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Welcome to the twenty eighth 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
Facebook
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Twitter
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Website
Website
TOM IN WESTMINSTER
On Tuesday in the House, during a Statement on airport capacity, I managed to raise the steel issue again. I asked the Secretary of State for Transport what weight was given by Ministers to the benefit for UK supply chains when reaching the decision about airport expansion. I added that people in Corby, for example, will be pleased with Heathrow’s commitment to use British steel because that will be good for jobs in our steel towns. In his reply, the Secretary of State said that Heathrow will inevitably want to use a diverse supply chain within the UK, and confirmed that Ministers would do everything they could to encourage that. He added that he hoped that Corby will be one of the beneficiaries. 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 how we have some beautiful High Streets in Corby and East Northamptonshire, and that our pubs are an integral part of them. I asked the Minister what steps he is taking to help to promote our pub trade and ensure that these vital community hubs are protected. In his reply, the Minister outlined how the business rate cut is of significant value to many of our pubs. He added that a huge number of tourists coming to the UK list a visit to a Great British pub among their desires for their trip, and that is why the Government has made changes to beer duty. You can watch my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
On Monday, during the Prime Minister’s Statement on the European Council, I pointed out that she was absolutely right to stress that we are not leaving 'Europe' - something I have long maintained. And, I asked if she would confirm that, when we leave the European Union, we will continue to play a full and active part in the Council of Europe; working together on the basis of friendship and co-operation, not political union. In her answer, the Prime Minster confirmed that the UK will be continuing to play its role in the Council of Europe, and added that she wants to continue to have a good relationship with the Member States in the EU and with the EU itself - as it is in all of our interests. You can watch my question and the Prime Minister’s answer, here.
This week, I received a written answer from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I had submitted a question asking the Secretary of State what support his Department provides for communities in which Post Offices require relocation. In the answer received from the Department, the Minister outlined how the provision and location of Post Offices is the operational responsibility of the Post Office Limited. The Minister also explained that any proposal by the Post Office to relocate a branch within a community includes a six week local consultation conducted by Post Office Ltd to let the community know what is happening, and to seek feedback from interested customers and stakeholders in the area. The Minister added that the Post Office carefully considers all feedback received during the consultation process before making a final decision on whether to relocate. Additionally, the Minister assured me that the Government recognises the importance of Post Offices to communities and will have invested £2 billion in the network during the period 2010 to 2018, to maintain it, and invest in transformation of the business which includes money to help relocate branches to more sustainable locations in their communities.
Last Friday, I spoke during a debate in the House about Kettering General Hospital, which was secured by my excellent colleague, Philip Hollobone MP. This was an important debate to highlight the importance of Kettering General Hospital to our local area, and to debate the challenges it is currently facing. During the debate, I highlighted how a priority should be to ensure that, with all the growth we are experiencing, new homes are accompanied by new infrastructure, and as such suggested that the new Urgent Care Hub at Kettering, which I and my colleagues have all been campaigning for, would not only be crucial in taking the pressure off of A&E, and meeting the demand for new infrastructure, but also in delivering the Government’s agenda of better integration of health services. During the debate, the importance of the proposed Urgent Care Hub was recognised by all, and both of my North Northamptonshire colleagues, Philip Hollobone MP and Peter Bone MP, spoke of how crucial Kettering General Hospital is to our area, and how important it is that the hospital receives all the support it needs in facing the upcoming challenges, owing to the huge amount of pressure it faces in serving such a large population. You can watch the debate, here.
Last Monday in the House, during questions to the Department for Work and Pensions, I asked the Minister what support is available for people who require assistance to complete Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application forms. In her response, the Minister highlighted how Department for Work and Pensions visiting officers can assist people with the completion of their PIP forms in their own homes, as can family and friends. She added that claimants can also authorise another person or organisation to help them handle their PIP claim. I thanked the Minister for her answer, and pointed out that completing the forms can be a particularly difficult experience for those with mental health conditions - something I know from my local advice surgeries - and asked what specific help and support is provided to that particular group of applicants. In her further answer, the Minister added that the Government wants to help people with the form as much as possible. She then outlined the current measures to assist people, which includes a month being given to complete the return form, as well as additional time if required; online guidance being provided so that friends and family can view it and then go on to assist the person with the completion of the form; and people being allowed to use their own words to describe their condition and to provide as much detail as they would like, or as much as their condition allows. You can watch my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
Last Tuesday in the House, during Foreign and Commonwealth Office Questions, I highlighted how, in light of the EU referendum, we have heard that there is lots of international interest in signing trade deals with the United Kingdom. I asked the Secretary of State what practical steps his Department is taking to contribute to the effort to ensure that we get those deals signed, sealed and delivered. In his reply, the Secretary of State pointed out that one of the most extraordinary things that he discovered on becoming Foreign Secretary was the full extent of the network that the UK has around the world. As an example, he mentioned how we have more coverage overseas than the French, with only 70% of their budget. The Secretary of State then added that his experience of UK diplomats and trade officials is that they are superlatively well informed about the needs of UK business and industry, and that they will assist us in doing first-class free trade deals in every capital. You can see my question, and the Minister’s answer, here.
Last Monday in the House, during a statement on the budget for community pharmacies in 2016-17 and 2017-18, I asked the Minister if he would say a little more about how he sees these plans tying in with the agenda to better integrate health services. I highlighted how, in Weldon, in my constituency, GP and pharmacy services work very well together for local patients under the leadership of Dr Sumira, and asked the Minister what best practice is out there and what attention the Government is giving to it. In his reply, the Minister outlined how the Government is recruiting an additional 2,000 pharmacists into general practice by 2020. He added that the Government will also be linking community pharmacists into the NHS 111 system in a way that has never been done in England, so that repeat prescriptions will go direct to pharmacists and not to out-of-hours GPs. The Minister also said that by 2018, pharmacists will receive additional payment for looking after minor ailments. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
Yesterday in the House, I highlighted how I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Corby Sports Awards last Thursday - an annual event to celebrate sporting achievement in our town - and I asked the Leader of the House if we could have a debate on grassroots sport and the vital role that volunteering plays in it, not just in our area, but across the country. You can see my question and the Leader of the House’s answer, here.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
On Monday, I met with representatives of both BT and Superfast Northamptonshire to talk about the broadband rollout in our area. The situation with fibre rollout in Northamptonshire is broadly encouraging, as we are ahead of the Government’s target and working towards 100% coverage. However, I know that for the few people who are still without adequate broadband coverage, it can be extremely frustrating – I therefore brought up the villages in East Northamptonshire, including Pilton, Stoke Doyle, Hemington, Luddington, Thurning, Denford and Sudborough, where people are still experiencing difficulties, and where the rollout has not yet reached. Superfast Northamptonshire have advised that there is a lot of information available on their website, such as a rollout schedule, where you can see when superfast will be available in your area. BT also told me that many people are already able to access superfast broadband, but are on the wrong plan, so it is always worth checking with your internet service provider whether it is already available in your area. As ever, if you are experiencing difficulties with your broadband or mobile phone coverage, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me, and I will happily do what I can to help.
Last Friday afternoon, I attended a meeting about Twywell Hills and Dales, along with representatives from the Wildlife Trust and the Rockingham Forest Trust, to discuss recent changes made at the nature reserve. There was a lively discussion had by all present, including ramblers, dog walkers, and representatives from the Wildlife Trust, about the way forward to make the reserve work best for all parties. This is an issue which is obviously close to the hearts of many, and at this stage I think it would be useful to have a site meeting, with all interested parties present, and in the longer-term, establish a 'Friends of Twywell Hills and Dales’ group, to ensure continued local engagement, and hopefully encourage volunteering too. It is so important to preserve our local nature reserves and ensure that we continue to look after our stunning countryside. Indeed, I stand ready to try and help find a way forward that meets with the broad agreement of everyone.
Last Friday evening, I went out in Corby on a Nightsafe patrol with Northamptonshire Police officers, along with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, Stephen Mold. During the patrol I was able to witness first-hand the important work that our officers do, day in, day out, and witness some of the challenges around policing the local nighttime economy. They do a difficult job, in difficult circumstances, and I am extremely grateful for the commitment and dedication they show in their work to keep our communities safe.  Despite not finishing until 5am, after a long day in the House and in the constituency, I am very pleased to have seen this work first-hand.
Last Thursday, I made a visit to the Dementia Café in Thrapston. This is a monthly event, organised to give those who have Dementia, and their carers, the chance to socialise in a comfortable and supportive environment. During the visit, I was able to hear about the effect that the Dementia Café has on peoples’ lives, and see first-hand how it provides an essential service, and gives those whose lives are affected by the terrible illness, access to advice, information, and a chance to speak to others who have had similar experiences.
Last Thursday evening I was delighted to attend the Corby Sports Awards. The event was held to celebrate the sporting achievements of those in Corby, across 12 different categories, with the winners being chosen from athletes, coaches, volunteers and teams. Overall, the evening was a great success, and it was fantastic to be invited to celebrate the sporting success of those who dedicate a great many hours to their respective sport. Terrific to see!
Last week, I was pleased to see that the newly released figures for employment showed that the employment rate remains at a record high, with more people being employed than ever before. Added to this, the number of women in employment is at its highest level since comparable records began. Corby and East Northamptonshire, in particular, has seen a drop in unemployment of 59% - which is great news for our area!
Yesterday night, I appeared on ITV Anglia’s Late Edition programme. During the programme, on which I was joined by Baroness Angela Smith and Cllr Stephen Robinson, we had an interesting discussion about how airport expansion will affect the East of England after the Government announced their decision this week to build a third runway at Heathrow. Additionally, a good debate was had about Tye UK leaving the EU and the Government’s policy to introduce new grammar schools where there is local desire for them. You can watch the programme here.
The Corby Poppy Shop opens tomorrow, selling poppies, wreaths and other things; all to raise money for the Royal British Legion. The shop is on Queens Square in Corby, next to The Glass House, and is run by volunteers who give up their time to raise money for the fantastic work that the Royal British Legion does all year round – providing care and support to soldiers and their families, both serving and veterans.  The Poppy Appeal is a great cause, and is always extremely well supported in Corby.  I will be visiting tomorrow afternoon for the launch of the Corby Appeal, and if you are passing at any time in the next couple of weeks, I know the volunteers would be delighted if you were to drop in.
I have recently received communication regarding several public phone boxes in Corby. BT, who is responsible for the payphones, intend to remove 8 of them due to the overall use of payphones falling by more than 90% in the past decade. BT has advised that as long as there is network coverage, it is possible to call emergency services even when there is no credit or coverage from your own mobile provider. Corby Borough Council is now conducting a public consultation on BT’s proposals. If you would like to comment, you can do so by email or by post. Comments must be received by the 2nd December 2016, by email to: Localplans.consultation@corby.gov.uk, or by post to: BT Payphone Consultation, Local Plans, Corby Borough Council, Deene House, New Post Office Square, Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 1GD.
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:


Fuel Duty 03-10-16

Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Bees 10-10-16


Mayfair Tax Loophole 10-10-2016

Abortion on the Grounds of Disability 24-10-16

Philip Green 24-10-16

Live Animal Exports and the 1847 Ports and Harbours Act 26-10-2016

Homelessness Reduction Bill 28-10-16
TOM IN THE PRESS
Grammar school could "present great opportunity" for Corby, says town's MP

Northants Telegraph, 17th October 2016


Conservatives are fighting for our steel communities

Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists, 27th October 2016
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