North Norfolk Labour Party today has launched a new website calling for North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb to rethink his stance on the controversial Health Bill – which could become law in just ten days time. The concept of www.dropthenhsbill.co.uk is simple, allowing local people to send an email direct to Norman Lamb asking for him to support dropping the bill. The website also contains information regarding a rally planned for Saturday at 2pm in North Walsham, which will bring together a wide range of opponents to the bill. They include concerned local people and local doctors and health care professionals too, as well as unions and Labour party members. Over the last weekend more than 25,000 people have tweeted Lib Dem MPs, including Norman Lamb, urging them to reconsider their stance of support for the bill. This adds to the 170,000 who have signed a national ePetition calling for the bill to be dropped. Norman Lamb initially spoke out about the NHS bill last May telling the BBC: “The row over tuition fees will be nothing compared to this one if we get it wrong. The public won’t forgive us if we get it wrong.” He has, however, continued to vote for the bill claiming his concerns were no longer relevant – despite widespread opposition from health care professionals and now his own party activists. Additional information about Saturday’s ‘Drop the Bill’ rally in North Walsham market place will be made available shortly.
Dear Councillor, I am writing to you regarding Wednesday’s budget and more specifically the proposed hike in car park fees. Over the past six months the arguments against the proposed increase in car parking charges have become compelling. The increased costs all year round continue a stealth tax of the most regressive kind, and are therefore, an assault on the pockets of those that rely on parking in town centres – for example the elderly, young parents, and the disabled. The proposal has been condemned by the chamber of trades, town councils, and residents alike. Furthermore, plans to charge for car parking in the evenings have been criticised by community groups. Town councils have attacked plans to impose charges on the car parks which were previously free. Via a Freedom of Information request, North Norfolk Labour Party can now prove none of the aforementioned towns can be considered better off in the winter months. In fact of the nearly one and a half million pounds in revenue raised from the council’s car parks in 2010/11, nearly a quarter was made during the month of August alone and a negligible 3pc of revenue was taken in December. This data supports the case for a seasonal tariff, with a modest increase over part of the year offset by reductions in the quiet months. So for the local resident who parks just as frequently throughout the year, their annual parking bill could actually decrease, while the overall revenue would significantly increase. This would…
Data on revenue taken from North Norfolk car parks, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by North Norfolk Labour Party, strengthen the case against planned price increases, campaigners say. Labour are calling the planned parking fee increase a “regressive stealth tax” as figures reveal that North Norfolk car parks took in £1.451 million in the year 2010/11 but only cost £277,000 to maintain. The party is opposing plans to introduce charges at car parks in North Walsham and Fakenham and to introduce evening charges across the district which they say can be avoided by using a seasonal tariff that takes the revenue from summer tourism instead. They are writing to councillors urging them to support their alternative and plan to support campaigners outside the full council budget meeting on Wednesday. Tim Bartlett, chair of North Norfolk Labour says: “The Conservatives have made a big deal about freezing council tax, but are basically asking those who need to park closer to shops, typically the elderly and less mobile, to subsidise the council budget. These parking charges are a stealth tax, they are regressive and they are bad for local trade.” Labour’s 2011 election manifesto committed it to a council tax freeze and the party has acknowledged that the Conservatives were left a hole in the budget by the outgoing Liberal Democrats. However, it argues that its seasonal tariff plan can plug that hole without taking more from locals. The newly released figures back Labour’s argument by showing how significantly tourism…
North Norfolk Labour Party has invited the leader of North Norfolk District Council to discussions about proposed changes to car parking fees ahead of the budget at full council later this month. The local Labour group will use the meeting to push for the Tory group to adopt the ‘alternative parking plan’ which would see a seasonal tariff implemented on car parks across the district. At the very least the group will appeal to the council to look at other options on the table from the party, which includes using some of the £87,000 left over in the budget to scrap plans for an evening car parking charge. The invitation, sent by North Norfolk Labour Chairman Tim Bartlett, states: “There has been much constructive discussion between parties on the issues around your car parking proposals and we feel an opportunity to meet and review the suggestions we have put forward may well prove productive.” There is widespread opposition to the District Council’s proposals for increased parking charges in the district from local community groups to town councils and local businesses. Residents have also been logging on to the website at www.parkingplan.co.uk to send their comments straight to Helen Eales.
North Norfolk Labour Party is urging North Norfolk District Council to spend some of the £87,000 leftover in the budget to soften the blow for shoppers, motorists, and community groups. North Norfolk Labour Party is recommending that the council uses some of the money to alleviate the proposed charges for evening car parking in the district. The Conservative District Council has hinted that the money may be kept back in reserves for 2013 – something that the Tory-led government has previously spoken out against. Tim Bartlett, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “Evening parking charges would squeeze the lifeblood out of our town centres. Local businesses and community groups are rightly concerned about the impact on the local economy and ‘the big society’. The district council should think again and scrap their plan for evening parking charges.” North Norfolk Labour is also encouraging the District Council to adopt its alternative parking fees plan. Support the plan by visiting www.parkingplan.co.uk
North Norfolk Labour Party has expressed concern about an increase of “a minimum of 10%” in fares on North Norfolk buses. Sanders Coaches blames the rising costs on cuts in bus subsidies from Norfolk County Council and the price of petrol. However, North Norfolk Labour is concerned that this could have an impact on the most vulnerable in society, and are calling on Norfolk County Council to reconsider the cuts to bus subsidies in rural areas in the next budget. Jono Read, vice-chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “Rises in bus fares are inevitable when Norfolk County Council is cutting bus subsidies, but I fear that increased costs at a time when services are being cut could leave many feeling isolated. We are encouraged to use public transport, but with announcements like this it makes it all the more difficult. I would ask that Norfolk County Council re-considers their approach to bus subsidies in rural Norfolk”.
Local businesses and residents are invited to write to the council through Labour’s parkingplan.co.uk website.
North Norfolk Labour has condemned new plans by North Norfolk District Council to charge for parking in the evening in local towns, claiming it will hit businesses and community groups that are already struggling. The local Labour group has criticised the poorly thought out proposals which would see a charge come into effect for parking between 6pm and 11pm. Labour fears that the new charges will have a knock-on effect on struggling pubs, clubs, entertainment venues, and community centres in the area – expected to hit at the same time evening bus services are being cut. Tim Bartlett, the chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “The Conservatives talk about the ‘Big Society’ supporting community groups and even the local pub, but at a time when these are struggling our local councils are about to make it even more of a struggle. They are cutting the number of buses coming to our towns, and now they are going to charge drivers to park in our town after hours. Over the last week business owners have used our website to voice their frustration at the leader of the council about planned increased parking charges, and we expect more to do so after this announcement. We would ask the District Council to think again and to back our alternative parking plan”. Local businesses and residents are invited to write to the council through Labour’s parkingplan.co.uk website.
Listen back to the plan being mentioned on BBC Radio Norfolk here. You can sign up to our plan by visiting www.parkingplan.co.uk and add your thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtag #parkingplan.