Archive | February, 2015

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BLOG: Young people are being failed by this government, especially over tuition fees

Young people in Chesterfield have been betrayed by the Tory and Lib Dem government.

From the closing of sure start centres and the trebling of tuition fees through to declining training opportunities and rising housing costs. No generation has been dealt as bad a hand by their government as young people today.

photo 2We should be investing in our young people so that they are equipped to make the most of their potential instead of having it squandered. This is not only so they can be successful for themselves, but also so our young people can build the long-term economic success our country needs.

There is a choice at the general election; a choice between the Tories’ failing plan and Labour’s better plan for working families.

I’m proud that the next Labour government will help the next generation succeed. Labour will tackle spiralling debt – averaging £44,000 for each graduate – by cutting the tuition fee cap from £9,000 to £6,000 for undergraduates from September 2016 and providing additional grants for students from lower-income backgrounds.

This will form part of Labour’s Young People’s Guarantee, including apprenticeships and a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee funded by a Bank Bonus Tax.

Cutting tuition fees isn’t just about lowering the debt of university students; it’s also about cutting our national debt. The Tory and Lib Dem government’s decision to raise tuition fees to £9,000, saddling graduates with debts which they can never pay off, has hit taxpayers too. Almost three quarters of students will never pay their loan back in full as the government’s system writes the debt off after 30 years if it’s still unpaid. If left unchecked the system will add £281 billion to the national debt by 2030. We can’t carry on with this system as it’s unfair to students, and unfair to taxpayers.

Labour decision to cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 and increase student grants will benefit both students and our country as a whole as both can go into the future knowing that we have a more sustainable and less debt-laden system.

This change will be funded by restricting pension tax relief for those on the highest incomes. And the increase in student grants will be paid for by asking the highest earning graduates to contribute a little more.

We all want our children and young people to succeed in the future. Under this government, they are being badly let down but this won’t happen under Labour. We will ensure that the next generation isn’t left behind.

Instead, Labour will ensure that all young people are equipped to fulfil their potential and succeed in the future.

By Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield

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Just announced: Labour will cut tuition fees

224-ed-25-02-2015Today Ed Miliband sets out the true cost of the Government’s disastrous tuition fees policy which has not only burdened graduates with debts unimaginable for previous generations – but the taxpayer with billions of pounds more in national debt.

In a speech in Leeds, he warned that young people have been betrayed by this Government from their first days in school through declining training opportunities, the trebling of tuition fees, rising housing costs and even changes in voting registration which is denying them a voice in the coming election.

Unveiling Labour’s fourth election pledge, he set out details of Labour’s Zero-Based Review into Higher Education funding which show that under the system introduced by this government:

  • A total of £281 billion will have been added to the national debt by 2030.
  • Students will graduate with an average of £44,000 of debt.
  • National debt will grow by £16bn more by the end of the next parliament than the Government predicted only a year ago.
  • Write-offs from student loans are set to jump to £21bn a year over the next three decades – almost double the total spent now on police services in England and Wales.

Key extracts from the speech:

Ed Miliband said that this is the first time in almost a century when the next generation cannot expect to do better than the last – a huge issue not just for young people themselves but for their parents and grandparents too.

This used to be a country where it was almost taken for granted that the next generation would do better than the last. This was the Promise of Britain. Now we are a country where it is almost taken for granted they will do worse. This is a promise unfulfilled: all that talent, ambition, hope for the future going to waste. Plans put to one side, dreams dashed; the Promise of Britain is being broken. Today I appeal to every parent and grandparent in  Britain: we can turn this around for your children and your grandchildren. None of us want to see our kids treated like this. This is a disaster for them and a disaster for the future of Britain too –  a country where the next generation is doing worse than their parents is the definition of a country in decline.”

Ed Miliband said the Government is responsible for a betrayal of the young.

“What has happened over the last five years is more than just a betrayal of election promises, it is a betrayal of an entire generation: a betrayal from their first steps to the time when they stride into the world of work; a betrayal from nursery to school, from college to university, a betrayal to the jobs or homes they hope to have afterwards – and even on their ability to vote.”

Ed Miliband criticises the Government for failing to act.

“All the young people of Britain have had from government during the last five years is blame, denial and broken promises. Young people out of work? Blame them for not making an effort. Apprenticeships for young people falling? Rebadge some training schemes for older workers and claim they’re going up. The cost of going to university? Promise one thing in an election and deliver exactly the opposite immediately after. Worried about being held to account by young people for all those broken promises?  Change the rules and it is harder for them to vote.”

Ed Miliband set out how the trebling of tuition fees has affected millions of young people.

“We all know that under David Cameron and Nick Clegg the fee cap for full-time undergraduates was trebled to £9,000 per year. With most universities charging close to the maximum, graduates now leave university with more than £44,000 debt on average. My generation would never have imagined beginning our adult life with that amount of debt. But this government expects it of this generation.”

Ed Miliband will saidthis is not just burdening young people with debt but also the taxpayer.

“Today we are publishing our Zero Based Review into the current tuition fees system. Its findings are stark. It reveals beyond doubt that the scourge of debt is not just holding back young people, it is holding back our country. The Government has designed a system which is burdening students with debt today and set to weight down the taxpayer with more debt tomorrow. This is a system that will have added an extra £16 billion more than predicted to public debt by the end of the next Parliament. If left unchecked the system will have added £281 billion to debt by 2030. And much of this money will never be paid back.  By the late 2040s student loan write-offs will be hitting £21 billion a year – almost double the entire cost of police services in England and Wales. It must go down as one of the most expensive broken promises in history.”

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David Cameron’s net migration target is in tatters

New figures published today show that net migration has reached 298,000 – 54,000 higher than the level it was when David Cameron came to office.

David Cameron promised “no ifs, no buts” he would meet this net migration target yet today’s figures are over three times the level he promised.

He chose this target and said it was his promise to the British people. He even said “If we don’t deliver our side of the bargain, vote us out in five years’ time“.

border_2203223bNo wonder there is so little trust in the Government’s immigration system or the Prime Minister’s promises on anything, when there is such a massive gap between his rhetoric and the reality.

The Government’s net migration target is the worst of all worlds.

It doesn’t include illegal immigration, where enforcement has got worse. Yet their obsession with the target has led them to target valuable university students who bring billions of pounds into Britain, whilst doing nothing to make the labour market fairer for local workers, preventing undercutting by exploitative employers or putting in place proper border controls so we can count people in and out to enforce the rules.

Labour has a better plan for working people. Immigration is important for Britain but we need stronger controls so the system is fair.

Stronger borders – 1,000 new borders staff and checking people in and out of the country

Smarter controls – attracting top talent and investment whilst doing more to control low skilled immigration

Fair rules at work – a new law to prevent employers undercutting wages by exploiting migrant workers and banning recruitment agencies from hiring only from abroad

Earned entitlements – people coming here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years

Integration – people working in in public services in public facing roles required to speak English

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Today’s news from Westminster

David Cameron refuses to act on MPs’ second jobs

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron six times to take action to end MPs’ second jobs – and six times he refused to say he would.

The House of Commons will vote later today on Labour’s proposal that MPs should be barred from holding paid directorships or consultancies. But David Cameron won’t back change.

Before he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said that “Being a Member of Parliament must be a full-time commitment… The public deserves nothing less”. But in Government, he has done nothing to deal with what he once called “the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money”.

On second jobs the difference is clear: Labour wants to change a broken system, the Tories want to cling to it.


Rise in zero-hours contracts shows the recovery isn’t working for working people

The ONS has published new figures today showing that there are now 1.8 million zero hours contracts and that the number of people reporting they are on a zero-hours contract for their main job has risen by almost 20 per cent.

This is yet another stark illustration of a recovery which is not working for working people.

The Tories’ plan is failing working families. While they prioritise a few at the top, for others there’s a rising tide of insecurity. Ministers have watered down every person’s rights at work and zero-hours contracts have gone from being a niche concept to becoming the norm in parts of our economy.

Labour’s better plan would ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, prohibit employers from requiring workers to be available on the off chance they are needed, ensure zero-hours contract workers who have shifts cancelled at short notice receive compensation and give employees who consistently work regular hours the right to a fixed-hours contract.

Only Labour will deliver a recovery that works for all, restoring security and dignity at work.

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animal protection plan - twitter image

Labour’s Plan to Protect Animals

Chesterfield’s MP, Toby Perkins, cares passionately about animal welfare.


As Toby explains: “Since I was elected in 2010 I have also personally been involved in campaigns to support animal welfare, I spoke and voted against the badger cull and questioned DEFRA on their disastrous plan to kill buzzards to protect pheasant shoots.”

The last Labour Government made real progress on animal welfare with a record that included:

  • Banning fur farming and working in Europe to ban imports of cat and dog fur into the EU;
  • Refusing to license any testing on great apes (such as chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas);
  • Securing better welfare standards at a European level for battery hens and meat chickens and secured an EU-wide ban on the trade in seal fur.
  • Introduced the Hunting Act 2004, outlawing the killing of foxes, hares, mink and deer by dogs, consigning centuries of cruelty to the dustbin.

It is now clear that the next Labour government will be just as ambitious in protecting and improving standards of animal welfare, with clear pledges to:

  • Defend the Hunting Act which the Tories plan to repeal;
  • Bann the cruel practice of wild animals in circuses;
  • End the Government’s ineffective and inhumane badger culls;
  • Improve the welfare of dogs and cats by reviewing ineffective regulation of their breeding and sale;
  • Tackle wildlife crime and reducing animal cruelty on shooting estates;
  • Lead the fight against global animal cruelty.

These pledges were revealed earlier this week when Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, released a new pamphlet – Labour’s Plan to Protect Animals – which you can read in full here:

By putting these policies at the front and centre of the general election campaign, with strong support from senior figures right up to the Leader of the Party Ed Miliband, Labour have demonstrated the political commitment to this vital topic.

This all stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the Conservative Party.

As widely reported in the media, prizes on auction at the Tories’ annual Black and White Fundraiser Ball earlier this month included a deer-stalking weekend and a trip to shoot 500 pheasants, which sold for over £110,000 –

If you support these plans, why not use one of the following images on your social media?

animal protection plan - facebook image









animal protection plan - twitter image

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BLOG: A Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity

On Monday Ed Miliband launched Labour’s new industrial strategy, called A Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity.  This document makes it clear that voters in May will have a clear choice between competing visions about how our economy can be successful in the twenty first century.

The Tories are committed to continue with their failing plan, where a few at the top become ever more successful whilst the rest of the country are excluded from any recovery.  By contrast, Labour’s modern industrial strategy is a better plan, one which recognises that for Britain to succeed we need to build inclusive prosperity that supports all sectors of our economy.

Large businesses have a key role to play in this and in opposition we have moved to integrate the thinking of successful British corporations into our policy development.   Jaguar Land Rover’s Executive Director Mike Wright led our review on strengthening manufacturing supply chains; and Sir George Cox reported for us on tackling short termism.

So whilst David Cameron and George Osborne are set to badly miss their export targets and are currently pushing Britain towards the exit door of the EU risking vital jobs and investment, a Labour government will offer firms certainty in our continued membership of the EU, our biggest overseas market, and work alongside our European partners to focus on growth.

We will also work to rebalance the economy to ensure that all businesses – large and small – are able to innovate and grow.

ed-milibandUnder Labour, small businesses will always be the first in line for tax cuts.  A Labour government elected in May would cut and then freeze businesses rates for properties with a rateable value of less than £50,000.  This will directly reduce the tax burden on 1.5 million of Britain’s smallest businesses.

We will also move to tackle anti-competitive practices that hold back small businesses and entrepreneurs.

It is a scandal that one in five business failures are simply down to bills being paid late rather than a failed business model.  So, to help ensure small businesses get money owed to them on time, a Labour government would introduce new reporting requirements to ensure large businesses pay interest on bills paid late to their small suppliers.  This would remove large firm’s incentive to use suppliers as an unofficial credit line and would shift the burden away from disempowered small firms pursuing expensive legal challenges to their customers.

Likewise, many people will have seen the recent media furore around some large businesses’ “pay and stay” policies.  Firms always have a right to negotiate for better prices, but it cannot be fair for big businesses to charge their small supplier to go on the list of companies they might choose to buy from.  Labour were seeking action on this issue for some before it became national news.  Last autumn I brought forward new amendments to the Small Business Bill to tackle the practice.  Of course the Tory-led government voted down these plans, and so it will fall to the next Labour government to look at what action is required.

As someone who ran my own small business before standing for Parliament, I know that the smallest companies are those most vulnerable to skills shortages in the labour market.  We need to take action to help businesses recruit the staff they need, and to ensure young people are equipping themselves with the skills employers want to see.  This is why a Labour government would put employers in the driving seat, alongside rigorous new standards, to work towards a system where apprenticeships last a minimum of two years and are at level three, and that all young people study English and Maths to 18.

Perhaps most crucially of all, Labour will deliver radical reform to the banking sector to provide small businesses with a much needed injection of funding.  The failure of this government to get banks lending has been a catastrophe for small businesses, with net lending to these firms falling by a further £1 billion in the last quarter.

To address this, Labour will set up a British Investment Bank and a network of regional banks with a specific purpose to address the lending gap to small businesses. This will look to emulate the best features of the German local banking model, which oversaw an increase in small business lending during the crash. The key principles of this model – permanency through state backing; a core duty to support growth and innovation within a defined area; professionalism with banking experts who understand their local customers – can thrive in a British context, as seen by the success of institutions like the Bank of Salford.

Labour’s new industrial strategy – A Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity – offers a route-map to sustainable growth for Britain’s working families and businesses.  This May voters have the chance to back this positive plans and leave behind the failed Tory strategy.

Toby Perkins is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business and MP for Chesterfield

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TP signing

Chesterfield family address influential audience about the importance of children’s organ donation

This week, the Binghams, a local family from Newbold, where invited to Parliament by their local MP Toby Perkins to politicians, charity organisers and NHS policy makers about the importance of children’s organ donation.

Freya Bingham, 5 from Newbold, was born with a rare heart condition and required a transplant.  Due to a shortage of registered donors her family faced an agonising two month wait whilst a suitable donor was found.  Fortunately, following a successful transplant, Freya is on the mend and able to live a fulfilling life.

TP + Binghams

1 in every 133 children in the UK is born with a similar heart condition.  Like Freya, many of these young people can live a happy life if they are able to get a transplant.

But unfortunately, due to lack of awareness, there is a shortage of children on the donor register and far too many kids born with heart conditions die unnecessarily.


So her parents, Mr and Mrs Bingham, are concerned that many other children will not be as lucky.  They have therefore joined up with local MP, Toby Perkins to raise awareness of the problem.

Toby has already arranged a drop-in information session for MPs in Westminster and this week followed it up with a high profile reception which was attend by MPs of all parties including former health secretaries.

He said: “After meeting the Binghams, and hearing how important a transplant was for their daughter, I was determined to do what I can to raise awareness about this important issue. 

TP signing“It was fantastic that the Binghams were able to speak directly to so many influential politicians and policy makers.  I’m sure their presentation will have made a real impact amongst those present.”

Mr Perkins organised the event in conjunction with the Children’s Heart Federation (CHF), a charity have been the UK’s leading children’s heart charity for a the last 25 years, playing a vital role in offering care and support for families as well as leading research into the main causes and cures of congenital heart disease.

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Childcare 25 hours

Toby backs Labour’s 25 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

Chesterfield’s MP, Toby Perkins, has joined with Labour’s shadow children and families minister Alison McGovern MP to back the party’s radical plan to extend free childcare for three and four year olds whose parents are in work to 25 hours, helping to tackle the soaring costs of childcare that are hitting many families in our town.

Since 2010, childcare costs have risen by more than 30%, while the availability of places has fallen, making it harder for many parents to go out to work and meaning that for many it simply doesn’t make financial sense.

For two parents working part-time in jobs paying around the average wage, it will be Thursday of each week before their pay has covered their childcare and they can move on to meeting other household bills.

Labour’s policy, paid for by an increase in the bank levy to raise an additional £800m per year, would provide additional free childcare worth up to £1,500 for 440,000 children nationwide. All children aged 3-4 where both parents are in work, or where a single parent is in work, would be eligible for the support.

Childcare 25 hoursMr Perkins said:

“There are many parents in Chesterfield who find it hard to justify returning to work financially, or if they do, will find little left in their pay packets. High childcare costs cuts their incomes, increase the risk of child poverty, grow the gender pay gap and on a national level raise welfare bills and cuts tax incomes.

“Labour’s proposals could transform the lives of many families in my constituency, giving them a choice of how and when to return to work, rather than their decision being made for them by unaffordable childcare.”

Shadow children and families minister Alison McGovern MP said:

“A failure to provide affordable, high-quality, flexible childcare is bad for parents, bad for kids and bad for the country. By keeping mothers and fathers out of the labour market for longer than they might wish, their earnings are reduced, their family budgets more stretched, the gender pay gap widens, welfare bills rise and tax income reduces. Lose-lose all round.”

“Labour’s plan for childcare will make work pay and boost the economy. Our affordable, achievable but radical proposal to extend free childcare will make a real difference to the lives of many thousands of hard-pressed parents.”

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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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