Archive | March, 2013

Toby Perkins MP, winning apprentice Daniel Rhodes and Apprentice Team MD Katie Johnstone

MP Presents Apprentice’s Prize

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has presented an award to The Apprentice Team’s Derbyshire Area Apprentice of the Year Daniel Rhodes.

Toby Perkins MP, winning apprentice Daniel Rhodes and Apprentice Team MD Katie Johnstone

Toby Perkins MP, winning apprentice Daniel Rhodes and Apprentice Team MD Katie Johnstone

Apprenticeship recruitment specialist, The Apprentice Team, announced the winner of The Apprentice of the Year award at the start of National Apprenticeship Week – which runs from 11th-15th March.

Numerous nominations were submitted for the award won by outstanding candidate Daniel Rhodes of Astute Finance, based in Chesterfield’s Dunston Innovation Centre. Daniel, who secured his position at Astute Finance through The Apprentice Team in November 2011, has now been promoted to a management position.

Steve Holmes, General Manager at Astute Finance said: “Daniel came into the business as a keen and eager Apprentice. In just over 12 months he has become a key figure in our senior management team, whom has the respect of everyone here at Astute, regardless of his age.”

Chesterfield MP and Shadow Business Minister Toby Perkins, who presented Daniel with his award, stated: “I’m pleased to be supporting National Apprenticeship Week 2013 and celebrate the fantastic contribution Apprentices make to workplaces across Britain. I wish the Apprentice Team in Chesterfield all the best as they continue to work on behalf of our young people”.

Katie Johnstone, Managing Director of the Apprentice Team said: “Daniel’s progression proves that, with dedication and enthusiasm, career goals can be achieved through effective Apprenticeship programmes.  We also believe that Daniel’s progression into management within his first year can only inspire and encourage other individuals locally to take the Apprenticeship route.  We’re proud of his achievements”.

The Apprentice Team will also be holding open days throughout National Apprenticeship Week and will be on hand to assist young people interested in taking the Apprenticeship route to their chosen career, with over 150 live vacancies available. For more information about Apprenticeships call 01246 278 931 or log on to to register interest.

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Toby Perkins MP at CPP

Stricken Firm to shed 100 Jobs

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has visited the Future Walk offices of CPP, in the wake of the sad news that their office will close with around 100 redundancies.

Toby Perkins MP at CPP

Toby Perkins MP at CPP

CPP, which operates three call centres in the UK, are now in deep trouble following a damning FSA verdict about misselling practices that led to record £10.5 million fine.

The final closure is the last in a series of blows to the Chesterfield operation which had employed around 450 people in Chesterfield two years ago but a recruitment freeze and previous redundancy round preceded this announcement.

Chesterfield MP and Shadow Business Minister Toby Perkins said: “It’s terrible that so many workers are being laid off at CPP at the same time as there are large-scale redundancies locally from Tesco, HMV, the Co-operative Department Store and others.

“I have been working with the firm over the past two years to support their efforts to save their business and jobs whilst becoming compliant with their commitments to the FSA. Today was my third visit to their Chesterfield office and as always, I was blown away by the commitment, professionalism and vitality of the predominantly younger workforce there. I really hope they will soon find alternative employment, and any local firms looking to recruit staff with strong sales and customer service experience should contact CPP immediately or get in touch with my office and we’ll try and support the efforts of the firm to help every person into alternative employment.”

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Toby Perkins MP and Holly Redford-Jones on International Women's Day

Chesterfield Student gets Insiders’ View of Parliament

Toby Perkins MP and Holly Redford-Jones on International Women's Day

Toby Perkins MP and Holly Redford-Jones on International Women's Day

An aspiring Chesterfield student spent a day shadowing her MP as part of an event to mark International Women’s Day.

19-year-old Holly Redford-Jones, a former Brookfield School student currently pursuing a gap year, spent the day with her MP, Toby Perkins, learning about the workings of Parliament.

The day was backed by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament to encourage young women to consider careers in politics.  

Holly’s packed schedule included an exclusive tour of Downing Street. She also spent time observing debate on the Government’s controversial Justice and Security Bill from the Chamber’s public gallery and the Equal Marriage Bill being considered clause by clause at committee stage.

Commenting on the day, Holly said: “It was fascinating to put the theory aside and see how ideas are debated and decisions made in reality. I’m going to be studying politics as a part of my degree next year so it’s been a really useful insight.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Holly to Parliament.

“The Labour Party has worked hard to improve the representation of women in politics at local and national levels and I’m proud of our record. I hope more young women, like Holly, consider pursuing a career in politics.”

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Toby Perkins MP with anti-poverty campaigners at Oxfam Chesterfield

MP Backs Anti-Poverty Campaign

Anti-Poverty campaigners from across Chesterfield met at Oxfam’s Knifesmithgate branch to discuss International Aid with their MP, Toby Perkins.

Toby Perkins MP with anti-poverty campaigners at Oxfam Chesterfield

Toby Perkins MP with anti-poverty campaigners at Oxfam Chesterfield

Shocking figures indicate around a billion people globally are suffering hunger. Oxfam believe the issue can be addressed if the UK honours its 40-year-old promise to spend 0.7% of GDP on International Aid and corruption can be eradicated in the third world.

Oxfam, backed by Mr Perkins, have launched their Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign to enshrine the 0.7% aid commitment in legislation in the Chancellor’s Budget on 20th March, and press for the UK’s forthcoming presidency of the G8 group of wealthy industrial nations to be used to eradicate world hunger.

Toby Perkins MP said: “Even in these straightened economic times at home, we can’t ignore the reality that we’re relatively privileged in the UK compared to the places in the world where starvation is rife.

“I support the Oxfam Enough Food for Everyone If campaign and will be backing calls on Budget Day for the UK to make a formal commitment to ending this form of poverty.”

Mr Perkins added: “I’d like to congratulate the 55 volunteers who work in the Chesterfield Oxfam shop for the money they help to raise to support vital international projects.”

Chesterfield Oxfam Shop Deputy Manager Mariana Wood said: “We’re really grateful to Toby for coming to discuss this important issue with us and for his support”.

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Apprentice Video Screen Shot

Perkins: “Government must back young people during National Apprenticeships Week”

To mark National Apprenticeship week 2013, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins recorded a special video (which you can see below) outlining what apprenticeships mean to him, and called on the government to do more to support young people through apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships and other forms of vocational education offer a clear path to a successful career for thousands of people but many more are being left behind by a government that takes an indifferent attitude towards them, especially towards young people.

Apprenticeships are of enormous benefit, not only for each apprentice but also for the businesses training them. They can fill a skills gap and allow businesses the opportunity to tailor their workforce around their specific needs, as well as offering real returns to their bottom line through increased productivity and competitiveness.

And for apprentices there is the opportunity to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money all at the same time. They will also gain excellent prospects for the future because they will have the knowledge and experience that employers really value.

But the Tory-led government isn’t doing enough to create more quality apprenticeships for young people. When we were in office, Labour revitalised the apprenticeship programme – boosting apprenticeship starts from 65,000 when we took office in 1997 to 279,700 in our final year in government.

Under the Tories, almost one million young people are now unemployed and the number out of work for more than 12 months has doubled in the last year. In the developed world, only Greece and Spain are doing worse. The Tories and their Lib Dem allies simply aren’t doing enough to create the apprenticeships that Britain badly needs.

Concerns have been raised over the quality and duration of apprenticeships under the Tory-led government and following Labour pressure, the Richard Review was launched to look at the relabeling of in-work short training courses as apprenticeships in order to boost numbers.

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, set up by Labour when we were in government. Labour is calling on the present government to use the billions spent through public procurement to boost apprenticeship opportunities by requiring companies bidding for contracts worth over £1million to offer apprenticeships. And the BIS Select Committee’s analysis has concluded that for every £1 million spent, at least one apprenticeship could be created.

In nearby Sheffield the Labour Council has already boosted apprenticeship numbers by developing strategies to use procurement contracts to create apprenticeship opportunities for young people locally, demonstrating that this policy can really work.

We would also offer school students quality vocational courses that would lead to a new gold standard qualification called a Technical Baccalaureate.

Investing in apprenticeships is an integral part of creating a new economy; one that works for everyone instead of just a few. And young people in Chesterfield are amongst those who stand to benefit.

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Researchers awards 2013-7103

Local MP’s team recognised in national awards

7 March 2013

At an awards ceremony in the Speaker’s House in Westminster this week (4 March), a member of Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins’ team won in the category of “Best Parliamentary Researcher for Small Business”.

The category, judged by the Federation of Small Business and a panel of MPs from all parties, is awarded to the MP staff member who best demonstrates an awareness of the needs of small business in all of their work.

Matthew Kelcher hails from Brampton and attended Brookfield Community School before graduating with a first in politics from the University of Nottingham.  He now works for Mr Perkins in Westminster supporting him in his roles as Chesterfield MP and Shadow Small Business Minister.

The award recognises Matthew’s work to support small businesses in several areas, including:

  • Helping to establish and grow a network of Labour Councils across the country who are now working together to share new ideas, innovative policies and best practice to support small businesses.
  • Work to support the Labour Small Business Taskforce which was set up by Ed Miliband and brings a group of leading academics and businessmen to look at how government can shape the business environment so it is as conducive as possible to entrepreneurship and small business growth.
  • Work on Toby’s campaign to protect local community pubs by introducing better regulation of the large branded PubCos.

Toby Perkins said:

“I’m determined to provide a good service and value for money for the people of Chesterfield in all that I do as their MP.  Most of my team are based in Chesterfield working closely with local people to help them with a variety of problems and issues.  But I’m also pleased that the hard work that Matt does down in London has also been recognised.  I hope we can go on making a difference for small businesses in Chesterfield and across the country.”

Matthew Kelcher said:

“Small business policy is one of the most interesting and important areas in politics today.  90% of people moving from unemployment into private sector employment do so through small businesses, so if we can find the best ways to help small businesses grow we can build a stronger economy as well.  I’m particularly pleased to have been able to contribute in this area and to have been recognised by the Federation of Small Businesses with this award.”

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Toby Perkins MP outside the Chesterfield Co-operative Department Store

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

The health of our town centre in Chesterfield is a source of constant concern and debate. Recent announcements of the planned closure of the Co-Op which has been a dominant and much loved fixture on Elder Way for as long as anyone can remember, and the travails of our market traders serve to re-ignite the age old debate at a time when many people fear a longer term decline in our economic prosperity and standard of living.

Toby Perkins MP outside the Chesterfield Co-operative Department Store

Toby Perkins MP outside the Chesterfield Co-operative Department Store

It is scant consolation to hear that Chesterfield’s empty shops rate is far healthier than most other towns. Our open air market continues to astound and impress visitors at the same time that locals bemoan that ‘it’s not as busy as it used to be’. Although throughout the twenty two years I’ve been in Chesterfield, the market has never been ‘as busy as it used to be’.

Identifying the causes is always easier than the solutions. But there is no question that the squeeze on living standards which actually pre-dated the crash but has increased since as wages stagnate, taxes , energy, fuel and food prices rise is a contributory factor, as is the lack of confidence that continues to befall us as the slowest recovery in history bumps along.

The recession has been particularly harsh for businesses aiming at the middle market. But the need for firms to constantly modernise and re-invent themselves has also never been more keenly felt. Many of those who lament the threat to the future of the Co-Op also guiltily admit that they haven’t shopped there regularly in a long while. My visit there a day or two after the announcement coincided with one of their busiest trading days of the year as people rallied round.

The Council attempt to accommodate the pressures these businesses face whilst wrestling with a 38% cut over four years in their own income. By offering free parking in the run up to Christmas they removed one of the objections sited by potential visitors, but they also have their own books to balance.

The Council’s investment in Vicar Lane paid handsome dividends with that being the busiest section of town, creating jobs and raising revenues for the town. But Chesterfield is in a competitive market battling Sheffield, Meadowhall and Junction 28 for shopping spend.

Now they must consider the impact of the Co-Op closure on their plans for the Northern Gateway. If new retailers wanted to move into the existing facilities we have they already would have done, and we can’t expect to win that regional race without the widest selection possible, but there won’t be new facilities built until Chesterfield has new businesses signed up. The proverbial chicken and egg.

Now the Football Club want the Council to let them off £1Million and critics say they should dig deep to bail out people hit by government cuts to Housing and Council Tax benefits. People are short of cash already without a Council tax increase or hiking parking charges, privatisation of services hasn’t tended to lead to the promised savings or service improvements. If the answer was simple someone would have done it.

Its a tough time to be a retailer or a market trader in recession Britain, but its not an easy time to lead a Council either!

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Happy St David's Day!

Happy St David’s Day

Happy St David's Day!

Happy St David's Day!

On St David’s Day, the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Wales, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins sends his best wishes to all of Chesterfield’s Welsh residents.

Mr Perkins said: “Hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi!

“I hope all Welsh residents of Chesterfield and locals with Welsh heritage enjoy their national day.”

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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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