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Archive for the ‘The Regions’ Category

Unlocking Liverpool: The Deal!

On 8 December 2011 the Government launched ‘Unlocking Growth in Cities’, which set out the terms for a programme of city deals

The Government has now considered the proposals brought forward by Liverpool for a ‘City Deal’ in response to this challenge. The Government recognises it represents an ambitious economic package aimed at driving growth in Liverpool, and that it is an important part of the City’s response to Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy’s “Rebalancing Britain” report on the Liverpool economy.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP has informed the House that the Government has approved the following proposals from Liverpool as a ‘City Deal’:

  • Subject to HM Treasury clearance of a business case and agreement with the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Government will designate a new Enterprise Zone covering the City Fringe Buffer Zone and Central Business District.
  • The creation of what Liverpool propose to term a Mayoral Investment Board that will oversee the city’s economic and housing strategy as well as oversight of the development of Home and Communities Agency’s land assets and other economic development priorities including those linked to the Enterprise and proposed Mayoral Development Zones.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions will work with Liverpool to develop welfare pilots to deliver a localised programme of support for people leaving the Work Programme and in particular include a ‘youth contract’ pathfinder.
  • A Secondary School Investment Plan funded by the Council for up to twelve new build secondary schools, including at least six new academies.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government will contribute £75 million over the remaining years of the spending review period, subject to a strong, robust business case, to be cleared by HM Treasury, demonstrating clear value for money.
  • The Government set out in ‘Unlocking Growth in Cities’, that where cities want to take on significant new powers and funding streams, they will need to demonstrate strong, accountable leadership, an ambitious agenda for the economic future of their area, effective decision-making structures, and private sector involvement and leadership. The Government can confirm that a move towards a directly elected mayor and the creation of a Mayoral Development Corporation would satisfy its requirements as regards governance arrangements to strengthen leadership and accountability in Liverpool City Council.
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Richmond Council presents controversial report on housing

A points system for benefits claimants is being looked at by Richmond Council as part of their response to welfare reform.

Richmond Council set up a task force which produced a report addressing how  homelessness could be addressed in the context of government cuts.

The report suggests

  • The council should seek early notification of how changes to benefits will occur under the Universal benefit system so they can prepare for any impact on people living in the borough.
  • Systems should be put in place ensure councillors are aware of the national housing benefits changes and can assist constituents,
  • Frontline service staff should be able to signpost residents to appropriate advice services such as citizens advice.

Richmond Council has started to develop a homelessness strategy for 2012-16.

The council will also seek to work with other boroughs to increase the availability of bed and breakfast and temporary accommodation to deal with an expected increase in homelessness this year.

More controversially it will look at

  • Benefits points dependant on community contribution,
  • Levels of housing debt the benefit claimant has,
  • Engagement with the community about the importance of affordable housing

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Liam Byrne tells us whats going on…..

Labour’s Policy Review: THE NEW CENTRE-GROUND
Across the country, local Labour parties are now debating reports on our first year’s work on the policy review – you can get hold of copies here.
To help the debate, I’ve written a new pamphlet for Progress – here’s the link – setting out a few of the key ideas which are emerging centre-stage – both for us in the UK, and for progressive parties around the world.

My article setting out the argument is in this month’s edition of Progress. Here’s the link
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IN PARLIAMENT
Our argument with the government on their welfare changes came to a head in Parliament last week, with a major 7 hour debate on Wednesday.

We want welfare-to-work – but that needs jobs; and the government aren’t helping create enough of them.

Worse, I believe the welfare reform bill crosses a basic line of decency axing, support for patients still recovering from cancer, and young people with disabilities. The government has tried to make the big argument about a cap on benefits; actually we agree with a cap – but we want a cap that doesn’t backfire. Here’s the link to my Telegraph article.
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.IN HODGE HILL
Finally, and most important in Hodge Hill our campaign to get young people back to work is gathering pace.
After securing £167 milllion of new investment over the last 6 years – in new health centres, schools, classrooms, libraries and homes (you can see a map here), and creating a new constituency-wide Community Interest Community to help our local social entreprenuers – our total focus this year is on jobs.

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We’ll hold a major summit for local businesses shortly, to ask what more they can do to help – and we’ll be bringing our young people together to help with job search shortly thereafter. Let me know if you can help!
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Yesterday, I spent the morning with Mayor Robin Wales in Newham , who is pioneering radical new ways of putting the Council’s muscle behind the crucial task of getting people into jobs. That’s the kind of approach I’ll be calling for in Birmingham.
As ever, keen on views on any and all of this!

Best wishes

Liam Byrne MP

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Help the Unemployed become self employed…. Enterprise clubs

More needs to be done to encourage and help unemployed people to see self-employment as a viable route off benefits and into financial independence.

On 31 January 2011, the Minister for Employment announced the launch of Enterprise Clubs which is targeted at unemployed people interested in self-employment

The main aim of Enterprise Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities set themselves up as self-employed or start their own business.

They will empower local communities and encourage people to work together to offer additional support to unemployed people who are interested in becoming self-employed. They will also help local communities to become more prosperous by encouraging private sector growth.

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Likely concessions on welfare reform

The House of Lords defeated the Government on seven key elements of the Welfare Reform Bill; one of those elements include the proposal to cap out-of-work benefits at £26,000 per household.

In the Commons today, ministers aim to overturn the defeats and will table their own amendments to reinstate the original plans.

 

It is been reported that Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith is likely to offer “transitional arrangements” to help families who will be hit by the cap which may include a new fund to help pay the moving costs of any family that cannot afford to remain living in a large home once the £26,000-a-year limit is introduced…. the size of the home is really irrelevant; large or small, the cost of living and indeed accommodation is higher in certain parts of the country than in others..

IDS may also offer a “grace period” so that benefit claimants who have lost their jobs after years of contributing National Insurance payments through work will not immediately fall under the cap. but will be allowed to claim unlimited benefits for a period of time.

Naturally the Lib Dems are claiming that they are a stablising force reining in the excessess of the Conservative wing of the Coalition government.. Who Knows…

The Labour Party is planning to table its own proposals which is that the cap should be set a local level… consistent with the acknowledged regional variation in the cost of living and housing…. Even with this, Labour’s general position is far too unclear even confused

Labour will oppose the Government’s amendments and table its own rival proposals — for the cap to be set at a local level, reflecting the cost of housing in different parts of the country.

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The worst speech ever – (Eric Pickles)

This has got to be the worst speech in christendom or at least in 2012

Eric Pickles’s speech!!!!!!

Clearly the speech ‘writer’ was having a bad day..,

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The Trilogy: Working Links, Pinnacle People and Welfare Reform

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