Archive | June, 2015

Toby Perkins MP with Young Enterprise winners from Brookfield Community School

News from Westminster: 19/6/2015


This week MPs voted on whether to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the EU referendum.

After we forced a vote on this issue, many Labour MPs made an impassioned and logical case for extending the franchise.

Toby Perkins MP with Young Enterprise winners from Brookfield Community SchoolIf 16 and 17 year olds can join the armed the forces, get married, get a job and pay taxes we should be able to trust them to participate in a democratic decision that will determine their future as much as it will ours.

Despite this, the Government voted against our proposal. The Tories’ stance on this is astonishing. They are denying young people the opportunity to have their say on an outcome that, whichever way it goes, will have a tremendous effect on their lives.

We know what’s at stake here for young people. Their options for living, working, travelling and studying abroad.

The Tories know this too. But in effect they are saying that they don’t trust 16 and17 year olds to make informed decisions about matters which will affect their own lives.

The Scottish Referendum showed us what enfranchising 16 and 17 year olds can mean – over 80 per cent of them registered to vote in the referendum last year. They participated and brought, substance, energy and vitality to the debate.

The Tories are trying to push this issue into the long grass. But they cannot ignore our mounting pressure for much longer. The Labour Party will continue to fight for the rights of 16 and 17 year olds at every opportunity we get.



Led by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, Labour MPs have highlighted the inadequacies of our education system and urged the Government to initiate a cross party review of 14-19 education.

The fact is we have the biggest skills gap in the developed world. Our current education system is too narrow and too focused on academia. We provide too many short-term, low quality apprenticeships. We are failing to equip young people in our country for adult life and the jobs which our economy will offer in the future.

As a party we are making it a priority to ensure all young people leave education with sufficient skills so they can compete with the best in the world. The only way to do this is to reform our education system. That’s why on Wednesday we put the case to the Government to set out a more ambitious strategy for improving technical education.

Labour believes in introducing a 14-19 framework with four key elements. Firstly, a core curriculum including GCSEs, A-levels and accredited vocational qualifications, which offer guaranteed progression into further study, a high quality apprenticeship or employment. Secondly, a requirement to study Maths and English up to the age of 18. Thirdly, a programme of personal skill development. Finally, the chance for all young people to undertake an extended programme on the same level as an International Baccalaureate.

We believe that these four ingredients provide a simple and compelling educational structure at all levels for all students; those on academic and vocational tracks, high achievers and those needing extra support.

Labour will not rest until everybody in Britain is able to leave school and college with qualifications that prepare them for a life of work; the opportunity to fulfil their potential and the chance to offer a positive contribution to our country.



As the referendum made clear, the Scottish people want a stronger Scottish Parliament while remaining part of the UK. Labour is fully committed to this and pushed for a Scotland Bill that would transform the Scottish Parliament into one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.

We believe that Holyrood should have the final say over welfare in Scotland. That’s why during the debate on the Scotland Bill, on Monday, Labour pushed to devolve more powers to the Scottish Parliament over matters of welfare.

In particular we proposed to devolve housing benefit, to ensure that more of the £1.8 billion housing benefit budget spent in Scotland is used to build new homes and not line the pockets of private landlords.

However, while we have been following through with commitments made in our manifesto, the SNP have been teaming up with the Tories to gamble with Scotland’s future.

They voted with right wing Tories and supported a proposal on Full Fiscal Autonomy which would actively damage Scotland’s economy. If Full Fiscal Autonomy was delivered tomorrow, it would, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, leave a £7.6 billion hole in Scotland’s budget, and place its public finances, jobs and welfare in jeopardy.

Unlike the SNP, Labour is not prepared to walk blindly into an arrangement that would be damaging for Scotland. We believe the people of Scotland need to know the truth about what the SNP and Tories are proposing. That is why we are going to push for a full and impartial review into the impact of FFA on Scotland’s economy. We will continue to argue that Scotland is, as part of the UK, best placed to pool and share resources alongside a powerhouse Scottish Parliament.

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Toby with Staff and People Supported outside Eastfields Mencap Centre in Duckmanton

Learning Disability Week

“If you find it difficult to have your voice heard then every single one of us should stand by you and make sure that it is” Toby Perkins MP, Mencap  #HearMyVoice campaign

Toby Perkins MP marked Learning Disability Week by pledging to listen clearly to the voices of some of the 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK, many of whom feel they are passed over by people in power and that the issues that are important to them – like hate crime, welfare, better healthcare and education – are often not talked about.

Toby with Staff and People Supported outside Eastfields Mencap Centre in Duckmanton

Toby with Staff and People Supported outside Eastfields Mencap Centre in Duckmanton

Toby said “People with a learning disability and their families are as much a part of our society as anyone else and deserve to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. I am listening and I hope that many more MPs will do the same by getting on board and supporting Mencap and Learning Disability Week”

“Holding a week to focus on the specific issues faced by people with a Learning Disability is key to raising those concerns with decision makers in the UK.  However, the issues don’t go away the week after, and I am concerned that people often with the quietest voices may be lost in the changes to come.  I will be working to hold the government to account over the next 5 years so that the lives and experiences of people who happen to have a Learning Disability, are not disproportionately affected.”

As part of the Mencap #HearMyVoice Campaign I pledged to listen, and am pleased to be able to support the campaign again today.”

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Toby Perkins MP with Helen Weston, County Team Leader for Derbyshire Carers Association, and carers from Chesterfield

Chesterfield MP: “We need to care more about our carers”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins had a strong message about the importance of valuing carers when he attended a training event organised by the Derbyshire Carers Association as part of National Carer’s Week.

Carers Week is a national annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Toby was attending a free manual handling training event at Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s Hartington Unit, which was organised by the Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) to give carers the necessary skills to reduce injuries to themselves and those they care for.

Toby said “there are thousands of carers across Derbyshire working 24/7 to care for loved ones, and whilst they dedicate themselves selflessly to this vocation, many carers end up with injuries due to the care they provide, particularly back injuries. It is vital that we provide them with the equipment and training needed to ensure they stay healthy too”.

Without carers, Carers UK estimates the government would face a £119 billion care bill and the NHS would risk collapse. The majority of carers are of working age and receive only £62.10 per week in Carer’s Allowance. A DCA spokesperson said: “One in 10 people in Derbyshire are carers, and some of them don’t know how to access the care, help and support that they need. Carers Week aims to identify them, raise awareness of the difficult situation they face and let them know that they are not alone, but that help and support is available.”

Toby Perkins MP with Helen Weston, County Team Leader for Derbyshire Carers Association, and carers from Chesterfield

Toby Perkins MP with Helen Weston, County Team Leader for Derbyshire Carers Association, and carers from Chesterfield

Toby added, “I’ve been speaking to the carers here today and many are worried at the moment due to the threat of more cuts to local authorities and payments to carers and the disabled. We need to care more about our carers and show how much we value them. Both local and central government need to ensure that carers have the support, the skills and finances to help them and their loved ones live happier, healthier lives.”

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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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