Thursday, 22 December 2011

Strike Boosts Lincolnshire Businesses

Business leaders say the strike over public sector pensions brought an unexpected and welcome boost to trade in the county, reports the Lincolnshire Echo.

Two million public sector workers walked out on strike across Britain.

More than one hundred of the three hundred and sixty-seven schools in the county were closed and three hundred county council workers (10% of the workforce) – downed tools.

Protesters took part in a small march through Lincoln city centre, culminating at the Lincoln Drill Hall.

Prime Minister David Cameron rightly branded the industrial action 'a damp squib' that failed to cripple Britain.

It turns out that the strikes had one unintended outcome; any traders here saw an upturn in business.

Mr. Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
"An indirect result seems to be that last Wednesday was a better day for retailers as it has given some parents who have children off school the opportunity to go Christmas shopping, therefore a potential benefit to the economy.

"This may just be timing, in that they will buy now rather than closer to Christmas, but this is likely to be a comfort to cash flow at this time."
Mr. Beardsley said the main impact was the knock-on effects from school closures with parents taking the day off the look after children.
"It is difficult in such circumstances to place a value on the disruption as this cover may have been accommodated from existing holiday allocation and as such the impact is felt more directly by employees losing holiday allocation.

"Our major concern is if the frequency of the dispute increases and accommodation becomes more difficult, as this is when businesses are also likely to see direct impacts in terms of operating costs and lost revenue."
Mr. Barry Reeves, Chairman of Sincil Street Traders, in Lincoln, who runs the Central Snacks cafe on the market, said:
"Can we have another strike soon? By going on strike, they turned last Wednesday into a bumper day of trade. It couldn't have come at a better time."
It is likely that the boost in trade will be reflected the quarterly figures for the last three months of the year and will give the government a boost as well in January.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

New Bus Service Between Cherry Willingham and Nettleham

Villagers in Cherry Willingham, Fiskerton, Nettleham and Reepham are welcoming moves by PC Coaches of Lincoln to introduce a new bus service between the villages, providing a direct link between the Doctors' Surgeries.

PC Coaches has agreed to operate the '4b Nettleham to Cherry Willingham' route from Monday, 12th December 2011 following consultation during the summer by the company, which called on people to tell them where they wanted new services.

Cherry Willingham Parish Council made representations to the firm for a service connecting residents to Nettleham, where the main doctors' surgery for residents is located.

An agreement has been reached and the route will see buses leave North Greetwell from 9.15am and run via Cherry Willingham, Fiskerton and Reepham.

PC Coaches' Operations Manager, Mr. Phil Shirley, said:

"Currently there is no direct service. This is something the council came to us with to see if we would look at it. It's viable so we have done it for them. There's a use it or lose it element. 
"There's no set period but it will be reviewed after three months and we will keep monitoring its progress and work with the parish council. 
"We thought if people told us what they wanted then we are halfway there to providing a service as there are people that want it."
Mr. Shirley added that discussions were continuing with a couple more parish and town councils about establishing new services.

Cherry Willingham resident Mr. Dave Holmes said: 
"I think this will be a welcome service. 
"Opening hours for the Cherry Willingham surgery are limited at best and extending that would have been better. 
"But people have to rely on the Nettleham branch and as many residents are elderly, the distance is a pain. 
"This bus service should help greatly."

Friday, 16 December 2011

Edward Leigh MP Urges Government to Protect Religious Freedom

Local Parliamentarian Leads Backbenchers in Move to Block Civil Partnership Change

Gainsborough's Edward Leigh MP has led a group of backbenchers in an attempt to block legislation allowing same-sex couples to hold civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship. The group are concerned that the legislation in question fails to ensure churches are not forced to host civil partnership ceremonies even if it goes against their beliefs. Controversially, the government is attempting to pass the relevant law without subjecting it to a proper debate in the House of Commons. Mr. Leigh told a newspaper:
“These regulations don’t do what the Government promised, which is to protect churches that do not want to register civil partnerships.”
 “It is an issue of the utmost seriousness. Yet the Commons isn’t even being given a chance to debate them.”
“We’ve seen all this before. The Sexual Orientation Regulations went through Parliament without proper scrutiny and they closed down our adoption agencies as a result. If the Government cares anything about the churches, it will withdraw these regulations.”
Ministers insist religious groups will not be forced to host civil partnership registrations, but expert legal advice has suggested activists will be able to take legal action on human rights and equality grounds.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Police Report Nine Zombies in Lincolnshire

As previously reported on this blog (here) Lincolnshire County Council has no specific plans in place to repel a Zombie Attack.  However, as noted paranormal expert and author, Rupert Matthews, prepares to take over as a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, from retiring incumbent, Roger Helmer MEP, should the idea of paranormal activity in the county - like zombie attacks -  be dismissed? The answer would seem to be 'no'.

Lincolnshire, it turns out, can readily be regarded as a paranormal hotspot in the United Kingdom and even has its own team of 'ghostbusters'. But more chillingly, recently uncovered police statistics, point to considerable paranormal activity.

Every year Lincolnshire Police have to deal with a number of reports of incidents dealing with a wide range of topics. Some are clearly of critical importance, whereas as others can be best described as 'non-emergencies.' But if you are convinced there is a vampire living across the street or a hoard of zombies coming through your door, surely that deserves a 999 call?

Surely, you think, there can not be that many people who have contacted the emergency services to complain that the neighbours are actually witches or that that strange light in the sky is definitely an Unidentified Flying Object? You would be wrong.

Using the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, where public authorities must respond to questions from the public, Lincolnshire Police have reported the statistics for past five years.

The figures showed that in the past five years there has been a total of:

  • 171 reports of witches
  • 2 reports of werewolves
  • 5 reports of vampires
  • 10 UFO sightings
  • 152 reports of ghosts
  • 9 reports of zombies
  • 627 reports of demons
  • 20 reports of wizards

These figures show that there has been nearly 1,000 'paranormal' activities reported to Lincolnshire Police over the past five years, with nearly two-thirds of these cases listed reports of 'demons.'

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Chancellor Announces Funding for Lincoln Eastern Bypass

The Chancellor George Osbourne MP has announced, as part of his autumn statement, that the Lincoln Eastern Bypass is one of thirty-five infrastructure projects around the country set to receive funding.

A 'best and final' bid for £50m, towards the expected £98m cost of the Bypass, was submitted by Lincolnshire County Council to the Department for Transport in September.

Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, Cllr. William Webb, said:
"We are absolutely delighted to hear this news from the Chancellor. Our hopes and aspirations have finally been confirmed and so much hard work has been carried out with our partner authorities to try and bring the bypass to fruition. We have been working towards this for almost 20 years and it’s wonderful that we can start taking the final steps needed to make the bypass a reality.

"The announcement means that we have the additional £50m that is needed and that we have 'conditional approval' for the bypass. We look forward to seeing the full details, so we can start carrying out the additional work required to fulfil these conditions and understand the government’s funding timescale. It is possible that construction could start as soon as 2014."

The Lincoln Eastern Bypass was identified as the best solution to improve traffic flow in the city and it will have tremendous positive economic benefits for the county and East Midlands as a whole.

A bid for funding successfully made it through an initial ‘expression of interest’ stage in February. Lincolnshire County Council is making a contribution of £14m and, following an Executive meeting on Monday, 15th August, is acting as 'guarantor' to underwrite the £34m third party funded element. This meant that if the bid was successful, construction could start far sooner, without the authority needing to wait for details of the developer contributions. Cllr.Webb added: 

"The county council had already agreed this summer to guarantee the outstanding balance in the short term, so we could move forward more quickly. Today’s announcement by government confirms we are now in an excellent position to do this.
"We are of course still working towards solutions to improve the highways in other parts of Lincolnshire as well."