Archive | January, 2017

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Toby Perkins MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

This week I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing I pledged my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Friday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘How can life go on?’

Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Chesterfield and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Toby Perkins MP for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.

For further information, please contact my office on 01246 386286 or email

Samantha Abrahams, the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Head of Public Affairs via or 020 7222 6822 or Public Affairs Officer Jack Mason via

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Toby with Belinda Lancaster of Grayson's Solicitors, and Mary Honeyben from Elliot Mather LLP

Government insurance reforms will deny justice to injured people, warns Chesterfield MP

People injured in road traffic accidents or at work will be denied justice if the Government fails to listen to expert representation, a local MP has warned.

Toby with Belinda Lancaster of Grayson's Solicitors, and Mary Honeyben from Elliot Mather LLP

Toby with Belinda Lancaster of Grayson’s Solicitors, and Mary Honeyben from Elliot Mather LLP

The Government have concluded a consultation into reforming the soft injury claims process, which includes claims for injuries such as whiplash, that will see the small claims limit for personal injury claims raised from £1,000 to £5,000 and introduce caps on potential compensation awards. Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has warned that these reforms will undermine access to justice and divert money from injured claimants into the pockets of insurance company bosses.

Toby recently met with representatives from local personal injury firms, Grayson’s Solicitors and Elliott Mather LLP, to discuss the impact on the claimants, solicitors and the courts.



Toby said:

“These reforms mean that the majority of claims for traffic accidents and injuries at work will now be diverted to the small claims courts, where you cannot claim for legal costs. This means people will be forced to represent themselves in court against experienced litigators hired by insurance companies. This will cause many people to not receive the proper compensation they deserve. The reforms are also being rushed through without proper consultation”.

The Government have admitted that if these reforms go ahead, insurance companies will gain at least £200m per year, with no guarantees that these savings will be passed on to customers.

Belinda Lancaster. Partner at Graysons Solicitors, which has an office on Saltergate in Chesterfield, said:

I believe that the proposals severely undermine people’s access to justice.  Over the years my firm has helped thousands of clients win deserved compensation for all types of injuries – and maintain their reputations when fraud has been alleged in some cases.  There is no doubt that without legal help these people would have been unlikely to pursue cases themselves against companies and insurance giants and their own legal teams, which is grossly unjust. The Small Claims Court was set up to deal with simple low value disputes, such as faulty goods.  However, under the government’s plans, it would encompass injuries such as facial scarring or fractured ribs.

We will continue our campaign against these changes and if you think the proposals are unfair, you can have your say by signing the petition, which is open until 23.5.17, at”

Mary Honeyben, Solicitor & LLP member at Elliot Mather based on Low Pavement in Chesterfield, who also met with Toby, said:

In 2013 when the last reforms were implemented following pressure from insurance companies, motor insurance premiums were supposed to fall but instead these have

increased. The cost of claims has fallen by over 12% since then but consumers have not benefited from these savings.  

These new proposals will affect not only whiplash claims but also all other types of injuries, including many work accidents. There will no longer be a level playing field. I have dealt with many claims where insurers have sought to settle claims quickly, before any proper evaluation of medical evidence and which we have then pursued and ultimately settled for far more than the original offers. Without proper advice, injured claimants risk under settling their claims and it is wrong that they should have to pay for their own legal costs, to the benefit of the insurance companies.

Toby added:

“I am regularly contacted by claimants going through the family court who have been denied legal aid due to recent cuts and are having to represent themselves. This is not only denying justice to ordinary people, but clogging up the courts and making it more difficult for judges to reach informed decisions. If these new reforms go through it means further injustice and pressure on the courts”.

Toby has now written to Justice Secretary, Liz Truss MP, to object to the reforms and request that the consultation process be reopened.

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Toby at market stall (002)

BLOG: Chesterfield is already punching above its weight – but it still has further battles to fight

As the bustling Christmas period ends and the January sales close, the shops in the town centre will return to the usual ebb and flow of everyday shopping. And fortunately for us, Chesterfield town centre continues to be a strong performer in an increasingly diverse and changing retail landscape.

I felt real pride and optimism when Chesterfield was named one of the top 100 retail hotspots in the UK by the influential business magazine, Property Week. Chesterfield was ranked number 26 in Property Week’s ‘Hot 100 UK Retail Locations’, coming far ahead of many cities such as Leeds and Sheffield.

It was interesting that the response to the story on local news and social media sites showed many local people have a very negative view of our town centre.

A member of staff from my London office visited the constituency for the first time recently, and she commented on how vibrant, beautiful and busy our town is. It is always the way. Whilst outsiders marvel at our busy market, local people only see that it is smaller than it used to be. If we can just take a step back sometimes, to look at our town objectively, maybe we will all recognise how well we’re doing.

Chesterfield town centre is a very different place than it was only ten years ago, but we have to remember that all town centres and markets across the country have experienced a decline as our economy went in to recession and consumers shopping habits changed dramatically.

Online retailing, ever larger supermarkets and out of town retail parks, have reduced footfall in all town centres and shopping parades across the UK. Chesterfield has actually been one of the more resilient town centres in the East Midlands and has a much lower shop vacancy rate when compared to nearby towns such as Mansfield and Ashfield.

I am pleased that our Borough Council are willing to invest, and have a creative approach to bringing people into our town. We have been ahead of the curve compared to other market towns, learning from big cities that we need to develop new attractions to give our centres a unique experience for shoppers to compete with Meadowhall and city centres. The 1940’s market, arts & crafts fairs and medieval Market day, and many other events, have all proved big draws, bringing busloads of people from Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and other areas.

But the British Retail Consortium are warning that there are further risks to Retail in Britain in the post Brexit era. Higher prices due to the falling pound, increased salary and property costs could presage another Retail crisis, and town centres will have to be very resilient to keep stores here at  a time when many may start to look at closing less profitable ones, so the growth we have enjoyed in Chesterfield must not be taken for granted.

So this Christmas and in the January sales, the message must be: ‘use it or lose it’, get out there and back our local retailers.

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Toby with the Jim Savage, Chair of the Hope Springs Recovery Centre, who retired last week

MP’s support leads to cash boost for local charity

An award winning local charity which supports people battling alcohol and substance addictions has secured vital funding from Derbyshire County Council following intervention from Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins.

Toby visited the Hope Springs Recovery Centre this week to thank the charity’s Chairman, Jim Savage, who was officially retiring from his role, for his hard work and dedication. Jim also thanked Toby for his intervention and the representations he made to Derbyshire County Council, which has resulted in the Council making a further £18k in funding available so that the Centre can continue with its vital work.

Toby said, “Jim has put his heart and soul in to the Hope Springs Recovery Centre, making a huge difference to local people in recovery. I am so pleased that my assistance has helped secure this funding and enables

Jim to retire knowing the Centre is in a better financial position.”

The Hope Springs Recovery Centre is run entirely by volunteers, providing a free brunch for service users on Mondays and Fridays, as well as a mixture of activities, group sessions and one-to-one support. There is a

Toby with the Jim Savage, Chair of the Hope Springs Recovery Centre, who retired last week

Toby with the Jim Savage, Chair of the Hope Springs Recovery Centre, who retired last week

cycling club, allotment project, photography group, meditation classes, relapse awareness sessions and many other activities designed to help with recovery.

Toby added, “Without people like Jim and his team of volunteers, these services just wouldn’t be possible. We should also pay tribute to the County Council, whose financial support is helping the Centre to survive and thrive.”


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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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