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Very proud of my #StarWars sweeties free today at the NUFC Fans Foodbank with every donation.

Get down to Grainger Market here’s what’s needed #holidayhunger



Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has urged local charities and community groups to consider applying for a share of over £4 million of funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Both charities and community groups are eligible to apply for the grants of between £500 and £20,000.  Applications for the latest round of funding are now open and will close on the 28th August.

The funding will be allocated through one of three Trusts, which support different categories of projects:

  • People’s Postcode Trust seeks applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights, equal rights and conflict resolution for some of society’s most vulnerable groups.
  • Postcode Local Trust supports wildlife, sustainability, play areas and green spaces.
  • Postcode Community Trust focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living programmes. 

Over 400 projects were awarded with grants in the last funding round. With previously funded projects ranging from sports clubs, to mental health groups, to wildlife conservation charities, this is a fantastic opportunity for groups to access funding to make a difference in the local community.

Jeff said: “For charities and organisations working from a tight budget, this money could make a huge difference.  It could mean taking on new staff, improving the office space or offering a new service that wasn’t possible before.

It takes just a few minutes to notify the Postcode Lottery of your interest, I hope as many local groups as possible get involved.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: More than £4 million injected into grass roots projects across Great Britain will have a tremendous impact in local communities.

Between the three Trusts, a very wide range of causes are supported, so I’d urge groups to have a look at the websites to see where their project fits – no matter how big or small – and get applying.”

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have so far raised more than £221.2 million to date for over 3,000 good causes across Great Britain and internationally. 

For more information on how to apply for funding, please visit the Trusts’ websites:




Federation of Small Businesses

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

The new MP for Mansfield, Ben Bradley attended a meeting of the Federation of Small Businesses that was held at the Ransom Wood Business Park. The FSB are a not-for-profit organisation that brings together small businesses and provides advice, support and guidance to help them achieve their ambitions.
The meeting at Ransom Wood was attended by over 30 local small businesses and Mr Bradley was invited to do a Q&A with the business representatives. The MP was quizzed on key issues such as what investment in infrastructure is available for the area as well as what Ben’s plans for Mansfield are.
On the meeting Ben Bradley said that "I am working to meet with as many small business owners and groups as possible because it's these guys who can really drive our local economy through growing their businesses and employing more people. It's important that as a Government we support them, but also it's vital on a local level that we can improve our town centre, boost footfall and attract investment to help them grow. Lots of them asked about issues with bureaucracy and red tape within their businesses, and that's something I'll look in to, but the key priorities more generally I think are investment, transport infrastructure, education and also marketing; talking about Mansfield in a more positive way and selling our town to potential visitors and investors."

Letter to David Gauke on Universal Credit

Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

I am urging local charities and community groups to consider applying for a share of over £4 million of funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Applications for the latest round of funding are now open and will close on the 28th August.

Both charities and community groups are eligible to apply for the grants of between £500 and £20,000.


Jack Dromey MP pictured above with Witton Lodge Community Association who received funding last year 

A million more children in poverty by 2022

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

A million more children in poverty by 2022. The legacy of this Tory Government, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and make no mistake, families in the Highlands are feeling it.

Over half of those in poverty live in working households. Parents should not be going to work day in, day out only to be unable to feed their children or heat their home.

Electricity, fuel and rent cost increases, an upward spiral of prices in shops, perhaps the worst period of wage stagnation in generations, the thrust downwards into poverty is also turbocharged by a systematic ideological attack on the welfare state.

There’s no better example than the horrendous roll out of Universal Credit – the Tories new ‘one payment’ social security system. It’s seen thousands more families plunged into poverty here in the Highlands, especially in my constituency, the chosen pilot area for the rollout. Families, the disabled, here have felt the punishing effects much earlier than those living in other parts of the UK.

Imagine, years of just making ends meet with a bit of help from child tax credits, or rent allowance, to then have the meagre assistance that has kept your head above water suddenly disappear – because you’ve been switched to “Universal Credit”.

A system so complex that even staff from the department of work and pensions and Job Centre Plus can’t understand it. Worse still, they often aren’t allowed to speak to each other because the new system doesn’t allow it. Payments are withdrawn without warning and people face a minimum 6 week wait, often months, for replacement funds and weeks of rent arrears by default. They simply can’t pay.

The Scottish Government will use its limited new powers (around 15%) to ensure dignity and respect for those it can help, however, this can’t be enough to stop the downward spiral families’ face now. The U.K. Government must halt the rollout of Universal Credit – then redesign it to work to alleviate, not increase poverty.

Poverty does not exist in isolation, it is invasive to our communities. If there is less money in the pockets of families here in the Highlands then there is less money to be spent in our shops and with our local businesses and it’s pretty hard to contribute to your local economy if every day is spent trying to find ways simply to get by.


The post A million more children in poverty by 2022 appeared first on Drew Hendry MP.

Gordon and fellow Fylde Coast MP Cat Smith have urged higher and further education bosses from across Lancashire to integrate voter registration within their student enrolment process.IMG_1326.JPG

Gordon, who is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Cat who the party’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement have written to all university vice-chancellors including at UCLAN and further education intuitions that do HE courses, such as Blackpool and the Fylde, about adopting this process. It follows a successful pilot at Sheffield University which saw 76% of students registered, compared to some universities which were as low as 13%.

The approach of integrating student enrolment with voter registration has been backed by Universities UK and also been successfully adopted by other universities including at Lancaster.

Gordon said: “The pilot at Sheffield where voter registration was integrated within student enrolment shows the big difference it can make to electoral registration numbers. We would like the same to be done at Blackpool and Fylde College, UCLAN, and other higher education providers across Lancashire and the North West.

“To build an inclusive democracy, it requires active participation from people of all ages and backgrounds. However students are one of the most mobile and transient groups and often the most at risk of falling off the electoral register. We can do something about this by registering them when they enrol on their college or university courses and this in turn will get them into the habit of voting.”

In their letter to the university vice-chancellors and college principals, Gordon and Cat added: “We realise that it is too late to make the necessary changes to enrolment systems for your 2017 intake, but hope that you will consider it for future years. However, for the current year it would be really helpful if you could liaise with your local Electoral Registration Officer and run a voter registration campaign at the start of the new academic year to sign up new students and prevent continuing students from falling of the electoral roll.”

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has called on the Tory UK Government to end its freeze on working-age benefits. The SNP MP has added his support to a campaign by the Poverty Alliance urging the UK Government to scrap the four year benefits freeze in the face of rising inflation and increases in living costs. UK Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure to use his Autumn budget to reverse the freeze on working-age benefits, including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support,...

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British Fisheries

Derek Thomas (St Ives)

Most fishermen support leaving the EU. They know that EU Common Fisheries Policy has not worked for British fishermen. Fishermen want a viable future putting nutritious food on our tables.

This was the message George Eustice MP (Fisheries Minister) and I heard when we met with the fishing industry on Monday. Some in the industry are nervous that politicians will trade access to UK waters as part of a new trade deal with the EU. With Michael Gove (DEFRA Secretary) and George Eustice, I am confident that we will strike the deal our fishing fleet require. It’s important to remember that when we leave the EU international law applies. This gives the UK control over access to the 200 nautical mile limit and the median line (from the shores of neighbour-states).

Some say that managing access will be difficult to navigate and difficult to enforce. I say we follow the example of other independent coastal states that are used to this and negotiate with other states routinely. We are entering an exciting but crucial time for the British Fishing Industry yet attracting fresh blood into the sector is proving difficult. Prospective crew members need to know that fishing is a worthwhile job and provides a living. We also need to reach local consumers. Much of the fish landed in West Cornwall finds its way to foreign markets.

Finally, fishermen are still discarding quantities of valuable fish. Good stock management is important – livelihoods depend on it. However, tons of dead fish thrown back to sea does nothing to preserve stocks. In local waters discard is partly due to our mixed-fishery – as Forest Gump once said ‘you never know what you’re going to get.’ – yet EU regulation tells fishermen what they get to land.

In 2018 we will have sight of a British Fisheries Bill. Ministers and the sector will seek to address these challenges and set a direction for British fishing that could transform our fishing communities. I invited George Eustice back to listen to our local fishermen because I want to ensure UK fishing policy understands and reflects the particular interests and diversities of our local fleet.

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has raised his fears for children across Tameside as thousands could go hungry this summer as schools remain closed. New Trussell Trust data reveals that families are now increasingly reliant on food banks during the summer holidays, with 47% of food parcels going to families with primary school aged …

Hungerford 30 years after the tragedy

Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Sitting in a fold in the Berkshire Downs, with the stunning River Kennet running through it, Hungerford seems the perfect small market town. In many ways it is. It manages to be a town but feel like a village. There is a sense of civic pride which is matched by a plethora of community groups […]

Standing up for our NHS

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

Labour NHS summer 2017It was a Labour government which founded the National Health Service, our proudest achievement, and only Labour can be trusted to ensure universal healthcare will continue to be provided for all on the basis of need, free at the point of use.

Seven years of Tory neglect and underinvestment have left our National Health Service in a desperate state, with the mental health crisis deepening, ever more children’s operations being cancelled, lengthening waits to see a health professional, fewer people applying to become nurses and the looming threat of Brexit to our NHS workforce.

Now, over the summer and without proper parliamentary scrutiny, the Tories want to sell-off NHS Professionals, the body that saves the taxpayer around £70 million a year by organising last-minute or replacement staffing for NHS trusts in England, and ensuring hospitals don’t have to rely on expensive private agencies.

The deal is being pushed through behind closed doors with very little clarity for Parliament, taxpayers, NHS patients, or the staff employed at NHS Professionals about what the sale will mean for the future of the organisation.

It is typical of a Tory government that doesn’t really support our NHS.

For instance, since Theresa May became Prime Minister in July 2016 there have been 9,625 cancelled children’s operations. That’s an average of 963 cancelled children’s operations every month of her premiership – and figures uncovered by Labour indicate that cancellations are up by a third since 2014.

Figures I uncovered through Freedom of Information requests show that ambulance staff helped 30,000 more people experiencing a mental health crisis in 2016-17 compared with 2014-15, a strong indication that too many people are not able to access help through their GP or community services. You can read more here.

The government is dismantling the early intervention and prevention services that prevent people reaching a crisis and having to call an ambulance. Officially we’ve lost 6,600 mental health nurses and doctors since 2010. But many other posts remain unfilled too.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt must ring-fence mental health budgets so that funding reaches the frontline. Too much money pledged for mental health is not reaching the sector. In the absence of ring-fenced budgets, funding is being diverted to prop up other areas of the NHS.

By underfunding and overstretching the NHS, the Tories have pushed health services to the brink. It’s why Labour pledged appropriate levels of funding for the NHS in our manifesto and guaranteed the main four-hour A&E target would finally be met again consistently.

Prime Minister Theresa May must give the NHS the support and resources it urgently needs.

Local MP praises work of local charity

Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South)

A local charity has received a visit by the new Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, to recognise their hard work in supporting people with a disability or long-term life limiting conditions.

WetWheels Solent, who have their headquarters in Gunwharf Quays, build disabled people’s confidence by providing the opportunity to access the sea in a fun, safe, stimulating and rewarding way using specially modified, fully accessible powerboats.

With the support of donors and partner organisations they provide water-based activity experiences for disabled people on board their specially designed boats, from centres within local communities.

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Wetwheels is an inspiring local organisation where perceived barriers are reassessed, new skills are learned and new-found independence is discovered.

Geoff and his team are doing so much to encourage opportunity for all in our great city. Last year they helped over 1,600 people 80% of which have never been afloat before, worked with 48 different agencies and assisted people from all walks of life to build their confidence and self esteem.

It was great to pay the charity a visit to recognise the hard work they and so many other charities do in Portsmouth to make life better for all”.

Disabled people can face particular challenges developing confidence, self-belief, self-worth and independence.

Beneficiaries of WetWheels services are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families.

The visit to WetWheels was led by Geoff Holt MBE and DL, the organisation’s founder. Geoff, a sailor from the city, was paralysed in an accident aged 18. In 2007 he became the first quadriplegic yatchsman to sail solo around Great Britain.



As we leave the EU the UK will be free to design a new foreign policy. Whilst it is true that the present Treaties allow an EU country to express a different view about a third country from the common EU line, it is becoming increasingly centralised with more resources being put into the EU diplomatic service and more loyalty expected to the EU High Representative’s view. In many areas, ranging from trade to climate change the UK and other member states have to accept the common line and allow the EU to lead. The UK is bound in to a trade policy by Treaty, and has to watch as the EU represents us at the WTO even though we have to pay a membership subscription to the WTO. There are many other bodies making standards and regulating business worldwide where the EU has taken over form the UK. When it comes to military intervention the UK and the others still have the power to decide for themselves whether to commit to common action or not.

The UK needs a new foreign policy not just to incorporate the areas the EU currently does for us, and the new freedoms we will have to shape a policy in our own national interest. We also need it to reflect on the problems caused by coalition and NATO actions in the Middle East and elsewhere in recent years. Many UK voters are critical of the UK’s policies this century, disliking the military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan. Libya and Syria, and disliking the inability of the UK to argue its own case in matters like trade and energy to look after its own economic interests. Take back control was mainly articulated about migration, taxes and domestic laws, but it was also relevant to the conduct of foreign policy.

I wish to explore how we should use our new freedoms, and what we should learn from the military interventions of recent years, in a series of blog posts over the weeks ahead. Today I wish to start with the issue of what should be the main purpose of UK foreign and defence policy? I would propose that the main aims are

1. Creating friendly and positive relationships with our neighbours and partners, including promoting more free trade, more exchanges of ideas, investments, intelligence, cultural activities and the rest.
2. Having sufficient power to defend and protect the UK islands and our dependent territories, and sending clear messages of our resolve to protect ourselves should need arise.
3. Working with allies and partners to promote peace and prosperity worldwide, seeking conflict resolution and better economic development in troubled developing countries. Acting where we can make a difference for the better.
4. Recognising the limits to our abilities to reform or amend governments and their policies far from home. We are not to blame for all the ills of the world and cannot solve all the worlds problems.
5. Seeking mutual understanding with the major powers of the world, whilst being able in conjunction with our NATO allies to protect ourselves if diplomacy fails.

High Street Green Sinkhole

Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead)

Mike Penning MP calls for site meeting with County Council and Thames Water.
Frank Field has called for a review of the operation of benefits, including the new universal credit, to prevent claimants being unintentionally forced into poverty.

Those who care for most vulnerable need reward

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

I chose to spend a day of recess shadowing a carer in the Chippenham constituency as part of the Albicare team based in Bradford on Avon. The purpose was to fully understand the challenges in the industry and gain an ‘on the ground’ insight into the life of a carer and those being cared for. I have visited a number of local care agencies and decided in the end to do the shadowing in the south of the constituency.

I believe we need to raise the status of carers in society – they are care professional who play an invaluable role in our society. We must remember and reward those who care for the most vulnerable and in need. We need to support them more and shout about the work they do, to raise the status of the profession. We need to think about a range of care models and come together cross party to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society always get the quality of care that they deserve. Models that integrate local communities.

The care sector has a number of issues including pay, recruitment, retention and pressures on carers. It was eye opening to see just how time demanding and emotionally stressful the job is. Also heart-breaking to see how in need some people are – all some people have is their carer. That is why it is so important that we recognise their value and also look to all the community to help target isolation and loneliness.

I do believe the goal is to enable everyone to live independently as long as possible which is why I am an ambassador for the Independent Living Centre based in Semington. The visit however emphasised to me that care is not enough – we must do more to enable people to live at home but also reach out to them together as communities. Retirement complexes and assisted living properties can offer some of the answers but these are currently often unaffordable and some people do want to stay in their current home – so we need to seriously address the issue.

There will always be a need for the very debilitated to be in a care home. That is why we must not forget the carers working in the care homes or the challenges there. I regularly visit local homes and will now arrange a shadowing in one soon.

I have been busy during the recess you can keep up to date on michelledonelan.com and like fb.com/michelledonelanchippenham. I hold regular surgeries so if you have a problem or concern please call 01249 704465 or email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk

The post Those who care for most vulnerable need reward appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Supporting the fight against fracking

Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East)

IMG_2797_-_Copy.JPGMy visit to the protest at the entrance to the Preston New Road fracking pad


Abolish the Bedroom Tax Now

Alex Norris (Nottingham North)

Nottingham Labour unanimously passed a motion at July’s Full Council Meeting calling for the abolition of the bedroom tax – while Conservative Councillors abstained.

The tax affects approximately 6,000 households in Nottingham, the vast majority of who are on low incomes and many who are disabled.

It is also ineffective. The tax was originally intended to free up properties for others but people are, understandably, staying put and seeing their income reduced rather than move away from friends and neighbours.

Nottingham City Council is faced with the absurd situation of opposing the tax, but being forced to implement it by the Conservative government.

Nottingham Labour has written to government miisters to demonstrate their objection to the tax; and continued to press our three local Labour MPs, Lilian Greenwood, Chris Leslie and Alex Norris to speak out against the tax in Parliament and Labour’s front bench members have also said they will raise the issue,

Following Theresa May’s failure to secure the majority she wanted in June, the Conservatives had to buy the votes of 10 DUP MPs for the sum of £1 billion. In their manifesto, the DUP were opposed to the bedroom tax so it is hoped that no there is no majority in Parliament for the bedroom tax it can be overturned.

The post Abolish the Bedroom Tax Now appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

MP welcomes new superfast broadband roll out

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

MP welcomes new superfast broadband roll out Fri, 18/08/2017 - 14:20

MP welcomes new superfast broadband roll out

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, has welcomed a flurry of new areas which can now access superfast broadband across the county.

The MP, who works to put pressure on BT and iNorthumberland to ensure the pace of progress is maintained, was delighted to see a long list of new villages and areas which now have access.

Speaking of the progress, she said: “It is so crucial we continue to roll out superfast broadband to all homes in Northumberland, especially those in more rural areas. Fast broadband is now officially the fourth utility thanks to the Government’s new legislation to enforce a minimum standard and I am delighted so many more of my constituents can now choose to connect to a faster broadband service. There is still more to do but this new roll out is excellent news.”

The list of new villages now connected includes: Denwick Village, Ancroft (some additional coverage in the Allerdene area), Belford (some additional coverage in the centre - previously exchange only lines) Old Swarland, Rennington, Cresswell, Widdrington Village, Newtown & Great Tosson, Rothbury, Haugh Head, Wooler and Doddington.

Additionally, Mrs Trevelyan has called upon constituents to take part in the Government’s consultation on the scope of the new Universal Service Obligation.

She said: “Those who follow my work in Parliament will know I have spent a few years pressuring the Government to adopt a Universal Service Obligation for broadband – it guarantees a level of service which has to be provided in the same way as we already have with water and electricity. I was delighted when it became law, and now the Government is consulting on the scope. It is so vital for Northumberland residents to take part in the consultation to make their views known.”

The consultation can be found HERE

27 bus, national express
Steve has written to Managing Director of National Express UK Bus, Mr Paul Thomas, calling for plans to scrap the 27 bus route to be abandoned.


Steve McCabe wrote to Mr Thomas as part of an ongoing consultation into bus routes in South Birmingham. Many of Mr McCabe’s constituents will be widely affected by the withdrawal of the 27 bus, including those trying to access the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Northfield, local schools, Bournville train station and other local facilities.

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Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)

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People in south Bristol will have another opportunity to meet local money experts to check they are receiving all their financial entitlements when MP Karin Smyth organises the latest of her free one-stop-shop community events.

The Money Entitlement One Stop Shop event, at The Withywood Centre, Queens Road, Withywood, takes place on Friday 15 September from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.

The Labour MP’s research has highlighted how £16 million per year in Pension Credit, and upwards of £20 million in Income Support, goes unclaimed by Bristol residents each year.

Karin Smyth said: “Too many people miss out on money that is rightly theirs, so I am again bringing together a number of Bristol’s finance experts to give practical first-hand advice and information to local people. It’s only fair that if you work hard and contribute to society, through taxes and other means, the system is then there for you when you need it.”

Organisations including Bristol Citizens Advice, South Bristol Advice Services, the Department for Work and PensionsCare and Repair and Bristol City Council’s Welfare Rights & Money Advice Service will be present. They will help guide people through the processes necessary to claim what’s theirs.

The charity Age UK calculates that nationally up to £3.7 billion goes unclaimed by older people each year and whilst the primary focus of the event will be older people, all will be welcome. Attending organisations will have separate tables in a market-style layout in the main hall.

“Staggering amounts are involved, and what makes this even more striking is that it’s money that people are eligible to receive,” Karin Smyth added. “If this was rightly claimed, just think what it could do to help the lives of those who are entitled to it. Think too of the positive impact on the local economy when people spend it.

“Sometimes people are not fully aware of what they should be able to receive, and when the rules and regulations change it can be really difficult to keep on top of things. When you are having a hard time with money it feels so much harder to navigate the paperwork. Similar previous events I’ve organised have highlighted the need so I’m pleased to give yet another free opportunity to people I represent.”


Concerns raised over numbers of mental health patients sent away for treatment Fri, 18/08/2017 - 09:53

Nearly 100 mental health patients in the Borders have been sent to other health boards for treatment in the past three years, NHS Borders have confirmed.

Despite having a relatively small population, this was the 4th highest in Scotland, behind only NHS Fife, NHS Highlands and NHS Grampian.

Most patients were sent to NHS Lothian to access treatment, a round trip of 110 miles from NHS Borders, however some had to go as far as NHS Grampian, a 376m round trip, in order to access the mental health service they needed.

The Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives, also showed that some young patients were being transferred outside the Borders to access Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Young Persons’ Mental Health unit and Eating Disorder Units.

Local Scottish Conservative politicians have said that while it was understandable that some patients had to travel to receive patient care, the numbers were too high given that mental health is supposed to be a priority issue for the Scottish Government.

John Lamont MP said: “It is understandable that in exceptional circumstances it will be in a patient’s best interest to be sent elsewhere for treatment.

“However, mental health patients can be very vulnerable and sending people away from their homes and families should be avoided where possible.

“It does seem that NHS Borders are sending patients to other parts of Scotland on a more regular basis than most health boards. This calls into question whether they are getting the support they need from the Scottish Government, who have claimed mental health is a priority.

“I am also concerned that those being sent elsewhere include vulnerable children and adolescents.”

Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “All sides of the political debate in Scotland agree that mental health should be treated as seriously as physical health. But if that’s to be the case, people need to be able to rely on their local health board for treatment as far as possible.

“These figures suggest that despite having a smaller population, NHS Borders is sending above average numbers of patients to other health boards. A round trip of 376 miles to access mental health treatment seems difficult to justify.

“In order to be able to get these figures down, the Scottish Government needs to do more to support NHS Borders in providing the specialist treatment patients need. Patients should have access to the best possible care here in the Borders, not elsewhere."

Commenting on their figures, Cliff Sharp, Medical Director at NHS Borders said: “NHS Borders aims to provide patient care within local services. In some circumstances, patients may require highly specialist interventions and care that cannot provided in the Borders.

“In these instances patients are referred to services within our regional network to receive the care that they require. In exceptional circumstances patients with complex needs may receive mental health care from services out with the network if this is the best option to accommodate their needs.”

Now in recess from Westminster there is still much to do and much going on. The four Black Country Authorities including, Walsall Council, have recently commenced their Black Country Core Strategy Consultation. It is a document essentially about planning for our future, including Housing, Employment, Environment and Transport.
Importantly for us, the consultation looks at housing needs up to 2036, and seeks to identify future growth areas within the Aldridge-Brownhills constituency. I have always taken the view that we need a ‘Brownfield first’ approach to housing and development, allowing us to protect our precious Green Belt. It is absolutely vital that the views of residents from right across the constituency are heard. If you want to take part in the consultation it runs up to 8 September and details can be found at: www.blackcountrycorestrategy.dudley.gov.uk
Groups of hard-working and dedicated volunteers often work quietly behind the scenes, supporting our local communities, something which those of you who regularly follow my column will know I often refer to. Their impact is huge, and even the smallest contributions can collectively make as big difference. The local Aldridge Volunteer Gardeners, together with all those who have collectively been working as part of the In Bloom team, are an excellent example. Their hard work and effort is to be admired and commended and I wish them all the best in this years competition. Whatever the outcome, and we will have to wait until later in the year to hear, I am sure we can all agree that the Village looks splendid once again this year, and it shows community spirit at its finest.
It is therefore frustrating that across our area we continue to suffer the incursions of Travellers who do not share this respect for neighbours and the local environment, leaving behind a trail of rubbish and mess for others to clean up. This is a matter I have raised both locally and at Westminster and will continue to do so as quite clearly more needs to be done to tackle this issue.
Locally the decision by Walsall Council to buy the Sadler Centre in Walsall town centre for the staggering sum of £13.8 million when earlier this summer the Council closed the doors of libraries in Pelsall, Rushall and Walsall Wood and have failed to provide any strategy or vision for Ravenscourt in Brownhills, demonstrates a breath-taking lack of reality of the needs of residents in our area. It is now incumbent on Walsall Council to develop strategies that will help all of our high streets and shopping centres.

This was first published by the Sutton Observer on 17th August.

Ruth George MP during her visit to Fenton ward, Cavendish Hospital, Buxton

Following the positive response to my question as part of the Better Care Closer to Home consultation meeting, I have met with Steve Allinson, Chief Officer of North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and we were shown round both Spencer and Fenton wards to see the wonderful and effective care they offer to the residents of High Peak. Thank you very much to the staff who spoke with us and I know that Steve was impressed.

I appreciate that this is a very difficult time for staff and families, especially as it has just been announced that Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell will be closing next week on 23rd August. Riverside Ward had few patients, and was struggling to recruit staff, so it is a very different situation from the wards at The Cavendish which are fully utilised.

The Trust which runs the hospitals has announced that a pilot Dementia Rapid Response Team (DRRT) will be set up in the next few weeks.  I have asked for clarification as to where this pilot group will operate, which staff roles will be involved, and how its effectiveness will be measured. I have also asked for the difficult position of staff to be recognised and as much support as possible to be given to them.  Their skills, experience and commitment are vital to both current and future patients, and all the NHS bodies must strive to ensure that staff are informed, involved and supported.

The CCG has committed to run a Rapid Response Team alongside the provision at Spencer Ward to see whether it will be effective at reducing the need for the dementia assessment and support role provided by the Ward.

Whilst I would be very pleased to see support offered to more families who are struggling to care for a loved one suffering from dementia at home, I am concerned that the new provision for more seriously ill patients to be cared for at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield has not taken into account the impact of long travel distances for family and friends of patients.  This will not only cause huge distress for patients and their families, but will mean that patients cannot be supported to gradually return home for their ongoing care, which helps families stay together wherever possible and reduces the costs of care.  I am therefore supporting the complaint submitted by High Peak residents challenging the decision making process by the CCGs involved.

Whilst we have been assured that cost is not a factor in the decisions on Spencer and Fenton wards, they must be put into the context that the CCG is in a very difficult financial position, having to find £27.3m savings – over 6% of their total budget.

I appreciate the work that is being done by the CCG to try and achieve the level of cuts demanded by NHS England with the least impact on patient care. I have offered my support to persuade the Department of Health to seek fewer cuts to be required immediately.

Through all the uncertainty, one thing is certain – our need for health care is increasing rather than reducing. I hope that as our health service changes through the new Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which seek to integrate health and social care, that the need for continuing local care for elderly people in High Peak will be recognised.

I can make no promises and I will not give any assurances that I cannot fulfil, but I will continue to argue the case for the excellent care provided at Spencer and Fenton wards.

Thank you very much to all the staff who continue to give such high-quality care and who go above and beyond for your patients, even in such uncertain times.

The post Arguing the Case for Excellent Care at Cavendish Hospital appeared first on Ruth George MP for High Peak.

Emma’s Disappointment with Health Scrutiny

Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)

For over a year now, Emma has actively supported the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign, despite cries of “scaremongering” from the Trust and others. What Emma and the campaign predicted would happen is indeed now being consulted on.

The downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital is now a very real prospect.

The current consultation process will see changes to stroke services, maternity, gynaecology and children and young people’s healthcare (urgent and emergency pediatrics). The Clinical Commissioning Group and the Trust have publically asserted that the options put before the public for consultation were devised with input from the clinicians at South Tyneside and Sunderland Hospitals. However, this is disputed by many of the clinicians at South Tyneside Hospital who state that they were actually actively blocked from having input into the options.

In July Emma wrote to the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee for South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils, asking them to invoke their powers to refer the consultation to the Secretary of State for Health. Only this Committee can make that referral.

The request has now been twice rejected. Copies of all related correspondence can be seen below (Please click on the links twice to view responses):

Emma said that “It is of great concern to me that the Committee continues to dig its heels in on this matter, I have provided them with evidence and the legislative framework that makes my request totally viable. Adhering to my request would reassure the people in South Shields and South Tyneside that their Council is united with their MP in doing all they can to save our hospital”

Emma has been invited to speak at a meeting of the Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting on September 4th at South Shields Town Hall at 2pm. Emma will use this opportunity to re-iterate her concerns and to respond to the most recent letter she received from the Committee. This is a public event and Emma urges as many people to attend as possible.











STC JHSC 21 July 17

ELB STJHSC 26 July 17

STC JHSC 11 Aug 17


MP’s Surgery Cardross 22nd August

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

I’ll be holding a constituency advice surgery in Cardross on Tuesday 22nd August between 2.00pm and 3.00pm. If you would like an appointment please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Related Images: [See image gallery at www.brendanoharamp.scot]

Mayflower Theatre Summer Dance Project

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I recently had the great pleasure of joining Sarah Mepham, senior lecturer in Performance at Southampton Solent University for the Mayflower Theatre Summer Dance Project. The Mayflower Theatre have brought together 30 young people to create a dance show inspired by Guys and Dolls and this is being showcased at the Mayflower this summer. They [...]

The post Mayflower Theatre Summer Dance Project appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Government activity this summer

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

Despite the Parliamentary recess, Alec and the Conservative Government are working hard this summer to deliver for residents in Elmet & Rothwell.

  • Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis has announced plans to replace landing cards for Non-European travellers, scrapping the outdated paper-based system, which costs the public around £3.6 million each year. This is part of a modernisation of border technology to ensure Border Force staff stop dealing with outdated paperwork and can continue to focus on security and protecting the public.
  • Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has announced an independent review into the cost of energy, led by Professor Dieter Helm CBE, which will recommend ways to keep energy prices as low as possible, as pledged in the Conservative manifesto.
  • Digital Minister Matthew Hancock is working on a new Data Protection Bill to update and strengthen data protection laws, making it easier for people to have social media posts from their childhood removed.
  • Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Health, has begun the biggest ever expansion to the NHS medical workforce in England, with plans to train an extra 1,500 doctors a year by 2020 and an additional 10,000 additional training places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.
  • And Environment Secretary Michael Gove has proposed that CCTV will be made mandatory in all slaughterhouses, to further strengthen animal welfare standards in England. 

The post Government activity this summer appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke MP.

Mark Tami MP this week met with a number leading figures from Flintshire County Council in a meeting arranged to discuss the regeneration of Buckley. In attendance were Steve Jones (Streetscene), Niall Waller (Regeneration), Andy Roberts (Planning), Clare Budden (Housing and Regeneration) and Cllr Derek Butler (Economic development). The regeneration of Buckley has been a […]

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has today vowed to continue his campaign to save the community beds and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) in Holderness, after the City Health Care Partnership announced that new admissions to the community beds at Withernsea Community Hospital will stop with immediate effect.

The twelve community beds, which cater for a range of patients including those in palliative and rehabilitative care, will no longer accept new patients after this latest blow to local residents.

The City Health Care Partnership have put the decision down to staff shortages and its commitment to maintain its basic duty of care to patients on a safe and sustainable basis. The decision has been backed by NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which in March 2017 announced its separate decision to close the MIUs in Withernsea and Hornsea.

Graham Stuart has been a vocal opponent of the planned closures, leading a number of public demonstrations and petitions in which local opposition to the CCG’s decision was widely displayed. Indeed, a survey conducted by the CCG itself found that 90% of those asked in Holderness were opposed to travelling further to access minor injury care facilities.

Along with East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight, Graham has continued to fight the CCG’s decision. Most recently, he met with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is yet to decide whether he will refer the CCG’s decision to the Independent Configuration Panel.

Following today’s announcement about the Withernsea Community Hospital beds, Graham said: “I’m extremely disappointed but not surprised at this news. The clinicians who decide how our local NHS is run said that they wanted to close the beds in Withernsea and staff have understandably taken the hint and moved elsewhere.

“Like the people of Holderness I want this unit to be maintained. That’s why so many of us have campaigned so hard for so long against the Urgent Care Strategy. It’s right that decisions in the NHS should be made locally by a clinically led body. I don’t dispute that. But it’s also right that they should be scrutinised independently when local people do not agree.

“That’s why Sir Greg Knight and I called for the Strategy to be referred to the Secretary of State and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. Things look pretty bleak today, but if the Secretary chooses to refer the matter to the Panel, and if the Panel finds against the CCG and orders them back to the drawing board, then we will have the chance to argue for something which works as well in Holderness as it does in Goole.

“I’m assured the small number of patients still in Withernsea Hospital will be well looked after and will not be moved out until it is right for them. After the last one of them is discharged then we will need to wait to see whether the Independent Reconfiguration Panel will be given a chance to review the decision.”

The Clutton Flower Show

Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)

The Clutton Flower Show is always one of the highlights of the summer for me. Once again I was honoured to be invited to help open it along with the actor Anthony Head who was exceptionally gracious. Clutton is a small village but puts on a large event. It has several marquees and a large number of entries for its flower, vegetable and other categories including this year a local bake off. The standard is amazingly high and I am privileged to be shown around privately each year by Aubrey Wilcox who is so knowledgeable and wins many, if not most, of the prizes.

I also take pride in my family’s longstanding connection with the Show. This year I was given a press cutting from 1935 when my grandfather, Fletcher Rees-Mogg, presided at the opening by Lady Warwick. My late father described as “little Billy Rees-Mogg” presented her with a bouquet of sweet peas and gypsophilia, an event he remembered for the rest of his life. Many of those who go to the Show have a similarly long standing connection.

Clutton has also moved with the times and in addition to the main event has an array of activities for children. Bouncy Castles and ice cream, tractors and vintage cars, a dog show and a parade of the Mendip Farmers hounds all made it a very special afternoon with the band playing well known tunes in the background. This does not all happen by magic nor does its long history mean there is any less work to do. Those who enjoy it owe many thanks to the Committee and its tireless Secretary Pat Williams who had another triumphant year.

MP supports summer of sport

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

A North East football and multi sports project moved up a league after a visit from a local MP this week. Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, teamed up with Hat Trick’s ‘Roots 2 Sport’ programme, during a visit to one of their sessions being held at Newbiggin Hall’s Simonside Community Centre. The ‘Roots 2 … Continue reading MP supports summer of sport

Rail Franchise

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

The process of awarding the rail franchise for the South East of England is well underway, and the new licence will be operational from the end of next year. I recently met with David Statham the Managing Director of the current operator, Southeastern trains to discuss service improvements we would like to see as part of the new franchise. Along with other Kent MPs, I was also signatory to a joint letter sent earlier in the year, to the Department for Transport, which set out our priorities for the future of local rail services.

Folkestone and east Kent has benefited greatly from the launch of the High Speed rail service in 2010. One of the consequences of this success has been a considerable increase in the numbers of passengers using the service, particularly at peak times. We need more services and longer trains to meet the current and future demand. This should include more twelve car trains running between St Pancras and Folkestone Central. The current high speed service is running at near capacity, and it requires a substantial investment in new sets of trains. I have also asked Southeastern though to look at what they can do to improve the capacity on the current service now. We also need additional rail capacity for Kent on the Charing Cross and Cannon Street services as well.

Many rail passengers travel every week for work into London, but not necessarily everyday. We should be looking at how we can use the latest smart ticketing technology so that frequent travellers can take advantage of the season ticket discount, but only pay for the number of days they use it, rather than for the whole year. This would help many local businesses who travel to London meet with clients, and commuters who have the opportunity to work from home on certain days of the week. I would also like to see investment to make a substantial upgrade of Westenhanger station as part of preparing for the development of the Otterpool Garden town. This should include making it possible for the high speed trains to run on the Channel Tunnel rail link line as far as Westenhanger, before they join the rest of the network.

The rail franchise for the south east is of course a competitive process, and there are three other companies also bidding to take over the service. These other companies have been in touch with me and I’m looking forward to meeting with them to discuss their plans for our local services should their bids be successful.

Finally, I would like to send my best wishes for all students who will receive the results of their A level results on Thursday this week.  I hope that they attain the grades they have been working for, and that those who are waiting on their results before taking up offers of university places, are successful.

The post Rail Franchise appeared first on Damian Collins.


Basingstoke MP Maria Miller was pleased to hear more about local charity Muffin’s Dream Foundation, when she caught up with the charity’s founder and CEO Charlie Porter recently.
Muffin’s Dream was founded in 2012 and helps children and young people with a disability or illness. Its aim is to ensure that children and young adults can access a wide range of support services, both in the community and in a hospital environment, as well as supporting family members and friends. They also organise events to allow disabled children and young people to take part in activities they would not normally be able to do, such as horse riding and gymnastics.
Maria said: “I was glad to meet Charlie again and hear about the support that she and her team are giving to disabled children and their families in Basingstoke. Muffin’s Dream Foundation is a great local charity and I applaud them for helping disabled children to have the opportunity to take part in activities that might otherwise be unavailable to them.”

Number 5 Bus Campaign – We did it!

Margaret Hodge (Barking)

We did it!

From August 26th, No.5 bus will go direct to Queen’s Hospital.

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition!


Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

After weeks of missed collections across Birmingham, I am relieved that agreement has been reached to bring the bins dispute to an end and I thank the Council and Unions for doing so. Birmingham residents have understandably been left angry and frustrated by all of this, but they too will be relieved to have the […]

Isles MP Angus MacNeil is delighted to learn that local dance teacher, Claire Wilson, (M.B.A.T.D, M.S.D.T.A and U.K.A) has been selected to join the fifty-strong international championship highland dance team which will perform at the 10th Anniversary of the Spasskaya Tower Tattoo – the Kremlin Military Tattoo in Moscow.  The Spasskaya Tower Tattoo will take place from 26th August to 3rd September and is staged with the backdrop of the monumental walls of the Kremlin.

The Festival gathers the best artistic groups and musicians from all over the world.  The international team consists of Premier level dancers from five countries; Canada, The Netherlands, Russia, Scotland and South Africa – this fact speaks volumes about the unifying force of Highland Dance.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“Claire is the sole representative from the Western Isles to perform on Red Square in Moscow, this is a remarkable opportunity.

“Clare is hopeful that her attendance will encourage and inspire other young dancers from the islands to aspire to these heights and I wish her well in what I am sure will be a wonderful experience.”


Russian Tattoo PhotoNotes to Editor:

You can follow Claire’s adventures on her dance school’s Instagram page and find out more about the Spasskaya Tattoo on their own Facebook page.

Classes for the Claire Wilson School of Dance will resume in Harris, Ness and the West Side when Claire returns in September.  For information on class times, venues and syllabus Claire can be contacted at ClaireWilsonSchoolofDance@hotmail.com


As Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, I launched Labour’s national State Pension tour in a meeting with local pensioners in Hebden Bridge on yesterday.

I visited the Calder Valley constituency – won by the Conservatives by only 609 votes in June’s General Election – to discuss how a future Labour government can provide dignity and security in retirement.

The Conservative Government has announced plans to extend the retirement age from 66 to 68 from 2037, which will see 36.9 million people having to work longer. Analysis by the Labour Party shows that tens of thousands of people in every constituency who are currently under 48 years old will be affected by the Tories’ increase in the State Pension age, including 60,673 in Halifax and 53,103 in the Calder Valley constituency.

Labour has rejected this increase to the State Pension Age and instead is reviewing a flexible retirement age as part of the party’s Commission on Pensions.

Thanks to the Tories increasing the State Pension age, 36.9 million people will be forced to work longer, at the same time that evidence indicates life expectancy has stalled in some places and is reducing in others.  

Conservative MPs must explain to the tens of thousands of people in their constituencies, why the burden of Tory austerity is being pushed onto them, while corporations and the richest individuals receive tax breaks. Theresa May should answer the 36.9 million people across Britain whose hard-earned retirements are being postponed because of her government.

Labour will keep the State Pension age at 66 and this tour will help us review, as part of our commitment to people powered politics, the pension system, with a view to guaranteeing a secure and healthy retirement for the many, not just the few.

Growing in our Community

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

Last Sunday members of Jon Cruddas MP’s team visited Dagenham Farm, a thriving initiative supplying the local area with organic produce and equipping local residents with skills in cultivation and food preparation.   

Dagenham Farm is part of Growing Communities, a community-led organisation that creates sustainable urban farms.  Growing Communities has been based in Hackney since 1996 and expanded with the opening of Dagenham Farm in 2012. 

Dagenham Farm now reports producing around five tonnes of produce each year.  Fresh produce can be purchased at Dagenham East station on Thursdays between 5-7pm or at Open Farm Sundays when the site is open to visitors and volunteers between 11am to 3pm. Volunteers are also welcomed on a Wednesday between 10am to 3pm and are provided with a free lunch freshly sourced from the kitchen garden.

In addition to their commercial enterprises, last year the farm launched Grown in Dagenham.  With support from the Big Lottery the project is running a free summer holiday club for ages 9-15 as well as weekly term time sessions with schools in the borough.  The farm has also trained four unemployed lone parents from the area in the skills needed to grow, produce, market and retail a product.

Jon Cruddas commented: “Dagenham Farm is a real asset to our community, offering fresh affordable produce and educational opportunities to all.  However, schemes like this can only be sustained and developed with the support of local residents.  Volunteers are vital if the farm is to be properly maintained and reach its potential.  I would urge people to give of their time and take advantage of a project which offers exercise, training, a sense of accomplishment and some delicious fresh produce!”

To read more about the work of Dagenham Farm, Growing Communities and Grown in Dagenham please follow the links below.  As part of their continued commitment to community outreach, Dagenham Farm is also hosting DagenJam on Sunday 10th September from 1-5pm.  All comers are invited to sample cream teas and fresh produce along with farm tours and free cooking workshops.

General information: https://www.growingcommunities.org/dagenham-farm  

Volunteering: https://www.growingcommunities.org/volunteering-dagenham  

Address: Dagenham Farm, Central Park Nursery, Rainham Road North, RM10 7EJ


Grant makes submission to Govia consultation

Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield)

Local MP Grant Shapps has made a formal submission to Phase 2 of Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) consultation on the 2018 timetable changes.

In a letter to Charles Horton, Chief Executive of GTR, Grant outlined the concerns expressed to him by constituents and local rail user groups who in many cases rely on the service to get to work. The full text of the letter can be found below.

Some of the major criticisms raised by constituents surrounded the proposed removal of direct services to Peterborough, thus reducing connectivity to the North, increased journey times to and from London, and reduced off-peak services on the Great Northern Metro timetable.

Grant said: “I have been contacted by many of my constituents who have severe concerns at the proposed changes to the Great Northern service. Thousands of people, including myself, commute from stations such as Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield every day and so these changes will have a major impact on their work and family lives. I have made clear to Govia that I am unhappy with many of the proposals, and I expect to see the concerns of Welwyn Hatfield residents addressed in the finalised timetable.”


Dear Charles 

I am writing to you as the Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield to make my submission to the GTR 2018 Timetable Consultation Phase 2. As you will know, the GTR franchise serves my constituents at a number of stations which will be affected by the proposed changes.

Following the publication of the Phase 2 consultation document, I invited my constituents to contact me with their concerns about the proposals, and I have enclosed a selection of correspondence that I have received on this issue. Many of my constituents use Great Northern to commute into central London on a daily basis, including myself, and I believe it is only right that their views are considered on the future of rail services in Welwyn Hatfield.

One of the major concerns expressed to me has been the proposed reduction in services from Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield stations during the morning peak. In particular, the 7.42am service is being removed, leaving just two London-bound trains stopping at these stations between 7.30am and 8.00am. With overcrowding already extremely high, it makes little sense to me to propose a reduced service.

Another concern involves the proposal to have two northbound services depart from Kings Cross in the mid-evening peak services, as opposed to St Pancras. This will clearly create unnecessary confusion for my constituents 

I note that GTR propose to end direct services to Peterborough from stations in my constituency, and will instead have all trains on the Great Northern mainline departing and arriving at Cambridge. Services to Peterborough currently provide my constituents with greater connectivity to destinations in the North, and to lose this direct service would, in my view, be a backwards step at a time when central Government rail policy seeks to enhance connectivity, not diminish it. The decision to make all of the services in my constituency run on the Cambridge line, a double track line, means that any blockages on this line would cause an immediate knock-on effect for all subsequent services. I am not aware of any contingency plans made by GTR on this issue, but this proposal has the potential to cause severe problems for passengers.

The increased journey times to and from central London have also been raised with me by a number of my constituents. I notice that on some morning peak services it is as much as 6 minutes longer commuting into London. A particular example highlighted to me is a journey from Finsbury Park to Hatfield taking 30 minutes from 2018, when it is currently only 14 minutes. This doubling of journey times will have a significant impact on commuters, many of whom will be forced to make alternative arrangements for childcare and further travel. 

I also note that the Phase 2 consultation still plans to have Welham Green and Brookmans Park stations served by 2 trains per hour off-peak, a reduction from the 3 trains per hour currently, whereas other stations on the Great Northern Metro service will be served by 4 trains per hour. Once again, I fail to see any logical reason why two stations in my constituency should not be served by all Great Northern Metro services during the day. This is an unfairness which I believe is unjustified and should be addressed.

Another issue brought to my attention is the extra parking spaces needed at Welwyn North station, particularly as the 2018 proposals for this station will potentially attract more passengers. I would be grateful if you could update me on what GTR’s plans currently are to increase the parking facilities at Welwyn North.

Finally, on a matter which is not included in the consultation, as you will be aware last year I invited local residents in the Digswell area to have their say about changing the name of Welwyn North Station to Digswell. A majority of residents who took part were in principle supportive of a name change. I would therefore like to know what plans there are to facilitate this name change which would better reflect the views of the community.

I would be very happy to meet with you to discuss my concerns with your proposals in more detail, but I hope that the points I have raised along with others will be seriously considered and taken into account when the final timetable is published.

Kind regards

Grant Shapps MP

ITV News: Weston’s Next Generation…

John Penrose (Weston-Super-Mare)

Weston-super-Mare is certainly still a popular place to retire but it’s also rapidly expanding.

This is causing people’s traditional view of the seaside town to change.

ITV News brought together a group of young people, a representative from North Somerset Council and someone who has lived in Weston for nearly 50 years to discuss its future.

The aim was to find out what young people who live in Weston think of their town and whether they’ll be sticking around to watch it grow?

When I was younger I wasn’t overly fond of the town but as it’s started embracing a more Bristol-esque kind of atmosphere, I like where it’s heading and I think that’s a good place. I think it should continue heading where it’s going.


Education-wise we’re moving forward. However, leisure activities and social activities are still moving a bit slower behind. We’re starting to get a new cinema, new shopping complexes for jobs but it’s moving at a rate that people my age will be moving away to go and do those sort of things.


I would prefer to move somewhere else eventually because I see this place as more of somewhere to grow up in because it has very family-friendly places and somewhere to return to when you’re elderly and want to have a nice peaceful place to go to.


Sue Maguire has seen huge changes in Weston since the 1960s and she’s keen for young people locally to be given great opportunities.

Young people are our future. In years to come they’re going to be the people who are sitting where we are today so they’re training the next generation, if you like. So yes, it’s important. Everybody’s got their role to play and that’s how life evolves.


Weston-super-Mare’s MP John Penrose is optimistic that going forward the growing town will be able to hold onto its younger generation.

If you look back 10 or 15 years not that many people stayed on into further education into higher education. We were well below the national average.

Nowadays we are above it and more and more people are staying on to do that kind of thing. That just shows the level of skills that we’re developing in the local population, that’s attracting more employers with interesting and exciting new jobs.


Although some young people may see their future outside Weston there is hope yet that going forward the age gap can become smaller as the town becomes bigger.

Major project to revive historic park begins

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

A major project to restore Edinburgh’s historic Saughton Park got under way today, with the official commencement of a year-long programme of work.




SNP MP for Glasgow East, David Linden is appealing for volunteers after recently visiting Easterhouse Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in his constituency.

During this visit David was made aware of some of the challenges faced by CAB, especially in regard to the proposed Jobcentre closures which will put a greater demand on the organisation across the East End.

In light of these proposed closures Easterhouse CAB are looking to expand their current team with plans to more than double the number of volunteers.

All training will be provided to ensure that new staff members will be equipped to help deal with the tasks they face.

Commenting, David Linden MP said:

“Joan, the staff and volunteers at Easterhouse CAB are providing a lifeline service to many people in their local community completely free of charge.

“The UK Government’s austerity agenda is slashing back much needed social security services and leaving more people unnecessarily in difficult situations. The Citizens Advice Bureau often provides essential advice to people put in these positions.

“Volunteering for Easterhouse CAB is a great way to help your community and provide support to those who need it.”

If you are keen to help out please contact Joan McClure at Easterhouse Citizens Advice Bureau at 0141 771 2328.


MP welcomes better Birmingham train services

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has today welcomed news that Malvern rail users heading for Birmingham will get extra services under a new franchise deal. read more »

Riding Arriva Buses in High Wycombe

Steven Baker (Wycombe)

In my recent Letter from Westminster for the Bucks Free Press, I wrote about my forthcoming meeting with representatives from Arriva to discuss their bus services in our area. On Friday 28th July, I had a very useful meeting with Maq Alibhai, Area Managing Director South at Arriva, along with High Wycombe Operations Manager Renata Hale and Aylesbury and Wycombe Engineering Manager Russell Cato. I also took the opportunity to climb aboard one of the company’s new hi-tech buses which is now operating […]

Tracy Brabin MP took time out to save and improve lives recently by giving blood.

Tracy has been aware of the importance of giving blood for a long time and following the NHS Blood and Transplant campaign ‘I’m there’ run during National Blood week she is encouraging people in Batley & Spen to consider registering as blood donors as well.

You can register as a donor, find out whether there is an upcoming session convenient to you and book an appointment to donate whenever and wherever you are through www.blood.co.uk or by using the ‘NHSGiveBlood’ app.

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

One of the biggest challenges facing NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is to recruit an estimated 40,000 black donors to meet the rising demand for particular blood groups. NHS Blood and Transplant has seen a 75% increase in the amount of requests for Ro blood, a sub group most common in black donors.

The primary reason for this is due to advances in the treatment of sickle cell disease, which means that patients are living longer, and the demand for transfusions for sickle cell patients is higher than ever before.

In the UK, 15,000 people have sickle cell disease and over 300 babies are born each year with the condition, making it the most common and fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK. The condition can cause extreme pain, life-threatening infections and other complications such as stroke or loss of vision.

In addition people from South Asian, Arab or Mediterranean heritage are more likely to have conditions, such as Thalassemia, which mean they need regular blood transfusions. There are an estimated 1,000 people in the UK who have Thalassaemia. 32% of South Asian donors are B positive compared to 7% of Caucasian donors.

NHSBT currently meet the need for B positive and Ro blood from existing donors, the majority of whom are caucasian. However, if they can match transfusion dependant patients with a donor of similar ethnic background they would be able to provide a better outcome, with a reduced risk of suffering a reaction and developing antibodies which can restrict future treatment.

Overall, hospital blood use is declining by 3-4% a year but there is always a need for new donors from all backgrounds to replace those people who cannot donate any more for reasons such as ill health or pregnancy. There are permanent blood donor centres on Manor Road in Bradford and on The Headrow in Leeds. There are also mobile blood donation sessions held at community venues across Kirklees including the Campanile Hotel in Cleckheaton, and Batley Sports & Tennis Centre.

Batley & Spen MP, Tracy Brabin said:

“I gave blood recently, and I encourage everyone eligible to do the same. It’s one of the most important things you can do.

“There are many people who wouldn’t be alive today without receiving donated blood. Quite simply, giving blood saves lives.

“Thanks to the online bookings system, it’s easier than ever to donate. It was no problem for me to find a convenient appointment to fit into my busy constituency schedule.”


Emma Reynolds marks the 72nd anniversary of VJ Day

Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East)

Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East will today be marking VJ Day and the sacrifices made by so many. Veterans, civic dignitaries and members of the public will come together today at the Cenotaph to mark the 72nd anniversary of VJ Day – an event which effectively heralded the end of the Second World War.

“Ahead of today’s VJ commemorations in Wolverhampton, I want to pay my own tribute to the many thousands of servicemen and women who fought tyranny so bravely so that we may all enjoy the liberties and freedoms which many of us now take for granted.”

We must never forget.

August 2017


The post Emma Reynolds marks the 72nd anniversary of VJ Day appeared first on Emma Reynolds MP.

Latest News from Llandudno Rotary

Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)

Latest News from Llandudno Rotary Tue, 15/08/2017 - 08:41


August is traditionally the month Rotary worldwide looks to see how it can increase its reach, and the value of the work it does, by expanding its membership  - after all, being 112 years old is no excuse to ease up.

Firstly, we set out to the world what we do. We focus on six areas of activity, right across the globe:-

  • Peace and conflict resolution
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Economic and community development

Secondly, we report on progress. At local level, we achieve this through our website, llandudnorotary.org , our FaceBook account Rotary Club of Llandudno and our Twitter account @rotaryllandudno. There are links there to regional, national and international social media outlets who report on the bigger picture.

Thirdly, we make ourselves accessible to anyone wishing to find out more, or who may wish to attend any of our weekly meetings or to join us. So do get in touch – e-mail us at rotaryllandudno@gmail.com or phone on 07492901899 . This is your chance to plug into a worldwide organisation of 1.2 million people like you. Just ask for details.


Much more in the booklet

It’s free from Rotary – just ask!




Flood Re is seeking nominations for their competition to find individuals and communities who have made a real difference in local flood preparedness or in taking action to help friends and neighbors during a flood.

With a prize of a £10,000 donation towards their local community flood preparedness efforts Flood Re is seeking to reward those who have helped to limit the devastating effects of flooding. More information about the competition and how to nominate a person or local community can be found at: https://www.floodre.co.uk/localheroes/.

Alex has recently been shown around local efforts in Stockton to better prepare for and prevent flooding in the town. The replaced Londonderry Bridge will reduce the risk to over 150 homes and businesses. This risk of flooding is ever present and requires constant re-evaluation of the risk to people, local communities and the local economy.

Commenting on the competition, Alex said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for local communities to share their appreciation for the work of individuals or local flood action groups for the exceptional work they may have done during a flood or in the preparation of flood defences. Having visited the replaced Londonderry Bridge in Stockton I have seen the constantly renewed effort to protect homes, businesses and lives from flooding.

“Flooding is a problem which is likely to only get worse, we owe a great debt to those who are constantly finding new ways to protect us from its devastating effects.”


For further information, please contact Alex’s office on 020 7219 7157

The post Flood RE looks for Local Heroes as Alex Visits Local Flood Defences appeared first on Alex Cunningham MP.

Video: Watch Steve explain Seni’s Law

Steve Reed (Croydon North)

Seni’s Law

This week I introduced Seni’s Law in Parliament – a Bill to end the use of excessive force against mental health patients. Olaseni Lewis, from Thornton Heath, died after being restrained by police officers while he was seeking care for mental ill health. Find out more about Seni's Law here: http://www.stevereedmp.co.uk/steve-launches-senis-law-to-protect-mental-health-patients/

Posted by Steve Reed MP on Friday, 21 July 2017

Kevan officially opened the new Roseberry Football Fields site alongside Cllr Bill Kellet, Chairman of Durham County Council, Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of the Council and Cllrs Alison Batey, Colin Carr and Tracie Smith.

The project benefitted from funding from the Premier League and the Football Association, Durham County Council and funding from Cllr Alison Batey's and Cllr Colin Carr's Neighbourhood Budgets.

The site will be managed by Hilda Park FC.



Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne)

I was very disappointed to hear the talks between Southern Rail / GTR and the RMT trade union have stalled.

Clearly the only way to break the deadlock is to get both unions, together with the Department for Transport (Dft) and Southern/GTR, to negotiate an end to this long-running despite.

Meeting each union separately, at different times, and without the Dft is using the same failed approach which has got us precisely nowhere over the last 17months!

Having finally got the Secretary of State Chris Grayling to engage with the union leadership I am incredibly frustrated the Dft have simply allowed the company to return to the failed negotiating tactic of seeing the unions separately 'without' the Dft being present.

This MUST change and it must change NOW if we are to end the rail dispute, which has caused so much hardship and inconvenience for Eastbourne and across the South East.

See my video below explaining what I believe should be done.

RMT / SOUTHERN RAIL TALKS BREAK DOWN: I am very disappointed to hear the talks between Southern Rail / GTR and the RMT...

Posted by Stephen Lloyd MP on Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Published and promoted by Stephen Lloyd MP, Eastbourne Liberal Democrats, 100 Seaside Road, Eastbourne BN21 3PF
Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY


Patrick Grady MP encourages constituents to use a life-changing hearing aid support service after visiting a charity’s drop-in session in Partick.

Following the recent media reports concerning the notice served on residents at 81-96 Cynffig Road, Ystalyfera. I have been in contact with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to seek assurances and offer support and it has been advised that there is a risk to life and property containing hazards relating to structural collapse and the sewerage system serving some of the houses has been deemed inadequate. This decision is based on continuous monitoring of the area.

This is understandably a distressing time for all effected and I would urge residents to heed advice and seek support where needed.

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have been asking residents to get in touch by phone on 01639 685615 to discuss the accommodation options available.

Residents can also call the Housing Options team on 01639 685217 and Environmental Health on 01639 685678 to discuss anything relating to the land slippage and the ongoing support which will be made available.

I will continue to work with the council and other agencies to do all I can to support residents affected by this.


On Friday morning, Victoria Prentis MP spoke to David Prever during his breakfast show for BBC Radio Oxford to discuss Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to approve Phase One of the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan.


Click on the following link to listen to the full interview: 


Many thanks to BBC Radio Oxford for providing the media file. 



Tata Steel Pensions

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)


Aberavon MP calls on trustees to provide BSPS members with all required information, welcomes potential end to uncertainty and hails commitment of workforce to standing up for the steel industry, but it is about time we saw similar commitment from the government

Knight Welcomes New Slaughterhouse Action

Greg Knight (East Yorkshire)

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has warmly welcomed the announcement by the Government that CCTV is to become mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England under plans to safeguard animal welfare. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the proposals would ‘cement … Continue reading
Dave Cross / Monday 21 August 2017 21:22