Not sitting, but still learning

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

Toby Perkins MP

Toby Perkins MP


Parliament is currently in recess for the conference season, meaning no laws get passed but all parties have an opportunity to spell out their policy thinking at this stage of the political cycle.

Whilst conference provides political parties with a week of scrutiny and publicity, the recess also affords MPs important time in their constituencies to learn more about what is happening and to see how the theoretical talk of Westminster plays out in the real world.

I am once again in awe at the commitment and contribution of the voluntary sector. Visiting the new Ashgate Hospice Collection Centre is to see the latest stage in the growth of a much loved Chesterfield institution. The Hospice has applied modern day business principles to the serious business of raising money which supports the caring ethos that has enriched the final days of so many local people.

From charity walks and drag races to the network of shops Ashgate Hospice has shown that voluntary doesn’t need to mean amateur. But across Chesterfield so many other people are committing to causes from cancer charities and sports clubs to advice agencies, religious and political groups.

Last Friday saw one of the highlights of the charity calendar in the form of the Macmillan’s Coffee mornings. I attended three, at Barclays Bank, Chesterfield Labour Club and at Brimington Bowls Club where the inspirational Pam Wright has created a major 32 player tournament around the fund raising and raises four figure sums in the good cause.

But alongside promoting the work of our charitable groups the recess also provides an opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing our public and private sectors.

I also visited Mary Swanwick school and learnt how Zoe Kimber, a newly qualified nursery teacher is pursuing new plans to open up the overgrown gardens and exploit the natural wonders on our doorsteps for children there, and met with bosses in the restructured doctors network to see how GPs are handling the NHS’s greatest ever changes.

Whilst the voluntary sector are often marrying together public funds and private revenue streams and the public sector must constantly seek to deliver more for less, as Labour’s shadow Business Minister I am always aware that Britain’s business success is the cornerstone of our economic recovery.

Our small firms provide 75% of our employment and 50% of our tax revenues and reducing the barriers that the growth creators face and increasing the support British firms need to expand and to take their products or services into export markets has never been more important.

To this end, I have visited over 50 Chesterfield businesses during my two and a quarter years as the town’s MP and will visit and take up the cause of many more.

A week of recess in Chesterfield can teach me more about the real life challenges facing us than a month of parliamentary debates. It has taught me the value that all sectors provide to our economy and our society and we should salute them all.

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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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