Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Fire Safety Tips from Merseyside Fire and Rescue

Fire Safe at Christmas Tips

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to enjoy a happy and safe Christmas this year by following some simple fire safety advice.

When the celebrations take place over the festive period people sometimes forget about fire safety in the home.


Most house fires start in the kitchen and people are asked to take care when cooking the Christmas dinner.

Food should never be left cooking on the hob unattended and people should not cook while under the influence of alcohol.

People should avoid cooking while tired and should be careful not to fall asleep while food is cooking in the oven.


Christmas decorations and stray wrapping paper can burn easily and cause a fire. Decorations should never be attached to lights or heaters and should be kept away from candles.

Candles should not be lit near curtains or combustible materials and keep them away from the Christmas tree. They should also be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Ensure candles are put out when leaving the room and they should be placed in a correct holder.

Christmas tree lights should always be switched off when going to bed or when leaving the house and people should never overload plug sockets. People are also advised to check that Christmas lights carry the British Standard Safety sign.


Heaters should be kept away from curtains and furniture. They should be switched off after use and should not be used for drying clothes.

People should ensure open fires are out properly when they go to bed and they are advised to use a fire guard. Never hang decorations over an open fire.

Electric blankets should be unplugged before going to bed and hot water bottles should not be used with electric blankets.

People should also close the doors to each room when they go to bed.

Vulnerable People

People are advised to check on older relatives or neighbours during the winter period and ensure they have working smoke alarms.

Residents are also asked to check on vulnerable people in the community, particularly those who live alone.


People should ensure cigarettes are completely stubbed out in a proper, heavy ash tray that will not topple over.

Residents should never smoke in bed and should take care when tired.

Smoke Alarms

It is advised that people have a smoke alarm fitted on every floor of their property and smoke alarms should be tested every week.

A smoke alarm can give a vital early warning to escape a fire. In the event of a fire people should get out, stay out and call 999.

For free fire safety advice call Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dangerous fireworks to look out for

Dangerous Bangers from Poland
A warning note from Sergeant Joyce

These are the newest bangers that we need to keep an eye out for.

They originate from Poland made by a company called Jasper and are called  'TAPIRKI'

They are poorly constructed, with a metal based composition which is exposed at both ends. They have no labelling on the actual bangers.

Apparently they are readily available around the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester. They are selling for around £2 per pack and contain 10 bangers in each pack. A sleeve of 10 packets is selling for £10 so that’s a 100 bangers for £10

I would suggest they are highly dangerous and such poor construction and amount of composite could cause serious injury with a possibility of loss of digits.

Although we have not seen huge numbers yet on Merseyside they are here and I anticipate that they will be sold illegally.

In the first instance Phone 101  and request the FIRST TEAM be informed or contact Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 to report

Enjoy Halloween and Firework Season safely!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Do you want to limit the number of off-licences and take-aways in Kensington and Fairfield?

Cheap alcohol fuelling anti-social behaviour
The Labour councillors in Kensington and Fairfield have been campaigning for years for action to stop any more off-licences and take-aways opening in our area. 

We already know the problems they cause locally, with noise, anti-social behaviour, street drinkers and begging. So when we found out about the schemes in Lark Lane and on Allerton Road a few years ago to stop them having to have any more bars, we though this was something we would have a look at. 

Unfortunately the wheels of local government can sometimes turn exceedingly slowly and it has taken far longer than it should have despite dozens of meetings and piles of correspondence. 

However, we now finally have some good news.

We have applied for something called a Cumulative Impact Policy which basically says that the impact of the large  numbers of establishments we already have, together have caused problems and that no more should be allowed. 

In order for this to be introduced we have to carry out a consultation of local people and find out what they think. 

Liverpool City Council is proposing to amend its Licensing Policy Statement by including within it a special Cumulative Impact Policy (or CIP) limited to specific streets in the Kensington / Fairfield / Central wards namely:
Boaler Street, Holt Road, Kensington, Molyneux Road and part of Prescot Road (from its junction with Kensington to the railway line forming the eastern boundary of Fairfield Ward)
A copy the consultation questionnaire and supporting information including a plan of the area can be viewed at - http://www.liverpool.gov.uk/scipconsultation

The deadline for receipt of completed questionnaires is 1st day of November 2013.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Promising moves in the creation of a new Post Office in Fairfield

As the Tories continue to put our post offices under threat, with a new privatisation scheme for Royal Mail on the cards, it is good to be able to report that Labour Councillors are making a positive difference.

We continue to work with a local small business on Prescot Road in Fairfield to convert some of their convenience store premises to open a new Post Office counter with staff, to replace the one across the road which closed 18 months ago. We are using legacy funding from the New Deal for Communities to pay for the necessary building works to ensure that this is one community which can enjoy an enhanced service despite Tory efforts.

I just hope we have the opening day event before I retire in May next year, it is one of the major projects that I want to see come to fruition as part of my final work in the city.

The swans are back in Newsham Park

Swans in Newsham Park - Richard Milligan

After the tragedies earlier in the year it is great to see swans back in Newsham Park. Thanks to Richard Milligan for his wonderful photograph.

BIG Lottery Funding – LCVS Training Course

Tuesday 24 September 2013, 10am-4pm - 151 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2AH.

‘Big’ and the other lottery funders have a wide range of funding programmes. Which ones are for you? What does the Lottery look for? How much competition is there, and how can you write the best application? Our course will take you through the steps of planning and preparing a lottery application.
With this course you will:  
  • Find out about different lottery funding programmes
  • Learn the language of the lottery and the key words they look for
  • Learn about evidence of need and why outcomes are so important
  • Understand how to bring all this together and write better funding applications
The course is particularly aimed at anyone who has to develop funding applications for over £10,000 and particularly focuses on the Reaching Communities Revenue Programme.
The course is delivered by an LCVS Funding Adviser who has helped many groups secure Reaching Communities funding.
Cost: £70 (non-profit) / £140 (statutory/other). Lunch will be provided.
Use the booking form from our website to book your place

Do you fancy singing in the bandstand in Newsham Park at Christmas?

For the last few years local Fairfield residents have been singing in the bandstand on Newsham Park at Christmas. 

Last years Liz Roberts was responsible for organising the event.   

She is wanting to build on last year's success and wants people who are keen to participate.   She is hosting a meeting at her house 21 Prospect Vale L6 8PE more or less opposite Bandstand.
on Monday the 23rd of September (this coming Monday) at 7.30pm to talk about it. 

If you are interested please contact her by email or by phoning her on 07507335874. 

Older People's Day in Liverpool

Harvest Festival in Kensington and Fairfield

Local councillors have helped fund a food growing project at L'Arche with Healing Space and this special community event will showcase the work.

We heartily recommend anyone in the area popping along to the community centre on Lockerby Road on Friday.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Direct Line Job Losses: Connected to Coalition legislation?

Direct Line workers in Liverpool: Echo photo
500 people lost their jobs at Direct Line’s Thornaby call centre this week, along with 700 at two other sites. And earlier this week the firm announced a further 500 job losses in Liverpool together with 1500 in Leeds, London and elsewhere.

We know the firm isn’t in the red - it recently revealed £94.3 million profits for the first three months of 2013 - up 47% on a year earlier so what is the explanation for these cuts described by Unite the Union as “savage”?

One possible part of the answer is that these job losses may have been impacted by recent Conservative Liberal Democrat legislation.

The Legal Aid Bill passed earlier this year was heavily criticised for the disastrous effects it will have on the ability of people to take cases to court, and on the ongoing work of the CAB and other advisory organisations. But there was another item included in the bill which has gone largely unremarked.

A couple of years ago the Coalition brought in legislation to limit the fee earned by lawyers to £1600 per case for accident injury claims on behalf of their clients where the damages did not exceed £25,000.

This saw a review of business cases for many small law firms and a general tightening up of the Claims industry. However in April the fees were furthered limited to £500 through the Legal Aid Bill.

If you have had an accident and are seeking compensation, you will now only be able to make a claim, where the damages are not expected to top £25,000 if you can find a lawyer prepared to take your case on for a fee not exceeding £500.

And good luck with that! The simple fact is that even a pretty desultory attempt at seeking damages on your behalf is likely to cost any firm more than £500 to process so the bottom has completely fallen out of the injury claims market over night.

An end to ambulance chasing? That is a good thing surely?

Indeed it sounds like a great headline doesn’t it, but let’s examine two potential consequences.

Firstly the effect on the injured: If you were in a car crash, broke both legs and were laid up for 6 months your claim might well come in at £25k – but you will now struggle to find anyone to take your case on for you. If you had a bad back as a result and were off work for 6 weeks you might have been able to claim for £1500 of damages -  but you probably wont be able to now unless you can take the case yourself. Some people simply aren’t that confident.  

So – legitimate claimants will now suffer as the Government’s attempts to tackle bogus whiplash claims has backfired.

The other consequence of this badly thought through legislation is that because the injury claims market has dried up, so too have the number of claims being made. They simply aren’t coming forward.

And it has been put to me that Direct Line – the UKs largest Insurance Company, may have found itself handling fewer claims.

Could that be a part of the reason for the thousands of job losses – and will other insurance companies find themselves in the same boat?
EDIT: Direct Line staff tell me that the Liverpool office has never been busier although definitely not with injury claims. Obviously my original source has only got half of the story so I have toned this piece down from its original assertions.  Whatever the explanation, it is a puzzling tragedy that thousands of people have lost their jobs in a profitable company. And I remain concerned about the impact of the legislation on legitimate victims of accidents.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Support the Shrewsbury 24 : Campaign for Justice

Message from Ricky Tomlinson

There are signs that the online petition to support the Shrewsbury 24 has been derailed by the estabishment - and if you have ever read "A very British Coup" by Chris Mullin you will know exactly what I am talking about.

So if you have signed the online petition and thought you had made your support clear, please be advised that it is possible that your contribution was not recorded.

I am therefore calling upon all TU supporters and those who support these brave men to download the PAPER petition, sign it and share it with friends, neighbours and work colleagues so that your name can be properly added and will count.

You need to send your completed forms to P O Box 92 Liverpool L19 3WD Any problems or queries please ring 07927 937773

I know it is a bit harder but if you REALLY CARE about this issue then you will find the time.

Please see below for an official statement from the campaign team.

URGENT – Paper Petition Launched.
The Shrewsbury Campaign have decided to launch a paper petition calling for the release of Government documents.
We have found that the Downing Street e-petition site is not properly recording all the signatures of supporters who have signed Ricky Tomlinson’s e-petition.
Please download a copy of the paper petition and encourage as many people as possible to sign it.
DOWNLOAD the petition here.

Our campaign committee was set up by several of the convicted Shrewsbury pickets with local trade union activists following a meeting in Liverpool in 2006. We are supported by many national trade unions, local branches and trades council as well as by individuals. We welcome further affiliations and support.

Our campaign is seeking to overturn the unjust prosecution of 24 building workers who were charged following the first ever national building workers strike in 1972. They picketed building sites in Shrewsbury during the dispute and were prosecuted in Shrewsbury Crown Court in 1973. They became known as the “Shrewsbury 24”.

The main focus of the campaign at present is an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to have the cases of the 24 referred to the Court of Appeal and for these miscarriages of justice to be overturned. It was submitted on the 3rd April 2012. Watch this site for further news on the progress of the application.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Cricket back at Newsham

"The sound of leather on willow will once more resonate across Newsham Park". 

A big thank you to Pamela Boardman for sending me this cutting from the Liverpool Echo

Monday, May 20, 2013

Some great job opportunities at the Co-operative Party

Message from Karin Christiansen, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party

Some incredible work has been done by members, staff and politicians to make the Party what it is today, but to face up to the challenges both as a country and as a Party, we need to make a step change in between now and 2015. Specifically, I'm determined that we succeed in:

  • growing our membership
  • giving you much more in return for your support
  • nurturing and developing co-operators to become the politicians of the future
  • ensuring the co-operative movement are proud of us.

As part of this we are making some changes to our internal structure, and a number of jobs have just been posted on our website – www.party.coop/jobs - please do consider applying or telling people about them.

This does mean that we are losing some of committed and excellent team that I know many of you will have worked with closely over the years. On behalf of the entire Party I want to thank them for their immense dedication to the Party and the co-operative movement as a whole.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A grave crime!

Deane Road Jewish Cemetery
A comical story that I am sure you will enjoy

On the third Sunday in April it was the monthly open day for the wonderful Deane Road Jewish Cemetery. A heritage jewel in Liverpool's crown of which I am hugely proud.

I was there as a tour guide and general welcoming friendly face at the gate.

A man arrived and I greeted him and offered to show him around. This is the story of what happened next....

The gentleman was somewhat dishevelled, I don't want to say much more than that, but he was clearly one of my more disadvantaged and dependent residents with issues, mainly involving cheap drink. He was keen to engage with me and share his delight in this now restored Kensington asset so I started to show him round - although he did say he had been inside a few times before and loved it.

He then took me to one side and began to tell me a story. It had my eyebrows quizzically raised from the beginning.

He said that he had been in the cemetery earlier in the year and had seen some tools lying on the path. In particular, he said, he had seen some bolt cutters and had decided that he was in dire need of the same as there was a padlock on the gate that lead round to the rear of his flat on Deane Road which he was anxious to have cut off so that he could be afforded access to the back of his own property.

He thought these bolt cutters would be just the thing so he picked them up, together with another set of tools and spirited them away.

He then explained that he was sawing away somewhat ineffectually at the padlock when the police arrived and arrested him. They confiscated the tools but were eventually satisfied that he was not attempting breaking and entering and they let him go, although they kept the tools.

I think it is fair to say I was mystified as we have no need of bolt cutters and I could not conceive of any reason why such items would be found in the cemetery, but I listened on. 

St Anne's Street Police Station
The gentleman went on to say he had since been in hospital as he was unwell but had recently been discharged and was feeling a lot better.

He said he was very anxious that we should reclaim our tools and then gave me his full name and address, the details of when he thought he might possibly have been arrested and even a drawing of the tools as best as he could remember, complete with yellow handles.

I was mesmorised and somewhat cynical if I am honest.

However, I got in touch with the police in the vain hope that they could stand up any of this story.

And glory be, they could!

So today I have been to St Anne's Street Police Station and taken back into my custody a pair of long handled secateurs and some pruning shears. No wonder they wouldn't cut his padlock off!

What a lovely man for taking the time to come and put this right.

A happy ending. 

If you want to come and use our tools for their proper purpose and volunteer as a jobbing gardener, do please let me know.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hitting the poorest places hardest

Research from Sheffield Hallam University

Last month saw the publication of a report from the University into the impact of Welfare Reform across the country entitled Hitting the poorest places hardest 

You almost don't need to read any further than the title to get the general idea. 

They have carried out extensive research and I have reproduced their key findings below

When the present welfare reforms have come into full effect they will take nearly £19bn a year out of the economy. This is equivalent to around £470 a year for every adult of working age in the country. 

The biggest financial losses arise from reforms to incapacity benefits (£4.3bn a year),changes to Tax Credits (£3.6bn a year) and the 1 per cent up-rating of most working-age benefits (£3.4bn a year).

The Housing Benefit reforms result in more modest losses – an estimated £490m a year arising from the ‘bedroom tax’ for example – but for the households affected the sums are nevertheless still large.

Some households and individuals, notably sickness and disability claimants, will be hit by several different elements of the reforms.

The financial impact of the reforms, however, varies greatly across the country. At theextremes, the worst-hit local authority areas lose around four times as much, per adult of working age, as the authorities least affected by the reforms.

Britain’s older industrial areas, a number of seaside towns and some London boroughs are hit hardest. Much of the south and east of England outside London escapes comparatively lightly.

Blackpool, in North West England, is hit worst of all – an estimated loss of more than £900 a year for every adult of working age in the town.

The three regions of northern England alone can expect to lose around £5.2bn a year in benefit income.

As a general rule, the more deprived the local authority, the greater the financial hit.

A key effect of the welfare reforms will be to widen the gaps in prosperity between the best and worst local economies across Britain.

The bold type is mine. I find it difficult to comprehend that any Government could be so wicked as to slash and burn the economies of the north of England in this way. Indeed I have been wracking my historian's brain and cannot think of anyone since William the Conqueror with his harrying of the north who has made such a broad attack on our communities (although of course Maggie did her best)

Let's not be divisive about this though - or play the victim card that the Tories accuse us of in the north. We need to remember the industrial Midlands and the other places the report mentions too, the poorer London Boroughs, South Wales and Glasgow.  

Here is the top ten according to how much they have lost per adult of working age in the population

1. Blackpool           £ 910
2. Westminster      £ 820
3. Knowsley          £ 800
4. Merthyr Tydfil   £720
5. Middlesbrough   £720 
6. Hartlepool         £710
7. Torbay             £700 
8. Liverpool          £700 
9. Blaenau Gwent   £700 
10. Neath Port Talbot £700

Look at Blackpool. Tory MP Paul Maynard is going to have some explaining to do come the next General Election.  

Two of the top ten are on Merseyside, two on Teesside, three in south Wales. 

And remember, these are only the cuts in social security. I wait with trepidation for a report showing these figures combined with cuts in Local Government budgets to show just how much of an officially sanctioned kicking our people are being singled out for. 

And I keep coming back to the same fact; you could just about expect this sort of thing from the Conservatives, it is what they do - wage war on the poor and people with regional accents, anyone who wears trackies or went to a state school.... But what the hell are the Liberal Democrats doing giving them the lifeline they need to carry it out? I don't know whether Nick Clegg ever visits the university in his constituency but this will be one report of theirs he might find uncomfortable reading. 

Here are the bottom 10 districts for completeness. In these areas the reforms have had much less of a financial impact.

Chiltern           £270
South Bucks    £260
Guildford         £260
South Northamptonshire £260
South Oxfordshire      £260
Rutland               £260
Wokingham         £250
Cambridge          £250
Hart                   £240
City of London   £180 

I didn't know where Hart was either, so I looked it up, it is always useful to know where the beneficiaries are whilst you are getting the crumbs.

This is what is says on their council website
"Our picturesque area of gentle rolling wooded countryside lies in the north-east corner of Hampshire and takes its name from the little River Hart which flows through its centre." 

So that's all very nice. 

And it is represented in Parliament by Gerald Howarth, the recently elected chairman of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward 

And you don't need me to tell you what their guiding principles are, do you?

Like the title of the Sheffield Hallam report itself, this tells you all you need to know about how this Government is setting its policies and who they are for. 

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats:  
Hitting the poorest places hardest and buttressing the richest places best