Archive | March, 2015

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Toby makes stand to help protect Local Businesses

Toby Perkins welcomed Chesterfield-based business Franke Sissons down to Parliament on Tuesday 17th March to host a summit to discuss the policing of CE marking compliance.

CATzLkIVEAAM0UbFranke were joined by the Bathroom Manufactures Association to raise the issue of non-compliance which is causing responsible businesses to be undercut by those who do not play by the rules. There have been an increasing number of cases where firms have not been providing evidence and traceability via a declaration of performance, including affixing the European Commission’s CE marking

Toby Perkins, is championing this cause and actively lobbing government on the absence of CE Marking compliance and lack of policing which is creating a palpable disadvantage for British manufacturing and a significant risk to consumer safety.

Toby said, “I am very pleased to host this reception which will kick off a recognition from the authorities of the importance of policing regulations to keep UK firms on a level-playing field.”

“I hope that from here we can push the debate on to find an effective solution that will prevent British businesses like Franke Sissons from being undercut in the way they are currently finding.”

CATzLj1VEAEPKdGAndy Dukelow, Managing Director of Franke Sissons said, “Too often the product specification is set on a build project and at the last call sub-standard, un-marked components are supplied in the final build process.   It is vital for the final user and ultimately the tax payer that there will be a policing of the major units and smaller components used in bathroom and washroom installation to ensure that the required CE marked product is what actually gets installed.”

“We are grateful to our local MP Toby Perkins for championing the issue and it was great to see further support on the day from other MP’s. This combined with the BMA’s support (Bathroom Manufacturers Association), means that we can continue to bang the drum to create a level playing field for all responsible manufacturers.”

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Next time they'll cut to the bone

Next time, they’ll cut to the b​one – Labour’s first election poster​

Labour has today launched its first poster of the 2015 general election campaign.

Next time they'll cut to the bone

The poster, which warns “Next time, they’ll cut to the bone. The NHS can’t afford the Tory cuts plan”, follows this week’s Budget which set out plans for deeper cuts to public spending in the next three years than the last five years.

Following the Budget Labour is also publishing new analysis of Tory spending plans which takes into account their planned welfare reductions and promised tax cuts.

This analysis shows that in the next three years the Tories are planning cuts to public services which are deeper than any year of the last parliament; and in the next three years cuts to public services will be almost twice the level of the last three years. OECD countries which have cut public spending at the pace which George Osborne plans have ended up cutting health spending.

Britain needs a better plan. Labour will get the deficit down in a more sensible and balanced way. And we have a fully-funded plan to save our NHS and transform it for the future.

Labour’s plan means 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and cancer tests guaranteed within one week. And we’ll pay for it by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million.

After five years of David Cameron, our health service is going backwards. Our NHS just can’t afford these extreme and risky Tory cuts. And after their broken promises on the NHS in this Parliament nobody will trust what the Tories say about the NHS.

Posted in Featured, News, Press ReleaseComments Off on Next time, they’ll cut to the b​one – Labour’s first election poster​

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BLOG: Chesterfield needs a better plan and a Labour Budget

This week’s Budget changed nothing for working people here in Chesterfield.

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years of the Tory government, working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off.

226-ed-25-02-2015The Tories came into office promising to protect our National Health Service, make people better off and balance the books. But their plan hasn’t worked and the Budget said nothing about the NHS. I’m worried that the NHS as we know it won’t survive five more years of the Tories.

The Tory government started Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts and they ended Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books.

They would mean deep cuts to police, defence and social care which are almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I believe the Tory plans can only be achieved by putting the NHS at risk and raising VAT again.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes away much more with the other. The Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they only stand up for a privileged few.

Labour has set out a better plan for Britain’s future; a plan that works for ordinary families, rewarding the hard work they do and saving the NHS they rely on.

So a Labour Budget will raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage and with 25 hours of free childcare for working parents.

We will save our NHS from the Tories with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week, paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2million.

We will cut business rates for small firms, reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades. We will cut taxes for millions of working people through a lower 10p starting rate.

And we will balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires and scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

That’s the Labour Budget we need; a better plan that puts working families first and saves our NHS. Not a Budget flop from a Chancellor whose plan is failing working families here in Chesterfield.

By Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield

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Hospital picture with Toby

Update from Westminster: 19 March 2015

The Tory plan is failing working families

Less than a day after George Osborne delivered his Budget, it’s already unravelling – with the Tories’ plans for extreme cuts, and the risk they pose to the NHS, increasingly clear.

sausagesGeorge Osborne spent an hour telling people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years of the Tories working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off. That’s why he has failed to balance the books as he promised.

Our National Health Service is in crisis. But George Osborne had nothing to say about the NHS.

The Tories started yesterday with plans for extreme spending cuts. And they ended yesterday with plans for extreme spending cuts.

As the independent Office for Budget Responsibility said, these Budget plans will mean “a sharp acceleration” in cuts to public spending – even bigger after the election than over the last five years. These are deeper cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books. They could only be delivered by raising VAT again and putting our NHS at risk.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes much more with the other.

The Lib Dems have backed the Tories all the way 

Lib Dem attempts to differentiate themselves from the Tories aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Even Danny Alexander admits the Tories’ record is their own.

Clegg and CameronThe Lib Dems backed the Tories all the way and working families have paid the price. Thanks to the Lib Dems, working people’s wages are down £1,600 a year since 2010 and tax and benefit changes have left families £1,127 worse off.

The Lib Dems and Nick Clegg broke their central election promises and cannot be trusted. Rather than delivering fair taxes they hiked VAT, and rather than abolishing tuition fees they trebled them. The Lib Dems have been part of a government which imposed the bedroom tax while cutting taxes for millionaires.

You can’t trust the Lib Dems. No matter what they say, they share the Tories’ record of failing working people.

So the election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour’s better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.

Labour’s better plan

Labour’s better plan will put working families first and save our NHS:

  • Hospital picture with TobyRaising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
  • Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
  • Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
  • A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
  • And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Posted in Blog, Featured, NewsComments Off on Update from Westminster: 19 March 2015

Budget 2014

A budget no one can believe in

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they have never had it so good. But the truth is working people are £1,600 a year worse off after five years of the Tories.

Budget 2014Our National Health Service is in crisis, but the Budget said nothing about the NHS. And the Tories today confirmed plans for extreme spending cuts in the three years after the election – which will put our NHS at risk.

The OBR says these Budget plans will mean “a much sharper squeeze on real spending in 2016/17 and 2017/18 than anything seen over the past five years” and “a sharp acceleration in the pace of implied real cuts to day-to-day spending on public services”.

So the election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour’s better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.

Labour’s better plan will put working families first and save our NHS:

  • Raising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
  • Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
  • Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
  • A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
  • And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on A budget no one can believe in

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Q&A with the British Chamber of Commerce

Toby was recently asked to participate in a Q&A with the British Chambers of Commerce about Labour’s plans for small business.  You can read the questions and answers below.

1) Business Bank – What measures should the next government take to improve access to growth finance for small businesses?  How does Labour plan to develop the young British Business Bank?

So far, the government’s ‘Business Bank’ has had too little impact on helping small businesses get access to the finance they need – net lending to small and medium sized firms fell by £1bn in the last quarter.

443We would properly resource the British Investment Bank by using planned fees for the mobile phone spectrum – estimated to be up to £1billion.

Alongside this we will look to emulate the best features of the German local banking model – which oversaw an increase in small business lending during the crash – with a network of regional banks.

German local banks, known as Sparkassen, are commercial banks, which are profit-making but not profit-maximising.  They are confined to lend within a specified region and have a legal responsibility to promote regional growth.

When visiting Germany, I met local Sparkassen managers who were intimately attuned to their local economies and had the authority to lend significant sums to the entrepreneurs they felt would succeed in their community.

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.

2) Business costs – How does Labour plan to tackle the UK’s ‘cost of doing business crisis’?

There is no doubt that businesses, as well as individuals, are being squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis.

At present, Britain has one of the most expensive property tax regimes in Europe as under David Cameron businesses have been hit by business rate rises of £1,500 on average.

So, a future Labour government would cut  – then freeze – business rates for small and medium sized businesses, helping 1.5 million firms.

butchers outsideLikewise, it cannot be right that that 1 in 5 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 a tough new regime where large businesses would be forced to automatically pay interest on bills paid late to their small suppliers.  This would remove large firm’s incentive to use their suppliers as an unofficial credit line and would shift the burden away from disempowered small firms pursuing expensive legal challenges to their customers, once and for all.

Just as crucially, we want to direct more custom to small companies in the first place.  This is why Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, brought Small Business Saturday to Britain for the first time in 2013.  On the most recent Small Business Saturday, held in December 2014, more than £500million extra was spent with small British firms.

3) Bridging gap between business and education – How does labour plan to support closer links between the worlds of education, training and employment? What role do you see for Chambers of Commerce in this?

We understand that small businesses are particularly vulnerable to skills shortages in the Labour market.

This is why a Labour government would put employers in the driving seat alongside rigorous new standards so that all apprenticeships last a minimum of two years and are at level three, and all young people study English and Maths to eighteen.

We would also drive up standards at FE colleges by requiring all new college teachers to have level two qualifications in maths and English and introduce a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds, a gold-standard vocational qualification.

IMG_3495To ensure that young people leave the education system with the skills businesses in their area actually need, Labour’s pioneering Waltham Forest Council are working with local businesses to appoint an “Enterprise Governor” to school governing boards.  These people have a specific remit to promote entrepreneurship as an exciting career option in their school and ensure that schools are focusing on the skills businesses need.

Labour is backing this model and encouraging other authorities to roll it out across the country.  I’m sure local Chambers of Commerce members would be ideal candidates for the role in their area.

Posted in Blog, Featured, NewsComments Off on Q&A with the British Chamber of Commerce

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Labour will take action to make work pay

The small 20p rise in the minimum wage announced by the Government today to take effect in October falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Under David Cameron we’ve seen the value of the minimum wage eroded, and working people’s living standards fall. Working people are on average £1,600 a year worse off under the Tories.

poundsLabour has set a more ambitious target for the minimum wage, which would see it rise to £8 before 2020, bringing it closer to average earnings. And we will act to make sure the National Minimum Wage is properly enforced, unlike the Tory-led Government which has failed to get to grips with non-payment. Currently 15 per cent of apprentices are not being paid the legal minimum, rising to almost a quarter for 16-18 year olds.

Labour will take action to help make work pay, with an economic plan that works for all working people, not just a few at the top. We will tackle low pay, raise wages and address insecurity in the workplace.

Background

George Osborne said last year that he wanted to see the minimum wage go up to £7 by October 2014 – but he has failed to deliver it. So far, since 2010, it’s gone up by just 70p.

Labour will:

  • Increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour before 2020.
  • Encourage more employers to pay a living wage by establishing “Make Work Pay” contracts, giving a tax rebate to companties that sign up to become living wage employers in the first year of the next Parliament.
  • Ban exploitative zero-hours contracts to ensure that workers who work regular hours get a regular contract.
  • Make the exploitation of migrant labour to undercut wages illegal.
  • Introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to provide a paid starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year, which they will have to take or lose benefits.
  • Guarantee an apprenticeship to every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and require every firm getting a major government contract to take on apprentices.

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Cancer Awareness roadshow visits Westminster

News from Westminster – 16 March 2015

Labour will bring in new powers to cu​t your energy bills – and freeze prices until 2017

I’m delighted that Ed Miliband today announced that Labour will give the energy regulator the legal duty to ensure prices are fair and the power to cut energy bills this winter.

Freeze billsThe new legislation is being drafted to put an immediate end to the overcharging by the Big Six energy firms which consumer groups estimate is costing families and businesses £2.5 billion a year.

The Tory-led Government has admitted there is a problem with consumers being ripped off, but it has refused to act against the big energy firms.

Over the last year wholesale energy prices have fallen by an average of 20 per cent but the Big Six energy firms have reduced gas bills by a meagre one per cent to five per cent – while electricity bills have not been cut at all.

Labour has already declared that it would freeze prices – so they can only fall and not rise – for 20 months while the energy market is reset.

But the new plan announced today goes further by setting a clear timetable for changes so that consumers pay fair prices this coming winter.

In one of the first Bills of the new Parliament, Labour will give Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price reductions in time for the winter.

The consumer group Which? says that further cuts of up to 10 per cent in gas and electricity bills should be made this year.

Such a reduction would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings they will get from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.

 

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke free

Cancer Awareness roadshow visits WestminsterI welcome this week’s vote in favour of standardised packaging of tobacco. It is a fantastic victory for children’s health and experts say it will make children less likely to take up smoking, and so will ultimately save lives.

This measure is endorsed by health experts and has the overwhelming support of the public and Parliament. It’s a shame that it has taken years of delays, prevarication and squabbling amongst Tory MPs for us to reach this point.

David Cameron has been reluctant to stand up to big tobacco firms and their lobbyists, and has failed to show leadership on this issue. In the time that has passed since Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of this over a year ago, experts say over 200,000 children would have taken up smoking.

One child taking up smoking is one too many.

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke-free. The Government must now press ahead without delay to ensure that glitzy packaging for cigarettes becomes a thing of the past.

 

We need a better plan to tackle the housing crisis.

Labour will recapture the spirit of post war house building

Toby pointingThe next Labour Government will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority – recapturing the spirit of post war house building.

David Cameron’s housing plan has failed. Over the past five years, David Cameron has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peace time since the 1920s.

Britain needs a better plan because we can’t afford another five years of gimmicks and half- baked schemes which has left a record number of young people still living at home with their parents in their twenties and thirties because they can’t afford to get on the housing ladder.

New figures out this week confirm things are set to get worse under this failed plan.  Home ownership levels will fall to their lowest levels for 40 years with more than two in five people expected to rent. Only one in five people under the age of 35 will own their own home, half as many as in 2010.

Labour has a better plan for working people, which will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.

We will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority but give local communities stronger powers to build the homes they need in the places people want to live. Labour’s plan will be better for first time buyers too giving them priority access rights in new ‘Housing Growth Areas’.

The time has come for Labour’s better plan and a better future for young people and their families.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on News from Westminster – 16 March 2015

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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