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 upcoming events. You’ll also find the usual information about my columns and surgeries, and how to get in touch.
Amber Valley Jobs Fair Employment Success:
I was pleased to hold my fourth Jobs Fair recently to bring employers, training providers and jobseekers together.
More than fifty stallholders attended, including a range of local employers such as the Manthorpe Group, Owen Taylor & Son, Rock Fall UK, Filigree Holdings, HL Plastics, Deb, IKEA, Tesco, BPI Recycled Products, Birchwood Homecaring Services, UPS, McDonalds and Talk Staff Recruitment.
The fair also played host to education, training and apprenticeships providers such as the PeoplePlus, WEBS Training, NG Teach, Being Your Own Boss and QA Associates.
Seminars ran throughout the day offering advice on CV writing, job applications, money management advice, becoming self-employed and overcoming interview objections.
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event. I’m delighted that several constituents have already been employed as a result of the fair, and many more have been given trials or interviews for jobs, apprenticeships or training programmes. This means that even more people in Amber Valley have the security of a regular job and pay packet.
I will continue to hold Jobs Fairs and events so that even more businesses can come together to help more people find work and training opportunities. You can find more photos from the day here.
East Midlands Mainline Electrification Update:
Following the recent news that the work to electrify the Midland Mainline, which runs through the constituency, will be restarted, on Thursday 29th October, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to ensure the branch line that passes through Alfreton and Langley Mill stations is included in the plans. I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to continue to explore this option. However, I will continue to call on the Government to make sure all parts of the East Midlands will be able to take advantage of the potential investment, improved journey times and local job creation.
Nigel Mills MP: I welcome the unpausing of work on electrifying the Midland mainline. As most of that work will slip into the next control period, will the Secretary of State ensure that the line through Langley Mill and Alfreton is also electrified? That project has a robust business case and will improve the resilience of the whole line and services to my constituency.
Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin: As a member of the Public Accounts Committee, my hon. Friend heard evidence a few weeks ago from the chief executive of Network Rail. His point about looking at all the lines as a total is important, and I will bear his comments in mind.
Tax Credits Update:
There have also been significant developments on the Government’s proposals to change Tax Credits, which a number of you have contacted me about. This Government is committed to balancing the books and stabilising our economy, and reform to Tax Credits are necessary to get the welfare bill under control, as we promised at the Election. The Tax Credit system was intended to support those on the lowest of pay, however under the current arrangements, nine out of ten families qualify for means-tested payments – supporting people in a way that it was not intended and in effect subsidising many large employers to pay low wages. I therefore strongly welcome the Government’s efforts to move to a higher wage, low tax, lower welfare economy.
I do however have real concerns that the reforms, as set out, will have too harsh an impact on the lowest paid when introduced next year before the full impact of the National Living Wage and the Personal Allowance tax changes are in place. I would have voted last month to delay the changes if the House of Lords hadn’t already prevented the original proposals from proceeding. I therefore welcome that the Government are now looking at measures to mitigate the impact of the change.
Public Accounts Committee – Network Rail Enquiry:
As many of you will know, I currently serve as a member of the Public Accounts Select Committee, to which I was elected earlier this year. This Committee does incredibly important work, scrutinising the value for money of public spending, holding the government to account for the delivery of public services.
I am committed to ensuring tax payer money is spent properly and efficiently and I wanted to share further information about a recent inquiry the committee undertook that I know will be of great interest to my constituents – an inquiry into Network Rail.
Reliable and adequate rail infrastructure is an important concern for my constituents and it has always been an area I have paid particularly close attention to. In this session we were able to look very closely at Network Rail and how effectively its share of taxpayer money is spent. It is absolutely vital that we are able to hold Network Rail to account to assess whether value for money is prioritised.
You can read the evidence session and my contributions here or you can watch the session here. You can also read more about some of the other inquiries and reports the Committee has produced recently here.
Meeting with CQC and Monitor – Kings Mill Hospital
On Monday 2nd November, I met with representatives from the CQC and Monitor to discuss the most recent CQC inspection of Kings Mill Hospital, their findings and the next steps for improvement.
As many of you will know, the Sherwood Forest Trust has been in Special Measures since July 2013 following failings in patient care and hospital governance. Since then, the Trust has been subject to regulatory action by Monitor but has so far failed to make sufficient progress. This is very disappointing news and I know some of my constituents have contacted me to raise their concerns – I welcomed this opportunity to raise their concerns directly with those responsible for making the necessary improvements.
Monitor and the CQC are now agreed that the trust needs to work closely with a long-term partner to enable them to deliver the lasting improvements required. It is important that all steps to ensure lasting improvements are considered and I will continue to liaise closely with Monitor to ensure the Trust can provide a service which local people can rely on in the future.
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill
On Wednesday 21st October I moved an amendment to the Cities and Local Government Bill at the Bill’s committee stage. You can read my contributions to this stage of the Bill here.
This Bill makes provision for the election of mayors for areas and changes to local government structure to devolve new powers to local government from Central Government. In other areas of the country responsibility and funding for important issues like job creation, skills, housing, transport and even health have been proposed for devolution from Whitehall.
Whilst I welcome moves to redistribute power from Whitehall and allow for more decisions to be made by local government to meet local needs, I do have some concerns about the proposals to create a new level of Local Government with the creation of a Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Mayor. However, I moved an amendment to this Bill in order to give local people more of a say and greater consultation on what the future of representation in Derbyshire will look like.
As proposals for the devolution of power from Whitehall to local Government progress, I want to make sure these proposals reflect the desires of my constituents and I would welcome your thoughts.
Voices of Youth Community Rangers Visit to Parliament:
On Monday 26th October I welcomed the Voice of Youth Community Rangers to Parliament for a Tour of the Houses of Parliament. It was a pleasure to invite the group to Westminster to learn more about how the UK Government works and the history behind it.
As ever, I am more than happy to arrange tours of the Houses of Parliament for educational groups based in Amber Valley and for individual constituents. Please contact my office on 01773 744341 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more.
Local Business Visits:
Hallam Plastics Ltd:
I was pleased to visit Hallam Plastics Ltd, who are the UK’s foremost Structural Foam Injection Moulder, based in Langley Mill.
In practice, Hallam Plastics manufacture products for a wide variety of markets, including cash machine fronts, toilets, medical aids and stadium flooring!
It was fantastic to tour Hallam’s factory to see their range of innovative products and how they are manufactured. From this, it was great to see the new structural foam and injection moulding machines that the company have recently invested in as they continue to grow and expand their capacity.
You can find out more about Hallam Plastics and the products they offer here.
Amber Precast Ltd:
I was also delighted to recently visit Amber Precast Ltd. They specialise in Cast Stone and concrete items, producing standard ranges as well as bespoke goods for housing and flood defences.
Over the last few years, Amber Precast have been benefiting from the economic recovery, with the result that the business has a constantly expanding workforce, now with over 100 employees. To build on this they are also setting up brilliant new trainee and apprenticeship programmes. As well as growing in their housing, landscaping and construction industries, Amber Precast are now diversifying into highways, rail and even subsea protection!
It was a pleasure to tour their Somercotes base and to discuss the fantastic achievements and exciting future plans for the business. I hope to hear more on the company’s rapid expansion soon!
Find out more about Amber Precast here.
East Midlands Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting:
I was pleased to join the East Midlands Chamber for their monthly breakfast meeting at Futures Homescape’s base in Ripley.
During the breakfast meeting, we discussed issues such as the introduction of the National Living Wage, the ongoing devolution negotiations and local broadband connections. It was great to hear the views of local businesses on these policies and developments, and to highlight to them how these new initiatives will create additional growth and new jobs throughout the East Midlands.
Small Business Saturday Nominations:
This year’s Small Business Saturday will take place on the 5th December 2015. This is the third year of this great campaign which supports the 5 million small businesses in the UK.
More information on the campaign can be found here or on Twitter @SmallBizSatUk. Please also get in touch with me to nominate your favourite Amber Valley small business (or your business!) for them to be profiled and featured in the run up to the 5th December – and so that I can visit on the day!
Alfreton Walking Football Visit:
I was pleased to support the Alfretonians Walking Football Group with representatives from Mars UK as part of the FA Mars Just Play Programme.
It was great to take part in a game of walking football with the nineteen Alfretonians as well as Derbyshire County FA’s Chief Executive, Dawn Heron, and Julie Lovell, Mars UK’s Public Affairs Manager.
The FA Mars Just Play programme is a partnership between Mars and the FA that was launched in January 2010 to tackle the decline in adult football and promote regular exercise. Just Play also helps those involved to develop vital life skills, boost confidence, and challenge problems such as loneliness or isolation.
The Alfreton FA Mars Just Play session has grown quickly just over the last 10 months and now has 35 registered members who regularly attend on a Friday morning, with the result that the group have now officially become the “Alfretonians!”
The Alfretonians are setting a fantastic example: walking football is a great way to keep fit, active, and meet new people – and it’s definitely a lot harder than it initially looks!
You can find more about when and where your nearest walking football session is here.
Christmas Card Design Competition:
I’d like to remind you about my Amber Valley Christmas Card Design Competition 2015.
We’ve already received many entries, and the competition is open to all children aged 11 and under, who live within the Amber Valley constituency.
The winner and their school will be presented with a prize, and their design will be published on the front of my Christmas Card for 2015; four runners-up will also have their entries featured on the reverse of the card.
All designs should include the entrant’s name, age, school and residential address on the reverse of their design. All entries should then be submitted to my constituency office at Nigel Mills MP, Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, DE5 3EH. The closing date is this Friday, the 6th November 2015.
Good luck to all entrants and I look forward to seeing your designs soon!
Community News – Heage Windmill Visit:
As mentioned in my last newsletter, a ‘Trouble at the Mill’ appeal has been launched by Heage Windmill Society as severe wet rot was discovered in the Mill during an inspection, with the result that over £90,000 is needed to carry out the essential repairs.
I recently visited the attraction to see the problems for myself and discuss fundraising ideas and activities. I’m delighted that more than £17,000 has already been raised, and you can follow the progress of the campaign and fundraisers as well as finding out more here.
I hope that the desperately needed repairs to this iconic and loved landmark can be started soon, to enable flour to be milled and the sails to turn again next season!
East Midlands Ambulance Service need to urgently improve following disappointing performance:
Click here to read my comments following the further disappointing performance and failure to meet all target response times by the East Midlands Ambulance Service. Local people deserve emergency services that they can rely on and unless the EMAS can urgently make the necessary improvements to meet targets, it’s only right for alternative providers to be explored.
You can read my latest Derby Telegraph Columns, regarding the Midland Mainline Electrification update, here.
You can also find my latest Ripley & Heanor Column here, which focuses on my Jobs Fair and junior doctor contract reforms.
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:
- Somercotes Surgery – 13th November 2015
- Heanor Surgery – 20th November 2015
- Horsley Surgery – 4th December 2015
- Ripley Surgery – 11th December 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 news and events in Amber Valley throughout the month.