October 2016

Airports and steel workers – why some are more equal than others

With the Government looking set to back a third runway at Heathrow, Rob says that in reality the decision is a smack in the face for the thousands who have lost their jobs in industries such as our beleaguered steel sector.  “The Prime Minister’s claim to want to ‘use the power of the state to build a fairer Britain’ is clearly a lie”, he says.

Rob, who is a member of the Transport Select committee and chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freight, says it was right for Mrs May to stop dithering about how to enlarge the country’s air capacity.  “However,” he says, “once again the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people are ignored while selective big business is showered with government support, in this case to the tune of £9 billion pounds.”

Rob says he has no problem with the decision to choose Heathrow for expansion if that is the right one for the country.  He says what has angered him is that, “another Tory government is preparing to throw huge amounts of cash at what might turn out to be a highly profitable project for a private company, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd., which is primarily owned by Spanish, Qatari, Canadian, Singaporean and Chinese investors.  Does anyone really think there would be such a clamour for more capacity if big business didn’t stand to make huge amounts from it?  I have no problem with that.  We want our companies to be successful.  The question is, why does the taxpayer, including those steelworkers facing the destruction of their industry, have to pay for it?  The Tories say they don’t believe in state intervention in industry.  Tell that to the people of Port Talbot, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.  Tell it to people in Redcar and Scunthorpe.  The money’s coming out of their pockets.

“Mrs May told her party conference she wants to, ‘stand up for the weak... up to the powerful.’  It didn’t take long for those easy words to prove to be hollow and empty.”

Extra mental health training for Police Officers shows Government’s failure, not progress

Rob has questioned the motives behind news that Police Officers will now receive a minimum of two days training on mental health issues to address the increased demand on their services.  Over the last decade the use of powers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, which allow the police to remove someone from a public place, have almost doubled nationwide, placing increased demand on already-stretched police resources.

“While extra training is always welcomed”, said Rob, “it should be to enable officers to enhance their skills, not to replace mental health staff.  I have noticed a definite increase in the number of people who are seeking my assistance due to problems with mental health services, and all too often when they reach crisis point the only advice I am given by mental health professionals is to call the Police.

Rob urges transport and freight sectors, “Get your Brexit bids in quickly”

Rob Flello, says the freight and transport sectors need to decide quickly what their bottom line is on Brexit or risk not having any say at all over the future.  The MP says he has heard a whole host of demands from different voices in the industry but that the time has come to decide precisely what the priorities are.

“We all know the government is rudderless over Brexit,” he says, “and frankly hasn’t a clue what its negotiating position is going to be.  The final deal, if one is ever reached, will be a mess, and a lot of people will find decisions have been made which dramatically affect how they can do business.  It is vital for the transport and freight sectors to work out what their most pressing concerns are and then lobby government hard to ensure that the most basic conditions are met to enable them to trade successfully in future.”

Rob condemns Government’s economic U-turn as millions continue to suffer its austerity measures

Rob has condemned the Government’s ‘muddled’ economic policy, as new Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced a U-turn on 6 years of Conservative policy at their annual conference.

Speaking on Monday, Hammond announced that the Government would cancel George Osborne’s plan to balance the nation’s books by 2020 and instead invest its way out of the deficit, exactly echoing Labour Party policy from 2010 which the Tories had previously derided as unworkable.