Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ian Swales encourages community to have their say on the future of Redcar Post Office

MP for Redcar, Ian Swales is urging local people to get involved with the consultation to decide the future of Redcar’s Crown Post Office. Proposals put forward by the Post Office recommend relocation into WHSmith on Redcar High Street.

Alongside the six week consultation, a public meeting will take place on Wednesday 3rd December from 4-8pm at TunedIn, Majuba Road, Redcar. At the event, representatives from the Post Office will be available to discuss the proposals and the consultation process. Only about a third of the current building on Cleveland Street is occupied, forcing the Post Office to look for a more cost-effective alternative location.
Ian Swales commented:

“It’s vitally important that local people have their say on such important changes in the community. I have been contacted by a number of residents who are concerned about the proposed move and I am encouraging each and every one of them to get involved in the consultation to make their feelings known.

“I have a number of concerns about the proposed move which I will raise personally, and I would encourage local people to do the same.

“I will continue to work with Post Office management to ensure that vital services are protected and we get the best possible outcome for the town.”

Friday, 14 November 2014

Time to cut Council Tax, say Redcar Lib Dems

Figures uncovered by Liberal Democrats in the Borough of  Redcar and Cleveland suggest that there is enough spare cash in the council’s coffers to give residents a council tax cut in this year’s budget.

For the last three years, the council has turned down extra government grant to freeze council tax, instead hiking tax for local people. To make up for raising the tax in previous years, Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour administration to use surplus reserves to give a tax cut this year – and still benefit from more than £600,000 a year in extra grant funding from the government.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Group Leader and prospective MP for the Redcar Constituency, Cllr Josh Mason commented:

“The council has easily enough funds in reserve to offer hardworking people a cut in council tax this year.

“For the last three years they’ve turned down free government money for freezing council tax, choosing to increase the burden on local householders instead.

“In tough financial times, when the government is cutting income tax and reducing fuel bills, it’s right that Labour should be doing more to help hard-pressed local people, not hiking up the cost of living.”

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Redcar Lib Dems demand an end to Labour budget gobbledegook

Liberal Democrats have slammed Labour Council bosses after it emerged that Redcar and Cleveland Council’s budget reports are by far the hardest to understand in the country.
The study by the Manchester Evening News declared the Council’s budget report more complex than Professor Steven Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’.
According to a recent analysis which used four different measures to determine how difficult the budget report was to read, someone would need 22.5 years of education to understand the council’s papers, making it the equivalent of a university doctorate level text.
Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign described the contents as ‘gobbledygook’.
Lib Dem Council Group Leader and Finance Spokesman, Councillor Glyn Nightingale, said:
“Professor Hawking will be relieved that his book is less taxing.
"I knew something was wrong when, after I had read the budget reports, I picked up a book on nuclear physics for a bit of light relief!
“But there is a serious side to this. It is undemocratic. People should be able to understand what is being done by their elected councillors. Explaining things in a more complicated way than necessary excludes people.
“Labour’s Council bosses really need to get themselves on a Plain English course.
"Or is there some financial mismanagement that they want to hide?"

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Plans to build 320 houses in Ormesby refused

The Council’s Regulatory Committee by 6 votes to five has refused planning permission for 320 houses to be built on the Longbank Farm site in Ormesby.

Only Labour Councillors supported the application.

It’s a victory for the campaign by local residents and Lib Dem Councillors to protect green areas.
The Committee only gave three local residents and three councillors three minutes each to support refusal while the case in favour took 45 minutes.

Ormesby Councillor and Lib Dem Group Leader Glyn Nightingale said:

“It’s great that our efforts working local residents has kept our area’s open spaces free from totally inappropriate development. The impact on traffic, local schools and local amenities would have been devastating.”

Prospective Lib Dem MP for the Redcar Constituency Josh Mason commented:

“The Longbank Farm site is just one of the Labour Council’s favoured areas for house building on local green field sites. Residents don’t want this. The Liberal Democrats don’t want this. And I shall work with local residents to make sure this doesn’t happen. The Council should be protecting green field sites not ruining them.”

Pictured left to right: Councillor Ann Wilson, Councillor Irene Nightingasle, Councillor Josh Mason, Councillor Gluyn Nightingale.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Redcar Liberal Democrats select local man Josh Mason as successor to Ian Swales

During a hustings event in Redcar last night, Cllr Josh Mason was selected to take the reins from Redcar’s Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales to stand for MP in the 2015 General Election.

Local man Josh, who is chair of the party, has worked very closely with Ian for the past 4 years supporting his campaigns for jobs, on flooding, against intrusive wind turbines, saving post offices and for better use of Redcar Hospital. 

Josh also sits on the board of Coast and Country Housing, is a local school governor, and represents Redcar’s Zetland Ward as deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. 

Josh has spent the last four years campaigning hard against council waste. He has led calls to freeze council tax for the last three years and called for George Dunning’s resignation. Josh strongly opposed the council’s Draft Local Plan and has repeatedly campaigned for action to be taken on TunedIn, the council’s failing new youth facility.

Commenting on the announcement sitting MP, Ian Swales said:

“I am delighted that Josh Mason has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the next General Election. I worked with Josh for over four years and it's no wonder that local politicians of all parties see him as the outstanding talent of the next generation. I will give him my full backing and think he can do an excellent job as our local MP.

“Our area is benefiting by having MPs with strong roots in the area. We can't go back to having Labour MPs dropped in from other parts of the country.”
After his selection Josh Mason commented:

“I’m thrilled to have been selected to stand in place of Ian Swales who has been a popular and hardworking MP.

“He will certainly be a hard act to follow but after working with him so closely over the years, I’m well aware of the constituency’s needs and feel well equipped to speak up for us locally and in Parliament.

“I grew up here, my family live here and I care deeply about the area’s future. I want to be an approachable, hardworking local MP and I will fight as hard as I can to ensure the best for our area.”

Friday, 5 September 2014

Ian Swales MP supports reform of “Bedroom Tax”

MP for Redcar Constituency Ian Swales has today supported his Liberal Democrat colleague’s private members bill calling for further reform of the spare room subsidy, more commonly referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’.

The bill, put forward by Andrew George MP, proposed that those who are willing to move but cannot be found a smaller home would be exempt, as would disabled people who live in adapted properties or who need a spare bedroom.

The bill received a majority of support from MPs with 306 votes to 231. The bill will now progress to committee stage.

Commenting after the vote, Ian said:

“I voted against the so called bedroom tax when the legislation originally passed through the house. This wasn’t because I think taxpayers should continue to pay for spare bedrooms or because I ignored the needs of the millions of people on housing waiting lists or living in overcrowded accommodation as the Labour party seem to do. It was simply because I knew that in my constituency we did not have enough 1 and 2 bedroom properties to cope with the change.

“There were of course other issues with the policy and I have personally fought for the changes already made for disabled children, service personnel and foster carers. Today's Bill covers two major remaining groups, disabled adults needing an extra room and those willing to move who can't be offered a suitable alternative. Both of which are problems in my constituency.

“I was therefore pleased to support the Bill and congratulated my Liberal Democrat colleague, Andrew George, on bringing it forward. Whilst the Conservatives and Labour take opposite sides on this issue, the Liberal Democrats are the only party trying to achieve a fairer system for everyone.”

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Send a Missive2M&S campaign - email to Marks and Spencer

My reply to David Leach Government Affairs Manager at Marks and Spencer:

Send a Missive2M&S campaign

Thank you for your reply but you are simply repeating what I already know.

My point in writing was to say to Mr Bolland think again you have made the wrong decision. There is still time to change this round and do something to make your customers happy for once by staying loyal to Redcar. Letting Redcar down by closing the store may well lead to local customers closing online accounts with Marks & Spencer. Out of sight out of mind.

The weak performance of M&S is more likely to be down to your current range of women's clothing from what I learn from talking to local people. I fear you are making a dreadful mistake and I must urge the company once more to think again.

A final thought Yorkshire Trading Company took over from FW Woolworth and they are thriving in the town who will take over from M&S? Out of sight out of mind.


Chris Abbott

Councillor Chris Abbott
Newcomen Ward - Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
3 Rydal Avenue
TS10 1JB

01642 487557


Send a Missive2M&S campaign - reply from Marks and Spencer

I have received the following response from David Leach Government Affairs Manager at Marks and Spencer:

Dear Cllr Abbott,

Thank you for your email to M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland regarding the closure of the M&S Outlet store on Redcar High Street. I have been asked to reply on his behalf.

You may be aware that we informed Ian Swales MP and senior officials from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council on 11th July that the consultation process had ended and that we would be proceeding with the closure of the store.

Unfortunately, the store is no longer commercially viable due to a combination of weak performance and the fact that significant investment is required to modernise the store. We are now continuing to discuss the closure with the store’s 44 employees, all of whom have been offered redeployment. The final day of trading will be Saturday 27th September.

We recognise you will be disappointed by this outcome but it’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly. We hope our customers in Redcar will continue to shop with us at nearby M&S stores and online at the M&S.com website.

Please contact me if you would like further information.

Kind regards,


David Leach
Government Affairs Manager
Marks and Spencer
Waterside House
35 North Wharf Road
London W2 1NW