January Newsletter

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Dear Constituent,

Welcome to my latest newsletter to keep you updated on my work in Parliament and around Amber Valley.

As always, you’ll find a selection of what I’ve been up to over the last month and details of upcoming events. You’ll also find the usual information about my columns and surgeries, and how to get in touch.

Leaderflush Employee Events:

I was shocked to learn that Leaderflush Shapland fell into administration over the Christmas period, with the terrible result that more than 400 local people were made redundant. The company’s main base was in Langley Mill and 309 skilled workers there produced bespoke door sets and specialised in making the fire doors we see in many buildings.

This is the biggest loss of jobs in the area since I became an MP in 2010 and I know that the factory has been an important part of the community, particularly in Langley Mill.

Since the news, I’ve been working with the Job Centre, other local organisations and employers to set up advice and employment events to provide support and help find new jobs for former Leaderflush employees.

There was initially an advice, support and information event on the 14th January at Alfreton Job Centre to provide information on next steps for former Leaderflush employees, including advice on looking for work, making a claim for benefits, pensions, money advice and details on the support available to help you regarding your redundancy and the redundancy payment service.

On the 29th January, there was then a special jobs fair and training event, open and free for everyone to attend. This was a great success, and I’m pleased that many more people now have new jobs and interviews lined up. Thank you to everyone who attended and organised the event, and to the more than 40 stallholders, including Manthorpe Engineering, Broughton Electrical, QA Associates, Serco and Derby College.

A special thank you also to trentbarton, who kindly provided half price zigzag bus tickets to the venue.

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#Broadbad Campaign:

In 2016 people rightly expect access to high-speed internet connections as it’s crucial to our work and home lives. However, I know many people in Amber Valley are often frustrated by poor and unreliable connections, which shouldn’t be the case.

To try to finally solve these problems, I’ve co-signed the new ‘Broadbad’ report which highlights the costs and staggering numbers of people who still can’t access broadband, and calls on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach.

You can read more about this campaign, and the full report, here.

Hand Hygiene in the NHS:

I recently held a Westminster Hall debate on the importance of hand hygiene in the NHS in light of the research and work of the Deb Group, who are based in Denby and are one of the leading providers of skincare and hand hygiene products.

Many of us will have seen the adverts, signs and gel dispensers as we enter GP surgeries and hospitals, and on every ward, asking us to keep washing or sanitising our hands to keep patients, staff and visitors safe from infections. These campaigns have helped, but it’s still shocking that patients in England have a 6.4% chance of contracting a healthcare associated infection in the NHS (according to 2011 data). This shows that more has to be done and I’m pleased that, as a result of my debate, the Minister has committed to working with local trusts to make hand hygiene inspections more effective and further increase awareness of how important and how many lives this simple practice can save!

You can read more about the debate here and the Handz campaign website can be found here.

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Westminster Hall Trailer Safety Debate:

On 19th January, I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on towed-trailer safety to raise my concerns and the terrible incident, which many of you will recall, which took place just over eight years ago, when Finlay Martin was tragically killed by a runaway trailer which had detached from a car in Heage.

I wanted to raise this heart-breaking case in Parliament to highlight the tragic consequences of inadequate towed-trailer safety, call on the Government to introduce further measures to prevent such incidents and for tougher sentences for those who neglect to operate trailers safely. I would like to see the Government introduce measures to ensure accidents like this never happen again and I will continue to raise this matter in Parliament.

You can read the full text of the debate and my contributions here.

Call for more support for children with chaotic home lives:

In the House, I also raised a question over what more can be done to support children who have chaotic home lives. Many local headteachers have contacted me to highlight the need to ensure there is the right support in place to help every child get the most out of their time at school.

I’m pleased that Edward Timpson, the Minister of State for Children and Families, recognized these concerns and I welcome this Government’s ambitious programme to support troubled families. The Troubled Families Programme saw nearly 120,000 families receive life-changing support in the last Parliament and, over the next 5 years, a further 400,000 families will receive this support. You can read more about my question here.

Multi-national tax transparency & Google HMRC Settlement:

Following the news regarding the £130million tax settlement between Google and HMRC last week, the Government was called to Parliament to make a statement which you can read here. A number of you have already contacted me to raise your concerns about multi-national company tax avoidance and I took this opportunity to represent my constituents’ concerns and ask the Minister to introduce measures to allow for greater tax transparency.

The settlement announced over the weekend will see Google pay its fair share of tax on profits made in the UK and it will include collecting tax on both future profits and the profits made in the previous decade. I am pleased that the Government is working to address the perfectly legitimate public anger that larger corporations have not been paying enough tax by tightening tax laws and introducing the Diverted Profits Tax. However, to improve and restore public confidence and address public anger over multi-national companies’ failure to pay enough tax, I think the Government need to go further.

To raise my concerns, I asked the Government to force large companies to publish their tax returns, alongside their tax strategies to improve transparency and confidence in the UK tax system. You can read the full text of my exchange with the Minister here. You can read his statement to the House regarding HMRC’s settlement with Google here.

Community Transport – Westminster Hall Debate & DCC Update:

Following on from my recent intervention in an important debate relating to Community Transport funding in Parliament on Wednesday 16th December, I welcome the news that funding for this important and valuable community service will no longer be withdrawn by Derbyshire County Council.

As I have written about previously, it had been proposed that Derbyshire County Council would withdraw this vital funding altogether. The Community Transport Scheme exists to help people be independent as well as get to medical appointments with their general practitioner or hospital. During this debate, I took this opportunity to highlight our local community transport service, CT4TC’s hard work to support our community and I called upon Derbyshire County Council to reconsider their short-sighted funding proposals. Locally, CT4TC provides schemes for care home outings, group outings, lunch clubs, regular day trips and a school service, as well as a dial-a-bus scheme and a community car scheme, providing an invaluable service to a number of people in our community.

I am therefore glad that Derbyshire County Council have reconsidered their approach and will now be consulting on providing reduced funding for community transport until September 2017. You can read more about the decision on the County Council’s website.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the fantastic work CT4TC do to provide these services which many people rely on, and I am pleased that Derbyshire County Council have reconsidered.

Public Accounts Committee Reports:

As many of you will already know, I serve on the Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises the value for money – the economy, efficiency and effectiveness – of public spending and generally holds the government and its civil servants to account for the delivery of public services. You can find out more about some of the reports we have published and our current inquiries here.

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Public Accounts Committee Report – Tackling Tax Fraud:

I recently led a Public Accounts Committee session on tackling tax fraud, where we called on the HMRC Chief Executive, Lin Homer to give evidence on HMRC and their efforts to tackle tax fraud. You can read the full transcript from the session here.

HMRC estimates show that losses to tax fraud amount to £16 billion each year – which is almost half of HMRC’s estimate of the tax gap (£34 billion): the difference between the amount of tax HMRC should collect each year and the amount it actually collects. Reducing the amount of tax that is lost due to tax fraud is a high priority for HMRC, so it was good to have this opportunity to grill the Chief Executive to ask for it’s assessment for how well this has been done so far and how they can tackle it better in the future. People are quite rightly, very angry that there are people who deliberately choose not to pay the tax that they legally owe and it is right that the HMRC should be doing everything possible to identify and bring these cases to prosecutors. I would like to see further progress from HMRC on this matter and I look forward to seeing this implemented.

Latest Columns:

You can read my latest Derby Telegraph Column, considering the challenges and priorities for Amber Valley in 2016, here.

You can also find my latest Ripley & Heanor Column here which looks at what’s been happening in Parliament and in Amber Valley since the Christmas recess.

Surgeries:

I regularly hold surgeries to give you the opportunity to meet with me and discuss any concerns or problems you may have. These are held on Friday evenings between 5pm and 7pm.

If you would like to meet me and discuss any issues, the dates of my upcoming surgeries are:

  • Langley Mill Surgery – 5th February 2016
  • Heage Surgery – 26th February 2016

Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above.

Supermarket Surgeries:

Since the start of the New Year, I’ve held several street surgeries in supermarkets across Amber Valley to give you the opportunity to raise any concerns and tell me the issues most important to you in 2016. It’s been great to speak to many people, and I’ll be holding some more supermarket surgeries very soon! In the meantime, you can also get in touch using the below details to raise any problems and let me know how we can make our area even better!

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Get in Touch!

As always, you can contact me by hitting the ‘reply’ button on this email, or you can ring my office on 01773 744341.

Twitter and Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @NigelMillsMP and like me on Facebook here to stay up to date with news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.

Yours sincerely,