A Million Jobs Campaign

A Million Jobs Campaign

Read about our campaign to create a million jobs

Supermarket Levy

Supermarket Levy

Help us raise money for protecting local services

Say No to the Badger Cull

Say No to the Badger Cull

Help us protect badgers from this unnecessary cull

Herald Express article 10th April 2014

The United Nation’s Independent Panel on Climate Change report published last month has added another tonne of evidence that climate change is man-made, is definitely not a good thing, and we ignore it at our peril.

Most particularly the peer reviewed scientific evidence warns that the planet our children and grand-children will inherit might not be able to sustain human life unless we change our ways.

I get the impression that climate change sceptics fear they will have to make dramatic changes to their lives, such as becoming vegan (no bad thing, but not if you are forced), grow lentils in the front garden and put up a giant wind turbine in the back.  Listening to the Green Party you could be forgiven for thinking so.

Fact is action to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and reduce the rate of environmental change doesn’t have to cost jobs, reduce living standards, or dictate you have to give up roast beef and drink pumpkin ale (although it could be good for your health if you did).

A modern, successful and competitive economy is a green economy – low-carbon, resource-efficient and high-skill. If it is not green, it will be neither modern nor successful nor competitive.

A healthy and thriving society, where people enjoy life and realise their aims is a society built around a flourishing natural environment and a sustainable built environment, in which families are independent and secure from sudden rises in the cost of living, where they are able to value their sense of place. If it’s not green, it will be neither healthy nor sustainable.

As the parties put together their manifestos for the election in 2015 I hope they will all recognize that the future prospects for the UK economy lie in fundamentally shifting how we value the environment.

I’d like to see a United Kingdom where we build infrastructure and communities to last, where we invest in innovation and new technology, where we respect the natural world, and enjoy its benefits, and where we improve the health and quality of life for all in their local communities.

But to achieve any change in the things we do we have to change the way things are done, and the biggest barriers are the vested interests in keeping the way we make decisions exactly as they are.

So I want to see a manifesto with clear commitments to:

  • Devolving power and responsibility – including keeping more spending, saving and jobs in the local economy, and aiming for more than half of households and businesses generating renewable energy.
  • Embedding long-termism – including a zero-carbon Britain by 2050, and natural capital accounting, reform of government and mechanisms to guarantee that companies and investors are fully aware of the environmental and social implications of their decisions and actions
  • Cooperating globally – including working to secure agreement on a new global climate treaty and an EU target for greenhouse gas reductions of at least 50 per cent by 2030 and halting net global deforestation by 2020.

If the UN report into Climate Change is taken seriously it will become very difficult indeed for the vested interests to resist the changes we need to tackle this; the greatest human challenge of our age.

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The Girl Guides recently announced a new badge, the Free Being Me badge, to promote body confidence for girls and young women.  This is long overdue; the Girl Guide’s research shows that a quarter of teenage girls would consider plastic surgery and a third have skipped meals in an effort to lose weight.

We are now seeing models posing in TV adverts promoting plastic surgery, while locally we still have the public promotion of beauty contests, damaging all the hard work our schools and organisations like the Guides do in helping young people come to terms with who, and why they should be proud of who they are.

The traditional media, unwittingly or not, has reinforced female stereotypes for decades now and while it’s not something we can tackle with censorship, something has to be done to stem the tide of psychological and all too often physical harm that these images contribute to.

The Government is backing the Girl Guides campaign but there is much more that can be done by local councils and in our communities. For more about the Guides initiative, go to www.girlguiding.org.uk

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I am among those MPs across all parties who would like and have voted for a referendum on our membership of the EU at the earliest opportunity.

As part of the Coalition Government my party agrees with the policy of holding a referendum following any significant future treaty changes.

The Conservative Party also agrees with the Coalition policy although a significant number of backbench Tory MPs share my view.

Until recently Labour has been silent on the referendum issue.  Unfortunately following Ed Miliband’s key-note speech on 11th March setting out his Party’s approach to an in or out referendum on our membership of the EU we are none the wiser, and it’s not Ed’s fault.

On 12th March our national newspapers demonstrated why you should never trust a headline in a political story.

The headline in The Independent was: ‘No EU Referendum Under Labour’. The Guardian led with: ‘Miliband says in/out referendum on Europe is unlikely’. While The Daily Mirror proclaimed: ‘Ed Miliband will dramatically pave way for in/out referendum on Europe if Labour comes to power’.

Perhaps the clearest policy of all on referenda is UKIPs.  If they were to win a majority of the seats in the UK Parliament, something that can be achieved under first past the post with less than a third of the vote, they would pull us out of the EU without a referendum!

Adrian Sanders MP Announces Rock the House Nominations

Bay MP Adrian Sanders has today announced The Stone Angels as the Torbay nomination for Parliamentary competition Rock the House.

Adrian said:

“Torquay has impressive musicians and it is a pleasure to endorse their work to the panel of industry-leading judges who will preside over determining the overall winners. I wish The Stone Angels the best of luck as the competition progresses!”

Sponsored by industry and supported by a host of celebrity Patrons, Rock the House is a fantastic opportunity for British musicians to gain priceless exposure and win fantastic prizes.

Founded by Mike Weatherley MP, the competition offers the opportunity for the UK’s ‘creatives’ to have their work judged by the leading lights of industry and win prizes ranging from festival slots, studio time and equipment to name a few!

Rock legend and actor, Alice Cooper said:

“Rock the House is a great project which celebrates the fantastic diversity of the British music scene and gives musicians a vehicle through which to hold their legislators accountable about protecting the music industry’s intellectual property.”

Competition Founder Mike Weatherley MP said:

“The UK has the most phenomenal creative industries, and all musicians that enter are guaranteed exposure as every record is listened to by our all-star industry panel of Judges. The prizes are fantastic – from musical equipment to festival slots – and the message that musician’s intellectual property rights must be protected gets better understood every year in Parliament.”

 

For more information go to www.rockthehousehoc.com

Torbay MP Urges Schools To Visit Local Commonwealth War Graves

Adrian Sanders, MP for Torbay, is urging local schools and constituents to visit their local Commonwealth war graves to gain a greater understanding of the scale and magnitude of the Great War and the impact that it has had on today’s society.

The call follows a national initiative spearheaded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group and the ‘In From The Cold Project’ that maps over 300,000 Commonwealth war dead by each Parliamentary constituency.   The initiative is supported by Adrian Sanders who will be visiting Commonwealth war graves in Torbay next month.

“The Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is a time, not just for reflection and commemoration but also an opportunity to educate a new generation of young people about the extraordinary events of a hundred years ago and to bring to life some of the personal stories from this remarkable time,” said Adrian Sanders.   “Working with local groups and students gives us all an opportunity to explore how we would like to secure this legacy for generations to come.  Visiting the graves of the fallen is a simple but profoundly important way to commemorate the outbreak of the war.”

Deirdre Mills, CWGC’s Director of UK Area states that:  “The Centenary is an opportune time for us to re-engage and connect with local communities and young people, and explain how the people who are buried in our graves got to be there, who they were, and where they were from.  More than 300,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in the UK. Many died in military hospitals whilst being treated for their wounds or fell victim to the flu pandemic as the conflict drew to a close. Their graves reflect both the local impact of the war but also its wider historical significance.

“To highlight some of the personal stories of those who are buried or commemorated in our graves, we are installing over 100 visitor information panels throughout the UK during the Centenary.  The panels incorporate QR codes which, when scanned with the latest smartphone technology enable visitors to read these stories and understand the historical context.”

Working with schools to bring this extraordinary period of history alive for students , the CWGC is in May launching  a Local War Graves Visits programme in six locations – Cambridge, Oxford, Cannock Chase, Southampton, Plymouth and  Cardiff – with plans to extend this to other parts of the UK later in the year.  Teachers will be able to take advantage of the CWGC’s network of vetted and fully trained volunteers to take them around CWGC sites and war graves, highlight key hotspots, and assist them with lesson planning.

At the Education Show in mid-March, CWGC launched an online Virtual Cemetery education portal that provides schools and teachers with a comprehensive range of resources and support materials linked to the graves and memorials in their home town. The virtual cemetery website www.cwgc-virtual-cemetery.org is an interactive tool which enables pupils and teachers to view images and videos, learn more about CWGC’s work across the globe, and – most importantly – the people that are commemorated  in its cemeteries and memorials.

The virtual cemetery resource has been designed to encourage debate and spark pupils’ interest in thinking about the centenary of the First World War and the different ways in which everyone can  remember the servicemen and women who gave their lives in the conflict.  The website also supports teachers with curriculum notes, lesson plans and suggestions for classroom activities.

Herald Express article 27th March 2014

Unemployment in Torbay has fallen to its lowest level since the end of 2008 when the financial crisis began to hit home.

This is completely against the local economic trends I have witnessed in my lifetime.  Traditionally Torbay enters recessions before most other areas, goes in deep, and is among the last to pull out when the economy improves.

Today, just 3.4% of the Torbay workforce is out of work, compared to over 5% at the height of the crisis and well over 11% during the early 90s recession.

And before anyone shrugs this off as being all about part-time jobs replacing full-time, the figures tell a different story.  In the past three months over 1,700 full-time and 500 part-time jobs have become available, with the number of vacancies still high.

This is really good news and shows that the economy is moving back on track with Torbay at the forefront for once.

We are seeing more confidence and investment thanks to the Government’s focus on private sector jobs and their commitment to the Kingskerswell Bypass.  The key is to sustain this recovery and ensure we diversify our economy to bring higher quality, better paying jobs to the Bay.

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I sponsored a motion to Parliament last week calling for an end to the pilot badger culls and a campaign of vaccination and other methods to eradicate Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in badgers and cattle.

As an MP for a Devon constituency I am in no doubt about the devastation of Bovine TB to cattle and badgers given the county has suffered more than any other area.  I am acutely aware too of the hurt Bovine TB causes to farmers, their families and rural communities as well as the cost to the taxpayer.

I’ve had a farmer visit my advice surgery who lost his herd and my heart went out to him and all those who have invested over decades in pedigree herds only to see them taken away and destroyed because one of their number has proved positive for TB.

With the release of the Independent Expert Panel’s (IEP) report on the pilot badger cull it is even clearer that culling is not suitable for preventing the spread of bovine TB.

The IEP has reported that the pilot cull has not met two of the three criteria.

The culls have failed to be humane, as up to 18% of the badgers killed took longer than five minutes to die, and have also failed to be effective; less than 50% of the badgers were killed in either pilot area, far less than the target of 70% for the trial.

As the IEP report has shown, culling is ineffective and inhumane, and it appears completely wrong to jeopardise the welfare of the badgers and the tax payer’s money when cheaper, alternative options are available offering a better chance to prevent bovine TB infection in cattle.

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In light of the cuts locally to services for the elderly, infirm and vulnerable our voluntary organisations are looking for more volunteers to help minimise the impact of the Council’s budget.

Political parties too are recruiting for candidates for the 2015 Torbay Council elections with policies that either endorse the Mayor’s budget – Conservatives and UKIP – or share a different set of priorities – Liberal Democrats, Labour & some Independents

If you feel you can contribute to helping others do get involved whatever your politics.  Volunteer to help one of the hundreds of charities and voluntary organisations active in the Bay and/or join the political party closest to your views.

Your involvement could make a big difference and my office on 200036 can give you information and contact details of any organisations you might be interested in helping, or information on what is required to stand for election to the Council.

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This week I had one of the worst dilemmas every football supporter has nightmares about.

Torquay could be battling it out with Exeter City to avoid relegation and our derby game on April 21st at St James Park (not the real one) could be a true six pointer.  But here’s my dilemma.

From an early age I have viewed Plymouth Argyle, the big Division Two team in my childhood, as the enemy, and when they have played Exeter City, the little Division Four club that used to be a division below Torquay, have temporarily become a Grecian fan for 90 minutes.

On Tuesday I really didn’t know who to support given any points won by Exeter at Home Park could condemn the Gulls to Blue Square football next season.

At the time of writing I don’t know the result, but suspect I’ll be able to console myself whatever the result, either because it helps Torquay or denies Argyle a win.

One Devon team I have no trouble supporting at the moment are the Exeter Chiefs, a great advertisement for rugby and a fantastic example to the whole county that there are no glass ceilings to what we can achieve.