Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year message from David Williams

David Williams, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich said, “I would like to give my best wishes to you for the new year.”

“It is clear that 2009 is going to be very challenging for us all and it is very important that the Government continues to act positively to help people through these difficult times. That is why I am backing the exceptional measures that Gordon Brown is taking. The mistakes of the 1980s and early 1990s must not be repeated.

“As an Usdaw official helping our members working in shops, I fear that the retail sector is going to take a big hit in the new year. That is why I am campaigning for the completion of the redevelopment of Crewe town centre and bus station. If local traders are to stand any chance they need an environment that welcomes shoppers to the Town, unfortunately we don’t have that at the moment. Retailers and shopworkers must not be let down on this important issue.

“In this global economic downturn it is vital that our Government continues to invest in employment and public services. Now is not the time to abandon people, putting jobs and homes at risk.”

Sunday, 28 December 2008

David in your street - Wistaston and Nantwich

The team took my mobile surgery around Wistaston and Nantwich today and we had some good discussions with local residents.

The future of British manufacturing was raised by a few people. There are clearly difficult times ahead and two of our major engineering employers are currently experiencing difficulties. Bentley's are on an extended Christmas break and short-time working. Bombardier is shedding some jobs. However both are showing a commitment to the future, with Bentley's investing in up-skilling the workforce and Bombardier taking on apprentices. Let's hope these signs of better things to come.

We arrived in Nantwich to find homemade signs attached to lampposts, advertising a tattoo service for £1 per go. Some young entrepreneurs had set a stall outside their house. However, by the time we turned up, a lady informed that they'd gone to play upstairs because it was too cold outside. Perhaps they'll give it another go in the summer. Who knows, we might be seeing them on Dragon’s Den in the future.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Panto at the Lyceum

We have just come back from our annual trip to the Pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe. I have to say that this year's production was excellent.

We were all very impressed with the SiSiTV. I won't give it away for those who haven't been yet, but I wish I'd been in Wilkinson’s on the day they filmed that part of the show, looked like great fun.

There were three generations of our family there and everyone thoroughly enjoyed an excellent evening’s entertainment.

The Lyceum Theatre is a facility we should all be very proud of and it is very deserving of our support.

But it also needs political support and I hope that the new Cheshire East unitary authority commits to the theatre in the same way that Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council has over many years.

To see what's on at the Lyceum please click here.

David in your street - Maw Green and Marshfield Bank

The team were out doing a double session of mobile surgery today in Maw Green and Marshfield Bank today.

We were also collecting signatures on the petition for a town council for Crewe, giving local residents a strong voice.

There were a number of issues raised including:

- Pub closures, I too am worried about the number of pubs closing. This afternoon's session met at The George, which is currently closed. This morning we met at the Cross Keys, which thankfully has just reopened. I think the Government has to do more to support local pubs, they are a very important part of our community.

- Job losses, one guy I spoke to had recently been made redundant and we had a long chat about the support the Government has implemented to help him get back to work as soon as possible.

For information on how Job Centre Plus can help please click here.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day leafleting

The family went out leafleting today ahead of tomorrow's mobile surgeries.

We all felt we had plenty of turkey to walk-off.

What a beautiful day, bright, sunny but nippy.

My son was showing-off his amateur photography skills with his new digital camera.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Seasons Greetings from David Williams

David Williams, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, said:

"Today is a very special day and I hope everyone enjoys themselves. It is particularly special for children and a chance for families to take a well earned breather from the daily grind.

"My thoughts are with those who have to work on Christmas Day and, particularly our emergency service workers, my thanks go out to them.

"There are of course people across the world who are living in much poorer circumstances than us. It is important that we remember them and direct some of our seasonal generosity towards tackling worldwide poverty. Political solutions are also crucial and it is incumbent upon all politicians to work towards a lasting worldwide settlement on conflict, famine, poverty and other humanitarian issues.

"Many families face an uncertain future with the current economic crisis. I have been working with Usdaw members in struggling retail companies, like Woolworths and MFI, to deal with the problems of redundancy. The true test of politicians is dealing with difficult circumstances and I am working with our Government to help protect jobs and homes for UK workers.

"Please accept my sincere best wishes and season’s greetings."

Make a difference today on world poverty, please visit the War On Want website

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas cracker for Crewe and Nantwich

David Williams, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, has welcomed a new cash boost for 24,250 people living in Crewe and Nantwich as part of the Labour Government's financial help.

Following the coldest start to winter in thirty years, the Government this week formally ordered a special one-off payment of £60 to pensioners, carers, disabled people and those in receipt of bereavement benefits.

David Williams said, "I'm pleased that the Government has helped the most vulnerable and its right that they've invested this extra cash. The Christmas bonus will be a real winter warmer for all who get it."

This help is in addition to the extra £4bn which will be spent on pensioners next year, announced by the Chancellor in the pre-budget report. This means the biggest increase in the State Pension since 2001, bringing it from £90 to £95 a week, and the biggest increase in Pension Credit since it was introduced, so that no pensioner need live on less than £130 a week from April 2009.

David Williams added, "The Tories say we should do nothing to help people in Crewe and Nantwich. Thankfully the Government has ignored the Tories and is putting an extra £60 in every pensioners’ pockets, alongside their increased Winter Fuel Payments.

“This is real help going to 19,460 pensioners and 450 kids and 4,240 working age people, all living in Crewe and Nantwich.

“I hope that this cash, alongside extra Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, means that no one need worry about turning up the heat this winter, thanks to a Labour Government.”

The Christmas Bonus will be paid in two instalments - recipients will get £10 in December, as in previous years, with the additional £60 to be paid between January and March in the New Year.

The majority of State Pensioners should receive the £60 payment in January 2009 in addition to their pension. The remaining three million people will get their £60 in February or March 2009.

The Labour government is spending £575m on increased Winter Fuel Payments this year, with someone aged between 60 and 79 will receiving £250, and £400 for households with someone 80 and over. The Tories never made Winter Fuel Payments.

Labour has made it easier and quicker for those eligible for Pensions Credit to get the help they are entitled to, without the need to fill in any forms. They can also be assessed for Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit at the same time.

Cold Weather Payments have also been increased from £8.50 to £25 per week for winter 2008/09. They are paid out when the average temperature where the recipient lives is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days during the period from 1 November to 31 March.

Please click here for more information on cold weather payements.

David Williams welcomes the saving of the pint and the mile

The future of the pint of beer and the mile have been secured, after the Government's victory in removing European legislation that would have required the UK to sell beer in litres and measure road traffic distances in kilometres.

Legislation agreed by the European Parliament will allow the UK to continue its use of the mile for roads, the pint for draught beer, cider and bottled milk, and the troy ounce for precious metals. The opt out has been granted indefinitely.

The Government has also secured the future use of imperial units for all other uses, provided they are used alongside metric equivalents - in the form of dual labelling.

David Williams, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, said, "We like our pint and our mile. We should be able to use the measures we are most familiar with, and now we can be sure that we will continue to do so.

"The Government made strong arguments for the UK's right to carry on using pints and miles and maintaining dual metric and imperial labelling. I know how important this is to the British people and businesses and we are grateful for the Commission's support".

The European Parliament has agreed a proposal to update the Directive on Units of Measurement (Directive 80/181/EC) to remove the 2009 deadline for the end of supplementary indications (i.e. the use of imperial alongside metric) and to allow the UK to decide the future use of the mile for road traffic, the pint for draught beer and cider and bottled milk and the troy ounce for precious metals.

The European Council agreed this text on 18th November. The new Directive is expected to be formally signed early next year.

The UK took the decision in 1965 to adopt the metric system in stages, in response to the adoption of metric as the international system of measurement worldwide. The country is now substantially metric - the vast majority of goods are subject to the Weights and Measures Act 1985 so must be sold in metric - the only exceptions are doorstep milk, draught beer/cider and precious metals.

Dual labelling in both metric and imperial is permitted, in recognition that there remain a number of people in the UK who are more familiar with or prefer to use the imperial system of measurement.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Letter to the Chronicle

Dear Sir

I read with some disappointment the comments of Cllr Arthur Moran (Letters, 26/11/08), who chose to misrepresent the views I expressed in my letter to the Chronicle the week before.

What I actually said was that Mr Timpson, "has failed to speak [in Parliament] on important issues from the constituency like...Nantwich’s First Responders Service". I stand by that comment. If Arthur can quote a speech made by Mr Timpson in Parliament on this issue, then I will gladly withdraw my remarks.


The point of my letter was to say that Mr Timpson’s unique and privileged position allows him to use Parliament to run campaigns and question the Government on any issue he chooses. But he also has the responsibility of representing the views and concerns of constituents.


In the case of Nantwich First Responders he has not done that. Anyone can present a petition to No. 10 and attend a protest march, but only one person can stand up for Crewe and Nantwich by speaking in Parliament and that one person is our MP. Unfortunately we don't appear to have a MP who is either willing or able to do that on the issues that matter most to local people.

If I had the honour of being the Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich, you can rest assured that I would be a full-time MP who stood up and spoke out in Parliament on behalf of local people.


Yours faithfully

David Williams
Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich
david@davidwilliams.org.uk

Monday, 8 December 2008

David's campaign on parking charges is working

David Williams, Labour's PPC for Crewe and Nantwich has responded to the today's announcement by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council on parking charges:

"I am delighted that the Borough Council has listened to my campaign and finally recognised Labour's tax break for motorists, which was announced by the Chancellor two weeks ago. If the Council passes on the VAT reduction in parking charges that will help local drivers and traders as intended by Alastair Darling.

"However I would like to see the detail of what the Council proposes and I am very concerned that further assistance before Christmas has been dismissed. Have the traders in Crewe and Nantwich been asked what they need? Bearing mind that many retailers make a substantial part of their profits in the month of December, wouldn't more free parking before Christmas be the best solution for local businesses?"


In response to questions which have been raised in respect of the impact of VAT changes on car parking charges, Leader of the Council, Councillor John Hammond, has commented as follows:

“The Chancellor’s VAT announcement came after the Borough Council had agreed to support traders in the run-up to Christmas by introducing periods of free parking. The VAT reduction is, however, most welcome, and, whilst the level of savings it realises will be less than the £34,000 which has been suggested, it will enable the Council to consider further support to traders in the New Year. The period post-Christmas and the January sales is likely to be a difficult one and the Council wishes to do whatever it can to maintain support. On a technical point, this Council, in common with others around the Country, is unable to make changes to the car park ticket machines which reflect the VAT change. The savings will however be achieved and reused in the best way possible to help our local businesses.”

It's all being debated on Crewe Blog

David Williams condemns Scrooge council

“We want the full 2.5% VAT saving passed on to motorists”, says David Williams, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich.

Tory Council Leader, John Hammond, this week announced limited free parking, claiming it would cost the Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council £17,000 in lost income.

David Williams said, “The Borough Council have been given over £34,000 VAT relief in car parking charges by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Last week’s announcement means that the Council is pocketing over half that money. They are not passing the full benefit on to motorists and they have given no commitment to do so.

“Labour made the cut in VAT to give a stimulus to the economy during the current global downturn. In the same way that we expect retailers to pass on the tax cut and banks to pass on the interest rate cut, we also expect local authorities to their bit.

“Crewe and Nantwich traders have been let down by the Tory controlled council. The council could make a real difference by providing much more free parking in both towns, attracting shoppers from around the area and helping retailers in what could be a difficult Christmas.

“Local businesses, particularly those in Crewe must be pulling their hair out with this Tory run Council. First we had their dithering on the Crewe town centre redevelopment, which has lead to the project being shelved with no firm start date in sight. Then we have seen three increases in parking charges in 18 months, when Labour used to only apply increases every two years. Finally they are pocketing money from Government aimed at helping traders through these difficult times.

“I am calling on the council to do the right thing and pass on the full benefits of the Labour Government’s tax break for the benefot of local traders and hard-working families.”

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Drive Safe says David Williams

videoAs the holiday season approaches, David Williams, Labour PPC, is urging people in Crewe and Nantwich to ensure that they leave their cars at home if they plan to drink this Christmas.

In Crewe and Nantwich people are killed and seriously injured every year because of drink driving and 60 died on North West roads in 2006.

That’s why David Williams is backing the Government’s THINK! Campaign, which is raising awareness of the devastating consequences of drink driving.

David Williams said: “Drink driving can ruin lives. Last year 460 people died as a result of this recklessness and families across Britain were shattered by the menace of drink driving. My message to drivers in Crewe and Nantwich is clear. If you get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol you risk wrecking your own and other people’s lives – don’t do it.”

“It is critical that people understand the destruction they could cause. With this in mind, the Government has launched a national TV and radio campaign to remind people of the consequences of drinking and driving.”

Hard-hitting adverts will be running throughout the festive period to help get this message home: TV advertising: 1st - 31st December 2008; Cinema advertising: w/c 12th & w/c 26th Dec 2008; Radio advertising: 1st - 31st December 2008; Ambient advertising (in-pub): 8th Dec - 13th Jan.

Think! road safety

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Usdaw's North West Conference

David Williams, Labour's PPC for Crewe and Nantwich, addressed Usdaw's North West Conference today. Also on the platform was Steve Carter (pictured).

Steve is number four on Labour's list of Euro candidates and spoke to delegates about the importance of maximising Labour representation in next June's European elections. Many rights for working people come from Europe and we are dependent on our European trading partners for jobs. Steve also warned of the threat from the BNP, particularly in the North West. Only complacency will let the fascists win.

David told delegates that a Tory victory was a major threat to Usdaw members and all workers. The top five threats from the Tories are:

1. National Minimum Wage frozen. If you earn on or close to £5.73 per hour then the next election is about whether you want a pay rise or not. With Labour you get a rise, with the Tories you don't.

2. Tax credits abolished. The Tories will take money aimed at helping work pay from hard working families and low-paid workers. Their tax priorities are to give the families of every multi-millionaire a massive inheritance tax break.

3. Deregulation of shop trading hours. The Tories will attack the family friendly Sunday trading hours, a compromise agreed in 1994 that helps millions of shopworkers balance their home and family life and allows retailers to trade.

4. Attack trade unions' ability to represent workers. The Tories will try to finish the job they started in the 1980s and stop trade unions from standing up for hard working people.

5. Opt out of the social chapter. The Tories are still committed to reversing Labour's basic employment rights. These rights create a level playing and stop rogue employers undercutting good employers. The Tories will end the right to paid holidays, proper breaks at work, equal treatment of part-time, fixed term and agency worker and much more.

We cannot afford for the Tories to drive Britain into a low pay and low skill economy again, as they did in the 1980s.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

New flexible working right is ‘big boost for busy parents’

Families in Crewe and Nantwich received a big boost today with the news that the right to request flexible working will be extended.

The right to request flexible working will be extended to working parents who have children up to the age of 16 helping many families balance their work and family life much more easily. The current right only applies to parents of children aged up to 6.

David Williams, Labour PPC, encouraged parents in Crewe and Nanntwich to be fully aware of their new rights:

“Extending the right to request to the parents of older children will give a big boost to busy parents in Crewe and Nantwich who need more help balancing work and family life.

“Whether its managing the school run or being able to work from home these new rights will make life much easier for many parents.

“Employers will benefit too. They will still have the control to do what is best for their business, but many increasingly find that working flexibly allows people to get the best out of their employees.”

"I am particulalrly pleased that this right has been extended because it is something I have been campaigning for with my union Usdaw. Flexible working has proved to be extremely successful. It has allowed many parents to access work, where traditional hours would have made it impossible. This in turn has helped employers recruit and retain experienced staff.

"I urge all employers to look favourably on requests for a change in working hours to help people stay in work."

Today’s announcement builds on the right to request flexible working given to parents of children up to the age of six and the parents of disabled children. Despite their warm words now, David Cameron and the Tories actually opposed flexible working. Around six million employees currently have the right to request flexible working but over 14 million employees, including part-time workers, actually work flexibly. Flexible working arrangements include working from home, part-time work, compressed hours, flexi-time or other arrangements agreed with employers.

Please click here for more information on the right to request flexible working

Monday, 1 December 2008

LET’S KEEP UP THE CAMPAIGN ON WORLD AIDS DAY

On World AIDS Day on December 1st, David Williams has welcomed the UK’s global leadership on the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

David Williams said, “I know that many people in Crewe and Nantwich are concerned about action on the global scourge of HIV and AIDS. They want the UK Government to maintain its global leadership on this issue and meet its commitments to the world’s poorest people. With 33 million people still living with HIV and AIDS worldwide, we must continue to act."

The most recent joint UNAIDS-World Health Organisation report showed that in 2007 over 33 million people live with HIV and AIDS worldwide. UNAIDS estimates that every day, over 6,800 people become infected with HIV, and over 5,700 people die from AIDS. That’s a death from AIDS every 15 seconds. In June 2008, the UK Government launched Achieving Universal Access: the UK’s strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world. This sets out the UK’s strategy between 2008-2015, it will:
- Help bring down the cost of treatment to enable more people to access life saving drugs
- Increase funding for research and development of AIDS vaccines and microbicides
- Meet the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, including those affected by AIDS
- Prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children
- Increase the availability of family planning, including male and female condoms
- Increase the coverage of services for injecting drug users – HIV infections amongst injecting drug users are driving the fastest growing epidemics in the world

The last UK strategy Taking Action the UK Government’s strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world helped deliver real results:
- In most of sub-Saharan Africa, national HIV prevalence has either stabilised or is showing signs of decline.
- Since 2004, 20 times more people have access to life-saving treatment and the price of first line AIDS drugs has fallen consistently.

David Williams concluded, "I am proud that the UK Government remains so committed to tackling poverty at home and abroad."

Please click here to visit the World Aids Day 2008 website