Category: Politics

Covid Watch – Boris Johnson imposes a national lockdown – we must keep our community and town thriving and faith in ourselves

We shouldn’t be here but here we are. Yet again political leaders have dithered in the face of that the epidemic is getting out of control. That happened in March. It has happened again this November. The second lockdown will last until December. A month’s shutdown is expected. The main story is known. Hospitality and leisure businesses, barber hairdressers and nail fashioners must close by midnight on Wednesday. You won’t be able to buy a new car either, except online. The shielded are being told to shy away from society again, though we won’t know the details of their restrictions until tomorrow. Ludlow Town Council can help reduce the impact of this second lockdown by keeping Ludlow Market open. Shropshire Council can help by keeping our town and inter-town buses running.

Covid Watch: Shropshire businesses step in after our county’s MPs shamefully vote against proving free school meals in holidays

Earlier this week, all five Shropshire MPs voted against giving children from poorer families school meals during school holidays. The MPs, who seem not to know what it is like to be on the poverty line, think families can thrive on Universal Credit. It was their “let them eat cake moment”. The MPs include Philip Dunne who has recently taken on a part-time job alongside his supposedly fulltime job as Ludlow’s MP. Fortunately, cafes, restaurants and businesses around the county have stepped in and are offering food to families with children who qualify for free school meals. Our communities are stepping up just as our MPs step down from their responsibilities.

Challenge ahead for MP Philip Dunne as he takes lead of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Former minister and Ludlow MP since 2005, Philip Dunne has been elected chair of the environmental audit committee (EAC) by follow MPs. I congratulate him. His predecessor was Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield who lost her seat in November’s general election. Under Creagh’s leadership, EAC was forthright, challenging the government on many of its policies and bringing new issues to the its attention. Dunne himself says Creagh will be a hard act to follow.

This article was first published on Lib Dem Voice and got a mixed reception… Last week’s report from the National Audit Office contained no surprises. But it was still devasting for High Speed 2. The complexity of the project was underestimated. Costs are ballooning. Value for money is deflating. The political uncertainty surrounding the project, especially the northern sections, will load more costs. It is “impossible to estimate with certainty” how much HS2 will eventually cost, the auditors conclude. But it will be north of £100bn. That dwarfs into insignificance the cost of a third runway at Heathrow. The drain on public finances is not the main problem. HS2 is environmentally destructive. Far from being green, it will destroy centuries old biodiverse landscapes. It will take a century for the scheme to pay back the carbon and environmental costs of construction.

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