Not for the first time, Janet and I went to Taza Indian Buffet for an extremely late lunch yesterday. Taza plays lots of 70s stuff and this from Simon May - long forgotten - was played.
Simon May is a British musician and composer, best known for composing some of British television's best known theme tunes, including EastEnders and Howards' Way, and for composing the music for the 1988 film The Dawning.
But not remembered for "Summer Of My Life" - but for me it brings back memories of a hot summer in 1976!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Not for the first time, Janet and I went to Taza Indian Buffet for an extremely late lunch yesterday. Taza plays lots of 70s stuff and this from Simon May - long forgotten - was played.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
It is clear that all parties on the Council wish to see the Council Tax held to as reasonable a figure as possible and hopefully a freeze in the charge at 2008/9 levels.
The city council's Labour/LibDem administration has been working hard to achieve this and it was both productive and useful for the group leaders of all the parties on the council to meet to discuss the matter and hopefully find a positive route forward in advance of the budget being set on 12th February.
I am certainly hoping that this dialogue continues in the run up to the budget setting day and that cross-party agreement can be reached for the good of the City.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
As you will recall from my email two weeks ago, we warned the SNP that this Budget was an inadequate response to the economic situation currently facing facing Scotland. We warned that without the radical changes necessary to support the economy, we would vote down this Budget.
Yet the SNP budget put to the Scottish Parliament for consideration today was only one per cent different from their original Budget of 2007. A variation of one per cent forms the weakest response of any Western European Government, national or devolved, to the economic difficulties we face in 2009.
The SNP budget, supported by the Conservatives, was woefully inadequate and the Liberal Democrats simply could not support measures that do not respond to the ferocity of the economic storm. We proposed a 2p income tax cut that would put £330 in the pockets of every low and medium earner in Scotland. It would be a real help to struggling families and individuals when they need it most.
Our door remains open and I will keep you up to date over the coming days.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The public anger at the BBC's position was made terribly clear by the huge turnout in London last Saturday - see above.
Please sign by Avaaz petition on the issue by clicking on the headline above.
Monday, January 26, 2009
For the first time in Scotland a Bus Punctuality Improvement Partnership between local councils and bus operators has been set up to help make journeys more efficient.
Dundee City and Angus councils have teamed up with National Express Dundee and Stagecoach with the support of the Scottish Government to run the pilot, and today it was given its formal launch in City Square.
Leading figures in the industry including transport minister, Stewart Stevenson, and Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken were at the launch to witness the official partnership signing ceremony.
David May, convener of Angus Council's infrastructure services committee said: "I am delighted that Angus Council has entered into this partnership and hope that it will bring about significant improvements for bus users.
Mr Stevenson said: "I welcome the signing of this important partnership project which will improve bus services for the travelling public and lead to quicker and more reliable services.
"The collaborative work between Dundee City Council, Angus Council, National Express Dundee and Stagecoach has been excellent and I would encourage other local authorities and bus companies to follow their lead and undertake similar projects in the future to achieve the improvements in bus services in Scotland that we all want to see."
Lawrence Davie, managing director of National Express Dundee said, "Working in partnership with the city council will enable us to improve the bus service in Dundee.
"Together we will continue to make improvements and make this an excellent service that the people deserve."
Charlie Mullen, Managing Director, Stagecoach Fife and Strathtay, said: "Punctual and reliable bus services are crucial if we are to encourage people to switch from the car to public transport. Stagecoach has already been at the forefront of introducing new technology on all of its buses in Scotland in support of the Scottish Government's concessionary travel scheme.
After six and 12 months the data will be analysed to identify any "choke" points or parts of the route that can be speeded up.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Anyway, I heard from Glenda again today :
From: Glenda Young
Dear Cllr Macpherson
Just to let you know I’ve moved from Corrieblog and am now blogging about Coronation Street at http://coronationstreetupdates.blogspot.com/.
All the best
Glenda Young (aka Flaming Nora)
Perhaps Dundee SNP should, in light of this, consider reimbursing the City Council with the cost of administering the Lochee Ward by-election just over a year ago, as clearly, given the following quote from Mr Don :
"There are nine constituencies in the north east region, and the SNP has constituency members in six of them. The three which we don't are West Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen South. At a practical level, my job is to cover those kinds of areas."
... he dumped Dundee in order to help the SNP in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire!
NEWS RELEASE : Dundee councillor slams “scandal” of MSP’s mortgage interest claims from the taxpayer
Following revelations in a Sunday newspaper today, Dundee City Liberal Democrat Councillor for the West End, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, has called the actions of SNP MSP Nigel Don in selling his Dundee home, then purchasing a house in Aberdeen, making himself eligible for nearly £700 a month from the taxpayer to pay his mortgage on a third property in Edinburgh, “a scandal.”
Cllr Macpherson said, “In his interview with the press, Mr Don made clear that he moved his family home from Dundee to Aberdeen in the knowledge that, as Aberdeen is far enough away from Edinburgh to allow MSPs to get a mortgage subsidy from the taxpayer on his Edinburgh flat. Indeed, he said the moves were “co-ordinated” – it appears SNP MSP Mr Don has dumped Dundee and taken advantage of the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance at the same time, and the taxpayer is the loser.”
Cllr Macpherson said that, in addition to the natural outcry from taxpayers at the way advantage has been taken of the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, he was also deeply concerned at the cynical approach the SNP appeared to be taking at representing the people of the North East of Scotland.
In speaking to a Sunday newspaper, Mr Don said that, rather than represent the whole of North East Scotland, which is what he was elected to do, he admitted,
“There are nine constituencies in the north east region, and the SNP has constituency members in six of them. The three which we don't are West Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen South. At a practical level, my job is to cover those kinds of areas."
Cllr Macpherson said, “It appears that Nigel Don has no intention of properly representing the whole of the region he was elected to represent. He has admitted that he thinks his job is to cover areas where the SNP doesn’t represent the area at constituency level.
Leaving aside the obvious concern that SNP MSPs are robots controlled by party headquarters and told to up sticks and move from where they have lived for 20 years, simply to help SNP campaigning, Mr Don has used the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance to assist him to do so. It is an absolute scandal and shows the cynicism of the SNP in terms of the way they approach representing the electorate.”
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Such action is necessary to ensure that there are systems in place to ensure that this sort of continual heating breakdown problem does not happen to another tenant in the future.
There is more on this issue in this morning's "Courier" - you can read this by clicking on the headline above.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Mr Melville, who lives in Ancrum Place in the West End Ward, has suffered continual heating breakdowns since December 2007 and both today's Courier and Evening Telegraph covered the issue. You can read the Tele article by clicking on the headline above.
As I said to the Tele :
"I was most concerned to hear of Mr Melville’s situation.
"I will be making enquiries to the housing department as a matter of urgency to find out exactly what has gone wrong on this occasion and to ensure that whatever problems are pinpointed are fixed permanently.
"For a pensioner to suffer without heating in the winter is totally unacceptable."
I received the following feedback from the Housing Department this afternoon by e-mail :
Central Heating Defects
Arising from the press article contained in today's Courier this report outlines the background and the current action being taken to deal with the defective heating system.
A new central heating system was installed in Mr Melville's home in June 2007. Initially the heating system was working satisfactorily.
Between December 2007 and March 2008 Mr Melville experienced difficulties with the system, there were 6 reports of either no heating or no heating/hot water. In each instance repairs were completed as necessary.
In September 2008 Mr Melville began again to report difficulties with the system and over September to December 2008 there were 7 reports of no heating or no heating/hot water and 1 report of a leak. Again repairs were completed as necessary, including an investigation of the central heating radiator pipework for leaks.
However, due to the difficulties being experienced with the system and the frequency of these the problem was referred to the boiler manufacturer Ferroli in December 2008. Apparently there were problems in Ferroli making access arrangements which has delayed an inspection report on the boiler and effective remedial action being implemented. This has led to Mr Melville continuing to report another 3 instances of no heating/hot water in January 2009.
In view of the persistent problems Mr Melville has experienced with the heating system and the inconvenience he has suffered a new boiler will be installed immediately and Mr Melville has been offered alternative accomodation until Monday 26th January whilst the new system is being fitted. In addition Mr Melville will be compensated for any additional heating costs as a result of having to use electric heaters.
We will continue to pursue the problems with the boiler manufacturer Ferroli.
Director of Housing
Whilst I am relieved at the action now finally being taken to get Mr Melville a new boiler, alternative accommodation whilst it is fitted and compensation, I am very concerned that the matter has dragged on for such a prolonged period. It is of the greatest concern that an elderly person has been left without adequate heating.
I have immediately responded to the Director of Housing stating given that her own report states there were some 13 reports of either no heating or no heating/hot water from December 2007 to December 2008, I am very surprised that it took a year to refer the matter to the boiler manufacturer Ferroli and would like an explanation as to why this was the case.
It is not only very important that Mr Melville's heating is resolved fully very urgently but that the City Council ensures that no other elderly tenant is ever in this situation of prolonged heating breakdowns.
As the City Council's Administration Group met tonight, I took the opportunity to speak with both the Housing Convener and the Director of Housing about the issue and seek assurances that a repetition of this cannot occur.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I have given my views in tonight's "Evening Telegraph" - here is the news release I issued :
NEWS RELEASE : COUNCILLOR WELCOMES NEW WEST END SCHOOLS PROPOSAL
Dundee City Councillor for the West End, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, who is also the City’s Planning & Transport Convener, has welcomed news of the proposal to build two new primary schools in the West End, saying that new schools to replace the current Park Place and St Joseph’s Primary Schools were much needed and the proposals showed the commitment of the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration to continue to improve the school estate in Dundee.
Cllr Macpherson said, "I hope that City Councillors will approve the West End news schools proposals and those for Lochee and Charleston at next Monday’s meeting. The Labour/LibDem administration is making every effort to continue schools building projects in the City and it is important that we now consult with the local schools communities on the proposals.
"I would contrast the action of the City Council administration with the inaction of the SNP administration at Holyrood – it has removed the public private partnership funding but has failed utterly to replace it with anything that actually delivers anything.
"Had we still had an additional funding mechanism, even more could be done in Dundee to build further new schools, and I think it is about time the SNP stopped welcoming others’ initiatives and their Scottish Government provided additional funding including level playing field support to allow us to improve Dundee’s school estate even further."
Monday, January 19, 2009
The revised application had some improvements in relation to rendering, car parking and the car access for those living in the Hillside Terrace area, but, in my view, did not fully address the issues, particularly the traffic impact on Glamis Drive/Invergowrie Drive. The obvious solution was to make access via Ninewells Avenue, but the developer did not pursue that option.
My motion read as follows :
Application 08/00792/FUL - Wimberley Houses, Glamis Drive
Conversion of Student Accommodation to Private Housing
Reasons for Refusal
1) The proposed development contravenes Policy 4 of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 by virtue of the failure of the applicants' to provide the required level of private useable garden ground and off street car parking provision within the curtilage area of each new dwelling house proposed resulting in a standard of development that would not be commensurate with the quality of housing located in the surrounding area.
2) The proposed development will result in a significant increase in demand for on-street car parking in the surrounding suburban streets to the detriment of the environmental qualities currently enjoyed by local residents and the road traffic and pedestrian safety of the area.
On this occasion, the vote was lost by two votes, which will be of concern to the objectors, concerned about traffic impact and residential amenity.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
"Canine Partners, a charity whose highly-trained dogs assist people with disabilities to enjoy greater independence and a better quality of life, now has a presence in Scotland.
Puppies are currently being trained in Angus and soon you will have the opportunity to see examples of their training in Dundee.
For further details of their work log on to www.caninepartners.co.uk or for a local contact e-mail Sheila Roy at email@example.com."
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I think it should be incumbent on mobile phone companies to ensure they do all they can to find sites away from residential areas, schools and playparks and was unconvinced that Vodafone had exhausted all possible alternative locations.
It is unfortunate that this mast is to be placed in a residential area and I am disappointed at the Reporter’s decision - another example of the decision of a democratically elected and accountable committee being overturned by the non-elected and appointed Reporter.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The SNP Government's Budget is only one per cent different in the choices it makes from the figures published in the Spending Review of October 2007.
That was well before what Finance Secretary John Swinney has described as an "economic storm" engulfed Scotland. A variation of one per cent forms the weakest response of any Western European Government, national or devolved, to the economic difficulties we face in 2009.
We believe that the economic downturn, unprecedented since the Scottish Parliament was established, requires a distinct Scottish approach. To address the collapse of consumer confidence and the real hardship being faced we argued for a two pence reduction in income tax.
River Crescent Residents' Association has pointed out that the difficulties turning out of River Crescent into Perth Road would be eased by the speed reduction, leaving aside the obvious point that a 40mph limit is inappropriate in what has long become a residential area.
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL (PERTH ROAD, RIVERSIDE DRIVE AND NINEWELLS AVENUE, DUNDEE) (VARIATION OF SPEED LIMITS) ORDER 2009
Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to improve safety by reducing the current 40 mph speed limit to 30 mph.
Full details of the proposals are contained in the draft Order, which together with a Statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order may be examined during normal office hours and without payment of fee at Dundee City Council offices, Reception, Floor 4, 21 City Square, Dundee by any person, during a period of 21 days from 16 January 2009.
Any person may within 21 days from 16 January 2009 object to the proposed Order by notice in writing to the Depute Chief Executive (Support Services), Dundee City Council, 21 City Square, Dundee. Objections should state the name and address of the objector, the matters to which they relate and the grounds on which they are made.
Depute Chief Executive (Support Services)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The investigatory works required marking the different utilities piping, jointing, etc on the street – with different utilities in different colours – leaving the road and pavement something of a patchwork of coloured markings, detracting from the look of the street.
Following complaints from residents about the paint mess, I was initially advised that the markings should be temporary and should fade after about 2 or 3 months. However, much of the markings are still there – Council Officers have advised me that this is because of the relatively low volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and possibly milder weather.
“Carillion has decided to remove all the paint spays in Thomson Street (to the best of their ability and to the degree possible) during the next week and are confident that they can finish this work by the end of (this) week (weather permitting).”
With regard to the investigatory works on the water main, it is understood that any replacement works have been deferred by Scottish Water until the 2010/11 financial year.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Subjects covered include :
* Graffiti – Magdalen Green and surrounding area
* Speed Limit – western end of Perth Road
* Network Rail Mast
* West End Christmas Week De-Brief Meeting
* Ground at High Mill
* Paint on road and pavements in Thomson Street
* Former Homebase site
* Handrail Seafield Road
* Fencing at rail line
* Hawkhill by-pass at Hunter Street junction
* Tay Rope Works Planning Inquiry
The Community Council meeting takes place this Tuesday at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall.
You can download a copy of my update by clicking on the headline above.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Today, a useful meeting of LibDem activists in Perth, which a Dundee LibDem colleague and I attended. I'm pictured above with George Lyon, the leading Scottish Liberal Democrat for next June's European Election, who delivered the keynote address today. You can read more about George and his campaign by clicking on the headline above.
And ... an equally busy week ahead - council committees start again tomorrow and I also have the Tay Rope Works Planning Inquiry to appear at on Tuesday, together with a residents' association meeting, a meeting at Dundee Airport, a West End Christmas Week de-brief meeting and various visits to constituents during next week.
The roundabout is significantly overgrown and I received concerns from residents that it is difficult for pedestrians crossing the Hawkhill by-pass to see on-coming traffic.
This is a busy area, with many pedestrians crossing, particularly students and staff going to the University of Dundee and it is important that there is good visibility.
The response received from the City Council said:
"I agree that some trimming of vegetation is required especially where visibility to the south west is indeed substandard for pedestrians."
The response also confirmed that the Council is investigating the provision of an additional pedestrian crossing to the east side of the roundabout, to be provided later in 2009.
The response continues :
"Early investigations favour placing a dual crossing to the east of the roundabout (downhill side) but at an appropriate distance from it - probably near the end of the splitter island. The detail design will be brought forward in February / March and details such as the exact location of a crossing in relation to the bus bay on the south side can then be investigated, together with more detailed cost estimates which can influence project delivery."
Residents will welcome an additional crossing at this part of the Hawkhill by-pass given the flow of pedestrians crossing in the area. I understand it is targeted to provide this by late Summer, but this will be subject to site investigations and confirmation.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
I am disappointed that Network Rail has not taken heed of the advice of the City Council’s Director of Planning and Transportation to minimise the visual impact of the mast, which has been sited next to the Riverside Drive ambassador route, a principal entry point to the City Centre.
I have written a letter of complaint to Network Rail’s Town Planning Department and I have already received an assurance from the company’s Public Relations Manager in Scotland that my complaint is being investigated.
Back in June of last year, Network Rail’s Town Planning Department wrote to the City Council advising that the company was erecting a number of railway communications masts in the area.
I have been advised that these have permitted development rights and do not require planning permission from the local planning authority, but the company must write to the local authority to see if has any views on the siting of a mast.
The Director of Planning & Transportation’s response to Network Rail had made clear that “the proposal should be sited in such a way as to minimise its visual potential impact when viewed from the road to the south which is a principal entry route to the city.”
In my letter to Network Rail I state :
"Now that the mast has been erected, I write on behalf of constituents who have complained about its visual effect, to express my concern that no heed was taken of the view expressed in the response by the Director of Planning and Transportation, as the mast has been sited in such a way as it had a significantly detrimental effect on the streetscape to the immediate north of the Riverside Drive ambassador route into the City Centre.
"Whilst I appreciate you had permitted development rights to erect this structure, I would have hoped that some cognisance of the feedback from the City Council as the local planning authority would have been taken. … I would be grateful if you could explain why such an approach was not taken."
Given the large areas of ground owned by Network Rail to either side of the rail line running through the City, it would have been easily possible to site the mast well away from the busy ambassador route as well as away from residential areas and it is disappointing that Network Rail has not done so.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Residents and I had contacted the City Council regarding the badly overgrown condition of the ground south of Steven’s Yard near to High Mill. The ground had become highly overgrown and residents were rightly complaining about the eyesore.
The ground has been subject to a previous planning application for 2 dwellings which was refused by the City Council – the decision to refuse was upheld by the Scottish Government Reporter in 2007 (click on headline above for further details).
The photo below shows the partly completed tidying works.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Nearly 153 000 visitors later, I am most grateful to everyone who regularly reads the site and also to everyone who has e-mailed me with comments and issues, particularly those related to West End of Dundee matters.
Feedback is always gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report seeking authority to progress matters in terms at looking at costs/feasibility of a site north of the West Pitkerro Industrial Estate will come before the committee I chair (Planning and Transport) next Monday - and also before the Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee.
The Council has issued a news release on the matter today and I reproduce this below:
The cost and feasibility of creating a new cemetery for Dundee on land north of the West Pitkerro Industrial Estate could be investigated if councillors back the move next week.
Members of the planning and transport and leisure, arts and communities committees will consider plans for the directors of both departments to jointly evaluate the pros and cons of the site.
Fraser Macpherson, convener of the planning and transport committee said: "The search for a location for a new cemetery has been given a new impetus after the Scottish Government refused outline permission for a cemetery at the Linlathen site to the east of the city late last year."
His colleague Richard McCready, who is convener of the leisure, arts and communities committee added: "From the work that has been done by the council so far, the site north of West Pitkerro Industrial Estate ticks the most boxes of the options that were looked at."
Dundee has enough burial provision for the next six years, with an extra 12,000 lairs in the extension to the Birkhill Cemetery expected to ease pressure from 2010.
But almost a dozen sites that could be used to create more burial plots for the city have already been judged against a set of seven assessment criteria including accessibility, land value and planning considerations.
The area which officers want permission to investigate further offers the full potential to meet the extra cemetery requirements for the city, as well as having no known problems with its physical condition.
Investigations so far have not found any ancient or historic sites at the locations, unlike the previous site to the east which was ruled out by the Scottish Government's reporter.
The report concludes that because of this and because the land at West Pitkerro Industrial Estate would be relatively straightforward to develop further, more detailed investigations should be carried out.
Councillors will decide whether to go ahead with the next stage on Monday (January 12).
I have received quite a number of complaints about state of fencing north side of rail line at Magdalen Green – between electricity sub station and allotments – but also further west along the rail line. In particular residents were concerned about dogs getting onto the rail line.
I am therefore pleased that Network Rail has responded positively to my request that the fencing by the rail line be fully inspected and necessary repairs be undertaken.
Monday, January 05, 2009
He was responding to David Cameron's speech on the economy, in which he announced plans to scrap taxes paid by basic rate taxpayers' on savings interest and raise the level of non-taxable income for pensioners by £2,000 a year, and to Gordon Brown's interview yesterday, in which he spoke about government plans to bring forward £10bn of spending on public works, digital technology and environmental projects, claiming the programme would create 100,000 jobs.
Nick said that, to be taken seriously, David Cameron would have to identify what cuts he would make in public spending to fund his proposed tax cuts.
The Liberal Democrats remain the only party with a detailed plan on how to put Britain on a green road out of recession - see below.
Nick said, "Gordon Brown and David Cameron are con-men trying to fool the British public.
“First we have an expensive VAT cut that doesn’t help people and now the Prime Minister announces he will create 100,000 jobs without any idea of how.
“David Cameron is offering his own fake giveaway. Cutting savings tax will mean someone saving £100 will only get an extra 40p a year.
“If David Cameron is going to be taken seriously he has to identify what cuts he will make. How many fewer police officers will there be on the street and who will have a smaller pension?
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a detailed plan on how to put Britain on a green road out of recession. We have set out how we would make big, permanent and fair tax cuts, giving £1,000 in income tax cuts to families on average incomes.”
Green Road out of Recession (click on the headline above to download the LibDem plan) :
Before Christmas, Nick Clegg set out Liberal Democrat plans to put Britain on a Green Road out of the Recession, creating jobs and leaving a legacy that will save energy, put money back into people’s pockets and fight climate change.
The plans will cost £12.5bn, which would be paid for by scrapping the proposed VAT cut. The vast majority of that money will be spent immediately, making a real impact on the economy and people’s lives right away.
The Green Road out of the Recession proposals to create jobs include:
Harris Academy (Room 407) - Perth Road. Mondays - 4.50 pm prompt (except school holidays)
Blackness Primary School (Staff Room on ground floor) - Pennycook Lane. Thursdays - 6.15 pm prompt (except school holidays)
Sunday, January 04, 2009
For 2008-9, Housing Association Grant for Dundee was reduced to £7.7 million by the SNP. This represents the poorest level of allocation in years - the figures below from a parliamentary answer from the Minister for Communities and Sport shows the funding for Dundee under the previous LibDem and Labour administration :
What has been staggering has been the total silence of our SNP parliamentary representatives over the huge cut in funding to the city, caused by their own government. I think it should be incumbent upon them to explain their silence on the issue.
In April, the SNP website announced :
"Scottish local authorities will be given a £25m package to build new council houses over the next three years.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement as she addressed the SNP spring conference."
(Source : http://www.snp.org/node/13706)
Progress nine months on? In December, the First Minister was still rehashing the same announcement :
"Councils offered share of £25m housing pot
By Alex Salmond MP
Published: 02 December, 2008
LOCAL authorities in Scotland are being given the opportunity to apply for a share of £25 million to help kick start a new generation of council house building."
(Source : http://www.banffshire-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/3530/Councils_offered_share_of__A325m_housing_pot.html)
Saturday, January 03, 2009
He points out that there is no reason that Jobcentre Plus services cannot be provided in places such as community centres and council buildings.
The 2004 Government Spending Review announced an efficiency savings programme which planned to reduce the numbers of Jobcentre Plus staff by around 14 per cent and lead to dramatic changes in the way Jobcentre Plus delivered its services
The new standard operating model for claiming benefits introduced the telephone as the main route for applying for and contacting Jobcentre Plus about benefit claims. Benefit processing was centralised into a smaller number of large processing centres, resulting in reduced face to face service for claimants in local offices. Citizens Advice's evidence on the new system for claiming benefits from Jobcentre Plus said,
"The most vulnerable claimants, homeless people and those with mental health, learning or other disabilities have suffered the worst as local office support has decreased and alternatives to phone contact have been refused." (Click on headline above to view the full report).
Friday, January 02, 2009
There's a useful online facility on the Council website that allows you to select your street and then print off calendars for any of the following services provided in your area:
* Refuse Wheelie Bin (or conventional bin collection for streets that don't have wheelie collections)
* Blue Paper Recycling Bin
* Brown Garden Waste Bin
* Green Household Waste Recycling Box
You can access this by clicking on the headline above.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
The Department also makes anti-graffiti kits available to community groups which is a useful service.