Archive | September, 2017

Toby at the launch of the 'Keep Pubs Afloat' campaign

Toby Perkins MP calls on Chancellor to Keep Pubs Afloat

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has joined with representatives of the UK’s beer drinkers, pub goers, brewers and publicans to urge the Chancellor to keep pubs afloat in the Autumn Budget.

Toby, who is the Chair of the AllParty Parliamentary Group for Pubs, has called on the Chancellor to provide an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs in England and freeze in beer duty for the rest of this Parliament.

Toby said: “In Chesterfield and the surrounding area we have 3 breweries, 105 pubs and the industry supports over 1,300 jobs. Pubs are already under huge pressure with hundreds closing their doors every year. Every time a pub closes, our communities lose out socially and economically. Pubs are struggling under the weight of a growing tax burden, with each paying nearly £140,000 on average in tax every year and I call on the Chancellor to do all he can to protect pubs this autumn.”

Toby at the launch of the ‘Keep Pubs Afloat’ campaign

Reviews of business rates across England mean many pubs are being hit with a massive new financial burden, which in some cases could only be covered by them selling thousands of extra pints of beer every year. UK beer duty is among the highest in Europe, with tax making up a third of every pint. Recent research carried out by YouGov for CAMRA found that 55% of people think beer duty is too high at 54 pence per pint.

Toby said: “A freeze in beer duty and an annual £5k business relief rate could save thousands of pubs from closure. The Government need to get serious about supporting our pubs before it is too late”.

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Toby chairing a roundtable meeting between local business owners and customers and Natwest representatives

Chesterfield MP chairs crunch talks meeting ahead of NatWest branch closure in Staveley

Toby Perkins MP chaired a meeting last week to give residents and local businesses the opportunity to speak to representatives from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) about their concerns with the planned closure of the NatWest branch in Staveley.

Toby chairing a roundtable meeting between local business owners and customers and Natwest representatives

Toby chairing a roundtable meeting between local business owners & customers and NatWest representatives

Toby said, “Sadly, the battle to save this branch appears to be over and the decision is final. As one local business owners said at the meeting, this feels like ‘one branch closure too far’. I share the

concerns raised at the meeting regarding the potential impact the closure will have on local businesses and the difficulties it will create for customers who are not confident with online banking. I am pleased that RBS agreed to this meeting so that they can take the passionate and frank views of my constituents back to the senior managers making these decisions.”

“The Staveley branch still has a high customer turnover and is still seen as a hub of the community, with customers coming from Bolsover, Eckington, and other villages. It is increasing footfall into Staveley and providing customers for other town centre businesses.”

Customers will still be able to deposit and withdraw money at the Post Office in Staveley and a mobile bank will visit the area once a week where customers will be able to deposit larger sums and complete other banking, such as transfers. RBS have deployed ‘TechXperts’ in the branch to help assist customers with learning about online and telephone banking, and to assist customers with using the Post Office for their banking.

Jane Solomon, NatWest Local CEO, said, “We are very grateful to Toby for arranging the meeting last week. We know how much the branch means to customers and the local community and did not take this decision lightly – it was as a result of a long-term change in the way our customers are banking with us and after careful consideration. While we will not be reversing our decision, our local team – including our TechXperts – are committed to supporting our customers with the full range of options so they can continue to bank locally in the way that suits them best”.

Toby with Keith Bannister, right, the owner of Tillys Bar and Harley's Bar in Staveley and Tony Kay from Kay's Carpets with a 900 name petition against the closure of the town's NatWest branch

Toby with Keith Bannister, right, the owner of Tillys Bar and Harley’s Bar in Staveley and Tony Kay from Kay’s Carpets with a 900 name petition against the closure of the town’s NatWest branch

Toby added, “The growth in online banking has understandably led to some branches closing but it appears that the ease of use of online banking for some customers has come at the cost of branch closures for the rest. Whilst I appreciate the efforts NatWest continue to make to help all customers go online, I am hugely disappointed that this busy branch will close. I will also be seeking assurances from the Post Office that they will be able to cope with the added footfall.”

 

 

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Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss the homelessness issues in Chesterfield

Universal Credit could lead to an increase in homelessness, warns Chesterfield MP

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has this week written to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, raising concerns about the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) and calling for it to be postponed.

Toby said,Chesterfield is recording rough sleeping levels similar to what we would previously only expect in city centres. This is putting vulnerable people at risk and has led to an increase in street drinking and antisocial behaviour in the town centre. I have spoken to a variety of agencies and housing providers, all of whom are concerned that Universal Credit will lead to further evictions, more people on the streets and increased pressure on services.”

A recent report by the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMOs has highlighted that for claimants on Universal Credit, 73% were in arrears in March 2017, compared to 31% of non-UC claimants, with average arrears almost double amongst UC claimants. Research done by the Citizens Advice Bureau has also shown huge delays in claims due to maladministration that has resulted in severe hardship and rent arrears for claimants.

Universal Credit will also mean that the Housing Element, which is currently paid as Housing Benefit direct to councils, housing associations and landlords, will be paid directly to claimants.

Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss the homelessness issues in Chesterfield

Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss problems homelessness and rough sleeping in Chesterfield

Housing providers and charities have warned that this could result in many claimants not paying their rent and becoming at risk of homelessness.

Toby added, “The Borough Council, Police and local agencies are working together to try and address the homelessness situation in town, but they also need Government to take action. The

Government need to put Universal Credit on hold until they have investigated the concerns raised from the pilot areas and made changes to ensure it does not lead to hardship, rent arrears and more people losing their homes.”

You can read the full letter Toby has written to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions : Toby letter to Damian Green 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

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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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