Topics of Interest

An Election Summary – thanks to our local Green candidate – Ben.

Pie charts that may help.


An answer to Brexit! Why didn’t they tell us?
97 Reasons for Remaining in the EU: Membership of the world’s largest trading bloc with over 500 million consumers, representing 23% of global GDP – but it’s not just about economics!

  1. The UK has greater global influence as a member of the EU 
  2. The EU provides a counterweight to the global power of the US, Russia and China
  3. With Trump in the White House the UK’s strongest natural allies are France, Germany and our other West European neighbours
  4. Tariff-free trade within the EU
  5. The abolition of non-tariff barriers (quotas, subsidies, administrative rules etc.) among members
  6. Participation in free trade agreements with Japan and Canada as an EU member
  7. The EU accounts for 44% of all UK exports of goods and services
  8. The EU accounts for 53% of all UK imports of goods and services
  9. Cheaper food and alcohol imports from continental Europe
  10. As a member of the EU the UK maintains a say in the shaping of the rules governing its trade with its European partners
  11. 3.1 million jobs in the UK are directly linked to exports to the EU
  12. Free movement of labour has helped UK firms plug skills gaps (translators, doctors, plumbers)
  13. Free movement of labour has helped address shortages of unskilled workers (fruit picking, catering)
  14. The Single Market has brought the best continental footballers to the Premier League
  15. The EU accounts for 47% of the UK’s stock of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), worth over $1.2 trillion
  16. Access to the EU Single Market has helped attract investment into the UK from outside the EU
  17. No paperwork or customs for UK exports throughout the single market
  18. Price transparency and removal of commissions on currency transactions across the Eurozone
  19. FDI into the UK has effectively doubled since the creation of the EU Single Market
  20. The UK’s net contribution to the EU budget is around €7.3bn, or 0.4% of GDP (less than an eighth of the UK’s defence spending)
  21. No time consuming border checks for travellers (apart from in the UK)
  22. The City of London, as a global financial hub, has acted as a bridge between foreign business and the EU
  23. British banks and insurance companies have been able to operate freely across the EU 
  24. Cornwall receives up to £750 million per year from the EU Social Fund (ESF)
  25. Structural funding for areas of the UK hit by industrial decline (South Wales, Yorkshire)
  26. Support for rural areas under the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD)
  27. EU funding for infrastructure projects in the UK including £122 million for the “Midlands engine” project
  28. Financial support from the EU for over 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK
  29. EU funding for the British film industry
  30. EU funding for British theatre, music and dance
  31. EU funding for British sport, including football apprenticeships, tennis and rugby league
  32. Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008) benefitted from being European capitals of culture, stimulating their local economies
  33. EU competition laws protect consumers by combatting monopolistic business practices
  34. Strict controls on the operations of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in the EU
  35. Human Rights protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  36. The death penalty can never be reintroduced as it is incompatible with EU membership
  37. Minority languages such as Welsh and Irish are recognized and protected under EU law
  38. The right to reside in any EU member state
  39. The freedom to work in 28 countries without visa and immigration restrictions
  40. The mutual recognition of professional qualifications has facilitated the free movement of engineers, teachers and doctors across the EU
  41. The mutual recognition of educational diplomas
  42. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has standardized assessment of language proficiency across the EU
  43. The freedom to study in 28 countries (many EU universities teach courses in English and charge lower fees than in the UK) 
  44. The Erasmus programme of university exchanges (benefitting 16000 UK students a year)
  45. The freedom to set up a business in 28 countries
  46. The ability to retire in any member state
  47. Pension transferability
  48. The right to vote in local and European Parliamentary elections if resident in any member state
  49. EU laws making it easier for British people to buy property on the continent
  50. The right to receive emergency healthcare in any member state (EHIC card)
  51. Consular protection from any EU embassy outside the EU
  52. The EU has played a leading role in combatting global warming (Paris 2015 climate change conference)
  53. Common EU greenhouse gas emissions targets (19% reduction from 1990 to 2015)
  54. Improvements in air quality (significant reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) as a result of EU legislation
  55. Reductions in sewage emissions
  56. Improvements in the quality of beaches and bathing water
  57. EU standards on the quality of drinking water
  58. Restrictions on landfill dumping
  59. EU targets for recycling
  60. Common EU regulations on the transportation and disposal of toxic waste
  61. The implementation of EU policies to reduce noise pollution in urban areas
  62. EU policies have stimulated offshore wind farms
  63. Strict safety standards for cars, buses and trucks
  64. Protection of endangered species and habitats (EU Natura 2000 network)
  65. Strict ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry
  66. Membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which monitors the quality and safety of medicines (until recently located in London)
  67. 13% of EU budget earmarked for scientific research and innovation
  68. The UK receives £730 million a year in EU funding for research
  69. EU funding for UK universities
  70. Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a member of Euratom
  71. Minimum paid annual leave and time off work (Working Time Directive)
  72. Equal pay between men and women enshrined in European law since 1957
  73. The right to work no more than 48 hours a week without paid overtime 
  74. Minimum guaranteed maternity leave of 14 weeks for pregnant women
  75. Rights to a minimum 18 weeks of parental leave after child birth
  76. EU anti-discrimination laws governing age, religion and sexual orientation
  77. EU rules governing health and safety at work
  78. The rights to collective bargaining and trade union membership are enshrined in EU employment law
  79. The UK enjoys an opt out from the single currency and maintains full control of its borders as a non-member of the Schengen area
  80. Since 1985 the UK has received a budget rebate equivalent to 66% of its net contribution to the EU budget
  81. EU cross-country coordination offers greater protection from terrorists, pedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
  82. The European common arrest warrant
  83. Europe-wide patent and copyright protection
  84. EU consumer protection laws concerning transparency and product guarantees of quality and safety
  85. Improved food labeling 
  86. A ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives
  87. Cheaper air travel due to EU competition laws
  88. Common EU air passenger rights
  89. Deregulation of the European energy market has increased consumer choice and lowered prices
  90. Mutual recognition of the common European driving license
  91. The introduction of the European pet passport
  92. The abolition of mobile telephone roaming charges
  93. The EU acts as a guarantor of the Irish Good Friday Agreement
  94. A frictionless Irish border
  95. The EU acts as a guarantor of the special status of Gibraltar
  96. The EU helped support and maintain democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece from the 1970s and these countries have become major destinations for British tourists
  97. EU membership has helped facilitate intercultural dialogue
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On Nov. 30 thirty folk turned up to the Tree Planting organised by the young sixth form student, Nimi, as NUS Tree person & Woodland Trust, plus Matt – Sutton Park ranger. There were quite a few Green and local Amnesty International  folk also there. Three of the SC candidates turned up to dig & plant – tho’ not Andrew Mitchell.  We learned that he was in Mere Green with a load of blue rosetted beings.
— – A Good job done!  More are scheduled!!

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Report on recent meeting of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council.
Firstly a selective summary supplied by D.Ratcliff from the main council minutes of September 24th 

55  Notice of Motion Submitted by Cllr C Horrocks on 16th Sept 2019.
Cllr Horrocks asked Council to consider engaging and consulting with local groups in Sutton Coldfield to hear innovative ideas and develop a realistic, ambitious, achievable strategy to help overcome barriers and become more environmentally conscious. 
Several councillors spoke in support of the motion. Cllr Raut applauded the communities that held regular litter picking and said that some members of the Royal Sutton Indians had pledged to plant trees. Cllr Cairns asked if schools could have some involvement to build on the Town Council funded Modeshift stars initiative.
Resolved that this Council will commit to a series of environmental-themed engagement workshops and sessions, with a view to determining how best RSCTC can continue to deliver on its environmental objectives for the Town. Delegation will be given to the Planning and Highways Committee for this activity.  

55. 56  Response to Sutton Coldfield Gateway Consultation: It was resolved to note the response to Transport for West Midlands proposals to develop an improved bus interchange and public realm for Sutton Coldfield. [Presumably referring to the inconvenience of the less able- bodied who prefer the present bus stops where the shops are easily accessible at either side of the same road!]

Agenda 22 October.
 Receipt of the draft  strategic town plan ( 56 pages downloadable from here:-
See also the document:- 

Budget proposals for the committees:  (It is uncertain how the “allocated reserve system” is worked)

Planning and Highways Minutes 8 Oct: Wildflower planting budget £20,500   2 Phase 8 monopoles 20 m high. 

Objections received to  Planning application for the Walmley  ASDA extension from a local objector.

Agenda for 12th November. Budget proposal  Road safety £25 k Historical monument future £100k per year. Strategy and resources
Next meeting 19 Nov  No agenda 

Amenity and leisure committee Discover Sutton Coldfield. Headings for website.  Advice & Guidance. Arts & Culture. Community Action Groups. Family Support. Health & Wellbeing. Older Adults. Parks & Playgrounds. Religious Groups. Sport & Recreation. Young People. 


The Observer didn’t publish this letter from Ben.  But it deserved publication – so here it is.

Dear editor,
I am dismayed by your choice this week’s Sutton Coldfield Observer (11th Oct 2019) to allow the Conservatives to buy your ‘wrap around and write’ pretend articles. This paper has given the Conservatives a free pass on many things before but when you literally allow them to write your headlines then you have sold the paper’s credibility far short.

Having jewellers or double glazing adverts is one thing, most people know what to expect and can ignore it but this native advertising for a political party is wrong. This is nakedly biased before an election and puts all your local news integrity into question. When you next want to scrutinise a local policy or publish stories embarrassing to politicians, you become much easier to dismiss.
Will you now be producing wrap arounds for Labour and the Greens for balance?   Yours etc.”

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