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Last updated:
Thursday 26 February, 2015

Thursday 26 February 2015
Labour's much talked about “Woman to Woman” campaign bus rolled into Colne on Thursday with not one, but two, female MPs on board.

Luciana Berger, (Shadow Public Health Minister) and Yvonne Fouvarge, (Shadow Children's Minister) were welcomed to Colne by Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali.  

The trio came to talk with mums and families who use the local Children's Centre to listen to their concerns about the rising costs of childcare and to discuss Labour's pledge to increase free childcare and save Sure Start Centres.

Azhar Ali said,

“It was fantastic to welcome Luciana and Yvonne to Colne, to see for themselves the amazing work that the Children's Centre does with families.

“This centre was built under a Labour Government and Labour will ensure that not only do we deliver more services in such facilities, but will increase free childcare to 25 hours per week for 4 & 5 year olds. This will help parents in returning to work and making sure that work pays.”

Saturday 21 February 2015
Ed Miliband answers the people’s questions at Nelson & Colne College

  On Thursday 19 February, the Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, joined over 250 people from across Pendle to answer questions and discuss concerns on a broad spread of issues.

The areas covered included Europe, Immigration, Education, Employment Law, NHS, Mental Health and Social Care.

Many people spoke of the difficulties that they were currently facing and the failure of various organisations to address their needs. Both Ed Miliband and Azhar Ali committed to follow up these concerns.

Ed Miliband thanked everyone for attending the session and following the event there were many positive comments from the people who had attended.
Monday 16 February 2015
Pendle high school's bid for urgent repair cash is rejected

In 2014 the government asked local authorities to submit funding bids for schools considered to be in most need of rebuilding or refurbishment.

In Pendle, three schools - Fisher More, West Craven and Park High Schools - had missed out on Building Schools for the Future funding when the Conservative led government cancelled the programme in 2010.
 

After a visit to Park High School in Colne by Lancashire County Council Cabinet Members Azhar Ali and Matthew Tomlinson, the school's refurbishment needs were considered so great that it was selected as the only High School to submit a bid in the whole county.

But last week Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, turned down Lancashire County Council's £6 million bid on behalf of the school.

Azhar Ali, Labour's Parliamentary candidate in Pendle, said:

"This is a shocking decision, considering that Park High School needs at least six million pounds to bring some parts of the school up to proper standards. "I'm appalled that Pendle's Tory MP brought the Education Secretary to see one of the Building Schoools for the Future schools built by Labour's Lancashire County Council, instead of standing up for the kids and staff at Park.

“This is one more example of the Tories saying one thing and doing another."
Thursday 12 February 2015
Parliamentary candidate slams drop of 280 apprenticeship places in Pendle

  New figures have highlighted the failure of the government’s flagship apprenticeships policy in Pendle.

They show that while there was a tiny increase of 20 apprenticeships in the Under-19 age group between 2012/13 and 2013/14, this was dwarfed by drops of 50 in the 19-24 and 250 in the 25+ age groups in the same period.

Pendle’s Labour Parliamentary candidate for Pendle, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali said:

“Once again we are seeing that this Government simply isn’t working for Pendle. “The Government’s own research shows that nationally the proportion of apprenticeship starts made up by 16 to 24 year olds has fallen significantly - from 82.3 per cent when the last Labour government left office, to 63.2 per cent last year.

“This comes despite the Government’s attempts to fix their struggling figures by re-badging in-work training schemes for existing employees as apprenticeships. “On top of that there is cause for new concern about the quality and status of the apprenticeships created under the Tory-led government, as the Business Department’s research has found almost four in 10 firms offering apprenticeships don’t even realise they are doing so.

“The Business Department’s research also finds that two-thirds of employers recruiting apprentices from existing staff don’t consider their qualifications to be apprenticeships at all, and this number is increasing.

“The government’s Apprenticeship Pay Survey has found that 21 per cent of apprentices receive no formal training, rising to 24 per cent for the 19-24 age group, while 15 per cent of apprentices are not receiving the relevant National Minimum Wage.

“Under Labour’s plans, all apprenticeships would last a minimum of two years and be quality Level Three qualifications and involve proper training.”
Friday 06 February 2015
Barrowford Post Office bombshell

The whole of Barrowford was shocked to hear today of the closure of the Spar shop in the centre of the village and the village’s only Post Office which was based in the Spar premises.

Photo: from left to right: Parish Councillors Robert Oliver and Susan Nike, Azhar Ali and Theresa Griffin MEP, at the closed Spar and Post Office.

 

Former post al worker, Parish Councillor Sue Nike said “We warned about this possibility last year but the suddenness of the decision to close has come as a bolt out of the blue. Losing our only Post Office is going to massively inconvenience everyone in the village. It was extremely well used and popular, and for elderly residents the closure will turn what was a short walk down to the village into a time-wasting bus journey up to Nelson or Colne and back.

Local campaigner Mark Porter said: “Last year Barrowford Labour Party argued against the Morrisons planning application on the old garage site next to the Spar; it required the amalgamation of four of the planned shop units and we felt a condition should have been imposed to keep the units at their original size. But the Conservative dominated Area Committee gave permission and must bear a good measure of responsibility for the Post Office closure.”

“But perhaps worst of all is the loss to the village of a long-standing family business employing some 26 people . Morrisons argued that their store would create new jobs, but I doubt if there has been any net gain in employment.

“Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Pendle, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, said: “This is a sad day for Barrowford and yet another example of the way planning decisions are being taken in Pendle against local interests. I am in touch with the Post Office and will make every effort to help any interested parties replace this vital village asset. It’s a shame that our MP, who once claimed to be so supportive of local Post Offices, voted to sell off the Post Office nationally, and kept his silence on this one. Once again he has failed the people of Barrowford.”

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Monday 02 February 2014
The battle for Pendle hots up

  The battle for Pendle started to hot up last Saturday (31st January) as Labour's General Election campaign for the constituency was launched at the Ace Centre in Nelson.



More photographs from the weekend here

Labour's prospective candidate, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, was joined by Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, Theresa Griffin from the European Parliament and around 100 supporters from across the constituency.

Jack Straw spoke of how important the marginal seats in the North West are if Labour is to win the election nationally. He identified fairness as the key to Labour's programme for government, warning that another Conservative government would continue to attack the most vulnerable in the community.

Azhar Ali went on to thank all those who had turned out despite the poor weather, noting that Labour's strength is the number of supporters who were prepared to get involved, delivering leaflets, knocking on doors and making phone calls. He expressed his concern that the opposition was likely to run a very personal campaign, to distract from the failed policies that were making life so difficult for so many families across Pendle.

Questions were put to the speakers on a wide variety of issues, including support for pensioners, the attack on local government funding, and on proposals for fracking in Lancashire. Azhar Ali pointed out that as County Council Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing he had commissioned the world's first health impact assessment of fracking, in order to inform the County Council's decision.
Friday 30 January 2015
Labour would change green energy policy

Future energy needs and government policy were on the table for debate when Labour's Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change visited Pendle.  

Jonathan Reynolds MP visited Dales Renewables in Earby on Monday to discuss the future make-up of the UK's energy resources and how government support for the growing number of small businesses in the energy sector could be improved.

Mr Reynolds met the company's Managing Director Peter Wilkinson to talk about cleaner energy and sustainability, accompanied by Azhar Ali, Labour's Pendle candidate for the General Election in May.

Mr Reynolds MP said: "The message I've got here is there is a lack of consistency and commitment from government to this whole industry.

"It's a hugely important one because jobs of the future are really in businesses like this one.

If you follow where this government has gone, at the beginning green technology and climate change was central to what David Cameron was about.

A few years later he's caught talking about green crap and that's not good enough because there's a lot of jobs in this, a lot of people who invested very well and have the right solutions for things we need to sort out in this country.

"So it's a lack of commitment from the government but that's one we certainly hope we can change if we get into power in May."

Mr Wilkinson said he would like to see stability in government policy ending the "mad rush" to get in before a change in the incentive rate for switching to cleaner energy.

He said: "We are encouraged. What we've tried to stress to the shadow minister and he's heard from other quarters is that we have a very stop-start industry, particularly the renewables sector, which is very damaging to business. The degression of the feed-in tariffs and the renewable heat incentive has really created a lot of problems over the last few years.

"Were in a position right now where we've had ten months of intensive installations, working 6 or 7 days a week sometimes, and yet now from December 31st we've got nothing or very little.

"That stop-start industry is very difficult to plan and invest in."

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Monday 26 January 2015
Labour pledge 25 hour’s free child care

  Alison McGovern, Labour's Shadow Minister for Children and Families, visited Pendle recently when she and Azhar officially opened the new extension to Acorns Nursery in Reedley which has been backed by a grant from Lancashire County Council.

“I very much enjoyed being here”, she said “It was wonderful to see the children enjoying their play and great to chat to them.”

During the visit, Alison also took the opportunity to chat with staff and parents about what Labour's promise of 25 hours, free, weekly childcare, for three and four year olds, would mean to them.

Many parents currently find themselves unable to return to work, simply because their wages would barely cover the costs of childcare but under the Labour scheme it is estimated that 100,000 mothers would be able to return to employment.

Azhar, who fully backs the Labour plan, said “Helping parents back into work this way is not only good for hard pressed families but for the economy as a whole.”

If you want to help Labour campaign on this and other issues, please sign up here!
Wednesday 14 January 2015
Pendle vigil for Peace and Unity

A Pendle vigil for Peace and Unity will be held in Brierfield on Friday night (16 January) for those who have lost their lives in Paris and who are losing their lives on a daily basis throughout the world as a result of acts of terrorism.

The vigil, organised by local councillors, is open to everybody across Pendle and will be held at Brierfield Community Centre at 7pm and is open to all the people of Pendle regardless of gender, disability and faith.

Coun. Mohammad Hanif said he has been contacted by many residents across Pendle who want to show their solidarity with the people of Paris.

“It is important that we show solidarity with victims of these savage attacks and all the atrocities that are happening across the world on a daily basis.

“These attacks could just as easily have happened in our area and to carry out such audacious and repeated attacks makes clear that those who oppose our values are convinced we lack the resolve to defend them.”

County Coun. Azhar Ali said:

“There are those who want to create a climate of hate and division. We must not allow them to succeed. They are wrong. We now have a duty to make clear to all those who hate our freedom to discuss, to debate - you will never, ever, win.

”The vigil gives everybody the opportunity to have their say and remember the victims of terrorism through the lighting of candles and a minute’s silence."
Monday 12 January 2015
Labour Withdraw from Tour of Britain working group

Pendle Labour Councillors David Whalley and Robert Allen have withdrawn their names from the working group set up by the Tory led Pendle Council over a proposed £100,000 cost of one day Tour of Britain to pass through Pendle in September 2015.  

Cllr Whalley said “ All Councillors were told that the cost to the taxpayers of Pendle would be £100,000 to host this event with Ribble Valley. Whilst the Labour group were unhappy at this level of cost at a time when front line services cuts are being implemented by the Tories, we were prepared to work and secure a better deal for Pendle. However, at the first meeting of the group it has become evidently clear that the £100,000 was simply to join the project and there is a real risk that there will be thousands of pounds of additional costs being borne by Pendle residents. The Labour group are not prepared to take part in a blank cheque exercise in these difficult times”

Cllr Allen added “ I am meeting residents on a daily basis who are struggling to make ends meet for their families. We have a Tory led Council prepared to commit in excess of hundreds of thousands of pounds to a one day Tour of Britain event which will have no benefits to the vast majority of residents living in Pendle. I would urge Pendle Council to rethink their strategy and ask themselves is this a worthwhile investment of a huge sum at a time when services are under real pressure. They need to be honest and tell us what the actual cost of the whole event is”.
Friday 19 December 2014
Tory Councillors Vote to cut Parish Grant, whilst senior councillors told to stand outside chamber

  Pendle Tory Councillors last nigh voted to cut 50% of the grant given to Town and Parish Councils and in a bizarre move, forced senior Tory Councillor Linda Crossley and Rosemary Carroll to stand outside the chamber rather than vote with a Labour amendment to maintain the current level of grant.

Leader of the Labour Group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said

“At the start of the debate, Cllr Crossley spoke and asked that there be no cut to the grant. However, the Leader of the Council Cllr Joe Cooney proposed a 50% cut in the grant".

A Labour amendment was moved not to cut anything in 2015/16 as it’s clear that this Tory led Council is forcing Town and Parish Councils to take on services being cut by Pendle Borough Council with no support or money to do so.

"In a bizarre move, both Cllrs Crossley and Carroll left the meeting and after I asked the Leader where they were, he informed the meeting that they had gone to the toilet but it became clear that they were both stood outside the chamber waiting for the vote to take place.

"For the Leader of the Council to give detention to 2 senior members of his group is poor leadership. They were speaking their mind and it raises the question: is this how he runs his group?”

The named vote was defeated by Tory and Liberal Democrat Councillors voting to cut the grant by 50% in 2015/16 and nil thereafter.
Thursday 18 December 2014
Seasonal Greetings from Pendle Labour Party and our Parliamentary Candidate Azhar Ali

Seasonal messages, details of our Xmas quiz and information on how to become involved with the Labour Party as we prepare for the General Election are included in our latest PDF e-bulletin which can be downloaded here.  
Azhar Ali                                Mark Porter
Parliamentary Candidate       Pendle CLP Chair


Tuesday 25 November 2014
Red Rose County to become first White Ribbon County


Jennifer Mein, Azhar Ali & Tony Martin

  Organisations from across Lancashire are uniting against violence towards women.

Today is White Ribbon Day, which marks an international campaign to help stop domestic violence against women.
The campaign encourages men of all ages to take a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, and to make their commitment public by wearing a white ribbon for 16 days.

To help make Lancashire the first White Ribbon County, organisations are being called upon to pledge their support.

Leading the way are Lancashire County Council, a number of district councils, Lancashire Police, and the office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, who have all committed to become White Ribbon Campaign organisations.

Reports of high-risk domestic abuse in Lancashire have increased steadily over the past three years.

The vast majority of these incidents are carried out by men against women, and figures confirm that since April 2009 more than 87% of perpetrators were male.

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said:

"I'm very proud that we are working towards becoming the first White Ribbon county by encouraging other major organisations in Lancashire to sign up.

"Ten organisations have already joined us, and it would be an outstanding achievement for all local authorities and public sector organisations to attain White Ribbon Campaign status.

"If men wear a white ribbon, including on a coat or jacket so that it's visible outdoors, it shows a clear commitment to the principles of the campaign and to becoming a part of the solution to the continuing problem of male violence against women – something that should have no place in our society."

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said:

"I am committed to tackling domestic abuse through my role as Police and Crime Commissioner, and have put funding into raising awareness and supporting services for victims.

"But organisations alone cannot bring an end to violence against women – society needs to ensure this behaviour is seen as totally unacceptable, and condemn those who commit abuse. That is why the White Ribbon campaign is so important, and why it continues to have my full support. "It is a public condemnation of abuse, and I hope others across Lancashire will join me in pledging their commitment to it."

Chris Green from the White ribbon Campaign organisation said:

"Engaging men and boys in making the pledge taps into a fantastic resource to reduce violence and abuse towards women. We fully support the work ongoing in Lancashire and seeing their projects in action and improving the lives of those at risk of violence.

"Increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding of domestic violence will help to guide people who are experiencing domestic abuse to safe and appropriate support."

Of additional Pendle interest:

Lancashire County Councillor and Labours Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pendle Azhar Ali, has been appointed an Ambassador for the 'White Ribbon Campaign'

Azhar said

"Over many years I have worked with the victims of domestic violence and seen at first hand the hurt and trauma this causes. This is why I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign. This campaign aims to ask men to condemn both physical and emotional domestic violence in all its forms and to stand up to those who inflict this damage on women."
Friday 21 November 2014
Restoration Tour

Recently Robert Oliver a local Labour Party member wrote to the Nelson Leader in response to a visit from a government minister.

In his letter Robert wrote:
 

I refer to your “Restoration tour” report of 31 October on the visit of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to Nelson and Brierfield, which for some reason was splashed across a full page of the Colne Times and the Barnoldswick & Earby Times as well as the Nelson Leader.

Surrounded as he was by the local Conservative bigwigs, I suppose it was unlikely Mr Pickles would be confronted by the reality of what he personally has done to destroy local lives and undermine the finances of Pendle Council. But had he gone a few hundred yards down Every Street to Nelson Citizens Advice Bureau he could have sat in on the work being done, day in day out, to sort out the horror stories caused by his slashing of Council Tax benefit. The only ‘restoration’ visible from that office is in the finances of local bailiffs.

Had he stayed until the recent meeting of Nelson Town Council with Pendle Borough Council he would have seen our new Council leaders, Philip Mousdale and Dean Langton, trying to persuade Town Councillors to help dig the Borough Council out of the £4 million black hole it is in thanks to Mr Pickles’ slashing of council budgets nationwide.

If the Town Council does agree to take on services previously run by Pendle, Nelson householders can expect massive increases in the precept part of their Council Tax bills. And the same applies to every Town and Parish Council in the Borough. But of course Mr Pickles and Andrew Stephenson and co will be able to continue with their hollow boast of not having put Council Tax up.

In fact our ‘VIP’ visitor has turned the role of Secretary of State upside down. Instead of fighting to protect his department he seems to have invited the Chancellor to tell him how much local government is to be cut by, and meekly acquiesced.
Friday 21 November 2014
Azhar backs Fisher More school’s bid for sports facilities

  Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, visited Fisher More R.C. High School this week to offer his support for their bids to Sport England and The Football Foundation to provide new sports facilities.

Azhar, who is currently Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, met with school staff to confirm the County Council’s backing for the project.

Azhar said:

“I have worked closely with Head of Physical Education Simon Atkins, and his team to ensure that the funding package is in place to support these bids. Should these be successful, we will have the only full size, synthetic turf, football and rugby pitch in Lancashire, plus new grass pitches and tennis courts which will transform the opportunities for the children at the school and allow the whole Pendle community to use these facilities out of school hours. Lancashire County Council is delighted to allocate additional funds to help deliver a truly significant project for Pendle.”
Wednesday 19 Novenber 2014
Labour’s Azhar Ali slams local MP for failing to stand up for local pubs

On Tuesday, Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle voted against a new cross-party clause to the Small Business Bill which offered new protections for local publicans against the predatory practices of large pub owning companies (known as Pubcos) and opposing plans to give local pubs and landlords a fairer deal.  

Following a report into the industry by the cross-party BIS Select Committee in 2010, Labour have campaigned alongside a broad coalition of groups in the industry – including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business, CAMRA, FairPint and the GMB and UNITE trade unions – to call for greater protection for local pubs and put a stop to unfair treatment and restrictive practices by Pubcos.

The government’s provisions to regulate Pubcos in the Small Business Bill, debated in Parliament this week, but these fell some way short of Labour’s plans and campaigners’ demands. Labour therefore supported a cross-party clause to strengthen the Bill. However, despite several of his Tory/Lib Dem colleagues defying their whip to vote for this new clause, the local Tory MP voted against it.

Azhar Ali (Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate said:

“When the cameras are around he is more than happy to hold up placards and campaign to save local pubs, but he had the opportunity to vote for new measures which would help support local landlords, instead he chose to stand up for the large pub companies and to allow them to continue to exploit their tenants.

“27 UK pubs close every week and 57% of landlords who are tied to a large Pubco earn less than £10,000 a year. These are scandals which must be addressed, and so I was proud that Labour MPs voted to make this important change. If I am elected in May, people in Pendle can be assured that I will always support local pubs with deeds as well as words.”

Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister said:

“Labour has led calls for a proper statutory code with teeth on pub companies, giving tenants the protection they need and putting an end to the unfair treatment they’ve received from large pub companies. Our plans have won support from a broad coalition of campaigners including CAMRA, the Federation of Small Business, trade unions and the cross-party BIS Select Committee.

“Over the past three years ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way on this issue, and now they have been dealt a resounding and humiliating defeat in the House of Commons. Ministers must now act immediately to ensure there is a proper statutory code with a free-of-tie option to protect local pubs, and must not ignore the will of the House of Commons, after their desperate and shambolic attempts to stave off defeat have failed.”
Tuesday 11 November 2014
Child Poverty – Cllr Robert Allen

  Reedley Councillor Robert Allen has written to the local press concerning the lack of response from leading political figures in Pendle.

The content of Cllr Allen’s letter is shown below:

"The recent child poverty figures for Pendle and particularly Brierfield are an absolute disgrace in the 21st century. Since the publication, in your paper, showing that 50% of children in Brierfield live in poverty I have waited a couple of weeks to see if our political leaders in Pendle were going to do anything. Nothing has been reported to date, no statements from our MP, Andrew Stephenson, no press release from the leader of Pendle Council Joe Cooney.

"I understand that Brierfield Town Council are intending to bring agencies together to look at ways forward to tackle problems and I will be keen to support them.

"Young people are our future and giving them a good start in life is essential. This coalition government sits back and says the solution is cutting budgets and the economy will take care of itself. It’s not working, particularly in Pendle. Families at the bottom need a decent living wage this is an economic and moral imperative. The Labour Party is committed to real increases in the minimum wage and spreading the movement for a living wage and I hope they can do more. More jobs and decent wages bring children out of poverty.

"It is a fact that the more unequal the society the greater the likelihood of recession. If people can afford to buy things then producers and shop keepers sell and everyone benefits. Currently we have a government that hits the less well off and does little to, tackle the immorality of tax avoidance and evasion that is occurring on an unbelievable scale."


Friday 07 November 2014
Shock at Rolls-Royce Aerospace Job Losses

Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member and Labour's Parliamentary Candidate in Pendle Azhar Ali has expressed his shock at the announcement by Rolls Royce that 2500 jobs are to go from their Aerospace division.  

County Councillor Azhar Ali said “This is potentially devastating news for advanced manufacturing in East Lancashire and particularly for Pendle. Clearly we do not yet have any details and Lancashire County Councils Economic Development team are in touch with Rolls Royce and have asked for further meetings so we can provide support and to find out what impact there will be on our local Barnoldswick plant”

"The government needs to wake up and smell the coffee and do much more to support Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace as we cannot afford to lose skilled engineering jobs to the Far East"


Tuesday 04 November 2014
Last night Councillors in Nelson rejected plans to build a 47 metre high structure at Back Lane Southfield.

  Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate and local County Councillor, Azhar Ali attended the meeting in the packed council chamber and spoke in support of the residents and asked Nelson Area Committee to reject outright this application.

County Councillor Azhar Ali said:

"This application will be detrimental to visual amenity and harm the natural wildlife and local ecological systems in the area.

"It beggars belief that Pendle Council officers can recommend refusal in some parts of Pendle whilst supporting wind turbines in others. There is a clear problem with the way this government is forcing Councillors to approve crazy proposals which would destroy our beautiful countryside."

Azhar Ali also made a plea on behalf of residents who claimed that they were suffering from sleep deprivation and noise nuisance from the existing turbine.

Cllr Ali said:

"I have written to Pendle Council Chief Executive asking for the Council to urgently send its environmental health teams to talk to residents affected; as it is Pendle Councils responsibility to monitor the impact on the health & wellbeing of the local community"

The application was moved for rejection by Labour Councillor David Whalley and this was carried unanimously.
Wednesday 29 October 2014
Funding agreed for disabled changing facilities at Nelson’s Victoria Park pavilion

Lancashire County Council has announced that Victoria Park, Nelson, is to receive a grant of £15,000 to install changing and toilet facilities which will meet the needs of disabled visitors to the Park.

The Photograph shows Petra Wilson at the Pavilion, with Cty Cllr Azhar Ali (centre) and Robert Oliver, member of the Friends of Victoria Park.
 

The facilities will be located in the Park’s pavilion at Carr Road, now being run by the Victoria Park Pavilion Community Interest Company.

Petra Wilson, director of the social enterprise, says:

“This is fantastic news. Victoria Park is the most visited park in Pendle and, being almost entirely on flat ground by Pendle Water, gets a lot of disabled visitors. This new facility will make a considerable difference to the amount of time they can spend in the Park and making use of the Pavilion.

“It will complement the major work being done at the moment to refurbish the main rooms of the Pavilion for café and community use, thanks to an earlier grant of £30,000 from Lancashire Environmental Fund.

“We hope to re-open in December when the work is finished.”

Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, Executive Director for Health and Wellbeing in Lancashire, added:

“I’m delighted the County has been able to fund four proposals for disabled people under the ‘Changing Places’ scheme, at Chorley, Preston, Accrington and here in Pendle. Victoria Park pavilion is an ideal location to develop in this way.

” Anyone who would like to know more about the social enterprise or get involved in the cafe or other community activities, please get in touch with Petra Wilson on 07929 849 763.
Friday 24 October 2014
Child Poverty Nelson Leader/Colne Times series

  Responding to the front page report in today’s publications, Malcolm Birk Vice President of Pendle Labour Party has written a letter for publication to the editor. A copy of the text is reproduced below:

Your recent front page report commendably brought to attention the fact that in Pendle 33% of children are living in poverty, after housing costs are taken into account. I am sure that most readers will find this figure shocking. The level of untold and largely unrecognised suffering going on around us is hard to contemplate.

The members of Pendle Labour Party continue to campaign for a fairer and more equal society. The actions of the current government have exacerbated inequality by giving tax cuts to the rich whilst driving down wages for the majority. Also, by not dealing with the chronic lack of affordable housing, the government has forced housing costs up for most people. As a result of their actions, the number of working households living below the bread-line has grown and grown.

There is another way. The Labour Party have set out in detail how they will reduce inequality and child poverty and stop the powerful vested interests at large in the country from exploiting people and fuelling the divide in our nation. These measures include freezing energy bills, introducing a lower 10p tax rate, new controls on rents and tenancies, increasing the minimum wage and banning exploitative zero-hours contracts. We would like to ask members of the public to join with us in this fight against the poverty in our midst.
Friday 24 October 2014
Pendle Tory Councillors forced to withdraw stray dog tax

The Labour Leader on Pendle Council has forced Tory run Pendle Council to withdraw ill-thought plans to increase the stray dog fee to £100 with effect from 1 January 2015.  

Cllr Iqbal said “I want to dedicate this forced U-turn by the Tory Councillors to people power in Pendle. This was a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ tactic last month by Cllr Cooney and his Tory party. However, they have tonight been forced to back down and withdraw this increase. They should realise that we will not stand by and let them introduce back door taxes against the wishes of people"
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud’s Comments - Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn

  Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn, commenting on the remarks made by Lord Freud concerning paying disabled people as little as £2 per hour said:

“I am shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud's comments. To suggest that some disabled people ‘are not worth the full wage’ once again proves how out of touch the Conservatives truly are.

“Disabled people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and have proven time and again that they can contribute immensely to society. It is disgraceful that a Government Minister would contemplate something so ignorant and derogatory.

“These views have no place in modern society and, as a disabled man myself, I am insulted by the suggestion that I should not be paid as much as a non-disabled person."

Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP added:

"On top of the bedroom tax which has had a huge detrimental impact on disabled people, we now have one of the welfare ministers that was responsible suggesting that disabled people are not worthy of equal status when it comes to earning potential.

“Printable words fail me, how in today's society can any person, let alone a government minister, think that such a view is acceptable. It is derogatory and Lord Freud should take the only real option open to him and that is to resign with immediate effect"
08 October 2014
Councillor calls for action on Sackville Street area of Brierfield
At last night’s meeting of Brierfield & Reedley Area Committee (7 October) Brierfield Cllr Nawaz Ahmed called for urgent action to improve the condition of the Sackville Street part of the Railway Street Regeneration Area. Cllr Ahmed said:  

“There are many empty properties around Sackville Street and Railway Terrace and the condition of the area is appalling. Houses are boarded up, trees are growing in back gardens, causing garden walls to leaning and these could collapse at any time. Many of the gardens of houses which are boarded up are full of rubbish, and damp rising from these houses is causing further damp to neighbouring properties.

“To the front of Railway Terrace there is land which is very untidy, belonging to an investor. We have to make sure that the owner of this land is held responsible for keeping this area clean and tidy.

“Old Railway Yard, facing Railway Terrace is an eyesore and requires immediate attention. “Environmental Visual Audits are carried out on a monthly basis, but they have failed to address these problems.

“The condition of each property makes it unsuitable for living and actually dangerous and therefore a threat to the health of each resident. “The majority of household members have no financial means to regenerate their homes.

” Cllr Ahmed tabled the following five-point resolution, which was unanimously agreed by the Committee:

  1. To declare this area as an “Action Area”
  2. To invite the Executive for a neighbourhood walk (site visit) together with the ward councillors, residents and the Health and Environmental team.
  3. If these houses are found unfit for living then the residents need to be given the options which were given to the residents of Clitheroe Road area.
  4. Residents should be moved to a safe living location i.e. Holden Road, Albert Street Nelson, Mousley Street, Nelson.
  5. Proceeds from the sales of Holden Rd, Quaker Heights, Lob Lane Mills Flats, Improvement for sale schemes and 72 – 80 Burnley Rd should be kept in Brierfield for the improvement of the Railway Street Corridor.

Tuesday 07 October 2014
Tory/Lib Dem Councillors refuse to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle

  Reedley Ward Labour Councillor, Yasser Iqbal presented a motion to the full council meeting in Pendle asking that the £25 per bin ‘Garden Tax’ introduced by the Conservative led Council be scrapped immediately. However, the motion was defeated with Tory and Lib Dem Councillors joining forces.

Cllr Iqbal, Leader of the Labour Group said

“Over the last 8 months since this charge was introduced by the Tory leadership, I have been inundated with complaints from residents who feel that this is a back-door increase in Council Tax by the Tory Councillors.

“Why should people living across Pendle be forced to pay this ‘Garden Tax’? It is the case that only 25% of eligible households have signed up for this scheme and I am disappointed but not surprised at the Conservative party and their Liberal colleagues refusing to axe the Garden Tax”.
Tuesday 07 October 2014
Labour demands that the Pendle MP supports the end of the ‘Bedroom Tax’

Labour Councillors have publicly criticised Andrew Stephenson MP over his continued support of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and a demand has been made through the full Council meeting that he stand up for disabled, elderly residents who are struggling to pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’ imposed by the Tory led government.  

At the full Council meeting a few days ago, Labour Councillor Robert Allen moved a motion asking that the MP votes to scrap the bedroom tax and not to do as the Tory whips instruct him to do.

Cllr Allen said

“It was ironic that not a single Tory Councillor spoke to defend their colleague, Andrew Stephenson but true to form, they voted against my motion. However, this motion was carried with a majority of Councillors demanding that the MP stand up for Pendle residents. “We wait with anticipation to see what he will do”.
Monday 06 October 2014
Outrage at Murder of Alan Henning

Pendle Labour County Councillors Azhar Ali and Mohammed Iqbal today publicly condemned the murder of aid worker Alan Henning from Salford by ISIS.

Cllr Ali and Cllr Iqbal who signed an open letter 2 weeks ago in a national newspaper were shocked at the murder by people claiming to be Muslims. Cllr Ali said "I am very angry that someone who went out to help people in Syria as a human being was kidnapped and then murdered by people using Islam as a cover.

I would ask that our government makes every effort to bring Alan's killers to justice in the international criminal court. These people are not Muslims but murderers!”

Web Developer’s comment: A similar item was posted on this website on 22 September calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed. The item was sent to the Nelson/Leader/Colne Times series and Lancashire Telegraph for publication. To the best of my understanding they chose not to publish it.

Saturday 27 September 2014
Nelson Leader Series Publication



Pendle Labour Party have paid for a 4 page spread in the Nelson Leader/Colne Times series of publications.

The initial feedback from readers has been encouraging and welcoming of the Labour Party's proposals. If you have been unable to purchase a copy you can download a PDF copy (1.13 MB) of the spread here.
Monday 22 September 2014
Not In My Name - Pendle Councillors join with Muslim Leaders nationwide to urge ISIS to release UK hostage

Labour Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, and the Leader of the Labour Group on Pendle Council, Cty Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, joined dozens of imams and other Muslim community leaders in a letter to the Independent last week calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed or commit the “worst condemnable sin” against Islam.  

They also express their horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines.

Cllr Ali said:

“The letter pleads with those holding the British hostage to accept that he was on a mission to Syria to help innocent civilians, and to see the errors of their ways.

“A social media campaign has been launched by the British charity Active Change Foundation. Anyone can add their name to the list and show their support by using the #NotInMyName hashtag.”
Friday 19 September 2014
Give the English Regions a voice – Azhar Ali

  Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Pendle County Councillor Azhar Ali has today welcomed the decision of the Scottish people who voted 'No' and will remain in the United Kingdom.

Azhar Ali said

"I am delighted that Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom and will get more powers from Westminster, but it is now the time to have a national debate on giving the English a voice on transferring powers away from London and Westminster to local communities and regions.

"Over recent years the North/South gap has grown with London and the South East benefitting from investment whilst places like Pendle and East Lancashire have been hit by over £400 million of Conservative cuts.

“It's clear, that if it is good enough for Scotland to be given more powers, then it's also time that the English regions had the same powers too."
Tuesday 09 September 2014
Pendle MP “letting down his poorest constituents”

Pendle’s MP was slammed today for choosing his Party before his constituents in a key vote in the House of Commons last week.

In a vote on a Bill calling for major exemptions to the Bedroom Tax, Andrew Stephenson voted to keep the current policy. But with Labour promising to repeal the tax, the Government was roundly defeated, as Lib Dem and even some Conservative MPs jumped ship.
 

Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, commented: “Andrew Stephenson continues to let down his constituents by supporting this failed legislation, which hits some of the most vulnerable in our community. His dogged devotion to the Tory Party line will keep him in favour down in Westminster, but will win him few friends in Pendle, where hundreds of people have been caught by this Tax.

“The Department of Work & Pension’s own analysis of the policy in July showed that it wasn’t working, with only 4.5% of tenants being able to move into a smaller home, and thousands being forced into ‘heat or eat’ financial hardship.

“As a result of policies like this, combining incompetence with unfairness, the coalition is falling apart. Even Lib Dem ministers are voting against the Government now, despite having been co-architects of the Bedroom Tax policy.”

Nelson resident Wayne Blackburn, added

“The Bedroom Tax has been a disaster for disabled people like myself, with many facing hardship and difficulties because of this hated policy. Disabled people need MPs who’ll stand up for us and commit to scrap it. Whilst Friday's vote was a welcome one, we must continue to push for an end to the Bedroom Tax."
Thursday 04 September 2014
Wanted - A fairer way for Pendle's young people

  Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, came to Barrowford today to to visit Standel Dawman, a successful local manufacturer of electric golf trolleys. He was joined by Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, the Principal of Nelson & Colne College, Amanda Melton, and Phil Kyle, Managing Director of Standel Dawman.

Chuka said: "It was great to meet apprentices from across Pendle who are studying at Nelson & Colne College."

Azhar Ali added: "It's fantastic to see so many of our young people starting out in manufacturing. However far more needs to be done to bring higher quality, well-paid manufacturing jobs to Pendle. Too many of our young people are being exploited on zero-hours contracts.

"A future Labour government has committed to end this outdated Victorian practice."
Tuesday 02 September 2014
Azhar Ali visits Nelson Fire and Rescue Station

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Azhar Ali, visited Nelson’s Bradley Road Fire Station on 28 August to discuss key issues as part of his Lancashire County Council role as Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.  

Cllr Ali talked to a number of fire and rescue staff about their community safety roles and their close working with social services.

He said: “I am massively impressed with the dedication of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue staff, and the quality of the equipment that they have available.

“But I am deeply concerned about how Tory government cuts to Lancashire will affect the Fire And Rescue Service’s ability to carry out its work over the next few years.”

Photograph (Left to right): Former Pendle Mayor George Adam, Station Manager Denise Odgers, Cllr Ali, Nelson Cllr Yvonne Tennant, Firefighters Shabaz Shah and Ian Donohue, and Acting Crew Manager Dave Harris

Wednesday 06 August 2014
Response to letters in local press attacking Azhar Ali

  Azhar Ali has written to the local press in response to recent attacks the content of the letter is produced below:

O
ver recent weeks there have been a few letters questioning my record on the NHS so I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight.

I am proud of the work I did in the NHS primarily as a non-executive director and then as Chairman of Burnley NHS Trust, as well as currently chairing the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing board.

When I became Chair (Burnley NHS Trust) we were rated as a one star Hospital Trust and under my leadership we went to the highest rating of 3 stars with a record number of doctors and nurses, huge investment in infrastructure including a new MRI scanner and high staff morale.

When the new leadership of the East Lancashire NHS Trust decided to close the A&E at Burnley I led the campaign in Pendle holding public meetings and a public march against the closures.

I also led the campaign and fight to 'save' Pendle Community Hospital from Tory cuts with over 8000 signatures.

Our Tory MP was still living in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire and working out which seats he was going to apply for whilst we were fighting for vital services locally.

So instead of the MP hiding behind a Tory letter writing campaign I would challenge Mr Stephenson to a public debate on the ‘State Of The NHS'.

All he has to do is name the place and time and let's allow the public to decide whether the Tory agenda of privatising the NHS is the one they want - where you have to pay to see your GP or where you have an American style insurance scheme.

Azhar Ali
Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle
Saturday 02 August 2014
Pressure growing for rolling stock for Todmorden Curve - Lancashire Telegraph

Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood toured East Lancashire’s railways stations yesterday to talk to communters as part of the campaign to improve rolling stock and train services in the area.  

The shadow minister visted Accrington, Nelson, and Burnley Manchester Road stations and discussed issues including frequency of services, reliability of trains, and a lack of trains on the Todmorden Curve Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, joined her in Accrington, in Nelson she was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali More>>
Monday 28 July 2014
Eid ul Fitr



Pendle Labour Party wishes you Eid Mubarak. May you be blessed with peace.
Tuesday 27 May 2014
Pendle Borough Council and EU Parliamentary Elections

Within Pendle, the Labour Party had the highest share of votes cast in both the borough and EU elections. Further information is available on the "Elections Page" of this web site.

Archived Items
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