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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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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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Capture

MP celebrates as National Lottery investment in Chesterfield’s heritage hits £5,322,554 million

Toby Perkins MP, the Member of Parliament for Chesterfield has today welcomed news that £5,322,554 of National Lottery money has been invested in Chesterfield’s heritage projects since 1994.

Toby said: “Chesterfield has an incredibly rich history and I’m delighted to learn that thanks to the National Lottery local people have been exploring and enjoying that heritage. Just like many towns and cities across the UK, the Chesterfield we live in today was shaped by the First World War.”

From exploring local archaeology and restoring local parks and buildings to protecting wildlife and researching local history, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded more than 40 grants to heritage projects in the area.

Now, HLF is encouraging people in Chesterfield to apply for grants between £3,000 and £10,000 to undertake projects exploring the impact and legacy of the First World War beyond 1918.

Toby has welcomed the continued investment in preserving Chesterfield’s historical sites and ensuring the towns rich heritage is preserved

Toby added, “The projects and events that the Heritage Lottery Fund have funded in Chesterfield not only ensure we remember and celebrate our history, but are important in increasing tourism in the area and boosting the local economy. I strongly encourage local people to make use of the money available from the HLF and I am happy to lend my support to funding bids.”

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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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