Friday, 6 May 2011

Lancaster and Morecambe Local Election Results

(Last Updated 07:36 7/5/11)

The final result for the local elections sees the Labour Party gaining the most councillors - 23 in all - but no one party has overall control, which has been the case here since 1995.

The biggest losers of the poll were the Liberal Democrats, losing all their councillors, including Council leader Stuart Langhorn. The Conservatives have 15 councillors, gaining four seats, while the Greens have lost four, giving them eight seats.

Lancaster City Council is announcing confirmed results on their official Twitter Page.

The BBC's results page for Lancaster and Morecambe is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/council/html/30uh.stm

60 Councillors have been elected for 28 wards. There are also Parish Elections.

The Labour Party fielded the most candidates, followed by the Conservatives and the Greens, with the Liberal Democrats almost pipped to the post by the Morecambe Bay Independents.

In the AV Referendum: 42,349 votes were cast (39.09% turnout). 13,504 voted in favour; 28,555 voted No. The full results of the referendum can be found on the official Electoral Commission results website.

Overall Councillors by Party So Far:

Conservatives: 15 (+4)
Green Party: 8 (-4)
Independents: 14 (-5)
Labour: 23 (+10)
Liberal Democrats: 0 (-5)

BARE

• Tony Anderson - Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• June Irene Ashworth - Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Susan Elizabeth Bray - Conservative Party
• Allison Bernadette Tyson - Conservative Party

BOLTON-LE-SANDS

• Keith William Budden - Independent - ELECTED
• Val Histed - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Sue Holden – Green Party

BULK

• Tim Hamilton-Cox - Green Party - ELECTED
• Andrew Kay - Green Party - ELECTED
• Ceri Mumford - Green Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Howard Byers - Conservative Party
• Bob Clark - Labour Party
• Sue Clark - Labour Party
• Paula Dunn Claire - Conservative Party
• James Jenkins-Yates - Conservative Party
• James Williams Aidan - Labour Party

CARNFORTH

• Paul Malcolm Gardner The Labour Party - ELECTED
• Tony Johnson - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Amanda Louise Davies
• Fran Hanna - Labour Party
• Chris Leadbetter - Conservative Party
• Bob Roe Independent

CASTLE

• Jon Barry - Green Party - ELECTED
• Melanie Forrest - Green Party - ELECTED
• Tracey Kennedy - Green Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Paul Hardingham Bramhall - Liberal Democrat
• Stuart Groves James - Labour Party
• James Simon Parker - Liberal Democrat
• Rebecca Joan Parris - Liberal Democrat
• Kyle Patterson - Conservative Party
• Peter Leo Rivet - Labour Party
• Aaron Spence
• Karolina Natalia Anastacia Weglarz - Conservative Party
• Joe Wright - Labour Party

DUKE'S

• Dave Brookes - Green Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• John Michael Gibson - Labour Party
• Stephen Maxwell - Liberal Democrat
• Richard Sykes - Conservative Party

ELLEL

• Susie Charles - Conservative Party - ELECTED
• Helen Rebecca Helme - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Jane Binnion - Labour Party
• David John Hill - Labour Party
• Paul Hindley- Liberal Democrat
• Annabelle Lyons- Liberal Democrats
• Rebecca Marsden - Green Party

HALTON-WITH-AUGHTON

Paul Woodruff Independent - 795 Votes - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Cat Gillies - Green Party - 133 Votes

HARBOUR

• Janice Hanson - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Ian Pattison - Labour Party - ELECTED
• David Whitaker - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Christopher John Hart - Green Party
• Terry Ingle - Morecambe Bay Independents
• Elliot Layfield - Conservative Party
• Geoff Walker Morecambe Bay Independents
• Rita Margaret Walker Morecambe Bay Independents


HEYSHAM CENTRAL

• Geoff Knight - Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• Joyce Taylor Independent - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Rosemary Susan Jennifer Betterton - Green Party
• Dilys Greenhalgh - Labour Party
• Pat Hibbins

HEYSHAM NORTH

• Margaret Pattison - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Ron Sands - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Nicholas Baxter Morecambe Bay Independents
• Peter Robinson Independent
• Geoffrey Wilson Morecambe Bay Independents
• Matthew James Wilson - Green Party

HEYSHAM SOUTH

• Mike Greenall Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• Richard William Rollins - Conservative Party - ELECTED
• Emma Louise Smith - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Candidates
• Keran Farrow Morecambe Bay Independents
• Charalampos Kaloudis - Green Party
• Charlotte Louise Pattison - Labour Party
• Kyra Physick - Morecambe Bay Independents
• Stephen Charles Wheeler - Labour Party

JOHN O'GAUNT

• Eileen Blamire - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Richard John Newman-Thompson - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Elizabeth Scott - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Gareth Allan Baker- Liberal Democrat
• Wes Cosgriff - Conservative Party
• May Elizabeth Holloway - Conservative Party
• Caroline Jackson - Green Party First Choice Candidate
• Lyndz Pitchford - Liberal Democrat
• Ashley Sansom - Liberal Democrat
• Nicky Sharkey - Green Party
• Dan Tierney - Green Party
• Ally Whittam - Conservative Party

KELLET

• John Roger Mace - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Lawrence James Bardwell - Labour Party
• Dave Horton - Green Party

LOWER LUNE VALLEY

• Joan Parkinson Jackson - Conservative Party - ELECTED
• Jane Parkinson - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Charlotte Hill - Labour Party
• Becky Hodgson - Labour Party
• Stuart Langhorn - Liberal Democrats
• Joyce Pritchard - Liberal Democrats
• Mark Miles Westcombe - Green Party

OVERTON

• Keith Sowden Independent - 485 Votes - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Alan Biddulph - Labour Party - 237 Votes

POULTON

• Mark Bevan - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Shirley Burns - Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• Terrie Metcalfe - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Evelyn Archer - Independent
• Darren Keith Clifford - Labour Party
• Tricia Heath - Morecambe Bay Independents
• Paul Kutschmarski - Conservative Party
• David Lord Independent
• Linda Margaret Page - Morecambe Bay Independents
• David Tyson - Conservative Party

SCOTFORTH EAST

• Billy Hill - Conservative Party - ELECTED
• Pam Pickles - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Phil Dunster - Liberal Democrat
• Emily Heath - Green Party
• Janie Kirkman - Liberal Democrat
• Abi Mills - Green Party
• Jean Taylor - Labour Party
• Janet Walton - Conservative Party

SCOTFORTH WEST

• Josh Bancroft - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Chris Coates - Green Party - ELECTED
• Sheila Elizabeth Denwood - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• John William Allen - Liberal Democrats
• James Calder - Conservative Party
• Robert Alan Chard Independent
• Colin Hartley - Labour Party
• Zoe Jones - Green Party
• Arthur Henry Livesley - Liberal Democrat
• Becca Rollinson - Conservative Party
• Matthew Sinclair - Conservative Party
• Andy Yuille - Green Party

SILVERDALE

• Kathleen Valerie Graham - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Amanda Faith Bingley - Green Party
• Ruth Warren - Labour Party

SKERTON EAST

• Abbott Clifton Bryning - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Janet Tracy Hall - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Robert Michael Redfern - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Paul Andrews - Green Party
• James Stuart Alexander Bateson - Conservative Party
• Robin Gilles Gonard - Liberal Democrats
• Mick Varey Independent

SKERTON WEST

• John Harrison - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Karen Leytham - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Roger James Sherlock - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Graham Charles Agnew - Conservative Party
• Keri Malinda Alston - Green Party

SLYNE-WITH-HEST

• Sylvia Rogerson - Conservative Party - ELECTED
• Malcolm Thomas - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Suzi Dunning - Labour Party
• Barry Hankin Gwyn - Green Party
• Cari Wood - Labour Party

TORRISHOLME

• Roger Dennison - Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• Geoff Marsland – Morecambe Bay Independents - ELECTED
• Susan Gail Sykes - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Brian Binfield - Morecambe Bay Independents
• Jon-Paul Daniel Blundell - Labour Party
• Ian Clift - Liberal Democrats
• Michael Gradwell - Liberal Democrats
• Bill Jackson - Liberal Democrats
• Dorothy Mingins - Conservative Party
• Catriona Stamp - Green Party
• John Wild - Conservative Party

UNIVERSITY

• Paul Kenneth John Aitchison - Labour Party - ELECTED
• Jonathan Robert Dixon - Labour Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Myles Anthony Clapham - Liberal Democrat
• Ian McCulloch - Green Party
• Leo Mead- Liberal Democrat
• Rick Seymour - Green Party
• Jordan Thomas Shandley - Conservative Party
• Samuel Vince Thurgood - Conservative Party

UPPER LUNE VALLEY

• Peter Thomas Williamson - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Gisela Christine Renolds - Green Party

WARTON

• Alycia Jayne James - Conservative Party - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Janette Gardner - Labour Party
• Mike Wright - Green Party

WESTGATE

• Vikki Price - Labour Party - ELECTED
• David Smith - Labour Party - ELECTED
• David Kerr - Morecambe Bay Independent - ELECTED

Other Candidates
• Les Croombs - Conservative Party
• Michael Donald Huett - Conservative Party
• John Geoffrey Marsden - Conservative Party
• Roger Henry Plumb - Morecambe Bay Independents
• Michael Anthony Bernard Wade - Morecambe Bay Independents

Full List of both City and Parish Council candidates on the Lancaster City Council web site

Nearby Council Election Results

• Blackpool (BBC) - Labour (Labour Gain)
• Eden Council (Westmorland Gazette) - No Overall Control (No Change)
• Preston (BBC) - Labour (Labour Gain)
• Ribble Valley (BBC) - Conservative (No Change)
South Lakeland Results (BBC) - Liberal Democrat (No Change)
• Wyre (BBC) - Conservative (No Change)

In Review: The Price



At the end of his script of The Price, Arthur Miller unusually includes a Production Note: “A fine balance of sympathy should be maintained in the playing of the roles of Victor and Walter … Walter is attempting to put into action what he has learned about himself, and sympathy will be evoked for him in proportion to the openness, the depth of need, the intimations of suffering with which the role is played”.

Under David Thacker’s direction, and with superb acting by Tom Mannion (Victor Franz), Colin Stinton (Walter Franz), Suzan Sylvester (Esther Franz) and Kenneth Alan Taylor (Gregory Solomon), this production of The Price by Octagon Theatre Bolton, Stephen Joseph Theatre (Scarborough) and Hull Truck Theatre achieves this perfectly. This enables the audience to be in the unusual position of understanding and sympathising with the position and decisions and of all four characters, and even those of the key but absent character, Victor and Walter’s deceased father (represented by an empty chair).

This is no mean feat, given on the one hand the challenge for the actors of having to deliver particularly long speeches, and on the other, the surface impression of Victor as the principled, moral brother who is a policeman and Walter as the mean and callous go-getting surgeon.

Both acts of the play are set in 1968 on the top floor apartment of a New York building, where Victor cared for and supported his father until his death. The building is about to be demolished, hence the need to sell what is left of the family furniture and possessions. This anticipates a profound looking back and taking stock in Victor, who has also to deal with his repressed resentment of Walter, and to confront his own role in the path his life has taken.

The Depression in 1930s America is part, but only part, of the story.

Starting with only Victor and Esther in the apartment, who Tom Mannion and Suzan Sylvester convince us have a close but tension-ridden relationship, the production builds up to its climax via the arrival of the surprising and very funny 89-year-old ‘appraiser’ Solomon, who has come to price the furniture (but who competently and hilariously eats a hard-boiled egg, his lunch, in the process), followed by stage-stealer Walter, who no-one is expecting, who Victor and Esther have not seen for 16 years, and who may, or may not, have learned from his mistakes.

Act 2, when revelations about investments and loans 30 years ago finally come to light, makes for often intense and uncomfortable watching, but the pace is varied, and there are frequent pauses in which Walter, and especially Victor and Esther, try to assimilate what they are learning. The ending is in part a darkly happy one, with Esther and Victor going to the pictures as planned, and Solomon the survivor unable to control his laughter at the ways of the young and the world.

The Price may present uncomfortable but familiar truths, for example that responsibility for the elderly is rarely shared equally by family members, and that this breeds problems further down the line, and for this reason a good production such as this will always resonate with audiences. But at tonight’s production elicited a lot of laughter too – not in response to the ‘Laughing Records’ fashionable in the 1920s, but in response to Miller’s well-crafted dialogue and these actors’ timing and delivery.

Jane Sunderland
 The Price runs until Saturday 7th May, 2011
Times: Evenings 7.30; Matinee on Saturday (2.00 p.m.)
Venue: The Dukes, Moor Lance, Lancaster LA1 1QE
Box office: 01524 598500
Ticket prices: Matinees £10.00 (£7.50 concessions)
Thursday evening £14.00 (£10.00 concessions)
Friday/Saturday evening £16.00 (£12.00 concessions)

• For other reviews, see www.dukes-lancaster.org/theatre/the-price

Cars damaged in Morecambe crime spree

Morecambe police are appealing for information after a spate of criminal damage to cars - and have released CCTV of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the damage.

There were three instances of criminal damage overnight between the 25th and 26th of March.

The first was sometime between 6.00pm on the 25th March and 9.00am on the 26th, where the windscreen of a Ford Fiesta was smashed whilst parked on Thornton Road. It is thought a brick was used to cause the damage.

The second was between 8.15pm on the 25th and 12.30am on the 26th, where a Ford Mondeo which was parked on Thornton Grove had both wing mirrors damaged, the bonnet dented and the windscreen smashed by what is thought to have been a concrete block.

The third was at around 4.30am on the 26th March where a BMW car parked next to a pub on Lines Street has its rear windscreen smashed with what is believed to be a pole taken from the beer garden of the pub.

Police are urging people to come forward if they recognise him the man in the pictures.

“For all three offences, the descriptions given of the potential offenders have been very similar," says PC Rebecca Rooke, "all of them describing a person as over 6 feet tall, of slim build with very short, fair hair and a fair complexion so we believe there is a possibility that they could be linked.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they may have any information at all that could help us to come forward and contact us.”

• Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 08451 25 35 45 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Comedian Omid Djalili at Morecambe's Platform in September



It might seem some time off, but we expect word that multi award winning stand-up television and movie star Omid Djalili will be warming up for the tour of his brand new comedy show  'Tour of Duty'  at the Platform, Morecambe will see tickets sell fast

A firm favourite at the Edinburgh Festival with his legendary performances, Omid’s stand-up awards include ’Time Out Award’ - for Best Stand Up, the ‘EMMA Award’ and was ‘South Bank Award' nominee as well as being a ‘Perrier Award’ nominee.
Omid, who will be appearing at the Platform on Monday 19th September, was the winner of the "Best Actor" Award for his lead performance in The Infidel at the Turin Film Festiva, a film which also picked up a Loaded LAFTA award for "Funniest film" and Omid was short listed for "Peter Sellers Award" at the London Evening Standard British Film Awards.

With tickets priced at just £14, it’s bound to be a sell out, although please note, the show is for over 16s only.

• Tickets are available on-line at www.lancaster.gov.uk/platform-tickets, from the Box Office on 01524 582803 or in person from Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres. Tickets are also available on Seetickets.

• Check out Olid's official web site at www.omidnoagenda.com

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Alternative Vote referendum - how will you vote?

Tomorrow, Thursday 5 May, is polling day in the UK and on the same day, you'll have the chance to vote in the Alternative Vote referendum.

The referendum was agreed to as part of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement drawn up after the 2010 general election and will be only the second time a referendum has been held throughout the whole of the United Kingdom in British history (The first occasion was the United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, 1975). It will also be the first UK-wide referendum that is not merely consultative but legally binding on the executive branch of government, whatever the result.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to decide whether or not to reform the way our MPs are elected. There are also crucial local elections across most of England, which could have a big effect on local services in your area.

If you're still puzzled about the pros and cons of Alternative Voting and First Past the Post, here's a quick at-a-glance guide courtesy of campaign site 38 Degrees.



You might also find these articles by the BBC helpful: www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/13112302 and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11243595.

Or you could have a look at what the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns for the referendum have to say:

• Yes Campaign: www.yestofairervotes.org
 
• No Campaign:www.no2av.org

More Information

AV Referendum - Wikipedia Page 

On Virtual-Lancaster: Candidates Line Up for 5th May (Full Candidates List) 

On Virtual Lancaster: Is your Cat confused about the referendum on the voting system on the 5th May?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Is your Cat confused about the referendum on the voting system on the 5th May?




Are you unsure about how to vote on the 5th May? Confused about AV and First Past the Post? Think about how your cat must feel! The video above addresses the issue in a cat friendly manner.

Meanwhile, after weeks of dodging questions about their funding with some pre-emptive promises, the ‘No to AV’ campaign were finally pressed into revealing a partial list of donors in good time prior to the referendum, but after days of polite questions to their previously chatty Finance Director, Charlotte Vere, they apparently have refused to answer any questions about what the total amount donated might be (though they have implied that information will emerge after everyone has voted).

The ‘Yes to AV’ campaign team, by comparison, have not only published a similar list, but also the total amount donated, and the total number of donors.

When you look at this useful annotated list of the ‘No to AV’ donors, the online site Bloggerheads notes the reason for the secrecy perhaps becomes clearer; from what they have revealed to date, ‘No to AV’ appears to be funded almost entirely by Conservative donors.

Of course, if you're a Conservative then this won't bother you. But if not...

• See also: An A-Z of rubbish arguments from No2AV

Arteria gallery unlocks the art of Les Darlow

Artist Les Darlow

Lancaster's award-winning contemporary gallery and design led gift shop Arteria is hosting a live art / live window display at its Brock Street venue.

Visitors will be able to observe talented artist Les Darlow as he paints much loved Lancaster scenes on Saturday 28th May from 10am until 5.00pm.

Blackpool born Les is an enthusiast of the impressionist and “free” style and feels that a combination of oil pastels and paint are the best medium to express this. In fact, Daler Rowney were keen for Les to be a “demonstrator” for their products, such is his skill.

As well as being Arteria’s first "live" artist (and first "live" window display) Les will also be showing an exhibition of his works at Gallery 23 in 2012.

The event is part of the 'Lancaster Unlocked Festival' taking place 27th-30th May which has enthused Jane Richardson, the owner of Arteria with Gallery 23.

“It's a fabulous opportunity for people to get a privileged behind the scenes glimpse of Lancaster, its heritage and architecture," she says of the 'Unlocked' event. "We simply wanted to offer an artist’s view of this great City and thought how novel it would be if visitors to our gallery could see these views evolve before their very eyes!

"It’s an exciting way to present art and will also offer a preview of an artist who will be exhibiting with us next year.”




• If you can’t wait until the end of May you can see Les Darlow at work on youtube here, here or even here

• Lancaster Unlocked Festival Information: www.citycoastcountryside.co.uk/site/lancaster-unlocked


• For more information about the Arteria event call 01524 61111 or email infoATarteriashop.co.uk

Hunt on for street thieves targetting the elderly

Police are appealing for information following three separate street jewellery thefts from the elderly in Lancaster and Preston last month -- which police believe could be linked.
The offences have all involved vulnerable victims being approached whilst they are alone in the street and resulted in the victim’s personal jewellery being stolen.

The offenders have used a distraction technique and draped the victims in cheap imitation jewellery whilst removing the victims' own jewellery. They have then fled the scene with the victims' jewellery leaving the cheap imitations in their place.

The first incident took place in Preston between 2.45pm and 3.45pm on Saturday 9th April when at least four offenders in a car have approached an 82-year-old woman who was walking alone on Tower Lane in Fulwood.

A few days later, on Monday 11th April, police were altered to two separate offences in Skerton.

The first took place at 2.30pm when a 64-year-old Lancaster man was travelling along the pavement on his mobility scooter on Torrisholme Road. Lancaster.

Shortly afterwards, around 2.45pm on Monday 11th April, a 76-year-old Lancaster woman was approached as she walked along the busy Owen Road.

All three offenders are described as being of an Asian or Romanian appearance.

PC Dylan Hrynkow from Lancaster Police said: “This is a despicable crime and many of the victims involved in these crimes have lost jewellery with huge sentimental value. From various witnesses we believe the vehicle involved in the offences maybe an old style 7 series BMW and I would urge anybody with any information that could assist with our investigation to contact police.

“I would also encourage anybody that has been a victim of such a crime that hasn’t reported it to police to come forward."

• Anyone with information should contact police on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Marathon Man to attempt World Ultra-Marathon Record at Ryelands, Tuesday

Andy McMenemy, a business man and the son of a former soldier, will be at Ryelands Park tomorrow (3rd May), starting at 9am, running his 49th marathon in as many days, as he continues his world record attempt to run 66 consecutive ultra-marathons in 66 days. He aims to raise £1million for the ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity (www.soldierscharity.org), which helps soldiers, former soldiers and their families.

An ultra-marathon is 31.07 miles or 50kms, 5.5 miles longer than a standard marathon. Andy is currently travelling around all 66 official cities of the UK, attempting ultra-marathons in each. This experienced runner is having no days rest in his attempt to set a new world record.

Andy said: “It is great to be running in Lancaster and I welcome anyone who wishes to show support or join me on this leg of my marathon journey to help The Soldiers’ Charity continue their fantastic work.
“The support Challenge 66 has received so far in the county is incredible, but we do need people to go to our website and donate to help us hit our target.”

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity provides a life time of support for soldiers and their families, both during active service and beyond, in times of conflict and in times of peace. Barry Groves, project director of Challenge66, said; “We encourage people to come out and support or run with Andy. Donations can be made via our website or by texting the word ARMY to 70700. Details of when and where he will be running can be found on our website www.challenge66.org

Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, Chief Executive of The Soldiers’ Charity, added his support to the project. He said: “ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is thrilled and proud to be the beneficiary of Challenge 66. Andy's attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for consecutive endurance marathons with no rest is a phenomenal feat of bravery and generosity which, I can assure you, is for an extremely worthy cause.
“Ordinary people going about their jobs in often extraordinary circumstances is what the Army is built on and if Challenge 66 brings about greater understanding of the sacrifices made by our troops it will be worth every step he takes.”

Morecambe Bay Gas field to close?

Gas giant Centrica has threatened to close one of its Morecambe Bay gas fields, which provides some six per cent of the UK's annual gas needs.

The possible move comes in response to increased taxes placed on oil companies and just as the three fields in Morecambe Bay are closed for a month of maintenance.

Now, the BBC reports Centrica is saying it might not reopen the South Morecambe field.

"UK oil and gas producing fields are now subject to some of the highest levels of tax in the world," a spokesman said.

"At these higher tax rates, Morecambe's profitability can be marginal ... Accordingly, we may choose to buy gas for our customers in the wholesale markets in preference to restarting the field after planned maintenance."

Morecambe Bay produces about 6% of the UK's annual gas requirements, or up to 12% of residential gas demand, according to Centrica, a company set up in 1997 following a demerger with British Gas. Discovered in 1974, production started in the Bay in 1985 with the South Morecambe gas field. The North Morecambe terminal was built in 1992 and the Rivers Fields Area gas field was discovered in 1982.

The Scotsman newspaper describes Centrica's threat as the action by the energy giant as "the sharpest sabre-rattling yet by an energy industry disenchanted with the tax crackdown that it feels will threaten investment and jobs".

The paper notes that the threat comes as the oil companies make a final effort to thwart Chancellor George Osborne's tax rise, designed to raise £2bn to fund a cut in fuel duty.

Representatives giving evidence to the UK energy and climate change committee on Wednesday will restate concerns about the impact of the tax raid on investment and jobs.

They will also push for measures to mitigate the rise in the supplementary charge from 20 to 32 per cent, even though the Chancellor recently dismissed claims that offshore investment would be hit.

Centrica says the tax increase means its North Morecambe field is now subject to a 62% tax rate and South Morecambe 81%. Morecambe Bay is a declining basin and Centrica has been managing the dwindling reserves by producing from it mainly in winter when UK gas demand and prices are highest.

In 2006, despite a decline in production at the fields due to maintenance, Centrica reported Morecambe Bay contributed an extra £217 million to the company's UK generated revenues, even on the then 75% tax rate imposed (see Centrica news release here).

A Treasury spokesman told the Guardian newspaper the tax rise was essential to help motorists cope with the soaring cost of petrol. "The decision to increase the charge on oil and gas companies ... has allowed the government to lower fuel duty, helping hard-pressed motorists at a difficult time. Even with this change, average post-tax oil profits per barrel are forecast to be higher in the next five years than the last five, meaning that profits are expected to stay high."

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Animal Care seeks Open Day help

Lancaster charity Animal Care’s Open Day is going to be held on Sunday 22nd May and they need your help.
 
Do you work for a School, Club or Sports Centre or other organisation that would be willing to let them borrow a large amount of tables? They can collect them and return them to any address locally.
 
They're are also looking for volunteers to run stalls on the day and to set up and help.
 
Can you bake some cakes to sell on the day? Do you have any unwanted kids toys and games we can use as prizes?
 
If you can help in anyway please email Animal Care at adminATanimalcare-lancaster.co.uk or phone 01524 65495 and ask for Faye or Abi. The team will be very grateful for any help you can give.

Animal Care is at Blea Tarn Road, Scotforth Lancaster LA2 0RD. Tel: 01524 65495
Web: www.animalcare-lancaster.co.uk

You can also make animal food donations via local supermarket 'drop bins' - including Lancaster's Sainsbury's and Morrisons in Morecambe