Monday, May 29, 2006

Spring Clean Fever

"Some months ago Councillor Marion Smith and proposed that North Down should have a Spring Clean week involving as many community groups, schools and businesses as possible. Throughout the Spring Clean week beginning 22nd May the event has been described as 'spring clean fever' with many local people committing time and energy to improve our environment. There have been school children cleaning beaches, a visit from the Conservation Volunteers and the Green Machine, which is an 8 metre long lorry containing a host of fun resources for everyone to enjoy. Graffiti was also targeted and removed in areas by a volunteering team. The Councillor has thanked everyone involved with the initiative, stating that there had been a lot of fun and enjoyment and at the end of the week the outcome was a cleaner borough. She added that the event could only be good and hoped that the exercise would become part of the Borough's calendar of events. "

Red tape blamed for delays to Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Councillor Marion Smith has spoken at her anger at the delay in establishing local 'Crimewatch' schemes.

"She stated, as a member of the local DPP she raised the issue at this month's meeting and asked what was holding up the introduction of some 9 schemes throughout the Borough. The scheme is aimed at warding off crime with a facilitator in each area being appointed as a means of contact for local residents. Furthermore signs will be erected to let people know they are in a 'Crimewatch' zone. Cllr Smith also reminded the DPP she had raised the same query the month before, with little success.

The Councillor spoke of schemes submitted at the beginning of the year, which were requested by local residents who were full of enthusiasm to begin such a simple and excellent scheme. Why four months done the line is nothing happening? Why has there been such a silence. However, she was reassured at the meeting that every effort would be made to get the schemes up and running as quickly as possible. But here is yet another case of bureaucracy gone mad creating unnecessary delays."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

30 Job Losses in Bangor

'30 Job Losses as Bangor firm closes'

"Around 30 people have lost their jobs as their Bangor employer falls victim to the dreaded new industrial rates bill.

The fate of Cordiners Windows appears to confirm that jobs will be lost and firms will go to the wall across Northern Ireland as rates begin to bite in the industrial sector.

I am very angry to learn that because of the industrial rates levy being imposed on manufacturing businesses in Northern Ireland. Cordiners Windows is about to appoint liquidators. Last year firms had to pay the first 15% payment and this year it is set at 25% a rate which many wish to set being capped.

This means the loss of some 30 jobs at Cordiners in Bangor.

Cordiners is a long established firm which has gained the confidence of many in this Borough and beyond. My sympathy goes to the 25 experienced and dedicated staff who are going to lose their jobs.

This is another example of what this government’s dictatorship is doing to this country. To me, they do not appear to be looking at any form of strategy or long-term thinking nor can they be considering the present or the future economic development of Northern Ireland. Figures predicted of some 30,000 job losses could happen if this increase levy were to take place.

I have no doubt this is only the tip of the ice berg for many companies in Northern Ireland and worry what the consequences will be for firms in Bangor and North Down.

I regard these industrial rates increases as yet another stick to beat the people of Northern Ireland into submission and indeed a form of blackmail. These beating sticks are increasing in number and to me the bundle is becoming too heavy.

But, this is of little comfort to those who will be out of a job with families to support and mortgages to pay – not does this seems to concern the dictatorship government we have. They are not answerable to the people in Northern Ireland so why should they care?

I propose that this Council write to the Secretary of State demanding that the industrial rates are caped immediately at 25% and this if done quickly enough could save many thousands of jobs?

I would also propose that this council consult with Cordiners Windows and offer what ever support we can and if agreed with Cordiners make representation to the Secretary of State on their behalf.

I am delighted that both proposals were accepted unanimously.