Archive | November, 2011

Cropped Sorry

Sorry?

Proud Not Sorry.

Amid Tory claims that Labour should apologise for the massive investment in our schools Chesterfield’s young people have spoken out against the slurs.

Students from local schools, members of Young Labour made a film called “Sorry?” in response to Tory claims that Labour should apologise for the investment in new school buildings, low class sizes and record investment in teaching.

Holly Redford-Jones said; “We are proud of the education that we have had, and of Labour’s decision to invest in it. That why we wanted to make a film to speak up for the importance of good local state schools not apologise for it.”

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Middlecroft residents join MP campaign after being left isolated by bus cuts

Middlecroft residents join MP campaign after being left isolated by bus cuts

Following the removal of the Number 46 Bus, used by dozens of elderly residents in the Fern Avenue area of Middlecroft when visiting Chesterfield Royal Hospital, outraged pensioners have joined their MP in a final bid to have a truly local bus service re-instated.

Dozens of local people have been left isolated, unable to walk the substantial distance to catch the replacement service along Chesterfield Road, with many forced to pay expensive taxi fares to attend medical appointments or to visit the town centre.

Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, is backing the dozens of residents who signed a petition highlighting the situation. Mr. Perkins has written to both Stagecoach and the provider of the former 46 bus service, TM Travel, requesting that the local service be restored.

The 46 Bus served many elderly and disabled members of the community, providing a comparatively direct route to the Royal and Staveley town. Residents could access the bus stops on both Fern Avenue and Winster Road, cutting out a steep walk up Fern Avenue. Mr. Perkins held a public meeting at Edensor Court Community Room in Middlecroft last Friday to hear of the many ways in which the lives of local people had been negatively altered since the withdrawal earlier this year.

Many of the individual cases outlined at the meeting were alarming, including one senior citizen who has effectively been forced to pay over £16 per visit for a taxi to take her and her husband, himself suffering from Parkinson’s, to the hospital.

After the public meeting Mr. Perkins said:-

“Unfortunately for so many residents in this area, the decision for buses to no longer stop on Fern Avenue and Winster Road has been a huge blow to their independence and ability to get on with their daily lives. To have the service taken away, for whatever reasons, means dozens of people either have to pay relatively huge sums of money to catch a taxi, or even worse, cannot afford to leave their homes. I have written to both TM Travel and Stagecoach highlighting the need for these people’s concerns to be addressed, and I look forward to working with the local community here in Middlecroft to demand that elderly and less mobile people are not ignored on this issue”.

He added:-

“I refuse to accept that, between the residents, TM Travel and Stagecoach, a resolution cannot be found to accommodate those people who feel isolated now the buses no longer stop close to their homes”.

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Youth Group celebrates Big Lottery investment

Youth Group celebrates Big Lottery investment

The Old Whittington Recreation Ground Youth Empowerment Project celebrated last Friday when it received £190,081 from Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, handed over the cheque at the Old Whittington Miner’s Welfare Community Resource Centre when he met to discuss the group’s plans for the capital as it continues to do excellent work with local young people.

The project aims to improve lifestyles, life chances and mental and physical wellbeing through providing a series of activities at its recreation ground. In addition, the project’s youth development worker works closely with local secondary schools and visits during lunchtime to offer a drop in session where young people can go to for advice.

Two youth clubs will be delivered each week on a Monday and Thursday evening. Young people can come and relax and socialise or take part in activities such as table tennis, competitions, arts and crafts and music projects.

School holiday activities will run twice per week (lasting half a day) where young people can decide to do activities such as climbing walls, cooking sessions, bike maintenance and go karting. A meal is provided during this session. Organised family events will also take place.

After presenting the cheque Mr. Perkins said:-

“I was delighted to present the group with such a fantastic sum of money from The Big Lottery, which should guarantee the future of the Project and ensure that the initiative continues to do good work in the local community”.

He added:-

I was also pleased to meet with the Group leaders who have done such a great job in winning the Big Lottery funding and without who the project would potentially not exist for many young people who enjoy and benefit from it”.

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Pupils well equipped for school as MP presents supermarket goodies

Pupils well equipped for school as MP presents supermarket goodies

A major supermarket chain celebrated another bumper year for the voucher collection initiative which has seen it provide millions of pounds worth of equipment to schools over a 19 year period. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, was invited to present boxes of school resources to local primary school pupils last Friday at the Tesco Extra superstore on Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield, with teachers and parents hailing the scheme as a significant benefit to local schools.

Since 1992 Tesco, through voucher collection promotions has provided UK schools with access to around 4 million free pieces of equipment worth £170 million.  Last year, 55 schools and clubs in the area collected a total of 430728 vouchers, with 45 of them ordering equipment worth £11755.

After presenting the equipment Mr. Perkins said:-

The voucher collection scheme run by Tesco’s has proved to be an excellent scheme and an example of how huge businesses can give back to the community. I was delighted to meet with pupils from schools in my constituency, including Abercrombie School which was built as part of the previous Labour Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, and to acknowledge the importance of providing our kids with the best possible equipment to help them achieve their full potential.

He added:-

“I would also like to thank Tesco’s for continuing with the scheme which really is a great help to many schools, many of which have been badly hit by recent cuts to the education budget”.

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Timberline goes into administration

The news that Timberline, based on Sheepbridge, Chesterfield, had gone into administration yesterday has been met with great sadness and anger from employees, politicians and the public alike. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield and Shadow Minister for Small Business, has pledged his support for the business following the breaking news in the race against time to save around 80 local jobs.

The company has produced play equipment and facilities to school across the UK for over two decades. However, with the cuts to school budgets, sales have nosedived over the last 12 months leaving Timberline with no option but to enter administration. The axing of the Building Schools for the Future programme, and a 60% cut to education capital budgets meant revenue fell from around £9 million last year to around £3 million in 2011.

But Timberline bosses still hope to sell the company, minimising the number of potential job losses and breathing life into the business despite the Government’s cuts to the education sector effectively pulling the rug from under its feet.

After speaking to Mr. Christopher Brown, a joint administrator appointed by Timberline, Mr. Perkins said:-  

“I am very sad to hear the news that a long established company like Timberline with 20 years stable track record have gone into administration due to the huge cuts in education capital spending. People in Chesterfield will be reflecting once again that the cuts to our education budget aren’t just hurting our children’s futures but are also putting hard working people’s jobs on the line. “

“I have already spoken to the administrators and offered them any assistance that I can to help the company and their staff and will be in regular contact as the situation develops.”

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H&S 3

Cameron slammed for Chief Coroner betrayal

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, David Cameron sided against the Royal British Legion and ruled out keeping the role of Chief Coroner for bereaved families.
 
The Prime Minister was also not clear on the detail of his Government’s own policy.  Mr Cameron said that the establishment of the Chief Coroner’s Office would involve “something like £10m of spending” which “could be better spent on improving all coroners’ services”.  However, the credibility of the Government’s figures has been questioned on numerous occasions by third parties, including the Royal British Legion, and the Government has not said it would invest in coronial reform.   Mr Cameron also said he wants to improve “all coroners’ services across the country”, but that is exactly what the Chief Coroner’s Office would achieve.
 
Labour has backed a major campaign by the Royal British Legion, which has said that axing the Chief Coroner would “be a betrayal of bereaved Service families” and that introducing national leadership under the Chief Coroner’s post is the only way to tackle the problems of unacceptable delays, a lack of accountability and inconsistent standards across the country.  During last week’s debate on the Public Bodies Bill, Labour MPs voted for an amendment to keep the Chief Coroner, as did several conservative rebel MPs.   After the vote, the Royal British Legion said that it was “saddened that this important opportunity to do the right thing by bereaved Service families was not taken by the Government”.
 
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Dugher, said:  
 
“Honouring the commitment to create the office of Chief Coroner is the first test of the Government’s commitment to the Military Covenant.  Failing in their duty to meet that test makes a mockery of the Government’s assurances of greater support for the military and their families.  
 
“It is clear from David Cameron’s response at Prime Minister’s Questions that he does not understand his Government’s own policy.  As we approach Remembrance Sunday, David Cameron should look into this again, listen to the Royal British Legion and do the right thing for all bereaved families, who deserve an independent, expert coronial system”.
 
Commenting, Toby Perkins the Labour MP for Chesterfield, said:
 
“All over Chesterfield, volunteers and veterans are working really hard, promoting the Poppy Appeal and raising vital money for the Royal British legion.  
 
“The Government should be listening to the Royal British Legion, and servicemen’s families in Chesterfield and across Britain

 “The Government should do the right thing by our Armed Forces and their families, particularly in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.”
 

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Welcome

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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Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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