Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Budget Provides Relief for Workers, Savers, and Drinkers

Giles McNeill, Conservative West Lindsey District Councillor for the Nettleham Ward, has welcomed a the announcements in the 2014 budget statement today which will save money for local residents.

George Osbourne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Earners will find the personal tax allowance will rise to £10,500 from April 2015, cutting taxes for 25 million people and taking an additional 290,000 people out of paying income tax altogether. The rises in the personal allowance since 2010, implemented by the Coalition Government, mean that by April next year a typical, basic rate, taxpayer will be paying £805 less in tax than they would have been, with 3,200,000 people taken out of income tax altogether. The 2014 Budget measures do not result in any additional higher rate taxpayers. The full benefit will be passed on to higher rate taxpayers – everyone earning up to £100,000 will gain equally and will pay less tax because of this tax cut.

Meanwhile, savers will benefit from merging the cash ISA and stocks & shares ISA into a single New ISA with an annual limit of £15,000. Over 400,000 ISA holders in the East Midlands could benefit from the New ISA. Savers will also be glad to hear the ten pence starting rate of tax for savings income will be eliminated and, this zero rate will be extended to the first £5,000 of savings income, benefiting 1.5 million low-income savers.

In the biggest reform of pensions taxation in a century, the Chancellor announced that no one would be forced to buy an annuity if they don’t want to and there will be no punitive fifty per cent tax rate if you try and take more than your tax free lump sum.

Drinkers will find savings as the tax on beer will be cut by a penny a pint, helping local pubs. Duties on Scotch whisky and other spirits will be frozen, as will duty on ordinary cider. The duty escalator for wine, meanwhile, has been abolished. Cllr. McNeill said:
"The budget contains real measures that are designed to help people across the country with their cost of living. Those in work will take home more of their pay, with the increase in the personal allowance. Those who save will find their hard-erned savings will be taxed less. The duty paid on beer has been cut by a penny on the pint for the second year running.  
"Whilst the economic situation is beginning to show real signs of improvement, the parlous state of the nation's finances - the legacy of the last Labour Government - mean that the Chancellor has and will continue to make the difficult decisions which benefit hard-working people across Britain and contribute to the long-term economic viability."

Friday, 14 March 2014

More Communities Offered Access to Super-fast Broadband

As more of Conservative-led West Lindsey District Council’s services being accessed online, such as paying for services and reporting issues – improving access to the internet is important.

The rural nature of the district means internet provision is sometimes patchy and limits resident’s access. Last year, the council teamed up with Quickline Communications to install wireless internet in thirty community buildings, known as hubs. Following the successful take up of the scheme, a new deal has been signed with the company to extend provision.

Conservative Deputy Leader of the West Lindsey, Cllr. Mrs. Anne Welburn said:
“Accessing services online is becoming more and more part of our everyday expectations. A lot of us already do internet banking and pay our bills online. Now we as a council want to put customers at the heart of our services and give access online for those customers that want to use it. Extending the wi-fi provision will reduce the number of ‘notspots’ and open up online services to more people.”
Mrs. Manjeet Gill, Chief Executive of the Council commented:
“We have been working to improve communications for our residents and I am delighted that the second phase of the scheme can now get underway.
“To compliment this we are also making improvements to our web site, including new electronic forms to make it quicker and easier for residents to access services online.”
Mr. Steve Jagger, Managing Director of Quickline said:
“Village halls provide a community hub of activity for rural communities and it is fantastic the council has invested additional funds to improve communications. I am delighted that we are able to offer wireless broadband which can reach locations that traditional telecoms are unable to reach.”
District Councillor for the Nettleham Ward, Cllr. Giles McNeill welcome the news saying:
“I know that in Nettleham, the Village Hall Committee are eager to access the benefits that this scheme should provide. Giving local residents high speed internet at a key community venue, like the Village Hall, can be an important step to ensure that our community is digitally inclusive.”
Other initiatives are being explored, and local businesses are urged to contact Steve Bolan on 01427 676551 for more information. For further information on Quickline, call 01482 247365 or visit www.quickline.co.uk.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Nettleham Welcomes Duke of Kent to Open Bishop's Palace Site

Nettleham welcomed His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent today where he officially opened the Bishop's Palace Site and planted an English oak to commemorate the occasion.

® Stuart Twitchett, WLDC
The Duke arrived in the village by helicopter, at around half past ten, at the Police Headquarters, Deepdale Lane and was welcomed by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Mr. Tony Worth and his wife, Jenny. They departed by car for Nettleham Parish Council at the Old School, Mill Hill.

Arriving at the Old School the Lord Lieutenant presented the Chairman of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. Mrs. Irmgard Parrott and Mr. Len Parrott, the Chairman's Consort, the Police & Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick, the Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and the Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr. Terry Williams and Mrs. Kathleen Williams, the Chairman's consort.

® Stuart Twitchett, WLDC
The Duke was escorted into the Large Hall of the Old School by Cllr. Williams and was introduced to Cllr. John Evans who has been the Lead on the Bishop's Palace Heritage Project.  Cllr. Evans gave an explanation of the project and introduced a number of key individuals to the Duke. Including:
  • Mrs. Pat Gregory - Founder Member of Nettleham Heritage Association
  • Mr. Chris Williams - Chairman, Nettleham Woodland Trust
  • Mr. David Gibbons - Headteacher, Nettleham Junior School
  • Mr. Nigel Kingston - Editor of Nettleham News; and
  • Miss Chrissie Clayton - Orchard Specialist
A number of individuals from support organisations who have provided assistance to the project were also presented, they included:
  • Ms Liz Bates - Director of Heritage Lincolnshire
  • Mr. David Start - Director (Retired) of Heritage Lincolnshire
  • Ms Mary Hurst - WREN
  • Mr. Barry Billingham - Cory Trust
Also in attendance were:
  • West Lindsey District and Parish Councillor Giles McNeill
  • Parish Councillor Mrs. Janice Clayton, Vice Chairman of Nettleham Parish Council
  • Parish Councillor John Hill
  • Parish Councillor Joe Siddall
  • Parish Councillor Mrs. Susan Harland
  • Parish Councillor Allan Bonney
© 2014 Creation Media
A little after eleven o'clock His Royal Highness was escorted to the Bishop's Palace Site by Councillors Evans and Williams and given further information about the project, walking through the parish cemetery, into the newly named Swathe and through into the site where the Duke was invited to plant a commemorative English Oak by Mr. Rod Newborough, a forestry expert. There were cheers, applause and frenetic waving of flags by local school children.

At a quarter past eleven the Duke formally cut a ribbon on the ceremonial gateway into the main field of the Bishop's Palace Site and officially opened the site. Cllr. Williams proposed a vote of thanks.
© 2014 Nettleham News 

The tour continued into the Bishop's Palace Site into the schedule Ancient Monument with an explanation of the visible archaeological features.

Around half past eleven the Royal Party departed the village from in front of the White Hart public house and Methodist chapel for their next engagement.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

No Council Tax Increase in West Lindsey

West Lindsey District Council has announced it will not increase its share of the Council Tax for 2014/15.
The freeze was announced in the council’s budget report, submitted to council on Monday, March 3, which also included plans for more than £2 million investment towards major projects. Leader of the council, Cllr. Jeff Summers said:
“We know times are hard for many people so we are delighted to be able to freeze Council Tax protecting residents from increased bills.”
The decision means that from April, residents will continue to pay the 2013/14 rate, meaning council tax has been frozen in three out of four y
Cllr. Jeff Summers, Conservative Leader
 of West Lindsey District Council
ears. Cllr. Summers added:
“The council’s entrepreneurial approach is being used to counter the continuing reductions in government grant with income generation and cost reduction offsetting the impact and allowing the council to freeze council tax. We continue to generate more income to avoid tax increases and are working hard to support communities and regenerate the district.
“We are also very pleased to be able to invest in major projects that we believe will help the district grow and prosper including rural transport, community and business grants and increasing housing availability.”

Those projects include:
  • £250,000 grant funding available to invest in communities, providing finance in a way that helps people to help themselves
  • £37,000 to support the Councillor Initiative Fund, which has already helped thousands of projects across the district
  • £300,000 to develop a solution to rural transport connectivity
  • £1.1m investment to return empty homes back into use
  • £640,000 business relocation fund and commercial grant schemes to provide an attractive incentive to encourage business growth
It has also pledged its support to a new flooding relief scheme. It will offer 100% Council Tax exemption for up to one year, to support residents affected by flooding.

The council managed to find £1million of savings at a time when the budget allocation from central government is drastically reducing each year. However, the council is not complacent as it still needs to find £2million over the next two years to balance the budget. Cllr. Summers added:
“We recognise it is a testing time for public services generally but we are focusing on getting the job done. This means doing more of what local people value and protecting frontline services as we said we would.
“This budget is about growth and investment, at a time when others around us are looking at reducing, cutting and stopping, but we recognise this is key to our future. We will continue to drive forward efficiency plans and streamline services to deliver what our customers value”