Archive | September, 2012

(l-r) Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins. Inner Wheel President Adrienne Handley and Lady Marjorie Varley, widow of late Chesterfield MP Lord Eric Varley.

Toby Perkins MP addresses the Inner Wheel

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins was the Speaker at the Inner Wheel Club of Chesterfield at their meeting on Friday 7th Spetember, when he gave members an insight into the workings of Parliament in what proved to be a very lively session.

(l-r) Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins. Inner Wheel President Adrienne Handley and Lady Marjorie Varley, widow of late Chesterfield MP Lord Eric Varley.

(l-r) Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins. Inner Wheel President Adrienne Handley and Lady Marjorie Varley, widow of late Chesterfield MP Lord Eric Varley.

Toby revealed his pride in representing a town that, despite the economic downturn, appears to be “bucking the trend” as highlighted in a recent survey. He spoke of the exciting developments in the planning stages examples being the Northern GatewayChesterfield Waterside and the Walton Works Site.

When members pondered on the need for yet another Supermarket in Chesterfield, Mr Perkins view was that there are many small vibrant and friendly business in the town, selling specialist items, which supermarkets do not stock, and that our Market is a perfect example of this being a valuable asset to our friendly Historic Market Town.

Toby emphasised the need to keep Chesterfield vibrant and one of the largest Towns for visitors, aided by it’s close proximity to the Peak District.

Mr Perkins went on to offer members a tour of The Houses of Parliament which met with the approval of many of the members.

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Toby Perkins

Betrayal of the Paralympic Spirit

It is sadly fitting that the Paralympic torch should be being lit just days after the death of Lord Alfred Morris, a former Minister whose parliamentary career was dedicated to improving the lives of disabled people.

There can be few stronger examples of the redoubtable nature of the human spirit than the Paralympics, where thousands of athletes from across the globe will show an admiring public how to achieve excellence out of adversity.

And in many ways the Paralympics inspirational message could be said to have influenced the way our society treats disabled people championed by Lord Morris 40 years ago.

Born to a disabled father who died when he was seven, he was acutely aware of the poverty that followed the families of those who were chronically injured or born disabled. As Britain’s first ever Minister for disabled people he was responsible for measures such as Incapacity Benefit, Mobility Allowance and Carers Allowance that set out to ensure that disabled people and their families could live their lives in dignity.

At a time of huge upheaval in what disabled people can expect from the state, the Paralympics provides an interesting backdrop. At one level, people may consider that when disabled people can demonstrate such physical excellence it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they could hold down a job; yet the vast majority of Britain’s leading Paralympians will rely on disability living allowance to get about.

Disability Living Allowance provides additional financial support to allow disabled people to fund the extra things they might need to allow them to live a more normal life with the intention of levelling the playing field. It may provide for disability adaptations to a car or for taxi travel to work without which disabled people cannot enter the job market. Its current overhaul is expected to see two thirds of recipients lose it. Many of those will find the removal of this benefit will make them unable to afford to go to work and will be pushed out of work and in to relying on benefits, the very opposite of the aims of the policy.

This follows hot on the heels of the transition to ESA. I have met dozens of people that are in extremely poor health who have been found fit for work. In two cases they have subsequently died, but it is clear that these are not isolated incidences.

Shockingly, figures recently released under Freedom of Information have shown that 1,100 people have died after being found ‘fit for work’ in the last two years.

For those recovering from injury and illness and those with mental health conditions, health professionals have told me that the process of constant reassessment has put back people’s recovery.

In a time of economic hardship, it is understandable that people working hard on low to middle incomes will want to know that those not working are given every encouragement to do so. Indeed Labour, as the party of the working man and woman, had that as the very principle of the ESA introduction which was devised under the previous Labour government. However the evidence is that the way this government has implemented that will push many very deprived people into poverty, and move the disabled further away from the job market.

At a time when disabled people will be amazing us with their durability and dedication, it is a poor way to recognise our admiration for them and a sorry betrayal of the life’s work of Lord Morris too.

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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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