Category Archives: News

Plastic bag sales down 90% since introduction of 5p charge

Not a local story, but this press release came out and we thought we would share it with you as it makes interesting reading, I think we have all cut back on bags since the charge came in to force.

New figures show sales of single-use bags by England’s seven biggest retailers continued to fall in 2018/19.

Sales of plastic bags by the seven biggest retailers in England have fallen by 90% since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015, new figures out today [31 July] have shown.

Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Group, Tesco and Waitrose sold 490 million fewer single-use plastic bags in 2018/19 (549 million) – a drop of almost half on the previous year.

The average person in England now buys just 10 bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 140 bags in 2014 before the charge was introduced.

Welcoming today’s figures, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90% in the big supermarkets.

No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.

The total single-use carrier bag sales reported by all large retailers in 2018/2019 fell 37% to 1.11 billion compared with the previous year.

Government scientists believe plastic in the sea is set to treble in a decadeunless marine litter is tackled. One million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

Today’s figures reveal 5p plastic bag sales have also contributed around £169 million toward charities and other good causes since the charge was introduced on 5 October 2015, with more than £22 million raised in 2018/19 alone.

Wider government action to tackle plastic waste:

The UK continues to be a global leader in cracking down on plastic waste to protect seas, oceans and marine life. We have recently announced a range of measures to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, underpinned by our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy.

Key government actions include our world-leading ban on microbeads, consulting on introducing a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of drinks bottles and cans, and recently confirming a ban on the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in April 2020.

We will also introduce a new world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022, subject to consultation, to encourage greater use of recycled plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste and protect our environment.

Via gov.uk

Coroner service to move from Hartshill to Stoke Town Hall

Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court will be moving to a new home later this year.

In a move aimed at modernising the service and maximising efficiency in the city council’s property portfolio.

Since the 1950s, the coroner’s office has been based on Hartshill Road, in Hartshill, in a building that originally started its life as a police station, with accommodation and working space for officers and cells downstairs. However, the coroner’s service and its staff have outgrown the building, with its layout making it difficult to meet growing casework demands.

Now, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council – which are responsible for overseeing the coroner’s court – have agreed to move the service to Stoke Town Hall, a decision that has been welcomed by the coroner as a “superb opportunity”.

Previously, jury inquests had to be held at Hanley Town Hall as the court room at Hartshill – a former garage for police cars – was not big enough. The move will bring the service under one roof, and provide a choice of two courtrooms, with the existing Council Chamber in the Town Hall being made available for larger inquests. It will also mean the coroner and his team can take advantage of better IT equipment, including the full use of technology in the court room such as viewing evidence on screens, video conferencing with witnesses and better recording facilities. There will also be more private space for staff to speak to bereaved families.

Andrew Barkley, HM Senior Coroner for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, said: “The move to Stoke Town Hall is a superb opportunity to modernise the coroner’s service in this area. The opportunity to hold larger inquests or jury inquests in the Council Chamber and remain in touch with the office is crucial. 

“The new arrangements will allow the full use of technology in the court room – which we didn’t have at Hartshill and Hanley Town Hall – and for the first time, we will have access to two court rooms to improve our timeliness for the bereaved families. 

“One of the main drivers for the move other than the lack of space for staff is that the new accommodation will allow the service to offer private space for staff to speak to bereaved families, facilities for legal teams to meet with their clients and waiting areas for families attending inquests at a distance from the office accommodation. It is essential to remember that families and loved ones of the deceased are coming into contact with our service at their most vulnerable time and appropriate and respectful facilities are essential.”

The full move is expected to be completed this autumn. Between now and then, some inquests will be taking place in Stoke Town Hall as part of the transition process. The building in Hartshill is currently being advertised for rent, with some viewings having already taken place. The council will receive a financial income from renting the building out, which will be reinvested into frontline services.

Coroner’s office – Current building based on Hartshill Road, in Hartshill

Councillor Randy Conteh, cabinet member for communities and safer city, with responsibility for the coroner’s service, said: “The current accommodation for the coroner’s court at Hartshill is no longer fit-for-purpose for the services provided by the staff. The majority of people who come into contact with the coroner’s service do so at a very sensitive and difficult time of their life, and it’s imperative we have a suitable environment and facilities not just for them, but also for the coroner and his staff and anyone else who comes into contact with the service. We have worked closely with the coroner to make sure the new home meets his requirements and I firmly believe the switch will allow him and his staff to continue to provide the highest standard of service to the people of North Staffordshire.”

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, heritage and infrastructure, said: “At a time when public services are operating in a difficult financial climate, it’s imperative we make sure we are getting the best value for money from our assets for the taxpayer. This move is positive on two fronts – not only does it give the coroner’s service more modern facilities to perform their excellent work, it also provides the council with a financial return as we rent out the building in Hartshill. Last year we completed a major £1.5 million programme of works to refurbish Stoke Town Hall, and having the coroner based there gives the historic building another purpose, which is really important.”

Who got what job ? – Full list of new ministerial and government appointments

The full list of all government appointments following Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister has been published. Take a look at the list below.

Her Majesty’s Government: July 2019

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service and Minister for the Union

  • Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

HM Treasury

  • Chancellor of the Exchequer – Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP*&**
  • Financial Secretary to the Treasury – Jesse Norman MP
  • Economic Secretary to the Treasury – John Glen MP†
  • Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury – Simon Clarke MP†

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  • Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and First Secretary of State – Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP (jointly with the Department for International Development)
  • Minister of State – Andrew Stephenson MP (jointly with the Department for International Development)
  • Minister of State – Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Heather Wheeler MP

Home Office

  • Secretary of State for the Home Department – Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP**
  • Minister of State – Kit Malthouse MP
  • Minister of State – Baroness Williams of Trafford (jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions (Minister for Equalities))
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Victoria Atkins MP (jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions (Minister for Women))
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Seema Kennedy MP

Cabinet Office

  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
  • Paymaster General, and Minister for the Cabinet Office – Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP**
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Jake Berry MP (jointly with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)**
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Chloe Smith MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary* – Kevin Foster MP (jointly with the Wales Office; and Assistant Government Whip (paid))
  • Parliamentary Secretary – Simon Hart MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary– Johnny Mercer MP (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

Ministry of Justice

  • Lord Chancellor (paid), and Secretary of State for Justice* – Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP
  • Minister of State – Lucy Frazer QC MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Wendy Morton MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Edward Argar MP

Department for Exiting the European Union

  • Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP
  • Minister of State – Lord Callanan
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – James Duddridge MP

Ministry of Defence

  • Secretary of State for Defence – Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP
  • Minister of State – Baroness Goldie DL*
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Johnny Mercer MP (jointly with the Cabinet Office)

Department of Health and Social Care

  • Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
  • Minister of State – Chris Skidmore MP
  • Minister of State – Caroline Dinenage MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Jo Churchill MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Nadine Dorries MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

  • Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP**
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Jo Johnson MP (jointly with the Department for Education)**
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Kelly Tolhurst MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Nadhim Zahawi MP*
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Lord Duncan of Springbank (jointly with the Northern Ireland Office)

Department for International Trade

  • Secretary of State for International Trade, and President of the Board of Trade – Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP
  • Minister of State – Conor Burns MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Graham Stuart MP

Department for Work and Pensions

  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Minister for Women and Equalities – Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP
  • Minister of State – Justin Tomlinson MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Mims Davies MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Guy Opperman MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Will Quince MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Stedman-Scott OBE
  • Minister of State (Minister for Equalities) – Baroness Williams of Trafford (jointly with the Home Office)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) – Victoria Atkins MP (jointly with the Home Office)

Department for Education

  • Secretary of State for Education – Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Jo Johnson MP (jointly with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)**
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Kemi Badenoch MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Lord Agnew of Oulton DL*

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

  • Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP
  • Minister of State – Dr Therese Coffey MP
  • Minister of State – George Eustice MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Zac Goldsmith MP (jointly with the Department for International Development)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

  • Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Esther McVey MP**
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Jake Berry MP (jointly with the Cabinet Office)**
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Luke Hall MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Viscount Younger of Leckie

Department for Transport

  • Secretary of State for Transport – Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
  • Minister of State – Chris Heaton-Harris MP
  • Minister of State – George Freeman MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* – Nusrat Ghani MP (and Government Whip (paid)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Paul Maynard MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Vere of Norbiton

Northern Ireland Office

  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Rt Hon Julian Smith MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP (and Minister for London)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Robin Walker MP (jointly with Scotland Office)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Lord Duncan of Springbank (jointly with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Scotland Office

  • Secretary of State for Scotland – Rt Hon Alister Jack MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* – Colin Clark MP (and a Government Whip*)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Robin Walker MP (jointly with the Northern Ireland Office)

Wales Office

  • Secretary of State for Wales – Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* – Kevin Foster MP (jointly with the Cabinet Office; and Assistant Government Whip (paid))

Office of the Leader of the House of Lords

  • Lord Privy Seal, and Leader of the House of Lords – Rt Hon Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
  • Minister of State (Deputy Leader of the House of Lords) – Rt Hon Earl Howe*

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

  • Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP
  • Minister of State – Nigel Adams MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Rebecca Pow MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Matt Warman MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Barran MBE*

Department for International Development

  • Secretary of State for International Development – Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
  • Minister of State – Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Minister of State – Andrew Stephenson MP (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Zac Goldsmith MP (jointly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Sugg CBE

Minister without Portfolio

  • Minister without Portfolio* (and Conservative Party Chair) – James Cleverly MP

Office of the Leader of the House of Commons

  • Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons – Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP**

Whips – House of Commons

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip) – Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP**
  • Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip) – Amanda Milling MP
  • Comptroller of HM Household (Government Whip) – Jeremy Quin MP
  • Vice Chamberlain of HM Household (Government Whip) – Stuart Andrew MP

Junior Lords of the Treasury

  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) – Rebecca Harris MP
  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) – Michelle Donelan MP
  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) – Mike Freer MP
  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) – David Rutley MP
  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) – Nusrat Ghani MP (and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport*)
  • Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury)* – Colin Clark MP (and a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office*)

Assistant Whips (Commons)

  • Assistant Government Whip – Kevin Foster MP (and Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office and the Wales Office*)
  • Assistant Government Whip – Leo Docherty MP
  • Assistant Government Whip – James Morris MP
  • Assistant Government Whip –Tom Pursglove MP
  • Assistant Government Whip – Nigel Huddleston MP
  • Assistant Government Whip – Marcus Jones MP
  • Assistant Government Whip – Iain Stewart MP

Whips – House of Lords

  • Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms (Lords Chief Whip) – Lord Ashton of Hyde
  • Captain of The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Chief Whip) – Earl of Courtown

Baronesses and Lords in Waiting

  • Baroness in Waiting – Baroness Berridge of the Vale of Catmose
  • Baroness in Waiting – Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
  • Lord in Waiting – Rt Hon Lord Young of Cookham CH
  • Lord in Waiting – Lord Bethell of Romford*

Law Officers

  • Attorney General – Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP**
  • Solicitor General – Michael Ellis MP
  • HM Advocate General for Scotland and Ministry of Justice spokesperson for the Lords – Rt Hon Lord Keen of Elie QC

*unpaid

**attends Cabinet

† paid as a Parliamentary Secretary