Taxi for Merseytravel!

That will be £183.80 – Yeh, but who is paying for it?    Readers of the blog will be aware of the Mersey Tunnels report which I blogged about yesterday.  In that posting I talked about the report being delayed.    Today I have discovered that the cost of getting that late report to the Members of the Authority was £183.80 in Taxi charges, is this what Merseytravel uses surplus tolls for?     

I find it an absolute insult that as well as wanting to put up the Tolls, because of the actions of the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman in delaying the report, the cost to the public purse is almost £200, if the papers had been sent out in time using Royal Mail the cost would have been £18.72.     You simply could not script it!    But then again after squandering £70 million on the failed tram scheme ‘Line One to Knowhere’  the authority has a history of wasting money!

Added 03 Feb.  I discovered today that the information given to me by an Officer of Merseytravel about the delay laying the blame at the door of the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman of Merseytravel was in fact not true, the delay was because of an Officers actions.    Based on that information I am happy to apologise to the  New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman, however I can only print what I am told, and I have that information in writing!!!

Merseytravel Budget Meeting – Tunnel Tolls to Rise?

On Thursday this week 3rd February, the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (MITA) has its annual budget meeting.     

As part of that meeting there is a separate report on the Mersey Tunnel Tolls, and the papers always come out at the same time, however this year the Tunnels report was delayed, I am told because the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman had not signed it off?   

And I have to say I am not surprised they wanted to delay it, the recommendation calls for an increase in cash tolls of 10p on Class One (cars), 20p on class two, 30p on class three, and 40p on class four.   All of that will increase tunnels revenue by £1.86 million in the year, allowing the authority to transfer over £4million of surplus tolls from the tunnels to other schemes!

And it does not stop there….   No,the recommendation asks the Authority to consider removing the concessionary tolls given to people with disabilities?

Because of legalities about -pre-determination I can’t say publicly what my thoughts are or how I will vote on the recommendations on Thursday.   Suffice it to say I will listen to all the arguments for and against, however the arguments for will have to be pretty strong to convince me.      

Whilst I am talking about pre-determination, surely the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman who signed off the report have predetermined the recommendation and should take no active part in its discussion or vote?

Skipton Building Society

I was absolutely delighted to be asked to perform the official opening of the Skipton Building Society on Hoylake Road in Moreton on Friday 28th.

The Skipton is the UK’s fourth largest building society, with approximately 830,000 members, over £14bn of assets and a national presence represented by branches covering the country from Aberdeen to Plymouth.   

Last year when the Halifax announced it was closing its entire nine agency branches in Wirral, which of course included Moreton, many people, particularly the elderly and less mobile people were left isolated.   I was really pleased when the Skipton Building Society picked up the baton and took over the Halifax agency in Moreton, as well as the other eight agencies in Wirral.

I had no hesitation in transferring my Halifax account to the Skipton, apart from the fact the interest rate is better, I truly believe that local services should be provided for local people, the Skipton has done that, and at the same time secured the jobs of those staff who had been loyal to the Halifax.      I wish the Skipton a long and prosperous future in Moreton and the wider community.

So Whats Been Happening?

This posting is brief summary of some of the issues that have come about while I have been out of circulation:

  1. The saddest piece of news I heard while I was in my sick bed was the announcement by Burtons to close down the Moreton Biscuit making operation and chocolate production with the loss of some 342 jobs.    Absolutely devastating and as a Moreton Councillor I will do all I can, however small to support the workforce.
  2. A planning application was submitted for a Telephone Mast in Saughall Massie, the planners say it is in Hoylake and Meols Ward, so we only found out by accident.     Anyway me, Steve and Simon lodged our objections and I am delighted that the planning officers have refused the application.
  3. Whilst I am on about telephone masts, we, that is me Simon and Steve have received pre-application consultation from MONO CONSULTANTS acting on behalf of Telefonica.  It seems they want to submit a planning application for a 17.5 metre mast, Cabinet and ancillary erquipment in Holt Avenue, close to its junction with Hoylake Road.    We have made it clear to them in our response that this is not an apprpriate location and to look elsewhere.   If and when a planning application is submitted we will let people know.
  4. My colleague Steve Williams has also been dealing with more Fly Tipping issues.  You can read more on that by clicking here

I will post separately on the Skipton Building Society official opening and the matter regading Merseytravel’s Tunnel Tolls report, so look out for them.

I’m Back!

I have been absent from blogging for the last 3 weeks as a result of a real bout of the flu, compounded by a secondary chest infection, which left me in bed for 9 days and the last 12 days recovering slowly.    I have said on many occasions when I have had a nasty cold that I have got the flu, I will never say that again about a cold, as bad as it may be, it could never compare with what I have just gone through!  

I would like to say a huge thanks to my friends and colleagues for all their offers of help, special thanks to Steve Williams who picked up and delivered my batch of Newslines, and to Ian and Leah for looking after the Wallasey Office, and to all those Councillors who stepped in to print the Newslines and organise the canvass cards.    Also special thanks to Andy and Clare in Esther McVey’s office for picking up the baton and keeping the office running efficiently.   And not forgetting my Merseytravel colleague, Cllr Les Rowlands for filling in at Mersytravel in my absence.  It really is at times like these that people pull together.   Anyway enough of the history and back to reality work and blogging.

On the Campaign Trail

L to R: Danny Lee, Clare Worsnup, Esther McVey MP, Kashif Ali, Me, Andy Rimmer

Today, along with friends and colleagues, Esther McVey MP, Andy Rimmer, Clare Worsnup and Danny Lee.   We all travelled over to help the Conservative Candidate, Kashif Ali in his campaign to win next Thursday’s Bye-Election in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

I have to say I was very impressed with the amount of people who turned up to help Kashif, I don’t know the final numbers but I would estimate that up to 400 activists turned out, including huge numbers of MP’s to deliver leaflets and canvass, a truly amazing show of strength, and one which says to the press that we do expect to win on Thursday, and we are not holding back in favour of the Liberal Democrats.

Campaigning will continue until close of poll on Thursday 13th January, so if you can spare an hour or so I would urge you to get over there and help get Kashif elected.

Thanks to everyone who turned up and especially to the ‘Virgin’ campaigners, Andy, Clare and Danny.   Hey not everyone can have such a baptism of fire on the first outing!!

L to R: Me, Esther McVey MP, Neil, (Bosnian) Bob Stewart MP, Clare Worsnup, Andy Rimmer, Danny Lee at the Campaign Centre in Oldham

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 277 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1230 posts. There were 144 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 35mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 5th with 681 views. The most popular post that day was Weather Brings Chaos to Wirral and Merseyside!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, WordPress Dashboard, en.wordpress.com, and democracy.wirral.gov.uk.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for chris blakeley, pandemonium, raining, councillor chris blakeley, and wirral borough council bin collection.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Weather Brings Chaos to Wirral and Merseyside! January 2010

2

Contact Us May 2007

3

Suzanne Moseley 1962-2009 September 2009
18 comments

4

Wirral Wheelie Bin Collection Update January 2010
3 comments