Friday, 28 June 2013

Cllr Sarah Brown Fights To Keep Mill Road Traffic Away From Homes

Cllr Sarah Brown
Leading Cambridge City Councillor, Sarah Brown is fighting to make sure traffic will not be sent through a residential street if a potential housing site in the city’s Mill Road is developed.

Cllr Brown, Executive Councillor for Community Wellbeing has objected to the idea put forward by Cambridgeshire County Council for the city council’s depot site.

It suggested that if homes were built on the site in the future access to the development should be via Hooper Street.

But the city council rejected the idea when drafting its Local Plan allowing Mill Road to be used as access to a future development

Cllr Brown, who represents Petersfield is worried, however, that the issue may raise its head again and claims the idea is “absurd”.

She told a full council meeting last night (Thursday, June 27): “I find it strange that the county council seems to think that an existing access which is in constant use by city council vehicles at all hours of the day would not be suitable for a level of traffic which would likely be lower than exists at present.

“However, that is a small thing when considered against the utter absurdity of sending all traffic for such a development down narrow roads such as Hooper Street, Sturton Street and York Street.

“I am glad to see that the draft Local Plan has sensibly rejected the county's suggestion. Accessing that site via the narrow streets in the north of Petersfield ward would be unsafe and entirely unfair to the people living there, and were such a scheme to come forward I would certainly be robust in representing the residents' concerns and opposing it.”

Cllr Brown added later: “I am extremely concerned that this won’t be the last we have heard of this idea and I am determined to make sure it never happens.

“At present, the site is accessed by Mill Road and it should stay that way. There is no justification for sending this traffic through residential streets.”

Planning And Development Minister Tours Growth Sites In Cambridge And Site For New Town Of Northstowe

Planning and Development Minister Nick Boles MP has been on a fact finding mission to sites for thousands of much-needed new homes following confirmation that the government will be investing over a billion pounds in a major upgrade to the A14.

On the visit to the Cambridge area the Minister visited the 10,000 home site of Northstowe – the country’s biggest new town planned for over 40 years

He also talked to local MPs and councils about the growth strategy for the area including a trip to Cambridge’s southern fringe and the Addenbrookes Biomedical Research Campus where leading research and technology giant AstraZeneca will be setting up their global research centre and corporate headquarters.

The Minister also took a trip on the guided busway from Northstowe to see how the public transport link that has already carried over 5 million passengers since it opened will help residents get in and out of Cambridge more easily from day one.

Outline planning permission for the first 1,500 homes which will include a primary school, sports hub, shops and employment opportunities was granted by a joint committee of councillors in October last year and developers Gallagher could begin work on site later this year. A series of detailed planning applications are expected over the coming months.

News that major improvements to the A14 are to be funded was welcomed by campaigning councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the East yesterday as The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP announced the £1.5 billion project will be funded and get underway earlier that expected in 2016.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been leading the charge with local councils in the East and Local Enterprise Partnerships to campaign for the road to be upgraded and have helped get the project off the ground by collectively funding £100 million.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “We are determined to bring about the new homes, investment and jobs we need and to get sustainable development underway without delay. We're helping deliver thousands of new affordable family homes across the country, improving vital transport links like the A14 and making the most of every single square inch of previously-used land available."

Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for Northstowe, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Nick Bowles to the site of Northstowe following the news that the much-needed upgrade to the A14 is to go ahead. The improvement will unlock future phases of Northstowe and make sure we can manage more of the transport implications of building a new town will have. We are all working hard to make sure the town is built to the highest standards so we can look back on it with pride.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, cabinet member for growth and planning, said: "Cambridgeshire is leading the way in managing and supporting growth and the City Deal could unlock potential that could otherwise be lost. We have worked with the Government in bringing forward vital measures such as the highly successful Busway and now the A14 to manage that growth to enable growth whilst preserving the quality of life for existing residents.

Cllr Tim Ward, Cambridge City Council’s executive councillor for planning and climate change, said: “I am very pleased the Minister is visiting Cambridge City to see the progress that we are making to deliver high quality new communities and create new jobs. The provision of affordable housing is a high priority for the City Council and we are working hard to enable more homes to be built.”

E-Cops - Your Weekly Update

There have been 5 crime reports since the last E-cop update. Please see below

Between 4th and 18th June, a theft of oil has taken place in Manor Farm, Boxworth. Unknown offender/s have taken approximately 500 litres of heating oil from a storage tank.

Between 14th June and 17th June, a theft took place at Automated Systems Group, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill. One laptop and 2 i phone 5’s were taken from inside the building, no signs of any breaking to the building. Two suspects have been questioned in relation to this theft.

On 16th June between 08:30 and 11:00hrs, a theft took place in Cambridge Moat House, Crafts Way, Bar Hill. Unknown offender has taken a laptop bag containing 1 laptop and various other valuables.

Between 17th June at 08:45hrs and 21st June at 07:30, a theft took place in Foxhollow, Bar Hill. Unknown offender/s have taken a trailer whilst left locked and secured on the side of a property.

On 19th June at 19:20 hrs, a criminal damage to a vehicle took place at Tesco car park in Bar Hill. During an argument between a male and female, the male has kicked and punched female’s vehicle several times causing various dents to the body work. This male has been arrested and dealt with accordingly.

I carried out door to door police surveys in Hillcrest, Bar Hill this week and am pleased to say there was no issues or concerned raised from the area residents. A while back there were some parking issues in the area which have now been resolved.

For your information Histon enquiry office will be closed from 1st July - 12th July, if you need any assistance, please contact Parkside enquiry office.

Thank you

PCSO 7009 Mani
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sixth-Form Students Tell Cambridge MP Of A Level Reform Fears

Catherine and Thevinov meet Julian to
discuss their concerns
Cambridge sixth-form students have told the city’s MP Julian Huppert that the government’s A level exam reform will stifle creativity and increase stress.

The students from Hill’s Road Sixth Form College called on Julian to support their fight against the planned changes which they describe as “a shambles”.

Seventeen-year-olds Catherine Spencer and Thevindu Edirisinghe from the college’s School Council, who have just sat their AS level exams, asked Julian to take a letter outlining their concerns to Education Minister, Michael Gove.

 The college’s NUS officer, Catherine said: “This new approach to A levels will stifle creativity for those kids with creative minds, and those with learning difficulties will find it hard to sit one exam at the end of their two year courses.

 “This is reform for the sake of reform. It will create a lot of extra stress. We’re not saying the system doesn’t need to be reformed; it could be better but what is being proposed is not right. It’s a shambles.”

Student Council Chair, Thevinov added: “There is a lack of communication between the different exam boards and exams are clashing. I had five hours of exams in one day. Some of our students had to go home overnight with no outside contact because they were waiting to sit an exam that others had taken the day before.”

Julian said: “Catherine and Thevinov have first-hand experience of our present A level system and see its weaknesses but they also recognise its strengths. They and other sixth form students are in a good position to make this government think again.

“I am very worried about these proposed changes. There is a huge leap from GCSE exams to A levels and some students might realise that a subject which they enjoyed at 16 might not be what they expected at A level. Under the present system they can give up the subject after AS level with a recognised qualification but under the new system they will have wasted a year of study with nothing to show for it.  

“AS levels as they currently exist are also extremely useful for university admissions as they are a good indicator of how a student will do in their final A level exams. Without them, I fear that admissions interviewers would be forced to use other measures which could hamper social mobility.”

Recently, Julian joined Cambridge University students to deliver 1,600 signatures to the Department of Education urging Mr Gove to rethink his reforms.

Downes Gives Cautious Welcome To Promise Of Fairer School Funding

Cllr Peter Downes
Leading Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Peter Downes, who has been campaigning for better funding for the county’s schools for more than 20 years, has given a cautious welcome to the Chancellor’s promise to make the system fairer.

Cllr Downes, Liberal Democrat County Spokesman for Education said George Osborne’s announcement yesterday (Wednesday, June 26) might be good news but he was not pinning all his hopes on it.

“This government's record on school funding has been mixed so far,” he said. “It has kept its promise on the Pupil Premium, which provides extra money for the most disadvantaged pupils, but it has failed to honour its commitment to equal funding for academies and maintained schools.

“It has ring-fenced money for schools but reduced the funding for post-16 courses. It has introduced day care funding for disadvantaged two-year-olds but reduced funding for councils to help vulnerable children.”

Cllr Downes has been actively campaigning for a fair national schools funding formula ever since he was Head of Huntingdon’s Hinchingbrooke School and President of the Secondary Heads Association.

He added: “The Labour government was poised to accept an activity led funding model in 2002 which would have given a much fairer settlement for all the schools in England but it failed to implement this approach because there would have been too many winners and losers. That was in a time of relative affluence. In these days of austerity, I do not foresee them having the courage to adopt a really fair national funding formula”

Cllr Downes, who serves on a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Education, will continue his efforts to get a fairer distribution of resources.

“Schools are now judged against national criteria - testing, league tables and inspections - but they only get the resources based on decisions made by local councils nearly 30 years ago.

“Unfortunately the Tories in Cambridgeshire prided themselves on spending as little as possible on schools so that is why we are in the difficult position we face today."

Jobs Boost For Cambridgeshire As EU Science Deal Struck

This week MEPs and national ministers in Brussels agreed on the new EU research and innovation programme "Horizon 2020".

Over the past five years, the current EU framework programme (FP7) has brought €3.73 billion in science funding to the UK, supporting cutting-edge research in areas such as stem-cell therapy, clean energy and nano-technology.

Cambridgeshire's Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff said:

"This EU funding deal is brilliant news not only for local universities, but will also provide a boost to the local economy.

"Economic growth and job creation are driven by innovations that rely on science and research."

"The Lib Dems have consistently prioritised research as it is an area with clear EU added-value . EU research funding and the cooperation that it brings has been hugely beneficial to the UK.

The deal still has to be approved by EU Member States and the Parliament's plenary and is subject to the EU's long term budget before it can come into force.

Horizon 2020 is structured around three pillars.

The first pillar 'Excellence in the science base' aims to strengthen the EU's world-class excellence in science, particularly through a significant strengthening of the European Research Council, which mainly focuses on frontier research.

The second pillar 'Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks' aims to support business research and innovation. Actions will cover: increasing investment in enabling industrial technologies and support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential.

The third pillar 'Tackling societal challenges' aims to respond directly to challenges identified in Europe 2020. Its focus will be on the challenges of: health, demographic change and well-being; food security and the bio-based economy; energy; transport; supply of raw materials; resource efficiency and climate action; inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

Danny Alexander Outlines The Government's Infrastructure Investment Priorities Beyond 2015

The government has announced an increase in capital spending plans by £3 billion a year, from 2015, which means an additional £18 billion of investment over the next parliament.

The Chief Secretary maintained the need for a long-term infrastructure investment plan, to ensure that Britain can compete in the global race.

View the HM Treasury map setting out infrastructure investment in your area.

Government is taking a long-term approach to infrastructure, to overcome decades of short-term decision making and uncertainty in funding, financing and failures in delivery.

Plans include over £70 billion of investment in transport, over £20 billion in schools and £10 billion in science, housing and flood defences.

View the HM Treasury infographic which sets out the key areas of government investment

Specific commitments include funding for HS2, a new nationwide rail network that will put two-thirds of northern England within 2 hours of London.

Government will commit to the biggest programme of investment in roads since the 1970s. By 2020 to 2021 the government plans to triple the money spent on roads compared to 2013. This includes £6 billion to help local authorities repair the local road network.

Superfast broadband provision will be expanded so 95 per cent of UK premises will have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

View the HM Treasury infographic which looks at key infrastructure projects and their benefits

Action is being taken to provide the support needed to enable up to £100 billion of private sector energy investment, including through the further roll-out and extension of the UK guarantees scheme.

The Chief Secretary also announced the government's plans to strengthen infrastructure project delivery through learning from successful approaches taken in the Olympics and elsewhere.


A full update of the National Infrastructure Plan will be published at the time of the Autumn Statement 2013.

In an email to Liberal Democrat party members, Danny Alexander said:
"Yesterday, we set out a Spending Round that delivers Liberal Democrat priorities on investment and improving our public services while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us. It demonstrated that the Liberal Democrats will remain firm in our commitment to tackling the deficit, but fair in the way we go about it. Our number one priority in Government has been to fix the economic mess we inherited from Labour.

"Today I have set out how we will invest in our country's economic future by creating balanced growth and delivering lasting prosperity. I have announced the most comprehensive, ambitious and long-lasting capital investment plans this country has ever known.
In doing so we are putting long term priorities before short term political pressures and we are ending the culture of short-termism that plagued so many of our predecessors.

"Today I set out our plans for over £100 billion of this for the infrastructure of our country.
  • The biggest public housing programme for over twenty years - 165,000 affordable homes over 3 years, a higher number of houses than Labour ever managed in 13 years in power.
  • The largest programme of rail investment since Victorian times, including committing funding to High Speed 2 that will bring two-thirds of people in northern England within 2 hours of the capital.
  • The greatest investment in our roads since the 1970s, adding two lanes to the busiest motorways, resurfacing up to 3,700 lane miles of the national road network every year, providing nearly £6 billion over the next Parliament to Local Authorities to help them maintain the local road network.
Unlocking massive investment in cleaner energy, to power our economy forwards by providing stability and certainty for investment in clean energy.
"Let me be clear though, these are not easy choices. We have made some painful choices to get our country back on the right path because we understand that there is no easy way to create jobs and prosperity. As a result, we are making good progress, the deficit is down, and jobs are up. We've helped create more than a million jobs, now we want to help create a million more. This announcement means jobs building Britain for years to come.

"As Liberal Democrats we understand that Britain needs an education system that stays ahead of our competitors' but we also understand that what parents want is a good school, nearby, that their kids can get in to and that is in good shape. So today I have announced that we are re-building 261 of the worst schools, providing £10bn to clear the urgent backlog of schools in need of repair and investment, and investing to create a million new school places in a decade. A stronger economy in a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life.

"Liberal Democrats also understand that we need to repair the decaying road network, the overcrowded railway system and to deal with an energy sector which is losing capacity quicker than it can adopt new technologies. And to tackle all of these long term challenges, today I have set out long-term investments that will help rebalance the economy, create jobs and support growth.

"Importantly all of this at a price we can afford to pay without adding a single pound to our borrowing forecast. Investing in stronger communities, investing in better infrastructure, investing in new sources of energy.

"This is an ambitious long-term plan to build an infrastructure of which Britain can be proud, and in doing so help to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, where everyone can get on in life."

New Lower Price Caps For Mobile Roaming From 1 July: Data 36% Cheaper; Roaming In Croatia 15 Times Cheaper

From 1 July 2013, the European Union's Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across the EU. Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%. These two trends mean both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to EU efforts.

The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007.

Each year, Europeans make several million visits to Croatia, which joins the EU on 1 July. This year visitors to Croatia will enjoy spectacular savings as the cost for data decreases almost 15 times and sending a SMS or making a phone call elsewhere in the EU will be 10 times cheaper.

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.

The new prices caps, which enter into force on 1st July 2013, are:

  • Downloading data or browsing the Internet - 45 cents / Megabyte (MB) (charged per Kilobyte used) + VAT. (36% reduction compared to 2012)
  • Making calls - 24 cents / minute + VAT (17% reduction compared to 2012)
  • Receiving a call - 7 cents / minute + VAT (12.5% reduction compared to 2012)
  • Sending a text message - 8 cents + VAT (11% reduction compared to 2012)

Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.

Residents Welcome Improvements To Local Footpaths

Improvements to the safety and accessibility of public footpaths around Toft have been welcomed by local residents.

The popular network of footpaths west of Toft High Street, towards Kingston to the south, Caldecote to the west and Hardwick to the north, have benefitted from seven new gates - which replace stiles - the levelling of a path over prominent tree roots and the repair of culverts along the edge of a field.

The work, jointly funded by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Parish Paths Partnership scheme and Cambridgeshire County Council, was carried out in close collaboration with Toft Parish Council, local landowners and farmers.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Parish Paths Partnership brings local volunteers and parish councils together to help improve and promote local paths and bridleways to get people out in to the countryside and to encourage walking, riding and cycling. Grants for Parish Path Partnership projects are allocated from the Council’s Community Chest to help fund work from way marking and resurfacing through to replacing stiles with gates and installing bridges.

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “South Cambridgeshire’s rural character and natural environment are highly valued by local people and contribute to making it a great place to live and visit. We are very pleased to have been able to help fund the improvement work needed in Toft to enable more people to enjoy the beauty of the district’s countryside.”

Jeanne McCarten, a Toft Parish Councillor, said: “Our village footpaths are popular with many walkers from the village and the surrounding area and these improvement works will mean that even more people can access and enjoy the wonderful natural amenity that Toft has to offer.
“The paths have already received renewed interest and the feedback from local people has been extremely positive.”

Draft Local Plan Agreed For Public Consultation

A public consultation on plans for 22,000 new jobs and 5,000 additional new homes across South Cambridgeshire over the next 20 years has been agreed today (Thursday 27 June).

Councillors agreed the draft Local Plan that would see a new town built at Waterbeach, a new village at Bourn Airfield and a major extension to Cambourne at a meeting of Cabinet.

The homes needed are in addition to around 14,000 are in the current Local Plan on the edge of Cambridge and at the new town of Northstowe, have planning permission or recently built.

Councillors thanked residents at the meeting for their views as over 30,000 comments were made during two rounds of public consultation since last summer to shape the final draft plan that will support new jobs being created for forecast population and economic growth.

After assessing hundreds of major and village sites put forward for development, and consulting on a number of options, land for the three large sites and around 900 homes has been put forward in the plan on sites in six of the district’s larger villages.

The plan also includes a parish council proposal to create employment opportunities and build homes at a vibrant ‘gateway’ into Histon and Impington.

The plan agreed today also includes local green spaces at villages, such as playing fields and village greens that are important to local communities which will be given a similar status to green belt land.

During earlier phases of the public consultation residents have commented on options for the plan but in the final stage residents and businesses will be asked to say whether they support or object in a format set by government so views can be passed on to an independent inspector.

The public consultation this summer will be the final opportunity for residents and businesses to make their representations to the Council before they are considered at a meeting of Council to review comments before the plan is submitted to government for independent examination next year.

The Council has been working with Cambridge City Council on the overall development strategy and joint issues. Both councils will be consulting on their respective new Local Plans in the summer. Cambridgeshire County Council will also be consulting on a draft transport strategy to make sure that the places where people live and work or access services are linked up.

The consultation will run between Friday 19 July and Monday 30 September.

Representations can be made online at and fifteen public exhibitions are also planned so residents can speak to officers to find out more.

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “I’d like to thank everyone for having their say over the last year. We’ve listened to all the views we have received to bring the Local Plan together which will support thousands of new jobs and provide much‑needed and well-connected high quality homes.

“It is always a tough task to strike a balance between growth and protecting our villages and rural environment but I firmly believe these plans will keep South Cambridgeshire as one of the best places to live, work and study in the country.

”Please take this final opportunity to have your say before plans are submitted to government for independent review.”

Further information:

Full details of the reports considered today can be found by visiting:

Forecasted jobs growth 2011-2031: 22,000

Forecasted homes required 2011-2031: 19,000 (of which 14,000 are already built, with permission or included in current plans – mainly developments on the edge of Cambridge and Northstowe)

Site details:

Larger strategic sites
Waterbeach (new town) – 8,000-9,000 homes, 1,400 of which by 2031.
Bourn airfield new village – 3,500 homes, 1,700 of which by 2031.
Cambourne West – 1,200 homes, all by 2031.

Edge of Cambridge:
NIAB 3 site – not to increase the number of homes on the NIAB development but to make sure of a high quality development at an appropriate density
Near ARM, Fulbourn Road – a small area of employment land as an extension to Peterhouse Technology Park (along with 2 other small areas in City Council’s area).
Cambridge Northern Fringe East/proposed Cambridge Science Park Station area – redevelopment following joint area action plan being developed (SCDC and City Council).

Cambridge Airport site:
Airport itself not planned for development during the plan period. Held in reserve for possible development after 2031 if made available (SCDC and City Council).
Two parts of the original Cambridge East site coming forward as planned; Marshall’s Wing development north of Newmarket road – 1,200 homes (SCDC), and North of Cherry Hinton for 110 homes (along with land in City Council’s area, for a total of 500 homes).

Smaller local sites
Comberton: 90 homes opposite Comberton Village College which will deliver local benefits of a much needed football pitch and changing facilities and also community car parking that is also available as overspill parking for Comberton Village College
Gamlingay: jobs and 90 homes on a brown field site at Green End Industrial Estate
Histon & Impington: new gateway to the villages through revitalisation around the busway stop and 25 homes in Impington Lane
Melbourn : 65 homes on land to rear of Victoria Way
Sawston: 540 homes in total - 200 homes by redeveloping part of the Dales Manor Business Park, 80 homes between Dales Manor Business Park and Babraham Road, and 260 homes south of Babraham Road to the east of the village.
Willingham: 50 homes on land east of Rockmill End

A14 Improvements Welcomed

News that major improvements to the A14 are to be funded and start early has been welcomed by campaigning councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the East.

The group of organisations, brought together by Cambridgeshire County Council, has been campaigning for the much needed improvements to the congested and accident blighted road.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP confirmed the Government would be bringing forward the £1.5 billion project to improve the A14 with a provisional start date of 2016.

He said it was strategically important for jobs, housing and growth in the region.

The group of Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships is also helping to fund the scheme after offering a £100million finance package.

The A14 is a nationally and internationally important road and vital for the health of the local and UK economy. But traffic is often at a grinding halt, journey times are unreliable and accidents are common. This puts off businesses from growing or moving here and harms trade and job creation. The A14 is also vital to help bring forward major developments such as Northstowe.

The County Council has campaigned for many years for improvements to the road and has been instrumental in setting up the recent review of the road that has allowed this announcement to be made.

The Chief Secretary also announced that plans for the scheme will be moved forward with a provisional start date of 2016 rather than the previous target date 2018. This was called for by the group of Eastern Region organisations as a requirement of their financial contribution to the scheme.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, Martin Curtis, said: “This is fantastic news and I would like to thank all our partners and the Government for working so closely with us on bringing forward this scheme. Not long ago this was not even on the Government’s agenda and it took hard work and lobbying by us and partners to put this back on the table. We now have a golden opportunity to sort out the problems on the A14 once and for all and get our local economy moving and reduce the appalling accident record. We are very pleased that the Government has listened to our arguments about bringing forward the scheme to an earlier date. Moving people, data and goods around this County effectively is key to continuing our economic success. This announcement today gives us light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel. We will now concentrate on working with Government to make sure the scheme is delivered as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Cycle Summit To Determine Tour De France Legacy

A special event to build a lasting legacy from hosting the third stage of next year's Grand Depart has been planned for this summer and there are a limited number of spaces available for keen cyclists.
The Cambridgeshire Cycling Summit on Thursday 4 July is being organised by Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and LIVING SPORT.

The event will bring together cycling clubs, businesses, local authorities, schools and cycling enthusiasts across Cambridgeshire to help shape the future of cycling in the county.

The Summit will involve a number of speakers including: Julian Huppert MP (Joint Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Committee for Cycling), local Paralympian Dan Gordon, Cllr Ian Bates, (Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet member for Growth and Planning) and Rod Cantrell (Cambridge City Council Cycling Champion) who will highlight the opportunities for cycling for the next few years.

This will be followed by a number of workshops which will look at the following areas:

  • Inclusion – What positive steps can we take to build on the successful all-ability cycling groups operating in Milton and Peterborough?
  • Cycling for children and young people – How can we ensure young people get into cycling? How can we promote cycle training?
  • Workplace cycling – What practical steps can businesses take to assist employees cycling to work?
  • Recreational cycling –How can we improve the opportunities for safe, recreational cycling in the county?
  • Cycling clubs and competitive cycling – How can we ensure that those inspired by British Olympic champions get into cycling? What support do local cycling clubs need?
  • Cycling business and tourism – How can cycling add to the local economy? How can we attract more cycling tourists?
  • Cycling infrastructure – What cycling facilities does Cambridgeshire need for the short and long term?

The event is being held at Swavesey Village College from 6pm until 9pm on Thursday 4 July.
Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet member for Growth and Planning: "The Cambridgeshire Cycling Summit has been organised in order to build a lasting legacy from hosting the third stage of next year's Grand Depart. We want to bring together all the various people who are interested in cycling to discuss how we can take cycling forward in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

This is fantastic opportunity to be part of something which will make a real difference in the years to come which is why we would like to open up to local people and cycling groups. Unfortunately spaces are limited but if you're passionate about cycling and want to get involved then this is the event for you.

Simon Fairhall, Chief Executive, LIVING SPORT, said: "I believe the Cycling Summit will be a fantastic opportunity to draw groups from around the county together to discuss how we can develop cycling in Cambridgeshire in the years to come. Swavesey Village College has a great reputation for supporting cycling and I am looking forward to hearing how they are engaging young people in the sport – among the many issues we will be talking about developing."

Cllr Rod Cantrill, Executive Councillor for Arts, Sport and Public Places said: "Cycling is already an integral part of Cambridge life - more than anywhere else in the UK, it is truly a cycling City with over 30% of residents regularly biking to work. With the success of British Cycling in last year's Olympics and Paralympic Games still fresh in our minds, and the arrival of the Tour de France next year, now is an opportune time to focus on opportunities to develop the next generation of athletes, also to assess priorities for promoting further participation and improving safety."

If you would like to attend the Cycling Summit, please call: 01223 699906 or email: and let us know your first and second choice of themed workshop.

Cambridge MP Optimistic That Schools Could Get Funding They Deserve

Julian Huppert MP
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is optimistic that the Chancellor’s announcement of a fairer funding formula for the nation’s schools could bring long-awaited extra cash for Cambridgeshire. 

Julian has been campaigning for years to get more money for the county’s pupils and hopes that the announcement from George Osborne will bring good news. 

“I have fought hard for this and it was good to hear the Chancellor finally acknowledge publicly that our schools and others across the country have been unfairly treated,” he said.  

“We are at the bottom of the national funding league table and our schools have been starved of cash by successive governments for 30 years. Now this government is committed to turning that round and hopefully we should finally get the money our children so desperately deserve.” 

Julian also welcomed the news that the Liberal Democrat’s Pupil Premium, which has been enthusiastically received in Cambridgeshire, will be protected and extended in the future. 

And he said that the government’s commitment to put more money into apprenticeships was good news.  

“This government has shown that it is committed to helping our young people get a fairer start in life,” he said. “Our education system and training opportunities for our youngsters are vital if they are to succeed in the future.  

“We are fortunate in Cambridge that only 1.4 per cent of our young people out of work with unemployment generally standing at just 2.4 per cent. Our city’s excellent apprenticeship programmes have been a huge benefit.”  

A £1.1 billion investment in the capital science budget and a commitment to maintain the resource budget was also welcomed by Julian. 

“I am delighted that our government is continuing its investment in science and research,” he said. “There is first class working taking place in this country and putting money into this field is so important for our economy’s future prosperity.” 

More cash for the health budget to improve mental health services and cancer treatments and an extra £3 billion for the joint services provided by health and social care was a welcome move, said Julian.  

Julian also commended the government for its extra help for families with the investment in affordable housing and more money to support vulnerable families. 

“The government has tackled some of the areas where investment is badly needed to build on the work that it has already started,” he said. “There is so much more to be done but we have to never forget that we are working with an economy which was rock bottom after 13 disastrous Labour years; that takes time to resolve.” 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Point Of View: What Kind Of EU Would The UK Be Choosing To Stay In Or Leave In A Referendum?

An article written for the British Influence in Europe website

Watching with amazement, as we do, the decline of British influence in Europe, another bad signal was sent last week by the tabling of an EU referendum Bill in the House of Commons. One recalls its predecessor, alas enacted in law in July 2011, which entrenched in the UK's rackety constitution the holding of a referendum whenever there is to be a deepening of European integration manifested in a change in the EU treaties.

This latest illustration of British europhobia calls for a referendum to be held before the end of 2017 to answer the question Do you think that the United Kingdom should be a member of the European Union?. It would trigger the In/Out referendum which the Prime Minister launched so glibly in his January speech. We are told that this new Bill is unlikely to pass, but it would seem that a hefty number of MPs is minded to support it in order to mark their democratic credentials with the eurosceptic voter.

So what kind of EU would the country be choosing to stay in or leave? Certainly not the EU we have now. The status quo is not an option. Radical change is unavoidable if the euro and the wider European project are to be salvaged. And that change will have to come quickly ‑ surely by 2017. There are several pointers to what might come.

First, the EU must codify in treaty form what has been done by way of crisis management since 2008. This includes the intergovernmental Fiscal Compact Treaty which neatly and famously bypassed David Cameron and which itself carries a provision which will see its incorporation into the Union framework by, yes, 2017.

There are also important elements of recent secondary legislation, notably the colloquially named Six Pack and Two Pack, which need to be elevated into primary law. The new regulatory framework for the financial sector and the new powers of the European Central Bank to supervise Europe's banks need articulation by treaty. As will the armoury of new instruments still to come: the resolution mechanism, resolution fund, deposit guarantee fund, redemption fund and stability eurobonds.

As the European Union changes gear from fiscal discipline to fiscal solidarity, it has to have an economic government to manage the sharing of the burden between taxpayers. This government, based on the European Commission, will have a treasury secretary with a treasure, a new fiscal capacity for the eurozone with contra-cyclical purposes.

The process of treaty revision will begin in spring 2015 with a constitutional Convention involving the Commission, heads of government, MEPs and MPs. The Convention will seize the opportunity not only to address fiscal union but to rectify some of the less good features of the Treaty of Lisbon. The Germans, after their elections in September, will drop the fiction that a large treaty revision can be avoided. Paris has no choice but to follow Berlin's lead. Mr Cameron will continue to lay out his prospectus of European disintegration. We federalists are shortly to publish our own proposals in the form of a new Fundamental Law. President Barroso promises Commission ideas for treaty revision later this autumn.

Those who, like the Dutch government, grumble and play to the eurosceptic gallery but fail to engage in the treaty discussion will be left on the sidelines. So will the political parties in Britain if they do not stop obsessing with In/Out referendums and start to debate what kind of Europe it is that they want to stay in and help build, or leave.

Spending Round 2013: Delivering a Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society

Today's [Wednesday] Spending Round delivers Liberal Democrat priorities on investment and improving our public services while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us.

Our number one priority in Government is to fix the economic mess we inherited from Labour. We will continue to be firm in our commitment to tackling the deficit, but fair in the way we go about it.

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:
"Our economy is starting to recover. The deficit is down by a third, 1.3m private sector jobs have been created, and by keeping interest rates low we have helped businesses and homeowners across the country. We still have a long way to go.

"But the Liberal Democrats are committed to finishing the task, creating jobs and making Britain's economy strong again."

This is a Spending Round that shows the Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy:
  • Reducing the deficit
  • An extra £18bn for major job creation projects
  • Long-term investment in science
And it shows our commitment to building a fairer society too:
  • Protecting the NHS, schools and international aid budgets
  • £2bn for local health and social care
  • Intensive help for 400,000 troubled families
For more information, read Danny Alexander's article for Lib Dem Voice.

Shared services for CCTV

Cambridge City Council and Huntingdonshire District Council are currently working together to propose a shared CCTV service.

Local authorities are working in an increasingly difficult financial environment, under pressure to reduce budgets whilst continuing to provide quality services. Both councils have risen to this challenge and the proposal to share CCTV services is expected to reduce combined running costs by about £200,000 per year, whilst ensuring the security of its future.

Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council have provided a CCTV service for sixteen years. The cameras are used to monitor and protect areas and premises used by the public. CCTV helps to deter and detect crime, assists in the identification of offenders, and helps to reduce antisocial behaviour.

It also encourages better use of facilities and attractions and reduces the fear of crime. There are significant infrastructure costs attached to the delivery of this service, and it is in this area that both councils will see the benefit of this partnership.

A detailed and thorough review has been conducted into the viability of a shared CCTV service, which once considered by council members, will be subject to consultation with Trade Unions and staff groups at each authority.

If the plans go ahead, the new service would be hosted by Huntingdonshire District Council and operate from its existing, purpose built CCTV control room based at Eastfield House in Huntingdon. Existing staffing from both councils would be integrated into a common structure.

Some overall staff reductions from both authorities may result which would contribute to anticipated future savings. Arrangements would be set up to make sure that the shared service was governed to the satisfaction of both authorities.

Joining together into one large team will offer both authorities greater resilience to provide CCTV services. The new service will benefit from using the shared knowledge and experience of staff from both authorities and will lower operating costs. There is also the opportunity to share a more efficient technical platform from the Huntingdon base.

Under these proposals the shared service would use the IT infrastructure set up for Cambridgeshire’s Public Services Network to link together the CCTV camera systems currently operating separately in Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Cllr Tim Bick, Cambridge City Council’s Leader, was positive about the proposal. He said: “I welcome the work that officers have done at both Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council. The proposals set out reductions in operating costs whilst safeguarding the quality and effectiveness of our CCTV services. I am looking forward to considering these proposals at the committee meeting on 8 July, so that a decision on the future of the service can be made.”

Deputy Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Nick Guyatt, said: “Residents have a right to feel safe in their community, and by offering a comprehensive CCTV service we can help in the fight against crime in our area. I am pleased to consider any proposals which allow us to maintain this excellent service, whilst at the same time reducing operating costs.”

Flying The Flag For Our Forces

A special Armed Forces Flag was raised this week at South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) in honour of Armed Forces Day.

Cllr David Bard, Council Chairman, was joined by staff as well as President of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon Royal British Legion, Mr Colin M Elsden DL, and Chairman Mr Chris Ginn.

The ceremony was one of many taking place around the country to recognise Armed Forces Day and to honour men and women of the armed forces, both past and present.

Cllr Bard said: “I am delighted to be able to recognise the work of the armed forces, not only in the field of conflict but also in their work peace keeping and delivering humanitarian aid and relief to many countries, including our own.”

Call For Council Tenants To Get Involved In Scrutinising Their Housing Service

If you are a Council tenant or leaseholder who is willing to challenge the quality of your housing service then South Cambridgeshire District Council needs you.

The Council is putting tenants and leaseholders in the driving seat, giving them the opportunity to scrutinise the services that affect them and have their say about how things should improve.

It is recruiting interested tenants & leaseholders to get involved in tenant led scrutiny, train as mystery shoppers and/or Tenant Inspectors and work with the Tenant Participation Group to focus in on things that can be improved.  For those tenants who prefer less regular engagement, the Talkback panel - a pool of willing tenants for telephone and online surveys - will also be available.

Over the past 12 months participating tenants have been reviewing the performance of the housing service, helping set priorities and were closely involved in the changes to sheltered housing. Over the coming year with additional tenant-led scrutiny they will be undertaking service reviews on areas that tenants themselves identify as needing improvement.

The Council has teamed up with The Linchpin Project, a tenant led community interest company in the eastern region to offer independent training and support to residents and staff willing to get involved in improving their housing service. The Council and The Linchpin Project will jointly be hosting a “get together” event on Friday 5 July. The event presents an opportunity for tenants and lease holders to learn about the different opportunities to get involved, to ask questions and, more importantly, meet each other and the Council’s housing staff.

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Tenants and leaseholders who currently challenge our services perform a vital role, scrutinising the services we offer across the district, highlighting what’s good and what isn’t, and making informed recommendations about how we can improve.

“This is a great opportunity to get involved and to help make the housing service better for everyone and I would urge as many people as possible to come to our event to find out more about getting involved.”

Fair Funding For Schools Announcement Welcomed

Campaigners fighting for a fairer deal for Cambridgeshire’s schools have welcomed the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne today that a fairer funding system will be in place for 2015-16.

Cambridgeshire is currently the worst funded authority in the country for schools – and headteachers and MPs have been campaigning for years to secure a fairer system of funding so Cambridgeshire’s schoolchildren do not lose out.

The Cambridgeshire Schools Forum – chaired by Bottisham Village College Chair of Governors Philip Hodgson – has been leading the campaign, supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, academies and maintained schools and the region’s MPs.

The Chancellor announced in his Spending Review today (June 26) that a national funding formula for schools would be in place for the year 2015-16.

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: "We are delighted that the continuing lobbying of the Cambridgeshire Schools' Forum, County Councillors and local MPs has finally resulted in a firm commitment to address the low funding issues that have faced Cambridgeshire’s schools for far too long.  Although we recognise there is still a long way to go for complete equity across the country, the move to introduce a national funding formula from 2015/16 provides some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Philip Hodgson, Chair of the Cambridgeshire Schools’ Forum added: “This is very welcome news, and we are extremely grateful for support we have had from headteachers, governors and parents. Obviously we will need to wait until further details are announced over the coming months as to exactly how these changes are to be implemented and the resulting impact for individual schools, but we will continue to lobby ministers and work with the Department for Education to try and achieve the best outcomes for Cambridgeshire’s schools."

School Governors Celebrate Success

Governors who work to support schools across Cambridgeshire will be recognised at a special presentation evening next week.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Governor Services and Education Personnel Management (EPM) have joined forces to celebrate the work of governors and to acknowledge particular achievements such as long service and significant contributions.

Certificates will also be presented to new governors who have completed a set of training courses.

Speakers at the event – which will be held at the Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre in Huntingdon on Wednesday 3 July between 7pm and 9pm – will include the Acting Service Director for Learning Keith Grimwade, Head of Primary Sue Wilson and Cabinet Member for Education and Learning Cllr David Harty.

Awards and certificates will also be presented by Governor Services Manager Carol Peel and Vice-Chair of the Governor Advisory Group, Philip Hodgson.

Cllr Harty said: “Governors are the largest group of volunteers in the country. They provide invaluable support for our schools in Cambridgeshire and are totally committed to raising standards for our children and young. It is a pleasure to be given an opportunity to thank them personally at this presentation evening.”

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Lib Dems Hold Onto City Vision Against Green Belt Challenge

Liberal Democrats have promised to holdfast to their vision of Cambridge as a compact city against challenges from developers who want to build on large swathes of the green belt.

Proposals have come forward for most of the green belt within the city boundaries and adjacent sites in South Cambridgeshire.

But Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning, Tim Ward will tell members at a full council meeting on Thursday (June 27) as he presents the city’s draft local plan : “We are proposing to retain the vision of Cambridge as a compact city, from anywhere within which you can cycle to the countryside in a few minutes, which retains the existing green fingers, and where the view of the city from high points is mostly trees.

“This is very much a recognition that the economic success of Cambridge, which of course we support and encourage, is critically dependent on the quality of life in Cambridge to attract and retain the staff needed for Cambridge Cluster companies, for the universities, and for the health sector.”

And he will say that, although the draft plan, which provides a development framework until 2031, proposes a small number of green belt releases for housing and employment use, these are on a vastly more modest scale than the those approved under previous plans in 2003 and 2006.

Cllr Ward will also remind members that much work has been done since 2006 on addressing Cambridge’s transport problems.

“We have spent the intervening years encouraging the county council to move away from developing transport plans largely as responses to central government bidding opportunities,” he will say.

As a result, the new draft Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire will be consulted on alongside both areas local plans.

The draft local plan has been produced by officers working alongside representatives from other councils and teams of consultants. So far, 18,000 representations have been processed compared to fewer than 4,000 during the development of the 2006 plan.

Firefighters Get Soapy For Charity

Local firefighters have raised more than £300 for charity after soaping up their sponges at the weekend.

The crew at Kimbolton on-call fire station, in Huntingdonshire, welcomed dozens of local residents on to the ground to have their vehicles washed by the firefighters and tuck in to home made treats at a cake sale.

The event on Saturday (June 22) raised more than £330 for The Fire Fighters Charity, which provides support, rehabilitation and care for fire service personnel across the country.

Jonathan Gordon, Crew Commander at Kimbolton Fire Station, said: "The weather just about held out for us and it was great to get such strong support from the community.

"We had cars of all shapes and sizes to wash throughout the day and also had the chance to speak to a number of people who popped in to talk about becoming an on-call firefighter with us."

Kimbolton Fire Station is currently recruiting on-call firefighters and anyone who missed the chance to find out more on Saturday is invited to a recruitment open evening on Monday, July 22, at the station from 7-9pm, or they can call 01480 444500.

Court Fine After Warnings Ignored

A Whittlesford man has been fined £800 by Magistrates after ignoring numerous pleas for him to cut back a row of conifers his neighbour had lodged official complaints about. 

South Cambridgeshire District Council enforcement officers visited Mr John Fulcher, of 27 Station Road, Whittlesford, after complaints that he had failed to comply with an earlier legal notice that ensured he maintained the hedge at a maximum height of 3.75 metres. 

Following the visit and numerous letters asking him to reduce the height of the conifers the Council had no option but to take legal action. 

Mr Fulcher was summoned to appear at Cambridge Magistrates’ court on Thursday (20 June) but he failed to appear. 

In his absence he was found guilty of the offence and fined £800, ordered to pay the Council’s costs totalling £440 and a victim surcharge of £80. 

The Council action was taken under section 69 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 that states hedges and trees must be kept at a height that does not have a negative impact on neighbours. 

Mr Fulcher has been written to and informed he now has 28 days to complete the work or risk further prosecution. 

Cllr Nick Wirght, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “We never want to take this type of action but have had no other option as Mr Fulcher has ignored numerous warning and pleas to cut back the conifers to the permitted height. We have a duty to all our residents and when we receive complaints we must look into them as neighbourly disturbances have a real impact on people’s lives. We hope Mr Fulcher now takes note and we do not need to take this kind of step again.” 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Danny Alexander Announces Massive Expansion Of Troubled Families Programme

The Troubled Families programme works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that the children attend school, appointments are met and appropriate services are accessed. Crucially, all of the public services involved with members of a family are coordinated and the demand on them reduced.

A one-off average investment of £4,500 in work with each family is expected to reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems, by supporting families to access work, reducing anti-social behaviour, poor school attendance and criminality.

Commenting, Danny Alexander said:
"Reforming how services are delivered is going to be a central part of this week's Spending Round. The Troubled Families programme is a radical example of how, by spending a bit more in certain areas, we can save much more in others and by doing so create a stronger economy and a fairer society. Extending this intensive help to 400,000 more families will enable us to tackle problems such as truancy, anti-social behaviour and crime. The government is committing £200 million in funding in 2015/16 and for every £4,500 spent on a family, we can reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems by reducing the burden on the police, health and social services." 
Head of the Troubled Families programme, Louise Casey said:
"It is great news that the momentum we have built up on the Troubled Families programme can continue by extending the approach to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, where their children are not in school or are at risk of being taken into care. This new programme will enable us to help earlier in families' lives to change them for the better."
The announcement was made on a visit to Wandsworth's multi-agency Family Recovery Project, which today announced that it has turned around nearly a third of its troubled families, saving the taxpayer roughly £29,000 per troubled family per year.

Jenkins Fears £20M Broadband Project Clouded In Secrecy

Leading Cambridgeshire County Councillor, David Jenkins is concerned about the cloud of secrecy surrounding the county’s superfast broadband project.

He fears that despite investing up to £20 million of taxpayers’ money in the project, the county council is being kept in the dark by broadband provider BT.

Cllr Jenkins, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Planning, Environment and Enterprise is worried that BT has taken over the project and is running the programme to its own agenda. 

“There's a lot of public money being used here and it's not right that it's being spent without scrutiny,” he said. “BT is a big company and should have the confidence and corporate responsibility to open up and demonstrate that the money is being spent well and not wasted on overheads or otherwise misdirected.”

The broadband contract was signed with BT earlier this year after a tender process. But Cllr Jenkins is worried that the process was completed with “deliberate speed” and, although there were other bidders for the work, their identities have never been revealed.

“This secrecy seems to characterise the deal,” added Cllr Jenkins. “Once it had been signed BT seems to have taken over and is running the programme according to 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Tories Blow Second Chance On Business Carbon Vote

Conservative MEPs got a second opportunity to help British business - and once again blew it.

In April the European Parliament voted on a proposal to 'backload' Emissions Trading Scheme that sets a price for industries carbon dioxide emissions across the EU in an effort to combat climate change. The vote was lost by 334-315 in the parliament with British Tory MEPs voting against.

The Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted again on the measure, sending it back to the full parliament for another attempt to pass the legislation.

Tory MEPs voted against 'backloading' despite knowing that current carbon prices in the UK leave British manufacturers paying more for their electricity than their EU competitors and the EU plans would have reduced that gap.

Their votes put UK manufacturing industry at a disadvantage compared to countries like Germany or the Netherlands.

Speaking after the Environment Committee's endorsement of plans to narrow the premium on the price paid by UK industry for carbon emissions by other EU countries . Andrew Duff said, "Conservative MEPs have turned their backs on UK industry and shown their contempt for the policies of the coalition government in combating climate change. The simple fact is that business in Britain is paying more for energy than our competitors and this measure will set that right.

"Conservative MEPs could have helped to level the playing field for UK manufacturers building parts for cars and aeroplanes right here in the East of England.

"Instead they let their hatred of the EU get in the way of their own party policy and of economic growth.

Campaign To Make Sure Interns Get Paid Backed By Cambridge MP

Cambridge MP Huppert
A cross-party campaign calling on politicians to pay all interns working in their offices has been backed by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert.

Julian attended the Parliamentary launch of Let’s Get Our House In Order and promised to continue paying any intern he takes on in his offices in Westminster and his Cambridge constituency.

The campaign is designed to ensure that young people from poorer backgrounds have the same opportunities as those who can afford to take long-term unpaid internships.

Julian said: “We need to send a strong message that long-term unpaid internships should be a thing of the past if we are to give everyone the same opportunity.

“If we are not setting an example how can we call on businesses and other organisations to pay their young people? Anyone who works set hours and has set responsibilities should be entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage.”

Julian employs interns, who are paid at the Living Wage, and an apprentice in his Cambridge constituency office and has offered a teenager a nine-month position in his Westminster office under a Social Mobility Fund programme, to help people from more diverse backgrounds work in Parliament.

He said: “Many politicians began their careers working as unpaid interns before going on to get a permanent jobs; but these internships are largely restricted to young people who can afford to live and work for free supported by their parents.

“It is simply unfair that those people who are not in this position don’t have the same opportunities and we need to change that.”

Ben Lyons from Intern Aware, the campaign for fair internships, said: “We are really pleased to see Julian support this campaign.

“Unpaid internships exclude the vast majority of young people who can’t afford to work for free. It is wrong that too many employers recruit based on the wealth of an intern’s parents rather than their aptitude and willingness to work hard.”

In the last couple of months online recruitment websites Monster and Total Jobs have both pledged to stop advertising long-term unpaid internships.

Over the last year more than 26,000 workers were paid back a total of £4m after action by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which enforces National Minimum Wage laws. Some of the 1,693 complaints related to unpaid internships but campaigners say more needs to be done.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A Million Jobs: Apprentices Teach Danny Alexander A Thing Or Two

Danny visited the Morrisons supermarket in Inverness, where newly qualified butcher David Webster and baker Stuart Crombie taught him the tricks of the trades.

Morrisons is currently one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the UK. The store in Inverness, which has recently undergone a major refurbishment, employs more than 250 people and is keen to help staff develop their skills as part of their national apprenticeship programme.

Danny said:
"I was delighted to take part in Morrisons' apprenticeship scheme.

"David and Stuart did a remarkable job teaching me the basics of their professions. It is hugely encouraging to see these highly skilled individuals take so much pride in their work.

"Morrisons has contributed greatly to jobs and the economy in the centre of Inverness. And on a national level they contribute greatly to the UK Government apprenticeship targets."

David Webster, 28, said:
"I think that learning on the job from someone who really knows what they're doing is the best experience you can get. My apprenticeship scheme with Morrisons combined this with learning at college so I got the best of both worlds. The team on the butchery counter in the store have so much knowledge, working alongside them is a real privilege."

As part of his 12 month training programme to gain an IPQ qualification in Butchery, David has shadowed a master butcher and completed four week-long intensive training courses at the City of Glasgow Food Technology College.

He has learnt about the bone structure of different animals, how to trim the meat and how to make the products on sale on the counter such as sausages and black pudding.

Liberal Democrat MPs across the UK will be spending days learning from apprentices as part of the 'A Million Jobs for a Stronger Economy' campaign.

Liberal Democrats Fight To Give Cambridgeshire Residents A Greater Say

Cllr Ian Manning
(LD, Cambridge City - East Chesterton)
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Manning wants to give residents a greater say by changing the rules governing petitions and public questions.

He claims the present rule, which mean petitions have to have at least 15,130 signatures before they can trigger a debate by Cambridgeshire County Council members, is stifling democracy.

Cllr Manning, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Resources wants the signature threshold lowered to 3,000 to promote open local government.

And members of the public raising questions in the council chamber should be entitled to a direct reply from a member rather than the promise of a written response he said.

 “Since the rules were put in place restricting debate only on those petitions carrying 15,130 signatures or more there has never been a debate triggered by a petition,” he said.  “

How can this be good for democracy and open local government?

“When residents feel so strongly about an issue that they take time to collect thousands of signatures or raise a question in the council chamber we should be listening to what they have to say. Instead they don’t get a direct response from any member but the promise of a written one instead.

“Government guidance says that the number of petition signatures required should encourage rather than discourage petitions, but the system we have in place had done completely the opposite and needs changing.”

Cllr Manning is putting a motion to the full county council meeting on July 16 to change the rules.

When a member of the public raises a question, he wants the political party group leader or nominated party member to make a statement, of no more than 2 minutes, on their party’s response and all these responses to be published on the county council’s website

The full motion reads as follows:
"This council notes:
• The current procedures for public questions or petitions allows a member of the public to address the chamber but does not require a direct reply from any members, other than to commit to a written response
• a threshold of 15,130 petition signatures is required to trigger a debate of an issue in council & no petition has reached this threshold since the rules were put in place

This council believes:
• These procedures are unsatisfactory for many petitioners or questioners, who have spent a long time collecting signatures, often speak passionately and expect rather more than to be told a response will be given in writing
• Further, it is unsatisfactory given the desire for more open local Government as the response is not published
• given that government guidance suggests the number of signatures required should encourage rather than discourage petitions, the current system is unsatisfactory.

Therefore this council will:
Change the current procedure & make the resulting changes to the constitution and/or standing orders such that:
• This council resolves to change the threshold of signatures on a petition required to trigger a debate to 3,000 signatures
• For public questions, each Group Leader, or nominated member from their party, will make a statement, of no more than 2 minutes, on their party’s response to the questioner(s), and all these responses will be published on the Council’s website
• Council authorises the monitoring officer to make any necessary amendments to the Constitution to implement these changes."

Cambridge MP Huppert Supports Action On Nuisance Phone Calls And Texts

Unwanted phone calls and texts could be outlawed if a Bill being sponsored by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert makes its way through Parliament.

Julian is backing the Private Members’ Bill Communication (Unsolicited Telephone Calls and Texts) which would reform the way personal data can be traded.

The Bill was presented to MPs in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday, June 19) by Edinburgh West MP, Liberal Democrat Mike Crockart.

Mr Crockart has been running a 'No to Nuisance Calls' campaign for a year and has set up and now Co-Chairs an All Parliamentary Group on nuisance calls. The group is working with cross-party MPs across the UK to help people plagued by nuisance calls and to keep a close eye on unsolicited marketing industry and its unscrupulous operators.

Julian said: “This is an excellent campaign and I was delighted to be able to sponsor this Bill.

“Most of us have been on the receiving end of calls or texts that we don’t want. This is an abuse of our personal data and we need to change the law so that companies behind these calls can be stopped.

“People should not have to be pestered in this way; the consequences for vulnerable people could be much more serious with them agreeing to buy products or services because they have been put under pressure to do so.”

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew added: "While it's important that actions like these continue at national level there is something we can all do today to stop these calls; Join the Telephone Preference Service. It's free and companies that call people who are on the register can receive significant files. I'd encourage *everyone* to sign up!"

Have You Got The X Factor For Free Summer Extravaganza?

Talented young people are being given the chance to take the stage and perform at South Cambridgeshire’s biggest free sports and entertainment festival this summer.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Parklife event at Milton Country Park – which attracted over 4,000 people last year – has been announced to take place on Sunday 4 August and anyone with a talent they can take to the stage to share is being urged to get in touch.

At the annual event people of all ages can get in the swing by trying out free sporting activities from golf, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding, to trampolining, climbing, archery, fencing and orienteering.

By peddling down to this year’s event you can also get a free bike service from Dr Bike or get closer to your five-a-day by hopping on the smoothie bike.

Live music, stalls with local produce and entertainment will also be at the fun-filled day.

Anyone who wants to take to the stage to share their talent – whether you’re a singer, dancer, poet, comedian or magician for example – is being urged to contact the Council now.

The District Council runs the event in partnership with Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust and this year they have teamed up with media partners Heart Radio whose Angels will be at the event with a range of games and activities for all the family.

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member responsible for sport, said: “This free family event has gone from strength to strength since we launched it and we are aiming for it to be a bumper year for activities and entertainment. We are fully behind promoting an active lifestyle to our residents and hope this event helps inspire another generation to stay healthy by finding activities they enjoy.”

Louis Pascuzzi, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Youth Councillor who is part of the team organising the entertainment stage, said: “It is fantastic to give young people the opportunity to take to the stage and share what they can do. Whatever your talent; if you think it will entertain the crowds we want to hear from you.”

To discuss performing at Parklife contact Tracy Mann at South Cambridgeshire District Council on or call 03450 450 500. Alternatively you can get in touch with the Youth Council by visiting

Come And Try The Free WiFi Available In Cambridgeshire Libraries

Bar Hill Library
Cambridgeshire Libraries has recently launched a new free of charge WIFI network. This fantastic new service is now available at 40 libraries and library access points for you all to use your WIFI enable devices to browse, download and enjoy online resources free of charge.

Anyone with a WiFi enabled device (such as a smart phone or tablet) will be able to access the internet, select e-books, e-audio books or use the Sorcer Mobile library app (to search the catalogue, reserve or renew your items)..

It’s free of charge and easy to use – you just access the service by connecting to the “CCC_Public” wireless network.

If you are a library customer you will also benefit from upgraded computers enabling you to stay in touch, seek jobs and access online services. The upgrades are now available in all Cambridgeshire libraries and provide modern software including Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox browsers.

If you’re not already a customer – it’s easy to join our library service - it’s free and you can join online here

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that was involved with the public consultation on this project and those that provided feedback at the pilot sites. Your help was invaluable to us making these improvements to our service.

Bar Hill Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said; "It's fantastic news that our library here in Bar Hill is able to offer this service. Enabling broader access to the internet has been one of the County Councils key objectives over the last few years and, while Free Wireless isn't the solution in itself, it is and important part of the larger puzzle. One more excellent reason to get more use out of our local library!"

Council Chairman Leads Armed Forces Day Ceremony

A special flag will be raised at the County Council’s flagpole at Shire Hall in recognition of national Armed Forces Day.

The Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, accompanied by Captain Victor Lucas RN, Deputy Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire, will lead the County Council’s flag-raising ceremony on Monday 24 June.

Cllr Kevin Reynolds will be joined by schoolchildren and cadets for the ceremony outside Shire Hall at 10am.

Capt Lucas will inspect the cadets from Kimbolton School, while children from nearby Mayfield Primary School will watch the ceremony.

The flag-raising ceremony event is one of many being organised to take place simultaneously across the country at 10am on June 24. Armed Forces Day itself is on Saturday 29 June.

County Council Chairman Kevin Reynolds said: “I am delighted at the way the whole country comes together to recognise the armed forces and the work they do. The flag-raising at Shire Hall will combine ceremony, celebration and dignity, but more importantly will contribute to a wider understanding of the armed forces and the crucial role they play in our national life.”