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MP banging the drum for growing Chesterfield firm

Chesterfield based HARDCASE International Ltd, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rigid plastic protective cases for drums and percussion instrumentation, was visited by local MP, Toby Perkins, to discuss their recent management buy-out and plans for expansion.

Toby with new owner and managing Director, Dave Eyre

Toby with new owner and managing Director, Dave Eyre

The company manufactures over 30,000 cases every year from their base on Sheepbridge Industrial Estate, supplying countries across the world. The company, which employs 15 people, now has plans to recruit more staff, relocate to larger premises and expand into new markets.

Toby said, “People often complain that we don’t make anything in the UK anymore, but we have SMEs, like HARDCASE International, that are in our communities, manufacturing high-quality products that are then shipped all over the world. HARDCASE is an internationally-renowned brand that are used by some of the biggest artists in the world and we should be banging the drum loudly so people recognise these products are made in Chesterfield.”

HARDCASE have and continue to supply cases to bands such as Iron Maiden, The Pigeon Detectives, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and Level 42. All their cases are manufactured on site in Chesterfield. New owner and Managing Director, Dave Eyre, who led the recent management buy-out, said, “HARDCASE are extremely proud to fly the flag for British manufacturing and keep operations firmly fixed herein Chesterfield. We have a fantastic team at HARDCASE and I truly believe their skill set, work ethic and our approach as a company to both product quality and customer service remain key to the brands success. The recognition and respect we continue to receive from the global market place never ceases to amaze which we all take great pride”.

Toby watching the initial modelling process

Toby watching the initial modelling process

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Toby Perkins is urging the Government to take action now on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals

Chesterfield Gamblers Lose Over £2.5m in one year on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, is urging the Government and bookmakers to take action to kerb excessive gambling on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) after figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed Chesterfield customers lost £2,594,206 in 2015-16.

Toby said, “These machines allow users to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, which can quickly lead to huge losses and can become highly addictive for some people. The Government need to take action now, rather than extending the consultation on this issue and kicking it in to the long grass. As well as reducing the amount that can be spent on an individual spin, I would urge the Government and industry to look at pre-pay top-up cards that people use in high street bookmakers, rather than using cash. This would allow companies to monitor and restrict excessive gambling”.

A report released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling has shown British gamblers lost a total of £1.7 billion on FOBTs in 2015, and 11.5% of all FOBTs users are serious gambling addicts. In Chesterfield, £17,575,381 was lost on FOBTs between 2008-16.

Toby Perkins is urging the Government to take action now on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals

Toby Perkins is urging the Government to take action now on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals

Toby added, “It is important we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and cause thousands of bookies to close. Bookmakers have been one of the more resilient shops on our high streets and the revenues from business rates and taxes they generate are vital to the public purse. I would urge the Government and bookmakers to work together to come up with a solution that protects customers, encourages responsible gambling and doesn’t close down shops, but reduced the amounts that people can lose in a single spin, which could lead to people gambling excessively online or moving to venues with less regulation on machines, such as casinos and pubs.”

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Lilly is currently doing work experience one afternoon a week in Toby's constituency office

GUEST BLOG: Lilly Beards, sixth form student at Brookfield Community School, gives her views on the ‘Votes at 16’ campaign

On Friday November 3rd, Labour MP Jim McMahon will introduce his Private Members’ Bill – aiming to lower voting age in UK elections and referendums to 16 – into Parliament.

I’ve been a follower of the Votes At 16 campaign since 2014, when voting age was lowered for the Scottish independence referendum. Surveys and interviews suggest that young people and MPs alike agree that lowering the voting age for the referendum hugely increased Scottish young people’s interest and engagement in politics, as they were finally being given the opportunity to have their say in a vote that would hugely affect them.

This is why I believe 16- and 17-year-olds should be given the vote; issues voted on in elections and referendums will affect their lives directly. For example, a prominent topic in the 2017 general election was tuition fees, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vowing to scrap tuition fees for both current and future university students. To me, it seems ridiculous that 16- and 17- year olds, an age bracket that alteration of tuition fees and other educational topics hugely affect, were not allowed to vote to help determine the outcome of the election.

The average government term in the UK is 3 years and 10 months, and can be up to 5 years; this means that, most likely, 16-17 year olds will have become adult members of society in the midst of a governmental term, but will not have had the opportunity to choose which party will dictate their early adult years; this is unfair, surely?

A common argument for not lowering the voting age is that 16- and 17-year-olds aren’t “educated” enough to vote knowledgeably and sensibly; surely, then, the government should be taking steps to bring better political education into our schools.

Before September of this year, when I started my A-Level in Government & Politics, I had received little to no education in school regarding anything to do with current affairs or how the UK’s political and voting systems work. I had PSHE lessons once a week, which followed a hugely ineffective specification and did not teach anything of transferrable use, especially not regarding the world of politics. It is my strong belief that, in order to combat the Conservative Party’s supposed belief that young people are not socio-politically aware enough to vote in elections and referendums, political education should be improved and made compulsory, in order to prepare them for voting at a younger age; this would be both beneficial to young people, who can have a say in their future, but also to the country as a whole – equipping the country’s citizens with a wider political knowledge can do nothing but good.

241 out of 261 Labour MPs support the Votes At 16 campaign, a movement founded in 2003 in the hope that the franchise would be expanded to young people in the UK aged 16 and 17. Whilst a 14-year battle without success seems quite a long time, it’s important to note that it took 41 years since the 1928 Representation of the People Act – in which it was stated that all eligible citizens over 21 could vote – that the voting age was lowered to 18, in 1969. In today’s era of powerful social media lobbying, campaigning, and e-petitions, however, it is easy to imagine that it would not take as long to lower voting age to 16; it is only a matter of expanding political education, awareness, and responsibility to the young people who are the near-future of the UK. Friday November 3rd could be the catalyst for change in the journey to lowering the voting age in the UK to 16.

Lilly is currently doing work experience one afternoon a week in Toby's constituency office

Lilly is currently doing work experience one afternoon a week in Toby’s constituency office

 

 

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Toby joined several other MPs and stars of the GB Paralympics Wheelchair Basketball Team to play a game as part of World Polio Day

‘One Last Push’ could help eradicate polio forever

MPs from all parties, including Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, took part in a wheelchair basketball game on World Polio Day to support the ‘One Last Push’ campaign to eradicate polio. The teams were made up of MPs, polio survivors and some of the Team GB Paralympic team.

Toby said, “I was pleased to see the level of support for such a great campaign, and thoroughly enjoyed the game even though the GB Paralympians put my skills to shame.”

Toby joined several other MPs and stars of the GB Paralympics Wheelchair Basketball Team to play a game as part of World Polio Day

Toby joined several other MPs and stars of the GB Paralympics Wheelchair Basketball Team to play a game as part of World Polio Day

The campaign has support from Governments around the world as well as being backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The UK has

announced £100m of funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which aims to provide vaccinations to 45 million children.

Toby said, “There was only 37 reported cases of polio in 2016, compared to 850,000 per year less than 20 years ago, and it really does feel that ‘One Last Push’ could see this debilitating disease eradicated for good”.

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“The Government are failing working families in the East Midlands” warns Chesterfield MP

“The Government are failing working families in the East Midlands” warns Chesterfield MP

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that East Midlands’ workers are still £45 a week worse off than they were before the financial crash, which Toby Perkins MP argues is indicative of the way working families in the East Midlands are being failed by the Government.

Toby said, “working people in the East Midlands have seen their wages stagnate whilst bills continue to shoot up and childcare costs swallow more and more of their monthly income. We’re seeing in-work poverty increase and hardworking people forced to use foodbanks and payday lenders.”

The ONS figures show that for the year to April 2017 real wages in the East Midlands were 10.1% below their 2008 level. A report by the TUC has also shown that across England and Wales, the East Midlands has seen the second biggest increase in childcare costs compared to wage rises, with nursery fees rising 7 times more quickly than pay. Only London has seen a bigger increase.

Toby added, “It is highly likely that the Bank of England will put interest rates up next month, which could push even more families’ budgets over the edge. The Chancellor should use his Autumn Statement to increase funding and access to childcare, scrap the public sector pay freeze and invest in infrastructure, enterprise, and skills to help deliver more jobs and investment in the East Midlands.

 

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Toby with Spire Junior School pupils and governor, Cllr Keith Miles, earlier this year

Chesterfield schools set to lose out in Government funding changes

The Government’s plans for a new National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools will see a real terms funding cut for 34 out of the 38 schools and academies in Chesterfield, warns Toby Perkins MP.

A report from The National Education Union (NEU) has shown that the average pupil in Chesterfield will see their funding cut by £165 per year by the 2019-20 school year due to the National Funding Formula proposals.

Toby said, “The reality of the Government’s plans are that these real-term cuts are having a damaging effect on our schools. We are seeing growing class sizes, courses cut, reductions in support for pupils with special educational needs and staff not being replaced. Chesterfield head teachers are being placed in an impossible situation to maintain the standards our parents expect from schools and this will have an effect on the attainment levels and opportunities for our children.”

The report by the NEU shown that 9,400 schools in England and Wales (one third of the total) were in deficit in 2015-16 with almost 4,000 schools in deficit in each of the last two years and 1,600

Toby with Spire Junior School pupils and governor, Cllr Keith Miles, earlier this year

Toby with Spire Junior School pupils and governor, Cllr Keith Miles, earlier this year

have been in deficit three years in a row. The report also suggests that there will be 32 less teachers in Chesterfield schools by 2019/20 due to the funding cuts.

Toby said, “I once again call on the Government to rethink the National Funding Formula. Further real terms cuts, with schools in some of the most deprived areas facing the biggest reductions, will result in falling standards and possibly even threaten the sustainability of some schools and academies.

 

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Toby discussing the plans with the scheme

MP welcomes exciting plans for new retirement accommodation in Chesterfield

Exciting plans for new retirement apartments in Chesterfield were welcomed by local MP, Toby Perkins, when he visited the public exhibition of the proposed development.

The proposals for the site of the former headquarters of North East Derbyshire District Council off Saltergate would create 64 apartments over four storeys, landscaped gardens with tailored community facilities including a restaurant, laundrette and lounge.

Toby attended a public exhibition of the plans and spoke to the developers, McCarthy and Stone, about the proposals and the benefits it could bring to the community.

Toby said, “I have been very concerned about what would happen to the former NDCC offices and worried that the building would lie empty for years. These proposals would involve a revamp of the entire site, with a modern retirement complex created, providing much needed homes for older people in a central location. This complex, if it gets approval, would hopefully encourage retired homeowners to move here and free up much-needed family homes in the area.”

McCarthy and Stone are the UK’s leading builder of retirement communities and have been meeting with local residents, businesses and stakeholders to discuss the proposals. Ian Wilkins, Regional Managing Director at McCarthy & Stone said “We are delighted to have unveiled our plans to the local community in Chesterfield, and to have our designs so warmly received. With the number of older people in Chesterfield due to increase by 20% in the next two decades, there is no doubt that this type of specialist retirement accommodation will be essential in the town centre. We are grateful to those that took part in the consultation, and have carefully reviewed the feedback before submitting our plans to Chesterfield Borough Council.”

Toby discussing the plans with the scheme's architect, Balwinder Singh Rai, and representatives from the developers, McCarthy & Stone

Toby discussing the plans with the scheme’s architect, Balwinder Singh Rai (right), and representatives from the developers, McCarthy & Stone

Toby added, “These proposals once again show that developers have a real confidence in building in Chesterfield. The Labour-run Borough Council are doing all they can to attract developers to the area and create the new homes we desperately need.”

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Toby at the Charities Aid Foundation’s ‘soft power station’ at Labour Party Conference

Chesterfield visits ‘soft power station’ to boost charitable giving

Toby Perkins, Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, attended the Charities Aid Foundation’s ‘soft power station’ at the Labour Party Conference recently to discuss the role that the UK’s soft power can have in improving communities across the world.

Toby said, “It was really interesting to meet with Charities Aid Foundation staff and hear their ideas about the a ‘soft power’ approach to international relations which allows the UK to project our values and commitment to human rights around the world through charities, community projects, arts, and sports.”

CAF recently published a report which explores the potential impact that the UK Government could generate by

Toby at the Charities Aid Foundation’s ‘soft power station’ at Labour Party Conference

Toby at the Charities Aid Foundation’s ‘soft power station’ at Labour Party Conference

investing in civil society infrastructure across the world as part of our international development work. The report suggests that a potential $350 billion a year could potentially be given to good causes by 2030 if middle class people in other countries were to be encouraged to give the same proportion of their income to charitable causes as the average person in the UK does, 0.54%.

Toby said, “Promoting charitable giving and creating proper civil society infrastructure in developing countries not only helps poor and vulnerable people, but also helps promote democracy, stability and improves international relationships. I will be meeting with CAF again in Parliament to discuss their report further.”

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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

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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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