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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.
Two weeks ago Parliament voted to indicate that it would accept the deal if the controversial backstop was amended or removed. We are now waiting to see what amendments the Prime Minister can secure from the EU on this. In the meantime there will be another debate, followed by indicative votes, this Thursday, 14th February.
Separately a compromise approach has been set out by a number of Conservative MPs led by Kit Malthouse. This proposed extending the transition period to 3 years and replacing the backstop with an outline free trade deal that would apply from the end of the transition period if no future partnership had been agreed. This would be sufficient to avoid a hard border in Ireland, but would remove the commitments to remaining in the customs union and parts of the single market that are unacceptable. As a fall back if the EU would not accept this approach, the compromise also set out ways of managing a no deal Brexit including effectively just agreeing a transition period without the rest of the deal or using the provisions of the WTO to operate on the basis of a free trade deal that both parties are working towards. All of these options would avoid major changes to our terms of trade after the 29th March.
I hope that compromises on this basis can be agreed enabling us to fulfil the referendum vote by leaving on the 29th March in an orderly manner.
Brexit residents’ meeting:
I know that many constituents understandably have questions and concerns about our upcoming exit from the EU, and the different plans for the various exits. So, I’m organising some Brexit residents’ meetings. The first one will take place on the 1st March 2019 at 7pm in the Ripley area. If you are interested in attending this meeting, please register your interest by replying to this email or ringing my office on 01773 744341 and we will send you further details.
Brexit business meetings:
I’ve continued to visit local businesses to speak to them about their views on Brexit, and hear their priorities or concerns about any deal or no deal scenario. If you’d like me to visit your business, or if you’d like to discuss any issues with me, please do get in touch.
Immigration & EU nationals in the UK:
Given the ongoing uncertainty over the terms of our departure from the EU, several constituents have contacted me to ask about the future of settled EU nationals in the UK. As a result, I’ve raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions, and you can find the Prime Minister’s reassurance here.
The Home Secretary also recently provided a detailed statement to the House on our future border and immigration system after we leave the EU. I welcomed this statement, and the introduction of an electronic travel authorisation scheme. I’m also pleased the new system will offer flexibility for us to attract the talent and skills we need, whilst also controlling and reducing net migration. You can find the full debate here.
NHS long-term plan:
This Government recently announced the details of the NHS 10 year plan showing how the real terms £20.5 billion a year increase will be spent.
This plan is based on a new focus on prevention, which included a very welcome commitment to increase the funding of primary and community health services by at least £4.5 billion in the next 5 years, and the promise to expand access to mental health services, especially supporting schools and colleges. These developments will help address concerns regularly raised by my constituents and help the NHS overcome the challenges it faces.
To follow up on this announcement, during Health questions in the House, I then asked the Minister for further details on the investment in mental health services and emphasised the importance of ensuring there is 24/7 support for someone experiencing a mental health crisis. You can read the full debate here.
You can also find the full details of the Plan here.
Police funding settlement:
Last week, Parliament voted for the police funding settlement for 2019/20, which included an increase in funding for the police system of up to £970 million. This includes increases in government grant funding, full use of precept flexibility, funding to support pensions costs and increased national funding to meet the threats from counter-terrorism and serious and organised crime. I know constituents are concerned about police numbers, so I’m pleased this is the biggest increase in funding since 2010.
In Derbyshire, this means an increase in funding to £179.6 million in 2019/20, from £167.2 million in 2018/19.
Green Belt Review:
Many constituents have recently contacted me for an update on the Borough Council’s ongoing Green Belt Review, as part of the progression of the Local Plan and a sustainable future housing supply for our area.
As many constituents will be aware, I’ve long stated a commitment to protecting our Green Belt land except in the most exceptional circumstances. So, I recently met with the Council to discuss the ongoing Green Belt Review, and raised with them the importance of protecting the Green Belt. However, the review is ongoing and still pending, and so the Council’s decisions or recommendations on what changes, if any, they will suggest to the current Green Belt haven’t yet been published. I will continue to follow this issue closely and keep you updated in future newsletters.
You can also follow the Green Belt Review and Local Plan progress here.
Visit to new homes in Alfreton:
I recently visited the new Outseats Farm housing development in Alfreton with NHBC and the developer of the site, Wheeldon Homes. It was positive to see this new site delivering high quality new homes in our area which should help families get onto the housing ladder in Amber Valley and have the security and stability of owning their own home.
As part of the continuing roll-out of the auto-enrolment pensions system, I raised the possibility of continuing to extend the system to as many people as possible. I’m pleased that the Secretary of State agreed, and you can read my question and his reply in full here.
Anti-corruption & registers of beneficial ownership:
I’ve continued my anti-corruption campaign with further questions in Parliament on progressing registers of beneficial ownership to increase transparency.
The Minister confirmed all overseas territories fully functioning registers by the end of 2023, but I will continue to campaign for these to be introduced as soon as possible.
As part of the continued roll-out of Universal Credit, I’m pleased that the Government listened to recommendations from to continue to improve the new system, which included extending the exemption on the two-child limit.
As part of the discussion on these changes in Parliament, I also encouraged the Minister to consider other changes such as moving existing claimants over to Universal Credit directly, rather than requiring a new claim. I’ll keep pushing for these changes.
During Work and Pensions questions, I raised the issue of value for money for Motability cars. Whilst the charity do excellent work, I’m concerned about the salaries and bonuses being paid out and I’m pleased the Minister is taking this issue forward. You can find the full debate here.
Hand hygiene campaign update:
I’ve continued my campaign to improve hand hygiene and improve infection control in hospitals and again raised the issue with the Secretary of State. In particular, during Health questions, I asked for an update on the publication of hand hygiene compliance data.
The Minister noted the project to standardise policies on hand hygiene collect national hand hygiene data is in progress, and I will continue to follow this issue closely.
Simplifying legal proceedings:
During recent Justice questions, we discussed the important issue of making it easier for people to file and represent themselves in legal proceedings, on issues such as divorce petitions and tax issues. This will reduce the cost of legal proceedings and technology is also being used to make it easier for applicants to represent themselves at court. You can read more about this here.
Public Accounts Committee:
In recent Public Accounts Committee meetings, we’ve been looking at value for money on a variety of public spending, from Capita contracts, to local government spending, to the renewal of the Eastenders set. You can find out more about the Committee, and the upcoming sessions, here.
Work & Pensions Committee:
The Work & Pensions Committee has continued its inquiries into the roll-out of the new benefits and systems such as pensions auto-enrolment, Universal Credit, and the value for money offered by Motability. You can read more about these inquiries here.
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee:
The impact of Brexit and solutions to the border question continue to dominate the evidence sessions of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, but we’ve also been considering future funding and budget priorities for Northern Ireland, which you can read more about here.
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:
- Langley Mill – 1st March 2019
- Heage – 8th March 2019
- Riddings – 22nd March 2019
Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.
GDPR and privacy notice:
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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