Welcome to my blog!

I am one of the three Tamworth Borough Councillors for the Mercian Ward, first elected in May 2011.  Do you have an issue I or any of my colleagues on Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council can help with?

Contact me by phone, e-mail or post

mobile: 07958 155 863
e-mail: Andrew-James@tamworth.gov.uk
post: c/o T.C.A., 23 Albert Road, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7JS

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Single-Sex English Classes Introduced at Southampton School

A head teacher who introduced single-sex GCSE English classes in September in a bid to improve exam results has said he is “very impressed” with the way it has been working.

Redbridge Community School in Southampton, Hampshire, introduced the new timetable for years 10 and 11, after results showed the girls were doing better than the boys.

According to the Department for Education, 42.5% of girls achieved grades 9-5 in English and Maths in 2016/17, while for boys it was 36%.

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Coming Soon – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Life Sentences for Killer Drivers

Killer drivers face life behind bars after plans to increase maximum sentences received resounding support from families and campaigners.

Ministers today confirmed that drivers who cause death by speeding, racing, or using a mobile phone could face sentences equivalent to manslaughter, with maximum penalties raised from 14 years to life.

Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face life sentences, and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be created.

The move comes after an overwhelming response to a government consultation, which revealed substantial backing for the plans from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.

Today Ministers are announcing the outcome and confirmed the introduction of much tougher penalties as part of wider action across government to clamp down on dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said, “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation.  Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”

On the new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, Dominic Raab said, “We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”

The measures were confirmed in a government response to a consultation, which will be published tomorrow (Monday 16 October 2017).  The consultation sought views on whether current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased, and received over 1,000 replies in just three days when launched in December 2016 – reaching more than 9,000 when it closed in February 2017.

The proposals confirmed today include:

  • increasing the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life
  • increasing the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life
  • creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving

In 2016, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.

Today’s announcement delivers on the government’s pledge to consider the sentencing powers available to the courts for the most serious driving offences – making sure that punishment reflects the harm caused to victims and their families.

The move forms part of government wide action to improve safety for all road users, following recent devastation caused by irresponsible motorists and dangerous cyclists.

Last month the Department for Transport (DFT) launched an urgent review to consider whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists.

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Meet the Mercian Ward Councillors on Saturday

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Goodbye Round Pound – 7 Days Left to Spend Them

As the round pound enters its final week, shoppers are today being reminded they have just seven days to use these coins before they swap the high street for the history books.

From midnight on Sunday, the round pound will lose its legal tender status and no longer be accepted in shops and restaurants.

HM Treasury and The Royal Mint are calling on people to hunt down any remaining coins and spend, bank or donate them to charity.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP, has paid tribute to the fantastic effort of the British public who have returned more than 1.2 billion old coins in the past six months.

He said, “The hard work of the British public has paid off and I am delighted that more than 1.2 billion round pound coins have been returned.  Added together, these coins match the weight of around 3,500 elephants or 900 double-decker buses.  That is a lot of coins!

“There is still time to get involved and with just a week to go, I would encourage anyone who is yet to do so to dig out their remaining coins before Sunday.

CEO and Deputy Master of The Royal Mint, Adam Lawrence, said, “The round pound has been in circulation for over thirty years but, as the deadline approaches, we are keen to encourage everyone to track down their final coins and use them.

“After the 15 October, the 12-sided £1 coin will be the only £1 coin being spent in the UK.  As the deadline is triggered, we are proud that the security features on the 12-sided £1 coin will help to safeguard our currency for years to come.”

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Drugs, Weapons and Cash Seized in Police Raids in Tamworth

Staffordshire Police have seized drugs, weapons, stolen items and cash in a series of raids at addresses in Tamworth.

Between 21 September and 1 October, five addresses in the Glascote and Belgrave areas were targeted under Misuse of Drugs Act warrants.

Among the items seized were imitation firearms, a machete, drugs believed to be heroin and cocaine, a large quantity of cannabis and around £5,000 in cash.  A number of stolen goods and mobile phones were also recovered during the operation.

Nine people were arrested and released under investigation after being interviewed.

Chief Inspector Ashley Farrington, Deputy Commander of local policing in Tamworth, said, “This was a well planned and executed exercise aimed at hitting drug supply and the criminality that supports it.  We are committed to tackling drug crime in our communities and will continue to take positive action against those who engage in such activity.

“We want to hear from people who suspect drug crime is happening in their street so we can take action.”

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Bags for Life Can Pose Food Poisoning Risk

Bags for life pose a food poisoning risk if they are used to carry raw foods such as meat and fish, a consumer watchdog is warning.

The Food Standards Agency says even if there is no leakage, packaging can harbour traces of harmful bacteria that can cause stomach bugs.

Shoppers should have separate bags for raw foods, ready-to-eat foods and household items such as detergent.

Reusable bags could be colour coded or labelled to avoid any mix-up, it says.

If there has been visible spillage, soiling or damage, plastic bags for life should be replaced, while fabric ones could be washed or cleaned.

“Even if there are no obvious spillages or staining after several uses, we would recommend that cotton/fabric bags for life be machine-washed regularly if they have been used for carrying raw items,” the FSA website recommends in an updated post…

Read the complete text

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