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Bill Cash MP
for Stone

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Bill Cash endorses Ombudsman report over botched payments scheme for local farmers

 Press release 18/12/09

 
In response to the publication of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report on the administration of the 2005 Single Payment Scheme by the Rural Payments Agency, Bill Cash MP said:
 
“I have made many representations on behalf of local farmers over their payments through the Agency which falls under the control of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and it is clear to see that it has become a failure.
 
“Farmers in England receive about £1.6billion a year in subsidies from the Single Payment Scheme. However, the report makes clear that the Rural Payments Agency continued to tell farmers that it would keep to a payment timetable when it was clear it could not have made the payments and consequently, farmers suffered.
 
“I endorse their view that an appropriate remedy should be found where an injustice such as this one has been suffered as the consequence of maladministration by a public body.
 
“I would only add that the wholescale and proper reform of our governance arrangements in agriculture would depend on whether Britain is prepared takes back the powers it has handed over to the European Union on all vital agricultural matters, which should have always remained local, not supranational.”


Bill Cash discusses mineral extractions with Leader of Staffordshire County Council

Press release 05/08/09       

MP for Stone, Bill Cash, yesterday met the Leader of Staffordshire County Council, Philip Atkins, to discuss the issue of mineral extractions within the constituency.
 
The proportion of minerals extracted from Bill Cash’s constituency in relation to West Midlands as a whole is far too high. The County Council needs to deal with this sub-regional allocation, because the 68% contribution Staffordshire makes each year to the sand and gravel supplies of the entire West Midlands is too high a limit. Mr. Cash and Mr. Atkins agreed to take measures as are necessary to deal with this.
 
Bill Cash has successfully been involved and appeared at the inquiries on mineral extraction at Maer Hills, Beech, Folly Wood and Moneystone Quarry in previous years. He has objected to mineral extractions at Beech (Swynnerton), Croxden (Checkley), Folly Wood (Loggerheads), Keele Quarry and Factory and Netherset Hey (Madeley), Moddershall Grange (Fulford), and Weavers Hill (Gnosall), in the current round of proposed extractions, and vows to continue his objection to the mineral extractions.


Bill Cash demands Secretary of State explain data showing low dairy farm returns

Press release 11/08/09       

 
Following a meeting in Slindon with dairy farmers from across Staffordhire, local MP, Bill Cash, has written to the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Hilary Benn, providing specific supply margin data which demonstrates the real challenges created for dairy producers. It clearly demonstrates how static farm returns do not match increasing costs of production, whilst over the same period retail margins have increasingly risen.
 
Bill Cash said “The impact is far reaching across the Staffordshire rural economy and is increasingly unsustainable for many businesses.
 
“I have also asked the Secretary of State for his position on a proposed retail Ombudsman.”


Bill Cash demands Government take action to help find work for 1,225 unemployed claimants in Stone

Press release 16/12/09

Today Bill Cash stated “Since it has come to light that we now have 1,225 unemployed claimants in Stone, I believe it is essential that the Government takes action, wherever it can, to help those who are unemployed get back into work. The Government has so far failed my constituents but action is now crucial.
 
“I do not support Harriet Harman’s comments in Parliament today on falling unemployment and I have written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions so that they can further investigate what can be done to provide assistance to those unemployed in Stone.”
 
Constituency unemployment figures for November 2009 were published at 9.30am today by the Office for National Statistics.
 
The number of unemployed claimants in Stone constituency in November 2009 was 1,225. This represents a rate of 2.9% of the economically active population, the 571st highest of the 646 UK constituencies. The number of claimants is 424 higher than in November 2008 and 12 higher than in October 2009.


Bill Cash calls for protection for voluntary groups from the “rain tax”

Press release 11/08/09       

Today, Bill Cash MP, called for immediate action to be taken to protect voluntary groups – across Stone, Trentham, Cheadle, Hixon, Eccleshall, Madeley, Ashley, Gnosall, and the surrounding villages – from soaring water charges.
 
Charges for surface water drainage are being introduced by some water companies, dubbed the ‘rain tax’. Many churches, scout groups and amateur sports clubs will pay hundreds of pounds more in higher bills, in some cases amounting to a third of their yearly revenue.
 
Bill Cash said, "I am told the new charges could cost the Church of England £15 million a year, and the Scout Association estimate that the changes could cost scout huts £500 a year – an equivalent of 25 to 30 per cent of their yearly income. Such voluntary groups currently have exemptions or discounts for business rates, but this will not extend to water rates."
 
Notes:
 
NEW ‘RAIN TAX’ ON VOLUNTARY GROUPS
 
Surface water charging: Surface water drainage is the charge from water companies for water draining into their sewers from roofs, paths, car parks etc.  It is often billed in conjunction with highways drainage, but if taken separately accounts for around 9 per cent of the average bill (16 per cent if combined with highways drainage).
 
Water quango guidance: In 2003, Ofwat’s head of tariffs wrote to all water companies recommending a move to site-area charging, with specific reference to condition E of their license.  Condition E is the duty that “no undue preference is shown, and that there is no undue discrimination in the fixing…of water and drainage charges”.  Ofwat have contacted all water companies and asked them to review their charging schemes by 2010. 
 
According to Ofwat: “There is no reason why a church or charity should not pay for surface water drainage in the same way as a business as both the church, charity and the business would be making a similar demand on the service.  We believe that charging all non-household premises by site area complies with the Secretary of State's guidance.”
 
 
Impact on churches, Scout and Guide groups and community amateur sports clubs: The Scout Association has launched a campaign to ‘Stop the Rain Tax’ (http://scouts.org.uk/water).  They estimate that the changes could cost scout huts £500 a year, and that the cost for some groups could represent 25-30 per cent of their income.
 
The Don’t Drain Us campaign (www.dontdrainus.org) have estimated that the annual cost to the Church of England of moving to site area charging throughout England  would be £15 million.  This is made up of approximately £10 million for highway drainage and £5 million for surface water. 





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