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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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Toby pledging support for Arthritis Research UK's 'Prevent, Transform, Cure' manifesto

MP urges government action to help people living with the pain of arthritis

Arthritis Research UK, whose head Office is based in Chesterfield, attended Labour Party conference last month to urge Labour MPs to back their plans to improve healthcare services for people living with arthritis.

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has been a strong supporter of the charity and is calling on the Government to take on board Arthritis Research UK’s ‘Prevent, Transform, Cure’ manifesto and help the thousands of people in Chesterfield living every day with the pain of arthritis.

Toby said, “I became an Arthritis Champion earlier this year and have been working to put issues affecting people

Toby pledging support for Arthritis Research UK's 'Prevent, Transform, Cure' manifesto

Toby pledging support for Arthritis Research UK’s ‘Prevent, Transform, Cure’ manifesto

with arthritis at the forefront of Parliament’s agenda. I call on the Government to ensure arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions are a public health priority. It is vital that the NHS improve access to services and that we provide real support to people with arthritis to help them continue to work and lead independent lives.

Arthritis is the single biggest cause of disability and pain across the country with 10 million people living with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. The pain, fatigue and lack of mobility caused by arthritis affects every aspect of a person’s life, making everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea, travelling to work or getting out of bed extremely difficult.

As well as the personal impact, these conditions amount to the third largest area of NHS spending, with an annual budget of £4.8 billion, and are the cause of one in five working days lost in the UK.

Toby said, “arthritis and related conditions are the third largest area of NHS spending, costing an estimated £4.8 billion every year. They are also the cause of one in every five working days lost in the UK. BY improving the support available and investing in research, we can transform people’s lives and reduce the impact on our economy.”

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CONF - GUIDE DOGS

Toby Perkins MP shows red card to taxi refusals

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association put Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins taxi hailing skills to the test in a football-themed game aimed at highlighting the difficulties caused for blind people turned away by taxi drivers.

Toby said, “I have been contacted by disabled constituents in the past who have been turned away by taxi drivers due to having a wheelchair or an assistance dog with them and it has left them frustrated and hurt. Drivers need to be aware that this isn’t just a case of bad service, they are breaking the law.”

The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to take an assistance dog or to charge extra for carrying it. However, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of assistance dog owners have been turned away by a taxi or minicab in a one-year period because of their dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.

Toby said, “I support The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association campaign calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training so they understand the rights and needs of disabled passengers and feel confident to offer assistance. I urge the Government to introduce legislation making this a requirement of all minicab and taxi licences”.

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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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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

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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