Derby Telegraph Column

As published in the Derby Telegraph, 20th June 2014

We’ve had more good news on the economy over the past few weeks. Earlier this week we heard that inflation is now at 1.5% – a five-year low – and unemployment here in Amber Valley continues to fall, and is now at 2.7% compared with 4.9% when I was elected.

I welcome these encouraging announcements. They demonstrate that our long-term economic plan to deal with Britain’s deficit – which has saved families £2000 per year on mortgage interest payments – and rebalance our economy away from the financial sector towards manufacturing and exporting, which represents a large number of jobs here in Amber Valley, is working.

It’s important that we stick with this plan, that’s delivering real results for hard-working people in Amber Valley.

I am aware that some of my constituents are experiencing problems with delays at the Passport Office. I am dedicated to doing my utmost to ensure that holiday plans aren’t spoiled by delays, so I would encourage any constituents experiencing delays with their passport application, to please get in touch with my constituency office on 01773 744 341 or email me at nigel@nigelmillsmp.com.

Derbyshire County Council’s consultation on the future of children’s centres across the county closed on Tuesday. The consultation was run to assess whether to close some centres, cut staffing levels, or charge parents for the use of the centres, stating that it needed to find £1.1mn in cuts.

I know how invaluable Sure Start centres are for both parents and children in Amber Valley, and for that reason, I hoped that the Council would have prioritised finding savings elsewhere, such as not giving the Chief Executive a £219,000 pay-off when they took control, not increasing the number of Cabinet Support posts, or finding savings in the Public Relations department of the Council by scrapping its newspaper.

We have Sure Start centres in Alfreton, Heanor, Ironville, Langley Mill, Ripley and Somercotes and I will pressure the Labour-controlled County Council to try to ensure that they don’t unfairly target centres here in Amber Valley.

As many readers will know, Labour took control of Amber Valley Borough Council in May’s local elections. In the short period since the election, they’ve already increased the overall cost of the administration by increasing the number of Cabinet Support posts whilst cutting the number of Cabinet posts by one.

At their first full Council meeting, they also gave more funding to their own Councillors, demonstrating that they have little regard for the advancement of the Borough as a whole. This has raised the cost of the administration further.

The previous administration did an excellent job of protecting front-line services whilst freezing Council Tax, protecting hard-pressed families from increases for the last five years. Given their spending in just one month, I am not convinced this Labour run administration will do the same.

The new administration are now in the process of revising the new Local Plan and sadly, I understand more countryside at Swanwick has already been earmarked for development. I will continue to pressure the new administration, as I did the previous one, to protect the greenbelt in Amber Valley and put a greater focus on using brownfield sites first.