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Heron Publications founding members Helen Firth and Liza Justice with Toby Perkins MP

MP and Top Magazine in High Street-Boost Bid

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins visited the offices of the local magazine Twist to champion the importance of small, local businesses in the community.
Heron Publications founding members Helen Firth and Liza Justice with Toby Perkins MP

Heron Publications founding members Helen Firth and Liza Justice with Toby Perkins MP

The Shadow Minister for Small Businesses says we can all help out by supporting our independent traders.

He told staff at the magazine: “If people just head to their local butchers once in a while rather than buying all their meat from a huge supermarket, for example, they can help out a small business while getting a high quality product.”
Toby praised the work of Twist for giving a platform to small businesses to advertise to the people most likely to benefit from their services. The magazine recently won a ‘Highly Commended’ trophy in the 2013 National Magazine Awards for the quality of its front pages.
Coming up on Saturday 7th December is Small Business Saturday, an event designed to promote local enterprises and encourage people to move away from buying products from big businesses once in a while and instead go to their local, independent alternatives.
For more information about Twist Magazine, visit www.heronpublications.co.uk
For more information about Small Business Saturday, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com

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Toby Perkins MP, here pictured addressing a public meeting on the future of the Post Office earlier this year

MP urges public: “Make your views known on risky Post Office move”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has voiced ‘serious concerns’ about plans to relocate the town’s central Post Office into WH Smith’s Pavements Centre premises, and is calling on the public to speak up on the move.

Toby Perkins MP, here pictured addressing a public meeting on the future of the Post Office earlier this year

Toby Perkins MP, here pictured addressing a public meeting on the future of the Post Office earlier this year

A Post Office spokesman claimed the move is needed to save costs and is being carried out at 70 of their 373 ‘Crown Branches’ – larger stand-alone outlets, such as the branch in Chesterfield market place. However, Mr Perkins has blasted the plans, saying they could “jeopardise the accessibility of the service”. He continued: “The Crown Post Office in New Square is a vital service and iconic local landmark – I’d hate to see it disappear. I’m very concerned that this proposal would lead to a reduced level of expertise and a lower profile for important Post Office services. It’s hard to see how this service, which is often extremely busy, would function in the smaller space there is at WH Smith so I will be speaking to both organisations to ask how they envisage this set-up working.

“Whilst the Post Office is a commercial operation and needs to balance its books in order to maintain the service it offers, the firm does have a vital social role, working with a number of vulnerable client groups such as older people or those without recourse to accessing services online. That’s why I’ll be fighting to ensure my constituents don’t lose out.”

An open public meeting, which Mr Perkins is intending to attend, will be scheduled and advertised shortly.

The Post Office is now consulting with the public on these proposals until the 13th January. Should you wish to voice your concerns about these plans, you can write to Mr Perkins at 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF or email him on toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk and he will take up issues with Post Office management.

 

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Toby Perkins wants to her people's views on GP services in Chesterfield

Town tells MP: ‘GP services need remedy’

Chesterfield patients are being urged to put GP services in the spotlight amid fears that access to doctors’ services is reaching crisis point in Chesterfield.

Toby Perkins wants to her people's views on GP services in Chesterfield

Toby Perkins wants to her people’s views on GP services in Chesterfield

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins found hundreds of people struggling to access GP services in Chesterfield and Staveley following his 8,500-response door-to-door survey undertaken over the summer. 

Commenting on his findings, Toby Perkins said: “I was alarmed to hear so many people tell me that they were unhappy with their GP provision – it came up on the doorstep more than any other local issue. Easy access to a doctor is vitally important, especially for the elderly and those with serious ongoing conditions.”

“Now I’m asking people across the constituency to contact me with their concerns or plaudits about local GP services, as we look to investigate the issue more widely. I will also be inviting GP practices to update us about steps they are taking to improve access. I have heard some shocking tales about the difficulty patients have had, both in terms of access and the service provided. I know many other people are very satisfied, so it is important that we investigate the nature of the problem, the specific areas that are poorly served and the actions that will be taken to put it right. Specific concerns have been raised about the provision at certain surgeries and I want to know how widespread those concerns are.”

37% of respondents told Toby that GP services are worse now than they were three years ago. Only a handful thought they had improved. Recurring concerns included lengthy waits for appointments, difficulties obtaining repeat prescriptions and problems contacting individual surgeries by telephone.

Launching his call for evidence Toby said:  “I’m already in discussions with Health Service managers about how things can, and must, improve. If you’ve got a specific issue or experience relating to this matter, please contact me so I can take your views and experience onboard.”

 

Toby can be contacted on toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk, called on 386286 or written to at 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF.

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Toby Perkins, Ron Mihaly and PC Randell outside Whitecotes Primary School

MP joins police in road safety bid

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has joined police to help launch a scheme to raise awareness on speeding traffic in Walton.

Toby Perkins, Ron Mihaly and PC Randell outside Whitecotes Primary School

Toby Perkins, Ron Mihaly and PC Randell outside Whitecotes Primary School

Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team have set up a Community Speed Watch as part of their efforts to target residents concerns about speeding and road safety on Whitecotes Lane.

Community Speed Watch involves local residents and volunteers who are trained to use the equipment and given the opportunity to carry out checks alongside officers.

During the Community Speed Watch checks the details of any vehicles found breaking the speed limit are noted, and the owners sent a letter, advising them of their speed and requesting that they respect local limits.

Drivers are also warned that if they are caught breaking the speed limit again, then they may face a fine and points on their licence.

Signs are put out to alert passing motorists, and volunteers wear high visibility jackets during the sessions.

PC Dave Randell of the Walton and West Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Community Speed Watch aims to encourage motorists to have respect for the legal limits and consideration of the safety of local residents.

“The scheme does not replace enforcement, and spot checks continue to take place, but it gives people the chance to help raise awareness of the issue and to help police take positive steps to address a community concern.”

The first checks were carried out on Friday, November 8 and officers were joined by Labour MP Toby Perkins and local County Councillor Ron Mihaly.

MP Toby Perkins said: “I’m glad to see that the concerns of residents have been taken up about the speed of traffic on Whitecotes Lane, particularly around WhitecotesPrimary School.

“It’s important that drivers know that the police are going to be ensuring that thosewho drive at an inappropriate speed will be brought to book.”

Cllr Mihaly said: “Derbyshire County Council takes concerns very seriously, particularly around school as the safety of children is of paramount importance, and the police will always work to help address these issues.”

All motorists were found to be driving within the speed limit during the check on Friday, but police hope to continue with the initiative and are looking for volunteers to take part.

 

Anyone interested in becoming a Community Speed Watch volunteer for the Whitecotes Lane or Walton area should contact the Walton and West Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101, the non emergency number for Derbyshire police, or email chesterfield.neighbourhoods@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk.

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Toby Perkins: "Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work"

“End exploitive zero-hours contracts and rising insecurity in the workplace” – Perkins

Families in Chesterfield and across the country are facing the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling and for many hard-working people there is rising insecurity in the workplace.

Toby Perkins: "Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work"

Toby Perkins: “Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work”

One of the worst examples of this is the exploitive use of zero-hours contracts. I’ve spoken to many people in Chesterfield who are employed on zero-hours contracts and they’ve told me of the struggle they and their families face on a daily basis.

According to recent estimates there could be as many as 1 million workers employed on zero-hours contracts across the UK – with a big increase since the Tory-led government took office –  and they are now used in one in five workplaces.

The Tory-led government has failed to act on zero-hours contracts. It emerged that a ‘review’ of the issue initiated by Business Secretary Vince Cable earlier this year consisted of three officials spending part of their time “speaking informally” with stakeholders.

Zero-hours contracts mean insecurity and stress for too many families in Chesterfield. We can’t let this continue, which is why I voted on Wednesday for an end to their exploitive use and for action to stop rising insecurity at work.

The Tory-led government has failed to act. According to recent estimates there could be as many as 1 million workers employed on zero-hours contracts – with a spike since the Tory-led government took office –  and they are now used in one in five workplaces.

A Labour Government would ban employers from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work, stop zero-hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business and end the misuse of zero-hours contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours over a sustained period.

Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t mean people in Chesterfield lacking job security and having to be flexible about whether or not they can afford the weekly shop.

We’ve got to put a stop to it and that is what Labour is determined to do.

Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work; ending the exploitive use of zero-hours contracts is an integral part of achieving this.

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Toby Perkins: British households are facing a cost-of-living crisis

Freeze that Bill!

Labour MP for Chesterfield Toby Perkins has welcomed Ed Miliband’s announcement that One Nation Labour is planning to freeze energy bills until the start of 2017.

Under the CONDEM government, gas and electricity bills have gone up £300 for the average household.

Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint is leading the charge on sky-rocketing bills

Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint is leading the charge on sky-rocketing bills

Mr Perkins said: “Under David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Britain’s families are facing a cost of living crisis. Prices have risen faster than wages in 38 of the 39 months that David Cameron has been in Downing Street and energy bills have gone up by almost £300. David Cameron’s failure to tackle rip-off bills has meant that many people are struggling to pay their bills.

“People in Chesterfield are struggling with the rising cost of living. Many of my constituents have written to me worried about their energy bills, and having to make a choice between heating their homes or buying food.

“When the price of energy increases energy companies pass this on but when it drops consumers don’t see their bills fall. 

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg can’t deal with the cost of living crisis because they stand up for a privileged few, not for the hardworking majority; they’ve cut tax for people on over £150,000 a year while raising it for everyone else.

Toby Perkins: British households are facing a cost-of-living crisis

Toby Perkins: British households are facing a cost-of-living crisis

“Ed Miliband says Labour will freeze energy prices until the start of 2017 if Labour wins the next election. And he says we will break up the big energy companies so that we can all get a fair deal.

“This will save a typical household £120 and an average business £1,800.“But people round here need help now. So I’m calling on David Cameron and his Lib Dem backers to freeze our bills now. And I’m asking local people to sign my petition today so that the voices of Chesterfield are heard loud and clear in Downing Street.”

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Toby Perkins addressing the public meeting, with representatives of the Post Office and the CWU

“Town must have central, well-staffed Post Office” says MP

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has told Post Office bosses that Chesterfield needs an accessible town centre post office, able to cope with high public and business demand – amidst concerns that service levels will be reduced in a restructured operation.

Toby Perkins addressing the public meeting, with representatives of the Post Office and the CWU

Toby Perkins addressing the public meeting, with representatives of the Post Office and the CWU

The MP’s comments were made at a lively public meeting, held in Chesterfield Library, organised by the local Trades Council on Monday. Mr Perkins reports that he has received over 500 letters and petition signatories from constituents concerned about the organisation’s plans to relocate the town centre crown branch into the premises of another retailer on a franchise agreement.

A Post Office spokesman claimed the move is needed to save costs; the Post Office plans to move 70 of their 373 ‘Crown Branches’ – larger stand-alone outlets, such as the branch in Chesterfield market place – into line with their 11,800 franchise-run branches, due to losses of £37 million across this element of the firm’s estate last year and a pending cut in funding from government.

Speaking at Monday’s community event, Mr Perkins said: “My top priority in this case is ensuring that there is first-class accessible post office provision in Chesterfield town centre; customers can’t do without it and any reduced service would be bad for businesses that depend on a speedy service.

“The Crown Post Office in New Square is a vital and much loved local landmark – I’d hate to see it disappear. I’m concerned that this proposal would lead to a reduced level of expertise and a lower profile for vital Post Office services. Whilst the Post Office is a commercial operation and needs to balance its books in order to maintain the service it offers, the firm does have a vital social role, working with a number of vulnerable client groups such as older people or those without recourse to accessing services online. That’s why I’ll be fighting to ensure my constituents don’t lose out.”

The Post Office claim they are close to announcing a town centre retail partner to go into operation with by the end of the financial year. A three month public consultation period will then ensue before a final decision to move is made.

Mr Perkins added: “Should Post Office management identify a partner, triggering the three month consultation, I will be hosting another public meeting so my constituent’s concerns can be aired. I’m also in close contact with the Communication Workers’ Union, who represent Post Office staff, to ensure the workforce get a fair deal in any revised operation”.

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Toby Perkins MP: “FGM is a horrific and pointless practice"

REVEALED: MP exposes shocking abuse figures

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has uncovered appalling statistics divulging that not a single prosecution has been brought against UK nationals practicing or facilitating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) since stringent laws banning the practice were passed in 2003.

Toby Perkins MP: “FGM is a horrific and pointless practice"

Toby Perkins MP: “FGM is a horrific and pointless practice”

FGM, sometimes known as female circumcision was initially banned in the UK in 1985 but is practiced in at least 28 countries, according to United Nations figures. World Health Organisation experts estimate 140 million girls and women globally are living with the practice’s painful consequences which include severe bleeding, an inability to urinate and kidney impairments. Data from the Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development indicates around 66,000 women in the UK have been victims of FGM with 23,000 being considered “vulnerable” to the practice annually.

Toby Perkins said: “It’s appalling that so many girls globally are still attacked in this way. To  intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons as a means of sexual control should be in contravention of all religions and societies, and it’s right that it has been illegal for UK nationals to assist in this practice since 2003”.

Mr Perkins took action after concerns were raised by constituents that girls from Derbyshire and South Yorkshire have been trafficked abroad for the horrific procedure. Home Office minister Jeremy Browne was forced to admit, in response to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Mr Perkins, that not a single case has been brought to the courts since current legislation banning Britons from aiding and abetting the practice, at home or abroad, since the 2003 FGM Act was passed. In the same period, French prosecutors secured 100 convictions against those undertaking or supporting FGM. 

Commenting on the damning deficiency he exposed, Toby Perkins said: “FGM is a horrific and pointless practice which has dire clinical and psychological consequences for victims. Whilst family pressure and the closed nature of communities practicing this criminality can make it difficult to identify, the government needs to take a more proactive approach to prosecute offenders and protect the young girls whose lives are blighted by this abhorrent act.”

Mr Perkins added: “I’ll now be writing again to Mr Browne to ask what steps he will take to ensure cases are identified and robust action is taken; I look forward to sharing his response”.

 

View Toby’s question to Jeremy Browne: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-09-03a.167377.h&s=toby+Perkins#g167377.q0

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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 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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