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Visiting Tesco’s Winter Food Collection for the Trussell Trust

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)



Robert Jenrick did not come to his conclusions on immigration through ideology. Asked to be Immigration Minister he approached it cautiously. He formed his view that we needed to be a lot tougher from his day by day experiences . He saw at first hand how young fit men came in large numbers on dodgy unlicensed boat trips. He wanted to end these dangerous journeys, deter more illegals and break the businesses of those who charge them to undertake the trip.

He was persuaded it would take new law. To avoid another defeat in the courts  it would take stronger legal powers.In Suella Braverman he had a boss who knows migration law inside out. He recognised the wisdom of her views like his own.

Yesterday when we at last saw the Bill we heard from Suella that the bill would not be lawyer proof. There could be more challenges in international courts.

I cannot see the point of putting through legislation which does not work. The Home Secretary is going to have to reassure people this  time they will stop the boats.

Government funding is to be provided to a project led by the Herefordshire Rural Hub which will work towards improving the condition of the River Wye. Wyescapes, on which the Hub is partnering with the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, the Wye and Usk Foundation, and Wye Valley National Landscape, will focus on delivering a Landscape Recovery …


It is a privilege to speak at RUSI’s inaugural conference on serious organised crime. This is an important gathering at a time when the criminal underworld is increasingly trying to crawl out of the gutter and onto Britain’s streets. RUSI is an unrivalled leader in facilitating the must-have conversations on how to tackle our world’s most pressing challenges.

The National Spitfire Project’s No10 Reception

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

Last Thursday, the Prime Minister hosted a reception in Number 10 for the National Spitfire Project. As a trustee of the project - I spoke at the event and highlighted the Trust’s determination to deliver this very fitting tribute to all those who designed, manufactured and of course flew this iconic aircraft. Comparable to the [...]

The post The National Spitfire Project’s No10 Reception appeared first on Royston Smith MP.

Hillsborough Law Now!

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Finally the Government responds to #Hillsborough report, but after the appalling treatment of the victims’ families, we need strength of the law not just a voluntary Charter or Code, to force those in public positions to cooperate fully with investigations.   


‘A Dereham Plan for Dereham Residents’

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk)

6 December 2023
‘A Dereham Plan for Dereham Residents’

Our Mid Norfolk Market Towns are vital hubs of community spirit and services. After a difficult few years, it’s more vital than ever that we do all we can to help fuel their success and prosperity – and shape positive futures for them – so as to ensure they remain thriving and vibrant.

We need our market towns to be places where people want to live, visit, work and grow businesses.

That’s why I was delighted to help organise a recent gathering of business, community and civic movers and shakers at St Nicholas Church in Dereham to bring key stakeholders together and focus on how we all would like to see the town develop, grow and prosper over the coming years.

The idea of Reverend Paul Cubitt (Rector of Dereham), the event saw over 30 people join the conversation – with many others signalling their desire to participate in the conversation going forward.

With the Breckland Local Plan Update underway, there is an important opportunity for Dereham to put forward a strong, positive vision for itself over the next 10-20 years. What we need is for local leaders to come forward who have an abiding love for the town – and I’ve suggested the creation of a non-political, community-led Dereham Plan Partnership that can draw on the expertise and views of all groups in Dereham to help inform the vision and work with Breckland Council to deliver it.

By building on its heritage and culture, and attracting new investment, new businesses and new jobs and opportunities into the area, Dereham has a fantastic chance to ensure its long term success.

I’ve offered to help stakeholders set up and convene the Partnership and am following up with them to see about organising the next meeting and discussion early in the new year. Already, those involved are discussing what more can be done to improve the town market place – the gateway to the High Street and Town Centre.

I look forward to working with the likes of Breckland Council, the Town Council, the aboutDereham Partnership and others over the coming months.

To see the recent EDP article on the event, please click here.

To stay up to date with updates on this work, please do regularly check my campaign page here.


Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

CATHERINE REMINDS PEOPLE TO SHOP LOCAL THIS CHRISTMAS On Small Business Saturday Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell visited small and independent businesses around Gosforth High Street to hear about their concerns, celebrate their successes and remind people to shop local at this time of year. Catherine visited Pink Lane Bakery, Yum Lush, Donald Gilberts Butchers, […]


Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

Martin spoke as SNP Defence Spokesperson in response to an Urgent Question on UK military deployments in the Middle East. Here is an extract of Martin’s question in the Commons transcribed via Hansard:

The Secretary of State for Defence (Grant Shapps): Since Hamas’s horrendous attack on Israel on 7 October, we have increased our military presence in the region. This is to support contingency planning, monitor the evolving situation, and be ready to react and respond. As the right hon. Gentleman will know, I deployed a Royal Navy task group to the eastern Mediterranean, including RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus, three Merlin helicopters and a company of Royal Marines as a contingency measure. HMS Diamond is sailing through the Red sea to provide maritime security. HMS Lancaster is already in the middle east.

This morning, I provided a written ministerial statement notifying the House that unarmed military surveillance flights will begin in support of hostage rescue. The UK Government have been working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals who have been kidnapped. I will move heaven and earth to bring our hostages home. The UK Ministry of Defence will conduct surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in airspace over Israel and Gaza. The surveillance aircraft will be unmanned. They do not have a combat role and will be tasked solely to locate hostages. Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for those rescues.

The MOD is working on land, air and maritime routes to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid. Four RAF flights carrying over 74 tonnes of aid have landed in Egypt. I am considering whether RFA Argus and RFA Lyme Bay can support medical and humanitarian aid provision, given that their original purpose was potentially to take non-combatants out of the area. The MOD routinely deploys significant numbers of military personnel in the wider middle east for operations such as counter-Daesh, training, maritime security and other reasons. There is currently a force laid down across the region of nearly 2,500 military personnel.

Later this week, the Chief of the Defence Staff and I are visiting sovereign base areas, the Republic of Cyprus, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. I will, of course, report back to the House after that visit. Our objectives include to demonstrate and reaffirm the UK’s continued support for Israel, while continuing to press for adherence to international humanitarian law; to emphasise the importance the UK places on humanitarian aid reaching Gaza; to facilitate a deeper understanding of Israel’s planned next steps in Gaza now that the current pause has ended, and activity along the northern border; and to reaffirm the United Kingdom’s continued belief in a two-state solution and support for a viable and sovereign Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP (SNP, West Dunbartonshire): It is important to repeat the denunciation of the death cult known as Hamas. Given the war of attrition that is now taking place in south Gaza, let me reiterate from the SNP Benches the call for an immediate ceasefire, because I am afraid that a pause will not suffice. The view from here, at least, is that without a ceasefire we will see yet another graveyard from which fundamentalism will rise.

Let me ask a specific question. The Secretary of State mentioned reconnaissance missions looking, rightfully, for UK citizens being held by Hamas. Does he agree that any information coming out of those reconnaissance missions that sees illegal activity under international law should be handed over to the International Criminal Court for its ongoing investigation into the operations in Gaza?

The Secretary of State for Defence (Grant Shapps): The hon. Gentleman is right to stress the abominable, disgraceful, disgusting behaviour of Hamas. He calls for a permanent ceasefire; I suggest that that would be a heck of a lot easier if Hamas released the hostages they are holding right now.

As I stressed earlier, we will be in charge of the reconnaissance information, which will focus exclusively on hostage recovery and will be passed only to the appropriate authorities.

Watch the Urgent Question in full here.

  Hampshire County Council is surveying local childcare providers to make sure there are enough spaces available to meet parents demand following the announcement of a major new investment in childcare announce by the Government. Rolling out from September children aged 9 months to 3 years will…
Visits to see loved ones in care homes, hospitals and hospices will be better protected under plans announced by the Government.  Changes will be made to the law so that visits are a fundamental standard of care, putting them on par with having access to food and drink and properly qualified staff…
I am grateful to the Opposition for calling this debate, because it spans the interests of every party, although apparently not the Liberal Democrats or the Scottish National party. For those who are taking part in this debate, keeping our town centres safe is enormously important. That includes…

Nicola Benedetti CBE receives the Edinburgh Award 2023

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Nicola Benedetti CBE, was officially presented with the coveted Edinburgh Award by the Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge yesterday evening (December 5) at a civic reception at the City Chambers.

Backing Tameside’s Small Businesses

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy, breathing life into our high streets and delivering services that make our lives easier.

What truly makes small businesses great is the people behind them, putting their all into serving local people, with the money they make going back into the local economy.

Honest, hard-working people, who make our community a brighter place.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting local small business from across my constituency through my annual Local Business Awards.

From cafes, hair and beauty salons, pubs, restaurants, tradespeople, we are blessed with some fantastic small businesses here in Tameside.

Particularly during the run up to Christmas, I would urge everyone to think about where they shop and if you can, shop local.

When you do, you’re not just generating revenue, you are supporting hard working families who will give back to our local community, not take from it.

Every small business has their own story to tell, their own unique set of challenges, and their own vision for the future.

But what they all have in common is a determination to succeed.

Sadly, too many small businesses in Tameside and across the country are being badly let down by this government, and not given the respect their sheer economic weight deserves.

Time after time, the ambition, ingenuity, and determination shown by our small businesses is simply not being matched by a government who could really learn a thing or two from them.

We can’t afford 13 more years of the Conservatives, which is why I’m proud that my friend and fellow Tameside MP Jonny Reynolds, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has announced Labour’s plan for Small Businesses.

It’s a plan that will respect the value of small businesses, creating the certainty and long-term environment so many are crying out for.

Labour will legislate to tackle late payments, with tough new laws to make sure small businesses get paid on time.

We will scrap business rates, for a fairer system to reduce the burden on high street premises and not stand in the way of firms who want to expand.

High streets will be revitalised, by tackling anti-social behaviour through introducing new town centre police patrols.

It’s a plan that will deliver a fundamental reset for small businesses in our community, replacing Conservative chaos with a decade of national renewal under Labour.

The post Backing Tameside’s Small Businesses appeared first on Andrew Gwynne MP.

November Roadworks Update

Joy Morrisey (Beaconsfield)

Over the last month, there have been a number of repairs made to our local roads, paths and lighting. This is just a few examples of road repairs conducted across Beaconsfield, Marlow and the South Bucks villages. It is part of our local authorities £105m investment in roads across the county over…

Graham gets a sneak peek of new Hornsea Banking Hub

Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, got a sneak peek of the new Hornsea Banking Hub as it prepares to open in the town.   After months of meetings and updates with Cash Access UK, Graham is pleased that access to cash is secured in Hornsea.  This will be the first…

Greg meets with British Poultry Council

Greg Smith (Buckingham)

Greg Smith MP was pleased to catch up with Richard Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council earlier to discuss the key asks from the poultry sector.

Save Our B&Q in Welwyn Garden City

Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield)

After a successful survey of Welwyn Garden City Residents, Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps is working hard to help save the B&Q in the area.

Over 1300 people expressed their views on the survey published by Grant, in which 95% of them wanted B&Q to remain open in Welwyn Garden City.

Grant met with the B&Q managers and staff at the shop to present them with the results of this survey and express his support in helping keep B&Q open.

Grant told the managers and staff:

“I know how important B&Q is to the local community and how much it means to the people who work at the site. As the local MP, I stand ready to assist in any way I can to help keep B&Q in Welwyn Garden City open”.

Grant met with the would-be developers Thrive directly, to make sure they understand how much Welwyn Garden City residents value this B&Q. He has also written to the Planning Inspector, who will determine the appeal, to put across the wide range of reasons the store should stay open.

If you feel strongly about saving our local B&Q as Grant does, you can show your support by signing his new petition: https://www.shapps.com/savebandq/

Grant commented:

“I will be fighting for B&Q to remain open at the public inquiry, which starts on 12th December. I do hope that if you feel as strongly about saving our local B&Q as I do, you can show your support by signing my new petition”.

The post Save Our B&Q in Welwyn Garden City appeared first on The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP.

My Intervention on the Ministerial Statement on the Humanitarian Situation in Gaza

Skegness Grammar School played host to Matt Warman MP’s second annual William of Waynflete (WoW) inter-school debate competition, with Boston High School proclaimed worthy winners for the second year running. Boston Grammar School were runners up and all participants received medals kindly sponsored by Chattertons Solicitors and Wealth Management.


Skegness Grammar School was originally founded in Wainfleet by William of Waynflete in 1483 as a feeder school for Magdalen College Oxford , also founded by William, and the site still stands currently housing the Wainfleet library.


The debate competition was named after William who rose from humble beginnings to become Lord Chancellor of England as well as first Provost of Eton and Bishop of Winchester. It aims to raise aspiration in local students by encouraging confidence in public speaking. Four teams from Skegness and Boston Grammar Schools, Boston High School and Skegness academy, competed to ‘do battle with words’ – a concept appropriate for a parliamentary style debate which as Matt pointed out, originates from the 11th century Old French parlement  meaning “discussion, discourse”.


Commenting after the event Matt Warman MP said – ‘I was delighted to extend the opportunity again for year 12 students to debate some of the most pressing issues of our time. From AI to freedom of speech, debaters showed an excellent grasp of the issues with thorough research and engaging arguments. Since my first debate last year I’ve been heartened to hear that in addition to the trip I arranged to the Houses of Parliament, schools have formed their own debate societies, held their own competitions and in one case travelled as far as Scotland to participate in debates.


The All-party Parliamentary Group on Oracy argues that Oracy should be counted alongside literacy and numeracy as a Foundational Skill with evidence showing that oracy improves academic outcomes and supports wellbeing and confidence. I am pleased to play my part in highlighting the importance of this skill and delighted that local schools have been so keen to ensure their pupils benefit.’

Lee Anderson MP's Weekly Column

Lee Anderson (Ashfield)

On Tuesday, I had a meeting with the National Association of Specialist Colleges to discuss how I can support colleges like Portland College, in the constituency, to continue to provide a first-class educational centre for students with learning difficulties and special needs. This a subject very…

Local Update

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with an update on a number of local matters.

Castle Road Footbridge Closure

Firstly, an apology. In my last bulletin I said that I had been told that the Castle Road footbridge in Epsom would be repaired and reopened in November. No sooner had I done this than Network Rail got back in touch to say they had found a bigger problem and the bridge would have to be rebuilt. Sorry if I raised your hopes. For those who live nearby, this is the plan for work to replace the bridge.

Epsom & Ewell Local Plan

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has “unpaused” its draft local plan and I am expecting further consultation about its proposals for the whole area shortly. I will let you know when I hear more about when you can become involved again.

But in the meantime it has published its more detailed proposals for Epsom Town Centre and is seeking opinions about them. You can take part in the consultation at https://epsom-ewell.inconsult.uk/ETCMP/

Free Cyber Training

Surrey Police have launched free cyber security training to any small business, community group, charity, education facility or any group that would benefit. Last year, 39% of small businesses suffered a cyber attack.

The programme is being delivered as an online event via MS Teams for small audiences but in person for audiences larger than 25. If you are interested please let me know and I will get the specialist officer who does this to get in touch with you.

Thames Water Scam

Thames Water have been in touch to say that they have learned that a fake letter has been sent to some customers containing a QR code which directs them to a fraudulent website offering help with paying their bills. The website then goes on to ask for personal information such as date of birth, address and passport number. They are asking customers to take care and say that they will never ask customers for their personal or financial details, access to their online account or for any urgent action or a rushed decision.

Free Energy Advice

Finally a couple of things for people having difficulties this winter.

Citizens Advice in Epsom is offering free appointments for anyone who needs advice about their energy use this winter, an in particular how to apply for grants and benefits and to become more energy efficient.

To book a free, confidential appointment call CAEE on Freephone 0808 278 7963,  drop in 10am-1pm Mondays (from 4 December) and Tuesdays or 10am-3pm on Thursdays at Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell, The Old Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom, KT18 5AG.

In addition, local volunteers from Rotary and Abbeyfield Southern Oaks are

holding a special community hub this month in Ewell Village for anyone who feels that they are struggling financially, or with loneliness, health or other issues.  somewhere they can go and there is a listening ear.     The sessions are completely free with refreshments and lunch included. The Hub is meeting on Friday 8th and 22nd December in Ewell Hall between 10.30 am and 1.30pm.

With best wishes


The post Local Update appeared first on Chris Grayling.

In Defence of Our Chalk Streams

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

I spent a fascinating morning at Sparsholt College talking all things chalk streams with locals, experts and scientists, all of whom are focussed on our precious rivers. Convened by the Vitacress Conservation Trust, this annual event is an important forum for us to examine progress on the health of these world renowned waterways. Sadly we were told that the Trust is to be wound up as Vitacress cuts back its funding – which is a big blow. I am in discussion with the Chair to see what can be done to save it.

My team and I have done a lot of work on our local rivers and their ongoing protection. The Anton, Test, Pilhill Brook, Bourne Rivulet have all been on our work schedule and I’m pleased to say progress has been made. There is of course still lots to do, but given how globally significant they are, I will make sure their welfare is a priority concern.

Small Business Saturday

Philip Dunne (Ludlow)

1 December 2023
Small Business Saturday

As we move into December, Christmas lights are now brightening up our streets and Christmas trees stand in our public spaces, so many of us are on the lookout for great gifts for our family and friends. 

I know that the online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean more people now shop early for their Christmas presents, looking to grab a bargain – though evidence suggests these online ‘sales’ are not always quite the bargain they seem. But as a former high street retailer, I want to highlight that this weekend we celebrate Small Business Saturday. 

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy here in Shropshire. Just over 90% of businesses across the county have 9 or fewer employees, and 98.5% of business have fewer than 50 employees. So backing small businesses is crucial to sustaining employment and economic growth in South Shropshire. 

When I met the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement last week, I stressed the need to support our small businesses, and in particular the hospitality sector. So I am pleased his Autumn Statement last week brought some welcome measures to support small businesses. The Chancellor announced a cut to business rates by freezing the small business multiplier yet again, saving an average shop £1,650, and extending the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Relief for a year. This is an important measure towards supporting our many excellent pubs and restaurants, further aided by the decision to freeze alcohol duties until August next year. 

I know first-hand from my time as a bookseller that December sales are vital to high street retailers. So I encourage those looking to pick up Christmas presents to make the most of Small Business Saturday, and to support the excellent independent shops we have on high streets across South Shropshire. The Times recently highlighted Ludlow as one of the UK’s top 7 prettiest towns for Christmas shopping in the country – who am I to argue with that!

I also hope our local pubs and restaurants will see a much-needed boost in trade over the Christmas season. If you are planning to head out this Christmas, please do so responsibly. I am supporting Wenlock Spring’s new drink driving campaign - the Only One for the Road - and say to drivers across South Shropshire please do not risk even one alcoholic drink if you are driving. The zero alcohol options available now are great alternatives if you are getting behind the wheel. 

Labour’s plan to get Britain working

Liz Kendall (Leicester West)

A healthy nation is critical to a healthy economy, but after 13 years of the Tories both are in a dire state.

Millions of people are on NHS waiting lists and 2.6 million people are trapped out of work due to long term sickness, with the increase since the pandemic alone costing the taxpayer an extra £15.7 billion a year. That’s bad for everyone – for individuals, their families, and the economy too. 

Earlier this month I launched Labour’s plan to get Britain working by driving down NHS waiting lists, ending the crisis in mental healthcare, reforming social security, overhauling Jobcentres, making work pay and supporting people into good jobs across every part of the country. 

The BBC covered the launch, which you can watch by clicking on the picture below.

The post Labour’s plan to get Britain working appeared first on Liz Kendall.

Weekly Round-Up #Working4Wycombe

Steven Baker (Wycombe)

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week #Working4Wycombe:

Please take a moment to let me know what you think here
Sign up to my newsletter and click here if you would like to help me make a difference

Free Drop-in Clinic To Be Available To Local Residents

Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)

Free Drop-in Clinic To Be Available To Local Residents Ione Thu, 11/30/2023 - 16:25
Being a Member of Parliament brings a range of varied experiences, but it is fair to say that walking in a procession behind a giant mechanical fox has been one of the most unusual. It turns out to be one of the most enjoyable as well, as it was my small contribution to the Carnival of the Baubles…

Meeting with Ofsted Regional Director

Victoria Prentis (Banbury)

I was pleased to meet Ofsted’s Regional Director for the South East Matthew Purves last week. We discussed a broad range of topics, including the recent inspection of Oxfordshire Local Area Partnership’s SEND provision, the performance of local schools and levels of school attendance. It was a…

Grounds for hope in difficult times at community café

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

It was a pleasure to visit the Grounded Café in my constituency. It’s supported by Living Well, a mental health consortium, and works to relieve pressure on the NHS and help those needing support. The café offers wellbeing sessions, therapeutic craft activities and mindfulness groups among other activities. Located in Bournbrook Road, it’s well used by the student population and other residents. There’s concern that young students, particularly those who missed the first stages of university due to pandemic restrictions, are lacking in confidence and coping mechanisms.

The café concentrates on an informal approach, but practitioners are available for those needing assessment, treatment, and further assistance. Grounded exudes hope at a time when mental health is often seen as the Cinderella service of the NHS. One surprising omission from the King’s Speech was the Mental Health Reform Bill. It had support across political parties, professionals, and patient organisations and the Tories promised it in both their 2017 and 2019 election manifestos. We are living in a time when more people are finding they need help in coping. It’s difficult to get that help and if a crisis develops, the legislation we rely on is now 40 years old.

More than 50,000 people were detained last year under the 1983 legislation. There’s a wealth of evidence the Mental Health Act leads to adverse impacts. Black people and those with autism and learning difficulties are over-represented when it comes to compulsory detention and treatment.

We need the reforms this government promised. I hope the PM reconsiders and finds space for the Bill. In the meantime, he could always join me for a cup of coffee at Grounded. He’d find a friendly staff who know what difference, support, encouragement, and consensual intervention can make. I want a community led, mental health service, which starts with places like Grounded and extends to a range of accessible provision. Detention is a Victorian concept and should only be used in the most extreme circumstances. Mental Health services need to focus on improving wellbeing and restoring health in the same way, we’d expect if suffering from a physical illness.

Response to Section 114

Alex Norris (Nottingham North)

Nottingham City Council (NCC) has today issued a Section 114 notice due to the in-year budget overspend for 2023/24.

The reason for this is simple: demand for our services is rising while funding from the Government gets less in real terms each year. All councils are facing these pressures and many will be considering the issuing of a section 114.
The driving force has been pressures in Adult and Children’s social care and Homelessness, representing over 90% of the council’s in-year overspend.

This is happening at a time when we have had years of underfunding from the Tory government. Over the past ten years, we have received £100 million less each year in real terms than we did before 2013, representing a loss of a billion pounds. That is £694 less funding per resident each year. Councils cannot cope with an increase in demand coupled to a decrease in funding.

Over many years we have sought to protect as far as we can the services that the people of Nottingham rely on and are proud of, but the pressures that we are facing are now unmanageable.

These problems have been made worse by Liz Truss and her short-lived government that crashed our economy. Rishi Sunak has little interest in the needs of ordinary working people and cities like Nottingham. He cares only for the rich and prioritises keeping a failing Tory party together. David Cameron and George Osbourne began all of this with their obsession with austerity and after 13 years the consequence is local services slashed, soaring homelessness, sky-high rents and stagnating wages. They have brought the NHS to its knees, and they have left our rivers and waterways choking on sewage and pollution.

They have let down the people of Nottingham and our country. The only thing that will save local governments across the country from having to issue more and more section 114s in the future is a Labour Government and proper financial support and funding for local authorities.

Nottingham Labour is committed to continuing work for the people of our city and are currently undergoing the process to set a balanced budget for the next financial year.

A Beginner’s Guide to Google Ads for E-Learning Courses

Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree)

Google Ads has revolutionized the way businesses reach their target audience online. Particularly for e-learning businesses, leveraging Google Ads can be the game-changer, ensuring that courses reach those who are genuinely interested in them. As more businesses transition to online education, standing out becomes imperative. Many turn to professional White Label PPC Services to help them navigate the complexities of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. But if you’re just starting out or wish to try your hand at it, this guide will provide a foundational understanding of Google Ads for promoting e-learning courses.

Introduction to Google Ads and its potential for e-learning businesses

Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, is Google’s online advertising platform. It allows businesses to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, and video content to web users within the Google ad network. For e-learning businesses, this means being able to promote courses directly to individuals who are searching for relevant keywords, ensuring a higher probability of attracting genuine leads.

The potential of Google Ads for e-learning is immense. Here’s why:

  • Targeted Audience: Google Ads allows you to target specific demographics, locations, and even devices. For e-learning platforms offering niche courses, this ensures that ads are displayed only to those who are most likely to be interested.
  • Pay Only for Results: Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model. This means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, ensuring that your advertising budget is used effectively.
  • Performance Tracking: With Google Ads, e-learning businesses can track the performance of their ads in real time. This includes metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend, enabling businesses to adjust their strategies for maximum effectiveness.

Setting up your first campaign: a step-by-step guide

If you’re new to Google Ads, setting up your first campaign might seem daunting. However, with a systematic approach, it becomes much simpler. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up your first campaign for promoting e-learning courses:

  1. Sign Up or Log In: Visit the Google Ads homepage and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create it.
  2. Define Your Goal: Google Ads will ask what you want to achieve with your ad. For e-learning, this could be ‘Get more website sales or sign-ups.’
  3. Select Your Target Audience: Choose the geographic location where you wish your ads to be displayed. This can range from specific cities to entire countries.
  4. Set Your Budget: Decide on a daily budget for your campaign. Remember, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  5. Create Your Ad: Write a headline, URL, and description for your ad. Ensure that it’s relevant to the e-learning course you’re promoting.
  6. Choose Keywords: Select keywords related to your e-learning course. Think about the terms potential students might use when searching for courses similar to yours.
  7. Set Your Bid: Decide how much you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Google Ads will provide a recommended bid based on what others are paying for similar keywords.
  8. Review and Launch: Double-check all the details, and once you’re satisfied, launch your campaign.

ALSO READ: Leveraging Online Education to Enhance Your Resume

Tips for writing compelling ad copy for e-learning courses

The success of your Google Ads campaign largely hinges on the quality of your ad copy. Here are some tips to help you craft compelling ad copy for your e-learning courses:

  1. Highlight Unique Selling Points (USPs): What makes your e-learning course stand out? Whether it’s accreditation, expert instructors, or a unique course structure, ensure your USPs are front and center.
  2. Use Clear and Concise Language: Web users often skim through content. Make sure your ad copy is straightforward and easy to understand.
  3. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA): Guide users on what to do next. Phrases like ‘Enroll Now’, ‘Discover More’, or ‘Start Learning’ can be effective CTAs for e-learning courses.
  4. Leverage Numbers: If your course has benefited a certain number of students or if you have a high course completion rate, use those numbers in your ad copy. It adds credibility.
  5. Stay Relevant: Ensure that your ad copy is relevant to the keywords you’re targeting. This not only improves click-through rates but also ensures a better user experience.

In conclusion, Google Ads offers a powerful platform for e-learning businesses to promote their courses and reach a wider audience. With the right strategy and compelling ad copy, you can effectively harness the potential of Google Ads to boost enrollments and drive business growth. Whether you’re setting up your first campaign or looking to refine your approach, this guide provides a solid foundation to get started.

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Google Ads for E-Learning Courses appeared first on Berger.

Autumn Statement update

Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)


Dear Constituent,

Last week, the Chancellor presented his Autumn Statement, so I wanted to send out a special newsletter summarising the changes and specifically what it means for residents and businesses in Amber Valley.

Yesterday, I was pleased to speak in Parliament on the Autumn Statement, which you can read in full here. Constituents will be particularly pleased by the support to pay their bills: the national living wage is up by nearly 10%, the state pension by 8.5% and benefits by the full rate of the consumer prices index from September. More unexpected was the increase in local housing allowance back to the 30th percentile, which is much needed. 

I welcome the Autumn Statement, which outlines growth measures to back business and measures to make work pay. The Chancellor’s plan will increase business investment by £20 billion a year and deliver tax cuts for 29 million workers – the biggest tax cut on work since the 1980s.

In January 2023, the Prime Minister set out five priorities for government. Three were economic: to halve inflation, grow the economy, and reduce debt. Since then, inflation has halved, the economy has recovered more quickly from the pandemic than first thought, and debt is on track to fall.

Thanks to the stability this has brought, I am pleased to see that the Government is now able to focus on the long-term decisions required to strengthen our economy: reducing debt; cutting tax and rewarding hard work; building domestic, sustainable energy; supporting businesses; and delivering world-class education.

Families and individuals in Amber Valley will benefit from the cut in National Insurance and rise in the minimum wage, making sure that more money will go into and remain in people’s pockets each month. The cut in business tax, which provides relief for small retail, hospitality and leisure firms, will provide a needed nitro boost to our high streets. As a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, I am happy to see that our elderly and most vulnerable are also looked after by the Autumn Statement: the triple lock will be kept, and benefits will be uprated in line with inflation.

A reminder of the details of the key announcements that matter most for Amber Valley were:

Cuts in National Insurance

  • The Chancellor announced a cut of the main rate of Class 1 National Insurance – paid by employees earning between £12,570 and £50,270 – from 12% to 10%. This cut will be effective from 6th January 2024 and will benefit 27 million working people.
  • For those who are self-employed in the constituency, from 6th April 2024, you will no longer need to pay £3.45 per week. This will save the average self-employed person £192 per year. The main rate of National Insurance paid by the self-employed will also be cut from 9% to 8%.

Protecting the Triple Lock and benefit increases

  • Having publicly spoken out about the need to uprate benefits in line with inflation, I welcome the fact that all working-age benefits will be increased in full by 6.7 per cent, boosting the incomes of 5.5 million households who receive Universal Credit by an average of £470 a year.
  • Pensioners will benefit from the Autumn Statement. The triple lock has helped lift 250,000 older people out of poverty since it was introduced by the Conservatives in 2011. I am glad that the Government will continue to honour its commitment to the triple lock: pensions will be boosted by 8.5 per cent, ensuring dignity in older age for those who have worked their entire lives. 
  • The Government will also increase Local Housing Allowance rates, making 1.6 million families better off by an average of £800 in 2024-25. 

Support for Business

  • The Government is cutting business taxes by £11 billion – the biggest business tax cut in modern British history – by permanently enabling businesses to offset investments against their tax bills. For every pound a business invests, its taxes are cut by up to 25p. Companies can now permanently claim 100 per cent capital allowances on qualifying main rate plant and machinery investments. This will generate £3 billion of additional investment each year and £14 billion over the next five years. 
  • I have received lots of emails from constituents asking for me to urge for extensions of business rates reliefs. As such I am pleased to let you know that the Government is also freezing the business rates multiplier for small businesses for a fourth consecutive year, saving an average shop £1,650. It is also extending the 75% Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief, meaning 230,000 properties will benefit from almost £2.4 billion in support, supporting small businesses in Amber Valley’s high streets and town centres. 

Minimum wage increase

  • The minimum wage will be raised from £10.42 per hour to £11.44 from April 2024. It will apply to those aged 21 or over, after an extension of the rate to 21 and 22 year olds. This means that full-time worker on the minimum wage will see their pay increase by over £1,800, the largest ever cash increase.

Alcohol duties – frozen

  • I know that many have asked me to support consumers and protect Amber Valley’s pubs at the Autumn Statement. Indeed, as the Chancellor said in his speech, I know that for many people going to the pub has become more expensive.
  • Therefore, I hope constituents will join me in welcoming the freeze on alcohol duty until 1st August 2024. This measure, in addition to the Brexit Pubs Guarantee (which confirms that the alcohol duty you pay for a drink on tap at your local pub will be less than what you will pay in a supermarket), will make having a pint more affordable for everyone.

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.

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Autumn Statement

Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

On 22 November the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his autumn statement to the House of Commons and was able to report back on the marked improvement in the economic outlook for this country in the past year. Inflation has halved, meeting the target set by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. It is […]

Monthly Column – November 2023

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

What a packed fortnight in Westminster! State Opening, Parliament Week, Remembrance Day and a reshuffle! Parliament is always fascinating, as is the opportunity to see the heart of democracy for yourself, so it’s fantastic that, from schools to Guides groups, we had 22 local constituency Parliament…

John Lamont MP secures £20 million for the Scottish Borders

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

I have secured £20 million of investment for the Scottish Borders from the UK Government through the creation of a Levelling Up Partnership with the local authority. During Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, the UK Chancellor announced the funding will be delivered to Scottish Borders Council to support…
Scott Benton MP has welcomed news that people in Blackpool South will benefit from the long-term decisions taken by the Conservative Government at the Autumn Statement for Growth. The Autumn Statement for Growth 2023 cuts people’s National Insurance contributions, delivers a £11 billion business…

Call for a ceasefire in Gaza – 14th November

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Following a nomination from Robin, two social housing pioneers have been honoured for their work in providing training and helping hundreds of tenants find jobs. Andrew Bowden, the Group Chief Executive of housing association Cartrefi Conwy, and Katie Clubb, the Managing Director, were guests at a…

West Heath Ward Canvassing

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

On Saturday 28th October some of our Councillors were out canvassing in West Heath Ward with BCCA's Deputy Chairman (Political) Joe Pollard.    

Anne Marie's Weekly Colum

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

The first week back in Westminster after the short Conference Recess and the House of Commons was busy finalising pieces of legislation before the King’s Speech at the beginning of November. On Tuesday, MPs were considering House of Lords amendments to the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill. This…

An Uphill Battle Against Off-Grid Energy Discrimination

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

As autumn leaves give way to winter chills, the issue of energy pricing becomes a burning concern, especially in places like the Strath. My recent discussions with constituents have shed light on the relentless challenges faced by those at the mercy of unyielding energy companies. Serving as your representative and the Economy Spokesperson for the SNP at Westminster, my commitment to championing fair energy pricing remains unyielding.

The unique geographical disposition of the Highlands necessitates many homes to rely on alternative fuels like oil and LPG, owing to their disconnection from the mains gas grid. Regrettably, unlike electricity and gas, the prices for these alternative fuels escape the regulatory oversight of Ofgem, enabling suppliers to dictate prices at will. This scenario, known as off-grid energy discrimination, exemplifies the gaping flaws in our existing energy market, leaving our rural communities in the cold.

The narrative of escalating energy prices is familiar across the UK, but it hits home harder as the sting of inflation further exacerbates the situation. The recent inflation figures from the UK are indeed troubling. Projected to outpace other major economies by 2024, the escalating costs of food, energy, rent, and mortgage are tightening the noose around family budgets. The SNP-led Scottish Government’s proactive steps, including the council tax freeze and rent increase caps, cushion the blow sharply contrast the lack of tangible support from the Tories and Labour.

Many have recounted tales of parting with thousands of pounds, repeatedly throughout the year, to keep the hearth warm. As each year rolls by, the widening gap between rising living costs and stagnant wages deepens the crisis. The cry for urgent remedial action grows louder.

Leading the charge on these issues has led me to use every lever available as a Parliamentarian. Engaging UK Government ministers and Ofgem officials, the Ten Minute Rule Bill presented in the House of Commons, the debate hosted in Westminster Hall, and myriad dialogues initiated all aim at securing a fair deal for off-grid households. It’s a simple yet powerful premise: no one should be penalised based on their geographic domicile and the infrastructure it inherits.

Furthermore, my “It’s Your Money” campaign sought to unravel the experiences of constituents dealing with energy suppliers’ reluctance to refund accrued credits in consumer accounts. The outpouring of responses from the community has been heartening, fortifying the narrative of fairness in our fight.

As the chill of winter tightens its grip, the imperative for the UK Government to intervene and extend support crystallises. The disproportionate higher charges borne by our communities, particularly during the frosty winter months, underscore an injustice that demands redress.

In days leading up to the next UK Budget, I’ll echo these concerns loudly in Parliament, advocating for a just energy pricing structure. The collective resonance of our voices is a potent force that can steer the narrative towards a future where warming our homes in winter doesn’t necessitate financial distress.

Engagement and awareness are our allies. Together, we can foreground a narrative that demands attention, propelling us towards a future where the chill of injustice in energy pricing thaws under the warmth of fairness and support.

As always, my door remains open to listen, engage, and act. Reach out, share your concerns, and stay informed through my website, drewhendrymp.scot

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Weekly Round-Up :: 22 September 2023

Karin Smyth (Bristol South)

My week started with a visit to the Senedd in Cardiff. The Welsh Parliament was the setting for the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA). For those of you not aware, BIPA was founded in 1990 as a vital link between the UK Parliament and Houses of the Oireachtas. In 2001 membership was enlarged to include the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald and the States of Guernsey and Jersey. In 2008, the name British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly was adopted to reflect a new era of relations between Britain and Ireland. These meetings are vital for securing lasting peace on the island of Ireland, but to also learn from each other’s successes so we can deliver a more prosperous future for all.

With Parliament in conference recess, it means I have had the opportunity to meet up with local groups, organisations and institutions in Bristol. I have held meetings with Headteachers of our primary and secondary schools to hear about the opportunities and challenges they are facing. In addition, I held a meeting with the Principal of St Brendan’s College where we discussed Further Education provision in south Bristol and how to secure the best possible outcomes for our young people.

A health service only works if it puts patients at the heart of everything it does. I was pleased to sit down with local GPs and nurses to talk about the increase in demand and complexity of care they are providing. The long-term security of the NHS will depend upon a quality social care system that relieves the pressure upon hospitals, allowing for waiting lists to fall and enabling healthcare professionals to focus on patient outcomes instead of fighting backlogs.

On Wednesday I met with Chief Inspector Steph Mckenna, at Broadbury Road police station, in Bristol South. We discussed local crime issues including anti-social behaviour, drug use, progress with tackling domestic abuse, and motorcycle crime. I often hear about the challenges of living with the impact of anti-social behaviour and drug-resultant behaviour from constituents and I know that they are concerned to see this dealt with effectively. It’s important that the community know that the police are working to deal with these issues but also that they have contact with their local police officers and can build trust.

This week, I also visited Well Pharmacy. The pharmacy is the first point of call for many when dealing with a medical issue and they provide a vital service in the community. When we talk about supporting the health service, we must also remember pharmacies as an important element of that support. It was great to discuss these issues with Well Pharmacy Area Manager Leanne Passaway and regional manager for the Southwest Andrew Jones about the challenges for pharmacies in the coming 5-10 years and what needs to be done to ensure that they remain a vital and present part of our communities.

On Thursday, I visited the Knowle branch of Lloyds to see how they are supporting constituents. Our focus was a discussion on the digital training that Lloyds offers to help constituents deal with their finances online and enable them to work to prevent fraud. With scams a dominant concern for many constituents, this digital training from Lloyds is a vital part of our fight against fraudsters who seek to use more digital means in the 21st century to steal money. It is heart-breaking to hear some of the stories of people who have been scammed and defrauded and this digital training from Lloyds is a great first step in combatting this crime.

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 :: 22 September 2023 first appeared on Karin Smyth.

My Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

I attended the National Marine Parks (NMP) Parliamentary launch event. The Blue Marine Foundation (BMF) and 12 partners launched a National Framework and Guidance to support the evaluation of NMPs which offers a common purpose, objectives, and principles, for NMPs to evolve in Britain. The BMF partnership’s vision for NMPs is that they could fulfil a role in re-connecting people with sea and deliver more coherent conservation to benefit nature and coastal communities. Over 80% of people across England, Scotland, and Wales believe it is crucial to protect our ocean, but over 50% perceive the health of the marine environment as poor. The BMF partnership has scoped areas across Britain and found there is an appetite to explore introducing NMPs from Dorset, Argyll, to Pembrokeshire. Read the reports here.

I attended the APPG for Christians in Parliament Chapel service with my dear friend Baroness Anita Gale, which is open to all parliamentarians and staff. The Reading was Psalm 130, and Reverend Mark Harris delivered his interpretation of this Psalm.

As vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coalfields Communities, I attended the meeting to welcome the Minister for Levelling Up, Dehenna Davison MP, so that members of the APPG could ask her questions on our APPG Report “Next Steps in Levelling Up the Former Coalfields”, which we launched in Parliament on 12th June 2023. Specifically, recommendations 1, 2, 9, 10, and 12, which you can read here. The Minister confirmed that the next round of Levelling Up funds would be round 3, reflecting previous rounds, and application bids should be shelf ready to go with no conflict in community input and vision. Representatives pointed out that the round 2 bidding process was very complicated with lots of forms to complete, and it should be simplified. Round 2 had built up expectations in councils that their bids would be approved, councils had spent lots of money to formulate bids, which were rarely granted, and there was a lack of private sector support. Also, when a bid was successful it has to be spent in 18 months, which I pointed out is a very short timeframe compared with former European funding which allowed 7 years, with the option of a 3-year extension. And the financial settlement provided to Wales is not enough to level up the coalfield communities in Wales. The APPG was very well attended by MPs and Peers, plus representatives from Coalfields Communities, including: Trade Unions; Councillors; and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

As vice-chair of the Climate Change APPG, I attended the roundtable discussion with Dr Steve Pye, Associate Professor at UCL, who spoke about what climate science says about phasing out oil and gas production and his research focusing on net zero pathways, energy system decarbonisation and securing UK energy independence; Tessa Khan, CEO Uplift, provided an overview of the state of UK oil and gas policy, and how transitioning away from oil and gas production can also tackle issues around energy security, and the cost of living crisis; Louise Borrows, Climate and Energy Lead For the Beyond Oil and Gas Coalition (BOGA), who was on a secondment to the Cabinet Office for COP 26 and was joint head of the energy campaign for the UK’s COP Presidency Year. She led the delivery of multiple projects including ending fossil finance, no new coal, methane, and directing the Presidency’s approach to gas, and she successfully cemented and led the “Glasgow Statement” signatories as a government coalition for change; and Darren Proctor, National Secretary of RMT Union, spoke about worker’s views on moving away from oil and gas and how a just transition can happen. See upliftuk.org

The APPG for Steel and Related Metal Industries received an update on the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) from TRA officials: Edward Smith, Investigator; Timothy Sharp, Lead Investigator; and Katherine Newton-McGee, Head of Investigations. The members of the APPG questioned the TRA officials on: how the TRA is reviewing the safeguards, what are they doing and how can steel producers and users contribute to the review; and what are the timelines for the review. The TRA has instigated the review regarding the extension of the UK steel safeguards beyond 30 June 2024 covering the 15 product categories that are currently subject to the measure. The maximum they can be extended is another two years to June 2026, and it is vital that this will be the outcome of the review. UK Steel will be presenting evidence to the TRA, and engaging with the relevant stakeholders to ensure the best outcome is achieved. The TRA preliminary determination will be published in February 2024, and the Secretary of State for Business and Trade will make the final decision by 30 June 2024 on whether to maintain the safeguards for another two years. MPs asked the TRA officers how the economic injury would be assessed, in the context of EU safeguards and whilst US S232 tariffs remains in place. Removing UK safeguards would lead to a huge influx of diverted imports from countries that face much lower energy costs, and benefit from subsidies and other unfair competitive advantages.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the leading dementia research charity in the UK working to revolutionise the way we treat, diagnose, and prevent dementia. Almost 1 million people are living with dementia in the UK today. One in two of us will be directly affected in our lifetime, either by caring for someone with the condition, developing it ourselves, or both. We are at tipping point. New ways of diagnosing the diseases that cause dementia earlier and more accurately like blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease are showing promise. New treatments that can affect the course of Alzheimer’s disease could be available in the UK in just a few months’ time. New insights are showing how we can reduce the prevalence of dementia in the first place by addressing factors that affect our brain health. I support the charity’s recommendations: to set up a UK cross-governmental strategy for the prevention of ill health to address the health and lifestyle factors that affect our risk of developing dementia; invest in the current diagnostic pathway to make it fit for purpose and fit for the future; ensure new dementia treatments are available on the NHS as soon as possible; and establish the UK as a world leader in dementia research. Contact Alzheimersresearchuk.org 

Western Gateway held a Parliamentary reception to celebrate the launch of its Western Gateway 2050 Rail Vision published earlier this year. The Vision is transformational – connecting local communities at risk of being left behind; deliverable – building on a pipeline of schemes already underway; investable – ready for the public and private sector to enhance communities and add at least £34bn to the UK economy by 2030. The Western Gateway APPG co-chairs Jess Morden MP and the Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland MP introduced and closed the event. Katherine Bennett CBE, Chair of the Western Gateway, said that the vision is not about asking the UK Government for instant investment, or building a new high speed trainline, it’s a long-term vision supported by cross-party leaders and the Western Gateway APPG, because the region has huge potential to deliver the UK’s sustainable and net zero future economy and unlock a greener, fairer, future. We heard from guest speakers: my dear friend Baroness Debbie Wilcox, who as the former Leader of Newport Council and former leader of the Welsh Local Government Authority who was instrumental in setting up Western Gateway; Huw Merriman MP, UK Government Rail Minister; Louise Haigh MP, Labour Shadow Transport Secretary; Stephen Morgan MP, Labour Shadow Rail Minister; Council Leaders within the Western Gateway Region; and representatives from Transport for Wales, Network Rail, and GWR. Read the vision report here.

I was honoured to deliver the second reading at the annual Service of Thanksgiving for Victory in The Battle of Britain in St David’s Church Neath, which was organised by Neath & Swansea Branches of the Royal Air Force Association (Neath 617 Branch). The first reading was delivered by Louise Fleet CStJ, JP, the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan and the congregation listened to the usual, thought-provoking sermon by our wonderful Avon Nedd Ministry Area Leader, The Reverend Canon Lynda Newman. After the service, we gathered at the Memorial Gates, Gnoll Grounds, to place wreaths in memory of those service people who gave their lives to achieve peace in the world, and play the Last Post, before a minutes’ silence, and Reveille. We Will Remember Them.

As vice-chair of the APPG on Restorative Justice (RJ) I was honoured to be at the launch of our APPG Investigation: Implementing restorative practices in education, health, and social care report authored by our Advisory Board. The report was introduced by the Advisory Board Chairman, and CEO of the Restorative Justice Council, Jim Simon. The investigation focused on the current implementation and impact of restorative practice in non-judicial settings across the UK. The findings and subsequent recommendations are based on the reported experience of restorative practitioners working in education, health, and social care who embraced the opportunity to contribute evidence of their successes and pointed out improvements that could be made. The APPG calls on UK Government to use this report and its recommendations to shape future public policy and develop a cohesive strategy for the long-term implementation of restorative justice. Read the report here. Jim and our APPG chair Elliot Colburn MP will be meeting the UK Government Justice Minister, Ed Argar MP, on 12th September to discuss our report, the benefits of implementing restorative justice, and the Victims and Prisoners Bill. After the meeting they will fully brief the members of the APPG on the outcome of the meeting. Jim outlined details of the first annual Northern Ireland RJC Conference in Belfast on 14/15th September on which he will report back to the next APPG in October. There will also be an APPG Parliamentary Drop In event on 30th October in the Thames Pavilion which will highlight the work of RJC in education, health, social care, and the devolved nations.

I joined the online meeting of the APPG for Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to hear evidence from voluntary organisations, including: Gingerbread; women who have been let down by the CMS; and MPs who receive so much casework from constituents who are suffering because the child maintenance payments that have been agreed following the split up of partners in a relationship, are not being paid by the relevant partner towards the upkeep of the children. The children, and parent who has custody of the children, are struggling to survive without the maintenance payments that they are owed. The CMS was set up by the UK Government in December 2012. There is a £20 application fee, unless the parent or child is a victim of domestic abuse, or the applicant parent is under 19 years old. There are two methods of payment: Direct Pay which can be chosen by either parent with agreement of the other, there is no collection fee; Collect and Pay, whereby the CMS calculates the amount of maintenance due and collects it from the paying parent, and pays it to the receiving parent, but there is a 20% fee for the paying parent on top of the maintenance payments and 4% is taken off the maintenance paid to the receiving parent. In the interests of fairness, the DWP should consider removing the 4% charge from receiving parents. Since set up in 2012 there is £547.9 million in unpaid arrears, i.e 8%. In the last quarter, to March 2023, of UK Government statistics, £237 million was due by Direct Pay, but the DWP does not measure how much of this is unpaid. £72 million was due by Collect and Pay of which £22.9 million was unpaid. In my Neath constituency my excellent and diligent staff have resolved many CMS cases, mostly where the paying parent has disputed the amount of maintenance they have been asked to pay, stating that they can’t afford the payments, and so lapse into arrears, and are not able to make up the arrears amount. The receiving parent raises this with the CMS, and the paying parent is placed on direct payments taken from their wages, but this is not possible if they are paid in cash. If the paying parent receives a below 25% wage increase the CMS will not trigger a change of circumstances to increase the payments. Also, if the paying parent is receiving benefits, they are obliged to only pay the CMS minimum of £7 per week.

I was pleased to support the WI Week of River Action Parliamentary launch event, which kicked off their new Clean Rivers campaign which seeks to tackle river pollution and to promote the designation of more bathing waters. The WI will endeavour to raise awareness of the ecological state of the UK’s rivers and draw public attention to the importance of clean rivers for people and for wildlife in their communities.

I attended another APPG Christians in Parliament Chapel service with my friend Baroness Anita Gale. The Reading was from Mark 1:14-15, and there was a talk by Paul Woolley, CEO of The London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, entitled “Growing confidence: Recovering the Gospel as Good News”.

I supported UNICEF’s launch calling on the UK Government for a Baby and Toddler Guarantee as part of its Early Moments Matter campaign to support families with young children to ensure that babies and toddlers have the best start in life across the UK. UNICEF’s latest research reveals the pressures families with young children are under and how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting children. YouGov polled parents and guardians of at least one child aged 0-4 years old living in Great Britain. Poll findings for Wales (National average in brackets): 79% said the cost of living has negatively impacted their family lives (78%); 65% have struggled with their mental health (61%); 67% believe it’s harder to be a parent now than their parents’ generation (70%); 66% are worried about their child’s future life chances (66%); 55% can’t afford to give their child the life they want (50%); 44% had less time to read, play, cook healthy meals than last year (37%).

I dropped into the ABTA The Travel Association and UK inbound event on potential solutions to improve youth mobility between the UK and Europe. Tourism is a vitally important soft power and a global success story for the UK and youth mobility whether for education, work or travel, makes a significant contribution to both the UK economy and in Neath where in 2019, over 241 jobs were supported by the inbound tourism sector and over 300 jobs were supported by the outbound tourism sector. The youth and student travel market sees 25 million travellers per year; young travellers support over 265,00 jobs in the education sector; and the outward-bound travel industry is worth more than £37.1 billion a year to the UK economy, 1.8% of GDP, supporting 526,000 jobs across the UK. Therefore, it is important for the UK Government to work with the UK tourism industry to reinvigorate youth mobility through expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme, development of collective passports, and digitisation.

As a vice-chair of the Show Racism the Red Card APPG, it was an honour to attend a meeting with parliamentarians, to promote the 9th annual Wear Red Day #WRD23 which will be held on Friday 20th October 2023, organised by the wonderful Ged Grebby, Founder of Show Racim the Red Card, who works full time to stamp out racism at all levels of society. Racism is abhorrent and I was proud to wear my Show Racism the Red Card red t-shirt and stand in solidarity with campaigners.

As a former chair of the APPG for Sport I supported my dear friend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the chair of Sport Wales, who hosted a parliamentary event to strive to make the UK the most active nation in Europe. The event was organised by Active Partnerships; CIMSPA; Sport for Development Coalition; Sport Recreation Alliance; Local Government Association; UK Active and the Youth Sport Trust. Currently, the UK is the 11th most inactive nation, and the 3rd highest spenders on healthcare costs associated with inactivity. The sport, recreation, and physical activity sectors’ leading bodies are urgently calling on political parties to commit to making it easier for people to play, move, and be active in any way they choose by ensuring that sport, recreation, and physical activity is accessible and affordable to everyone. We can build a future where: all children are given the best possible start, gaining habits and skills to manage their physical and mental wellbeing, living longer and healthier lives; preventing and improving community health leads to significantly less pressure on NHS and other public services; our streets and communities will be safer, happier, and greener places to be; our economy will be boosted by a healthier workforce that increases productivity and lengthens people’s employment. Turning this vision into reality will not be easy, and will take time, but we believe it can and must be done. We urge the current and future governments to put sport, recreation, and physical activity at the heart of national policy making working closely with the sector and devolved governments of all the Home Nations on a programme of reforms including: building a common evidence base of the benefits to drive better funding; more and better targeting investment to create modern sustainable places and spaces to be active to drive up participation unlocking the power of sport for social good. It was a lovely surprise to meet Emily Reynolds, National Programmes Director, Youth Sport Trust, who is from Glynneath and the daughter of my dear friend Gerry Reynolds. Emily has worked for Youth Sport Trust for over 8 years and was deputising at the event for her CEO, Ali Oliver, who unfortunately couldn’t attend, otherwise our paths may never have crossed, and I would not have had the wonderful opportunity to meet Emily, who I am sure will become a close friend too. Read “Unlocking the Potential” 

I attended the Asthma + Lung UK transport policy Parliamentary event called “putting the brakes on toxic air” and received a briefing on the Cleaner Travel Access Fund (CTAF). We heard that polluting vehicles are fuelling toxic air and the climate crisis, and millions of people are breathing unsafe levels of air pollution. 97% of the UK’s 33 million cars still run on petrol and diesel, releasing pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide into the air. Road transport is responsible for nearly 50% of all nitrogen oxide air pollution. There is no safe level of air pollution but tens of millions across the UK are breathing levels of air pollution that are against the law. Babies, children, pregnant women, older people, and those with existing lung conditions are more vulnerable. Air pollution is costing the NHS and Social Care services millions every year and contributes to up to 43,000 early UK deaths every year. The least responsible for air pollution are often the most exposed. The poorest people live nearest busy roads and worst air pollution levels are in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, but there is less car ownership in these groups. The CTAF is a scrappage scheme of £777 million aimed at people on low incomes and those whose mobility is affected by long term health conditions to swap their polluting vehicles in exchange for a £3000 grant per household to use public transport, buy active travel, or put towards an electric vehicle.

I attended the Parliamentary launch of a report by the Women’s Budget Group, funded by the Community Justice Fund entitled Gender Gaps in Access to Civil Legal Justice. We listened to guest speakers: Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP, Labour Shadow Attorney General; Dr Zubaida Haque report author; Isabel Langdale, Project Manager Women’s Homelessness, Homeless Link; and Pamela Fitzpatrick, Director of Harris Law Centre, discuss the findings of the report and what needs to happen to close the gender civil justice gap. The report drew on survey data collected from 115 organisations and services across England and Wales, and explores the gender disparities in accessing civil legal justice, and the pressing needs, barriers, and adverse impacts faced by women. The discussion focused on the types of civil law issues women seek help for, from employment law to family and immigration law, the consequences of the changes in scope including the LASPO Act 2012, and the solutions to help women from all backgrounds. Key findings from respondents include: 85% said vulnerable women are unable to access civil legal aid, 77% said a major consequence of the legal aid changes is women reaching crisis point of problems escalating before they receive legal help or advice, 48% reported domestic violence as a key issue, the most widespread employment law issue is pregnancy/maternity discrimination, and the reduced scope of what is covered by legal aid plus the reduced amount of legal aid available disproportionately affects women. The report’s recommendations included: more research into the impact of LASPO 2012; improving access to legal aid for employment law, thresholds and time limits should be increased; intervene with support sooner to avoid litigation and keep cases out of tribunals; better legal training for solicitors, and embed this in GPs/housing/homelessness/services, and food banks; improve general public legal education at a local level; and more cross-sector collaboration to build on expertise and knowledge and facilitate referrals to legal advisers. Read the report www.wbg.org.uk

I attended a very important event organised by One Million LivesR;ipple, and Make A Difference Media, held during Suicide Prevention Week. One Million Lives is a free mental health check to help you understand how you are currently coping and provide suggestions for building resilience. Checking is important even if you feel well because the sooner you check the earlier you can make changes to stay well. Alice Henry lost her brother Josh in November 2020 to suicide. Josh had been searching for suicide techniques on the internet. Alice set up R;ipple which is a free digital resource for parents, schools, and charities that discreetly intercepts harmful internet searches and signposts to 24/7 free mental health support. Make A Difference Media provides a global learning space for employers looking to embed preventive strategies that will have a sustainable impact on workplace wellbeing, culture, and environment. We learned how vital language matters to avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes about suicide. For example: we must not say commit or committing suicide, because this implies it’s a sin or a crime, rather we should say died by suicide or lost their life to suicide. We must not say you’re not going to do anything silly are you, because you want to show you are not dismissing or making fun of how they are feeling, rather we should say have you been thinking of killing yourself. We must not say successful or unsuccessful suicide, because this implies that suicide is an achievement or something positive, rather we should say lived through a suicide attempt.

I was privileged to be granted a Westminster Hall Debate about Sepsis by Mr Speaker on 13th September which is World Sepsis Day. I began my speech with a tribute to Dame Cheryl Gillan, who tragically died in April 2021. I was extremely surprised and honoured to be asked by Dame Cheryl to take over from her as chair of the Sepsis APPG when she stood down in March 2021. It was a shock to me and most parliamentarians when Dame Cheryl died only a month after I took over as chair. Why did Dame Cheryl choose me? It could be that when I became a member of the APPG in 2017, Dame Cheryl and I had a cup of tea because she wanted to listen to my Sepsis story. I am one of the very fortunate people who contracted Sepsis (in August 2013), and survived. I owe my life to my friend Jen Smith who kept taking me back to the NHS when I didn’t improve after many weeks of not being diagnosed with Sepsis, and the consultant surgeon at the Heath Hospital, Dr John Jones, who correctly identified Sepsis and operated immediately to save my life. I have done my very best to chair the APPG but I have had enormous help from Sarah Hamilton-Fairly and Dr Ron Daniels of the UK Sepsis Trust. Sepsis is a global health concern, and it occurs when the body’s responses to infection causes injury to its tissues and organs. It is not known why some people develop Sepsis in response to infections, whereas others do not. My source of Sepsis remains a mystery. Sepsis is often referred to as the “silent killer” because of its ability to strike swiftly and unexpectedly. In the UK 245,000 cases are reported every year, leading to over 48,000 deaths, and the leading cause of avoidable deaths – more than breast, bowel, and prostate cancer combined. Around 40% of people who develop Sepsis are estimated to suffer physical, cognitive and/or psychological after-effects. Most recover after a few weeks but others develop Post Sepsis Syndrome. One of the biggest challenges is early diagnosis because Sepsis can mimic other common illnesses, with similar symptoms, such as fever, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion, and extreme pain. I suffered with most of these symptoms plus a swollen face, so I was diagnosed with toothache and mouth abscesses. The UK Sepsis Trust has worked tirelessly to educate health care providers and the public to improve early detection. Their “Sepsis Six” care and treatment pathway has been implemented in 96% of hospitals across the UK and in 37 other countries to ensure rapid and effective treatment. But there is confusion amongst clinicians because the Sepsis NICE Guideline NG 51 has not been updated since 2016, despite being scheduled for updated publication in June 2023, and which now conflicts with the position statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. I asked the UK Government Under Secretary of State for Heath and Social Care , Maria Caulfield MP, who was responding to my debate, to tell the House: the publication date for the updated NG 51; the model and implementation date for Martha’s Rule, which would give families a right to a second diagnosis, advocated by Martha’s grieving parents because Martha tragically died from Sepsis; if her UK Government would replicate the 10 million Swiss Francs (£9 million) of state funding announced by the Swiss Government for implementing Sepsis improvement over a 5 year period; and would she meet with me, Dr Ron Daniels, and Sarah Hamilton-Fairly to discuss setting up a National Sepsis Register, because unlike data for heart attacks, strokes and cancer, Sepsis data is imprecise, and relies on coded administrative data, rather than granular, clinical, data of patient level registries. The Under Secretary said that The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was meeting Martha’s family later that day, and she will update members on the outcome and how Martha’s Rule will be implemented; since 2017 the National Institute of Health and Social Care has funded 14 Sepsis research projects with a combined value of £27 million but stressed that further applications would be welcomed; and that she will meet me and anyone I want to bring with me. Before being elected to Parliament in 2015, the Under Secretary was an NHS nurse for twenty years, specialising in cancer research, and I am optimistic that she really understands the issues surrounding Sepsis. On World Sepsis Day we remember those who have lost their lives, and those whose lives have been affected by Sepsis.

I attended the APPG for Drugs, Alcohol and Justice to discuss the role of the voluntary sector in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery. The meeting was so well attended that we need to find a bigger room in Parliament to hold future meetings. We heard from guest speakers: Jess Mullen, CEO, Collective Voice; Dr Roya Vaziri, Medical Director, Humankind; and Michelle Foster, Founder and CEO, The Basement Recovery Project. All speakers described the treatment and recovery projects they have been successfully running, and the parliamentarians and stakeholders had the opportunity to make comments or question the speakers.

Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has expressed concern with the fact that the population in Na h-Eileanan and Iar has fallen 5.5% in the last ten years, the largest fall in Scotland.

Scotland has grown less than the UK average although the population is at its highest. However, these trends have been forecast, by 2050 Scotland’s population will fall while neighbouring independent countries will rise.

Commenting Angus MacNeil said:

“Quite obviously it is beyond time that we started to look at what other island groups who are successful in growing their population have done.

“I note that Shetland’s population is down too, but Orkney’s population has increased.

“In short, island populations that are in charge of their own futures tend to do better, most notably the Faroe Islands.

“It is time that we seriously started to look at inter-island tunnels to link our communities to make transport in and out easier and better; to bring more PSO routes to our airlines, Benbecula being an example of a poor weekend service. People who live on community-owned land should have a right as a member of the community to get land to build a house for themselves. We have an ironic situation of people wanting to live and build here but can’t. The recent change in crofting grants brought in by the Scottish Government also has to change back to be less intrusive and to be more friendly towards house building by removing some of the restrictions that have been brought in.

“The Home Office is another problem, and this is a difficult one because in London they are not responsive. It is a reason why Scotland needs control and then after independence, a one-size-fits-all policy is not the answer, the Swiss cantons show how this can be done.  The number of times that we have tried to get people to come to live in the islands that have been blocked by the Home Office is mind-boggling. They simply do not care, I have met with the Home Office many times, they have a policy for the UK and quite clearly, one size does not fit all.

“We need to fill in any digital gaps we have. One of the successes of the Faroe Islands was to make physical and digital communications within their islands to be comprehensive and this has helped see a growth in the population.

“Finally, population trends are not destiny and not a function of our geography as the Faroe Islands or indeed the Isle of Man show but a function of our lack of control in Scotland and the islands over our own futures.”


The Music Den – Pelsall

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

It’s great to see new small businesses opening on our High Streets and in our Village Centres.

So, I was really pleased to go along with the Pelsall Councillor First Team to the opening of the Music Den on Norton Road in Pelsall Village.

The Den offers a wide variety of instruments for sale including: guitars, digital pianos, keyboards, ukuleles, violins and has a huge passion for music.

My congratulations to Jamie, Abi and all of the team, I know how welcome they will be made to feel in Pelsall.

Event Pics

MP Marks Wellbeing Week

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Marks Wellbeing Week

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams marked World Wellbeing Week this week by calling for people’s wellbeing to be a key objective of Government, and not just economic growth.

The theme of 2023’s world wellbeing week is anxiety.

Before being elected as the MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Ms Abrahams was a public health consultant focusing on health inequalities and Chair of an NHS Trust.

Debbie Abrahams MP said:

“World Wellbeing Week is a chance for policymakers to reflect on the centrality of wellbeing in policy decision-making. For too long, policies have chased economic growth at all costs, without considering the importance of the wellbeing of people. Most importantly, we must focus on the equity of this wellbeing – being working 3 jobs while still being poor, cold and hungry will clearly not contribute to people’s wellbeing.

“This year’s theme is anxiety, which is particularly relevant given last week’s rise in interest rates. Constituents across Oldham East and Saddleworth have been in touch with me to express their anxiety about the impact of this on their household finances, and how for many this has increased their anxiety.

“The World Wellbeing Movement has set a challenge to Governments but also local authorities, businesses, schools and individuals to think ‘beyond GDP’ as a success measure, and to look at what gives us fulfilment and enjoyment – our relationships, our green spaces and so on. I hope you can join this movement to a greater enjoyment and fulfilment.”

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The post MP Marks Wellbeing Week appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Member of Parliament for Beckenham, Bob Stewart, has welcomed the Government’s £48 million investment through the Skills Investment Fund, boosting the rollout of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) and equipping students from all backgrounds with the high-quality, higher-level skills needed to…

Keuntungan Saat Memainkan Situs Judi Slot Online

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)

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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

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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.

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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.

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: Thursday 07 December 2023 09:29