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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Local MEP to Lead on Emissions Clean Up

Daniel Dalton MEP

Daniel Dalton MEP

West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton will be overseeing the European Parliament’s response to new proposals on type approval of cars in the wake of last year’s emissions scandal.

The Commission proposals published at the end of January included measures to strengthen the independence and peer review of testing centres for new cars.  A forum for exchange of best practice between national type approval and market surveillance authorities and new powers to the Commission to conduct spot-checks of cars on the road, remove substandard vehicles from the market and withdraw permission for testing centres if they are not up to scratch.

Speaking after his appointment as Draftsman of the European Parliament’s report to scrutinise and amend the Commission proposals, Conservative MEP Mr Dalton said, “A lot of people have asked me how the emissions scandal happened in the EU, and why the US authorities had to do our job for us in uncovering the problem.

“We need to have a more robust system in place to make sure the testing centres that approve new cars are trusted and seen as independent by consumers.  After a house, a car is usually the second biggest purchase a person can make, yet so many people were let down – both by companies, and by the system.

“I believe that, with the right law and testing in place the effectiveness of national bodies can be increased and the level of cooperation between them can be stepped up.  My priority will be restoring trust and confidence to those people who were so badly let down in the past, and I believe that can be achieved without excessive centralisation towards the European Commission.”

Posted in Enviroment, Parliament, UK | Tagged , , ,

Tamworth Aiming for ‘Dementia Friendly’ Status

dementiaWork towards making Tamworth a ‘dementia friendly community’ is now under way, after the proposal received unanimous, cross-party support from Tamworth Borough Council’s Healthier & Safer Scrutiny Committee.

Dementia friendly communities aim to help people with dementia and their carers to feel safe, supported and able to remain involved in community life.  There are more than 100 dementia friendly communities in the UK – and Tamworth is now working towards joining their ranks and achieving dementia friendly status.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Alliance co-ordinator for the West Midlands outlined to members of the Healthier & Safer Scrutiny Committee the national framework for a dementia friendly borough and what Tamworth needs to do to achieve dementia friendly status.

The first steps, which were unanimously supported by the committee, involve Tamworth Borough Council signing up to the Dementia Action Alliance initiative and arranging free dementia awareness for the Council’s senior management team, frontline staff and all elected members.

The committee will also talk to families of dementia patients to find out what the major issues they face are, as well as continuing to work very closely with the Alzheimer’s Society.

Working towards and achieving dementia friendly status in Tamworth will help to provide the best possible services to vulnerable members of the community, as well as raising awareness of dementia.  Shops and businesses of all types throughout the borough will also be encouraged to offer training to their staff on working with people with dementia.

Cllr Andrew James, Chairman of the Healthier & Safer Scrutiny Committee, said, “It is pleasing that the proposal to proceed with dementia friendly community status for Tamworth received unanimous support from all members of the Council’s Healthier & Safer Scrutiny Committee.  Tamworth has an aging population and this was highlighted in a recent report naming the Borough as the number one place for retirement.

“It is crucial that we get the public and private sector in Tamworth involved in working towards dementia friendly community status, whether it is by getting Council staff, businesses and residents trained as dementia friends or by signing up local organisations, businesses and Tamworth Borough Council to the Dementia Action Alliance initiative.

“It could take up to a year to make Tamworth a dementia friendly community, but the Healthier & Safer Scrutiny Committee is focused on getting the process right.  Many local residents will know somebody, either a relative or friend, who has some form of dementia and we want Tamworth to be dementia friendly to help both the sufferers and their carers today and in the future, when we are told the numbers will increase.”

All the dementia awareness training session are free and will have no cost to Tamworth Borough Council, individuals and businesses.

Posted in Andrew James, Borough / County Council, Community, Health, Tamworth, UK | Tagged , , , , , ,

Councils in England to get £300m Extra over Next Two Years

cashCouncils across England likely to be hardest hit by cuts to central government funding are to be given an extra £300m over the next two years.

Local Government Secretary Greg Clark MP announced the “transitional” cash in a statement to Parliament, saying he had listened to the concerns of councils.  He also announced what he said was a £90m increase in funding for rural councils in 2017.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Clark said the provisional local government settlement announced in December – which outlined cuts to central government funding of 6.7% between 2016 and 2020 – would go ahead as planned following a public consultation.

Mr Clark said the state of the public finances meant that any change to the pace of cuts was “extraordinarily difficult” but he said he would be offering additional financial support to councils likely to suffer the “sharpest reduction” in funding in the first two years.

“I will make additional resources available in the form of transitional grant as proposed in the response to the consultation by colleagues in local government,” he said.  “The grant will be worth £150m a year paid over the first two years.”

Mr Clark said £32.7m of this funding would be available to rural councils.  Coming on top of a five-fold rise in the value of the services delivery grant from £15.5m to £80.5m in 2017, he said an extra £93m in total would be available to meet the concerns of rural councils.

“This proposal means there is no deterioration in government funding for rural areas compared with urban areas for the years of this statutory settlement,” he told MPs.

Posted in Borough / County Council, England, Parliament | Tagged , , , ,

Police Appeal for Tamworth Girl Not Seen For Eight Days

Missing Tamworth girl Sinead McCluskeyStaffordshire’s Police Officers are increasingly concerned as to the whereabouts of a 17-year-old girl who has not been seen for eight days.

Sinead McCluskey, from the Bolehall area of Tamworth, was last seen at around mid-day on Sunday, January 31, when she said she was going to stay with a friend but she did not arrive.

Sinead is described as a white female, 5ft 1 inch tall with brown shoulder length hair that she sometimes wears in a ponytail.  She was last seen wearing a short green parker-style coat with a hood, blue jeans and white trainers.

Sinead has links to various areas of Tamworth and Warwickshire.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident 129 of February 2.

Posted in Community, England, Staffordshire, Tamworth | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year 2016

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Tamworth Conservatives Call on Labour Party to Come Clean over Missing Hospital Petition

CCG report to SCC Health CommitteeTamworth Conservatives are calling on the Labour Party to open an investigation after a petition run by a Labour County Councillor was not handed to the CCG.

Carol Dean, who was also Labours candidate in the General Election organised a petition against changes at Tamworth Hospital minor injuries unit.

The Labour councillor claimed to have ran a high profile campaign against changes to hospital services.

Her Twitter profile also carries pictures of her and many Labour activist and Councillors collecting signatures on the petition, both before and after the General Election.

However, it has emerged that, according to the South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Groups report to Staffordshire County Councils Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee on 19th January 2016, that no petition was presented by Tamworth Labour Party representatives.

The report even says that the CCG even tried to contact Carol Dean to get it handed in.

Cllr Andrew James, Tamworth Borough Council’s representative on the committee that heard the report said, “Councillors heard that a petition was presented to the CCG and there were aware of one from Tamworth Labour Party, but it has not been given to the CCG.

“What has happened to it and how, even after being chased by the CCG, can Carol Dean fail to hand it in. If I signed this petition I would be asking the Labour party serious questions.”

The issue has sparked widespread concern at Tamworth Borough Council. Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Conservatives said, “It’s shocking that someone would run a high profile campaign and then forget to hand in the petition.

“Where is the petition, has Carol Dean lost it or did she never intend to hand it in. This needs an investigation and Labour need to come clean. It’s like the “Ed Stone” saga all over again.”

Tamworth Conservatives have also raised more concerns about any personal data on the petition forms that was written by its signatories.

Cllr Pritchard added, “We will be referring this matter to the Information Commissioners Office because if this petition is lost or was collected under false pretences then it constitutes a serious breach of data protection laws.”

The full report from the CCG can be found here.

Posted in Andrew James, Borough / County Council, Community, Health, Political, Staffordshire, Tamworth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tamworth Residents Urged to ‘Clean For the Queen’

litter pickingSchools, groups, businesses and individuals in Tamworth are being encouraged to get involved in a national campaign to clean up the streets in time for the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Tamworth Borough Council is backing the national ‘Clean For the Queen’ campaign and is calling on people throughout the borough to organise and take part in litter picks over the weekend of March 4 to 6, ahead of the Queen’s birthday on April 21.

Coton Green, Hanbury’s Farm, St Gabriel’s and Two Gates primary schools have already pledged their support, as well as the Town Wall and Hodge Lane Conservation Groups.

Tamworth Borough Council will be supporting the litter picks by supplying rubbish bags and taking the rubbish away once it has been collected.  There is a limited supply of litter picking kits, which are available on a first come, first served basis.

Cllr Robert Pritchard, Tamworth Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, said, “Our Street Scene teams are out and about every day cleaning up the borough, but Clean For the Queen is a great way to help give Tamworth that extra-special spring clean in time for the Queen’s 90th birthday.

“We are looking to support as many groups as possible carry out a clean-up in their area, be it a park, playing fields, estate, canal towpath, cycleway or nature reserve and we are hoping that we hope every part of Tamworth joins together in keeping Tamworth clean and tidy.

“So if you are a church, school, community group, sports club, community-minded local business, residents association or just an active local champion in your area, please get in touch and help us Clean For the Queen.”

Anyone who would like to sign up to take part in ‘Clean For the Queen’ in Tamworth is asked to contact Andy Smith for more details and to register and click here for more details on the national ‘Clean For the Queen’ campaign.

Posted in Borough / County Council, Community, England, UK | Tagged , , , , ,