Archive | January, 2013

Toby Perkins MP: “Central government is making unprecedented cuts so it's never been more important for councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies"

Perkins launches Business Network

Toby Perkins MP is due to launch the first Labour Local Council Business Network launches in the East Midlands.

The Network will provide a forum for Labour councillors to work together to develop better business policies to support small businesses in the region.

Toby Perkins MP: “Central government is making unprecedented cuts so it's never been more important for councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies"

Toby Perkins MP: “Central government is making unprecedented cuts so it's never been more important for councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies"

A new business network where Labour councillors can share ideas, resources, best practice and develop new ways of championing and supporting small business and encourage growth in the East Midlands is being launched today (Thursday) in Nottingham.

The Labour Councillors Business Network (LCBN) in the East Midlands is the first regional business network to be launched by Labour and will encourage Labour councillors from throughout the region to learn from each other and work together to deliver better business policies for the region.

The network will also allow Labour opposition groups in the area to develop innovative small business manifestos ahead of the Council elections in May.

Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business, will be in the city to launch the LCBN with a visit to Antenna Media Centre and the BioCity bioscience incubator before launching the event at a meeting of Labour councillors from throughout the region at Nottingham City Council.

At the launch event Toby is expected to say: “Although Labour are out of office nationally, there is still much we can do to support the small businesses 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. Labour wants to see more people setting up and working in business.

“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.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be here inNottinghamto launch the East Midlands LCBN. Labour councils from across the country are doing some great work in supporting local small businesses, but this network will give them a platform to share those ideas and best practice and help Labour councils to develop a strong offer with sound business policies and ways to secure jobs.

“Councils from across the country are playing a huge role in demonstrating how the next One Nation Labour government will champion and support small business and I look forward to theEast Midlandsplaying its part.”

Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Skills and Business on Nottingham City Council who will be acting as LCBN East Midlands Champion, said: “I am delighted that Labour has chosen to launch the Labour Council Business Network here in Nottingham.

“In Nottingham we are working in partnership with business to deliver economic growth. Through our Growth Plan we have set out out a clear strategy to restructure our local economy, and create jobs.”

“I am delighted that we are now being given the opportunity, as the LCBN East Midlands Champion, to showcase the work we are doing here in Nottingham with councillors from across the East Midlands to share best practice and work together.

“We believe the unified approach we are taking – across local authorities and across the public & private sectors – is essential, and is at the heart of what makes Labour the One Nation Party.”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

 Interviews with Toby Perkins MP and Councillor Nick McDonald will be available.

  • To launch the East Midlands LCBN, Toby will be visiting Antenna Media Centre and the BioCity bioscience incubator between 11am and 1pm.
  • The launch meeting of the Labour Councillors Business Network will take place at Nottingham City Council, Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG between 1pm – 3pm. Although the meeting is private, interviews with Toby and Nick are available between these times at the council offices.
  • Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Skills and Business, has been appointed as the “champion” of the East Midlands LCBN and will be working to support the network in future.
  • Labour Council Leaders, Opposition Leaders and Business Executive Members from across the region (as far south as Corby to as far north as Chesterfield) will be attending the meeting and sharing examples of their best practice.

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Toby Perkins, here pictured on a visit to Chesterfield Royal Hospital's Transitional Ward: "I'm adamant people in Derbyshire should have access to the best health services".

REVEALED: Derbyshire lags behind on diagnosis

New figures released by the government reveal the price dementia sufferers in Derbyshire are paying for cuts to the NHS.

Dementia costs society approximately £19bn every year – far more than cancer, heart disease or strokes.  There are currently 670,000 people in England living with dementia, with over 4,000 new cases identified in Derbyshire last year. With an aging population, this figure is set to double over the next 30 years.

However, alarming new evidence from the Department of Health indicates many sufferers never receive a formal diagnosis. 

Derbyshire Primary Care Trust’s diagnosis rate is just 43% – well behind England’s flagship PCT diagnosis rate of 75%. 

Toby Perkins, here pictured on a visit to Chesterfield Royal Hospital's Transitional Ward: "I'm adamant people in Derbyshire should have access to the best health services".

Toby Perkins, here pictured on a visit to Chesterfield Royal Hospital's Transitional Ward: "I'm adamant people in Derbyshire should have access to the best health services".

Toby Perkins MP said: “When it comes to dementia, early diagnosis is vital – it helps people get the carers, support and treatment that will improve outcomes and quality of life for dementia sufferers.  It’s extremely worrying that diagnosis rates in our County are below the national average and far behind the best PCTs. 

“I’m adamant people in Derbyshire should have access to best health services possible.

“People will understandably question whether the £3bn the government is spending on their top-down reorganisation of the NHS – which both the Tory’s and Lib Dems said they were opposed to prior to the general election – could be better spent on improving services for dementia sufferers.”

Mr Perkins added: “I’ve written to the PCT to find out what’s behind these disappointing figures and find out what I can do to improve the local diagnosis rate”.

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Toby Perkins MP: "Cameron is imprisoned by party interest and won’t be able to deliver for Britain"

Europe retreat bad for jobs, growth and investment

At the time when Britain needs the Prime Minister focused on securing the country’s economic recovery, he has been forced to give a speech on Europe today that risks creating uncertainty, deterring investors and undermining jobs and growth in this country.  

Toby Perkins MP: "Cameron is imprisoned by party interest and won’t be able to deliver for Britain"

Toby Perkins MP: "Cameron is imprisoned by party interest and won’t be able to deliver for Britain"

Cameron claims to want to be in the EU, but for many in the Conservative Party, getting the Prime Minister to commit now to an in/out referendum is not about a stronger settlement but rushing Britain towards the European exit door.  

What a contrast between the position adopted by David Cameron’s Tory party and the stark warning we’ve received in recent days from senior business leaders across the country.  People such as Sir Martin Sorrell, the Chief Executive of WPP Group, Sir Roger Carr, the Chairman of Centrica, and John Cridland, the CBI Director-General, have all warned of the dire consequences for the UK in leaving the EU.

Sir Richard Branson said recently: “An exit would be very bad for British business and the economy as a whole.  The UK must not become a peripheral country on the edge of Europe.  This will be damaging to long-term prospects of British business and also in the country’s ability to attract new international companies to set up and employ people in the country.”

Our approach is that to get the best deal for Britain we need to be round the table with our allies in Europe, not shouting from the sidelines with one foot already out of the door.  Cameron’s approach is borne of his weakness at the head of a party who believes that Britain can thrive in isolation at the very time that the global race and expansion of developing markets means it has never been more improtant to work together.

People across Chesterfield are united in the view that the priority now must be jobs and growth. People are worried about their jobs and our high streets are in crisis. Just this week our much loved Co-Op store announced its closure. Our economy is stagnating and unemployment is too high.

But saying that we are better off as a major force at the heart of the world’s largest trading base is not to deny that the EU needs to change and work better for people in here in Britain.

But the real tragedy of David Cameron’s speech is that David Cameron’s Party won’t let him address the need for change in the EU in a sensible way that genuinely puts Britain’s imperative for growth at the heart of the agenda.

Clearly David Cameron is a Prime Minister imprisoned by party interest, and won’t be able to deliver for Britain. 

So once again, it will be left to Labour to make the hard headed, patriotic case, founded on the national interest, both for Britain in Europe, and for change in Europe.

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Toby Perkins MP: "“The Co-op is a victim of the government’s continued failure to get growth back into our economy"

Store Closure a “Massive Hit”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has expressed dismay that the Town’s historic Co-operative Department Store is earmarked for closure.  

Toby Perkins MP: "“The Co-op is a victim of the government’s continued failure to get growth back into our economy"

Toby Perkins MP: "The Co-op is a victim of the government’s continued failure to get growth back into our economy"

The Midlands Co-Operative Society have stated they took the difficult decision – which threatens 388 jobs and nine stores across the region – due increasing losses in its Fashion and Home operations.

Midlands Co-op Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “Whilst our other businesses have flourished, the Society has been incurring substantial losses from the Fashion and Home operation and, in spite of sustained efforts to improve performance the latest financial projections indicate a further decline with increasing losses in future years.

“Unfortunately, efforts to sell the business as a going concern have proved unsuccessful and, after much consideration, it is with great regret that the Board of Directors has taken this very difficult decision to close the Fashion and Home business.”

Commenting on the closure, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “This news is a massive hit for Chesterfield.

“The Co-op has been a much-loved stalwart of the Chesterfield high street for generations with many local people being stakeholders in its prosperity through its excellent membership scheme.

“The Co-op, and other household names such as Comet and Jessop’s which have gone bust in recent weeks, are victims of the government’s continued appalling failure to get growth back into our economy.

Mr Perkins added: “I’m now scheduling talks with management and other stakeholders to discern how I can support the firm and workforce.”

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Toby and Big Ben

Perkins launches the great Chesterfield pub survey!

17 January 2013

Local MP and Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister, Toby Perkins, today launched a widespread survey of Chesterfield’s pubs.

Toby has written to as many local pubs as he has contact details for, but if any local pubs who have not received a survey and would like one, they can email him at toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk with their name and address and he will send a survey out to them.  All return forms will be kept confidential and anonymous.

Mr Perkins explained: “I recognise that there are a range of challenges when it comes to running a pub and I want to hear from local landlords and licencees about which they think are the most important and what action we can take to overcome them.”

After a recent climbdown from the Tory-led government (you can read more here) a new statutory code to regulate PubCos – the large branded chains who dominate the industry – will soon come before Parliament, making it even more vital for Toby to hear from local Pubs at this time.

Toby added: “I know that other issues have also had an impact on the trade including changing lifestyles and the rise of cheap supermarket alcohol and ‘pre-loading’.  Undoubtedly VAT and duty also have an influence, although it is interesting to note that research from the House of Commons library has recently shown how the Tory-led government’s decision to increase VAT to 20% has added more to the price of a pint over the last two-and-a-half years than the beer duty escalator has.

The answers I get from the survey will be extremely helpful for me at future debates and votes in Parliament and also in my work with the local council and other groups in Chesterfield.

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despatchbox (2)

Labour forces government climb-down to save community pubs

Pressure from the Labour Party has forced the Tory-led government to perform a climb-down and introduce legislation to help protect struggling pubs in places like Chesterfield, and local MP Toby Perkins played a key role in this victory.

The number of pubs closing per week has recently risen from 12 to 18  and more than 200 pubs have been converted to supermarket convenience stores over the past two years alone.

Many factors have an influence, but the unfair and unbalanced relationship between licensees and their landlords, the large branded pub companies or “PubCos” who dominate the market, has undoubtedly played a part in this sad decline.

A broad coalition of groups in the pub trade – including CAMRA, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Independent Pub Confederation, the GMB and UNITE Unions, the Forum of Private Business and Fair Pint have been calling for a statutory code to guide and regulate the relationship between the PubCos and their tenants and licencees.

Labour has long supported these calls and on 12 January 2012 the House of Commons voted unanimously for a statutory code to be introduced.  Despite this the Tory-led government decided to sit on its hands and ignore the will of Parliament and the broad coalition of pub industry groups.

Therefore Toby, as Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister, called the first Opposition Day Debate of the year – one of the very few opportunities for parties not in government to decide what the House of Commons will debate and vote upon – on 9 January 2013 on the issue of PubCo regulation.

Climb-down

As recently as October 2012 the government did not believe there was a problem and the minister responsible refused a meeting request from the Publican’s Morning Advertiser on the grounds that all the government’s commitments to pubs had “now been achieved”.

But remarkably within 24 hours of Toby’s Opposition Day Debate the Tory-led government spectacularly caved in and announced that they would introducing a statutory code after all.

Toby explained: “Pubs are vital hubs for communities in Chesterfield and are valued strongly by local people, but due to the Tory-led government’s inaction and broken promises on backing small landlords they are closing at an ever-increasing rate.  The number of pub closures a week has risen to 18 and over 200 pubs have been converted to convenience stores in the last two years alone.

 

“I welcome the fact that, after I called a debate on this issue, ministers have decided to think again.  However, the government still has some questions to answer and has not gone as far as many groups in the sector would like.”
It is still unclear whether the government’s reforms will offer struggling landlords a free of tie option so they can buy their beer on the open market rather than being contractually committed to only buy their beer from their PubCo at often inflated price. The original BIS press release this week announcing Cable’s plans specifically noted that the new code “will not mandate, as some campaigners have suggested, a ‘free of tie option’ with open market rent review”.  A couple of hours later this sentence had been removed from the press release on the Department’s website, leaving campaign groups like CAMRA scratching their heads as to where they stand.Work still to do

The government is also refusing to consider a guest beer provision which would allow tied pubs to at least serve one guest beer at the bar. Again this was something heavily pressed for by campaign groups in the pub sector including FairPint, the GMB and CAMRA.

Finally, the government has not made clear how local pubs will be protected ahead of a new statutory code being prepared. Large pub companies could potentially see a window of opportunity to cash in on their assets whilst the new code waits to become law.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Perkins added: “After a whole year of inaction and foot dragging from ministers, the government have caved in and are finally accepting what we have said all along: that ensuring fairness in the relationship between the big pub companies and their landlords will require a statutory code.  Labour has led calls alongside a broad coalition for a proper statutory code to support landlords, protect local pubs and help turn around the tide of pub closures we have seen.

“However, the confusion around the free of tie option is greatly disappointing for many in the pub trade as is the absence of a guest beer provision.
“Given the huge amount of time which ministers have already wasted, it is crucial that the government moves quickly to bring forward proposals for a proper statutory code this year. We will be urging ministers to strengthen the Code by including a non-tied option for publicans, which campaigners have long been calling for.”

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Holocaust Memorial Day

Toby stands up to prejudice by signing Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment

16 January 2013

This week Chesterfield’s MP, Toby Perkins, signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.

Sunday January 27th will mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.

In signing the Book of Commitment, Toby paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme.

In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.

Speaking afterwards, Toby said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I visited Auschwitz last year and saw for myself the horrific consequences of prejudice, I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of community in the fight against intolerance.

Karen Pollock MBE, the Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that Mr Perkins is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry.

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Toby Perkins MP: "Providing a top-class education to all is fundamental to a One Nation society"

“Shameful” School Cuts

Chesterfield’s MP has slammed changes to the funding of an educational unit for children with disabilities as “shameful”.

Toby Perkins MP: "Providing a top-class education to all is fundamental to a One Nation society"

Toby Perkins MP: "Providing a top-class education to all is fundamental to a One Nation society"

Toby Perkins visited the unit, based at Brampton Primary School, which caters for 4 to 11 year-olds with autism, to discuss the situation with teachers and parents.

Children on the Autistic Spectrum need specialised provision and support to access the curriculum. The Brampton Unit’s staff expertise backs-up the school’s proven outstanding track record.

Previously, the Department for Education financed the Unit with a single settlement covering the building, staffing and resource costs through the Local Education Authority, but changes brought in by the Government stating that special ‘Enhanced’ units – including Brampton – should be bankrolled on a per-pupil basis, mean Brampton will be worse off.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “Providing a top-class education to all children, appropriate to their needs and abilities, is fundamental in a One Nation society.

“I really can’t praise Brampton School enough for their fantastic, innovative work – I was really impressed. However I share the concerns of staff and parents that standards will fall if funding is reduced. It’s the pupils who will ultimately lose out.”

Mr Perkins added: “I’ll be taking up the parent’s concerns with Education Secretary Michael Gove to push for an improved deal for Brampton and other schools nation-wide affected by this shameful policy.”

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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

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Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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