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Welcome to the twenty ninth 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
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TOM IN WESTMINSTER
Last Monday in the House, during a Statement about the future of Nissan in Sunderland, I pointed out how this fantastic announcement clearly demonstrates to the world that Britain is open for business, and added that I hope our supply chains will also get a boost from this - particularly UK steel. I then asked the Secretary of State if he would say a little more about the wider involvement of the UK automobile sector in the forthcoming industrial strategy and how the announcement would fit into that. In his answer, the Secretary of State outlined how, with any industrial strategy, it is important to build on our strengths and not to be complacent, and he added how in order to continue to be strong, it is necessary to look at the conditions for promoting that. The Secretary of State also pointed out that the presence of a vigorous supply chain is important for the automotive sector, and it is important to be at the cutting edge of research and development, and to have the skills in the workforce, which expanding companies can count on in order to fulfil their order books. Lastly, he added that these are all important enabling conditions, and that the Government has a role to play by working with companies to make sure that they are all met. Given my strong interest in steel, and the need to secure the future of this vitally important industry, I am keeping a close eye on the progress of the industrial strategy and am determined to do all I can to constructively input into the shaping of it. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Tuesday, during an Adjournment Debate about the Chase Railway Line, in which my colleague, Amanda Milling MP, highlighted the difficulties faced by rail passengers in her constituency, I pointed out how, in Corby and East Northamptonshire, a particular challenge to existing rail capacity is new housing developments, which will only continue to increase demand, leading to a need for greater service capacity. This is clearly a challenge to other areas affected by significant housing growth too, as my colleague was able to confirm, and this debate offered me the chance to again highlight in the House that residents in Corby would like to see more train services both Northbound and Southbound - something I shall continue to campaign for. You can watch the debate, here.
Last week, another Steel All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting was held, which heard from both Mike Birch, Director of Case Management at the Pensions Regulator and Ian Ballentine, Procurement Director at Heathrow Airport. This was a very interesting meeting, and it was particularly pleasing to hear Heathrow again reaffirm its commitment to using British steel, and its desire to spread the benefits of construction across the UK supply-chain. Following on from this meeting, last Thursday afternoon, I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the industry - a constructive debate, during which the most pressing challenges facing the industry were aired. As ever, it was good to hear the perspective of cross-party colleagues with an interest in the industry, and to hear about the current situation in relation to specific steelworks across the country. Collectively, we keep the pressure up, and will continue to call for certainty. You can watch the debate, here.
Last week, during a Statement on the recently released Green Paper by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, I said how I very much welcomed the announcement of the Green Paper, particularly with regards to providing greater support for those with mental health conditions. And, I asked the Secretary of State what steps he planned to take to make sure that we engage properly with people affected by such conditions, and the organisations that represent them, to ensure that we get these policy decisions right. In his reply, the Secretary of State outlined how the Government is doing large-scale, localised consultations, and how there is a huge network of 750 Jobcentres around the country, affording the Department for Work and Pensions the power to get into local areas and know what local conditions and needs there are. He added that this is by far the most powerful tool available to make sure that the services offered can be appropriately sensitive in every community, according to the needs that exist. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Monday in the House, during an Urgent Question on NHS funding, I asked the Secretary of State if he agreed that, as well as increasing funding, it is crucially important to make the right strategic decisions, and pointed out as an example, the great success of the Corby Urgent Care Centre, which has transformed health services in our area, and has helped to relieve the pressure on A&E at Kettering General Hospital. I also hoped that my question would keep in the Secretary of State's mind our ongoing determination to secure a new Urgent Care Hub at Kettering - an initiative that would help to improve services, whilst further relieving pressure on A&E, as part of a wider, integrated, plan. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last Thursday, during a statement on prison safety and reform, I highlighted how Corby & East Northamptonshire residents will wholeheartedly welcome the reinstatement of HMP Wellingborough on the existing site. This move will lead to the creation of hundreds of new local jobs, whilst also delivering a significant economic boost - one that I believe could be further enhanced! As such, I asked if the Secretary of State would make my constituents even happier by promising to keep the use of British steel at the forefront of her mind when having discussions about these projects. In her answer, the Secretary of State congratulated me on championing British steel, and promised that she would look closely at my suggestion, and I shall keep the pressure up on this point! You can see my question, and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
Last week in the House, during an Urgent Question on air quality, I asked the Minister if she agreed that supporting British industries and products wherever possible, rather than importing cheap, poorly produced, goods from elsewhere, is good not only for jobs, but also for air quality in this country. In her reply, the Minister pointed out how, as outlined in earlier debates, Nissan will continue to manufacture cars in the UK, whilst there is also Toyota in Derbyshire and that we are already leading the way on ultra-low emission vehicles in other parts of the country. You can see my question and the Minister’s answer, here.
Last Thursday in the chamber, during International Trade Questions, I asked the Secretary of State what discussions he had had with his international counterparts on the development of bilateral trade deals between the UK and other countries. In his answer, the Secretary of State explained that while we remain members of the European Union, discussions the Government have are limited by the UK’s considerations of the common commercial policy and the UK’s duties of sincere co-operation. He confirmed that it is not possible to negotiate and conclude trade agreements while the UK is a member of the European Union, but that the Government can have discussions on the UK’s future trading relationships, and he highlighted that the UK will continue to be a champion for free trade, and back the EU’s current and ongoing negotiations. I thanked the Secretary of State for his answer and asked if he agreed that the decision to leave the European Union presents the UK with an enormous opportunity to re-engage with our Commonwealth friends and to forge proper trading links with them once more. You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s further answer, here.
On Monday in the House, during a statement on the process for invoking Article 50, I outlined my concerns relating to some of the contradictions we are hearing in relation to the narrative around this - with, on the one hand, some calling for certainty - particularly for businesses -  whilst on the other, calling for the whole process to be dragged out.  All of this I have found to be somewhat frustrating.  To my mind, the best way of providing certainty - which is crucially important - is to establish a strong plan, begin the negotiations, and trigger Article 50.  I for one have every confidence in the Prime Minister and her team in their ability to successfully deliver on this and I continue to feed back to Ministers local input around needs, concerns, and aspirations - both from residents and our strong business community.  My overriding concern is that we get this 100% right!  You can see my question and the Secretary of State’s answer, here.
TOM IN CORBY & EAST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
I have been very concerned to hear the news that the developers of Priors Hall Park have gone into administration. I am very conscious that residents will be extremely anxious and concerned by this news and to try and better understand the specifics of the situation, I have organised meetings this week with both Corby Borough Council, and East Northamptonshire Council, given that the site cuts across both local authority areas. I am also set to meet with the administrator on Monday and will report back thereafter. And I stand ready to ensure that any particular concerns that residents have are heard, and their questions answered.
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Chief Executive and the Executive Principal of Brooke Weston Trust. During the meeting it was good to hear about how our local schools and their pupils are doing, and to catch up on news and progress. It is great to hear that several of our local schools are doing so well and providing such a great start for our young people - it is fair to say that we have seen a real transformation of the local educational picture in Corby in the last twenty years, and I am keen to do all that I can to help enhance opportunity further in the years ahead.
Yesterday, I made a visit to Woodside Park in Weldon, a long-established mobile home park. During the visit, I met with the owner, Angela Ellis, and was interested to hear about the day-to-day running of the site, and about the challenges it faces. It was great to be shown around and see this successful local complex and to meet the residents. We also discussed the football pitch development, which was granted planning permission by Corby Borough Council earlier this week - whilst all disappointed, we discussed a number of concerns which I will be taking up with the developer, as it is clearly essential that the development is sensitive to its surroundings and respectful of the tight-knit community of Woodside Park.  I hope that they will be sensitive to these concerns and take appropriate steps to address them.
On Thursday, I attended a joint meeting alongside my colleague, Peter Bone MP, with David Oliver, Chief Executive of East Northamptonshire Council, and Cllr Steve North, the Leader of the Council. This meeting was a good chance to have a catch up and discuss some important local issues. The Rushden Lakes development was discussed in detail – with particular reference to the ongoing highways works, which will be crucial to bolstering the local transport infrastructure in conjunction with this project. The dualling of the A45 and the improvements to the Chowns Mill Roundabout were also highlighted. Additionally, we discussed the recent news that the developer of Priors Hall Park has gone into administration, and we covered the limited information we have at this time, all stressing that we stand ready to help deal with any issues which may arise because of this news. Rest assured that, going forward, this will continue to be of high priority - indeed, I am meeting with the Administrator on Monday, and hope to have a full understanding of the up-to-date situation as a result of that meeting.
This afternoon, I made a visit to the William Hill shop in Corby on Corporation Street. During this visit it was good to meet the staff and see the running of the shop on a day-to-day basis. It was also a useful opportunity to discuss, and learn more about, the new measures and regulations which have been put in place to ensure greater protection for both customers and staff.
Today, I met with a representative from Northamptonshire Credit Union to hear about the financial services they offer. Northamptonshire Credit Union provides a range of affordable financial services, including safe savings, low cost loans and banking facilities, which are open to anyone who is living or working in Northamptonshire. The focus of the Credit Union is a community based one, which is owned and run by its members. You can find out more about this service here, and I was really pleased to hear about the excellent work that it does.

Today, I also met with several constituents at my weekly surgeries in both Thrapston and Corby, before catching up with Cllr Tom Beattie, the Leader of Corby Borough Council. During this catch up, it was good to discuss the most pressing local issues, and to exchange views on the most recent developments in the steel industry - a top priority for us both, as we all work hard to secure the future of the Corby site, and the wider UK industry.
Yesterday afternoon, I attended a meeting alongside my colleague, Peter Bone MP, with the Chief Fire Officer, Darren Dovey, at the HQ of the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. This was a good opportunity to learn more about the crucial work of the Fire Service, and hear about its plans for the future.  Following on from this, I attended a Barclay’s business dinner with my Northamptonshire colleague, Chris Heaton-Harris MP. This event was well attended by representatives from many different local businesses and it was a very useful opportunity to speak to them, from across a variety of sectors, and to hear about their plans for the future. Many of the business people I spoke to were interested to discuss the new opportunities, and challenges, presented by the recent vote to leave the European Union, and it was useful to gain an insight into their opinions on this issue - all very useful information to feed back to Ministers to inform their thinking.
Yesterday morning, I made a visit to Woodnewton Learning Community on Rowlett Road in Corby to attend an award ceremony and present the Majorie Boxall Quality Mark Award to the school for their excellent nurture group. This award was given to the school by the Nurture Group Network, in recognition of their exemplary practice in supporting a range of pupil’s needs in their nurture groups. During the visit, I also had a tour of the school, which gave me an opportunity to meet some of the pupils and teachers, and see the school’s great work in action. Woodnewton is a very well deserving recipient of this award - a huge well done to all involved!
Recently, I received communication from NHS England announcing that the appeal relating to the application for a pharmacy at Priors Hall Park had been refused. During the application process, I wrote twice to the NHS Litigation Authority - first to express my broad support for the application, but secondly to outline that my support was conditional on there being no threat to existing GP and pharmacy services in Weldon. Personally, I believe that both settlements should have the infrastructure that they require, and with all the new houses being built, it is becoming increasingly important that local services keep pace with the scale of development.  As such, I will continue to make the case for new infrastructure to accompany the new homes we are taking - particularly at Priors Hall Park.
On Wednesday evening, I went along to a well-attended meeting of the Kingswood Neighbourhood Association. During the meeting, it was great to meet local residents and with several councillors, and representatives from other local public services also being present, it was a useful platform to come together to discuss the main challenges and concerns which are affecting Kingswood residents, and to discuss how we can best work together to ensure that these are addressed.  I also enjoyed having the opportunity to talk about my work as your local Member of Parliament and to thank all those who work tirelessly on behalf of local residents as part of the Association - a very big 'thank you' to all involved!
On Monday, I had a meeting with Mintridge Events, a new start-up company based in Corby, which works with a number of schools across the county to increase sporting participation. During the meeting I heard about some of the great work that Mintridge does, which involves using professional sporting ambassadors as positive role models to deliver mentoring programmes in schools, clubs and colleges. As a keen and enthusiastic sportsman myself, it was fantastic to hear about Mintridge’s work in encouraging sporting participation, and also promoting a better understanding of health and wellbeing - both of which are so important.  I have to say I am extremely jealous that these opportunities didn't exist when I was growing up in Northamptonshire! You can find out more information, 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:

Homelessness Reduction Bill 28-10-16

Breeding and Sale of Pets 08-11-16

Surrogacy Law Reform 08-11-16

Violence Against Women and Girls 08-11-2016

A&E Closures 08-11-16
TOM IN THE PRESS
Homes plan for Weldon football pitch approved despite numerous objections

Northants Telegraph, 9th November 2016


 
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