EU boost for Tameside businesses

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

British inventors are set to benefit from the successful outcome of a 40 year EU battle on patent laws.

Businesses applying for patents currently need to have their application translated into 23 different languages to protect their rights in 25 EU countries.

But Euro-MPs this week gave their backing to a new patent law that will allow inventors to apply in just one language and get protection across the EU. The new unitary patents will be processed in English, French or German but can be submitted in any of the 23 official EU languages.

The new law will reduce the costs of an EU wide patent by 80% with costs of translation no longer being met by the inventors. Costs will fall to _2380 during a short transition period and then _680 after that.

Patent costs in the USA and Japan are significantly lower than in the EU making manufacturing in those countries more competitive.

Chris Davies, Lib Dem Euro-MP for Tameside said, “This is exactly what the EU should be doing, making it easier and cheaper for businesses across Europe to develop new products and promote innovation.

“Manufacturing industry in the North needs to be on a level playing field with international competitors.

“If we are going to grow our way out of the current financial difficulties we need to make things and export them and this will help.”

Davies criticised UKIP MEPs who voted against the new patent law. “UKIP has shown again that its obsessive hatred of the idea of European cooperation puts jobs at risk. Its MEPs let down small and medium sized businesses and our great Universities by voting against this measure.

“Money that is currently being wasted on translating patents can now be used for more research and most importantly to create jobs. A widget made in Tameside today can be sold in Bulgaria tomorrow without the fear it will be copied.”

Liberal Democrats gear up for Euro campaign

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Liberal Democrats in Tameside have picked Euro-MP Chris Davies to lead their campaign to hold on to their European parliament seat.

The list was chosen by party members in a postal ballot. Chris will be joined by businesswoman Helen Foster-Grime, economics professor Jo Crotty and community activist Qassim Afzal on his team of candidates for the eight places up for grabs in Brussels.

In 2009 the North West of England constituency returned 3 Conservative MEPs, 2 Labour and one each of the Lib Dems, UKIP and the BNP.

Chris Davies has represented Tameside in Brussels since 1999. He is the environment spokesman for the 85 Liberal Democrat MEPs from across the EU. He claims credit for introducing a billion euro funding mechanism that is supporting research into new renewable energy technologies.

Chris said “I’ve been proud to have represented the people of the North West in the EU for 13 years and I want to use this experience to drive forward environmental improvements and promote EU reform.

“Firms across Tameside depend on the EU for access to markets and thousands of jobs here depend on us staying as members. If UKIP got their way and we pulled out, any benefit we got by reducing our membership fee would be wiped out and more by the jobs we would lose to countries like China.”

Often outspoken, the MEP has campaigned for a change in the law to allow patients suffering intolerably to seek medical help to die. His call for drugs to be decriminalised and for their supply to be taken out of the hands of criminals will also be an issue for opponents of the Lib Dem team.

Lib Dems second across the borough




Across Tameside the Lib Dems came second in Thursday’s election. The results in the election for Police & Crime Commissioner in Tameside council area were:

Labour 12083
Lib Dem 3361
Conservative 2782
Independent 2623
UKIP 2316

(Read the borough by borough results here)

Lib Dem candidate Matt Gallagher wrote on his blog earlier today:

“I would like to thank everyone for their support, best wishes and kind remarks.

“We came third, just 2,160 votes behind the Tory machine, and with 40,318 first preference votes and an estimated 60,000 second preference votes (more…)

MEP crowned UK ultra distance running champion

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside Euro-MP Chris Davies has been crowned UK over-50 ultra-distance running champion for 2012.

The national ‘Runfurther’ championships take account of the best four results in a series of up to 12 off-road races over distances of between 31 and 61 miles.

Davies (58) took a commanding lead after winning outright a 56 mile Peak District race in September, and securing one of the best ever times for his age in a 50 mile Yorkshire race last month.

He finished the season in fifth position overall and first in the over-50 category.

The Liberal Democrat MEP, who is a member of Saddleworth Runners and has been competing since he was 14, describes himself as “just a good club runner”.

Chris Davies said:

“I’ve never had the speed of the great runners but I seem to be able to just keep going when others start to fade.  It’s what every Liberal Democrat has to do to survive in politics!

“So far my old knees haven’t let me down.  Maybe that’s because these days I do most of my training in a gym, either in the basement of the European Parliament or in Greenfield, the village where I live.”

Nick Clegg’s speech to Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Brighton yesterday, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
This summer, as we cheered our athletes to gold after gold after gold, Britain remembered how it feels to win again. But more importantly, we remembered what it takes to win again. Whether from Jess Ennis or Mo Farah, Sarah Storey or David Weir, the message was the same: we may be the ones on the podium, but behind each of us stands a coach.  And behind the coach, a team. And behind the team, the organisers, the volunteers, the supporters. And behind them, a whole city, an entire country, the UK nations united behind one goal.

What a contrast from a year ago when England’s cities burned in a week of riots. When the images beamed to the world were not of athletes running for the finishing line, but the mob, running at police lines. When the flames climbed, not from the Olympic torch in east London, but a furniture shop in south London. A 140 year-old family-run business, which had survived two world wars and countless recessions, razed to the ground. Of course, even then, amid the smoke and embers, we saw our country’s true character when residents came out onto the streets to clear up the mess. (more…)

Former copper Matt Gallagher selected as Lib Dem candidate for Police Commissioner for Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Liberal Democrats have selected retired former police Inspector Matt Gallagher to be their candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.

Matt Gallagher said today, “I have 30 years police experience, and a detailed knowledge of the Greater Manchester Police. That is why I am best candidate to work with police officers and cut crime across Greater Manchester.”

He added, “Survey after survey shows that the public would prefer to see a former copper as Police Commissioner than a failed former politician. The people of Greater Manchester now have that choice.”

Matt has a strong public service record. His grandfather was a police officer, his wife and daughter are mobile carers and his son is a Royal Marine Commando.

Mr Gallagher served for thirty years with GMP, six as a front line inspector in the force’s elite Tactical Aid Unit, where he confronted the city’s drugs gangs and organised football hooligan’s, and targeted anti-social behaviour and gun crime.

South Manchester MP John Leech added, “I supported Matt because he was made for this job. 30 years a copper, six years in the Tactical Aid Unit. Better a copper with an understanding of the job that a failed former minister.”

He beat former Councillors Jackie Pearcey and Qassim Afzal polling over half of the first preference votes.

The new Liberal Democrat ministerial Team

You’ve probably seen lots of reporting of the government reshuffle.

The new full Liberal Democrat ministerial team is as follows

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP – Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council (with special responsibility for political and constitutional reform)

The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP – Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP – Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and President of the Board of Trade

The Rt Hon Edward Davey MP – Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

The Rt Hon Michael Moore MP – Secretary of State for Scotland

Norman Baker MP – Department for Transport, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

The Rt Hon Tom Brake MP – Office of the Leader of the Commons, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Leader)

Jeremy Browne MP – Home Office, Minister of State

The Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP – House of Commons, Deputy Chief Whip (Comptroller of HM Household)

Lynne Featherstone MP – Department for International Development, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

The Rt Hon Don Foster MP – Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Baroness Garden – Baroness in Waiting

David Heath CBE MP – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State

Mark Hunter MP – Assistant Government Whip

Norman Lamb MP – Department of Health, Minister of State

Rt Hon David Laws MP – Department for Education, Minister of State (jointly with the Cabinet Office)

The Rt Hon Lord McNally – Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords)

Lord Newby OBE – House of Lords, Deputy Chief Whip (Captain of The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard)

Baroness Northover – Baroness in Waiting

Baroness Randerson – Wales Office, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Lord Wallace of Saltaire – Lord in Waiting

Jo Swinson MP – Business, Innovation and Skills, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC – Law Officers, Advocate General for Scotland

Steve Webb MP – Department for Work and Pensions, Minister of State

Jenny Willott MP – Assistant Government Whip

Liberal Democrats outline plans to build 300,000 new homes a year

The Liberal Democrats have outlined plans to build 300,000 new homes a year. The proposals, outlined in housing policy paper Decent Homes for All, would see up to 300,000 homes being built annually and provide greater powers for tenants and local councils. They will be debated at our Autumn Party Conference in Brighton this September – where our party members make Lib Dem policy.

The proposals include:

  • Building up to 300,000 new houses by supporting investment and giving local authorities and social landlords more freedom to build
  • Increasing protection for private tenants by promoting longer tenancies and cracking down on rogue landlords
  • Giving local authorities more power to control second homes and bring empty homes back into use.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes MP said:

“Successive governments have failed to address what is now a housing crisis.

“A shortage of homes has made it impossible for many to get on the housing ladder and has seen rents, especially in big cities, rise to historic and unaffordable highs.

“That’s why Liberal Democrats have outlined our most ambitious ever proposals for building the new homes Britain needs.

“Building 300,000 new houses a year will ease demand, stimulate the economy and generate jobs. It’s a win-win.

“We also want to give tenants more security and empower local councils to bring empty homes into use and end the scandal of overseas investors buying up property only to let it sit unoccupied.

“We need to be shamelessly ambitious if we are to tackle the problem head on. Everyone is entitled to a decent and affordable roof over their head and Liberal Democrats are committed to delivering it.”

You can read the policy paper here.