Saturday, 31 July 2010

A note from my mate David (The Prime Minister)

Dear David (Clifford)

Parliament has risen, summer is here and this coalition government is nearly at the three month mark. It's a good time to take stock of what we've done so far and where we're going. Eleven weeks in and I believe we've made a good start.

We said we'd take the tough decisions needed to rescue our economy and we've been doing that. We've scrapped Labour's jobs tax, completed an in-year spending review to save £6 billion of waste and presented an emergency Budget that will balance the books within five years.

We promised radical reform of our public services and we're delivering, with a big expansion of the academy programme in our schools and unprecedented reform of the NHS - £1 billion of bureaucracy cut, pointless targets scrapped, whole tiers of bureaucracy abolished and real power for GPs and patients.

We campaigned relentlessly on pushing power out from the centre and we're making it happen. Eric Pickles' department has been busy dismantling the architecture of top-down control, scrapping Regional Assemblies, Regional Strategies and the bureaucracy of RDAs.

We said we'd do the right thing by our troops and we've been doing that too. We have established a National Security Council, made sure we have a clear strategy on Afghanistan and doubled the Operational Allowance for our Forces.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does show our intent to hit the ground running as a great reforming government. And just as we've started, so we'll go on - taking the tough decisions on our economy, radically re-thinking our public services, pushing power out to people and doing all we can to restore Britain's standing in the world.

But however frenetic the coming months and years will be, however busy life in government is, I will never forget how we got here - through your hard work and your tireless campaigning.

Thank you for your continuing support - and have a great summer

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Aldershot Credit Union branches out to Farnborough

From August more people living in the Rushmoor area will have easier access to the Credit Union.
Currently located in Aldershot Town Centre, the Credit Union will soon operate from two locations: First Wessex offices in Gordon Road, Aldershot and Rushmoor Borough Council offices in Farnborough.

• From Thursday 12 August (and every other week) Gordon House 1-4pm

• From Thursday 19 August (and every other week) Rushmoor Borough Council offices 1-4pm

The Credit Union offers secure and ethical banking and loans on a not-for-profit basis for local people. It is controlled by its members and offers a genuine alternative to high interest credit, loan sharks and doorstep lenders.

This joint venture between Rushmoor Borough Council and First Wessex is an important part of tackling financial exclusion in Rushmoor and providing local people with safe options for saving and borrowing.

Nicky Barham, Manager of the Aldershot Credit Union explains: “One member was paying £30 a week to doorstep lenders – which barely covered the interest. A loan from the Credit Union has helped reduce her weekly repayments by half. We’ve now set up an Xmas Savings Account for her, and she’s paying into it weekly to save for Christmas.”

Matt Smith, Community Regeneration Manager at First Wessex hopes more local people will join thanks to the expansion: “We’re working really hard to deter people from turning to loan sharks when they find it hard to get credit or loans elsewhere – and this really is a genuine alternative. We hope that having the Credit Union based in both these offices will mean we can catch lots of people’s attention and raise awareness of this crucial facility.”

Councillor Paul Taylor, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Corporate Services, said: “The Credit Union offers a valuable service in providing residents with a safe way to save and borrow money. We are extremely pleased to be able to offer an additional base at the Council Offices so the service can expand into Farnborough and I’m sure local people will appreciate the easier access.”

Councillor Clifford thinks Credit Unions are a great community asset, that offer competitive interest rates to borrowers and cuts out greedy bankers and loan sharks. Those that borrow from them often save with them, so borrowers are less likely to default on payments as they are essentially borrowing from neighbours.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

New Look in Farnborough

Some news hot off the press – KPI have been working hard to secure tenants for the new retail units adjoining the Sainsbury. I am pleased to confirm that they have now announced agreement on a lease for a new NEW LOOK store which will occupy one and a half of the new units and extend over two floors. NEW LOOK currently trade in Princes Mead but the new store will be significantly larger and one of their national “model” stores.

Housing Benefit Fraud Prosecution - Farnborough

A couple from Farnborough who fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 Housing and Council Tax Benefit have been prosecuted at Winchester Crown Court and given a nine month suspended prison sentence. The couple, Andrew and Sarah Beck from Blackthorn Crescent Farnborough, were accused of claiming in excess of £60,000 in both local authority and DWP benefits and admitted 11 counts of benefit fraud. The prison sentence has been suspended for two years and Mr Beck was also given a 150 hours unpaid work order and Mrs Beck a supervision order. This is an important message to those minded to defraud the benefit system and makes clear the Council’s commitment to taking prosecutions when this arises.

Interestingly, this successful prosecution was as a result of a two year investigation involving a number of council services and Department of Work & Pensions staff and shows the real benefits to be gained from collaboration and partnership working.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sex assault - man wanted

Detectives have released an e-fit image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a serious sexual assault in Aldershot on Saturday, July 3.
Between 2pm and 3pm a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were walking through Aldershot town centre when they bumped into a man. They spoke to him briefly but he didn’t speak very good English and they left.
The teenagers then went to sunbathe in Manor Park. While they were there they were approached by the same man who came and sat down with them.
When the girls went to leave the park at around 4.15pm the man followed them. He then grabbed the 15-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her.
The victim screamed and the man then walked off.
The man is described as:
• 22 years old
• Tanned skin
• Long face and two moles on his face
• Sharp jaw
• 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins tall
• Muscular and athletic build
• Short, dark hair
• Spoke with a Romanian accent
• Wearing a brown short sleeve t-shirt with a pattern on the front, blue light coloured shorts and dirty canvas trainers

Detective Constable Andy Panter, of Aldershot CID, said: “This was an unusual but very serious incident that happened during the day at a busy park. “We want to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the image as soon as possible. “The victim screamed during the incident and other people in the park would have heard her and may have seen something.” Anyone with information about the incident should contact Det Con Panter at Aldershot police station on 101 or call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information about policing in your area visit the local policing pages of Hampshire Constabulary at