Friday, 15 August 2014
Welcome to this, my 153rd news bulletin.
A number of Crewe and Nantwich residents have contacted me recently about the payday loan industry, and it's not all surprising. The fact is that the payday lending market is not operating as it should. Consumers are bearing the brunt and this cannot continue.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates consumer credit, has proposed tough new rules for payday lending to help those consumers most at risk of harm from poor business practices.
Moreover, loans should not be given to people who cannot realistically afford to pay them back. Too few lenders check customers other financial commitments, including bills and other loans before lending to them. The FCA will have stronger powers to enforce guidance that lenders do this properly.
New rules will also limit the number of times a lender can access your account to just twice over the course of the loan and limit the number of times you can rollover a loan to two. Lenders will also have to prove rolling a loan over once is in the customers best interest, the customer will have to agree and be given information on accessing free debt advice.
The FCA will also tackle the problems around the advertising of payday loans. This includes making adverts include a warning reminding potential customers many people do not pay back loans on time and that this is costly. Adverts will now have a line directing customers to free, independent debt advice and the FCA will have the power to ban misleading adverts.
Finally, I welcome the Government’s recent decision to introduce a cap on the cost of payday loans. The planned cap will be on the total cost of credit, not just the interest fee, but also the arrangement fees as well as the penalty fees.
These measures will be good for consumers overall, and will clearly signal to lenders that if they do not get their houses in order now, so they are fair on the people who use them, they will face severe consequences.
Like local residents, I want to see a responsible payday loan industry that works for those who rely on it and ensures that hardworking people are given fair deals, rather than being exploited, and I am glad that steps are being taken to provide one.
Another way of managing your money is with a credit union, like our local Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union, of which I am a member. Credit unions offer a range of savings accounts and loan products suited to your individual needs and at rates you can afford. Visit their website at www.cncu.org.uk for more information.
Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich and Minister of the Year
Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.
The latest edition of my Westminster Report is now being delivered across Crewe and Nantwich, with the latest news on jobs and employment, as well as the major infrastructure investment that is coming our way.
You can click here or on the image to read a copy online.
Government backs new University Technical College for South Cheshire
Nantwich News: Nantwich and Crewe youngsters will benefit from a new University Technical College in South Cheshire. The Government has announced the move and believes the college, will boost the region’s engineering skills.
It will cater for 14-19-year-olds who want to pursue careers in engineering and high skill manufacturing. Students will work with major local employers to develop gold-standard vocational qualifications alongside more traditional ones.
UTC Crewe is due to open in September 2016.
The announcement comes as representatives from five Northern cities met Chancellor George Osborne to unveil a £15billion plan to improve road and rail connections.
The joint “One North” report includes plans for a new 125mph inter-city rail link, faster links and better access to ports and airports.
Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said: “I have really pushed for this college in government because I have seen with my own eyes what the young people of Crewe and Nantwich are capable of when given the opportunity of first-class technical training.
“I want them set up for life with skills that will keep them employed and spur them on to higher education if they want it.
“This college will be producing the engineers of the future under the guidance of some stellar companies. I am so pleased we pulled it off.”
Cllr Jones hailed the Government’s decision on the UTC. He said: “Britain’s once world-beating manufacturing sector has suffered over the decades, leading to lost opportunities to train our youngsters up to become leading engineers of the future.
“Cheshire East Council has held this vision for some time and we are delighted the Government has now thrown its full weight behind this idea.
“We also fully support securing more apprentices and our own award-winning apprentice scheme, The A-Team, which offers fantastic training for our youngsters in Cheshire East.”
The UTC scheme is a partnership between Cheshire East Council, Bentley Motors, Manchester Metropolitan University, Siemens, Bosch, OSL Rail, Jacobs Engineering, Chevron Racing, Optical 3D and South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.
The aim is to fill the gap local businesses have of young people with automotive, engineering, rail and design skills in these growing industries.
Bentley’s Dr Ariane Reinhart said: “UTC Crewe is fantastic news. It will enhance the local community, boosting skills, education and employability, for the benefit of individuals and many organisations.”
Mathew Conway, engineering director of Crewe-based OSL, a rail infrastructure company, said: “It is a fantastic schooling strategy, which I term school-plus.
“It will allow young professionals of the future, working with real business and educational partners, several educational pathways to gain both academic theory and real-world, practical, work-based experience.”
Crewe & Nantwich MP: Improved network will boost economy
Crewe Chronicle: In the latest of a series of articles looking at the South Cheshire economy, Barry Ellams questions Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson on transport.
Question: The road network around Crewe is used as a bypass to the M6. How big a hindrance is this to commuters and business in your opinion?
A: Obviously commuters - including me - want to get from A to B as quickly as possible, and people using our roads as a rat run make that more difficult. But we can't blame them. They do it for a reason. So To help alleviate this problem the Department for Transport has provided £26.4million for the Crewe Green Link Road and £8million for M6 Junction 16 improvements, making that exit more attractive to motorists and taking traffic off minor roads.
Question: The town's infrastructure revolves around its railway town heritage, but has its poor road linkage let it down?
A: You only need to look at a map to see that all roads lead to Nantwich, and all railway lines leads to Crewe. Both towns have prospered as a result in the past, and continue to as a result in some ways.
The problem for Crewe is that people travel in a different way locally to the way they used to when the town was built - they drive: cars are affordable to most. Indeed the Chancellor has announced fuel duty will be 20p per litre lower by the end of the Parliament compared to plans inherited from Labour. This will save the average motorist £11 every time they fill up their tank by 2015-16.
Crewe's roads are constrained by the bridges across the various railway lines that feed into it. The classic problem is the bridge between the town centre and the Grand Junction Retail Park. The line and the bridge separate two retail areas, and the one with the best car access wins. I would like to see that bridge widened and better pedestrian linkages put in to alleviate congestion and link up the two areas into one successful retail area.
- You can read my interview about transport and infrastructure in full, on the Crewe Chronicle website.
Pilot scheme to speed up adoption process
Crewe Chronicle: Cheshire East Council has been given the green light to allow people approved to adopt to search the national Adoption Register for the first time.
The council has been specially selected to pilot the scheme which will allow approved adopters to learn more about the children who are waiting for a loving, stable home.
From this September, they will be able to find out about their hobbies, likes and dislikes, and hear them speak and laugh in videos and pictures to help match children waiting with their new family.
Opening the register is designed to ensure that children are placed more quickly with families who can give them the stability and security they deserve. Strict safeguards will be put in place to ensure the safety and privacy of children and approved adopters. The Adoption Register is currently only used by social workers to find homes for children waiting to be adopted.
Minister for children and families, Edward Timpson, who has two adopted brothers, said: “Allowing parents in Cheshire East who are approved to adopt to see videos and pictures, to hear the children speak and laugh – while keeping in place the strictest safeguards – will give them a greater role in the process and ensure more children are placed with their new family much more quickly.”
The Government has also announced that all schoolchildren adopted from care are to benefit from £20m of additional Pupil Premium money to get the support they need to thrive at school from day one – helping around 10,000 children.
The extension of the funding worth £1,900 per pupil, will help to close the attainments gap and transform their future life chances of these children. Previously, only children adopted from care since 30 December 2005 were eligible.
Last year saw a record 15% increase in adoptions. These announcements, which build on this success, are part of a package of new measures that have come into force today. Measures include:
- Removing barriers to successful matches by ensuring ethnicity is not prioritised by councils and adoption agencies over other factors – such as the ability to provide a loving, stable home.
- Placing new rules on councils to actively consider Fostering for Adoption places where appropriate – allowing children to move in with their potential new adoptive family much earlier.
- Putting a new legal duty on all councils to tell adopters about the assistance available to them – including access to priority schools admissions for their children, the Pupil Premium Plus.
- Fifteen hours of free early years education for two year olds.
MP: Jobs boost for economy
Crewe Chronicle: Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has welcomed new figures showing the British economy is now above its pre-crisis peak.
This continuing growth means there are more businesses, creating more jobs, so that more families can have the security of a regular pay packet and the peace of mind for the future that brings.
Mr Timpson said: “Thanks to the hard work of people in Crewe and Nantwich and across Britain the economy is now above its pre-crisis peak – a major milestone in our long-term economic plan. It means more businesses, creating more jobs, so families can look forward to a brighter, more secure future.
“But there is still a long way to go. The Great Recession hit Crewe and Nantwich hard.
“Now we owe it to taxpayers not to repeat the mistakes of the past and instead to stick with the plan that is delivering economic security, increased local employment.”