Gordon Birtwistle, Liberal Democrat MP for Burnley, has called on businesses in Burnley to bid for a share of the Regional Growth Fund, which has already helped to create and safeguard jobs across East Lancashire.
The Coalition Government scheme that has already created or safeguarded almost 80,000 of jobs in the North West with £343m worth of investment opened a new round of bids on Thursday of last week. Round four of the Regional Growth Fund will be worth £350m of investment to create jobs and growth across England.
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said:
“The Regional Growth Fund is an important part of the Liberal Democrat efforts in the Coalition Government to build a stronger economy in a fairer society.
“Already the Regional Growth Fund has made a real difference in Burnley funding multi-million pound projects such as the Todmorden Curve rail link and the new aerospace supply chain centre at the old Michelin site.
“While Labour went on a prawn cocktail offensive in the City of London, they forgot to invest in the rest of Britain. By investing in jobs and growth in Lancashire, Liberal Democrats are rebalancing the economy to end our over-reliance on financial speculators in London and give areas like ours a fair share of investment.
“I will be working with business in Burnley to ensure we get the best out of the Regional Growth Fund and create sustainable jobs now and in the future.”
Commenting further, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
“The Regional Growth Fund is already proving a shrewd investment by providing a welcome boost to jobs and growth across the country, with thousands of jobs created and businesses expanding into new markets and manufacturing new products.
“With this next round of funding, I would urge England’s budding businesses to produce top quality bids to access the money that can help them grow.
“There’ll be stiff competition, and we can only invest in those projects that will lead to sustainable jobs and the best value for money. Boosting jobs and growth is our number one priority for Britain right now.
“That is why I am so pleased to be opening a fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund which supports growth across a range of industries.”
Gordon Birtwistle MP’s Contribution to the Growth & Infrastructure Bill 2nd Reading 17th Dec
Gordon Birtwistle MP recently contributed to the Growth & Infrastructure Bill. He argued that new employees should have the freedom of choice to take up alternatives to the standard employment contract.
In the debate, Gordon argued:
“I believe in freedom of choice. If an individual wishes to work for a company on a contract such as that which is proposed, they should be able to do so. That will not be the case in the big industries. Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover are not going to get involved. This scheme is for small niche companies in the high-risk sectors, such as high-tech firms and website designers, which employ recent graduates who want to get involved in such firms because they hope they will become a second Google. These companies are the gamblers that grow and create jobs in the future. I cannot understand why this Parliament should stand in the way of these people and say, “I’m sorry, but you can’t do that, even if you wish to do so.”
“I think back to the 1960s when I was 24 and I had just come out of my apprenticeship. I went for a job as a contract draughtsman. I was offered two alternatives by the company. It was a good company, and it said I could have all the schemes it had, such as holiday pay and a contract for 44 hours of work a week—those were the hours we used to work in those days—and I would have a fixed rate. Alternatively, the company said I could have none of those schemes and have four shillings an hour more than everybody else was getting. I was keen to earn extra money, because I wanted to save up and put a deposit down on a house, so I decided not to have any of the conditions laid down by the company. I decided, on my own back, as I had the freedom to do so, to take extra money for working as many hours as I wished while having no contractual employment. I did that for two years and managed to raise enough money to put down a deposit on a house. That was my choice and it was the company’s choice to offer it to me. Other people worked there who wished to carry on with the conditions they had, but other young guys like me wanted to raise as much money as they could to put down deposits on houses, buy new cars and so on, and they went ahead and did it. They were free to do it—there was no pressure.”
You can read more of the debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121217/debtext/121217-0003.htm#12121725001200
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle has welcomed the news that UK aerospace company BAE Systems has won a major contract to supply aircraft to Oman.
BAE will provide 12 Typhoon fighter jets and eight Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft in the latest of a long line of contracts to supply Oman.
“I am delighted that BAE has secured a multi-billion pound order for 12 new Typhoon and 8 Hawks from Oman. In addition to the recent order from Saudi Arabia for a further 72 jets this will ensure BAE have enough orders for a number of years, securing jobs at three of their UK bases.
“The UK is internationally renowned for aerospace manufacturing and the fantastic BAE sites at Warton, Brough and Samlesbury are currently producing some of the most advanced aerospace manufacturing the world has seen. It is vital to the UK economy that we continue to encourage other nations to invest in British manufacturing. I am pleased this government has shown a commitment to manufacturing from day one and that the Prime Minister himself understands the importance of securing orders such as this. “
Gordon Birtwistle, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills today saw the results of his campaign for a return to 100% capital allowances for capital purchases. Today in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor increased capital allowance relief tenfold from £25,000 to £250,000.
The Chancellor described it as ‘huge boost to all those who run a business, who aspire to grow and expand and create jobs’ and said this capital allowance will cover the total annual investment undertaken by 99% of all the business in Britain.
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said
“It’s fantastic the Chancellor has recognised the importance of manufacturing to the British economy and is supporting businesses by introducing 100% on capital purchases up to £250,000. This will particularly benefit SMEs and investment in new machinery will in turn help to boost the economy.
“Increasing productivity in the manufacturing sector is hugely beneficial to the economy and will provide more jobs. Giving companies an incentive to invest is immensely important and I am pleased this government is getting behind industry. I’d like to see the limit for capital allowances increased in the future and will continuing campaigning for this”
Ahead of the Autumn Statement, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, Gordon Birtwistle has repeated his calls to help British manufacturing by allowing 100% capital allowances on capital purchases.
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said:
“If we want to see the kind of economic growth Britain needs then they need to increase manufacturing as a percentage of GDP.
“An introduction of 100% capital allowance on all capital purchases for the next two years will encourage companies to draw on cash reserves to invest in new capital assets.
“Liberal Democrats are committed to closing the skills gap, increasing apprenticeships and delivering key initiatives to help businesses of all size across the country grow and succeed.
“As a party, we have always supported manufacturing and engineering in the UK. In the Coalition Government, Liberal Democrats have made it a priority to increase manufacturing as a percentage of GDP and address the issues which have slowed manufacturing down in recent years.”
In the letter to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, Gordon Birtwistle included a copy of his recent economic growth proposal report on Capital Allowances and the Construction of New Affordable Homes. The report promotes an introduction of 100% capital allowance on all capital purchases for the next two years to encourage companies to draw on cash reserves to invest in new capital assets.
This will deliver cash returns to the Treasury from the extra profits made by the companies and increased PAYE income from the increased workforce. The claims for capital allowance against corporation tax would come at least two years after the purchase of the asset. This claim would have been offset in cash terms by the increased revenue from corporation tax and PAYE.
The new Grocery Code Adjudicator will be able to fine large supermarkets who deal with suppliers unfairly, Liberal Democrat Competition Minister, Jo Swinson has announced.
Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for a fair deal for farmers and suppliers. The Coalition Government has now listened to concerns and given the Adjudicator more teeth to protect farmers and other small suppliers.
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said:
“Too often, the farmer or small supplier is squashed under the might of the major supermarkets that dominate our daily shopping. That is why I and the Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for a strong, independent regulator that has real teeth to stand up for hard-working suppliers.
“To create growth and jobs, Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are making sure that small business owners and farmers must have the opportunity to can get on in life, without being squeezed by all-powerful supermarkets.
“Liberal Democrats are working hard to create a stronger economy and that means we need to ensure everyone is treated fairly. That is why the beefed-up powers for the Grocery Code Adjudicator are an important step forward.”
Commenting further, Jo Swinson said:
“The food industry plays an important role in economic growth, and the Groceries Code Adjudicator will help to ensure that the market is operating in a fair and healthy way.
“Large supermarkets form a big chunk of this industry, and generally provide consumers with low prices and variety whilst providing business for farmers and suppliers.
“But where supermarkets are breaking the rules with suppliers and treating them unfairly, the Adjudicator will make sure that they are held to account.
“We have heard the views of those who were keen to give the Adjudicator a power to fine, and recognise that this change would give the Adjudicator more teeth to enforce the Groceries Code.
“We expect fines to be used as a last resort, but the fact that the Adjudicator has the power to impose them will send a strong message to retailers that compliance with the Code is not optional. I am confident that these changes will mean that the Adjudicator is able to ensure fair play in the food supply chain and keep the industry growing.”
Children in Burnley from disadvantaged backgrounds stand to benefit from extra funding the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) awarded on Friday.
EEF, a charity set up by the Sutton Trust, has made £11.4m available to fund 25 projects which seek to raise the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In total, the projects will work with 35,000 pupils in 425 schools across England.
In Lancashire, thousands of pounds has been given to Primary schools
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said:
“Education is a passport to life and we need to ensure that our children get every opportunity to fulfil that promise. It is unfair that today, you can still predict how well they will do in school based on where someone is born.
“Children from poorer backgrounds often fall behind their wealthier classmates before they even set foot in school. That gap only gets bigger over time.
“That’s why Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have been putting extra money in the class room through the Pupil Premium.
“The money from the Education Endowment Foundation is another great boost to help every child reach their full potential.”
Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Schools Minister, David Laws, said:
“We are determined to narrow gaps in educational attainment between disadvantaged children and their peers. The Pupil Premium directly targets extra money at these children, and through the Educational Endowment Foundation, we are supporting research into innovative programmes for raising attainment and narrowing the gap.
“Combined with more freedom for schools, more rigorous exams, and tough action to tackle failing schools, we are delivering a comprehensive package of improvements to increase social mobility and create a world-class education system for every child.”
19 of the projects, totalling £7.5m, are targeted at children from disadvantaged backgrounds whose literacy levels at the end of primary school are below the expected standard. Approximately one in 10 English secondary schools will be involved in these projects.
Last year 30,000 pupils eligible for free school meals left primary school without the ability to read and write confidently. It is clear from the evidence that in the transition from primary to secondary children from disadvantaged backgrounds can fall further behind their peers, making it even harder to catch up in secondary school. That is why the Coalition Government invested £50m in two-week Summer Schools this year to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds make this big step.
The literacy catch up grants focus on a variety of aspects of literacy, including comprehension, decoding and writing. They include:
- £458,000 awarded to Real Action to test a didactic phonics programme delivered by university students to 400 pupils in London.
- £390,000 awarded to Dyslexia Action to test a computer-based phonics programme for struggling readers in 50 schools nationwide.
- £218,000 awarded to the Book Trust to evaluate the impact of providing reading material and volunteer support to 900 children over the summer holidays.
- £400,000 awarded to Coventry University to test a school library-based programme which encourages pupils to enjoy reading.
- £393,000 awarded to Bolton Council to test a programme which seeks to enrich the vocabulary of students in 17 schools in the North West.
A further six projects, totalling £3.9m, focus on other age groups. They are:
- £415,000 awarded to the charity Creative Futures UK to work with 15 schools and test the impact of high-quality music instruction on academic attainment.
- £687,000 awarded to the London School of Economics and Hertfordshire Country Council to test the impact on attainment of a programme which seeks to improve the resilience and self-control of pupils in 30 secondary schools.
- £900,000 awarded to the Innovation Unit to work in 12 schools in the Midlands, North West and South East of England to trial a project-based approach to teaching.
- £382,000 awarded to School 21, a free school in East London, to develop a programme which seeks to improve attainment by improving pupils’ speaking skills and the quality of classroom dialogue.
- £1.4m awarded to Success for All to work with 25 primary schools across the country to test a whole school literacy improvement programme.
- £121,000 awarded to Talk for Writing to work with 1,800 pupils in Portsmouth and test a structured approach to teaching writing.
The EEF is a charity set up by the Sutton Trust as the lead charity in partnership with Impetus Trust with a Department for Education endowment of £125m to boost the attainment of disadvantaged children in some of the country’s most challenging schools.
Campaign To Protect European Policing Backed By Burnley MP
A national campaign calling on the government not to pull out of European cross-border policing and justice has won the backing of Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle.
Gordon has signed a petition by the campaign group Justice Across Borders which believes the move would leave British citizens more vulnerable to crime.
Gordon said: “These measures have been hugely successful in breaking up pedophile rings, preventing terrorism and bringing criminals who escape across borders to justice.
“If the government goes ahead with its plan to abandon some of them it will be a backward step, making it more difficult for British police to catch criminals who escape overseas or expel foreign law breakers from the UK.
“We have to accept that the criminals who break the law on our streets don’t always stay on our streets and if we have the chance to bring them to justice, we have to cooperate with forces across Europe.”
“The heads of MI5 and the Metropolitan Police are both calling for the Government to continue working with our EU partners to fight crime. There should be nowhere in Europe for criminals to hide from the law.”
1) People returned to the UK under European Arrest Warrants include:
James Hurley - Britain’s most wanted man after murdering a policeman and then escaping prison in 1994. Captured in the Netherlands.
Hussain Osman - Involved in the 21st July London Bombings. Arrested eight days later in Italy.
Stephen John Burnell - Repeat sex offender, arrested in Crete and brought back to the UK to serve his sentence.
People who steal or sell metal from war memorials will soon face tough new penalties, Liberal Democrat Crime Prevention Minister, Jeremy Browne has warned. From next month powers will take effect to stop cash paid for metal and give the police stronger powers to target rogue traders.
Commenting, Gordon Birtwistle said:
“As we come up to Remembrance Sunday, we are reminded of all the selfless sacrifices made by members of our armed forces. We remember the fallen from both World Wars and more recent conflicts, right up to the present day.
“That’s why I am so angered every time I hear that another war memorial has been vandalised by metal thieves who want to make a quick buck out of the nation’s respect for the dead.
“I am proud that the Coalition Government is doing the right thing in backing measures to crack down on this disgraceful crime by tackling scrap metal theft.”
Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Crime Prevention Minister, Jeremy Browne said:
“These thieves show an utter disregard for the memory of the courageous men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“The Coalition Government is determined to stamp out this illegal trade, which in recent years has cast a shadow over Remembrance Sunday for bereaved families.
“That is why we are reforming the scrap metal industry to support legitimate dealers and tighten the net around those who flout the rules.”
According to the Home Office, there are roughly 1,000 metal thefts a week which cost the UK economy at least £220m-260m per year – although the estimated total costs could be up to £800m.
The Coalition Government has already taken a number of measures to tackle metal theft, including supporting the metal theft taskforce with £5m and recent legal changes to tackle metal theft which come into effect on 3 December as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, including:
- banning scrap metal dealers from trading in cash, which will end the ‘no questions asked’ cash payments which help metal thieves and rogue dealers;
- increased financial penalties under the existing regulation of the scrap metal sector
- new police powers of entry to tackle illegal trading in metal yards.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, will be backing the “Movember” campaign to raise funds for prostate cancer research by growing a moustache during November.
Movember is an annual campaign the aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Gordon’s father died of prostate cancer and when he was Mayor of Burnley Gordon raised nearly £60,000 for a prostate scanner for Burnley hospital.
“The last couple of years have seen increasing numbers of men, in some cases growing spectacularly bizarre moustaches to support this campaign. I’m delighted that I will be playing my part this year.
People can support Gordon’s fundraising efforts by signing a sponsor form at his office (23 St James’s Row, Burnley or visiting his page on the Movember campaign website http://uk.movember.com/mospace/5582641
Further information about the Movember campaign can be found at http://uk.movember.com/?home