News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Registering of Voluntary Groups Debate
A number of residents and representatives of local churches have been concerned this week about proposals requiring groups having contact with a child for over 6 hours a week to register with OFSTED\Local Councils.
The proposal is linked to Government efforts to combat the promotion of extremist views, yet it is safe to say that during a debate held on Wednesday most MPs speaking felt this was a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It was also pointed out that few looking to spread a violent ideology to children are likely to register their effort to do so with the local Councillor OFSTED, regardless of the rules in place.
Has Your Dog Got Their Chip?
From 6 April 2016 the law concerning dogs and microchips is changing, so its time to make sure your dog has a chip in their shoulder so to speak.
This new law will state that all dogs, over the age of 8 weeks, will be required to have been implanted with a working microchip and that up to date contact details of their owners are available on a registered database. If the microchip and contact details are not in place dog owners could face a fine of up to £500!
The change in law has been put in place to try and reduce the number of stray dogs that cannot be reunited with their owners due to there being no way of identifying who the dog belongs to. It will also make it easier to prosecute those who treat dogs cruelty and act as a deterrent to dog theft.
Running up to the new legislation being introduced, some veterinary practices around the country have been offering free or reduced cost micro-chipping. Check with your local vet to find out more about this as they may have special offers available.
Torre Traffic Reversal Works Begin
The first part of the major scheme to reverse the flow of traffic through Torre has started.
The works are expected to be completed by the end of March and will then allow vehicles more direct access to Torquay town centre.
The first part of the scheme is taking place at the traffic signal junction of Tor Hill Road and Abbey Road, locally known as Central Church. Provision will be made to allow outbound traffic from Castle Circus to turn right into Tor Hill Road.
Between now and March further works will be undertaken at the junctions of Teignmouth Road, Upton Road (Brunswick Square), Union Street, Laburnham Row and Union Street. Traffic flow will be finally reversed in Union Street prior to the forthcoming Spring.
In addition to these works the Hearld Express published a list of upcoming works on their website this week which you can find by clicking here.
Latest Unemployment Figures
The latest data was published this week and confirmed that the number claiming the key unemployment benefits in our area is lower than this time last year.
The total number of unemployed claimants in Torbay constituency in December 2015 was 1,255. This represents a rate of 2.8% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 214th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.) The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.4%.
The total number of claimants (both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit) is 166 lower than in December 2014 and 68 higher than in November 2015. That said these figures are not seasonally adjusted so the month to month figure does vary based on cycles in our tourism and retail industries.
Check Your State Pension Today
Whether you are approaching retirement age or many years away from it, it is always worth checking out what your State Pension is likely to be worth and when it will be paid.
The new State Pension will be introduced for those retiring on or after the 6th April 2016. This will create a single tier state pension, removing the old additional state pension system. The ability to “contract out” in terms of NI contributions will also be abolished.
If you are over 55 you can order a personalised state pension statement and if under 55 a handy calculator on the Government website will give you an estimate. Just click here to find the relevant pages.
The calculator also gives details of what age it is currently expected your state pension will be paid at, although these ages are regularly reviewed. It is worth noting that the state pension age is rising and following a decision in 2007 will ultimately hit 68 in 2046, with increases in pension ages for women and men continuing over the next 6 years following decisions in 1995 & 2011.
Government Money To Tackle Rogue Landlords
There was good news for efforts to crack down on rogue landlords as the government announced today that Torbay Council was one of 48 that would be sharing a £5m fund to do this.
Torbay will get £90,000 for this work and you can read more by clicking here. It is good to see this money coming to the bay to deal with the minority of landlords who set out to exploit their tenants and give a bad name to the majority who provide a good service.
Diabetes Report Published
The Public Accounts Committee today published its report on the way our NHS manages adult diabetes services.
During the work undertaken it was clear to myself and other members of the committee that major improvements are needed. In an era when rising obesity levels are driving increases in diabetes it is becoming all the more urgent to get these services right.
You can read the full report, plus the Committee’s recommendations, by clicking here.
Need Help to Have a Warm Home
At this time of year it can be very noticeable if your home is not well insulated or your heating system is out of date.
There is lots of helpful advice, along with information about some grants that are available to help make your home warmer on the Cosy Devon website. Just click here to be taken to it.
Can you Help Paignton Picture House Trust?
Despite being one of Paignton’s historic gems the old Picture House has been out of bounds to the public for nearly 17 years, yet work is now underway to get it open again.
The picture house trust is now looking for volunteers with a range of skills to help move this project forward and there are two areas where they need particular assistance. These are getting up in the air to clear out gutters and carry out some holding repairs. The other is administrative and secretarial support.
They would be particularly pleased to hear from anyone with a cherry-picker they could use.
If you feel you can help, please get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
28 Jan, 10am-12pm: Armed Forces Coffee Morning, Hookhills Community Centre, Paignton. This has been set up to support and bring together members of the armed forces, past and present, and their families. Any serving member of the armed forces, veterans or their loved ones are welcome to come to this free event and share experiences over coffee.
28 Jan, 7.30pm: Paignton Society Talks – John Mann presents a nostalgia film of Paignton and the surrounding area. Gerston Christian Centre, Gerston Place, Paignton. Tickets via Tony Moss on 01803 556969.