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Welcome to the fiftieth edition of my Westminster Report.
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Tom Pursglove MP's Westminster Report

It's a huge honour and a privilege to be your Member of Parliament for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

Welcome to my Westminster Report, where you can find out more about what I've been doing as part of my Listening Campaign, both in Westminster and across the constituency.

As always, if I can ever be of any help to you, please feel free to contact me at any time using the following details:

Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

 

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

I also hold weekly advice surgeries around the constituency, and as I said in the run up to the General Election, I remain committed to being Corby and East Northamptonshire's voice in Westminster and not Westminster's voice in Corby and East Northamptonshire.


Now, for some of what I've been getting up to, both locally and in Westminster!

With best wishes,




Tom Pursglove MP
Member of Parliament
Corby & East Northamptonshire


Address:
Tom Pursglove MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA

Email:
pursglovet@parliament.uk

Telephone:
020 7219 8043

Website:
www.votepursglove.co.uk
Contents:

Introduction

Tom in Westminster

Tom in Corby & East Northamptonshire

Lobbying Campaigns

Tom in the Press
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TOM IN WESTMINSTER
Earlier today in the House of Commons, I was pleased to be able to contribute to the debate on the Second Reading of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill. The Bill was introduced by Steve Reed MP, and it seeks to make provision about the oversight and management of the use of force relating to people in mental health units, and similar settings. The Bill also seeks to introduce statutory requirements relating to the use of force in mental health units, which would require service providers to keep a record of any use of force, have a written policy for the use of force, commit to a reduction of the use of force, and provide patients with information about their rights.
 
Additionally, this Bill would require the service provider to notify the Health Secretary within 7 days of a death that occurred during, or as a result of, a patient being subject to the use of force in a mental health unit. It would also make a provision about the use of body cameras by police officers in the course of their duties in relation to people in mental health units - a move I particularly welcome, given the success of the use of these cameras by officers in Northamptonshire, strengthening evidential sources and providing greater protection for both the patient and the professionals involved with their care.
 
I do think that the measures which are advanced by this Bill would be a welcome step forward in improving transparency and accountability in this area. This debate was an excellent opportunity to bring some attention to the issue, and I was very pleased to be able to contribute by intervening on the Minister during her concluding remarks, given that there was not sufficient time to make a speech, owing to time constraints and the demand to speak. A lot of local people wrote to me in advance of the debate, urging me to take part and support the Bill - going forward, you can be assured that I will do all I can to ensure that it passes into law.
Last Monday in the Chamber, during Defence Questions, I highlighted the excellent job our Armed Forces have done in providing vital support to those affected by Hurricane Irma, and I asked the Minister to set out what difference their efforts have made. The Minister replied by giving his praise for the Armed Forces personnel involved, and commented that I was speaking for the whole House when expressing my gratitude for what they had done, and went on to mention the work that those involved undertook. The Minister then explained the swift way the military was deployed to the affected areas and that helicopters and other forms of support were used to get aid to areas that otherwise would be left without this vital help. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here

I also recently asked the former Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to encourage innovation in the defence industry, and I received a written answer from the Minister in response. In the response, the Minister pointed out that with an equipment plan worth £178 billion and a rising defence budget, there are great opportunities for innovative suppliers. The Minister added that the Government has launched the Defence and Security Accelerator and an £800 million innovation fund to pursue innovative solutions to meet defence requirements
.
 
Last Thursday during the Business of the House Statement, I mentioned how the weekend before last, I attended a brilliantly organised World Squash Day event, organised by my constituent James Roberts, but added that frustratingly, we do not have any squash courts in Corby. I then asked the Leader of the House if we could have a debate to discuss the benefits of squash and the pressing need for squash courts in Corby. In her response the Leader of the House invited my constituents to come and play squash in Brackley in her constituency (and I am aware that a fixture is now already being planned!), but agreed that we need more sport in this country, and as Members we should promote more of it in our constituencies. She then encouraged me to apply for an Adjournment Debate to see what more can be done, and this is certainly something I will consider doing in due course, but in the first instance I will try and table a question to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and get a response from the Sports Minister, regarding this issue. You can see my question and the Leader of the House’s answer, here.
Last Thursday during an Urgent Question regarding the UK’s exit from the EU, I pointed out that the truth is that we run a £70 billion trade deficit with the European Union. I then asked the Secretary of State if he believed that that will help to focus minds and keep the discussions and deliberations around the negotiation to timetable. In his response, the Secretary of State said this was right, in that it drives the views of the member states in terms of what they want out of this negotiation. He added that one of the things that is happening between now and December is that the Council will lay down its guidelines for this process, and particularly about future trade arrangements. He further added that in those guidelines, it may well be that the Council actually says something about the timetable, which will relate to the issues in front of the House. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
 
On Monday in the House, during Communities and Local Government Questions, I highlighted that one thing which would help to drive further economic growth in Corby is a new Enterprise Zone, and I asked the Secretary of State if he would make a case to the Chancellor in advance of the Budget for another round of bidding opportunities – in turn affording us a fresh opportunity to submit a bid. In his reply, the Secretary of State said that I was right to raise the importance of Enterprise Zones, which have often been announced in previous Budgets, and he added that he was very willing to help make the case to the Chancellor. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here. Following on from this, I have subsequently written to the Chancellor, putting this Budget suggestion to him and making the case.  I’ll always keep pressing for more new jobs and investment!
Yesterday in Westminster, I had the pleasure of meeting some pupils from Huxlow Science College in Irthlingborough who were here on a visit. The pupils were taken on a tour of Parliament, where they had the opportunity to see what happens every day in Parliament, first hand, and to experience the cut and thrust of debate. I then met the pupils for an interesting Q&A session, where they were given the opportunity to ask me any questions they had about politics, local and national issues, and being an MP. There were some tough questions asked, and it was great to be able to meet some of my younger constituents, and speak to them about how Parliament works.
Last Wednesday, I attended a meeting regarding the Government’s Road Investment Strategy at the Department for Transport. During this meeting, priorities were discussed for investment in the strategic road network nationally, and I made sure to emphasise the importance of the Chowns Mill Roundabout improvements and A45 dualling projects; urging Ministers again that anything which could be done to bring these forward in the programme would be hugely appreciated, not least given the enormous housing growth we are seeing, along with the newly opened Rushden Lakes development.  Rest assured this is something I will continue to push for.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
I have had many constituents contacting me in the last fortnight in respect of the recent announcements regarding the 2018/19 budget of Northamptonshire County Council. First, I should say at the outset that decisions of this sort are entirely a matter for Northamptonshire County Council and its democratically elected members, who are accountable to local people through the ballot box.  As I am sure you will appreciate, it would be wrong of me, as your local Member of Parliament, to dictate to local councillors about decisions which they are directly elected to make.  Instead, my role is to ensure that the views of local people are heard loud and clear by those taking these decisions at County Hall.
 
There can be no doubt that, in recent years, local authorities, like all of government, have been presented with challenging financial circumstances.  It is noteworthy, however, that some local authorities have coped with these pressures better than others. I’m afraid to say that Northamptonshire County Council appears to be one of those local authorities that has found it more difficult to meet that challenge.
 
On the issue of fairer funding, I am sympathetic, but this would not solve NCC’s problems in itself.  It is undoubtedly the case, however, that our area has been historically underfunded under governments of both colours and I am pleased that this Government is getting to grips with this across the board.  Indeed, in the last few weeks, the Government has announced the new Education Funding Formula, which will see the vast majority of schools in our area better off, with no school losing out.  I am sure you will agree with me that this is a positive step forward and I am proud to have campaigned hard for this change.
 
In terms of local government funding and the need for greater fairness, I have brought to the attention of the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, the concerns that have been raised by NCC and its leadership and I understand that Ministers intend to carry out a fairer funding review for local government in due course. Northamptonshire MPs have also offered repeatedly to help with particular areas of its work that are creating specific cost pressures – for example, on the issue of unaccompanied asylum seeking children, where I have secured a meeting for the Leader of NCC to meet with the Immigration Minister to see if any further support can be provided to help address these pressures. 
 
With regard to the specific issue of library closures, I very much share the concerns raised with me - not least because these serve as vital community hubs, catering for young and old, and providing services which are essential, beyond just the loaning of books. As a result, I am working closely with my Northamptonshire parliamentary colleagues to see what can be done to support local people in trying to protect them - for example, exploring options around setting up a network of Community Interest Companies, where local communities wish to see their library stay open.
 
NCC is currently consulting on its budget proposals and I would urge you to make your views known at the following website:
http://bit.ly/2xR9NhN. You might also wish to raise your concerns directly with your local NCC representative, whose details you can find at the following link: http://bit.ly/2xOUANW.
 
In light of the very serious concerns we have around the draft budget and the handling of the finances which has led to this situation, my Northamptonshire parliamentary colleagues and I, met with the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government on the 30th October, to discuss the way forward. During the meeting, the findings of the Local Government Association's (LGA) independent financial review of NCC were discussed and the Secretary of State was left in no doubt as to the deep anxiety expressed by all the MPs about the findings of this independent report, which confirmed our longstanding concerns about the ongoing viability of NCC. The Secretary of State listened carefully to the concerns raised, undertook to consult with senior departmental officials, and it was agreed that a further meeting would be held shortly. I will be sure to post updates here as soon as I have them.
I have recently received communication announcing that Corby Sculpture Park and East Carlton Country Park have both been nominated for the Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park 2017 Award. Fields in Trust protects and champions parks and green spaces for communities to enjoy, and this award gives the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite local green space, with the public vote running until today! The top park in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be shortlisted before the winner is announced at the Fields in Trust Award Ceremony on the 29th November. You can visit www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark to find out more and cast your vote today – don’t miss out to vote for our great parks!
 
Last Saturday, I was very pleased to go along to the Poppy Appeal launch event in Corby, in the lead up to next Sunday’s Remembrance Services, which will take place across the constituency and the country as a whole. It was good to see that the launch was so well attended, and it is fair to say that the whole community is extremely proud of the work that the Royal British Legion does on behalf of our brave men and women.  Those who organise the appeal year in, year out, do such incredible work and I just want to place on record my thanks for all that they do.  Last year in Corby, over £48,000 was raised during the appeal – a huge sum that will make so much difference in supporting Armed Forces personnel past and present, and their families.  This year, the Legion locally are hoping to break the £50,000 barrier – if you are in Willow Place, do drop in to the Poppy Shop in the old Mothercare store, to help get them over that mark!
Last Friday, after meeting with constituents at my weekly surgeries, I went along to a training event with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. It was very interesting to see the service in action, and see how they prepare for any emergencies which may arise during their daily work. During the afternoon, it struck me how very professional and committed our local fire officers are, and the dangers that they face on a daily basis, along with the Fire Service innovation Northamptonshire is leading the way on nationally - it was a privilege to see it in action for myself and to have the chance to say ‘thank you’ for all that they do.
 
Last Friday afternoon, I went to visit Action for Asperger’s in Corby. During this visit I learnt more about the fantastic work they do there, which includes providing support to those who have Asperger’s Syndrome, and their families. It is clear that Action for Asperger’s is an organisation which is very much valued by local people, but which also help people across the country and indeed overseas.  A huge Corby success story, run on an entirely voluntary basis, with a national and international profile, and spearheaded brilliantly by the inspirational Elaine Nicholson MBE!
I have recently started writing a regular column in the Northamptonshire Telegraph, about the key issues facing Corby and East Northamptonshire and indeed North Northamptonshire as a whole, which will be published monthly. You can find this month’s article here, on the important issue of Corby Urgent Care Centre, given that it serves as a useful update.
LOBBYING CAMPAIGNS
As you might be aware, I am now responding to standard campaign emails via my website, here.  For ease, I also wanted to share the links to the most recent replies, which you can find below:

Stand up for Academic Freedom 29.10.2017.pdf

Environmental Protections as we leave the EU 29.10.2017.pdf

The Roll-out of Universal Credit 31.10.2017.pdf

Factory Farming 31.10.2017.pdf
TOM IN THE PRESS
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