News

Pursuit of a Story

 Many of us have been shocked by the allegations surrounding the conduct of national newspapers and international media groups.  I used to attach much less credence to claims about the power of the national media, thinking that many such complaints were from unreasonable vested interested groups, including cabals with the major political parties.  Surely the media were just holding these powerful groupings to account.  There was nothing wrong with that. 

Budget Strategy

This week, Crawley Council’s Cabinet will debate the budget strategy for 2012/13.  The whole process seems to come around again so quickly and is a vital part of the Council’s business.  Unlike other local authorities, Crawley Council has not had to engage in wholesale cuts to its services.

Strikes

 There are many factors in place that influence the need to conduct public sector pension reform.  People are living longer so pensions need to be paid for a greater period of time.  There has been more volatile Investment performance, which has been hindered by the previous government’s suspension of tax relief on pension fund income.  Interest rates have fallen, meaning lower returns from money purchase pension arrangements.

Armed Forces Week

On Thursday 16th June, it was a source of great pride to witness the homecoming march of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment through our town. This is the oldest English regiment of the line and the most decorated regiment of the British Army, with 57 Victoria Crosses awarded during its rich history. The march, inspection by the Mayor, Councillor Carol Eade, and the great show of public support were deeply moving

Shelf Life of Ideas

 With accelerating technological change, new ideas are communicated, applied and copied at a much greater rate than we have previously seen.  More than ever, we have the ability to know what everyone is doing right around the world and the rate at which we can acquire knowledge continues to grow.

The Natural Environment

 On 7th June, the Government published, ‘The Natural Choice’, which is the first White Paper on the natural environment in more than 20 years.  It aims to improve the quality of the natural environment acrossEngland, halt the decline in habitats and species, and strengthen the connection between people and nature.  Links are established with the green economy by ensuring that the natural environment is incorporated into economic planning.  Aspirations are high, including the aim of being the first generation to leave the environment in a better condition than we found it.

Housing Options

 The Conservative Party has often articulated the vision of a “property-owning democracy” and has put in place populist policies to advance that cause.  Perhaps most notable was RTB (Right to Buy) which has given huge numbers of people a first step on the property ladder.  This is in addition to increased ownership through direct private sector purchase.

Privacy and the Public Interest

 Back in January, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, had announced the welcome news thatBritain’s libel laws were to be reviewed.  They were regarded as some of the most draconian laws of their kind in the free world, and beyond.  While falsely defaming people, by lowering them in the estimation of right-thinking people generally, is not something that can be supported, there is also a need to preserve freedom of speech in the public interest. 

Entrepreneurship and International Trade

 I recently attended the first meeting of the Coast to Capital LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).  The grouping is one of many LEPs formed to replace the role of the RDAs (Regional Development Agencies).  Unlike the extended role of the RDAs, the focus is very much on the economy and stimulating prosperity. 

Growth as Well

 Sometimes the national economic news can seem gloomy with its talk of cuts and retrenchment but the tough measures needed to tackle Britain’s debt and deficit enable our future prosperity.  The recent budget made a start at inserting some new optimism into our national affairs, with a focus on growth.