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.”