THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
NFU MUTUAL in Stratford-upon-Avon defended the bonus system it operates for its executives after criticism that its bosses’ “inflated pay” was eating into members’ payouts.
The criticism was made by Jeff Prestridge, a financial journalist at the Mail on Sunday, who said that although NFU Mutual was based in Stratford there was nothing “rural” about the remuneration its bosses were collecting for keeping the insurance company on the straight and narrow.
“It wouldn’t look out of place in the City of London,” he wrote.
Mr Prestridge wrote that Lindsay Sinclair, NFU Mutual’s chief executive, reaped the most rewarding financial harvest with an annual package worth £1,722,011, boosted by more than £1 million from a mix of short-term and long-term performance bonuses.
“All in all, his remuneration increased by 63 per cent,” wrote Mr Prestridge.
Referring to one executive’s performance bonuses of £144,000 for just six months in the post, Mr Prestridge declared: “Nice work, if you can get it.”
But Mr Prestridge added: “In the directors’ defence, NFU Mutual enjoyed a good 2013 with profits nearly doubling to £635 million.
“However, as the same directors acknowledge in the accounts, this was more a result of benign weather in that year (leading to no flood insurance claims) than management acumen. Sales of life and pension plans actually fell.
“What rankles most of all, though, is that the directors reaped these rich personal rewards while the mutual bonus pot for customers shrank—it was £68 million last year, compared to £76 million in 2012—and premiums continued to increase.”
But a spokesman for NFU Mutual told the Herald: “NFU Mutual had another great year in 2013 when we helped thousands of customers recover from floods and storm damage and still delivered results which enabled us to share a £68 million mutual bonus pot with our members.
“As the major employer in Stratford, and an integral part of the local community, it is important that the business remains strong and continues to do well.
“Obviously it is essential that we have capable people at all levels to support our future success, and our remuneration policies are designed to attract and retain the talented people we need, while not paying more than is necessary to be competitive in the marketplace.”
The spokesman pointed out that NFU Mutual was named Best Financial Services Provider for 2013 by Which? and that the company had paid “loyal members” £529 million over the past five years.