Honeyball’s Weekly Round Up

 

The big news this week was the analysis of the coalition Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Ploughing through the papers the following day there was so much to take in. But there was one revelation within the annoucement’s which struck me more than anything else, and that was the cut by £50 for new recipients of the winter fuel allowance.

The move came despite a pre-election promise from the Prime Minister to safeguard benefits for the elderly, including winter fuel payments. In addition the Government is making plans to increase the state pension age to 66, it was revealed.

Last winter, any household with someone aged 60 or more received a £250 winter fuel payment. For those over 80, it rose to £400.

Those rates were increased by Gordon Brown in 2008, by £50 and £100 respectively. You can read a full analysis of the winter fuel payment cuts in The Telegraph here.

Also last week, the Government was left embarrassed following a gaffe by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, when he inadvertently revealed that 490,000 public sector jobs would be lost by 2014 as a result of spending cuts.

The revelations were made after Alexander left a briefing note on display which was then photographed and snapped by the crowd of photographers.

And the cuts also hit the BBC which was forced to accept a 16% budget cut, with the licence fee frozen for six years…and the corporation taking on the responsibility for the World Service which had been funded by the Foreign Office previously.

Patrick Wintour wrote in last week’s Guardian that the negotiations left the BBC stunned, with insiders claiming that a license fee settlement that would normally take years to thrash out had been imposed in three days. The extra financial burdens are equivalent to the cost of running the BBC’s five national radio stations. You can read the full story on cuts here in the Guardian.

I was also pleased to read earlier in the week how three feature length films are to be made over the next six months in Bristol.

Bristol is a growing hub for film, with both the makers of Wallace and Gromit and the graffiti artist, Banksy, originating from there.

The films will be made with a mixture of public and private funding. The projects are aimed at inspiring young talent and at stamping Bristol firmly on the map as a center for film making in the UK.

Perhaps the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will follow the success of these films, and consider his decision to axe the popular and much needed UK Film Council, an organisation which works with young and emerging talent in this country to both inspire and  support them in their projects.

Hunt’s short sighted and quick action to abolish it have undoubtedly set back the UK film industry but projects like this will help to keep the UK film industry on the map. Read about the Bristol films in The Guardian here.

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One response to “Honeyball’s Weekly Round Up

  1. I’ve got to disagree on the road sysetm round Cabot Circus, simply because of the number of traffic lights, which illustrates Kerry’s point perfectly. Before Cabot Circus’s existence, there was only really one or two sets and it worked OK. Now if you’re coming from the centre past Cabot Circus out towards TM you have to drive through a good 5 or 6 sets of traffic lights including pedestrian crossings. How can this be a good thing?Still, it’s better than the Temple Circus Gyratory which frankly is an afront to traffic management. I cannot believe that the traffic engineers got it so wrong on this one – even I can spot the errors here and I’m not even a traffic signals engineer. In case anyone from the council reads this: The major flaws are 1) the fact that the exit for TM Station has a pedestrian crossing IMMEDIATELY after the roundabout – not only is this pointless as there’s another one literally yards down the road outside the station, but it holds all the traffic on the roundabout causing large amounts of congestion – the second crossing outside the station is linked with the traffic light timings there so wouldn’t be such a problem; 2) the pedestrian crossing the other side of this one, which again is pointless due to the one further up the road, but stops traffic progressing towards the gyratory from the A37, so even when the lights are on green the traffic can’t go through because of the pedestrian crossing; 3) The traffic lights halfway along Redcliffe Way which are supposed to give priority to the bus lane (fair enough) but is on a timer rather than a sensor so it regularly puts the bus lane on green and the normal traffic on red, even if there’s nothing in the buslane, which is infuriating.It’s so bad you could almost argue they’ve done it deliberately to “tempt” people out of their cars because it’s so terrible to drive through the city. Hmmmmmm….