Archive | August, 2010

The Big Sell Out could lead to a ‘lost generation’

Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, has congratulated A-Level students for achieving the best ever results nationally. However, Mr. Perkins has warned that the Coalition Government is undertaking one of the biggest and most dangerous gambles with the lives of young adults in living memory. The Tory and Lib Dem coalition has reduced the number of extra university places, cut the Future Jobs Fund, and has refused to renew the Young Person’s Guarantee.

The situation facing school leavers, those looking for places at university and graduates was always going to be tough but the policies of the government will exacerbate youth unemployment and future prosperity. The decision to make these cuts this year could result in a ‘lost generation’, and will hit the poorest in society. 

Mr. Perkins said:-

“This government has taken an axe to the life prospects of this year’s school leavers that will damage their prospects for years to come. By cutting university places and the Young Person’s Jobs Guarantee this government will start too many young people on to the wrong track from the outset. In congratulating our school leavers on the record results, I also recognize the difficulties they will face. Any young people who want to join our campaign against the cuts to their futures should contact my office”.

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Toby Perkins with Eric Morton

MP Toby Perkins hails “cutting edge” Orthopaedic Wing at Chesterfield Royal

Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, Toby Perkins, visited the new cutting edge orthopaedic wing of Chesterfield Royal Hospital during his meeting with Chief Executive Eric Morton. Mr. Perkins hailed the new project as “a top class addition to a great local hospital” and vowed to bring pressure to bear on the Coalition Government to ensure investment in the NHS continues.

Mr. Perkins met Mr. Morton to discuss the challenges facing Chesterfield Royal from Coalition Government cuts to the health budget and the new Tory blueprint promising top down reorganization.

Following the meeting Mr. Perkins said:-

“It was a pleasure to see the cutting edge, state of the art new Orthopaedic Wing at Chesterfield Royal and to meet with its Chief Executive, Eric Morton. The new development is not only an example of a fantastic example of top class NHS facilities but a flag bearer for the NHS and the incredible job it does in our community. The Coalition Government has promised not to cut front line services in the NHS and I will be monitoring their policies closely to demand they keep that promise. The Tory plans for top down re-organization will cost the taxpayer around £1.7 billion, money which could have been better spent on buildings such as this sort of improvement to frontline services”.

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Toby with Marion

Hunloke Gardens will not be defeated by vandals, says community

Community volunteers and the local MP have warned mindless vandals that they won’t give up on their award winning community-based facility after a nighttime attack. Mr. Perkins met with Marion Wilcockson and volunteers at Hunloke Community Gardens, who have worked tirelessly over many years to make the site into such a focal point of the Grangewood area, to see the damage caused when vandals went on a wrecking spree ripping up dozens of plants.

Mr. Perkins said:-

“Only last week I was delighted to speak to those who enjoy Hunloke Community Gardens for what it is – a ten year re-generation success story. This week saw acts of mindless vandalism, a shocking reminder that we must keep treasures like Hunloke safe for the community to enjoy and to benefit from. For the vast majority of law abiding residents it is hard to imagine why a minority would want to damage local investment projects aimed at improving the lives of the entire community. I will work alongside the police and volunteers to protect Hunloke Gardens from yobs and to maintain a peaceful and enjoyable environment for local people to spend time”.

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Toby Perkins with Megan

Future Star gets backing of local MP Toby Perkins

A Chesterfield girl, who was born with a life threatening heart defect is now one of the most promising football stars in the UK. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, is calling on local businesses to support Megan Tinsley, of Parkside School, who is widely seen as a rising star at the Sheffield United Academy and potentially the England Women’s Football Youth Team.

Currently playing for the under 14 age group, travelling to and from Sheffield for training and Saturday matches costs her parents several hundreds of pounds a year. Unlike the boy’s youth teams, Megan and her team mates are also expected to pay for their own kit and equipment which often totals around £250 a season. Local MP Toby Perkins is backing Megan and her quest to make it as a professional footballer, and is keen for local businesses to come forward to sponsor a gifted star of tomorrow.

Unlike the boy’s game, the girl’s game is not as well funded and Toby Perkins MP is asking if there are sponsors out there who might be willing to back Megan to enable her to reach her full potential in the game.

Mr. Perkins said:-

When I heard about Megan’s remarkable story and met her proud parents, Julie and Lyndon, I was taken aback. Megan is a fantastic football player and it’s hard to believe that she underwent open heart surgery at just five years old. It is vitally important that the community gets behind such a promising talent. The opportunity is there for a local business or organization to sponsor Megan and her Sheffield United team mates and to make life that little bit easier for her parents. With a little support there is no doubt she can go all the way”.

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Council Scrutiny Panel recommends keeping open the Council’s community rooms at Wimborne Crescent and Monkwood Road

Following widespread opposition and public protest from the community in the Dunston and Moor Areas, Chesterfield Borough Council’s decision to close seven of the Borough’s twelve community rooms was referred to the Council’s Scrutiny Panel for review.  

At its meeting last week the Scrutiny Board recommended that two of the community rooms originally earmarked for closure, those at Monkwood Road and Wimborne Crescent, should be kept open and the use of these rooms by tenants and the community monitored over the next twelve months. 

Graham King, spokesperson for Dunston and Moor Residents and Tenants Association said, “ as the public demonstrations we held in front of these two community rooms last month showed, the community is very angry that the Council’s Cabinet decided to include two of the best used community rooms in their closure and conversion programme in the first place. Nobody can seriously believe that the only possible way that the Council can provide additional bungalows is by closing two of the best used community rooms while other community rooms that are little used are to be kept open! It just does not make sense. We therefore welcome the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendation and urge the Cabinet to accept it ”. 

He went on to say, “ Of course, the Council should have identified all the community groups that use all of the community rooms and monitored the level of use of each room carefully in the first place i.e. before the Cabinet made its decision! They should also have identified and consulted all the affected community groups properly before making the decision”.

Members of the Association are, however, worried about reports that there are planned proposals to increase the rental on the community rooms from the current  £5.50 plus VAT per hour (or 50% of this in the case of bona fide community groups) to a minimum charge of £20 for up to three hours of hire! 

Mr King said, “ I sincerely hope that the Cabinet does not entertain this idea. If implemented it would make hiring of the rooms uneconomic for most, if not all, community groups.  There can be few such groups that ever hold meetings that last for three hours anyway! Imposing a rental of this nature would make the cost of hiring the rooms prohibitive and therefore make the results of the monitoring exercise recommended by the Scrutiny Panel a foregone conclusion. We welcome the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendation but if the Council were to introduce a higher scale of charging at the same time it would make a mockery of any monitoring exercise not to mention causing outrage among the community of user groups.” 

Member of Parliament Toby Perkins MP, who spoke at two demonstrations outside the affected Community Rooms against their closure, welcomed the news about the Scrutiny Board’s recommendations by saying:   

“I am pleased that the Scrutiny Board recognised the strength of the argument put forward by the community.” 
 
However proposals aired by Council Housing officers during the Scrutiny Board meeting were viewed less positively by Mr Perkins. He added:  
 

“I hope that there isn’t a plan to pretend to be reviewing the situation, whilst introducing charges that will actually depress demand for the premises rather than increase it. We want a fair review period and a real attempt made by the Council to increase the take up of these community facilities over the twelve month period.” 

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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