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Oban & Helensburgh visits

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Business Breakfast 2023

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

I was delighted to welcome local businesses to my Annual Aldridge-Brownhills Business Breakfast at Fairlawns Hotel earlier today to discuss the issues which matter to them and affect their businesses on a day to day basis.

An important part of my role as your Member of Parliament is to get out and about across my constituency and listen to our business community.

Recent economic figures have shown that unemployment remains low and is at just 2% in my Aldridge-Brownhills constituency and the emphasis of the most recent budget was to help drive economic growth through the wider economy.

As we still grapple with the war in Ukraine and the wider impact that this is having on our economy and energy and food supply chains it is more important than ever that we listen to the small businesses and manufacturers who are helping to drive the economic growth, job creation and wage security across the West Midlands and it was great to hear their views.

As you would expect, we discussed the ongoing situation with energy and labour shortages and the need to champion the manufacturing and engineering sectors which are so vital to the Black Country and my Aldridge-Brownhills constituency.

The business breakfast was an excellent opportunity to raise and discuss issues with our local business community and I really appreciate everyone’s time and input. Thank You.

If you are a local business and would like to attend a future event, please do email me at wendy.morton.mp@parliament.uk

Weekly Round-Up :: 31 March 2023

Karin Smyth (Bristol South)

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee met this week to investigate the plans for the future of the Government estates. I know this sounds very dry, but the buildings and land the Government owns is where a lot of taxpayers money is spent. The Government constantly try to say that they are moving organisations and bodies out of London to level up the country. But as ever with the Conservative Party, the rhetoric isn’t matching reality. This investigation by our committee will delve deep into the detail to show what needs to be changed to improve the management of the government estate.

The Great Western Railway held a drop-in event in Parliament this week to talk about their new timetable. We all know that the trains to south Bristol are far from where they need to be. I will always press for better connectivity for our community because it’s simply not good enough. This means pushing for the Portishead railway line to get the station we need, which will unlock our economic growth and tackle climate change.

I was very pleased to join the launch of UCL’s COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities Study. This major new study has looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected socio-economic inequalities in life chances among young people in the UK, in terms of short-term effects on educational attainment and well-being and long-term educational and career outcomes. We saw during the pandemic how there were challenges with school children accessing the internet for their studies. While the immediate educational impacts are likely to have affected outcomes, there are also the aspects of plans for catching up as children from more affluent backgrounds are likely to have the means to catch up as well as the mental health impacts of the pandemic. It was a fascinating discussion and I hope to see the report used in plans to support improving equality in our education system.

At the end of this week, I was able to join the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly on a visit to Brussels to meet with representatives from the EU and NATO to discuss the approaches of the UK Government, the Irish Government, and devolved legislatures and the EU in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. It is important that Europe stands together, united against Russia’s aggression and that our responses are coordinated. In the immediate term, we must ensure that we give the Ukrainian people the support that they need, from housing families fleeing the fighting to providing the Ukrainian army with the equipment they need to defend their territory and their people. In the long term, we have to work together with Europe to ensure that we rid ourselves of our dependence on Russian energy to deplete their financial capacity to wage war on their neighbours.

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.

The post Weekly Round-Up :: 31 March 2023 first appeared on Karin Smyth.

Community cleans up West Pilton

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

It has been a busy week of action in West Pilton, where our housing team have been working with commercial partners, tenants and local school children to spring clean estates.

Delighted to meet with Years 4, 5 & 6 pupils from Pembrey Primary School today on their enjoyable visit to Parliament.

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, has expressed residents’ concerns to Northern Powergrid after being notified of power cuts occurring in Hedon. Northern Powergrid have informed Graham that, on 21st March, there was a permanent fault on the network which was switched…

Trans Day of Visibility

Alex Norris (Nottingham North)

Today marks International Trans Day of Visibility, which is dedicated to celebrating Trans gender non-conforming and non-binary people and their contribution to society as well as to raise awareness of the discrimination still felt worldwide and in the UK.

Trans people’s lives and the issues they face are all too often misunderstood and misrepresented.  
Nottingham Labour is proud to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility. We stand shoulder to shoulder with trans people across Nottingham and internationally. Trans rights are human rights, and anyone in our city should be able to expect respect, dignity and understanding.

But today is also a day of celebration, a time to celebrate the great contribution trans people have made in art, music, and culture, in politics, in science and in every other facet of society.

Nottingham Labour is proud to stand with Stonewall in support transgender rights in the UK. Recently Nottingham Labour Councillor Angharad Roberts received a Stonewall changemaker award which recognises individuals who have done exceptional work to advance LGBTQ+ workplace equality, showing our commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ in Nottingham.

More stories about Trans Day of Visibility can be found on Stonewall but we recommend this great resource: The Truth About Trans

Labour will make the UK a clean energy superpower

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

“Technological innovation is crucial to securing a prosperous and green future – and the Labour Party knows that the transition to net zero and economic growth go hand in hand.”

 Me in Politics Home:


Gwynne backs lifesaving CPR training tool

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, is urging constituents to learn the livesaving skill of CPR in just 15 minutes with the British Heat Foundation’s RevivR training.

Gwynne learned CPR with RevivR at an event in Parliament last week. Hosted by the British Heart Foundation, the event brought together MPs from across the political spectrum to teach them how to save a life when someone has a cardiac arrest using RevivR, the BHF’s innovative online training tool.

In 15 minutes, RevivR can teach you how to recognise a cardiac arrest, give feedback on chest compressions and outline how to correctly use a defibrillator, giving anyone the confidence to step in and save a life in the event of the ultimate medical emergency.

The training is easy, quick and free – all you need is a mobile phone and a cushion. Learn CPR with RevivR here: https://revivr.bhf.org.uk/.

At the event, Gwynne met married couple Nicky and Michael Lack from Buckinghamshire. Nicky saved Michael’s life with quick CPR and defibrillation in 2018 after he had a cardiac arrest in their family home. They spoke about the power of CPR and defibrillation to save lives.

Immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival – yet a recent survey suggests that more than a third of adults across the country have never undertaken any form of CPR training. The BHF is urging everyone to learn lifesaving CPR and give someone the best chance of survival from a cardiac arrest.

Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:

“CPR can save lives, and it was incredible to see this essential skill being taught in a new and innovative way.


The more people who know CPR, the more lives that could be saved. The RevivR tool is so simple and effective, all you need is a mobile phone and a cushion.


I would urge all my constituents to learn through RevivR. A huge thanks also to the BHF for all the great work they do in raising awareness of cardiac arrests.”

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“A huge thanks to Andrew for attending our event in Parliament that highlighted just how easy it is to learn CPR.


A cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any time – including those we love the most. But immediate CPR and defibrillation can save their lives. We’re urging everyone to spend just 15 minutes to learn CPR using our free online training tool, RevivR. Take the 15 minutes to learn CPR today – it could save a life, a loved one.”

Gwynne at the BHF Parliamentary reception last week.

The post Gwynne backs lifesaving CPR training tool appeared first on Andrew Gwynne MP.

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

Philip Dunne (Ludlow)

31 March 2023
Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

I have received complaints about anti-social behaviour over the years, which successive Governments have failed to address. So I was pleased to welcome the Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan launched this week.

This plan establishes a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour. The aim is to ensure that everyone can feel safe in their home and we can restore pride in some of our challenged local communities, even here in Shropshire.

These new measures will crack down on offenders with swifter justice, tougher punishments, a ban on nitrous oxide, a stronger policing response in hotspots, and new tools for communities to regenerate and restore local pride.

The government has taken action to combat anti-social behaviour, such as hiring more police officers, funding bespoke policing programmes, and giving councils greater powers to tackle fly-tipping.

But we need to do more to give communities peace of mind and pride in their place. Stamping out anti-social behaviour to help revive hollowed-out high streets and make our streets feel safer for those going about their business.

New measures include cracking down on offenders with swift and visible justice, higher fines, a ban on nitrous oxide, and new laws to tackle organised and nuisance begging. These will strengthen responses to anti-social behaviour with a zero-tolerance approach, increasing drug testing, and making it easier to evict anti-social tenants.

A new digital tool is being launched to report anti-social behaviour, giving councils around the country new powers and funding to revitalise high streets and parks, and encouraging youth clubs to open longer.

This action plan is backed by up to £160 million to ensure perpetrators face immediate justice, support a step up in enforcement in hotspots, fund one million more hours of youth provision, and deliver a new reporting tool to empower the public.

Young people are being supported and diverted from a life of crime through the National Youth Guarantee, the Supported Families Programme, and the Turnaround Programme.

We have the highest number of police officers on record. This month there are 23 per cent more police on duty in West Mercia than 4 years ago – an increase of 467 officers to 2,475 – including more based in South Shropshire.

Reducing anti-social behaviour and crime overall were the top priorities for levelling up in Britain.

Anti-social behaviour is the main reason people do not feel safe in their local area, and almost half of women do not feel safe alone at night. It is also the main reason why people report their area is worse than 10 years ago, followed by more empty shops in our high street and more litter and rubbish on pavements and streets.

The aim is to stem the tide on those causing nuisance.

Wear A Hat Day 2023 – Brain Tumour Research

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk)

31 March 2023
Wear A Hat Day 2023 – Brain Tumour Research

Brain cancer is a cruel, indiscriminate disease that takes people from us with too little chance of a proper diagnosis, treatment or cure.

Every year, 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour – with only 20% of those diagnosed surviving beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all other cancers. The disease also kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

That’s why finding a cure has long been a cause which I have supported – even more so since the passing of my childhood friend, Charlie, a few years ago. He was aged just 50 and in the prime of his life.

In Charlie’s memory, and in that of distinguished former member of the House Baroness Tessa Jowell, and so many others, I continue to actively campaign to help raise awareness and support the ongoing research efforts aimed at finally ridding our world of this terrible illness.

Today is 'Wear A Hat Day' 2023

Every year, I support the ‘Wear A Hat Day’ event, led by Brain Tumour Research UK, to raise awareness and help fundraise for the vital research required to help us better understand, diagnose and treat this awful disease.

I am proud to be doing so again in 2023.

You can show your support too by taking a picture of yourself wearing a hat and raising awareness by sharing it on social media with the hashtag #WearAHatDay

To learn more about Brain Tumour Research UK’s vitally important work, please visit their website here Donations can be made via their website by following the link here

To learn more about my historic work (as both a local MP and Minister) to support Brain Tumour Research UK and the battle against this disease, please visit my campaign page here

I truly believe that WE can ALL make a difference – and I remain firmly committed to working with Brain Tumour Research UK and partners to continue the fight on behalf of Charlie, Baroness Tessa Jowell and the thousands of others affected across the country, including many here in Mid Norfolk.


Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Catherine McKinnell, Chair of the Petitions Committee and Member of Parliament for Newcastle North, has raised questions over potential links between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and a childminder agency that stands to benefit from the Government’s childcare reform.  Measures outlined in the Budget see prospective childminders offered a bonus of £1,200 – double what they … Continue reading PRIME MINISTER HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER ON CHILDCARE REFORMS

Money and the Bank

John Redwood (Wokingham)

It is strange that the Bank of England has a Monetary Policy Committee yet  declines to set targets for money and credit expansion. It does not  normally comment on money and credit growth in its Reports, preferring to concentrate on past figures for GDP, inflation, estimated capacity utilisation and unemployment. Its forecasting record has been poor in recent years. It confidently expected inflation to stay down around 2% following its big monetary expansion and bond buying policy of 2020-21. It has only recently accepted inflation has greatly overshot its target and forecasts, waiting for the overshoot before admitting it. It now forecasts inflation to fall well below target in a couple of year’s time, yet still hiked interest rates higher as if it did not believe  its own forecast.

Whilst it is true that any given monetary measure may become distorted if it is a target or prime interest of a Central Bank, it is also true that if we look at any of the great inflations they have been accompanied or caused by excessive money and credit creation in their early stages. Given the Bank’s wish to interfere in the bond markets and to manage interest rates for various periods of borrowing from overnight to 50 years, you would have thought it would take an interest in how much money and credit is in circulation and in how far that might expand  given its actions. If inflation is agreed by the Bank to  be too much money chasing too few goods, they should not only study the too few goods (capacity) but also the too much money. Traditionally Central Banks have tried to control money and credit by moving interest rates, expecting commercial banks to lend less when rates are higher and lend more when rates are lower. More recently Central Banks have directly boosted money supply by creating bank reserves to buy up bonds. Much of this money initially found its way into asset prices, creating inflation in bonds, shares and property. More recently the inflation has spread into goods and services, as the money freed from the bonds has been spent.

The Bank should introduce some paragraphs in its commentary on rates of money and credit growth. They should explain why they think fast growth in these aggregates will not on that occasion produce inflation. Today they need to comment on whether there is enough money and credit around, given the slowdown and the dramatic change in money policy they have put the economy through.

A Tired Budget

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Recently, the Government announced its latest attempt to address the financial chaos caused by the mini-budget in October.

This Budget was a chance for the government to unlock Britain’s promise and potential. But instead they decided to continue papering over the cracks of 13 years of economic failure. Failure which means that the UK will be the weakest economy in the G7 this year, the only country that will see negative growth.

When Labour gets into government, we will embark on an ambitious plan to achieve the highest sustained growth in the G7, delivering for the British people by expanding the NHS workforce and funding free breakfast clubs in all primary schools.

This was a tired budget, delivered by a tired Chancellor. Britain deserves better.


Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale)

This week, local MP Tim Farron was reappointed as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy.

Tim is a long-time campaigner for better cancer services and has been Chair of the Group since 2018. He is currently campaigning for a mobile radiotherapy unit at Westmorland General Hospital to serve the rural communities in the surrounding areas. Currently, patients are forced to travel to Preston to receive treatment which can result in two to three hour round trips every week for vulnerable patients.

Last week, leading oncologist at Imperial College London and Chair of the charity Radiotherapy UK, Professor Pat Price, has publicly backed Tim's campaign for the satellite radiotherapy unit in Kendal. Professor Price said on the campaign: "Radiotherapy is needed in 50% of cancer patients and is involved in 4 in 10 cancer cures. All patients should have access to the radiotherapy they deserve.

"Too many people in the South Lakes at the moment have to travel far too far to get their radiotherapy. A satellite centre at Westmorland General will transform cancer treatment.

"Tim Farron has worked tirelessly for over a decade to make this happen. He has our full support. Ministers must listen and help make this happen."

Speaking this morning, Tim said on his re-election: "I am delighted to have been re-elected as Chair. The cancer crisis is proving what this Group has been saying for some time now, the Government must do more to invest in better cancer services to tackle the backlog and crucially, save lives."

Former Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers has been elected for the first time to the group as Vice Chair and the Group this week launched the results of their inquiry into the state of radiotherapy and the cancer crisis.

Published and promoted by P Trollope on behalf of T Farron and the Liberal Democrats, all at Yard 2, Stricklandgate, Kendal
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Powering Up Britain: Secure British Power

Brendan Clarke-Smith (Bassetlaw)

Today the Prime Minister and Grant Shapps visited Culham Science Centre to see nuclear fusion’s potential as a clean power source , this is why it is brilliant to have this technology coming to Bassetlaw as part of the STEP project. Find out how the new Energy Security Plan will drive down…
The Conservative Government have launched an ambitious multi-billion-pound investment plan to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power in Britain. The announcement confirms the next generation of British nuclear, a world-leading commitment to Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage and the…
Buckingham MP Greg Smith visited Steller Motorsport this morning for the official launch of their Audi Sport R8 LMS EVOII GT3 car that will be competing in the Le Mans Cup with drivers James Wood and Sennan Fielding. Commenting Greg said, "The Steller Motorsport facilities at Finmere Aerodrome in…

The Future of Folkestone Library

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

The Folkestone Library in Grace Hill is an important community building that is part of our cultural heritage. I want to see it not just survive the current issues it faces over the costs of necessary repairs, but also to thrive in the future. When libraries like this were first created, they were often the […]
On Thursday 23 March, MPs Bill Wiggin and Guy Opperman visited Leominster Jobcentre Plus. Sir Bill and Employment Minister Guy Opperman discussed with the branch managers topics including the need to increase employer and company engagement with the Jobcentre; better... Continue Reading →

Agroup of cross-party parliamentarians have called on the government to ensure every child is equipped to navigate critical financial decisions in later life, starting at primary school.

The parliamentarians have written to the prime minister to highlight the need for every child to have the tools to develop skills and behaviours necessary to make good financial decisions.

The letter states that “the gap in our education system has left our children unprepared for the real world, and we must act quickly to combat the national financial capability crisis, which has been even more devastated since Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis.” 

It goes on to say that this increased economic uncertainty has had huge consequences, with many young people now turning to payment schemes such as Buy Now Pay Later to afford essential items.

Parliamentarians argue that the worsening crisis highlights the “urgent need to equip the next generation with the financial literacy skills they will need later in life”.

These calls for early intervention financial education follow research by the Money and Pensions Service which found that money habits form as early as seven years-old, making primary-aged financial education an important means to improve financial capability and financial literacy in the UK.

Research by The Centre for Financial Capability found that only one in five primary-aged children have access to financial education at their school.

Parliamentarians are therefore calling on the prime minister to implement three key recommendations:

  • Ensure every primary aged child receives an effective and high-quality financial education by 2030.
  • Use unclaimed assets set to be unlocked from the saving and investment sector to fund the development and delivery of financial education in primary aged children.
  • Give teachers access to resources and support they’ll need to deliver financial education.

This letter follows a parliamentary drop-in event coordinated by financial education charity The Centre for Financial Capability. 

The event, called the Financial Education Summit, takes place today (March 29) and is held in the House of Commons.

At the summit, financial education charities and parliamentarians will come together to show their support for greater financial education early intervention across the UK.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-Super-Mare said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant effect on our young people and it is crucial as parliamentarians that we use every tool available to us to ensure we can support them to build better financial resilience to protect against future economic crises.”

Penrose added: “Financial education is the key to elevating young students, and with them, levelling up our country. Equipped with the right tools, young people can start understanding and managing money with positive habits that will serve them all their lives.”  

The famous black door of Number Ten Downing Street was the backdrop this week for a visit from Boston and Skegness sixth formers. The students, who in November had participated in the inaugural William Waynflete debate competition organised by Matt Warman MP, enjoyed a tour of the Houses of Parliament before their visit to Number Ten. The day was rounded off by a Q&A session with Matt and the competition judges as well as guests from Parliament including House of Commons Library Director of Research Edward Wood. The panel passed on their careers advice as well as explaining some of the opportunities available in politics besides being an MP.


Speaking after the visit Matt Warman MP commented ‘I was keen to establish a debating competition to encourage students to think deeply about some of the issues facing our society and, crucially, to equip them with the skills to consider both sides of a complex argument. Today’s visit to the home of modern democracy was an excellent opportunity to see those skills in action with students having the chance to observe opposition MPs challenging Ministers at the despatch box. I look forward to next year’s programme and on a broader note, am always happy to welcome schools in my constituency to Parliament.’


Chair of Governors at Boston High School Lisa Smith who accompanied the visit said ‘This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to see democracy in action – and to be inspired by the opportunities for careers in parliament. We are grateful to Matt for arranging the debate competition and the visit and look forward to defending our winner’s trophy next year!’


Fantastic Opportunity for a New GP

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

If you're a general practitioner in the North East of England, or considering moving to this area, there's a fantastic opportunity waiting for you! The Scots Gap surgery is currently seeking a new GP to join their team, and it could be the perfect fit for you. Located just 35 minutes north of…

Local hero honoured at Downing Street Community Champions Reception

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Candy Philip, the founder of Keeping Duns Blooming Marvellous, was thanked for her work by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a reception of Community Champions last week.  Taking place at Number 10 Downing Street, the reception celebrated local heroes from across the United Kingdom.  It was honour to…

Rainham Foodbank Appeal

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

Rainham Foodbank Appeal Andrew Wed, 03/29/2023 - 10:25

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil is writing to new First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, calling for proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA) to be dropped.

Last week Mr MacNeil wrote to the Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan, to stress the strength of feeling against the proposals in the islands and called for the legislation to be dropped.

Mr MacNeil said: “There is not a person I know who is in favour of the Highly Protected Marine Areas. In fact, many people fear for their livelihoods if the plans go ahead.

“While Scotland is in a UK that is damaging our economy in comparison to Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, we simply cannot be going along with more economically damaging measures to the most fragile areas of the misgoverned UK.

“HPMA will cause further economic misery which will do nothing for the environment given that the areas that they want to protect are those that are already fished and looked after sustainably.

“Some people say,  ‘A new broom sweeps clean’ so the new First Minister has a chance to sweep away the clutter of the past and the HPMAs would be a good place to start.”

The proposals are currently under consultation with a closing date of April 17th.

Link to the consultation:

Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) – Scottish Government – Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)

I was delighted to address the Future of Care Leaders Conference this morning – a conference that brings together care professionals, managers, owners and influencers to discuss both the challenges facing the social care sector and the steps that can be taken to achieve long lasting change.

My speech focused on the lessons from more than a decade of Tory failure on social care reform, and how Labour would start putting this right.

Labour is under no illusions about the scale of the task ahead. Social care was left out of the original welfare settlement and putting it where it should be – at the heart of a modernised welfare state, on an equal footing with the NHS – will take guts, focus and determination. But with Keir Starmer’s leadership and working in partnership with the social care sector, we can and will deliver.

Click here to read my speech in full!

The post Liz addresses the Future of Care Leaders Conference appeared first on Liz Kendall.

It was good to meet the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing alongside my Oxfordshire Parliamentary colleagues last week following our letter to her in which we expressed our frustration about SEND provision in Oxfordshire. The Minister reassured us that the Department for Education (DfE)…
More than 1.5 million people living outside London stand to be impacted by the Mayor’s new London-wide ultra-low emission zone. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are all for the ULEZ charge; they do not care about the cost of living crisis. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the best way to…

Fascinating evidence session on UK Resilience

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

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As the MP for Inverness, I just want to say a massive congratulations to Inverness Business Improvement District (BID) for their brilliant success in securing the support of local businesses for another five years. This is fantastic news and a true testament to the hard work, dedication, and vision of the entire BID team.

I want to give a special shout-out to Lorraine, the Chief Executive of Inverness BID, for her leadership and tireless efforts in building strong relationships with businesses in the city centre. I also want to commend the rest of the team, from the Board Members to the team members out and about, those sharing news and information online, and those welcoming thousands of visitors throughout the year. You’ve all done a great job, and I’m sure there’s lots more to come. Keep up the excellent work!

Inverness is a thriving city with a diverse range of businesses, and I have no doubt that with the support of Inverness BID, it will continue to grow and prosper over the years to come. They are truly committed to promoting the city, supporting local businesses, and driving economic growth.

Of course, we can’t ignore the challenges facing high streets across the country, but Inverness BID has shown that there are plenty of opportunities to adapt and thrive in this changing landscape. By focusing on experiential retail – such as the city centre gift card and finding new ways to promote local businesses, high streets can remain vibrant and relevant.

While there are always different views about the direction for our city and the pace and type of change needed, one thing is abundantly clear – the local business community is united in their commitment to restoring our city centre into a thriving place to visit, shop, eat and spend time in. With the support of organisations like Inverness BID, and a shared vision for the future, I’m confident that we can create a vibrant, bustling, and prosperous city centre that we can all be proud of. Let’s continue to work together to make our collective Inverness 2035 vision a reality.

Once again, congratulations to Inverness BID and all those who contributed to this amazing achievement. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Inverness and its businesses under their leadership. Let’s continue to work together to build a brighter, more prosperous future for our community.

The post Inverness BID Secures Local Business Support for Another 5 Years, Promoting City Growth and Prosperity appeared first on .

Maria Miller, the local MP for Basingstoke has today welcomed an announcement by the water regulator that rules on dividends paid out by water companies will be determined by environmental performance.   Responding to the announcement, Maria said, “I welcome the announcement by Ofwat that rules on…


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Martin spoke in the Westminster Hall Debate on Whistleblowing Awareness Week (23 March 2023). Here is the speech in full transcribed via Hansard:

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP (SNP, West Dunbartonshire): Let me first thank the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mary Robinson) for gaining this debate today and also thank her and the secretariat of the all-party group for whistle- blowing for their hard work.

Before I proceed with my speech, I wish to touch on one thing that the hon. Member mentioned, which is the notion of what an employee is. I hope the Minister and the Government will take that on board. For example, before I came to this House in 2015, I had worked as an employee in the voluntary sector in my own constituency and community of West Dunbartonshire for more than a decade. I am keenly aware of—I do not want to say “work” here—the voluntary activity that delivers public services, and also private business, if someone is seeking to gain experience, in all of our communities.

I hope the Minister hears what the hon. Lady and the all-party group are saying about that issue, because volunteers can be some of the most vulnerable people in our society. They include not just those who have retired and want to do something active in later life, or those gaining additional experience, for example in the health service—not just in trusts but on boards in Scotland—but some of the most vulnerable people in society. Having a broader definition, such as “an individual service provider”, might assist the Government.

The SNP is clear that whistleblowing is crucial to a free and open democratic society. It is an integral part of exposing crime, corruption and cover-ups, and a pillar supporting transparency. A democratic and just society, I am sure all Members agree, has a duty to create a culture in which speaking up is valued and in which people who try to silence whistleblowers or suppress evidence of wrongdoing face the full force of the law.

I congratulate those who have brought about Whistle-blowing Awareness Week, which is an opportunity to celebrate people who speak out on workplace issues, call out corruption and expose criminal actions. It is only right that we recognise that whistleblowers are an important check on power structures in Government—and, indeed, in our own political parties, the media, business and other areas. We saw that during the pandemic; the consequences played out in Parliament this week. The issues relating to the Met are not just for it to think about, but for wider society.

As a tech geek, I am mindful of the investigative journalists who revealed the Cambridge Analytica story—remember them? Whistleblowers such as Chris Wylie and Brittany Kaiser divulged the global extent of data manipulation on digital platforms, and shifted conversations about data rights and political malpractice to the top of the public and political agenda. Like many whistleblowers, such individuals are vulnerable to retaliation for their actions. Although there are laws in place to protect them, sometimes those laws are not adequate or effective in their application.

Such individuals always seem to rise to the challenge and face the threats made against them. A Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, revealed that hateful political ads are five times cheaper for customers—it has been referred to as subsidising hate. She did that with 22,000 pages secretly copied from company documents that proved her claims. She provided evidence here in Westminster and in the United States Congress. She said:

“I think the part that informed my journey was: You have to accept when you whistle-blow like this that you could lose everything. You could lose your money, you could lose your freedom, you could alienate everyone who cares about you. There’s all these things that could happen to you. Once you overcome your fear of death, anything is possible. I think it gave me the freedom to say: Do I want to follow my conscience?”

I have to say, I am glad Frances did.

The National Crime Agency’s annual fraud indicator estimates fraud losses to the UK at about £190 billion every year. The private sector is hit the hardest, losing about £140 billion. The public sector loses more than £40 billion, and individual civilians lose about £7 billion.

The SNP believes that whistleblowing laws ought to be reformed, as the hon. Member for Cheadle said, to better protect whistleblowers calling out bad actors. With Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, the UK became the first EU country, as it was then, to introduce new whistleblowing legislation. It was heralded as a watershed moment, and expectations were high, given that whistle- blowing was now seen as legitimate, but we know that employers may be better protected now by placing a gagging clause on workers—a clause in an employment contract or a compromise agreement that purports to prohibit a worker from disclosing information about their current or former workplace. A compromise agreement is a contract concluded at the end of an employment relationship that seeks to prevent further disputes. Typically, it is accompanied by a payment to a worker.

According to the very good work of the all-party group for whistleblowing:

“Whistleblowers in general remain the subject of suspicion and scepticism and while organisations and official bodies sing the merits of whistleblowing and parade their policies and procedures, the lived experience of whistleblowers remains poor. For those who embark upon a legal remedy the chance of success is less than 10%, the personal cost in financial terms is beyond the means of most people and the physical and mental cost untold.”

There is therefore, as the all-party group says, an

“urgent need to completely rethink UK whistleblowing law and make it fit for the 21st century.”

The all-party group argues for a whistleblowing Bill, which the SNP would support. As the hon. Member for Cheadle has already said, the Bill would define whistleblowers and whistleblowing in law. It would properly and clearly set out the duties of relevant persons and establish an office of the whistleblower with the responsibility to uphold the rights of whistleblowers, but also to set, monitor and enforce the new standards. The Bill proposes a multi-level, multi-stakeholder approach to emphasise the value of whistleblowers and the crucial role they play in a healthy society. I call on the Government to heed the calls of not only the all-party parliamentary group, but the hon. Member for Cheadle.

I will end on the issue of volunteers. If Government Ministers require briefings, for example from the national body of volunteering in Scotland, Volunteer Scotland, I am sure it would help. There will be many people across all these islands who would look to extend whistleblowing legislation to cover those who deliver public service as well as sometimes giving up their free time to deliver private wealth.

Martin leading for the SNP in a Westminster Hall debate on Whistleblowing Awareness Week.
Welcoming the announcement of the Anglesey Freeport, Aberconwy MP Robin Millar has highlighted the strengthened case for rail investment. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is in North Wales today to announce the creation of the Anglesey Freeport. The Anglesey Freeport bid was one of three bids from around…
The Pilgrim’s Hospice in Ashford is one of those quietly important institutions that we are lucky to have in the town. I have been in touch with them recently to support them over the pressures they are facing because of energy costs, so it was timely to make a visit. As ever I came away hugely…

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Last week was a big week on all fronts. A foreign policy review at the beginning of the week, new legislation to tackle the small boats issue, and of course the Spring Budget delivered by the Chancellor last Wednesday. The Integrated Review Refresh 2023, to give it its official name, looks at the…

The MP for Welwyn Hatfield, Grant Shapps, was invited by Visit Hertfordshire to Mill Green Museum in Hatfield to commemorate the beginning of English Tourism Week.

Mr Shapps was shown around Mill Green Museum and given a detailed crash course of the venue’s history as well as the variety of events that are put on at the museum for the local community.

Mill Green Museum boasts a working wooden mill which was restored to full working order with 18th-century wooden machinery and craftsmanship. The mill, which is part of a 1,000-year history of milling, harnesses the power of the river Lea to grind grain into flour for local bakeries and sales on the premises of the venue.

The visit was done with Visit Hertfordshire to commemorate the beginning of English Tourism Week which is worth £100 billion to the English economy. The Chief Executive of Visit Hertfordshire, Deirdre Wells OBE, thanked Mr Shapps for his visit and for helping begin English Tourism Week in Welwyn Hatfield:

“Tourism is worth £100bn to the English economy and English Tourism Week is all about rediscovering hidden gem attractions such as Mill Green Museum and Watermill.  A programme of events will be taking place across the country to raise awareness of the size, value, and importance of tourism to our local, regional, and national economies”

Mr Shapps thanked Visit Hertfordshire and all those that worked at Mill Green Museum for inviting him to have a tour:

“It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to kick off English Tourism week in my constituency by Visit Hertfordshire. Mill Green Museum is such a wonderful hidden gem in Hatfield and the work that has been put into the venue to make it look as beautiful as it does is outstanding. It’s a wonderful day out which family members of any age will enjoy”.

The post <strong>Local Hidden Gem Celebrated to Start off English Tourism Week</strong> appeared first on The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP.

Evennett holds Westminster Hall Debate on Social Mobility

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

On March 21, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford, secured a Westminster Hall debate on Social Mobility. During the debate, Sir David stressed that “every individual should have a fair chance of reaching their full potential, and we must therefore ensure that…


Angela Rayner (Ashton-under-Lyne)

Weekly round-up #Working4Wycombe

Steven Baker (Wycombe)

What I have been up to this week #Working4Wycombe: Visited Wycombe Hospital to learn about the impressive innovative practices in breast cancer care and robotic surgery for treating local people. Met with Andrew Boff AM to discuss how the ULEZ expansion will affect those in Wycombe, and why it must be stopped. Attended the Buckinghamshire Music Trust Celebration Concert in the Royal Albert Hall. Met with the Chair of One Can Trust to discuss how best to help with the cost-of-living. […]

My Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

My week started with Mr Speaker calling me to ask a question in Department for Work and Pensions Oral Questions. If an MP is not selected to be included in the listed questions on the Order Paper, there is a convention that Mr Speaker can call that MP to ask a supplementary question, but the MP has to stand up when the particular question they want to be included in is called, so that the Speaker is aware that the MP wants to be called. This is called “bobbing”. I wasn’t fortunate to be on the Order Paper, so I bobbed, throughout the listed questions, but I wasn’t called. But there is a Topical Section on the Order Paper following the listed questions for most Department Oral Questions, which allows MPs to ask a question on any subject within that Departmental brief. So I continued to bob and was nearly the last question to be called in the Topical Questions section. I referred to research by the Bevan Foundation in February 2023, which showed that Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is the responsibility of the UK Government, is not the solution to the cost of living crisis and housing crisis for families who are on low incomes and the most vulnerable. The LHA determines how much assistance a low income household living in the private rental sector can receive towards their rent through the benefits system. But LHA rates have been frozen by the UK Government since 2020, whilst private rental costs have escalated. There is a severe shortage of private rental properties available at LHA rates. Only 32 properties across Wales were advertised as available at LHA rates, which is 1.2% of the market, and 16 of the 22 local authorities did not have a single property available at LHA rates. Households on low incomes are faced with moving into an unaffordable property, sometimes of poor standard, risking financial hardship, or seek assistance from local authority homelessness services. I asked whether the Minister, Mims Davies MP, would help people who are most in need by uprating the Local Housing Allowance to reflect current private rental costs. Unfortunately, the Minister did not answer the question, and referred to her UK Government’s support package for most vulnerable households, which includes the household element of Universal Credit, or those entitled to housing benefit, and discretionary housing payments from local authorities.

I rushed from the Chamber to attend the AGM of the All Party Group (APPG) for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and was proud to be re-elected vice-chair. John Howell MP was re-elected chair. ADR is a method of resolving disputes between consumers and traders that doesn’t involve going to court. In the UK there are 4 main types of ADR. Independent negotiation is the first option, because in some cases, both parties can solve arguments by taking a ‘cards on the table’ approach and attempting a compromise. If required, ADR specialists can take instructions and negotiate on behalf of the parties. Mediation; when a mediator is a jointly instructed neutral party, who assists with communication between the parties to achieve a settlement, but not offer an opinion or assessment. Conciliation; is a common ADR used for employment disputes, and is a mandatory process before an employee can take a claim to an employment tribunal. The conciliator will discuss the issues and try and help the parties reach an agreement often providing their own opinion. Arbitration; where an independent third party, often a specialist in the field of dispute, considers the facts and takes a decision that’s often binding on one or both parties. In the UK, there are well established ADR schemes for financial services, energy, and telecoms, but it is expanding in its popularity, because it is less formal, less costly, less stressful and often much quicker than court proceedings.

I called in to the Endometriosis UK Action Month event. Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those lining the womb are found elsewhere in the body. Each month they react to the menstrual cycle in the same way as in the womb, building up, breaking down and bleeding. But this blood has no way to escape and leads to inflammation, pain, and scar tissue. The condition affects over 1.5 million in the UK, approximately 1 in 10 women, and those assigned female at birth. Common symptoms include pelvic pain, difficult periods, pain when urinating, painful bowel movements, and fatigue. I agreed to become a member of the APPG for Endometriosis.

I was in the Chamber to listen to the Home Secretary deliver her statement about the Illegal Migration Bill. She said her decisions are supported by the British people through their elected representatives not by people smugglers and other criminals breaking into Britain daily. She said that the Bill will stop the boats bringing tens of thousands to our shores in flagrant breach of our laws and the will of the British people. She blamed illegal arrivals for overwhelming our asylum system, which increased the backlog of over 160,000. And that they should have claimed asylum in the safe countries they had passed through, such as Albania. She said that the vast majority were adult males under 40 rich enough to pay criminal gangs thousands for safe passage. If you enter Britain illegally you will be detained and swiftly removed, to your home country or to a safe country like Rwanda. The Bill enables detention of illegal arrivals for 28 days without bail or judicial review, until they are removed. The Home Secretary can suspend removal only to those under 18, medically unfit to fly, or at risk of serious and irreversible harm. And when they’ve stopped the boats, the Bill will introduce an annual cap on the number of refugees the UK will settle via safe and legal routes. She said the British people are fair and patient but they’ve seen their country taken for a ride.

Many MPs on both sides of the chamber were shocked by the Home Secretary’s language and answers to questions regarding her statement posed by MPs. I think that the Rt. Honourable Member for Haynes and Harrington, John McDonnell’s question and the Home Secretary’s answer summed it up. “I have nearly 2,000 people who have exercised their legal right to claim asylum living in hotels in my constituency, probably more than any other MP. I welcome them into my constituency. I have toured the hotels, met many of them, and held advice sessions. They come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Kurdistan-Iraq, Iran and Eritrea. Some of them have shown me their wounds from torture, many are suffering post traumatic stress disorder. They have been in the hotels for 12 to 18 months. I am amazed by the range of skills and qualifications that people have. They just want employment. They want to be able to contribute. They want a job and to contribute to our society and our economy, but they are trapped in this system because of the lack of processing. I take up their cases and get sheets of the same three or four sentence responses, and the cases move no further. Could the Home Secretary at least provide the House with a monthly report on how the processing of their cases is proceeding? May I say one final thing Mr Speaker? Will the Home Secretary please tone down her inflammatory language? It is putting these people and those who represent them at risk.

Suella Braverman replied “We are making good progress in bearing down on the legacy backlog in our asylum system. We have increased the number of decision makers and streamlined the decision-making process, and we are increasing productivity. We will continue to bear down on that because it is a big factor in the hotel accommodation issue”.

The majority of asylum seekers do not have the right to work, so many rely on state support, currently set at £40.85 per week, that’s £5.84 per day for food, sanitation and clothing. Housing is provided, but asylum seekers cannot choose where, and it’s often hard to let properties which council tenants do not want to live in. The UK had 72,027 asylum seekers at the year ending September 2022, and does not have more asylum seekers than other countries. In the EU, Germany had the highest, 127,730, followed by France, 96,510. According to UNHCR statistics, in the UK at the end of November 2022, there were 231,597 refugees, 127,421 pending asylum cases, and 5,483 stateless persons. The war in Ukraine drove a large increase from the previous year. The backlog is produced by the historical lack of staffing in the Home Office to deal with applications.

There has been a massive reaction to the Bill since last Monday, including: The Red Cross said that the Bill breaks the UN 1951 Convention; The Archbishop of York condemned the Bill and said that it is cruelty without purpose and is immoral and inept; more than 350 charities, businesses, unions, and legal groups said the Bill is cruel and unworkable to detain and immediately deport people coming to the UK in small boats, and will break the UN Charter and European Convention on Human Rights; Lord Dubs said that the Bill is a reversal of undertakings the UK Government gave that children would be exempt, and children would not be able to claim asylum and would be removed; and Baptist, Methodist, and the United Reform Church leaders said that the Bill fosters discrimination, distrust, and causes immeasurable harm to people already vulnerable from conflict and persecution, and is an example of ignoring our neighbours and walking by on the other side.

I’m so grateful that the people of Wales are compassionate towards strangers, and we are a Nation of Sanctuary.

I was honoured to be re-elected vice chair at the AGM of the APPG Coalfields Communities. Alex Davies-Jones MP was re-elected chair. The APPG received a presentation by the Secretariat, Industrial Communities Alliance, on the next steps in their ‘Levelling Up the Former Coalfields’ Inquiry, whose remit is to give the APPG a clear strategic direction. The inquiry will publish its report and recommendations in the near future.

I attended the APPG for Hospitality, Events, and Major Food and Drink Businesses in Wales, chaired by Jess Morden MP. We received an update from businesses in Wales, which included: Dave Chapman, Executive Director for Wales, UK Hospitality; Nick Newman, chair of Pubs Cardiff; Glen Evans, vice chair of North Wales Tourism; Daniel Bounds, Sales Director, ICC Wales and Deputy Chairman of ICA; Mike Morgan, Welsh Rarebits Collection; and Rod Ali of Taste Wales Trade Association. Dave told us that the UKH Cymru Conference is planned for May, and the UKH Conference will be in June. All speakers agreed that the Chancellor should provide financial help for the hospitality, events and businesses sector in the UK, which will benefit those in Wales.

My Shark Fins Private Members Bill completed all legislative stages in the House of Commons on 20th January and now proceeds to the House of Lords. I met with Maggie Jones, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, who will be taking my Sharks Fins Private Members Bill through the House of Lords, starting with its Second Reading on Friday 24th March. I wanted to make sure that Maggie has all the briefing notes regarding the Bill, and answered any questions that she had. Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist will be the Conservative UK Government Minister, and Baroness Hayman of Ullock will be speaking for the Labour Front Bench.

I attended the APPG for Sport International Women’s Day event which was so well attended that people were sitting on the floor. We listened to inspirational sportswomen of all ages and backgrounds who told their stories of their involvement and dedication to sport. The Minister for Sport, Stuart Andrew MP, spoke first and pledged more funding for women and girls in grassroots sport.

Sense is a national disability charity that supports the UK’s 1.6million people with complex disabilities to be understood, connected and valued. Sense supports children, young people, and adults in their homes and in the community, and offers practical help to family carers including information advice, short breaks and family events. I attended Sense’s Parliamentary event on the cost of living crisis on disabled people. Sense is campaigning for: a benefits system that provides enough to live on, a review of the level, the process that sets benefits, and how they are updated; and targeted energy support for disabled people who use more energy, including a social tariff, and an urgent review of the list of medical equipment that qualify for energy rebates. Since the start of 2023, the situation has severely worsened for more than three quarters of disabled people, and over half are now in debt. Nearly half are missing meals to save money, struggling to keep their homes warm, and 20% using food banks. I hope that the Chancellor has listened to Sense and his budget next week will include help for disabled people.

I met with representatives of The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and learned some new skills to draw attention to the importance of scientific research in solving challenges that affect constituents and people in the UK. The RSC is an international organisation connecting chemical scientists with each other and with society as a whole. Founded in London in 1841, with a current membership of over 50,000, it supports chemical scientists with resources to make vital advances in chemical knowledge, and teachers to inspire a future generation of scientists. Sophia Michell and Dr Ian Gameson from Lab Tots, which teaches fun science to nursery school children, showed me everyday chemistry that we can do with accessible materials at home. It was great to take part and meet Sophia and Ian, connect with science and learn about working together on evidence based policy ranging from climate change and energy security to economic growth. My thanks to Val Vaz MP for hosting the event.

I bobbed throughout the Women and Equalities Oral Questions because I wanted to highlight TUC statistics that show that despite the UK Government requiring companies employing over 250 to publish their gender pay gap information since 2017, there is still a widening gender pay gap, currently at 15%, and women are working for free for 54 days in the UK and 45 days in Wales. I would have asked the Minister whether she agreed with the General Secretary of Wales TUC, Shavanah Taj, that companies need clear targets, monitoring, evaluation, enforcement and fines for companies who don’t comply. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker didn’t call me, but I published my question on Social Media because I believe that the UK Government needs to do much more for women in the workplace.

I have been a supporter of the RSPCA for many years, and I attended their event on the Impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on Animals. The RSPCA centres are full, 700 pets are on waiting lists, there is a 25% increase in pets abandoned, a 13% rise in neglect calls, the intake is up by 8%, rehoming is down by 8%, because people cannot afford to feed their pets. The RSPCA is collaborating with animal and human welfare charities to help keep pets in their home during the cost of living crisis. The RSPCA Partnership (Wales) was set up in the summer 2022 and it supports food banks across Wales to provide pet food. The RSPCA has set up a phone helpline to support peoooe worried about the cost of living crisis on 03001230650, open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Sarah Champion MP hosted the International Rescue Committee event “Time to Stand with Women Leading in Crisis” and I was honoured to sign the pledge board “I stand with women leading in crisis”. Women are best positioned to lead during crisis and prevent gender based violence, but often their organisations are cut out of humanitarian response. The UK Government has published its Women’s and Girls Strategy and now is the time for the UK to stand with women leading in crisis: tackle systemic funding barriers; create space and decision making roles; and establish partnerships based on equity, trust and accountability.

I attended the APPG for State Pension, chaired by Andrew Gwynne MP and Peter Aldous MP, for a confidential briefing on Stage two of the PHSO investigation into DWP’s communication of changes to State Pension age and associated issues.

The Public Order Bill came back to the Commons from the Lords where it had been amended by Labour and Cross-Bench peers working together to remove the draconian Conservative policies against civil liberties within the Bill, such as free speech and public assembly. The votes taken by the UK Government in the Commons are to “disagree with Lords amendments”. Unfortunately, the Conservative MPs outnumber the opposition MPs in the Commons, and we lose every vote, unless enough Conservative MPs rebel against their own Party so as to cancel out their majority. This did not happen in this case, and the opposition’s support for the Lords amendments was defeated at every vote. Amendment (a) was not a Lord’s amendment and was moved by a Conservative MP.

Lords amendments

Amendment (a) which would specify and exempt consensual communication, silent prayer, and peaceful presence from criminalisation, was opposed by MPs from across the House because nothing in Lords amendment 5 (restricting protests to within 150 metres of an abortion clinic, known as a buffer zone) would criminalise prayer, and is clear that there is a time and place for everything, whereas amendment (a) creates confusion for the police who will have to enforce buffer zones. Amendment (a) was lost 116-299.

Amendment 6 removes clause 11 which gives the police power to stop and search suspicion-less protest related items, such as a person or vehicle. The vote was lost by 236-281 votes.

Amendment 1 provides a definition of “serious disruption” on the face of the Bill, because the UK Government are trying to lower the threshold. The definition is – causing significant harm to persons/organisations/life of community. The vote was lost 235-286.

Government amendment (a) to Lords amendment 1 is an attempt to raise the threshold somewhat but is still unacceptable, so it was pushed to a vote, which was lost 231-285.

Amendment 20 removes clause 20, introducing serious disruption orders other than on conviction, which means that an order made by a magistrate court on application from a chief officer of the police on application not at the point of conviction, from the Bill. The vote was lost 232-280.

Nigel’s Budget Special March Newsletter

Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)

Dear Constituent,

Budget Special Newsletter:

Earlier this week I was in the House of Commons to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Budget. You can watch my speech in response here. Following the financial turmoil last Autumn this wasn’t expected to be a dramatic budget, but the improving position of the economy enabled the Chancellor to make some significant announcements.

The good economic news was that we are no longer forecast to enter recession this year and inflation is forecast to be below 3% by Christmas, a significant reduction on the current position of over 10% and a sign that the tough measures taken to stabilise the economy are working.

I welcome the focus of the Spring Budget on the everyday costs of average working families and support for services and businesses which are central to our communities. I am also pleased that much of this support will be going towards families and individuals here in Amber Valley, saving them money on their bills, fuel prices, childcare and allowing them to benefit from broader economic investment and growth.

The main announcements were:

Extending Energy Bills Support:

The Energy Price Guarantee, which has capped energy bills for households across the UK at an average of £2,500 a year will be extended for 3 months to the end of June 2023 saving the average household £160. Bills are forecast to fall below this level from July. In my speech following the Budget I urged the Chancellor to extend this to next March in the event prices don’t fall as expected so we all have certainty over what we will pay next winter.

Additionally, houses on prepayments meters are set to see an even greater benefit, as the Government is ending Prepayment Meter premium, ensuring that the prices these customers pay are in line with those on direct debit schemes. Forced prepayment meter installations are also suspended, ensuring those struggling to pay are not being taken advantage of by energy companies.

Fuel Duty frozen:

The freeze on Fuel Duty is also set to be extended for 2023, cancelling the planned 11p rise. The Government will also be maintaining the 5p cut on fuel duty for a further 12 months. While prices have fallen back from the peak, they are still high and freezing the duty will save motorists up to £200 this year. I know this will be welcomed by all those of you who have recently written to me in favour of keeping fuel duty frozen.

Making childcare more affordable:

I know only too well how large a burden the cost of childcare for under 3s is, in many cases making working impossible. Parents also have challenges in Amber Valley finding places.

The Spring Budget includes a number of reforms to reduce childcare costs for working families, allowing parents to return to work should they wish. Free childcare is being extended to young families with children between 9 months and 3 years (from when 30 hours free is currently provided). Families where all adults work over 16 hours a week will be entitled to up to 30 hours of free childcare – this is being phased in from next Spring to ensure sufficient spaces are available.

For those on Universal Credit who wish to return to work, we are increasing the maximum claim limits up to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children and allowing parents to be paid upfront rather than having to pay the cost themselves first.

In order to boost the number of childminders and increase the provision of childcare services, the Government is introducing an incentive of £600 for new child-minders and up to £1200 for those who join the profession through an agency. An additional £204 million is also being provided to fund nurseries which are offering free childcare hours.

And finally, we are increasing funding so primary schools can provide wrap around childcare between 8am and 6pm.

I welcome this support being given to young working families and am pleased that these policies have been introduced following recommendations by myself and my colleagues on the Work and Pensions Select Committee in a recent report.

Supporting our pubs:

Pubs in Amber Valley will also benefit from the Budget, helping these establishments continue to play an important role in our town centres and our communities. While the new Alcohol Duty rates will be introduced for alcoholic drinks in supermarkets in August, pubs will be able to keep their prices down due to Draught Relief being raised from 5% to 9.2%.

This means that the price of an average draught pint of beer served in a pub will not increase from August and will be up to 11 pence lower than in supermarkets.

Fixing potholes in Derbyshire:

Many residents of Amber Valley will also be pleased to hear that there will be an expansion of the funding being assigned to fix potholes. The Government is allocating an additional £200 million to fix potholes, which is the equivalent of 4 million potholes being fixed across the UK. Derbyshire’s share of this is £4.2m.

If you know of any potholes that need fixing, please send me an email via my Street Watch reporting below and we’ll report them to the Council.

Supporting leisure centres & keeping pools warm:

We are lucky enough to have 3 leisure centres here in Amber Valley, and I welcome the support being given to help them keep their heating costs down and continue to provide fun healthy activities and spaces for everyone in Amber Valley. The Government has announced it is allocated £63 million to a support fund for leisure centres to access, in order to help them keep our pools warm and pay their energy bills.

Universal Support Scheme:

I am pleased that reforms are being introduced to separate benefits entitlement from ability to work for those on disability support. Too long this has stopped those on disability benefits from working, for fear of losing financial support. The Government wants to help those who wish to work but are held back by their disability. To do this they are providing Universal Support up to £4000 per person to help these individuals find jobs and make the necessary adjustments to allow them to enter the workforce.

Street Watch:

As always, if there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.

GDPR and privacy notice:

Data laws changed with the introduction of the new GDPR legislation: you can find my office’s privacy policy here and, if you don’t want to receive these emails anymore, you can unsubscribe here.

Get in Touch!

As always, you can contact me by hitting the ‘reply’ button on this email, or you can ring my office on 01773 744341.

Twitter and Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @NigelMills and like me on Facebook here to stay up to date with news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.

Yours sincerely,


Promoted by Nigel Mills MP, of Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3EH.

You’re receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to my mailing list.

Would you like to unsubscribe? Unsubscribe from this Newsletter here.

The post Nigel’s Budget Special March Newsletter appeared first on Nigel Mills MP.

Local Update

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update about a number of local matters.

Epsom & Ewell Local Plan

Firstly, a reminder about the deadline for the consultation on the local plan for Epsom and Ewell Borough. You have until March 19th to take part in the consultation and to give your view about what is proposed. It is really important that everyone takes part, as the plan is highly controversial and involves developing a large area of green belt land in Epsom.

The plan includes building 1500 homes on the Horton Farm site, the area of farmland between Horton Lane and Hook Road, building residential blocks on the playing fields next to Ewell East station and building homes on part of the Hook Road arena.

I have submitted a response which continues to argue for the redevelopment of the Kiln Lane and Longmead areas as a mixed use area. This could provide more homes than the Council’s plans for local green belt. Contrary to what some of you may have heard, the outline plan also envisages retaining the same amount of commercial space as at present. All the details are on my website here.

There is also going to be a special Council meeting about the plan on March 22nd. Although I imagine that the public gallery will be packed, you will also be able to watch the meeting online.

Details of how to respond to the consultation are at www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk . Information about how to log in and watch the Council meeting will be on the website at this address a few days before the meeting.


Mole Valley Local Plan

For those of you who live in Mole Valley, the latest on its local plan is that the process has been paused to wait for the revised national policy on green belt land. I spoke at the planning enquiry and asked for a reduction to the amount of green belt land proposed for development in Ashtead. I hope that when the new policy is launched the plan will be modified accordingly.

Ewell East Train Services

Several people have been in touch with me about the reduction in train services at Ewell East. I have been pursuing this with Southern, and they have agreed to restore the half hourly service at peak times. This will mean six additional trains stopping at Ewell East when the new timetable starts in May.

I know there are still issues around crowding on the Waterloo line and I am continuing to push on this. The arrival of the new ten coach trains, which is due this year, will I hope make a real difference.

Horton – Local Centre Parking

A number of people have raised concerns with me about the way that the car park is being operated at the Horton local centre, with complaints about the way that people are being penalised for visiting the shops. I have raised concerns with the owners of the site, and they have agreed to improve the signage so that it is much clearer which spaces are available for shoppers. I would still advise taking care.

Veterans Group

If you are a former member of the armed forces, I have been asked to let you know that there is an active and growing veterans group locally. It organises a range of activities for veterans, and all are welcome to join. If you are interested please contact Barb Warwich of the local branch of the British Legion, barb.warwick@virginmedia.com

Age Concern Volunteers Needed

I have also been asked by the local Age Concern team to let you know that they are in need of both volunteer drivers, and also people who are interested in joining their Trustee board.

The drivers are needed to take older people from the Borough of Epsom and Ewell to medical appointments, or to visit family of friends in hospital or residential homes.

This can be a regular weekly commitment or on an ad-hoc basis.  A mileage allowance of 50p per mile is paid and they will need to undertake a DBS clearance for you.

If this role is of interest or if you would like more information, please contact Jane Hodgson, Volunteer Co-ordinator on 01372 728458 or by email jane.hodgson@ageconcernepsom.org.uk

For the Trustee Roles they would particularly like to hear from you if you have a background in law, business strategy, marketing, fundraising, or social care.

If you are interested, please send a copy of your current CV along with a covering letter detailing your skills, experience and motivation for applying to Dorah May Hancock, Chief Officer, Age Concern Epsom and Ewell by email to dorahmay.hancock@ageconcernepsom.org.uk or contact her on 01372 732458 for an informal discussion.

With best wishes




The post Local Update appeared first on Chris Grayling.

Judith Cummins MP on Tuesday called for the government to step up and provide 100% coverage for Fracture Liaison Services in England.  

Osteoporosis is a long-term health condition characterised by weak bones prone to breaking or fracture. It affects 3.5m people across the UK: a fifth of men and half of women over 50.  

A report by the Royal Osteoporosis Society found that 90,000 people miss out on the treatment every year and some 2.2 million people in the UK are left with undiagnosed spinal fractures. Fracture Liaison Services are an essential means of identifying and treating osteoporosis early. Yet, only 57% of people in England have access to this quality of life improving service. 

Speaking in the Chamber, Judith called on the government to provide the necessary services, which could prevent over thirty thousand hip fractures by identifying bone problems early: 

“An investment of just £27 million per year in Fracture Liaison Services would deliver over £600 million in savings over five years for the NHS.  

“Will the Minister meet with me and the Royal Osteoporosis Society, to discuss our report, and commit to ending the postcode lottery by providing 100% coverage for Fracture Liaison Services for over-50s in England?” 

Responding, Secretary of State for Health Steve Barclay MP agreed: “Obviously, she sets out a very compelling case in terms of the return on investment. Clearly, we will need to scrutinise that in more detail.” 

Judith hears from the Health Secretary there is a ‘compelling case’ for investing in FLS

Speaking afterwards, Judith emphasized the need to act now to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed, and people are not unnecessarily left in pain with debilitating fractures:  

“Bradford has an exemplary fracture liaison service, but almost half of the country must do without. When these early opportunities to prevent fractures are missed there is a greater pressure on ambulances, acute hospital bed days, and greater stress on the NHS.” 

“By acting now to provide full Fracture Liaison Services coverage right across England, we can save people unnecessary pain, save the NHS vital resources, and give all patients the level of care they deserve.” 

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I was pleased to sponsor the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reception in the House of Commons. The cruise industry is extremely important to my constituency, our local economy, supporting many regional businesses and generating employment opportunities in cruise tourism. Over 500 cruise ships arrive in Southampton each year bringing over £2 million to our [...]

The post Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Parliamentary Reception appeared first on Royston Smith MP.

Celtic Freeport Bid in The Mirror

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)

Levelling up fund

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

Member of Parliament for the Beckenham constituency, Bob Stewart, has written to both the Managing Director of Southeastern Railways and the Secretary of State for Transport to call for the immediate reinstatement of the Cannon Street services from Hayes, West Wickham, Eden Park, Elmers End, Clock…

Lee Anderson MP's Weekly Column

Lee Anderson (Ashfield)

Last week I travelled with the Home Affairs Select Committee to Calais in France to speak to officials, politicians and charities about the illegal crossings that is costing the British taxpayer millions of pounds a day. The migrant camp we visited in Calais was populated by young men all of whom…

The truth about protecting our waterways

Joy Morrisey (Beaconsfield)

In contrast to misleading and false assertions made recently, the simple truth is that this Conservative Government is the first to set out our expectation that water companies must take steps to significantly reduce storm overflows. We are now delivering the largest programme to tackle storm…

Our Letter to the Prime Minister on Fulfilling Dementia Commitments

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

We Demand that the Government Fulfils its Commitments on Dementia

Today I joined Alzheimer’s Society Ambassadors Vicky McClure and Dame Arlene Phillips as well as Elliot Colburn MP and Ananga Moonesinghe, who lives with dementia, to deliver an open letter to PM Rishi Sunak at Downing Street, demanding the Government urgently fulfil their promises on dementia.

Launched by leading dementia charity Alzheimer’s Society, the open letter has been signed by over 36,000 members of the public and famous names including Choreographer Dame Arlene Philips and actor Vicky McClure. We were joined at the hand-in by my colleague on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, Vice-Chair Elliot Colburn MP, showing cross-party support. It urges Rishi Sunak to deliver on previous Conservative Party commitments to dementia and not let the UK’s biggest killer fall down the political agenda.

Previous Conservative Prime Ministers have actively committed to improving the lives of people affected by dementia. Now Rishi Sunak must deliver on promises to reform social care, double dementia research funding and release a ten-year plan for dementia which gives the condition the priority it deserves. The 36,000 people who signed the open letter are making themselves clear – they don’t just want to hear empty promises, they want to see action. People with dementia can’t and won’t wait any longer.

With diagnosis rates still sitting below pre-pandemic levels, national figures reveal people are waiting up to two years in some areas for a diagnosis, thereby missing out on vital treatment and support. Alzheimer’s Society research also shows three in five people affected by dementia struggled to get social care in the past year, with half of family carers revealing they ended up in crisis, such as rushing their loved one to A&E due to lack of support

The charity is concerned the deepening workforce crisis in social care – with vacancies sitting at 165,000 – risks leaving people with dementia desperate for help while living costs soar. Alzheimer’s Society say it’s more important now than ever for the Government to prioritise dementia.

In the past year, the Government has made many commitments on dementia, promising to deliver a ‘visionary ten-year plan’ for dementia, to reform the social care system and double spending on dementia research by 2024.  Alzheimer’s Society says the delivery of these will be transformational for the lives of the 900,000 people living with dementia but calls on the Government to urgently make these a reality to prevent a deepening crisis in dementia care.

This follows the news last year that a new drug, lecanemab, was shown to slow cognitive decline in people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, this breakthrough will mean little if diagnosis rates remain stagnant and often inaccurate. This treatment works best for people with early Alzheimer’s disease. Without early and accurate diagnosis, we risk hopeful advancements like this having minimal effect.

Feel strongly about this article?

The post Our Letter to the Prime Minister on Fulfilling Dementia Commitments appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

What is the Impact of Distance Learning in Education

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools and educational institutions to move to a distance learning model. This has had a significant impact on the way education is delivered. Some of the impacts have been positive, while others have been more negative. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key impacts of distance learning in education. We’ll also look at how this new model is likely to evolve in the future.

Define distance learning and its purpose in education

Distance learning is a form of education that takes place between an instructor and students who are not interacting in the same physical location. Distance learning courses typically take place online, where students can access course materials and engage in remote lessons with their instructors from the comfort of their own homes. The primary purpose of distance learning is convenience: it gives students the opportunity to pursue studies at any time, from virtually anywhere. Distance learning also allows students to fit an education into otherwise busy lives. Students who may be unable to enroll in campus-based schooling due to geographic obstacles, health issues or obligations such as employment or family care duties all benefit from being able to receive instruction, interact with peers and complete coursework remotely with distance learning courses.

Describe how distance learning has changed over the years

Over the years, distance learning has evolved from a simple pen pal type of correspondence to a complex online system. Instead of having to wait weeks for someone to return a single letter, now students can communicate almost instantly with teachers and fellow classmates as well as access curricula and educational resources provided by their school. This shift in technology allows instructors to deliver lessons through virtual classrooms, use interactive technological tools such as quizzes and videos to engage their students, and offer new ways for pupils to demonstrate their mastery of material. Despite its advantages, the growth of distance learning still faces challenges such as lack of face-to-face interaction between teachers and students, high levels of student motivation required to succeed in an online course, security issues associated with personal data sharing over the internet, and lower access by underserved communities due to cost or a lack of available technology resources. The field of distance learning is ever growing though, offering increased opportunities for those seeking alternative ways to receive their education

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning

Distance learning has come a long way since its inception and can offer an excellent alternative to standard coursework writing. In many ways, it is more convenient than traditional studying, as students are able to fit coursework into their daily lives without having to take time off for commuting or attending lectures. Furthermore, distance learning can be particularly useful for learners who have trouble fitting into the traditional classroom setting or who struggle with certain course topics due to lack of face-to-face instruction. However, distance learning also has some drawbacks; most courses require students to have significant levels of self-discipline in order to stay motivated while juggling their coursework with other commitments, and often times course instructors may not be easily accessible if struggles arise during coursework writing. Nonetheless, with proper motivation and preparation distance learning can be great tool for those seeking educational options.

Offer examples of successful distance learning programs

Distance learning programs have become increasingly popular in recent years as educators and learners alike explore new ways to bridge the gap between traditional education and modern technology. Successful distance learning programs can be seen across many different sectors, whether for academic purposes or for professional development. For example, online universities like Open University offer degrees and courses in a variety of different disciplines, allowing learners to complete their degree in an unprecedented amount of time compared to traditional brick-and-mortar universities. Professional organizations like Toastmasters utilize video conferencing tools to offer staff seminars and other training sessions without having to send staff members out of town. These distance learning solutions save organizations time and money while still managing to deliver quality services and instruction.

Summarize the impact of distance learning in education overall

The introduction of distance learning in education has profoundly impacted education overall. Through the use of digital tools, teachers have been able to reach more students and expand their classroom across geographical boundaries. Additionally, it has increased access to educational materials as well as leveled out the playing field among different socioeconomic backgrounds. Distance learning has allowed schools to create innovative ways of teaching and engaging with students. It not only gives teachers the ability to interact directly with students but also provides ways for students to collaborate and connect with their peers from around the world. All in all, distance learning has shown itself to be a powerful tool that can help students receive a better education no matter where they are located or their financial situation.

Though it has been around in some form since the 19th century, distance learning has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. This is largely due to advances in technology that have made online education more accessible and affordable than ever before. While there are many advantages to distance learning, such as increased flexibility and the ability to learn at your own pace, there are also some disadvantages to consider. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right program for you. But with careful research and planning, you can find an online education option that meets your needs and helps you achieve your educational goals. Are you considering pursuing a degree through distance learning? What are some of the factors you’re taking into consideration?

The post What is the Impact of Distance Learning in Education appeared first on Berger.

December 2022 Newsletter

Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Click here to view my newsletter for December 2022

Berry Bros & Rudd New Warehouse in Andover

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

It was fascinating to visit the vast new Berry Bros warehouse in Andover recently. This family owned business is one of the world’s oldest and biggest wine merchants and they have just opened a spanking new multi million pound facility on the Andover Business Park.

While much of their business is selling wine, most of it is helping wine buyers and collectors look after their stock, and the warehouse is where it is all stored. As I was shown round, I marvelled at the famous names on the shelves: Lafitte, Latour, Petrus etc.

The Warehouse is chilled to 12 degrees throughout, but happily due to solar panels on the roof, will be carbon neutral.

It’s a great vote of confidence in Andover and in the UK wine industry which I hope will continue to lead the world, with possibly the biggest collection of fine wines on the planet, here in North West Hampshire.

Dan Jarvis MP: Statement Regarding Sentencing

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

I was deeply concerned to read the decision taken by the Court in this case.

Given the very serious nature of the crimes committed, and that the perpetrator pleaded guilty to all 10 offences, I find it very difficult to understand how he was not deemed a serious threat to the public and remanded in custody.

I will be urgently raising these concerns with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General’s office.

Climate and Environment Emergency: WWF Earth Hour

Nick Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East)

Keuntungan Saat Memainkan Situs Judi Slot Online

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)

Keuntungan Saat Memainkan Situs Judi Slot Online – Internet memiliki dampak luar biasa pada berbagai industri meskipun mungkin industri perjudian yang paling banyak mengalami perubahan. Perjudian online yang sederhana, dengan cepat menjadi industri multi-miliar dolar.

Ada sejumlah situs judi online yang menyediakan layanan hiburan dan perjudian kepada pengguna dari setiap bagian dunia. Di sini kita melihat manfaat utama yang bisa Anda dapatkan dari perjudian online.

Mari kita ulas bersama tentang keuntungan yang akan di dapatkan saat memainkan situs judi slot online ini yaitu;

Apa Saja Keuntungan Saat Memainkan Situs Judi Slot Online?

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Tawaran Promosi

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Penawaran lain juga tersedia di mana para pemain dapat mulai bermain tanpa harus menyetor satu sen pun.

  • Opsi Perbankan

Opsi perbankan yang digunakan platform kasino online semuanya benar-benar aman dan memungkinkan seseorang untuk mendanai akunnya dengan mudah. Ada berbagai metode yang dapat dilakukan dan pengguna dapat memilih metode yang paling cocok untuk mereka. Bahkan banyak yang memberikan penawaran tambahan saat menggunakan layanan ini.

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Platform kasino online memberi Anda kebebasan untuk bermain di level mana pun yang Anda inginkan. Di sisi lain, rumah kasino tradisional memiliki batasan ketat pada tingkat di mana pengguna dapat bermain terutama karena mereka harus mempertahankan pendirian mereka.

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Baca artikel lainnya di: Link Situs Judi Bola Terpercaya Alternatif, Solusi Paling Tepat Bermain

The post Keuntungan Saat Memainkan Situs Judi Slot Online appeared first on Chrisleslie.

Backbench Business Committee

Ian Mearns (Gateshead)

My article in House Magazine

End Fire and Rehire

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North)

End Fire and Rehire Anonymous (not verified) Fri, 10/22/2021 - 16:02

Visit my Facebook page

Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)

Visit my Facebook page for upto date news on my work as your Member of Parliament.

New GP Surgery Back on Track for Shifnal

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)

New GP Surgery Back on Track for Shifnal
Tue, 16/02/2021 - 13:45

The local Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed that the funding is in place to build a new GP surgery for Shifnal.

Commenting, Mark Pritchard MP said:

"I'm delighted that, in the last 24 hours, the Shropshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed to me that the new GP surgery in Shifnal will go ahead this year.  The building plans are well advanced and NHS England has provided the extra funding needed.  Local councillors and Shifnal Matters 2021 have supported me in pushing for this new surgery, and I'm glad that the NHS has listened to local needs."

New Hospital in Sutton Confirmed

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

I am delighted to write and tell you that local NHS leaders have confirmed plans for a new hospital to be built in Sutton and to upgrade facilities at St Helier. This represents a £500 MILLION plan that will not only build a brand new state of the art hospital near to the Royal Marsden by 2025, but ALSO invest AT LEAST £80 MILLION into upgrades at St Helier.

The new specialist emergency care hospital, just a few minutes from St Helier, would treat the sickest 15% of patients, those normally arriving by ambulance. This larger specialist team would be available 24 hours a day to diagnose what is wrong with patients more rapidly, start the best treatment faster, and help patients recover more quickly. St Helier and Epsom Hospitals will remain open 24/7, with updated and improved facilities, providing all the other services that they currently do.

My children were born at St. Helier so healthcare provision in Sutton has been an issue that is a very personal one to me. Ever since being a councillor in Carshalton, some 14 years ago, I have been campaigning for a solution that protects the future of St. Helier whilst ensuring that Sutton residents have access to the very best treatment in cutting edge modern healthcare facilities. I believe that this decision can finally put to rest the political arguments so that we can get on with doing what’s best for residents across the whole of the borough of Sutton.

With this plan, the refurbished St Helier Hospital is here to stay providing the majority of local health services, and the sickest patients will get state-of-the-art treatment in the brand-new specialist emergency hospital right here in our area.

You can find out more about the plans, including the answers to some frequently asked questions at the NHS’ website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk. You can also contact them at hello@improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk, or get in touch with me with any queries.


Why is this being done?

To improve the care that we receive. As St Helier’s buildings continue to age over time, it’s necessary to upgrade our healthcare facilities to improve outcomes. Surviving illness and recovering quickly is the number one priority.

Is St Helier closing?

No, quite the opposite. St Helier is here to stay with a multi-million-pound improvement package.

Is a new hospital being built?

Yes. A new specialist emergency care hospital will be built in Sutton, in addition to improving St Helier hospital.

Is St Helier getting an upgrade?

Yes. At least £80 million of the funding promised will go towards improving the facilities at St Helier hospital.

Who developed these proposals?

For the first time, we have a plan that was developed by local clinicians, not national bureaucrats or politicians. Local healthcare professionals made the case for funding to deliver this improvement, which has been rewarded with a £500 million investment. Sutton Council also supported the proposals last year.

Will I have to travel outside my area for services now?

At the moment, if you have a stroke or heart attack you will be taken past St. Helier to be treated at St. George’s. This plan means that we will still be able to treat people within the local area, not moving more services away from Sutton.

Will we still use St Helier?

Yes. From 2025, Epsom hospital, St Helier hospital and the new hospital at Sutton will all have a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) (which already treats the vast majority of people going to St. Helier in an emergency). Under the plans, 85% of services will remain at St Helier. Both Epsom and St Helier hospitals will still have a 24/7 UTC.

Diagnostic tests, such as MRI, x-ray or ultrasound, the heart problem diagnosis unit, the dialysis unit, Croft Ward (which takes care of patients who are stable but not ready to leave hospital), the eye care unit, the gastroenterology unit, and so many more services are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

What about bed numbers?

The NHS have calculated that they will need the same number of beds as they do now.

What about A&E?

Unlike previous plans, which saw A&E diverted away into Tooting, A&E is now staying right here in our Borough at the new hospital. Most of the time you will still use St Helier for matters requiring immediate medical attention like broken limbs or cuts. Major trauma cases needing a blue light ambulance transfer will be treated in Sutton at the new state-of-the-art hospital next to The Royal Marsden.

What about maternity services?

Maternity services have also been protected and kept locally. Post-natal and ante-natal care are staying put at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, and births will take place in the brand-new maternity unit at the new hospital in Sutton built to the very latest healthcare standards. Women need the very best care and facilities when giving birth, and the new plans will provide that.

Where will children services be provided?

Most children will continue to receive care and treatment in the same place as they do now. Care for children who need to stay in hospital overnight – as a result of a serious illness or complex problems – will be treated at the new specialist emergency care hospital. This includes children’s surgery.  

What will happen until the new hospital in Sutton is built?

All services will continue to be carried out at Epsom and St Helier hospitals until such time the new hospital in Sutton is ready for patients.

Where will the new hospital be built?

After consulting residents, patient groups and healthcare professionals, the decision was taken to build a brand-new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton. This will be combined with the necessary infrastructure and transport links to ensure the site of the new hospital is accessible to all that need to use it.

For more facts, and to find out what this multi-million-pound government investment in our local NHS will mean for you and your family, visit the following website: www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/faq.

A&E at The Royal Glam

Chris Bryant (Rhondda)

A&E @ the Glam – Strength in Unity

I have said from the very beginning that if we are to ensure a 24 hour A&E Service at RGH then we need to forget about Party Politics, and come together to work cross-party.

We need you to play your part too, by signing the below letter. If you wish to do so then please let me know by filling in the form at the bottom of this page:


The configuration of Emergency NHS services across Cwm Taf Morgannwg has changed over the years – and will continue to change along with medical advances and changes in the local population. We welcome, for instance, the development of the new Major Trauma Centre at UHW, which will almost certainly save lives and we recognise that for some specialist forms of care it will be necessary to travel to a regional centre of excellence such as the Burns Unit at Morriston. We also understand that there is a UK-wide shortage of Emergency Consultants. and that Cwm Taf Morgannwg is not in a unique position with the recruitment challenges it faces,but would note that 5 of the 7 LHBs in Wales have substantially increased emergency consultant numbers over the last 6 years whereas Cwm Taf Morgannwg has not. We would argue that the uncertainty created over the future of the hospital due to the South Wales Programme has itself created a self-fulfilling prophecy about recruitment problems.

Our starting point, however, is that all NHS services should be safe, efficient and delivered as close to people’s homes as is medically and logistically feasible. Time-critical medical interventions can make the difference between life and death in many emergency situations and we are concerned that if the A&E were permanently to close at any one of the three hospitals, significant numbers of patients in some of the most deprived communities would not be able to get to an Emergency Department in time. A&E cannot be seen in isolation from other services such as GP surgeries, local minor injuries units and out-of-hours support. Additional capacity in these services would almost certainly lighten the load in the Emergency Departments, but this must be put in place before any changes to the configuration of Emergency Care is considered, let alone implemented, with evidence that they have substantially reduced the load on Emergency departments required before any changes. Changes to A&E provision at any one of the hospitals would have serious implications for other services within the hospital, including ITU and theatre and might harm the recruitment of other specialists.

There would be significant knock-on effects if the A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital were to be downgraded to a Minor Injuries Unit, as the hospital would almost certainly lose its Intensive Care Unit and operating theatre. This could jeopardise the long-term future of the hospital. The RGH’s Emergency Department is the most used in the area, with roughly 65,000 attendances a year, and ranked the best in terms of viable outcomes.  We fear the two other Emergency Departments would find it impossible to cope with the additional workload and that many patients will travel instead to UHW, which is also already over-stretched. We are also concerned that extra A&E admissions to PCH and POW would put additional pressure on not just their respective A&E depts but onwards and throughout the hospital system. We are determined to work with people of all political parties and trades unions (and none) to get the best possible outcome for the communities we represent. We believe the eventual decision should be informed by clinical best practice and local experience on the ground – and not by any partisan consideration.

We are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to do the following:
1) Rule out the closure of A&E at the RGH or changing it to a 24-hour Minor Injuries Unit.
2) Reinstate the option of maintaining a full consultant-led A&E at all three hospitals. This would require a serious new attempt at recruiting Emergency Consultants who would have secure full-time permanent posts working across all three hospitals. It would also require at least a ten-year commitment to RGH so that potential staff can apply with confidence.
3) Bring forward proposals to extend the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon and make these units more readily accessible for walk-in patients.
4) Bring forward other proposals for community health services, including improvements in the out-of-hours GP service, that might alleviate the pressure on all three A&E departments
and bring services closer to local communities.

In addition, we are calling on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to publish the following:
1) A socioeconomic and equality impact assessment of any proposed changes.
2) Detailed analyses of travel-to-hospital times, average ambulance response times and levels of car ownership, for all electoral wards in the area. that analyses such times during periods of poor weather.
3) Detailed statistics for levels of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke and infant and adult mortality for all electoral wards in the area. and how they compare with the Welsh averages/wealthier wards in Wales.
4) An assessment of how many patients from each electoral ward would be affected by a proposal to move to an 8 to 8, and 8 to 10 and an 8 to midnight Emergency Department.
5) An assessment of capacity in the Emergency Departments at POW, PCH, and UHW and how they would cope with additional patients.
6) Statistics for the number of patients who are admitted on towards at each hospital from A&E.
7) An assessment of the impact to the Welsh Ambulance Service, Ambulance response times, handover response times, in terms of waiting times at hospitals, blue light trauma travel times
and non-emergency transport between hospitals.

Please wait...

The post A&E at The Royal Glam appeared first on Chris Bryant.

Reflecting on Defeat

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

First of all, thank you to everyone who has sent such kind messages to me after last night’s result in Birmingham Northfield. Even though I never took this election – or any election – for granted, it is still a big blow to lose the seat I have represented for 27 years and which is […]

Compensation package for Waspi women

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)

Labour has pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.

Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000.

The scheme will be delivered within Labour's first full five year term of government.

Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked.

David Cameron's coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women's state pension age to 65 in November 2018 - followed by 66 in October 2020.

Labour will introduce a compensation scheme as rapidly as possible for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron's Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011.

It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on his pledge to help those affected.

He dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered.

The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve.

They were not able to prepare and have had to suffer serious financial consequences as a result.

We have a historic debt of honour to them.

Lisa reselected by Wigan Labour

Lisa Nandy (Wigan)

Lisa Nandy MP

Wigan Constituency Labour Party have reselected Lisa Nandy MP as their candidate for the next General Election.

At meetings held over the last fortnight, members in all of the branches that make up Wigan Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to reselect Lisa. All affiliated organisations, including Unite the Union, the Communication Workers’ Union, GMB, Unison and Usdaw, also voted to reselect.

Lisa said:

“I’m grateful to Labour members in Wigan for choosing to reselect me so overwhelmingly. Being the Member of Parliament for Wigan is the privilege of my life, and I couldn’t do it without the members who turn up year in, year out and in all weathers to campaign for the Labour Party. With a General Election looking likely, we will be out once again fighting for every vote and to put an end to the damage inflicted on Wigan by this reckless Conservative government.”

Wigan Constituency Labour Party said:

“We’re delighted to have reselected Lisa Nandy as our candidate for the next General Election. For 10 years Lisa has worked tirelessly to represent Wigan in Parliament, fighting for constituents hit hardest by this Conservative government’s brutal cuts and ensuring that Wigan’s voice is heard on the national stage. The overwhelming level of support Lisa received from local party members is testament to that work. We’re proud to have Lisa as our MP and we’re ready to fight and win the next General Election together.”

The post Lisa reselected by Wigan Labour first appeared on Lisa Nandy MP.

Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)

This website is discontinued. Please visit my new website: StephenMetcalfe.org.uk 

MP meets South Downs farmers

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs)

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert met South Downs farmers on Friday (19 January) to discuss the challenges they face as Britain leaves the EU and…

Mhairi Black to Young People: Don’t let the Tories leave you behind

Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)

A vote for the SNP is a vote to stand up for young people against the Tories, Mhairi Black has said, she urged young voters to use their voice in this Thursday’s election.
In government, the SNP has protected and expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance which has been scrapped south of the border, and has abolished university tuition fees in Scotland while the Tories have increased them to £27,000.

The SNP has also increased the number of Modern Apprenticeships, with a target of 30,000 new starts by the end of this Parliament.

The SNP manifesto commits to a real Living Wage – projected to be just over £10 by the end of the parliament for all workers aged 18 and above – creating a new single adult rate.

SNP MPs will also support a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts and will support votes at 16 at all elections.

Commenting, Mhairi Black said:

“A vote for the SNP is a vote for a strong team of MPs who’ll stand up for young people – calling for a fair and equal minimum wage, protecting rights in the workplace and votes at 16 in all elections.

“The SNP are already delivering for Scotland’s young people, delivering free university education and with youth unemployment at the lowest level on record – while the Tory vision is just cut after cut.

“The Tories think they can do anything they want to young people and get away with it – from hiking tuition fees to slashing housing benefit for young people and much more.

“That’s why it’s so important that young people turn up and vote – don’t let the Tory government leave you behind.

“Any Tory MPs elected in Scotland will simply rubberstamp whatever the Tory government does to young people, and Labour can’t win this election in Scotland – meaning that voting Labour risks letting Tory MPs in by the back door.

“Now more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland. Only then can we protect Scotland from the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.”


Here’s how strong SNP voices will stand up for young people at Westminster.

– SNP MPs won’t let the Tories trade away Scottish jobs in the Brexit negotiations – we will work to protect Scotland’s place in the Single Market.

– We will back a transition over the next parliamentary term towards payment of the real Living wage for all adults above the age of 18. This will mean a new single adult rate and will see the UK minimum wage to rise to the real Living Wage, projected to be just over £10.

– We will guarantee the continuation of free university education in Scotland, protecting students in Scotland from paying up to £27,000 of fees.

– In Scotland, we are mitigating the Tory decision to withdraw housing support from 18 to 21 year olds. We will fight for the restoration of this support across the UK, alongside scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

– SNP MPs will look to introduce our own legislative proposals to give 16 and 17 year olds a vote in all elections.

– In Scotland, youth unemployment is already at the lowest level on record. SNP MPs will support the devolution of employment and employability powers so we can extend our successful approach on youth employment.

– To help businesses create jobs, we will propose a doubling of the Employment Allowance – the discount businesses receive on National Insurance when they create jobs.

– We will press the UK government to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, and to ensure that workers have appropriate rights and protections, including holiday and sick pay. And we will work to ensure that the rights and protections currently safeguarded by EU membership are not diminished.

– We will work to protect opportunities for young people to study and train in other European countries through the ERASMUS+ scheme.

– We will continue to work with Scotland’s universities and institutions to seek clarity from the UK government on what will replace EU research funding for Scotland’s universities.

On being a woman in politics

Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

A few things have recently been rattling around in my head which concern women in politics; I've been trying to gather some ideas as to why there aren't more of us, and how I might encourage female candidates to come forward. At the same time, I noticed that the launch of the Counting Women In campaign, couldn't miss the outrageous attack on Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, and I've been enjoying Winnie Ewing's very readable autobiography. I've also been out on the doorsteps for Ken Andrew in Hillhead.

All of these together really say: the culture of politics in the UK is what's at fault. Women don't think it's for them and just disengage. 

Now, obviously that's a generalisation. I'm a woman, and I'm very engaged in politics. I'm prepared to accept I'm a bit odd.

I chapped on a door the other week while canvassing. I had Alexander with me in the pram. A woman answered, I politely introduced myself and my purpose on her doorstep - she shook her head and told me she wasn't interested. I asked why. She firmly asserted that all politicians are just the same. I asked her if anyone from any political party had ever come to see her with a baby in a pram. She thought briefly, admitted that'd never happened, and sent me on my way. 

I'm not sure whether that experience tells me whether I ought to a) leave the wee man at home or b) work on my doorstep pizzaz, but I bet that woman had opinions on all kinds of things. I don't think she believes them to be particularly political - provision of care services, or bin collection, say - but in the end they're determined by politicians. I want women like her to tell me what she wants and why it matters. More than that, I want women who care about issues to join political parties to further that cause. There are all kinds of causes promoted within the SNP, and I will most likely welcome you in.

I'm sure I've said before that I've always felt welcomed as a woman in the SNP, and that remains true. I'm not sure how Labour men treat women in general (not great by some accounts, which appear to be no barrier to reselection), but they're certainly not great at giving SNP women the respect they are due.

I recalled hearing when Winnie's book came out that she had been bullied while at Westminster. The Scotsman's 2007 interview put it thus:

As the lone SNP member in the Commons - at best an intimidating place for an inexperienced politician - she found herself without friends, without party colleagues, without any supporting structures. She was completely alone. She was hundreds of miles from her husband and her children in an excessively macho and very hostile environment. "I was treated as the enemy, I was shunned and despised. It's a peculiar experience to suddenly find yourself hated. At times I did feel terribly lonely, close to despair." 

Reading the autobiography, you really get a vivid picture of the pressure Winnie Ewing was under as an MP on her own. Her every action was scrutinised; if she didn't attend a debate, the other parties would ensure it got in the papers. The nuances of what said were taken apart. She was under political and personal attack from all sides and, even more sinister, stalked by another MP. Interventions by others had some impact, but it must have been a great emotional strain.

What I didn't know was that when Winnie was appointed as an MEP (pre-democratic elections to Europe), the bad behaviour of two particular Labour bullies continued in the European Parliament when she was alone again, deliberately working to ridicule and undermine her for over a year. By the account in the autobiography, this only ended when the President of the Parliament intervened, threatening to have them withdrawn as being "not fit to represent their country and Parliament in Europe".

You might think that, around forty years later, a female SNP MP might expect some kind of change to have occurred in attitudes, as with wider society. Women are accepted in a range of jobs, universities are gaining majorities of female students, there are innumerable opportunities and directions for careers. And then, there's Ian Davidson MP.

Eilidh has written a revealing article in the Scotland on Sunday - I'd urge you to read the full article, but I think this small quote does illustrate the point perfectly:

"It does not matter that all I had done was disagree with the committee. In fact what inspired Mr Davidson’s remark is utterly irrelevant. There is no action, no misbehaviour that justifies the threat or act of “a doing”. We hear too often of women being told they were “asking for it” in justification for intimidation or violence. I never expected to hear that from an MP in Parliament.

But this is not simply an issue of aggression towards woman; it’s about a culture of intimidation and bullying affecting men and women that seems to flourish with impunity in the Westminster world."

The tragedy is that it's primarily through this Westminster lens that the viewing population sees politics and politicians. They see argument, they see confrontation; they see crowds of boorish suits moaning a weary "hear hear". And they switch off. They say "that's not for me".

They don't see a politician arguing the case with a housing association, trying to help a vulnerable tenant. They don't see someone working on a committee, trying to improve a policy that will help improve children's health. They don't see the joy that is presenting prizes to year groups of school students, with the hope that you can encourage them in that tiny second as you shake their hand. They don't know what a privilege it is to be invited into so many lives and homes, to meet with groups and organisations and offer what help you can.

The work of politics should never be that yah boo nonsense that men excel at and so many women hate. More women should be in politics for the fantastic difference they can make every day.

Made by @davorg / Last built: Saturday 01 April 2023 03:26