Archive | November, 2012

Toby Perkins MP with the Whitecotes School Parliament

Pupils Grill MP

‘Why is it called a party?’ ‘What would you do if you became Prime Minister?’ Two of the thought-provoking questions put to Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, by year 6 pupils at Whitecotes Primary School in Chesterfield, during a recent visit there.

The MP was visiting Whitecotes in advance of the Year 6 cohort’s forthcoming visit to the Houses of Parliament.

Toby Perkins MP with the Whitecotes School Parliament

Toby Perkins MP with the Whitecotes School Parliament

The school also has its own ‘School Parliament’, and Toby is pictured above with their Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and, in an interesting departure from the norn, their ‘Minister for Fun’.

All the children had tough questions to ask their MP – which drew praise from Mr Perkins.

Toby Perkins said: “It is really important that children of all ages understand the place parliament plays in their lives and the importance of exercising your democratic right to vote to ensure those who make the laws reflect the interests and needs of our country.  I was really impressed with their engagement on this topic and look forward to welcoming the class to Parliament next week.”

Linda Dawson, Acting Headteacher at Whitecotes Primary School, said: “We’re really grateful to Toby for coming into school and giving the children such an insight into the workings of parliament and the political process.    They’ve all learnt something new and it has added to the excitement of the trip to parliament next week.”

Mr Perkins led the children through debates on capital punishment, private education and international development spending and unearthed a few potential political leaders of the future. And the reason it is called a party?  ‘’I’m not sure’, said Toby, ‘maybe because it is so much fun?’  Now about that Minister for Fun…

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Toby Perkins MP with Transitional Ward patient Joyce Ingle

Chesterfield MP Backs Hospital Venture

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has given a pioneering new ward at Chesterfield Royal Hospital his seal of approval.

Toby Perkins MP with Transitional Ward patient Joyce Ingle

Toby Perkins MP with Transitional Ward patient Joyce Ingle

The Transitional Ward – consisting of 21 beds on the Robinson Ward – provides ground-breaking care to vulnerable patients who are considered medically fit, but not suitable for discharge due to provision still being put into place at home by Social Services.

Mr Perkins visited the new facility last week where he met staff and patients to gauge the success of the venture.

Robinson Ward Matron Lisa Falconer said: “We started this new arrangement in August and it’s proved so successful we are extending the number of beds to twenty eight this month.”

The growing new ward has freed up much-needed beds elsewhere in the hospital and transitional ward patients have welcomed not being surrounded by more acutely ill people whilst they wait to continue their recovery at home.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “I commend Chesterfield Royal Hospital on this trailblazing use of resources.

“The patients I met were impressed with the support they were receiving and the staff had a number of success stories to relay to me from the short time the facility has been operational.

“The ward has a great atmosphere as patients were looking forward to returning back to their homes after, in some cases, long stays in hospital.”

Mr Perkins added: “I hope hospitals elsewhere consider following the Royal’s lead.”

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LCBN launch

Perkins launches Labour Councillors Business Network

This week Toby launched the Labour Councillors Business Network (LCBN).  Here he explains how the network came about and reports on the launch event.

 

“Although Labour are out of office nationally, there is still much we can do to support the small business who are the lifeblood of our economy.

Across the country Labour Councils and Councillors are often the first point of access for small businesses seeking support.  There are nearly 650,000 businesses active in areas covered by Labour authorities and this figure is set to grow as we seek to win control of more councils.

In his first conference speech as leader, Ed Miliband expressed his determination to make Labour the party of small business, and I have seen firsthand the brilliant work done by the Small Business Taskforce he set up.  The Taskforce is looking closely at every aspect of small business policy and will be making its recommendations to the Party in the new year.

Labour wants to see more people setting up and working in business.  We recognise that small businesses are the engines of social mobility, and also the challengers to the status quo by creating new products and services.  In this way they share our values, and our Councils across the country are playing a huge role in demonstrating how the next One Nation Labour government will champion and support small businesses and encourage growth in every area.

This is why we have launched the Labour Councillors Business Network (LCBN).

At a time when central government is making unprecedented cuts to local government it has never been more important for our Councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies.

The network will allow Labour Councillors to share ideas, resources, best practice and develop new thinking.  It will also help Labour Groups seeking to win office to develop a strong offer with sound business policies and ways to secure jobs.

Our launch meeting was held at Camden Town Hall this Thursday and was attended by nearly fifty Labour Councillors from every region of England.  Chuka Umunna the Shadow Business Secretary, Hilary Benn the Shadow Communities Secretary and David Offenbach the Chair of the Labour Finance and Industry Group also participate in discussions.  We hope this will be the first of many meetings as we take the network all around the country.

However, the thing that stood out most to me, was the great work that Labour Councils are doing.

Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council (who were recently praised for having the best high streets in London), Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council (who have the highest rate of private sector job creation in West Yorkshire) and Jacqui Williams an Executive Member on Wakefield Council (who have been named the best small city to do business) all gave presentations on their innovative small business policies and led group discussions on these ideas.

All the Councillors spoke about the importance of supporting start ups, attracting businesses to their areas and using all of the tools a local authority had to support, engage and work closely with businesses.

It was inspirational to hear how passionate Labour Councillors from right around the country are about supporting their local businesses.  I’m sure the LCBN will be able to build on this passion and become a great success.”

By Toby Perkins MP
Labour MP for Chesterfield
Shadow Minister for Small Businesses 

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EXPENSES UPDATE SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2012

The expenses claimed over the period 1st September 2012 to 31st October 2012 were as follows:

Phone Bills

I claim for only 75% of the cost of my mobile phone. These came to:

 £46.20 September

£119.53 October

Travel costs

Train/ underground travel from Chesterfield to London:

I don’t yet have completed travel costs for this period, they will be updated in due course.

However there was an £87 bill for staff travel between the constituency and Westminster office.

Parking

October Parking at train station was £9.50

My mileage costs were

September £172.97

October £382.23

There was also a congestion charge bill for £40 over this period.

Food (Food is only claimed for evening meals in the event of parliament sitting past 8.00pm, receipts are provided for any food claimed)

September £5.15

October £7.70

Costs associated with London flat

Gas August £98.66

Electricity September £40.61

Rent

My monthly rent on the one bedroom London flat is £1490

Stationery, Toners and Ancillaries

There was a stationery bill for £63.49 in September and a further one for similar ancillaries of £45.87. Also a bill for a battery charger for £9.98 in October.

There were two toner bills for £316.20 in October, one for the Westminster office and one for the Constituency office.

A new computer was bought for the constituency office and a laptop docking station for the Westminster office to enable my laptop to be used remotely and in parliament. These totalled £938.40.

We also had some posters produced that advertised the office and surgeries so that more people would be aware of the office; these were placed in post offices, pubs, cafes, doctors surgeries etc. The cost of these was £102.

Constituency Office costs:

The quarterly rent for the constituency office is £1495 per quarter.

The broadband line cost :

September £25.86

October £24.18

The constituency office electric bill for May- Aug 2012 is £282.09

The service charge for July- Sept 2012 is £229.04

Additional expenditure

Since September, we have employed a temporary intern in the Westminster office, who is in the third year of a politics degree at University. The work in parliament forms a part of their study, and they are reimbursed with travel and lunch allowance but not paid any salary.

The travel reimbursement for September & October was £150; and for November was £100.

The lunch allowance for October was £25.40.

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Toby Perkins MP

Toby backs GO 20 campaign for safer walking and cycling in Road Safety Week

Toby Perkins MP is backing a national campaign launched this week (19 Nov) appealing to drivers and authorities to GO 20, to bring about a 2012 legacy of safe walking and cycling for everyone.

Brake, the road safety charity, alongside a GO 20 coalition, is appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops. The coalition is also calling for 20mph limits to become the norm across built-up areas, so children and adults can walk and cycle for their health and enjoyment, and for cheap and sustainable travel, without being or feeling endangered.

Toby Perkins MP

Toby Perkins MP

The GO 20 campaign is being launched at the start of the UK’s annual Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), coordinated by Brake. Toby is joining thousands of community groups, schools and organisations across the UK getting involved to promote road safety and call for safer streets.

Every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children are mowed down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike. In 2011 pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries went up significantly.

The GO 20 coalition (Brake, Living Streets, Sustrans, Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Heart Forum and 20’s Plenty for Us) is highlighting that slower speeds in towns, cities and villages can help deliver a post-2012 legacy of active communities, and prevent devastating pedestrian and cyclist casualties.

Many authorities are already recognising the benefits of slower speeds by implementing 20 limits across towns and cities. GO 20 calls for: more authorities to do this; the government to work towards 20mph limits being the norm in communities; and drivers to pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops, even where the current default limit of 30mph remains.

Anyone can pledge their support for GO 20 and safer walking and cycling at go20.org.

Why GO 20:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have much more time to react, to help them stop in time if they need to, like if a child runs out. Studies show that when 20 limits replace 30, it means fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists.
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling.
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Read more about the case for GO 20.

Toby Perkins MP says: “I want Chesterfield to be as healthy, happy, and friendly as possible for everyone who lives here, and slowing down to 20mph around schools, shops, and homes will help us to achieve that. It will also help us to prevent devastating casualties on our roads, which cause terrible suffering to the families affected.

That’s why I’m getting behind the GO 20 campaign and showing my support for Road Safety Week. My constituents deserve as many opportunities as possible to get active outside, and to not be endangered while they’re on foot and bicycle. I am pleased to work alongside Brake to make that a reality.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, says: “We are delighted that Toby Perkins MP is getting behind the GO 20 campaign. Everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their community without fear or threat, and GO 20 is about defending that right. The 2012 Games helped us all realise the importance of being able to live active lifestyles. Critical to this is making our streets and communities safe places we can use and enjoy. Anyone who drives can help bring this about: pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit’s still 30: you’ll be helping to protect people around you, and you’ll hardly notice the difference to your journey. We’re also calling on more authorities to recognise the benefits of 20mph limits, and the huge demand for safe walking and cycling, and GO 20.”

Pedestrian and cyclist casualties

Every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children are mowed down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike.

In 2011 pedestrian deaths and serious injuries went up significantly, and for the first time in 17 years. Pedestrian deaths increased by 12%, while serious injuries increased by 5%. 466 people were killed on foot in 2011 and 5,654 were seriously injured. Of these victims, 31% (1,901) were children: 50 child pedestrians were killed in 2011 and 1,851 suffered serious injuries.

While cyclist deaths decreased by 2% in 2011, serious injuries increased by 16%. 109 cyclists were killed in 2011 and 3,132 suffered serious injuries. Of these victims, 16% (511) were children: 10 child cyclists were killed and 501 suffered serious injuries.

Road Safety Week is an annual event coordinated by Brake, with support from headline sponsors Brain Injury Group and Specsavers. Find out more at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

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Toby Perkins MP: "I look forward to working with Alan Charles to protect frontline policing and oppose privatisation"

Top of the Cops

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins welcomes the election of Labour’s Alan Charles as Derbyshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Toby Perkins MP: "I look forward to working with Alan Charles to protect frontline policing and oppose privatisation"

Toby Perkins MP: "I look forward to working with Alan Charles to protect frontline policing and oppose privatisation"

Mr Charles, a Derbyshire County Councillor, received 57,248 votes in the second round of counting – over 20,000 more than his nearest rival Conservative County Councillor Simon Spencer.

Concerns have, however, been raised about a record low turnout – only 14.4% in Derbyshire.

Toby Perkins MP said: “I welcome Alan Charles’s win.

“I know Alan will be vociferously opposing the Lib Dem-backed Tory government’s attempts to further cut frontline policing – there are now 150 fewer police officers in Derbyshire than when this government came to office.”

Commenting on the low turnout, Mr Perkins said: “The government were repeatedly warned prior to polling day that they hadn’t done enough to boost turnout.

“A chronic lack of information combined with the £120m these elections have cost – a figure which could have been used to put 3,000 more PCs on the streets – has led to a lack of public appetite for this flagship Tory policy.”

Mr Perkins added: “Aside from the government’s ‘comedy of errors’ in their management of this election, I’m looking forward to working closely with Alan in the coming years to build a safer community in Chesterfield.”

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Carbon Monoxide

Toby Perkins MP: “Beware of ‘Silent Killer’ this winter”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins urges: “Protect your home – get a carbon monoxide alarm and get your boiler checked”

MP Toby Perkins is urging people to be ‘carbon monoxide safe’ this winter, as families start switching on their boilers as the colder weather approaches.

Members of the public are being strongly encouraged to take appropriate steps to ensure their homes are properly protected against the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Mr Perkins is calling upon all householders to have their boiler serviced by a certified technician every 12 months and install an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their homes to ensure that families are protected from potential leaks of the lethal gas.

Last year in the UK over two dozen people died from CO poisoning, with many hundreds more being hospitalised with symptoms attributed to carbon monoxide.

The colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations. The symptoms of poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning, and include headaches, nausea and dizziness.

Mr Perkins’ call is part of a new national campaign urging people across the UK to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.

Mr Perkins said:

“It is absolutely vital that people understand the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and, most importantly, how we can all protect our homes and families from the threat.

The message is simple – get your boiler serviced and get an audible carbon monoxide alarm . These cheap, simple steps could be the difference between your family’s safety, and tragedy. Far too many people die in the UK each year from carbon monoxide poisoning – and we must do all we can to stop these heart-breaking and unnecessary deaths.

I cannot urge people enough: get a carbon monoxide alarm and get your boiler checked.”

Local residents are further encouraged to look for warning signs that domestic gas appliances aren’t working correctly, and thus could be at risk of CO leakage. Warning signs include lazy yellow or orange flames on appliances such as boilers and gas stoves instead of crisp blue flames, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

Residents should also make sure only a ‘Gas Safe registered’ engineer works on their gas appliances. Illegal gas fitters put lives at risk. Always check the engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card.

The national campaign is being organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, a group of MPs from all political parties determined to prevent CO deaths in the UK.

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Toby Perkins MP: "a constructive relationship with Europe shouldn't be based on member states coughing up ever larger wodges of cash"

Cameron’s discomfort offers chance for European restraint

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

Last week saw the CONDEM Government defeated as they attempted to argue against a cut to the EU budget with Labour MPs, who believe that Europe must demonstrate fiscal restraint, voting alongside Europhobic Tories who don’t really believe in Europe at all.

Toby Perkins MP: "a constructive relationship with Europe shouldn't be based on member states coughing up ever larger wodges of cash"

Toby Perkins MP: "a constructive relationship with Europe shouldn't be based on member states coughing up ever larger wodges of cash"

Whilst these unusual bedfellows may have had different motivations, it now provides an opportunity for the Prime Minister to show that Britain believes in a constructive relationship with Europe that isn’t simply based on member states coughing up ever larger wodges of cash.

The PM certainly suffered an embarrassing defeat for insisting on an increase to the EU budget after the huge cuts he has presided over to our schools, transport and Police.

Yet saying that Europe must live within its means is not the same as decrying the value we get from our position as a central force in the world’s largest trading block.  As a Shadow Business Minister I meet exporting and manufacturing businesses every week who stress the value and business that Britain gets from the single market and their unease that the hostile rhetoric from our politicians and the press could lead to us severing those links with catastrophic consequences for UK plc. They also bemoan the negative impact this approach has on their ability to attract custom from overseas.

So I see nothing contradictory in saying that it should be our role as critical friends of Europe to insist that European institutions demonstrate that they can live within more straightened times as those in our public services, private businesses and indeed most households are having to.

Recent figures suggest that the Olympics contributed to growth in the last quarter, but the underlying prospects still show that we are growing more slowly than almost any of our competitors and that the recovery from this recession is the slowest on record.

Cuts to Housing Benefit, which will particularly target those working on low incomes and the young, will have a negative impact on consumer spending and the government’s strategy of making it easier for firms to fire people is hardly likely to boost consumer confidence. That’s why a one nation Labour Party’s alternative strategy calls for a reduction in VAT and an NI holiday for small firms to put more money into the real economy and ease the burden on hard- pressed households.

Even the government, who told us that austerity was the only way forward, now seem to be accepting that without growth we will not reduce the deficit. Indeed the deficit has grown this year, and government borrowing continues to soar as tax revenues fall and the number of long term unemployed rises.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has explained that a One Nation Labour government will expect responsibility from those at the top and bottom of our society, but we can only expect responsibility from others if we are willing to demonstrate it ourselves, this week’s message to Europe is a small but important step along that road.

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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.

Contact Toby

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

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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