Eight minutes gone

It is unfortunate that we now have a Prime Minister whose assertions are so at variance with the facts. I’m reluctant to use the word ‘lie’; it’s not a word I normally use or find helpful. I far prefer to play the policy not the man. However, it is clear that we have a Prime […]

Cyber shambles

Whenever a Minister in the current government states that a particular issue is a top priority and that the government is leading the way, you can almost guarantee that the opposite is the case. Despite the occasional highly-publicised success in tackling cyber-crime, the harsh reality is that the vast majority of such crimes are not […]

Affording a home

I take no pleasure from having correctly predicted that every housebuilding promise made by Conservative and Liberal Democrat Housing Ministers since 2010 has been broken. Not one of the promises has come close to fulfilment and no apologies have ever been made. So far as I was concerned, on an examination of the facts, those promises had […]

Taxing times

I take a very simple approach to taxes. You should pay them. I have no time at all for those individuals who, and corporations which, indulge in artificial schemes designed to avoid what they should properly pay. Despite all the warm words and promises, Conservative governments have consistently been reluctant to legislate to close down […]

Be careful what you wish for

The people have spoken. Well, more precisely, less than four out of ten UK electors voted in the elections for the European Parliament last Thursday. It’s difficult to be precise, but it appears that about half of those who came out to vote supported Brexit…and the other half supported Remain. Proportionately, it was more or […]

Knotty issues

In the mid-nineteenth century, some horticulturalists thought that Fallopia Japonica, a fast-growing plant with bamboo-like stems, would be an excellent ornamental plant in parks and large gardens. Since then, millions of households have discovered that Japanese Knotweed (JK) is one of the most problematic plant species in the UK. It has been estimated that 1-2% of all residential […]

Tracking back

Today, it has been revealed that rail passenger time lost to delays and cancellations last year was the worst since records began. Passengers, on about 80 trains a day, experienced significant delays. Eight million passengers were held up for a minimum of 29 minutes. But, in some ways, they were the lucky ones. What about […]

Future prosperity

Over more than three decades, our area has received many millions of pounds (or euros!) to help our us to adjust to the major structural changes in our local economy, especially in relation to the decline in the coal industry and the changes in the global economy and in technology which so impacted our steel […]

Universally discredited

No-one has ever questioned the principle behind proposals for Universal Credit, which would bring many income support measures together for an individual or a family. Clearly such a scheme, successfully implemented, would bring significant benefits (sic) to both recipient and taxpayer. However, successful implementation of the government’s current proposals is simply impossible for a number […]

It’s a High Street low

Take a walk down nearly any High Street in any small or large, inland or seaside, village, town and city in the country and you know there is an economic challenge. Of course, there are a small number of places which seem to have escaped. But, at the other end of the scale, there are […]