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Toby portrait 2019

Chesterfield MP responds to strike action at Hasland Hall School

Toby said:

“Parents are understandably angry and frustrated that their children are missing more vital days at school due to strike action. I have spoken to the Interim Director of Schools at Derbyshire County Council to express my concerns and urge for intervention to help resolve these issues.

I am sure everyone will agree that teachers have a right to work in a safe environment and the fact that they have taken this extraordinary action shows the scale of the problems that we saw at the school last term. A new behaviour policy has been introduced and I am hoping it will lead to the genuine change that parents, teachers and pupils can believe in so that the school can begin to rebuild confidence. Last year’s GCSE results were disappointing but not disastrous and there are new staff in place, so there needs to be a relentless focus on ensuring that every child at Hasland Hall is in a consistent, supportive and disciplined environment to maximise their potential.

I am aware that Ofsted have recently inspected and I will be looking with great interest at their findings. I have tried to speak to representatives from the NASUWT on a number of occasions and have been frustrated by their lack of engagement with me, though some teaching staff have given me their personal perspectives. It is difficult for me to comment on this week’s strike action as I have not heard their view on what their outstanding concerns are.

I will continue to pursue this and offer my services in trying to help to resolve the problems at the school and end the current industrial action.”

 

 

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Toby with concerned residents of Matlock Road

Chesterfield road is “an accident waiting to happen” warns MP

Residents on Matlock Road in Chesterfield who feel like they are taking their lives in their hands every time they leave their driveway have enlisted the help of their local MP, Toby Perkins, in trying to make the road safer.

Toby said, “This is a really dangerous stretch of road. It is narrow, with blind bends and people are racing along it. It feels like motorists get onto Matlock Road and feel like they are on their way into the countryside and put their foot down. Pulling out of driveways or crossing the road can take a long time and feels very risky. It is an accident waiting to happen.”

Following a meeting with concerned residents, Toby has written to the County Council urging them to take action and contacted the police to request they conduct a Community Speed Watch session.

Toby with concerned residents of Matlock Road

Toby with concerned residents of Matlock Road

Toby added, “I think the best course of action would be to change this stretch of road to a 30mph limit and add speed warning signs. Motorists need to be aware that this is still a residential road and people have a right to leave their properties without being put at risk.”

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PUBLIC HEALTH conf

MP vows to tackle alcohol harm in Chesterfield

New figures from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK suggest that alcohol harm is ruining hundreds of lives of people in Chesterfield and creating additional strain on NHS services. The local MP, Toby Perkins, has pledged to do all he can to reduce alcohol harm in his constituency.

Toby said, “The alcohol and pubs industry is important to both our local and national economy and most of us will be drinking responsibly. However, there are people causing harm to themselves due to alcohol consumption and it is vital that we have the information and support locally to help reduce the risks to people’s health and ensure people are drinking at safe levels”.

The Alcohol Health Alliance UK estimate that there are 3,081 alcohol-related hospital admissions annually in Chesterfield and 60 alcohol-related deaths. The figures also show that 26% of adults in the East Midlands are drinking more than the recommended units of alcohol each week. Toby added, “Harmful levels of alcohol consumption can have a massive effect on individuals, families and our communities. I want to eradicate alcohol related violence from our streets and reduce the pressure on the police and NHS. Only 20% of dependent drinkers are receiving treatment or support following massive cuts to public health grants to local authorities and I will be pushing the Government to increase the funding for tackling alcohol harm”.

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GUIDE DOGS conf

MP takes a trip down Guide Dogs’ Memory Lane

National charity Guide Dogs UK is calling on the Government and local authorities to take action to protect blind and partially-sighted people in the community. Local MP, Toby Perkins, met with them at the Labour Party conference to support their campaign.

Toby said, “I have been pushing for stronger legislation to reduce the obstructions and hazards encountered by blind people on our streets for many years. Pavements blocked by parked cars, wheelie bins and overhanging branches can force blind and partially-sighted people into the road, putting them in danger of being hit by a car.”

To illustrate the risks that blind and partially-sighted people experience every day, Guide Dogs asked Toby to take a trip down memory lane and play their ‘Navigation Game’ – a take on the classic final challenge of the Generation Game – memorising the hazards that a guide dog owner might encounter on a typical journey.

Toby said, “These activities cannot replicate the anxiety caused to blind and partially-sighted people who are put at risk on our streets, but it can help politicians to understand the dangers and the impact on them. I will continue to do all I can to ensure all of my constituents can navigate our town in a safe manner.”

 

 

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Brexit survey Q7

Responses and analysis of my huge Chesterfield Brexit survey

Over the summer recess, I have been running a Brexit survey across the Chesterfield constituency. I am now in a position to publish the responses that I received and give you my summary of what the answers tell us about Chesterfield’s people’s views.

Who completed the survey?

The survey was available online and was promoted both on my Facebook and Twitters accounts and via the Derbyshire Times. We also took the survey onto the streets and invited some Chesterfield constituents to respond to the survey asked by campaigners from the Labour Party. In total we had 1,279 responses from within the Chesterfield constituency.

The first question sought to establish what proportion of respondents had originally voted Remain or Leave and whether there had been significant movement in people’s views since the Referendum.

In response to this 47.82% said they had voted Remain and were still in favour of Remain, and 41.86% said they’d voted Leave and were still in favour of leaving. In addition 2.69% hadn’t voted. This meant that a very small percentage (7.58%) had changed their minds, with slightly more having favoured Remain now being Leave than the other way round.

The Chesterfield constituency is not exactly the same as the Chesterfield Borough area, but an estimated 58% of Chesterfield constituents voted to Leave the EU- this means that either there has been a considerable change of heart since then or that the respondents to my survey contained a disproportionately high number of remain voters. Given that less than 8% said that they had changed their mind, I expect that it was the latter.

What should happen now?

On the question of what should happen next, there was almost an exact split between the three ‘remain’ options and the three ‘leave’ options, but with a vast majority at the more extreme aspects of the answers.

Of the ‘remain’ options, 23% thought the UK Government should revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU, 20.6% thought that the Government should hold a 2nd Referendum to decide whether to leave or remain, and only 5.3% thought Britain should attempt to negotiate a new deal but Remain if no better deal could be resolved.

Of the ‘leave’ options, 21% argued for leaving the EU on WTO terms and 25.65% thought that Britain should attempt to negotiate a new deal but be prepared to leave without one if unable to do so. Just 1.5% were in favour of supporting Theresa May’s deal and then reviewing after the 2-year transition period.

Sadly, these responses merely go to demonstrate how divided we are as

a country. There are people who voted Remain, who nonetheless believe that Government should attempt to negotiate a deal to get Britain to leave, but these are dwarfed by the number of remainers who still wish to see Britain either revoke or wish to see a 2nd Referendum (presumably as a vehicle of remaining in the EU).

Of those who support Brexit almost none support the only deal that has been negotiated, and whilst there were more in favour of a deal than leaving without one, there was a significant number who said Britain should be willing to leave without a deal if no ‘better’ deal can be achieved.

Should Britain attempt to remain in Customs Union and Single market?

There was a majority in favour of remaining in the customs union and single market, which was greater than the numbers who wished for Britain to remain in the Eu, but only a fairly small percentage of Leave voters wished to see Britain remain in these arrangements.

53.8% supported remaining in the Customs Union and 55.6% for the single market compared with 38.4% against.

Labour’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election said that ‘ Labour believes leaving without a deal is the worst possible option for our economy and that we would seek to retain close

alignment with the Customs Union and single market.” Whilst this answer showed a majority in favour of remaining in the customs union and single market, the number of Leave respondents supporting that position showed that for the many Leave voters a Brexit that saw Britain remain in the customs union or single market would not be accepted as a fulfillment of Brexit.

What should happen in Ireland?

Given that the survey respondents were more likely to have voted Remain than Leave, it was maybe unsurprising that the most popular response to the question of Ireland was to continue to have freedom of movement for goods and people (45.39%) than any other. The second most popular answer (22.65%) was ‘there should be no border for people but goods should be subject to customs checks’, 14.72% wanted a ‘border’ in the Irish Sea, whilst returning to a hard border  between the North and South and re-negotiating the Good Friday agreement was backed by just 7.3%.

Economic prospects

Almost half of respondents (48.49%) thought the UK would

be worse off now and in the future when we left, whilst those who thought Britain would ultimately be better off were split between those who thought we’d be better off immediately and eventually (24.76%) and those that argued that the UK would initially be worse off but ultimately better off (23.81%).

Benefits

There were two free text questions concerning the benefits or concerns regarding Brexit.

The words used most often to describe benefits were: laws, freedom, trade deals and control.

The words used most often to describe concerns were: economy, NHS, trade deals and recession.

 Key negotiating priorities

The next question asked respondents to order their key negotiating priorities on a scale of 1-5. There was a list of which answers received the most ‘Number 1 priorities’ and an overall score.

‘Trade with the EU’ was both the most popular Number 1 priority and also the top overall score (3.59), followed by ‘ability to trade with countries outside the EU’ close behind (3.49%), Preserving the United Kingdom union (2.84%), collaboration on security (2.63) and control of immigration (2.51)

A General Election

The question of a General election was one that didn’t go down a purely Leave/ Remain divide.

Remain voters were slightly more likely to think that the PM should call a General Election than Leave voters, although recent events may have changed the response if it was asked again. But overall 49.88% said that we SHOULD have a General Election and 39.87% said that we SHOULD NOT, 10.25% were unsure.

Conclusion

The survey has been immensely useful in getting an updated snapshot of constituent opinions. Every voter in Chesterfield was invited to vote, and no-one was excluded, but that doesn’t mean that the numbers responding were a representative sample.

The most striking conclusion is that currently there seems to be very little sign of the country or the constituency being about to come together. The vast majority of voters still think what they did about the overall question of what we should do, and respondents to this survey seem to be hardening in their view towards a ‘Hard Brexit’ or a ‘Hard Remain’.

Recent elections have also rewarded parties who took a view at the more extreme end of the Brexit debate, with Brexit Party (No deal) and Lib Dem (Parliament to overrule Brexit without a Referendum) benefiting in the recent EU Parliamentary elections whilst both Labour Party and the Conservatives finding Leave and Remain voters were unpersuaded thus far by attempts to find a ‘middle way’.

I can’t pretend that the survey responses have given me a great deal of confidence that we are close to re-uniting the country- particularly whilst so much remains unknown about the basis of our future relationship with both the EU and the rest of the world. One thing that was clear was that the importance of trade and the impact on our economy was now considerably more significant to voters than concerns about immigration.

The complexity of delivering a Brexit that doesn’t undermine the UK union and protects relations on the island of Ireland were also well understood by respondents who were much more inclined to compromise on that question.

In the 2017 General Election, I said that I believed we needed a Brexit deal that delivered on the promises made for it (namely being able to continue to trade and attract world class talent). The support for staying within the single market and customs union at least showed support for that aspect of my approach. I have long said that I believed we could only re-unite the country by finding a resolution that recognised the narrowness of the outcome whilst also accepting that the Referendum result was a vote to Leave. Both I, and the Labour Party manifesto of 2017 made clear our opposition to leaving the EU without a deal. This was consistent with what campaigning organisations like ‘Vote Leave’ and senior Government ministers from the Leave side said during the campaign and since.

I will continue to engage with both constituents and businesses as the process progresses. I hear, loud and clear, people’s frustration about how long the process is taking, but I think there was a deliberate attempt during the campaign and since it to underplay the complexity or full consequences of leaving the EU- particularly in moving on to WTO terms, and leaving without a deal.

I also hope that this survey will have helped others to realise (as I have done) how different the opinions of people who may have voted the same way on 23rd June 2016. Not all leavers are ‘no dealers’, not all remainers are ‘revokers’. But there is still a strong sense that far from bringing the country together and settling the matter once and for all, in many ways opinions are more divided now than they ever were.

It leaves politicians with an unenviable task in finding a way to bring the country together. I have already voted in Parliament in ways that I felt were a compromise, but am renewed in my determination to find a solution that a majority can accept and can help the country come together again.

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Toby with repairers Margaret Hersee and Sue Scott

Make do and mend

The old war time adage of make do and mend is making a comeback as people are becoming more conscious of saving money and reducing CO2 emissions and waste to landfill.
And locally, a ‘Repair Café’ in Chesterfield is bringing a local dimension to this growing trend.
Repair Cafes are set up by volunteers to fix broken belongings, increase mending skills and reduce waste and the Chesterfield Repair Café is currently set up at the Monkey Park where local MP Toby Perkins called in to view the repairers at work.
Volunteers in Chesterfield gather once a month to repair items such as furniture, appliances, toys and clothing. Toby said: “Very often the simplest ideas are the best and this is certainly the case with the Repair Café. We are fortunate here to have a group of willing and skilled volunteers who are can fix items that may otherwise have been thrown away. Sadly, many items are not built to last anymore, because the parts are poorer quality, or they’re designed to wear out and then be thrown away, so we spend more on new equipment. I think we have become so much better at recycling our waste and initiatives like this go one step further by helping prevent the waste and hopefully make us more conscious of buying better quality or re-developing the skill of mending things, if we can, in the first place.
I was very impressed with all the team here who also like to work with the community on how to fix items themselves. I am told that within the last year the team in Chesterfield have prevented 285 kg of waste and prevented 2,310 kg of CO2 emissions. I am happy to support this worthy cause and help the volunteers have what they need to continue to repair as many items as possible which means needing access to quality spare parts and appropriate documentation.”
Repair Cafes are held every second Saturday of the month in 2019 and the

Toby with repairers Margaret Hersee and Sue Scott

last repairs are accepted at 2pm. The team can be contacted at repairs@transitionchesterfield.org.uk and please get in touch if you know how to fix things and would like to help.

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Toby being grilled on the environment by Hollingwood Primary pupils

Hollingwood pupils pledge to protect the environment

Environmentally-conscious pupils at Hollingwood Primary School have enlisted the help of Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, as part of their campaign to improve the environment locally and globally.

Toby said, “The pupils at Hollingwood Primary School wrote to me regarding concerns that affect the local environment, such as litter and dog mess, as well as their pledges for tackling the climate change emergency. I visited the school last week and was impressed by the children’s knowledge about environmental issues and I think they would all be great candidates to be Climate Change Ambassadors to the Borough Council.

Following the letters from Hollingwod pupils, Toby wrote to Cllr Jill Mannion-Brunt, Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing at Chesterfield Borough Council, who has confirmed that the Council

Toby being grilled on the environment by Hollingwood Primary pupils

Toby being grilled on the environment by Hollingwood Primary pupils

recently passed a resolution to declare a Climate Change Emergency in Chesterfield. The Council will also be talking to young people in the Borough, to create young ambassadors for climate change who will work with the Council to help develop a local strategy to combat climate change and deal with local environmental issues. The Council will be contacting Hollingwood Primary with a view to them becoming an early adopter as an encouragement for other schools.

Toby added, “I am very proud of the schools in Chesterfield, who are teaching students about what they can do to improve the environment so that hopefully when they get to my age, a long time from now, the planet is not ruined by pollution and waste.”

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BLOG: Concerns about Hasland Hall Community School

BLOG: Concerns about Hasland Hall Community School

There has been considerable concern recently following the news that staff at Hasland Hall School had gone on strike in protest at behaviour and disciplinary standards at the school.

I was already pursuing and responding to complaints from parents and staff concerning the school’s approach to Special Needs education and behaviour.

I am a strong believer that every single school day is important to our children’s education and want to resolve these issues to ensure there are no further strikes and to ensure that the evidence base around any issues is as wide ranging as possible.

I also want to ensure that everyone interested in the future of the school and with knowledge of matters there gets an opportunity to have their voice heard.

I have been attempting to meet with the school in recent days and have now been able to secure an urgent meeting with the Headteacher, Miss Ruth Moore, and Ms Kathryn Boulton, Service Director for Schools and Learning at Derbyshire County Council, that I will be attending on Friday 19th July.

The main issues that have been raised to me as concerns by staff and parents are:

• Discipline
• Class Disruption
• Bullying
• Governance
• Record keeping and transparency
• Over reliance on supply teachers
• Violence & aggression towards staff
• Lack of support for children with Special Educational Needs

I am keen to make progress on these issues as quickly as possible so that hopefully many of these issues can be addressed before the start of the new academic year.

I am collecting evidence, both positive and negative, about the school so that we can identify what is and isn’t working well and provide support to the school and the County Council to make the necessary improvements.

To this end, I have booked a room in the Hasland Methodist Church for a series of confidential meetings with anyone that would like to discuss their recent experiences of Hasland Hall School.
If any parents, staff or governors would like to speak to me, they should call my office on 01246 386 286 to arrange an appointment.

The special appointment-based surgery will be at Hasland Methodist Church on Friday 19th July from 11am to 2pm. If you are unable to make it on Friday, I will be arranging further appointments at a later date.

You can also email your views and comments to me at toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk

 

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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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