Welcome to my July newsletter to keep you updated on my work in Parliament and what I’ve been up to in Amber Valley.
As always, you’ll find a selection of what I’ve been up to over the last month below. You’ll also find information about my appearances in Parliament, surgeries and upcoming events.
Summer Residents’ Survey
I’ve launched my Summer Residents’ Survey for Amber Valley so that you can let me know the issues most important to you. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey here so that I can help with any concerns you may have.
Since last month’s newsletter, we have moved to a new office in the constituency. The new address (just a few streets away from our old office!) is:
My constituency office phone number remains the same: 01773 744341. You can also continue to contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget, if you’d like to receive regular updates of my appearances in Parliament, you can sign up to receive email alerts every time I represent you in Parliament straight to your inbox, click here to sign up!
I also regularly update my website with blog posts on issues I am raising in Parliament.
On the 8th of July, the Chancellor delivered the first Conservative Budget in nearly 20 years. This was a bold budget for my constituents, delivering on our election promises, introducing measures to support workers, businesses, public services, taxpayers and savers while taking the responsible decisions to complete the job of sorting out the national finances.
The Budget introduces fair and pragmatic measures to tackle the deficit, whilst our economic growth is strong. It also ensures those with the broadest shoulders carry the greatest burden, whilst continuing to devote a greater share of state support to the most vulnerable.
This Budget introduced measures to help my hard working constituents:
Today’s Budget announced a new National Living Wage to support those over 25, on the lowest pay. This will see a Living Wage of £7.20 introduced from next April rising to £9 by 2020;
An increase in the tax-free Personal Allowance to £11,000 from next April with a view to increasing to £12,500 during this Parliament;
The amount people will have to earn before they pay the higher rate of tax at 40% will increase to £43,000 in 2016-17 with a commitment to increasing this to £50,000;
A commitment to creating 2 million more apprenticeships;
Further measures to crack down on tax avoidance;
A commitment to meeting the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence.
You can read my full blog post on the Chancellor’s Summer Budget 2015 on my website by clicking here.
Welfare Reform and Work Bill
On Monday 20th July, I spoke in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill debate to discuss the necessary welfare changes within this Bill which were outlined in the Summer Budget. I welcome this very important Bill, which is one of the measures we need to move us to the high pay, low tax, low welfare economy that we under striving towards. To do this, we need to strengthen work and establish a welfare system that encourages rather than dis-incentivises it, through the introduction of a National Living Wage and reinforcing this message in our welfare system.
I know many of my constituents welcome the further reduction in the benefits cap to £20,000, which is slightly below the average wage here in Amber Valley. It is right that we send a clear message – that people are better off in employment, creating incentives to go out and earn a living. The changes to tax credits reinforce this, highlighting that it is better to be in work, working more hours and earning more.
I also welcomed measures in the bill to change child tax credit, limiting this benefit to two children only from 2017. It is right that those on benefits face the same choices as those in work. For far too long those in work have had to make difficult decisions whereas those claiming child tax credit could extend their families supported by these payments.
I welcomed this Bill as I believe it is an important step forward in sorting out our deficit and making our welfare system fair for those who are claiming from it and those who are paying for it. You can read my contributions here
Midland Mainline Electrification Delay
In my May newsletter, I highlighted my concerns about the ‘pause’ on the electrification of the Midland Mainline, I know many of you have already contacted me to share your disappointment at this decision. I made representations about my concerns when the decision was announced and I have since raised this matter in Parliament again, asking the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin to give assurances that other improvements including line-speed improvements planned on the line will go ahead. These improvements will allow six trains an hour to operate from St Pancras, I welcome the Secretary of State’s assurances on these improvements. You can read my exchange with the Secretary of State below. I shall continue to represent the concerns of my constituents on this matter to the Secretary of State to ensure that work on the line can be restarted as soon as possible:
Nigel Mills MP: The Secretary of State will know of the great disappointment across the East Midlands at the pause in the electrification of the midland main line. While we are waiting for a final decision on that, can he update the House on when we might see the implementation of the other improvements on the line that are still in the plan?
Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin: Those improvements are still going on and, as I said at the time of the statement, the most important thing is to achieve some of the line-speed improvements to allow us to operate six trains an hour from St Pancras, as opposed to the five trains per hour at present. That work is going on as we speak.
FA Mars Just Play Awards
Earlier this month, I was asked to present a FA Mars Just Play award to an Amber Valley constituent, Chloe Beadle. I was asked to present Chloe with the FA Mars Just Play Award for Player of the Year. Fa Mars Just Play, works to promote regular exercise and encourage men and women to play football for at least 30 minutes a week. The scheme was established in the wake of Sport England research showing a sharp decline in the number of adults playing regular sport, due in part to a lack of facilities.
There are more than 200 Just Play centres across England, with a number here in Derbyshire, offering training sessions run by over 450 FA-accredited Just Play organisers. There are growing numbers of women-only sessions, along with those for people with disabilities, veterans and beginners. Participant numbers are now above 200,000 and Mars and The FA have the goal of offering one million chances to participate in a Just Play session in the next four years. You can find out more about FA Mars Just Play sessions in the local area by clicking here.
It was fantastic to meet Chloe and present her with this award, it’s wonderful to be able to recognise my constituents’ achievements – well done Chloe!
Nigel with winner of the FA Mars Just Play, Player of the Year award, Chloe Beadle and Blas Maquivar, President of Mars UK and Global Retail.
I recently held a Pensions Advice Event for local employers to help local businesses deliver on their commitment to providing employees with workplace pensions, as introduced in the last Parliament. The event was very well attended and I would like to thank all of the local employers and pension providers for attending.
I’m always eager to offer similar opportunities for businesses and constituents to find out more about any changes that will affect you, or simply to provide the chance for you to meet other local businesses and contacts. From this, I always welcome any suggestions for events which could help you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Heanor Gate Science College Visit:
It was a pleasure to visit Heanor Gate Science College to meet staff and pupils before their summer holidays. During my visit, I was interviewed by pupils for Heanor Gate TV following a Year 9 Citizenship Project. We debated a wide variety of national and local issues, from potholes to sports facilities and school uniforms – and even the possibility of a new coffee chain in Heanor!
Tesco Food Collection Day:
I was also pleased to support Tesco’s sixth annual neighbourhood food collection in conjuction with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. I called into the Heanor store at the start of July to help with their collection and take part in a trolley dash.
The neighbourhood food collection highlights the important issue of surplus food and food banks, which many constituents regularly contact me about. Since October 2013 Tesco have worked with FareShare to donate surplus food from their online and fresh distribution centres; this reduces food waste and provides 2.8 million meals to the more than 1,700 charities and community projects that FareShare supports.
Food Banks and collections provide an incredibly valuable service, and I would like to pay tribute to the hardworking volunteers involved.
Last week, I visited East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Headquarters to see their Emergency Operations Centre and discuss Amber Valley’s newly established and rapidly growing Community First Responders group.
Community First Responders are community based volunteers who get to medical emergencies quicker than an ambulance and offer intermediary treatment until the ambulance arrives. These volunteers save many lives and so play a crucial part in local communities.
To build on this, EMAS have recently invested in new equipment and training for CFR volunteers, and there are also plans to install more Community Based Defibrillators. These allow members of the public access to a crucial piece of life saving equipment when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. When someone calls 999 they can be told where the nearest defibrillator is, and if someone can fetch one the outlook for the patient is enormously brighter. You can find out more about the 999 call response guide here.
GP & PPG Visits:
Over the last few weeks, I’ve also been visiting many GP surgeries and Patient Participation Groups in Amber Valley to discuss the current state and future of general practice, and this Government’s proposed changes such as named doctors for over 75s and 7 day opening.
It’s useful to hear the views and concerns from the different perspectives of patients and doctors, and it’s fantastic to hear about the great work that Patient Participation Groups do, by liaising between patients and surgeries to try to ensure everyone gets the best possible experience and treatment.
Voices of Youth/FHL Taster Days:
I’m delighted to be supporting the Voices of Youth Community Rangers Taster Days at the start of August. The group are holding three taster days to highlight what they do and the ways they help local communities.
One of the main themes of the days will be housing, and so I will be discussing and explaining how politics and the introduction of new policies impact all aspects of housing.
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 Surgery – 7th August 2015
Alfreton Surgery – 14th August 2015
Langley Mill Surgery – 11th September 2015
Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above.
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 events in Amber Valley throughout the month.