Switching to green energy welcomed 

Dear Sir, — Like very many people I am concerned at the news that Covid 19 (coronavirus) has been expanding across the world with more than 50 countries affected, although as I write this letter it has not been declared a pandemic. 
It is to be hoped that our NHS will manage to care for all those affected here in our country, and we will no doubt learn of the measures to be taken in order to seek to contain the spread of the disease among our people. 
We have it impressed upon us that thorough hand washing is vital, as is trapping germs from coughs and sneezes in tissues. Sounds like common sense, but advice that really should be followed to protect ourselves.
We learn that the stock markets posted their biggest tumble since the 2008 recession but is fear of a pandemic the trigger not the cause? 
I recently received a letter from Australia which states “the markets were already in crisis, only kept inflated by the half trillion dollars that the US Federal Reserve has printed and pumped into the system since a crisis erupted deep inside the US banking system on 17th September 2019”. I cannot make any comment on this assertion, but leave you readers to reach your own conclusion.
As I mentioned last week, global warming is another worry, and although much excellent work is going on in this country, it has to be said though that there are some countries which give the impression that they do not care so much. 
I was therefore very pleased indeed to learn that Staffordshire County Council has now switched to green energy in all of its buildings, street lighting and traffic lights, and it is estimated that this move will reduce carbon emissions in a year by 43,000 tons.
Also at the full meeting of the county council the annual budget was passed quite easily, as was that of the district council, and I know that an awful lot of work goes into preparing these budgets and all the officers of both councils deserve our thanks. However, unfortunately the Stoke-on-Trent Council rejected theirs.
Locally as we are well aware, there have been flooding problems due to the constant very heavy rain. As can be imagined, this rainfall has created bigger potholes appearing, of which highways are well aware, and they know they have some very nasty problems to sort out. 
In an email I received last week, County Councillor Helen Fisher, Cabinet member for highways, reports that “the resilience of our network has been pushed to its limits by storms, rainfall and cold weather. I can say that plans are afoot to put a real effort in this spring and summer to get roads and footways all over Staffordshire sorted properly”. 
With this in mind, I received another communication from Helen concerning grass cutting. 
Apparently we will be having a minimum of six grass cuts to our highway verges per season, but if local councils and community groups wish to do more work, highways will work with them. Weed spraying activity will take place once per season in both urban and rural areas. 
I would mention now that I understand Biddulph’s town council is working on a plan to take over all the grass cutting, pruning, and spraying duties on which more in due time. 
I noticed one of the two large road sweepers was at work on Mow Lane last week, and I am also working, with Coun Andrew Hart, to get the gulleys and blocked drains sorted as quickly as possible.
Also last week, an interesting topic was brought to the Biddulph Probus meeting by a speaker who talked of “making wills”, and how important this is. 
To leave this world of ours without making a will, whether you have one pound or hundreds of thousands of pounds to bequest, means your final wishes are not known, and this can cause an awful lot of problems within families. 
I just thought this was worth mentioning as apparently people passing away intestate is not at all uncommon these days.
Finally, on Friday last, County Councillor Keith Flunder and I attended a meeting of the Staffordshire Conservative Association, at the Rudyard Lake Hotel, to select the candidates who will represent the Conservative Party at the Staffordshire County Council Elections to be held in May next year. 
I am pleased to say that all the sitting Moorlands county councillors were re-selected as candidates for their seats.
I hope that you all have a very good week, and with this really bad spell of cold weather, including some snowfalls, I would ask that you keep a look out for any vulnerable person needing some assistance, and if you cannot help then please make sure your local councillor is aware; as I always say, there is help out there when asked for. — Yours faithfully,

(COUN) IAN LAWSON,
Tel: 01782 522614.
Mobile: 07553 293 343.
ian.lawson@staffordshire.gov.uk.
Factcheck.
“Crisis erupted deep inside the US banking system on 17th September 2019.”.
Last week was one of the worst weeks for global markets since the 2008 financial crisis, with several major indexes around the world falling more than 10% in a few days, although many on the stock markets make a lot of money from falls (as with speculators on the pounds around Brexit) and prices will doubtless bounce back as speculators cash in.
As for September: the Financial Times on this date reported that “in simple terms”, demand for cash was higher at the same time as the supply of cash was lower.
It said: “Tax day for companies in the US is 15th September. Some companies prepare by pooling the cash they need and placing it into money market funds, short-term investments that use the repo market to lend out cash for a brief period, earning a small return. Now tax day has passed, that cash has been yanked from the market, reducing the supply of dollars.”
A repurchase agreement (repo) is a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities. A dealer sells government securities to investors, usually on an overnight basis, and buys them back the following day at a slightly higher price. That small difference in price is the overnight interest rate.
The FT goes on: “At the same time, roughly $54bn of treasury securities have flowed into the market because of the settlement of a host of previously auctioned debt. This has created a wave of demand from people wanting to borrow cash to finance the purchase of these treasuries.
“(The underlying issue is that) the Fed has been reducing the size of its balance sheet, letting the treasuries and mortgage bonds it bought following the financial crisis roll off. In turn, that reduces the amount of cash reserves banks hold at the Fed. In 2014, banks held $2.9tn in ‘excess reserves’ with the central bank. Since then, that number has dropped to about $1.3tn, where it has hovered all summer. Fewer cash reserves means less money available at the banks to cover short-term funding stress.”