Archive | November, 2010

Valued national helpline in doubt after questions: Derbyshire MPs question the government’s words of support for Cancer Helpline

Two Derbyshire MPs today demanded assurances from the Public Health Minister, that the Derbyshire-based Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline be funded directly by the Department for Health.

At Health Questions in Parliament, the neighbouring Labour MPs, Natascha Engel MP for North East Derbyshire and Toby Perkins MP for Chesterfield both spoke up for the locally-based national helpline.

The Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline is the only national helpline of its kind. It is unique and helps hundreds of women every year. This is money saved by the NHS.

Natascha Engel said:

“We just want to know where the money will come from after the Government abolishes Primary Care Trusts. There’s only so much that volunteers can do. Wendy Watson and her team provide a professional and much-used service. It is a lifeline, not just a helpline. They can’t do that on goodwill alone.”

Toby Perkins MP responded to the Minister saying:

“I think the Minister’s response was inept. The Government needs to take responsibility at a national level to back up their warm words of support for a national helpline.”

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MP Takes to the Shop Floor: Toby Perkins Volunteers for Barnardo’s

MP Takes to the Shop Floor: Toby Perkins Volunteers for Barnardo’s

Last Saturday Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, left his day job behind by taking to the shop floor in a bid to encourage more people to volunteer for Barnardo’s.

The MP rolled up his sleeves and volunteered at the Barnardo’s shop in Chesterfield as part of national Make a Difference Day. The nationwide event is organised by UK volunteering charity, Community Service Volunteers (CSV). It encourages people to get a taster experience of volunteer work.  It is also an ideal opportunity to meet other people in your local area and make a big difference to your local community.   

Mr. Perkins met with customers and other members of staff, discussing the importance of charities in Chesterfield and the fantastic work done by hundreds of volunteers across the town.

Make a Difference Day was on Saturday 30 October 2010, but tens of thousands of would-be volunteers across the UK will be giving up their time between 23 October to 6 November in support of local charities.

After completing his shift at Barnardo’s on Trevorrow Crescent Mr Perkins said:

“I wanted to volunteer at Barnardo’s to find out more about the hard work undertaken by many volunteers in Chesterfield who give up their time for such worthwhile organisations. It was a pleasure to meet the staff and the customers, who together contribute a huge amount to help around 100,000 young children across the UK who often find themselves in incredibly difficult situations with nowhere to turn. These volunteers are community heroes and their hard work is vital to our community and to so many vulnerable people across the UK”.

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Local MP supports diabetes testing at launch of the Silver Star Health Challenge

Local MP supports diabetes testing at launch of the Silver Star Health Challenge

Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, joined Labour Party  Leader Ed Miliband MP at the launch of the Silver Star Health Challenge on diabetes at the House of Commons. At the special MPs testing event Toby Perkins MP took the quick and simple Type 2 diabetes test to help raise awareness of the need for public testing for the condition.

Toby Perkins MP was also issued with a Silver Star Pedometer to measure the amount of steps taken during a Parliamentary Week as part of the 50 day challenge. The public can keep track of their MP on the Silver Star website and the winner of the 50 day challenge will be announced in February 2011. The key to prevent diabetes is physical activity and a healthy diet.

The NHS spends £1 million an hour on diabetes related illnesses and it is estimated that more than one million people in the UK may have diabetes without knowing it.

Toby Perkins MP said

“The diabetes test was so easy. It only takes two minutes and can save lives. I hope my constituents will also take the test and I am looking forward to finding out the results of the pedometer challenge in February 2011”.

Dr Modhwadia, a medical supporter of the tests added:-

“The diabetes test is so quick and simple. I am delighted that so many MPs decided to take the test and be part of the Challenge. It will help raise awareness of this largely unseen health condition”

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View from the Commons

As my children dress in various ghoulish outfits to frighten the neighbours on the occasion of Halloween, it is tempting to reflect that the recent comprehensive spending review contained many measures that will have given people across Chesterfield cause for sleepless nights.

Britain has a large national debt. This is because we, Labour, were fighting during the global  recession to help people who had played no part in the catastrophic banking collapse to save their jobs, pay their bills and protect their savings.  No country should ignore a deficit. However focusing on cuts rather than growth will fundamentally weaken the level of public services that people in Chesterfield have come to rely on.

Already we are seeing the impact of the cuts with a string of local people who rely on care services from the County Council contacting my office to say that their care has been cut. Meanwhile an independent study says that Chesterfield will be the worst hit area in Derbyshire with around 1,400 public sector jobs to be lost over the next six years.

I’ve been in business ever since leaving school so no-one needs to encourage me that a strong business community is vital to a prosperous economy, but whilst attending a recent CBI ‘Question time’ event in Derby I was struck by how the cuts to our public services and the new immigration policies are hurting the private sector as much as the public sector.

We have been well served by our local public services here. Schools right across Chesterfield are rated highly. The County Council was a beacon of quality services until the political change last May, whilst we enjoy an excellent local hospital and good primary care provision to name a few.  Across the board, I will be fighting to maintain that quality provision in the face of these damaging cuts.

Locally, I still see much to be optimistic about in Chesterfield. I spoke at the planning meeting against the Dunston Incinerator and was absolutely bowled over by the commitment and polite determination of the huge band of objectors who secured a big win for Chesterfield by successfully persuading the planning committee of the folly of the proposal.

Chesterfield FC have been enjoying some big wins of their own, starting the season in fine style and sit proudly at the top of the table. Their new stadium along with other developments there is a start towards a vibrant A61 corridor.

I was also reminded of the essential value of our voluntary services when working at the Barnardos store on Trevorrow Crescent as part of the Voluntary sector’s ‘make a Difference’ day on Saturday and subsequently when attending a meeting of Rethink’s award winning Mental and Spiritual Help (MASH) group.

Meanwhile in Parliament, I have been adapting to my new role as Labour’s shadow Minister for Education.  I am now Labour’s representative on issues like safeguarding children, children in care, Youth services, School Sport and Family Courts. Many of these are targeted for government cuts. I am meeting many hard-working and passionate professionals who fear the impact of these cuts will fall on the deprived communities they have served with such dedication and commitment.

At my weekly surgeries I regularly encounter the real life impact of decisions taken in Whitehall, so I am asking any workers or users of public services to keep me in touch with any significant adverse (or positive) changes to service provision as a result of cost cutting measures.

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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 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.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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