscally responsible way.”

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Spelman welcomes defection of Labour Councillor

Caroline Spelman has welcomed the former Labour Councillor Lindsey Cawrey to the Conservative Party.

The Lincoln City Councillor decided to defect to the Conservatives after becoming disillusioned with the Labour Party under Gordon Brown’s leadership.

She said,
“My decision was based on my inability to reconcile my conscience with the ‘leadership’ of Gordon Brown, the current Government’s lack of direction, its lack of positive leadership and its refusal to listen to the people of the country.”
Caroline, the Chairman of the Conservatives, described Lindsey as a “strongly committed” councillor, and praised her work on environmental matters.
“Local Government forms the backbone of our political campaigning operation and I am sure that Lindsey will make a valuable contribution to the campaign of our local candidate for Lincoln, Karl McCartney.”

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Labour County Councillor Defects to Conservatives

Cllr. Lindsey Cawrey (member for Lincoln City’s Boultham Ward) has announced that she will join the Conservative Group on the County Council with immediate effect.

Speaking today Cllr. Lindsey Cawrey said:
“I have become disenchanted with the Labour government and I can no longer remain in the Labour Party that I have served for the past six years.

“It has taken many months to align my conscience with my actions, however, I regret to say that I no longer feel comfortable in a Party led by Gordon Brown. My decision was based on my inability to reconcile my conscience with the ‘leadership’ of Gordon Brown, the current government’s lack of direction, its lack of positive leadership and its refusal to listen to the people of the country.

“My ideals and principles are now more in-line with the Conservatism of David Cameron. Therefore, I have made the decision to join the Conservative Party from where I feel better able to serve the best interests of the people of Lincolnshire.

“I shall not be standing again in the County Council seat of Lincoln Boultham at the next County Council election in 2008.”


Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, today commented:
“I warmly welcome Lindsey as a member of the Lincolnshire County Council Conservative Group. For a long period I have been impressed by her commitment to Lincolnshire, and, in particular, to environmental matters, as well as her effective chairing of the Scrutiny Development Committee.

“Like millions of people, Lindsey has become totally disillusioned by the Labour Party under the ‘leadership’ of Gordon Brown. It is to her great credit, that she has decided to have the courage of her convictions, and will not seek re-election in the County Council elections in June as a Labour candidate, but will be part of a winning Conservative Party.

“I know that this has been a challenging period for Lindsey, and she has considered her position very carefully, not least because she will have to resign as Scrutiny Committee Chairman. Lindsey has been a very effective ward representative for six years, and I know that this decision will not deflect her from that role in the short period before the next County Elections.

“I look forward very much to working with Lindsey to continue to safeguard the best interests of the people of Lincolnshire in these very difficult times.”


Karl McCartney, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Lincoln said:
“I am ecstatic that Lincoln now has a Conservative County Councillor representing the City of Lincoln’s interests. Obviously since the increase in Conservative votes in Lincoln since 2004, I fully expect that Cllr. Cawrey is the first of many Lincoln City Conservative County Councillors, as will be born out on County Council election night in 2009. Having met Lindsey, I look forward to working with her towards winning the next General Election, and welcome her as a Conservative Party member.”

Lincoln Conservative Association Chairman Mrs. Rachel Hubbard said:
“Membership of our Association is increasing all the time and we obviously welcome Lindsey as part of our team, I am sure she will make a valuable contribution.”

Monday, 10 November 2008

Action needed to protect families from unscrupulous lenders and bailiffs

Giles McNeill warns that new Government laws will put family homes at threat

Homes across Lincolnshire are at threat of seizure by unscrupulous lenders or invasion by aggressive bailiffs, Giles McNeill, prospective conservative candidate for Lincolnshire County Council, Nettleham & Saxilby Division, warned today. At a time when families are struggling to manage their debts, the Government is weakening the rules which protect family homes.

• New powers for bailiffs break into your home: Labour Ministers are changing the law to allow bailiffs the legal right to break into family homes to collect civil debts. These new provisions will permit bailiffs to use ‘reasonable force’ to enter homes, such as knocking down a door or smashing a window, to collect debts such as missed credit card bills, an unpaid parking fine or TV licence fee. Conservatives have pledged to reverse these new laws, which undo common law rights and liberties dating back centuries.

• Family homes at risk from unscrupulous lenders: Conservatives are also pledging to stop the small print of another Labour law. The Government is making it easier for lenders to get a ‘charging order’ against a borrower’s home. A charging order gives lenders a legal stake in the borrower’s home, even if the missed payments are an unsecured debt.

• Need for more protection against forced sales: Conservatives are calling for new rules to prevent families from losing their homes as a result of missing credit card bills or other unsecured loans: We do not believe families should be forced to sell their homes to repay relatively small debts. That is why we are proposing new rules to prevent anyone from being forced to sell their home to repay unsecured debts of less than £25,000.

Giles said:
“Borrowers must be responsible for their debts, but I am alarmed that the Government is to allow unscrupulous lenders to force families to out of their homes for small sums, such as missing credit card payments.

“It is even worse that Ministers are to give bailiffs new powers literally to break down the door of family homes to collect debts, such as an unpaid parking ticket or TV licence.

“At a time when so many families are suffering from a soaring cost of living and an economy built on debt, it would be wrong in principle and in practice to impose these new state powers. We must protect Lincolnshire’s families in these difficult economic times, and we need a greater sense of social responsibility from the Government and lenders towards those who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Call to give Local Firms in Lincolnshire Access to More Government Contracts

Massive Whitehall procurement budget should help small and medium firms

Giles McNeill, Prospective County Council Candidate, today added his voice to calls for the Government to do more to help local firms in Lincolnshire hit by the economic downturn. Conservatives are demanding that Whitehall opens up the massive £125 billion government procurement budget to small and medium firms across the country.

The government is the biggest purchaser of goods and services in the economy, but Whitehall bureaucracy means that small businesses are locked out of this system. Making it easier for small businesses to win government contracts would provide companies in Lincolnshire - and across the country - with a crucial source of revenue during the downturn, helping to protect local jobs.

The Conservative action plan includes:
• Scrapping the rule requiring companies to provide three years of audited accounts when bidding for government contracts. This unnecessary rule locks start-up companies out of the procurement system – simply because new companies may not have three years of audited accounts.
• Immediately introducing a single questionnaire to be allowed to bid for government contracts worth less than £50,000. This would only have to be filled in once and logged for future contract bids. This will radically reduce the administrative burden involved in bidding for government contracts.
• Requiring all government contracts worth over £10,000 to be published online, so that small companies can for the first time find out exactly what contracts are available. At present, it is not mandatory for contracts to be published online. As a result, over 75 per cent of small and medium firms report that it is difficult to find out about procurement opportunities.
• Aiming for 25 per cent of government contracts to be awarded to small and medium enterprises. This is something that United States federal government does, and would help overcome the risk aversion that leads to them being overlooked for government contracts.

Giles said:
“This is another part of the Conservative action plan for small business, which also includes proposals to defer VAT bills, cut payroll taxes by 1p and reduce the small company corporation tax rate.

“We need to open up the government’s procurement system and get money to small businesses across the country. It’s not just small firms that will be helped – taxpayers will benefit from the innovation and greater efficiency that small businesses can bring to government contracts.

“Small firms in Lincolnshire are facing a very difficult time and jobs are at risk. If Labour Ministers were serious about making a difference, they would adopt this action plan.”

Friday, 31 October 2008

Candidate Selection Made

Prospective Candidate for the Nettleham & Saxilby Division County Council Seat Selected

Giles McNeill has been selected as the Conservative Party’s prospective candidate for the Nettleham & Saxilby Division for the County Council elections scheduled to take place in June 2009.

Giles said:
“I am delighted to have been selected as your prospective County Council candidate for the Nettleham & Saxilby Division. I want to know what issues are important to local residents. My job in the coming months is to listen to the views of local residents and then ensure that those views will be heard in the council.

“A strong economy is the foundation of everything that we want to achieve. Ensuring that we have responsible management of public money in Lincolnshire will be a top priority. I want safe communities; it isn’t enough to treat the symptoms of social failure, we have got to tackle the causes. Social mobility under Labour has stalled. I want to ensure that everybody is given the opportunities they deserve: I want to help those who are willing to help themselves, I want families and the voluntary sector to be stronger so that we can create a more cohesive, compassionate society by empowering people to be responsible.

I hope that when polling day comes, local residents will support me. In Broadholme, Broxholme, Burton, Burton Waters, Grange-De-Lings, North Carlton, North Greetwell, Nettleham, Riseholme, Saxilby-With-Ingleby and South Carlton: it is time for change. I want to be that change – change that will strengthen our communities.”

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Namaste!

I would like to extend my warmest wishes to the local Hindu community on the auspicious occasion of Diwali.

The festival of light sends a message of hope and optimism that all of us, of whatever faith, can embrace enthusiastically.

Diwali is a time for us to reflect on the importance of the family, friendship and goodwill. It is a celebration of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of knowledge over ignorance. It is also a time for reflection so that we can reinforce our common and shared bonds.

The local Hindu community has contributed a huge amount to our society. I admire the Hindu commitment to the family, spirit of hard work, and devotion to the community – all of which are values that Conservatives applaud and cherish.

I believe we can be proud of Britain’s vibrant, multi-ethnic society, and of our British identity and shared values. There is far more that unites us than divides us. Today those of all faiths and none can learn from the message of Diwali.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Having Dinner with Roger Helmer MEP

I had the good fortune to be sat next to Roger Helmer MEP at the Nettleham & District's Branch Annual Dinner earlier this evening.

We talked together for some time, even getting into the intricacies of the D'Hont Method used for the Election of European Parliamentarians from Britain and associated territories - which I found absolutely fascinating, and imagine would render most people bored senseless. European Elections are scheduled for June 2009 next year.

Roger explained his views regarding climate change. Despite what may be printed in the press Roger believes, rightly, that there is climate change; he is however, sceptical about the effect of climate change and the amount of conflicting evidence that can be presented to bolster any number of different positions. So he, like myself prefers to keep an open mind on the question of Global Warming.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Time to end Gordon Brown’s regime of bin taxes, bin cuts and bin fines

Conservative proposals to increase recycling and improve frontline services

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, today welcomed new Conservative proposals to end Gordon Brown’s unpopular and damaging policies of bin cuts, bin fines and bin taxes. In a major national policy announcement, Conservatives have unveiled plans to help the local environment and improve services to family homes.

• A Conservative Government will change Whitehall policy, restoring the expectation that councils should offer full weekly collections – ending and reversing the Labour policy of bin cuts, which are harming public health and the local environment in many parts of the country.
• Central funding will be offered to all councils so they can have full weekly collections, on top of a comprehensive recycling service. This will be funded by scrapping a host of unelected quangos and local government red tape. Based on the current rate of cuts, weekly bin collections will disappear completely from Britain by 2013.
• Councils, subject to the ballot box, will still have the final decision on what services to offer – but they will no longer be bullied into cutting services due to Whitehall diktats.
• Gordon Brown’s plans for new bin taxes will be scrapped. Labour’s stealth taxes threaten to harm the environment by fuelling fly-tipping and backyard burning.
• Conservatives will champion green incentives – from trials for free green compost bins, water butts, green cones and garden wormeries, to the ‘Recyclebank’ scheme, used in America, where householders are paid for recycling.
• New powers will be given to councils, allowing them to cut local council tax bills in return for recycling and green behaviour.

Giles McNeill said:
“Gordon Brown is making it ever harder for families to dispose of their waste responsibly. Despite soaring levels of council tax, local people are being hit by cuts to collections, over-zealous use of bin fines and the prospect of expensive new bin taxes which will push up the cost of living. Councils are getting the blame for policies imposed by Whitehall. That must change.

“Conservatives believe that regular rubbish collections are a vital frontline council service to help protect the local environment and public health. We reject Labour’s approach of state bullying, cutting services and higher taxes. We will provide funding for those councils that want to provide proper weekly rubbish collections, on top of comprehensive recycling services.

“We will make it easier for families to go green and increase recycling by working with households, not punishing them with heavy-handed bin taxes, bin cuts and bin fines.”

Monday, 13 October 2008

Environment discussed with Shadow Minister

Meeting with Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Peter Ainsworth MP

I had the good fortune to meet with the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Peter Ainsworth, earlier this afternoon. Together with colleagues from west Lindsey District Council he had been touring the site for proposed new recycling facilities and the district's recycling operation.

Cllr. Adam Duguid (Market Rasen), Deputy Leader of West Lindsey District Council, makes his point to Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Peter Ainsworth.

Peter's commitment to green causes has earned him considerable respect amongst environmental groups. He is well aware that until David Cameron became Leader of the Party, the environment tended to be seen as something of a left wing issue. He passonately believes that it has always been natural territory for Conservatives. We discussed a number of issues, as did colleagues.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Plans to freeze council tax for West Lindsey residents – saving £221

Conservative proposals to help families and pensioners from soaring cost of living

Hard-pressed local residents across West Lindsey could benefit from lower council tax, under national plans which have been drawn up by Conservatives. Taxpayers in Scotland benefited from a council tax freeze this year, thanks to a deal struck between Scottish local authorities and the Scottish Executive. But those living south the border were not so lucky.

The new Conservative proposal involves a partnership with local councils, giving them extra support to deliver a council tax freeze in the first two years of a Conservative Government.

• If a council keeps its council tax bill rise to 2.5% or less, then central government will provide sufficient additional resources to fund a further, additional 2.5% reduction in council tax bills.

• Each council will be completely free to accept or reject this offer. Those that accept the offer will be able to give their taxpayers a complete freeze, or even reduction, for two years in a row.

• Across West Lindsey the value of a council tax freeze would be equivalent to saving £221 over the two years. Under Labour, council tax has soared by 116% over the last ten years, taking the average Band D bill to £1476

The cost to central government of reducing council tax would be funded from savings from cutting central spending on public sector consultants and advertising, and not from the overall local government budget. The Labour Government is now the second biggest advertiser in Britain, spending five times more than Tescos. It has also been slammed for the irresponsible and expensive use of consultancy firms, on top of civil servants.

Giles McNeill said:
“Under Labour, council tax has soared across the country, pushing up the cost of living. Families and pensioners facing the economic squeeze cannot afford yet more tax rises from Gordon Brown.

“The next Conservative Government will work with local councils to freeze council tax for at least two years.

“Instead of rising council tax bills year after year under Labour, millions of families will get help at the time they need it most. Conservatives will not leave people to struggle with the credit crunch on their own.”

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Blog Relaunched

Today marks the relaunch of the Giles McNeill for Nettleham blog. From now on the blog will be available from the following address. http://gilesmcneill.blogspot.com.

Over the comming weeks and months the site will be being upgraded and redesigned. It is hoped you like the changes as they are rolled out.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Eid Mubarak!

I would like to extend my warmest wishes to you and the local Muslim community on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The three-day festival of Eid, marking the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, has important religious significance as a time of prayer and thankfulness for blessings we have received. It’s an occasion for forgiveness and for giving to those who are less fortunate than ourselves, as well as a time for families, friends and the wider community to come together in celebration.

So the festival is a reminder that if we want to look at British values – such as the importance of community and generosity – there are plenty of British Muslims ready to show us what those things really mean.

I’ve seen at first hand those values being put into practice whenever I’ve visited local Muslim families. I admire your commitment to the family, your spirit of hard work and your devotion to the community – all of which are values that Conservatives applaud and cherish.

The local Muslim community has contributed a huge amount to all aspects of our society. Lincolnshire thrives on its diversity and applauds the example of the local Muslim community.

I believe we can be proud of Britain’s vibrant, multi-ethnic society, and of our British identity and shared values. There is far more that unites us than divides us. Today those of all faiths and none can learn from the messages of Ramadan and Eid.

Please accept my best wishes, and enjoy the festival.

Monday, 29 September 2008

A Two Year Council Tax Freeze

Conservatives will freeze Council Tax for two years.

Under Labour council tax bills have more than doubled.

In 1997 the average Band D bill was £688. This year the average bill is £1,374.

It’s time the Government tightened its belt like the rest of the country. Conservatives will slash wasteful spending on Government advertising and expensive private sector consultants – and with the co-operation of local councils, use the money to freeze your council tax bill.

Instead of rising council tax bills under Labour, millions of families
will get help at the time they need it most.

Conservatives policies to help families cope with the rising cost of living:

HELP AT THE PUMPS
We will introduce a Fair Fuel Stabiliser − when fuel prices go up, fuel duty would fall.

HELP FOR FAMILIES
As we save money on wasteful welfare, we will abolish Labour’s couple penalty in the tax credits system – giving 1.8 million couples an extra £2,000 a year.

HELP FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS
We will permanently abolish Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on purchases up to £250,000 − nine out of ten first-time buyers will pay no Stamp Duty at all, saving an average of £2,000 each.

HELP WITH YOUR BILLS
We will cut the energy and gas bills of up to four million people by £100 by reforming Post Office Accounts to allow families without bank accounts to access cheaper tariffs.

HELP FOR MOTORISTS
We will oppose Labour’s new tax on family cars, which will hit 1 million owners of family cars bought up to 7 years ago with tax rises of up to £250.

Video Blog No. 4 - Conservative Conference

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Liberal Democrats have been ordered to stop making automated phone calls to voters.

Two hundred and fifty thousand households were supposed to receive calls with a recorded message from party leader Nick Clegg.

But the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said the party had broken privacy rules and that they will face prosecution unless they stop.

Anyone who answered the call heard a recording of Mr Clegg telling them about his conference speech for 30 seconds before he asked them to press buttons on their telephones to select political topics and register their opinions on the LibDems' stance.

The party argued that the calls did not constitute marketing as they also asked people questions about their views on Liberal Democrat policies.

But the ICO ruled that the calls constituted "direct marketing" which is not allowed to be targeted at anyone who has not given prior consent.

They said they had received a number of complaints from those who received the calls

The Scottish National Party also complained to the IOC about the calls.

The commissioner took action against the SNP over its cold-calling campaign targeting 500,000 voters in 2005 after a formal Lib Dem complaint.

The Lib Dems have said they will not appeal against the ICO's decision.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Summer's Over

Giles McNeill writes:

"To regular readers of this blog I apologise for the lack of recent updates. It has been a busy time for the party locally - there is a by-election at Middle Rasen which I have been assisting with. Together with my role as Conservative Future Area Chairman for Lincolnshire I have been surprisingly busy. Nevertheless I have been working hard for the residents on Nettleham on the Parish Council. I have joined the parish council's Property Committee and have been taking an active interest in the proposals from Truelove Construction Ltd.

"Hopefully in the coming week I will find the time for regular updates while I am attending the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham at the weekend."

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Nettleham Wins 1st Place in the Best Kept Village Competition

Nettleham has won 1st place in the 2008 Best Kept Village Competition in the Large Villages and Small Towns Class.

Giles McNeill:
I am delighted that the village has won this accolade. Local people have worked so hard in the past twelve months to make the village resplendent again after the 2007 floods.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Action needed to help less well-off families with soaring energy bills

Call to tackle unfairness and help protect the Post Office network

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor gave his strong support today to new proposals to help less well-off families with their energy bills. Conservatives have pledged to reform Post Office Card Accounts so that families without bank accounts can benefit from the lower energy and water tariffs offered to customers paying by direct debit.

This could cut the energy bills of up to 4 million Post Office Card Account (POCA) holders by up to £100 a year. There are 8 million people in the UK who do not have a bank account or are effectively without a bank. Many of them use Card Accounts instead. But because they cannot pay their bills by direct debit, they face higher prices for gas, electricity and water.

• A Conservative Government will reform Card Accounts so that they can be used for the first time to pay utility bills by direct debit. This proposal, which is supported by leading utility companies, will bring significant savings to energy companies through lower collection costs, which can be passed onto consumers in the form of lower bills.

• In addition, because state benefits are automatically paid into Card Accounts each week, customers will benefit from a more convenient way of managing their finances and paying their bills.

• This policy could also generate up to £20 million a year in additional revenue for Post Offices, which could help keep Post Offices from going to the wall as a result of Labour cuts. By contrast, the Labour Party is planning to take the Card Account away from Post Offices, which will lead to more Post Office closures.

Giles McNeill explained:
“It is totally unfair that many of the poorest households across West Lindsey end up paying more for their energy and water bills because they do not have bank accounts and cannot pay by direct debit. Under Labour, it is the poor who suffer most.

“These new Conservative proposals will help people struggling with rising household bills by letting them use their Post Office Card Account to pay their utility bills. Energy and gas bills of up to four million people could be cut by £100, helping many families at a time when the cost of living is rising fast.

“These plans will also bring in additional revenue for Post Offices, helping maintain our important network and stave off more Labour cuts.”

Monday, 18 August 2008

Bail laws must be tightened to make Lincolnshire’s streets safer – Giles McNeill

New evidence of public being put at risk from criminals and dangerous suspects

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, today added his voice to calls to tighten the bail laws and ensure public safety is put first. New research has revealed that when criminal suspects breach bail, they face weak penalties or none at all. The latest figures show that almost half of all those who breach bail are let off with a fine, the average amount being just £60 – less than a typical town hall fine for a householder who puts out their rubbish on the wrong day.

Conservatives are demanding that tighter bail laws are needed, and have announced proposals to reform two crucial areas of bail law: decisions to bail defendants and enforcing conditions when a suspect is bailed.
• Public safety will be made an explicit consideration in all bail decisions
• Bail will be denied for those previously convicted of the most serious offences
• A new offence of breach of bail, punishable with imprisonment, will be introduced to tighten up the enforcement of bail condition
• Persistent offenders and those who have previously breached bail will lose the presumption of bail

In addition, there is growing public disquiet over the Government’s use of bail hostels to accommodate early release prisoners and criminal suspects. Hundreds of private bail hostels for criminals and suspects are being imposed on residential areas without consultation. They house offenders released before the end of their sentences or people on bail awaiting trial who would otherwise be remanded in custody. The private contractor ClearSprings has already opened around 160 hostels this year including in Lincoln.

Local authorities are being given little or no say in where the hostels are located. Local residents and neighbours of the properties are not excluded too. Conservatives are demanding that the Government suspends the ClearSprings scheme. It also fails to provide adequate support for, and supervision of, suspects and offenders.

Giles McNeill said:
“The current system is not working. Bail is too easily granted, frequently breached and weakly enforced. Public confidence is undermined when bail conditions are routinely breached, and offenders now hold the criminal justice system in contempt. New victims of crime are created unnecessarily. Only Conservatives will take effective action to protect the public.”

Monday, 28 July 2008

1,000 ways for Brown’s state inspectors to enter homes across Lincolnshire

Giles McNeill expresses concern at unchecked state powers of intrusion

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, expressed grave concern this week at the news that Government and town hall inspectors now have over 1,000 powers which allow inspectors to enter people’s homes and premises. Despite Gordon Brown’s pledge last year to cut back these powers, a further 16 new laws are being pushed through Parliament which entrench or extend powers of entry.

The Govenrment has recently published a full list of the state powers of entry that are now in force. There are now a total of 1,043 state powers of entry, and some 430 new powers of entry have been created by Labour.

A survey of state powers to enter people’s homes by the independent think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, last year suggested that there were just 266 powers of entry. It warned that due to the “proliferation and variety of entry powers” householders cannot now “realistically be aware” of their rights and legal obligations.

The powers of inspection and entry include:
• Invading your home to see if your pot plants have plant pests or to check whether it has a so-called ‘plant passport’ (Plant Health England Order 2005).
• Inspecting a property to see whther performing animals, such as dancing bears, are being trained or exhibited without a permit (Performing Animals Regulation Act 1925).
• Surveying your home and garden to see if your hedge is too high (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003).
• Inspecting a property to ensure illegal or unregulated hypnotism is not taking place (Hypnotism Act 1952).
• Checking that accommodation being given to asylum seekers is not being occupied by people who are not asylum seekers (Immigration and Asylum Act 1999).
• Carrying out inspections for the presence of rabbits (Pests Act 1954).
• Raiding a house to check if unlicensed gambling is taking place (Gambling Act 2005 Inspection Provision of Information Regulations 2007).
• Checking and seizing fridges which do not have the correct energy rating (Energy Information Household Refrigerators and Freezers Regulations 2004).
• Allowing state-sponsored bailiffs to enter your home and seize goods, using reasonable force if necessary (Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007)

In a speech last October, Gordon Brown pledged to curtail such laws with a new ‘liberty test’. He pledged that any change to entry powers would be accompanied by new guidance on their use and on the rights of members of the public to stop their abuse. But 16 new laws are now before Parliament which extending the powers - without any such guidance.

Conservatives are also warning that yet more intrusion is being actively planned by Labour. A cadre of council tax inspectors are being trained and an Orwellian computer database is being created for a council tax revaluation in England. Householders will be fined £500 for obstructing these inspectors.

Giles McNeill said:
“Day by day under Labour, the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens across (area) are being eroded. Their plans for ID Cards and 42 days detention are examples. There has been a huge surge in powers of entry under Labour, entrenching and extending the surveillance state.

“We need measures to tackle genuine crime and terrorism. But the abuse of surveillance powers by town halls in some parts of the country shows the real danger of ‘function creep’ by state bureaucrats. Conservatives will cut back these unnecessary powers of the state to enter homes, starting off with abolishing council tax inspectors’ rights of entry and reining back in the nosey parker state.”

Monday, 21 July 2008

New figures expose Government failure on knife crime – Giles McNeill

Action needed to tackle worrying rise of young people carrying and using knives

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, expressed deep concern today about new local knife crime statistics published by the Government, and called for action to tackle the growing menace.

The official figures published by the Home Office show that across Lincolnshire, there were 71 serious offences last year involving knives.18% of all wounding, grevious bodily harm or robberies were committed with a knife in Lincolnshire. Nationally, the figure is 19%.


Conservatives are calling for a series of urgent measures to reduce knife crime, which include:
· Anyone convicted of carrying a knife should expect to receive a custodial sentence. Currently, the Government is planning to allow offenders carrying a knife to be let off with a fine in some circumstances.

· Making it easier for police officers to stop suspects and search them for knifes and other weapons, and increasing use of mobile knife scanners on the streets and on public transport (as already being successful trialled in London by Boris Johnson).

· Providing more custodial places for young offenders, and increasing support for drugs and education programmes, and tackling the causes of knife crime such as family breakdown, lack of school discipline and welfare dependency.


Giles McNeill commented:
“I am very concerned about these new figures showing the the menance of knife crime on our streets. This is a shocking indictment of Labour’s failure to tackle crime and its causes.

“Our police have been tied up in so much red tape that they can only spend 14 per cent of their time on the beat fighting crime. At the same time our unprotected borders have allowed too many weapons and hard drugs to flow into our country. Labour have also failed to address family breakdown which sets too many young people on a path of crime.

“Conservatives would start tackling this crime crisis by freeing our police from red tape and targets so they can be deployed on our streets to catch and deter criminals. We need stronger deterrent sentences such as a presumption of prison for those convicted of knife crime. And we will address the fundamental causes of crime like drugs and family breakdown.”

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Poll Watch: ComRes (Independent on Sunday)

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/07/watch-this-spac.html

The latest opinion poll in The Independent on Sunday tomorrow records the lowest Labour share of the vote, 24 per cent, in a ComRes poll. The Conservative lead, 21 percentage points, is also equal to the biggest lead recorded by ComRes, for The Independent three weeks ago. The figures, with the change since the last poll for the Independent on Sunday in mid-June:
Conservative 45%(+1)
Labour 24%(-2)
LibDem 16%(-1)
Green 5%(+3)
Other 9% -2)
They also asked if people agreed or disagreed with the statement, "The Labour Party will lose the next election regardless of who leads it": 68 per cent agreed, including 38 per cent of Labour voters, and 22 per cent disagreed.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Free doughnuts and partisan propaganda won’t boost local democracy

Giles McNeill responds to Government proposals to change the way councils work

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, expressed concern this week at proposals by the Government to scrap vital protection for local taxpayers from wasteful town halls and ‘jobs for the boys’ corruption.

They are also facing having to bankroll free doughnuts to bribe Labour supporters into voting, and allowing their salaried councillors to avoid turning up to meetings and vote ‘remotely’ instead: The proposals were outlined by Labour Ministers in a so-called ‘Community Empowerment’ White Paper.

Giles McNeill gave his backing to some of the proposals in the White Paper, such as:
· Greater scrutiny of unelected public officials, akin to Select Committees in Parliament.
· Promoting the transfer of assets to community management and ownership.
· Giving ‘backbench’ councillors more powers, such as through small budgets for their ward – a policy implemented by Conservatives at West Lindsey District Council a number of years ago.

However, in the small print of the White Paper, there are a series of more controversial proposals:
· Doughnuts to vote: Electors are to be given ‘incentives’ to vote in local elections, such as entry into prize draws or free doughnuts. In these ways, Labour councils could mobilise the disillusioned and demoralised Labour core vote at taxpayers’ expense.

· Propaganda on the rates: The Government intends to tear up the guidelines which prevent taxpayers’ money being spent on partisan propaganda by town halls. A survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance last December highlighted that publicity spending by town halls has already soared to £450 million a year. The new partisan local publicity will be on top of the new taxpayers-funded Communications Allowance which funds partisan propaganda by Labour MPs.

· Jobs for the boys: Labour Ministers want to weaken anti-corruption rules that prevent council officers from being councillors, because so few people want to stand as Labour candidates to stand in local elections – there were none in the West Lindsey local elections back in May. Yet these rules were drawn up in the 1980s to stop local civil servants becoming politicised and present conflicts of interest.

· No need for councillors to attend meetings: Under new plans for ‘remote’ voting, councillors will not have to turn up at meetings. They will be able to vote and participate in meetings ‘remotely’. This will make it easier for Labour councillors to hold down multiple jobs, on top of cashing in on their councillor allowances.

Giles McNeill said:
“Councillors have a valued role to play in holding town halls to account, and act as champions of the local community. Yet I am concerned that the Labour Party wants to push through partisan laws that will allow them to bribe their voters, bring back jobs for the boys and slip in back-door state funding.

“But rather than these highly controversial changes, if Ministers were genuine about local democracy, they would hand back the powers that unelected regional assemblies and Whitehall quangos have seized from local communities. Unfortunately Labour is moving ahead with a barrage of new quangos that will take even more powers away from local communities. Only Conservtives will give these powers back to local people where they belong.”

Thursday, 10 July 2008

One year on: higher taxes, services cut and communities gagged

Giles McNeill comments on end of year report for Gordon Brown

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, this week delivered his verdict on Gordon Brown’s first year as Prime Minister, highlighting Government policies which are adding to the rising cost of living, bringing about the closure of local services and silencing the voice of local communities.

· Soaring taxes at time of rising cost of living: Families and pensioners are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, but Government taxes are making it even harder. Families have lost out due to the 10p income tax debacle and rising council tax bills. Higher, retrospective car taxes and new bin taxes are on the way. The housing market is slowing, tied up in the new red tape of Labour’s Home Information Packs and hit by Gordon Brown’s punitive stamp duty, compounding the effect of the credit crunch.

· Cuts to local services: In a Government programme of massive cuts, 2,500 post offices are being closed across the country. 1,000 shops which double up as post offices are expected to close if their post office business is axed. Another 3,000 post offices are under threat due to the end of the Post Office Card Account. On top of this, 1,700 family doctor surgeries could close down across England, under Labour plans for large and remote ‘polyclinics’ to replace local GPs.

· Silencing the voice of local communities: Under new planning laws being pushed through Parliament, local councils will lose any say over large, controversial planning applications. A new Labour quango – the Infrastructure Planning Commission – will take control, enforcing planning rules imposed by Ministers with no say for Parliament. The people of Britain have also been denied any say over the European Constitution (also known as the Lisbon Treaty), after Gordon Brown went back on his promise to hold a referendum.

Giles said:
“One year on from Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister, the country is going in the wrong direction – with looming cuts to local services, a soaring cost of living fuelled by higher taxes and local people consistently ignored by Whitehall.

“Gordon Brown has no big vision for Britain and no answers to the long-term challenges we face. People in this country are desperate for change: to improve the NHS, to raise standards in schools and to fight back against crime. They need a government that is on their side and not on their backs like Gordon Brown.”

Monday, 23 June 2008

No means No?

On 12 June, voters in Ireland rejected the EU Lisbon Treaty by 46.6% to 53.4% in a national referendum. Turnout was relatively high, at 53%.

However, despite the resounding no vote, EU leaders meeting in Brussels last week decided to press ahead regardless, agreeing that ratification of the Treaty should continue in other countries. They also agreed that Irish voters should eventually be asked to vote again, until they say 'yes'.

Despite claiming that they want to "respect" the Irish no vote, EU leaders across the whole of Europe have no intention of doing so. They are determined to press ahead with the Lisbon Treaty.

Here are just some of the extraordinary reactions to the Irish vote from Europe's leaders:
"They [the Irish] are bloody fools. They have been stuffing their faces at Europe's expense for years and now they dump us in the s***." - Nicolas Sarkozy, French President (Times, 20 June)

"The Lisbon Treaty is not dead... It is imperative that they vote again." - Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former French President and author of the EU Constitution (RTL, 19 June)

"I don't think you can say the treaty of Lisbon is dead even if the ratification process will be delayed." - Jean-Pierre Jouyet, French Europe Minister (Reuters, 16 June)

"I am convinced that we need this Treaty. Therefore we are sticking with our goal for it to come into force. The ratification process must continue." - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (Reuters, 14 June)

"Of course we have to take the Irish referendum seriously. But a few million Irish cannot decide on behalf of 495 million Europeans." - Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Interior Minister (Deutsche Welle, 15 June)

"We think it is a real cheek that the country that has benefited most from the EU should do this. There is no other Europe than this treaty. With all respect for the Irish vote, we cannot allow the huge majority of Europe to be duped by a minority of a minority of a minority." - Axel Schäfer, SPD leader in the German Bundestag (Irish Times, 14 June)

The Treaty "will be applied, albeit a few months late." - Lopez Garrido, Spanish Europe Minister (Forbes, 15 June)

"The Treaty is not dead. The Treaty is alive, and we will try to work to find a solution." - Jose Barroso, European Commission President (Press Conference, 14 June)
This is an extraordinary refusal to accept the democratic will of the people. Ireland has been the only country allowed to have a referendum on the Treaty, and has said no. By the EU's own rules, the Treaty can only enter into force if all 27 member states have ratified it. Therefore, the Treaty should now be dead. It is completely unacceptable that other countries are continuing to ratify the Treaty in the hope of forcing Ireland to vote again, under pressure from the prospect of 26 other countries having ratified it. EU leaders are proving once again that they are simply unable to take 'no' for an answer.

Friday, 23 May 2008

New figures expose harmful effect of binge and under-age drinking

Alcohol misuse fuelling yob behaviour and hospital admissions soar

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, this week expressed his concern over new official figures that have revealed a soaring number of hospital admissions due to alcohol misuse, and the effect of alcohol in pushing up crime and disorder.

According to research by the NHS Information Centre:
· The number of admissions to NHS hospital due to alcohol has soared by 52 per cent over the last decade.
· 1 in 10 of all these incidents now involves those under 18 – the legal drinking age.

· Across the East Midlands, there were16,016 hospital admissions due to alcohol last year.

· 1 in 3 of all 15 year olds think it is acceptable to get drunk at least once a week.

· Half of all violent attacks are committed by those under the influence of alcohol.
Growing alcohol misuse has coincided with new 24 hour licensing laws imposed by the Government, and a failure to enforce effectively the laws, which exist against under-age drinking. The Government has also raided budgets for the promotion of healthy living to meet NHS deficits.

Giles McNeill said:
“There’s nothing wrong with adults having a good night out, but under-age and binge drinking fuels crime and anti-social behaviour. Labour Ministers talk endlessly about cracking down on alcohol-related violence, but these new figures expose Gordon Brown’s complacency and the knock-on effect on the NHS.

“The Labour Government’s failure to enforce the law sends totally the wrong message about under-age drinking. We need greater social responsibility, more powers for local communities over licensing, and an end to some parents turning a blind eye to their children’s drinking.”

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Labour Government letting down seaside towns – Giles McNeill

Concern raised over effect of unfair new gambling laws on arcades and bingo halls

Giles McNeill criticised Labour Ministers and Labour MPs today for failing to protect the interests of seaside towns. They are at risk as a result of newly-introduced gambling laws. Conservatives are warning that a green light has been given to hard-core gambling, while safer forms of entertainment are being harshly treated.

Seaside arcades, bingo halls and high street arcades are seeing a collapse in their income. New laws have reduced gaming machine stakes and the number of machines that these arcades can have. At the same time, the Government has failed to tackle the rise in problem gambling from betting offices as a result of controversial new ‘fixed odds betting terminals’ and of online gambling.

· The Government’s latest Gambling Prevalence Survey showed that gaming arcades have just a 3 per cent problem gambling rate, compared with an 11 per cent rate in licensed betting offices. But many people are now transferring to gaming machines in betting shops, putting them at a greater risk of gambling addiction.
· Gaming arcade businesses are often family-owned – passed down from generation to generation and are the lifeblood of many seaside economies which rely heavily on tourism.
· The British Amusement Catering Trade Association has described the impact of the Gambling Act on the industry as “devastating”, warning that “at this rate half the industry will be gone in six months.” It has estimated that there has already been a 21 per cent fall in revenues year on year, in an industry that directly employs 26,000 people. In the bingo industry, over 80 clubs have already closed in the last three years and 108 are under threat.
· A move in Parliament by Conservatives to change the law to tackle this unfairness was rejected by Labour Ministers and Labour MPs – even though a number of Labour MPs supported a cross-party Commons motion to change the laws.

Giles McNeill said:
“Labour is letting down our local community and its economy. Many of these arcades are part of our historic seaside heritage. This is no way in which to treat the local firms that are so vital to seaside communities. A green light has been given to hard-core gambling, while safer forms of entertainment are being unfairly treated.”

Friday, 2 May 2008

Local Election Result: Nettleham Ward

The result of the poll for the district council seat in the Nettleham ward was:

Malcolm Geffrey Leaning, Liberal Democrat, 766 (Elected)
Giles Patrick McNeill, Conservative, 757
Nigel Geoffrey Kingston, Independent, 279
Steven Pearson, UKIP, 46

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Campaign Diary - Thursday 1st May 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!

Please don't forget to support me at the ballot box today. If your thinking of leaving it to others it is quite possible they may be leaving it to you. Make sure you get the Councillor you want. Vote Giles McNeill.

The polls are open until 10pm. You don't need your polling card to vote.

If you need a lift to support me please call me on 07896 730737.

In Grange-de-Lings, Greetwell, Nettleham & Riseholme: It's time for change.

Update 12:00


Update 21:00
Just sixty minutes remain before the polls close on the 2008 local elections and I just want to thank every one who has voted today, everyone who is about to vote, all the staff at West Lindsey District Council, Graham Spicksley and Celia Scott, The polling station staff, my opponents and all my campaign team. You have all worked hard to make this a first rate campaign.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Eve of Poll

Giles McNeill, Conservative Candidate in the West Lindsey District Council Election being held on Thursday, 1st May 2008, has issued the following statement.

"I would like to wish my fellow candidates every best wish for tomorrow, while we may have disagreements over policy, I hope as we enter the last twenty-four hours of the election we have all been enriched by meeting voters, discussing their concerns and thinking about ways we can bring about the change local people are looking for.

"I know that I have worked hard during the campaign to convince residents of Granges-de-Lings, Greetwell, Nettleham and Riseholme that I share their aspiration for a better tomorrow, that I have the policies that can deliver for them."

Campaign Diary - Wednesday 30th April 2008

It has been another busy day, meeting local residents, solving problems that have come up and attending the opening of postal ballots at the Guildhall in Gainsborough.

The good news it that I firmly believe I have a good chance tomorrow, every local resident's vote will matter. Consistently local people tell me that they are tired of getting so little from the District Council - their bins emptied and the cemetery grass cut, just isn't enough. It's time for change. A change for the better, a Conservative led council.

The polls open in fourteen and a half hours and I'm now really looking forward to tomorrow's events.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Tuesday 29th April 2008

I have been out this morning in Nettleham meeting local people and canvassing their opinions. It's so great to get such a warm welcome on people's doorsteps.

I have spoken to Noel Robinson at the Highways Department at Lincolnshire County Council and I have been assured that work on the paths of Sudbrooke Lane is scheduled to be complete by the end of summer.

If you have any suggestions or ideas I should follow up please email me: gilesmcneill@hotmail.com

Monday, 28 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Monday 28th April 2008

The last crucial days of the campaign are upon us and I feel more invigorated than ever. On the doorstep and in the street people are giving me such a warm reception, telling me how much they want rid of the Labour Government and change at the Guildhall in Gainsborough.

A number of residents who have Malcolm Leaning posters on their property have told me that they are supporting me on May 1st - because they recognise that it's time for change. They have lost faith in Malcolm Leaning, who has served for too long, with not enough achieved.

Malcolm's latest 'Focus' leaflet has a number of items that may mislead local people. Malcolm suggests that 'the Parish, District and County Councils are working together to try and prevent any reoccurance' of the summer floods: It is not entirely clear to me how politicians prevent acts of god - all we can do is support local people when these things happen and try and make decisions which reduce the likelyhood and severity of the effects. I have seen no evidence that the Liberal Democrat controlled West Lindsey District Council have acted to implement any of the recommendations of our expert consultants report. Maybe it has something to do with Malcolm not agreeing with the reports recomendation. He has become a roadblock to securing peoples property against flooding.

The 'Focus' goes into some depth discussing Malcolm's use of Information Communications Technology - but within the article it is suggested the Malcolm is Chair of the Planning Committee. He is not. Cllr. Bernard Theobold is Chairman.

A further article implies that the cost of our policy to abolish the charge for Green Bins will cost £54.50. This is wrong. At the moment the Green Bins are subsidised by the Council, residents who have a green wheelie bin pay £24.50. Our proposals are fully costed. The cut is primarily financed through abolishing the endless administrative task needed to collect the fees each year. The Lib Dems are misleading people; our policy is not to give a free green bin to everyone. It is quite clear that the figures used to support there case are those of when the scheme was first proposed. Is it a surprise that Liberal Democrat David Cotton would say "Free Green Bins would add £54.50 to everybody's council tax bill" - he wants to be re-elected. You simply can not trust a word they say. Many people now have green bins. There is a large number in storage - because the Lib Dem ordered too many - so no costs involved in acquiring more to supply increased demand.

I am leading a positive issues and policy lead campaign. My policies include:
1. Bring back concessonary travel before 9:30am.
2. Abolish £24.50 charge for Green Wheelie Bins.
3. Keep Black Bin Collection Weekly
4. Lobby Central Government to fund the police at a proper level.
5. Continue the Councillor's Initiative Fund and split it between local projects in different communities fairly.
6. Get a fairer deal for local residents of the tax we pay to the District Council being spent in our communities.
7. Oppose the significant development of our villages.
8. Work to make our communities safe and secure.


What are the Liberal Democrats offering in this election?

Lincolnshire Echo Candidate Profile Online

The Lincolnshire Echo has published profiles of candidates standing for election to West Lindsey District Council on Thursday 1st May 2008. Read Giles McNeill's profile, together with other candidates here.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Friday 25th April 2008

It has been a busy week. But there is no time to relax. From tomorrow there will be just 127 hours remaining until the polls open, only 142 hours before the polls close and in just 150 hours time we will know whether local residents want change or more of the same.

A reduced version of my election address, which is being delivered to homes as I write, has been published in the Gainsborough Standard. It also contains comments from the numerous other candidates (excepting the UKIP candidate who submitted nothing). What is clear is that only the Conservatives in West Lindsey are putting forward policies that will make a difference to the quality of people's lives.

I had the good fortune to chat to Chris Heaton-Harris MEP earlier this afternoon who wished my colleagues and I luck in the local election on May 1st. Chris is the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Daventry and like West Lindsey they have elections every year. He reports that they have a solid grip on the council which they hope to improve; I will just be grateful if we secure a majority.

Today has also seen the launch of my latest election video. I am very pleased with the result. I hope should local people elect me on May 1st that I will be able to make a regular video blog about my activities on local resident's behalf, I also hope to contribute a regular column in the Nettleham News as a District Councillor and distribute regular 'In Touch' Newsletters twice a year.

Family doctor surgeries across West Lindsey face closure under Whitehall plans


Giles McNeill expresses concern over plans to impose ‘polyclinics’ on communities

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Conuncillor and Conservative candidate for West Lindsey District Council, voiced his opposition today to Whitehall plans to replace local GPs’ surgeries with impersonal super-surgeries known as ‘polyclinics’. It has been estimated that 1,700 family doctor surgeries could be closed down across England. Estimates have suggested that across Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust, six GP surgeries could be shut under Labour’s plans.

Polyclinics are little different from a small hospital, and nothing like the independent, local GP practice with just a few doctors whom patients know and trust. Labour Ministers are planning to end the era of local GP surgeries in almost every area. This will mean that patients will have to travel further to receive treatment, which will particularly disadvantage the elderly and families with small children.

Giles McNeill commented,
“We already knew that the Labour Government is planning to close thousands of local Post Offices. Now I fear that local GP surgeries are in their sights. Patients will have further to travel and will be lucky to see the same GP twice. We all know that the long term furture of the Nettleham Medical Practice with in the village is underthreat.”

“Labour politicians in Whitehall must not be allowed to force polyclinics on areas where they are unwanted and not needed.”

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Wednesday 23rd April 2008

I have a suggestion for something to ask the Liberal Democrats on the doorstep : "Why will abolishing the Green Bin charge (£24.50), as I and my Conservative colleagues have pledged, going to cost everyone £54.50?"

In my view, the problem is the Lib Dems are trying to deceive voters. We are not proposing the outright abolition of the Green Bin charge all in one go, for everybody. Our policy is specifically targeted at helping pensioners and then to roll out to the rest of the district once we have opportunity. We are not suggesting that everyone get a green bin - but certainly issuing more bins would not be a problem the Lib Dems bought too many and they now cost taxpayers' money to keep in storage.

UPDATE:We had the annual parish meeting last night at the Large Hall at the Old School in Nettleham followed by an Extra Ordinary Parish Council Meeting. It was good to see a number of local residents attend to raise issues of concern. Local Resident will be pleased to know that at the meeting I proposed a motion that will have save taxpayers in Nettleham between £10-£15 a year. Not a bad evening’s work. It was also very good to have Roger Buttery in attendance, the Parish Council's new financial advisor - for too long the Parish Council has been relying on inadequate financial information when making decisions.

Campaign Diary - Tuesday 22nd April 2008

I have watched the web-cast of the Council meeting held on Monday 21st April. The disdain showed to one of the most qualified councillors to look into financial affairs is truly disgusting. Vote Conservative on May 1st and we can bring back some civility to the council chamber. (web cast here.)

Monday, 21 April 2008

Queen's 82nd Birthday

The Queen was today celebrating her 82nd birthday by marking the occasion privately at Windsor Castle.

The Coldstream Guards Band played a rendition of Happy Birthday during the changing of the guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.


Giles McNeill said:
"I was very proud to see the union flag flown on the flag pole at the Old School, Mill Hill in Nettleham this morning in her honour. God save the Queen."
The Queen has two birthdays, with her actual one coming on 21 April and her official one being held in June, celebrated with the Trooping the Colour parade.

Campaign Diary - Monday 21st April 2008

Well it has been a busy couple of day, meeting local residents in Grange-de-Lings, Riseholme, Greetwell, Scampton and in Lincoln. So many people each with there own unique story and concerns. It reminds me of the scale of the opportunity before me to serve. An opportunity I intend to put my all into.


I was glad to see that Stuart Wheeler will be at the High Court in London tomorrow requesting a judicial review of the government's decision not to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I have long supported the 'I want a referendum' campaign.

Mr Wheeler said:
"It is a straight matter of law. We will be referring to the manifold statements by the heads of state in Europe, saying 'isn’t it wonderful that this new Lisbon treaty contains everything that was in the old one of any importance’."
I hope he succeeds; we were promised a referendum by all the main political party's on this issue at the last General Election in 2005 and that includes Labour MPs. Whether you agree or disagree with ratifing the treaty it is important in my view that politican's keep their promises. I promise that is what can be expect of me when they cast there vote form me on May 1st.


The hearing will be in Court 3 at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL, starting at 10:30 a.m. Anyone hoping to be there should note that it can take up to 20 minutes to clear security.
Giles McNeill today attacked the record of Malcolm Leaning and the Liberal Democrats, for failing to deliver for the people of Nettleham, Grange-de-Lings, Riseholme and Greetwell.

Giles McNeill, the Conservative Candidate for Nettleham Ward in the West Lindsey District Council local elections, taking place on Thursday 1st May, addressing a group of local residents and supporters saying:
"Malcolm has been on West Lindsey since May 2000 - eight years ago. Local people are rightly asking me on the doorstep what benefit has there been? There has been no major funds from the district council to pay for any projects. We pay our fair share of council taxes to the district and get so little in return.

"It is time for a fare share for the Lincoln Fringe. A fare rate of spending on villages like Nettleham and Greetwell, Grange-de-Lings and Riseholme."


Criticism has also been directed at the Liberal Democrat's lack of policies which benefit local residents. What do the Liberal Democrats actually promise to deliver if returned on May 1st? Local people can't seem to find out.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

New report shows closure of local services under Labour – Giles McNeill

Local communities are losing Post Offices, GPs, schools and shops

Millions of households across the country are being deprived of a post office, primary school, shop or GP surgery, according to a new report. A major academic survey by Oxford University has shown the parts of the country which are most ‘geographically deprived’ because essential services are far away from them.

Conservative analysis has highlighted the areas of the country hardest hit by the disappearance of local services in the last four years – based on the report’s measure for access to local services. This measure reflects the distance to the nearest GP surgery, convenience store or supermarket, primary school and post office.
· 45 per cent of neighbourhoods across England have deteriorated markedly a result of the loss of community services during the last 4 years.

Many communities will be even worse of as a result of Government policies, through:
· The closure of 2,500 post offices in a Government programme of massive cuts.
· The knock-on effect on local shops of post office closures; it is estimated that 1,000 shops which double up as post offices will close if their post office business is axed.
· The closure of hundreds of primary schools, especially in rural areas; Whitehall is threatening to withhold money for councils which do not close schools and remove so-called ‘surplus places’.
· The closure of local GP surgeries under Government plans for new ‘polyclinics’.

These worrying facts about community deprivation come as a Conservative commission, set up by David Cameron, has called for more to be done to protect small shops. It has slammed Government proposals to weaken planning rules which currently control out-of-town retail development. If the rules are relaxed, the hearts of villages and towns centres could be ripped out by a new wave of out-of-town hypermarkets.

Giles McNeill, Conservative Candidate for West Lindsey District Council, said:
“Under Labour, local neighbourhoods and villages are losing access to essential local services, as shops, pubs and schools close. Thanks to Government policies cooked up in Whitehall, more local post offices, schools and GP surgeries now face shutting their doors.

“This is yet another sign that Labour politicians have lost touch with local people, and that Gordon Brown and his Whitehall bureaucrats are ignoring the needs of West Lindsey.”

Vote Blue, Go Green - and Save Money

On 1st May, voters in many parts of the country will be going to the polls to decide who runs their councils. These elections are really important. Local people and communities expect their council to deliver good service and value for money, and they expect them to help improve the quality of life locally. That’s why, increasingly, people are choosing the Conservative Party.

Today, we have the highest number of Conservative councillors since 1985, with more councillors in England than Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined. The reason is simple: Conservative councils deliver better services and better value.

So our message in this local election campaign is simple: vote blue, go green – and save money. That’s the kind of change people really want. Conservative councils are greener, helping to improve the local environment and protect green spaces in our towns and villages. And crucially, at a time when Labour’s economic incompetence is pushing up the cost of living, Conservative councils offer better value for money. On average, Conservative councils levy lower council taxes than their Labour or Liberal Democrat counterparts. They’re also safer, fighting the crime, anti-social behaviour, vandalism and graffiti that ruin people’s quality of life.

This election is a chance to vote for change and to send a message to this failing Labour Government. A new Conservative Government will deliver value for money by improving the way public services are run.

We’ll improve the NHS, raise standards in schools and fight back against crime. And we have a long-term plan for the economy to fix the country’s finances and make sure public money is spent properly. That’s the only way to get taxes down and get a grip on the cost of living.

We have a clear vision for Britain’s future. We want to see a country where people have more opportunity and power over their lives; a country where families are stronger and society is more responsible; a Britain which is safer and greener.

We have the new ideas and the long-term policies to make it happen: every Conservative vote on 1st May will help to turn these aspirations into reality.






David Cameron

Friday, 18 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Thursday 7th April 2008

Sorry for the lateness of this post.

I and my campaign team have been extremely busy today, especially with David Cameron's launch of the party's local election camapign for 2008.

A number of people have been contacting me with problems that they face and I have been dealing with as many as possible.

I think that the (likely) resignation of Angela Smith is going to very dmaging for the Labour Party, and Harriet Harman even made a direct request for Angela to reconsider on the BBC's Question time last night.

Virtually all households in the Ward have now recieved an In Touch newsletter from the Conservative Group on West Lindsey District Council. If you have not - please get in touch: gilesmcneill@hotmail.com.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

David Cameron Launches "Vote Blue, Go Green... and Save Money' campaign

David Cameron will today launch our Local Election campaign.

The launch document, entitled Vote Blue, Go Green - and Save Money, highlights how Conservative councils deliver better services and better value.

And it gives examples of Conservative councils across the country being greener, cleaner and safer.

David will say, "This election is a chance to vote for change and to send a message to this failing Labour Government."


He will be joined at the launch by Caroline Spelman, the Party Chairman, and Eric Pickles, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Wednesday 16th April 2008

In today's Times there was an article about the Local Elections taking place and I was somewhat surprised to discover that they had ranked West Lindsey District Council as the Conservative Party's fifth top target council in these elections.

Certainly, we have a very good chance on May 1st even despite the nasty way the Liberal Democrats unsubtly tried to suggest earlier in the year that we had been flooded with large donations from the central office and 'big donors' - this is not the case. We are a local party, with local candidates who bring local knowledge. But we also bring with us the support network of being part of a significant national party with more councillors than Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined.

People across the West Lindsey District are beginning to realise the problems that have been caused by two years of Liberal Democrat dither and delay at the Guildhall. It's time for change. It's time to make progress. It's time to improve people's lives.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Tuesday 15th April 2008

Today I signed up to the Right care, Right Deal pledge.

Right care, Right deal is the campaign to achieve the right solution for social care in England.

We want a future where people can live their lives, their way; supported by a care system which is better funded through a clear, simple and sustainable deal, entered into by the state, community, family and individuals.

Giles McNeill signs up to Social Care pledge

Giles McNeill today commits to a reinvigorated vision of social care

Giles McNeill has today signed a social care pledge, committing to working towards a reinvigorated vision for social care if elected.


Giles McNeill, Conservative Candidate for West Lindsey District Council, said:
"Many of the people of Grange-de-Lings, Greetwell, Nettleham and Riseholme are reliant on social care services in their day to day lives. The term 'social care' covers a huge range of services from care homes and meals on wheels to fostering services and drop-in centres. West Lindsey District Council contributes to delivering these services for local residents.

"I believe social care should be about supporting people to live a better life, expanding their opportunities, not just managing their needs.

"If elected on May 1st, I will work hard to achieve a reinvigorated vision for social care, ensuring we have a personalised, easy to understand and accessible system for all."
Paul Cann, Head of Policy at Help the Aged, said:
"I'm pleased to welcome Giles to our campaign. Right care Right deal is the new joint national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system."

Monday, 14 April 2008

Campaign Diary - Monday 14th April 2008

I went out this morning and walked around the village delivering some literature about the many positive things Conservative across West Lindsey have been doing in recent months and what we will do for local residents if we are the majority after May 1st.

I spoke to one lady who raised with me the issue of speeding traffic along Deepdale Lane. It is hard to believe that the two district councillors and one county councillor, who are all Liberal Democrats have continued to fail over the course of several decades to find ways to encourage motorists to be sensitive to local residents while drive down Deepdale Lane. Their plans to borrow the Road Safety Partnership equipment to measure speeds has failed to materialise; I can only presume it was another attention grabbing gimmick.

I will tomorrow be signing the 'Right care Right deal Pledge' to work to achieve a reinvigorated vision for social care, ensuring we can all have a personalised, easy to understand and accessible system for all. I spoke to a resident of Shaw Way off Sudbrooke Lane the other week and she convinced me that we need to renew efforts to improve social care for all in our community and ensure that we are not blinkered into believing that social care is only required by the elderly. It is clear to me that we can and we must do more.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Leading the Way

Local people say Conservative schemes such as the Flood Action Group, Councillor's Initiative Fund and the Regeneration of Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Caistor have had a real impact on their lives and they will continue to enjoy the benefits in years to come.

The new council office building, bitterly opposed by the Liberal Democrats, has delivered a capital windfall of £600,000, an annual saving of £100,000 and ensured the building of Marshall's Yard Shopping Centre. Because Conservatives believe in giving residents a fair share we want this money spread across the district.

£500,000 has also be secured for leisure facilities in the Lincoln Fringe following persistent campaign by Conservative Councillors.

Conservatives want guaranteed 24 hour concessionary travel for all those eligible and have called for an urgent review of the new bus pass scheme.

Conservatives are leading the way at West Lindsey.