Mark’s Musings - Wealden District Councillor, Mark Fairweather, reflects and comments on the issues behind the headlines.

13 Jun 2024

Councillor Mark Fairweather represents the Ward of Herstmonceux & Pevensey Levels

Mark lives in Westham, a former science teacher, he is now working on the National Tutoring Programme helping students catch up after the pandemic. He is married. His son attended Pevensey and Westham primary and goes to a local secondary school. An active community and environmental campaigner with an interest in planning issues, Mark is a Westham Parish Councillor.

Mark has been involved in community affairs for very nearly 50 years in a wide variety of roles. He has an active interest in a wide range of environmental matters. This led Mark into active involvement with a number of planning issues and to become a Westham Parish Councillor.   

Cllr Mark Fairweather


It is all very well for the Tory Government to say that they want to encourage apprenticeships, but they lack the honesty to say why the current system is not working well. How is it attractive to anyone to sign up for an apprenticeship when you may well be paid less than the Minimum Wage, if you are only paid the minimum?

It is all very well for the Government to say that we need more highly skilled technicians yet it touts their, failed, Apprenticeship scheme and deliberately ignores a system that previously had some success in delivering the needed skills: the Industrial Training Board model. The majority were abolished by the doctrinal vandalism of Thatcherism in the mid 1980s. However it is highly interesting that 2 industries, Construction and Hotel and Catering, voted to keep their Industrial Training Boards (ITBs) because they knew, with their highly mobile workforces, that they would face skills shortages otherwise. The system worked because the larger employers, with the better training schemes, could afford to train more than they strictly needed for their own purposes secure in the knowledge that they could retain enough skilled workers even if some were lured away. Is the current Government’s opposition to ITBs just a bone-headed case of “not invented here “?

It is interesting that the current government does not even listen to employers, who do not find it economic to run the current Apprenticeship system for teenagers, yet even some of the same employers who will use Adult Apprenticeships and Graduate Apprenticeships! Why is it that this Government will not listen about what works and what does not work?      

Pensions corruption!

Plans by the Tory Government to apply the “triple lock” formula to pensioners’ Income Tax Allowances is nothing more than an electoral bribe to their natural supporters and does nothing for the poorest pensioners.

To be a pensioner and to be liable for Income Tax means that those pensioners have another source of income. At the moment, anyone on the Full State Pension alone, let alone the many who do not even get that much, do not pay Income Tax.

The money could otherwise have been used instead to rectify pension injustices eg. married women who took a break to bring up children, or the WASPI women. You can clearly see the “morality” of this government that would rather give public money to their natural supporters who “need” it less, rather than sort out pensions injustices or for those who only get the basic state pension because they were low paid eg. NHS cleaners or hospital porters. These poorer pensioners have already been hit hard by the “triple lock freeze” of April 2022 and the Cost of Living Crisis. Yet again the Government could have helped the poorest pensioners, but again it decided to reward its natural supporters!      

Published and promoted by Mary Varrall on behalf of Liberal Democrats at Southernhay, Etchingham, TN19 7DD

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