Archive | May, 2012

Young people march against cuts to the Youth Service in Chesterfield

County Council Makes U-Turn on Youth Services

Young people march against cuts to the Youth Service in Chesterfield

Young people march against cuts to the Youth Service in Chesterfield

Contentious plans that would have seen Tory-led Derbyshire County Council relinquish control of all its youth clubs have been dropped.

The move, instigated by the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, Barry Lewis, would have seen youth services run by charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Following fierce criticism, the U-turn was prompted by mass turn-outs of young people at stakeholder public meetings across the county, and a subsequent petition which attracted 16,251 signatures.

Barry Lewis has now been forced to admit that the changes could not go ahead as was originally proposed, and that there are circumstances where it is better for the County Council to retain services in-house.

However the running of some clubs may still be handed over under new proposals to review them on a “case by case” basis.

Gordon Savage, former Head of the Council’s Youth Services, warned that the changes would mean a lack of properly trained youth workers – resulting in more anti-social behaviour and teenage pregnancies. Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, shares Mr Savage’s view.

Commenting on the news Toby Perkins said: “I am delighted that the Tory leadership at Derbyshire County Council has been forced to rethink on this issue.

“This embarrassing climb down has demonstrated that these were completely ill thought through proposals in the first place.

“Now we need to make sure that the ‘case by case’ review truly reflects the needs of our young people and maximises the value of these crucial services for the public purse. We will be scrutinising the County Councils amended proposals very closely.

“Positively engaging our young people through youth clubs run by properly trained youth workers prevents anti social behaviour, drug use and a range of other social problems so it is important that plans are properly thought through. In that respect,  today’s announcement is a step in the right direction.”

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Toby Perkins MP

‘A No Hope Agenda’: where are Cameron’s Big Ideas to Boost Britain?

Toby Perkins MP

Toby Perkins MP

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, outlining the government’s priorities for the coming year, has been received with dismay as a ‘no hope agenda’ by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

Following dismal results for the Conservatives and Lib Dems in the recent local elections, the Queen’s speech presented the Prime Minister with a golden opportunity to show Britain that he understands the squeeze being placed on hard working families or the lack of opportunities for our young people.

But instead of introducing measures to relieve the hard-pressed from rising energy costs, crippling train fares or cuts to Working Tax Credits, the PM has vowed to stick with his plan which has brought a flat-lining economy and sky-rocketing unemployment.

Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Toby Perkins MP said:

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are still making life harder for people in Britain, and this Queen’s Speech doesn’t change that.

“The Government cannot claim to be family friendly when it is cutting child care support, cutting tax credits for part time working parents, and taking more from children than the banks. Over 30,000 women have left work in the last year because they can’t afford child care and are struggling to make work pay.”

Commenting on the government’s measures for jobs and growth, Mr Perkins, who is also the Shadow Minister for Small Business, said:

The Government lacks the compelling vision we need to get our economy growing again. Nothing in this piecemeal Queen’s Speech changes this and at a time when the Government’s failed policies have pushed the economy into recession and when business insolvencies have risen sharply, businesses are asking: where are the measures to give them the help they need to grow and boost employment?

“At a time when we have 2.7 million people unemployed, ministers are more worried about making it easier to fire people than to hire new staff. We are clear that slashing employee rights is no substitute for a proper growth strategy.

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg appear to believe that people are turning against them because they have not understood the government’s economic policy. The truth is people have turned against them because they have understood it only too well.”

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Chesterfield May Day 2012

Speech to 35th Annual Chesterfield May Day Demonstration and Gala

Toby Perkins MP at Chesterfield's 35th May Day Gala

Toby Perkins MP at Chesterfield's 35th May Day Gala

The 35th Annual Chesterfield May Day Demonstration and Gala took place with a huge turnout from the Labour Party and our friends and comrades in the trade unions

I spoke alongside speeches from Cheryl Pidgeon of UCATT, Alex Gordon of the RMT and Chris Haswell of the PCS.

The full text of my speech is below (check against delivery):

Comrades, welcome to Chesterfield on May Day.

Across the world from Argentina to Vietnam people turn out in their millions to support International Workers’ Day. And here in Chesterfield this is the 35th time the Labour movement has come together in this way.

Throughout history, right wing governments have tried to repress the message behind International Workers’ Day and fascists in Hitler’s Germany and Franco’s Spain abolished it.

Now this Tory government are arguing for its abolition here.

They’re fighting the Workers’ Day, at the very moment that people know that there has never been a greater need to take to the streets and to stand up for the rights of workers and for the right to work!

In the 2 years since this Tory-led government was elected, there’s been a lot of marching, a lot of protesting.

From the 50,000 students marching against tuition fees to the hundreds of thousands who marched for the alternative.
From the young men and women of Jarrow marching for jobs to the public sector workers fighting for their pensions, people are taking to the streets and speaking up because they are worried and angry. They’re speaking up because they know it doesn’t have to be like this, they’re speaking up because they can see its hurting but it isn’t working.

People are speaking up because they know the Tories are hurting the very people who have done so much for our country in the past or those who are Britain’s key to a successful and prosperous future.

People are speaking up because they can see that whilst the Tories are telling us that there’s no money to pay our pensions, that workers must work longer for less, they can find the cash to give a tax cut to 14,000 millionaires.

People are speaking up because they can see public services being hollowed out and the voluntary sector left to wither on the vine. Vital services for some of the most vulnerable – the victims of Cameron’s Big Society.

People are speaking up because whilst Tories in Westminster and at Matlock on the County Council are cutting services for disabled and the elderly that allow them to live and die in dignity, they see government policy available for sale to the highest bidder.

People are speaking up because they see Britain’s National Health Service being sacrificed at the altar of the free market, because they know that this costly reorganisation is going to take the National out of the NHS and they fear that the market will see profits put before patients.

People are speaking up because they worry about the future for our young people: the most expensive university education in Europe, a million young on the dole and an increasingly divisive school system that could leave the poorest kids behind.

People are speaking up because these Tories are telling thousands of disabled people that they aren’t trying hard enough to find work at the same time as they’re throwing 1700 disabled people who are doing just that on the scrapheap with their closures at Remploy.

What cruelty, what stupidity- what a disgrace!

We are angry with these Tories but we are not surprised. These sons and daughters of Thatcher. We know how the Tory story ends. But this one had a different beginning…

It began with Dave and Nick in the Rose Garden. After the Tories couldn’t win a majority for austerity they brought in the Lib Dems who’d been campaigning for growth.

In fact there have been Lib Dem Ministers at the heart of some of the cruellest cuts from this Tory led government.

It’s a Lib Dem that is leading the attacks on workers rights, it’s a Lib Dem that trebled tuition fees.

It was a Lib Dem that betrayed Forgemasters and it was a Lib Dem Minister arguing for the wanton destruction of our Health service.

When this government goes and the history is written, we’ll never forget what the Tories did, but we’ll never forgive that the Lib Dems could have stopped it all.

So friends, it is right that we should stand up and be counted, speak up and protest. But its only a small part of the story.

The Labour movement is at its best not when it is the voice of protest but when it is in the business of government.

It is because of Labour in Government that we have a National Health Service, that we have the National Minimum wage, that we created Sure Start or recognised civil partnerships.

The simple truth is that virtually every change that has delivered for ordinary people has come from a Labour Government.

God knows we didn’t get everything right. But as more and more people see the self defeating nature of this government’s austerity, they’re not just shouting on the streets but they are making their voices heard in the ballot box.

Last Thursday across England, Scotland and Wales voters rejected the Tory prescription and placed their faith in Labour again.

And last night in France President Hollande struck a huge blow for the alternative with his general election victory that opens new possibilities.

Only these Tories could think that the reason they lost was that they weren’t right wing enough! They think they lost because they started being nice to the gays!

Only the Tories could think you make the rich work harder by making them richer and the poor work harder by making them poorer.

But on the left we know the incontrovertible truth.

We don’t win just because they are failing. The left only wins when it is confident, credible, relevant and united. It is because we know it and the Tories know it that they will try to divide us.

The Tories want to turn people against each other. They want to tell those who are working that our problems are the fault of the unemployed. Turn those fit to work against those who are not. Get workers in the private sector to resent the public sector. Tell the old it’s all the fault of the young.

So today when we marched, we marched for unity.

We are saying that our economy can work better for the young and the old.

Yes we stand here to fight for our NHS, to protect the Police who protect us, for the teachers and nurses, the firemen and the council workers, the train drivers and our servicemen and women here and abroad.

We’re here for those who support the vulnerable young and old. The people who ensure that we are a decent society and provide services for every single one of us in the land.

But we are also making the case for everyone who feels that our economy can work better for us all.

The Labour party and the trade unions go hand in hand.

And we’d like all workers to join a union, but when only 1 in 4 workers do, we can’t just be here for those who are in.

On International Workers’ Day we are here for all workers.
We’re here for the workers who make cars, mend cars, wash cars or drive cars.
We’re here for the workers in cafes and bars and shops and call centres.
We’re here for the unemployed, the under employed and the self employed.
We’re here for the army of workers in offices, on building sites, in factories and in vehicles.

These are the real wealth creators, not the city speculators or the gamblers who took our economy to the brink.

With a united Labour movement we can create a force so great the Tories wouldn’t stand a chance.

So today when we marched and we marched for unity. We marched with a thousand voices not arguing about what divides us but finding the ties that bind us.

We’re saying together “it doesn’t have to be like this”.

In tough times we can build on the best of Britain, not run in fear from the worst and with that united Labour movement, on International Workers’ Day in Chesterfield, I can’t think of a better place to be.

Thank you

Chesterfield May Day 2012

Chesterfield May Day 2012

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Toby Perkins MP

Legal Aid Bill gets a mixed reception

Toby Perkins MP

Toby Perkins MP

Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST) are celebrating after the Government was forced to review proposals which would exclude suffers of Mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by contact with asbestos, from ‘no-win, no-fee’ legal representation.

The Government wanted to block ‘spurious claims’, but campaigners, including Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, forced the government into a u-turn after the Justice Secretary admitted the severity of mesothelioma is indisputable.

DAST activist Helen Redfern, whose father, Roy Redfern, died of mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos whilst working for Severn Trent Water and in the building trade, welcomed the government’s reluctant backtrack with cautious optimism.

Following Toby Perkins’s presentation of Roy’s experience in the House of Commons, Ms Redfern said: ‘my father died of this terrible illness before he could claim compensation, but my mother and I were able to pursue the claim for negligence after his death. If costs had been attached, we would have been unable to proceed with the action. I am determined that others affected by this terrible disease have the same access to justice that we have had.’

However whilst DAST’s supporters are celebrating, other local support groups are despairing that their objections to different aspects of the bill have not been addressed.

The new laws impose a 12-month time limit for the evidence produced to corroborate experiences of domestic violence.

Dena Trossell, Strategic Head of Service for North Derbyshire Women’s Aid, who is opposed to the 12 month limit, said: ‘Due to the nature of domestic abuse, many victims wait years before reporting perpetrators. Implementing such a short time constraint will almost certainly leave victims worse off.’

But it’s not just vulnerable women who will be losing out. Cuts to the funding of Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Chesterfield Law Centre threaten to leave people with nowhere to turn for advice on serious but everyday legal problems that could see them homeless, jobless and without any income.

CAB Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, warned: “Our frontline caseworkers and managers have told us that the impact of the proposed changes to legal aid on specialist services will be devastating. The overwhelming majority say that it will be impossible to provide a specialist service, whilst over half say that it may be impossible to continue providing any advice service at all.”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins fought Bill, which suffered an unprecedented number of defeats in the Lords.

Mr Perkins said: ‘This legislation is an attack on some of the most vulnerable in our society.

‘The onslaught on our precious legal aid system is an act of vandalism for which this Lib Dem backed Tory-led Government will be forever remembered. Changes have to be made in our management of the legal system and Labour offered alternative savings, but these were rejected. Funding of our vital grass roots advice network – our CABs, law centres and victim support organisations – is now threatened. This will expose the most vulnerable in our society drowning with debt, housing and welfare benefit problems to the full force of the law, without any of the crucial early stage advice and support that’s proven to make a real difference, and ultimately save the taxpayer money down the line.’

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Councillor Trevor Reynolds RIP

Trevor Reynolds and Labour Party supporters with Labour Party Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins on the Newland Dale Estate

Trevor Reynolds and Labour Party supporters with Labour Party Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins on the Newland Dale Estate

Chesterfield Borough Councillor Trevor Reynolds died on 2nd May following a hard-fought battle with cancer.

The 69-year-old St Helen’s ward representative was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his election in May 2011, but refused to let it stop him serving the ward he fought so hard to win.

Trevor served St Helen’s with his partner, Councillor Angela Reynolds (nee Everitt), whom he married in a moving ceremony in his native Wolverhampton just five days before his death.

During his period of office, Trevor was Chair of the Dunston, Moor and St Helen’s Community Forum, Vice Chair of the Community, Customer and Organisational Scrutiny Committee and a member of the Overview and Scrutiny forum. He also held the role of Support Member to the Executive Member for Customers and Communities.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: ‘Trevor’s death is a tragic loss to the people of the St Helen’s ward whom he diligently served from before election right through his illness and until his death.

‘As a community activist, campaigner, community forum member and latterly chair, Trevor worked to improve St Helen’s throughout the 9 years he lived in the area.

Commenting on Mr Reynolds’s recent marriage to his long-term partner, Mr Perkins said: ‘It is very touching that Trevor and Angela were able to tie the knot just before his untimely death.

‘I know this celebration represented a very special commitment of love between two very special people and has been a source of great comfort to both Angela and the couple’s families.’

Mr Perkins added: ‘The Labour Party has lost a stalwart, St Helen’s have lost a dedicated and caring councillor and we all have lost a friend who will be most sorely missed.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with Trevor’s wife, Angie, and all his family at this difficult time.’

Trevor’s Funeral will take place at Chesterfield Crematorium, Brimington Road, on Thursday 17th May at 2.30pm.
The family have requested that donations be made to Cancer Research in lieu of flowers.
Following the Service, there will be a reception in Committee Room 1 of Chesterfield Town Hall.

Councillor Trevor Reynolds 1942-2012

Councillor Trevor Reynolds 1942-2012

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Toby Perkins MP to address May Day Gala

Suzie and Toby Perkins on the 2011 May Day March

Suzie and Toby Perkins on the 2011 May Day March

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is booked as one of the guest speakers for the town’s 35th annual May Day Gala, on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th.

As usual, people will assemble at 10.30am outside the Town Hall. At 11am the march will proceed, banners aloft, towards the Town Centre with the Ireland Colliery Band will leading and the Nottingham Samba Band adding to the carnival atmosphere.

Due to the imminent refurbishment of the Market Hall, the march will culminate in Rykneld Square, where the May Day crowds will be addressed by Labour MP Toby Perkins, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, and Cheryl Pidgeon representing the construction workers Union UCATT. Bringing news of the situation facing Greek workers will be Kostas Katarahais, General Secretary of the Greek Health Workers Union who is based in an Athens Greek Cancer Hospital.

Community stalls will be erected around Rykneld Square and on the green space in front of the Crooked Spire along with a bouncy castle for the children. The rest of the stalls and exhibitions will be in the Winding Wheel. They will be joined in the auditorium by the Nottingham Clarion Choir, the Brampton Community Band, Ichabod, the Boomerang Generation and Kworyl.  There will also be an exhibition of anti-war art by Chris Holden and a slideshow depicting peace activism in Chesterfield since the Second World War.  At the Crooked Spire Church itself, there will be an exhibition of peace paintings by the children of Bethlehem Peace School of Palestine running throughout the weekend.

In North East Derbyshire District Council Chamber at 1.30pm, a meeting will take place entitled ‘Overcoming the North-South divide’.  If that’s not your thing then there is break dancing on Vicar Lane throughout the day with flying acrobatics, fancy footwork and death defying dance.

Toby Perkins MP said: ‘Chesterfield & District Trades Union Council has been organising this fantastic event for 35 years and, the need for a strong voice for the Labour movement is as pressing today as ever.’

Mr Perkins added: “People can see a government that are on the side of the privileged few, who don’t care about the impact of their policies on those who are unemployed or on low incomes.

”That’s why I’m campaigning for a reduction in VAT to put money back in people’s pockets and to get Britain building again with low VAT for construction projects and a repeat of the bank bonus tax to fund the building of  25,000 affordable homes and guarantee a job for 100,000 young people.”


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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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