Derbyshire Times Column

As published in the Derbyshire Times, 13th March 2014

We’ve seen very encouraging news on the economy over the past few weeks. Growth in quarter 4 2013 was at 0.7%, inflation is now on target at 1.9%, and despite a small post-Christmas rise, unemployment in Amber Valley is down 1.5% year-on-year, at 2.9%.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be holding a second event on 28th March at Ripley Leisure Centre between 10 AM and 4 PM. Last year’s fair saw over six-hundred constituents attend and one-hundred found work as a result of the day, so I’m looking forward to building on that success.

Do come along to find a great opportunity – it’s free to attend and trent barton is kindly providing cut price travel to the event on the day. You can find more information about the fair and seminars that will be running on the day at www.ambervalleyjobsfair.co.uk.

Many of my constituents living around Ripley contacted me to express concerns about the development of a Morrison’s in Ripley and the impact it could have on the town centre. I shared their concerns. There is no need for a new supermarket in Ripley, and another edge of town development would be against planning policy. I therefore welcome that the Council rejected the plan earlier this week. I hope a way can be found to deliver the enhanced sporting facilities that were proposed as part of the overall scheme – they at least would be positive for the town.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have expressed concerns to me relating to Clause 119 of the Care Bill. I’d like to allay some fears that have been generated by the Labour Party and various other groups.

The Trust Special Administration (TSA) regime was setup by the previous administration to deal with extreme hospital failures, and has only been used twice in five years – neither of these have resulted in hospital closures, and this does not relate to Heanor Hospital’s closure in any way, which was due to finding asbestos and a decision taken by the CCG.

The current scheme is ineffective and does not engage in proper consultation with local people and healthcare professionals.

The Government is trying to improve the TSA scheme to introduce more, not fewer, safeguards. These include longer public consultation; taking an overall view of local health services; agreement required by all affected trusts; and a requirement for administrators to consult with local authorities and hold a public meeting with them.

This means that the Government is correcting a mistake made by the previous administration and ensuring that health services are enhanced, not diminished. The NHS is a vitally important service that takes care of us when we’re sick – it’s one of the reasons I’ve tried to ensure that Heanor Hospital is reopened. I wouldn’t support any measures that would put my constituents’ health at risk.