Archive | July, 2014

Growth needs to be grown from the bottom up, not imposed top down

Labour’s pledge to empower cities, towns & regions

Latest blog from Toby Perkins MP

The cost-of-living crisis has been going on for too long with working people now £1,600 per year worse off on average.

Although the Government/Tories claim that everything is fixed you and I know that parts of Chesterfield are struggling and are yet to see any upturn at all. Local people have told me, and I agree with them, that our area has the strength and will to grow economically if only it was given the means and the opportunity.  I’m proud of our area and I know what it’s capable of achieving, given the chance.

The Tory-led government is incapable of dealing with the long-term economic challenges we face because it’s committed to a race to the bottom built on low pay, low skills, low prospects and low productivity.

Toby appears on the Daily Politics show to discuss Labour's plans for local growth

Toby appears on the Daily Politics show to discuss Labour’s plans for local growth

The way to make a real difference in people’s lives is to make sure the economy works for working people. So the next Labour government will build a highly skilled, higher wage economy. This will mean more apprenticeships and higher skilled jobs in sectors like construction trades, health and caring professions and the technology sector.

But this can’t just be imposed from Westminster – real change needs local people to make the difference and create the jobs we need. That’s why Ed Miliband has announced that Labour will back city and county regions to become engines of growth so we can develop our own economic strategies, clearly focused on the creation of well-paid, highly-skilled jobs for people in our area.

As part of this, Labour will give new city and county regions the power to keep any additional business rates income they can generate use it to invest locally in measures to boost growth, such as new housing and infrastructure, and to give local workers the skills and training they need to succeed.

Growth needs to be grown from the bottom up, not imposed top down

Growth needs to be grown from the bottom up, not imposed top down

We will expand high-quality apprenticeships for school-leavers in science, technology, engineering and maths so that our young people will be equipped for the high-quality jobs of the future.

We want those that will drive these big changes to be fully involved so we will also give local businesses a direct say in how to grow the local economy and what the priorities should be.

The cost of living crisis is far from over. Too many hardworking people on lower and middle incomes are still locked out of the economic recovery and are unlikely to feel the benefits under this Tory-led government.

By unleashing the potential of our cities and regions so they can be the drivers of economic growth, we can tackle the cost of living crisis and ensure we all benefit from our future economic prosperity.

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Opening the Ashgate Croft Gym

Local MP opens outdoor gym at Ashgate Croft School

Toby Perkins MP opened the new outdoor gym at Ashgate Croft School in Chesterfield.

Toby said: “I am absolutely delighted to be here to open the long awaited gym and to recognise the determination and involvement  of so many in creating such an exciting addition to the school.

The outdoor gym is for young people aged 11 – 19 all of whom have learning disabilities (Autism, Severe and Moderate Learning Difficulties) and is made up of 6 items designed to build imagination, fitness and wellbeing into play.

Ashgate croftHead teacher Mrs Jones said: “Given the enthusiasm with which our pupils welcomed all things to do with the Olympics in the summer of 2012 it was not surprising that the outdoor gym was selected for the first phase of the project.  The gym will build friendship as well as muscles, and provide a safe and friendly way to introduce more physical activity on a daily basis”.

Finance Manager Jane Amner, who co-ordinated the project said: “Pupils, staff and governors, of the school would like to say a big “Thank You” to anyone who has been involved in any way to make this phase of the  Playground Project a reality.  It really is a great opportunity for our children to learn through play”.

Moving forward, Ashgate Croft are now looking towards a second phase, which will be determined by the pupils through consultation.

Toby Perkins said “ This school provides such a positive place of learning for children with more than their fair share of difficulties, and I whole heartedly support the schools efforts to develop their outdoor space for use not just by the most able, but by all.  It has been great to be here to witness the gym’s use for the first time and to see the enjoyment the children get from it.  Now, pass me my trainers…”


The cost for this phase of the project was £17,000 and the funding was achieved by a variety of different means.   The Big Lottery Fund awarded a total of £9,909 towards the cost.  The remainder of the balance was achieved through fundraising and donations.    Local company, Techman Engineering held an Open Day to raise money for the school.   Other donations were received from The Buffalos, Brookfield Badminton Club, Stanedge Golf Club, and a variety of individuals linked with the school.

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Shadow minister warns over rates

This article originally appeared in the Blackpool Gazette on 7/7/2014.  You can read the original here.

High taxes are pushing Fylde coast businesses to breaking point, a shadow minister has claimed following a visit to Cleveleys.

Labour shadow small business minister Toby Perkins spoke to traders on Thursday to discuss difficulties facing them.

He said VAT rises and crippling business rates, which leave3627086678 Britain with the most expensive corporate property tax in Europe,could put some out of business.

He added: “Business is pretty tough in the tourism sector at the moment, partly because of moves to make everyone go on school holiday at the same time.

“The retailers I spoke to in Cleveleys say their rents are going down, yet business rates bills have gone up – and that is causing real issues.

“Some are close to having to close their doors.”

He said staggering school holidays would help ease the pressure on the tourism industry, while efforts to bring down the tax bill are needed to help small businesses stay competitive.

He added: “There is certainly an argument for cutting VAT for the tourism sector.

“Sam Rushworth (Labour parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys) has been bending my ear about making that case and that will be considered alongside all the other tax priorities.”

He also warned that part of the problem is visitors to the Fylde coast are not spending as much as in previous years.

He said: “One of the things that came across really strongly was that there is an issue in terms of reducing the cost of doing business but there is also a real issue in that the cost ofliving crisis means people don’t have as much money in their pockets.”

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Westminster Hall

WATCH: Toby’s Westminster Hall debate on Legal Highs

On 1 July 2014, the Labour MP for Chesterfield Toby Perkins, led a Westminster Hall debate on government policy on legal highs.

You can watch the full debate here:

Westminster Hall

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DP - 1 July 14 p1

Cabinet minister slammed for Probation jobs “lottery”

3 July 2014: For immediate use

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, today revealed how Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Justice, ignored warnings that important jobs in the Probation Service were transferred to the private sector on the whim of a lottery.

Toby’s constituent, Gwen MacDonald has worked for more than 20 years in the probation service in Sheffield.  She was recently transferred out of the service into one of the new six private companies the Tory-led government have outsourced probation services to.  When she sought information about why she had been selected to be moved whilst other staff with only a few months experience were allowed to stay with the new national service, she was told names for transfer were drawn from a hat!

Perkins said:

DP - 1 July 14 p1“Probation officers do an incredibly difficult and important job to reduce reoffending rates and rehabilitate offenders.  There are already grave concerns about the Tory-led government’s plans to hollow out the service and transfer staff to six private companies.

“So it was shocking to hear that many staff have been selected for transfer by having their names pulled out of a hat.  It’s a shambolic conclusion to a worrying process.

“Grayling has consistently denied that this is even happening, dismissing Ms MacDonald’s claims as “absolute nonsense” in the House.  So I’ve had no choice but to send him emails from Sheffield Probation Service which prove this is the case.

“He should consider re-running process so that staff and the public can have faith in the way decisions are arrived at, and hold an enquiry into how this situation occurred.”


For further comment call Toby Perkins on 01246 386 286


  • 1 July – Toby raised this case with the Secretary of State at Justice Question Time.  His response were that the claims were “absolute nonsense”.
  • 2 July – Toby gave Grayling a chance to correct his remarks on the record by raising a Point of Order after PMQs.  Again in a note written to Toby, Grayling insisted that “selection was not done by drawing names from a hat”.
  • 3 July – Toby has therefore been forced to send Grayling a letter with a copy of an email chain involving Ms MacDonald, where she is explicitly told by the local Probation Service’s HR Systems Manager, that names were “drawn out of a hat by a panel of three”.

Three documents are attached:

  1. The email chain which demonstrates that staff have been transferred by lottery
  2. The letter sent by Toby to Grayling today
  3. A copy of the note passed between Toby and Grayling in the Commons on 2 July

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Land Registry: Government consultation flawed, so Perkins steps in

Following widespread concerns that a government consultation on the privatisation of the 150 year old Land Registry was flawed and biased, Labour yesterday hosted a formal evidence session for all MPs to allow all those organisations affected by the plans to have their say.

LR2Shadow Small Business Minister, Toby Perkins MP, who organised and chaired the meeting said:

“The government has made no compelling case whatsoever for privatisation of a government agency which returned a surplus of £98.8m to the Treasury last year.  I have received representations from lawyers, small businesses in the property industry, councils and unions who all oppose these plans.


“Worse, a leak to The Guardian newspaper in May indicated that the government had already made their mind up and were already developing detailed financial models of how to manage the privatisation.

“I therefore felt it was very important to give MPs the chance to hear all of the evidence for themselves.”



Those in attendance heard from:

  • LR4Private businesses in the property search industry: Who argued that the creation of a ‘state monopoly’ to sell off to the highest bidder would be a ‘data grab’ which would kill the current competitive market and stall innovation and creativity.
  • The Law Society: Who described how no rationale has been given for the change and there would be ‘lots of pain for unquantified gain’
  • Local Government representatives: Who described how Councils rely on the information held by the Land Registry for a huge variety of its functions, and will be hit by huge new costs if the system is changed.
  • Unions: Who emphasised the problem of handling of data in private hands, which will inevitably have its own property interests increases the chances of fraud or conflicts of interest.


At the time of The Guardian leak, Toby Perkins wrote to the minister responsible, Michael Fallon, asking him to restore confidence in the process by starting again with a new consultation.

Conveniently, Perkins received a reply from Fallon the day before the event in Parliament.  A copy of this letter is attached.

Perkins said:

LR3“It was interesting that minister did not deny that the meeting had only considered ways to drive forward privatisation.  He basically argues that as the process of transformation at the Land Registry would be long and complex they must start to prepare already. 

Whilst he insists that the status quo option is still on the table, his rush to prepare for an alternative will not give confidence to the many people affected by these decisions.”





For more information please call Toby Perkins on 020 7219 2320

The full list of witnesses at the event was as follows:

  • Michael Kavanagh, Public and Commercial Services Union
  • James Sherwood-Rogers, Council of Property Search Organisations
  • Clarissa Corbisiero, Local Government Association
  • Jonathan Smithers, The Law Society
  • Naomi Cook, First Division Association

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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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