Mike Vickers' Blog

April 1, 2020

SURE – from the EU

Filed under: Coronavirus, Europe, Planning, Sustainability, Workers Rights — derryvickers @ 9:50 pm

Ursula von der Leyen addressing the EU Community

Because of the coronavirus, “our daily life has changed radically. Millions of people can’t go to work, but they still have to buy groceries and pay their bills. Companies pay salaries to their employees, even if, right now, they don’t earn. Europe is now coming to their support, with a new initiative, called SURE, sure – points out the President of the EU Commission von der Leyen – the regions around Milan or Madrid are part of the backbone of the European economy. Thousands of strong and healthy companies are struggling because of the current crisis. They need our support to overcome the crisis.

This is why we have developed a concept of short-lived work. It aims to help Italy, Spain and all the other countries that have been hard hit. And it will do so thanks to the solidarity of the other Member States.’ “How does Sure work? We have learned the lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. The Member States that had this tool helped millions of people stay in their jobs and companies to overcome the financial crisis with their employees. SURE means short-term work supported by the state.’ In the past, it has mitigated the effects of the recession, kept people at work and allowed companies to return to the markets with renewed vigour.

The idea is simple, she explains: if there are no orders, companies should not lay off their workers. In their free time, workers will be able to be taught, for example, new skills that will also benefit both the company. So people can keep paying rents and buying what they need. This also has a positive impact on the economy. They will be able to return to work as soon as the blockade is finished, when demand resumes and so orders It is essential to quickly restart the European economic engine.”

I hope SURE works even though we are not part of the EU anymore,

February 28, 2019

Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council

Filed under: Communications, Linlithgow, Personal, Planning, Scotland, Travel — derryvickers @ 12:10 pm

As a member of the Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council I have tried to set out what I see as our role in the following Mind Map.

Double click map to bring up as full screen.

I welcome comments from other Community Councillors in Scotland and the UK more generally.

BTW Linlithgow is a lovely place between Edinburgh and Glasgow from where you can visit Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. And we are only 20 kms from Edinburgh Airport.

Find more about us @ MyLinlithgow

February 26, 2019

Planning Democracy

Filed under: Planning, Politics, Scotland — derryvickers @ 9:03 am

I went to the Annual Gathering of PD last evening 26/02/19.  PD has been going for 10 years.  Why have I not come across them before, why indeed did I get an invite. I am glad I did.

Find out more on Planning Democracy (PD) at http://www.planningdemocracy.org.uk/

A few points:

  • Planning is holistic, it sets the framework for all we do. It’s about the NHS, it’s about health, I could have added its about education.  It’s no wonder it dominates the discuss at the Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council
  • Clare Symonds, the chair and leader, in her introduction came out with all the issues we know about
    • Other speakers: Andy Inch (Sheffield University), Euan Leitch (Edinburgh University Historic  Architecture), Daya Feldwick (Community Worker)
    • Held at Methodist Church Nicholson Square Edinburgh
      • Nice place – for me a good hearing loop
  • For the Planners, People are the Problem
  • More contentious to me ‘Government mistrust the People’
  • Planning is currently Market Led – this must change
  • But the Market, House Developers, has been central to SG going for the New Planning Bill now at its 2 Second Reading
    • Moving to Stage 3
  • The new bill is not right (I missed some of the reasons but it’s far too fussy)
    • Insufficient Planners to implement
    • Strategy Zones may be useful. But impact on Land Prices
    • May be better to start again
  • Council buy land at the then market price before speculators move in
  • The Skeffington Report of 50 years ago still points the way
  • Planning is to be Front Loaded but then recrimination when the Planners come up with something else
  • Local Place Plans – OK – but favouring the privileged towns
  • Main Thrust of PG is ERA, Equal Right of Appeal
    • The right for you and me to get a hearing when Builders appeal to the Government that their application has been refused by the Council.
    • PD is getting listened too after endless government engagement and deputations
  • Comments
    • Planning is Political
    • Corruption exists
    • There needs to much more constructive engagement
  • Tail Thought from Clare Symonds.  All aspects of planning are a long haul and endlessly tiring.  I’m sure John Kelly would agree!

PS I do wonder how we finished up with such attractive places as York, Chester and Edinburgh before Planning existed!

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