Archive | July, 2013

LTC Linacre

Biggest ever Listening to Chesterfield series this summer

 

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins will be Listening to Chesterfield in a big way this summer- hoping to meet and hear from 10,000 people across Chesterfield in a huge programme of listening street surgeries.

The MP, local Councillors and his team will take to the streets over the parliamentary recess in events in every single ward in his Chesterfield constituency asking residents about issues as diverse as their experiences of the National Health Service and benefit reforms to plans for new developments in the town centre and the changes to school holiday permissions.

His team will be quizzing people in every one of Chesterfield’s 17 wards. Having started in St Helens on Monday afternoon, Toby and local Councillors were in Holme Hall on Thursday and on Green Farm on Friday. They will also be leaving surveys for people to fill out that are absent when they call.

Toby Perkins MP said: “The parliamentary recess is a great opportunity to really drill down into the key issues affecting people in Chesterfield. I will be looking to discuss the issues that really matter with people in the town and hope that those that we miss will complete our questionnaire and send it back.”

He emphasised: “This is a genuine consultation, in which I want to hear what people really think, if we can reach 10,000 people in the next six weeks, we will have a really strong understanding of people’s views on the big issues of today.”

The survey invites people to reflect on their thoughts about the performance of the NHS, Royal Hospital and GP services. We are also enquiring about the new school holiday arrangements, levels of taxation and benefits and Labour’s Jobs guarantee proposal, as well as broader questions about overall government priorities.

 

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(l-r) Post Office Area Sales Manager Angie Coxon, Post Office employee Lynne Thomas, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, family business director, Richard Barron and Subpostmaster, Tim Holmes

MP Opens New Look Whittington Moor Post Office

Chesterfield MP and Shadow Business Minister Toby Perkins had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the new look Whittington Moor Post Office on Friday last week.

Mr Perkins – pictured above cutting the ribbon with staff at the Post Office – said: “The Post Office network is at the heart of communities up – and down the country and the Whittington Moor branch is no different.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to open the new branch with Tim Holmes. Post Offices play a key role in our communities and it is vital that they are given full access to a diverse range of services to allow them to survive and thrive. At a time when public trust in some national institutions is challenged, the Post Office has a vital role as a trusted supplier of a broad range of financial services alongside their role at the heart of a publically supported and run postal network, I hope that role continues to grow.

(l-r) Post Office Area Sales Manager Angie Coxon, Post Office employee Lynne Thomas, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, family business director, Richard Barron and Subpostmaster, Tim Holmes

(l-r) Post Office Area Sales Manager Angie Coxon, Post Office employee Lynne Thomas, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, family business director, Richard Barron and Subpostmaster, Tim Holmes

 “We can see the evidence of their value on Whittington Moor today.

“I’ve no doubt that people in the area will be pleased with the brighter, open space in the new branch, and particularly the extra hours of service. It will definitely mean that Tim and his team here are kept busy!”

The refurbished Post Office has four serving positions that are easy for the customer to access. Three of these are screened while there is also a Post Office serving point at the retail counter, which is available during shop opening hours.

Subpostmaster Tim Holmes said: “The new branch is working out really well. It looks modern and bright, and it’s attracting customers’ attention. The change has gone smoothly and the extra customers we’ve been getting have meant it was worth it.

“It’s great to see Toby Perkins at our branch today so we’d like to thank him for coming. I’d also like to thank the staff, and everyone who helped with the refurbishment and the official opening today.

“I have to thank the customers too. There’d be no point in doing the work if they weren’t here. They’ll be the ones to get the most benefit from the change.”

Post Office Regional Network Manager for Central England Adrian Walessaid: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to the community around Whittington Moor and we are confident that this new modern Post Office service will meet everyone’s needs and secure services for the future.”

He added: “The modernisation is part of a major investment programme to convert the Post Office network to new-style branches. This investment, the largest in the history of the Post Office, marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”

The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches. It is also one of the UK’s fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephone services.

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Shadow Business Minister’s day in the north east

Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Businesses, spent 11 July in the North East, meeting local businesses and officials.

Tour on NETPark

BO5JzUlCMAATw3hFirst up on the itinerary was a tour of Durham’s North East Technology Park (or NETPark) which is a Council owned facility which provides space and support for emerging technology companies.

Through this NETPark is helping to diversify the North East’s economy with new and creative industries after the decline of the mining industry.

Amongst the new products created on site and tested by Toby was a new machine for scanning containers of liquid developed by a company called Kromek.  This machine will soon allow passengers to carry liquids safely onto aeroplanes.

BO5OPJ-CEAAxH1CAlso in development at NETPark is a new overnight mask which can prevent diabetes sufferers from going blind.  This could save the eyesight of millions around the world.

After touring these companies’ facilities Toby held a working lunch with other businesses on the Park and talked through Labour’s new plans to help small business access finance and the skilled employees they need.

North East LCBN Launch

Afterwards, Perkins launched the North East Labour Cllrs Business Network (LCBN).

The national LCBN was established by Toby, Chuka Umunna and Hilary Benn in London in late 2012 and is a forum where Labour Cllrs can share ideas, resources and best practice towards small business.  This year Toby has been travelling around the country to launch a regional network in every area and Labour Cllrs from each of the 12 local authorities in the North East region attended this launch.

BO5XuCLCMAAi-QIThe group heard three presentations.

Firstly, Cllr Simon Henig, leader of the County Council of Durham spoke about the need to diversify the local economy and to instil a more entrepreneurial spirit in schools for young people so that those of any backgrounds think they can set up and run their own business.

BO5bRjoCMAEFuSBSecondly, Cllrs Ged Ball and Michael Johnson from Newcastle City Council spoke about how they have regenerated and redeveloped the City including how they have used culture to develop jobs and growth.  They also highlighted the importance of apprenticeships.  Whilst the average Council employs 37 apprentices, Newcastle City Council has 117.

BO5g_9NCIAEQu5PThirdly, the new Leader of Hartlepool Council, Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, spoke about the difference even the smallest local authorities can make to local growth.

At the end of the meeting Durham’s Cllr Henig was appointed as the LCBN “Champion” for the region and will coordinate further discussion between the group.

Small Business Consultation

In the early evening, at the invitation of Labour’s new parliamentary candidate for Stockton South, Louise Baldock, Toby visited the facilities of local manufacturer Nifco.

Here Toby met with local businesses, representatives of the local college and university to discuss small businesses.

Toby and Louise were joined on the panel by Stockton entrepreneur Terry Owens.  Terry founded InBiz, a company which promotes enterprise skills. Under Terry’s leadership Inbiz helped over 30,000 people to move out of benefits by setting up their own business, and over 80% of these were still trading after two years.  He has also been a key member of the Labour Small Business Taskforce.

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MP backs FSB’s Top Tips for online business security

Chesterfield MP and Shadow Small Business Minister, has urged businesses to think about cyber security and follow the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) top tips to stay safe online.

The Federation of Small Businesses recently published a report, Cyber security and fraud: the impact on small businesses, which shows that cyber crime costs its members around £785 million per year as they fall victim to fraud and online crime.

FSB1The report shows that 41 per cent of FSB members have been a victim of cyber crime in the last 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business. Around three in 10 members have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13%) or through ‘card not present’ fraud (10%).

However, the report finds that almost 20 per cent of FSB members have not taken any steps to protect themselves from a cyber crime, even though 36 per cent of respondents said they regularly install security patches. Almost six in 10 members regularly update their virus scanning software to minimise their exposure to online crime.

In response to this the FSB has developed ten top tips for small firms to help them keep their data secure and reduce the risk of online fraud. The tips include measures on having the right security protection and practices, staff training, and having regular assessment and testing of security.

Toby said:

“Cyber crime can hit small firms hard, so it’s important they think carefully about the procedures in place to prevent it. The FSB’s top tips are an excellent tool for businesses that aren’t sure where to turn to for advice, and set out clear steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of operating online.”

Ann Swain, Chair of the FSB’s Home Affairs Policy Committee said:

“Tackling cyber crime is a growing priority for businesses, and while a lot of our members are taking action we need to make sure small businesses adopt a range of measures to protect themselves. Our research shows just how common cyber crime is, and the serious effect it has on firms, so we’re keen to make sure they have access to the right advice and support.”

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Toby Perkins MP: “I’m glad that the Hospital has fully accepted the CQC’s finding and have committed to do all they can to raise standards – patients deserve better and I will be telling the Hospital’s Chief Executive that this shock must lead to real change"

Hospital in Hot Water with MP over Food Quality

Toby Perkins MP: “I’m glad that the Hospital has fully accepted the CQC’s finding and have committed to do all they can to raise standards – patients deserve better and I will be telling the Hospital’s Chief Executive that this shock must lead to real change"

Toby Perkins MP: “I’m glad the Hospital has accepted the CQC’s findings – patients deserve better”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is calling for a radical change in the quality of food served to patients at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, in the light of a damning report from a government watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), who regulate and inspect GP’s surgeries and hospitals, have served Chesterfield Royal Hospital with a notice to improve after finding that patients were not fully protected against risks of inadequate nutrition and dehydration. They also found that the systems in place were not used consistently or effectively to ensure that people had appropriate support to eat and drink sufficient amounts to meet their needs.

Mr Perkins, who had already scheduled a meeting with hospital bosses to discuss food provision at the Hospital, is demanding that necessary immediate improvements precede a fuller review into when, where and how patients needs are best served.

Commenting on the CQC’s findings, Toby Perkins said: “Before I became aware of this alarming report, I had a meeting scheduled with hospital staff to raise concerns about the food served at the facility after a number of my constituents had raised concerns; this is happening on 19th July. The Chesterfield Labour Party has called for hospital food to be prepared in-house not shipped across the Country and reheated and I back these calls.

“I’m glad that the Hospital has fully accepted the CQC’s finding and have committed to do all they can to raise standards – patients deserve better and I will be telling the Hospital’s Chief Executive that this shock must lead to real change.

“Once the most pressing issues have been dealt with, there needs to be a root-and-branch review of how food is delivered at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Hospital bosses have vowed to address the issues before the CQC’s deadline of 26th July, admitting that standards had not been high enough in the recent past. “We fully accept the CQC’s report and our performance in this essential standard will improve within the timescale they have set out”, says Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive. “We take the CQC’s findings and its warning notice very seriously and had already begun to improve this part of our service – working on several initiatives to support improvements around nutrition and hydration; and mealtimes.”

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Toby Perkins MP: “I hope the public will support this event to thank our veterans and show solidarity with our forces men and women who are currently serving.”

MP Enlists Community to Back our Forces

Toby Perkins MP: “I hope the public will support this event to thank our veterans and show solidarity with our forces men and women who are currently serving.”

Toby Perkins MP: “I hope the public will support this event to thank our veterans and show solidarity with our forces men and women who are currently serving.”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is mustering the public to join him in celebrating the work of armed service personnel, past and present, at the annual Staveley Armed Forces Weekend.

Taking place in Poolsbrook Country Park on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July, organisers Staveley Armed Forces and Veterans Association say this year’s event promises to be their biggest yet, with the highlight a flypast from a World War II Dakota aircraft on both days.

Saturday begins with a military parade led by a brass band to the Park, leaving shortly after 9.30am from Staveley Market Square. Entertainment throughout the weekend includes live music from 1940s-inspired performers, displays from rescue dogs and birds of prey, a paintball range, climbing wall and good food in the NAAFI-style diner. 

Sunday’s offering begins with a procession from Medows Drive at 10am to a special outdoor ecumenical church service in Poolsbrook Country Park, led by Royal British Legion Padres with musical accompaniment from the Ireland Colliery brass band, before an afternoon of fun and games on the site including a second Dakota flypast.

Entry is free for the whole weekend and a range of community and charity groups including scouts, cadets and residents’ association information stalls will be present.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, who is attending the celebration and joining parade, said: “I’m looking forward to going to this popular weekend of festivities once again. The event gets bigger each year and, as well as being a great deal of family fun, goes to show the esteem those who have put their lives in the line of fire are held in.”

Mr Perkins added: “I hope the public will support this event, as they have so marvellously in the past, to thank our veterans and show solidarity with our forces men and women who are currently serving.”

 

For more information about the event, please contact Joe on 07731 955439 or email joe@safva.co.uk.

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Toby Perkins MP Publishes Results of Chesterfield Local Publicans Survey

According to its newest figures, CAMRA now estimates that twenty-six pubs are closing every week in the UK. Local Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has been well aware of the pressures being exerted on the pub trade for some time now, both through his involvement with industry representative groups such as CAMRA and the constituents who come to see him at his constituency surgery.

In response to these tough times in the pub industry, Toby Perkins conducted a survey in Chesterfield to  ascertain what local publicans considered to be the greatest problems facing the modern British pub.

Perkins explains:

“Our pubs are amongst our most iconic national treasures. A short drive across Chesterfield reveals the great diversity of the British Pub Industry, however, too many local pubs in Chesterfield are closing and too many pub landlords are facing bankruptcy. Each pub closure costs the community an average of eleven jobs and sees a loss of around £80,000 to the local economy.

For this reason, I decided to conduct a survey of pubs in Chesterfield in order to gain a better impression of what local publicans whom I represent in parliament see as the most important issues facing the industry today. I sent a survey to every pub in Chesterfield in January 2013 and have been delighted by the response.”

The report contains a three point plan to boost the pub trade. Toby Perkins plans to use the findings in the report to put pressure on the Government to give the pub industry the attention it need and deserves. The full report can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Chesterfield Pubs Survey 2013

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Toby Perkins MP outside raided shop Bzee's

Fighting for those who play by the rules

Toby Perkins MP writes for the Derbyshire Times…

 

People who flout the law should never expect to be able to hide in our communities or take advantage of our citizens – not here, not anywhere.

Toby Perkins MP outside raided shop Bzee's

Toby Perkins MP outside raided shop Bzee’s

And it’s with that in mind that I’ve been both dismayed and delighted in recent weeks.

Dismayed because I learnt that illegal cigarette importers had set up a shop, Bzee’s on Cavendish Street, where dangerous counterfeit cigarettes were being sold – even to children.

Even more appallingly, those arrested in two raids on this store had been naive placemen who protected the criminals running these shady operations. Worse still, Bzee’s was operated by people given refuge in our country who knew that, even if they were arrested, they were immune from deportation due to the dangerous political situation in their original homes.

My sense of anger hardly abated after hosting a meeting attended by legitimate tobacconists and other retailers fuming about the activities of the store, and Police officers who were equally appalled that – despite two successful raids and seizures of stock – the shop continued to trade with impunity, flouting the law to the detriment of legally-compliant competitors and wider community safety.

In this case, by having a private meeting with Police, the responsible landlord and Trading Standards to express the frustration that everyone was feeling, we managed to get quick and decisive action to get the store closed.

So a positive result in this case, but there’s still more to do in the fight to clear up our streets. Derbyshire Trading Standards estimate there are around 14 similar retailers in our county engaged in the illicit tobacco trade; that’s why I’ll be pushing in Parliament for greater Home Office support for the authorities dealing with these rogue traders. But there’s also a real responsibility on commercial landlords to make sure that they’re expecting more of their tenants than simply paying the rent. We all need to work together to ensure the ringleaders of this criminal activity are removed from our streets and face the full force of the law.

Whilst the counterfeit cigarette trade may involve illegal immigrant communities, it played no part in another Chesterfield store that has mocked the law for several years, selling drug-related paraphernalia and ‘legal highs’ marketed as herbal mixes and incense, but used for less altruistic purposes.

The shop in question has been in the spotlight recently following a catastrophic reaction which ensued when one of their lethal legal high products fell into the unsuspecting hands of a Chesterfield schoolboy.

I recently met with the boy’s father, David Hilton-Turner, who saw his 14-year-old son on the edge of death after dabbling with the ‘elixir’ Clockwork Orange. It was tough to tell him that these stores are legitimate when they have seen the catastrophic consequences of legal highs.

I’ve contacted the landlords of this store to see how they reconcile its use with their responsibility as a commercial landlord.

The expectation that those who play by the rules get a fair deal is a precious one, and one I will fight to maintain in our Town.

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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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