Friday, 28 November 2014

David Cameron on Immigration - Have Your Say

Herewith from Official sources

We have always been an open nation, welcoming those who want to make a contribution and build a decent life for themselves and their families.

But people have understandably become frustrated.

They want Government to have control over the numbers of people coming here and the circumstances in which they come. And yet in recent years, it has become clear that successive Governments have lacked that control.

So my objective is simple: to make our immigration system fairer, and reduce the current exceptionally high level of migration from within the EU into the UK.

First, we want to create the toughest system in the EU for dealing with abuse of free movement. This includes stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back.

Second, EU migrants should have a job offer before they come here - and UK taxpayers will not support them if they don't. And if an EU jobseeker has not found work within six months, they will be required to leave.

Third, we want to reduce the number of EU workers coming to the UK - so in the future, they won't get benefits or social housing from Britain unless they have been here for at least four years.

This is an issue which matters to the British people, and to our future in the European Union.

If I am elected as Prime Minister in May, I will negotiate to reform the European Union, and Britain's relationship with it. This issue of free movement will be a key part of that negotiation.

If I succeed, I will campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU. If we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.

I want to know what you think about this important issue. Please leave a comment here and have your say.


New Waterfront Gym and Meet the Author of a new Ipswich History book

Ipswich’s newest gym – and the first on the town’s Waterfront –will be officially opened next week.

The doors of Profiles Waterfront Gym are already open and Borough Council sports bosses are inviting people to drop in and look around.


The gym, the fifth in the Profiles “family”, offers great value and no minimum contract or joining fees that tie you in. Dedicated staff members are on hand to help you get and stay fit. 


The gym offers top of the range Pulse equipment, including the latest Cirrus smart consoles and software that will create your very own training and entertainment programme.


The Profiles team is raring to go and would love to give you a guided tour and chat about your fitness needs. So, get along to Athena Hall on University Avenue, near to University Campus Suffolk’s (UCS) James Hehir Building.


Opening hours of the new gym, which is a partnership between Ipswich Borough Council and UCS, are:

Weekdays: 07am to 10pm

Weekends and Bank Holidays: 8am to 5pm.
Meet the Author
A new book highlighting important, historic and quirky events in Ipswich’s history is now on sale at Ipswich Tourist Information Centre and author Rachel Field will be signing copies there on Saturday  6th December.
“The Ipswich Book of Days” takes us through the years day by day - giving eccentric, amusing and important events facts about one of England’s most historic towns.

Topics include social, political, religious, industrial, military and sporting history. A great book for dipping into, it is packed with fun facts that you will want to share with friends and family. Find out …

* How Ipswich discouraged strangers and rogue traders in 1478;

* About the first motorised road accident in 1898; 

* Who invaded England from the banks of the Orwell in 1326;

* How Henry II was amused by his minstrel, Roland de Fartere.
Rachel Field grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Ipswich. “The Ipswich Book of Days” is available from the Tourist Information Centre (TIC), priced £9.99. Ms Field will be signing copies of her book on 6th December from 11am to 2pm.

Further information:
TIC Manager David Stainer, tel: 01473 258070

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Party Political Broadcast at Council for Ipswich Labour

Well, we wait months for a full council meeting in order to ask questions and discuss important papers and what do we get from the huge beached whale that is the Labour group but opportunist party political posturing by the leader of the council.

Never one to let his ego take second place to proper democracy, we Conservatives had to put up with Councillor Ellesmere blowing his own trumpet completely out of context of the discussions.

Relying on old jokes and becoming even more predictable, he used every opportunity NOT to answer our questions, instead immediately switching to anything that suited his one and only mission - to become Ipswich's next MP.

I think he will always have an opening as a stand up comedian should he choose to do Ipswich a favour and have a change of career.

Our questions were good valid ones, some of them were asked on behalf of residents and yet still they think it funny to respond in a most offensive way. Cllr Smart was one of the exceptions last night and in fact gave some good responses. On car parking free on a Sunday, which a resident brought up, I think I probably agree with his sentiment that we have to balance the income as well as make it attractive.

Cllr Bryony read out a very bland and uninteresting answer at treble the speed on my question regarding the large loss made at this years beer festival. I've asked for it in writing because I missed most of it and want to dissect it, but I don't hold much hope that it actually answered my concern of how we will learn from the mistakes.

Councillor Ellesmere continues to avoid any answers - he doesn't so much as move the goalposts as to change to a completely different game to one where there is only one player. Me, me, me.

Having complained to the Mayor - who did absolutely nothing about the long ramble, I feel that the people of Ipswich deserve better for money.

Councillor Cook continues to be on a mission to see if I can keep up with the detail, often just spewing accusations of 'illegal' when everything I've put forward has been looked over by our legal department. I think this just proves they believe people are stupid and will take as gospel all their little soundbites.

Councillor Jones, although patronising, at least answered the questions in a thorough and passionate way but didn't answer my questions about how we are going to proactively engage the public on the Local Plan. What's the point of extending the consultation to 12 weeks if the public don't even know it's there. Invisible in week 1 will be invisible in week 12.

The rest of the group - and it is massive, do not stand up to speak on anything unless it is to second a paper or thank someone - I am starting to think they have been instructed by Ellesmere not to do so in case they put their foot in it OR they do not have the confidence to voice an opinion. They never used to be like this. Which is why en masse they remind me of a motionless beached whale.

This is probably my harshest summary of the full council meeting but I'm afraid it needs to be said.

With regard to the apprenticeship pay rises for Ipswich Borough Councils, this administration proves again they do not respect taxpayers money and do not care about businesses in our town.

Retention of apprenticeships is not about money - it's about team comradery, enjoyment of the job, prospects. Young people are delighted to be awarded an apprenticeship and for us to award 40% above the national minimum wage is unnecessary, costing a further £64k of taxpayers money.

Apprenticeships have doubled under this government and this is down to anything but the money. By making IBC more attractive than private companies, is not so much about competition but a path to the death of apprenticeships, if companies cannot afford to take them on.

They cost a lot of money, time and energy and it has to be a win/win situation. It can even be years before the full benefits are paid back to the company and there has to be an attractive proposal to both parties.

I also don't understand why we haven't filled all our vacancies - again another question I asked that went unanswered. Ipswich companies are inundated with requests for apprenticeships, some even offering to work for nothing just to get the experience! Does that sound like people are motivated just by money?

I've had many businesses say that if they had to pay more than they currently do, they would not take on an apprentice and that would be a crying shame.

I think paying all 3 years of an apprenticeship scheme at the minimum wage is a perfectly acceptable situation and I know the business world would agree with me, in the main.

The living wage is for another time, but I also think that is the road to less jobs, and unnecessary pressure on those companies who don't apply it.

But as I've already said - Labour love public and hate private enterprise.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Freedom March Ipswich - HMS Quorn

I love these events, welcoming our heroes into our town - wild horses won't keep me away!

A Freedom March through Ipswich will add to the festive bustle of the town centre later this month when HMS Quorn pays an official visit.

The Royal Navy warship has been affiliated to Ipswich for five years and received the Freedom of the Borough in 2011. Now, the crew will exercise its right to march through the town centre in a spectacle of sound and colour.

Captain and 45-strong crew of the Hunt class minesweeper will be welcomed to Ipswich by the Mayor, Councillor Bill Quinton, who will inspect the ship’s company on the Cornhill.

Details of the visit will be released by the Royal Navy over the next few days.

The Mayor said: “It is always a proud occasion for Ipswich to officiate at any event to honour our Armed Services and HMS Quorn is particularly close to our hearts. I am sure many, many residents and visitors will take a break from their Christmas shopping to cheer the crew as they parade through the town centre. Let us show our Royal Navy friends what a real Ipswich welcome looks and sounds like.”

During the visit, HMS Quorn will be open to organised tours of the public and the crew will be taking part in community sports events to build on the close relationship with the town. More details will be released closer to the time of the visit.

HMS Quorn is the third Royal Navy ship to carry the name – the first served in the First World War, while the second was a destroyer sunk in the Second World War. The current ship was launched in 1988.

Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035

Monday, 10 November 2014

Latest Stoke Park Ipswich Leaflet

Our latest Conservative In Touch for the Stoke Park area has been delivered today to relevant areas:

Fountains Road
Annbrook Road
Cambridge Drive area

There's some information about 20s plenty and a new activity centre, which I instigated following comments from residents about the difficulty of travelling to a community centre from the Cambridge drive area. So hopefully now, with one situated on the doorstep, it will be well attended.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Executive and The Local Plan consultation

Last night at the executive we voted to send The Core Strategy and Site Allocation Policy out for consultation.

This is an interesting, well written report that is important to our town and has already seen a consultation.

However it is massive and unless people are pointed in the right direction and helped to dissect it all, it will not be on the top of peoples agenda.

This final consultation will be over 12 weeks and I asked if we were going to send out to schools and focus groups as well as public meetings.

The reply was not what I expected and apparently we already consult very well (not sure Ravenswood residents and others would agree with this) and my request was all but swept aside.

See more here in Ipswich Spy's report

However I was quite pleased that councillor Jones apologised genuinely afterwards for being patronising, when I asked for proactive consultation. I don't think she knows she's doing it actually and, as I rather like her, it was immediately accepted.

Councillor Smart showed his agreement ie 'has some sympathy' with my request for schools to be involved, which then made councillor Jones give a vague undertaking that this could be looked at with e-mails being sent out to various schools.

After close of business, Councillor Jones also said she likes me being on executive as it made everyone up their game. This was in fact the reason I accepted the position because I wanted to up my game as leader of the Conservative group.

So despite a bit of tetchiness during the meeting there was actually some mutual respect and appreciation shown afterwards.

We are, after all, just trying to do a good job for the town, even if we disagree on many aspects of the 'How we do it'.