May 21, 2013 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Bill Esterson



In parliament, I asked a question about the level of business rates. This is because a number of people who run small businesses in Formby, Crosby and Maghull have told me that the cost of rent and rates is one of the biggest challenges they face in surviving the continuing tough economic situation. And of course the higher the rent and rates, the less money that is available to employ staff. 

Businesses can appeal to the Valuation Office Agency but businesses in Sefton Central are having to wait sometimes for several years while this government agency considers their cases. 

The government could make a real difference to small businesses by speeding up the appeal process which could see a cut in the rates paid and which could make the difference between success and failure when margins are tight and when people running their own business and the people who work for them are struggling to make ends meet. I shall continue to press the government on issues which can help people running small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy and which are a key driver in the economic recovery which is so desperately needed.


Formby Pool is a superb facility and of course so much more than a pool. It is one of the many superb attractions in Formby. 

The efforts to promote what happens in Formby by businesses, the parish council and by borough councillors will hopefully encourage visitors to make the most of what the town has to offer from the beach and pinewoods to the fantastic range of shops, bars and restaurant. Formby is of course well known for its Viking ancestry and the Viking festival in October promises to be a celebration of the history of the are.


The Queen’s Speech was an opportunity for the government to grow the economy, create jobs and deal with the growing crisis in the NHS. The speech mentioned jobs and growth but none of the measures proposed by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition are going to help with jobs and growth. Meanwhile, there is a growing crisis in the NHS with waiting times at A&E going through the roof and cuts in the number of nurses. All of which puts enormous pressure on NHS staff doing their best under extreme pressure. 

And of course both Lydiate and Crosby ambulance stations are under threat due to "financial constraints". Cuts to councils of 40% across Merseyside also mean that there are fewer staff in social services and the re-organisation of the health service means that crucial services to help people to leave hospital and go home or into supported accommodation are just not in place for the number of people who need them. 

This is very firmly the result of the approach taken by the government and that is without mentioning the way that a dramatic increase in the level of competition has opened the way to the widespread privatisation of our NHS.

 

Urgent action is needed on jobs, growth, the cost of electricity, gas, petrol and diesel. The NHS is in crisis. Yet the Conservative Party has decided to spend its time banging on about Europe. 

The Tories really are obsessed with Europe and at war with each other as their vote criticising their own government programme showed. People tell me they want the government to concentrate on improving their living standards and sorting out the problems in the NHS. 

Labour would make jobs, growth and the NHS our priorities. Sadly with this government that just in not going to happen.