It has been a busy week so please read on!
Have a great weekend.
As ever, Anna
I held a debate in Parliament calling for lifts to be installed at Beeston Station. The lack of access for the disabled and people with buggies or even heavy luggage is completely unacceptable. I am confident an application will now be made to the Government’s £300 million “Access for All” fund.
Beeston Station serves over half a million passengers a year but if you have a disability and want to switch platforms, the advice from National Rail is “get a taxi”. The Chair of Friends of Beeston Station (FOBS), Trish Roberts-Thomson, came to Parliament (on the train from Beeston Station) to watch the debate and my thanks to everyone in the group for their campaign. You can see the full debate here and Central News broadcast an excellent report which I hope you will watch.
Lloyds Bank on Derby Road is set to close in January next year. According to Lloyds there has been a 10% fall in the number of people using the bank – they say only 48 people use it on a regular weekly basis. Lloyds assure me none of the four staff roles will be subject to compulsory redundancy.
It is of course very disappointing that Lloyds has taken this decision. There are banking services at the Post Office in Sean’s Shop and many people will be particularly concerned about any loss of the cash machines (which more people are using). Here lies much of the problem – many people are banking online and even those of us who have yet to master it rarely visit our bank. Most of us use cash machines and some banks are now reporting that even that usage is declining as we move increasingly to a ‘cash-less” society.
I believe our priority is to ensure Stapleford doesn’t have another empty building. I have already met the Leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Cllr Richard Jackson, who has given an assurance that the Borough will do all it can to find a new occupant.
Aldi say they are still in discussions with a potential developer for their site on Pinfold Lane in Stapleford. They will also be submitting a ‘reserved matters’ planning application to Broxtowe Borough Council in relation to the housing part of the development shortly. I am pleased the matter is progressing however I will continue to encourage Aldi to get on with the development as soon as possible. This includes requesting a debate in Parliament. I will let you know when I receive any updates.
Minister gives assurances on disability funding and assessments
Esther McVey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has assured me that PIP assessment concerns are taken seriously and assessors are held to account. I have had a number of constituency cases where initial assessments have been woeful and overturned on appeal. The assessments are carried out by people employed by Capita. I met Esther to discuss the cases on Tuesdayand she explained that from now on all assessments would be videoed to ensure disabled people get the benefits they need.
Repeat assessments for people with severe lifelong conditions will be reduced to a minimum of every ten years.
Esther told me that the Government is not imposing targets on Capita in order to keep costs down and pointed out that when DLA moved over to PIP in 2013, the amount paid out in benefit was £12 billion which has risen to £16 billion
I had a great visit to William Lilley Infant and Nursery School in Stapleford where Head Teacher Sally Beardsley and her team are doing an excellent job. In particular, they have a fresh approach to children with special needs; they have space for 8 children with advanced special needs who learn separately and alongside mainstream pupils. The approach has already been successful and it of course benefits mainstream pupils who learn empathy for others at an early age. There are currently 4 places for under 8’s with high level needs.
Beeston town centre boost as plans get approved
Beeston is all set for an exciting town centre development which includes a cinema and restaurants. Broxtowe Borough Council has passed plans which will boost the town’s evening economy, create jobs and include 132 new homes.
I met Homes England this week to see how they could help with delays on building new homes in Broxtowe. I raised various sites with them including Field Farm in Stapleford and Beeston Business Park. Both of these sites have planning permission for many hundreds of new homes but there has been little progress. Homes England agreed to make full enquiries and will report back to me.
Unemployment continues to fall
The total number of unemployed claimants in Broxtowe has fallen to 815 – that’s 1.7% of 18 – 64 year olds deemed able to work (the national average is 2.9%). Unemployment is also falling amongst young people in Broxtowe.
Funding boost for Nottingham’s Hospitals
The Department for Health has announced £145 million of investment to help prepare our hospitals for the winter. As part of the scheme, Nottingham’s QMC and City hospitals have been allocated £6.4 million to increase the number of beds over winter.
It was my absolute pleasure to attend Saturday’s official opening of Bramcote’s ‘sunken’ church which has been newly renovated thanks to the Bramcote Old Church Tower Trust.
The Trust secured over £350,000 of Heritage Lottery funding and their considerable efforts mean the Grade II Listed building has been restored for the community and turned into a wonderful visitor centre. A huge congratulations to everyone who made this possible.
Over 50 constituents came to Westminster on Monday for a tour of Parliament. My thanks to everyone who came along as well as my team who did an excellent job of organising the trip. We do two tours a year and I will send out the Christmas details in the next few weeks.
Anyone can visit Parliament and we will always help you book your own tour. Please let me know if you or a group of people are interested. It is your Parliament!
It was a pleasure to meet Susan Martin of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire People’s Vote Campaign. A growing number of people Remain and leave voters take the view that whatever deal we strike with the EU it’s right the electorate should vote on it. Please read more and join the People’s Vote campaign here.