Friday, January 21, 2005

Constituency AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Barnsley West and Penistone Constituency Labour Party will take place on Friday, 28th January 2005, at 7:30pm in the Town Hall, Barnsley.

General Election

Michael Clapham, Barnsley West and Penistone MP, has organised an Election Campaign Team Meeting on Sunday, 6th February 2005 commencing 10:30am in Wortley Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss local campaign strategy. Any CLP members wishing to get involved should attend the meeting or contact his constituency office.

Lie Detectors

Nick Griffiths, government minister responsible for coal health, has rejected claims that lie detectors are to be used on former miners and their families claiming compensation for chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The denial came when the minister was being quizzed by Mick Clapham MP, who said:

As soon as he was approached by insurers about lie detectors, he immediately ruled them out. He said that the latest speech technology should be used on no account.

Insurers handling the claims had asked Mr Griffiths to consider using lie detectors. In response the Department of Trade and Industry, which is responsible for compensation claims, pointed out that of the 750,000 registered claims, only 2% have caused any suspicion.

A total of £140m in compensation has been paid to Barnsley ex-miners and their families. Mr Clapham said that the figure would increase substantially.

Council Tax

MP Mick Clapham is backing a campaign to stop pensioners missing out on council tax reductions. It is estimated that the elderly lose around £426 a year in benefits because they do not realise they are eligible for rebates.

The Barnsley MP said: Don't pay more than you need to. If you are entitled to Council Tax Benefit I want you to get every penny.

Claims may be back-dated to January 2004. For more information please phone 01226 770770.

Environmental Bill

Mick Clapham, MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, has called for the proposed Environmental Bill to be implemented swiftly as it would introduce significant new powers to help clean up Barnsley and be of great help to local communities.

Mick Clapham said: Environmental damage such as graffiti, fly-posting and general littering is a menace that is becoming all too prevalent in many communities - urban and rural.

I have often seen unwanted items, such as furniture, baths and cookers which have been dropped at the side of the road.

Fly-tipping creates or adds to community's sense of neglect and makes people fear that no one cares for their neighbourhood.

I will be working hard to make sure these measures are agreed sooner rather than later, so that the police, council and other local groups can get on with the job of making Barnsley a safer, cleaner place to live.