Thursday, 22 July 2010

Ian Swales questions Minister over hostel proposals in Redcar

Proposals for hostels for people on bail or on remand in Redcar may not be the given the go-ahead under the new coalition government according to Communities Minister, Andrew Stunnell, who in response to concerns raised by local MP, Ian Swales, confirmed that the new government would allow local communities to control plans in their own area.

Speaking on Tuesday in a Westminster Hall debate on coastal towns, Mr Swales expressed his concern that residents and local authorities in Redcar were powerless to stop Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from being established because of the planning laws put in place by the previous Government.

In his reply, Mr Stunnell confirmed the new coalition government’s commitment to devolve the planning framework to local authorities, so that they can establish their local plans and the have the freedom to take those decisions.

Commenting Mr Swales said:

“There is a pending planning hearing in Redcar and Cleveland about HMOs-which will involve two developments of secure accommodation in the heart of our resort.

“There will be large financial returns for the people involved, but even though local residents don’t want those hostels in that place, the local authority has little power to do anything about it because of the planning laws put in place by the previous Labour government.”  

“It may be too late to stop these HMOs from being established this time, but I’m delighted that as a result of the actions taken by this coalition government, from now on local authorities and residents will be given the freedom to make those decisions in the interests of their own community.”

Friday, 16 July 2010

Ian Swales calls on Government to introduce Robin Hood Tax

MP, Ian Swales, who has called for the introduction of a financial transaction tax.

Mr Swales has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to introduce a ‘Robin Hood’ tax, which would take an average of 0.05% from speculative banking transactions that could potentially raising hundreds of billions of pounds every year to tackle poverty and climate change.

Commenting Mr Swales said:

“Given that the banks had such a large role in causing the economic crisis it’s only fair that they should help pay to fix it.

“The bank levy announced by the Chancellor in the recent budget was a welcome first step, but there is still a lot of scope to explore further bank taxes, specifically the introduction of a Financial Activities tax on excess profits and remunerations.

“A ‘Robin Hood’ tax has the power to raise hundreds of billions every year and could give a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty in the – as well as tackling poverty and climate change around the world.”

1. Early Day Motion tabled by Ian Swales MP entitled Robin Hood Tax

That this House supports the Robin Hood tax campaign which calls for the introduction of a financial transaction tax; notes that by taking an average of 0.05 per cent. from speculative banking transactions, hundreds of billions of pounds could be raised every year to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad; believes that banks, which had a large role in causing the economic crisis, should do more than just pay back the bailouts or insure against future crises; further believes that a Robin Hood tax would be an effective and popular response, with a recent poll finding that 80 per cent. of respondents supported the introduction of a Robin Hood tax; commends the work of all those organisations backing this campaign who have mobilised their supporters to increase the pressure for such change; believes that this tax is an idea that has come of age; and urges the Government to do all possible to ensure that the Robin Hood tax becomes a reality.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ian Swales elected to Public Accounts Committee and vows to ensure “value for money” for Redcar constituency taxpayers

Newly elected MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, has today been elected as the Liberal Democrat representative to the prestigious Public Accounts Committee; a team of MPs responsible for ensuring the Government delivers value-for-money for taxpayers.

Mr Swales’ appointment comes just two months after he was elected to the House of Commons and is recognition of the experience and expertise he can bring to the role having worked for many years as an accountant. The Committee is responsible for overseeing government expenditures to ensure they are effective and honest and is seen as a crucial mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability in government financial operations.

Commenting Mr Swales said:

“I’m delighted to have been chosen by my Liberal Democrat colleagues to serve on the Public Accounts Committee, particularly as I’m still relatively new to being an MP.

“The role of the PAC will be even more crucial given the current economic climate. It’s vital that the Committee holds the Government to account to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the scorched earth spending policies of the previous Labour government.

“Serving on the PAC will allow me to see first hand exactly how local taxpayers’ are having their money spent to ensure that every penny they give in tax is spent in an honest and effective manner.”

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ian Swales calls on George Osborne to introduce legislation against “punishing” bank charges

Banks should be prevented from imposing “punishing” overdraft charges onto customers according to Redcar MP, Ian Swales, who has called on the new coalition Government to step in and prevent banks from issuing excessive charges

Mr Swales has warned against excessive overdraft fees, which he believes can tip vulnerable customers already walking a financial tightrope into debt and has tabled a written question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, to ask him to introduce legislation to bring an end to unfair bank charges.

Commenting Mr Swales said:  

“Some UK banks only exist because they have been bailed out by British taxpayers, yet financial service companies are still ripping people off.

“It simply isn’t right that someone on a low income should pay £25 or more to their bank just because they’re overdrawn by a pound or two. Punishing overdraft fees like these only serve to push vulnerable customers further into debt.

“I hope George Osborne agrees that legislation is absolutely necessary if we’re serious about scrapping unfair bank charges once and for all.”


News that the Building Schools for the Future programme has been frozen has been greeted with disappointment by Redcar MP Ian Swales.

He said “I am well aware that the Labour government left this country in a desperate financial state. It’s inevitable that all plans without funding in place will have to be reviewed.

“However, This is not the end of capital investment in schools. I know much preparation has been done for BSF in Redcar and Cleveland and how important many of the projects are. I will be speaking to Schools Minister Sarah Teather to press for the funding that we need as soon as it can be made available.”

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ian Swales welcomes “much needed” funding for Teesside hospices

News that a £40million grant for hospices will be reinstated by the new coalition Government has been welcomed by Redcar MP Ian Swales as providing “much needed financial support” to local hospices Zoe’s Place and Teesside Hospice.

The £40m capital scheme for hospices was announced as part of the End of Life Care Strategy but was later recalled by the previous Labour Government as part of its review of spending commitments made since 1 January.  Liberal Democrat Health Minister, Paul Burstow confirmed the grant on 17 June and has written to all hospices affected, including Zoe’s Place and Teesside Hospice to confirm their grants.

Zoƫ's Place in Normanby offers palliative and respite care for babies/infants from birth to five years old who have life limiting or terminal illnesses, special and complex needs to varying degrees. Teesside Hospice Care Foundation was formed in 1982 as a response to the shortfall in specialised care for those suffering from a life limiting illness in the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire region. Both hospices will now be eligible for funding under the grant provided by the coalition Government.

Commenting Mr Swales said:

“Hospices’ good work extends far beyond their buildings. Although only a comparatively small number of people actually die in a hospice, a great many more benefit from their services and expertise in other ways, such as through day therapy or hospice-at-home.

“We’re fortunate in Teesside to have two world class hospices in the Teesside Hospice and Zoe’s Place in Normanby, one of the few dedicated children’s hospices in the UK.

“I’m delighted that the coalition Government recognises the outstanding service provided by Teesside Hospice and Zoe’s Place and has acted to reinstate the grants cancelled by the last Labour Government. I’m certain that these grants will provide much needed financial support to these fantastic organisations. “