Friday, 31 December 2010

Mark Reckless Welcomes Eastgate House Funding

Mark Reckless has welcomed the news that Eastgate House in the heart of Rochester has been awarded a first round pass with development funding of £80,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The HLF grant will go towards a three year scheme which will see the Grade I listed Eastgate House repaired, conserved and transformed into a mixed use exhibition and community facility that is accessible for all including the mobility impaired.

The Eastgate House project is now in the running for a further second-round grant of £919,000 and Mark Reckless is fully supporting the bid to see the historic Elizabethan town house, built in the 1590s, restored to its former glory.

Speaking about the award, Mark Reckless said:

"I am delighted that the bid for Heritage Lottery Fund (hlf) funding has passed the first stage. The award of £80,000 will go a long way to ensuring that Eastgate House will remain a focal point at the heart of our community here in Rochester.

I welcome the HLF's recognition of the proposals put forward for Eastgate House, particularly in light of the tough competition it faced from other schemes nationally. The first round pass for funding shows that the HLF consider this project has real potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for money.

Medway Council now has an excellent opportunity to develop the Eastgate House project to a second round application of £919,000. I hope everyone in our community will join me in backing the bid so that future generations can continue to enjoy this wonderful example of Elizabethan design made famous by Charles Dickens."

Show your support for the bid by leaving your name below with a message.

For more information on Eastgate House, please visit the Visit Medway website - Click Here


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mark's Christmas Message 2010

Mark has recorded the following message to constituents and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Support Ireland, Not The Euro

Mark Reckless MP speaking in the House of Commons during the Second Reading of the Loans To Ireland Bill on 15th December 2010

Mark's speech was made following a series of questions in the chamber on the issue of the Irish bail out, starting with a question to the Prime Minister David Cameron during PMQs. These are set out below (courtesy of

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: The package is described as a bail-out of Ireland, but it is important that we recognise that Ireland has not asked for the bail-out and that it is not the package that the Irish would have wished. Ireland and the IMF proposed to write down bank senior debt-that is, default on an element of that debt-because they recognised that it would be very difficult, although not impossible, for Ireland...

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: All we are doing is passing on to Ireland the quarter per cent. or so of benefit that we gain by being a better creditor than the eurozone. Most hon. Members feel that we should help Ireland, but I agree with my hon. Friend that it is not necessarily helpful to Ireland to have a huge amount of extra debt on top of the great debt it already has. On that basis, I understand his point.

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, notwithstanding previous assurances, this loan will not rank pari passu with the EU funds extended under the mechanism, but will be subordinated to them?

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time): Loans to Ireland Bill (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: It is enormously welcome that this country is working with Iceland and Ireland to support them in these very difficult times. The Chancellor has mentioned the current 7.5-year swap rate; can he tell us how much higher it is than when he first announced our participation in this bail-out?

Loans to Ireland Bill (Allocation of Time) (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: We may have heard one or two "Hear, hears", and I am certainly someone who wants to speak on Second Reading, but let me make clear my appreciation for what my hon. Friend is doing. Any responsibility for the curtailment of time for Back Benchers should rest squarely where it belongs, which is with those on the Treasury Bench.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: National Asset Management Authority (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: What assessment his Department has made of assets held by the Republic of Ireland's National Asset Management Agency in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: National Asset Management Authority (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: Given the difficulty NAMA is having in managing these assets and the Republic's already over-indebted situation, would it not make sense for us to take some of those assets off its hands, as consideration for financial support we may give?

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister: Engagements (15 Dec 2010)Mark Reckless: The BBC reports that the German Finance Minister wants to set an interest rate to punish Ireland. Will the Prime Minister confirm that this country wants to help Ireland?


Friday, 10 December 2010

Statement On Tuition Fees

Yesterday in a tense and emotional atmosphere, with student protest around Parliament, MPs voted by 323 to 302 votes to raise tuition fees from just over £3000, to £6000, and potentially to £9000.

I was one of the 302 who voted against that government proposal. Five other Conservative and twenty one Liberal Democrat colleagues joined me in the 'No' lobby. It is not easy to vote with only a minority of my side of the House but I know that it was also not easy for many MPs who did vote with the government to make their decision. I also pay tribute to Tracey Crouch MP who was as principled in her abstention as those of us who voted either for or against.

I found it particularly difficult to justify the suddenness of the move with one student required to pay only around £3000 but then another student, potentially a sister just one year behind at school, expected to pay two or three times more with very little warning. I also believe that as MPs we should make decisions and whenever possible try and explain those likely decisions before an election, rather than use a report from someone who is not elected, however distinguished, to justify a decision (the Browne Report).

I was enormously impressed by the students who put their case to me on this issue. They asked me why they should have to pay so much when Welsh and Scottish and in many cases EU students did not have to pay at all. I then showed David Willetts, the universities minister, detailed statistics showing that 46% of EU students due to repay a loan from the British taxpayer were in default. I have also asked govenment ministers how thay can justify an 80% decrease in grant to universities in the context of a 60% increase in our net payments to the EU.

I cannot justify it, and voted accordingly.


Thursday, 9 December 2010

Mark Reckless MP Welcomes BT Broadband Initiative For Community Groups In Rochester And Strood

Rochester and Strood MP, Mark Reckless, today welcomed the launch of a new initiative which will allow community groups in Rochester and Strood which help get people online to apply for a year’s free broadband with BT.

The BT Community Connections scheme offers the opportunity for community groups to be awarded a year's free BT broadband if they help their community access the internet and improve people’s ICT skills. The scheme welcomes applications from groups able to demonstrate how they help the local community learn about the benefits of the internet and how they will train people on how to use the internet. Priority will be given to applications from community groups that operate in areas of deprivation.

Mark Reckless MP said:

"Currently there are nine million people in the UK who have never used the internet. Learning how to use it can be truly transformational for those who don’t currently do so, for whatever reason. It opens up a whole new world, whether that relates to work, keeping in touch with friends and family or just doing the weekly shop. I would urge any group which helps people access the internet and improves their ICT skills, to apply for this opportunity to win a year’s broadband."

Applications close on Thursday 13 January 2011. Community groups can get more information and apply for the awards online:


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Over A Third Of Irish Want To Leave Euro For Pound

I commissioned top Irish pollster RED C to ask the following question to a representative sample of 1,000 people across the Republic of Ireland between 29/11/10 and 1/12/10:
“In light of the current financial crisis, would you support Ireland leaving the Euro and re-establishing a link with the pound sterling, or not?”.

Over a third of the sample answered ‘Yes’.

Support was strongest among the younger age groups and people with children. A majority of those who have already lost their jobs want Ireland to leave the Euro and return to sterling. Even 43% of Sinn Fein supporters now want to return to the pound (see full results).

In the 1990s I was UK Economist for Warburgs and argued that “the UK and Ireland would be especially badly affected by monetary union with the Continent” with Irish bank lending exploding out of control under EMU (see
link1 and link2). The fall-out from that has now caused ruling Fianna Fail to fall behind Sinn Fein, even losing in my grandfather’s old seat in Donegal (Henry McDevitt TD 1938-43).

The EU thinks it can order whoever forms Ireland’s new government to slash spending and hike taxes to bail out the European Central Bank (ECB) and European investors in Irish banks. The EU is also demanding that the Irish people submit weekly reports on what they spend and is imposing an interest rate which is intended to punish rather than help.

Such behaviour by the EU may be a miscalculation because it rather assumes that the Irish have nowhere else to go. That is not the case. Individually tens, and perhaps soon hundreds, of thousands are emigrating to England and elsewhere to escape the Carolingian economic settlement.

Collectively, Ireland wants to renounce its politicians’ self-serving guarantee of senior bank debt but, despite IMF support, this has so far been vetoed by the EU and the ECB. Ireland also needs monetary policy better suited to its economy so as to avoid repeated boom-bust cycles in bank lending under the Euro.

The EU may successfully bully Greece or Spain, calculating that it would be too risky for them to reintroduce their own currency, but Ireland has another option. Already over a third of Ireland want bilateral arrangements with the UK, instead of what is on offer from the EU and the Euro, and that is before the EU measures begin to bite.


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Message To Our Armed Forces

Video courtesy of Winkball