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Anna Soubry MP for Broxtowe - Newsletters

Contact Details:
anna.soubry.mp@parliament.uk

Kate Shaw
Constituency Manager
Anna Soubry's Office
Barton House
61, High Road,
Chilwell,
Nottingham
NG9 4AJ
Tel: 0115 9436507

 
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The Tram – the future/TV star opens Beeston Bid/ Kimberley’s Frankie Martin Help for Heroes tour/ Stapleford Walk-In Centre- Reprieve/ Bilborough College Parking Public Meeting/Chetwynd Barracks Development/ Physio’s meeting re NHS reforms/Bramcote Litter Pick/Cameron and Clegg jobs boost at Boots site/Extra money for potholes/Visits/ Surgery news/ Radio and TV appearances

22nd April 2011

Tram – the way forward

The Government’s decision to back the tram has disappointed as many people as it has pleased. We should all feel considerable sympathy for the many people who will now lose their home, and in particular the elderly residents of Neville Sadler Court.
I really do believe we now need to draw a line on this long standing issue that has led to considerable blight in Beeston Town Centre and caused much misery to many people on the proposed route.
I believe the tram line through Beeston could have considerable benefits for the Town Centre and it is imperative we all work together and seize the opportunity to make Beeston a great place to both live and work.
Yesterday afternoon (Thursday April 21), I met with Roger Harrison who is the Chairman of Tramlink. www.tramlinknottingham.co.uk.
It was a very good meeting with some welcome news coming from it.
Firstly, I raised the specific concerns of people who live on the route, notably residents of Neville Sadler Court, Lower Road and people in Chilwell who will either lose their home or part of their garden.
We agreed to work together for a swift resolution on the future of Neville Sadler Court and after the Borough Council Elections, will work with the new administration, residents and Housing 21 who own the complex.
I then raised the concerns of businesses and shops in Beeston (much of this came from a very positive meeting I had with the Chilwell High Road Traders Association). I explained there had been a lack of communication, something Roger is determined to work on and improve. I have suggested public meetings both in Beeston and Chilwell sometime in late June or early July when we have more detail of the timetable of works and Roger thinks this is a good idea.
I suggested a “pot” of money to help businesses affected by the tram works; compensation will be available but only after a businesses or shop has lost income and as the Chilwell High Road traders explained, small businesses can rarely afford any delay. Roger Harrison took the point and has said he will see if an arrangement can be made.
What he could say for sure, is that there will be a free bus provided around Beeston when the work is being done which will have a great benefit to residents, shoppers, businesses and shops.
We talked about job opportunities, the number of apprenticeships that are likely to be created (a lot!) and the possibility of basing them in local Colleges, notably from our prospective, Castle (Broxtowe) College.
Tramlink have some great ideas for integrating public transport systems in the Beeston area and I explained that I thought it was imperative to work on those ideas with as many people as possible and involve residents and traders in the process.
Tramlink are also looking at how to provide one “ticket”, like the London Oyster card, for all public transport and again this is an idea I very much welcome.
Finally, the contract with Tramlink will be finalised later this year. The work will begin next March and will take three years to complete. Roger Harrison and I agreed it is imperative to keep everyone fully informed and to involve residents and traders in the decisions about the design and future of the town centre and High Road.

Beeston BID

My former colleague Anne Davies, who now presents BBC East Midlands Today, was kind enough to open the Beeston BID office, this week. You can read the full story on
Beeston People

The outstanding Frankie Martin Help for Heroes Tour, celebrates the end of a year on the road.
It was an absolute pleasure to join a packed Kimberley Miners Welfare for the final gig of Frankie Martin aka Jocky's, remarkable pub tour for Help for Heroes on Tuesday evening.
Jocky, who is a Kimberley man through and through, has played in 366 pubs during the last twelve months raising a staggering £140,000 for Help for Heroes. He travelled all over the UK mostly sleeping overnight in his converted transit.
To mark the end of the tour Jocky has released a single, with all proceeds going to Help for Heroes; you can read more about the tour and access the download of the single through the web site http://www.bndmusic.co.uk/

We should all be really proud of Frankie/Jocky’s efforts over the last twelve months which he couldn’t have done without the love and support of his mum, girlfriend (who was also celebrating a significant birthday on Tuesday evening), the rest of his family and all his friends.

Stapleford Walk-In Centre – a reprieve

The MP for Ashfield, Gloria del Pierro and I met with Notts PCT earlier this week to discuss the consequences of Notts County Councils intervention in the future of the walk in centres in Stapleford and Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
It was a bit of a first when Gloria and I attended and addressed the Health and Well Being Committee of Nottinghamshire County Council, to urge them to intervene following last month’s decision by the PCT to close both walk in centres.
After an hour of debate, the Committee decided, for the first time in eleven years, to refer a decision affecting health services, to the Secretary of State.
The decision will now be examined at a national level by a 15 person Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP). If they decide the decision should be further scrutinised there will be a six month inquiry with a recommendation to Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health.
I am disappointed that Labour has been rather negative about this development which was voted for by County Councillors of all political parties. I would to thank Stapleford County Councillor, Brian Wombwell for his speech to the Committee and for seconding the motion proposed by Bruce Laughton.
We should know in about a month’s time whether the IRP believes there should be an inquiry. If they do that six month process will involve further consultation and discussion with us all. If however, the decision stands then both centres will close in about 8-9 weeks. Gloria and I met with the PCT because in the event that we lose our walk-in centres we are going to make sure local people have better access to their GP and practice nurses . From Stapleford’s prospective we need to be assured that the QMC has the capacity and facilities to deal with patients that will have to travel there, rather than use the walk-in centre and that all these services are up and running before/if the walk-in centres close.

Bilborough College students’ parking
– Public Meeting Tuesday May 3rd at Bilborough College.
I had a lengthy meeting with the Principal of Bilborough College, Chris Bradford after I had met with residents of the development next to the College. Residents are, quite rightly, fed up with the consequences of students parking in a residential area with overly narrow roads and not enough space for residents’ cars, never mind vehicles used by parents and pupils.
Chris Bradford and I have explored a number of ideas to ease the situation if not solve it, and so are holding a public meeting at the College at 7pm on Tuesday May 3rd. The precise venue has yet to be decided – I will let residents know once it has been confirmed.

Chetwynd Barracks Development
– almost done!
The work has almost finished on making good the roads, pavements and all the other outstanding work. I am told there are still a few sticking points but it seems likely the Borough Council will move to have the roads adopted next month.
Notts County Council is not taking up their option to build a school on the remaining open space. This means that the land will, in effect revert back to the administrators of the developers who went bust. The administrators are legally bound to realise this valuable asset on behalf of the developers’ creditors. I will keep you informed when I have confirmation of their plans for the land.

Physiotherapists meeting/ NHS reform.
I want to thank the four physiotherapists who came to see me to discuss the Health and Social Care Bill which has provoked considerable controversy. The meeting came the day after I had returned to London to discuss with Health Ministers, the plans for further consultation, following the announcement a few weeks ago that there is to be a pause in the legislations progress through Parliament.
There is a considerable amount of mis-information being put around about the Bill and it was good to be able to have a really informed and frank discussion with this group of physio’s, all of whom live in the constituency.
They quite properly raised their concerns about a number of issues, including their desire to be involved in the commissioning process when it passes from PCT’s to GP consortia (a good idea).
I was able to give them an assurance that the NHS will continue to be funded by the tax payer, free at the point of delivery and based on need not the ability to pay. We discussed how the last Government introduced the private sector into the NHS and how the new Bill will undo the advantage given to the private sector by the previous Government. I also explained how the Coalition is increasing the amount of money given to the NHS by £11.5 million over the next four years – something Labour opposed as they planned to cut the NHS budget.
I will now take back to the Department of Health all the matters they have raised as part of the consultation process.

In the next few days I will be sending out my NHS email newsletter and if you would like to receive it then please let me know.

Bramcote Litter Pick – Saturday April 30th
Bramcotes’ Borough Councillors have organised a litter pick in the village, meeting at the King George Fields Car Park at 2pm on Saturday April 30th. This came about after a resident emailed me to complain about the amount of litter in the area and along the side of the A52. I suggested a litter pick and contacted the local Councillors. I am grateful to Cllrs Watts, Hepinstall and Tyler for getting the roadside tidied up and for organising the litter pick. I hope to see you there!

Cameron and Clegg bring business to Broxtowe
I was delighted that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister came to Boots to announce the first Enterprise Zone will be established on the site, a large chunk of which is in the constituency.
Enterprise Zones are not without their critics as there is the risk of sucking new investment in which might have gone just down the road; but on balance this really is good news and should be welcomed. Having had a number of meetings with Boots, I know that they have been keen to explore a number of options for the site and this is just the sort of boost we need to bring new business and therefore new jobs into Broxtowe. I am waiting to hear from the Borough Council of any consequence on future housing development on the site; though I was informed that large parts of the area were not suitable for housing. I think most people are familiar with my view that it is better to build on brown field sites as opposed to our green belt!

Pothole money.
The Government is giving Nottinghamshire an extra £2.8 million to repair potholes caused by two severe bouts of winter weather. I very much hope that after May 5, all the newly elected Borough Councillors will make sure Broxtowe gets its fair share of this extra money. I think every ward has an over abundance of roads in desperate need of repair and I will continue to work with residents and Councillors to make sure the work is done as quickly as possible.

Thank you for the invitation!

Army Cadet Centre Toton.
I had a really interesting morning at the Army Cadet Training Camp and Centre at Chetwynd Barracks, the other week. My thanks to everyone I met and in particular to those local youngsters who are making the most of their time as an army cadet.

Clayfields Secure Unit Stapleford
I am familiar with Clayfields having practised as a criminal barrister for many years. It is one of the few secure places of detention for young people over the age of 11. It is a remarkable place, requiring a high ratio of staff who do a very difficult job, caring for, in the main children with profound difficulties who have committed serious offences. There are no soft options at Clayfields but there is a considerable amount of care and support as well as rehabilitation work. Until you have met and understood the backgrounds of these young offenders, it is perhaps difficult to appreciate why they need to be locked up in a secure setting – not so much for public protection and punishment but for their own safety and well being. Many of these youngsters have suffered from a level of abuse and deprivation we cannot imagine; my concern is that too many are released back to the very place which brought them to Clayfields. My thanks to everyone I met who have my full support.

ICE (Institue of Civil Engineers), East Midlands meeting
I was one of two guest speakers at an ICE meeting in Nottingham which discussed the importance of flood relief in housing developments. Yes I appreciate this may not sound terribly exciting (!) but it was an important event. My contribution related to the need for planners to work with professionals like civil engineers, politicians and ordinary people to make sure developments improve our environment and do not assist flooding.

Surgery news
During the parliamentary recess I have had a number of surgeries at the constituency office on Chilwell High Road and thank you to everyone who has come along.
I will be in Trowell next Saturday (April 30th) and Nuthall on May 14th please contact me if you are a local resident who would like an appointment. I am holding my surgeries throughout the constituency so that people dont have to travel too far.

TV and Radio appearances
I was invited again onto the Saturday morning Radio 4 programme the Week in Westminster to discuss the Health and Social Care Bill with Labour’s Ben Bradshaw MP. I am also one of the regulars on ITV Central’s, The Lobby which will next be broadcast on Thursday May 12th

Forests and Woodlands/ Privacy for arrested persons/Stapleford Walk In Centre

1st February 2011

Hello again,

This is a mixed bag of news, views and dates for your diary. If you have been following the news you will know I have been particularly busy in the last few weeks, as my Private Member's Bill is set to be debated in Parliament on Friday (see below).


The future of our forests and woodlands

I would like to start by thanking everyone who has emailed me to express their concerns about the future of our forests and woodlands. Parliament is set to debate the matter tomorrow (Wednesday) after the opposition tabled a motion condemning the Government's plans for the future of our publicly owned forests. In fact, only 18% of our Forests are owned by the Government via the Forestry Commission, which both fells and sells wood and regulates our woodland areas.
Residents of Toton know the important role of the Forestry Commission which issued a re-stocking notice to the owners of land at Toton Sidings after they decimated many thousands of trees on the site. I have spoken with Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State, about this part of the Forestry Commission's work and she assures me it will continue.
I have to say I think it’s a little rich of the opposition to criticise the Government's plans given the last Government sold 25,000 acres of forest and woodland.
However, I have been struck by the number of emails I have received and the genuine concerns of many people on the issue; I can assure you I will raise all the concerns with Ministers and leave them in no doubt about the strength of feeling in Broxtowe.
The proposals regarding the woodlands are at a consultation stage and the consultation document can be found on the Defra website http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/01/27/englands-forests/. I would urge people please to take part in the consultation.
Wednesday’s debate is not a final decision but a call for a re think which I think is premature at this stage as the consultation has only just begun, so I am not inclined to support the motion.
What I think is important to remember is that Heritage Forests, like Sherwood Forest (which is currently owned and run by a charitable trust), the Forest of Dean and New Forest will not be sold to the private sector. The Government plans would mean voluntary, charitable and private sectors would have a greater role in the management and ownership of forests and woodlands currently owned by the Forestry Commission. Rights of way and public footpaths would continue to be protected and as most woods and forests form part of the green belt they will continue to be protected from development. I will post more on the subject on my web site www.anna4broxtowe.com


Arrested people are entitled to their privacy – Private Members Bill.

My Private Member's Bill receives its Second Reading on Friday (February 4th). You may remember I was drawn in sixth place last May and chose my subject at the time - as it happens recent events have made it highly topical.
Towards the end of last year the media reported the arrest of a former teacher in Bristol following the murder of Joanna Yeates; I believe there was a disgraceful media “feeding frenzy” that divulged details of his private life which destroyed his reputation.
In the past, when I worked as a journalist, the reporting of this man's personal life, the slurs and innuendos would not have been published and neither would his name and his address. Unfortunately, the media will not self regulate and so I propose it should be a criminal offence to publish the name or address of an arrested person until such time as he or she is charged. But, my Bill would allow the police, the arrested person or the press to apply to a Judge for leave to print the name and address if it was in the interests of justice or the public interest.
There’s been a healthy interest from the media with reports in most of the national papers and the Nottingham Evening Post. I was also live on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and did a recorded interview with Radio Nottingham.
I am pleased that The Independent newspaper is backing my bill and I have had emails and phone calls of support including journalists throughout the media. For more details about my Bill please check out my web site www.anna4broxtowe.com and Parliaments web site
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/009/11009.i-i.html
Stapleford Walk In Centre
On January 13th, I went to the first meeting as part of the consultation about the future of the Walk In Centre which is highly valued by people in Stapleford and other parts of Broxtowe . I have written to the PCT about a number of matters that are causing considerable frustration to campaigners, notably our desire to obtain a full breakdown of the £860,000 a year the PCT pays for the service. On a more positive note it seems local GP’s are now making a concerted effort to improve the service they offer to people in the event of the walk-in centre closing. However, I remain opposed to the closure of the walk-in centre.

As residents of Stapleford will know the Care Centre, or LIFT building, was built a few years ago at a cost of £11.4 million and was intended to house various organisations and services. Unfortunately the building is one third empty and to compound matters, the building was constructed as a result of a PFI agreement which will run for at least another twenty years at considerable cost to the tax payer - full or empty. In relation to the future of the Care Centre building we need a radical approach to make full use of it, to include not just the borough and county council but the police, local businesses, charity and voluntary organisations. I have discussed the future of the Centre with the PCT and others; my aim now is to bring everyone together and make the building work for the benefit of the people who have to pay for it!

Anthony Giles
Thank you to everyone who helped bring Anthony back from Thailand. Anthony has now been discharged from the QMC and is back home in Stapleford.

Rumbletums Community Café, Kimberley
I am more than happy to give a plug for a really excellent idea that is getting off the ground. The idea came from parents at the Foxwood Foundation School and Technology College in Bramcote which is a special school for children aged from 3 to 19 who have moderate to severe learning difficulties and, in some cases, additional physical disabilities. The difficulty is that there is shortage of post 19 training opportunities so, in the words of Jeff Buck who is working hard on the project, “we decided to set up a not-for-profit community café project to offer supported training and employment opportunities for those young people who wanted them.” Rumbletums is the result and they have started the project at The Hub in Kimberley on the corner of Victoria and Newdigate Street. Notts County and Broxtowe Borough Councils have offered help and support and other organisations are interested. If you want any more info or feel you could help in some way please let me know and I will put you in touch with Jeff and the team.

Chinese New Year Celebrations – Beeston, Saturday February 5th
The celebrations begin in Beeston Square from 10am on Saturday February 5th and continue throughout the day ending at Bartons from 1pm until 4pm where there will be all manner of events including performances, artwork and stalls. Beeston is rightly proud of its Chinese community and I am looking forward to visiting the Chinese School having met the head Dr Yi Wang. I will be attending the start of the celebrations before my advice surgery in Nuthall on Saturday.

Chetwynd Barracks Development / Chilwell Meadows
The work on making good the roads and pavements is (finally) underway and I am hopeful the tarmac will soon be laid. I have had a few complaints and requests from residents in relation to aspects of the work and am liaising with the lead builder to try and resolve them.

Advice Surgery details.
If you would like to attend one of my advice surgeries then please contact me by email (anna.soubry.mp@parliament.uk) or by ringing Rebecca at the constituency office (0115 9436507)
Feb 5 Nuthall
Feb 12 Stapleford
Feb 26 Kimberley - this will be a drop in surgery. More details nearer the time.
March 4 Toton
March 19 Beeston

Meetings
Many thanks to everyone I’ve met up with in the last few week, notably my sincere thanks to all the soldiers , service personnel and families I met on my visit to Chetwynd Barracks. Chetwynd is right to be proud of its support and training for TA and Reservists going out to serve with 49 Brigade and the rest of our troops in Afghanistan.
I met with staff at Boots and inevitably talked about the need to improve the A453 and the work place parking levy – I continue to campaign for the former and against the latter!
In the next few weeks I am meeting with traders on Beeston/Chilwell High Road in particular to talk about compensation as a result of the planned tram works. I have met with a representative of Beeston's BID who have my support in their efforts to make the town a great place to shop, work and live.

Cossall and Trowelll Open Cast Mining

I am delighted that Kimberley Town Council has agreed to make money available to fight UK Coal’s plans for open cast mining at Cossall/Trowell and hope other parish councils will follow suit. I’m arranging another meeting with elected representatives from parish, town, Borough and County Councils in the next few weeks. As soon as we have fixed a date for a public meeting I will let you know.

Cuts in public expenditure and our Library service

Notts County Council have announced a stepping back from the proposed cuts in Library opening hours and I would like to think that my representations on the subject have had some bearing on the decision. Toton Library was set to have its hours reduced to just over eight a week and that has now been doubled.
I try to make my email newsletters non partisan but I think there is a need to remind us all of a few facts. In the run up to last year’s General Election all three political parties agreed the deficit had to be reduced as a matter of priority and that public spending would accordingly have to be cut. Labour would have made cuts of 20% and would have included the NHS, Education, the police and defence in their cuts programme.
You may remember Alistair Darling's predictions that Labour would make cuts greater than "Thatcher" and that we faced severe economic times on a scale not seen in 70 years. The deficit is Labour’s legacy and was caused not just by a worldwide economic crisis but significantly, by massive overspending by the then Government fuelled by debt. That’s why our deficit is the largest of any of the countries in the G20.

The Colaition Government has been forced to make cuts in public expenditure, however spending on the NHS will rise, spending on schools has been ring fenced and defence has been cut by 8% over four years.

Nationally and locally Labour are suffering from a huge dose of amnesia! Bizarrely, in Broxtowe Labour activists give publicity and support to organisations opposed to all cuts in public expenditure.

Nottinghamshire has 61 Libraries compared to Derbyshire and Leicestershire which have 42 each. Notts is not closing any Libraries and whilst I remain concerned about the proposed cuts in opening hours at Toton, Inham Nook and Stapleford - Beeston is set to lose five hours a week leaving a total of over 50 hours.

Prisoner voting rights

There is widespread opposition to prisoners being given the vote. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR, which is nothing to do with the European Union or the Human Rights Act) made a ruling five years ago that the longstanding principle was illegal. The last Government put the issue not so much on the back burner as off the hob. In the meantime solicitors signed up clients in custody to pursue compensation from the Government for being denied the vote. Any such actions could cost us many millions of pounds so the Coalition Government has decided to sort out the matter once and for all.
There’s been talk of allowing prisoners sentenced to less than four years the vote but denying it to ones serving over four years. There appears to be no logic to determining four years as the “cut off” as the previous distinction between prisoners who received under or over four years was abolished some time ago.
With considerable reluctance I accept we are bound by the judgment – though I believe it is wrong that the ECHR can, in effect, determine the matter and not Parliament. I am currently working with colleagues to find a solution to the problem and at the moment very much favour a proposal from fellow barrister Robert Buckland MP that anyone sentenced to a custodial sentence in the Crown Court would lose their right to vote. I would greatly appreciate your views on the issue – and your ideas as to how this tricky matter might be solved.


Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

Thank you again to everyone who has emailed me on this subject. The scheme cost over half a billion pounds a year and was available to 16-18 year olds in households with incomes up to 30,800 a year. The last Government commissioned a survey of youngsters who received EMA and discovered that 9 out of 10 of those young people would have gone into further education with or without EMA. So there were real concerns that EMA was an expensive scheme that wasn’t targeting young people from the poorest of households. The Coalition will abolish the scheme and replace it with a scheme that makes sure those youngsters who face genuine barriers to participation in education get the financial support they need. Please email if you would like to know why I support the Government's policy on EMA and please tell me your views on the subject. I would particularly like to hear from youngsters and their families who currently receive EMA.

The future of the NHS

Yesterday saw the second reading of the health and Social Care Bill, which I supported. It was an interesting debate and especially as the majority of MP’s who spoke with a background of working in the NHS were from the Government benches. I do believe the NHS needs reform and that transferring the power and responsibility for decisions about NHS services into the hands of doctors and nurses at the frontline will deliver considerably improvements and reduce costly bureaucracy. It means that in Broxtowe the well established North West Notts GP consortium will manage and control the money and decisions to deliver the very best care and treatment their patients need and want throughout Broxtowe. Please let me know if you would like more details as to why I support the reform of the NHS.

If you have an issue of concern, a point of view, or I can help in any way then please contact me.

As ever,
Anna

 

23rd March 2011

Hello again,
I thought you might like some of the detail of today’s budget which I believe will be good for families and businesses throughout Broxtowe in these difficult times. The full Budget can be read via The Treasury web site and I have included the link at the end of this newsletter.

1p off fuel duty
The 1p off a litre of petrol and diesel will be of real benefit to us all and the stabiliser which is to be introduced will remove high price rises in the future. This is something I and other MP’s, had encouraged the Chancellor to do and the Fair Fuel campaign certainly played their part in bringing about this important cut in fuel duty.

More people paying less tax
There will be a further increase in the personal tax allowance of £630, this is on top of the £1,000 rise coming in this April. This means the Coalition has now taken 1.1 million low paid people out of tax all together.

Nottingham Uni. leading the way on growth
Nottingham University will be one of 9 new University based Centres for Innovative Manufacturing.
The full detail is yet to be announced but the plan is that the centre will assist in developing new ideas to help grow our manufacturing industry.

Crack down on tax dodgers
The Chancellor announced a crack down on tax avoiders to raise an extra £1 billion a year.

Help for Charities
There will be changes in tax laws and improvements to the Gift Aid scheme to help raise more money for charities.

New scheme for first time buyers
I very much hope the £250 million “shared equity scheme” really will help first time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Package of measures to promote growth
The cut in Corporation tax by an extra 1% will be a boost for businesses and by 2014 it will be down 5% to 23%.

The Chancellor announced plans to simplify the tax system for business, to extend the small business rate relief “holiday”, and firms who employ fewer than 10 people will not have the burden of new UK regulations.

There are various other changes and initiatives which all amount to real measures to help business to grow and provide the jobs and prosperity we need.

George Osborne also announced an extra 50,000 apprenticeships bringing the total funded by the Government, over the next four years to 250,000.

I have avoided the party political spiel as to the state of the country’s finances; I do think it is important to remember that the IMF, the OECD and every major business body in Britain is backing Osborne’s plans to sort out the economy, stimulate growth and generate more jobs and prosperity.

The full Budget can be read on
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_documents.htm

As ever,
Anna

 

19th March 2011

Hello again,

I have little doubt all our thoughts are with the people of Japan and the people of Libya. The Japanese have shown great dignity in the face of appalling destruction and it’s to be hoped they will soon be able to recover and begin the long hard process of re building broken communities and shattered lives.

The situation in Libya fills me with alarm. I support the UN decision to back a no-fly zone, but at the time of writing fear greatly that Gaddafi will not hesitate to eradicate all opposition and time is not on our side.

On a considerably lighter note, congratulations to Broxtowe’s Mayor, Cllr. Pat Lally for the success of his Charity Ball. Pat told me we had all raised just under £1,500 for his two charities , Hope in Beeston and a hospital in Nigeria. We were together, yesterday at the opening of a new changing room for the disabled, at the Bramcote Leisure Centre and a new housing development in Chilwell.

Please scroll down for news on my meeting with George Osborne, parking problems at Bilborough College, Bramcote Today web site, A52 workings, school visits, Broxtowe's pot holes, Welfare reform, Notts Police redundancies, Asworth/Giltbrook wind turbine update, Labour's unacceptable tactics.

as ever,
Anna


Meeting with George Osborne / next weeks budget

In the run up to next weeks Budget (Wednesday March 23rd) I was part of a small group of MP’s who met with George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer. I raised two issues; firstly the rising cost of fuel which is hitting motorists and businesses, very hard. The other matter is the lack of lending by the banks to businesses, the withdrawal of overdraft facilities and oppressive bank charges.

I met with the Fair Fuel campaign the other week and have a great deal of sympathy for their campaign for a reduction in the cost of fuel.
The current instability in the Middle East, notably in Libya, has had a considerable effect on the price of crude oil. There are also factors, such as the value of sterling and global demand, which impact on the price. In our meeting, George Osborne made it clear he is looking with great care at fuel duty and the effect of rising oil prices on individuals, families and businesses.

The Prime Minister has said the Government will also consider introducing a fuel stabiliser, which will have the effect of cutting the cost of motoring. He told us the other week.

“I know how difficult it is for motorists, and particularly for small businesses and families, when they are filling up at the pumps and paying more than £1.30 a litre. As we have said, we will look at the fact that extra revenue comes to the Treasury when there is a higher oil price, and see if we can share some of the benefit of that with the motorist. That is something that Labour never did in all its time in government, and it ought to be reminded of the fact that it announced four increases in fuel duty last year, three of which were due to come in after the election.”

I also raised with George Osborne, the particular concerns of a number of constituents running small and medium sized businesses. The banks are simply not lending in a way which encourages growth; there is also concern that overdrafts are being pulled without warning and that charges are rising. The Chancellor assured me he is more than aware of the problem and discussions with the banks continue.

I very much hope next weeks budget not only provides assistance to less well off families and to all motorists. I also hope we will begin to see the removal of the sort of regulation that has been restricting growth in many of our businesses, especially smaller businesses throughout Broxtowe.

Bilborough College parking problems

There has been a longstanding problem with students and parents parking inconsiderately on The Grange development opposite the College. Residents are at their wits end especially as a number of “offenders” can be particularly unpleasant to residents when they, quite reasonably ask them not to block drives, park on pavements and so on.
I held a meeting with residents and am set now to meet the Principal of Bilborough.
The roads on the development have yet to be adopted so I have suggested the process is speeded up; I also have a list of how we can sort out the problem to the benefit of everyone.

Bramcote Today

Bramcote’s own web site is now on line. Please check it out on www.bramcotetoday.org.uk/

Highways Agency

I have held a positive meeting with the Highways Agency about the lay by on the A52 off Bramcote Island as you go towards Bardills. Residents have complained that noise drifts across the carriageway. I think we have found a solution with better signage to enforce the restriction on HGV’s parking overnight and better policing. .

The A52 towards Priory Island is to be considerably improved in the coming months and some of the tree work near the roundabout has begun before the birds begin to nest.

Schools visits

I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting Larkfields Junior School in Nuthall and Wadsworth Fields Primary in Stapleford.
Eskdale Junior School and Chilwell College have both visited the House of Commons and I joined them in a question and answer session.
Larkfields Year 5 pupils get a particular mention as every one of them sent me a hand written letter and each received a personal hand written reply, which included a request from me to come and visit them. It was a real pleasure to meet everyone at Larkfields and in particular to discuss Year 5’s views on the future of the A453 and the tram.
I am immensely proud to be the MP for all four schools; their pupils and staff struck me as outstanding – a real credit to Broxtowe.

Pot Holes – the state of our roads

Notwithstanding the extra money made available by the Government and Notts County Council, I would hazard a guess that most of the roads throughout the constituency are in a desperate state. In particular I have received numerous complaints about pot holes. The problem, I believe is the unfortunate mix of years of poor maintenance followed by two particularly hard and long spells of frost, ice and snow.
Please report pot hole problems to the County Council on
http://www3.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/travelling/roads/report-road-problems/
Broxtowe Council leader, David Watts has also (somewhat bravely, if I may say as I fear his inbox will now be in serious overload) appealed for residents to contact him, with details about pot holes and repairs in urgent need of attention. David.Watts@broxtowe.gov.uk
I will continue to pass on to both David and the County Council, your complaints about the state of our roads.

Welfare Reform Bill

Can I thank everyone who has contacted me about the Welfare Reform Bill.
I don’t doubt the entire welfare system is in need of reform and am pleased to see the Coalition will introduce rules to make sure you are always better off in work than out of work. A life on benefit, traps people in poverty and dependency and the reforms will enable people to enter or re-enter the world of work.
However, there are concerns about some of the reforms notably to the Disability Living Allowance and I have asked to meet with constituents who have contacted me about the effect on people (notably children) with autism.

Notts Police Federation

I have met with the Federation to discuss plans to make the forces’ most experienced officers, redundant. The Federation put it this way “Notts are throwing out the baby not the bath water”. Nottinghamshire Police have to reduce the number of people they employ and have announced that officers with thirty years of pensionable service will be made redundant.
Meanwhile I am told 10% of the work force are unable to perform their normal duties, usually because of illness.
It also transpires that Notts seems to lack the will to face up to officers who are not up to the job.
I am very concerned about these redundancy plans, which will mean we will lose some of our best, most experienced police officers, from all ranks, when there are perfectly acceptable alternatives. I have asked to meet the Chief Constable.

Awsworth/ Giltbrook wind turbine
The wind turbine proposed by Severn Trent at the sewerage works opposite IKEA has got the thumbs down from Nottinghamshire County Council, though the final decision lies with Broxtowe Borough Council.
The plan is to erect the tallest wind turbine in Britain (as tall as the Blackpool Tower) which will undoubtedly impact on people who live near the site. The final decision will be taken by Broxtowe Borough Council in June.

Picketing my advice surgery
I hold regular advice surgeries and please let me know if you would like an appointment.
Advice surgeries for constituents are a fine and long standing tradition amongst MP’s; they are not meant to be political forums but a way for a constituent with a problem to meet their MP face to face and to get advice as to how their MP can help them.
I was contacted by a constituent and asked if she could book an appointment at my advice surgery to hand over a nationally organised petition of over 100,000 signatures about the NHS. I explained I would accept the petition (though suggested that it might be better to deliver it to the Secretary of State for Health) but not at my surgery in Beeston Library. It then turned out the constituent was a former neighbour who I knew quite well. She suggested I meet with her and a few others in the car park outside Beeston Library - I specifically queried whether I was being “set up”. Given our friendship I trusted her assurance that I was not and that I would be handed a summary of the petition and a photograph would be taken. I agreed.

What actually happened was a political picket of Beeston Library, with staff having to ask the thirty or so people who attended, including Brotowe Labour Party, to stop blocking the entrance of the Library. A large Labour Party banner was unfurled and other protestors had banners.

I am more than happy to meet with any constituent and discuss any issue. What is not acceptable is to turn advice surgeries which are often attended by vulnerable people, sometimes facing a crisis, into a party political stunt.

I am very sorry that users of the Library and people who wanted to see their MP were inconvenienced.

I am genuinely, appalled at the tactics being used by the Labour party in Broxtowe in the run up to the May Council Elections. The thoroughly pleasant and hard working Councillor Barbara Carr, has announced she will not seek re-election as a result of the personal attacks on her by the Labour Party. I understand where she is coming from as I suffered some of the same during last year’s General Election.

For many years Labour in Broxtowe has claimed to be proponents of “positive politics” though some of us had no doubt it was a mask, which has now slipped to reveal a particularly unpleasant style of politics which I hope all moderate and reasonable people will reject.

source: www.anna4broxtowe.com

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MP for Broxtowe - Anna Soubry