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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 few months and details of upcoming events. You’ll also find the usual information about my columns, surgeries and how to contact me.
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Brexit Update – Prime Minister’s Speech:
Last week, the Prime Minister gave an updated speech on this Government’s vision for our future economic partnership with the EU. I welcome this speech as a positive and useful way forwards as negotiations with the EU regarding a possible deal continue.
The Prime Minister set out five tests for our future partnership with the EU: respecting the result of the referendum; being an enduring agreement; protecting people’s jobs and security; delivering an outcome consistent with the kind of country we want to be; and strengthening our Union of nations. The Prime Minister also set out two credible options for our future customs relationship. Both of these would enable us to sign free trade deals around the globe whilst at the same time ensuring that trade with the EU is as frictionless as possible.
You can find the full summary of the speech here.
Tackling the Housing Crisis & Reviving Planning Rules:
The Prime Minister has also outlined a draft National Planning Policy Framework, which includes a new housing delivery test to drive up the number of homes delivered, ensure planning permissions are delivering rather than ‘land banked’, and provide greater freedom for local authorities to maximise the use of brownfield land – whilst maintaining strong protections for the environment.
I welcome the draft Framework’s focus on regenerating brownfield sites whilst continuing to protect our Green Belt, both of which are rightly priorities for many constituents.
In addition, there are positive plans to reform the currently complex system of developer contributions to ensure we get the necessary local infrastructure improvements as part of any new developments.
The consultation on the draft framework is now open until the 10 May 2018, and you can find the full details here.
Heanor Cyanide Spillage & Meeting with the Environment Agency:
Many constituents have contacted me to express concern following the recent spillage of 400 litres of cyanide from a delivery truck at Heanor Gate Industrial Estate. You can find my blog post at the time of the incident here.
Since then, and over the last few weeks, I’ve met with the Environment Agency to discuss the incident. There is a current legal process, and ongoing enforcement investigation surrounding the incident, but the area has re-opened and the pond is now back up to filterable drinking water standard. Because of the loss of fish in the pond, the Environment Agency are working with Derbyshire County Council and the local fishing club to return the biodiversity to the area, and help the local ecosystem to recover.
Going forwards, the Environment Agency are also following up with local organisations and businesses to try to prevent any similar accidents and continue to improve best practice.
Thank you again to all of the emergency services and organisations who have been dealing with, and limiting, the effects of the cyanide leak.
Local Stations – changes to East Midlands Trains London timetables:
Alongside this Summer’s works at Derby Station I mentioned in my last newsletter, East Midlands Trains are also changing their to and from London timetable from May as part of the upgrade of the Midland Main Line.
You can find out more about the changes and keep up-to-date on how you might be affected on the dedicated website here.
Big Energy Saving Week:
I was pleased to recently join Citizens Advice at a local supermarket as part of their 2018 Big Energy Saving Week. The campaign focuses on helping people cut their fuel bills by looking into switching supplier or any discounts they might be eligible for. You can find out more here.
Corruption APPG McMafia Event:
Last month the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corruption (of which I am Chair) hosted a briefing session with Global Witness and the Government’s new Anti-Corruption Champion, John Penrose MP, to explore the facts behind the recent BBC McMafia series. The BBC drama shines a light into the underworld of organised crime and corruption, placing London at the heart of an increasingly scrutinised financial system. The panel including James Norton, the lead actor in the drama and Misha Glenny, author of the book McMafia, discussed the issues raised by the show. This included the problem of property in the UK being bought by unknown individuals and offshore companies, as well as the UK’s influence over the anti-corruption regime in its Overseas Territories.
The APPG supports calls for the British Overseas Territories to adopt public registers of beneficial ownership of companies. Such a register which would make details of companies based in the British Overseas Territories publicly accessible and it would make it more difficult for the money-laundering shown in McMafia to take place. The Government has recently taken positive steps towards enacting a public register of beneficial ownership of UK property by overseas entities and the issue of the Overseas Territories will receive further scrutiny as the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill comes back to the Commons for Report Stage.
I followed this event with a speech and questions in the House on the Bill regarding sanctions, the property register and public registers of beneficial ownership for overseas terriorities. You can find my full speech here.
In addition, I also spoke on an anti-corruption strategy Westminster Hall debate on the illegal wildlife trade, to emphasise the link between the trade and corruption, which you can find here.
Appearances in Parliament:
I followed up my recent Prime Minister’s Question during Transport Questions in the House by asking the Minister for an update on support for Community Transport operators, which many residents in Amber Valley rely on. I also emphasised the need to protect their existing use of permits rather than requiring an expensive move to a full commercial operator’s licence. You can read the Minister’s positive and supportive reply here.
East Midlands Ambulance Service:
During a debate on the current performance of East Midlands Ambulance Service, I asked for the break up of EMAS to be potentially considered, and emphasised to the Minister prioritising more paramedics and ambulances, rather than more chief executives and office buildings. You can read the fulle debate here.
During a recent debate in the House on the Taylor Review into modern working practices, I asked for confirmation of the Government’s plan in relation to employers’ national insurance contributions, to ensure that the tax system is not incentivising unscrupulous businesses to pretend that their employees are self-employed. I’m pleased the Minister confirmed this is a key priority for the review, ensuring that only genuinely self-employed people are classed as such.
PIP back payments:
Following the recent judicial review decision regarding PIP for some mental health conditions, I asked the Minister if a specific phone line for potentially affected claimants could help. However, it has been decided that the best option is for the Department for Work & Pensions to contact all those affected. You can find the full debate on the issue here.
Work & Pensions Committee:
I’ve recently moved from Public Accounts Committee back onto Work & Pensions Committee, which I served on previously from 2012 to 2015. It’s an important time to move back onto this committe as there are current inquiries into motability, pensions, Carillion, the rollout of Universal Credit and PIP and ESA assessments – issues I know many constituents regularly raise concerns about. I’ll be taking these concerns forward as part of the inquiriy sessions, and you can read more about these, and other evidence, sessions here, as well as finding out more about upcoming inquiries here.
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee:
In the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, we’ve been looking further into the impact of Brexit and devolution and democracy in Northern Ireland, including dealing with the deficit. You can find details of the evidence sessions to date and the committee’s upcoming business here.
You can find my latest Ripley & Heanor column here, which looks at the Secretary of State for Transport’s recent visit to Amber Valley.
As always, 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.
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:
- Riddings – 9th March 2018
- Horsley Woodhouse – 16th March 2018
- Heanor – 23rd March 2018
Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.
Tours and Public Gallery Tickets
As your MP, I am able to book tours of the Houses of Parliament and arrange public gallery tickets for constituents. If you would be interested in having a tour of Parliament or arranging public gallery tickets to sit in on the business of the House or Prime Minister’s Questions, please do get in touch.
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.
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Promoted by Nigel Mills MP, of Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3EH.
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