Friday, April 3, 2020
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Extra Costs for the Chemical Industry Threatens Margins

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Chemical plant chimney

Few people realise that chemicals & pharmaceuticals are the UK’s biggest export earner, bigger even than vehicles or aerospace.  This is a massive success story for our country and of course Cheshire plays a big part in this by hosting major chemical sites like Essar, Ineos and Tata and dozens of smaller companies besides.

Nishma Patel, director at the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) gave evidence to the Commons Exiting the European Union committee, back in June this year.  She told them that the sector was  “doing all it can to plan for no deal but the reality is that, in all that preparedness and readiness in their planning, I don’t think it is possible for them to compute how no deal will pan out,”

Ms Patel said companies were “very anxious” about a no-deal exit and, as the uncertainty increased, some were beginning to consider ‘non-reversible’ actions, such as opening new plants in other parts of the EU to facilitate trade.

Ms Patel later said although information on future UK legislation – “REACH” –   in the event of a no-deal Brexit had improved “significantly”, some companies still “have no idea that they are going to be stung by it.  She explained  that companies using mixtures or putting together formulations for downstream sectors were a good example of an industry sector which will be affected. They will need to put in a new UK registration that “not only takes time but has a big cost implication”.

To do this, she said, UK registrants will need to re-negotiate their access to data or, in the case of downstream users, start those negotiations from scratch with data owners which will likely add higher fees and costs.

As we get even closer to the 31st October, Industry insiders are now saying that a no-deal exit from the EU would seriously threaten their business  because profit margins are often small and the tariffs that would have to be applied to their products could wipe these profits out.  This would be made worse if transport delays increase costs further.  Employees across the industry are naturally concerned for their jobs

Does Johnson Pass the Patriot Liar Detector Test

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boris johnson

The Prime Minister is making so many spending promises that you’d think Theresa May’s magic money tree had been found. He’s even promised to build a bridge across the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland. So, can we trust him? Let’s check how he scores on the Patriot’s Truth or Lie test.

An extra £350 million a week for the NHS? Spending has risen about half as much since 2016 than before. It’s so bad that by April this year the NHS was £4 billion in the red.

Liverpool fans at Hillsborough were drunk an caused the disaster! David Duckenfield, the Chief Police officer is now in court on charges of gross negligence manslaughter.

Johnson denied having an affair with Petronella Wyatt. Not true. Somehow, she got pregnant.

In 2008 Johnson promised that every ticket office at London train stations would be staffed. In 2009 he shut down almost all the ticket offices.

In the referendum Johnson warned that 80 million Turks were about to land in the UK. Where are they all?

So, in the Patriot’s Truth or Lie test, Johnson scores 0 out of 5! And that’s the truth. Johnson wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and offered him a bent banana!

Beloved Welsh Writer Celebrated across the County

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Schools and Libraries across Cheshire celebrated the birthday of much-loved writer Roald Dahl last month on Friday 13th September. The day is marked every year to celebrate the books and characters of this famous storyteller. Children and adults across Britain, and indeed the whole world, enjoy the stories of Roald Dahl, with famous characters like Matilda, the BFG, the Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. The stories by Roald Dahl are a marvellous gift to the literature and cultural heritage of Great
Beloved Welsh Writer Celebrated across the County
Britain, of which this country is immensely proud. Roald Dahl’s books are as popular, you could say, as the stories of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and are inspiring young and old to read books. Roald Dahl Day will help especially the latest cohorts of pupils at schools to enjoy these stories too.
Roald Dahl was born in Wales. His parents were immigrants from Norway in 1880’s, settling in Cardiff. After his first wife died, his father married a French woman in 1907, who came over to live in Wales, and Roald was born in 1916. Roald Dahl was named after a famous Norwegian polar explorer, Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to the South Pole. Later in life,
Oompa Loompas and Great Glass Elevators remembered
Roald Dahl worked for Shell in Africa, became a pilot for the RAF during the Second World War, and worked for MI6. During the war, he started to write his first stories. Over the next decades, he wrote many books, short stories, poems, and plays before he died in 1990. More than 250 million copies of his books sold worldwide. For more info https://www.roalddahl.com/

BMA Warns of Real Life Impacts of Brexit Options

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We love our NHS

The British Medical Association has published its damning assessment of a no deal Brexit on the NHS. The report makes sobering reading.

Their main message is that the government’s preparations are implausible and at best reduce some of the worst consequences. Our senior doctors who love the NHS are loudly expressing genuine concerns.

The analysis shows that many of the existing problems in the NHS will be made worse by Brexit: Underfunding, housing crisis, rising knife crime, not enough doctors and nurses.

Impacts elsewhere of No-Deal will add to the situation: possible civil unrest and worse protection against terrorism, problems with getting medications, a worsening economy means less money for the NHS, loss of membership from important regulatory bodies, access to cancer treatments etc. This will have negative impacts on people’s lives in general, which is always felt first by the NHS. It will have immediate health impacts on patients, and progress on many projects will be stalled. The British Medical Association sums up the problems like this, “The impact of leaving the EU on the nation’s health and the NHS will be significant, but it is difficult to predict the precise impact. There will be a loss of money, a loss of people, a loss of government capacity to manage the fallout, a loss of European institutions which will all have to be replaced by British ones, a loss of rules and international trade, a loss of trust and societal norms.”

Johnson’s Choice

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Most of us know that Boris Johnson wrote two outcome essays before the 2016 EU referendum in order to make up his mind which version to follow. One was Pro Remain whilst the other was Pro Leave. He chose the latter.

When I ask someone who voted Leave, the answer is invariably to “take back control.” They say that it means leaving a bureaucratic EU and for the UK to pursue its own trade deals. The fact that the UK will still have to follow the bureaucratic “pettiness” of the EU when we continue to trade with them in future doesn’t matter. Neither does the time gap it will take the UK to enter new trade deals. We’re Brits and can tolerate some short term to medium discomfort. My concerns centre on the long-term ramifications for the UK and the younger generation who will be responsible for taking our country forward in the New World.

I assume that Mr Johnson with his undoubted educational prowess and access to government statistics/papers and research on the matter must have “the” definitive Leave argument? I think it’s time we all heard what that argument is. For now, all I hear from him is soundbites about confidence, being positive, and above all, leaving the EU on 31st October with No-Deal.

I have heard  many people talk about the lack of political honesty, the lack of transparency, and the inability of politicians to give straight answers to straight questions.

Surely now is the time for our new Prime Minister to outline in detail how he arrived at his LEAVE decision? This will not only provide much needed transparency for the UK public; it might also banish any current doubts some people may have that Mr Johnson is putting his own ambition first before his country.

Mrs. R.S

Cheshire Punches Above its Weight in Manufacturing

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business in cheshire

Cheshire is one of the strongest areas of Britain for manufacturing. Almost one worker in ten helps make items that are exported all over the world with about half going to neighbouring EU countries. This adds a big part of over £200bn exported every year from the North West region. K-Ching! Thank you, Cheshire!

While Prime Minister Johnson blusters and fails to secure a deal, industry bosses are getting very worried about the effect of losing the trade arrangements for the North West.

One industry insider said:
“The North West economy is more reliant on manufacturing that any other region of the UK. A Deal that keeps the region’s prices low and competitive in the EU is important.”
If Prime Minister Johnson fails and we leave the EU with No-Deal, industry bosses expect exports to be £20bn smaller every year than they are today right up to 2034!

It’s time Prime Minister Johnson rolled his sleeves up and started negotiating to get a deal to save well-paid, secure, quality jobs in Cheshire.

Landscape will change for ever

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On holiday in a beautiful location overlooking Ullswater in the English Lake District I muse on the trouble brewing for the farmers around here. This is a World Heritage Site because of its outstanding beauty.

It is very wet here and as a result also very green, but the grass on the lovely soft hill sides is cropped by sheep. This gives the landscape a very distinctive appearance, “shorn” of shrubs and trees or any vegetation higher than a couple of centimetres. The exception is gorse and bracken which provide contrast to the grass and combined with the outcrops of rock and dry-stone walls make it very pleasing on the eye.

Sheep have been kept here for generations by shepherd hill farmers who have scraped a living from their flocks. The sheep must be “hefted”. This means they need to learn the limits of their roaming in their search for grass to eat. Once a herd is hefted, each generation then “knows” their limits.

These herds were decimated in year 2000 by foot and mouth disease, but the farmers managed to rebuild their stocks, heft the new sheep and keep going.
They depend very much on exports without which they would not be able to continue to do what they are doing. If there is a “No Deal Brexit” their exports will be subject to a 38% to 91% tariff on lamb exports to the EU and (as this is the WTO rule) any other country without a trade deal. Their profits are already marginal, and these farmers will be the first of the predicted 50% of farmers that will go out of business

Without the sheep on the hills of The Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, most of Wales, The Derbyshire Peak District, most of Scotland, County Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria , Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cornwall, Northern Ireland in fact any of the UK’s extensive and wonderful hill country, the landscape will radically change. Indigenous species of shrubs, scrub oak and weeds will cover the land and affect views that have been photographed and painted by artists for centuries.

Supplies of Nuclear Medicines in Doubt

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Countess of Chester Hospital

Writer Carol Hedges who is a cancer patient had her stress levels elevated when her consultant dropped the bombshell that a no-deal Brexit could affect her access to treatment. Mrs. Hedges told the Cheshire Patriot
“I am a 2 times cancer survivor. Not that any of us really think of ourselves as ‘survivors’ , we all carry the fear that somewhere inside, cells are reforming and transmuting, and sooner or later, we will get the diagnosis we all dread. It keeps us awake at nights.”

“Since Brexit, I have had a lot of those nights. It started with my final appointment at Mount Vernon hospital, where the lovely Hungarian radiographer told me she was returning to Hungary, as she’d had enough of working under the stressful conditions imposed by years of neglect in the NHS. Mind you, the evidence of that was all around: machines breaking down, spare parts not available.

I wished her luck. Then, in an uncharacteristic gesture, she took my hand. ‘You are the one who will need it,’ she said. And she gave me a sad, sad smile. I shrugged off her remark, grateful that I no longer had to make the 40 minutes each-way journey”
But the Doctor’s words came back to Mrs Hedges at her last appointment when she told the consultant she had decided to bypass chemotherapy and he looked at her with great concern.

“’I will speak frankly,’ he said. ‘We are worried about the future. We are already experiencing staff shortages: some of my best people have left and gone back to their own countries. They have had to deal with abuse that they never expected from patients. And now it looks as if we will leave the EU with nothing sorted, I am worried about our supply of nuclear medicines.

When Mrs Hedges asked how high a priority, she would be for treatment in the event of rationing given her age he did not reply. Carol told us “He didn’t have to. His expression said it all”.

The writer contemplates the future with a huge sense of uncertainty. “I have 2 adorable little grandchildren. They are my life. Before Brexit, and the current proposed No Deal, I was happily looking forward to seeing them grow up, to being part of their lives. Now, like thousands of others, my world has been turned upside down. My right to life has been taken away. My future path is unclear.”

Macmillan Cancer Support estimate that a thousand of us are diagnosed with cancer every day.