Monday, 24 November 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Making sure workers are paid fairly - no excuses not to pay up

The National Minimum Wage is even more important to families in a global economic downturn..

Everyone should earn a fair wage for a fair day's work - there is no excuse not to pay up. And there were two welcome bits of news this week that will be a boost to workers in Crewe and Nantwich.

The Government has said that it wants to change the current minimum wage rules on tipping so that in the future, tips will be in addition to the Minimum Wage.

For me, this is a matter of fairness and common sense. When you go to a restaurant or to have a hair cut and leave a tip, you expect it to go to the staff on top of their pay, not to be put through the payroll to make up the Minimum Wage.

This action on tips will benefit workers throughout Crewe and Nantwich, people we all rely on, but who sometimes don’t have the strongest voice.

And as part of Labours crackdown on those who try to exploit workers, tough new penalties for employers who underpay their staff have been made law.

I have campaigned for tougher action on rogue employers who con their staff. It has now become law. This will mean that the tough new penalties come into force in April. There could be unlimited fines for the most serious cases rather than the current maximum limit of £5,000. It will also mean a fairer way of dealing with national minimum wage arrears, calculated so workers do not lose out.

But to make sure people are getting the National Minimum Wage rogue employers need to be exposed. If you think a rogue employer is not paying up then get in touch with me on 07798 696 603 or call the national minimum wage helpline on 0845 6000 678. And don't worry, you don’t have to give your name or details to them if you don't want to.

This year marks 10 years since Labour voted to introduce the National Minimum Wage in 1998. When it came in ten years ago people like David Cameron strongly opposed it.

I'm proud that, while the Tories opposed the minimum wage and still criticise it, our Labour Government is taking steps to strengthen it – ensuring that working people know their rights and employers know their responsibilities.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

No progress on Crewe bus station

I had a call from a nice gentleman from Mr Timpson's Office today. He had been very busy reading through my blog entries for at least the last three months and queried my story on the painting of Crewe bus station, which I published on 26 August.

This nice gentleman explained that my article had implied that Mr Timpson had said something that he hadn't. I have therefore changed the wording to reflect that my source is an article published on Mr Timpson's website, not something he has actually said.

There is of course something else that Mr Timpson hasn't actually said. He hasn't answered the question, what is our Tory-led borough council, our Tory-led unitary authority and our Tory MP actually doing about the disgraceful state of Crewe bus station?

This sorry situation continues to be an embarrassment to the town and it is time the Tories did something about it.

Please click here to see the amended article.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Campaign for a town council for Crewe

We took the campaign for a town council for Crewe to the Alex today. It proved to be very popular with the regulars in the Alexandra Suite, who were enjoying a pre-match drink. I was there supporting local activists Steve Roberts, Malcolm Scane, Peter Kent and Ray Stafford.

The fans were really positive about the town council proposal, but somewhat apprehensive about the forthcoming Alex game against Leyton Orient.

Having lost 2-0, with a pretty disappointing performance, the frustration of fans in the ground was all too evident. It's going to be a long hard season ahead of us.

Crewe Alex website

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Local Post Offices received a boost today as the Labour Government awarded the contract for the POCA service to the Post Office. The news will be welcomed by local post offices who rely on the business people picking up their pensions or benefits through the Post Office Card Account brings into branches. Around 6,850 people in Crewe and Nantwich have accounts.

Welcoming the news Labour PPC for Crewe and Nantwich, David Williams said:

“This is great news for local post offices. I am delighted that the Government has listened. With the financial crisis that started with the American banks now being felt here in Britain, people are feeling worried about their finances. Post Offices are often the only providers of banking services in local areas so this vote of confidence in the post office is very welcome. This is the right decision for Crewe and Nantwich.”

The Labour Government has decided to award a new contract for the continuation of POCA directly to the Post Office. This announcement is good news for the Post Office as the card account is an important source of income and brings customers through the doors of post offices across the country. The National Federation of Sub Post Masters had said that, without POCA 3,000 Post Offices would close.


For further information please do not hesitate to contact David Williams on 07798 696 603.

Notes to Editors:

The Post Office Card Account is a very straightforward account specifically designed to pay benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency and Inland Revenue tax credits.

Only benefits and pensions can be paid in and they are collected across a post office counter using a plastic card and PIN.

About four million people receive their benefits and pensions this way, including around two million pensioners.

The National Federation of Sub Postmasters had claimed that 3,000 post offices might close if post office did not receive the contract.

Please click here to see the wide range of services offered by your local Post office.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


David Williams, Labour PPC for Crewe and Nantwich, has welcomed a funding boost announced by the Government today to start rebuilding local primary schools.

Cheshire will receive £14.4m to kick start the Labour Government’s plan to rebuild or refurbish half of all primary schools over the next fifteen years.

The funding plans - worth £3.55 billion across England – were confirmed this today by the Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

David Williams said:

"Children deserve the best facilities that we can build and teachers deserve better classrooms to work in. So this funding is a really welcome boost from the Labour government for education in our area.

"Ten years ago classrooms were in a terrible state. That's been transformed by the biggest ever investment in new buildings, computers and other facilities including the “The Dunwoody” building at Wistaston Green Primary School and the new Coppenhall High School. But there is still more to do to get the very best facilities in all our schools and replace old buildings that are no longer fit for the job.

“At this challenging time for our economy, it’s vital that we sustain our investment in public services. This huge capital investment will not only improve the education of our children, but help to support jobs in the construction industry and local businesses who will be crucial to fitting out the new and refurbished schools.

“The Tories have already pledged to cut £4.5 billion from our secondary school rebuilding programme. I just hope they don’t say they want to cut this important investment in our primary schools too.”


For more information please contact David Williams on 07798 696 603

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday

Ninety years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns of the western front fell silent. It was an end to four years of fighting, the most horrific conflict the world has ever seen. So at 11 o’clock this morning we stood in silence to remember all of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. And we commemorated those who died in the Great War and in conflicts since — World War Two, Korea, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Gulf, the Balkans, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I went to the Remembrance Sunday service in Crewe's Municipal Square. First time I've been since the memorial was moved. I thought the service was very fitting and the venue really works, it makes you wonder what all the fuss was about. There was an excellent turnout from local people, it looked like they were eight deep all around the square. I thought the whole service was very well organised, congratulations to the Borough Council, the Royal British Legion and all involved.

The family were attending services all over the North West. My son was marching with his Scout group in Eccles with mum looking on and my youngest daughter was in Sandbach with her granny.

With British forces still on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was an opportunity to show them our support as well as remember the millions who have died in past wars and conflicts. Back in 1918 people hoped the Great War would be the war to end all wars, but sadly that was not to be.

The Poppy Appeal

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Labour's Policing Pledge

Cheshire Constabulary, along with the other 42 forces, has signed up to a national policing pledge and are working towards delivering it.


1. Always treat you fairly with dignity and respect ensuring you have fair access to our services at a time that is reasonable and suitable for you.

2. Provide you with information so you know who your dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Team is, where they are based, how to contact them and how to work with them.

3. Ensure your Neighbourhood Policing Team and other police patrols are visible and on your patch at times when they will be most effective and when you tell us you most need them. We will ensure your team are not taken away from neighbourhood business more than is absolutely necessary. They will spend at least 80 percent of their time visibly working in your neighbourhood, tackling your priorities. Staff turnover will be minimised.

4. Respond to every message directed to your Neighbourhood Policing Team within 24 hours and, where necessary, provide a more detailed response as soon as we can.

5. Aim to answer 999 calls within 10 seconds, deploying to emergencies immediately giving an estimated time of arrival, getting to you safely, and as quickly as possible. In urban areas, we will aim to get to you within 15 minutes and in rural areas within 20 minutes.

6. Answer all non-emergency calls promptly. If attendance is needed, send a patrol giving you an estimated time of arrival, and:
- If you are vulnerable or upset aim to be with you within 60 minutes.
- If you are calling about an issue that we have agreed with your community will be a neighbourhood priority (listed below) and attendance is required, we will aim to be with you within 60 minutes.
- Alternatively, if appropriate, we will make an appointment to see you at a time that fits in with your life and within 48 hours.
- If agreed that attendance is not necessary we will give you advice, answer your questions and / or put you in touch with someone who can help.

7. Arrange regular public meetings to agree your priorities, at least once a month, giving you a chance to meet your local team with other members of your community. These will include opportunities such as surgeries, street briefings and mobile police station visits which will be arranged to meet local needs and requirements.

8. Provide monthly updates on progress, and on local crime and policing issues. This will include the provision of crime maps, information on specific crimes and what happened to those brought to justice, details of what action we and our partners are taking to make your neighbourhood safer and information on how your force is performing.

9. If you have been a victim of crime agree with you how often you would like to be kept informed of progress in your case and for how long. You have the right to be kept informed at least every month if you wish and for as long as is reasonable.

10. Acknowledge any dissatisfaction with the service you have received within 24 hours of reporting it to us. To help us fully resolve the matter, discuss with you how it will be handled, give you an opportunity to talk in person to someone about your concerns and agree with you what will be done about them and how quickly.

We want to do our best for you but if we fail to meet our pledge we will always explain why it has not been possible on that occasion to deliver the high standards to which we aspire and you deserve.

Click here to check out your local policing team.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Talking to voters in Sydney

This afternoon I did my first door knocking session as the PPC for Labour in Crewe and Nantwich. I was really pleased with the reception I received.

People raised a few different issues on the doorstep. I met a couple of sorting office workers who were at the rally last Saturday. We had a good chat about the future and agreed that it is important the industrial action ballot goes through to try to bring Royal Mail management to the negotiating table. The company must give the CWU the opportunity to look at the national plan for sorting offices, rather than picking them off one-by-one.

We were collecting signatures on the petition for a Crewe Town Council again. There was a lot of support for the proposal, people recognise the need for a strong voice for the town.

One woman told me she'd written to Edward Timpson and not received a response, so I was happy to take up the issue on her behalf. I am happy to support constituents' cases and help wherever I can.

We finished at the Sydney Arms, a super little pub. It's what I call a proper pub and the Robinson's Unicorn Bitter was excellent. It's important that we use our community pubs to help keep them trading and open for business. I saw the article by Cllr Howard Curran in this week's Chronicle about the number of local pubs closing down and I share his concern.

Please click here for the Crewe Blog review of the Sydney Arms