Hartlepool employees will be encouraged to ditch the car to get to work as part of a new green travel scheme.
Hartlepool Borough Council, which is leading the Government-funded sustainable travel scheme, says it will work with local firms to promote greater take up of cycling, walking and public transport.
Where car use is necessary, the scheme will encourage employees to share vehicles.
Sustainable travel officer Tony Davison, leading the scheme, said:
“In particular, the greater use of these forms of travel is crucial to us achieving our economic regeneration priorities for the town in a sustainable way by helping to ensure that developments do not adversely affect local roads in terms of congestion and safety.
“In addition, they can play a significant role when it comes to improving the health of local people by increasing their levels of physical activity,” said Tony who cycles 28-miles a day to work from Coxhoe and back.
Looking ahead the council says it is hopes to develop new cycle routes to key employment sites.
More people in South Tyneside are at risk of losing the roof over their heads than anywhere else in the North East, alarming new statistics reveal.
The figures, from the housing charity Shelter, reveal that more than 350 people in the region have faced the threat of eviction every week over the last year.
The charity also identified ‘home threat hotspots’ – where people are most likely to face the risk of losing their home.
South Tyneside topped that list with as many as one in every 103 homeowners and people living in the private rented sector under threat of eviction, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (one in 112), Hartlepool (one in 114) and Middlesbrough (one in 123).
> The bad news – it’s at McDonalds…
Young worker Amy Farrow has landed her first full time job in three years after applying for over 1,200 posts without success.
Amy, who is 24, was one of hundreds of Hartlepool‘s unemployed young people and wrote off for up to 40 jobs a week for months until she was finally offered a job at McDonalds at Hartlepool Marina.
She says the job has given her back her self respect and allowed her to move into her own home and go on holiday for the first time in years.
> On a minimum wage McJob ? Is she a managing director or something ?
Amy, of Bakers Mead, Hartlepool, said:
“It is miles better now that I am working, I just feel more important.”
She also worked as a volunteer in a charity shop and had an apprenticeship at a restaurant before it changed owners and her hours were dramatically reduced.
In between stints in work, Amy applied for hundreds of jobs for bar work, in retail and waitressing.
“I used to go on all the job sites and walk around every day handing my CV out. It was hard.
“Sometimes the people I was applying to didn’t even get back in touch. I had quite a few interviews but wasn’t successful. I was only getting £110 a fortnight so it was quite hard to live on.”
Latest figures show Hartlepool has 455 people aged 16-24 who are out of work – a rate twice the national average.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 04 Jun 2015
Family incomes are on the rise in most of the region, official figures show – but at a slower pace than in most of the country.
Household disposable income per head crept up by just 0.8 per cent in the North-East between 2012 and 2013, below the one per cent rise across the United Kingdom.
And the North-East was left in the slow lane by both Scotland (up two per cent) and the West Midlands (up 2.3 per cent) as the economy bounced back, as well as by Yorkshire (up 1.4 per cent).
But households in London and the South-East (both up 0.6 per cent) saw incomes grow more slowly – even though overall growth was far higher than in the North-East in both areas.
The statistics also reveal striking local variations in the changes in gross disposable household income (GDHI), the amount available for spending or saving after taxes and benefits.
Incomes grew sharply in Darlington (3.5 per cent) and South Teesside (2.6 per cent) and were also up in North Yorkshire (two per cent) and Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (1.9 per cent).
But growth was more sluggish in County Durham (1.3 per cent) – and fell markedly in both Sunderland (3.1 per cent) and York (3.3 per cent).
In Westminster, the average GDHI was £42,221 in 2013 – almost three times the figure of £14,659 in County Durham and the highest of 173 local areas analysed.
And incomes in Kensington and Chelsea/Hammersmith and Fulham (£42,116), Camden and City of London (£37,324) and Wandsworth (£35,237) were not far behind.
Matt Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation think-tank, said:
“Regional inequalities have fallen since the crash, but the gap between the South East and the UK is stark.”
Experts believe disposal income – the amount people have to spend after the bills have been paid – is the best measure of the economic confidence of families and individuals.
Campaigners from across the North-East will travel to London to join anti-austerity protesters next month.
Coachloads of campaigners are expected to make their way from the region to a national demonstration against austerity measures, called by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
The #EndAusterityNow demonstration is being staged in reaction to the election of the Conservatives and their austerity proposals.
A spokesman said:
“The Tories are back in, this time with a majority.
“They plan many more savage cuts, causing misery for millions.
“We are organising and demonstrating to stop them.
“We demand an alternative to austerity and to policies that only benefit those at the top.
“We’ll be assembling the demonstration in the heart of the City of London right on the doorstep of the people who created the crisis to demand that they should pay for it and not the majority who had nothing to do with it.”
Coaches will leave the North-East from Hartlepool and Middlesbrough on Saturday, June 20, returning the same evening.
Seats are £30 waged or £20 unwaged.
For more information or to book a seat, email email@example.com.
Source – Northern Echo, 12 May 2015
Thousands of Hartlepool families have been given vital help following heartfelt pleas to a foodbank.
Hartlepool Foodbank gave 4,222 people three days of emergency food in 2014-15, compared to 4783 in 2013-14.
The figures included 1,147 children getting help from the foodbank.
Bosses at the foodbank, which is one of 400 nationally run by the Trussell Trust, have praised communities for helping the cause, which saw people in Hartlepool donate 38 tonnes of food.
The top three reasons for foodbank referrals were benefit delay 33 per cent, low income 25 per cent and benefit changes 11 per cent.
A spokesman for the Trussell Trust said:
“Thanks to the generous donations from members of the public Hartlepool Foodbank is often able to provide some basic toiletries in addition to the emergency food, to families who are at struggling point, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.
“Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Hartlepool Foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support from their premises, helping people to break out of crisis.”
Nationally last year 1,084,604 people – including 396,997 children – received three days’ food from the Trussell Trust’s network of foodbanks in 2014/15, compared with 913,138 in the 2013/14 financial year, an increase of 19 per cent.
Trussell Trust UK foodbank director Adrian Curtis said:
“Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today. It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.
Adrian Curtis added: “Trussell Trust foodbanks are increasingly hosting additional services like debt counselling and welfare advice at our foodbanks, which is helping more people out of crisis. The Trussell Trust’s latest figures highlight how vital it is that we all work to prevent and relieve hunger in the UK. It’s crucial that we listen to the experiences of people using foodbanks to truly understand the nature of the problems they face; what people who have gone hungry have to say holds the key to finding the solution.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 23 Apr 2015
An election candidate who was arrested following a protest in London has seen the charges against him dropped.
Michael Holt, a Green Party candidate who is standing in the General Election in Hartlepool, was arrested on October 21 last year and charged with obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty, and also for failing to comply with a direction to leave.
The charges followed Mr Holt taking part in the protests about having a democracy free from corporate interests, in Parliament Square Gardens, London.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 18 Apr 2015
Hartlepool Borough Council says it does not support zero-hour contracts in principle – and is encouraging its contractors to take the same stance.
The council has considered six key principles, proposed by Putting Hartlepool First, around improving terms for workers on the contracts.
Councillors for the party said they are incompatible with building a loyal, skilled and productive workforce, and make it hard for workers to plan their budgets,
A wider review of the council’s use of the contracts is also ongoing, and is due to be completed by October.
There are currently 22 Hartlepool council workers employed on zero-hour contracts but that number is expected to fall.
But it says they may sometimes be the best way of meeting the authority’s needs.
The council’s stance is to be included in its pay policy, and will state:
“The council does not generally support the use of zero-hours contracts.
“However, there may be circumstances where the use of zero-hour contracts is the most effective and efficient way of meeting the council’s needs, and the assistant chief executive (or nominees) will determine when this applies.
“Where employees are employed on a zero-hours contract they are employed on a fixed or permanent basis, are entitled to request a review of their contracted hours at any time after six months in post and are not prevented from working for other employees.”
Contractors employed by the council will be required to pay workers the National Minimum Wage and also encouraged to pay the council’s Living Wage.
With regard to the use of zero-hours contracts, the council policy states contractors will avoid using them.
A report said some council employees work relatively small hours a year either with or without zero hour contracts.
“This type of working pattern would enable employees to be offered a fixed term or permanent contracts ultimately further reducing the number of zero-hour contracts across the council.”
The council will also write to its contractors highlighting its policy. But the council added zero-hour contracts may be the best option where regular hours cannot be guaranteed such as for teachers of courses that only run if there are enough people.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 14 Apr 2015
Darlington: currently held by Jenny Chapman (Lab)
Jenny Chapman (Lab),
Mike Cherrington (Green),
Anne-Marie Curry (LD),
Peter Cuthbertson (Con),
Alan Docherty (TUSC),
David Hodgson (Ukip)
Hartlepool: currently held by Iain Wright (Lab)
Hilary Allen (LD),
Sandra Allison (Save Our Hospital),
Phillip Broughton (Ukip),
John Hobbs (Ind),
Michael Holt (Green),
Stephen Picton (Ind),
Richard Royal (Con),
Iain Wright (Lab).
Middlesbrough: currently held by Andy Mcdonald (Lab)
Craig Baker (Ukip),
Simon Clarke (Con),
Hannah Grahm (Green),
Richard Kilpatrick (LD),
Andy McDonald (Lab).
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: currently held by Tom Blenkinsop (Lab)
Tom Blenkinsop (Lab),
Martin Brampton (Green),
Ben Gibson (LD),
Will Goodhand (Con),
Steve Turner (Ukip).
Redcar: vacant – Ian Swales (Lib Dem) standing down.
Christopher Gallacher (Ukip),
Philip Lockey (North East Party),
Josh Mason (LD),
Peter Pinkney (Green),
Anna Turley (Lab),
Jacob Young (Con).
Stockton North: currently held by Alex Cunningham (Lab)
Mandy Boylett (Ukip),
Alex Cunningham (Lab),
Christopher Daniels (Con),
Adrian Sycamore (LD),
John Tait (North East Party).
Stockton South: currently held by James Wharton (Con)
Louise Baldock (Lab),
Drew Durning (LD),
Jacqui Lovell (Green),
Ted Strike (Ukip),
Steve Walmlsey (Ind Against Social Injustice),
James Wharton (Con).