Thursday, 29 September 2016

My LT column - Government dithering on football governance issues

As Chair of DCMS PLP committee there have been a number of issues I have raised. Gambling, Lord Leveson report, BBC and UK public sector broadcasting including opposing the privatisation of Channel 4.

Football governance is another one of those issues that both the last Tory-Liberal Government and the current Tory government are failing to take action on.
-------------------------------

Despite a recent Government report, football fans continue to be prevented from getting involved in their clubs.

The report, which came out in January, called for new opportunities for Supporter Trusts to bid to own their clubs in an insolvency situation; clubs to meet with a representative group of supporters at least twice a year; and an additional £1 million funding from the PL for supporter groups.

Yet for many fans across the country, these recommendations will be too little, too late.

They don’t go far enough to give supporters the opportunity to take a meaningful stake in clubs which had not collapsed financially; nor do they properly give fans the chance to address wider governance issues. Indeed, Manchester United Supporters Trust has decried the report as containing little practical help to assist fans building a stake in the absence of insolvency.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Labour’s purpose must be to unite the country by John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary



Uniting our party is an admirable and necessary aim, but the Labour Party has to turn to uniting the country. Not in my lifetime have I seen our nation so divided.

The gap between rich and poor is growing, as low wages and the Government’s cuts to working families’ incomes bite; we have a new Conservative Prime Minister who wants to segregate children at 11 years old, and race discrimination is becoming more prominent as we see an increase in attacks on migrant workers.

Electorally the divisions are stark: Labour is virtually unrepresented in the south; the Tories barely present in northern metropolitan councils and nationalism is rampant in Scotland. The European referendum vote split the country almost in half.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Another year of sham press regulation

IPSO

To date, there have been 7 inquiries into the British press in the last 70 years. And each time, the press has utterly failed to clean up its act. Leveson, the author of the latest report into press standards and ethics, has called it a “pattern of cosmetic reform”: a scandal breaks; reforms are recommended; and the press announces a new regulator, which is different to its predecessor only in name.

It is little surprise that the latest cycle of cosmetic changes seems like history repeating itself.

Leveson’s primary recommendations could not have been clearer. The press was to have one more chance to develop its own regulator, without media executives pulling the strings behind closed doors and without newspaper editors doctoring the rulebook. And an independent body should verify any future regulator, in order for that regulation to be free from press and political influence.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Fwd: Accrington Pals to screen film to mark the end of the Battle of the Somme

NEWS RELEASE

Accrington Pals screen film to commemorate 100 years of the end of the Battle of the Somme

On Friday 18th November, an intimate screening of The Battle of the Somme will be shown at Accrington Town Hall commencing at 10am. 18th November marks the end of the Battle of the Somme, which lasted 141 days.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Fwd: Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016


Dear Mr Jones,

Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016.

As the NHS faces some of the greatest financial pressures in its history and an ageing patient population with more complex care needs, it is vital that politicians, policy-makers and system leaders work together to create a stronger, more sustainable and patient-centred NHS. A new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) draws on the experiences, views and concerns of consultant and trainee physicians, which added to national evidence, show the grave situation the NHS faces:

  • Underfunded: The NHS budget has not kept pace with rising demand for services.
  • Underdoctored: The UK does not train enough doctors.
  • Overstretched: NHS staff increasingly feel like collateral damage in the battle between rising demand and squeezed budgets.


My LT column on FOBTs

On Monday, the BBC aired its much-anticipated Panorama on gambling machines. The programme followed the story of Lee Murphy, who killed himself after struggling with a 20-year gambling addiction. In Lee’s confession to his partner, he talked about the consequences of high stakes, high-frequency gambling machines – otherwise known as Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – and how they wreaked havoc on his life.

ASA take action after my complaints

Following my complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency a year ago regarding 'Penny Auction' websites the ASA launched a project into the sector. These sites are ripping people off for significant sums of money with promises that are clearly misleading in my view.

The are not auctions. Only the lucky few ever win and the amounts collected by the sites in 'bids' can be 10x the high street sale price. A TechCrunch article (July 26, 2010) on MadBid, one such site, called this model "a license to print money."[2] Other such sites includeBid Budgie and Fastbidding.com and SWOGGI.

The ASA have concluded that there are indeed "exaggerated claims, especially in relation to RRPs, savings claims and sold prices" which has resulted in the ASA drafting guidance distributed to all Penny Auction sites.


A monitoring exercise by the ASA earlier this year found that "there were still outstanding areas of concerns in marketing across the sector." and that the ASA are initiating "a series of investigations against all the pay-per-bid auction sites that we could identify" with the rulings on breaches of the ASA's Code and guidance notes on the code to be published "on our website later in the year".

I am pleased that the ASA has acted in the manner in response to my complaint. It will be a relief to many that at least this Rip Off Britain industry is having action taking against it.

This contrasts with the Gambling Commission who seem to be receiving a lot of criticism for being out of touch and who on this particular issue when I wrote to them refused to take any action and stating that they believed that penny auction sites were essentially not gambling sites. I tweeted "Gambling Commission says 'Gamified' penny auctions not gambling sites & not their responsibility as bring no harm." You can read the full reply from the Gambling Commission which I published here. https://twitter.com/grahamjones_mp/status/651028085438029824


From: Louise Hogan
Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2016 11:05
To: Graham Jones
Subject: Advertising Standards Authority update - penny auction websites

Dear Mr Jones

Last year, you contacted our Chief Executive, Guy Parker, with your concerns about pay-per-bid auction websites for Madbid and Swoggi. In his response, Guy explained that because we felt there was potential for consumer harm and detriment and in line with our strategy to tackle more issues in the round through project work, we had launched a project into the sector. Rather than solely relying on complaints, this allowed us to look at the issues in more depth and on a wider scale. Now that we’re reaching the conclusion of this work, I wanted to update you on the findings so far.

We initially carried out a detailed review of the marketing, including the websites, for Madbid and Swoggi. We also contacted other relevant stakeholders, such as Trading Standards departments and Citizens Advice, to find out more information about any consumer complaints they had received. In conjunction with the complaints we had received directly, this research enabled us to build up a picture of potential Code breaches in the marketing for these companies.

The majority of issues we identified concerned exaggerated claims, especially in relation to RRPs, savings claims and sold prices. We also identified a general need to make clearer to consumers how the service worked and associated costs and to ensure that advertising was clearly differentiated from advertorial.

We contacted both Madbid and Swoggi to discuss the issues, ensure they understood their responsibilities under our Codes and seek assurances that their marketing would be amended to bring it in line with our rules. We also drafted guidance covering the main issues we had identified in the sector (published on the CAP website here) which we sent to all the other pay-per-bid auction websites, requesting them to review their own marketing to ensure it complied with the guidance.

After carrying out a monitoring exercise this year we identified that although some changes had been made, primarily in Madbid’s marketing, there were still outstanding areas of concerns in marketing across the sector. As a result we’ve initiated a series of investigations against all the pay-per-bid auction sites that we could identify. The rulings should appear on our website later in the year.

I hope this information has been helpful. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Louise Hogan Maroney (Mrs)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Fwd: North West losing out on £761m of trade each year without a new runway – Let Britain Fly

Good afternoon,
 
It is more than a year since the Airports Commission published its final report on the expansion of airports capacity. During that year, the UK has missed out on at least £9.5bn in potential trade with emerging economies because we do not have a new runway. Those losses will continue to accumulate at the rate of £1.1 million every hour until the runway opens. The North West loses out on £761m of potential trade each year that passes without runway capacity expansion.
 
Airfreight is essential to the future success of the UK economy. 40% of our £305bn exports travel by air. That includes anything valuable, perishable or required just-in-time, from Scottish Salmon to pharmaceuticals, Brompton bikes to Formula 1 cars. Today's report undertaken by CEBR on behalf of Let Britain Fly, shows that the whole of UK plc is missing out huge volumes of trade with the top ten fastest growing emerging market economies because of a lack of runway capacity and connectivity.
 
We cannot afford to lose more. Government has a clear recommendation from the Commission to build a new runway, allowing us to open new routes to emerging markets and expand existing links. It must decide.
 
Please click on the below image to share the impact which runway dithering is having on the North West every year, and to show your support for a swift decision.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Matthew Hill
Let Britain Fly
D: 020 7665 1585   T: 020 7665 1500   M: 07399 528 628
Website: www.letbritainfly.com  Twitter: @letbritainfly 
c/o London First, Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JE

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