Archive | December, 2012

Toby Perkins MP addressing the Labour Friends of Pakistan: "Britain mustn't be allowed to miss the global oportunities of tomorrow"

Too little, too late

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

Attention in Westminster last week turned to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement – George Osborne’s ‘half-term’ report on the nation’s finances.

The news on Britain’s economic performance was unremittingly grim. For the fourth time, Mr Osborne was forced to tell a hard-pressed nation that his original forecasts were optimistic, that Britain’s deficit (the difference between what Britain brings in and what it spends) and its debt would continue to grow – more in the five years of this government than it had in the entire 13 years of a Labour government – and that we will all have to pay more for longer.

He also engaged in some trickery that would have made even a Starbuck’s accountants blush by factoring in revenue generated by the sale of the 4G spectrum – which hasn’t even happened yet!

Britain’s growth figures also made for grim reading. Growth under this government was 0.6% – way lower than Germany, the USA and our key foreign competitors.

Toby Perkins MP addressing the Labour Friends of Pakistan: "Britain mustn't be allowed to miss the global oportunities of tomorrow"

Toby Perkins MP addressing the Labour Friends of Pakistan: "Britain mustn't be allowed to miss the global oportunities of tomorrow"

 The government are fond of likening the nation’s debt to a family credit card, which, whilst an alluring image, is economically illiterate. Britain’s finances must balance over the long term, but in the short term the capacity to borrow and pay off enables us to balance out the peaks and troughs of economic turbulence.

No-one should be in any doubt: Britain must reduce its deficit. The big political debate is how. There are two ways of achieving this; a) raise more revenue, or b) spend less. Most expenditure cuts lead to a reduction in revenue, and whilst there is a place for this (public spending constraint would have happened to a degree under any government) it is a limited strategy.

With fast growing economies in India, China, Brazil and Russia and huge increasing demand in Asia, a shrinkage strategy not only misses out on the global opportunities of tomorrow but it costs us jobs and revenue growth today. That’s why we’re falling behind our major competitors in the G8.

A case in point can be seen in capital allowances for businesses. When Labour lost power, businesses were able to claim a tax allowance for up to £100,000 of capital spending, encouraging firms to invest in equipment and machinery, and providing a boost for our manufacturing sector.

At the first budget Mr Osborne cut the allowance to £25,000, leading to a reduction in corporate spending. At this budget, to great fanfare, he put it up again- the right policy but after two wasted years of slow growth.

Whilst the original cuts were too far and too fast, choking off growth, the investment appears to be too little, too late.

Independent figures suggest we’re still years away from a balanced budget. People struggling with rising prices and frozen wages will fear that their personal finances can ill afford further economic failure, so I hope that the pressure to go for growth and follow One Nation enlightened governments like Germany and the US will become so unanswerable that even our Chancellor will bow. Future generations deserve nothing less.

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Toby and Big Ben

Toby Perkins urges students: “Seize the Chance to be Chancellor”

Digital challenge gives young people the opportunity to contribute to Youth Budget 2013

Toby Perkins is supporting the launch of the ‘Chance to be Chancellor’ and is calling on all young people in Chesterfield to take part. Organised by educational charity Citizenship Foundation in partnership with Aviva, Chance to be Chancellor is a part of ‘Paying for It’, an educational programme that provides a free range of resources to develop economic awareness amongst young people.

Chance to be Chancellor is open to all 14-18 year olds and Toby is urging students in Chesterfield to get involved.  The initiative challenges participants to grapple with issues that face the Chancellor ahead of the official Budget in mid-March 2013.  Students are required to learn about, and share their opinions on, a selection of possible policies detailed on the Chance to be Chancellor website. 

Students can also enter a national competition by creating a short video (max 90 seconds) arguing their choices with a chance to win an iPad. All entries will be collated to produce the ‘Youth Budget’, a report launched in anticipation of the official budget to give the voters of the future a platform for their views on important economic issues.

Speaking about the competition, Perkins commented:

“Chance to be Chancellor is a fantastic way of bringing the current economic challenges into schools in Chesterfield.  It’s also a great opportunity for students to have their say on what they think should be included in Budget 2013. 

“I encourage as many students as possible in Chesterfield to get involved and submit their ideas on how to tackle the current economic challenges; a particularly difficult challenge in the current climate.  I wish all entrants the best of luck.” 

Deborah O’Malley, Community Affairs Manager, Aviva said:

“The ‘Paying for It’ programme continues to be popular with students, teachers and Aviva volunteers. Everyone enjoys the chance to learn new skills by sharing different perspectives on the economy and the world we live in. Both the teaching resources and Chance to be Chancellor act on the increasing appetite for financial education and improved economic literacy in schools. I am sure the young people involved will find it a valuable and enjoyable experience.”

Andy Thornton, Chief Executive, Citizenship Foundation said:

“It’s hugely empowering to let young people not yet old enough to vote to feed their views into the democratic process. This supports their learning and growth as equals in a fair society which they will one day inherit. Getting to have a say on Budget 2013 is a clear example of how citizenship education allows students to get under the skin of the big challenges of the day.”

Chance to be Chancellor 2013 runs until Friday 15 February 2013 and details of how to enter can be found on www.chancetobechancellor.org.uk.

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despatchbox (2)

MP Slams Cuts to Compensation for Injured Victims

Local Labour MP Toby Perkins slammed Government cuts which mean that from 27 November, 90% of people who are attacked and seriously injured will see their compensation payment severely reduced or axed.

 For 50 years the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has supported injured victims with relatively small payments which help them to make up for the costs of care, or loss of pay whilst their injuries prevent them from working.

 From 27 November, compensation ceased to be available to half of the victims of assault, including those who sustain injuries such as facial disfigurement, permanent speech impediment or multiple fractured ribs.

Victims of dog attacks will no longer receive any compensation, no matter how serious their injuries.

Even those most seriously assaulted who suffer a permanent disability will see their payments slashed, as compensation for loss of earnings will be limited to the rate of Statutory Sick Pay – just £85 a week. And any victim who has had a period out of work in the previous 3 years (around a third of theUKworkforce) will not receive any compensation for loss of earnings.

These same cuts and conditions will apply to the dependants of murder victims, drastically reducing their compensation and financial security following the death of a loved one.

MP Toby Perkins said,

“I am appalled at these punitive cuts to the compensation that is relied on by thousands of seriously injured victims of crime and their families.  I and my fellow Labour MPs votes against these cuts at every stage, but they were pushed through Parliament by both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

“As a result of their actions, in the Chesterfield constituency alone, in the next 2 years over 100 seriously injured victims of crime will see their criminal injuries compensation either abolished or cut.

 “People who are attacked and injured suffer not only the pain of their injuries, but emotional trauma as well.  Many tell me that it affects them for the rest of their lives.  To place the seriously injured victims of crime at risk of financial pressure and debt, on top of their other suffering is truly callous.

“I promise that I and the Labour Party will continue to put the interests of victims first.  If you have been a victim of crime and are struggling to access the support you need, do let me know and I will do my best to help.” 

 The shopworkers’ union Usdaw have been campaigning against the cuts in compensation on behalf of many of their members who fall victim to violent robberies and Usdaw General SecretaryJohn Hannettwelcomed Toby’s efforts to protect the Scheme,

 “Usdaw are grateful to Toby Perkins for his support.  Thousands of shopworkers and other innocent victims of violent criminals desperately need the relatively small amounts that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme provides.  Most who suffer serious injuries need to take considerable time off work to recover.

“The Government’s actions mean that injured victims of crime will suffer financially as well as physically.  We believe that seriously injured victims of violent crime have suffered enough and should not have to face possible deprivation and debt.”

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Abbi Burke's 'Rudolph'

Designing Christmas

Children from a Chesterfield school have been busy with paint, glue and glitter – following a challenge set by their MP.  

Toby Perkins with winning artist Abbi Burke (front, centre), runners up, sponsors at St Mary's Head Teacher Mrs Apps

Toby Perkins with winning artist Abbi Burke (front, centre), runners up, sponsors and St Mary's Head Teacher Mrs Apps

Each year Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins holds an art competition, in partnership with a local school and backed by local businesses, to design his Christmas card. The winning design appears on Mr Perkins’ 2,000 cards sent out to the Prime Minister and people in Chesterfield.

This year, the pupils of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Chesterfield have taken on the task of producing the design, with sponsorship for the entire project kindly donated by Chesterfield-based firms Yeomans Outdoors and industrial weighing specialists Weightron Bilanchiai.

Year 1 pupil Abbi Burke’s ‘Rudolph’ was proudly unveiled by Mr Perkins as the winning design at MacIntyre’s Square Canvas Art Gallery, next to the Yorkshire Bank in New Square, on Friday where all the shortlisted creations are on public display between 9am and 3pm until Friday 14th December.  

Toby Perkins MP said: “It was a real pleasure but a tough task choosing just one winning design. All the children’s efforts were excellent – we’re lucky to have so many talent young people and committed teachers in Chesterfield.

“I hope plenty of people call in to the MacIntyre gallery in New Square to view the children’s impressive work.”

Abbi Burke's 'Rudolph'

Abbi Burke's 'Rudolph'

Mr Perkins added: “I’d like to thank our generous sponsors Yeomans and Weightron Bilanchiai for making this celebration of our young people’s artistic talents possible.”

 

More information on MacInyre Charity, the project’s partner organisation and exhibition host: http://www.macintyrecharity.org/

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School: http://www.st-marys.derbyshire.sch.uk/

Yeomans Outdoors, sponsor: http://www.yeomansoutdoors.co.uk/

Weightron Bilanciai, sponsor: http://www.weightron.com/

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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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