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MP welcomes 2012 ‘U-turn’

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Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, has welcomed the news that the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) has backed down from their threat to sue an Island entrepreneur who is using the year ‘2012’ in her company name.

Whippingham resident Julie Benson, founder of The Great Exhibition 2012 which will showcase the best of British Arts and Industry next year was threatened with legal action by LOGOC under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Act 2006, because they claimed that the term ‘2012’ is now ‘widely used in the UK’ as a reference to the London Olympic Games and they must protect their sponsors rights to ‘exclusively use Games related terminology’.

Julie Benson was told yesterday that LOCOG would take no further action only hours after Mr Turner raised the issue in the House of Commons. To laughter from MPs Mr Turner joked during Business Questions that he wanted reassurance from the Leader of the House, Sir George Young MP, for ‘Julie Benson, and printers of diaries and calendars everywhere—that the Act does not confer on LOCOG exclusive rights to any number or date’. He also asked the Leader of the House to confirm that Members of Parliament would not have to rely on Parliamentary Privilege in order to talk about next year. Sir George Young responded that although he agreed with Mr Turner that there was no monopoly on 2012, he did not want to get involved in a legal dispute between companies.

Mr Turner commented:
“Julie recently told me about her plans to promote the best of Britain next year and it was clear that it was nothing to do with the Olympic Games. I was astounded at the letter from LOGOC. Of course they can protect their logos and trademark but to claim that in some way they own the rights to use the term 2012 is quite simply ridiculous. I am glad they have backed down but what is worrying that they were threatening a small business with this action anyway. By chance I yesterday received an e-mail from Farnborough International Airshow 2012 – I am not a gambling man but I would be willing to bet that they haven’t threatened them with legal action!

“ The e-mail withdrawing their threat of legal action is also quite extraordinary – among other things it ‘clarifies’ that Julie can use the words ‘endurance, motivation, spirit or endeavour’ as part of her business and that she can make ‘references’ to the year 2012. I will be following this up with them.”

Julie Benson said :
‘I want to thank Andrew for acting on my plight and supporting me. It is a triumph for the Island and for the little people. After an emotional half-hour conversation with LOGOC yesterday I didn’t think I would get through all this and all my work would have been for nothing. Seeing Andrew speak up for me in the House of Commons made me realise that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things’.

END Contact : Andrew Turner’s office 01983 530808

Extract from Hansard
Mr Andrew Turner (IContactsle of Wight) (Con): The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games appears to believe that the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 prevents other people from even mentioning next year as a date. It says that the term “2012” is now widely used in the United Kingdom as a reference to the games. My constituent Julie Benson, founder of the Great Exhibition Company, is being threatened by that. She said that her exhibition next year
“will promote the best of Great Britain to the rest of the world —it’s not about a sporting event in London.\’”
Can the Leader of the House reassure me—and Julie Benson, and printers of diaries and calendars everywhere—that the Act does not confer on LOCOG exclusive rights to any number or date, and that Members will not have to rely on the privileges of their membership of the House to talk about the date next year?
Mr Speaker: I am sure the ingenuity of the Leader of the House is such that he will fashion a way to relate his answer to the business of next week.
Sir George Young: Or, indeed, next year.
I endorse my hon. Friend’s general proposition: that there is no monopoly on 2012, and we are at liberty to refer to it. However, I would hesitate before engaging in what appears to be a legal dispute between two companies, as I believe that would be better sorted out by the courts than by Ministers.

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Broadlands jobs safe

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Island MP Andrew Turner has received confirmation that the future of jobs and services at Broadlands House are secure following press reports that previously announced new jobs would not now be coming to the Island. Mr Turner said that yesterday’s press reports were completely at odds with assurances he had received both from the Minister last summer and the regional manager as recently as November last year. On hearing the reports that plans had changed he contacted the senior management of JobCentre Plus to seek clarification of the position.

Mr Turner said

“I have now received definite confirmation that the plans of Jobcentre Plus have not changed and that they will be keeping a benefit processing centre on the Island as well as establishing one of only two national insurance number processing centres here. I have been told that the additional jobs will arise as their plans are implemented over the coming months.”

Mr Turner went on to say

“During our meeting last November Guy Tompkins Jobcentre Plus’s regional manager was very complimentary about their workforce on the Island and told me that the positive approach of the staff was one of the reasons why they planned to expand on the Island. I am very glad that they see the sense of bringing work to the Island rather than taking it to the mainland and I will continue to press Government to follow their example.

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School Reorganization – Where will £70m come from?

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Government have denied promising the IW Council £70 million to pay for reorganizing Island schools from a three- to a two-tier system. And the Island’s MP has criticized the ‘optimistic noises’ on funding given at consultation meetings.

In a Parliamentary Answer to Island MP Andrew Turner it was revealed that there have been absolutely no promises from the Government to provide the estimated £70 million needed for the changes being proposed by council officials. In answering Mr Turner, Stephen Twigg MP, the Minister responsible for school funding, made it clear that the Isle of Wight council has received no assurances that extra money will be made available for the proposed changeover. Mr Turner has criticized the impression given to parents and teachers that obtaining the money needed from central government would not present a problem.

Andrew Turner said,

“During the meeting I attended at Sandown High School it was clearly stated that ‘we can get’ the £70 million needed to change the system. I was surprised to hear that because that simply isn’t the way that Government works. I have asked the Government what promises they have given and they have clearly told me that they have given none. I have now asked the Council what led them to give such a misleading impression to those who went to the trouble of attending the meeting. I have been told that there have been informal meetings with government officials who support these proposals – I am afraid that does not represent government spending commitments. Frankly I am shocked that optimistic noises were made which misled people.”

Exam results and education standards on the Island are far below the national average and the recent report costing £100,000 by 4S recommended changing the system but did not provide any evidence that this alone would improve standards. Mr Turner went on to say:

“There may well be arguments for changing the system – but changing the system does not guarantee improving standards; the issues should not be mixed up. Even the advocates of change admit it would cost a fortune. If that money does not come from central government it will have to come from existing council budgets and be topped up by Island council taxpayers.

“It is at very least disingenuous to suggest that finding the money to achieve change is not an important issue that needs to be discussed as part of these proposals. I am worried that the Council seems to believe that informal discussions with civil servants translates into promises of many millions of pounds – sadly that is not the case.

“We need to raise standards but that is best done by the Council accepting that some schools are better than others, publishing that information to parents, governors, teachers and the wider public, and tackling the problems on a school-by-school basis. It is not as glamorous as being the architect of a whole new system, but it is much more likely to give our children the quality schooling they deserve.”

END

Contact : Andrew Turner 01983 530808

School Building (Isle of Wight)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) commitments and (b) undertakings she has made to the Isle of Wight Council regarding future capital allocations provided (i) through the Building Schools for the Future programme or (ii) otherwise, whether (A) contingent on or (B) not contingent on school reorganisation. [216280]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: A letter has been sent to all council leaders stating that, for authorities not prioritised in the first three waves of Building Schools for the Future (BSF), including the Isle of Wight, we are determined to make a start on BSF plans between 2005–06 and 2010–11. Our ambition is that in the next full Parliament, subject to future spending decisions, 60 per cent. of all authorities will have started in the BSF programme, or else be given resources to renew at least one secondary school with the greatest need as a school for the future, or as an academy. Each BSF scheme will be judged on its merits, and is not necessarily contingent on school reorganisation. Other capital allocations to the council and its schools were announced on 30 November, and are set out in the following table:

£000
2006–07 14,853
2007–08 15,446

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Can we become a Fairtrade Island?

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As World Fair Trade Fortnight draws to a close this Sunday the Island’s MP Andrew Turner has praised the work of the IW Fairtrade Forum. The Forum is working towards the accolade of Fairtrade Island by building on existing users and suppliers of Fairtrade products to spread the word about the products and the good they do for their producers in the developing world. There are now more than 250 products bearing the distinctive green and blue logo which guarantees a fair deal to producers of such items as coffee, tea, sugar and bananas.

Andrew Turner said,

“The Fairtrade product range has expanded over recent years and whilst once they were seen as an expensive alternative they now offer good value and quality. In order to become a Fairtrade Island we need more suppliers of the products so everybody really can make a difference by asking their local coffee shop or convenience store to stock a few items from the range. As the largest constituency in the country the Island gaining this accolade really would make a difference and give a boost to the national campaign. Fairtrade really makes a difference to those communities that need a helping hand – and I know that on the Island we have a really caring and compassionate community”.

Jim Curtis the co-ordinator of the IW Fairtrade Forum said

“I very much value Andrew’s support for this campaign. In order for the Island to be recognised in this way we need the active support of the Isle of Wight council as well as that of suppliers across the Island. I urge everyone to let their local councillors know that they would be proud to see us become a Fairtrade Island helping less fortunate people to take control of their own lives and build themselves a better future.

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