November Newsletter

Subscribe to my future newsletters here.

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.

Autumn Statement Recap:

The Chancellor recently delivered his Autumn Statement in the House. Key announcements for Amber Valley residents and our area were:

Fuel Duty: Fuel duty will remain frozen for the seventh year in a row, saving the average car driver £130 a year.

Many constituents contacted me in the run up to the Autumn Statement asking for lower fuel prices to help families and businesses in Amber Valley. I therefore co-signed a letter calling on the Chancellor to maintain the fuel duty freeze; I’m pleased that he’s done this and that several supermarkets have already cut their prices to put more money back into constituents’ pockets.

Roads: The Chancellor has allocated £1.462 million to Derbyshire to fix more than 27,000 potholes in 2017/18, or stop them forming in the first place. This is welcome news for Amber Valley residents, many of whom have contacted me to express their frustration about the awful state of many of our roads. So, I’ll be encouraging the Council to make full use of their funding allocation locally.

Health infrastructure investment: I’ve been supporting Queen’s Medical Centre’s bid for a new helipad at the East Midlands Trauma Centre in Nottingham, and I’m pleased that the Chancellor confirmed £1.3 million of LIBOR funding (from fines levied on banks). This will allow the project to go ahead – and save many more lives in our region.

Broadband: This Government is investing a further £1 billion in our digital infrastructure to help more UK homes and businesses get superfast broadband. There will also be funding to support trials of 5G mobile communications.

Income Tax thresholds: The personal tax allowance will rise to £11,500 next year. This is a welcome boost to the incomes of low and middle earners, and means that 28 million people have had tax cuts since 2010 whilst 4 million people have been taken out of income tax altogether.

The Chancellor also reconfirmed this Government’s commitment to support my campaign to raise the personal allowance even further, to £12,500 by the end of this Parliament.

Universal Credit: From April 2017 the Universal Credit taper will be reduced from 65% to 63%. Currently, for every £1 earned after tax above an income threshold, a person receiving Universal Credit has their benefit award reduced by 65p and keeps 35p. They will now keep 37p for every £1, from April 2017. This will be a tax cut for more than 3 million households, including many in Amber Valley.

You can read about more of the announcements from the Autumn Statement (including new policies on housing, letting agent fees, improving savings, tax avoidance and increases in the National Living Wage) in my blog post here, and you can look at the Statement in full here.

Proposed boundary changes for 2020 General Election:

The independent Boundary Commission has published proposed new constituencies for the 2020 General Election. These involve some significant changes due to the reduction in seats to 600 from 650, the fact that current boundaries are based on 2000 data, and a requirement that all seats should have similar number of voters, which does not currently exist.

The implication is that Derbyshire will move from 11 MPs to 10, and so significant changes are required. My preference has always been that the current Amber Valley seat should take in the extra voters it needs to reach the target number of electors from the other parts of the Amber Valley Borough Council area currently in the Derbyshire Dales and Mid-Derbyshire seats.

The Boundary Commission has however proposed a very radical change. They propose to split the current Amber Valley seat between 2 new constituencies:

1) Alfreton and Clay Cross including the wards of Alfreton, Somercotes, Swanwick, Wingfield, Ironville and Riddings, Ripley and Ripley and Marehay.

2) a new Amber Valley including the rest of the current Amber Valley seat plus Allestree, all of Belper, Duffield and the Breadsall and West Hallam County Council division.

In my view these proposals represent an unnecessary level of change and separate strong community links, most noticeably breaking up the Ripley Town Council area.

I am therefore supporting an alternative proposal that would transfer all of Belper into the Derbyshire Dales seat in which it was included up to 2010, and then move the 2 Ripley wards, Swanwick and Wingfield back into the new Amber Valley seat. This would reunite the Ripley Town Council area, keep the rural villages of Wingfield ward with those of Heage and Ambergate, and preserve the ties between Ripley and Swanwick.

Regrettably it seems unavoidable that Alfreton, Somercotes and Ironville and Riddings wards will need to be included with Bolsover to make the numbers work.

A public consultation is now open, for you to submit your comments and concerns to. Submissions must be made before the deadline of Monday 5th December and can be done online here, or in writing to: The Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ.

The Spotted Cow Preservation Society Campaign:

I’ve been supporting residents in Holbrook with their positive local campaign to revive The Spotted Cow pub in the village. I welcome Amber Valley Borough Council’s recent decision to refuse a planning application to change the use and demolish part of the pub to build new houses. Local residents are now applying to make The Spotted Cow an Asset of Community Value, to give them an opportunity to purchase the building and turn it into a community pub. I’m glad that 1,200 pubs have already been saved this way nationally as it’s right that public houses should be retained wherever possible.

As well as being important centres for communities, pubs and breweries make a vital contribution to the local economy in Amber Valley. During a recent All Party Beer Group and British Beer and Pub Association event, the latest statistics show that there are 112 pubs and 8 breweries in Amber Valley, which directly employ 697 people and add £24 million to the local economy.

This highlights how important local pubs such as The Spotted Cow are, so I hope the group are successful in raising the money and saving this important community facility.

Find out more about the group and their campaign here.

A38 Noise Tour:

Over the next few weeks, I’m meeting with the Highways Agency to highlight to take them to the key noise hotspots in Amber Valley and discuss their plans to alleviate the noise, hopefully through low noise surfacing, barriers and other measures.

I will be meeting with the Highways Agency’s Regional Manager and Principal Noise Adviser, and I’ll report back on the tour in my next newsletter. Please do let me know if you have any comments or thoughts you would like me to pass on to them.

In Parliament:

Midland Main Line Update:

During a recent debate in the House on the long awaited electrification of the Midland Main Line, I emphasised the strong benefit to cost ratio of the scheme, and that electrification of the line will also support the delivery of the recently confirmed second phase of HS2 and its Midland branches.

Following the debate, I’ve been reassured in Transport Questions in the Commons that the Secretary of State for Transport has reaffirmed this Government’s plans to improve capacity and make track improvements by 2019 under the new East Midlands franchise, including removing the long-standing bottleneck at Derby Station. This will mean that people in Amber Valley will finally get the faster, safer and more comfortable rail journeys they need.

Guide Dogs – Access All Areas Campaign:

I recently visited a Guide Dogs event in Parliament to support of their Access All Areas campaign and ensure that everyone has equal rights to use taxis and buses.

A recent review of taxi and private hire vehicle legislation highlighted that disabled passengers often have difficulties in obtaining and using taxis and private hire vehicle services. I’m pleased that the Government is therefore currently considering the Law Commission’s comprehensive report on improving access and reforming taxi and private hire vehicle legislation, and I will continue to support these improvements.

I will also keep working locally with the Amber Valley Access Group to ensure wheelchair accessible taxis are available in our area.

guide-dogs-2016

Meningitis Now Campaign:

Following an increase of 809 per cent in meningococcal (group W) meningitis cases in the past five years around the country, the Government launched a vaccination programme to protect young people aged 14 to 15, those aged 17 to 18 and first-year students up to 25 through schools, GPs and clinics.

Despite the increasing risk to students and recent deaths across the UK, the uptake of the Men ACWY vaccine within this vulnerable age group remains very low, with just 17.4 per cent taking up the vaccine in England.

I’m therefore supporting the work of the Meningitis Now charity to raise awareness of meningitis;  you can find out more about the vaccine and if you’re eligible here.

nigel-mills-mp-meningitis-now-parliamentary-reception-2016-002

Public Accounts Committee:

In Public Accounts Committee meetings this month we’ve been looking into the use of the NHS by overseas visitors and upgrades to the Emergency Services Communications Network. You can read more about these inquiries and evidence sessions here, or find out more about upcoming PAC business here.

Columns:

You can find my latest Ripley & Heanor column, looking at what I’ve been doing in Parliament, here.

Street Watch:

If there are any street repairs in your area, such as potholes, pavement repairs or broken street lights, you can report these issues and concerns to me quickly and easily here so I can ask for the repairs to be investigated and addressed.

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:

  • Heanor – 2nd December 2016
  • Swanwick – 9th December 2016
  • Waingroves – 16th December 2016

Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.

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,