Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Helpers, Deliverers, Volunteers wanted!

Gordon Brown is likely to sound the election start gun in the next few days. If he does and doesn't drag his unelected Premiership out for a further month - the longest legal period he could - this means we will have a General Election on Thursday 6th May.

South Shields is ready for this. The Conservatives in South Shields are in the starting blocks, leaflets ready, ready to tell people out the Change the Conservatives can bring which the country so desperately needs.

We have thousands of leaflets to deliver in April and May, so I am looking for as many helpers as possible. If you have a couple of spare hours or you would be willing to deliver your own street or even if you'd just be willing to display an election poster - please let me know. Any help at all most welcomed.

karenallen@southshieldsconservatives.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

End Killer Red Tape

In the light of the recent publicity surrounding mephedrone - the deaths it's been linked to, the easy slide into addiction and dependency it's associated with and its ease of availability which is reportedly causing hundreds of sick days at schools across the UK - why, why, why is this drug still legal and available for purchase on line?

The Government wants a full investigation into mephedrone. Until this investigation has been conducted the drug remains legal and widely available.

Why can't the Government use some common sense and take the premise of our judicial system, if they don't have the brains to take sensible, swift action in these sorts of situations.

Our courts deem the accused innocent until proven guilty - but if there is concern the accused poses risk, do you think that person would be left walking around on the streets of the North East. No, they would be on remand. So what I don't understand is why the Government can't put mephedrone on remand?

If Labour want to commission reports and investigations to supposedly make sure they know all of the facts and have "covered their backs" then fine if that's what their endless red tape procedures tell them - but temporarily ban mephedrone. Take this drug off the internet and streets.

Last night the Government gave the 29th March as the date they would have the report findings. If you read the Telegraph today though it suggests the report won't be ready by then, so the drug won't be banned until at least the summer - because of the sacking of Prof David Nutt - in yet another Government spin.

I understand people will stay take mephedrone, even if it is banned - we only need to look at usage of other illegal drugs. But I am sure making it illegal would remove it from the accessibility of many users, particularly school children - and combined with the decreased accessibility, I am sure there are many people who would think twice about taking this drug which as it stands is a "legal high."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ingenious Britain

I attended the South Tyneside Manufacturing Forum at Bede's World today. Geoff Ford, Chairman of Ford Component Manufacturing, chairs the monthly lunch meeting. Groups like the STMF are listening very carefully to what the political parties are saying about business and enterprise. James Dyson's "Ingenious Britain," which was commissioned by David Cameron, was released earlier this month and has attracted a lot of very positive attention.

I urge you to read the report which looks at education available to aspiring scientists and engineers, as well as the culture and climate for enterprise development. I sat in Manchester session where Dyson spoke at our last conference and was equally as impressed as I am with the findings of this report which I hope the Conservatives are able to start implementing from May:
http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2010/03/Dyson_sets_out_plans_to_boost_high_tech_industry.aspx

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Are they getting worried??


Shortly after I set up the Conservative Stall on King Street on Saturday this Police CCTV van pulled up opposite me. I wondered if perhaps Mr Miliband was becoming increasingly worried by the threat his Conservative opponents are posing and he wanted to keep a closer eye on us....

Alas, I suspect it's just another sign of the Big Brother Surveillance State we're living in. Wonder what they hoped to catch on candid camera at 10am on Saturday morning - a toddler discarding a sweetie wrapper perhaps?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fighting Fit!


On Saturday I popped in to meet members of Fighting Fit, the youth MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) group who meet four times a week at the Ocean Road Community Centre.

Head Coach, Feruz, set up the club in 2004 and it's gone from strength to strength. They have a very diverse membership, some boys are as young as 11, with the eldest member being 40 years old and there are 7 different faiths. Feruz's passion and commitment to the group - he's determined they will produce a UK champion out of Ocean Road - is clearly inspiring for members. The club also get involved with education and a drug & alcohol awareness course is soon to commence.

I wish the group all the best in the future and in the excellent work they are doing to inspire and education our young people. Next time I pop in though I think I'll decline the arm lock demonstration, which I didn't realise would be demonstrated on me!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Manifestos

I have always tried to respond to every piece of correspondence I receive. Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned and I think it's common courtesy to do this, but as well as courtesy I think it's vital to keep dialogue up - it's a key way to get your message out. If someone is taking the time to contact you, it's because they are interested in your response.

I recently received an email about the NSPCC manifesto. Very pleased to unexpectedly see my response on a blog and to win the support of that blogger for the Conservatives at the next General Election:

http://the-rogue-economist.blogspot.com/2010/03/conservative-reply-from-karen-allen.html

Labour Poodle on......


Yet again we see the Government using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Yes, we need tougher laws against the growing problem of dangerous dogs being used in acts of violence - but the solution to the problem is NOT to tax every dog owner.

Mr Brown is proposing all dog owners - and that means the owner of poodles and other placid breeds - pay a tax levy. This tax will hit more than 20,000 law-abiding dog lovers in South Tyneside and more than 5.4m across the UK. Our dog owners will be penalised and nothing will be achieved to target irresponsible dog owners.

This tax is yet another example of Labour not understanding the problem and hitting the poorest homes hardest. Another example of how five more years of Gordon Brown will make things worse for struggling families in South Tyneside.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

South Shields Youngest Conservative Voter



We did another Conservative stall on King Street this morning. I'm a strong believer that we need to get our message across to as many people as possible and meeting people on the High Street on a Saturday morning makes up a fundamental part of this.

The Green Party seemed to temporarily share this philosophy. They turned up and set up their stall right next to me for 45 minutes. Conservatives are obviously a little more robust as we managed 4.5 hours on King Street in the cold!

Our new balloons seemed a firm favourite with the youngsters too!

Friday, March 12, 2010

95,000 manufacturing jobs lost under Labour in the North East

New figures uncovered by the Conservative Party show that 94,857 manufacturing jobs were lost in the North East between June 1997 and November 2009. Additionally, the number of advanced manufacturing jobs in the region, a key medium to hi-tech sector for which figures are available, fell by 56 per cent in that time.

Recent figures have also shown 1.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the UK since 1997 and that the industry declined by over 9.3 per cent of GDP between 1997 and 2009, the largest decline under any government on record.

This news comes after the Conservative Party welcomed a report from Sir James Dyson, providing advice to the Party on how to make Britain Europe’s leading hi-tech exporter.

Commenting, Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke said:

“Labour has devastated manufacturing in Britain. Gordon Brown once promised to revitalise the industry, but the figures show he failed. 95,000 jobs have gone and the sector has declined by a record level. This has been a tragedy for the North East, an area with a proud manufacturing tradition.

“We need to rebalance the economy away from Labour’s over-reliance on financial services towards high tech investment and exports. That is why we will cut corporation tax rates, simplify the tax system and support high tech innovation. British manufacturing cannot afford five more years of Gordon Brown making things worse. Only the Conservatives have the energy, leadership and the ideas to make Britain open for business again.”

Monday, March 08, 2010

Conservative RDA Policy

Last year we set out our policy for strengthening local economic development in our paper Control Shift. In line with this commitment to review detailed aspects of implementation we wanted now to lay out key elements of our policy.

The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are the remains of John Prescott’s failed experiment of regional government. Since they were formed in 1999 they have spent £17 billion, yet the gap between the greater south east and the rest of the English regions has widened. So, whilst we recognise the RDAs have had some local successes, we believe that the current arrangements can be improved. The Government has tacitly admitted this by deciding to cut RDA budgets by £300m last year.

We want to strengthen local economic development and urban regeneration. We need organisations involved in delivering economic growth to be at their most efficient and entirely focused on helping businesses, creating jobs and delivering regeneration.

We have already pledged to hand housing and planning powers back to local planning authorities.

We also want to see lines of accountability for development bodies going to local government and the local business communities, but equally we need to re-establish clear national leadership for key business policies. So, for example, we will overhaul small business support and we will end the counter-productive competition overseas between UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and English RDAs.

We intend to strengthen local economies by enabling business and elected local authorities to come forward with proposals for new local enterprise partnerships to replace the regional bodies.

The boundaries of local enterprise partnerships will reflect natural economic areas. If the local authorities and businesses in a given region decide that the current regional boundary reflects their local economic area and decide to form a regionally based local enterprise partnership, then, in line with our principle of localism, we will respect their view, under the new arrangements.

Business will have a strong voice under the new arrangements. At least fifty per cent of the boards of the new partnerships will be representatives from local commerce and industry and a leading local business person will chair each new partnership.

We are drawing up detailed plans which will ensure that the transition to local enterprise partnerships will be smooth, allowing for the appropriate fulfilment of ongoing projects, grants and contracts, including projects which also draw on EU Structural Funds.

In London, the LDA is different to other RDAs. It is funded centrally, but run by the elected Mayor. For this reason we believe it is for the Mayor and not Whitehall to determine the future of the LDA.

Alongside our proposals to provide new financial incentives, such as the Business Increase Bonus, we believe this policy will represent a new deal for local regeneration and economic development: namely locally-led agencies working in real economic areas, which bring business and civic leaders together in focused effective partnerships.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Royal British Legion Pledge


Pictured with Legion staff member, Charlotte Tailby.

Last weekend I met with a delegation from The Royal British Legion at the Conservative Spring Forum in Brighton. I had an interesting discussion on their manifesto and the changes the Legion is calling for.

The manifesto sets out priorities for the next Government to improve conditions for the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. More information can be found at:

www.timetodoyourbit.org.uk

I know the work the Royal British Legion does matters for many families in South Shields. We need to ensure the support our soldiers and their families get is the best available. I fully pledge my support to the Legion.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What Conservatives will do for Britain

The country faces a choice between five more years of Gordon Brown or change with the Conservatives. If you vote for change, we will:

1. Act now on debt and get the economy moving
We will deal with the deficit more quickly than Labour so that mortgage rates stay lower for longer

2. Get Britain working by boosting enterprise
Cut corporation tax, abolish taxes on the first ten jobs created by new businesses, promote green jobs and get people off welfare and into work

3. Make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe
Freeze council tax and raise the basic state pension, recognise marriage in the tax system and back coupes in the benefits
system, support young families with extra health visitors and fight
back against crime

4. Back the NHS
Increase spending on health every year and make the NHS work for patients and managers

5. Raise standards in schools
Give teachers the power to restore discipline and create new smaller schools

6. Change politics
Reduce the number of MPs, cut Whitehall and quangos by a third and let texpayers see where their money is being spent