May 17 2013
I was sad when I read in the Advertiser that Nottinghamshire County Council believes more than 1,400 children in the county are not getting the free school meals they are entitled too. A good school dinner can set kids up for the rest of the day and they should never be frowned upon. One of the things I’ll never tolerate is an outdated view that getting free school meals is a barrier to any future success. As a former free school meal kid myself I know this is nonsense. What better evidence to back this up than when I recently went to one local school and discovered how those receiving free school meals are going from strength to strength and in fact receiving some of the best results in the whole school.
One of the things that makes me most angry is when I receive letters from residents about the failure of local agencies to act quickly to deal with anti-social behaviour and nuisance neighbours. It makes my blood boil when I hear that a victim feels THEY are the ones who have to move when it should be the perpetrator. A series of Freedom of Information Requests by me recently revealed that there were 2,622 incidents of anti-social behaviour in Broxtowe last year and roughly speaking that works out around 24 incidents for every thousand people. The authorities should always act quickly to reduce this serious problem but the Government is turning the clock back with plans to scrap the ASBO and replace it with a weaker power which carries no criminal sanction for a breach.
Creating more jobs for youngsters could certainly help reduce anti-social behaviour. In the Commons last week I had a go at David Cameron after stats revealed there are now more people on the dole in the constituency than before he was elected way back in May 2010. He must live on a different planet compared to the rest of us here in Eastwood because three years down the line he seems to think that everything is going well. It isn't and the stats don’t lie so I asked him why he thought there are now people out of work – sadly for us he didn't seem to have a clue. I’m afraid this sort of answer just isn't good enough anymore.
May 14 2013
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero joined Liz Shirley of Kirkby Area and Residents’ Association (KARA) on a short walk through countryside which could be affected by a major new housing development.
Earlier this year Nottinghamshire based developers Westerman Homes announced plans to create a major new development in Kirkby and if they are given the green light the Mowlands scheme could include up to 1,800 new houses across almost 170 hectares of land.
Liz, who lives at Kirkby Cross which is near part of the planned site, invited the local MP to join her on the short guided walk. The route took in nearby allotments before heading onto open farmland and pastures which gave the MP the perfect view of woodland referred to locally as the Dumbles.
Many local residents have already raised concerns over the plans and Mrs Shirley recently met with Gloria to discuss the proposals at one of her regular surgeries. The Ashfield MP said; “Residents clearly feel extremely passionate about their green space in Kirkby. I have to admit what really worries me is that even if they win their local battle and councillors decide to block the proposals, the Government could still overrule it and give the plans the go ahead.”
Gloria added; “I’ve now promised to write to the planning minister Nick Boles to try and get some assurances from the Government that they won’t ignore strong local opinion and attempt to overturn any future decision by the Council like they did with a recent planning application in Skegby.”
May 13 2013
Last Friday (10th May) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero joined local campaigners and volunteers at the Tin Hat Centre in Selston to show her support for the struggling charity.
Following an intervention from the MP last month the charity now has two important meetings set up with local council chiefs to discuss its future in the next few weeks. From July the community hub will run out funds to pay for their core costs and the trustees are desperately seeking funding in order to tide them over. They need approximately £3,000 every month to cover the four staff salaries and save the Centre.
Gloria said; “I think the strength of the feeling is pretty obvious. The Tin Hat Centre is family friendly community hub and it’s so important for the people of Selston that its long term future is secured as quickly as possible”.
The MP added; “I’ll continue to do all I can to support the Centre, staff and all of the volunteers and local folk who use the site but they are desperately seeking a corporate sponsor which could make the world of difference. If there are any businesses or firms out there that would like to help then please do get in touch with the Paulette, the Centre Manager on 01773 864510.”
Representatives from the Tin Hat Centre recently met with Gloria to outline concerns over its financial future and following the meeting the MP immediately contacted both Ashfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council on the organisation’s behalf to find out what potential support may be available.
The trustees from the Centre, which previously received grant funding from Nottinghamshire County Council have since been invited to a meeting on 21st May. The aim of the meeting is to review the current position of a number of centres and to explore how Nottinghamshire County Council and external funders can assist with the continued delivery of services like the Tin Hat Centre.
This follows on from an informal meeting with Cathy Harvey, the County Council’s Voluntary and Community Sector Team Manager and a letter from Ashfield District Council promising to arrange another meeting between the Trustees for the Hat Centre and the Council’s Community Development Team.
May 11 2013
MPs expense claims have been processed for December 2012 - January 2013 and published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
Gloria: Instead of supporting people suffering from the blight of ASB the Government is proposing to weaken powers
May 9 2013
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister, commenting on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Bill, said:
"This is a Government with no answers to the big challenges facing Britain. Instead of supporting people suffering from the blight of anti-social behaviour (ASB) the Government is proposing to weaken powers and make victims wait for the help they deserve.
"Theresa May proposes to abolish the ASBO and replace it with the weaker IPNA. Breach of an ASBO was a criminal offence. Breach of the new IPNA will not be. The new Community remedy must not be a substitute for court action in serious cases and the Government has failed to heed the advice of the police, dog charities and other campaigners to introduce the Dog Control notice which would help to prevent attacks. Local authorities and enforcement agencies need powers to intervene in cases where they feel they can prevent incidents.
"We also know that too many people are still waiting too long for their anti-social behaviour complaints to be dealt with. The Home Secretary's proposed community trigger is not the answer. Recommending that people have to wait until five complaints have been made before action does not reflect the misery that can be caused by ASB.
"The Home Secretary promised the community trigger would get tough on repeat anti-social behaviour but in its pilot areas where it has been in operation for almost a year now it has hardly been activated at all. FOI data from the pilots show in Manchester there were 25,149 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour yet the community trigger was only activated 3 times. In Brighton & Hove there were 12,869 incidents of anti-social behaviour and the community trigger was activated just five times whilst in Richmond it hasn't been activated at all.
"The community trigger isn't the answer. Communities need Labour's 24-hour guarantee to ensure a rapid response to complaints.
"The Government needs to be on the side of the victims of anti-social behaviour not making it more difficult for them to get the help they need. Weakening powers and delaying action is no way to deal with such a serious issue."
May 8 2013
One of the things that makes me most angry is when I receive letters from residents about the failure of local agencies to act quickly to deal with nuisance neighbours and anti-social behaviour. It makes my blood boil when I hear that a victim feels THEY are the ones who have to move when it should be the perpetrator. A series of Freedom of Information Requests have revealed that there were 4,770 incidents of anti-social behaviour in Ashfield in the last year and roughly speaking that works out around 40 incidents for every thousand people. The authorities should always act quickly to reduce this serious problem but the Government is turning the clock back with plans to scrap the ASBO and replace it with a weaker power which carries no criminal sanction for a breach.
I did a double take when I was in my local newsagent the other day and saw this headline 'Minister's war on the countryside' in the Telegraph. The paper reported that The Planning Minister has privately told house builders he is prepared to liberalise planning rules to unleash a wave of new building in the countryside. It is one thing to say that sort of thing to developers in private but I would invite you to come to Ashfield and give people the same message - I guarantee you'll be off back to London with your tail between your legs!
One of the things I’ll never tolerate is an outdated view that getting free school meals is a barrier to any future success. As a former free school meal kid myself I know this is nonsense. What better evidence to back this up than when I recently went to Jeffries Primary & Nursery School in Kirkby and discovered how those receiving free school meals are going from strength to strength and in fact receiving some of the best results the school has ever seen. The inspirational head teacher, Miss Bent, beamed as she told me of me of their achievements and it reinforced to me once again just how bright the future is for Ashfield.
Finally, I’d like to belatedly congratulate Mansfield Town F.C on gaining promotion back to the Football League. It’s great news for the Mansfield and Ashfield area and I know lots of fans are still over the moon!
April 30 2013
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has urged Nottinghamshire County Council to get their house in order after complaining about the length of time she has to wait for a response to her letters sent out on behalf of constituents.
The local MP resorted to e-mailing the chief executive’s office yesterday in an attempt to chase up a response to her own complaint about the delays, which was originally sent by letter, last year and dated 10th December 2012.
Over the last few months, Gloria’s constituents have contacted her about a range of issues, including, parking, traffic calming measures, problems associated with anti-social behaviour in pedestrian bridleways and weather damaged roads and the MP has revealed she is still to receive a response to some of these queries.
Gloria said; “My constituents deserve a prompt response from Nottinghamshire County Council to their queries, after all they are public servants and it is their job to ensure their concerns are investigated and answered. Many are now eager for a reply and whilst I appreciate matters need to be investigated before a full response can be sent; unfortunately it appears the time this is taking is increasing not decreasing.”
The MP added; “Shockingly my last letter urging them to speed up the process of replying was actually sent way back in December last year. The irony is that they haven’t even replied to this yet. I’m afraid bosses there need to get a grip on things and quick.”
Shadow Minister for Care & Older People meets Ashfield residents to discuss health and care concerns
April 29 2013
Last Friday (April 26th) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was joined by Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, as she hosted a small discussion to talk about the provision of care for older people.
The Shadow Minister and Gloria heard from brother and sister, Andy Pye and Val Doughty who told the two politicians about their eighty year old mum, Ms Pye’s time in a Sutton care home. After just three and a half years the bill already stands at a massive £45,000 and after selling the family home they are increasingly worried about how they will be able to afford to pay for her care over the next few years. The cost of the care has been self-funded so far but the two siblings are now worried as their mum’s savings have now fallen below the £23,250 threshold which should mean now be entitled to financial support from the council. Despite contacting the council weeks ago neither has heard anything back and Gloria is now taking up the case with council bosses.
Val Doughty said; “We never wanted to see our mum in care but the home has been wonderful, unfortunately we are now really struggling. When our dad passed away she thought she’d be cared for but the money is running out. It’s just been really good to be able to talk to people and get it off our chest.”
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “I’ve heard some extremely moving stories today and the sad thing is this discussion could have gone on all day. The reason I invited Liz was because I’m told time and again that it is one of the issues people are worried about the most as they or their loved ones get older. There is no doubt something needs to be done and I’m really grateful that Liz was here to take on board these concerns and hopefully use them to improve the system going forward.”
The Shadow Minister for Care added: “It’s absolutely vital that residents and their families are listened too. Too often patients and their families struggle with all the different NHS and social care services to get the help they desperately need. This isn’t good for them, and it wastes taxpayers’ money too if people end up having to use more expensive hospital or residential care. People want services and support that fits around their lives, and which helps them stay healthy and living independently in their own homes wherever possible. This is what Labour’s vision of ‘Whole Person Care’ is all about.”
The informal event was held at the house of one of the Kirkby residents and all of the issues raised during the meeting will inform Labour’s health and social care policy review, which Liz is leading, and help shape Labour’s future policy on care for older people.
April 24 2013
Local MP Gloria De Piero has urged the Government not to scrap the ASBO and called for faster action to help tackle anti-social behaviour in Ashfield.
A detailed breakdown obtained by Freedom of Information Requests from the Shadow Home Office Minister and research by statisticians from the House of Commons Library has revealed new figures, which show in Ashfield there were 4,770 anti-social behaviour incidents recorded by the police in 2012.
This means on average there were 40 anti-social behaviour incidents per 1,000 people in Ashfield area in 2012.
The figures also paint a revealing picture of the scale of the anti-social behaviour problem at a police force wide area, with Nottinghamshire Police recording 42,147 incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2012, which means on average there were 39 incidents of anti-social behaviour per 1,000 people.
Gloria said; “Anti-social behaviour is a serious problem. The Government’s official crime survey has revealed that more than eight out of ten people believe anti social behaviour has risen in England and Wales in the last 12 months and nearly a third said that they had personally been a victim of yobbish behaviour or had witnessed an event in the last 12 months.”
“The Government is turning the clock back with their plans to scrap the ASBO and replace it with a weaker power which carries no criminal sanction for a breach. The Government’s community trigger, which demands a response if a person has complained three times just isn’t good enough. People have the right to expect action right away and help to tackle an issue which is a huge worry.”
April 22 2013
Last Saturday (20th April) saw the return of Gloria De Piero’s popular coffee morning for Ashfield constituents at the Anchor Centre in Skegby and anti-social behaviour topped the agenda during the hour long chat.
A new round of residents’ surveys was also rolled out to coincide with the first Ashfield coffee morning of the year and dog fouling, road safety and speeding were also brought to the attention of the local MP.
During the morning, anti-social behaviour was raised time and again by local folk who told Gloria that they were getting increasingly fed up with the behaviour of a small minority of troublemakers on the site of the old Co-Op store and Healdswood Park. The Ashfield MP promised she would write to bosses at the Co-Operative to find out what their plans are for the site as well as writing to the police to ensure they are of the problems at both locations, including drinking at Healdswood Park.
One of the ideas discussed was the introduction of a Designated Public Places Order which would give officers discretionary powers to stop drinking and confiscate alcohol. Local PCSO Linda Foreman told residents that an old order had expired but that the police would look at the reports to see if it needed renewing and also urged local folk to report any incidents as soon as they occurred.
Gloria said; “This was the first coffee morning of the year and I’ve found these events are a great way for me to get out and about and listen to people’s concerns in their own neighbourhood. Anti-social behaviour topped the agenda and if it’s not stamped out early it is a problem which can blight local communities.”
The MP added; “I’ve promised to write to the council and the police on a host of other issues too, including boy racers on the Healdswood Estate and the growing problem of dog fouling in some of our lovely parks. Both these problems reduce the quality of life in the area and both are completely unacceptable. As soon as the police and the council get back to me I will let all of the residents know”.
April 19 2013
On Friday (19th April) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero took Chuka Umunna, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to see leading local firm Synseal
Originally set up in 1980 the company is now the largest British owned PVC systems company, contributing significantly to the local economy by employing over seven hundred members of staff and recording a turnover of more than £90 million last year.
Gloria last visited the award winning business based on Common Road in the summer of 2012 and was extremely impressed and following the visit she invited the Shadow Business Secretary to Ashfield to take a closer look for himself. Mr Umunna was keen to hear how Synseal remained so competitive despite the tough economic climate and what more bosses think could be done by the Government to support manufacturing firms in the region.
David Leng, chief executive, told the two politicians how he was very much in favour of a temporary VAT cut which he believed would be far more effective than the Green Deal and would also help improve consumer confidence. Mr Leng, also bemoaned the lack of assistance from central government and the stubbornness of banks to lend. However, one of his biggest concerns was the relative ease in which companies enter pre-packaged insolvency and he told the Shadow Business Spokesman that this was a constant battle for his firm.
Chuka Umunna, Shadow Secretary of State said; “I was particularly interested to hear how the chief executive was very much in favour of a temporary VAT cut and lots of business leaders have told me the same thing. Businesses are crying out for more support with investment and we need a proper industrial strategy which encourages and rewards innovation but if the economy doesn’t pick up it will continue to be a struggle. Talking to David also underlined the need for a British Investment Bank supported by a network of regional and local banks.”
Gloria added; “Synseal are a real local success story and we have a number of fantastic businesses that are really putting Ashfield on the map in terms of manufacturing. I was proud to be able to invite the Shadow Secretary of State to the region and he told me how afterwards just how useful he found the meeting.”
The local firm are renowned in the sector for their innovative engineering and designs which are often market leaders and they have been widely recognised for their achievements. In 2011 they won the prestigious Nottinghamshire Company of the Year Award and were also finalists in the Green Manufacturer of the Year Award at the Insider Made in the Midlands Awards.
Last year Synseal made almost enough window and conservatory PVC systems – 25,000 miles – to stretch right around the planet. In fact the company appears to do everything on a grand scale including its recycling, which amounted to over 1,500 tonnes of waste plastic last year and in turn ensuring sustainability by achieving its green target of “zero waste to landfill” for its factory operations.
April 15 2013
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has taken up the cases of two Underwood residents who came to see her at this week’s advice surgery to complain about the lack of evening and weekend bus services available.
Following the surgery, Gloria has written to Nottinghamshire County Council and the two bus companies involved, Trent Barton and K&H Doyle, to raise Jen Clarke and John Barlow’s concerns about bus service provision in rural areas.
Jen, who is in her early 30’s and a hospitality management student at Nottingham Trent University told Gloria how she had to turn down a job at city centre hotel while John,
a Nottingham Forest fan, said he found it a constant battle rushing back from the stadium to the bus stop every other week in order to make the last bus home.
On Monday to Saturday the last Rainbow 1 bus, which travels through Underwood, leaves the Victoria Bus Station in Nottingham at 18:10 while the last Doyles 331 bus, which also goes through Underwood, leaves the city centre bus station at 17:35. On a Sunday neither the Rainbow 1 nor the Doyles 331 services operate.
Gloria said: “I’ve written to Nottinghamshire County Council as well as the bus companies involved because it just can’t be right that we expect older people to be trapped in their own home and not be able to socialise and young talented people to turn down their dream job. I hope the bosses involved will sit up and take notice of these concerns and between them reassess the provision of bus services in rural areas like Underwood.”
April 12 2013
A Sutton pensioner who previously raised energy prices with local MP Gloria De Piero had the chance to put her concerns directly to Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.
The Ashfield MP arranged for Caroline Flint to meet with Mrs Riley at her home on Gilcroft Street, Sutton and they spent half an hour chatting about the ever increasing cost of energy bills over a cup of tea. The spokeswoman for energy was then shocked to find out that Mrs Riley’s latest quarterly energy bills came to over £500, adding to the pensioner’s worries about the cost of heating her home.
June told the two MPs how she had seen her bills continue to rise over the last year and that the bitterly cold and snowy winter months had made a huge difference because she had been unable to get out of the house for a fortnight.
The Shadow Secretary of State said: “Energy companies always blame increased costs when they put up people’s bills. But with prices and profits up it looks the energy giants are cashing on in the cold weather. These companies should do more to help pensioners like Mrs Riley, whether that means making it easier to insulate homes or automatically putting anyone aged 75 or over on the cheapest tariff, which is one of the things we are looking at.”
Gloria added: “The reason I invited Caroline to meet June was because I knew just how worried she was about her energy bills and that it was starting to become a real struggle for her. It’s an issue that needs to be looked at and I know Caroline will certainly take on board all of her concerns. It’s so important because time and again pensioners, families with children and even single person households raise it with me when I’m out and about in Ashfield.”
April 11 2013
Gloria De Piero was joined by Mary Creagh, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. During a busy afternoon the two MPs paid a visit to a food bank run by the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau before finding time to have a chat with the owner of popular Hilltop butchers, Hand & Son.
Gloria arranged for the shadow DEFRA spokeswoman to visit the food bank after being impressed by the work of the manager, Sue Bagshaw and volunteers during a previous visit late last year. Back then the local MP had promised she would invite Mary up to Eastwood to witness for herself the excellent work going on in the in the area and to ask if she could offer the charity some advice given her extensive brief covers the issue.
During the meeting Mary heard how the food bank, which has been operating for over three years and is open on a Tuesday and Friday is issuing over forty parcels a week to those most in need in the local community. The parcels which usually contain cereal, long-life milk, tins of salmon and tuna, rice, pasta, biscuits and preservatives such as jam are then handed out once a week for a six week period.
Mary said: “There has been a huge growth in families forced to turn to food banks for help. Without the work of caring charities like the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and their fantastic staff and volunteers then the number of people going hungry each week would be even worse. The biggest demand is now coming from families facing benefits delays, struggling with debt and unemployment and the Government must do more to help alleviate the strain on food banks and reduce food poverty.”
Immediately after the meeting at the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau, Gloria and the Shadow Secretary of State then made their way up to popular Hilltop butchers, Hand & Son to have a chat with the owner, Phil. After sampling one of the many delicious home-made meat pasties on offer, the butcher told the two politicians how he had seen sales go through the roof in the wake of the recent horsemeat scandal.
Hand & Son, which first opened in 1983, source all their meat from Staffordshire Meat Packer in England and Phil said; “Everything we get in the this shop can be directly traced and our customers know exactly what they are getting and the reason why we are doing so well is because they can trust us.”
Mary added; “A good butcher is a great addition to the high street. It’s fantastic to see Hand & Son thriving. Having tried their excellent pasties I can see why they’re doing so well!”
Speaking afterwards, Gloria said; “I’m really grateful to Mary for coming all the way up to Eastwood and offering her fantastic expertise and advice to the volunteer bureau. As demand increases I’m sure they will find her help invaluable and Sue, the manager has told me they are already looking in to one or two things Mary has recommended which is great news. I’m also extremely proud that I was able to take her to meet Phil and Paula at the butchers, not only are they lovely people, they are also have some amazing food on offer too.”
April 10 2013
Yesterday afternoon (9th April) local MP Gloria De Piero attended a special advice session organised by the Eastwood People’s Initiative and chatted with a number of residents who have been affected by the recent Government welfare reforms.
Gloria was invited to attend one of the Initiative’s first sessions since a raft of new welfare reforms were introduced at the beginning of this month and the MP was on hand to listen to firsthand accounts of how some of the Eastwood residents have been personally affected.
April 5 2013
Yesterday (4th April) local MP Gloria De Piero went to Eastwood Ambulance Station to meet staff following the recent announcement by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) that the station will be saved from closure.
During the visit Gloria met Leigh Smith, from Giltbrook, who is the clinical lead and has been with the service for over twenty four years. Leigh actually began his career in the control room before becoming a frontline member of staff in 1991 and he told the MP how relieved all of the staff were when it was finally announced that the town’s station was to remain open.
Leigh said: “Everyone was so pleased when we were told of the news and now we’ve got clarity it is a huge relief. Over the last few months quite a few local people have been asking me what’s happening, so it’s also nice to be able to say that the station is staying put. In a geographical sense it is in an ideal location to serve the area and the surrounding towns and it is great we are maintaining a high profile presence”.
The Eastwood MP added: “First and foremost I am just so pleased that the people of Eastwood are no longer facing the loss of a vital service. Ever since the station was first earmarked for closure residents were extremely worried and they certainly made no secret of their feelings and neither did I. I raised the matter with Ministers in Parliament and contacted bosses at the Trust a number of times to raise concerns about the possible closure and it just goes to show that making a fuss can make a big difference. Our station is here to stay and I’d like to say congratulations to everyone who fought to keep it open, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and now EMAS can focus on delivering the best possible service to the people of Eastwood”.
On arrival, the MP was also met by Peter Ripley, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of EMAS and he outlined some of the plans and told Gloria how he was “incredibly optimistic for the future and was confident the Trust was going to improve”.
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust provides emergency 999, urgent care and patient transport services for 4.8 million people throughout Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire. Every day they receive around 2,000 calls from members of the public calling 999 and the accident and emergency crews respond to 670,000 emergency calls.
April 3 2013
Being an MP is about being able to fight the corner of people who come to see me for help or advice. I don’t always win but it never stops me taking up a case. Last week a Sutton pensioner came to see me after he caught a TM Travel bus. His free pass wouldn’t swipe properly so the driver charged him £5 return. On his way back, a different driver told him that shouldn’t have happened and he should have been issued with a £0 concession ticket. The gentleman rang TM Travel to ask for his £5 back and in response they did confirm the first driver was wrong BUT said they have a policy of not issuing refunds so he can’t get his money back! I’ve since written to the chief executive to try and get his money back and I’ll let you know how we get on. Fingers crossed.
Loads of people in Westminster are raving about a play called This House which tells the story of the 74 - 79 Government - the last hung parliament as it happens. Whenever anyone raises it with me I get a lovely warm feeling because it was written by Kirkby born James Graham who went to Kirkby Woodhouse Primary School and then onto Ashfield school. I'm going to see the play soon and James assures me that Ashfield gets a mention. James is obviously very loyal to the town he grew up in. I've read interviews where he talks about the influence of Ashfield school head of drama Martin Humphries; "He introduced me to modern working class playwrights like John Godber and Willy Russell. It was an eye-opener" he says. It’s proof that an amazing teacher can do so much. Well done James - Ashfield is very proud of you.
Some people will see changes to their tax credits and child benefit this month and probably notice many more changes that have come into effect too. Many of you will be worried that the changes will reduce the money you have coming in and need some information on who will be affected and how to plan ahead. The Citizen Advice Bureau website has section on Welfare benefits which you may find usefulhttp://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/news/whats_new_feb13_welfare_benefits_changes.htm Or if you are affected and want me to raise your case then drop me a line or call me on 01623 720 399
March 28 2013
MPs latest expense claims have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
March 27 2013
I was at King’s Mill last week and I was shocked to see a sign that revealed 30,000 people missed an appointment last year and didn’t bother to cancel at a staggering cost of £3m. To put it another way – that money could be used to hire another 125 nurses! We all love our NHS and rightly demand the highest standards of care but love means having respect. If we have to miss a hospital appointment we should do all we can to give the hospital a call to let them know the day before so they can offer the appointment to someone else.
When people do talk to me about healthcare the first thing they usually mention is the kindness of the staff. If you'd like to submit a nominations for the Sherwood Forest Hospitals “People’s Award” to recognise an outstanding hospital employee who provides exceptional service above and beyond the call of duty then email email@example.com
HS2 update – I recently met with the Secretary of State for Transport because I wanted more information about how the route is going to impact Ashfield. A public consultation will start this summer and I would urge all concerned residents to respond as I will do so. In approximately 18 months’ time a final route will be published. The Secretary of State has assured me my constituents views will be taken seriously as will the environmental issues which are relevant to Ashfield and are of deep concern to me. I will keep him to his word. In addition, given that Toton is isolated, Ministers will also be coming forward with how to connect areas up from Ashfield to get there quickly.
Finally, there are still far too many people out of work in Ashfield but that number has been falling very slowly. The issue is far too important to play party politics with and I have always welcomed any fall as a step in the right direction. However, I was alarmed when the latest figures showed that the number of Ashfield folk out of work actually increased by 76 compared to the last month. I hope for the sake of Ashfield this is a blip and not a sign of things to come.
March 22 2013
Gloria De Piero visited the D.H Lawrence Heritage Centre to show her support for the award winning local attraction as part of English Tourism Week.
The weeklong national initiative has been designed to promote and support attractions throughout England and this week the Birthplace Museum and Heritage Centre have had special themed tours where children can dress up like a Victorian, design bunting and flags and even make their very own Queen Victoria peg doll – Queen Pegotoria!
Gloria said; "I'm so proud that one of the greatest writers of the last century came from Eastwood. We are lucky to have such a great museum and heritage centre right on the doorstep that celebrates our town's most famous son".
"As MP I'll always do my best to support and promote tourism in the area. We have fantastic potential and I can't think of many better ways to spend a morning or afternoon than finding out more about D.H Lawrence. If you haven't been yet then you are missing out. It's a little gem".
English Tourism Week is a week-long celebration of events showcasing the quality and vibrancy of the visitor experiences and the value the industry brings both nationally and locally.
March 21 2013
Budget day is a big box office event in the House of Commons. Whereas Prime Ministers Questions is normally the main Parliamentary event of the week, it’s very much relegated to a warm up act on Budget day as MPs are itching to hear what the Chancellor has to say. I was lucky enough to get called for Prime Ministers Questions last week - I say lucky because it’s a total lottery whether or not you are picked to ask a question and though I enter each week my name has only been picked 4 times in nearly 3 years - it really is the luck of the draw. I asked the PM how he planned to spend his millionaires’ tax cut. A bit cheeky I know but I thought it made the point - the PM shouted something rude back. The truth is that I couldn't tell you exactly what his response was because the noise levels are so high inside the Commons Chamber that you genuinely miss large chunks of what's being said - it’s much, much louder than it appears on the TV. On budget day MPs are even more boisterous. The Speaker does his best to calm the atmosphere quipping that the panto season isn't due to start for 8 months and so MPs should stop auditioning. In truth the forecasts for whether things are going to pick up were pretty bleak - I genuinely hope those forecasts are wrong because they aren't just raw numbers and data - its peoples’ lives.
At one point during the chancellor’s speech it became clear that George Osborne got a frog in his throat and had to pause for a glass of water - something that can happen to anyone but the House of Commons is an unforgiving macho place at the best of times and there's little generosity of spirit for your political opponents. The truth is some MPs like to shout, sneer and jeer all through Budget day but whatever the theatre that goes on in the Commons Chamber, whatever the jargon used by Chancellors of all colours, one thing struck me most during those 56 minutes - it was the moment the monthly unemployment figures for Ashfield flashed up in my blackberry e-mail inbox showing that in the last month 76 more people in Ashfield have lost their job. That's one figure that no amount of jargon can conceal.
March 20 2013
One of the most common problems constituents raise with me is the dreaded pothole and it seems as though as soon as one is fixed another one pops up. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when a report this week found that ‘one in three roads are poor, very poor or terrible’. I know it’s an issue that drives motorists crazy because of the number of times it comes up when I meet people on the doorstep. I regularly write to bosses at Notts County Council to complain on behalf of fed up folk so if you’ve got a pothole problem near you then get in touch and I’ll ask when they plan to sort it.
I was disgusted to read in my copy of the Chad about the nightmare a father and his nine year old disabled daughter from Stanton-Hill had when they went to see Justin Bieber in Nottingham recently. You spend your hard earned cash and expect a good night. You do not to be hanging around for two hours. What happened was completely unacceptable – who on earth do these pop stars think they are. If Mr Marshall reads this and wants to get in touch to have a go at getting a refund I’ll happily give it a go. Call me on 01623 720399.
And finally, I've long argued politics needs to open its doors so it looks far more like Britain so opening up my office and giving people work experience can be a first step on the ladder BUT there's work experience and there's exploitation. I wasn't surprised to see one Manchester MP being criticised for advertising for two people to work for him for a MINIMUM of three months without pay or expenses. Over the last 3 years I've had a few people spend between 4 and 21 days on work experience with me and I've given an Ashfield lad a university placement. What annoys me is that the parliamentary authorities don't differentiate between someone who works free for a year and a volunteer who comes in for a few days to see what an MP does. I think that's wrong because there's a huge difference - I think short term work experience is good but hiring unpaid long term interns is really bad and the two shouldn't be confused. I'd love to know what you think. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
March 18 2013
Last Friday morning (15th March), Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero dropped into one of the special work club sessions that are run from Kirkby Library every Friday morning to find out more about the role it is playing in giving people the skills and confidence necessary to get back into work.
The work clubs which are run by Nottinghamshire County Council offer people searching for work in the area guidance on all manner of work related topics; including top tips on CV writing, interview skills and techniques, training opportunities as well hosting guest speakers from local businesses who offer firsthand advice and expertise.
Members of the group chatted over tea and biscuits and told their MP about the ongoing struggle to find work but also talked glowingly about how the work club had helped them to regain the confidence and support to help them get back into work.
Gloria said: “Any project that is trying to help and support people from Ashfield get back into work gets my backing and it certainly had the enthusiastic backing of those that have joined the club. Denise, Nick and the other volunteers deserve a lot of credit because they have really helped restore the confidence of the members I met, and that is a major step in the right direction towards getting back into work. If you would like to find out more about the work club or join, then give Denise Stephenson a call on 07775588756 or e-mail email@example.com”.
The work club is a free service and the various workshops and activity sessions are open to people of all ages from across Ashfield and operate on a self-help basis where members support each other and share experiences and local knowledge. The scheme has been running for just over a year.
March 15 2013
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero joined in the fun with pupils and staff from Jeffries Primary and Nursery School as they dressed up to raise as much money as possible for Comic Relief 2013 this afternoon.
This year staff and children of all ages donated £1 to come into school with crazy haircuts, wigs and red noses. Over 200 pupils attend the school on Vernon Road, Kirkby, and the head teacher, Helen Bent, revealed the school managed to raise a fantastic £210, eclipsing the previous amount raised last year.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “Everyone involved at the school went all out to raise as much money as possible and they should be so proud of their fundraising efforts. To raise that amount for charity in just one day is a great achievement, it all goes to a great cause and I had so much fun during my visit too. There were some great haircuts, wigs and costumes too and if there was an MP who looked as funny as me I’d love to see them! Well done guys”.
During the visit, Gloria was also given a tour of the school and found out more about the exciting learning project groups the school run every Friday afternoon. The eight clubs include a gardening club, photography, cooking and sewing club and all of the children from the different classes take part and with the added bonus of Red Nose Day it proved to be an exciting end to a busy week.
Comic Relief is a major charity based in the UK which strives to create a just world free from poverty. The charity has raised millions of pounds for good causes since it began in 1985 for people both in the UK and abroad. Its many charitable activities include investing in help for young people with alcohol and mental health problems, as well assisting elderly people in poverty to gain access to financial advice and grants
March 13 2013
My parliamentary inbox and postbag are always brimming with letters and e-mails from constituents on all manner of different subjects. One of my main jobs each day is to go through them and decide how I can help. Last week, a lady from Sutton wrote to me complaining about the behaviour of MP’s during Prime Minister’s Questions and I have to agree - it isn't our finest hour. I've always felt that the braying Punch and Judy type of politics is one of the things that puts people off politicians and politics in general. I wish it was in my gift to change it. Sadly it isn't so I’ve written to the Speaker on her behalf to let him know exactly what she thinks. I’ll let you know when he replies. It doesn't matter what issue you've got or who it is with, if you have a concern then I’ll always try to raise it with those in charge, politicians included.
Sometimes it can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall with some cases but that doesn't mean we should just give up and accept it and this next story shows why. One gentleman told me he’d been unable to get compensation for Industrial Disease BUT this wasn’t because he didn’t meet the criteria; it was because he’d missed the application deadline through no fault of their own. I wrote to the DWP who investigated the matter and found he could not have known about the time restrictions. The original decision was reversed resulting in several thousand pounds of compensation being rewarded. It certainly made us both very happy!
SAVE THE DATE - Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, Ashfield Voluntary Action and Our Centre are hosting a funding fair on Tuesday 19th March between 2 and 6pm at the Summit Centre on Pavilion Road in Kirkby. Lots of organisations have already agreed to take part and experts will be on hand throughout the afternoon to offer their help and advice. It’s a great opportunity for voluntary and community groups to meet potential funders, discuss projects and learn how to plan an application and it could make all the difference. I’ve often complained that Ashfield gets a raw deal when it comes to funding but this is a great chance to improve things.
March 11 2013
Last Friday afternoon (March 8th) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero met with bosses at Pinxton based construction firm Van Elle to discuss plans for expansion in Kirkby after the firm recently acquired a new site in the town.
The local ground engineering contractor is going from strength to strength and during the meeting the company revealed ambitious plans to open a new site by the end of August, which will create several jobs in the area and boost the local economy.
Despite the welcome news, directors also told the MP of their continuing frustration with banks who are still failing to lend and the difficulties of securing prompt payments from fellow businesses. Bosses also stressed the importance of speeding up infrastructure projects in regions outside of London in an effort to improve the flagging economy.
After the meeting, Gloria agreed to write to the Chancellor of Exchequer and the Business Secretary to raise these specific issues and highlight some of the difficulties even the most successful local businesses are still encountering.
Gloria said: “It’s great to see a local company go from strength to strength and they certainly have positive plans for the future which should hopefully benefit the local area. The meeting was incredibly useful too as it helped me understand some of the main issues facing local businesses. Following the meeting I’ve promised to write to the Government to ensure that ministers are aware of the problems and I think they would do well to listen and take on board all of the concerns raised”.
March 6 2013
POST OFFICE UPDATE – Those of you who read my column will know that I’ve been constantly badgering Post Office bosses in an effort to secure a permanent branch in the precinct area in Kirkby. It’s been hard work and there have been a couple of false dawns but after writing to them once again the Regional Network Manager has now told me we are on the verge of having a service to be proud of in the town. A public consultation will begin on March 7th and they are looking at having a branch open towards the end of May. It’s taken much longer than any of us would have liked but it just goes to show perseverance pays off. Thanks again to everyone who has contacted me and helped keep up the pressure - together it looks like we’ve finally got a result.
We all want the best services possible, whether that is local amenities like a Post Office, good schools or access to great healthcare and it’s my job as the local MP to fight for them. The NHS is currently facing a huge upheaval but this should never be allowed to impact on the quality of care. That’s why I was disappointed when one mum got in touch with me to tell me about her recent experience with NHS Direct. The service is supposed to take the pressure off local A&E departments and Doctors by offering ‘health advice and reassurance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year’. Yet when she phoned for advice after her 14 year old daughter suffered fainting episodes, she was shocked it took over 6 hours before anyone called back. She’s told me she will NEVER use the service again and will always go straight to King’s Mill instead, no matter what the problem is. If anyone else has had a similar experience, I’d love to hear from you so I can raise it with the Health Secretary.
March 4 2013
Last week Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero met with Sue Maslowska, District Manager of Broxtowe Citizens Advice Bureau to learn more about some of the most common and pressing issues facing Eastwood users of the service this year.
Both service managers at the Eastwood CAB were also present during the meeting, as the MP set about finding out why bosses at the charity are concerned they are starting to see a steady increase in the number of users at the Bureau in Wellington Place.
Last year it is estimated that the busy town centre service helped Eastwood residents and their families with around 16,000 different issues and the demand is only predicted to increase again by the end of this year, once the Government’s welfare reforms start to be fully implemented.
Gloria said; “After speaking with staff from my local CAB it became apparent that there is a very real crisis looming with welfare reforms now just around the corner. It is essential that we work together to support the most vulnerable people in our community. Staff and volunteers do a fantastic job and they are working flat out but last year they had 16,000 unanswered phone calls and had to turn away over 1,000 people. My worry is that demand will increase significantly once the reforms kick in”.
The MP added; “I’ve already written to Lord Freud, the Welfare Reform Minister, on behalf of the CAB to raise a number of their concerns, specifically what support will be on offer to people and who will be providing it. The Government must do more to get the information out about Universal Credit and help our voluntary organisations over the next couple of weeks before it is too late”.
Sue Maslowska said; “We really appreciate our local MP supporting us by writing to Lord Freud and asking him to ensure that new framework is set up in a way to make sure voluntary organisations are at the centre of delivering this support and are given the resources they need. If anyone is concerned about their benefits please do get in touch with us –call in at the bureau, we are above the Eastwood Library, and we will always do our best to help”.
During the meeting, Sue Maslowska also revealed that ESA enquiries have gone up by a whopping 75% and a quarter of all advice given about ESA concerns appeals. Debt advice still remains the most common issue with 45% of all enquiries at the Eastwood CAB concerning debt, whilst around 25% of enquiries are benefit related. Most worryingly is that the number of people the Bureau referred for food parcels has increased significantly. A recent analysis of the clients referred for food parcels showed that 75% of them were in this position as a result of failures within the benefit system which is a huge concern.
Sue concluded “If only 10% of people affected by the Welfare Reform changes contact our organisation then CAB’s will be receiving a massive 1- 1.5 Million additional enquiries which is a huge concern for us.”
March 1 2013
Gloria De Piero visited the new storage unit used by Ashfield Voluntary Action in Sutton to find out more about their latest work, which now includes running a busy food bank to support people in Ashfield who are in crisis.
During her visit to the depot, Gloria met with Janet from Ashfield Voluntary Action and Steve the food bank manager, as well as a couple of volunteers who help ensure that the food parcels reach those people most in need, before donating her very own supply of tinned and preserved foods.
The Ashfield Voluntary Action food-bank has only been open eight weeks but it has already fed almost two hundred adults and children, by giving out emergency food parcels to people in crisis in the area. The food bank was originally set up using money from the charity’s £1,000 underspend and donations have already started to come in from across Ashfield; including schools, local businesses, churches and the general public.
Gloria said: “What is shocking and what people might find really surprising is that it is people from all backgrounds who have been coming to the food bank for help since it was first set up; it is single mums, it is large families, people on benefits, people on low income jobs, the homeless and lots of young people too. This is the reality of austerity Britain today and in a way the worst aspect of it is sadly that the demand is only continuing to increase. The most important thing now is that food banks get all the support they can from the public and local businesses”.
Steve, the food bank manager added: “We are always desperate for more donations, whether that be tins of food, pasta, rice and even toiletries too. Any extra support could make such a big difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. If you can help in anyway, big or small, then please do get in touch on 01623 555551 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org”.
The visit to the local charity helped the MP understand how the food-bank works and most importantly find out what more can be done to support those most in need in the local community. Food banks are on the rise and since 2009 they have trebled with at least 300 food banks operating across the country. Nationally food banks are expected to help over 200,000 people this year and the Ashfield MP wants to examine why so many families and adults are being left in the situation where they have to resort food-banks to seek emergency help.
King’s Mill Hospital has been in the headlines again after it was reported that the trust had higher than average mortality rates. I know people will be concerned and anyone who wants me to raise the case of a loved one with hospital bosses should contact me. I am pleased that there's going to be an independent inspection because Ashfield deserves the best healthcare available. I read in last week’s Chad that hospital chiefs have said we have no need to be afraid and I that steps have already been taken which have resulted in improvements. I’ll be monitoring the situation closely.
I was talking to Jim Grundy who is the Vice and Acting Chair at Ashfield Homes about the so called bedroom tax. It means if you live in social housing with one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms and are of working age, you will be asked to downsize or pay more for your rent from April– fair enough you might say. But as Jim pointed out, the devil is in the detail. In reality it will affect separated parents who share the care of their children and who have been given an extra bedroom, couples who use their spare bedroom when recovering from illness, foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household, families with disabled children and disabled people living in adapted or specially designed properties. In total 750 households will be affected in this area and if you’re one of them or just concerned then please get in touch with my office.
The horsemeat fiasco has made us all feel a bit queasy. Many of the ready meal manufacturers and the supermarkets are in the firing line. One positive to come out of all this will be that we return to buying meat from our local butchers. Kevin, owner of K & R Else Butchers on Lowmoor Road, Kirkby, says he has noticed a big increase in sales over the last month: “A lot of our old customers who we haven’t seen for a while have returned and it’s because they know we source all of our meat as locally as we can”. It’s also good news for those people who cook their own food rather than rely on the 'prick, prick' and a ping of the microwave to deliver a ready meal. There's a lesson in this for all of us.
Local MP Gloria De Piero has written to Iain Duncan-Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, after House of Commons Library research recently revealed that around seven hundred women in Ashfield are set to lose out following the government’s pension reforms.
The Ashfield MP asked local women who will be affected to get in touch with her office so that she could raise their cases directly with the secretary of state and highlight the injustice of the reforms. Several women have since been in contact with Gloria and she has promised to raise their specific cases with Iain Duncan-Smith.
The library figures estimate that seven hundred local women born in 1952 and 1953 will not be eligible for the new flat rate £144 pension, since they are due to retire in 2017, before the state pension reforms come into effect. Men born during the same period, however, will qualify and this means the women could be nearly £2,000 worse off than a man of the same age.
Gloria said: “The other week I used my Chad column to appeal to women affected to come forward so that I could I could raise their individual cases with the minister responsible and highlight how unfair these changes are. Almost immediately I received e-mails from two ladies in Skegby and Huthwaite and phone calls from two other women in Kirkby. They all told me how angry they are and that they feel so let down and abandoned by the system. The bottom line is that these reforms hit hardworking women in Ashfield worse than they do men of the same age and it was never made clear who was going to miss out”.
The horsemeat fiasco has made us all feel a bit queasy. I stopped eating meat for a bit in my teens when mad cow disease was dominating the headlines - back then it was farmers who were to blame. Today it’s many of the ready meal manufacturers who are in the firing line. One positive to come out of all this will be that we return to buying meat from our local butchers. Philip, owner of Ken Hand & Son Butchers at Hilltop says he has seen a big increase in sales over the last week or so: “We might not be able to compete with supermarkets but we can reassure our customers that we can trace anything they buy right back to farm it came from. We’ve used our suppliers for thirty years and sales of stewing steak and mince have gone through the roof”. It’s also good news for those people who cook their own food rather than rely on the 'prick, prick' and a ping of the microwave to deliver a ready meal. There's a lesson in there for all of us.
While we're on shoddy treatment, I saw one headline in the paper that really made my blood boil: ‘Greedy energy firms treble profits of £120 per customer in just three months’. The Big Six suppliers have increased the cost of gas and electricity by up to 10.8% since October last year and their profits are rising. This is a scandal and folk are fed up of these rip-off tactics which leaves average annual dual fuel bills at an all-time high of £1,420. The Government need to do more to force these companies to pass on savings to the public and stop them cashing in on cold weather.
Pensions are a complicated business at the best of times and few of us understand the ins and outs of each and every detail, so when the Government announced a new flat rate £144 pension for everyone in 2017 I was interested. Unfortunately, I’ve now learnt that around 700 women in the constituency who were born in 1952 or 1953 won’t be eligible when it comes into effect and they will be nearly £2,000 worse off than their husbands, brothers and other men born during the same period. If you’re one of the women affected I’d love to hear from you so I can raise this directly with government ministers.
Finally I’d like to congratulate the Advertiser and the National Blood Service for leading the rallying-call for new blood donors after it was revealed that more than 300 blood donors are desperately needed in Eastwood. Call the helpline on 0300 123 23 23 or visitwww.blood.co.uk and help save a life.
Last week Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was at Sutton based firm Crown Aerosols after being invited to visit the site by staff earlier in the year.
This event marked a new way for Gloria to listen to constituents and each time she visits a workplace she will now ask bosses to set aside time and space for her to meet with staff as she has always put a high premium on being an accessible MP who listens.
Gloria said: “This was the first business event of its kind and I can’t thank Crown Aerosols and their staff enough for taking part. Rather than standing on ceremony this new format meant that I could have a chat with everyone in a really relaxed manner and find out what matters most to some of my constituents who wouldn’t necessarily get chance to meet with me during normal working hours. This will be the first of many and going forward I hope they prove to be just as popular as this one”.
The MP added: “It was also great to learn more about the apprenticeship scheme and James, the plant manager, couldn’t speak highly enough of the current intake. He told me how over a hundred young people had applied and that the standard was excellent throughout but Jonathan from Kirkby and Ashley from Skegby really stood out. There are so many talented youngsters out there in Ashfield with so much to offer and all they need is the chance to shine. Keep up the good work lads”.
Upon arrival at the Oddicroft Lane site, Gloria was met by plant manager, James Barnett, who explained more about the business and the work that goes on at the factory before introducing the local MP to the senior management. Gloria was then given a brief tour of the plant, kitted out in full safety gear including, overalls, eye and ear protection and boots before making her to the factory meeting room.
The room had been set up to hold an informal drop-in session and chat between Gloria and members of the staff from the shop floor for the majority of the visit. A cross-section of workers from all of the manufacturing departments had been invited by bosses to meet with their MP, raise any issues and concerns they might have and take part in a general question and answer session over a cuppa during a break in their shift. Pensions, the cost of care for the elderly and the bedroom tax were just some of the topics discussed.
Gloria had been eager to meet with staff ever since being invited and the visit gave her the perfect opportunity to discover some of the secrets behind the firm’s success, which includes having on average eight products in each household in the UK, whilst continuing to employ over 360 at the site.
Pensions are a complicated business at the best of times and few of us understand the ins and outs of each and every detail, so when the Government announced a new flat rate £144 pension for everyone in 2017 I was interested. Unfortunately, I’ve now learnt that around 700 women in Ashfield born in 1952 or 1953 won’t be eligible when it comes into effect and they will be nearly £2,000 worse off than their husbands, brothers and other men born during the same period. If you’re one of the women affected I’d love to hear from you so I can raise this directly with government ministers.
Despite the fight to keep the wards at our community hospital, it didn’t come as any great surprise to me when health bosses announced last week that the remaining two wards would also be going. This is obviously disappointing news but I am pleased to say that our campaigning hasn’t all been in vain as the Ashfield Health Village is now set to have longer opening hours between 8am-8pm and a walk-in-centre service is back at the weekend too.
There is still a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the economy but we do have some terrific businesses based in Ashfield and Abacus Lighting is right up there with the best of them. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting managers and staff at the Oddicroft Lane site in the past and I’ve always been impressed, so I was delighted to see the firm making headlines yet again. This time it is for the installation of rather futuristic looking lighting at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, Australia, and if you haven’t seen the pictures yet check them out! To everyone involved congratulations and keep flying the flag for Ashfield at home and abroad.
Finally, if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare on the 17th February between 10am-2pm then why not pop down to the Festival Hall in Kirkby. There’s a fantastic Family Fun Day & Shopping Event planned by local charity, Joel The Complete Package to help raise money and support families when a baby has been born sleeping. It’s only £1 admission per family and there will be tombola, raffle, free children’s craft activities, refreshments, beauty therapies, health and wellbeing stalls and much, much more. E-mail email@example.com or Twitter: @TCPJoel to find out more.
Last Saturday (9th February) saw the return of Gloria De Piero’s popular coffee morning and the first one of the New Year for Eastwood constituents which took place at Beauvale Methodist Church Hall.
A new round of residents’ surveys was also rolled out to coincide with the event and Gloria said; “It was a great turn-out, packed full of people who are were so passionate and enthusiastic about their local community. These events give residents of all ages the chance to tell me what they really think about where they live, both good and bad and hopefully by coming together we can try and make a real difference”.
On the back of Gloria’s own residents’ survey, one young community spirited girl, Paige Amos, from Coach Drive, Eastwood, decided to conduct her own survey among fellow Year 10 Pupils at Eastwood Comprehensive. The 15 year old’s questionnaire was made up of five questions; what would you like to see introduced in Eastwood for teenagers, are there enough activities available in Eastwood, are there enough entertainment facilities in Eastwood, are there enough performing arts facilities in Eastwood and finally do you have any other suggestions to improve Eastwood.
During the coffee morning, Paige presented the local MP with her own survey results in a pie chart, which revealed what the local students thought the town was missing; 50% of those who answered said that they would like more sports facilities, 20% said they love to see a cinema in the area, 15% believed there should be more after school clubs available and another 15% wanted improvements made to local parks such as the installation of a skate park”.
Gloria added; “Paige was fantastic and it was a great idea to carry out her own survey among her classmates, she certainly knows how to get her voice heard. That sort of initiative will definitely stand her in good stead and I think we already already have a budding MP or councillor of the future”.
However, Paige wasn’t the only person to tell the MP what she thought of the area. Throughout the morning residents also raised a number of concerns regarding anti-social behaviour, parking and speeding on Nottingham Road, affordable housing and the bedroom tax. The future of the town’s ambulance and police stations was also high on the agenda of many there as was the empty town council building. Gloria has since promised to write to the local police chief regarding the future of the station and the empty council building as well as keeping residents up to date about the ambulance station. The MP has also vowed to write to bosses at Nottinghamshire County Council following the complaints about parking and speeding on Nottingham Road.
On the morning some residents also complained about the lack of a police presence in the community although local policeman, PC Reynolds did reveal that under-age drinking, crime and anti-social behaviour has actually fallen in the area.
Everyone who lives in Greasley, Beauvale and the Eastwood North area of the constituency received an invite and survey through the letter box to the event. For residents that couldn’t make the coffee morning but still wanted to return a completed questionnaire, a special ballot box had been installed at the entrance of the church hall. As usual the coffee morning was an informal get together over tea and biscuits and residents were free to pop in for just a minute or stay a bit longer if they had particular concerns about their local area.
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero became the landmark member of the Friends of Portland College Scheme after the College invited her to sign up and become the 1,500th member of the exciting initiative.
During the visit the MP was presented with a specially designed oversized membership card by the College principal, Dr. Mark Dale and students, Daniel & Marcus to celebrate the college reaching the amazing milestone. The Friends of Portland scheme is a free membership scheme which enables members of the Portland community to keep in touch with College news together with providing opportunities to get involved at events. Current members include former students from the 63 years of the College’s history, family and friends, college staff, governors and a wide range of other enthusiastic supporters from the local community and beyond.
As well as being presented with the special membership card, the local MP was also given a guided tour of the Nottingham Road site by the principal, who updated her on the latest developments at Portland, which included a visit to the specialist autism department.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “I was absolutely honoured when I was asked to become the 1,500th member of the Friends of Portland College Scheme. It’s such a fantastic place and it just goes to show how much they are appreciated in our community when so many people have signed up already”.
Gloria added; “The staff and the students I met couldn’t speak highly enough of the work that goes on here and I was really impressed by how well the Residential Employment Training is continuing to perform. The Principal told me how a massive 32% of trainees who complete their programme are getting paid employment at the end, which when compared to only 3.5% of disabled people gaining a job on the Government’s Work Programme is truly remarkable”.
Portland College is a national, residential specialist college for people with disabilities. Students come from all over the UK from 16 onwards. The aim of the college is to maximise ability and help students develop their potential, become more independent, gain self-esteem and prepare for employment with foundation learning and employability courses available underpinned by a broad range of accredited qualifications in independence, literacy, numeracy, sport, arts, business studies, computing, small animal care and horticulture. The College also retains a strong military focus with both current injured and ex-service personnel accessing the facilities to retrain.
30 January 2013
I was chatting with my pal, Labour politician and Dancing on Ice Star, Oona King about her partner on the show, Kirkby’s very own Mark Hanretty. She had this exclusive message for Chad readers; “He’s not just a local hero, he’s a national hero. To perform on TV with a dislocated shoulder proves he’s both courageous and professional. More to the point, you couldn’t find a nicer man, or a more beautiful ice skater. In fact one of the sad things about leaving Dancing on Ice was the circumstances of my last dance with Mark – for nearly 3 months we had a laugh together most days. I just wanted one last enjoyable dance with him during the show, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead I thought I nearly killed him but I’m thrilled he’ll now be a hands-on dad from the very beginning with his new baby, so Mark and his lovely wife Kathy might even thank me for tripping him up!” Oona told me she'll be coming to visit Mark soon. We look forward to welcoming you to Ashfield Oona.
It’s certainly been the right temperature for ice-skating but the cold weather has a nasty habit of making things difficult for us when it comes to getting out and about. Since the cold snap I’ve been inundated with tweets and e-mails complaining about the lack of grit on the roads and pavements of Ashfield. Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for keeping our streets clear and safe but you wouldn't know it if you read one Sutton chap’s e-mail to me. He told me the County Council replied to his complaint by saying there wasn't enough cash to do the gritting. When I wrote on behalf of many of you I was also told that they didn't have the ‘resources to grit cul de sacs’ or ‘relatively flat (roads) with no hazards’. Now we know times are hard but the minimum we expect from local politicians is for the area to be kept safe and to most folk gritting is just as important as street-lighting or having the bins emptied.
Finally some of you may have read in your newspapers lately or heard on the news that some MP’s think they deserve a pay rise. I am certainly NOT one of them. The idea of giving politicians a pay rise at a time of pay freezes, benefit caps and spending cuts wouldn’t just be barmy; it would be totally immoral. This demonstrates that MP’s should not have any say on what they are paid; our pay must be decided by an independent body.
28 January 2013
Last Friday (January 25th January) local MP Gloria De Piero went to the Ashfield Centre, which is part of Vision West Nottinghamshire College, to chat with students aged between 16 and 19 who are doing Entry & Level 1 Motor Vehicle BTECs. The MP wanted to find out how the youngsters are benefitting from this unique centre designed to engage young people who otherwise would be at risk of not being in education, employment or training (NEETs).
Gloria had been eager to visit the site and discover what one of the country’s largest providers of education and apprenticeships is doing to help tackle unemployment and youth disengagement after official figures released last week revealed that long term youth unemployment in Ashfield is now up 120 per cent since the General Election in May 2010.
Gloria said: “The young people I met today all told me the same thing – how they thought school could be more geared up so that young people can develop the skills they are interested in. Not everyone wants to follow a strictly academic career path and what the Ashfield Centre has shown is that there is a space and a need for more vocational courses.
Gloria added: “The Labour party is already developing plans for a new gold standard ‘Tech Bacc’ which students would take at 18 and employers would accredit rigorous vocational courses in subjects like engineering, construction and computing to ensure young people are ready for the modern workplace. School shouldn’t just be about preparing young people for university because that route isn’t for everyone; we need to ensure students are life ready when they leave education as well. I’m always impressed whenever I visit West Notts College because they do a fantastic job at inspiring local youngsters to look at a whole range of alternative careers and equipping them with the necessary skills that businesses need. Keep up the good work”.
During the visit Gloria was given a tour of the site and grabbed a bite to eat in the canteen alongside some of the trainee mechanics. Josh aged 16, from Woodhouse, told Gloria how he was unsure what he wanted to do at school but was advised by Connexions to do the course and since then he hasn’t looked back.
Gloria also met 19 year old Keeley from Kirkby, who couldn’t hide her excitement at the prospect of graduating from the course in March. She originally left at school at 16 and had no idea what to do next but after enrolling at the local college she told Gloria that there was no doubt in her mind that she had found the career she wanted to do for the rest of her life. I’ve loved the course and I can’t wait to get started in a full-time job.
25 January 2013
I’m hoping 2013 is the year we see good things happen to our high street. Broxtowe Council say it’s a priority to offer good terms for new businesses to start up and I applaud their efforts but I also think we can do our bit too because new businesses like Dunn-Lite need our support so they can grow and provide jobs. We need to nurture businesses like this so this week I’d like to single out a few I use regularly. Thank you to the Sun Inn for making my friends comfortable when they came to visit in December, to Geoff at the framers and arts shop, next door are Katie and the team at Style 2000 who look after my hair and it’s great to have a dry cleaners and the shoe heeling shop a little further down Nottingham Road. You will no doubt have your own favourites, so to all our local independent retailers who provide jobs as well as a fantastic service - we don't know what we'd do without you!
Can I also urge you all to have an early spring clean and support some of our local charities too. My husband and I are getting rid of an old table and chairs and donating it to the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau. It couldn't be easier and of course it has the added bonus that it all goes to a good cause. I gave the Bureau’s manager, Sue Bagshaw a call on 01773 535255 and within 10 days it was collected. In the post-Christmas clear up I also had a good route through my cupboards and dropped a bagful of clothes into the Headway charity shop.
Just before Christmas I was disappointed to hear the Prime Minister back up his Planning Minister at PMQ’s. I know we need new houses built in our community but I also know how much we love and value our green space. Unfortunately it’s worrying that we seem to have a Planning Minister who doesn't agree. Nick Boles MP recently said: “We shouldn't obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better”. Since becoming your MP I've received hundreds of letters about planning from people across Eastwood and Brinsley and beyond but I can’t remember many saying anything along those lines.
Now, you don't need me to tell you that it’s absolutely freezing at the moment so I've been really concerned to hear some of you have been experiencing problems and delays when dealing with the Government's Warm Front scheme. The scheme helps vulnerable people get their boilers and central heating serviced. There's plenty of demand so why on earth is there a £50m underspend in this budget. Why can't people get the help they need when the cash is just sitting there.
23 January 2013
During a debate in the House of Commons, which focused on East Midlands Ambulance Service, Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero raised the possible loss of the town’s ambulance station with Health Minister and Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry.
During the Commons clash Gloria said; “The loss of ambulance stations in semi-rural areas is a particular concern. The town of Eastwood in my constituency faces the loss of its ambulance station. Does my hon. Friend agree that closing an ambulance station cannot help already poor response times?”
In response, Anna Soubry MP said; “I do not think that it is as simple as saying that the closure of an ambulance station will de-facto reduce the service available. Ambulances do not sit in ambulance stations waiting to respond to a local incident. They spend most of their time out of ambulance stations on the road so that they can respond to emergency calls”.
However, speaking afterwards Gloria said: “Official figures from the Department of Health show that EMAS is currently one of the worst performing trusts in the country when it comes to response times. Response times are already slower in semi rural and rural former mining communities like ours. Quite simply my number one concern is that this doesn’t continue and I still remain unconvinced that any possible closure of the town’s station will help improve things”.
Gloria added; “Lots of people raised their concerns about the plans to close our station during the public consultation and I have to say I was surprised and pleased to hear that the final decision has now been delayed to give health bosses time to look at four further proposals. Hopefully they are now listening to our concerns and it suggests to me that their original plans were not up to scratch in the first place”.
Towards the end of last year East midlands Ambulance Service EMAS ran a public consultation on the future of the existing stations and under the plans, the town’s station was to close along with every other Nottinghamshire station apart from one in the city and one at King’s Mill Hospital. On the 10th January it was revealed that EMAS had delayed a final decision for two months until 25th March 2013 and are now looking at further options.
22 January 2013
Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund has helped the Notts Ex & Retired Miners set up a brand new website which celebrates their fantastic heritage.
To take a look click here or go to http://www.nottscoalminingmemories.org.uk/
18 January 2013
This afternoon Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero visited the Carousel Under 5’s Nursery in Sutton to take a look at two recently completed graffiti themed murals, which were designed by at least two youngsters from each of Ashfield’s secondary schools.
Last year the North Ashfield Schools Behaviour and Attendance Partnership (NASBAP) based at the S.P.A.C.E Centre in Kirkby was awarded £9,500 as part of the Awards for All grant from the Lottery and the money was used to set up the community art project. All of the young people involved had been identified as being at risk of social exclusion or anti-social behaviour and the grant allowed the group to create the fantastic murals following a series of art sessions that last six weeks and included a special research trip to Nottingham.
Gloria said: “It just shows what fantastic work can be done in the community when small groups in Ashfield are able to get their hands on Lottery cash. Sue and James from NASBAP told me it took them two attempts to get funding but their advice to all groups in Ashfield is don’t give up if you get knocked back the first time. Keep trying because the money really can make a big difference”.
During the visit Gloria was accompanied by Mick McGrath, Head of Region at the Big Lottery Fund East Midlands and she had a number of issues she wanted to raise with him. Since becoming the MP for Ashfield, Gloria has been determined to ensure that the area doesn’t miss out on much needed cash and groups like NASBAP get the funding they deserve from Lottery bosses.
Mick McGrath said; “The Awards for All programme currently has a very good success rate when it comes to groups applying for funding. My message would be; now is a great time to apply; the application is a straight forward, accessible process. If you have a project you think will make a positive impact to your community then you can apply for a grant between £300-£10,000. We always welcome applications and our funding officers are available to contact for help and guidance throughout the application process”.
17 January 2013
This afternoon (17th January) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero hosted a discussion that focused on the future of childcare and it gave a number of local mums the opportunity to tell their MP what they would like to see from Labour’s future childcare and education policy.
The event took place at the sports hall opposite the Tin Hat Centre in Selston and a number of women who use the Sure Start centre at the Tin Hat and the services at the neighbouring sports hall attended. The busy mums took time out from the afternoon session of ‘Active Ants’ to chat to their MP about some of the most difficult challenges mums in Ashfield face and what more can be done to help.
Gloria said; “Politicians can speak to each other as much as they want but at the end of the day actually getting out into our communities and speaking to mums like I did today is worth a thousand conversations between one MP and another. After chatting to them it was obvious they weren’t short of an idea or two and I’ll certainly make sure all of their points go right to the top of my own Party. What was absolutely clear was just how much they all loved their Sure Start centre and the other fantastic local services on offer because and they are a lifeline to many mums in the area”.
Gloria told the women that everything that was discussed would be taken on board and promised that all of their concerns would go right to the top of the Labour Party to help inform future policy in the run up to the 2015 General election.
Currently, hard working families are facing a triple whammy on childcare – there is less financial support from tax credits, higher costs for childcare and fewer places available. At the same time, cuts to the Sure Start budget means there are fewer children’s centres and many more have scaled back their services for young children and families.
16 January 2013
I’d like to start my first Chad column of the year by wishing everyone a very happy New Year. I’ve decided that my New Year's resolution is to never take no for an answer. It worked in getting our walk-in-centre back, it worked when the Post Office were reluctant to put a temporary post office in the precinct in Kirkby and I have to say it worked for Peter Jankiwskj from Huthwaite who I was reading about in the Chad over Christmas. Peter got his money back after complaining to furniture store SCS after his new sofa fell apart within weeks. SCS initially offered Peter a 50 per cent refund which he rightly turned down. Well done to Peter for standing his ground and good work from the Chad once again for taking up the case.
When people feel they have been treated unfairly it’s important that they stand up and say so. Last week, a mum from Sutton got in touch with me to tell me how angry she was with the recent changes to child benefit. The benefit is fully withdrawn where one parent earns above £60,000, even though two couples earning £45,000 a year with a joint income of £90,000 remain unaffected. What really annoyed the Sutton mum who wrote to me was the way that the Government has handled it. She has received NO letter informing her of the plans and instead heard about it on the news. Lots of people are now going to have to fill in complicated self-assessment forms because they didn’t realise they were supposed to apply by the deadline not to get the child benefit. What a complete farce!
Finally, before Christmas I was disappointed to hear the Prime Minister back up his Planning Minister at PMQ’s. I know we need new houses built in our community but I also know how much we love and value our green space. Unfortunately it’s worrying that we seem to have a Planning Minister who doesn’t agree. Nick Boles MP recently said: “we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better”. Since becoming your MP I’ve received hundreds of letters about planning from constituents but I can’t remember many saying anything along those lines.
14 January 2013
On Tuesday 22nd January a decision will be made by Nottinghamshire County Council reagrding the proposed development of land at Two Oaks Farm, Derby Road, Mansfield by the Mansfield Sand Company. The proposal includes the extraction and processing of silica sand and the provision of a new site access road, landscaping and screening bunds.
Although Nottinghamshire County Council are no longer taking representation I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the impact the development may have on the surrounding area including concerns surrounding possible air pollution and traffic congestion. If other people who live nearby have similar concerns then please don't hesitate to get in touch with my office this week and I will still write to the Council to make sure they are aware of the strength of the feeling on this issue.
12 January 2013
Last Friday afternoon (11th January) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero met with a number of young unemployed adults to hear their emotive and firsthand accounts on a variety of hard hitting issues including; unemployment, homelessness, health and education and training.
Four young adults who have been out of work for a long period of time had been invited to take part and let the local MP know exactly what problems they have encountered and some of the challenges they face as they strive to get on and make a success of their lives. Hayley and Jay were graduates with degrees in animation and design whilst Darren and Dan have both been to college before struggling to find work or being unable to work for a variety of different reasons.
Gloria said: What really struck me after meeting these guys was just how much they all want to work and how much it means to them to be able to do something constructive and creative with their time which is exactly why they are volunteering at Takeover Radio. There’s no doubt that they are talented individuals but they said they want a hand up, not just a handout. That means they need to be offered support and advice to get work. Job centres need to be stepping up to help these young people find the right work for them. What was really interesting is that all of them told me they think the system works against them and I shall certainly be raising this point in Parliament”.
The discussion had been arranged by James Finlayson, the station manager at Takeover Radio and lasted almost an hour and it provided both sides with the perfect opportunity to talk about some of the most difficult issues facing unemployed people in Ashfield. Gloria would like to use their stories and information and put them directly to Government Ministers.
The young people all said that volunteering as radio presenters and producers at Takeover Radio had been a successful experience and that it had boosted their confidence and helped them find work in a way that government agencies had been unable to. Takeover Radio runs a work experience programme for unemployed young adults which has been running for 12 months and is set to continue into the future after helping around 30 young adults already.
11 January 2013
I’d like to start my first Chad column of the year by wishing everyone a very happy New Year. I’ve decided that my New Year's resolution is to never take no for an answer. It worked in getting our walk-in-centre back, it worked when the Post Office were reluctant to put a temporary post office in the precinct in Kirkby and I have to say it worked for Peter Jankiwskj from Huthwaite who I was reading about in the Chad over Christmas. Peter got his money back after complaining to furniture store SCS after his new sofa fell apart within weeks. SCS initially offered Peter a 50 per cent refund which he rightly turned down. Well done to Peter for standing his ground and good work from the Chad once again for taking up the case.
When people feel they have been treated unfairly it’s important that they stand up and say so. Last week, a mum from Sutton got in touch with me to tell me how angry she was with the recent changes to child benefit. The benefit is fully withdrawn where one parent earns above £60,000, even though two couples earning £45,000 a year with a joint income of £90,000 remain unaffected. What really annoyed the Sutton mum who wrote to me was the way that the Government has handled it. She has received NO letter informing her of the plans and instead heard about it on the news. Lots of people are now going to have to fill in complicated self-assessment forms because they didn’t realise they were supposed to apply by the deadline not to get the child benefit. What a complete farce!
Finally, before Christmas I was disappointed to hear the Prime Minister back up his Planning Minister at PMQ’s. I know we need new houses built in our community but I also know how much we love and value our green space. Unfortunately it’s worrying that we seem to have a Planning Minister who doesn’t agree. Nick Boles MP recently said: “we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better”. Since becoming your MP I’ve received hundreds of letters about planning from constituents but I can’t remember many saying anything along those lines.
10 January 2013
MPs' expense claims processed in August 2012 - September 2012 have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
Gloria urges action to stop Ashfield pub closures and gives Bagthorpe's Red Lion a plug in Parliament
10 January 2013
Yesterday afternoon (January 9th) during a debate on a statutory code of practice for pub companies in the House of Commons, local MP, Gloria De Piero, urged cross-party action in an attempt to prevent further pub closures in Ashfield.
Speaking in the Commons, Gloria told fellow MPs that; “The debate is not about playing party politics but about agreeing a course of action to save our pubs. In the past five years, we have lost nine pubs in Kirkby and Sutton and I do not want to lose another nine in the next five years, so I am pleased the House has come together to agree measures”.
The MP then went on to explain why one local pub will always be close to her heart, saying; “The Red Lion in Bagthorpe, was particularly important to me last year – it was where my partner proposed to me”.
Gloria added; “I'd also like to thank Stafford Burt, from Harlow Wood, who is Social Secretary for the Mansfield & Ashfield branch of CAMRA, who came to Parliament to lobby me on this and who has been brilliant in providing me with all the ammunition to raise this issue in Parliament. Pubs are a vital community hub and provide many jobs in the local area and I want to work with Stafford and others to save them”.
Mr Burt said; “We are extremely grateful for all of Gloria’s support and when I met her at the end of last year she clearly took on board what we had to say and it is great that this has now been raised in Parliament”.
Gloria, along with other MPs and a number of organisations has been calling for a proper statutory code to support landlords, protect local pubs and help turn around the rising tide of pub closures which has seen an estimated 18 pubs closing across the country each week.
However, Gloria said; “The Government have still not gone far enough to offer the solution the broad coalition in the pub industry is calling for but Labour has made clear that if they take the necessary steps to redress these concerns we will work with them to get it into the statute book as quickly as possible”.
9 January 2013
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has written to bosses at Nottinghamshire County Council to urge them to grant permission to Royal Mail so that a new post box on Kirkby Folly Road, Sutton, can be installed as soon as possible.
The original post box was damaged by a lorry last summer and is yet to be replaced because Royal Mail are still waiting for Nottinghamshire County Council to grant them permission for work to be carried out. The Chief Executive’s office at Royal Mail has since told the local MP that they first submitted their request back in September last year and chased it up again in November, but they are still waiting for the Council to give them the go ahead.
Gloria said; “This post box was in an area where there are a large number of elderly residents, many of which do not have their own means of transport. This really has caused great inconvenience, particularly over the busy Christmas period, and a number of local people have had to contact to me to express their frustrations”.
Since the incident, one resident has even told the local MP that when he was forced to drive to the next available post box it was so full that he was unable to use it and instead had to drive even further just to get his letter posted.
Gloria added; “This delay is simply unacceptable and the Council need to find out why there has been such a big hold up. I’ve now asked the boss at the Highways Department to let me know when permission is likely to be granted so that Royal Mail can continue with their process of getting this important local amenity restored as quickly as possible”.
17 December 2012
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero, visited Abbey Hill Primary and Nursery School in Kirkby and surprised one lucky pupil when she revealed the winner of her annual Christmas card competition.
Rather than using the standard parliamentary Christmas card, Gloria wanted to showcase the talent of local school children in the area instead and like previous years the local MP invited every primary and infant school in the constituency to take part and help design her personal Christmas card.
The judging took place last Friday and it took Gloria and representatives from the Chad and local firm Crystal Martin almost an hour to choose year 4 pupil, Jenifer Loyns, aged nine, as the overall winner of the annual card competition.
At the beginning of the first lesson, Gloria surprised Jenifer in front of the rest of her class, staff and her proud mum by declaring her as this year’s winner before presenting the nine year old girl with a House of Commons Teddy Bear and a special certificate to celebrate her fantastic artwork.
Gloria said; “I received hundreds of entries this year and it was a real struggle for us to choose a winning design. Each year the standard just seems to get higher and higher and we had that many to go through we didn’t know where to begin. In the end though there was one card that really caught our eye and that was Jenifer’s. Her card had everything, it was colourful, it was glittery and of course extremely Christmassy and I’m proud to have the design on the front of my official Christmas cards”.
“All of the kids I met this morning were so enthusiastic and they gave Jenifer a massive cheer when I announced her as the winner. She’s an amazing young girl and it was lovely to meet her mum as well who was close to tears and she nearly set me off too!”
12 December 2012
When I’ve been back home in Ashfield I’ve got well and truly into the festive spirit. The events in Kirkby and Sutton really started me off and I have to say that all of the volunteers really pulled out all of the stops. Not only did the stalls have some great gifts but they were raising cash for good causes as well. I bought my Mum and Dad a beautiful Christmas card from a stall in Sutton Centre and a cake recipe book from Teversal Football Club’s stall in Portland Square, whilst the wine and water game was an absolute revelation too. It was £1 a go and you chose a wrapped bottle which was either wine or water. £8 later I finally got what I wanted!
I was also wowed by the Ashfield Allstars Cheerleading Squad training session in Selston. There were moments when my heart was in my mouth, especially when some of the girls were thrown up in the air and caught again. Blimey! It’s certainly not what I normally experience on a Saturday afternoon visit. There are over 60 girls on the books and they are desperate to compete in competitions next year but in order to do so they need to raise almost £6,000. One business, Westerman Homes has already been extremely generous and donated £1,000 to the squad and if you’d like to help, no matter how big or small please do get in touch with Caroline on 07760176778.
Last month the Prime Minister visited the United Arab Emirates to blow the trumpet for British business. It jogged my memory back to my first meeting with Sutton firm Abacus Lighting who said they’d love to be one of the businesses who accompanied the PM on trade trips. When I was invited to be part of a cross-Party group to promote trade and investment ties for our constituencies I jumped at the chance because we have a number of businesses in Ashfield who export there or want to do export there. After speaking to Abacus Lighting, Midland Aerospace, Synseal, R&D Leverage and Romo we decided the best thing to do would be to take along all their promotional material and examples of their work so I could put them straight into the hands of business leaders and Government Ministers. I’ve now put them in touch with the Director of UK Trade & Investment at the Embassy, the CEO of the British Business Group in Dubai & Northern Emirates and the Executive Director of the Treasury over there. Although the United Arab Emirates may sound a million miles from the East Midlands the fact is that last year our region exported goods worth £337m to the region. As they say it’s a small, small world.
10 December 2012
Last Friday (7th December) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was interviewed live on takeover Radio on the Boo & Bob show by two local sisters who have their heart set on a career on the airwaves. The two budding radio presenters, Lily aged nine and Lucy aged fourteen, are currently honing their skills at the Sutton based station and they quizzed the Ashfield MP about the area, her job and what she likes doing in her spare time.
After her live appearance on the Boo and Bob show, Gloria then took part in a pre-recorded interview with John and Darren. The two young men joined Takeover Radio earlier this year as part of a work experience scheme and they had prepared a number of challenging questions focusing on life in Westminster and Gloria’s achievements as MP.
For the final part of a hectic visit Gloria also managed to squeeze in one final guest appearance at the beginning of Emily and Amalda’s show. The two year seven pupils from Quarrydale School, both aged eleven, took over from Lily & Lucy and they were particularly interested in finding out more about Gloria’s previous jobs in the media rather than politics. The two young presenters were eager to know what life was like at GMTV and they also asked the MP whether she would ever go on a reality show like ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here!’
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “I’m so glad we’ve got a brilliant project like Takeover Radio in Ashfield. The work they do is really impressive and it provides young people in the community with invaluable experience and practical skills too. There are some fantastic jobs out there in the media and young people from Ashfield are more than capable of doing them if given the chance. Creative jobs aren’t just for people from London and Takeover Radio can help inspire the next generation of youngsters, giving them the skills and confidence to help make their dreams come true”.
7 December 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero joined the crowds in Kirkby and watched on excitedly as the town began the countdown to the big Christmas tree lights switch on.
Earlier on in the afternoon the local MP made her way to the Festival Hall which was decked out in decorations and filled with craft and activity stalls as part of the Kirkby Town Centre Christmas Festival.
Gloria was eager to have her fill of fun and festive cheer and find out exactly what the stalls and activities right on her office doorstep had to offer. She popped along and stepped through the doors and into the Christmas wonderland and came away with a number of gifts for friends and family as well as festive cupcakes.
Gloria said: “The festive season is well and truly underway now and Ashfield folk certainly know how to celebrate in style. This year we’ve been spoilt for choice as both events in Kirkby and Sutton have been amazing and there has been something for all of the family. All of the volunteers who have made it possible deserve a huge pat on the back for putting on a wonderful Christmas festival”.
This year’s festival ran until 8pm at night and there was also food and refreshments, street entertainers, shows and a town crier and Ashfield folk had everything they possibly needed to help get them into the Christmas spirit.
6 December 2012
Yesterday afternoon during a debate on the Autumn Statement, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero challenged the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, over the failure of the Regional Growth Fund in Ashfield. This came about after a recent Parliamentary written question tabled last month by the Labour MP revealed that no projects in the constituency had been selected to receive funding.
During the Commons clash, Gloria told the Chancellor the Government’s flagship scheme had so far ‘not delivered a penny in Ashfield, and local business leaders across the East Midlands are saying that the scheme is just not working’. Gloria then demanded to know what changes the Chancellor was going to make to ensure that her constituents benefit from the Regional Growth Fund as well.
In response, George Osborne told the local MP that he would look into the specific situation for businesses in Ashfield as well as offering to meet with her to see what he could do to help address this issue. The Ashfield MP has since written to the Chancellor to take him up on his offer and also asked whether it would be possible to invite a number of businesses who have raised concerns with her in the past about the scheme.
Gloria said: “There’s clearly been a problem in our area with the Regional Growth Fund and it just can’t be right that Ashfield hasn’t received a single penny yet. However I am pleased the Chancellor has offered to meet with me - but I also think it’s important he meets with a couple of local businesses too as they as they are probably best placed to raise some of the issues directly. Hopefully he will now stick to his word so we can get this sorted as quickly as possible”.
5 December 2012
Public life comes with its own stresses and strains as local Councillor Milan Radulovic will testify. It’s not very nice when someone who you have worked with and respect is portrayed as a benefit cheat but that's exactly what happened to Milan earlier this year. BUT last week officials at the DWP admitted they had made a mistake and have now apologised for the ‘clerical error’. The Judge at the Crown Court who was dealing with the matter told Mr Radulovic he “could leave court without a stain on his character”. Milan, you have served your community well over the years - I hope this terrible episode does not deter you from continuing in public service.
Now, here’s a little personal plea - at about 3pm on Saturday 10th November I was walking down Nottingham Road to the shops when I noticed my watch had fallen off on route. I traced my steps back but it was nowhere to be seen. The watch is not especially financially valuable but it was a present from my husband so it does hold sentimental value. If any of our local jewellers have been offered a gold plated Pierre Balmain watch or if anyone else can help me get it back please get in touch with my office on 01623 720399.
Barring that little unfortunate incident I do love our high street! I genuinely want it to be the best that it can be so I’m saying credit it where credits due to Broxtowe Council who successfully bid for cash from the High Street Innovation Fund. The extra cash means that from next year new businesses who take over previously empty shops in Eastwood will be given £5,000. Well done!
4 December 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero visited Ashfield Allstars Cheerleading Squad in Selston an effort kick-start an appeal for extra funding that will make it possible for the youngsters to take part in national competitions next year.
The cheerleading squad was originally set up in March this year by Caroline Wilson, Ali Stothard-Brown and Lisa Dalley from Selston, who decided it would be a great activity for youngsters to get involved with, helping them keep fit and at the same time keeping them out trouble. Since then the squad has gone from strength to strength and there are now over sixty children on the books, ranging from four to seventeen years of age. Although the squad is largely made up of girls, two of the members are boys and they’d like to attract even more over the coming months.
In no time at all the youngsters have reached a level where they are good enough to enter regional and national competitions and all of the squad are desperate to be given a chance to compete - but in order to do so they need to raise £6000. So far just over £1,500 has been raised and the squad are determined to reach their target as quickly as possible. All of the money raised will go towards covering the cost of a cheerleading uniform and providing structured activity for the children in area.
Gloria said: “I’m always saying that it is the people that make Ashfield great and the women I met on Saturday certainly back that statement up. They were full of get up and go and it has certainly rubbed off on all of the youngsters involved. There were moments when my heart was in my mouth especially when some of the girls were thrown up in the air and caught by their fellow cheerleaders. Blimey it’s certainly not what I normally see on a Saturday afternoon visit. Well done girls you blew me away!”
“They are all desperate to compete in national competitions next year and in order to do so they need to raise almost £6,000. One business, Westerman Homes has already been extremely generous and donated £1,000 to the squad and if you’d like to help as well, no matter how big or small please do get in touch with Caroline 07760176778”.
Members of the squad come from all over Ashfield including Kirkby, Sutton, Selston and Eastwood. They meet every Saturday morning at 11am-2pm at Selston Leisure Centre and also on a Wednesday for the older squad at 6:30pm-8:30pm at Selston High School. All the volunteers are CRB checked and all of the coaches have the relevant BCA qualifications.
2 December 2012
Yesterday Gloria De Piero cut a special birthday cake to mark the 10th anniversary of The Tin Hat Centre in Selston.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular community centre and given that Saturday was the first day of December the Tin Hat Centre decided to throw a Christmas Fayre. The event included a number of stalls, pampering, a Santa’s Toy Box Grotto by Selston High School and festive home-made food, tea and coffee will be served in the café. There was something for all of the family and the local Sure Start group which uses the building also put on a number of activities to keep the younger visitors entertained as well.
The centre threw open its doors to visitors and well-wishers from 10am and the fayre continued throughout the morning before the local MP was invited to cut the special birthday cake in front of visitors at 11am. The stalls and activities continued well into the early afternoon before finishing at 2pm.
Speaking just afterwards Gloria said: “The Tin Hat Centre is such a fantastic community hub and we are lucky to have it right on our doorstep. The trustees put on a wonderful Christmas event to celebrate its 10th birthday and there was just so much to do there I didn’t even know where to begin”.
“There was literally something for everyone. The singing was beautiful, the Santa’s Grotto was magical and it was easy to pick up a few Christmas gifts from the tombola and raffle because the prizes were so good. I was having so much fun I didn’t want to leave. Steve, Joan, Elaine, Jodie, Jean and Paulette and all of the other trustees, staff and stall holders should be very proud”.
1 December 2012
Earlier today Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was at Portland Square as the town celebrated the start of the festive season and the countdown to the big light switch on.
This year the celebrations had been organised by members of the Sutton Town Centre Group and a special two day event began yesterday.
Gloria was invited by Liz Barrett, from the group, to come to the town centre and discover what festive treats were on offer as well as chatting to some of the local people behind the event. A variety of activities took place throughout the day, including; a Christmas quiz, a dance off and live singing before Paralympic hero Ollie Hynd switched on the lights just after 4pm.
Ashfield folk certainly weren’t short of things to do when they visited the town and the local MP lost herself amongst the many Christmas stalls and did some much needed Christmas shopping in and around Portland Square.
The MP said: “It might have only been the first day of December but I couldn’t help but get into the Christmas spirit in Sutton on Saturday. The Town Centre Group and all of the volunteers really pulled out all of the stops and put on a fantastic event over the weekend. Liz Barrett, Simon Martin and Andrew Wraight deserve a huge pat on the pack for organising such a wonderful event for Ashfield folk. Not only did the stalls have some great gifts but they were raising cash for good causes as well and I have to say that the wine and water game was an absolute revelation. It was £1 a go and you chose a wrapped bottle which was either wine or water. £8 later I finally got what I wanted!”
“As for the big-light switch I can’t think of many better people to have done the honours than our very own Paralympic Gold medallist Ollie Hynd. He really does represent the best of Britain and Ashfield and it was the perfect way to end the year”.
30 November 2012
Today Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero visited the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and donated number of items including festive biscuits, tins of food and also soup which will now be packed into festive food parcels and distributed locally the week before Christmas.
In recent months the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau has seen a sharp increase in the number of food parcels distributed locally and the charity are now donating thirty parcels a week to people who need a helping hand. As Christmas rapidly approaches the Bureau are appealing to generous members of the public for any items that can be used in their special festive food parcels and which will go out alongside the normal parcels.
To be able to reach their target and deliver enough Christmas food parcels the Bureau estimate that they need almost double the amount of food they usually use. Any items donated will be sorted into food parcels with about a dozen items in each.
During the visit the local MP also had the chance to chat to Eastwood resident Marlene, a volunteer, to find out more about the appeal that she runs with the help of Robert and Carol and the other staff and volunteers at the Bureau.
Speaking after the visit Gloria said: “Times are still quite tough for some people and the demand unfortunately doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. Christmas is a special time of year and this is a special appeal and I’m hoping that Eastwood folk will rally to the challenge and help out by donating whatever they can to this worthy cause. It doesn’t matter whether it is just one tin or a couple of mince pies all of it will make a huge difference this Christmas”.
28 November 2012
What a farce the Police Commissioner election was. Turnout was low and only about 1 in 7 of you bothered to vote. Time and again on the doorstep people told me either they didn’t have enough information, didn’t know the elections were happening, didn’t support them or didn’t want to go out in the dark to vote. The Government spent £100m on these elections. That money could have been spent on 3,000 police constable jobs and protecting front line services which is what everybody wants.
I am so proud to be the MP for Ashfield and I’ve met so many inspirational people; young and old and male and female who have blown me away by acts of charity and kindness and often bringing a tear to my eye. Ashfield is full of people who are always willing to help others and go that extra mile - that’s why I know the Chad will have their work cut out deciding who to award the Ashfield Rose to each week. It’s part of a brilliant new initiative to celebrate the very best community spirit and give much needed recognition to some of our unsung heroes. They should expect a couple of nominations from me shortly. If you know someone who fits the bill then get in touch with the Chad and let’s celebrate Ashfield!
Given you are all such a charitable lot – many people have probably got an old mobile phone that you don’t know what to do with – well now you can solve that problem by donating it to Huthwaite mum Jenny and help her autistic son Ben. Once 165 phones have been donated, the children’s charity Hearts and Minds have promised to exchange them for an Ipad. Call Jenny on 07539376957 if you can help.
Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to Paul Brown aka @bombski. He’s a prolific tweeter just like me and always worth a follow for those Twitter addicts in Ashfield. He knows I’m a big fan of Corrie and a couple of weeks ago he came to see me at my office and dropped off some fantastic memorabilia. I now have badges of loads of Corrie stars including Hilda Ogden & Alf Roberts
26 November 2012
Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero has urged residents from Eastwood and the surrounding areas who have yet to respond to take part in the East Midlands Ambulance Service ‘Being the Best’ consultation which is asking the public for their views on the future of the service.
Under the proposals the town’s ambulance station could close along with every other station in Nottinghamshire - with the exception of one in the city and one at king’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Instead 131 community ambulance posts, standby points and hubs will replace the existing 66 stations across the region. Whilst Eastwood is on the list to base an ambulance in the form of a community ambulance post an exact location is yet to be decided.
The local MP said: “I’d like to urge anyone who hasn’t yet taken part in the consultation to do so and make sure your voice is heard. There’s still time left so if you care about the health provision in our area and want to let health bosses know exactly what you think of their plans then now is the time”.
Gloria added: “I know many local people who have already responded remain extremely concerned and I can assure them I will continue to keep a close eye on developments. When the consultation finally closes I expect those in charge to listen and take on board residents concerns”.
The consultation was launched on Monday 17th September and members of the public only have a few more weeks left to let health bosses know exactly what they think of the radical plans before the consultation ends on December 17th.
Copies of the consultation document, which includes further information and maps outlining the proposals can be found online at www.emas.nhs.uk, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 917 9911
22 November 2012
Gloria De Piero went to Greenwood Primary and Nursery School in Kirkby as part of Parliament Week, an exciting initiative designed to explain how and why Parliament matters to everyone in every community.
The Ashfield MP spent half an hour with forty five pupils from the year six class at the school – some of whom asked questions about why Gloria became an MP, what was the longest debate in Parliament and who kept MPs in order in the House of Commons chamber and what she thought of Nadine Dorries MP, time in the jungle on ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'.
During her visit, Gloria answered twenty six questions – the majority of which were concerned with ways to improve Kirkby.
She dealt with all the questions with regards to Parliament and promised to forward the questions on to the County Council and District Council to get the rest of the answers they demanded. Gloria promised as soon as she gets a reply to forward it to the head teacher, Mrs Harvey.
Gloria said: “It’s brilliant to know our school pupils are so concerned with their local environment. They had very clear ideas about what Kirkby needs to have a bright future. I’ll continue to make the points about the importance for young people to have youth clubs and top inject life into our high street. Thanks to them also for making me aware of issues of anti-social behaviour which I will be contacting the police about. I really enjoyed my afternoon there and the kids were great, smart, polite young people. I enjoyed it that much I could have stayed there all day!”
21 November 2012
Earlier this week Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero wrote to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and the health regulator, Monitor, over the proposals to close and move the four wards currently located at the Community Hospital in Kirkby-in-Ashfield elsewhere.
The changes are likely to see the Community Hospital’s 16 bed stroke rehabilitation ward and the 20 bed Shelley Ward for dementia patients transferred to King’s Mill Hospital. The Chatsworth, a 16 bed in-patient ward for short stay injury rehabilitation is likely to be moved to Mansfield Community Hospital and the 10 bed Bronte Ward for dementia patients will go to a facility at Highbury Hospital in Bulwell.
The recommendations are to be made to the board of the PCT at the end of this month (29th November) and the details of the final report proposals will be publicised shortly after. The Board will also hold a final public meeting at a date and time still to be confirmed.
However, the local MP believes now is not the time to take such an important decision and that in most cases valuable community assets such as the Community Hospital should be protected whenever possible.
Gloria said: “We all know that cuts, in real terms are being made to health budgets and Community Hospitals are under threat. The Hospital has no trust status. In most cases we need to protect these valuable community assets. One such asset is the Community Hospital currently in Kirkby”.
The MP added: “The trust has been through a number of difficulties and upheavals of late and while the new interim chair and chief executive get to the bottom of these problems and analyse the health needs of the people of Ashfield, in my view it would be better to take a pause before a final decision is made”.
20 November 2012
Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero is to host a specially organised tourism summit in the town at the end of next week (Friday 30th November). Gloria has pulled together a number of high profile people and organisations and persuaded them to take part in an effort to boost tourism in the area and the town’s famous links with D.H. Lawrence are expected to be at the forefront of the agenda.
Representatives from Visit England, English Heritage, Arts Council, Experience Nottinghamshire, East Midlands Museum Service, Nottingham University, Broxtowe Borough Council and D.H. Lawrence Heritage management are amongst those who have agreed to take part.
The local MP plans to hold a roundtable discussion at the award winning D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre and it will provide those in attendance with the perfect opportunity to share ideas and expertise and discuss ways of exploiting the town’s rich cultural heritage in an effort to maximise the tourism potential in the area.
Before the roundtable discussion begins, a short tour of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum will also be given to those attendees who wish to step back in time and visit the birthplace and early home of the writer to catch a fascinating glimpse into his early life and the cramped realities of a Victorian mining family.
Next year is the 100 year anniversary of ‘Sons and Lovers, the groundbreaking novel written by the local author and Gloria believes now is the ideal opportunity to do something special and celebrate the landmark anniversary by putting Eastwood on the map.
19 November 2012
Last Friday (16th November) local MP Gloria De Piero joined children and staff at Eastwood’s Springbank Primary School to show her support for their fundraising activities for this year’s Children in Need.
On the afternoon of the famous fundraising day, Gloria visited the charity minded pupils as they donated 50p and donned fancy dress instead of coming to school in their usual uniform and there was no shortage of willing kids ready to dress up and celebrate the great cause.
The school hoped to raise as much money as possible for the charity and as well as fancy dress and out of uniform day there was the chance for the kids and staff to buy Pudsey Bear biscuits and cakes and the MP just couldn’t resist!
Gloria said: “Everyone involved at the school went out of their way to ensure that it was a fabulous day by raising as much money as possible and having lots of fun at the same time. The children I met were brilliant and although they might only be young they told me how important it is to look after other children who are less fortunate. It’s such a great cause and I was delighted I was able to show my support”.
All the money raised on the day will go to Children in Need and help disadvantaged children and young people right here in Ashfield and Eastwood and across the rest of the UK.
16 November 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero visited staff at the Co-Op store in Selston to help highlight the shop-workers union, USDAW’s ‘Freedom of Fear’ campaign.
Gloria was delighted to give her public backing to the campaign and even donned a special t-shirt alongside staff to help promote the campaign which is calling on shoppers to show respect to all retail workers across the sector. During the visit the local MP was met by Sharon Sheriff, Operations Manager, Belinda Adamiec, Senior Risk Manager and staff from the shop floor and also given a short guided tour of the site.
Speaking after the visit Gloria said: “This is really well timed and although you might think the season of goodwill extends to shop workers, unfortunately the reality is that the festive season is a time when incidents of violence and abuse against staff tend to increase. It may be the season for us all to be jolly but it won’t necessarily be the case if you are a shop worker. The festive season brings its own stresses and strains for us all but remember to heed USDAW’s call and ‘keep your cool at Christmas".
As a community retailer, the Co-Op has taken a central role in tackling retail crime and the MP is proud to have been asked to show her support for the campaign as well. Research published by the British Retail Consortium indicates that in the in the last twelve months, incidents of violence and verbal assault against retail staff have risen by 83%. According to USDAW, every minute of every day a shop worker somewhere is assaulted, threatened or abused and the visit provided the Ashfield MP with the perfect opportunity to meet staff and hear some of their stories from the shop floor.
13 November 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero took the boss of the new partnership tasked with helping drive economic growth in the area to meet with Kirkby business owner Zoe Thompson.
At the beginning of the morning Gloria met with Peter Richardson, Chair of the region’s new Local Enterprise Partnership, D2N2 and discussed plans for the economic development of the constituency. The meeting had been set up at the request of the local MP who was eager to discuss ideas as well as finding out what the new body can do to support much needed economic growth in Ashfield.
Instead of sitting in the office for the duration of the meeting Gloria decided to take Mr Richardson to meet with Zoe Thompson who has run Floral Expressions on the high street for the last thirteen years so she could tell him exactly what her concerns are. Some of the main issues included the twenty per cent VAT rate and how it had made it more difficult for small businesses like hers to make a profit, the damaging impact of bank charges for card use, the reduction in footfall across our high streets and how the struggling economy was continuing to hit small businesses hard at a time when customers still remain reluctant to spend.
Zoe said: “We hardly hear anything at all from the banks and when we do it is because they are trying to persuade us to increase the overdraft. It has been such struggle to make a decent living but hopefully things are starting to pick up”.
Speaking just afterwards Gloria said: “I’ll do my best to raise all of the issues in Parliament over the coming months and make sure those ministers in charge are fully aware of the problems local businesses are continuing to face. In the meantime we can all do our bit for local businesses by going in and showing our support because many of them are the heart and soul of our communities”.
Peter Richardson added: “It was great to meet with Zoe and find out more about small local businesses in the area and I was extremely impressed by her. It is very important that the Local Enterprise Partnership recognises the challenges that businesses owners face and also acknowledge how we can help businesses develop further and grow so that we have a vibrant and strong local economy”.
A Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a voluntary partnership between local authorities and businesses formed in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation. The D2N2 partnership covers Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
12 November 2012
Later on this evening (12th November) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero is to vote for a delay in fuel duty increase at least until April in the House of Commons and give some much needed relief to millions of motorists.
The crippling 3p per litre rise is due to come in at the start of the year but Labour has put forward a Commons motion calling for a three-month freeze in the levy and the Ashfield MP will vote alongside colleagues to postpone the increase.
Gloria said: “I have received almost a hundred e-mails, letters and phone-calls from extremely concerned constituents who are worried about the impact that this rise is going to have on their household finances. Petrol is a significant part of day-to-day spending for most people in Ashfield I just wanted to let everyone that I will be doing the right thing and voting to delay the fuel duty increase”.
The local MP added: “While the economy is still fragile and the cost of living is continuing to rise much faster than wages the very least the Government could do is axe January’s fuel duty increase until April and help out lots of hard-working families across the constituency”.
8 November 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has slammed the Government for cutting 550 frontline nurses in the East Midlands. The Government came into power promising to protect frontline NHS jobs but the evidence against that claim is stacking up, not just in the East Midlands but across the country.
Statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre this week show that the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff employed by the NHS has fallen by 6,191 since Cameron became Prime Minister in May 2010.
Between June and July this year over 800 posts alone were lost, the centre’s workforce statistics for England show.
Gloria said: “Despite his election promises David Cameron has cut the NHS budget two years running and turned it upside down with a wasteful and unnecessary £3 billion reorganisation”.
Gloria added: “Over 6,000 nursing jobs have now been cut on his watch and the cuts are especially bad in the East Midlands with nearly 550 fewer nurses working on the frontline than two years ago. Patients shouldn’t pay the price for broken promises and it is time the Government get its priorities straight and deliver on its election promise to protect the NHS and put patients’ needs first’.
5 November 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has launched her annual school Christmas card competition and the local politician has invited every primary and infant school in the constituency to take part and help design her personal Christmas card this year.
Rather than using the standard parliamentary Christmas card, Gloria wants to showcase the talent of local school children in the area instead. On December 7th a panel of local judges will then decide the winning card and one lucky child will see their very own design printed on the front of Gloria’s Christmas cards.
The competition is open to all pupils regardless of their age and for those schools with a nursery, younger children have also been invited to take part. All designs should be submitted on white A4 paper with the name of the child and the school recorded on the back and returned to the constituency office no later than Wednesday 28th November.
Following the launch Gloria said: “I’d like to thank local business Crystal Martin who have been incredibly generous and have enabled us to hold the competition once again. Without their support this competition wouldn’t be possible”.
Gloria added: “We had some great designs last year and I look forward to seeing more fantastic cards this year. I imagine the judges are going to have a tough time picking a winner because there are so many incredibly talented kids here in in Ashfield. Good luck to everyone taking part”.
2 November 2012
The loss of nearly 150 jobs at local firm Beamlight Automotive is a devastating blow to the area - some have worked for the vehicle and train seating maker for nearly thirty years. To be told you have no job to go back to through no fault of your own must be incredibly hard but to be told you’ve still got to wait a couple of weeks until you receive last month’s wage is just wrong. After the company went into administration I wrote to bosses to say how concerned I was about the situation and I’m even more concerned now. Though Beamlight isn’t in my constituency I know a lot of my constituents worked there. If you’ve been affected and would like support please do get in touch with my office and I’ll do all I can to help.
I'm also really sad to see Eastwood shoe shop Jonathan James close its doors. I was in there the other week talking to the manageress who was saying the shop is to be replaced by 'one of those money lenders that charges hundreds of per cent interest to borrow the cash'. We all need to borrow a bit of extra cash from time to time to get us through Christmas or to book a holiday. I can't help thinking that if the banks did their job properly and worked in the interests of customers, rather than themselves, there's be no need for companies like this.
Finally I think politicians should do less talking and more listening. I know some of you are doing great work in local neighbourhood watch groups and I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how to tackle crime in Eastwood. My diary is packed until Christmas but if you'd like me to come along to one of your meetings in the New Year, do get in touch.
31 October 2012
In recent weeks I've been talking to people about why they hate politics and politicians. Thank you to those at Jacksdale Miners Welfare bingo night for giving me their views. I was struck by the comments about some politicians being out of touch and a feeling that too many politicians don't understand their lives. I'm a hundred per cent determined that I never become one of those out of touch politicians that people complain about. I think one of the biggest problems with politics is that it’s not open enough. I remember 32 year old Frank who I met that night saying he thought that people needed qualifications to become politicians. I think too many think going into politics is a career like the law or the media. I disagree - it’s a passion for standing up for people that matters and a desire to stand up for your community and your country - they are the only qualifications needed for the job. We need more people from normal backgrounds in politics - politics shouldn't be the preserve of a small elite club - having more secretaries and builders and posties and dinner ladies in there would absolutely transform the place for the better.
I think politicians should do less talking and more listening. I know some of you are doing great work in local neighbourhood watch groups and I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how to tackle crime in Ashfield. My diary is packed until Christmas but if you'd like me to come along to one of your meetings in the New Year, do get in touch.
Many of you have written in to ask me to raise awareness of the house building consultation. I can't think of a better place to do this than in the Chad. Thanks to the couple who specifically asked me to mention it in my column - here you go! If you feel strongly about house building where you live here's the link www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/localplanconsultation and if you’re not online I'm sure the council will post a copy to you if you give them a call. The consultation closes on Friday 9th November. HAVE YOUR SAY.
Finally I’d like to end with a plea. Bonfire night will soon be here and I know many of you will go to an organised event or hold your own celebration. It’s a great time of year but for Wendy & Phil who run the Cedar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kirkby it’s one of their busiest. They’ve asked if everyone can check before they light the fire that no small animals have set up home among the cosy looking pile of wood. It will only take a minute but you could help save an animal’s life.
After all animals do their bit to look out for us humans too. The story in last week’s Chad about the dog who saved her owner from choking to death really does prove once and for all that they are a man OR woman’s best friend. What a hero!
29 October 2012
Last Saturday (27th October) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero hosted her final coffee morning of the year for Sutton residents) at The New Cross Community Hall. A new round of residents’ surveys was also rolled out to coincide with the event and once again the information provided some extremely useful information which the MP has now promised to act on.
Anti-social behaviour and problems caused by traffic were once again right at the top of the agenda and the results from the completed surveys revealed residents wanted to see action taken as soon as possible to try and tackle some of the recurring problems.
Both issues were hotly debated and brought up time and again by those in attendance. Residents told Gloria they were particularly concerned about anti-social behaviour on the Carsic and Leamington estates, whilst several other residents told the MP they’d like to see traffic calming measures introduced, particularly in the area around Priestsic Road and the Iceland store. Gloria has now promised to write to bosses at the police and the council and take up all of the concerns that were raised.
During the morning, one lady, Christine Smith, who lives on Percival Crescent also thanked Gloria for her help in securing a gating-order for the alleyway next to her house which until that point had been a magnate for anti-social behaviour.
Gloria said: “If there is a problem in your area then please do let me know and I will press the council and police to take action. No one should have to put up with this kind of behaviour on their own door step. I know that when gating-orders have successfully been secured anti-social behaviour has often declined. Despite this recent success it was obvious to me that residents in the area still had concerns about a number of other alleyways and it’s important that steps are taken to ensure people feel safe in their own neighbourhood”.
Gating orders can be used by highways authorities to restrict the use of a footpath to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour instead of permanently stopping it up or diverting it.
26 October 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero is backing the fight against breast cancer by taking part in the Breast Cancer Campaign’s award winning fundraiser ‘wear it pink’ day and she now wants constituents to join her.
Now in its 10th year, ‘wear it pink’ on Friday 26th October will see supporters from all over the country in schools, colleges and businesses embracing the event’s the event’s new theme – superheroes. The theme stems from the charity’s belief that everybody who joins the fight from people affected by breast cancer, to Breast Cancer Campaign scientists and all ‘wear it pink participants – is a superhero.
Breast Cancer Campaign is asking everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2.00, whether it’s a superhero cape, pink socks or pink pants you wear over your tights, you can help the charity achieve its target of raising £2 million, so they can continue to fund ground-breaking research.
Gloria said: “Every year in the UK, around 48,000 women and 340 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why we all need to support ‘wear it pink’ day so that Breast Cancer Campaign can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure.”
23 October 2012
Last weekend Gloria De Piero turned auctioneer and lent a helping hand at a local charity auction which had been organised by the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau in an attempt to raise some much needed funds.
Gloria had been asked to be the guest auctioneer at the special event by Sue Bagshaw, manager of Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and the local MP did her best to start a bidding war as she helped auction off several prized items including paintings and pottery at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church Hall in Eastwood.
The Bureau had over ninety items in the general auction that were up for grabs and there was something for everyone as the items ranged from large pictures, mirrors and furniture right down to smaller items that were priced at a couple of pounds. Over £333 was raised on the day and every penny will go the Bureau which offers befriending and community transport services.
Gloria said: “The Eastwood Volunteer Bureau really does carry out valuable work in the local community and special events like this ensure that they can continue to help as many people as possible. I was given the hammer and the responsibility of being in charge for twenty minutes and the pressure was on to sell all sorts from crockery to binoculars. I also took advantage of the event and got myself a juicer and a cocktail shaker too, it’s all for a good cause after all!”
22 October 2012
Gloria De Piero has given her support to Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Age UK’s campaign to ‘End Loneliness’. The campaign has been set up to ensure that as many people as possible in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are doing all they can to tackle the factors that cause loneliness.
Research by the charity has revealed some startling figures on loneliness; nationally over one million people 65 and over feel ‘always’ or very lonely’ and locally over 27,000 older people in Nottinghamshire feel trapped in their own home. Furthermore, over 100,000 older people in Nottinghamshire say the TV is their main company and depressingly around 39,000 older people in Nottinghamshire are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week.
Gloria said: “I wholeheartedly support the campaign to end loneliness. Through small acts of kindness we can make a difference and alleviate loneliness in older people’s lives. My mum and dad are getting on now and I make sure I ring them at least once a week. It doesn't take much to check on our neighbours and loved ones”.
Loneliness has a massive impact on older people and research demonstrates that loneliness has a similar impact on mortality as smoking and is worse than obesity. It has significant links to a range of chronic conditions including hypertension, depression and dementia – increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. It has also been shown that loneliness makes it harder to regulate behaviour, rendering people more likely to drink excessively, have unhealthier diets or take less exercise.
Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Age UK are calling on people to make small changes in their behaviour and pledge to do something to tackle loneliness in our community. The campaign will aim to touch the lives of 10,000 Nottinghamshire people and will run for 18 months to 31st march 2014.
20 October 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was put through her paces when she was interviewed by local school girl Sophie Gregson who is part of a year six team who run the school newspaper at Greenwood Primary School.
Sophie who is ten years old, arranged to interview the Labour MP at the end of Gloria’s most recent coffee morning which took place at the Homesteads in Kirkby-in-Ashfield on Saturday. The budding reporter had come well prepared and had a number of tough questions she was ready to ask Gloria.
Sophie was particularly concerned about the prevalence of anti-social behaviour within the community and the speed of the police response and the school girl was eager to hear the MP’s view on littering too. Gloria has now asked the boys and girls in the newspaper team to each handwrite a letter regarding the littering problem and she has promised to make sure those in charge are made aware of the problems.
During the coffee morning Sophie also had the opportunity to quiz PCSO Kenworthy who had attended the coffee morning at Gloria’s request as well. He told Sophie that police had to prioritise 999 calls and 101 calls respectively and with the recourses available to them at the time when dealing with anti-social behaviour.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “Ten year old Sophie is way beyond her years. I wasn’t interviewing police officers and MPs at ten – she is much more clued up than I was at her age. I promise I’ll take up her school council’s concerns about anti-social behaviour and littering by writing to the top policeman in the area and council chiefs and look forward to working with her and others at Greenwood to demand action”.
18 October 2012
Recent events at King’s Mill hospital suggest there's been a catastrophic failure of governance and current investigations must be full and thorough. New hospital bosses need to find a solution to fears over the long term financial future of the hospital and they need to ensure checks are in place to avoid a repeat of the blunders with breast cancer treatment. We need stability, ambition - we need the best management the NHS has to offer. One lady who has been affected came to see me last week. She and her husband are understandably worried and angry but they want answers too. They want to know why these errors took so long to come to light, and why when they did, it took so long for women like her to be contacted. I’ve written to the new chief executive who started on Monday to find out.
If any other women who have been affected would like to talk to me in confidence and ask me to raise any points about their own care with the hospital I'd be very happy to do so. I’ll be meeting the new chief executive and chairman very soon so please call my office on 01623 720399 or email me at email@example.com if you'd like to pass on any information.
I was encouraged when new King’s Mill chairman, Chris Mellor said last week, 'it is my absolute priority to take swift action to bring about improvements in the Trust’s performance’. Together we'll keep him to his word.
In recent weeks the political parties have been having their annual conferences - don't worry I'm not going to talk about them - I know they are of far more interest to the Westminster village than the people of Ashfield! I do though want to mention 28 year old mum, Natalie Fleet from Sutton, who brought the Labour Party conference to its feet in a standing ovation for her heartfelt speech about the importance of education. Natalie your passion brought a tear to my eye. I'm so proud when people from Ashfield do well and just to prove that I'm not making a party political point I'd also like to say that I feel a similar pride when I bump into local lad Ben Rathe who works in Parliament for a Liberal Democrat MP. I’ll celebrate anyone from our area that makes it into a world which is way too dominated by posh people from London. Natalie and Ben are helping to change that by being trailblazers for their community.
I am genuinely shocked and appalled by the news that gas and electricity prices are going up AGAIN. The energy companies claim this is because of rising costs but why can't they take a hit on their huge profits – after all British Gas profits were up 23% this year at British Gas. It’s just immoral. What on earth do the supposed regulators Ofgem do? Not much as far as I can tell.
15 October 2012
On Saturday 13th October Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was at the Ashfield Community Sign Post in Stanton-Hill with local Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Paddy Tipping to officially open the brand new community shop.
The local MP completed the formalities and declared the shop officially open with Mr Tipping by cutting a ribbon across the doorway. Gloria had been asked to do the honours by local volunteers who after weeks of hard work thought it would be a fitting way to declare the shop officially up and running.
Gloria said: “It’s wonderful that the community shop is back up and running and right in the heart of the local community too. I was delighted to be asked to come along and it also gave me the chance to hear more about the Ashfield Community Sign Post. All of the volunteers do great work and they provide a valuable service which I know will be really appreciated locally. Keep up the good work guys!”
The community hub is located at 11 High Street, Stanton Hill and is just a stone’s throw away from the old community shop in the village which it has replaced. Volunteers are keen to stress that whilst the shop may have changed premises all of the old services will still be available to those who may need them and the phone number remains exactly the same too – 01623 457118.
The Ashfield Community Sign Post will continue to advise residents on a range of issues across the spectrum on welfare rights including debt advice, help with pensions, housing benefit, contact details for other local organisations, CV writing as well as still providing the use of a photocopier.
Over half a dozen volunteers have already agreed to help out at the new community shop and it will be open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday as well as being open Saturday morning from 9am-1pm.
12 October 2012
On Friday local MP Gloria De Piero paid a visit to Brinsley Primary School to donate a number of items including tins of food for the school Harvest Festival as well as garden bulbs which will be used in a special community project the school are working towards entering.
The primary school is hoping to enter the Nottinghamshire Police Helping Hands Award Project which has been designed to encourage community cohesion and to teach the young children more about the community they live in. Part of the school project is to support the elderly in the community by helping them maintain their gardens. The school Gardening Club need donations of bulbs that can be planted in the community and they also need nominations of people who would like or need help with their gardening.
The school’s Harvest Festival Celebration is also due to be held next week Thursday and ahead of the annual celebration Gloria promised to donate a couple of tins of food which will then be taken by members of the school council to the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau to be distributed locally.
Speaking just afterwards Gloria said: “All of the staff and all of the kids at the school are carrying out some great work in the local community. It’s brilliant to see so many enthusiastic people who are determined to make a real difference on their own door-step and they are certainly doing Brinsley proud. It was lovely to meet everyone and I couldn’t help but come away feeling very impressed. Keep up the good work guys and I look forward to hearing more about your projects in the future”.
During the visit Gloria was also invited to spend time in each if the five different classes at the local school and given the chance to meet all the teachers and kids giving her a glimpse of what an everyday Friday morning consists of in the village’s only primary school.
8 October 2012
The eighth annual Countryside Alliance Awards are now open to public nomination and Gloria is urging the local community to get nominating local businesses.
The Countryside Alliance Awards nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’ were borne of a need to support and promote rural communities. They celebrate people going the extra mile to ensure that rural Britain’s food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills and forward thinking enterprises can flourish.
Gloria said said: “These awards are an excellent way to promote the local businessmen and women who are working hard to keep rural areas in and around Ashfield and Eastwood ticking. There are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition so please get involved and nominate today. Let’s see if we can bring a British title home and tell a positive story about Ashfield and Eastwood”.
In previous years Ken Hand and Son Butchers in Eastwood and Brinsley Sub Post Office have been nominated by members of the public, narrowly missing out an award in their respective categories. The awards run across the following categories; Local food Award, Village shop/ Post Office Award, Enterprise award, Butcher Award, Start-up Award for businesses who have been trading less than 18 months. Nominations are open online at www.countrysideallianceawards.org until 29th October.
5 October 2012
We received some furniture vouchers from friends as wedding gifts so we decided to get rid of some old furniture. Rather than put it on e-bay or throw it in the skip we called our friend Sue Bagshaw who runs the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and asked if this was the kind of thing they needed. Absolutely! She said. We phoned on the Friday and a few days later a van with some men arrived to take the furniture away in no time at all. I know that the Bureau will make sure that the furniture goes to a family that needs it. Unfortunately Sue told me they never enough stuff so if u r having a clean out instead of getting a fiver for an old chest of drawers why not call the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau on 01773 535255 and do a good deed. It will be the most satisfying clear out you have!
Many of you get in touch with me for help with a certain problem or because you want me to speak out on an issue that really matters to you. I know that the proposal to close our ambulance station in Eastwood will have worried many of you. I’ve already raised my concerns with bosses and now it is your turn to do the same. The public consultation is now up and running and I’d urge everyone who has concerns to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear by those at the top. Copies of the document can be found online at www.emas.nhs.uk, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 917 9911. It runs until 17th December so go on and have your say!
Finally as the nights get colder its worth remembering there is help available with the cost of insulation or central heating if you own or privately rent a poorly insulated home or have no working central heating system. If you receive Child Tax Credit/ Pension Credit/Working Tax Credit/ Employment and Support Allowance/Job Seeker’s Allowance/ Income Support you could be eligible for help from the Warm Front scheme. To find out if you can get help call 0800 316 2805 or visit the local CAB or Age UK.
3 October 2012
We often here about young people being louts or trouble makers - I say that's a massive generalisation. I recently paid a visit to Quarrydale School and met some brilliant young women. Since that visit one girl, Lauren Noble has got in touch with me to tell me about a 13,000 ft tandem skydive she is doing the day after her 18th birthday on October 13th. It’s in memory of her friend’s mum who sadly passed away from cancer this year and Lauren would like to raise as much money for Nottingham Universities Cancer Charity. Let's support her! If you’d like to donate to a great cause then visit www.justgiving.com/Lauren-Noble . Good luck and stay safe Lauren you are truly an inspiration!
I get so many e-mails and phone calls on local and national issues and they genuinely differ day to day and week to week. One of the best parts of the job is being able to do something about them if I can. James Allbright from the SPACE Centre is taking some students from local schools to help build a pagoda at the Carousel Under-5s nursery. He told me he’s been blown away by the support they’ve received already and can’t thank Wicks or Wood Lane Timber enough. However they are still in desperate need of 28 square-metres of corrugated plastic sheeting for the roof. If you can help please get in touch with James on 07984480975.
A lady from Sutton recently wrote to me and asked me if I would let people know about a campaign page www.facebook.com/bottlestopnow . If 100,000 people sign this petition it will automatically trigger a Commons debate on the mandatory use of plastic glasses and bottles in clubs and pubs. It’s a worthy cause to support. I’d like to thank everyone who gets in touch with me and lets me know what's important to them. Without you all I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly, so please do keep it up.
POST OFFICE UPDATE - I am constantly on to the Head Office at the Post Office as we all want to see the temporary branch in the Kirkby precinct become a permanent one. I wrote to them AGAIN the other day and the Regional Network Manager told me in a letter “I can confirm that there are currently two interested applicants for this branch and I understand both are looking to take a unit within the precinct area. My local manager is contacting them on a twice-weekly basis to try to move things along”. I promise you I will continue to badger them and keep you informed of every communication I have with them along the way because I know just how important this is to local people.
1 October 2012
On Friday 28th September Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was invited to meet with local business leaders and representatives to discuss plans for the economic development of the constituency.
The issues at the top of the agenda were the willingness of banks to lend to small businesses and the skill shortage amongst young recruits - especially those in the engineering sector locally.
One other issue which members were eager to highlight as a real cause for concern was the difficulty local businesses have had securing funding from the Regional Growth Fund. The £2.4 billion fund has been operating across England since 2011 and is meant to support businesses and projects with significant potential for economic growth that can create additional and sustainable jobs in the private sector.
Speaking just afterwards Gloria said: “This was a really invaluable meeting and I’ve come away with a number of very important issues which I now plan take to Ministers and ensure they are aware of the problems facing businesses here in Ashfield. I was particularly alarmed to hear of the difficulties that firms have had accessing cash that the Government have put aside to help areas like ours. This can’t be right”.
Gloria added: “The business leaders I met today told me how they’d love local youngsters to consider a career in manufacturing and engineering because there are some great jobs out there in that sector. It’s a hugely competitive job market and unemployment is high so we now need to make sure that young people here in Ashfield have the skills that businesses are demanding”.
The event had been organised by the regional branch of the Chamber of Commerce and took place at the offices of Yusen Logistics in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
25 September 2012
Labour's Gloria De Piero has slammed Liberal Dermocrat Crime Minister Jeremy Browne for slapping more red tape on CCTV.
Local authorities and police forces will be forced to prove they are using cameras "proportionately" under a new code of practice that is set to be introduced.
The move was quitely slipped out in a Statement in Parliament by Mr Browne last week on the new Protection of Freedoms Act which will alow people t challenge the use of CCTV in public areas.
Shadow Home Office Minister Gloria De Piero said that mr Browne's priority should be keeping people safe on the streets. Gloria added:"It says a lot that mr Browne's first priority in his new job is to regulate CCTV".
24 September 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero hosted the fourth of this year’s regular coffee mornings for Ashfield constituents at Huthwaite Leisure Centre last Saturday (22nd September). The latest coffee morning differed from previous events as Gloria launched a brand new questionnaire to coincide with the event.
The local MP is always looking for new ways for voters to tell her what they want her to focus on and now constituents have returned their surveys Gloria has a picture of just how satisfied residents are with their community.
The surveys revealed that 45 per cent of those who replied in Huthwaite said traffic and anti-social behaviour was their primary concern. The discussion on the morning reflected this as both issues were hotly debated and brought up by a number of residents in the village. Gloria is now writing to bosses at Notts County Council and the Chief Inspector of Nottinghamshire Police to find out what can be done to address residents’ concerns.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “This is exactly why I invite residents along to these coffee mornings so that I can find out firsthand what issues are most important to them in their immediate neighbourhood and act on them. I was already aware that traffic was a problem in the area having previously written to the Highways Department at Nottinghamshire County Council on behalf of individual constituents. However given that my local survey showed that nearly half of local residents said it was a major concern I’d expect the council to look into this issue again. It is clearly a big problem in the village and one that needs re-examining”.
Gloria added: “I will be in touch with all of those people who filled in a survey or came to the coffee morning as soon as I hear back from the relevant agencies. If others want a copy too they should get in touch with my office and I’ll let other Huthwaite residents know through the Chad”.
20 September 2012
Over the last two months many of us have been captivated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The politicians have been talking about what the games mean will mean in the long term by way of a sporting legacy. Here in Ashfield we’ve got our very own sporting heroes in Sam and Ollie Hynd. After their amazing success these two lads are going to inspire a whole generation of future Ashfield Olympians. That is a sporting legacy they should be proud of!
Staying with sport I was delighted when Martyn Goodfellow from Underwood Villa FC got in touch and told me that the club had been successful in securing funding towards its changing room pavilion project from Sport England. I was more than happy to write a letter of support - it’s another example of what your MP can do for you.
Since becoming your MP I’ve raised the increase in local A&E waiting times, the loss of the walk-in-centre in Kirkby and the proposed closure of all four wards at our community hospital in Parliament. But I want to know about your experiences of the most used part of the NHS and that's your experience of your family doctor because far less information is publicly available on how satisfied we are with our GP. Under the last Government GPs had to offer you an appointment within forty eight hours of calling. This is no longer the case and I’d love to hear what the real life impact of this is. If you've had to wait more than two days get in touch with me on 01623 720 399 or gloria.depiero.mp@parliament. I can assure you it will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
I’ll always speak out for Ashfield in Parliament whenever I get the chance. That’s why I made clear to Ministers the other day just how important it is to ensure fair fares on regional and local trains. Many people travel to Mansfield or Nottingham to get to work which is why it would be terribly short sighted if fares were to rise so high that people simply decided it wasn't financially worth going to work because of the cost of getting to and from work. This would cost so much more in the long run because we'd be paying to keep people on the dole which would be financial madness.
I also managed to raise the issue of house-building and the importance of the green-belt in the Commons last week. I know it’s an issue many of you feel very strongly about which is why I said we need more houses, we need more jobs but we want to keep our green space green for our children and our children's children. As I told MPs, brown-field is always best and I’m sure most of you will agree.
19 September 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith and asked him to personally look into the tribunal case of a Sutton man with a number of major health issues.
The local man is unable to claim Disability living Allowance - despite winning his case at a tribunal. He was undergone surgery for bowel cancer and has suffered a heart attack but has been unable to claim after being told by the Disability and Carers Service was to appeal the judges unaminous decision.
Gloria said: "This is a man who has worked all his life and never claimed a penny. I have now asked the Government Minister to personally look into it. I have read the appeal judgement and it says he is open and honest and his condition is unlikely to imrpove. This looks like an open and shut case so why is the Government wasting taxpayers' cash appealing again. he has been through enough and I won't give up until justice is done".
18 September 2012
Local MP Gloria De Piero will host the fourth of this year’s regular coffee mornings for Ashfield constituents this Saturday (22nd September). The latest coffee morning will differ from previous coffee mornings as the MP has launched a brand new questionnaire to coincide with the event.
Gloria said: “I know not everyone can get to my coffee mornings but I still want to know what people think about the area and what they want me to focus on locally so all future coffee morning areas will get a questionnaire”.
Every Huthwaite resident will have received an invite and survey through the letter box to this Saturday’s (22nd September) event and it will take place at 10:30am-11:30am at Huthwaite Leisure Centre. For residents that can’t make the coffee morning but still want to return a completed questionnaire, a special ballot box has been installed at the entrance of the leisure centre. This is available to use up until 11:30am on Saturday (22nd September).
The local MP is always looking for new ways for voters to tell her what they want her to focus on and once constituents have returned their surveys Gloria will have a picture of just how satisfied residents are with their community. By the time of the next election every Ashfield resident will have received an invite to one of Gloria’s coffee mornings.
Many people have already told Gloria that fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is a big concern. Therefore Gloria will be joined by local PCSO Nina Allsop and it will give residents an opportunity to raise any issues that are important to them with either Gloria or PCSO Allsop
As usual the coffee morning will be an informal get together and residents are free to pop in for just a minute or stay a bit longer if they have particular concerns about their local area. It’s not just a good opportunity to meet with your local MP but a good opportunity to chat with your neighbours about any issues too. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served throughout the morning.
17 September 2012
Local MP Gloria De Piero is backing an awareness push from Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and National Children’s Bureau on help getting free heating for low income households from Warm Front, a government-led scheme. Gloria is urging those in Ashfield worried about paying their energy bills this winter to find out if they are eligible for free heating and insulation from Warm Front.
Gloria said: “I know that the costs of energy bills are a big worry of many people in Ashfield, and the households with the lowest income are hit the hardest. I am concerned that people are planning on such drastic measures to keeps costs low, especially after the snow we’ve experienced over last few years. I urge anyone who is worried about affording their energy bills this winter to contact their local Age UK or Citizens Advice to find out if they are eligible to claim”.
The campaigned has been announced as the number of households applying for help from Warm Front has dramatically fallen over the past financial year, yet new research from Consumer Focus has shown that around six million homes in England are planning a cut back on heating due to worries about paying their energy bills.
People can find out if they can get free help from Warm Front by calling 0800 316 2805 or by visiting their local Citizens Advice Bureau or Age UK. Further information and an online application form are also available on www.direct.gov.uk .
13 September 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was put through her paces by an all-female panel of students during a Q&A session at Sutton’s Quarrydale School. The 16 and 17 year olds grilled their MP on a range of subjects that varied from politics to loaw and order to Hillsborough.
But the one question that the MP said really caught her attention was from Daisy Roberts, who asked if there was anything she could do to help improve the facilities at the school. Gloria told her she would take the matter up with the Secretary of State for Education and encouraged her to write a letter which she could then pass directly to Michael Gove.
Gloria said: “Daisy asked me about the facilities at Quarrydale so I suggested she write to Michael Gove and I will personally ensure he receives her letter and is aware of her concerns. We will both look forward to his reply.”
She added: "I was so inspired by the young women I met today. They reinforced to me what a bright future Ashfield has when we have such confident and intelligent young women attending our local schools.”
11 September 2012
Last Friday Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero was at the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum dressed in traditional Victorian clothing as part of a special taster tour and open day event to celebrate the first week of the D.H. Lawrence Festival.
It was the ‘Heritage Open Days’ event and there was free admission to both the D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre and the Birthplace Museum with tours taking place throughout the day. The tours included a Victorian wash day session and the local MP helped wash and peg out clothes dressed in a traditional period apron.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “The festival is a really special event and I was delighted when I asked to come along and get involved even if it did mean dressing up! As a patron of the festival and as the town’s MP I’ll always do everything I can to support it and make sure that our area’s rich cultural heritage is recognised and celebrated. It doesn’t finish until the 19th of September so if you find yourself with a bit of spare time then get a long and show your support and find out what’s going on. There is literally something for all of the family, you won’t be disappointed”.
The local MP, who is also a patron of the event, was delighted to have been asked to take part in the festivities designed to mark the great life and work of the town’s most famous son. The annual festival is taking place throughout two jammed packed weeks in September (6th-19th), the author’s birthday month. There are more than sixty events and activities offering something for everyone to enjoy and get involved with.
10 September 2012
A bus service that was given the axe in Eastwood has been reinstated after passengers repeatedly complained to the company and asked their local MP for help.
After the 103 service was stopped passengers were forced to take longer journeys and walk further to other bust stops. Eastwood MP Goria De Piero then decided to write to the company who manages the service. Following her letter Gloria was told the bus service was going to be reinstated.
After receiving the news Gloria said: "It’s great news that the company have now listened to what the public and myself have said and reinstated this important local service. If anyone else has had a similar problem with any other local services then please do get in touch on 01623 720 399 or Gloria.email@example.com and I’ll do all I can to help”.
8 September 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero remains concerned the closure of the Eastwood Ambulance Station could mean slower response times, despite a deployment zone being based in the town.
Having received confirmation that the town will keep a 'tactical deployment point' the Eastwood MP has written to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) asking for confirmation that the length of time residents wait for an ambulance will not increase.
Gloria said: “I’ve written to the chief executive to ask him exactly how the closure of the station will improve their performance as he claims, and to get a guarantee that under no circumstances will this rise".
“When a loved one is hurt, it’s important to know that an ambulance is only ever a few minutes away. The latest figures available show that they are currently one of the worst performing Trusts in the country when it comes to response times. My number one concern is that this doesn’t become worse.”
6 September 2012
MPs' annual expense claims have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
5 September 2012
The last time I wrote my column was just before my wedding and I’m very happy to say that everything went well on the day! It’s been a hectic summer and I’m sure a lot of folk were gripped by the Olympics and now there’s the Paralympics too. There seems to have been a real togetherness created by the Olympic spirit and it made me proud to be British.
Ashfield’s own Paralympic heroes, Ollie and Sam Hynd have been chosen to represent Britain in the games and they have both done brilliantly so far, bringing home silver and bronze respectively in the S8 400m freestyle swimming event and that might not be the end of their medal haul either! Congratulations lads you are both true Ashfield champions and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say the whole of Ashfield has been right behind you.
We do have so much to be proud of locally. I’ve been closely following the fantastic A-level and GCSE results and I have been so impressed with the results that have been achieved in Ashfield this year. I’d like to say well done to all of our local students – you have done our area proud. Your achievement reflects years of hard work and dedication, from parents and teachers but most of all yourselves. I wish everyone the very best of luck, whether you going on to university, further education, training or employment. I’m sure our future is in capable hands with such a remarkable group of young people!
From time to time students ask to spend a day or a week in my constituency office. They are always hard working, bright and enthusiastic. Over the last couple of weeks 17 year old Eloise Stevenson has helped me with some key office tasks and she came out with me to Kirkby to meet with owners and staff at furniture company, Julian Bowen Ltd. Thank you Eloise, you have been fantastic. Good luck in what no doubt will be a very bright future.
Finally it’s so important that we always make sure our voices are heard and that we are listened to by those in positions of power. The deadline for the consultation on the Ashfield Health Village closes on Sunday 9th September so if you haven’t done so already please do make sure you let health bosses know what you think of their plans, which includes the closure of all four wards at the site. You can do this by visiting www.nottspct.nhs.uk or you can request a paper copy from my office by calling 01623 673329.
3 September 2012
Last Friday Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero paid a visit to Kirkby based furniture wholesaler; Julian Bowen Ltd to present a special award to the firm after it was recently voted the “Best UK Furniture Wholesaler”.
Gloria was invited to present the award in person by the Managing director of the firm, Julian Bowen. The award was from the ‘Interiors’, one of the foremost magazines in the industry and the company beat off strong competition to bring the award to Kirkby after being voted the best wholesaler by the magazines retail readership.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “I was delighted to be invited to present the award. In these difficult times it’s great when you hear a local success story and it was really good to find out how a local firm has managed to rise above the doom and gloom of the current economic climate. It was obvious what the award meant to all of the team there and I hope they enjoy their success – from what I saw they definitely deserve it and I’m sure it won’t be the last award either”.
The company attributes much of its success to a highly skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated work force and this award adds to what has already been an incredibly successful year so far. During the visit Gloria was also given a guided tour of the site and had the chance to chat to the workforce and find out what role they played in helping the company win the prestigious award.
Despite the tough economic climate, Julian Bowen Ltd is currently showing an increase of more than twenty per cent in sales so far this year compared to the previous year and Gloria is keen to hear firsthand from bosses how they have achieved their recent success.
1 September 2012
A new purpose built health clinic could replace the threatened building in Nottingham Road according to a letter sent to Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero this week.
Gloria has welcomed the news but warned the PCT should would be keeping a close eye on developments. she said: "It's of the upmost importance that if building work goes ahead and the clinic has to close then exactly the same services remain available in any temporary accommodation at the site".
"After seeking assurances, the initial indication from bosses is that they will and I'll be watching very carefully to make sure that they stick to their word. If any residents remain concerned then please don't hesitate to contact me on 01623 720 399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
26 August 2012
Official House of Commons Library figures have revealed that the total number of anti-social behaviour orders issued has hit a ten year low and they are set to drop by up to a fifth this year - making a 60 per cent drop in five years.
Two year's ago the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the Government were scrapping ASBOs and that they would be phased out.
Labour's Shadow Home Affairs Minister Gloria De Piero said "This has left police officers in limbo. Many forces are now unsure about what tools they have to tackle loutish behaviour".
28 July 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero has written to the chief executive of East Midlands Ambulance Service demanding answers and branding the decision to close ambulance stations across the region a ‘huge blow’ to local residents.
The proposals will see every station in Nottinghamshire close - including Eastwood - with the exception of two. Following the announcement the local MP has asked for reassurances that residents will not have to wait any longer for an ambulance, and asked how many miles paramedics will have to travel to get to an emergency in Eastwood.
Gloria said: "I know constituents will be concerned about the possible loss of a vital life-saving service that is currently based right on their door-step. To be told that ambulances will no longer be permanently based in Eastwood is a huge blow and is another sign that shows how the quality of our health service is deteriorating under this Government. I have written to bosses to seek assurances that people in Eastwood won’t have to wait any longer for an ambulance if these changes go ahead”.
25 July 2012
Last week I met with one of our local health bosses and there was one thing that was at the top of my agenda…..the loss of the walk-in-centre. It's an issue that I’ve banged on about for over a year now and I still refuse to give up. I made this point crystal clear once again. I hope they now listen and act.
Sutton’s Quarrydale School achieved stunning improvements in its GCSE results. I went along to congratulate pupils and staff and learned about the fantastic campaign by year 7 students called Send My Friend to School. Thousands of students across the country have designed medals and posters to encourage world leaders to keep their promise and make sure that every child can go to school, no matter where they live. It’s such a worthy cause and if you happen to walk past my office in Kirkby you’ll see that I’m showing my support too with a huge window display designed by Quarrydale students.
The community spirit and willingness to help others is what makes Ashfield so great. A lovely lady called Julie Marriott runs a bingo night every Friday at Huthwaite Leisure Centre to raise money for the Amazon Breast Care Group at King’s Mill. She recently presented a £500 cheque to the group and has managed to raise nearly £2000 in the last year alone. Everyone involved does their bit and it was wonderful to meet such selfless people. Keep up the good work ladies!
When I attended a tenants and residents association meeting in Carsic I had the pleasure of meeting David Simpson. As well as being active in his community David spends his spare time growing new breeds of Chrysanthemums and he asked if I’d like to name the next flower he grows. After a lot of thought I chose to name the flower Paisley after an inspirational young girl from Sutton called Paisley Ward. To me she sums up what's great about Ashfield: she's hard-working, determined, has a great personality and a bright future too. I hope the flower can live up to the name.
Finally the next time I write this column I’ll be married so lots of preparations are in hand. Thanks to Katherine and the team from ‘The White Room’ in Sutton for their help in getting me prepared for the big day! I may be celebrating but do remember if you ever need my help please don’t hesitate to call my office on 01623 720399 or email me at email@example.com
20 July 2012
David Cameron and George Osborne promised change and they promised to secure the recovery, but their failed policies have delivered a double-dip recession made in Downing Street.
Families and businesses are paying the price for their mistakes with prices rising faster than wages, companies going bust and long-term unemployment rising. More people out of work claiming benefits rather than paying taxes means the Government is borrowing £150 billion more than they planned.
In recent weeks we have seen a number of high profile U-turns from the Tory-led Government. From the pasty and caravan taxes to the skip and charity taxes, we’re getting used to the Tory-led Government’s embarrassing about turns.
George Osborne is making a habit of announcing an economic policy decision and then reversing it. But these frequent changes of mind are symptomatic of an incompetent and out of touch Chancellor who keeps making the wrong decisions, forcing him into embarrassing reversals.
And the unravelling Budget is just the latest in a long list of chaotic U-turns from this incompetent and out-of-touch Government. From plans to scrap free school milk to promising to introduce tough knife crime sentences; from cutting child benefit to selling off our forests – David Cameron and his Tory-led Government are stumbling from one reversal to another, seemingly in every Whitehall department.
But on their most disastrous decisions, this Government is going straight ahead.
They have pledged to go straight ahead with their decision to cut the 50p rate of tax – giving a tax cut of over £40,000 to millionaires, while millions pay more.
They are going straight ahead with the unfair ‘granny tax’, which means 4.4 million pensioners, including 327,000 in the East Midlands will lose an average of £83 from next year.
And they are refusing to change course on their failed economic plan which has pushed the UK into a double-dip recession, seen long-term youth unemployment in the East Midlands increase by 326 per cent in the last year and which means borrowing is now higher than last year.
The Tories have made the wrong choices for our economy and people in Ashfield will be amongst those hit hardest. They came into office promising change but their economic plan has failed to deliver; only Labour stands for fairness in tough times which is why we have called on Osborne to make three immediate changes: reverse the cut in the 50p top rate of tax, repeal the ‘granny tax’ and put in place Labour’s plan for jobs and growth including a bankers’ bonus tax to fund youth jobs.
Our economy needs a new direction and we can start with these three changes. But we need your help to make it happen. If you think that we need a new economic plan then please join our campaign at www.labour.org.uk/tory-uturns and send a message to Cameron and Osborne that we need three immediate policy U-turns if we are to get out of this recession made in Downing Street.
19 July 2012
Last week Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero attended a workshop at kirkby College to see the programme the school has been running as part of its Campus CMI pledge and also awarded certificates to students. It is hoped that the professional qualification will give the youngsters a head start in the workplace.
The college has been running the Campus Chartered Management Institute (CIM) programme over the past three years for sixth formers and last Friday, those who had successfully completed it received a certificate.
The courseaims to build skills which employers look for, for instance working in a team and organising information. Participants were given a glimpse into the world of work by interviewing managers from comapnies in the area.
Gloria said: "This initiative builds vital confidence, inter-personal skills and basic management skills that our young people need to help to help them make the journey from education tono the workplace".
She added: "These are the practical skills that employers tell me they need from young people so it was great to see first hand jow the Campus CMI programme is helping students at Kirkby College. Young people in Ashfield today have got huge talent and enormous potential. I've got no doubt that I met some leaders of the future among the pupils at the college today".
17 July 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero MP has accused ministers of seeming happy to forget about places like Ashfield as new figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of 18 to 24 year olds in Ashfield who have been unemployed for more than twelve months has risen yet again – by 6.3 per cent in the last month and a massive 386% per cent in the last year.
Commenting on the latest unemployment statistics the local MP said: “It is pretty obvious that young people in Ashfield are crying out for action on jobs yet still ministers are refusing to bring in a plan for jobs and growth”.
“The headline fall in unemployment is welcome but it is worrying that the government appear incapable of getting to grips with youth unemployment in places like ours. Here in Ashfield 170 young people would be helped into work of this government brought in Labour’s ‘real jobs guarantee’. It’s about time ministers stopped talking and instead started acting on youth jobs”.
The number of 18 to 24 year olds across the East Midlands who have been unemployed for more than twelve months has also risen by a massive 326 per cent in the last year.
In Ashfield the new figures also show that the overall level of youth unemployment is currently at 960 - a 7.3% per cent increase in the last 12 months.
16 July 2012
Last week Gloria asked the following House of Commons Written Questions;
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were (a) reported to the police and (b) identified by the British Crime Survey in (i) Ashfield and (ii) Nottinghamshire (A) 1992 and (B) each year since 1992; and how many and what proportion of these crimes in each year resulted in a conviction.
To ask the secretary of State for the Home Department how many motorists have been caught speeding in a) Ashfield and b) Nottinghamshire in each of the last three years or for when figures are available.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Justice Department how many motorists have been prosecuted for speeding offences in a) Nottinghamshire and b) Ashfield in each of the last three years or for when figures are available.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices have been issued to motorists in a) Nottinghamshire b) East Midlands and C) Ashfield in each of the last three years or for when figures are available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many young adult offenders aged 18 to 20 years from i) Ashfield constituency and ii) Nottinghamshire have been held in (a) young offender institutions, (b) local prisons, (c) women's prisons and (d) other parts of the secure estate in each month since May 2009.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many juvenile offenders from i) Ashfield constituency and ii) Nottinghamshire have been held in a (a) secure children's home, (b) secure training centre and (c) young offender institution in each month since May 2005
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists were registered in a) Ashfield and b) Nottinghamshire in each of the last five years.
To keep up to date with all of Gloria's written questions and answers click here.
13 July 2012
I know many Eastwood residents will be anxious because of the recent speculation regarding the health clinic. Quite simply I don’t want to see our town lose a single service and I’ve written to the PCT to find out exactly what they have planned and how this might affect people because at the minute I’m afraid their answers just aren’t clear enough. It’s vital that the powers that be are transparent and that everyone is given the chance to have their say on any new proposals. In the meantime I will be keeping a very close eye on the situation. I've written to them asking some very specific questions and I expect some straight answers. If you have relied or currently rely on services provided at the clinic I’d love you to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's great to know we can work together as a team on so many things. I’m no education expert but I did get a back to the future feeling when I heard the Government that introduced the GCSE twenty odd years ago now wants to scrap the GCSE and replace it with the O level which they scrapped twenty years ago. Confused? Me too - so thanks to all the teachers who got in touch and gave me their views. They raised some valuable concerns which I raised in Parliament with the Education Secretary. A special thanks to local sixth former, Sarah, who told me in no uncertain terms what a ridiculous idea she thought it was. I quite agree!
This week I’d like to use this column to congratulate all of the staff at the D.H Lawrence Heritage Centre and D.H Lawrence birthplace Museum. These two brilliant places have been named Nottinghamshire’s Best Visitor Attraction. I’m a massive fan and it comes as no surprise to me that they have won and are now in the running for a national tourism award. All I can say is that their competitors will certainly have their work cut out. Well done guys.
Finally the next time I write this column I’ll be married so lots of preparations are in hand. Thanks to Katie and the team from Style 2000 for their help in getting me prepared for the big day! I may be celebrating but do remember if you ever need my help please don’t hesitate to call my office. If you are a business, school or voluntary group and would like me to come along and visit then I’m always more than happy too. I’m now booking up for the autumn months so get in touch quick.
12 July 2012
MPs' expense claims processed in January 2012 - February 2012 have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
11 July 2012
In Ashfield over the last year the number of people waiting in A&E for more than four hours has almost doubled, we’ve also lost our NHS walk-in-centre and there are plans to close our community hospital. A couple of days ago I challenged the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley as to why these things are happening but he could only tell me that he couldn’t remember all of the details and didn’t really answer my question directly. All of this makes me so angry - we've seen such deterioration in the quality of our health service and I think Ministers should at least do us the courtesy of telling us why they are letting it happen.
It’s my job to stick up for Ashfield so it’s always worth writing to me if you have a particular concern. Some of you have told me that you’re worried about the lack of bus services in Coxmoor. I’ve received a letter from Trent Barton which says that from the 22nd July, Coxmoor will receive a service into Nottingham, Kirkby, Sutton, King’s Mill and Mansfield every 30 minutes. Now this service will only run from Monday-Saturday right up until 11:10pm. It’s not perfect because there’s no service on a Sunday but it’s better than the current service. I know others have asked me to write about the lack of service on other bus routes….. fingers crossed we get positive news back.
I’ve also got my fingers crossed on the future of another important local service. Ever since the Post Office in Kirkby moved to its temporary site I’ve been in constant contact with Head Office to ensure that they locate the new Post Office in the precinct. They tell me that they are close to securing this site. Watch this space.
And finally it’s great to know we can work together as a team. I’m no education expert but I did get a back to the future feeling when I heard the Government that introduced the GCSE twenty odd years ago now wants to scrap the GCSE and replace it with the O level which they scrapped twenty years ago. Confused? Me too - so thanks to all the teachers who got in touch and gave me their views. They raised some valuable concerns which I raise in Parliament with the Education Secretary. A special thanks to local sixth former, Sarah, who told me in no uncertain terms what a ridiculous idea she thought it was. I quite agree!
9 July 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero attended a breakfast club at Sutton Centre Community College last Friday (6th July). The event had been organised to discuss future plans for the town that link in with ideas that have already been created and discussed through the previous work on the Portas bid.
The local MP was joined by a number of local business leaders; including representatives from Asda, college governors and staff as well as representatives from organisations such as Ashfield District Council. As part of the college’s in-house enterprise initiative pupils from Sutton Centre Community College showcased their culinary skills by cooking and serving breakfast to almost thirty guests.
During the breakfast Liz Barrett, Acting Head of Adult Education at Sutton Centre Community College and Andrew Wraight, manager of the Idlewells shopping centre explained how they wanted to replicate the Jubilee spirit and organise a number of different events over the coming year. They are now looking for ideas to organise another brilliant celebration in the town and the discussion quickly turned to the town’s Christmas celebrations.
Gloria said “It might be months away but I’ll do whatever I can to help. I’ve already promised to donate tea for two on the terrace of the House of Commons as well as tickets to Prime Minister’s Questions. After listening to both Liz and Andrew I have to say I’m really excited about the future and if you are a local business or group and want to be more involved then please do get in touch. If we all work together then I’m sure we will be able to achieve some fantastic results over the next couple of months and really put on an event that everyone can be proud of.”
“I also need to say a big thank you to all the young people who cooked the best breakfast I’ve had in a very long time. All of the food was lovely and I just couldn’t resist!”
One of the biggest successes to date of the Sutton Centre and Idlewells Shopping Centre Portas bid has undoubtedly been the increased level of partnership working in the town which recently culminated in the incredibly successful Jubilee celebrations on Portland Square. This cost almost nothing in terms of finances but utilized the energy and resources of all of those involved in organising the celebration and clearly demonstrated the potential of Portland Square.
Liz Barrett said: “It is only through our partnership work with the Idlewells Shopping Centre that we were able to achieve such things. The recent Jubilee event held on Portland Square created a wonderful buzz about the town. Planning for 1st December 2012 Portland Square event has started and we warmly invite as many people as possible to get involved with this”.
6 July 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero MP has today backed the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme and urged local people with an interest in politics to apply for the chance to work in Parliament.
The scheme aims to tackle the problem of unpaid internships in politics by creating a number of paid positions working with MPs in Parliament. Each successful applicant will get the opportunity to spend four days a week working in the Parliamentary office of an MP, with the fifth day being spent in a variety of roles across the House of Commons to develop an understanding of how Parliament works.
By paying interns fixed wage the scheme opens up Parliament to people who wouldn’t be able work and live in London for free. The scheme was launched in 2011 and the first participants are coming to the conclusion of their nine months in Parliament.
Commenting on the launch of the scheme, Gloria said: “This is a really important programme that helps open the strange world of Parliament up to more people and makes sure that those interested in politics are given the chance to work in Parliament regardless of their background”.
“We need to do more to make Parliament look like the country it represents which is why this scheme is such a fantastic idea. I hope that people from all backgrounds across Ashfield consider applying – even those who think that politics isn’t for them should give it a go”.
Applications can be made and more information found on the Social Mobility Foundation website – www.socialmobility.org.uk
The recruitment phase for the 2012/13 intake runs until 30/07/12
4 July 2012
Last Friday Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero paid a visit to leading Huthwaite based business, Synseal, after being invited to the site by chief executive David Leng following yet another successful year for the firm.
Gloria was given a full tour of the site and had the chance to chat with staff and senior management. The MP was keen to hear from bosses how Synseal has remained so competitive despite the current economic climate and what more can be done by the Government to support local engineering firms in the region.
Speaking afterwards the she said: “It’s vital that great businesses like Synseal are able are able expand and prosper because they play such an important role in our local economy. But like so many bosses I’ve met with in Ashfield I was told it’s still an absolute nightmare to secure funding from banks despite the Government promising otherwise. David, the chief executive, told me in no uncertain terms that whatever the Government are saying about banks helping more businesses it is complete nonsense. I’ve now promised to raise this matter with ministers in Parliament as soon as I can”.
“I’d also like to say a big thank you to Synseal for making Jake Harvey, a local lad who was on work experience with me so welcome. He must have impressed them because they told him he’s more than welcome to do work experience with the firm next year. Well done!
Originally set up in 1980 the company is now the largest British owned PVC systems company, contributing significantly to the local economy by employing over five hundred members of staff and recording a turnover of more than £75 million last year.
28 June 2012
Figures obtained by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero show that the number of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E at local hospitals, including the Queen’s Medical Centre and King's Mill has increased dramatically during last year.
The recently released statistics came to light after Gloria asked the House of Commons Library and the Secretary of State for Health out how many patients waited longer than four hours in the accident and emergency wards of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between April 2011 - March 2012 and April 2010 – March 2011.
During 2010-2011 a total of 5,943 patients had to wait longer than four hours in A&E wards at the QMC and the City Hospital yet the following year’s figures reveal that 10,624 patients waited longer than four hours, a massive increase of 4,681 patients and almost double the previous year despite the Prime Minister’s pledge in June last year that waiting times would remain low.
There was also a sharp increase at sherwood Forest hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including King's Mill. During 2010-2011 2,429 patients had to wait longer than four hours in A&E wards yet the following year's figures reveal that 4,074 patients waited longer than four hours, an increase of almost 68%.
Gloria said: “Waiting times are so important and we all want our loved ones to be treated as quickly as possible, so this steep rise must be extremely worrying for the Government. There is clearly a large increase and the question local people will want answering is why? This comes on top of the decision to close the NHS walk-in-centre in Kirkby; the Government just doesn’t seem to care about health in areas like ours. I have now written to Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health to ask him to look into this as a matter of urgency and find out why there has been such a significant increase”.
“However although the latest figures are very disappointing I’d like to make clear I’m not questioning the commitment of hard-working frontline staff at our hospitals who do a great job often under very difficult circumstances.”
27 June 2012
I’m so proud of the National Health Service it’s one of our greatest achievements but I also worry a lot about its future. Some of you have recently told me that health rationing is alive and kicking in Ashfield and that you’ve have been told you can now only be treated for one cataract. That’s why I was amazed when William Hague told the House of Commons that – “it’s totally unacceptable if trusts are rationing on the basis of financial considerations”. I want to show Ministers why they are living in cloud cuckoo land so if you’ve been told that you can't be treated on the NHS because cash is tight please get in touch with me and I promise I’ll take your case straight to the top.
I always say this but one of the best parts of my job really is getting e-mails, letters and phone calls from constituents who need my help or want to bring something to my attention. I’d like to say a big thank you to the chap who wrote to tell me about the amount of time his wife, who works in the civil service, has to spend travelling to and from meetings in London. This is a ridiculous waste of money and because he told me it meant I was able to take his concerns and press the Government in the Commons. If any others who work for the civil service have similar experiences then please do let me know so I can keep up the pressure as we all work hard and expect our taxes to be spent properly.
I don’t know where we’d be without our fantastic public servants. Not long ago I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with an ambulance crew from King’s Mill. Thanks to paramedics Joe and Rachael for showing me the ropes and to paramedic Paula Osborne from Sutton-in-Ashfield for explaining things so well. She was a wiz behind the wheel - blimey, those ambulances go fast! I can't imagine the days when paramedics had to study maps as well as everything else! One thing is for sure - they don't need the huge organisational upheaval hanging over their heads.
Finally the 18th-24th June was National Carers week which is why I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to all those carers in Ashfield who give so much love and support to the people who matter to them most. You are all absolutely brilliant!
26 June 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has pledged her support after the Chad teamed up with King's Mill Hospital as part of a major campaign to help the hospital purchase a new £750,000 state of the art MRI scanner.
Following the launch of the appeal Gloria has urged everyone in the local community to get behind the campaign and show their support.
The MP said: "I'm delighted to support a great local campaign like this and I'll help in any way that I can. it's important that patients get the best service and treatment available and if King's Mill get a new MRI scanner then it will be great news. It's a big target to reach but I know how well everyone in our community pulls together and it's a challnege I'm sure we can reach together".
25 June 2012
This week Gloria asked the following House of Commons Written Questions;
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the value of the pharmaceutical sector is to the economy in a) UK b) East Midlands c) Nottinghamshire d) Ashfield.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and skills how many people are employed in the pharmaceutical sector in a) UK b) East Midlands c) Nottinghamshire d) Ashfield.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many families have been visited by a Family Nurse Partnerships in the last three years or for the latest figures available?
To ask the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government how many families have been visited by family intervention projects in the last three years or for the latest available figures?
To ask the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government how many troubled families co-ordinators there currently are?
22 June 2012
In response to Her to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary report into the responses provided by police forces to reports of anti-social behaviour and victim satisfaction, Labour's Shadow Home Office Minister said:
“These are exceptionally worrying figures. Anti-social behaviour is a blight on too many lives and needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves. We back a strong and swift response to anti-social behaviour and that victims should get a response within 24 hours".
"However this Government is so out of touch it is weakening powers police have to tackle anti-social behaviour and taking over 16,000 police officers off our streets. This is no way to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour".
19 June 2012
Last week Gloria asked the following House of Commons Written Questions;
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of the illegal use of controlled substances in a) England b) East Midlands c) Nottinghamshire and d) Ashfield.
To ask the Attorney General how many residents of a) Ashfield b) Nottinghamshire and c) East Midlands were prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for i) possession of ii) possession with intent to supply iii) supplying and iv) producing a) Class A drug b) Class B drug and c) Class C drug in each of the last five years or for when figures are available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of 18 year olds in alcohol treatment programmes in a) UK b) East Midlands c) Nottinghamshire d) Ashfield.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates there were in Nottinghamshire a) on the latest date for which figures are available b) 2011 C) 2010 d) 2009 and e) 2008.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate his Department has made of the level of unscrupulous money lending in a) UK b) East Midlands c) Nottinghamshire d) Ashfield or for figures which are available.
To keep up to date with all of Gloria's written questions and answers click here.
18 June 2012
Last Friday Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero paid a visit to successful Sutton based manufacturing firm Midland Aerospace.
Gloria heard how the dynamic company which attracts clients from around the world is not only continuing to thrive but actually looking to expand in the near future despite the current tough economic climate. The managing Director, Eamon Lyons, attributed much of its success to a highly skilled and knowledgeable work force which uses some of the best manufacturing systems available.
During the visit the MP was also given a guided tour of the factory and met with the entire workforce. However one member of staff who really caught Gloria’s eye was local lad David Simms who is works as an Apprentice CNS Programme Setter at the site. He told Gloria a great story of how he persuaded the company to take him on by turning up unannounced and asking for work.
David was initially turned away and asked to apply when a vacancy came up – but not to be perturbed he turned up again the following week and asked for a job again. The Managing Director was so impressed with this attitude and determination he offered David two weeks work experience and he subsequently landed a full-time job because he did so well during the period.
Gloria said: “What an inspiration David is. I wish him all the success in the future because he really does deserve and it’s a great story too. I’m sure he has an extremely bright future ahead of him. Although I’d never recommend long term work experience – there is no doubt that it helped David get his foot in the door at a brilliant local firm. He showed great determination and fight by refusing to take no for an answer in order to land the job he wanted”.
Midland Aerospace operates from a modern purpose built facility working in both the aerospace and defence industries and offers manufacturing systems and parts to aerospace suppliers from major aircraft manufacturers through to small maintenance operators and now has an enviable client list that includes Airbus and BAE Systems and Raytheon. It has been trading under the name Midland Aerospace since 1999 and now employs 98 people from the area and is looking to capitalise on its recent success by expanding in the near future. Overall the industry is a large employer in the UK supporting over 300,000 jobs in the United Kingdom and contributing nearly £22.1bn to the economy.
It has recently been recognised for its delivery and performance by a major industry standard achieving the SC21 Bronze Award and managing director Eamon Lyons has said that it has already added significant value to the business. Now when current and potential clients now see that they have achieved this standard it sends out a signal that a company is truly world class in manufacturing terms and should ensure that the Ashfield based company remains a market leader in such a globally competitive industry.
16 June 2012
On Wednesday 13th June, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero raised her concerns over the closure of the Kirkby-in-Ashfield NHS Walk-in-Centre with David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions.
During the debate Gloria asked the Prime Minister why the popular NHS walk-in-centre had closed in her constituency of Ashfield and also why similar walk-in-centres are closing all over the country. Unfortunately the Prime Minister avoided answering the Ashfield MP’s question directly.
Speaking just after PMQs Gloria said: “Not only have I written to the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley to demand answers regarding the closure of the walk-in-centre, I have now raised this matter directly with the David Cameron, the Prime Minister too. I can assure them both that I will not let this matter go until ministers explain why we lost this popular walk-in-centre”.
15 June 2012
Broxtowe Borough Council has now published its proposals for house building in Eastwood, Brinsley and the surrounding areas. I know how concerned many of you will be - that is why it is really important that if you feel strongly about them YOU must make your views known during the consultation process. It's up and running but only for a six week period and it will close on 23rd July. For my part I have already written to Broxtowe Borough Council to seek assurances that if the majority of residents oppose the Council’s proposals then they will listen to them and not just carry on regardless of residents concerns. Anyone who wants to raise their concerns can do so on the Council’s website www.broxtowe.gov.uk/corestrategy, at the Council offices in Eastwood or Eastwood Library.
One new building which we can welcome in Eastwood is the recently opened Springbank Primary School. I went to a ceremony to mark the official opening of their long awaited new school building and the pupils there blew me away with their singing, acting and musical talent. Head teacher Julie Vaccari was brimming with pride as she talked of the sun-light, green spaces and fresh paint at the new site which led to the many young smiling faces I saw. Josh Carroll played the piano throughout and his mum told me how it was all self-taught. I can promise you Josh that it’s a very long way from playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on a recorder as we did in my day. What a star!
I saw quite a few creative talents of the future at the school and if your kids have a talent for creative writing or art then look no further than the D.H Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood. The Centre is inviting young people up to the age of 18 to build up to the Olympic Games by entering their best Olympic-themed art, short stories, plays or poems in two competitions. If you want to find out more about the competitions and the entry requirements then call 01773 717353 or e-mail email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is 23rd June. Go on and get in the spirit and encourage your kids to take part.
Finally judging by the pictures from last week's Advertiser I think it’s safe to say that the Jubilee spirit was alive and kicking in Eastwood. Some of the events and street parties looked amazing and it’s great to see people come together and have a few days off work. Well done to all those involved who did their best despite the weather!
14 June 2012
On Tuesday 12th June Ashfield Scouts Bradley Smith, Thomas Lambe, Ben Scothern and Scout Leader Alan Scothern met with local MP Gloria De Piero at a special reception hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Scout Group in the House of Commons.
It was a unique opportunity for young people in Scouting to meet with their own MP and others too in Parliament and talk about some of the challenges facing Scouting.
Gloria said: “I was delighted to welcome our local Scouts Bradley, Thomas, Ben and Scout Leader Alan to Parliament. The visit really brightened Parliament up for the day and I hope they all had a fantastic day out”.
“It’s great that they had the chance to attend such a fantastic event and I was more than happy to go along and say hello and also find out more about Scouting in Ashfield. It may have been around for years but it still continues to be relevant, providing young people like the lads I met with the opportunities to try out new sports, learn new skills and also help out in our their own community. I look forward to hearing more about Scouting in Ashfield over the next couple of years”.
13 June 2012
Judging by the pictures in the last Chad I think it’s safe to say that the Jubilee spirit was alive and well in Ashfield. I went to a brilliant event on Portland Square, Sutton, where school children sang one of my favourite songs, ‘Shine’ by Take That. I can confirm that the pupils from Sutton Centre and Priestsic Primary certainly gave Gary Barlow and the lads a run for their money. I loved all the stalls and I even had a go at decorating some biscuits. Three year old Kiya-Ann stood out from the crowds a mile with her lovely smile and painted face. It was great to meet you Kiya-Ann. Well done to all those involved in the organisation - it was our community at its best despite the weather!
Everyone in Ashfield is right behind Sam and Ollie Hynd as they prepare for the Paralympic Games. The other week I met their parents at a fundraising evening and I really don't think the boys could have made it without their amazing support. Helen and Darrell have been getting up at 5am for swimming training sessions for years. Meeting them made me think that whilst governments can play an important role in helping people realise their talent by making sure the facilities exist, a mum and dad who go that extra mile are also crucial to ensure our young people become the best that they can be.
Finally in my last column I asked those who use services at Kirkby Community Hospital to let me know their views on the plans to move the ward-based services elsewhere. I’m so grateful to those who have already told me what they think, especially the lady from Stanton-Hill who said she hates the idea of travelling all the way to Bulwell and believes it will have a devastating impact when it comes to visiting relatives. I’d also like to say a big thank you to the woman who wrote to tell me about the fantastic care she received at the Community Hospital. As she told me – people in Ashfield know much better than some of the ‘know-alls’ about our health care needs so I would urge everyone to get involved and use the consultation to ensure your voice is heard. You can do this at either http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/my-voice/consultations.html, at a dedicated stand in the Ashfield Health Village or by calling 01623 673329.
11 June 2012
Local MP Gloria De Piero has called for local amateur film makers to enter ‘Film the House’, a national competition that celebrates up-and-coming amateur film producers, directors and script writers across the UK.
Film lovers of all ages are urged to get their creative juices flowing and submit their amateur films to ‘Film the House’. Gloria will then nominate her top film from the area for the national competition which aims to also raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights, film and the creative industries.
‘Film the House’ is supported by the British film industry and gives entrants the chance to win a screening of their film to industry executives at the House of Commons.
Gloria said: “Film the House is a great opportunity for aspiring film makers of any age looking to find a way into the industry. I’m excited to see films that the people of Ashfield and Eastwood can come up with and hope to see as many submissions as possible”.
The competition is designed to promote the wealth and variety of film in the UK.
Categories include drama, thriller, action, comedy, music video, documentary, as well as a separate category for under - 18s which can be any genre.
The closing date for nominations is 30th June and the winners will be announced on the 30th October at a special reception and screening of the winning film at the House of Parliament.
For more information on how to apply visit www.filmthehouse.com
8 June 2012
On Friday 8th June Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero spent part of the afternoon with a crew from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and witnessed firsthand the fast paced environment that paramedics have to work in when emergency calls first come in.
Gloria was invited to spend time with a local crew based at Kings Mill Hospital by the Chair of East Midlands Ambulance Service, Jon Towler. The visit provided the local MP with the perfect opportunity to see paramedics at work and find out more about the high level of skill that is involved working for the emergency services.
Given the ever changing nature of the job Gloria had no idea what route or what jobs the crew would have to attend during the afternoon but she certainly found out more about the vital service East Midlands Ambulance Service provide to Ashfield and the surrounding East-Midlands area.
Gloria said: "Thanks to paramedics Joe and Rachel for showing me the ropes and to paramedic Paula Osborne from Sutton-in-Ashfield for explaining things so well, a fantastic public servant and a wiz behind the wheel - blimey, those ambulances go fast!
"The care and empathy that I saw that day left me in awe. That was without doubt one of the biggest things I noticed during my trip and I was so impressed by their dedication, professionalism and determination too. The job they do is so important and the level of care they provide to people in our community when they are often at their most vulnerable and need help is amazing. Keep up the good work!"
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust provides emergency 999, urgent care and patient transport services for 4.8 million people throughout Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire.
Overall nearly 3,200 staff are employed across the region at more than 70 stations including the Kings Mill station where Gloria’s visit will begin next Friday (8th June). Every day they receive around 2,000 calls from members of the public calling 999 and the accident and emergency crews respond to 670,000 emergency calls everywhere
6 June 2012
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero proudly donated £100 cheque to Paralympic swimming stars Ollie and Sam Hynd at a fundraising event held in Sutton last week.
On the night Gloria was also joined by a number of local businesses and well wishers who all turned out in force to show their support for the two local Paralympic heroes. Café Ilachi owner, Junior Choudhury, kindly agreed to host the event and he donated £250 cheque to the cause whilst a raffle which included a bottle of House of Commons whisky signed by Gloria helped bring the total amount raised on the night to a whopping £820.
Speaking just after the event Gloria said: “It really was a great night and the level of support shown by everybody who came to the event was brilliant. I know I keep saying it but it always amazes me just how many people are always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to good causes here in Ashfield and tonight was no different. Junior and John Coxhead both put in a lot of hard work organising the event and they deserve a big pat on the back too”.
“Everyone in Ashfield is right behind the lads and I’ll be cheering them on this summer. Their parents told me how proud they are of both boys and rightly so because the amount of effort that goes into training and competing must be phenomenal. It was lovely to meet the family and they deserve any success that comes their way at the Paralympics in London. Go Team Hynd!”
The fundraiser was organised because of the high level of costs associated with the training that is required to compete successfully at the Paralympics. Sam and Ollie were both diagnosed a few years ago with neuromuscular myopathy – a condition which affects their lower body strength but they both insist it has never held them back.
The two local brothers fell in love with swimming at Sutton Swimming Club and over the years have rapidly progressed and gone on to achieve international recognition. Big brother Sam (20) made his Paralympic debut in Beijing aged only 17 and won a gold medal in the 400m Freestyle. Younger brother Ollie, now aged 17 and determined not to be outdone has a very good chance of winning a medal in the 100m backstroke event this summer too.
All of the money raised on the night will go towards helping pay for the lads training fees, sports massages, equipment and food and drink supplements as they prepare to do Ashfield proud in this summer’s Paralympic Games.
1 June 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero launched the countdown to Sutton’s Jubilee singing event as part of the town’s special Jubilee celebrations this afternoon on Portland Square.
To mark the momentous occasion there were Jubilee market stalls dressed in red, white and blue and lots of bunting and the stalls were manned by local schools and charities as a fund raising initiative.
Gloria started the the countdown to the singing event as Year 7 pupils from Sutton Community College joined other local primary school children to sing “Shine” by pop group Take That next to the town’s sundial. All of the kids were kitted out with flags and crowns as they got in the Jubilee spirit and there was also a screened version of the song in the Idlewells Centre sung by children too.
The festivities provided young people with the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee in the heart of their home town which was fun to engage in while also creating a lasting memory that will stay with them and the town forever.
Speaking afterwards the Ashfield MP said: “The Jubilee spirit was certainly alive and well in Sutton and all the kids knew how to celebrate the occasion in style. Today was exactly the kind of thing that makes me Ashfield and proud. Huge congratulations must go to Sutton Centre Community College and the Idlewells Shopping Centre for putting on a great show - but I have to say that the real stars were undoubtedly the singers. It was a great song choice too because Take That are one of my favourite bands!”
I’d like to start this week’s column by saying a big thank you to a very generous chap who answered a call for help in my Chad column a few weeks ago. The S.P.A.C.E Centre in Kirkby was in desperate need of new materials for their plumbing course so I was delighted when Mr Bradley from Stanton Hill got in touch to offer his assistance. He has kindly agreed to donate a porcelain sink as well as piping and a few other bits and pieces that will make a huge difference to the kids on the course. Thank you very much Mr Bradley – it’s good to know my Chad column works.
You may have read in last week’s Chad that wards are set to close at the Ashfield Health Village. I met with local health bosses and I'm highly sceptical about their plans because all ward-based will be moved elsewhere. I’d like to ask those who use the services, their families and staff to contact me with their views in the strictest of confidence if they wish. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at my office on 01623 720 399. I want to hear real life case studies about your experiences of the Village as it stands so I can stand up to health bosses.
School bus provision update – I brought this up again in the Commons but this time regarding Bagthorpe. For those who contacted me I have written to ministers and Notts County Council and for other parents from other schools that haven’t been in touch, if you are experiencing problems please tell me so that we can keep up the pressure. School bus provision is not a choice it IS essential and what really gets my goat is that Notts County Council have around £21.8m in their reserves!
I always like to congratulate organisations and businesses when they do well, so credit must go to Ashfield District Council after a survey revealed that there has been 26% increase in the number of people who believe the Council provides value for money. When I speak to our local councillors they always tell me they are trying to improve and I know they won’t be complacent - if anything I hope this will spur them on. Finally congratulations are also in order for Selston Arts & Community College and Sutton beauty salon, The White Room. Both recently won top awards in their respective fields, the college were recognised for their outstanding career service while the The White Room was named best beauty salon at the English Hair and Beauty Awards. Well done to you all.
Local MP Gloria De Piero is proud to be launching the We Made It! competition here in Ashfield and Eastwood working with local schools and industry to help young people understand how exciting and rewarding a career in manufacturing could be.
The competition invites young people aged 13-16 to submit designs and ideas for a gadget, gizmo, toy or tool they'd like to see made. Any invention, no matter how creative, is welcome and as long as it's realistic enough to be made there's a chance it could be!
The entries will be judged by Gloria and the winner will be entered into a nation-wide competition judged by a group of organisations involved in manufacturing, including Boeing, The Manufacturing Institute, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Finmeccanica, Renewable UK, the Confederation of Paper Industries and Lloyds Banking Group. The organisations are all partners in the Dods Manufacturing Dialogue, which is working to increase interest in manufacturing skills in schools.
The best entries nationwide will be invited to a Fab Lab, the outstanding facilities provided by MIT and the Manufacturing Institute, where their designs will be manufactured and brought to life.
Later this autumn, Gloria will bring the winner of our local competition to a reception and awards ceremony in parliament and they'll have the opportunity to meet the heads of the manufacturing organisations involved in the project and learn how to take their career in manufacturing further.
Gloria said “I’m very proud to be supporting this great project to help young people turn their ideas into reality. Britain desperately needs more young people aspiring to high-level manufacturing jobs and gain a better understanding of how the industry and businesses involved in it actually works.
To find out more and to enter the competition, pupils can visit the competition's website, www.wemadeituk.co.uk
The Tories showed themselves to be the same old ‘nasty party’ this week after revealing plans to make it easier for employers to sack their staff.
The Government-commissioned Beecroft report proposes allowing firms to fire their staff at will – something that will cause alarm for employees already facing great uncertainty in the current jobs market and economic climate.
The introduction of a ‘no fault dismissal’ procedure could result in people being fired almost instantaneously and for no valid reason. Adrian Beecroft, the report’s multi-millionaire venture capitalist author and Tory donor, admitted his proposals would mean that bosses could sack employees simply because they didn’t like them and that this was a “price worth paying”.
These proposals actually risk damaging the economic recovery further as cutting employment rights could undermine the confidence of millions of employees who could subsequently limit their consumer spending for fear of losing their jobs.
Gloria said: “The UK already has the most competitive employment regime in the world. The Tories are demonstrating just how out of touch they are; having tried to blame Britain’s businesses for the recession they are now blaming hard-working employees as well.
“This Government’s failed plan has resulted in a double-dip recession made in Downing Street and 2.6 million people unemployed, but instead of admitting their mistakes they are making the incredulous claim that growth is being held back by the employment rights we all enjoy at work".
“These are tough times and people in Ashfield and Eastwood are already worried about losing their jobs without the Tories making it even easier for them to be made unemployed. We all want to feel secure in our jobs and the Tory plans would lead to even more anxiety for hard-working families who want to plan for their futures".
“To end this recession made in Downing Street we need a proper plan for jobs and growth, not Beecroft’s fire-at-will manifesto".
On Thursday afternoon (24th May) Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero MP decorated her constituency office window with all the thank you cards and pictures she recently received in the post from local school children from All Saints C. of. E. Primary School in Huthwaite.
A couple of weeks ago Gloria was invited along to the school to officially open a new building and unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. Following her visit the school children decided to send Gloria handmade thank you cards and pictures as a way of saying thank you to the MP for taking part in their special day. Every card and picture Gloria received will now be on display in the constituency office window for the next month so that members of the public can also admire their handy work.
Gloria said: “It was lovely to open the post I the morning and find all these wonderful handmade cards and pictures, they have definitely brightened up my office. It was ever so kind of the school and the children to do this and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent them in”.
The children also found the time to send Gloria a pocket sized booklet that is packed full of interesting facts and information about the Houses of Parliament that she can carry about with her during her working days in Westminster.
Labour's Shadow Home Office Minister has responded to the Government's proposed new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, she said: "The Government are weakening the powers police have to tackle antisocial behaviour. These measures are a weak rebrand, with a breach of the order not even resulting in a criminal record and the police having to fund these civil proceedings in the first place."
"People will be bemused that it will take 3 separate complaints, or 5 different households, before getting a response. All complaints should be dealt with, and quickly. People suffering from antisocial behaviour don't want to wait for the Government's proposed slow trigger".
"The Government said they would act on antisocial behaviour two years ago. It's taken that amount of time for them to publish a paper. Stronger tools for the police to tackle antisocial behaviour should have been in the Queen's Speech".
"This Government is cutting the police by 16,000 officers, weakening police powers and failing to take crime seriously. This is yet another sign of their weakness and lack of commitment in the fight against crime."
Constituents are always my number one priority, and when you have a win for the people that you serve it makes the job so fulfilling. I was delighted to be able to help a lady who recently contacted me because a well known utility company was repeatedly sending bills to her in her late husband’s name. The lady told me she doubted they would ever respond to her and that nothing she did seemed to stop the letters. It gave me great pleasure to receive the response signed by the MD of the company saying the letters would stop. What is more, the MD wrote to the lady personally and sent flowers too. It just goes to show that writing to your MP can make a difference.
Last week was the Queen’s Speech - the grandest event in the parliamentary calendar, full of pomp and ceremony. This is a speech written for the Queen by the Government and it outlines what the Governments priorities are. During one of the many debates that followed the speech I raised the issues raised by local business owners who tell me that the VAT hike is hurting them and who complain about the lack of bank lending to small businesses. That’s why I expressed my disappointment that local business owners would take little comfort from the speech.
I'm always banging to anyone who'll listen about DH Lawrence because I'm so proud that we have an internationally famous writer from right here in Eastwood so I'm delighted to accept the invitation to become one of the D.H Lawrence Festival’s Patrons to help champion the annual event which takes place in September. I’m so proud to be MP of the town where the world famous writer was born and we should do all we can to make sure the area gets the recognition it truly deserves. Despite its fantastic heritage Eastwood doesn’t get the funding it deserves from the National Lottery compared to neighbouring areas towns. That’s why I recently wrote a letter of support for constituent who is seeking funding to preserve and restore a small mining cottage in Brinsley that was once the home of the author’s uncle and which features in the short story ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’.
It's still tough out there at the minute and the latest figures released by Eastwood Citizens Advice Bureau show that in the last year they have helped 2,038 residents and their families with over 22,554 issues. They do such a wonderful job providing support to people on so many issues from debt, benefits, employment and housing. If you ever feel like you might need a free bit of advice or help then don’t hesitate to give them a call on 0844 499 4194. They are here to help and anything discussed will always be strictly confidential.
Last week was the Queen’s Speech which the grandest event in the parliamentary calendar, full of pomp and ceremony. This is a speech written for the Queen by the Government and it outlines what the Governments priorities are. During one of the many debates that followed, I raised the issues raised by local business owners who came to see me in Parliament from Ashfield as part of the Chad's best in Business Award. The business owners told me that the VAT hike was hurting them and complained about the lack of bank lending to small businesses. That’s why I expressed my disappointment that they would take little comfort from the speech.
Constituents are always my number one priority, and when you have a win for the people that you serve it makes the job so fulfilling. I was delighted to be able to help a lady who recently contacted me because a well known utility company was repeatedly sending bills to her in her late husband’s name. The lady told me she doubted they would ever respond to her and that nothing she did seemed to stop the letters. It gave me great pleasure to receive the response signed by the MD of the company saying the letters would stop. What is more, the MD wrote to the lady personally and sent flowers too. It just goes to show that writing to your MP can make a difference.
If you have a bit of free time and want to make a difference perhaps you could help Ashfield Voluntary Action who are looking for drivers to support cancer patients with transport between Sutton and Nottingham City Hospital. You can volunteer to take patients to and from radiotherapy clinics. Drivers are needed between Mondays and Fridays; you’ll be able to use your own car and will be reimbursed for fuel costs. For more details call 01623 555551.
I’m really looking forward to a fundraiser that has been organised to help Ashfield’s very own Paralympic stars Sam and Ollie Hynd on Tuesday 29th May at Sutton restaurant Café Illachi. I’ll be popping along at 7:45pm to show my support and help them raise much needed funds to help them on route to the Olympics this summer. If you’d like to go along too then please call Helen Hynd on 07966 199008.
Finally it’s no secret that I’ve had my arguments over the cost of parking at Kings Mill but when it comes to the vital issue of quality care, credit where credits due. I was delighted to see that the hospital had come out on top in a recent national survey with patients praising the excellent care they received while staying there. Well done to all the doctors and nurses!
MPs' expense claims processed in December 2011 - January 2012 have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
Last Friday Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero visited Kirkby’s Abbey Hill Primary School to watch pupils proudly showcase a community project that they have been working on over the last couple of months.
The primary school is taking part in the Helping Hands Award Project which has been designed to encourage community cohesion and to teach the kids more about the community they live in. The initiative which is now in its fourth year is run in partnership with the local police and fire service and the key objective has always been to provide an opportunity for the kids to work together with elements of the wider community in order to achieve a healthier, happier and safer environment.
As part of the project the 7-11 year olds were asked to identify what they saw as social problems for themselves, their family and their community. They eventually decided that fire damage and anti-social behaviour were two of the main issues that were affecting Coxmoor and so they were challenged to come up with ideas to solve them.
The school hope to help improve the estate as a result of the initiative and just before they submit their entry to the panel of five independent judges they have asked the local MP to come along and have a look at their handy work during a specially organised assembly.
This is the first time that the school has taken part in the project and despite the fact that they only entered the competition in February they are extremely optimistic about winning the top prize of £1,000. They will find out in June if they are through to the next round.
Speaking just after Gloria said: “I really enjoyed the presentation from the young children who not only care about their community but have all the ideas and energy to change it. I hope they progress to secure funding for the park.
“ I’d like to single out the brilliant public servants; Louise Snodin, Bryn Coleman, Inspector Carl Holland, PCSO Burn and PCSO Batterham who have worked so hard on the project and went the extra mile. They went round local businesses to raise funds so all the young kids on the project can go to Alton Towers. I hope they have a wonderful time it is well deserved!
Labour MP Gloria De Piero hosted the second of this year’s regular coffee mornings for Ashfield constituents at All Saints Church Hall in Annesley on Saturday 12th May. Following a lively discussion with residents at the coffee morning the Ashfield MP has now promised to follow up concerns that were raised regarding traffic congestion and house building in the village with the Highways Department at Nottinghamshire County Council and Ashfield District Council.
The on-going traffic pressure and fears over house building were hotly debated and brought up by a number of residents. The MP is now writing to Notts County Council and Ashfield District Council to find out what can be done to address residents’ concerns.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “This is exactly why I invite residents along to these coffee mornings so that I can find out firsthand what issues are most important to them in their immediate neighbourhood and act on them. Coffee mornings are a new format and I think that they are working really well. It was good to meet so many Annesley folk who were so passionate about their community. I will be in touch with all of those people who left me their E-mail addresses as soon as I hear back from the relevant agencies”.
The coffee morning was an informal get together and residents were free to pop in for just a minute or stay a bit longer. People turned up on the day for a cuppa and a chat with Gloria, local PCSO Tom Ford and Councillor Don Davis and a variety of issues were discussed.
A number of residents from Annesley Woodhouse received an invite through the letter box to last Saturday’s (May 12th) event and it was the second coffee morning held in Woodhouse since Gloria’s election. The first half of Woodhouse received their invite in 2011 and the second half of the area were invited along last week. By the time of the next election every Ashfield resident will have received an invite to one of Gloria’s coffee mornings.
While many people have some idea about what a Member of Parliament does, there is smo much more to the job than just sitting in the House of Commons for debates or turning up at community at a community event for a cup of tea.
Ashfield Chad reporter Helen Beighton asked Gloria to give readers an insight into a typical week in the life of a modern MP. Here is what Gloria revealed....
Monday 23 April
Up at 7.30am to catch up on weekend voicemails with constituents needing help with the Job Centre. E-mails have been coming in all night. I get about 200 a day. E-mails divide into 3 categories - Invites to local projects/school/businesses, casework and asking me my view on a national policy issue or to pressure the Government. Today we receive requests for help with student finance, adult social services and school places. Constituents also to write to me about protecting animals in circuses, the VAT rise and proposals for the police to access private emails. I write to Ministers on all. I head off to a beat walk on the Carsic estate with PCSO Yvonne Pickersgill and local residents David Simpson, Trevor Hall and Charles Fox. Then it’s off to Westminster. At 10pm I vote for a change to make mortgage lenders warn their customers about potential interest rate changes. I'm home just after 11pm. The last e-mail I send is at about midnight.
Tuesday 24th April
Today I receive letters about redefining gay marriage and there are loads of diary requests. I wish there were more hours in a day. First vote today is at 5.30pm. I voted against changes that would restrict access to legal aid. Voted until just after 8pm then I met up with a Labour MP from Leeds. We both worry about how to get more people to enter politics from ordinary backgrounds. We resolve to devise a plan for change. Watch this space!
Wednesday 25th April
I wanted to question the Prime Minister about our lost walk-in centre but despite my repeated bobbing up and down I didn't catch the Speakers eye.
Great lunch with local business leaders organised by the Chad. Then I speak in a Commons debate about the importance of local newspapers and then attend another Commons debate and raise Notts CC wasting cash on changing logos on Council buildings. Today constituents write to me to complain about the Budget, Rupert Murdoch, internet snooping and ask my view on gay marriage. I vote until 7pm to legally require the aviation industry to help meet the UK's carbon reduction target.
Thursday 26th April
Today I receive e-mails from constituents who need my help with anti-social behaviour, CSA and a council tax issue. Today also see's the start of a national campaign urging MPs to write to the Culture Secretary to stop the whipping of horses in races. We've had about 50 postcards this week. Constituents are also concerned about the extension of Sunday trading hours during the Olympics. Delighted when I'm finally on the train back to Notts. Got my column for the Chad to do on the way up.
Friday 27th April
Today six new cases from constituents who need my help with children’s social services, a utility company and the UK Border Agency. After going through my morning e-mails on gay marriage, VAT, House of Lords reform, NHS reform and Sunday trading it’s off to Carsic to do some door knocking with reps from Ashfield Homes, the local PCSO and local cllrs Tim Brown, David Kirkham and Mick Coppin. Residents tell us what action they need. We get on to it. Then off to Huthwaite C.of.E School before going to Sutton library for my regular advice surgery. At 5pm I do an hour’s door knocking in the rain in Stanton Hill. Then it’s a meeting with local Labour members. Home by 10pm.
Saturday 28th April
Today we receive lots of e-mails, much are invites. Five are from constituents who need my help with traffic calming, a bus stop which is located in the wrong place and tribunal delays. More e-mails on gay marriage in my inbox. I’m up early for a coffee morning for local residents in St. Thomas's Church Hall in Kirkby.
Sunday 29th April
Today I'm contacted by constituents who need my help with medical complaints, charity funding and housing. On policy, there's anger at the government’s education policy. Today I make time to spend some quality time with my fiancé James. We cook a roast and share a bottle of wine to celebrate the fact that we're actually in the same room for a change!
Young people from Sutton Centre Community College were given the chance to quiz Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero on a variety of topics last week.
The Question Time-style event was hosted by Takeover Radio 106.9, which normally broadcasts from Sutton Centre, and took place at Barista coffee shop on the town’s Outram Street last Wednesday.
During the show, presented by station manager James Finlayson, students asked Miss De Piero a number of questions about the issues that concerned them.
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has now written to the secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley to voice her concerns over whether officials were misled in their decision to close Kirkby's walk-in-centre.
Gloria said: "I've written to the Secretary of State for Health because I fear that we have all been misled by PCT bosses. It was my understanding that although the walk-in centre was to close in Kirkby - despite the widespread and strong vocal opposition - the people of Ashfield would still be able to access a walk-in service at Kings Mill".
The MP added:"Unfortunately, the walk-in centre has not moved to Kings Mill at all. Instead an appointments-based service has opened so there is no longer a walk-in centre in Ashfield. At no point in any discussion with me was it debated or mentioned that we lose service altogether. The only issue was whether the location should be changed. I want our walk-in centre back".
Amid all the talk of Rupert and James Murdoch this week, it is easy to forget the news story that will most impact on the lives of people in Ashfield and Eastwood that the UK is officially back in recession.
Labour has consistently warned David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne that their cuts go too far, too fast and will lead us into a double-dip recession. But instead of focusing on a plan for jobs and growth, our economy has actually shrunk and women have been amongst those hardest hit by the Tories’ economic policies.
New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in the last quarter, 34,000 women have given up work altogether - this is the fastest rise in female worklessness for almost a year. Over the past 18 months, an additional 32,000 women have chosen to stay at home to look after their children because they cannot afford to work, according to research by Aviva.
Labour did much to help working mums during our time in government, including setting up 3,500 Sure Start children's centres which were heralded by the charity 4Children as ‘one of the greatest achievements of modern government’, but more needs to be done which is why Labour has launched a major review of childcare provision.
Labour’s Childcare Commission will look at how we can provide a high quality, cost effective childcare service fit for the 21st century, partly by looking at examples from other countries. In Norway, parents can access cheap, high quality childcare from birth to age five and in Denmark childcare is free to the lowest income families. The results of such policies are clear - both Denmark and Norway have 10% more women in work than the UK - and worth considering further.
There is a strong economic case for reforming the childcare system. International evidence has shown that having more women in work boosts growth and generates revenues that cover the costs of childcare.
Instead of the current Tory approach where an average family with children will be hit with a £580 bill because of tax and benefit changes coming into effect this month, we need a tax and benefit system that doesn’t punish mums who decide to work.
Reforming childcare is of huge importance, both for supporting economic growth and for helping hard-working families, and we all stand to benefit from such change.
2 May 2012
Last week I had a visit from a chap who works at the S.P.A.C.E Centre in Kirkby. They recognise that not all young people want to be doctors or teachers and that many are more suited to vocational courses and so are looking to improve their plumbing training. S.P.A.C.E is looking for help from local people or businesses. DO YOU have a disused sink, work-top or any piping which could help with the practical side of the course? If so James Allbright at email@example.com would love to hear from you. I’ll happily give you anyone who helps James and the team a special mention in my next column.
There are so many things I'm proud of in Ashfield and the great community spirit is certainly one of them. Last week I went out and about on a beat-walk organised by Carsic Safer Neighbourhood Committee and PCSO Yvonne Pickersgill. If you live in Carsic why not get along to the next walkabout on June 26th from 7pm-8pm, meeting at the corner of Brierley Road and Carsic Road. E-mail Yvonne if you want more details firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll always do my best to stick up for Ashfield. That’s why I raised the issue of bus service provision for children in Sutton in the Commons after parents came to me following the loss of the 7.55am service from Sutton to their school in Tibshelf last year. Public transport provision for school children to get to their school of choice is not just desirable but essential and I hope ministers now sit up and take notice of these concerns.
Unfortunately it’s not just the lack of decent school bus provision that’s causing problems for mums and dads in Ashfield. I’ve also had lots of letters from concerned parents over the lack of spaces for kids in Ashfield’s schools. They’ve told me that their children have been refused a place at their local school despite being in the catchment area. I’ve now written to the Chief Executive of Notts County Council to ask why extra provisions for more places were not made in advance despite warnings that this year was going to be a high intake year. As soon as I get a reply I shall let all those parents who contacted me know.
Finally it was lovely to meet small businesses owners from Ashfield in Parliament last Wednesday and it’s nice to see politicians from other parts of the country come to Ashfield. Chris Bryant MP was up a couple of weeks ago to deliver a speech at another fine local business - the Cafe Illachi in Sutton. Thanks to Chris for providing a real insight into his battle against News International and thanks to Junior for providing an excellent meal.
30 April 2012
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero was invited by the staff and governors at All Saints C.of.E Infant School in Huthwaite to attend a Dedication Service to mark the official opening of a new £250,000 building at the local school.
The Bishop of Sherwood, Tony Porter, was there to lead a short Dedication Service which saw all of the children at the school play an active role in the service too by performing a special song and dance routine.
Gloria De Piero was be invited to bring the Dedication Service to an end by unveiling a plaque which the school have had commissioned to mark the official opening of the new building.
Following the service, refreshments were served to the guests, among who were several of the schools past head teachers, the governors and parents of the children. Before leaving, Gloria was also shown around the new building which is attached to the original Victorian building and includes a conservatory, several class rooms, as well as a newly redeveloped outdoor area.
27 April 2012
Today (Friday 27th April) Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero took part in a Community Engagement Session on the Carsic estate alongside local councillors, a Sutton based police officer and representatives from Ashfield District Council and Ashfield Homes.
Gloria had been invited by local councillors to join in and show her support for this fantastic new councillor led initiative. The walk-about began at 12.00 noon at Percival Crescent before going on to Davies Avenue and the Northfield Crescent area of the estate.
The community engagement session lasted one hour and had been specially designed to create a visual community safety presence in the area and the new initiative was a great chance for the councillors and Gloria to engage with local people on any local issues which are affecting the area.
It also gave the local MP and councillors the ideal opportunity to hear from residents about their issues and concerns as well as a chance to chat with the local police about anti-social behaviour – where they were be able to find out firsthand what the biggest problems are and what they feel is the best way to stamp it out in the area.
Gloria and the councillors will now take any issues and recommendations that came up to the appropriate body whether that be to Ashfield District Council, Ashfield Homes, Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Police or Parliament.
Speaking just after Gloria said: “This is a great initiative by local councillors, council officers, the Community Protection Officer and Ashfield Homes. I was really pleased to be there to listen to residents’ concerns. I told residents they can contact me anytime"
25 April 2012
On Wednesday 25th April in a House of Commons debate on the future of local newspapers, local MP, Gloria De Piero spoke out in defence of local newspapers and praised the important role that they play in local communities.
Gloria said: "The Eastwood Advertiser and the Chad are great trusted sources of information for our community. They are a good read, cover all the important stuff which is going on locally, and they hold local politicians including myself to account. Nothing else performs these functions like a local paper. It’s a tough climate for local papers at the moment but local papers are so valuable for our community and for our democracy so that Government has an interest in ensuring they survive. I’ll always defend them."
24 April 2012
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero, will host the first of this year’s regular coffee mornings for Ashfield constituents. By the time of the next election every Ashfield resident will have received an invite to one of Gloria’s coffee mornings.
A number of residents from Kirkby in-Ashfield will have received an invite through the letter box to this Saturdays (April 28th) event. The event will take place at 10am-11:30am at St Thomas’ Church Hall.
Many residents have told Gloria that fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is a big concern. Therefore Gloria will be joined by local PCSO Joanna Dickson and it will give residents an opportunity to raise any issues that are important to them with either Gloria or PCSO Dickson.
The coffee morning will be an informal get together and residents are free to pop in for just a minute or stay a bit longer if they have particular concerns about their local area. It’s not just a good opportunity to meet with your local MP but a good opportunity to chat with your neighbours about any issues too. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served throughout the morning.
Speaking ahead of the coffee morning Gloria said: “When I was elected I promised to be an open and accessible MP. Coffee mornings are one way of me fulfilling that pledge I hope to meet as many of you as possible and I promise to do what I can to tackle any problems you raise”.
23 April 2012
Shadow Home Office Minister, Gloria De Piero, visited Osmaston in Derby on Friday 20th April to see how communities are working with youngsters to prevent anti-social behaviour.
The Labour MP went to the Osmaston Community Association of Residents' offices in Addison Road where she heard how the community had come together to strengthen the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, engage with youngsters and come up with plans to regenerate their area.
20 April 2012
It was a packed House of Commons as usual on Budget Day. Sometimes the facts and figures used in parliament seem a world away from what's happening here. The fact is though that the decisions taken by the Chancellor will directly affect me and you. If you have any personal stories of the consequences for you or your family feel free to drop me an email to email@example.com or a note to my office 8 Station Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts, NG17 7AR. Let me know if you've been affected by the reductions in tax credits or the so called 'granny tax' and I promise to raise it in the Commons or write to the relevant Government minister.
In what has been a busy few weeks in Parliament, the Government also announced plans to make it easier to gain consent for large-scale building projects. Ministers have suggested creating a "presumption in favour of sustainable development" to ensure more homes, offices and factories are built but I worry when I read these comments from the Director of Friends of the Earth's, "There are mounting concerns that ministers will unleash a building free-for-all that will infuriate local communities and devastate our countryside."
Let me be clear: I want jobs in the construction industry and I support affordable housing in Ashfield but like you, I LOVE our green spaces so I think local communities should be consulted on any plans.
Finally, I’d like to end with a story which you literally couldn’t make up. When 200 hard working staff have received notice of redundancy, while services are being cut, the Conservative administration at County Hall thinks it is time to change the logo. To change the signs on Nottinghamshire County buildings and vehicles will cost a grand total of £79, 975. While the County Council is making cuts to the voluntary sector, cutting the play service and switching off our street lights – is this really the time to be spending this kind of money on new signs? I think we all know the answer to that.
17 April 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero today (Tuesday 17th April 2012) raised the issue of bus service provision for school children in Ashfield in the House of Commons. She specifically raised the case of those parents in Sutton in Ashfield who last year lost the 7.55am service from Sutton-in-Ashfield to their school in Tibshelf.
The withdrawal of this service has affected up to fifty children and the bus company involved, TM Travel, had said that without a subsidy they were unable to continue with the 7.55am service.
Nottinghamshire County Council said at the time that they were unable to introduce a service to replace it due a reduction in their budget which resulted in the withdrawal of a number of bus services across the county. Unfortunately, the situation still remains the same and the bus has not been re-instated, leaving children to travel to school either by car share arrangement or relying on grandparents to help out with lifts.
During the debate, Gloria told MPs that ensuring public transport provision for school children to get to their school of choice was not just desirable but was essential.
Gloria De Piero added: 'Life is tough enough for parents without having the additional worry of how to get your young ones to school. I hope Ministers sit up and take notice of these concerns. Thank you to those parents for raising this problem with me. It’s only by raising issues in Parliament that we can hope Ministers realise that there's a real problem here which they need to address."
16 April 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has vowed to write to the Health Secretary as the row over the closure of the NHS walk-in centre in Kirkby continues to rumble on.
Members of Nottinghamshire County Council’s social care and health standing committee met on Monday morning to discuss the impact of the closure of the centre, which was at Ashfield Health Village and treated patients for minor ailments without the need for an appointment.
Speaking after the meeting, Miss De Piero said: “Ashfield has lost its walk-in centre despite strong and vocal opposition from the local community. I don’t believe local health bosses have been straight with the people of Ashfield and I’m now going to write to the Health Secretary to find out why we have lost this much loved service.
Gloria added: “I’d like to put on record my thanks to all the mums who put their concerns about the loss of the service down in writing. Their comments were invaluable in helping me to put across the case for our walk-in centre.”
4 April 2012
It was a packed House of Commons as usual on Budget Day. Sometimes the facts and figures used in parliament seem a world away from what's happening here. The fact is though that the decisions taken by the Chancellor will directly affect me and you. If you have any personal stories of the consequences for you or your family feel free to drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a note to my office - 8 Station Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, NG17 7AR. Let me know if you've been affected by the reductions in tax credits or the so called 'granny tax' and I promise to raise it in the Commons or write to the relevant Government minister.
Last week the Government announced plans to make it easier to gain consent for large-scale building projects. Ministers have suggested creating a "presumption in favour of sustainable development" to ensure more homes, offices and factories are built but I worry when I read these comments from the Director of Friends of the Earth's: "There are mounting concerns that ministers will unleash a building free-for-all that will infuriate local communities and devastate our countryside." Let me be clear: I want jobs in the construction industry and I support affordable housing in Ashfield but like you, I LOVE our green spaces so I think local communities should be consulted on any plans.
The growth and regeneration of Ashfield is incredibly important, which is why I’d like to say well done to Ashfield District Council and the Idlewells Shopping Centre for each putting together a bid for Kirkby and Sutton to be ‘pilot’ towns in the Portas Review. Twelve towns will be selected to take part in the scheme which hopes to breathe new life into our high streets and those chosen will share nearly £1m. They're both great bids and I wish them the best of luck. Whoever wins through can count on 100 per cent support from me.
Finally, what always amazes me about our area is just how many people are always willing to do their bit for a good cause. Local company, Crystal Martin International have recently run a ‘Donate an Easter Egg’ campaign and thanks to their generous employees a massive 345 eggs were collected as well as £60 cash donation, some toys and books! The eggs will be distributed across the Children and Elderly wards at kings Mill over the coming weeks. It was a fantastic idea and I know that the hospital were extremely grateful!
28 March 2012
Last week local MP Gloria De Piero was at the Ashwood Centre in Kirkby to show her support for Sport Relief.
On the morning of the charity day,Gloria visited the under 5’s Seesaw group as they competed in a series of mini races to keep to the theme of the sports mile. The highlight of the day was the race which had been designed to mimic the Grand National and saw children race against each other while on hobby horses. The MP was on hand to count down to the start of race before declaring ready steady go!
After the race Gloria awarded certificates to all the kids taking part and coffee and cakes were also be on sale throughout the morning as the group attempted to beat the £150 it raised last year.
Speaking afterwards, Gloria said: “Everyone involved at the Ashwood Centre has really pulled out all the stops this year and made a great fundraising effort for Sport Relief. I was delighted to have been invited to start their mini race and the kids from the Seesaw group certainly showed everyone how it should be done! It was a fantastic event and it made me proud to see our local community doing their bit to raise money to help people living unimaginably tough lives on our own doorstep in the UK.”
21 March 2012
I had the most fantastic day the other week at the Creative Careers Day at Selston Arts & Community College. Over 180 students from the area were able to get advice from thirteen people who have all made it in their respective industries. Some of the famous faces who kindly agreed to take part included; Kate Garraway, Clare Nasir and Billy Ivory. It took ages to organise but you get out of this job what you put in and it meant so much when Hannah Crock and Luke Vincent from Selston came up to me as I was leaving and told me how much it meant to them. They are both budding actors and I hope they fulfil their dreams. If the event inspired just a few of the young people there that day then it was a resounding success.
Sutton’s Quarrydale School was one of the schools which took part in the event, so I was delighted to hear from the head teacher, Jon Crone that they had recently been named the eleventh most improved school in the country. The local school managed to double the amount of pupils achieving good grades from 30% a few years ago to 66% last year. I know Jon well so it doesn’t surprise me at all that the school has achieved such a remarkable turnaround. All those involved must have worked incredibly hard, whether it is the teachers, staff or pupils and they should be very proud of their achievement. I keep saying Ashfield has a bright future and this just goes to show it.
Finally, over 100 swimmers turned out as part of the Active Ashfield Sponsored Swim to show their support to Ashfield’s very own Paralympians and stars of the future, Ollie and Sam Hynd. Over £500 was raised with more likely to be donated during the next couple of days. Well done to all those who helped organise the event, especially Sutton Swimming Club. A special mention must also go to young William Darrington for winning swimmer of the month in the same week at the club. They are always looking for new members so if you fancy getting involved log on to www.suttonswimmingclub.co.uk
20 March 2012
On Friday 16th March, Labour MP Gloria De Piero joined staff to promote a brand new packed programme of events scheduled to take place over next couple of months at the D.H Lawrence Heritage Centre.
At the local tourist attraction, Gloria donned a pirate hat to promote the pirates and princesses fun day which will take place in August. At the same time the manager of the centre, Clare Purdy was dressed in a 101 Dalmatian costume while colleague Sally was dressed as a witch to promote their future Halloween event.
There was something for everyone at the centre from Scooby Doo, to a Midsummer Fairy and Christmas Elf– there was even a woman dressed as Queen Victoria to represent their special Jubilee tours to celebrate our very own Queen’s Golden Jubilee this summer. All the characters and costumes represented an event or special day that is due to take place at the attraction throughout the rest of the year.
Gloria said: “There really is going to be something for everyone at the D.H Lawrence heritage Centre – whether it be children who need entertaining, a special film screening event or if you want to find out more information about our queen during the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The staff are really pulling out all the stops!”
18 March 2012
Gloria was one of three people who made up the Chad's expert panel of judges for their 'This is Ashfield' photography competition. Over the past month, students from Vision West Notts have been going out and about taking pictures of all the things in Ashfield which evoke a sense of pride - and the Chad have been publishing the best entries in the Ashfield Chad.
The judges picked nine of the best images sent by the students and they will be displayed at Ashfield District Council’s offices in Kirkby, so the public can view them.
16 March 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero joined members of the Carsic Tenants' and Residents' Association at a meeting on Thursday 15th March to discuss anti-social behaviour on the Sutton estate.
Gloria said she 'met some great people with some great ideas who love their community'.
The local MP added: "Anti social behaviour topped the agenda at the meeting and while residents didn't mind young people playing out or having a kick about with a football they really did get upset and frightened if that ball was being kicked against their window”.
"Residents also expressed the view that there must be proper punishment for those guilty of persistent anti social behaviour. They also said how important it was to see a uniformed presence was and were pleased with the service provided by Ashfield District Council's community protection officers”.
12 March 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero today raised Nottinghamshire County Council’s recent decision to spend nearly £80,000 on a new corporate logo during questions to the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles in the House of Commons.
Speaking afterwards, the local Labour MP said “While they are making disproportionate cuts to the voluntary sector, cutting the play service and switching off our street lights, I asked ministers if they agreed it was irresponsible to use £80,000 to change a logo as Nottinghamshire County Council have done. Sadly they didn’t answer the question”.
10 March 2012
On Friday 9th March at Selston Arts and Community College 15-17 year olds from across the constituency who have always dreamt of careers in the creative industries were able to get advice from those who have made it in their respective fields. The event had been organised by local MP Gloria De Piero who has seen at first hand the ambitions of local students.
Gloria said "We approached every secondary school in the area and asked them to send any school leavers who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the creative industries. I am pleased to say that every school took part. I organised the event because I was really struck by the comments of some young people who told me that they wanted to get into music or TV or be an artist or writer but each one told me that there was no-one to ask about how to get jobs like these. I promised them there and then that I'd do my best to get people from these industries to our area and I'm thrilled that we've pulled it off”.
9 March 2012
Figures revealed by Gloria following a written question tabled in the House of Commons show that churches suffered total losses of £10million from metal theft last year, leaving many badly out of pocket.
The Home Secretary Theresa May has said the Government will increase fines and stop cash payments at scrapyards, however Gloria said: "Government proposals to increase fines and stop cash payments at scrap yards are welcome, but they are not enough to help police crack down on this damaging crime blighting commuters, churches and communities across the country.
“The police have been clear they require greater powers to enter scrap metal yards and close dealers not obeying the rules. Banning cash payments could mean some illegal yards continue the practice, yet the police don’t have the power to close them down.
The government needs to go further."
8 March 2012
On March 2nd Labour MP Gloria De Piero officially opened a new charity shop run by Headway; the Nottingham based national charity that works to improve life after brain injury. The new shop, on Nottingham Road replaces the existing Headway shop in the town and it is hoped that the move will attract even more support from the local community.
On the morning of the opening, the local MP was joined by the shop manager, Sharon Lyons and Tom Birch who was just 16-years-old when he joined the Royal Marines in 2005. Tom was deployed to the notorious Helmand Province in Afghanistan but shortly after arriving he was involved in an accident when the Land Rover that he and a fellow marine were travelling in came off a cliff and plunged 100ft to the bottom. He sustained multiple head and neck injuries – including three fractures to the skull – plus serious internal damage. Since the accident, with the help of Headway Nottingham, Tom has made a miraculous recovery and is now a personal trainer.
Speaking afterwards, Gloria said “I was honoured to be asked to officially open the new shop. I dropped off a dress, a blouse and a jumper and came back with a lovely top and some beautiful candles – it’s definitely worth a visit and of course you are supporting a good cause. Sharon and her team do so much in the store to support wonderful people like Tom”.
Headway is the UK’s leading brain injury charity. They provide support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers, as well as to professionals in the health and legal fields. It has more than 100 groups and branches throughout the UK.
8 March 2012
Last Friday Gloria paid a visit to a local animal sanctuary that need help raising funds to finish converting their garage into an onsite animal hospital. The Brinsley Animal Sanctuary is appealing to local businesses and individuals who would like to help out with any donations or supplies for the new hospital.
John Beresford and Bethan Hewis have been providing shelter to unwanted animals and pets in the area for over four years and last year (2011) saw the sanctuary take on a record amount of unwanted animals. During 2011the couple took in 859 animals – 131 pets, 488 farm animals and 240 wild animals.
The sanctuary is run completely by volunteers who don’t receive any pay for the hours they put in at the site. To keep the sanctuary running the couple need to raise £30,000 each year to pay for food and treatment bills as well as secure enough funding to kit out the new onsite hospital.
Speaking just after the visit Gloria said “I was amazed by the commitment John and Bethan show to the well being of all the animals and also the hard work they put in to running the sanctuary. I loved all the animals but I have to say that I was particularly taken by Boris the blind bull who would have been shot by a farmer if not for the dedication of the local animal enthusiasts”.
If you would like to donate, help out or simply find out more information you can visit www.brinsleyanimalrescue.org
7 March 2012
It’s been quite a week. My boyfriend, James and I were having a cosy dinner at the Red Lion in Bagthorpe. There was nothing particularly unusual about the evening – I was a bit tired but happy to be en enjoy a nice meal in a cosy environment but it ended up being a rather unusual evening. As I suggested calling a taxi home, my boyfriend James produced a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. For once in my life I was speechless. I guess it was clear I was going to accept as I put the ring straight on my finger. I turned to the diners next to me - Julie and Pete Musgrove and Jenny and Tony Evanson and asked them to join us in a drop of bubbly to celebrate. Thanks to them for plucking up the courage to tell me that I was wearing the ring on the wrong hand! A special thanks to manageress Jess - thanks so much for making everything go so smoothly.
Romance may be in the air but its business as usual. Almost 100 of you wrote to me last week asking me to vote in favour of publishing the NHS risk register. I very happily did so. For those of you who don’t know about this issue - the Information Commissioner ruled that the Department of Health should release its risk register because ‘there is a very strong public interest’ in doing so the Government's refusal to release it begs the question; just what on earth are they trying to hide?
And finally….We are always hearing that young people today just want to get on reality shows or become celebs but that’s not the reality I saw the other week at Sutton centre. There were around twenty sixth former and four of whom said they would consider a career in politics. This proves to me that not only is the future of Ashfield in safe hands, I'm convinced that our democracy has a great future too.
6 March 2012
MPs' expense claims processed in October 2011 - November 2011 have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
5 March 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, joined fundraising volunteer Susan O'Shea, manager Paula Wright and trustee Martin Ames, from the Samaritans charity shop in Kirkby to celebrate their tenth anniversary.
This week, there willl be plenty on offer for customers, inlcuding free raffles and birthday buns and Gloria has urged people to pop into the shop and help support the charity at 28A kingsway.
Speaking afterwards Gloria said: “It was great to meet Paula, Sue and Martin; it really is a fantastic little shop. While I was there I brought two books, a Karaoke CD, a top and a blouse too”.
Gloria added: “The charity does some wonderful work across the region to help people. I would like encourage everyone living in or around Kirkby to support this worthy cause by visiting the shop to buy items, donate stock or volunteer”.
29 February 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero is inviting under-18s, solo artists, bands and live music venues in Ashfield & Eastwood to write and nominate themselves in the second annual Parliamentary live music competition, Rock the House. The competition aims to celebrate the very best of up-and-coming unsigned British artists and the live venues that support them.
Gloria said “There is a wealth of live music talent in my constituency and I would urge all musicians and live music venues to fill in an application and send it to me. The recognition and contacts entrants can get from taking part is priceless and it would be great to put Ashfield & Eastwood on the map for its artistic talent”.
Musicians and live music venues within Ashfield & Eastwood can find all forms and information on the competition at www.rockthehouse2012.com and can send in their nominations to Gloria De Piero MP at email@example.com. Entrants have until March 16th to send their entries to Gloria.
Prizes include music equipment; a chance to play at high profile festivals; and mingle with the great and good of the music industry. Successful nominees will go forward to the national competition which will be judged by a panel of international music industry experts and musicians and the finalists will be announced on Friday 18th May. The finalists will take part in a battle of the bands to determine the winner on Wednesday 30th May and the winner in each category will perform live at a final competition reception on the Terrace at the House of Commons in the evening.
28 February 2012
It was great to welcome my friend and former GMTV colleague Penny Smith back to Eastwood. Penny was born in Eastwood but hasn't been back since the family left when she was 6 years old. She loved the DH Lawrence birthplace museum where Jackie Greaves and Caroline Melbourne showed us round and took some pictures of Penny. Penny also got snapped at a less conventional place – Ken Hand & Son butchers shop at Hilltop that afternoon when she was getting the ingredients for our tea. Paula and Phil who own the butchers - thank you! We made a fabulous meat and potato pie.
While I'm praising our town I thought I'd mention the wonderful new cafe at Beauvale Priory where I took a walk the other day. It’s a mile up the country path next to the Horse and Groom pub and it really is a hidden gem. The monks at Beauvale – which was founded way back in 1343 – were some of the first to be executed during the Reformation under Henry VIII. It just goes to show what a fantastic wealth of history we have right on our doorstep which we don’t always appreciate at first sight.
I'm really proud of our town and its rich history and that's why I’ll be supporting Broxtowe Councils efforts to promote our area as part of English Tourism Week which will run from March 10th-18th. English Tourism Week is a great opportunity to showcase what’s on offer in our area. At the D.H Lawrence Museum alone there will be an English themed menu in the Colliery Bistro and a Friday Film club showing Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. I’d encourage everyone to take a look at what’s going in Eastwood and get involved in some of the great events. For anyone who wants more information, take a look at http://www.visitengland.org and take part in the celebrations and don’t forget to tell your friends from outside the town.
24 February 2012
On Friday 24th February Labour MP Gloria De Piero visited Sutton Centre Community College where Local sixth formers were given the chance to grill their MP on a wide variety of subjects ranging from immigration, law and order, the economy and religion.
The event which had been organised by the college saw nearly twenty Sutton sixth formers quiz Gloria for a gruelling thirty minutes and the MP had no idea beforehand what questions she was going to be asked by the young panel.
Following the thirty minute Q&A session, Gloria then turned the tables on the youngsters and asked them what issues they wanted her to raise in Parliament and why. The event provided the perfect opportunity for local youngsters to engage with their Member of Parliament and ask the hard hitting questions they had always wanted to ask.
Speaking afterwards, Gloria said: “Meeting these young people today made me 100% convinced that the future for Ashfield is going to be very bright. We have some amazing teachers and students in Ashfield and this certainly showed in the quality of the questions I was asked. The parents of the young people I met today must be exceptionally proud”.
22 February 2012
The other week I attended a debate in the House of Commons to call on the government to develop a strategy for former coal mining areas like our own. People in our towns do not want to rely on benefits, people want to work for a living but the jobs must be there and that means we need a growing economy. Yes we have some fantastic local firms in Ashfield but it is central government that has to provide the right conditions for economic growth.
Only last week official figures revealed that unemployment continues to rise in Ashfield with five people chasing every job vacancy. Young people are being hit particularly hard, with nearly thirty six per cent of all those claiming Job Seekers Allowance in our area being 18-24 year olds. The government must do more to help young people in our area get back into employment. Britain spends half the average of similar countries on getting people into work. They are letting far too many young people slip through the net.
It’s not all doom and gloom in Ashfield though. We have our fair share of talented youngsters who are certainly doing their best to put the area on the map. On March 11 there is a brilliant event which is being backed by Sutton Swimming Club and Ashfield District Council to raise funds for Olympic hopefuls Sam and Ollie Hynd. It’s being organised by the charity O.A.S.I.S, which supports Paralympians from Ashfield in their quest to compete at the London 2012 Games. It’s at the Lammas Leisure Centre Pool and only costs £2 to enter. The idea is to swim a mile (64 lengths) in a team relay or individual swim and the closing date for entries is Friday 2nd March. Some come on, what are you all waiting for? Register and help support our very own Olympic stars.
Finally, I was reading in my copy of the Chad about the ongoing some problems residents are having with their broadband access in Teversal and this prompted me to get in touch with Lynn Henstock, Richard Goad and Mick Vardy to offer my support. I’ve now written to the minister responsible and raised their concerns directly with him. Once I receive a reply I shall pass it on immediately. If anyone else thinks that I can help with any issue, please get in touch with my office and I’ll always help where I can.
21 February 2012
Last Friday Gloria De Piero paid a surprise visit to Westwood couple John (80) and Pearl Booth (73) who were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
To celebrate their remarkable anniversary, Mr & Mrs Booth held an open house event with friends and family and the local MP was asked to drop in by their daughter (Karen Kearns) and surprise the couple who have been married for 50 years.
Gloria presented the golden couple with a bouquet of flowers and a signed card to celebrate their special occasion and during the visit she asked the couple the all important question – what was the secret to such a long and happy marriage?
Afterwards, Gloria said “Mr Booth told me the secret to a happy marriage was to always let the lady believe she’s right even when she’s wrong! It really was an honour to be invited to their party and I’d like to wish them many more happy years together, they are a wonderful couple”.
“Their daughter, Karen, deserves a special mention for organising it and tracking down all their friends and relatives. A lot of hard work must have gone into it all and they must be really proud of her”.
20 February 2012
On Friday 17th February, Labour MP Gloria De Piero visited Warburtons, the UK's leading bakers, at their Mushroom Farm site in Eastwood.
The visit provided the MP with the perfect opportunity to find out why the local Warburtons site has become so successful as well as giving her the chance to listen ideas about what can be done to make Britain more business friendly.
Speaking after the visit, Gloria said: “One of the main reasons why businesses like Warburtons have a base in Eastwood is because of the of the great transport links the town has. We need more businesses like Warburtons in our area and we should do all we can to exploit the terrific transport links”.
At the site, Gloria was met by Chris Palmer, the Eastwood Bakery General Manager and his team. The visit included a guided tour of the bakery where Gloria got to see first-hand how the country’s most loved bread is made from start to finish.
Gloria added: “I’d also like to say a special thanks to Russell too who gave me a brilliant guided tour of the bakery and explained how the bread was made step by step. I learnt so much during the visit and I had no idea how much hard work goes in to making each loaf of bread”.
Speaking about Gloria’s visit, Chris Palmer, General Manager at the bakery said: "We were pleased that Gloria was able to visit and provide us with the opportunity to show her the excellent work that goes on at our bakery. Over the last three years there has been a £6million investment here which means our 350 staff can now serve 2000 retail customers every week. It is re-assuring to see our local MP is committed to the region and understands the needs of business.”
Over the last twenty years Warburtons has grown its national footprint and now has 12 bakeries and 13 depots up and down the country, including the site in Eastwood. The family owned business is the largest bakers and second largest grocery brand in the UK, employing over 4500 people nationally and 350 people at the Eastwood Bakery. Three Weeks ago the bakery received a World Class accolade for Bakery and Operational Excellence.
16 February 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero is urging the government to reconsider a little-noticed change to tax credit rules which means thousands of families will lose all of their working tax credits unless they can significantly increase their working hours.
Recently released parliamentary figures have revealed that 305 households and 615 children could be affected by the changes in Ashfield. The change means that couples with children earning less than around £17,700 will need to increase the number of hours they work from 16 hours per week to a minimum of 24 hours per week or they will lose all their working tax credit of £3,870 per year.
Gloria said “This is a deeply unfair change from a government that is increasingly out of touch with parents feeling the squeeze and struggling to juggle work and family life. No one is arguing whether we have to pay back the deficit but it’s how quickly and by who that worries me. Too much seems to be coming from hard working families and not enough from the bankers”.
The MP added “The changes are just a few weeks away and will mean that many will be better off on benefits rather than going to work. That makes no economic sense at all. The government urgently needs to think again”.
14 February 2012
Gloria De Piero has written to head teachers in Ashfield and Eastwood encouraging their school councils to submit an application to the Speaker’s School Council Awards.
The Speaker’s School Council Awards 2012 is a unique national award scheme which recognises the valuable contributions that school councils make to their classmates and to their communities. The scheme invites schools and colleges across the country to nominate their most innovative and exciting projects.
Gloria said: “School councils are vital to our communities, and it is important that we support them. The Speaker’s School Council Awards recognises the difference that children and young people in Ashfield can make. I encourage all school councils to get involved!”
Since the Scheme’s launch in 2009, over 3,000 schools have registered to participate across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; representing pupils aged 14-19. Previous winners have included a campaign to improve the environmental sustainability of a school and a programme which encouraged a positive body image among pupils.
The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2012, and all participating schools are awarded certificates of participation from the Speaker. 16 finalists will receive presentation plaques for their schools and four councils will be awarded the Speaker’s School Council Award trophy and resources for future school council projects at an Awards Day in Parliament.
10 February 2012
Last Thursday the television presenter, Penny Smith, returned to her home town of Eastwood and paid a visit to the DH Lawrence Birthplace musuem with local MP and good friend Gloria De Piero.
Gloria said "I'm so proud of the museum I always take my friends there, but Penny really wanted to go because she's originally from Eastwood and used to live in Greenhills Road".
"She loved it and was reallly impressed with the tour guides who painted a briliant picture of what life was like when Lawrence lived there".
After the tour they then visited 101 Greenhills Road, the house where Penny was born. "She got really emotional because she hasnt seen it since she left age six" said Gloria.
8 February 2012
The other week I went to the new Morrisons in Kirkby. Its opening is a welcome addition to the town and it will give the local economy a much needed boost. It’s created almost three hundred jobs, most of which have been snapped up by local Ashfield residents. I met some of the new staff there and one lady, Wendy Harris, made a really big impression on me. She was so enthusiastic about her new job as a florist and for the future of Kirkby; she told me she even had a tear in her eye when the store opened. Wendy represents everything that is good about Kirkby. She’s warm, dedicated and totally committed to the regeneration of her town.
While the arrival of Morrisons is a step in the right direction for Kirkby, there is still a long way to go before the economy is back on track. The latest stats showed that unemployment in Ashfield has risen again, with the number of people now claiming Job Seekers Allowance rising each month for the last six months bar one. These aren’t just statistics – that’s a total of 2,746 people out of work in Ashfield. Each is an individual story which has a devastating impact on every person and their family. The Government must do more to tackle unemployment.
Things are tough right now but if you ever find yourself in a position where you’ve got yourself in to debt and do need help or advice it is always worth remembering what an excellent job the Ashfield Citizens Advice Bureau do. Last year they launched a single telephone number which has really benefitted local people. The number is 0844 856 3411 and it has already proved to be popular, the Bureau have received 130% more calls since the launch.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate the five youngsters who were put forward by their schools to go along to the SPACE Centre in Kirkby and help to improve the facilities at Carsic allotments. From what I’ve head they have done a fantastic job up there. Not long ago I visited the SPACE Centre and saw firsthand the work they do getting young people re-engaged in education and the local community. Keep up the good work!
1 February 2012
"This is a belated and weak announcement from the Home Secretary which shows how out of touch she is with the anti-social behaviour problems many communities face.
"After 2 years of doing nothing to tackle anti-social behaviour, the Home Secretary has to do better than a few pilots that won't start until the summer, and which seem to suggest that anti-social behaviour should not be taken seriously if only two or three people complain.
"Most right minded people will also wonder why it should take 5 different people complaining to get a response from agencies that are there to protect the public and deal with the minority who can make life unbearable. Even if only one person complains, their concerns should be investigated and treated seriously.
"The Home secretary's record on ASB is lamentable. Her plans mean it will no longer be a criminal offence to breach an ASBO. And she is cutting 16000 police officers and thousands of community officers and staff, so that Chief Constables from Gloucester to South Yorkshire have said neighbourhood policing is being jeopardised.
"The Home Secretary has no serious plan to help cut crime or anti-social behaviour. She is only cutting police officers instead."
31 January 2012
After the Chad and the Ashfield district’s Citizens Advice Bureau revealed last week that the number of people who came to the council for help because they were homeless had risen to 298 people, Gloria De Piero MP has urged ministers to return empty homes to use.
The Ashfield MP said: “Making the use of empty homes isn’t just vital for tackling rising homelessness in our community. It’s also vital to protect the greenbelt land. Many constituents have got in touch with me about the need to protect our precious greenbelt land. I whole heartedly agree with them which is why I have raised the issue with ministers in Parliament this week”.
To see the full exhange between Gloria and Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government click here.
30 January 2012
Labour MP for Ashfield, Gloria De Piero has called on the Government to rethink its approach to policing after figures revealed that Police numbers have fallen to the lowest for a decade, including the loss of 195 officers in Nottinghamshire since March 2010.
The figures show that there are now 8,000 fewer officers on the streets nationally, at a time when personal crime, which includes theft and violence, has gone up by a startling 11 per cent – the biggest increase in a decade.
Gloria said Labour is going to call on the Government to reopen the police funding settlement when it is debated in Parliament in next month.
“People in Ashfield will have real concerns about the loss of 195 officers here in Nottinghamshire. The deepest cuts to policing budgets will hit this year and HMIC estimate the loss of 16,000 officers through this Parliament.
“People in Ashfield value the work that local police officers do in our community and I will be voting against the Government’s police cuts next month”.
27 January 2012
On Friday 27th January, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero paid a visit to the new Morrisons superstore in Kirkby to meet the staff and be given a guided tour of the town’s store by Richard Taylor, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications.
The opening of the store is a welcome addition to the town and has given the economy a much needed boost. It has created almost three hundred jobs, many of which have been snapped up local Ashfield residents.
At the store, Gloria met Wendy Harris, from Kirkby, who is one of the many locals to have secured a job at the store. She told the MP how she was delighted to have been taken on at Morrisons and explained how the firm provided training to become a florist at the new store.
Wendy said “I was so excited when the store finally opened, the training has gone on for the last three months and it is great to get started. I actually had a tear in my eye on the first day. It is just what the town needs”.
Speaking afterwards, Gloria said: “Wendy represents everything that is good about Kirkby. She’s warm, dedicated and totally committed to the regeneration of her town. She is such a lovely lady”.
Morrisons officially opened on Wednesday 25th January, 2012.
26 January 2012
I am pleased to hear that Ashfield District Council has now served an eviction notice to the travellers’ at Felley Mill Lane in Underwood. The council assures me that if they don’t move voluntarily they will be evicted. I have recently received a response from ministers at the Department for Communities and Local Government to the issues that were raised by the concerned residents of Underwood at the meeting on October 21st at Underwood Miners Welfare. Unfortunately, I am not sure that the minister really engages with the specific issues that were raised. But if you would like a copy of the letter please get in touch with my office on 01623 720 399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Since becoming MP I have been invited to some fantastic places and met such great people but I still want to hear from as many different organisations and places in the constituency as possible. It doesn’t matter whether you are in rural Ashfield or suburban Sutton, a small organisation or established one; I want you to get in touch. If you have a special event you want to celebrate or a particular issue which you need me to raise with the government and you want me to come along give the office a call. As long as I'm not in parliament I’ll do all I can to get there. Demand is always high but we’ll always get a date in the diary even if it is a month or two down the line. So come on, get in touch with me. I am here to represent you all.
Finally, I’d like to personally congratulate the three star students from Ashfield School 6th form who have set a brilliant record by all being accepted at either Oxford or Cambridge universities. Sam Voisey, Katie Townsend and Robert Howlett should all be extremely proud of their wonderful achievements. They are a credit to the school, their parents and Ashfield. The future looks to be very bright for these youngsters and it fills me with great optimism as Ashfield looks to be in very capable hands in the years ahead. Well done to you all!
25 January 2012
Below is copy of the letter received by Gloria after she raised a number of concerns with the Department for Communities and Local Government. If you would like a copy of this letter please dont' hesitate to contact my office on 01623 720 399 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
24 January 2012
Labour MP Gloria De Piero visited Lynncroft Primary school in Eastwood on Friday 20th January to award Key Stage Two pupil, Kai Fitzgerald a certificate for designing the best Christmas Card in her competition held just before the festive period.
Following the presentation, kids from Year one to Year six were then given the opportunity to tackle Gloria about a number of different topics ranging from politics, her favourite TV programme and favourite food.
Rachael aged 7, wanted to know how difficult it is being an MP (Gloria said the House of Commons chamber is a weird place but she loved coming home to work every Thursday because it means she deals with real people and real problems).
Jessica (9) asked Gloria what her favourite television programme was (Gloria admitted that the X-Factor was her favourite television programme and that in winter there is nothing better than staying in on a Saturday night and watching the talent show).
Angus delivered a hard hitting Jeremy Paxman style question asking the MP what she thought of Gordon Brown (Gloria said that Gordon was a very intelligent man, who had always worked as hard as possible to help the country).
More tough questions followed with Megan quizzing Gloria about her reasons for becoming an MP (Gloria said although she had a great job working in TV, she really wanted to make a difference and being an MP was the best way to do that).
Speaking just after the visit, Gloria said: “It was great to meet Kai and his mum and dad. Kai’s art work was really impressive. The standard of the entries in the competition was brilliant, but Kai’s really caught my eye as soon as I saw it. I’m sure his parents and the school are extremely proud of him”.
“I really enjoyed my visit and I hope they will welcome me back in the future. All of the kids were so enthusiastic and they certainly asked me some very tough questions. I can definitely see a future in journalism for some of them”.
19 January 2012
MPs' expense claims processed in August 2011 - September 2011 have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
16 January 2012
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has asked for a House of Commons debate on hospital charges.
The Labour MP posed the question during Business of the House Questions on Thursday 12th January following a decision last year by King's Mill hospital bosses to raise parking charges.
Miss De Piero asked Leader of the House of Commons George Young: “Could we have a debate on hospital parking charges?
“The hospital in my constituency has introduced big rises and has recently started charging for disabled parking. Sadly, it is not alone in doing so.”
Speaking afterwards, she said: “We have seen big rises in hospital parking charges at King’s Mill and the recent introduction of disabled parking charges.
“I will continue to press ministers to do something about these unfair charges.”
15 January 2012
Yesterday, Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero revealed how David Cameron had gone back on a vow to fund more CCTV.
The PM had promised to make more money available to communities wanting to install the surveillance equipment.
However, Gloria said "It now transpires that this is not the case after all. Instead the message from this Government to communities on crime prevention is that you are on your own”.
14 January 2012
The fate of the Post Office in Kirkby has been secured after Gloria helped find an alternative site.
There were fears that the town would be left without the vital service when work to improve roads into the new town centre Morrison's store required the current temporay Post Office to move.
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said it was great news that the building would remain open - but Ms De Piero said she had to ‘bang heads together’ to prevent a break in service.
“People in Kirkby told me they didn’t want to lose the Post Office – that’s why I fought so hard for a temporary Post Office.” she said.
“As soon as I heard that this was due to close I knew that I had to bang heads together.
“I am very grateful for Morrisons and the Post Office listening to me and for ensuring that the people of Kirkby get to keep this important service.”
16 December 2011
After David Cameron vowed to transform the lives of 120,000 problem families, Shadow Home Office minister Gloria De Piero warned of a gap between the "rhetoric and the reality" in light of the funding cuts.
She said: "This is important work but if David Cameron demands results from local authorities, whilst pulling the carpet from beneath them while reforms are being shelved, this could be a wasted opportunity to properly expand Labour's family intervention policies."
14 December 2011
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero visited Kingsway Primary School on Friday 2nd December to reveal the winner of her annual Christmas Card competition.
Gloria and a panel of judges chose Yaneek Allen, aged nine, as this year’s winner and Gloria went along to a specially organised assembly at the Kirkby school last Friday to surprise Yaneek in front of the rest of the pupils, staff and her proud family.
At the assembly, Gloria spoke to the whole school about her job as MP and why she had decided to launch her Christmas Card competition again this year. Ms De Piero then revealed to a shocked Yaneek that she was this year’s winner and awarded her a special certificate to celebrate her success and the prize which was a House of Commons Teddy Bear.
Speaking just after the event, Gloria said “It was great to meet the kids, the staff and all of the pupils but Yaneek and her family were really special. They have every reason to be proud of her, the competition was really tough this year but her card really stood out, it was fantastic”.
10 December 2011
Following Government proposals to scrap the ASBO, Labour MP Gloria De Piero has urged the Government to "listen to crime fighters who want to keep the ASBO because they know it works well".
The Shadow Home Office minister went on to say: "Theresa May should now abandon her plans to scrap the ASBO which are part of a worrying trend. The Government is out of touch on crime".
1 December 2011
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero will be appearing on BBC Radio 4's current affairs programme 'Any Questions' next week, on Friday 9th December.
The panel will include the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, Shadow Home Office Minister, Gloria De Piero MP, Former Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sir Charles Pollard and Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph columnist.
The show goes out live at 8pm and is repeated the following Saturday at 1.15pm, followed by a 2pm phone-in, giving listeners the chance to join in the debate.
24 November 2011
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero has condemned a recent decision to start charging blue-badge holders for parking at King's Mill Hospital and branded the decision to impose the charges as 'completely unfair'.
Gloria said "I was shocked when a terminally ill constituent contacted my office and brought to my attention that King's Mill have recently started charging disabled patients to use the hospital car park.
"Labour had pressed to scrap these unfair hospital charges while the government announced they were going to keep these charges. I am going directly to the minister about this and I have already told the trust in no uncertain terms that I find this completely unacceptable."
21 November 2011
Labour MP Gloria De Piero, visited Eastwood’s Breathe Easy group on Friday 18th November to lend her support to the annual COPD Day event to help improve awareness of the condition.
The campaign theme was based around raising awareness of COPD and encouraging people to have a simple breathing test if they experience short breath. Speaking just after the event, Gloria said “It was really good to meet with everyone involved with COPD and family members too. The group had a number of points they wanted me to raise with the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley. As soon as I receive a reply I will be in touch with the group again".
“COPD is the world’s fourth biggest killer and though the health of the people of the East Midlands is similar to that of the country as a whole there are areas in our region where considerable health inequalities exist. There are almost 73,400 people diagnosed in the region with COPD and that is expected to rise significantly t0 142,095 by 2020. I wanted to help the group raise awareness and it was good to hear more about their new campaign”.
19 November 2011
Labour's Shadow Home Office minister, Gloria De Piero has criticised the Government's proposals to scrap the ASBO.
Gloria said "The Government is taking an irresponsible gamble. It is trying to sweep anti-social behaviour under the carpet even though it's the public's top crime concern".
"It should listen to those in charge of keeping communities safe and who want the ASBO to be saved".
17 November 2011
Yesterday, Gloria and Shadow Scretary of State for Work and Pensions Liam Byrne met with local youngsters to discuss the issue of youth unemployment at Connexions on Morley Street in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
Before the meeting Gloria called on the government to take urgent action following the release of figures which show the number of young people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Ashfield has increased by 131% over the last six months.
Speaking about the increase Gloria said: "These are really worrying figures for Ashfield. Any young person out of work is worrying, but when we are seeing the number of young people claiming jobseekers increasing by 131% over six months, then urgent action clearly needs to be taken.
"If we are to get the economy moving again then we must ensure that we are doing all we can to give young people the opportunities that they deserve - this includes making sure they receive training and support to get into work."
15 November 2011
Last week, Gloria launched her annual school Christmas card competition and has invited all local primary and infant schools in constituency to take part and design her Christmas card this year.
Rather than using the standard parliamentary Christmas card, Gloria wanted to showcase the talent of local school children in the area instead. A panel of judges will then decide the winning card which will be used for all of Gloria’s Christmas cards.
All designs should be submitted on white A4 paper with the name of the child and the school recorded on the back and returned to the constituency office no later than Monday 21st November.
Gloria “I’d like to thank local business Crystal Martin who have been incredibly generous and have enabled us to hold the competition again this year. We had some great designs last time and I look forward to seeing more fantastic cards this year, I imagine the judges will have a tough time picking a winner”.
14 November 2011
Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero officially opened the North Ashfield S.P.A.C.E Centre (Schools Partnership Alternative Centre for Education) at Forest Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield last Friday.
Four secondary schools in the area, Ashfield School, Kirkby College, Quarrydale School and Sutton Centre Community College have formed a partnership and pooled resources to provide personalised education programmes based at the Centre for students from all four schools.
Activities include construction and motor vehicle courses, together with a wide range of community activities and skills development programmes. Ashfield District Council and several local businesses have supported the development and running of the centre.
Speaking at the event, Gloria said “I’m really pleased to have been invited to officially open the new Centre. It’s a really positive step for Kirkby and I’m sure it will make a massive difference in the lives of some of these kids.
“It was great to meet some of the young people involved in this project and the hard work of everyone involved is a great tribute to Kirkby, it shows just what a brilliant community spirit exits here and what can be achieved when we all pull together”.
I also hope the kids will take up my offer of a trip down to Parliament in the New Year so that they can keep me updated on their progress and hopefully this visit can be sorted very shortly”.
12 November 2011
Labour MP, Gloria De Piero, is to visit Eastwood Volunteer Bureau on Saturday, 12th November. The Bureau has organised an open day and Christmas Fair to promote the great work that the organisation carries out on behalf of the residents of Eastwood.
It is hoped that the event will raise the profile of the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and raise much need funds to ensure that it can carry out the brilliant work in the future.
Stalls at the event will be set up from 11:30 am onwards and Gloria has been invited along in her capacity as local Mp to help highlight the work that the Bureau does and to chat with local folk as they shop.
Speaking before the event Gloria said “I’m delighted to have been invited down on Saturday and I am looking forward to meeting everyone involved. It’s a great chance for me to meet the residents and hear what they have to say too. Every time I have been to the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau I have been amazed by the brilliant work that is carried out here. I can’t wait to see what the stalls have to offer and I’m sure it will be a very successful day”.
4 November 2011
Gloria De Piero visited Springbank Primary School in Eastwood on Friday 4th November as part of ‘Parliament Week’ which was an exciting new initiative supported by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
For centuries, parliamentary democracy has touched the lives of every person and community, every organisation and business throughout the country, and yet for many people, Parliament’s work, influence and history are unfamiliar.
Rather than spending all of ‘Parliament Week’ in Westminster, Gloria decided to take a bit of Parliament into her constituency instead and visited the local primary school on Devonshire Drive, Eastwood. Speaking just before the visit, Gloria said “Parliament week is a brilliant initiative and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the week than by visiting a local school and giving the kids a chance to play an active part”.
As part of ‘Parliament Week’ Gloria spoke to children from years 4, 5 and 6 in assembly about her job and explained about some of the work that she does as their local MP and how it can have a positive impact in Eastwood.
The kids were then given the opportunity to quiz Gloria about a number of different issues. Brandon, aged 9, wanted to know why there wasn’t enough police on the streets during the riots while Alicia, 10, tackled the MP over empty shops on the high street.
Afterwards, Gloria said “The kids asked some great questions and they certainly kept me on my toes. I can definitely see a career in journalism for some of them! I also know they are looking forward to moving to a terrific new site very soon and I hope that they will invite me back in the New Year when they are settled in”.
Gloria writes for the Chad
2 November 2011
People often to say to me that they are not interested in politics but last week over 300 people attended a meeting at Underwood Miners welfare on Friday tea time to raise their concerns following the arrival of travellers on a plot of land. This just goes to show that people are interested and passionate about issues they can relate to.
On the night issues were raised about national government planning policy and as soon as I hear back from ministers I shall let the Chad know.
Last week I raised the case of a constituent who was very sick and had recently been taken off Disability Living Allowance. He thought he had been unfairly treated and decided to appeal but was told he faced at least a minimum of an eleven month wait before his case could be heard. By raising his case in the Commons I got an assurance from the minister to look into this delay, so coming to see your MP does work. But don’t get me wrong I’m all for rigorous testing to make sure that those who are claiming benefits are entitled to them. At the same time the system needs to be quick and efficient and at the minute and an eleven month wait is completely unacceptable.
On Wednesday it was Prime Minister Questions where I asked the PM about key Government policies having a disproportionate effect on women. Then on Thursday it was my turn to answer questions on BBC Question Time. There was a lot of talk about Europe among the panel which is of course important but the issues that I hear more often when I’m out knocking on doors are the cost of living and anti-social behaviour.
I read the story in last week’s Chad about a man the police wanted to trace to help them solve a crime. It annoys me when people say that CCTV is a threat to our civil liberties. I reckon there is no bigger civil liberty than having the right to be safe on our streets and CCTV plays an important part in this.
Gloria urges swift action over traveller site
17 October 2011
Labour MP Gloria De Piero has urged Ashfield District Council to act swiftly to resolve a major problem which has arisen in Underwood in the last few weeks after travellers moved on to a plot of land in the area.
The site is situated at the junction of the A608 and Felley Mill Lane (South) and is part of a local ‘triangle’ of farm land bounded by the A608, Felley Mill Lane (South) and Felley Mill Lane (North).
Gloria said ‘As I understand the whole area is listed as Agricultural Green Belt land and so far the local authority has managed to maintain this status. However, this recent development is certainly worrying news and over the last few days many concerned residents have contacted my office and asked for help. Nearly two hundred people attended an emergency meeting at the Miners welfare on Sunday morning which just goes to show the strength of the feeling in the area’.
‘As soon as I became aware of this issue I went straight to the top of the council to try and seek an immediate solution. I have spoken to Councillor John Knight and he has told me that they have immediately implemented a three step programme. The first step is to ascertain who owns the land so that an official notice can then be served and I am very pleased that they have already served a temporary stop notice.
‘I know the council want to resolve this issue sensitively but as quickly as possible within the confines of the law. They will have my full support to enforce the law and the important thing here is that the council are exercising their responsibilities. Ultimately the law needs to be upheld and respected whatever background people come from or wherever they are’.
Gloria puts pressure on Camelot to reveal where lottery cash is spent
3 October 2011
Labour MP Gloria De Piero has criticised the National Lottery operator Camelot for refusing to release information showing how much of the money spent on lottery tickets in the UK is given back for good causes in different areas across the country.
Ashfield’s Labour MP Gloria De Piero has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to demand urgent action is taken to reduce youth unemployment after recent figures revealed that Ashfield has seen a 24% increase of 18-24 year olds claiming JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) in the last year.
This increase is significantly higher than the national trend which is 13% as well as being larger than that of the East Midlands which currently stands at 17%. After the figures were revealed, Gloria said “The Government must do more to tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment in Ashfield. There are nearly 1000 young people looking for work, this figure is completely unacceptable and is a waste of potential”.
“As the figures show, by cutting too far and too fast they are hitting young people hard and costing jobs. That is why the Government should immediately implement Labour’s balanced deficit plan which is tough and balanced but which puts jobs first. For instance, a bankers’ bonus tax would raise money which could be used to help get our young people into work”.
“These young people are Ashfield’s future and I will continue to do all I can to help them by pressing the Government to take action”.
It is not often that I am left open mouthed but I was genuinely shocked when I heard that the Government are planning to reduce by half the financial support available to victims of crime. Victims are the most important people in our criminal justice system but they are consistently being let down by this government. This news comes just after I asked the PM if he supported the closures of local police stations such as ours in Kirkby. It was a question that he appeared unable to answer directly instead saying it wasn’t up to the Government. I’m afraid that this just isn’t good enough.
I try and get out and about and knock on your doors as much as possible so that I can listen to your concerns and the issues you want me to raise because it helps me do my job properly. Last week I met a lady from The Homelands in Sutton who told me how she is unhappy with the route 3a bus takes and asked me if there is anything I can do. She and other residents will be pleased to hear that I have now written to Trent Barton and raised their concerns directly with the Chief Executive. As soon as I get a reply I will let them know. Trying to help people is one of the best things about of being an MP.
Last Friday I had a question and answer session with pupils at Fountaindale School. This may be a school for those with special educational needs, but the questions that they put to me about my role as their MP were as sharp as any I have faced. The staff at the school do such an amazing job there. It’s my second visit since becoming an MP and it certainly won’t be my last.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate the Chad on their fantastic apprenticeship campaign. It really is such a great initiative and one that is going to change the lives and the futures of so many young people in Ashfield. I wish it every success.
Gloria De Piero MP for Ashfield is joining forces with Breast Cancer Campaign to raise awareness of its biggest fundraising event, wear it pink day.
On Friday 28 October 2011 supporters in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country are encouraged to don an item of pink in support of Campaign and each donate £2 to fund innovative world-class breast cancer research.
Last year hundreds of thousands of people took part in wear it pink to help improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.
Gloria said “Every year in the UK, around 48,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women. Although it is rare, men can also suffer from breast cancer, with around 340 men diagnosed each year. I would like to encourage everyone in my constituency of [insert name] and throughout the country to support wear it pink on October 28, to raise valuable funds for breast cancer research.”
To take part in the UK’s original and best pink day visit www.wearitpink.co.uk and register to receive your free fundraising pack now. wear it pink is supported by Vanish, which has committed to raising an incredible £250,000 for the charity this year.
Ashfield's Labour MP, Gloria De Piero, asked David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions today if he supported the closure of local police stations after recent proposals revealed that Eastwood could lose its Front of Counter Service and Kirkby police station has been ear marked for closure.
Gloria said "unfortunately the PM was unable to answer my question directly and instead said it was up to individual chief constables to work out how best to police their areas".
"However I will continue to press the Government on this incredibly important local issue".
See The Prime Minister's full response here
Gloria's expenses: April 2011 - May 2011
MPs' expense claims processed in April 2011 - May 2011 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
I am furious that cuts which are too fast and too deep mean that our police station in Kirkby is under threat of closure. I have no quarrel with Nottinghamshire Police on this - they are being forced to choose between cutting more bobbies on the beat and closing local stations. Nottinghamshire is one of the biggest losers when it comes to cuts to police funding in the whole of the country. I know from talking to many of you that you want to see more of a police presence and that losing our police station is only going to damage confidence further. The closure of police stations rests squarely with the Government who have gone back on a pre-election promise not to cut front line services. I've written to the Home Secretary to ask what the Government policy is on local police station closures and I’ll let you know as soon as I get a reply. It’s not acceptable for the Government to sit on the fence and stay silent on such a big issue. I will always fight as hard as I can for Ashfield to make sure we have the resources we need. I just hope that ministers see sense and listen to us.
On a more positive note, I have been closely following the fantastic A-level and GCSE results over the summer and I have been so impressed with the results that have been achieved in Ashfield this year. At a time when young people nationally are receiving a lot of bad press I think it’s only right to make sure that they all get the credit that they deserve. They have made their parents proud, their schools proud and Ashfield proud. I am sure our future is in capable hands with such a remarkable group of young people. Well done to you all!
If like me, you are extremely passionate about your local library then I urge you to sign a petition launched by the WI called Love Your Libraries which is calling on the Government to honour their commitment to act as a champion of the library service. At a time when many libraries are facing closure it is important to show our support. You can do this through http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1269
Eastwood’s Labour MP Gloria De Piero held another monthly coffee morning last Saturday in Brinsley at the Parish Hall.
Speaking just after the event, Gloria said “I’m really happy that so many people accepted the invitation to come and join me for their local coffee morning. It really shows what a fantastic community spirit exists here and it was invaluable to hear what the people of Brinsley had to say’.
‘I met some incredibly passionate and lovely people. Some just came to say hello and have a chat while others had particular topics they were eager to raise with me. However, one issue that came up repeatedly was a desire to see the police force protected from Government cuts and local stations such as Eastwood remain open and it was particularly heart warming to hear the praise residents had for local bobby PC Rich Reynolds’.
“These coffee mornings are a great chance for people to tell me what matters most to them and have their say. I can only represent people properly by being in contact with them regularly. I am all too aware that too many people only see politicians at election time – I want to change that.”
In the wake of the riots, we've once again seen days of debate and acres of newsprint devoted to the criminals.
Why did they loot and burn? What sentences should they get? I'd like to see even half that time spent discussing our duties to the victims: the people who lost their loved ones, livelihoods or homes.
For them, life will never return to normal. Their fear will never go away.
Since becoming MP for Ashfield, Notts, I've met some of those victims. But no one has taught me more about what's wrong with the system than Gary Thrall, left for dead after a knife attack by muggers outside his barber's shop. He will never recover full use of an arm which was almost severed.
Read all of this article here
Gloria De Piero, Ashfield MP has this week written to Nottinghamshire County Council to seek an assurance that they are meeting their legal requirements (1.) to ensure that there is sufficient, affordable childcare in Ashfield
Recent research by the national childcare charity Daycare Trust has shown that 62% of local authorities in England have cut their budgets for childcare and play services since last year; and almost half are offering a decreased level of holiday childcare provision.
These cuts are attributed to cuts in grants for childcare and youth services from central Government. According to figures from the House of Commons Library, Nottinghamshire County Council has received 21% less this year than it was allocated in 2010, equal to £50 per child.
Gloria said ‘the summer holidays always present a challenge to parents, whether it’s finding extra childcare if you’re working or finding affordable activities to entertain the kids if you’re not’.
“The cuts Nottinghamshire County Council have had from the Tory-led government are huge, but services like childcare and holiday activities are really important for local families, especially now family budgets are being hit, so it is crucial that they are maintained.'
As the Countdown to London 2012 begins, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has nominated Kirkby school girl Chloe Morley, 15, to run with the Olympic Flame next year as part of a campaign organised by the Olympic Movement and Coca-Cola.
The Future Flames campaign aims to shine a light on the best of British youth and will celebrate young people who use their passions in areas such as sport and physical activity, music and dance to make Britain burn brighter. All nominations will be judged by an independent panel in September and those chosen will get a once in a lifetime opportunity to run with the Olympic Flame during the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
Chloe has recently returned from the fourth European Cadet Taekwondo Championships in Tblisi, Georgia, where she proudly represented Great Britain and her home town of Kirkby and was one fight away from getting a medal.
Gloria said ‘it was a great achievement, when I met her I was so impressed by her determination, passion and commitment. Chloe is a great example of what can be achieved by sheer hard work and sums up exactly what our community is all about, she would be a great ambassador for the town’.
Chloe is delighted with the nomination and thanked Gloria for her support. She said ‘I am so excited to be nominated. If I am lucky enough to be selected I will be so proud to represent Ashfield with the Olympic Flame’.
Labour MP Gloria De Piero has hit out after research revealed that Ashfield could lose out to wealthier regions under radical health spending reforms. The weighting for health inequalities in the PCT allocation formulae has been reduced from 15%, the value for the last two years to 10% for 2011/2012.
Nottinghamshire PCT is already facing a budget short fall next year and changes to NHS funding formulas will also see nearly a £4m reduction in funding to tackle entrenched health inequalities such as low life expectancy. By contrast wealthy parts of south-east England will gain considerably. For instance Surrey PCT will gain £61m while Hampshire PCT will get another £52m.
In Ashfield the life expectancy of both men and women is already much lower than the national average, 7.6 years lower for men and 13.1 years for women. The figures reveal that the Government plans for the NHS will make inequality worse, not better and undermines its promise that the reforms would attempt to target the least well off.
Gloria said ‘the Government promised to protect health spending but it seems they are only doing this in leafy areas. This comes on top of the decision to close the NHS Walk-In Centre in Kirkby. This Government doesn’t seem to care about health in areas like ours’. She said that she will tackle Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on the issue of health inequality when Parliament returns.
Ashfield’s Labour MP Gloria De Piero has written to the Home Secretary Theresa May to seek clarity on the Government’s policy regarding local police stations after the recent announcement that a number of local stations are under threat.
A number of worried constituents have contacted Gloria and raised their concerns about planned changes that could see Kirkby-in-Ashfield police station close and relocate to the Ada Lovelace building at Ashfield District Council. This of course only adds to the concern after the recent news that nationally the police face cuts up to 34,000 people with as many as 297 police officers and 327 few police staff in Nottinghamshire.
Gloria said “I am bitterly disappointed by the recent announcement that the community could lose this important service as Government cuts begin to bite across the country. The police have been put in an impossible situation by not receiving the funding they need”.
“It is vital that the police still maintain a presence in Kirkby so that people feel safe and know that help will be immediately on hand should they ever need it. I would like to see some sort of police front counter service maintained otherwise the police will certainly seem less approachable”.
After the collapse of the holiday tour operator Holidays 4 U, Shadow Culture Minister, Gloria said that "families holidays musn't be the price paid for corporate failure.
Read the full article here
Eastwood’s Labour MP Gloria De Piero has hit out at the scale of the funding cuts facing charities in the area. It has been discovered that Broxtowe Women’s Project, Broxtowe Youth Homelessness, Voluntary Action Broxtowe and the Citizens Advice Bureaux are among the hardest hit charities
Research published this week revealed that more than 2,000 charities nationally are being forced to close services and sack staff as local authorities slash their funding and in some cases withdraw it completely.
Nottinghamshire has been hit particularly hard by the cuts with a 116 charities facing substantive cuts to their funding. The figures show that the total Grant Aid Funding is being cut by £1,076,357 from £3,156,345 to £2,079,988. This leaves many local charities unsure about their future with many questioning whether they will now be able to continue providing valuable services to the local community.
Gloria said ‘the scale of the cuts mean that it is going to be almost impossible for many of the charities to continue much of the brilliant work they do in our community’.
‘These cuts are so short sighted and damaging. Some of the most vulnerable people in our community are going to lose the support they rely on. The big society is starting to look more like a dream than reality and claims from the government that charities can replace direct services already cut by Nottinghamshire County Council looks very farfetched’.
Ashfield’s Labour MP Gloria De Piero has written to the Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire County Council, Mick Burrows, after she discovered that the council may have incorrectly issued a number of parking tickets to her constituents and urged him to contact everyone who may be affected.
Gloria looked into the five limited waiting bays on Station Street in Kirkby-in-Ashfield after receiving a complaint from an unhappy business owner and discovered that the legal order covering them indicated they should all be one hour limited waiting.
However, the sign outside Bairstow Eves was incorrect, stating 30 minutes waiting only. It has since been removed but Gloria is worried that a number of her constituents may have unwittingly paid fines they should never have collected in the first place.
Gloria said “there might well be a number of people who have been issued with fines and who could potentially claim this money back but have no idea they were wrongly fined. Therefore I have asked Nottinghamshire County Council what they are doing to do about this and what the process is for claiming any money back”.
One lady who is now aware of the error is Zoe Thompson who runs Floral Expressions on Station Street and has collected fines totalling £75. She said “if it wasn’t for Gloria I would never have known and the council would still have the sign up, wrongly handing out fines to people who haven’t done anything wrong”.
28 July 2011
Over the summer I am going to be asking for young men in Ashfield to do something special. I have joined other politicians in pledging to recruit at least ten men each between the ages of 18 to 30 to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. This brilliant charity saves the lives of people with blood cancer. Men aged 18-30 account for 80% of donations, but make up just 19% of the register. At the minute, Anthony Nolan can only find a matching donor for half the people who come to them in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant. So this summer they are aiming to recruit 10,000 more young men to register. Anyone interested in the chance to save someone’s life should go to http://mp.anthonynolan.org/ and enter the code C2QD.
As we all know we are on the verge of a green revolution where solar panels and renewable heat pumps will be a fact of life for all of us. Given the huge potential to create thousands of manufacturing jobs I recently asked ministers to ensure that former coalfield areas like ours should get a fair share of these newly created jobs. We have helped to power Britain before so we can be central to powering Britain again.
I am extremely disappointed by the news this week that Kirkby Police Station has could close as Government cuts begin to bite across the country. It is vital that the police station remains in Kirkby so that people feel safe and know that help will be immediately on hand should they ever need it.
This of course only adds to the concern after the news that nationally the police face cuts of up to 34,000 people with as many as 297 police officers and 327 fewer police staff in Nottinghamshire. This means fewer police officers tackling crime, solving cases and keeping our community safe. Cutting so fast and so deep is ridiculous. It is completely out of touch with everyone who wants to keep bobbies on the beat in Ashfield.
This is my last column until September but I will still be holding surgeries if anyone needs anything on July 28th and August 17th. I hope all of you have a good summer!
15 July 2011
I am sure that you are all aware of the Eastwood Arts Festival that is taking place throughout July with Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir singing at the Finale concert on Saturday 30th July at St Mary’s Church. The festival is wonderful family event, with so much going on throughout the month and it is so good to see so many voluntary art groups and community organisations getting involved. If you haven’t been to an event yet I recommend you do.
When I heard about the free swimming scheme taking place throughout August which is going to available to all young people under the age of 16 and those people aged over 60 I couldn’t help but think what a fantastic idea it is. Cost can be a massive issue to a lot of families in the summer holidays so this scheme gives a lot of young people a chance to do something cost free, healthy and fun with all their friends.
Last Friday I went to meet Mark Gouldthorp the managing director of Raleigh. It is great to have a famous brand headquarters right here in Eastwood. He told me they hope to get back to manufacturing in the UK to make high end bikes like carbon fibre road bikes which they’d like to see in the Tour De France in the future! When I asked what would help companies, he pointed out that there’s never been any real manufacturing support programme in the UK. It’s something I will press the Government on.
Finally I went to see the fantastic new housing development project on Moon Crescent in New Eastwood. A total of 32 houses for rent and 8 for shared ownership are now available thanks to matched funding from central Government and Notts Community Housing Association. They're stylish and energy efficient. So you can live comfortably and beat those expensive fuel bills too. I was especially impressed with the rain water recycling system. It’s a shame there aren't more affordable properties but now budgets have been slashed, it’s difficult to see where desperately needed new affordable homes are going to come from.
13 July 2011
Last Monday I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful young people and Staff from Sutton Centre School. They were on a trip down to Parliament organised by Councillor Steve Carroll. Despite the fact that they had been up since the crack of dawn, pupils still asked me lots and lots of intelligent questions. Judging from those I met the future of Ashfield is in really good hands. I got really choked by the young lady who came up to me afterwards and said ‘you’re an inspiration’. If you are that young lady and you are reading this – your words meant a huge amount to me – thank you so much. And my offer to return to Sutton Centre whenever I’m invited is a genuine one.
The other day I met some great local cadets. There was Matt who joined the cadets at 13 until 18; he enjoyed it so much that he then spent 6 months as an adult instructor and now serves in the army. It wasn’t just lads though; there were lots of girls too! Stacey gave up ballet and tap dancing to join the cadets at 13 and is now an adult instructor at Kirkby cadets. If you are aged between 13-18, the army cadets is a great place to make friends boost your confidence and learn lots of different skills, not just military but life skills too.
I was shocked this week when I learnt that Ashfield’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau had to deal with more than £14m worth of debt cases this year, which is a whopping £2.2m increase from last year. The team at Ashfield CAB do a brilliant job in helping as many people as they can. At a time when more people need help from CAB’s than ever before they have to get rid of six outreach services and reduce the number of drop-in sessions because of funding cuts. How ridiculous! That is why I called for a debate in Parliament about the worrying levels of debt and the crisis facing CAB’s.
Finally can I congratulate Darren Ellis who has been leading the campaign to get funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to rejuvenate Sutton Baths. I remember meeting the fantastic Bethany Hibberd Sweet and Jessica Shropshire from Ashfield School who I met and who can take credit for doing their bit.
I've missed writing this column over the last couple weeks while the elections have been going on - the Advertiser take impartiality very seriously and asked me to take a short break during the election period. I find election time really exciting and I've met so many of you throughout this time. Now that your new public servants are elected, remember they all stood promising to work hard for you. It’s easy to get cynical about politicians and the job they do, so why not put them to the test before dismissing them - I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.
While I’ve been out and about, I think one of the comments that really stuck with me the most are the words of a Mum. She said all she wanted was for her son to be able to get a job and to be given the chance to get on in life. She told me how her young son had worked hard, completed his training, gained good qualifications but still could not get a job. He doesn't want to be on benefits, he wants the right to work. Is this really too much to ask? I don't think so.
Being an MP involves dealing with lots of different issues. I am fortunate enough to be able to help so many people on a daily basis and ask the questions they want me to ask in Parliament. Quite often, this may involve helping someone with a specific problem. For example, I think the thing I am most proud of, is recently reversing the inhumane decision by the Primary Care Trust (PCT) to ask those who were getting free incontinence pads to have them weighed when soiled, so they could take the decision about whether they were sufficiently soiled enough to get them free. It is a policy that is incredibly wrong on so many levels. I was literally open mouthed when this was raised with me by some of my constituents. In fact, I was absolutely furious – and that’s putting it mildly. So I raised it straight away with the PCT and asked them what on earth they were playing at. They wrote back to tell me that they were changing their policy. This is a victory for everyone who raised this issue with me. Together we’ve changed things for the better.
I would like to congratulate the brilliant achievement of pupils at Eastwood Comprehensive who beat 26,000 other children and won top prize in the National Big Bang Science Fair. Paige Roadley, Wes Lawson, Max Bradbury, Samantha Farmer and Luke Turton, Jessica Bates have shown what can be achieved by a bit of hard work, determination and enthusiasm. Well done to you all!
I can’t sign off without mentioning the outrageous attack on our war memorial. I laid a wreath there on Remembrance Sunday and was so proud to be part of the parade which remembered all those who served and sacrificed their lives for our country. Quite simply those responsible should be ashamed!
Gloria's expenses: Nov 10 - Dec 10
07 April 2011
MPs' expense claims processed in November and December 2010 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
Gloria raises cuts to street lighting in Parliament
04 April 2011
Gloria today raised the issue of cuts to street lighting in the House of Commons, during questions to the local government Secretary Eric Pickles.
Evidence from Home Office studies show that improved street lighting reduces crime. Gloria therefore asked Mr Pickles if he would join her in urging Notts County Council to reconsider their plans to cut street lighting across Ashfield.
Gloria said, “The County Council is prepared to risk more crime by cutting street lights. It seems to me that the right hand of government doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Last week the Home Office admitted to me that better street lighting leads to lower crime, but this week Eric Pickles refused to back me in calling on councils to rethink their plans to switch the lights off.”
Have your say on street lighting here.
Gloria's expenses: March 2011
01 April 2011
MPs' expense claims processed in March 2011 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
01 April 2011
A survey of local government finance chiefs has found that more than 4 in 5 councils are planning to cut the money the spend on libraries. The poll by the Local Government Association also showed that a quarter of town halls planned to give over control of libraries to community groups or other ownership.
Responding to the figures, Gloria said libraries were "a much cherished service" that councils had a legal duty to provide.
Gloria added, "These services are under pressure purely because funding to local authorities from central government has been slashed."
Read more on this story here.
25 March 2011
In these tough times it is always a big sigh of relief to welcome good news. Nottingham University's decision to invest in the DH Lawrence Heritage centre at Durban House is great news for everyone. Durban House gains a more certain future and access to the University’s world-famous Lawrence collection. Opening on Saturdays should bring in more visitors. And I’m delighted that the University will use Durban House to strengthen their links with local schools – hopefully boosting the number of talented local kids applying to study at the Uni.
Speaking of Lawrence, last night saw the first part of Women in Love on BBC Four, adapted by Notts writer Billy Ivory. He’s done a brilliant job, so if you missed it make sure you catch the repeat before part two next Thursday. And the memory of DH Lawrence still lives on locally as I discovered when I visited a primary school in Sutton and met young Robbie Lawrence – a distant nephew of the great author himself.
I popped into the Headway charity shop on Nottingham Road last week. I met the manager Sharon with her lovely team of volunteers and snapped up a crime thriller from their great book selection. I was most interested to look in the back and see all the hard work that goes in to cleaning and steaming the clothes so your donations are pristine when they hit the shop floor.
I also met the CAB, where District Manager Sue told me they’re facing uncertainty about funding. The government has a £100m Transition Fund to help voluntary organisations deal with the cuts. I’m pressing them to ensure it can help here in Eastwood.
24 March 2011
Speaking immediately after the decision was announced Gloria today expressed her anger at the decision by Nottinghamshire County Primary Care Trust (PCT) to close the Kirkby walk-in centre at Ashfield Health Village.
"I am disappointed and angry that bureaucrats at the PCT have decided to take the walk in centre away from the people of Kirkby."
"Mums were telling me just last week how much they value having it on their doorstep, and older people are worried about the distance to get to King's Mill. Closing the centre in Kirkby is short-sighted and will only put pressure on other parts of the NHS."
"Local people will be especially angry that their voices don't seem to have been heard by those in charge."
"I presented over 3,000 signatures opposing the closure to the board before the meeting. These were signatures signed in Kirkby by the people of Kirkby. I want to know why they counted for nothing?"
"This is an area that needs more services, not less. The PCT's own consultation showed that the centre was used by people from the more deprived areas in our community, who are least able to afford to travel to get the same care."
"The PCT claims that 39% of people were in favour of their plans. But their own figures show that 50% wanted to keep or expand the Walk-in Centre."
24 March 2011
Students from Ashfield School took part in the BBC's "School Report" today which gives youngsters the chance to experience life as a journalist for the day.
Gloria, a former journalist, was full of praise for the budding reporters: "I was particularly impressed with how the students tackled a variety of issues – local and nation – from health and the problems youngsters face over body image, to education and EMA, civil liberties, health and the British Armed Forces."
"The Students of Ashfield have shown me that they are well on their way to becoming the broadcasters of tomorrow."
"Their reports prove that students of Ashfield have what it takes to break into the creative industries and explore the fantastic career paths they offer. I'm passionate about the students of Ashfield embracing their creative sides and I hope the school report experience has enhanced their desire to pursue careers in this industry."
"Well done to all involved!"
To see the reports, click here.
23 March 2011
There are various parliamentary groups in Westminster where MPs from all sides can join together in a common interest. This week I was reminded of the old saying “Where there’s muck there’s brass” when I joined the group for brass bands. The muck of the pits may have gone but brass bands still serve as a timely reminder of our industrial heritage. If it wasn’t for pit villages Britain wouldn’t have enjoyed its economic heyday. I’ve asked Kirkby Colliery Welfare Band – Ashfield’s last brass band but still going strong – to keep me updated with their news.
Sadly, many letters I get as an MP make me angry at the way things work. One letter from a Kirkby resident made me outraged when he told me what his mum has to put up with. I found out that elderly patients who had been given incontinence pads in the past were now being asked to suffer the indignity of bringing in used pads to be weighed to “check” if they were soiled enough to be replaced for free. I’ll do all I can to persuade health bosses to revise this offensive policy. Dignity in old age must be preserved for all of us.
I know the NHS walk in centre is hugely valued by many Kirkby residents. I was counting on the public consultation about its future to be just that – a chance for the public to have their say. So you can imagine my eyebrows were raised when I found out that a meeting last Wednesday was being held in Newstead, outside the constituency, and people had to register to attend. I’ve been straight on to the PCT to ask what they were thinking. This must be a genuine consultation to take into account real people’s concerns.
I had a wonderful time on Friday with head teacher Mrs Blount and her team at Croft School. I got to hear great singing, see some amazing artwork, and learn how the kids are examining history through their family trees. Talking of which, it was a real pleasure to meet Robbie Lawrence, a distant nephew of the great DH Lawrence. It may be a bit grown up for young Robbie, but I’m really looking forward to the new adaptation of Women in Love by Notts writer Billy Ivory. It starts Thursday night on BBC Four, with part two next week.
I don’t miss my old life but I am grateful when some of the people I met through my time in TV can help our community. Hats off to Philip Taylor, star of series 5 of the Apprentice, for giving up his time to give an inspiring and motivating speech to students at West Notts College.
18 March 2011
Gloria has called on the Government to close the loophole which allows children to buy sexually explicit or overtly violent DVD’s which have not been classified by the BBFC. Producers are taking advantage of the exemption meant for material that informs or educate to sell DVDs featuring violent sports and sexually suggestive music or exercise films.
A recent poll by the online parents' group Mumsnet showed widespread concern and misunderstanding about the "E" rating.
Gloria said: "I have seen some of the material we are talking about and I wholeheartedly agree with mums that we need to do away with the confusing and misleading E classification. The government should act promptly to take action on this"
Read more on this story here.
12 March 2011
Gloria held another of her monthly coffee mornings today in Underwood.
Speaking after the event, Gloria said, "I’m delighted so many people accepted the invitation to come and join me for their local coffee morning. I met some lovely people today. Some of them just wanted to say hello and have a cuppa while others had particular matters they wanted to raise with me."
"As usual, there were a wide variety of topics that people wanted to talk to me about. One issue that came up a few times was the problem of anti-social behaviour. I’d like to commend PCSO Simon Zacharia who will be working with me and the community to stamp out disorder on our streets."
Read more on this story here.
09 March 2011
Many of you have been in touch to express your concerns at the transport cuts made by Nottinghamshire County Council. Bagthorpe Primary School have been told that the 420 school bus will stop running in July. This is especially worrying for parents who don’t drive or with children at different schools. They say that cutting the bus route will mean their children will be forced to walk around two miles to school each day along busy main roads.
Concerned parents at Croft Primary school in Sutton have raised another important point: working parents quite rightly ask how they are supposed to fulfil their parental duties and take their kids to school. As I know only too well, you can’t physically be in two places at once. Amanda Dutton came to see me on Friday at my Sutton surgery to raise this very issue. I’ve written to transport chiefs at the county council to ask what alternatives they can offer. This is clearly a growing problem for parents, so I’m taking this issue straight to the top and plan to raise it with Ministers in Parliament. I’ll let you know what they say.
Another issue that’s been filling up my inbox is the price of fuel. Loads of you have told me that the cost of filling up the tank is really hitting you in the pocket. Rising oil prices have pushed petrol to 130p a litre this week. I believe the Government should act to relieve this pressure on motorists by reversing the VAT hike on petrol.
A lovely lady called Ann Johnson came to see me at my surgery recently. Ann’s blind, and she was worried sick because she had heard that new rules would mean that she’d lose her disability benefit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know reform is needed to make sure that we root out the thousands of people on the make who are fiddling the benefits system, but there has to be a balance here. Under new rules which come into effect in April even blind people could lose their benefit. There must be a happy medium between making sure the taxpayer isn’t getting ripped off and not scaring the most vulnerable in society. While those blind people who can and want to work should be helped to do so; those that can’t should receive some help from us all.
I’m always reading heart-warming stories in the Chad so it was lovely to read the headline “Good morning dad; I’ve won an Oscar.” That was Peter Bebb to his dad Bernard in Sutton. Peter’s a special effects expert who worked on the film Inception. Congratulations Peter. Sounds like you’ve made your parents very proud. Enjoy your success!
04 March 2011
Following Ashfield School's successful visit a couple last month, Gloria this week welcomed pupils from Kirkby Woodhouse and Dalestorth primary schools to Parliament.
The 8 – 10 year olds had the chance to quiz Gloria about life as their MP. Questions ranged from "How much do MPs get paid?" and "Do you get stressed out by the amount of work you have to do?" to questions about SATS, Afghanistan and unemployment.
Speaking after the visits, Gloria said: "Westminster can be an odd place. When I’m down there I miss the constituency, so it's great when a little bit of Ashfield comes down. Parliament is a building that belongs to everybody. I met some great young people with very inquisitive minds. I'm sure there are some budding politicians among them."
03 March 2011
Gloria has responded to the Government's Tourism Strategy, which was published today: "The long-delayed and much-hyped tourism strategy has little to offer the tourism industry and the VAT hike will make life even tougher for hotels and restaurants."
Referring to a section in the strategy headed "Making The Sector More Resilient In Bad Weather" Gloria said, "First George Osborne blamed the weather for the fall in economic growth, now it seems 'making the visitor economy more resilient to bad weather' is their big plan to boost tourism. It’s not the british weather that's putting a strain on the tourist industry, it’s this Government policies."
Gloria also noted that the Government had dropped plans to look at changing the clocks to benefit the tourism industry: "This is yet more proof of how hapless David Cameron’s Government is. While the Tories can’t even make up their minds what they think about our clocks, the rest of Britain is wondering how much longer we’ll have to put up with this shambles."
Read more on this story here.
28 February 2011
Notts County Council leader Kay Cutts has responded to Ashfield Labour MP Gloria De Piero’s concerns about the closure of the Diamond Centre in Kirkby.
In the reply, Cllr Cutts declined to respond to the subject of the Diamond Centre, saying instead: “An example of the voluntary sector would be the Shop Mobility Scheme in West Bridgford where all the volunteers are unpaid”
Gloria wrote to Cllr Cutts after raising the issue of the Diamond Centre in the House of Commons with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Mr Duncan Smith said, “[...] Personally, I often wonder whether local councils too often see the voluntary sector as an add-on, rather than as an incredibly effective and integral way of delivering good services, and I hope that they will think again about some of those changes.”
Speaking out today, Gloria said, “The women that I met at the Diamond Centre have received valuable help and support to gain skills, return to work and get their lives back on track, which will save the taxpayer in the long run. I asked Cllr Cutts to heed the advice of the Government and to think again. I’m saddened by her dismissive approach. Her comments are out of touch and naive.”
“I’m afraid for all the rhetoric of the Big Society from the Tory-Lib Dem Government in Westminster, when it comes to making decisions in our area the Conservatives in county hall simply aren’t listening. I believe in a real big society and that’s why I’ll continue to fight for the local groups who are supporting our community and challenge the Tories’ damaging cuts.”
23 February 2011
I'm one of a growing number of Ashfield residents to sign a petition against closing the walk-in centre in Kirkby. Walk-in centres work so well because they were “designed to be a convenient alternative to general practice. They offer easy access because patients can just ‘walk in’ and be seen without an appointment.” These are not my words but the words of the Medical Director of Nottinghamshire NHS. Health bosses say they will listen to local people so make sure you sign up if you want to keep it. You can pop in to my office at 8 Station Street to do so. I will make sure the petitions are presented to the powers that be.
2,480 people are looking for work in Ashfield – up by 189 from last month. This is a worrying trend given that unemployment had been falling in recent months from the peak of the global recession. I will keep up the pressure in Westminster on the need for jobs and training. After all, so much flows from having a job – not just cash but also our self esteem, social circle and mental health too.
I never forget that as an MP I work for you, and last week I met with another 50 of my bosses – students from Years 12 and 13 at Ashfield School who were down in London to visit Parliament. They were really engaged with the issues that matter to young people. One subject they particularly care about is the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance. They’re the ones with real experience of student life, so I was keen to hear their take on it. They had so much to say that I’ve arranged to go into school next month to listen to more of their ideas. I promised to represent their views to the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Matt from Quarrydale School contacted me recently to ask for help. He’s doing media studies, and wanted to know more about how TV works. I was happy to oblige. I arranged a trip for him and his classmates to ITV Granada in Manchester last Friday, where they got to see the Jeremy Kyle show being filmed and had a chance to quiz the producers. I hope you learned lots to help with your exams!
Great to meet those that joined my coffee morning in Woodhouse last weekend. I met some lovely people and there were lots of issues for me and my team to chase up. Congratulations to Andrew on winning the raffle. I look forward to welcoming him and his mum and friends down to Parliament soon.
And finally, it seems the government have U-turned on the forest sell off. Thanks to all those who took the time to write to me about this. People power works!
11 February 2011
Gloria today met with students from Ashfield School. The 54 pupils from years 12 and 13 were in Westminster for a tour of Parliament.
Gloria spoke to the students about how Parliament works, and her role as their MP. Gloria explained to the students that as their representative, it is her job to speak up on the issues that matter to them, so she asked to hear more from the students about what they cared about.
Concern about the government’s decision to scrap Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was high on the students’ agenda.
Speaking after the meeting, Gloria said: “It was great to meet such an engaged bunch of young people. I was really impressed by how connected they are with the issues that affect them.”
“I have arranged another meeting with these students in the constituency so they can tell me what they think the right form of financial assistance for students should be and I will be taking their views to Michael Gove.”
Gloria's expenses: January 2011 - February 2011
11 February 2011
MPs' expense claims processed in September and October 2010 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
10 February 2011
Gloria today highlighted the threat to arts centres and theatres from local government funding cuts.
Speaking in a cultural question time event as part of the "State of the Arts" conference organised by the Arts Council with the Royal Society of the Arts, Gloria said that cuts to local government funding were "as important" for the arts sector as the cuts to the Arts Council.
Read more on this story here.
05 February 2011
Gloria joined campaigners in local libraries across Ashfield today, the national day of action to save our libraries.
Gloria's first stop was in Huthwaite, where local library users are protesting against the county council's plans to cut the opening hours from 19 hours to 9.5 hours a week. Later, Gloria joined protestors in Eastwood library, which is also having its hours cut.
Speaking about the cuts, Gloria said "These cuts are directly as a result of budgets set by the Tory-led government in Westminster. While I understand that difficult decisions have to be made, I have a particular issue with how Notts County Council are distributing these cuts. The council say they have listened to feedback from the community, but Huthwaite library is still having its hours slashed by 50%. At the same time Ken Clarke’s rather more affluent constituency of Rushcliffe seems to be faring better – the council are spending £4.9 million there on the library in West Bridgford."
"I’m also worried that halving the book budget will mean libraries are left with older books on the shelves. Libraries need investment to stay alive and thriving, and new books draw people in to libraries - people who can’t necessarily afford to go out and buy the latest bestseller."
"I will be keeping the pressure on Ministers in Parliament to save our libraries."
Gloria's expenses: Sep 10 - Oct 10
03 February 2011
MPs' expense claims processed in September and October 2010 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Click here to access a full list of Gloria’s expenses to date.
02 February 2011
Gloria has called on the Government to think again about controversial plans which could see local woodland sold off to the highest bidder.
Government proposals currently being discussed in Parliament will give Ministers the green light to sell off the public forestry estate in England. The Forestry Commission is responsible for over 1,400 woodlands in England.
The legislation allowing the government to dispose of all of English woodland is already in the House of Lords. More than 360,000 people have signed a petition against the Tory-led Government’s plans, the largest such campaign since the general election. Labour has launched a new website www.thislandisourland.org.uk to keep people updated on the campaign to protect England’s forests.
Gloria also took part in a Parliamentary debate on the issue today (WED 02 FEB) in the House of Commons.
Gloria said: "There are 19,600 hectares of Forestry Commission land in the East Midlands and 893 hectares in Ashfield alone. These are well-used, much loved local woods like Thieves Wood and Harlow Wood. I have had almost a hundred people write to me – dog walkers, runners, walkers, cyclists, bird watchers, horse riders – and they all tell me how they want our woods to be protected."
"Many people are concerned by the government’s plans to rush through the sale of our national forests with no guarantees over their funding or public access. Most woodland in England is already in private hands. We need to keep our public forests open for everyone and ensure that they remain in place for future generations to enjoy."
"Labour wants the government to listen to the protests and think again."
Shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh said: "The Tory-led government plan to sell off England's forests is an act of environmental vandalism. Their proposals will destroy the funding system which has protected England's forests for nearly 100 years."
"Private companies will cherry pick sites for commercial development and voluntary groups will be left to look after ancient woodlands without a budget. The true value of England's forests will never be reflected in the price the Tory-led government gets from selling them."
28 January 2011
Figures revealed by Gloria show that 1,780 criminals convicted of violent or sexual offences would be eligible to vote under government plans.
It is understood that the government plans to give the right to vote to prisoners serving sentences less than 12 months. Gloria has obtained details from the Ministry of Justice that show this would apply to 1,551 inmates convicted of violent offences and 229 convicted of sexual offences.
There were also 461 jailed for burglary, 113 for robbery and 202 for drug offences.
Read more on this story here.
27 January 2011
Gloria this week pledged her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.
27 January 2011 marks the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp.
Gloria paid tribute to the survivors of the Holocaust who have dedicated their lives to educating future generations about the dangers of allowing persecution and intolerance to take hold in society.
Signing the book, Gloria said: "In the tenth year of its commemoration in the UK, Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Today gives us the opportunity to reflect on the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust and other genocides."
"Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice are still present in our society. It is vital that we learn from the extraordinary stories of those who suffered the Holocaust and that together we pledge to create a brighter future."
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added: "We are delighted that Gloria is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As the number of survivors dwindles, remembering the Holocaust and passing on their testimony is more crucial than ever. Reflecting on 'Untold Stories' helps give back voices to those who were persecuted and reinforces the contemporary lessons that can be learnt from this dark period in our history."
Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day here.
26 January 2011
A belated Happy New Year to you all. Each new year brings with it new hopes for us all and new resolutions too. I hope you've managed to keep yours. This year is looking like a tough one for many of us in Ashfield. Every week at my surgery I see many who are worried about their year ahead. Quite simply the cost of living is rising but wages aren’t keeping up. I’ve met a growing number of people who have been served with redundancy notices too. There's no doubt about it - 2011 is going to be tough. It’s my job to raise these issues in parliament.
It’s great to get a bit of good news though. In the latest Key Stage 4 Performance Tables, Kirkby College came out among the 100 most improved schools in the country. Well done to headteacher Simon and staff as well as to pupils and parents!
The way politicians shout and bawl at one another in the House of Commons often makes me wonder if they should go back to school. Parliament can sometimes be a very odd place; the best bit of my job is being up here working with people in our community to get things done. So it really makes my day when I get a visit from people from Ashfield to the House of Commons. It was a pleasure to welcome post office workers from Kirkby a couple of weeks ago when they were lobbying against the sell off of the Royal Mail – don’t worry lads I voted to keep it in public hands! I've got some local schools coming down in the next few weeks too. I can't wait to welcome you all.
This year I’m continuing my monthly coffee mornings. On Saturday I met Kirkby residents who received an invite through their letter box - don’t worry if you live in Kirkby and didn’t get one this time. I aim to get round the whole constituency in the next few years but I can’t invite everyone in one go or I wouldn’t have time to give people the attention they need. Many of you have told me of your worries about crime and anti social behaviour so I invited the local police officer to respond to your concerns or suggestions. The morning was a great success - there’s a real sense of community spirit when folk can have their say about their own neighbourhood.
On Friday I had a meeting with Trent Barton who run many bus services in Sutton, Kirkby, Teversal, Selston and Annesley. It’s a worry that public subsidies for unprofitable routes are going to be cut. Like many of you I rely on public transport to get about and I don't want bus services being cut. I was reassured that Trent Barton bosses want to avoid that too.
25 January 2011
Gloria today raised concerns about threats to local library services in the House of Commons. Speaking in a debate on the future of library services, Gloria slammed Notts County Council’s proposed cuts to opening hours and book budgets and stressed how much Ashfield people depend on their libraries.
Gloria told MPs "Mums across Ashfield tell me that their youngsters cannot get through the contents of the local library’s children’s section fast enough. These mums are desperate to give their kids a head start. Without easy access to a local library, their kids simply would not have books at home."
Gloria also highlighted the damage that would be done to those out of work: "Jobseekers have told me that many big employers now only advertise online. The lowest earners are the least likely to have internet access at home, so without their local library they would struggle to find out about vacancies."
Gloria challenged Libraries Minister Ed Vaizey over Tory Notts County Council’s proposed cuts. The council is slashing the budget for new books by 50%, leading to fears that the average age of a book in a Nottinghamshire library could double. "So when people sit in Notting Hill discussing the Booker shortlist, it will be years before those titles reach Ashfield."
Gloria highlighted the example of Huthwaite actor Chris Gascoyne, Coronation Street’s Peter Barlow, who has criticised the County Council’s proposed cuts: "He told me quite plainly that much of the reason why he has become a successful actor is that he fell in love with the library in Sutton in Ashfield."
Speaking after the debate, Gloria said "Ed Vaizey dismissively said that the death of libraries has been greatly exaggerated. I can tell him that here in Ashfield those concerns are very real. People here are genuinely worried that the Tory Lib Dem government seems intent on damaging a good value service that pays real dividends for parents, studying kids and those looking for work."
Read the full debate here.
14 January 2011
Gloria joined local police on a walkabout in Eastwood today. Gloria congratulated Inspector Craig Berry and PCSO Theresa Billington on falling crime figures and for holding regular surgeries with the community.
Gloria said "The police are working hard to tackle the problem of anti social behaviour, the problems of kids not having enough to do, domestic abuse and alcohol related violence. Crime is down 15% locally this year and the police are targeting their resources on problem areas. I'd like to commend Craig and Theresa for holding meetings and knocking on residents’ doors and going into schools to find out local priorities."
Inspector Craig Berry added "There is a well-established neighbourhood policing team working in Eastwood and surrounding areas who know the people they serve and understand the problems that concern them. Crime is down in almost all areas as a result. It was interesting to meet Gloria and I look forward to working together to see further positive results for Eastwood."
Gloria added "Eastwood police recognise the importance of being seen and being approachable. That’s why in my view we must protect front line policing from any cuts."
13 January 2011
Gloria welcomed a group of local postal workers from the Communication Workers Union to the House of Commons yesterday. The posties were in London to lobby against the Lib Dem / Conservative plans to privatise the Royal Mail.
After meeting the delegation Gloria said "I’m delighted to welcome local postal workers to the House of Commons. I’m glad they’re standing up for our Royal Mail against the coalition government’s flawed plans to break up this essential service."
The visit came as parliament voted on the Postal Services Bill which sets out the Lib Dem / Tory plans to split the Royal Mail from the Post Office network and privatise Royal Mail services.
Darren Glebocki of the Communication Workers Union, who led the visit, said "This Government has no public mandate or popular support for the break up and sell off of our postal services. These privatisation plans will result in the separation of the Royal Mail from the Post Office network, which would be a fatal step for many local Post Offices."
Gloria added "I was proud to vote against the coalition’s proposals. I believe it is essential that the majority stake in the Royal Mail is maintained in public hands. I’m totally opposed to the Lib Dem / Tory idea of selling off the whole of this vital national asset."
"I’m also deeply concerned about the impact locally in Ashfield. People and businesses across our community rely on a decent and efficient service from the Royal Mail, which I fear would be threatened by the dash to profit. Selling the whole of the Royal Mail to a private firm could endanger jobs of local postal workers in Sutton, Kirkby and Eastwood."
Darren Glebocki continued "These plans will damage all of our postal services and lead to the closure of local Post Offices. This will impact on all those who use postal services, including many small businesses that rely on the postal network. We welcome the support of Gloria De Piero in opposing this government’s plans."
Read more on this story here.
12 January 2011
Almost a thousand families in Ashfield are set to lose an average of £424 a year in support for childcare costs this year. Cuts announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Spending Review will come into force in April. But the impact of these cuts has not been clear until now.
New figures by the independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation, show that 950 families in Ashfield will be affected and will lose an average of £424 when the changes to the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit are introduced.
Under the current system, working families have been able to claim support for up to 80% of the costs of childcare but from April that figure will fall to 70%.
Gloria said: "This is another blow to hard working families who are struggling to make ends meet as it is. This kind of support with childcare costs is absolutely vital to parents who want to stay in work. Many will no longer be able to make that choice."
"Families in Ashfield are already facing a tough year, and many households will get poorer as the cost of living goes up much faster than wages – a problem exacerbated by the Government’s decision to increase VAT to 20%."
"Cuts like this one will make life harder still."
It is expected that the cuts will fall hardest on working mums in low-to-middle income families.
Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: "For working mums on low-to-middle incomes losses like these will be hard to bear. Many parents find support with childcare costs is absolutely essential to staying in work, and the big worry is some will now find that work doesn’t pay. With other work-related costs, such as train fares, now also rising, these cuts couldn’t come at a worse time for families. Many families are still unaware of the changes despite the fact that they come into effect in a few months time."
"This was already set to be a tough year for families. With wages rising more slowly than inflation, households are going to get poorer, even before cuts are factored in."
08 January 2011
Huthwaite actor Chris Gascoyne, who plays Peter Barlow in Coronation Street, has condemned planned cuts to library services. Chris says that being able to borrow books from Sutton Library helped him in his ambition to become an actor.
Libraries across the county are facing cuts to their Council funding, which Chris fears will lead to reductions in opening hours and services.
Chris met with Gloria recently to tell her how important he thinks libraries are to young people. Gloria said "I was very moved by what Chris said. He told me that part of the reason he was able to succeed was that he was always reading at the local library."
"Libraries are crucial for so many reasons. We know that many local employers only advertise online and many households don't have access to the internet at home."
Gloria added "The Government has a legal obligation to provide libraries. Kay Cutts should explain how she thinks reducing Nottinghamshire's library provision is going to help people move up and on."
Read more on this story here.
07 January 2011
A Sutton firm is shaking off the recession to become a world-beating manufacturer.
R & D Integrated Solutions in Plastics – whose moulds for food and drink containers, medical equipment and home hygiene products are reaching markets all over the globe – enjoyed a successful year in 2010 and began the New Year with high hopes for an even better 2011.
Visiting the company today, Gloria praised the work of Managing Director Alan Tolley and his workforce: "It’s great to see a local manufacturing company excel. They are the best in the world at what they do and are growing even in these difficult times. Well done Alan and the team."
The firm was set up in 1976 and now employs 300 people. Its products and expertise are exported to Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Egypt. And, despite the economic downturn, the company’s annual sales were up 17% year-on-year in 2010 – a massive 20% higher than forecast.
Looking ahead to 2011, the company aims to deliver their moulds twice as fast as any competitor and remain committed to what it believes is the secret of its success: a fantastic product and great customer service.
02 January 2011
Gloria has attacked the Government's decision to raise VAT to 20 per cent, and called the rise "the wrong tax at the wrong time."
"Increasing VAT is wrong for so many reasons. It's unfair because it hits the poorest hardest, as more of their income goes on spending. It will hurt motorists at the petrol pumps. It will hurt families and pensioners at the shops."
Gloria also pointed out that raising the tax will hurt business: "Many small businesses will have to choose between upping the prices at the till and hurting their customers, or taking the price hit themselves."
"The tourist economy will also suffer in comparison to Europe, where many countries offer discounted VAT rates on hotel rooms and restaurants."
Read more on this story here.
20 December 2010
Leading authors including Philip Pullman, Joanna Trollope and Kate Mosse have spoken out about the number of libraries at risk of closure as a result of funding cuts.
Gloria welcomed the campaigners, saying that "Libraries are part of the lifeblood of our communities. People use them as a link to the world beyond their postcode – getting on the internet if they don't have it at home, gaining access to education, and giving themselves a chance of fulfilling their aspirations."
She added "Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a comprehensive library service in their communities. The law is there to make sure that these vital services are not denied to the public."
Read more on this story here.
17 December 2010
Gloria today visited Bagthorpe Primary School and praised the innovative outdoor learning initiatives that have been the seeds of the school’s growing success.
Head teacher David Walton, staff and pupils showed Ms De Piero the work they had been doing for World Environment Day and gave her a tour of the outdoor teaching and activities area that the school has been building up for the past three years.
It is now used in forward-thinking teaching programmes and activities, including the school’s successful Let’s GLOW! Programme – short for Let’s Grow and Learn Outside in Wellies. The programme and other environmental schemes run by the school have been part of its growing success. According to a recent Ofsted report, Bagthorpe Primary School is "rapidly improving".
Gloria said: "Having seen first-hand what they are doing at Bagthorpe Primary School, I am not surprised that this is an improving school. It’s been great to see what strong leadership – and a bit of innovative thinking – can do for a school and its pupils."
"The children here seem very happy, engaged in learning and enjoying school life. That’s down to the hard work of the head teacher and the rest of the school’s staff. And it’s down to the brilliant ideas that they’ve come up with to make learning fun and active. They’re doing great things for education, and great things for the environment. It’s fantastic to see."
15 December 2010
In my job it’s important to keep in regular touch with our schools so I can raise any issues they raise with me. In the last couple of weeks the cuts to the schools sports budget have risen right to the top of the agenda. Craig, who is the headteacher at Kirkby College and who co-ordinates the ashfield district school sport partnership, wrote to me in absolute disbelief. He pointed out to me that this extra cash has transformed the quantity and quality of PE within and beyond the school day. I heard a similar tale from Hillocks School when i visited the head Louise Regan. She’s a great woman and heard some fabulous singing from the pupils as they rehearsed for assembly. Perhaps there are some budding X Factor winners of the future in Ashfield. We are very fortunate to have so many inspiring teaching staff in the area. At Quarrydale School, led by John Crone, I took part in a shoe box appeal with students. Young people collected toys and books for children in poorer countries.
We’re a public-spirited lot in Ashfield. The other day I was surprised to get a call from Chris Gascoyne - aka Corrie's Peter Barlow - who as you know is a local lad from Huthwaite. He told me he’d do all he can to save the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood but he also told me how important libraries had been in helping him to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor. But the cuts now mean our libraries are under threat.
Im really pleased that Morrisons is coming to Kirkby precinct but I know a number of you have been worried about whether the post office will survive. I have had meetings with the head office at the Post Office and I can tell you that I have their written word that they are committed to providing a post office in Kirkby town centre. I will do all I can to ensure they keep their word.
Thank you to all the young people who entered my Christmas card design competition. A very special little girl called Mia is the winner of my school Christmas card competition.
This is my last column for the chad for 2010. As we approach the end of the year its a good time to reflect on life since becoming an MP. I've met a lot of special people in our community but one really stands out. She is ten year old Paisley Ward who wrote to me soon after I became an MP because she was so angry that the government had scrapped free swimming for young people. It was great to speak up for Paisley at Prime Minister's Question Time and help her deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street.
Have a very merry Christmas. My best wishes for you and your family for the festive season. I look forward to serving you in 2011.
07 December 2010
Government plans to treble tuition fees will hurt already hard-pressed families in Ashfield and prevent many from choosing to study, according to Gloria.
Gloria has pledged to vote against these plans when they are debated in the House of Commons on Thursday, and is urging as many MPs as possible to do the same.
She said: "The Coalition’s plans to treble tuition fees are unnecessary and unfair. By cutting funding for higher education and making graduates pay the entire cost of their degrees, the Government is choosing a course of action that will mean students and their families will be paying back debts for 30 years."
"At a time when families are already pressed for cash, this will have a devastating effect on the ability of people in Ashfield to choose to study at higher education level, will damage even further the prospects of would-be students in our community and drive down even further the numbers of people participating in higher education in Ashfield – already relatively low compared to the national average."
"The Coalition are cutting money for university teaching by 80% - much more than other services – and graduates will have to pay back the whole cost of most degrees. I’m worried that people will be forced to choose the cheapest course, not what is best for them, or simply won’t be able to afford to carry on their education at all."
According to recent data on applicants produced by UCAS (all ages, but full-time only), the number of applicants from Ashfield winning higher education places increased from just less than 300 in 2005 to just below 440 in 2009.
Gloria added: "The Coalition's swift, deep cuts and their plans to treble tuition fees will slow down higher education growth and could consequently cripple a generation in this area. That is why I – and the Labour Party – will be voting against the measure."
Please sign my petition to encourage other MP's to vote against the rise in student tuition fees.
02 December 2010
MPs’ expense claims made and paid between 7 May 2010 and 31 August 2010 have been published today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Click here to see a full list of Gloria’s expenses during this period.
13 November 2010
Gloria will be laying a wreath at the War Memorial in Eastwood on Remembrance Sunday, following a procession from St Mary's Church.
You can donate to the Royal British Legion here.
12 November 2010
Gloria has this week called for vital funding for the Rumbles Catering Project to continue. The award-winning project provides training and support to young people with physical and mental disabilities. But the centre is facing uncertainty as their funding from Notts County Council has been cut.
Gloria has written to the leader of the County Council Kay Cutts to urge her to continue to support Rumbles.
Gloria said, “David Cameron himself sent a message to every single council in the country, urging them not to do the easy thing by cutting money to voluntary bodies like Rumbles. If the Tory-run Notts County Council doesn’t listen to the Prime Minister, they should at least listen to the local community who recognise how important these services are.”
“Rumbles does a wonderful job for the young people it supports, giving them the qualifications and life skills necessary for them to go out and enter paid employment. It makes a huge difference to their lives by providing them with the opportunity to help themselves.”
Gloria has also written to Maria Miller MP, the Disability Minister, to ask what support is available for the young people who are in training at Rumbles, who do not currently receive funding for their studies.
10 November 2010
Over the last few weeks I've had quite a number of people from Ashfield pop in to Parliament to say hi. It’s been a real pleasure to see you all. I firmly believe that Parliament belongs to all of us so you if you want me to arrange some tickets for Prime Minister’s Questions or to have a tour please contact the office. We need about a month’s notice and if it’s a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll do my very best to make time to buy you a cuppa or a pint in the House of Commons bar.
I know many postmen and women are worried about their jobs and so I took time out on Wednesday to meet two postmen from the Ashfield constituency and promised to help. I went along to a meeting in Parliament organised by the Communication Workers Union. The wonderful MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner, gave a rousing speech but what you might not know is that he's very funny too. I don't want to do party politics in this column but he said of a certain Member of Parliament “I’ll take no lectures from him. He's been in more parties than Paris Hilton.” You've got to love the Beast of Bolsover!
I know we all worry a lot about crime but credit where credit’s due. I spoke to Simon Nickless this week and he told me that overall crime has fallen by 20%. Not only that, but anti-social behaviour is also down by 24% compared to this time last year - well done!
And while we’re in celebratory mood, it’s good to read in last week’s Chad that Ashfield District Council has been found to have made major improvements in delivering services. But as well as facing cuts to its core budget, the council is also losing an additional £260,000 from the Area Based Grant. Without getting too complicated, this is money that should be spent on improving our communities and supporting local businesses. I only hope the council can find ways to carry on doing such a good job with less money.
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to meet so many people who do really good things every day of their lives. It was a particular delight to meet the wonderful women who run the Diamond Centre in Kirkby, part of the Chad charity NNIDAS. It was also a real pleasure to meet some of the service users. The centre not only caters for women who have suffered domestic abuse but it’s open to all women who can benefit from their community facilities which include a crèche, vocational training and counselling. I promised them I’ll do anything I can to support them so they can continue to provide their much-needed services. Oh, and a message to Paul the chef – I will get you back for your Halloween gag!
06 November 2010
Gloria hosted the second of her regular coffee mornings for constituents on Saturday. Residents in Eastwood were invited for a cuppa and a chat with their member of parliament.
Gloria said: “The idea of the coffee mornings is to find new ways of connecting with people. I want residents to know that I am accessible and approachable, and having a cuppa is an ideal way to get to know people. There are 75000 people in the constituency, which is a lot to get around, but I want to make sure that by the time of the next election everyone has had an invitation to sit down with me and chat over a cup of tea.”
Residents took the chance to raise various issues with Gloria, including their concerns about charges for parking permits, and the threat to the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre at Durban House.
04 November 2010
Gloria has opened Kirkby-in-Ashfield's new Aldi supermarket. Cutting the ribbon at the Urban Road shop this morning, Gloria welcomed the store to the town.
"I am delighted to be opening this new supermarket. It's another step forward in the regeneration of Kirkby town centre."
02 November 2010
Gloria today raised the issue of the Rokerfield mental health day centre in the House of Commons.
On 11 October Gloria wrote to all the Notts County Council cabinet members who are making the decision whether to close the centre, inviting them to visit service users and hear their concerns. During questions to the Department for Health, Gloria expressed her dismay that none of them had replied.
Gloria said “I was bitterly disappointed by the fact that the county councillors had not bothered to answer my letter.”
“When I visited the centre I was deeply moved by the testimonies of the service users who rely on Rokerfield for their care. It is only right that the councillors who are sitting in judgement on the proposed closure should hear for themselves how important it is.”
“I asked the minister if he would urge the councillors to visit Rokerfield before coming to any conclusion on the future of the centre.”
Responding for the government, the Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP said he would look into the matter in closer detail and write to Gloria.
Read more on this story here.
01 November 2010
Gloria visited the Diamond Centre in Kirkby on Friday. The Centre is run by NNIDAS, the North Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Service and provides vocational training, a crèche and counselling. It also offers various courses on subjects ranging from fitness classes to assertiveness.
After the visit, Gloria said “I was delighted to meet the staff and service users at the Diamond Centre. It’s great that it provides so many services to the whole community, not just those who are suffering domestic abuse.”
Rosie Jacklin, Project Manager at NNIDAS said “We took the centre on because we realised how important it is to the community and didn’t want to see the services stop. Not only that but we’re also providing job opportunities for people who have found it difficult to enter the job market previously. The funding we received from Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire will keep us in business until next April, but after that we are desperately trying to raise funds to keep going.”
Gloria expressed concern over the future of the centre, which is facing uncertainty over a proposed new lease from the County Council.
“I was surprised to learn that the Council is asking the Centre to sign a 30-year lease which requires them to take on all responsibility for the upkeep of the building. As an independent charity all their funds go to providing services for their users. I’m worried that by asking them to take on the maintenance of the building the Council is putting their future at risk if any urgent repairs are needed. I have written to the Council asking them to consider how important the Diamond Centre’s services are and to reconsider the terms of the lease.”
26 October 2010
Gloria was concerned to hear when she visited Eastwood Volunteer Bureau this week that donations of furniture have dried up in recent months due to the recession. The Bureau collects unwanted furniture and gives it out to people on low incomes who are unable to buy their own, but they are facing increased competition from commercial second-hand stores.
Gloria said "This service is a lifeline to many hard-pressed families in our community. Being able to get hold of vital furniture like a sofa or a table to eat off can help keep families together. I was saddened to learn that just as demand for the service increases in these difficult times, so donations have dried up."
“While times are tough for us all and it may be tempting to get a tenner for your old table, just think that there are others who could really benefit from our generosity. People who are facing the prospect of Christmas without a table or a sofa to sit on”
“As a community we really need to rally around and ensure donations keep on coming. I'll certainly be sending my old furniture here as I settle in to my new Eastwood home. I urge everyone else in our area to do the same when they can."
The bureau accepts beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers, carpets, curtains, bedding, suites, tables and chairs, coffee tables, crockery and cutlery, fridges/freezers and electric cookers.
Anyone interested should ring the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau on 01773 535255
Click here for more information on the scheme.
25 October 2010
Following outrage in Ashfield that local objections and the opposition of Ashfield District Council to the building of Sutton Academy on Sutton Lawn were overridden by the County Council, Gloria wrote to local government Secretary Eric Pickles demanding that the planning system be changed to take better account of local objections.
This week Gloria welcomed the reply from the Government Minister for Decentralisation, conceding that local opinion should be given more weight and promising urgent reform of the planning system.
Gloria says “I am pleased the Government is promising new powers for local communities. Over the coming months I will be pressing them on the detail and ensuring that they keep their pledge.”
The reply from Greg Clark MP stated: “I completely agree with you that the planning system needs to take better account of local opinion. I intend to put communities at the heart of the planning system by radically reforming it to give neighbourhoods more ability to determine the shape of the places in which local residents live. The forthcoming Localism Bill will introduce these changes and I hope that it will not be long before your constituents will be able to take up the new powers it will bring in.”
20 October 2010
I wrote last time about the wonderful job Sutton and Eastwood CABs do for the community so it is with regret that I tell you that they have had their budget slashed 80% by the County Council. They are understandably devastated. I have written to the minister responsible to ask for alternative sources of funding. In these tough times we need this service more than ever. I have given them my word that I will do all I can to help them stay open.
There are some things you can't put a price tag on - making people feel safe on their streets is one of them. Good street lighting is part of that. The thing that really sticks in my throat on this is that the County Council say they won't reduce street lighting in areas of high crime. So why are they risking crime rising in lower crime areas? Ashfield is on the Council’s hit list though we won't know what streets they have in their sights until 2013. I’ll let you know when they get to our streets so you can have your say.
I love finding new ways to hear from you and let you know what I am up to on your behalf – as Twitter users know. I’m now on Facebook too. After only a few days two voters have contacted me about same issue. We are on it, thank you. Hope it doesn’t sound too sad to ask everyone to add me as a friend! It’s facebook.com/gloriadepiero.
Every time I visit the Rokerfield Day Centre I am moved by how much their work matters. The consultation over its future ended last week. It is clear from the number of people who have responded – over 4,000 signed a petition - that there is widespread local feeling. I know money is tight but I urge County Councillors to really listen to what people from across our community think as they reach their decision.
Last Saturday I was at an old friend's wedding in Sheffield. Just as the ceremony finished my phone rang. It was the new leader of the Labour party offering me a junior role in the shadow Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Very flattering that Ed has confidence in me so soon but I’ll tell YOU the same thing I told him - Ashfield comes first!
Finally I want to thank all of you who have responded to my appeal to bring any unwanted clothes and shoes to my Kirkby office for Cancer Research UK. I am truly touched by the response. But there is still time – the collection point is open until this Friday the 22nd. It would be great if we could get even more donations to this great cause. I’m off to have a final root around in my wardrobe.
17 October 2010
A host of Britain's biggest cultural names this week joined Gloria in her fight to save the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre at Durban House.
11 leading figures joined Gloria in signing a letter to the Observer newspaper explaining why they think Durban House is "just too important to lose"
Those signing up included TV legend Michael Parkinson (who covered the original Lady Chatterly trial), top authors Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis and renowned film director Ken Russell, who famously brought Women in Love to the screen.
Responding to the letter's publication, Gloria said "I'm delighted that such a strong and diverse group of our nation's top cultural figures are prepared to speak out to save Durban House. The fact that such distinguished people are prepared to take a stand and that a leading national newspaper gives such prominence to the battle for the centre's future should send a strong message to Broxtowe Council."
"DH Lawrence is a figure of national importance. It would be tragic and unbelievably short-sighted if the council were to jeopardise the future of a resource that gets national and international attention."
Eastwood Councillor Charles Robb, whose ward Durban House is in, said he was proud to have the Heritage Centre in his town. “I’m saddened that any councillor would want to scrap such a vital part of our heritage. Keeping local culture alive is important for the community as a whole. We’re going to explore every avenue we can to keep Durban House running.”
Gloria added "I hope that Broxtowe council listen to these distinguished voices and realise that even in difficult times Durban House is an essential resource for our community and drives tourism to our area."
"I'll be helping to make sure that they do."
Amongst those signing were local Nottinghamshire author and playwright Billy Ivory, whose adaptation of Women in Love hits the BBC in the New Year.
15 October 2010
Gloria today visited members of the Youth Parliament at Eastwood Comprehensive School.
Gloria spent the morning with Samantha Farmer, Community Minister, Jessica Bates, Science and Environment Minister, Joseph Robinson, Teaching and Learning Minister and Lauren Gill, Sports Minister. They were keen to tell her about the leadership groups that they represent and the work that they have been doing for students across the school and its community. The schools Community group were last week awarded second place in the Young People of The Year Awards.
The school has been celebrating academic success, with record results for the last two years. GCSE results are above the national average, with 76% of pupils achieving 5 grades A*-C. The Head teacher, Mark Pickford, says this is no coincidence: “Our improved performance is down to a combination of hard work by both teachers and students, along with a growing sense of ownership and involvement from student leadership.”
The Science and Environment Team are currently developing a wind turbine to power the schools’ organic allotment which they are taking to Westminster in March next year after winning a regional competition.
Speaking at the school, Gloria said “We all agreed that the negative press that young people get when is really frustrating. There is so much more going on that we should be celebrating. These amazing young people should be commended for their positive influence on both the school and their community.”
“I’ve invited them to join me on a tour of Parliament so I can hear more about the work they do on behalf of their fellow students.”
06 October 2010
Citizens Advice Bureaux perform a vital function. I popped in to say hi to the wonderful staff and volunteers at Sutton CAB last week. For every hour they are open they help 7 people. They deal with £11.6m of debt problems, £2.7m of benefit problems and they have 30% more queries year on year. They rely heavily on government funding to do this vital work and I'm sure most would agree with me that their current level of funding must continue. I’ll be writing to the Business Secretary to seek his reassurance.
One of the things I most admire about our community is the way people stand up for themselves. There have been many recent and successful campaigns to stop house building on green land. So I urge officers at Ashfield District Council to listen to the views of Friends of Forest Road Action group in Annesley Woodhouse who oppose the building of 97 houses at the rear of Forest Road along with the proposed development of over 300 houses on the old Annesley colliery site. They fought these proposals and won in 2004 and 2009. I support their campaign to win again.
Now here's something we can all help with. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. 298,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK and 1 in 3 of us will develop it so please help support Cancer Research UK’s campaign 'Bag it up, Bring it in, Help beat Cancer'. Clothes old and new are required regardless of their quality. Each bag we collect will raise between £15 and £30 on average. Drop anything you have at the Kirkby office. We're supporting the campaign until the 22nd october.
We all have to work together to combat anti social behaviour so I salute Ashfield Homes for their efforts. As the Chief Executive told me this week they want neighbours to get along with each other but where there are persistent nuisance neighbours they have to take action to remove them. I for one think that's the right thing to do.
So the Labour Party finally has a new leader. It’s 40 year old Ed Miliband. I wish him all the best in what's described as the hardest jobs in politics. The Labour party lost an awful lot of votes at the last election and we need to listen to people and find out why. I’ll always listen to you and I promise to take your views right to the top.
25 September 2010
Commons questions by Gloria reveal that more children are having invasive weight-loss surgery on the NHS.
Gloria was alerted to the scandal by the parents of a 14-year-old constituent who was offered a gastric band.
Gloria said: "The numbers are relatively small but it is a very worrying trend. Surely exercise or non-surgical options like a healthy eating programme should always come first? Apart from anything else, it’s an appalling waste of money for the NHS when cheaper options are available."
"It seems that operations which are very serious and have lifelong implications for patients are being seen as quick fixes."
The mother of the 14-year-old, who weighs 17 and a half stone, said: "The idea that the NHS is giving children surgery like this when they are still growing is absolutely appalling. My son needs help to change his whole attitude to food, not radical surgery.
Read more on this story here.
24 September 2010
Gloria is urging the people of Ashfield to join her in donating their unwanted clothes in aid of Cancer Research UK ahead of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer. Everyone can do their small part to fight this terrible disease. This is why I have set up a Donation Station in my constituency office.”
“Clothes old and new are required regardless of their quality. Each bag will raise between £15 and £30 for Cancer Research UK.”
“This is not about politics; cancer does not care which political party you support or even if you vote. Cancer does not discriminate. 298,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK alone – 1 in 3 of us will develop cancer in our lifetimes.”
“The money raised from your donations could help fund new drugs, new treatments and new detection methods.”
"If we collect 5 bags it will pay for one cancer information nurse for a day. 15 bags will cover the costs of 142,000 glass slides to study samples under the microscope. 100 bags would cover the costs of 3 days running expenses in a unit specialising in drug discoveries."
“My goal is 120 bags, so we can help fund all these things. Can you help? If you have any clothes to donate please drop them off at my office at 8 Station Street in Kirkby.”
Donations can also be made at the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau until 22 October.
24 September 2010
Gloria has expressed her disappointment that Kay Cutts, Conservative Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, has rejected her calls to look again at the Council’s decision to charge £25 for residents’ parking permits.
Gloria said she had been inundated with residents who are angry that they are being forced to pay £25 per car for permits that do not guarantee a parking space.
In a letter to Gloria rejecting pleas to reconsider the charge in the face of widespread public opposition, Kay Cutts said “The charge for on street parking is to offset some of the cost of administration. £25 per annum is not a great deal of money for someone who can afford to own and run a motor car. In some households it can be more than 1 car per family.”
“The bill will be sent out biannually for £50. The cost would be higher to the Council if this were an annual bill.”
Responding to the letter, Gloria said “Kay Cutts just doesn’t get it. I’m deeply disappointed that she has refused point blank to listen to residents’ concerns. She claims the charge is necessary for the administration of the scheme, but it appears to be nothing more than a stealth tax on hardworking families who are already facing difficult times under the coalition."
"I know residents across Ashfield will be astonished at Mrs Cutts' indifference to their concerns."
22 September 2010
I want to get to know as many of you as possible. Of course I'm always here to help if you have a problem, but I'd like to speak to you on a less formal basis too. That's why over the next few years I'll be inviting as many of you as possible to join me for cofee and a chat so you can raise any issues with me.
I'll be holding my first coffee morning around the Oval in a couple of weeks, so if you've received an invite through your letter box, please join me! I'll be holding one of these each month but remember there are 75,000 voters in Ashfield so it may take some time, but your turn will come.
Many of you have written to me about the unfair £25 residents' parking charge in Sutton and Kirkby. I have now written to Nottinghamshire County Council leader Kay Cutts asking her to review the charge. I'll let you know when I get her reply.
Speaking of Notts County Council... I'm really worried about the threat to the Rokerfield day centre which provides support and services for people with mental health problems. I visited the centre last week and heard real heartfelt testimony from service users there. One woman put it like this: "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Rokerfield."
It was a really emotional visit. Users asked me to do all I can to protect Rokerfield. I promise I will.
There are many wonderful people I meet who work so hard and really go that extra mile to make sure that those who need help get it. So let me tell you about Portland College. It has 200 students, who have one thing in common: they are all disabled. Portland works with major charities like Help for Heroes to support injured soldiers like Gareth who retrained at Portland College and has found a fulfilling career as a care giver.
And just over the road at Fountaindale SEN School I met staff who oozed passion and commitment from every pore. Pupils sent me away with questions on why access to buildings for those with disabilities is still so poor. I promised I'd come back to them with answers! They were so assertive I wouldn't dare break my promise.
Politics can be a dirty underhand business sometimes. It's the bit of the job I don't really like. I'll always be straight with you. I desperately want a new building for pupils and staff at Sutton Centre and will fight tooth and nail to get one.
BUT let me clear and put this in black and white - the school must NOT be built on Sutton Lawn. I support its campaign for village green status. I should know what a valuable resource it is for local people. I used to live round the corner!
17 September 2010
Gloria has signed up to a major new campaign to end legal loan sharking. At present, there is no limit on the price lenders can charge for credit – resulting in some companies charging £82 per £100 loaned and annual interest rate charges of up to 3000%
Gloria signed an Early Day Motion calling on Parliament to ban excessive interest rates by setting a cap on consumer credit and to increase access to affordable loans.
Gloria criticised irresponsible lenders, saying “It is a scandal that these lenders can make excessive profits by preying on the poorest borrowers. Government needs to take action to cap the rates that doorstep and payday lenders can charge.”
Gloria also called for greater awareness of credit unions, which provide an alternative to loan sharks by lending small amounts of money while encouraging people to save: “People need to know that there are alternatives to doorstep lending.”
Pam Kearney of Cashfields Credit Union welcomed the campaign, saying “We support any reduction in excessive interest rates charged by doorstep lenders, but that needs to be linked to more work to promote responsible lending. Credit unions can help by offering affordable credit. At the same time we encourage people to save, reducing the need for borrowing in the first place.”
Cashfields work with a number of local organisations and charities to provide a range of collection points across Ashfield where members can access their services. Contact Admin@cashfields.org or call 0115 952 1455 for details.
Eastwood residents can access financial services from Nottingham Credit Union at Broxtowe Borough Council’s Customer Services Shop in Eastwood. Call 0115 828 3121 to find out more.
To find out more about the End Legal Loan Sharking campaign and to sign the petition, click here.
14 September 2010
Gloria has signed a petition calling on the Government to save NHS Direct.
The petition was set up in response to comments from the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley that suggested he was planning to scrap the service. The department of Health now says many of the services offered by NHS Direct "may be subsumed" by the new 111 telephone service for non-urgent needs.
Gloria said “NHS Direct is hugely popular with the public and saves the NHS money. The Government needs to make a clear commitment to keeping this service that so many people rely on.”
"I would urge everyone to sign the petition to make their views known to the Government."
The petition can be found here.
10 September 2010
Gloria today expressed her anger at Nottinghamshire County Council’s decision to grant planning consent to build a new school for Sutton Centre on Sutton Lawn.
“Staff and pupils at Sutton Centre desperately need a new building, but Sutton Lawn is not the place for it. It is a valuable space for families and putting the school here would deprive people of vital recreation space.”
Gloria has been in touch with the Lawnside Community Association to let them know that she supports their campaign to save the Lawn, and backs the application for village green status to protect the Lawn from development.
Gloria said she was disappointed that the County Council had ignored the recommendation from Ashfield District Council that the application be refused.
“I have written to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to ask him how the County Council can ignore local objections in this way.”
Gloria added “I will continue to fight with every bone in my body for staff and pupils at Sutton Centre to get a new school building, but I will fight equally hard for it not to be on Sutton Lawn.”
10 September 2010
Gloria has spoken out against the invitation to Sharon Shoesmith to give advice on child safety to a Commons committee. Ms Shoesmith was the director of Haringey Council's children's services which failed to take Baby P into care, despite evidence of serious abuse.
Ms Shoesmith is one of five "experts" asked to give evidence to the Education Committee next week during a one day inquiry on child safeguarding.
Gloria said: "It beggars belief. This is an insult to Baby P."
Read more on this story here.
09 September 2010
Gloria is visiting the Rokerfield day centre tomorrow. The centre, which provides support and services for people with mental health problems, could be closed as part of proposals from Nottinghamshire County Council.
Gloria said she wanted to take the opportunity to meet staff and service users, and to highlight the need for people to tell the Council what they think about their plans. The Council is running a consultation period for people to have their say on the proposals.
“I know how worried people are about the future of day centre services because they’ve been in to see me. Many people are concerned that if the day centre is closed they will have no way of getting the support they need.”
“I want to reassure staff and service users that I will do all I can to make sure that their voices are heard by those in power.”
Gloria has written to Councillor Kevin Rostance, the cabinet minister responsible for Adult Social Care and Health, to urge him to listen to the views of service users and their families.
The consultation period closes on 6 October 2010.
Gloria added “For those concerned this is a prime opportunity to have your say about the way mental health services are delivered. I would urge as many people as possible to take part.”
People can phone the County Council on 08449 80 80 80, visit the website here or write to Mental health day service consultation, Customer Service Centre, PO Box 9320, Nottingham, NG15 5BL.
09 September 2010
Gloria will join pupils at Ashfield School this Friday 10 September to help launch the school’s new Personal Development Education programme. Gloria will take assembly to highlight the new addition to the timetable which covers interpersonal, social and study skills, as well as citizenship & politics, careers education, and health and relationships.
Gloria will be speaking to pupils aged 11-14 about her career, how she got into politics and the importance of developing the skills they will need through life. There will also be an opportunity for students to quiz Gloria about her life as an MP.
Commenting before the launch, Gloria said: "I was really thrilled to be asked by the school to do this. I'm really pleased Ashfield School recognise that education is about so much more than facts and figures. It is great that the school takes personal development so seriously. This isn't a distraction from traditional subjects - the new programme will offer students essential skills that they can take with them through school and out into their future lives.”
“Speaking at Assembly I will emphasise how there should be no limit on the aspiration of any Ashfield young person. I want to prioritise lifting the ambitions and goals of young people in Ashfield. Look at me - hard work and the necessary support can help anyone achieve their dreams. I am delighted to be able to talk about this face to face on Friday."
08 September 2010
I’m thrilled to be writing the first of my fortnightly columns for the Chad – its a great paper and its a great way to keep in touch with readers. Being a good MP is a two way process. You let me know what the issues are and ill keep you up to date with progress.
At the time of writing i’ve just left the brilliant Kings Mill hospital. The extra investment there means that 50 per cent of rooms are single occupancy - we all know how important dignity in care is. We see it in action at Kingsmill.
I know that economic times are tough but i think good play spaces for our children are vital so i’m angry to learn that the funding that had been allocated to upgrade Morven Park in Kirkby has been pulled by central government.
Talking of Kirkby...i was out door knocking on the streets around The Paddocks last Thursday . One issue came up time and time again – the traffic system and the state of the precinct. I think there are reasons to be optimistic. Morrisons are definitely coming and the hope is that this will provide the much needed catalyst for renewal. But everyone knows that we have to sort the traffic system and i’m pleased to tell you that Morrisons and Ashfield Council are working together to sort this problem so watch this space!
I’d like to end my first column on a high note. Congratulations to staff and pupils at Ashfield schools for achieving better results than ever. I have seen some truly inspirational leadership in our schools. Pupils should be proud of their achievements. Don’t listen to the snipers who say exams are getting easier – they said that in my day. It was nonsense then and its nonsense now. Well done!
07 September 2010
Gloria today asked the Health Secretary to explain why King's Mill Hospital is facing cuts of £14.9 million pounds.
Speaking at Health Questions in the House of Commons, Gloria asked Andrew Lansley why the hospital will have to cut its budget for patient care by 8.2% next year, even though the Government has said that NHS spending will be ringfenced.
"When the Government say that the NHS budget will be ring-fenced, people might assume that whatever cash a hospital gets in this financial year will be matched next financial year. So could the Health Secretary explain why the King's Mill hospital in my constituency has been told to expect its budget to treat patients next year to fall by 8.2% or £14.9 million?"
The Minister admitted there would be cuts: "All over the country primary care trusts are telling their hospitals that they can expect a zero increase in tariff and a reduction in activity, and hence a reduction in budget."
Read the debate here.
02 September 2010
Gloria today visited Durban House to show her support for their work during this year’s successful DH Lawrence Festival.
After meeting with staff and visitors at the centre and touring the exhibitions Gloria said: “I’m always delighted to spend time at Durban House – I have been reminded that not only is the Centre vital in attracting tourists interested in DH Lawrence’s legacy but that it does great work reaching out to people across our community.”
“The Children and Young Person’s open art exhibition is a great way to get a new generation involved creatively in the arts. Lawrence loved painting and drawing as well as writing and encouraging the next generation of budding Lawrences is just what Durban House should be doing.”
Gloria was able to congratulate Niall O’Connor from West Hallam – winner of the 8-11 age group for his painting of Whitby in Yorkshire. “Niall’s picture was great – and reminded me of my childhood in Yorkshire.”
Reflecting on her visit Gloria added, “Today has reminded me just what great work Durban House does and just what possibilities it opens up for our young people. I will continue to campaign against any threats to its future. It has my full support.”
Sign the petition to show your support for Durban House here.
14 August 2010
The taxpayer is paying millions of pounds each year so that the children of Britain's military can be educated at top private schools, according to figures obtained by Gloria from the Ministry of Defence.
The subsidy is paid to members of the Armed Forces who may be required to serve overseas, but £155 million out of a total bill of £172 million goes to staff serving in the UK.
The "continuity of education allowance" is available to all ranks, but MoD figures show that only 40 of the 6,000 service personnel who qualified last year were privates, whereas 3,500 were captains, majors, colonels, brigadiers or generals.
Gloria said: "At a time when the Government is planning savage cuts in public services and funding for our Armed Services, I find it astonishing that the MoD is still spending more that £150 million to subsidise Britain's private schools."
12 August 2010
Gloria today responded to the news that Notts County Council is to make 3,000 redundancies in order to make savings.
“All public services constantly need to look at efficiencies – Labour saved £100m in the last 10 years it ran Nottinghamshire. But the Conservative cuts on this scale will be a double whammy for the people of Ashfield and Nottinghamshire.”
“Firstly, you simply can’t slash as many jobs as this without damaging the essential frontline services that so many rely on. Secondly, putting this many people out of work takes millions of pounds of spending power out of our local economy. That’s the last thing Nottinghamshire needs with the economy still so fragile.”
“Together with the worrying news from the Bank of England about future growth, I’m very concerned that the Conservatives locally, and with their Lib Dem allies nationally, are taking an unnecessary gamble with the recovery Nottinghamshire needs.”
Responding to the Council’s appointment of a senior manager to make these cuts Gloria said, “The fact that the Tory-run Council can find £120,000 to pay for an ‘Improvement Manager’ to put 3,000 people on the dole just adds insult to injury. The Tories say we are all in this together, but it certainly won’t feel that way to the workers whose jobs are axed.”
Read more on this story here.
8 August 2010
In today’s News of the World, Gloria reflects on the election and the future of the Labour party.
Commenting on the election results, Gloria said “The fact that David Cameron failed to win an outright majority in May made Labour's election defeat seem less serious than it was."
"But the plain truth is that this was a party abandoned by working people who want to get on in life: In 1997 Labour led the Conservatives by 23 points among skilled workers, but by 2010 they trailed the Tories by eight points. In other words, there's a mountain to climb.”
Gloria thinks David Miliband understands how Labour can reconnect with voters. “He knows we have to get the economy back on track while making difficult decisions about how to get the deficit down. I'm sure he'd make a great PM, and polling suggests most Party and union members agree.”
Read the full article here.
29 July 2010
Gloria today joined representatives from the DH Lawrence Society at Durban House in Eastwood to show her support for the Heritage Centre, which is under threat of further cuts as part of Broxtowe Borough Council's spending review.
Gloria said, "The people of Eastwood are rightly proud of our connection to DH Lawrence and feel that more needs to be made of it. The Heritage Centre is a wonderful resource for our young people to learn more about the history of the town."
“Everywhere I go in the country, indeed across the world, people instantly put Eastwood and Lawrence together. The strength of the “Lawrence brand” should be a real plus point for our local economy. Money spent on promoting the Lawrence connection is an investment and will seriously encourage tourism.”
John Worthen, DH Lawrence Society President said “The DH Lawrence Society views the threatened closure with very grave concern. Durban House is a local resource which draws in people from a very large area. It seems to us crucial that the facilities at Durban House remain available for the general public.”
Sign the petition to show your support here.
29 July 2010
Figures obtained by Gloria show the cost to the taxpayer of sending civil servants' children to some of the UK's most expensive schools.
The subsidy allows officials serving overseas to continue claiming millions of pounds in school fees even after they return to the UK. The figures show that the Foreign Office spends more on the allowance for staff in the UK than it does for those currently abroad.
Gloria, who acquired the figures from the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence, and the Department for International Development, said: "Expecting the taxpayer to pay the public school fees for the children of civil servants who are based in the UK is simply a luxury we cannot afford.
"At a time when the coalition's cuts are threatening the education of the many, there can be no justification for this huge subsidy for the few.
"In this age of austerity, when public services are being cut, it cannot be right that we continue to spend these huge sums on private education. Ministers must urgently look at how to reduce this bill."
Read more on this story here.
26 July 2010
Nine-year-old schoolgirl Paisley Ward delivered her petition to Downing Street today to protest at the Government's decision to axe the free swimming scheme.
Gloria, who raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions earlier this month, invited Paisley and her mum Maureen down to London to present the petition with over 900 signatures to Number 10.
Gloria praised Paisley for her determination to stand up for a cause she believes in: "It's amazing that Paisley refused to just sit back and accept the new government's abolition of free swimming. She had the guts to write to the Prime Minister, start up a petition and bring it down in person. She's a remarkable nine-year-old girl."
"It was not in the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifesto to make this spiteful cut and it’s been a delight to work with Paisley to highlight the consequences.
Read more on this story here.
22 July 2010
Gloria today branded Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne a "hypocrite" for flying from London to Aberdeen.
Despite the Government's stated aims to reduce carbon emissions, the Energy Secretary took the flight to meet colleagues and attend an exhibition.
Gloria said, "This is shocking hypocrisy from the man who is meant to be leading Britain's fight against global warming."
"He needs to start practising what he preaches."
21 July 2010
Nottinghamshire Police have announced that crime in Ashfield has fallen significantly over the last year. According to figures released by the police, the level of reported crime has dropped by 11.1 per cent, in line with the decrease across the county.
Most types of crime in Ashfield show a reduction, but there were increases in the levels of violent crime and drug offences.
Gloria responded to the figures by saying she welcomed the fall in crime. "Both the British Crime Survey and the police recorded crime figures show that overall crime is down."
"I am also pleased at the targeted work Nottinghamshire Police are doing to improve crime detection rates."
"However, my constituents are still very concerned about police visibility and pockets of anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that people feel safe in their communitites"
20 July 2010
Gloria is seeking “urgent assurance” from Nottinghamshire County Council that their consultation on the future of the County’s mental health day services is “a genuine attempt to listen to the views of the community. This cannot be just an exercise to rubber stamp a foregone conclusion to reduce vital services.”
“Service users and their families who use the Rokerfield Centre have been coming to me to tell me their concerns. They fear that if the day centre closes they will not be able to get the care and support they need in the community. Many are also worried about losing a place where they gain valuable peer support and can feel safe.”
Gloria expressed concerns that the consultation document released this week is “full of council jargon. I am worried that the document has been written to be deliberately difficult for members of the public to understand and that this will deter my constituents from responding and telling the council what they don’t want to hear.”
In order to help constituents Gloria is encouraging “anyone who wants help with responding to the council’s proposals should feel free to come into my office on Station Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield where my team will be more than happy to ensure that the views of Ashfield people are heard”
In addition, Gloria has this week written to Kevin Rostance, the County Councillor responsible for Adult Social Care and Health: “I am seeking Cllr Rostance’s personal guarantee that the consulation will genuinely listen to the views of service users, their families and other interested parties. We all know how important it is that people with mental health issues can access the appropriate care. This is too important to be treated as an easy way to make cuts and I will continue to make sure Ashfield’s voice is heard.”
For more information about the consultation, click here
16 July 2010
A million low-paid part time workers in the public sector will be hit with a pay freeze, according to figures obtained by Gloria today.
The Government’s budget claimed that those earning under £21,000 would be entitled to an increase of at least £250 per year.
But Gloria today obtained figures from the House of Commons Library which show that around a million part-time workers who earn £21,000 or less will actually have their pay frozen on the grounds that their equivalent full-time earnings would be over the limit.
Reacting angrily to the news, Gloria said “The Con Dem Government said they wanted to protect the lowest paid. But these figures show just how hard part-time workers will be hit by George Osborne’s cuts.”
“Many of those affected will be single mums, balancing part-time work with family.”
Gloria added, “The Tories and Lib Dems hoped they could punish part-time workers with nobody noticing, but I intend to keep highlighting the cause of these low paid public service workers who have been let down by the coalition.”
Read more on this story here.
13 July 2010
Gloria today uncovered plans by the Government to freeze the pay of low-paid public sector workers, contrary to George Osborne’s promise in the Budget to defend those earning under £21,000.
Under questioning in the Commons by Gloria, Treasury Minister Danny Alexander admitted that part-time workers earning less than £21,000 whose full time earnings would be over the limit would miss out on the promised £250 pay rise.
Reacting to the revelation, Gloria said “The Government promised to raise the pay of the lowest paid public sector workers. But now we see that their pledge fails to protect part-time workers.”
Read the story here.
07 July 2010
Speaking on behalf of 9 year old Sutton resident Paisley Ward, Gloria today asked Prime Minister David Cameron if he would reverse the Government’s decision to cut free swimming.
Paisley and her brother Conor learned to swim thanks to the free swimming programme, but she was worried that her little sister Milly would miss out after the coalition announced they would axe the scheme.
Paisley wrote to Gloria, asking if she would sign her petition to protect the free swimming programme. Gloria raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions, quoting from Paisley’s letter asking David Cameron to “please, please stop this madness.”
The Prime Minister said there was not enough money to pay for it. Gloria said: "I thought an emotional letter from a nine-year-old girl might make David Cameron think twice about cutting free swimming lessons for children. Turns out I was wrong. It looks like Paisley's sister might be an innocent victim."
Click here to read an article about the story published in the The Daily Mirror.
05 July 2010
Gloria today condemned the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition’s decision to stop the promised funding to rebuild and rejuvenate Sutton Centre Community College.
In response to the axed plans Gloria said, “I am outraged that the Lib Dem-Tory government has deprived pupils of a new school building. The existing Sutton Centre is in urgent need of repair and Labour promised to deliver a new building for pupils and teachers.”
Gloria challenged Education Secretary Michael Gove during his statement announcing the cuts in the House of Commons today. Mr Gove refused to give local people the assurance they want.
“I am shocked by the attitude of the Education Secretary. I won’t be letting the fight for Sutton Centre lie here.”
Gloria has written to Michael Gove inviting him to visit Sutton Centre so he can see for himself the need for continued investment in the schools building programme.
“It is a disgrace that the coalition have turned their backs on Sutton Centre. I am disgusted that the Lib Dems can sit in a government that denies our pupils a decent place to learn. This is the Lib Dems turning their back on Ashfield.”
“New schools instil pupils with a sense of pride and help retain good teachers. I am concerned that the cancellation of this programme will lead to an unfair gap between those schools which have benefited under Labour and those which the Lib-Dem Tory Government has abandoned”
Read the debate here.
Gloria calls for debate on Police productivity
01 July 2010
Gloria today responded to Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to scrap the national Policing Pledge. The pledge set out national minimum standards for policing, including a commitment for neighbourhood police teams to spend 80% of their time on the beat.
During Business of the House, Gloria asked the Government to set a time to debate the issue of police productivity. Deputy Leader of the House of Commons David Heath responded that "it is right that we should find time to debate it at some stage."
Gloria said, "I am pleased that the Government recognises the issue of police presence on the streets. The people in Ashfield tell me time and again how important it is to them to see police patrolling their neighbourhoods."
Gloria pays tribute to successful campaign to protect former quarry
23 June 2010
Gloria has paid tribute to campaigners who have successfully fought to save a former opencast mine from being turned into a landfill site. The Bentinck Void site was named a protected nature area on 22 June by Natural England. Miss De Piero said: "This is an amazing victory for local groups."
The former coal quarry, which lies more than two miles southwest of Kirby-in-Ashfield, is a haven for wildlife and considered to be the best breeding site in Nottinghamshire for rare great crested newts.
Gloria criticises the Government’s VAT raise
22 June 2010
Gloria has slammed Chancellor George Osborne's emergency budget saying that everyday people have been 'betrayed'.
The MP for Ashfield expressed her views to the Advertiser newspaper just after the Budget speech was delivered by Mr Osborne on Tuesday 22 June. She said that unemployment would now rise by tens of thousands.
Read the full newspaper article here.
Gloria has made her maiden speech during the Identity Documents Bill debate
9 June 2010
Gloria made her maiden speech on 9 June 2010 during the Identity Documents Bill debate. Read the full speech below:
"I am very grateful to have been given an opportunity to make my maiden speech in this debate. Whatever disagreements different Members and political parties may have about how to tackle crime, terrorism and identity theft, we can all agree that they are issues of great concern to our constituents, and it is for all of us to address them. I congratulate every Member who has made their maiden speech today. They were truly excellent speeches, which I must now follow...
Let me begin by paying tribute to my predecessor, Geoff Hoon, who represented Ashfield for 18 years. Geoff was a barrister by trade but was born and bred into a long line of railwaymen, and I know that the values he learned from his family shaped his political outlook. Above all, he was determined to put those values into practice as a Minister. He spent six years as Secretary of State for Defence, making him the second longest-serving Defence Secretary to date. Much of that is known about Geoff, but less well known is his passion for pop music and his encyclopaedic knowledge of bands of the 1960s and '70s. Geoff Hoon was very serious about his music, and, to be honest, he would probably cringe if he looked at the music on my iPod.
Ashfield is a constituency shaped by industry, and proud of it-and those industrial roots have shaped those privileged enough to represent it. Everywhere I went during the election campaign, I was reminded just how large the shoes are that I have to fill-including those of Frank Haynes, who, after years below ground as a miner, represented Ashfield in this House from 1979 to 1992. In doing my research, I learned that Frank was famous for having one of the loudest voices in the House of Commons. When I promised the voters of Ashfield that, if they sent me to Parliament, I would shout up for them, I was speaking metaphorically. Frank clearly promised the same thing, but meant it quite literally. He was loved by many in Ashfield and by many in this House. Everyone tells me how popular he was. His key quality, which I shall always try to emulate, was that he was always himself. I love the image of him asking Margaret Thatcher a tough question at Prime Minister's questions and calling her "duckie", which is the legendary term of endearment that Nottinghamshire folk use every day. I am assured that the Iron Lady smiled.
I am the first Member of Parliament to begin serving Ashfield with no local men underground mining for coal. Our most famous sons were from mining backgrounds. They include Harold Larwood, a Nottinghamshire and England fast bowler who left school at 14, before the war, to work in the mines. His statue still stands today in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. D. H. Lawrence was born in the town of Eastwood and was the son of a miner who could barely read. He called Eastwood "the country of my heart". It is not only the decline of mining that has hit Ashfield hard. I am delighted to be here as the first woman to represent the constituency, because women played a full part in building Ashfield's prosperity by working in the textile industry, but one by one the textile factories have gone the way of the pits. Yes, new jobs have been created, but too often they do not pay as well or offer the job security of those they replaced, and there are not enough of them.
Ashfield could be forgiven for thinking that its best days were behind it, but my mission in representing the people of my constituency in this House is to prove that that fear is misplaced, because the thing that has seen Ashfield through good times and bad is its sense of community. Indeed, I could say that the big society is alive and well there. For us, that is not a smart phrase invented by those from the leafy lanes of Notting Hill: one can smell it in the novels of Lawrence and see it there today. Every village has its community hub: the Stanton Hill community shop, the Huthwaite community action group, the Eastwood volunteer bureau, the Kirkby volunteer bureau, the Acacia avenue community centre and the Friends of Colliers Wood-I could go on and on. We do not just look out for each other in Ashfield; we stand up for ourselves, too, as those involved in the Kirkby and Sutton area residents associations prove every day by trying to keep the green fields in Ashfield green. D. H. Lawrence might be our historical hero, but it is the local heroes who are alive and well today that I want to support and pay tribute to. We can read about them each week in the Ashfield Chad and the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser.
I came from a pretty poor background, and I believe that it is thanks to my party speaking up for people from backgrounds such as my own that I was able to go to university, have a successful media career and today speak from these green Benches. I believe that Governments can and should help to transform people's lives for the better. Of course it takes individual effort and the support of the family, but there is something else that transforms people's lives, and that is community.
I know that it is fashionable for some on the Government Front Bench to talk about community, and I am delighted that they have rediscovered the word-along with "society"-but I am not convinced that they really understand it. They have presented a false divide between the big society and big government. I am arguing for an enabling Government who help people to come together and look after their interests. It is not a matter of choosing between society and the state; it is about binding the two together, for then, truly, the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts. The result is an empowered community and a flexible, responsive, enabling state, working together, rather than one replacing the other.
It is ironic that the so-called new politics, which suggests that state and society are somehow opposed and that one can flourish only if the other withdraws, should so precisely mirror the mistakes made by the worst of old Labour which sometimes gave the impression that the state knew best and should dictate what happened. Underneath its rhetoric, the new politics represents the flip side of the same coin. Its adherents seek to trumpet society at the expense of the state, which the Conservative party says should be smaller as a matter of principle. I do not know whether its supposed partners agree with that, but I guess that we will find out eventually.
It is dogma to suggest that, if we roll back the state, the big society will flourish in its wake. Places like Ashfield need strong communities and strong government. If that means big government, then that is fine if that is what is needed. We do not need big government for its own sake, of course, but we do need strong and active government, for a purpose. After all, were Sure Start or community support officers examples of big government? Is a Government-initiated apprenticeship one?
Today, Ashfield needs a new economic backbone to enable local people to develop their talents and become the D.H. Lawrences and Larwoods of the future. We need it to promote the talents of people who come from Ashfield and ensure that those talents stay in the area to develop its future economic strength.
We know that tough economic times lie ahead. Ashfield can cope with a lot, but it is up to Government to help us. Ashfield is a place with a tremendous sense of community, but we need the Government to help us on the way. Ashfield has a big heart and lies at the heart of England. We will be as strong, vibrant and successful as we were in our heyday, but such a renaissance will happen only with a strong state and a strong society working hand in hand. If hon. Members on the Government Benches cannot see that and make it happen, when we get our chance, we will."