Archive | October, 2014

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins with event organiser Jane Lefley

MP raises a glass with CAMRA at local Beer Festival

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins with event organiser Jane Lefley

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins with event organiser Jane Lefley

MP Toby Perkins pulled a half at the local Chesterfield and District CAMRA’s Market Beer Festival on Friday 24th October alongside Jane Lefley, event organiser.

Toby said “As Shadow Minister for Pubs I’m always eager to support CAMRA with the excellent work they do; Chesterfield has some great real ale pubs which add so much character to the town – it’s particularly important to support them and local brewers in what is a very difficult climate for the industry.”

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Toby Perkins MP with Year 6 Pupils at Brimington Junior School

Brimington Junior School does Democracy

Toby Perkins MP with Year 6 Pupils at Brimington Junior School

Toby Perkins MP with Year 6 Pupils at Brimington Junior School

Toby Perkins MP was invited in to Brimington Junior School by eager year 6 students following a visit to the Houses of Parliament as part of a three day visit to London. 

The children wrote a series of ‘persuasive’ letters asking Toby to come and speak to them after becoming interested in the workings of democracy and how the people of Brimington connect with Westminster. 

Toby Perkins said “After reading Willow Wainwright’s letter suggesting I had been chosen from a whole series of potential candidates, I was pretty much persuaded, but the visit also underpined the very serious issue of engagement in the political process and what non engagement will mean to democracy in our country.” 

The children asked challenging questions about power, parties and politics and what it means to be the Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, while raising some of the issues they felt strongly about for our town. Toby’s visit comes in the run up to Parliament Week which begins on the 17th November, an initiative designed to connect more young people with the workings of Parliament.  

Toby said “I hope more schools and students get engaged in what Parliament is about and why using your vote is so important.  Democracy is something we fought long and hard for but its continued existence should not be taken for granted. 

“I was impressed by the insightful questions, the clarity with which they were expressed and the breadth of issues they raised.  I look forward to hearing that children from Brimington have developed their interest in politics and who knows, maybe even welcoming one of them to the Houses of Parliament one day as a colleague rather than a visitor!” 

If your school is taking part in Parliament Week, or has an activity you would like Toby to be involved in, please contact him on 01246 386286 or by email to

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Toby Outside Big Ben

BLOG: Giving our NHS “Time to Care”

The Labour Party created the NHS and every time we’ve come into government we’ve fought to protect it from Tory neglect.

Toby Outside Big BenToday, one in four people wait a week or more for a GP appointment and we have seen the scandal of care visits restricted to just 15 minutes for the elderly. As with every Tory government, Cameron and Clegg’s ConDems have introduced privatisation into the health service and pushed it to breaking point.  UKIP’s solution is to complete the sell-off of the NHS and charge you to visit a GP.

Only Labour has a plan to rescue the NHS.  The next Labour government will create a new “Time to Care” fund worth £2.5bn to invest in the NHS.  This will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives by 2020.

This is a fully costed pledge, none of which will come from extra borrowing.  The £2.5bn will be raised by a tax on tobacco companies (this is based on an American system which has taxed the profits of big tobacco companies without adding to the cost of a packet of cigarettes); closing tax loopholes used by some firms to move profits out of the UK and avoid corporation tax; and making sure people who earn properties worth more than £2m finally pay their fair share.  We will also repeal the Tory privatisation of the NHS.

The choice is clear.  Only a vote for Labour in May will save the NHS by once again giving it time to care.

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Apprentice Video Screen Shot

BLOG: Lets take this chance to end late payment culture

Today Labour will take another step towards establishing ourselves as the party of small business with a move to support businesses who play by the rules and pay their bills on time.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to customers who choose to pay their invoices late. Insolvency specialists have estimated that 1 in 5 business failures are simply down to bills being paid late rather than a failed business model.

Apprentice Video Screen Shot

Many big businesses stand accused of using their suppliers as an unofficial credit line by paying them weeks or even months after the due date.

The latest figures published by BACs reveal how the problem is growing ever more serious.  Britain’s small businesses now carry a burden of £39.4 billion in overdue payment they are owed; sixty per cent of Britain’s small businesses report that late payment is a problem with the average small business waiting for £38,186 in overdue payments; and one in four companies spend over 10 hours a week chasing late payments.

Whilst this has been a topic which has brought cross party attention (Labour’s Debbie Abrahams in particular has been a stalwart campaigner) the Government have failed to take significant action. From reneging on a commitment to name and shame large companies who pay late to delaying the implementation of a fairly mild EU directive that offered a little support for action against late payers.

Today in Parliament, MPs have a real opportunity to take a big step in the right direction by supporting Labour’s amendment which would ensure that any business paid late would automatically be paid interest by the supplier.

This intends to shift the burden of action away from the victims once and for all. It will remove the incentive for businesses to pay late, because rather than saving interest and improving cash flow late payers will automatically pay interest to their suppliers at 8% above the Bank of England’s base rate; and because it is a mandatory requirement to complete this form it will bring the issue of late payments into the light in a way which all previous government measures have failed to do.

This proposal sits alongside Labour’s commitment to cut Business rates for small firms, reduce energy prices, improve access to finance and boost Business support for start-ups right across Britain. It is a core part of Labour’s plans to support jobs and tackle the cost of living crisis

This exciting plan has won support from across the business community, I hope that today it will unite all those across the political spectrum who recognise that late payment is a business fairness issue but if ministers choose once again to ignore this problem, small businesses can be assured that a future Labour government will take the action they need.

By Toby Perkins MP
Labour MP for Chesterfield, Shadow Small Business Minister

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Budget 2014

News from Westminster: 20 October 2014


Britain is facing the biggest housing crisis in a generation. Less than half the number of new homes Britain needs are being built, and house building is at the lowest level since the 1920s.

I’ve spoken to many young people in Chesterfield who have all but given up on their dreams of ever owning their own homes, especially as the average deposit for a home is set to reach an eye-watering £72,000 by 2020.

Other local people have told me how frustrated they are that even when there are new developments, too often they get snapped up by buy-to-let investors before would-be first time buyers from our area can benefit.

We need to get Britain building again and we need to make sure local people are prioritised so that they benefit when new homes are built. That’s why the next Labour government will build 200,000 homes a year by 2020, and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers by 2025.

For too long, communities have felt that they have no influence over where new homes should be built. So local authorities will be given new powers to designate particular land as ‘Housing Growth Areas’ where they can use new powers to ensure that new homebuilding goes ahead.

To help local first-time buyers, Labour will give councils the power to reserve up to 50% of homes built in the Housing Growth Areas for first-time buyers from the local area, who will have priority access for two months.  In addition, councils will be able to restrict the sale of homes in these areas so they cannot be sold to investors as buy-to-let properties.

For too many people in Chesterfield the dream of home ownership is just that: a dream. The Tory-led Government has washed its hands of this problem. Only Labour has a plan to build the homes that our country, our local communities and our families need.



For centuries, people have come here from abroad to set up businesses, work in our NHS, fight in our armed forces and contribute to Britain. Countries that try to close the door on the rest of the world lose out on investment and international talent.

But there must be strong controls and effective rules. Immigration must be controlled and managed so the system is fair for local people and works in the interests of Britain.

Labour has said there should be stronger controls at the borders and tougher action against illegal immigration. And we need to crack down on the agencies and zero hours contracts that employers use to exploit immigration and undercut local workers.

But there are different kinds of immigration – for example there’s a big difference between illegal immigrants breaking the rules to get into Britain, and fee paying university students who bring in billions in investment.

The Tory-led Government’s approach isn’t working. Their net migration target is in tatters, with the numbers going up, not down. And there are still serious problems with employers who exploit migrant labour to undercut local wages and jobs – something UKIP would make worse by axing employment rights.

That’s why Labour is taking a tough but sensible approach to controlling immigration. One that recognises the benefits immigration can bring, and also sets out practical policies to control immigration, address the impact on jobs, wages and communities and make the system fairer for all.



This week the Tories confirmed what we had all long suspected: the ‘nasty party’ is well and truly back, if it ever went away.

Budget 2014When asked about the Minimum Wage, Lord Freud, David Cameron’s Minister for Welfare Reform, said that he believes some disabled people are “not worth the full wage”.  He even said he would go away to look at this issue, suggesting that the Government would consider it.

Disability charities have condemned Lord Freud’s comments and even senior Tories have called for Lord Freud to resign, yet David Cameron has failed to act.

Someone holding such abhorrent views shouldn’t be in government and certainly should not hold such an important job. If David Cameron continues to keep Lord Freud in his Government, we will have yet more proof of how he just stands for just a privileged few at the top.

In the dog days of this Government, the Conservative Party is going back to its worst instincts. The mask is slipping: the nasty party is back.

Posted in Blog, Featured, News1 Comment

TP interview in his office

Labour’s bold plans could end late payment misery for small businesses

The Labour Party have made an audacious sortie in the battle for small business support with a new policy designed to end the years-old practice of late payment of small business invoices.

Labour have challenged the government to back small businesses by proposing a tough new amendment on late payments in the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill.

The latest figures published by BACs reveal how late payments are a barrier to business survival and growth:

  • Britain’s small businesses now carry a burden of £39.4 billion in overdue payment they are owed;
  • Sixty per cent of Britain’s small businesses report that late payment is a problem with the average small business waiting for £38,186 in overdue payments;
  • One in four companies spend over 10 hours a week chasing late payments.
  • Over 2,500 firms a year go bust simply because they have not received monies owed to them.

TP interview in his officeToby Perkins, Labour’s Shadow Small Business Minister, said: “Late payment is one of the key challenges facing small business and a series of voluntary initiatives have failed to bring about the culture change required. Our new amendment will lift the onus on small firms to pursue large business customers to pay interest and create a reporting regime that will force late payers to self report and automatically pay interest to their suppliers in the event of late payments.

The government’s record on this is lamentable.  They u-turned on a commitment to name and shame large companies who pay late, and delayed the implementation of EU directives which would help until the last day possible.

The evidence session for the Small Business Bill saw the government’s latest piecemeal attempts widely criticised by organisations such as Federation of Small Businesses and Forum of Private Business.”

The Labour amendment was tabled by Mr Perkins and is due to be debated on 21 October.  It would ensure that the largest companies in Britain complete a quarterly report – in the same manner as a VAT return – listing all of their late payments to smaller suppliers.  Where companies have paid late they will be required to pay interest of 8% APR above the Bank of England base rate to the supplier or face fines of up to £10,000.

Small business currently have the right to claim interest, but just 10% of businesses report even considering takin this option despite 22% of businesses having ended a business relationship with a customer because of continued late payment.

Toby Perkins explained: “Unfortunately small businesses are often reluctant to report issues of late payment as they rely on the custom of the large businesses for their very existence.  Our amendment crucially shifts this balance so that large businesses will pay on time or face automatic sanctions.  My amendment provides ministers a real opportunity to make a difference on this issueBut if they don’t take action a future Labour government will.”

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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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