Friday, December 21, 2012

Real men don't rape

A lead article in The Times today (21.12.12) discusses the issue of rape in India.  A country that is growing in leaps and bounds on other fronts; business, technology, politics, still has an estimated rape count of one every 22 minutes.  Yes you did read that correctly. In India rape is considered normal, allowable, and something men need to do.  They will blame women for western dress, being out after dark, or having an interesting background - almost any excuse they can come up with. 

Last week we were training women in Tunisia - helping to get the country into the new world of democracy.  Rape came up several times during our workshops.  The solutions ranged from 'get everyone married' to having women only groups to support each other and discuss the issue.  No.  Absolutely not.  Rape is not about what women do, wear or talk about.  Rape is about men.  Its about misogyny.  Its about control. Real men can control themselves, real men respect women.  Real men don't rape and we need to shout this loudly at every opportunity, and ensure that here in the UK, and around the world that everyone makes a stand against this issue, and to stop considering rape to be something that is the fault of women.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LEADING MEP URGES WOMEN TO CHECK CAR INSURANCE POLICIES

Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England, is urging women to check their car insurance policies and to consider renewing policies before a new EU ruling comes into effect on the 21st December. According to industry estimates younger women drivers in particular could see an escalation in their insurance premiums.

The ruling in the European Court of Justice means that car insurance companies are no longer able to take gender into account as a key consideration when deciding on a person's car insurance premium. This means that in spite of research showing that younger women drivers have fewer accidents than their male counterparts, this will be ignored when calculating insurance premiums from now on. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), women drivers could see their premiums rise by up to 25% after December as a result, with younger women being particularly hard hit.

Mrs Ford commented: "This rise is expected to hit up to three quarters of all female drivers and I would encourage younger women in particular to check their car insurance renewal dates, and to consider renewing policies before the law comes into effect on the 21st December. As younger women tend to have few accidents than younger male drivers, to date insurers have been able to offer the women lower pricing, reflecting the lower risk. Now insurers will not be able to offer this differentiated policy. There appears to be a general consensus that car insurance prices for certain women drivers will rise significantly as a result. I am concerned that people are not aware that this cut off date is imminent. I don't think the ruling is sensible, it throws into question the whole theory of insurance pricing which tries to match premiums to expected risks. I would be interested in hearing from readers with any feedback on whether the price of insurance premiums have indeed risen and how this ruling has affected them. Check your policy before Christmas."

-Ends-

For further information, photographs or quotes please contact Sarah Stamp, Press and Communications Officer to Vicky Ford MEP, on 07584 028671 or at communications@vickyford.org

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

           
CWO are supporting International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25th November.  Join us on Twitter and Facebook #endviolenceagainstwomen  @UNWOMENUK  @cwowomen    
               

This week in Parliament


Oral Questions to the Minister for Women & Equalities Thursday 22nd November at 1015am.  Watch live on www.parliamentlive.tv

Thursday, November 01, 2012

CWO Action Day in Corby, 10th November

On Saturday 10th November CWO members will be going up to Corby and East Northamptonshire to support our candidate Christine Emmett. Our help is really needed to knock on more doors, deliver more leaflets and campaign more effectively than the opposition.


If you are coming from London there are direct trains from St Pancras to Corby which take 1 hour and 10mins.

Please meet us at the Campaign Centre at 10am which is a short walk from the railway station. The address for the campaign centre is: Corby campaign office, Exchange Court, Central business park, Cottingham Road, Corby, NN17 1TY.

If you are able to join us in Corby next saturday please email theodora@conservativewomen.org.uk.  

Best wishes,

Theodora Clarke (CWO Head of Communications)


Future dates for your diary:


Wednesday 14th November-  PCC & Corby telephone canvassing at CCHQ
Tuesday 4th December- Christmas drinks party in Westminster

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Members of the Conservative Womens Organisation led a meeting of women activists and politicians in Westminster this week with the Global Justice Centre team from the US, to discuss the way in which US law in particular defines gender equality rights very narrowly, including the exclusion of abortion laws from equality scrutiny.

This has a major effect on the treatment of women raped during conflict, and we are have formulated a plan to encourage our Government to add their voice to enforce international humanitarian law and making Security Council Resolutions, such as those that address gender parity in peacekeeping and rape as a weapon of war, legally enforceable rights. Want to know more? Contact us, and take a look at the GJC website

http://www.globaljusticecenter.net

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

CWO at Conservative Party Conference 2012


Please find below our invitation to join the Conservative Women’s Organisation at our Fringes at the Conservative Party Conference October 7 – October 10.


Also we can be found on Stand P29/P30 in the Party Zone Hall 3 of the ICC

We look forward to meeting and seeing you there.

Katy Bourne
Chairman
 

Dates for your diary:


The Evolving Workplace
Monday 12.30-14.00 in the Hyatt Regency -Scherzo. Speakers Helen Grant MP (Chair), Marina Yannakoudakis MEP and Cllr Katharine Harborne- Richmond Borough Council, Dr Isabella Moore CBE, Women's Enterprise Policy Group.

Celebrating Women in The Party and Beyond
Monday 17.30-19.00 in the Hyatt Regency- Fortissimo with Action Aid UK and Dods. Speakers Katy Bourne CWO Chairman (Chair), Richard Miller Exec.Director Action Aid UK, Margot James MP, Melanie Ward, Head of Public Affairs, Action Aid

Growing A Better Future for Women
Tuesday 12.30-14.00 in the ICC Hall 6 with Oxfam. Speakers Katy Bourne  CWO Chairman (Chair), Penny Lawrence, International Director, Oxfam, Jeremy Lefroy MP International Development Select Committee, Anna Swaithes, Head of Water & Food Security Policy SAB Miller..

Visit our website for more information here

Follow us on twitter @conswomen
www.conservativewomen.org.uk

Monday, September 17, 2012

CWO support PCC candidates


CWO turn out in Guildford, for the action day on Saturday 8th Sept, in support of Julie Iles our Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Surrey.

Monday, September 10, 2012

CWO Telephone Canvassing for PCC Finals & Corby By-Election



CWO are organising telephone canvassing sessions at CCHQ, 30 Millbank London SW1P 4DP on Thursday 27th September and Tuesday 16th October 6.30-8.30 pm.  

Please join us.

We are also supporting candidate Chris Emmett in the Corby by-election on Wednesday 24th October 6.30-8.30pm at CCHQ.

You must be a Party member to attend this event.

To register for these specific sessions please email margaret@conservativewomen.org.uk.

Thank you

Best wishes

Margaret Bird (Deputy Chairman)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Street Child of Sierra Leone welcomes CWO and Project Umubano by Theodora Clarke




Last month I flew out from London to Sierra Leone with a team of Conservative Party volunteers to take part in Project Umubano. For two weeks in July a group of us who are young professionals and students donated our time to teach at a school for street children in West Africa. This year we were joined by Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, who is the Chairman of Conservative Friends of International Development and founder of Women2Win. It was her first visit to the country and she visited alongside several members of the Conservative Women's Organisation. Later in the week we also welcomed Stephen Crabb MP who leads Project Umubano in both Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

The project is now in its second year and we have volunteers based in Makeni at a centre run by Street Child of Sierra Leone, a British NGO based in the country. Everyday we have been teaching English, Maths and Science working alongside local teachers to deliver their curriculum. The school where we are based in Makeni caters for over 250 pupils. The children, both boys and girls, range from age five to eighteen. Many of them are orphans from the civil war, live on the street in gangs or work as commercial sex workers and have been out of the education system for years.  



Project Umubano has expanded this year to several centres. For the first time we were able to visit some of the remote and inaccessible regions on the border with Guinea. The Tambakha Chiefdom is the most rural and isolated area in the northern part of the country. It took us fourteen hours by car on a dirt track road followed by a dugout canoe with our 4x4 vehicle being transported by a small ferry across a river for us to eventually arrive in Tambakha. The entire team were amazed to see whole communities with no access to drinking water and to visit a region which previously had no schools despite a population of twenty thousand people. We saw children being taught in ramshackle plastic and metal structures with only basic resources such as chalk and a blackboard. It was inspiring to see what an impact Street Child has had in the area where they have built two primary schools and the first secondary school there. There are now 25 schools there with 100 teachers educating over 3000 children.

On the Wednesday evening we all went out at midnight with the social workers to see where our students spent the night. It was shocking to see how our pupils were spending the night sleeping rough at petrol stations, on the steps of shops and on top of metal freight containers covered in rubbish, often in the pouring rain. Everyone was moved to see their students and how they had no homes to go to after being in our classes.

This is the second year of the education project in Sierra Leone and it has been great to return to work with such a worthwhile organisation. The children we are teaching are from some of the most deprived communities in Africa with little access to education or resources. 




Street Child is a fantastic organisation which supports the educational objectives of the most vulnerable children in Sierra Leone. The whole Umubano team is looking forward to continuing to work with Street Child in the future and to continue to support their project. Volunteering out here as also reminded us of why it is important to support international development in countries like Sierra Leone, especially those with close ties to the UK and which are in their post-conflict phase. The work that Street Child is doing is inspiring and we hope by being here that we have made a small difference to our students’ lives.

For further information visit:

Street Child of Sierra Leone http://www.street-child.co.uk/

Forum Report: 'Women in the Justice System'


26-Jun-2012: The CWO forum on ‘Women In The Justice System’ took place at 30 Millbank, Westminister on the 26th of June 2012.
The speakers for the evening were:
Fiona Phillips- QC
Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire- Metropolitan Police
Margaret Vallance- Director- Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service
Julie Iles- JP- Surrey
CWO Chairman, Pauline Lucas welcomed our guests on behalf of CWO and outlined that the purpose of the ‘Women In The Justice System’ forum was to allow exploration of the reality of being a Woman involved or effected by the British Judicial System.
The panel was selected to provide insights into: breaking into the male dominated legal arena, female sentencing and rehabilitation and support thereafter and the underlying treatment of woman within the criminal world.
Pauline Lucas encouraged the panel to discuss candidly their own experiences and also what they were recognising from a wider study of the demographic.
Fiona Phillips is a highly qualified QC wh was instrumental in the building of Portcullia house. Fiona led the discussion by painting the scene for what it is like being a QC whom has climbed the career ladder in what still is a male dominated profession. Fiona explained that the first set of challenges present themselves when Woman are embarking on the role from a litigation stage. The early stages of law bar exams normally have a 50/50 split between Males and Female uptakes which continues until pupillages when the gender split is around 55/45 in favour of men.
The real challenges present themselves as Woman work their way up the Judicial system. Woman tend to be overly generous with their time and the work load which they are prepared to take on just to get ahead or on an equal footing as their male counterparts- This can often mean working 18 hour days, 6 days a week.
The approach to handling cases also varies between Male and Females. Fiona recognises that when she is in discussions with a Female opponent they will be upfront about their angle of defence and stick to that in court. Fiona’s experience is that Men will play games by claiming one position within the consultation and very much change their tact in court.
Overt Sexism is a daily occurrence and upon reaching The Queens Council Woman normally fall into two areas; those whom become deliberately ‘Steely’ to maintain and compete for work and those whom try to balance a family and as a result face ostracism and a diminished workload dictated and enforced by their male counterparts.
The Lord Chancellor is actively promoting getting more women into the judicial system but whilst Fiona says you often face loyalty from clients, the perils of being within this vocation are the pressures to stay ahead of the competition, win the work and also balance a family.
Jackie Sebire spoke of her 20 years experience as a Super Intendant investing serious and complex crime including high profile murder cases and paedophilia. In line with Fiona Phillips, Jackie touched upon the idea of having to work above and beyond the recognised standards in order to make a name for yourself and get promoted. Of the Senior Management team at Hackney Constabulary all have chosen to put their careers above starting a family.
Jackie has extensive experience of dealing with Women suspects, witnesses and victims and the largest area of concern across the UK today is the notable Gang Culture which often results in younger girls and women being introduced to living a violent life of crime and/or becoming sexual abuse victims often at the mercy of the Male gang leaders.
In support of this notion of exploitation, in London specifically, murder is on the decrease but Woman being killed in domestic violence is increasing by 40%. These are grim statistics and on average it takes 35 incidents of abuse for a Woman to come forward and report an issue.
Jackie feels the only way to combat this issue is to start to work with Woman at a younger age to install a sense of confidence and self respect. In conjunction with this the level of data sharing from force to force needs to become more fluid so the Police can spot patterns emerging.
Margaret Vallence summarised her career so far by discussing her work within male dominated environments. Margaret explained the resistance she felt when she was asked lead a 40 headcount male team of fraud investigators within the DWP. Margaret acknowledges she had to prove herself to her peers and those in her charge and demonstrated this through increasing the conviction rate bye introducing a more analytically detail focused ethos to a team who previously seems to just ‘Dive In’
Within Margaret’s career she has witnessed abuse of young females and children on a number of occasions. Some of her achievements in combating this were the 1989 Children’s Act which she pushed through the Home Office and the closing down of Banardos.
At all stages victims of abuse, specifically paedophilia are lured in emotionally on a basis of trust from a perpetrator whom is very good at covering their tracks and in a clear position of power.
Today Margaret devotes her time to a Voluntary Organisation called Prisoners’ ,Families and Friends which was established in 1967.  The organisation recognised that there was little or no support for the families of those whom were sentenced in prison and as a result families of those convicted were stigmatised and condemned.
The organisation works at the core of issues surrounding confidence and self esteem, mental well being and relationships. The main completed the idea is that children develop better.
Some interesting facts support the work of this organisation:
· More Woman than partners use the service.
· Children of offenders are more likely to commit offences themselves.
· All of the Woman within the service suffer some degree of depression and anxiety at some stage.
· 5% of prisoners are female.
· 51% of woman leaving prison reoffend within 1 year.
The aim is to keep families together and reunite them as in Margaret’s word the state is a poor parent.
Julie Iles sits on the bench for Her Majesties Court and Tribunal System, a institution which has been in place as the first point of call for all legal cases for the last 650 years. It is served by volunteers whom wish to engage within their communities to assist with the jurisdiction and enforcement of law.  Over the last 20 years being a woman within the justice system has changed significantly with trousers only being acceptable court room attire in the last two decades. The scope of influence within HMS is broad with 97 % of all criminal cases starting life in a magistrate’s court. 

Decisions as to the granting of bail or remanding someone in custody are often heard in magistrates court and Julie says they are decided by taking a number of factors in to account including the likely outcome of the case, ties to the community, any previous failures to comply with court orders and the nature of the alleged offence. This is to ensure that the community is protected.
Julie chose to work and specialise within the Youth Court matter sector as she feels that this is highly relevant to making a real difference to local communities as good methods and practises within this area can prevent re-offences and steer the demographic back on the right track. The ethos is the idea of prevention of re-offending rather than criminalisation.
Julie says one of the challenges is female detention particularly when children are involved. The circumstances must be deemed grave for this to be enforced as emphasis and consideration is made to any remaining children and what would happen to them should their mother be detained.
Questions and comments from the floor concluded that there needs to be much more groundwork done behind the reasons that Woman turning to criminality and why they may fall victims to abusive situations as a result of being victims of crime. The common thread was that there needs to be a ‘Big Society’ in respect of teaching woman from an early age what they should and how they should expect to be treated. In turn the concept of teaching young men what is acceptable was also discussed. There needs to be more inspirational role models for woman and that it is vital to teach families how to parent in the right ways to break the cycles of abuse and crime from replicating in the future for next generations.
All of our panel said that at some point in their careers they have had a strong, female mentor whom helped them to learn best practice and that they found motivation from.
Each of the speakers summarised their final points and the chairman thanked them for participating in what was an immensely informative discussion.
With thanks to: Sophie Stratton, CWO Director of Forums and Charlotte Argyle

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Support needed for CWO P&CC Candidates!


Date: Thu 15th Nov 2012

Location: National

Many congratulations to all the new Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates.

They will need all your support and help to get elected on the 15th November, so please help: http://www.conservativewomen.org.uk/events.asp?diary_no=376

Monday, July 23, 2012

Police & Crime Commissioners: CWO's Julie Iles selected for Surrey



JulieJulie Iles on why she is seeking the Conservative nomination for the Police and Crime Commissioner of Surrey

Police and Crime Commissioners are fundamental to the Governments’ programme of decentralisation and making the police accountable to the local people. As a candidate for Commissioner I will engage with the public to ensure that I have a strong mandate to drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.  Given the broader remit to ensure community safety, I will have an agenda of protection and prevention as well as first class, front line policing.

I am an active member of our community in Surrey. I have been a magistrate for ten years, I chair the SE Surrey youth panel and serve on the Youth Justice Advisory Committee. I am also on the Surrey Crimestoppers Committee. This gives me a genuine experience of the criminal issues across Surrey and the effect they have on peoples’ lives...

Read the full article at Conservative Home
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/2012/07/making-surrey-even-safer.html

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CWO North-East region hold summer party


 
 Mrs Jenny Hardy (Joint Deputy Chairman) & Mr Nigel Evans MP

From Christine Hanley, Vice Chairman North-East Region CWO

Our regional Summer Party held in Eaglescliffe on Saturday 23rd  June was a great success.
Over a hundred Guests were able to enjoy a dry evening catching up with old friends, looking round
the garden and sampling the wide variety of finger food provided by the Committee.

Summer Party North-East Region CWO

Our Guest Speaker Mr Nigel Evans MP & Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons mingled with
the crowd before entertaining us with an account of his duties in Parliament which of course included
a few amusing anecdotes.
Mrs Tess Galletley, Mrs Amy Gibb, Mr Ian Galletley & Dr Kathleen Irvine


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

EUW Conference: On the Arab Spring, July 5

European Union of Women
British Section
Mini-conference
'On the Arab Spring'
Thurs 5th July 2012 at 1.45pm
Trevelyan Room, St Matthew's Conference Centre, Great Peter Street, Westminster, SW1
(nearest tubes St James Park/Westminster)

Speakers:
Alistair Burt MP
Further speaker/s and panel to be advised.

Tea and coffee will be served at 1.45pm
Cost: £15 per head
Enquiries to euw@euw-uk.co.uk or telephone 0207 924 4124

http://www.euw-uk.co.uk/2012-diary-of-events/

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CWO hosts summer drinks party in Westminster


Dr Sarah Woolaston MP and CWO Chairman Katy Bourne, CWO Summer Drinks Party © Annabel Yates Photography


On Wednesday June 20 the Conservative Women’s Organisation hosted a summer drinks party. The event took place in the garden at Conservative Central Headquarters in Westminster. Over seventy people attended the event and we were joined by four female MPs.

Katy Bourne, CWO Chairman, welcomed the guests and asked Helen Grant MP to select the winning ticket for the raffle. The event was a huge success and many guests stayed on till late to enjoy the good weather and to catch up with other members.  

Several members of the CWO Executive from across the UK were also present following their meeting earlier in the day. We were joined by representatives from as far afield as Devon, East Midlands and even Scotland.

Theodora Clarke, Julie Iles and Helen Grant MPCWO Summer Drinks Party   © Annabel Yates Photography
Katy Bourne said: "Thank you to all those who attended and supported our event on Weds.  It was good to see many familiar faces and to welcome so many new members.  Particular thanks to Helen Grant MP, Harriet Baldwin MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Fiona Bruce MP and the team at the Candidates Department who came to support us and were so generous with their time."


Helen Grant MP said: “I was delighted to attend the Conservative Women’s Organisation’s summer reception.  It was very good to meet with so many women actively engaged with politics.  Several of those I met have been short-listed for the new Police & Crime Commissioners and they will certainly bring a new perspective to local policing  should they go on to be elected in November.  I also met the CWO Senior Officers who give a great deal of voluntary time to train and support other women taking up roles in public life.  Many thanks for the invitation – and keep up the good work.”

Harriet Baldwin MP said: “It was a pleasure to meet so many interesting and impressive women who are considering getting more active in Conservative politics.  I was delighted to offer advice from my own experience and am always happy to be a mentor to help women negotiate the process.”

Fiona Bruce MP said: “It was great to meet so many enthusiastic CWO members of all ages, already making a real and positive difference in politics in many different ways- and keen to do more.”

Harriet Baldwin MP, CWO Summer Drinks Party  © Annabel Yates Photography  
Dr Sarah Woolaston MP said: “It was great to meet so many women who are getting the Conservative message through and getting things done in their own communities. Thank you to the CWO". 

It was great to see so many members from across the UK from Area Chairs to students who have recently joined the CWO. 

We look forward to seeing our members at future events including our fringe panel discussions at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and forums later in the year.

Theodora Clarke, CWO Director of Communications

Follow us on twitter @conswomen

Friday, May 11, 2012

CWO Report: Forum 'Business Budget 2012'

24-Apr-2012: The CWO forum panel on the ‘Business Budget 2012’ took place in a committee room of the House of Commons on Tuesday 24th April.
The speakers for the evening were:
Andrew Tyrie    MP for Chichester and Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee.
Susan Hayes      Head of Business Banking, Barclays
Gillian Cardy      Managing Director of the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) centre.

CWO Chairman, Katy Bourne welcomed our guests on behalf of CWO and outlined that the purpose of the ‘Business Budget 2012’ was to allow exploration of the impact of the recent budget announcements on small businesses.  Katy encouraged discussions around the role of women in business and in what ways the budget will have an impact on economic growth for all demographics.  

CWO Forum: Sophie Stratton, Gillian Hardy and Susan Hayes
Sue Hayes led the discussion by explaining her role as Head of Business Banking at Barclays and went on to discuss how and why banks are making a concerted effort, through their growth agenda to help small businesses.
Currently 50 % of start-up businesses fail within their first three years; Sue discussed the challenging conditions that a start-up company is likely to face based on her assessment of the core issues she sees arising daily within her client’s environment.  The three main reasons she identified for the failure of new businesses are: the economic climate and reduced demand, the competitive landscape and cash flow issues.
 Sue observed that there is a general feeling of uncertainty around the regulations in respect of setting up a new business which serve to deter people from venturing into this territory due to a lack of confidence and understanding of the basic logistics involved in setting up a new business.


Homing in on the budget, Sue thought that there had been modest changes but nothing which would make a substantial difference to promote entrepreneurial growth.  However, the reduction in the higher rate of personal income tax and the increase in personal allowance would mean that greater disposable income could potentially have the effect of stimulating consumer spending, albeit not aiding initial investment.
Sue went on to explain how banks can help to stimulate confidence via a number of fiscal initiatives and support services such as;

-The National Loan Guarantee Scheme  which creates lower interest rates for lending and gives a percentage of cash back to the applicant.
-Business support units and seminars proactively advising business on any issues they are experiencing and discussing ways to increase revenues for a new business.  E-commerce for example, if conducted internationally, gives a business a fourfold chance of being successful in the critical 36-month window.
-Networking forums to link customers and business together.

CWO Forum: Susan Hayes, Theodora Clarke, Margaret Bird, Pauline Lucas, Gillian  Cardy and Katy Bourne
The overall message was that banks do want to loan to businesses to aid the UK’s economic recovery.  Last year alone £4.7bn was invested by Barclays into small businesses and Barclays hit their Merlin targets.  Given the current economic situation today around 42% of people will have to rethink their retirement plans and 25% of people will have to work over the age of 65.  Barclays wants to encourage a stimulus for growth to give people greater flexibility over their retirement options.

Gillian Cardy spoke about her role as Managing Director of the IFA centre and how she perceived the budget would have an effect on the financial planning strategies of individuals and businesses alike.
Gillian sees the budget in its current form as having only nominal changes which directly affect the role of an IFA in giving client advice.  In her view, present regulations need simplification to stimulate economic growth as the increased complexity of rules around taxation are making it challenging for both employers and employees to understand their responsibilities and, as a consequence, more costs are being incurred by businesses.
Prohibitive costs make it more challenging for new business to flourish.  An example of these increasing costs for employers is the new National Employee Savings scheme which all business must start to contribute to.
 An example of change suggested by Gillian was in regards to rules around National Insurance; she suggested a revision of the current 13.8% which has to be paid even into retirement.
To summarise, Gillian brought the discussion to an employee level and discussed the current missed opportunities for road-mapping a real savings plan and taking advantage of tax free opportunities such as ISA’s and personal allowances.

Finally Andrew Tyrie discussed how he saw the budget from his perspectives as an Economist, an MP and as the Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee.
CWO Forum: Andrew Tyrie MP
 Andrew supported the defining strategy of the budget which is a deficit reduction programme to deal with the current economic conditions.  He believes in turn this will promote confidence from the markets.  The budget has been set by the Chancellor with little scope for manoeuvre as there are real fiscal targets to be met and the government is in the early stages of implementing a long term strategy to restore economic growth rates to 2.4%. Andrew is confident that this coalition budget will prevent a UK replication of crises seen in Greece and other Eurozone countries.
In line with his co-speakers, Andrew agreed that an overhaul of regulation in certain areas affecting business is overdue and that a simplification of employers’ legislation and a focus on making it easier for sole traders to create the jobs, are needed to boost the economy.
CWO Forum: Theodora Clarke
In agreement with Gillian Cardy, Andrew went on to say that the British taxation system is one of the most complicated taxation systems in the world.  There are issues around tax avoidance which could be addressed by less ambiguity on the subject and clearer tax models.  Tax cuts at the top end of the market are designed to retain wealth within the UK and avoid overseas relocation in line with Laffa principles.  In addition to this, improvements via the Loan Guarantee scheme will serve as a much needed catalyst for bank and consumer lending and UK entrepreneurialism.
    

Questions and comments from the floor examined issues such as: why has the tax code not been simplified since the 1980’s; why income tax has not returned to the previous 40% level and will there be more efforts put in place to incentivise start up businesses and support their growth?  Each of the speakers summarised their final points and the Chairman thanked them for participating in an informative panel discussion on the budget.

With thanks to: Sophie Stratton, CWO Director of Forums and Charlotte Argyle.








Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Project Umubano 2012: Volunteer for Conservative Social Action



Volunteers for Conservative social action project
Project Umubano
Location: Rwanda and Sierra Leone
Voluntary project: 2 weeks in July 2012



Do you have the passion to volunteer in two of the world’s poorest countries? Can you contribute your skills to helping in Africa? Do you want to develop your skills whilst experiencing a new culture?


Project Umubano is recruiting volunteers for the last remaining places on our projects in Rwanda and Sierra Leone. This is a great opportunity for Conservatives who would like to help make a lasting difference in Africa.

About Project Umubano
Project Umubano is the Conservative Party's social action project in Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Umubano means ‘friendship’ or ‘co-operation’ in Kinyarwandan, the mother tongue of Rwanda. The work that our teams do in Rwanda and Sierra Leone is driven by specific needs identified by our partners on the ground. In that way, we hope that our work will continue to have a lasting benefit long after we return home. 


Our volunteers
Volunteers join Conservative MPs, councillors and activists for two weeks in either Rwanda or Sierra Leone, working in teams in locations around each country.


Education Project in Sierra Leone
Theodora Clarke, CWO Director of Communications, will be leading the education project out in Sierra Leone. She is currently looking for volunteers who are interested in teaching children at a local school. Any experience teaching would be helpful but is not required as all volunteers will undertake TEFAL training. 


She said, "I went last year as a volunteer and was so impressed by the project that I decided to come back again to help organise the education project. We are partnered with a local NGO out there called Street Child of Sierra Leone which do invaluable work with orphans and children who have never been to school. We are delighted to return this year to expand the project and to help teach at SCoSL's local centre in Makeni."

Info here http://www.street-child.co.uk/


Project Umubano is also looking for volunteers with specific training or skills in one or more of the following project areas:

  • health
  • sport
  • business
  • community (helping charitable organisations)
  • law
  • politics
  • education

Closing Date: 28 May 2012
Interview/Start Dates:
Informal interviews are held in the Westminster area or over the telephone. Please note that we may recruit before the closing date.


Job Contact:
For more information please visit www.projectumubano.com and sign up by completing the electronic form on the ‘Join Us’ page. When applying, please specify your desired project area from the list above and include any qualifications, skills or experiences relevant to your field. If you have specific questions about the education project in Sierra Leone then please get in touch with theodora@conservativewomen.org.uk. 


You may also email your information to projectumubano@live.co.uk.
Website: http://www.projectumubano.com


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Vote for Boris: Taking Greater London Forward


A message from Boris Johnson:


The Mayoral election today comes when we have been going through the toughest times that anyone can remember.

The big question is therefore blindingly simple - who has the best plan for the jobs and growth that will help bring prosperity to all?

It is about who will deliver the investment from central government that will take London forward.

It is about who you can trust to spend that money wisely – and who will be honest with you about where the money is coming from, and how it is spent.

I believe my 9 point plan is right for the future of the greatest city on earth. It secures Greater London's future by cutting waste at City Hall, reducing council tax, creating 200,000 new jobs, protecting green space, investing in transport, cutting tube delays and ensuring a true Olympic legacy.

My ambition is to make London ever safer, greener, cleaner and more attractive to live, work and invest in.

By managing our budgets responsibly, we have abandoned the grandiose and wasteful approach of the previous mayor. This has allowed me to keep my promises to London over the last four years:

I have put 1,000 more police on the streets and now we are taking officers out of backroom jobs – putting 2,000 officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

I have delivered a 24 hour Freedom Pass – and we will now make sure that everyone gets it as soon as they turn 60, and we will negotiate to put it on overground rail as well.

I got rid of the Western Extension Zone of the Congestion Charge, because it was imposed in defiance of people’s wishes.

I banned alcohol on public transport and put another 697 uniformed officers on the buses and Tube.
I have got rid of the bendy bus and introduced a new Routemaster-style bus for London, built in Britain, creating jobs in this country, the cleanest new bus in Europe – and each of them costs no more than a current hybrid bus.

I have saved billions in unnecessary expense at TFL, disposed of 23 buildings and 25% of the directors. I have sold two police flats and cut bonuses across the board.

And it is this relentless efficiency with your money that has allowed me to freeze the Mayoral share of council tax for four years. Now I am promising to cut it by 10%.

The choice is clear today.

It is between a Mayor who invests in our future – not the irresponsible proposals from Ken Livingstone that would put that investment at risk.

I know I am best placed to get the funds our city will need. I will use that money well – not waste it on schemes of no economic benefit to London.

I want to unite London – not try to divide one group from another.

I want to take London forwards – not back to the 1970s.

I believe I am best placed to lead London out of recession, to get real and lasting value from the Olympics, and to lengthen our lead as the greatest city on earth.

I hope I can count on your vote today. For Greater London. For the future.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Conservative Women's Organisation supports Boris



The Back Boris team were supported by a large number of Conservative Women's Organisation members on tuesday night at the Conservative Party's central headquarters in Millbank. The telephone canvassing session for Mayor Boris Johnson was held in conjunction with a candidates evening organised by Melanie Hampton.


We were joined by Dr Phillip Lee MP who talked about his experiences as a working doctor, issues facing his constituency Bracknell and current health care discussions in Parliament. 


The team spent the evening manning the phones and calling voters across London. Telephone canvassing is proven to be the quickest, easiest and most effective form of campaigning. 

CWO Chairman Katy Bourne attended the evening and answered questions from Conservative party activists about the CWO and the campaign. 

Theodora Clarke, CWO Director of Communications, who helped organise the evening said: “This was our first CWO telephone canvassing and it was great to have such a good turnout in the evening after work. CWO members have been working hard to support Boris in this final critical stage of the mayoral campaign.”

Melanie Hampton said "Many thanks to the CWO and their dynamic new team for coming to help telephone canvass for Boris".


Baroness Warsi, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, and James Cleverly AM, Leader of the Conservative Group on the London Assembly, also stopped by to lend a hand and support Boris.


You can follow the Conservative Women's Organisation on twitter @conswomen and RSVP to our next events on Facebook and here http://www.conservativewomen.org.uk/events.asp

BackBoris: For Greater London. For the Future


A message from the BackBoris team:

Over this crucial final week the BackBoris team and Conservatives across London are calling supporters to urge them to vote on 3rd May. And with Ken and Labour pulling out all the stops and spending seemingly limitless amounts of trade union money, Boris is counting on supporters like you.



With just five days to go to polling, we need your help to secure Greater London's future.


Next week voters will face the choice of a better future - or a return the past.


Boris Johnson's 9 point plan to secure Greater London's future cuts waste at City Hall, reduces council tax, creates 200,000 new jobs, protects green space, invests in transport, cuts tube delays and ensures a true Olympic legacy.


Over these crucial final days we have millions of leaflets to deliver and hundreds of thousands of people to call, explaining why every single vote counts and why Boris needs their backing.



The man himself will be at the Millbank call centre this weekend and it would be great if you could come along too. And he’ll be on the campaign Battle Bus too both days too if you're able to join him. Sign up here: www.backboris2012.com/events/category/joinboris


And it’s not just Boris you can meet if you come along to make calls. There are also chances to join members of the Cabinet calling for Boris next week. Michael Gove, Caroline Spelman, Justine Greening, Andrew Lansley and many more Cabinet members will be joining us to make calls for Boris. 


For more information and to register for one or more of our 'Calling with the Cabinet' sessions, please sign up now: www.backboris2012.com/events/category/phonecanvassing


This election is going to be really close. Every call we make counts, so please come along to make calls, join the Battle Bus or help out in your local area.



Your help is absolutely vital to our Get Out the Vote effort, so please sign up now to help: www.backboris2012.com/GOTV


Thank you for all you've already done for the campaign.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The biggest campaign fight yet: Ken vs Ken

If you thought the "Rift in the Lift" was big news, get ready for the biggest campaign fight yet: Ken vs Ken! 


Watch the latest video from the BackBoris 2012 team where Ken Livingstone battles it out (with himself) over whether he can cut fares. 

Ken as candidate makes sweeping claims about fares cuts and where the money would come from, but as Mayor he says he's unable to do the exact things he's now saying he can.



http://youtu.be/moumIhgq35M


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back Boris 2012: Countdown to the Mayoral Election


A message from Theodora Clarke, CWO Director of Communications:



Back Boris 2012 – Countdown to the Mayoral Election

There are less than three weeks before Londoners head to the polls to choose their Mayor and the stakes in this election are high. If Ken takes London and welcomes Ed Miliband into City Hall we will find attaining a Conservative majority in 2015 much harder.

Over the last four years Boris has delivered his promises to turn around the mess left by Livingstone and Labour for Londoners. He has:

  • Tackled Crime by increasing the number of police on the streets pushing crime down by 10.8%.
  • Kept London Moving by making public transport we all rely on more reliable and efficient and by working to smooth London’s traffic flow.
  • Made City Hall Leaner and More Accountable by ruthlessly cutting out waste, making decisions more transparent, increasing efficiency in London with everything at City Hall driven to deliver more for less.
  • Fought London's Corner by constantly banging the drum for investment in London and working for a fairer deal from central government to create the most competitive environment for business.
  • Improved Quality of Life by investing in parks and squares using the best design and removing unnecessary and ugly clutter and by reducing London’s carbon emissions, not only protecting the environment but also saving Londoners millions of pounds in energy bills.
  • Worked to make the Most of the Olympics by bringing the Games in on time and within budget and by working to achieve a legacy that will last for generations.
  • Delivered Youth Opportunities by working to increase opportunities for young Londoners despite the worst recession since the 1930s, which has driven up youth unemployment to well over 15%.
This month at the official launch of his campaign, Boris set out his vision for securing Greater London's future. (watch the video here)

But there is more to do and to accomplish it Boris needs your help. CWO supporters are the backbone of Boris’ campaign and your commitment is critical to getting out his message across the capital.

That is why today we are asking you to volunteer, if you haven't done so already. With your help we can reach even more Londoners in these final three weeks.

Teams of volunteers have already been working hard across London for months leafleting stations, knocking on doors and phoning voters.

The Battle Bus will be continuing its tour of the outer boroughs and Conservative activists are out in them every weekend from now until polling day. Our call centres will be open every afternoon and evening with Monday nights being the dedicated CWO session with visiting MPs.

The choice on 3rd May is very clear – between lurching back to the high-taxing, discredited and divisive approach of Ken Livingstone, or going forward with four more years of sensible, responsible and cost-effective government in London with Boris.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the campaign and if you feel that you can do more please contact the BackBoris2012 campaign.