Updates. we may share a different flag so to speak but after our meeting i have received calls from two departments in relation to topics we had raised with him. One is ongoing and the second i believe will be dealt with Monday. Again this to me is evidence of joint working which shows the aims all parties set out to achieve, together i feel we could reduce many of the problems of which our residents face. Thanks from myself and Mole junior.
If the Cap fits? and what ever way you look at it, these are what the press will have you believe are your choice. Voting Liberal Democrat is a vote for change.Don’t be fooled by spin and bluster, if you wish to talk over any policy statement or our vision of the future drop us a line.If you need straight answers to any questions ask.
A little bird tells me today there could be one more candidate, things are going to be fun. Cant wait.
What with Hazel on the Precinct and Richard outside god knows, i cant recognise this site? we must be getting close to that general election, and i am looking forward to it with great interest. what ever you say about politics i still get a buzz. Good Luck to all the candidates. I hope you will all have some form of open forum to offer the punters a chance to throw in some questions.
PS i see Nick griffin missed the protest then.
God for years no one as seen her, and now she is sitting on the Precinct, She must be panicking.What next community clean ups i think i will invite het to the valley.
RBS edges back into profit after ‘momentous’ six months
Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland edged back into the black today with a £15 million profit for the first half of 2009.
The profit at the bank, which is 70% owned by the taxpayer after a £20 billion bailout, came despite bad debts and writedowns soaring to £7.5 billion.
Chief executive Stephen Hester, who has been charged with the turnaround of the troubled bank, said it had been a “momentous” six months for the business.
He added: “There will be no miracle cures. Our task is no less than one of the largest bank restructurings ever done, in the face of strong economic headwinds.
“Overall results may not substantially improve until 2011 and full recovery will take time.”
The group was helped into the black at the pre-tax level through a £3.8 billion gain on the falling value of the bank’s own debt.
But after tax and other payouts such as dividends on the preference shares which were held by the Government, RBS slid to a net loss of £1 billion.
The RBS boss added: “There is every sign that our financial performance over the next two years, at a group level, will be poor due to the severe economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 and consequent impact on impairments and funding costs.”
Mr Hester said he had shrunk the size of RBS by 26% or £574 billion so far this year to put the bank on a firmer footing.
The chief executive is splitting RBS into unwanted parts which would be wound up or sold, and those businesses which would be kept on.
The “core” bank made operating profits of £6.3 billion in the first half of the year, Mr Hester said, helped by a “creditable rebound” in the group’s investment banking business.
RBS – which made lending commitments in return for financial support – has made new loans totalling £36 billion to UK homeowners and businesses in the first half, including 100,000 business loans with an 85% acceptance rate among smaller firms.
But the chief executive also warned that the mega-practices of the banking sector were not going away, although RBS has reformed its own bonus system.
“For right or for wrong, in all walks of life, the pay levels people are offered for doing similar jobs elsewhere are a key benchmark.
“We know to our cost, having suffered significant resignations of valuable staff members this year, that we cannot ignore competitor pay practices or we will fail as a business,” he said.
Three British paratroopers killed in Afghanistan explosion
Three British paratroopers killed in Afghanistan explosion
Three British soldiers were killed and a fourth was critically injured when their patrol came under attack in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today.
The servicemen, from the Parachute Regiment, died after their Jackal armoured vehicle was hit by an explosion north of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province early yesterday afternoon.
Their families have been informed.
The troops were carrying out a routine security patrol alongside Afghan security forces when they were hit by a blast followed by small arms fire.
It is thought the three soldiers were killed in the initial explosion, the MoD said.
A fourth member of the patrol remains in a critical condition.
The MoD refused to confirm any more details about the soldiers.
But there are no Parachute Regiment units officially deployed to Afghanistan at the moment, and it is believed that the three were members of special forces.
The deaths take the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since operations began in October 2001 to 195.
Meanwhile Nato’s new Secretary General said today that more troops were needed if the mission in Afghanistan was to be successful.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Nato would need to step up military efforts in the “coming months and years”, alongside increased civil reconstruction, in order to secure peace.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme from Afghanistan, he said: “Honestly speaking I think we need more troops.
“I have seen progress in the south, not least thanks to the increase in the number of troops. So definitely the number of troops matters.
“However, we also have to realise that there is no military solution solely.
“We have to provide the Afghan people with better life opportunities as well if we are to win hearts and minds, and this will be at the core of our new strategy.”
A spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan paid tribute to the three British troops killed yesterday.
Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay said: “We are very saddened by the death of these fine soldiers and stand behind their bereaved families, friends and comrades.
“Our forces risk their lives every day to help eliminate Taliban oppression in Afghanistan.
“The insurgents have so many times proven to be ruthless to Afghans who dare not to co-operate with them or refuse to turn a blind eye to their criminal and brutal activities.”
Gordon Brown has been accused of covering up a review of defence policy which shows that billions of pounds have been wasted.
The report found that the Ministry of Defence had only two-thirds of the required funds for buying its equipment, which caused project delays resulting in £2.5bn going to waste.
The review had been commissioned by former defence secretary John Hutton and was overseen by ex-MoD aide Bernard Gray.
Findings on defence procurement were due to be published before parliament began its summer recess.
The Conservatives called the report a “damning indictment of 12 years of incompetence”.
Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said: “By trying to suppress this report, the prime minister has demonstrated that he cares more about the reputation of Labour than he does about the wellbeing of the armed forces.
“The government has a moral duty to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need for the war-fighting they are asked to do; instead we have a catalogue of bureaucracy, incompetence and time-wasting.
“Gordon Brown, as chancellor, was never willing to fund Tony Blair’s wars; now that he is prime minister, he is trying to cover up his mistakes.”
An MoD official claimed Downing Street “panicked” when it saw the report and tried to stop its publication.
But defence minister Kevan Jones denied the allegations, stating that the government was working “very closely” with the team behind the report ahead of a defence procurement green paper expected early next year.
“This is part of a three-stage process,” Jones told Channel 4 News.
“First was the defence industrial strategy which was launched in 2005, then we’ve merged both acquisition and support agencies.
“The next stage which Lord Drayson is leading, together with Bernard Gray, is to see how we can actually get better value for money and better procurement.”
MISSING OUT: Pensioners may have to pay
Thursday August 6,2009
MILLIONS of well-off pensioners could lose their free bus passes as part of a cost-cutting initiative.
A report commissioned by the Local Government Association claimed that free transport is being used by too many people who own cars or who could afford to pay for public transport.
It argued that free transport should be limited to the poor as the scheme costs taxpayers £1billion a year – and called for pensioners to be means tested.
The report provoked harsh criticism from pensioners’ groups.
Andrew Harrop of Age Concern and Help the Aged said: “Many people will react with dismay. The scheme affords older people freedom and independence and makes a significant contribution towards reducing isolation and loneliness.
“Proposals to erode it simply because it is popular would be nothing short of perverse.”
Lib Dem spokesman Norman Baker said: “Free concessionary bus travel is one of the Government’s few popular policies. They just bungled its introduction.”
The free bus pass scheme was first announced in 2005 ahead of a General Election.
But there have been problems with how the Government allocates the money it pays councils to subsidise bus companies. There have been many complaints from town halls that their budgets have been disproportionately hit.
They claim they were paid too little by the Government and officials say jobs may have to go and services could be cut because of shortfalls running to £30million across 50 councils.
The study warned: “The scheme is targeted too widely, benefiting many people on higher income and with access to cars.”
The LGA last night denied that it was considering introducing means tests.