Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

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West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called on West Lancashire Borough Council to put an end to the blue bin anomaly which has led to hundreds of residents contacting her.

The council recently changed its bins policy with the blue box being phased out and residents being moved to the blue bin for recycling of their cans, bottles and jars.

When the blue bin was first introduced a number of years ago, this was offered to residents free of charge with no obligation to accept and the option to continue using the blue box.

The recent policy change means the council will no longer accept the blue box, essentially forcing residents to accept a blue bin - but now charging £25 for it!

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“This has been an absolute mess with hundreds of residents writing in to me to express their frustration and dissatisfaction with the recent changes.

“Many residents tell me they don’t require a blue bin as they would never use anywhere near that amount of recyclable material over the course of a fortnight. Others say they can’t take a blue bin as they are a terraced property with no space for storage, and some even talk about having said no to the blue bin last time round thinking they would save the council money but are now being penalised for that decision.

“I have written to the Director of Leisure and Environment Services on behalf of residents to ask that this situation be addressed and for those who are being forced off the box and onto the bin to not be forced to pay the associated charge.

“I’ve also wrote on behalf of residents who can’t use or store an extra full size bin so that they may be allowed to continue to use the box given their specific circumstances.

“It’s not too late to change this policy and offer the blue bins free of charge, in the interest of promoting recycling across West Lancashire and offer refunds to those who have already paid for one.”

Rosie Cooper MP calls on Council to address blue bin anomaly

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called on West Lancashire Borough Council to put an end to the blue bin anomaly which has led to hundreds of residents contacting her.The...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has hit out at Arriva following their decision to reroute the 375 bus service away from Grimshaw Lane in Ormskirk.

Many residents have contacted MP Rosie concerned over the changes with the current route serving the Grimshaw Lane area well, including the residents of Whittle Drive and Scott Estate.

Arriva consulted on the proposed changes with three local County Councillors but failed to communicate with the MP, local Borough Councillors and residents.

Rosie Cooper MP has called on Arriva to carry out further consultation and research before arriving at a final decision on whether changes are needed or not. She said:
“Understandably, residents in the area are concerned at the extra walking distance to their nearest service, particularly many elderly passengers who take the 375 to Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals.

“Upon raising this issue with Arriva, because residents were told by the bus driver that the bus won’t be running any more, I find out that their consultation process involved a total of one email to three County Councillors - none of whom live in the area affected!

“Arriva need to rethink the changes and consult with the passengers and local residents first before going ahead with any final decisions.”

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Rosie Cooper MP angered by Arriva changes to 375 bus service

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has hit out at Arriva following their decision to reroute the 375 bus service away from Grimshaw Lane in Ormskirk.Many residents have contacted MP Rosie...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper continued her campaign for rapid improvements to the Northern Rail network that has affected thousands of commuters across the North West.

MP Rosie challenged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling again, following his ministerial statement to the House of Commons on Monday evening, announcing the Glaister Review tasked with drilling down into the issues that led to the Monday meltdown and subsequent delays and cancellations ever since.

Rosie Cooper MP asked:
“To describe my constituents as incandescent would be an absolute understatement. Colleagues across the house have described the impact this fiasco has had on people and families and individuals. I have listened carefully to the Secretary of State and he seems to have been reassured by information he has received, not tested that information to assure himself and his department that that information was correct. If that’s so, how can we be assured that he actually has tested and is assured his potential solutions?

Secretary Chris Grayling responded:
“We have got teams of people whose job it is to assure this, they did not see this coming, nor did the train operators, that is why the Glaister review is necessary because this should not have been able to happen.”

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Commenting after the debate, Rosie Cooper MP elaborated:
“I am pleased that a review has been put in place as we need to understand exactly what went so catastrophically wrong but it clearly cannot compensate in any way for the anger, distress and frustration caused to so many of my West Lancashire constituents.

“It is clear from questioning the Transport Secretary, that he had been reassured by Network Rail and the Rail Companies that everything was okay but his Dept hadn’t tested this advice to ensure that it would actually be okay, which has eventually led to this ‘heaping blame on teams of people’ who gave reassurance and who did not see this coming.

“This says very little about their competency of course, but Mr Grayling is the one who is ultimately responsible and the government needs to intervene strongly to get the trains running regularly to a published and accurate timetable. He then needs to sort out proper compensation!”

Rosie Cooper MP challenges the Transport Secretary

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper continued her campaign for rapid improvements to the Northern Rail network that has affected thousands of commuters across the North West.MP Rosie challenged Transport Secretary...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has received written confirmation from Arriva North West that there will be no withdrawal of the 375 or 385 bus services.

However, MP Rosie is awaiting the detail regarding the stated ‘minor route alterations’ to assess the impacts these will have on West Lancashire residents.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I have been contacted by constituents concerned about withdrawal or rerouting of the 375 bus between Wigan and Southport, serving residents throughout West Lancashire including Upholland, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, Burscough and many rural areas.

“In correspondence with Arriva North West, they have confirmed to me they have no intention of withdrawing their 375/385 routes, but indicated there will be some minor route alterations.

“I have asked for these minor route alterations to be shared with me and the public urgently so we may assess the impacts these will have on West Lancashire commuters.”

Arriva confirms to Rosie Cooper MP no withdrawal of 375/385 service, but awaits route alteration update

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has received written confirmation from Arriva North West that there will be no withdrawal of the 375 or 385 bus services.However, MP Rosie is awaiting...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised concerns over a planning application for a solar farm in Lathom’s greenbelt.

Many residents have contacted MP Rosie unhappy with the process so far which has included local residents not being formally notified by either West Lancashire Borough Council or Pilkingtons/NSG, Lightsource (the applicant) having the opportunity to present directly to councillors and lots of non-locally resident NSG plant employees submitting their support for the application.

Concerns have also been raised by the Lathom Heritage Residents Group over whether the field in question contains the graves of war horses from World War I.

MP Rosie visited the site and met with local residents to better understand the physical and visual impacts the solar farm would have on the area.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“There is clearly serious concern and opposition to this application from the local community, who feel they haven’t been afforded an adequate opportunity to raise their concerns over the application as it stands.

“It appears the council have undertaken their notification of neighbours process but only reached six properties, including one which is abandoned, one business, and one property rented by the applicant themselves.

“Residents are also upset about the sensitivity of installing solar panels on land where it is believed there are graves of war horses, in this, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“I have written to the Planning Director at West Lancashire Borough Council to raise these concerns and ensure they are fully addressed before any application can be considered.” 

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Rosie Cooper MP pictured with local residents and members from Lathom Heritage Residents Group at the site

 

Rosie Cooper MP challenges council on planning process

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised concerns over a planning application for a solar farm in Lathom’s greenbelt.Many residents have contacted MP Rosie unhappy with the process so far...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has received a written invitation from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to discuss the issues over train timetabling and last Monday’s ‘meltdown’ on the tracks.

Many commuter constituents have been left angered by the changes which has seen them late for or miss work or other commitments.

Mr Grayling laid blame in a number of areas including with Northern Rail and Network Rail management, timetabling, delay to the electrification to Preston and Bolton, and the ongoing industrial action.

MP Rosie will meet with the Transport Secretary and other affected MPs to discuss the issues with a view to improvements, and will also receive briefings from the two organisations so they can explain the detail of what has gone wrong and how it is being solved.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Following the meltdown I was inundated with furious passengers looking for action to be taken over the widespread failures from the Transport Secretary down to Northern Rail and Network Rail who have all combined to fail residents of West Lancashire who use these services.

“I will be taking the opportunity to meet with Chris Grayling and with Northern and Network Rail so I can be assured that action is being taken to redress the situation and ensure my constituents can commute for work, study and appointments.

“Only last week I tackled the Secretary to get an urgent grip of this mess before productivity and confidence in our region is further damaged.”

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Rosie Cooper MP to meet with Transport Secretary, Network Rail and Northern Rail

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has received a written invitation from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to discuss the issues over train timetabling and last Monday’s ‘meltdown’ on the tracks.Many...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper acted quickly to ensure Arriva repair a wall on Aughton’s Town Green Lane which was knocked over by a reversing bus.

Early on Tuesday (22nd) morning, it was reported to MP Rosie that a driver who had taken a wrong turn up Granville Park intending to turn up Winifred Lane, reversed into the wall by the old Spar shop causing the damage.

Rosie immediately contacted Arriva’s Managing Directors to report the issue, and the allegation that the driver of the bus merely drove off after the crash.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Understandably local residents were concerned by this potentially dangerous incident and that the wall might not be repaired quickly.

“They were concerned about the bus driver who had either managed to not notice that the wall had been hit demolishing part of it or who had realised but decided to not to check and drive off anyway.

“Arriva have assured me that a full investigation has taken place and that their insurance arm will deal with any claim for damages from the owner of the wall.

“Arriva have apologised for the incident, stating that the driver has also been interviewed under normal company procedures and the appropriate action taken.”

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Rosie Cooper MP ensures Arriva respond to driver error in Aughton

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper acted quickly to ensure Arriva repair a wall on Aughton’s Town Green Lane which was knocked over by a reversing bus.Early on Tuesday (22nd) morning,...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has today joined forces with consumer champion, Which?, and over 80 fellow parliamentarians in signing a letter asking for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to bring an end to rip-off overdraft fees.

MP Rosie is concerned that residents in West Lancashire might still be paying excessive fees on unarranged overdrafts, some of which may still cost over seven times more than a payday loan according to new research from Which?

Despite scrutiny from the regulator, she feels not enough has been done to protect consumers from these sky-high fees. 

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
"We often hear of strict regulation for payday lenders and cracking down on loansharks when the reality is, as this research indicates, much debt and stress can be caused by our high street banks.

“Overdraft fees can be the first step in spiralling into a vicious debt circle which can lead people to resort to credit cards, payday lenders and worse. We need our banks to be responsible and support customers to climb out of debt not increase it.

“That is why I was happy to put my name behind the calls for the Financial Conduct Authority to take action and bring an end to rip-off overdraft fees."

Which? first raised the alarm over these fees in 2016, but new research shows the issue still exists.

The consumer champion compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 30 days in an unarranged overdraft across 16 high-street banks with borrowing the same amount for the same length of time through a payday loan. Overall, 13 of the banks investigated charged more than a payday loan company, and considerably more so in several cases.  

The FCA previously capped payday loan charges, meaning that the cost of a loan in our scenario would be £24. Which? found:

  • Santander is almost 7.5 times* higher and £155 more expensive, charging its customers a massive £179 over 30 days.
  • TSB is over 6.5 times more costly, charging £160.00.
  • This is followed by HSBC and First Direct – over 6 times higher, at £150.
  • RBS and Natwest are £144 and 6 times higher.

Now, Which? has written a letter to the FCA along with 84 MPs from all the main parties, demanding the Financial Conduct Authority takes urgent action to end this unfair  practice by restricting unarranged overdraft charges to the same level as arranged overdrafts.

Gareth Shaw, Which? Money Expert, said:
“It’s alarming that the majority of banks are still allowed to charge more than payday loan firms through these rip-off overdraft fees. These extortionate fees can cost thousands of pounds a year, hitting those who can afford it the least.

“The regulator cannot drag its heels any longer. We must see urgent action to restrict these charges, bringing them into line with arranged overdraft fees to finally end this unfair practice.”

These fees are particularly costly because bank charges apply to their monthly billing period, not the number of days the money is borrowed for, meaning customers can effectively be charged more for going across two charging periods. The Competition and Markets Authority set out to tackle the issue by introducing a monthly maximum charge for unarranged overdrafts in August last year - but the measure has clearly failed to stop banks from charging sky-high rates. Meanwhile, the FCA has previously pledged to tackle the problem, but has delayed consulting on much-needed interventions, leaving people still facing these exorbitant fees.

Since Which? first called for banks to lower their unarranged overdraft fees, the Lloyds Banking Group has acted on its calls and scrapped unarranged overdraft fees, meaning it now has the lowest charges of investigated banks - £19.80 cheaper than a payday loan at just £4.20. Meanwhile, Santander has also committed to Which?’s calls and will remove fees on unarranged overdrafts for its paid current accounts from July this year – although this will not apply to other Santander accounts. Which? and parliamentarians are now calling for other banks to urgently follow suit.

Which Research

Which? reviewed the unplanned overdraft charges levied by the named banks in April 2018 on fee-free accounts with no minimum monthly payment. We assumed the customer had already used up a £1,000 planned overdraft facility, and included all additional daily or monthly charges that applied as a result of the emergency borrowing. We did not include charges for the planned overdraft, interest, or charges that relate to specific account usage, such as paid or unpaid item charges.

* Exact comparisons for the banks are as follows: Santander is 7.45 times more expensive, TSB is over 6.7 times more costly. HSBC and First Direct are 6.25 times higher. RBS and Natwest are 6 times higher.

* Santander charges will no longer apply to its paid current accounts from 10th July 2018, although this will not apply to other Santander accounts.

* Overall, Which?  looked at the following bank accounts: Bank of Scotland (Classic), Lloyds Bank (Classic), Lloyds Bank (Club Lloyds), Halifax (Reward), Danske Bank (Choice), Barclays (Bank Account), Nationwide BS (FlexDirect), Clydesdale Bank (Current Account Plus), Clydesdale Bank (B Current), Yorkshire Bank (B Current), Yorkshire Bank (Current Account Plus) Co-Operative Bank (Current Account Plus), Co-Operative Bank (Standard), Smile (Current Account), First Direct (1st Account), HSBC (Bank Account), TSB (Classic Plus), Natwest (Select), Royal Bank of Scotland (Select), Santander (123 Account). 

May 2016: The CMA proposes requiring banks to set a monthly maximum charge for unarranged overdrafts on personal current accounts. Customers may not even be aware of when they go into unarranged overdraft or realise the costs they are incurring, so the CMA also wants banks to alert people when they are going into unarranged overdraft, and give them time to avoid the charges. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-wants-banks-to-work-harder-for-their-customers

Rosie Cooper MP joins forces with Which? to end rip-off overdraft fees

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has today joined forces with consumer champion, Which?, and over 80 fellow parliamentarians in signing a letter asking for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to bring...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has written to West Lancashire CCG and Virgin Care asking for an update on the promises made at the time of the award of the Community Care contract to the private provider Virgin Care that money would be made available for investment into the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS).

The local CVS, who’s CEO is also a member of the CCG governing body, had secured an in principle agreement that a percentage of the health contracts would be made available to local West Lancs VCFS organisations.

They won a commitment from the CCG that during 2017 an additional and recurrent VCFS investment fund of £100k.

Nearly two years on, things appear to have gone very quiet, and local charities have approached Rosie Cooper MP for support, asking what has happened to this money? Has it been distributed? If so where?

Most recently, MP Rosie met with Disability Advice West Lancashire (DAWL) Chief Tony Lewis and his team of Trustees and volunteers to discuss the current situation and concerns around funding.

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Rosie Cooper MP said:
“We have got some phenomenal people and organisations here in West Lancashire striving to support, advise and help some of our most vulnerable residents.

“But cuts to funding budgets and contracts mean many of these struggle year to year and even month to month, to the point where they are having to consider closing down if funding doesn’t materialise.

“Many of these charities were wooed by talk of hundreds of thousands of pounds being made available in our area following the tendering of services by West Lancashire CCG to Virgin Care, but nearly two years on no one appears to have seen this money.

“The Vice Chair of the CCG Greg Mitten, who is also Chief of the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) assured DAWL that opportunities were coming but here we are, there’s no money and charities are struggling to keep going.

“I’ve written to the CCG, CVS and to Virgin Care to ask just where this money is, what’s the plan and urging them to get on with dishing it out before it’s too late and we see these organisations ceasing.

“These agencies should keep their word and ensure all the promised support is given to these charities to ensure they can continue to carry out their work helping West Lancashire constituents.”

"Where's the money?" asks Rosie Cooper MP

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has written to West Lancashire CCG and Virgin Care asking for an update on the promises made at the time of the award of the...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is pleased to report she has had confirmation from West Lancashire Borough Council that they have served a ‘Breach of Condition Notice’ on the management at Beacon Park Golf Course, Serco.

The breach of condition notice relates particularly to the profiling of a part of the course, whereby the maximum height allowed under the original planning consent has been exceeded, with the quantity of infill which should have been added over the whole site has been concentrated in one area.

This notice is the latest in a long-running five year saga at the course since Serco took on the management of the facility but outsourced the work to Oaklands Leisure which has caused local residents to complain that there was little scrutiny or oversight of the type or quantity of the materials being dumped at the course, nor the money being made by subcontractors.

MP Rosie has raised these issues with both WLBC and Serco Chiefs on many occasions previously, and most recently met with Council Deputy Directors of Leisure, and Housing & Inclusion.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“What has been going on with Beacon Park Golf Course over many years has been a disgrace and it is timely that action is at last being taken to rectify the situation but this doesn’t end the matter.

“I will continue to pursue this matter as there should be proper accountability by those who made these poor decisions which I believe led to a loss of revenue to WLBC and its council taxpayers from both the course and the proceeds from the amount of rubble and waste materials which have been dumped.

“Serco will now have six months to comply with the breach of condition notice and remove material from the area around the driving range and the foot golf area. I have asked to meet with Serco Directors to get to the bottom of what really has gone on.”

Progress on the Beacon Park Golf Club fiasco, reports Rosie Cooper MP

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is pleased to report she has had confirmation from West Lancashire Borough Council that they have served a ‘Breach of Condition Notice’ on the management...

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