Mike Supports Plans for New Holy Trinity Church Surgery

Mike Weatherley, Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has written to Brighton & Hove City Council to highlight his support for the plans for a new medical centre at Holy Trinity Church.

The new surgery, which will be home to both the Sackville Medical Centre and Central Hove Surgery, is proposed for the empty Holy Trinity Church on Blatchington Road. The new combined practice will offer patients excellent new facilities in the heart of Hove.

Holy Trinity Church was completed in 1861 and has received Grade II listed status in 1992. The church finally closed in 2007 and faced an uncertain future until the new medical centre was proposed.

In his letter to Brighton & Hove City Council, Mike said: “The Sackville Medical Centre and Central Hove Surgery have been looking to find suitable accommodation for over eight years, having very much outgrown their current facilities.

“Holy Trinity is the only site that is both affordable and big enough and has been vacant for years but now will have a new role in the heart of the local community. Its location is in the centre of the patient population and conveniently placed for public transport at the same time as providing improved access and facilities for patients.

“Crucially, the proposed plans allow for the development of much-needed new and improved primary care services for Hove which are restricted by the present location’s of respective medical practices.”

Commenting, Mike said: “I was delighted to be able to support the planning application for a new medical centre at Holy Trinity Church. I know that staff from both the Sackville Medical Centre and Central Hove Surgery have been working hard to make sure that patients get new up-to-date facilities that they deserve and so I hope that this application to Brighton & Hove City Council is successful.”

Mike Calls for Tax Breaks for Live Music Venues

Mike Weatherley, Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, and former Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, has written to his colleague the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, requesting the introduction of tax breaks for small and medium sized live music venues.

In his letter to the Chancellor, Mike said: “As you know, our music industry is an enormous asset to Britain both culturally and financially. At the heart of this success story are the incredibly valuable live music venues. I do not think that we can overestimate the value that live music brings to the lives of millions of people.

“Unfortunately, for many reasons it is becoming harder for smaller live music venues to be financially viable and, as a result, alarmingly the number of venues is going down. Quite simply, the support of government and local authorities is key to the success of live music venues.

“There is precedence of successful tax breaks for bands playing overseas and in other areas of entertainment (theatre/opera, for example, who also enjoy tax breaks and financial incentives), but not for the small and medium sized live music venues, which are the bedrock of all creative music talent.

Given the importance of live music venues in the career development of musicians and to our economy, I hope that you will seriously consider the introduction of tax breaks or other financial incentives in order to help stem the national challenges faced by live music venues.”

Commenting, Mike said: “Supporting live music venues is essential if we want to protect our musical heritage. Britain produces some of the best music in the world and it contributes hugely to our economy. I will continue to push for support for live music venue and hope that the Chancellor will seriously consider tax breaks or other financial incentives in order to support this important industry.”

Mike Calls for Tax Breaks for Live Music Venues

Mike Weatherley, Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, and former Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, has written to his colleague the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, requesting the introduction of tax breaks for small and medium sized live music venues.

In his letter to the Chancellor, Mike said: “As you know, our music industry is an enormous asset to Britain both culturally and financially. At the heart of this success story are the incredibly valuable live music venues. I do not think that we can overestimate the value that live music brings to the lives of millions of people.

“Unfortunately, for many reasons it is becoming harder for smaller live music venues to be financially viable and, as a result, alarmingly the number of venues is going down. Quite simply, the support of government and local authorities is key to the success of live music venues.

“There is precedence of successful tax breaks for bands playing overseas and in other areas of entertainment (theatre/opera, for example, who also enjoy tax breaks and financial incentives), but not for the small and medium sized live music venues, which are the bedrock of all creative music talent.

Given the importance of live music venues in the career development of musicians and to our economy, I hope that you will seriously consider the introduction of tax breaks or other financial incentives in order to help stem the national challenges faced by live music venues.”

Commenting, Mike said: “Supporting live music venues is essential if we want to protect our musical heritage. Britain produces some of the best music in the world and it contributes hugely to our economy. I will continue to push for support for live music venue and hope that the Chancellor will seriously consider tax breaks or other financial incentives in order to support this important industry.”

Mike Backs Gatwick Expansion

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has added his support to the growing momentum behind Gatwick Airport’s case for a second runway.

As the Airports Commission consultation on whether Gatwick or Heathrow should expand continues, Mike has encouraged interested parties to respond. Interested parties need to make their voice heard before 3rd February. This can be done by emailing the Airports Commission at airports.consultation@systra.com, filling in its online survey or writing to:

Freepost RTKX-USUC-CXAS
Airports Commission Consultation
PO Box 1492

Woking GU22 2QR

Commenting, Mike said: “Gatwick’s plan is best for the UK, the region and the local community – it will deliver the economic growth and benefits we need while affecting far fewer people. The aviation industry has benefitted from more competition since the break-up of BAA and expanding Gatwick will only serve to deliver more for the passenger.

Mike added: “The key is that Gatwick can actually happen – Heathrow has put up plan after plan for expansion but none have got off the ground. Gatwick is doable so let us get on and do it.”

Cllr Graham Cox, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hove and Portslade said: “Gatwick provides a cheaper, faster and simpler option for expansion that will meet our capacity needs now and into the future. After years of political stalemate and inaction, there is real potential for a solution that can actually be delivered.”

Conservatives express delight at Youth Service reprieve

Conservatives have warmly welcomed the decision by Policy & Resources Committee last night to agree their Notice of Motion which will call a halt to City Council Budget proposals to terminate its Youth Collective contract with 6 voluntary sector organisations in March.

Under the Council’s plans, all Youth Services would have been delivered by the Council’s ‘in-house’ team, without any assessment being made of its relative effectiveness and value for money compared to the voluntary sector providers.

The Notice of Motion, proposed by Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, and seconded by Group Finance Spokesperson, Ann Norman, was supported by the Labour Group and one member of the Green Group.

The Notice of Motion also agreed to ask Council officers to find transitional funding for 3 other voluntary groups who work with young people – Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime – whose grant funding runs out at the end of March.

Conservative Group Spokesman for Children & Young People, Andrew Wealls, said: “I believe that this is great news for the City and for the voluntary organisations that make such a vital contribution to the well-being of young people here in Brighton & Hove. We are not disputing the fact that savings need to be made in the Youth Service budget – all we are asking is that a proper commissioning exercise be undertaken by the Council in October, with a genuinely level playing field for all organisations who want to provide youth services in the city.

Conservative Group Communities Spokesperson, Dee Simson, added: “This whole episode has caused a great deal of unnecessary uncertainty and anxiety in the Youth Collective and the young people they work with. I hope that we can now all put politics aside and move forward together to make the best use possible of the money that remains in the Budget.”

CLARENCE @ NACROClarence Mitchell, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion, visited Nacro Brighton Education Centre on Thursday 15th January. Nacro’s education centres around the country provide vocational courses that give young people the skills and qualifications required to find a job that suits them.

Just under 15% of young people aged 16 – 24 years old in the south east are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) (1) – but keeping young people in education will only result in better qualified, “job-ready” young people if they find a learning environment that meets their needs as well as the demands of local employers.

Clarence said: “I am very impressed with the vital work Nacro does and it was a pleasure to meet staff and learners. 2,000 apprenticeships have been created in Brighton Pavilion and Nacro provides an excellent stepping stone for young people to access these opportunities.

“The Brighton Education Centre provides an atmosphere that enables its learners to achieve their potential. I was particularly struck by the enthusiasm of the team and the centre manager Sean Atkinson. He and his team are to be congratulated on the work that they do.

“Nacro is proof how invaluable the third charity sector is, that is something I wholeheartedly support”

Sean Atkinson, Centre Manager of Nacro Education Centre in Brighton, said: “Nacro Education offers young people free access to gain the skills they need to get back into education, training or employment through specific and highly supportive education courses. If you are 16 – 18 years old and have not got the grades you were hoping for, not going to college but looking for education or employment then Nacro can support you with this”

“Our qualifications and training meet the needs of local employers so each young person has the best possible chance of accessing local jobs and training. You can learn in an enjoyable and practical way in friendly sessions and workshops. Bursary payments mean you get paid up to £40 a week to study. Nacro also covers students’ travel costs and the possibility for free lunches on days of attendance.”

Further information can be obtained by calling the centre on 01273 704010, or attending the Open Day on Thursday 12th February between 10am and 4pm

Lauren Enticknapp, 19, said: “At High School, I didn’t get any qualifications, so I left school with nothing to offer the big wide world. I started at Nacro and they made me realise that it wasn’t too late to make something of myself. I continued to study at Nacro and I achieved a Level 1 Certificate in Employment, Training and Personal Development in Retail, a Level 1 in Maths and finally my Level 2 English!”

Jade Back, 18, said: “Nacro has offered me a chance to believe in myself and to always try that little extra – because let’s face it, that little extra can take you a long way! Nacro has given me the first steps towards what I go on to achieve next in my life and I personally wouldn’t be where I am without Nacro and all of the staff members.” Continue reading

Conservatives question legality of parking charge hikes

Conservatives are querying whether proposed hikes in parking charges of up to 100% are legal in the wake of a recent High Court judgement against Barnet London Borough Council.

Budget papers presented to the Council’s Policy & Resources Committee last month reveal that the Administration is seeking to raise £571k in extra revenue as a result of a “review of pay and display and permit tariffs”.

In 2013, a High Court Judge ruled that Barnet Council did not have the power under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act “to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes” and added that it was not allowed “to budget for a surplus at any level which it considered appropriate in order to generate income for other transport purposes which it wished to fund.”

Group Transport Spokesman, Cllr. Graham Cox, said: “It is quite clear from the case law that it is unlawful for councils to set charges for the ‘express purpose of creating a surplus’ yet that is exactly what this Council is proposing through its latest price hikes. Interestingly, Barnet proposed raising the cost of their resident permits to £100, a level that the judge considered unlawful yet our residents are being expected to fork out £166 if they pay quarterly.”

Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, added: “I really think that the Council needs to be very careful. It is quite obvious to me that they are using charges and permits to help fill their Budget black hole and that is not allowed. Brighton & Hove has gained the unenviable reputation as a ‘rip-off city’ when it comes to parking charges and that is extremely damaging to local businesses. I would urge the Council in the strongest possible terms to think again.”

Conservatives promote voluntary sector involvement in Youth Service

Conservatives are putting forward constructive proposals to boost the involvement of community and voluntary sector organisations in delivering the Council’s Youth Service.

At next week’s Policy & Resources Committee meeting, Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, will move a Notice of Motion which, if agreed, would call a halt to City Council Budget proposals to terminate its Youth Collective contract in March – 6 months earlier than planned. Under the Council’s plans, all Youth Services would be delivered by the Council’s ‘in-house’ team, without any assessment being made of its relative effectiveness and value for money compared to the rejected voluntary sector providers.

Conservative Group Spokesman for Children & Young People, Andrew Wealls, said: “We accept that savings need to be made in the Youth Service but that makes it all the more ridiculous that the Council continues to bury its head in the sand over who provides them. All we are asking is that a proper commissioning exercise be undertaken by the Council, with a genuinely level playing field for all providers who want to provide youth services in the city. This issue has become totemic for us and is symptomatic of a wider unwillingness by the Green Party – invariably backed by the Labour Party – to accept that Council funded services can be provided more effectively and more cheaply by other organisations in the community, voluntary and independent sectors. Sadly, this unwillingness is based on nothing more than political dogma.”

Fellow Children & Young People Committee member and Deputy Group Leader, Dee Simson, added: “many councils have stopped funding youth services altogether in recent years but we think that they continue to make a vital contribution to the well-being of young people here in Brighton & Hove. It is, therefore, very sad that the excellent voluntary groups who make up the Youth Collective are being jettisoned by the Council without any assessment of the value of the work they do for the city’s young people.”

Conservatives slam further hike in city parking charges

Leading Conservatives have described proposals for further above inflation increases in parking charges as counterproductive and a kick in the teeth for the city’s residents, businesses and visitors.

Proposed increases, to be discussed at next week’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee include:
• Above inflation increases in the cost of resident, visitor, business and trader permits of up to 7.7%.
• A doubling, from £1 to £2, of the hourly rate in city centre car parks.
• Increases in on-street ‘pay and display’ rates across the city of up to 6.7%.

Overall, the proposals are expected to raise an extra £800k in revenue for the Council. Brighton & Hove already raises £25.8 million from its parking operations – the highest out of any Council in the country outside London.

Conservative Group Transport Spokesman and Parliamentary Candidate for Hove & Portslade, Graham Cox, said: “The proposed increases are completely inappropriate and are a further blow to residents, businesses and visitors in the city who have already had to put up with huge increases in previous years. We will do everything we can to try and reverse these proposed hikes and to put an end to the ‘parking rip-off’ reputation that Brighton & Hove has unfortunately gained in recent years.”

Group Finance Spokesperson, Ann Norman, added: “the Council continues to refuse to look at ways to save money on services by alternative provision and shared services and prefers to take the easy option of hammering the city’s hard-pressed motorists. They seem to be blind to the fact that this will affect visitors to the city and our business community who are the lifeblood of the local economy. If, as the Council continues to maintain, parking surpluses can only be spent on other transport initiatives, we suggest that they cut back on these rather than yet again raising our already exorbitantly high parking charges.”

Mike Backs Legalisation to Protect Music Fans

Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Secondary Ticketing, is supporting the Lords amendments tabled in the Consumer Rights Bill that would provide greater transparency for those purchasing tickets through resellers and help protect the live music industry.

Live music and other live events are a vital contributors to the economy and the cultural well-being of society. Mike, former Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, will be supporting the fans, performers and promoters that believe that the current ticketing arrangements for major events is not delivering value for money for those involved and that the  free market falls down when it comes to secondary ticketing, given the restriction of supply.

The Lords amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill, which Mike supports (and the government has indicated it will not support) will be considered in the House of Commons on Monday 12th January, would require resellers to state the name of the seller, employment details (if related to the entertainment industry), any reference numbers, as well as a seat number, if applicable.

Commenting, Mike said: “The secondary ticketing market is a cash cow for a select few and, by and large, bad for music fans. The procurement of tickets by resellers takes place on an industrial scale as soon as an event opens its box office, denying fans the opportunity to buy tickets at their face value.”

Mike added: “Those arguing against greater transparency are trying to shield from fans the source of the tickets or circumvent individual venues restrictions on reselling tickets. There is a large amount of criminal activity around fake tickets, which is fuelled by extortionate prices, that can leave fans massively disappointed and out of pocket. This has to stop.”