Toby’s November e-Newsletter

Welcome to my latest periodic e-newsletter.  I hope this update gives you a flavour of some of my recent work in Westminster and back home in Chesterfield.  For more regular updates please follow me on Twitter (@tobyperkinsmp), add me as a friend on Facebook (facebook.com/toby.perkins1) or visit my website (tobyperkins.org.uk).

I hope you find this update of value.  If you would like to know my views on any other matter, or have any comments on any of the issues I discuss here, please feel free to get in touch.

Local Issues

Fighting for local services

  • Probation officers do an incredibly difficult and important job to reduce reoffending rates and rehabilitate offenders.  Yet some probation officers from Chesterfield have found themselves transferred out of the Probation Service and into a private company on a whim after their names were drawn out of a hat.  I raised the case of one local constituent who has worked for the Probation Service for 20 years and recently transferred, in the House of Commons, only for the Justice Secretary to call these claims “absolute nonsense” and pass me a note denying that this practice occurred (read more here, and view the evidence at the bottom of this page).  When finally confronted with the proof the government have admitted that this practice of drawing names from a hat occurred, but have still failed to apologise to the local worker for accusing her of making things up.  I will keep pressing them on this issue.
  • I recently took part in a debate on securing justice for coalfield communities, in places like Staveley and across the country, and you can read my contribution here.  I particularly tried to address the way law abiding mining communities were criminalised by the actions of the government.
  • I also used a Parliamentary question time to seek an update on the electrification of the Midland Mainline, in the light of a report suggesting delays to the project.  I was very disappointed that the Secretary of State for Transport did not respond to what was a serious and important question, but in my opinion merely gave a party political response.  You can judge this for yourself here.  I have written to the Minister to seek a more comprehensive and informative answer.

Toby House of Commons

Standing up for local schools

  • I recently spoke in a parliamentary debate about infant school class sizes and raised the cases of local schools including Hollingwood, Hasland and Abercrombie.  You can read my speech here.
  • Brookfield Young Enterprise Awards 2014 smaller versionI have also been contacted by many local parents who have expressed their concerns about the academisation process at Inkersall Primary School.  I have taken these concerns up directly with the Secretary of State for Education as you can read about here.
  • On a more positive note, last week I got the opportunity to present a Federation of Small Businesses Young Enterprise Award to a team from Brookfield Community School who fought off competition from across the East Midlands to pick up the prize.  Congratulations to the “Amplify” team!  I also have recently visited Brimington Junior School as part of the “Democracy Week” campaign, and to promote the importance of democracy to young people.  Read more here.

Putting Chesterfield first

  • I have been working hard with local campaigners to improve the GP services at the Rectory Road Surgery in Staveley.  Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a new operator for the facilities (read more here) but I am encouraged that the most recent inspection noted signs of improvement and will continue to monitor the process.
  • Small Business SaturdayMany people in Chesterfield are deeply concerned about the future of the much-loved Crispin Pub on Ashgate Road.  This pub is profitable but the company who owns the building are keen to sell off to Tesco to make a quick buck.  Most recently I met with Tesco to discuss this.  I will be putting out a survey about the value of the pub to the community and Tesco have promised to take note of this, so if you are local to the Crispin please send it back when it arrives.
  • I will once again be playing my part in the Small Business Saturday campaign this year.  Last year’s event was hugely successful, I visited 25 local small businesses on the day (see here) and I know that thousands of extra pounds were spent in local independent stores on the day.  This year’s Small Business Saturday will take place on 6 December.  So I hope everyone in Chesterfield thinks about how they can support local small businesses on the day.  If you’re a business and want to sign up, download a pack here. A tour bus travelling across the country to promote the day will be stopping in the market square on Monday 24 November at 10am, I hope to see you there!

 

National Issues

Delivering change for small businesses

  • Insolvency specialists have estimated that 1 in 5 business failures are simply down to bills being paid late rather than a failed business model.  So I believe it is a key responsibility of policy makers to tackle this problem of late payment and have been working on a policy which would ensure that small businesses are automatically paid interest when their large customers pay late.  You can read more about the policy here and, if you are a subscriber, can view the coverage The Times gave my idea here.  I brought it to a vote in Parliament on 21 October (read my blog on the day of the vote here) but unfortunately it was rejected by the government.  However, I am delighted that the Labour Party are supporting my proposals and have announced that they will introduce them if Labour win the election in May.
  • Shadow Pubs MinisterAs regular readers of this update will know, I have long campaigned for stronger regulation to protect local pub licencees from the predatory practices of the dominant pub companies.  I was therefore pleased that after 4 years the government finally caved in to this campaign and have agreed to introduce new laws to protect publicans, and blogged about it here.  However, I do have some concerns about the way these proposals have been brought in.  I raised these concerns directly with the Secretary of State at the dispatch box in the House of Commons, an exchange you can read here.
  • Over the last couple of months I have been sitting on the Committee which analyses every clause of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill currently passing through Parliament.  My aim in this has been to strengthen protections for small local businesses and workers.  In particular I was pleased that we stopped the government imposing extra burdens on small family brewers when they should be focussing on the biggest pub owning companies, and also stopped a clause which would have watered down Britain’s world class insolvency regime, which has saved many hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.

Supporting important causes

  • Coffee Morning - Toby Perkins and Natascha EngelLast month I attended Labour Party Conference in Manchester.  Amongst the important debates and speeches I had the opportunity to play in the traditional MPs vs The Press charity football match, which this year supported Breast Cancer Care.  Unfortunately, as you can read here I once again suffered at the hands of the press.
  • Like many others across Chesterfield, I also took my turn at the ice bucket challenge and donated to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.  See the pictures here.
  • I also recently attended two charity events in Westminster in support of cancer charities, firstly the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning with MacMillan Cancer, and secondly a campaign event with Breakthrough which called for a fair price for life-extending breast cancer drugs.

 

International Issues

Resolving conflict in a dangerous world

  • PoppiesThis year we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, and unfortunately issues of conflict still touch all of our lives.  In August I was proud to support the “lights out” campaign in commemoration of Europe’s darkest chapter.  You can read my thoughts on this campaign here.
  • I was as heartbroken as the many people from Chesterfield who contacted me about the situation in Gaza over the summer.  I believe parliament should have been recalled to debate the appalling escalation of conflict in Gaza and that David Cameron should have used Britain’s influence both publically and privately to urge a less damaging cause of action for Israel to pursue, and that following a lasting ceasefire, talks to deliver the long awaited two state solution with true independence for Palestine should be pursued with considerable urgency.  You can read more of my thoughts here.  To help move forward with this process I voted to recognise the state of Palestine at the historic debate in Parliament on 13 October.
  • I also faced my most agonising decision since I was first elected as an MP in 2010, as Parliament voted on whether to take action against the so-called “Islamic State”.  You can read my contribution to the debate here and my statement on my decision here.

I hope you have found this update interesting.  If you ever have any local issues where you think I can be of help just call 01246 386 286 to make an appointment to see me.

Best wishes,

Toby Perkins MP

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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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