Archive | July, 2013

Chesterfield Labour Members celebrating the 65th Birthday of the NHS

What the NHS means to Chesterfield

Today is the 65th birthday of our NHS.  Watch the video below to discover what the NHS means to the people of Chesterfield.


Chesterfield Labour Members celebrating the 65th Birthday of the NHS

Chesterfield Labour Members celebrating the 65th Birthday of the NHS

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Toby Outside Big Ben

Toby’s message on the day of the NHS’s 65th Birthday

Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield wrote the following speech to mark today’s 65th Birthday of the NHS:

Yesterday was the 4th July.  Independence day in America, A date etched in the consciousness of over 300 million Americans.

Today is the 5th July, a day which should be viewed with just as much passion, patriotism and most of all pride by 60 million Brits.  This is because on this day in 1948 Our National Health Service was born.

With the birth of the NHS a truly revolutionary change and was born out of our determination to build a better country after we triumphed against fascism in the war.

Across the country, many people had spent six long years sheltering underground to avoid nightly attacks. When they walked into the sunlight of 1945 they were determined to take everyone across the country with them into a brighter future.

Of course they were told it couldn’t be done, as we are told so many things can’t be done today.  But they didn’t listen and during a time of huge financial deficit and a debt to America that was not paid off for another fifty years, real and lasting change was made.

On July 4th 1948 working class women had little access to healthcare.  Any money available for medical treatment was spent first on the breadwinner and second on the children.  Women had no choice but to suffer crippling illness and disease, as families made impossible decisions that we can barely imagine today.

On July 5th 1948 doctor’s doors were open to all for the first time and women and their families were able to walk through them.  And walk through them they did. From infection to disease and startling health conditions women were able to access immediate and free treatment to deal with the pain and misery they had had to suffer for years.

On July 4th 1948 preventative healthcare was a luxury only of the rich.  Working class families feared taking their children to visit the doctor until problems had reached their peak because they simply couldn’t afford to pay for long term healthcare.

On July 5th 1948 no parent was forced to take risks with their kids’ health.  Children received inoculations to protect them from diphtheria, measles, and small pox, and TB once a scourge of the working class, became treatable for the many and not just the few.

On July 5th 1948, the working class stopped dying of diseases the rich survived.

On July 4th 1948 there was no democratic oversight of healthcare.  The country did not know who to hold to account for any problem they faced accessing treatment.  People were disenfranchised and disheartened.

On July 5th 1948 when a bedpan dropped in the corridor of a Chesterfield Hospital the reverberations echoed down the corridors of Whitehall.

Toby Outside Big Ben

We should never forget that these are the reasons why the NHS was created and how it made huge and immediate improvements in the lives of millions.  The NHS is truly Labour’s and Britain’s greatest achievement and each generation has a responsibility to pass on to the next in better condition than they found it.

And that’s exactly what the last Labour government did.  In 1997, we inherited an NHS in dire straits. It was an institution that was profoundly valued, but it was also seen as being in steady – and, according to some, irreversible decline.  But our investment combined with reform transformed the service.

Two facts stand out beyond all others:

The verdict of the public: at a time when people talk about cynicism in our public life, by the time we left office in 2010 the NHS was benefiting from the highest satisfaction ratings it had ever achieved.  This was opposed to the lowest ever ratings in the early 1990s.

And then there was the verdict of experts: the Commonwealth Fund’s report demonstrated that in 2010 the NHS was one of the world’s leading healthcare systems for quality … and the very best on value for money.

When he leaves office – hopefully in 2015 or even before – will David Cameron, a man who claimed to love the NHS, be able to look at himself in the mirror and say the same thing?

Already he has cut 6,000 nurses from the NHS,

Waiting times are going up,

And worst of all he has wasted billions on an unwanted, top-down reorganisation for which he had absolutely no mandate.

Today is the 65th birthday of the NHS.

We must not let David Cameron retire it.

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Shadow minister meets Reading traders

This article originally appeared on the Get Reading website, and you can read it here.


Lack of confidence and access to funds are two of the biggest barriers to growth facing small and medium businesses in Reading, a shadow minister has been told during a visit.

Toby Perkins, shadow small business minister, spoke to businessmen and women in the town centre and in Kennet Island.

He was in town to launch the local Labour Councillors Business Network and promote the idea of a British Investment Bank to get SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) growing.

Mr Perkins, who was born in East Reading and went to Alfred Sutton School, spent the first part of his visit on Monday, June 10, meeting town centre traders.

He said: “We’ve been going round this morning hearing from small businesses either about the support they’ve had from the BID (Business Improvement District) and from the council and the challenges they face, particularly with the issue of banks not financing which is continuing as a big problem and holding back the growth of companies that have been successful.”

He continued: “To expect the same four banks to do things differently to what they did is not a good strategy.

“We need more a competitive banking market so we are proposing to introduce local banks that would mean the decision making was local and the people who invested knew their money was being lent to local businesses.”

The Island Lounge, in The Plaza, Kennet Island, hosted Mr Perkins and his entourage of local Labour councillors and prospective parliamentary candidates as well as small business owners.

Oliver Khory, who opened the bar/restaurant two years ago, said it is still a difficult time to be trading.

He said: “It’s tough, as I’m sure it is for most small businesses.

“It’s difficult to commit to spending because its such an unknown quantity.

“All you can do is keep your heads down and keep working at it.”

Mr Khory believes the Government could do a lot more to help SMEs.

He said: “They keep saying interest rates are low to encourage business, but they are not making sure the banks are actually passing that on.

“They say they are allocating money to banks but there’s nobody coming out saying ‘you are a small business, this is what you qualify for’.”

However, Mr Khory has recently invested in expanding his bar to take the neighbouring unit, formerly home to a hair salon, which he can use as a function room or for residents to hire.

Businesswoman Adelle Dopson is opening a third branch of her Little Kingdom Day Care nursery in a 4,000 sq ft unit in The Plaza.


She said: “I’m not getting any outside help, we’re self funding.

“It’s not the right time to get financing, especially for small businesses or nurseries.

“We’ve worked hard with the other two nurseries to help finance this.”

Ms Dopson said high business rates are another headache for SMEs.

She said: “The business rates here are phenomenal, they’re quite crippling and you can see why small businesses are going out of business.”

Victoria Groulef, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Reading West, who organised the visit, said she has spoken to many sole traders and SME owners.

She said: “One of their concerns is, despite having successful business models, with opportunities to innovate, provide employment and grow, they simply cannot get access to funding or the services they desperately require.

“That’s why I’m delighted Toby joined us to meet business owners and talk about the work of Labour’s small business task-force and what we would do through a British Investment Bank to get small and medium business growing and innovating again.”

Mr Perkins said the return to his home town had been valuable.

He said: “I think it’s been very positive.

“It’s a very mixed town with some very high value retailers and also the value end of the market and they are facing different challenges.

“We’ve met dozens of businesses, including a chocolate manufacturer exporting to 10 different countries who could export to more countries but can’t get access to funding to expand.

“It’s been incredible to get around and speak to all the different businesses and learn what’s happening in Reading.”

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Toby with North East Derbyshire MP, Natascha Engel, who will also be at the event.

Local Labour MPs join forces to demand that Tesco apologise for glib statements about job losses in Chesterfield

4 Local Labour MPs have joined forces to demand that Tesco apologise for glib statements about job losses in Chesterfield.

Earlier this year Tesco announced that it would be shutting five of its depots including the one in Barlborough near Chesterfield.

In the midst of the slowest recovery in a century and an ongoing employment crisis this has hit the staff facing unemployment – who come from Chesterfield and the surrounding areas – very hard.

But to make matters worse, the Tesco manager responsible for the closure has sent out a callous tweet about the apparent success of the closure, which many staff have seen as gloating about their redundancy.

Distribution director Steve Strachota described the news as “a bit of luck” in the following tweet:


Tesco tweet

The tweet has, of course, now been deleted.

Local MPs Toby Perkins, Natascha Engel, Dennis Skinner and John Mann have written to Mr Strachota to demand that he comes to Chesterfield to apologise in person to those who have been affected.

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield who organised the letter, said:

“Tesco are a Great British brand, but they let themselves down when they don’t acknowledge the impact their presence – or lack of it – has on the lives of real people living in our fragile economy. 

“Some of the staff have worked for Tesco for over two decades and thought they had a job for the long term.  They’ve now faced a double whammy of losing that job and being told by the man responsible that their fate is ‘hashtag world class’”.

You can see a copy of the letter that was sent here.


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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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