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Welcome to the thirty fifth 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

Last Thursday, during International Trade Questions, I pointed out that UK steel is the best in the world. I then asked what opportunities the Minister envisages there to be to promote the sale of British steel around the world. In his response, the Minister assured me that the Government takes an ongoing and strong interest in the steel sector. He explained that the sector faces difficulties at present because of the low global steel price, but added that the Government sees a good future for UK steel, and that the Department is looking forward to taking part in a whole-of-Government approach to ensuring that it is sold abroad. You can see my question and the Minister’s reply, here.

On Tuesday, I met with several representatives from UK Active. UK Active is the leading not-for-profit health body that campaigns to tackle inactivity and support its four thousand members and partners nationwide to get people more active, more often. It has been found that preventing ill-health starts with promoting physical activity and its benefits to ensure that people are meeting the minimum requirements for exercise per week. It was great to talk to UK Active about the initiatives they are putting in place to ensure these aims are met, and it was interesting to hear of the UK Active members locally which include 3D Health and Fitness, Corby Borough Council and Corby East Midlands International Swimming Pool, among others.
Last Thursday in the Chamber, I outlined how, in recent weeks, we have heard about Weetabix’s £30 million investment, and about the expansion of the Tayto Group, all of which is good for jobs in Corby. I added that, of course, we must never be complacent, but I asked if we could have a Statement from Ministers on the number of jobs that have been created, and the investment that has taken place in the UK economy, since the 23rd June – something which has all too often been glossed over. In his reply, the Leader of the House explained that the additional investment projects that have been announced in the United Kingdom since the referendum, are a tribute to the underlying strength of the economy of this country, and that is a strength on which this Government is determined to build further. I couldn’t agree more – we must be optimistic and outward looking, promoting our area and the country as a whole, as the best place to start and grow a business. You can see my question and the Leader of the House’s answer, here.
 
Last Tuesday, during a Statement on the Government’s Housing White Paper, I outlined how one market that never seems to be met is that for bungalows, which are perhaps the only truly lifetime property and which also free up larger properties for families. I then asked the Secretary of State what role he sees bungalows playing in future supply. In his response, the Secretary of State acknowledged that this is an important point and said that this comes back to the new requirement for local authorities to plan for every demographic in their area. He added that he has met with constituents whose children have left and who live in a large home and would love to downsize, but there is not enough choice in their local area. The Secretary of State also pointed out that there is now a specific requirement in the White Paper to make sure that local authorities are planning for everyone, including older people. This is certainly something I will be following-up with the local authorities in our area and you can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Wednesday, I met with Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to discuss their work in monitoring health and social care services, and ensuring a high standard of care is provided. During the meeting, it was good to discuss services locally, and to hear about the CQC’s plans for the future – in particular, I wanted to better understand the inspection regime, and how outcomes are then monitored and acted upon. The CQC are currently consulting on the way in which they inspect hospital trusts and new care models, and if anyone is interested in expressing their views on this, further details of the consultation can be found here.
Last Tuesday in the Chamber, during Health Questions, I pointed out how thousands and thousands of new homes are being built in Corby and East Northamptonshire, and I then asked the Secretary of State if he could give reassurance to my constituents that GP services will keep up with housing growth. In his reply, the Secretary of State said that he could absolutely reassure me that all the funding the Government gives for NHS primary care takes this fully taken into account, but it also depends on having a strong economy. He added that this is something that the Government will always do for the NHS. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
This morning, I had another early start to the day with a breakfast meeting at the Holiday Inn in Corby, with the Corby Business Group. During the morning, I spoke with many different representatives of local businesses about the current challenges facing their sectors, before speaking and then taking a whole host of questions on different topics. This was a good chance to speak to many local businesses on a one to one level and gain an insight into their needs, aspirations and plans for the future - all very encouraging and much useful feedback gained.  We really are fortunate to have such a strong business community in Corby and the work that Corby Business Group does to help bring it together is hugely impressive and invaluable.  After the breakfast meeting I then met with several constituents at my weekly surgeries in Thrapston and Corby to hear about their concerns and views, and how I can be of help.
Earlier this week, along with Peter Bone MP, Councillor Marika Hillson, Councillor Roger Powell, Councillor Dorothy Maxwell, Councillor Sylvia Hughes, and a number of others, I met with the owner of the Nene Park stadium. This meeting in Westminster was a very useful opportunity to get everyone around the table, and to hear the different viewpoints regarding the stadium, although regrettably, it still appears very unlikely that it will be saved.  That said, we were all able to express our view to the owner that it would be preferable for at least part of the stadium and associated pitch facilities, to be retained as part of any future regeneration of the site, and urged for this to be considered.  We were also able to stress our view that any future plans for the site, to be successful and acceptable in planning terms, would benefit from community input and focus – in particular, to my mind, any redevelopment of Nene Park must deliver a 'win' for community football, which is a point I will continue to press.
This afternoon, I went along to RS Components on Weldon Industrial Estate in Corby. RS Components is a company which distributes electronics, automation and control components, tools and consumables, and is the largest single employer in Corby.  It was interesting to speak with the Chief Executive, Lindsley Ruth, about the company’s plans for the future and the current challenges facing their industry, as well as meeting some of the hardworking staff and having a tour of their recently upgraded workspaces. RS really is hugely significant to our local and national economy, and this was a very useful catch-up.
Early on Wednesday morning, I attended a breakfast meeting at the Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel. During the meeting, it was great to provide an update to those present about both local and national business related issues, to hear their views, to speak with them about their concerns, and also to discuss the UK’s exit from the European Union and the opportunities that will bring for businesses, as well as to better understand their needs in terms of the negotiations ahead.  The Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel do a terrific job in organising the business breakfast every month, with a whole host of interesting speakers and a wide array of business representatives in attendance, and I was delighted to be invited – very useful for me, and I hope useful too for all those who attended; the businesses that are so important to the prosperity of the Corby economy. 
 
Following on from this, I made a visit to Chemence Ltd on Princewood Road in Corby. Chemence is a leading manufacturer of adhesives and sealants for a wide variety of industrial uses. It is a global company, a significant employer in Corby, and the business behind many leading national and international brands. During the visit, we had a good discussion about the work they are doing, in particular, concerning their expertise in polymerizable technology, and I appreciated the opportunity to discuss their requirements as we leave the European Union, as well as the role that they hope to see the industry play as part of the Industrial Strategy that the Government is presently consulting widely on. 
 
At lunchtime, I also dropped into Willow Place for an update from the Town Centre Manager on their plans for further improvements to the town centre, all of which was very encouraging and welcome news, with real interest being shown by retailers wanting to open stores in the town.

 

On Wednesday, it was announced that thousands of workers at Tata Steel have voted for a new deal on their pensions, as part of a wider proposal put forward after discussions with the unions towards the end of 2016. With respect to this outcome, I associate myself with the comments of Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, whom I hugely respect and have worked with closely on this issue, who said:
 
"This result provides a mandate from our members to move forward in our discussions with Tata and find a sustainable solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme.
 
Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking. Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the PPF.
 
This ballot involved an extremely personal decision for everyone that voted. Whichever way our members cast their votes, we know they will not have taken that decision lightly and everyone’s opinions must be respected.
 
We now expect Tata to make good on their promises and deliver the investment plan for the whole of their steel business. The UK Government still has an important role to play and we fully expect them to deliver tangible support for steelmaking in the UK."
 
Of course, I will continue to follow this issue closely, and take up any concerns that those affected by this announcement might have, as I know we all share one objective: to secure the future of the UK steel industry for generations to come.
 

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a meeting along with members of the Corby Safer Community Team, organised by PC Chris Vickers, at the Grendon Avenue Neighbourhood Watch in Corby. During the meeting, the concerns of residents were raised, and it was good to see such a good number of local residents coming together, as they do weekly – not just to raise their concerns, but also to socialise and share a meal.  A number of concerns were raised relating to both parking and street lighting in the area, and I am now hoping to organise a joint site visit involving both Northamptonshire County Council and Corby Borough Council, in order that they can hear the concerns residents have first-hand, and see what can be done to address them.  It was also very helpful to speak at the meeting along with the local Police, whose efforts I know are appreciated by me, the Grendon Avenue residents, and our whole community.
 
On Thursday, I attended a meeting with EMLC Academy Trust to hear about their most recent news, and to get an update on how the schools within their group are performing, with particular emphasis on Prince William School in Oundle. During the meeting it was good to discuss the future of education provision in Northamptonshire, and to hear about EMLC’s plans for Prince William around improving standards further. 
Yesterday afternoon, I made a visit to Nene Wetlands at Rushden Lakes. It was interesting to hear about The Crown Estate and the Wildlife Trust’s plans for this site and the role they will be playing in protecting what is an important wildlife area next to this flagship retail scheme, and also engaging visitors with the birds and animals in this habitat.  During the visit, I had a tour of the development and the surrounding natural areas, and was able to see for myself how the new retail scheme is being planned and delivered to cause the least disruption possible to the local wildlife.
 
On a related note, this week, I received communication from East Northamptonshire Council, announcing that councillors on the Planning Management Committee have unanimously approved an amended application for Rushden Lakes. Revised plans for the new retail and leisure site include two further cinema screens - bringing the total to 14 - three more restaurants, three more retail units, an indoor trampoline facility and a climbing wall. Councillors also approved an extra 461 parking spaces. This is great news for the area, bringing over a thousand extra jobs, as well as enhancing the retail and leisure offer on site. Following the approval, and owing to the scale of the proposal, I understand it will now be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt. Hon Sajid Javid MP, to consider whether to ‘call in’ the application.  Of course, I will be strongly urging him not to, although if he did, this would not affect the intended summer opening of the initial phase of the development.
 
During my visit, I have to say that I was stunned by the progress that is being made in bringing Rushden Lakes to life – I was excited about it before I went, but now I really can’t wait to see it open; an absolute transformation of this brownfield site, with the added advantage of enhancing the local natural environment!
Recently, I have received communication from the Post Office Ltd regarding the Kings Cliffe branch. After months of uncertainty, I am pleased to be able to say that the Post Office are currently finalising their plans to re-open the branch in May, and will be contacting me again when they have a firm date for the re-opening. This is great news for Kings Cliffe and the surrounding villages, as I know how vital this service is to many – that said, I will continue to press for the earliest possible date for re-opening.
Last Friday, after attending my weekly surgery in Corby, and also meeting with other constituents, I made a visit to PEP&CO in the Willow Place Shopping Centre in Corby. It was nice to visit the shop and meet the team and see what a great success it has become in just over a year, employing a number of local people, and adding to Corby’s retail offer. PEP&CO is a great success story for UK High Streets - a company which opened 50 shops in the UK, in just over 50 days a year ago. A great addition to Corby!
Last Friday afternoon, I made a visit to the brilliant Urgent Care Centre in Corby. During the visit, I was able to see the terrific work being done, day in, day out, and see the massive difference that the Urgent Care Centre makes for local residents, and those from further afield, and also how it strategically fits in relation to health services in our area. The centre is a fantastic example of how local needs can be met, whilst also relieving pressure on the A&E at Kettering General Hospital. It was a pleasure to be shown around, to meet the dedicated staff, and to understand the challenges which the Urgent Care Centre faces on a daily basis.  I then went on to Lakeside Surgery, where I was able to see a very different local medical service in action. During the visit I met with the fantastic team of GPs and staff who are invaluable to our community, and saw how the surgery copes with the high demand of patients. It was good to visit both Lakeside Surgery and the Urgent Care Centre, and to see local health services in action – all very useful as we give thought to how services can be improved and enhanced across North Northamptonshire, particularly in light of the housing growth we are seeing.
It may be of interest to know for those who use Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust that there has been a new Patient, Carer and Relative Experience Group (PEG) set up which meets at Peterborough District Hospital on a regular basis. The group was set up as a means to improve the experience of patients, relatives and carers, and as a way to give feedback to hospital management about patient experience. For further information about this please visit the website, here.
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:

Ivory Trade 06-02-2017


Fuel Prices - 06-02-17


Families in Debt - 13-02-17


Governance of the Football Association - 13-02-17


Trade & Poverty - 13-02-17
TOM IN THE PRESS
Weldon road safety campaign given £40,000 boost

Northants Telegraph, 14th February 2017
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