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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Thank you to everyone who helped bring Anthony back from Thailand.
Anthony has now been discharged from the QMC and is back home
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
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
Chetwynd Barracks Development / Chilwell
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
Advice Surgery details.
If you would like to attend one of my advice surgeries then please
contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
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
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
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.
23rd March 2011
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
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
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
19th March 2011
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.
Meeting with George Osborne / next weeks
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
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
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
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
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
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’s own web site is now on line. Please check it
out on www.bramcotetoday.org.uk/
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.
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
Pot Holes – the state of our
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
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
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
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
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.