Archive | December, 2010

Lib Dem U-turn forces through tuition fee vote in Commons

Lib Dem U-turn forces through tuition fee vote in Commons

Yesterday the Coalition Government forced through its education Bill with a majority of 21, effectively increasing the upper limit on tuition fees to £9000 a year for university students. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, has slammed the Coalition’s proposals, which condemns a generation of students to huge debts and betray the election promise of the Liberal Democrats.

Despite tens of thousands of students protesting outside the Houses of Parliament while MPs voted on the Bill, the Government went ahead with its plans to axe higher education funding, landing students with tuition fees three times higher than under the previous system of funding. Students will be saddled with debt for over 30 years as a result of this policy, with poorer and middle class students set to be hit the hardest.

This Bill is part of an overall Higher Education budget slashed by around 80%, far more than other budgets. Two Lib Dem MPs resigned over the decision, but 34 MPs ignored their pre-election promise to force through the increases.

After voting against the rise in tuition fees Mr. Perkins said:-

“Rarely in politics is a promise made so publically, as the one made by Lib Dem MPs, broken in such a ruthless and cynical way. Students from poorer and middle class backgrounds will be burdened with enormous debts as a direct result of the Coalition’s open attack on universities and will affect an entire generation of young men and women across the country. We have known for some time the Tory plans for cutting university funding but this shameful Lib Dem U-turn is the mark of a party prepared to put ministerial jobs before the people who voted for them in the first place”.

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Snow Emergency Information

Snow Emergency Information

I have been inundated with calls from very many constituents concerned about the lack of snow ploughs and gritters, with many people trapped in their own homes with little food or medication. Please read the following information which provides all will need to stay safe and well despite the horrendous weather conditions and the painfully slow progress of Derbyshire County Council in clearing the town of snow and ice.

Despite the worst of the snowfall occurring over 5 days ago, the Council is yet to reinstate all major bus routes through Chesterfield. The Number 19 and 39 buses are reported to be not running as usual, along with several others partly affected. For full details of the delays and cancellations of buses, please visit the following website for the latest updates:-

I have contacted Royal Mail who have informed me that many services have been down over the last few days, with hundreds of residents not receiving post for over a week. However, Royal Mail assures me that the situation is improving and regular postal deliveries will commence from today.

If you are trapped in your home and require assistance, please contact the ‘Call Derbyshire’ hotline on 08456 058 058, selecting option 4. Call Derbyshire can provide essential food, fuel and medication to those people worst affected by the weather conditions.

Of course, my constituency office remains open to help in any way possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01246 386286 if you would like to speak to my staff about your street, or any other issue or concern you may have at this time.

There seems to have been very little co-ordinated planning by Derbyshire County Council. Hundreds of elderly people are unable to leave their homes. For those people able to make it to the major bus routes, bus timetables are irregular. I am continuing to fight on behalf of my constituents to ensure that proper plans are made in advance of extreme weather such as the kind we are experiencing. I will be pressing staff at Derbyshire County Council again to demand that more is done to better protect Chesterfield residents now and in the future.

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Government’s tuition fees plans “not fair, not necessary and not good for higher education” says Toby Perkins

Government’s tuition fees plans “not fair, not necessary and not good for higher education” says Toby Perkins

With the Commons vote on tuition fees now set for December 9th, pressure is mounting on the Coalition Government with Labour MP’s slamming the plans to burden university graduates with huge debts. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, has slammed the blueprint and the Lib Dems who only six months ago pledged not to raise tuition fees at all over the course of the next Parliament.

Higher Education is the latest department to feel the force of the Government’s deficit reduction plan. The budget for teaching has been axed by 80%, much more than other departments, and the damage to universities across the country could relegate the UK to the second tier of worldwide education. Students will be left picking up the tab, with tens of thousands of prospective academics from poor and middle-class backgrounds losing out through fear of astronomic student debts.

The UK is already struggling to keep pace with developing nations, such as China and India, which are producing many times the number of graduates every year. The Government’s grand design will reduce the number of graduates overall from British universities, adding further pressure to an economy strangled by public sector job losses and little private sector growth.

After receiving confirmation of the tuition fee vote, Toby Perkins said:-

“This enormous cut in higher education teaching grants is not only unfair on the tens of thousands of students who will have to contribute more to their university education, but is a clear signal that this Government is prepared to see our universities overtaken by our overseas counterparts. Graduates are absolutely vital to any economic growth we want to strive for in the future. These plans are not fair, not necessary, and not good for higher education and that’s why I will be voting ‘no’ when the time comes”.

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MP exposes Council failings as elderly are left trapped in their own homes

MP exposes Council failings as elderly are left trapped in their own homes

Worried Chesterfield residents were left trapped in their homes by the snow as Derbyshire County Council’s emergency plans failed to deal with the extreme weather conditions. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, joined local Labour Councillors on a number of home visits on Saturday to ensure that significant numbers of elderly and vulnerable people were safe and in good health after a record number of phone calls had been made to his constituency office.

Despite clearing the main bus routes through the town, the Council paid little attention to housing estates, particularly to elderly bungalow estates such as Wimborne Crescent, Newbold. A Council team dug out several residents after a phone call from Mr. Perkins’ office, but those who did not know who to contact were left trapped with no food or access to public transport. Mr. Vardy, a resident at Wimborne Crescent, contacted Toby’s office after his disabled neighbour was unable to push her wheelchair through the narrow path created by one Council team.

Mrs. Jean Bearman of Carlton Road informed Mr. Perkins that she had been unable to leave her home for 5 days despite the Whitecotes Lane bus route, just a few hundred yards away, being reinstated.

After visiting many constituents around Chesterfield Mr. Perkins said:-

“We all understand how unusually bad the weather conditions have been, but there is little sense that the Council are getting to grips with the situation.

Derbyshire County Council has millions in the bank but are cutting jobs and turning down Labour’s proposals to spend more on improving our roads.  The comparison with other local councils is very poor.

The contingency plans that should be in place to free up areas that are predominantly older people appear non-existent”.

Cllr John Burrows, who visited Wimborne Crescent with Mr. Perkins, added:- 

“The reaction is typical of this Council with the old and vulnerable being left to their own devices with the exception of good old fashioned community spirit from caring neighbours”.

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Teenagers urged to spell out their views on the financial services industry

Following the launch of the annual ifs Young Business Writer of the Year competition Toby Perkins MP has urged teenagers living in Chesterfield to enter the national writing competition to make their views about the British economy known.

This engaging competition, operated by financial education charity the ifs School of Finance, is open to those aged 14-19 from all schools and colleges in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

The competition enables teenagers to test their writing skills by writing a 1,000 word news article with the headline, “Does the UK economy need rebalancing away from financial services?”

As well as the title “ifs Young Business Writer of the Year”, the winner will also receive a £500 cash prize.

Toby Perkins MP said:-

“This competition achieves two admirable goals – encouraging young people to think about business and finance and helping to foster an interest in writing. I therefore have no hesitation in encouraging teenagers in Chesterfield to participate and wish them every success with their entries.”

Rod McKee, Head of Financial Capability at the ifs School of Finance, added; 

“We are very pleased that Toby has highlighted some of the benefits of this popular competition and urged his young constituents to submit an entry. Issues relating to the state of the economy and the financial services industry in particular can be complex and contentious so it will be interesting to read local teenagers views.”

Anyone aged between 14 and 19 who would like to enter the competition simply has to e-mail their article (which must not exceed 1,000 words) to between now and the competition closing date of Monday 24 January 2011.

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England World Cup bid defeat - Labour reaction

England World Cup bid defeat – Labour reaction

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party said in response to England’s World Cup bid defeat:

“I would like to commend the whole of the bid team for all their hard work and dedication. Along with millions of others I am deeply disappointed we did not win. I am sure the World Cup will be back here again.” 

Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Sport, is calling for an independent root and branch inquiry following England’s failed World Cup bid.

Ivan Lewis said:

“Despite the impressive efforts of Team England, supporters will be bitterly disappointed at England’s failure to land the 2018 World Cup. This follows on from the England team’s poor performance in South Africa. Serious questions have to be answered as to how we can learn lessons from these significant setbacks to build a better future. The Coalition and the football authorities should now set up an independent root and branch inquiry into all aspects of how our national game is run.”

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Constituency Office stays open despite record snowfall

Constituency Office stays open despite record snowfall

Despite snow fall right across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with Chesterfield being badly affected, Toby Perkins’ Constituency Office is open as usual to help deal with constituent enquiries and concerns.

Please contact 01246 386286 if you wish to speak to Toby or a member of his staff (pictured) about the adverse weather conditions or any other matter.

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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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