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Welcome to the thirty sixth 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 Monday in the Chamber, I outlined how, during the recess week, I attended two excellent business breakfasts in my constituency—one organised by the Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel and the other organised by Corby Business Group. I pointed out how there was a lot of expertise and experience at both events and asked the Minister how we can use that experience to support young people entering the world of work through mentoring. In his reply, the Minister agreed that mentoring has a critical role to play, and he said he would encourage those employers in my constituency, if they are not already doing so, to get in touch with local schools and colleges to seek out more opportunities - an endeavour I am keen to help and support. You can see my question and the Minister’s reply, here.
 

On Tuesday in the Chamber, during a Statement on the Prison Officers Association’s instruction to withdraw from voluntary tasks, I pointed out that the Government’s commitment to opening new prison places in fit-for-purpose buildings, including in North Northamptonshire, is very welcome news. I then asked the Minister what impact he thought that it will have on prison officer safety. In his reply, the Minister highlighted how, modern, fit-for-purpose prisons will have a huge impact on prison officer safety, not least because they will not have all the corners where people can hide, and that they will also be good for rehabilitation. The Minister also outlined how, that very day, Her Majesty’s Prison Berwyn had been opened, which is the largest prison in Europe and is taking its first prisoners. He added that this is a huge step forward in the Government's efforts, not only to reorganise the estate, reduce overcrowding and improve safety in prisons, but also to ensure that they can be places of rehabilitation. You can see my question and the Minister’s response, here.
 

Last Monday, during a Statement on the proposed takeover of Vauxhall and Opel by PSA, I highlighted how the UK car sector and the UK steel manufacturing sector are inextricably linked. I then asked the Secretary of State what role he sees the Industrial Strategy playing to the betterment of both. In his response, the Secretary of State said that the benefit of the Industrial Strategy is that we can look at the connections between areas and between sectors. And, he also acknowledged that of course, a thriving automotive sector in this country is good for the steel industry - a point I fully recognise and endorse. 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 asked, with significant housing growth taking place, what steps Ministers are taking to ensure that, when developers run into financial difficulties, necessary infrastructure is provided and developments are completed. In his reply, the Minister assured me that the Government's recently published White Paper sets out a number of measures that it plans to take to deal with this situation. The Minister outlined that, firstly, there is the £2.3 billion infrastructure fund that the Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement, and secondly, the Government is giving local authorities real power to intervene to ensure that schemes get built out. He added that the Government cannot just plan for the right number of homes; Ministers also need to ensure that they get built.  You can see my question and the Minister’s response, here.

As I have said previously, I see the White Paper as being an important forum for debate - particularly with our area experiencing significant housing growth and with developments such as Little Stanion having run into difficulties.  This means that we have a lot of experiences and insight to contribute to this process, to help get future policy right.  Indeed, I met with a constituent in Westminster this week to discuss a number of concerns relating to the quality of development and the NHBC, and encouraged him to make a submission; something I would urge anyone with an interest in this issue to do.  You can find more details about the White Paper, here.  Equally, if anyone wishes to share their comments with me, I will happily ensure that they are brought to the attention of Ministers, and I will certainly be keeping a close eye on progress in this area of policy.
On Monday in the House, during a Statement on the temporary failure to process some NHS correspondence by NHS Shared Business Services, I asked the Secretary of State if he would reassure the House that appropriate staffing resources have been made available to deal with the backlog, not just nationally, but also in the East Midlands. In his response, the Secretary of State reassured the House and highlighted that the Government has always been concerned to make sure that, because of the extra administrative work involved in going through more than 700,000 records, other patients using the NHS do not find that their care is delayed. He added that the Government made extra resources available for GP practices, so that they could do that without interrupting the ordinairy service they provide for their patients. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s response, here.
 
Last Friday, I was pleased to be present at the debate, and vote for, the Bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention. This Bill requires the UK to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – the Government supports this ratification and I was pleased that the Bill passed its Third Reading last Friday. This is another step forward in the Government’s commitment to tackling all forms of domestic violence, and supporting all victims. Over the last three years, £30 million of funding for domestic violence and sexual abuse victims has been provided, and the majority of these services have been commissioned on the basis that the needs of all victims are met.  This really is vitally important work, and I was pleased to be in attendance to support the Minister - whom I PPS for - in securing the passage of this Bill.
Yesterday, during Questions to the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, I asked, as part of their ongoing assessment into introducing ID requirements at polling stations, what consideration is being given to international best practice from around the world. In her reply, the representative from the Speaker’s Committee advised me that the Electoral Commission will consider all evidence, and that she would relay my comments to it. She added that it is clear that recent public opinion shows that 82% believe that voting at polling stations is safe, but it will be kept under review, and that it will be for the Government to make recommendations to the Electoral Commission about how that can be improved, in due course. You can see my question, and the answer, here.
On Wednesday, I organised and attended a joint meeting, along with several colleagues from Northamptonshire, with South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), to have a general catch up and to discuss business development and growth across our county. SEMLEP works in collaboration with both local authorities, and the private sector, and aims to deliver the strategic infrastructure and skills which are needed to facilitate economic growth and jobs. During the meeting, local issues were discussed and we heard about SEMLEP’s plans for the future. In particular, I was able to raise the ongoing appetite for a new Enterprise Zone in Corby, and the opportunities arising from the rail franchise coming up, and urged SEMLEP to keep these in mind for the discussions they have with Government. Northamptonshire clearly has strong opportunities for economic growth and it is crucial to continue to work together to ensure these are taken full advantage of.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Today, after meeting with constituents at my weekly surgeries, I made a visit to Danesholme Infant Academy. During the visit, I met with the dedicated staff and was shown around the school, as well as meeting some of the pupils. Danesholme has recently become an academy as part of the Greenwood Academies Trust and it was great to visit the school today, to meet the staff and pupils, and see this learning environment in action.
Last week, I wrote to Deloitte, the administrators of Silentpride Ltd, who are the developers of Little Stanion, to request an update on when it will be released from administration. I know that the company’s release was initially anticipated for the 7th October last year, and this delay must be very frustrating for Little Stanion residents, who understandably want certainty and to see the development completed. Rest assured, this matter will continue to be one of my key priorities – and I will continue to keep the pressure on for progress to be made.
This afternoon, I attended a meeting with David Oliver, the Chief Executive of East Northamptonshire Council, to discuss the plans for a new garden village at Deenethorpe Airfield - a bid which received Government backing recently. This proposal will bring around 1,500 more new homes to East Northamptonshire, as part of what is intended to be a flagship, high quality, sustainable, development. During the meeting it was good to have a general catch up with the Chief Executive, and to talk through the opportunities the new garden village will bring to our area, as well as to stress my strongly held view that the infrastructure to support it must be got right, and that the development must be infrastructure led.
I have recently received communication from East Northamptonshire Council announcing that they are running a free information day about the sorts of funding streams available to community groups on Thursday 27 April. The day, held at East Northamptonshire House in Thrapston, will be run in two halves. Entrance to both is entirely free:

•             10am – noon: Presentations from funders, giving ‘hints and tips’ as to how best to apply for their grants. This is a sit down event, so places are limited and will need to be booked.
•             1pm – 3pm: A Funders’ Fair, where community groups can drop in any time to talk to funders and find out who could help with their projects. No booking needed.
 
Local funders will also be in attendance at the event, giving groups a chance to speak to them directly, outline their projects, and find out immediately whether they would be eligible for funding. To find out more about the day and/or to book a place for the morning session, please contact Su Davies on 01832 742191 or
sdavies@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk.

I for one have always found signposting of this sort really helpful, because, if you don't know the funding pots are out there, you can't apply for them! 

 
Last Wednesday, I attended a joint meeting along with my colleagues, Peter Bone MP and Philip Hollobone MP, with Ioan Morgan, the Interim Principal of Tresham College, and Ian Pryce, the Principal and CEO of Bedford College. The meeting was a good opportunity to have a sit down with the interested parties and discuss the future of Tresham College, in light of the recent announcement that it is set to merge with Bedford College, and it was reassuring to meet with representatives of both to discuss the merger, and what this will mean for Tresham and its students going forward.  I most definitely want to see improvements in the opportunities available to young people in our area and this is an exciting chance to set down a vision and chart a course - I have indicated my willingness and desire to be actively engaged in this process.
 
I have recently received communication from the Post Office Ltd announcing that the Kings Cliffe branch will be reopening in May. After receiving a petition, signed by many residents in Kings Cliffe, I had arranged to present this in the House; however, I am delighted that this is no longer necessary, after months of campaigning on this issue, and the final details and arrangements are now being made. A massive 'congratulations' must go to all those involved in the excellent, spirited, local campaign – who I know will all be very relieved when the branch is finally back open!
Like many local people, I felt a great sense of sadness in seeing the bulldozers roll in at Nene Park to begin the demolition of the stadium.  Having coordinated the crisis meeting a fortnight ago, where I, along with Peter Bone MP, Councillor Marika Hillson, Councillor Roger Powell, Councillor Sylvia Hughes, Councillor Dorothy Maxwell, and a number of others, met with the owner, it is bitterly disappointing to see this facility lost forever, and it is frustrating that our calls for part of the stadium and associated pitch facilities, to be retained as part of any future regeneration of the site, have not been taken up.  In light of this decision, and the demolition works starting, I know I speak for everyone locally in saying that we must see a genuine 'win' for community football - an important legacy that the owners of Nene Park, I believe, are duty bound to make, and which I will continue to press for. As I say, a very sad time for all those who have supported Rushden & Diamonds over the years.
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:

Animal Cruelty Sentencing - 21-02-17


Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 21-02-17


Conflict in Yemen - 20-02-17


Green Investment Bank 20-02-17


PSHE 20-02-17


 
TOM IN THE PRESS
MP to raise NHS funding with Northants health bosses

Northants Telegraph, 18th February 2017


Corby families charity gets £400,000 Lottery boost

Northants Telegraph, 21st February 2017


Demolition of Nene Park stadium begins

BBC, 27th February 2017
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