Morley Train Station

Morley Train Station

The 12 weeks of improvement works at Morley train station has now been completed. The works, that includes under ground water storage tanks to prevent flooding, a reed bed and wild flower area, new and more efficient lighting, extending and resurfacing the car-park and access road and a new wall and fencing,
The increasing popularity of rail travel, nationally passenger numbers have roughly doubled in the last decade, but passenger numbers at Morley station have increased much, much more. Back in 2003 54,591 passengers used Morley station, the same figures show that in 2012 that number now stands at 347,610; a massive rise. Undoubtedly the reason for this rise is the speed, punctuality and low cost of rail travel when compared to the buses in this area. Local rail travel can be around 40% cheaper than travelling by bus.
So the increasing passenger numbers has brought better facilities. CCTV was added in early 2011, even back then the station was a bare place. But this year the platforms have been brightened up with flowers instead of weeds and the platforms and the surrounding areas are a much cleaner and brighter, thanks to the ‘Friends of Morley Station’ group, that was formed in 2012.

Blank Display?

Blank window?

Since all our political parties now put money making over the interests of of the people, I was pleased that at least in Australia the Government put the people first. In Australia the Government have past a law forcing cigarette manufacturers to pack their cigarettes in a plain pack. No more advertising or brand loyalty, because there is nothing to promote. If only our coalition Government could put people before profit. We could follow Australia, and reduce smoking even further. We could turn back the clock, and have zero promotion in bookmakers shop windows. Now they offer free £50 bets, to tempt in the young and vulnerable. At least all of the bookmakers used to pay full corporation tax. But now they avoid tax by having their head office in tax haven.

Essex County Council and Term Time Holidays

The trail that was set begin on 10 November, of James and Dana Haymore for taking their child out of school during term time for six days has been dropped. Their case was taken on by Liberty which said “common sense must prevail”, and now it has, resulting in a massive legal bill for the council involved. The prosecution came after the couple took their 11-year-old son out of Primary School, between December 16 and 20 and on January 7 for a memorial service for Mrs Haymore’s grandfather in the US. Whilst an Education Select Committee is taking evidence of extremism and fraud in Free Schools and Academies; term time school holidays seems to be the Conservatives top priority.

New Broom Sweeps Clean?

Now that Michael Gove has been sacked from the Education Cabinet, perhaps his daft idea of fixed penalties for parents taking their children on term time holidays can be trashed too?

Fixed penalty notices for an average family with 3 children can amount to £720, just for taking them out of school for a few days during school time; compare this with other fixed penalty notices. The fixed penalty notice for shoplifting can often be £100, the same for being drunk and disorderly in public and the same £100 fine for use of motor vehicle without a MOT test certificate. Raising children is a very serious matter, but holidays can be very educational; so why our government thinks that parents should be punished more severely than thieves and drunks is beyond me.

Police Federation and Falling officer Numbers

The Police Federation chairmen Mark Smith has called on the powers that be to make police officers an exemption to the new fixed penalty notices for term time school holidays. These fines could see many parents liable for a £120 fine, per child per parent, and potentially place a “conviction” on a police officers record if a fine was not paid.
The Police Federation chairmen haS said that with falling officer numbers and leave increasingly being restricted for officers during school holidays, many bobbies are being left with no option but to go on holiday during term time, and broke these new term time laws. And they have called on the powers that be to make police officers an exemption to this law – as with members of the armed forces.
With the recent sacking of Michael Gove from the Education cabinet, I hope that the Conservatives will back track on this policy. When the policing of our streets is affected by this daft law change, there must be change. The average family holiday, with a few days in the school term, could mean ordinary families paying £480 in fines to the government. I wonder what the Leeds MP Ed Balls thinks about these fines, in 2007 Balls was promoted to Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The next election is approaching, we need to know where the Labour Party stand.

Term Time Fines

We now have a new leader at the Department for Education, Michael Gove has been replaced by Nicky Morgan, but in the real world there is no change. Ordinary people that have children attending the local High School or Academy get fined £120 per child, per parent; which is £720 for a married couple with three children for taking their children on a much deserved holiday. The wealthy MPs at the Department for Education dont have the same issues, because for one, private schools are not covered by the same rules. The very exclusive Westminster School in London, that Nick Clegg attended, has a longer summer holiday than most, Wednesday 2nd June and returns on Monday 1st September. So no one will get fined there. So there is one rule for ordinary people, and different rules for the wealthy; people need to fight this Government, they are not on our side. All the MPs at the Department for Education attended private school, none of them even understand ordinary people.

Parents Want a Say

At last, someone is challenging these stupid term time holiday fines. Members of the group “Parents Want a Say” are seeking a judicial review challenging a Department for Education decision to remove the discretion of headteachers to approve term time absences in “special circumstances”. These changes that affect the poorest the most, were not in any manifesto, no parents were consulted, no businesses, and no pupils were consulted. The Department for Education insist there is no outright ban and that a head still has discretion to grant leave of absence, but only in exceptional circumstances. But they refuse to define exceptional circumstances.

A £120 fine per child per parent for what should be quality time spent with their families is just another tax on the poor. There has even been instances where children have not been granted time off for their parents wedding, this new system is a political joke and should be treated as such. Everyone should refuse to pay these fixed penalty notices, I will be doing exactly that. Children with very good attendance and on target with their school work should be granted some flexibility. In a poll asking if parents should be allowed to take their children out of school in term time, 87% said yes.

Flood Defence Funding Lower

 

After the tidal surge that hit the East coast the Environment Agency said 800,000 homes in England had been protected by flood defences and better forecasting had given people “vital time” to prepare. When David Cameron came into office they cut millions of funding for sea defences. In 2011 flood defence funding was cut by 8%. The effects of climate change are not being taken seriously by this Government. Since the last tidal surge of 1953, sea levels are around 6 inches higher.Image

 

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the associated tidal surge that accompanied it killed more than 1800 people. The effects of Climate change was predicted to bring more precipitation and more severe weather conditions, but yet few are linking last weeks tidal surge to climate change, despite it being Dover and Kents’ highest recorded sea level in more than 100 years. Insurers are bracing themselves for new claims over damage to homes and businesses, just two months after storms in southern England led to payouts of over £100 million. Our Government needs to wake up, instead of funding the Arts Council and other such organisations, they should put more money into coastal and flood defences.

Which Laws Should Be Enforced?

With all the complaints starting about the noise from fireworks, I was surprised to read on the Government web site about the restricted occasions that fireworks can be let off legally. Fireworks(including sparklers) can only be set off legally, on 4 days per year; Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am. The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks(including sparklers) in the street or other public places. So since many bonfires and fireworks displays don’t take place on bonfire night, and are often held in public parks, they are in fact illegal and could be opening the organisers up to litigation.

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