I would like to wish the Gill family the very best of luck as they begin selling raw milk from their cows directly from the farm in an effort to stay in business.
Whilst not wishing to wade into the argument about whether unpasteurised milk is suitable or safe – that should be a matter for the consumer – the direction the Gill family are taking their business highlights a very real concern facing dairy farmers up and down the country.
Over the past 20 years or so, dairy farmers have been squeezed by an oversupply of cheap milk from Europe, meanwhile aggressive practices from big supermarket chains such as Tesco have been instrumental in forcing milk prices below the cost to produce it.
Farmers who are able to sell their milk directly to consumers represents a win-win for the industry and the general public. Since 1996, we have lost 600,000 cows whilst the number of registered dairy producers has fallen by 61%.
This is unsustainable in the long term and therefore I would like to see innovative farmers such as the Gills take back control of their livelihood and be given even more freedom to sell directly to the consumer.
As a long-standing advocate of regular, weekly bin collections for household waste, I warned back in 2008 that a move to fortnightly collections would result in an increase in fly-tipping.
What I could not foresee however, was that Liverpool was to become a dumping ground for illegal waste from other local authorities, courtesy of unscrupulous gangs looking to profit from rubbish build-up.
With the council already spending £1 million on a clear up operation of the waste and with the prospect of more councils moving to three or even four weekly waste collections, this could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Liverpool Council should, as a first step, look to reintroduce regular weekly collections. However I would also call on Mayor Joe Anderson to use his supposed influence to lobby neighbouring councils to follow suit.
I fully understand the genuine concerns facing residents in Wirral who now face rather drastic changes to Westminster boundaries and the loss of one MP following the recent boundary review.
Voters naturally get accustomed to existing seats, especially when they reflect geographical or demographic realities and there will always be an argument that tinkering with boundaries accounts for nothing more than so-called ‘gerrymandering’ by whichever party implements any changes.
Whether we change the boundaries or leave them as they are, it will make not one iota of difference in ensuring that voters are fairly represented. We will still end up in a situation where most voters live in safe seats that hardly, if ever, change hands meaning that MPs can take your vote for granted.
Only by introducing an element of proportional representation like they have for the assemblies in Wales and London for example will voters be fairly represented by a variety of MPs from different parties and holding different views.
• Motion for a Resolution:
Proposal by Belgian MEP Sander Loones on behalf of the ECR group for a debate about how the EU will prepare negotiations once Article 50 of the EU treaties invoked by Member States
Full marks for Theresa May in championing new grammar schools.
The re-introduction of such schools has been a policy that I and UKIP have been backing for many years and I am delighted that our new Prime Minister takes the same view.
Her proposals are very much a step in the right direction and I hope that they come to fruition as soon as possible.
It is sad that there are those, who for their own mixed reasons, want to slam shut this gateway to social mobility which has been declining for decades.
Grammar schools give children from all backgrounds the chance to get the very best education and every parent wants that for their child. And it seems that Theresa May has the determination to make that a reality for which future generations will be immensely grateful.
Ex-education secretary Nicky Morgan, who talks of the proposals undermining ‘progressive education reform’, should think on why if that is so marvellous the UK is lagging behind in international league tables for education.
It is vital that our youngsters get the best possible start in life and grammar schools are the way forward.
Before anyone who is upset with the result of the recent EU referendum points out that European Social Fund money has contributed to the recent awarding of £10.6 million grant to the Golden Gates Housing Trust, let me take this opportunity to debunk any so-called EU funding to Cheshire and Warrington.
Over the past decade or so, you will not have failed to see, either here or elsewhere in the North West, big signs urging us to be thankful for ‘EU’ money going towards one project or another. However it has been nothing but a ruse.
In the 2007-2013 period, Cheshire contributed a whopping £535 million into the EU coffers whilst it only received a measly £150 million back in structural and development funding. For every £1 Cheshire received from the EU, the county effectively had already paid in £3.58.
If we had voted to ‘Remain’, Cheshire’s contributions would have gone up and its grants would have fallen as poorer countries join the EU.
Now that the dust has settled on the referendum result, it is high time that we remove the EU flag and banish any notion that the EU has been using anything but our own money to fund local projects.
The recent inspection of Greater Manchester Police which found that as many as 38,000 crimes each year had failed to be reported goes to show that Labour Police Chief Tony Lloyd still has plenty of work to do before his role is transferred to the new Greater Manchester Mayor.
Public confidence in our police forces must be an absolute priority as without it, we simply open the doors for more criminal and anti-social behaviour.
If Greater Manchester Police continue to smokescreen the public by not recording so many crimes, sadly it will mean that victims of crime will eventually come to the conclusion that it is pointless to report issues they witness.
I hope the new IT system that comes into place soon will mean that a higher proportion of crimes are reported within the system, however public sector agencies have poor form when it comes to introducing such systems. Therefore sadly, I won’t be holding my breath.
The plan for the construction of 75 new properties on a greenfield site off Accrington Road in Whalley is a disaster waiting to happen, and I urge the Parish Council to send a strong message of rejection of the plan before it goes to Ribble Valley Council.
The floods that hit Lancashire last winter were a harsh reminder of the damage flooding can do to people’s homes. If we build on land that is already prone to flooding and constant waterlogging, the end result will be even more families having their lives ruined when a larger than anticipated level of sustained rainfall occurs.
There are empty homes all over Lancashire that could be put to better use, whilst there are countless brownfield sites that could be cleared to make way for new housing developments. At the last General Election, UKIP proposed that new homes on brownfield sites should be exempt from stamp duty and VAT.
Building on green, open spaces may be cheap in the short term but it will come at the grave cost of residents being unable to suitably insure their homes from a flood that could be just one bad winter away.
Paul Nuttall MEP
UKIP Member of the European Parliament for the the North West of England