Posts Tagged 'politics'

A Rare Blow Struck Against the Supermarkets

I was delighted to read a week or so ago that North Norfolk District Council (and a local farmer called Clive Hay-Smith), had combined forces to prevent Tesco moving into the centre of the market town of Sheringham.

The issue of multinationals and their impact on local economies is one we cannot afford to ignore. Here in Brighton & Hove we are quite rightly nationally renowned for our sheer number and variety of small independent retailers, and if even half of these disappeared our economy would be in real trouble. Therefore, I think it is vitally important that local politicians stand up and make a statement on this issue wherever possible.

I would be the first to recognise the benefits that the Tesco and Sainsburys of this world have brought to consumers over the years in terms of improved choice and value for money. However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing influence that they are exerting in Brighton & Hove and, indeed, across the country as a whole. For example, we are seeing an increasing number of smaller ‘Express’ style stores popping up across the City which invariably apply for late licenses to sell alcohol. Well, in common with many towns and cities across the country we have a real problem with alcohol-related health problems and anti-social behaviour and in my opinion, the last thing we should be doing is making it easier for people to get hold of cheap (and strong) drink.

And just yesterday, we saw that Sainsbury’s tried to get away with installing a new shop frontage on their Western Road store before getting planning permission from the Council. We have told them to go away and think again but this is by no means the first time that this sort of thing has happened.

I have been involved in local politics for many years now and I am increasingly getting a real sense of power and control draining away from local communities, of someone else pulling the strings – whether that is central Government, the EU, regional quangos or large multinational companies.

As a Conservative, I believe very strongly in the localist principle that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people affected by them. North Norfolk District Council has struck a rare blow for local democracy, for the powerless against the powerful. I hope that it is the first of many more to come.

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My political priorities for 2010

Towards the end of last week I announced 10 actions that I want the council to deliver during the next 12 months. These are practical measures that I hope will inspire a renewed spirit of civic pride and will create a city of opportunity. The new programme will focus on the following areas:

1. Better Homes – improve housing in the city and build more affordable family homes

2. Stronger Communities – create stronger communities by focusing on encouraging people at the grassroots to have more say in shaping their communities and our city

3. Civic Renewal – protect and respect our heritage

4. World Class City – build on our reputation as a great place to live, work and visit

5. Community Safety – create safer and more cohesive communities that are resilient to the blight of crime and anti-social behaviour

6. Young people – creating opportunities so young people can meet their aspirations and potential

7. City Circle – ensure older people feel connected with their communities

8. First Class Education – continue to build on our strong education results

9. Sustainable City – promote Brighton & Hove as a sustainable city

10. Sustainable Economy – create a competitive and sustainable local economy

Read the full speech


council twitterfeed

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