Thursday, 21 April 2011

Betts Concerns on Local Food Jobs

Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] is meeting representatives from Vion after the food company announced that it had started consultations on closing its Sheffield sausage business with the loss of 205 jobs.

Vion has proposed that its food production in Orgreave Close, Handsworth, Sheffield is transferred to Vion Hall’s in Broxburn, West Lothian. Vion cited a challenging trading climate and fierce competition as the reason for the restructuring, but said that the commitment its employees in Sheffield has never been in question.

Clive Betts said today:
“This is a massive blow to local jobs and local industry. It will precipitate further Sheffield job losses at Vion’s local suppliers and in the local economy.

I am now meeting Vion's representatives to explore alternatives to their current proposals or, at the very least, ensure that every assistance is being given to employees in finding new jobs.

Vion has said that the commitment of its Sheffield employees has never been in doubt. Further, that its rationalisation proposals are being driven by fierce competition and the overall state of the economy.”

 Clive Betts continued:
“This announcement is further evidence that the Government is cutting too hard and too fast.

This Conservative-led government is going further and faster with deficit reduction than any other major economy in the world, and on a foundation of stalled growth and higher unemployment.

When Labour left office a year ago, the economy was turning a corner, with unemployment falling and the economy starting to grow strongly. That meant the deficit came in £21bn lower than forecast. Twelve months on, Britain’s economy should be growing strongly and unemployment should be much lower.

But this government’s economic strategy has meant that Britain’s economy over the latest six months has grown by a paltry 0.3% compared to growth of 1.8% in the previous six months.”

Clive Betts concluded:
“This announcement provides further evidence to disprove the theory that public sector cuts will create private sector jobs. The reality is that our city is losing jobs and investment in both the public and private sectors as a result of the government’s economic policies.”

Monday, 18 April 2011

Betts challenges Pickles and Clegg on voluntary sector cuts

Clive Betts MP has today challenged Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to come clean about the representations he received from Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to delay new guidance on council funding of the voluntary sector.

Clive Betts has also written to Nick Clegg MP asking him to make public any representations he made to Eric Pickles to delay action so that Liberal Democrat controlled Sheffield City Council could continue to implement 15% cuts in grant aid to Sheffield voluntary organisations.

Clive Betts said today:

“With much fanfare, Eric Pickles told voluntary sector representatives that he was taking action to prevent councils making ‘disproportionate cuts’ in grant to voluntary organisations.

Those representatives were left with the clear impression that he intended to take urgent action in relation to this year’s council budgets.

I immediately wrote to Eric Pickles saying that, if that was his intention, he must make an immediate announcement about the detail of his policy because it was unfair to both councils and voluntary organisations to leave them with uncertainty.

In particular, I asked him to be clear about what he meant by ‘disproportionate cuts’ as Sheffield City Council was making a 15% cash cut in funding local voluntary organisations.

Despite reminders, there has been no reply. Then, this week, Eric Pickles published new guidance for consultation which has absolutely no effect on this year’s council decisions.

Why might this be? I believe that Eric Pickles was lobbied heavily by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and Council leaders to delay because of the scale of the cuts they were already making to voluntary organisations in their areas.

I have written today to Eric Pickles asking him to publish the details of all the representations he received and which led him to delay taking action.”

Clive Betts continued:

“I have also written today to Nick Clegg MP reminding him that the claims he has made about Sheffield City Council’s budget simply don’t stand up to scrutiny as I set out in an Early Day Motion. I have also asked him to make public any representations he has made to Eric Pickles to ensure that Liberal Democrat controlled Sheffield City Council can continue to make 15% cuts in grant aid to the voluntary sector this year.”