Member of Parliament for Amber Valley


Ripley & Heanor Column – January 2016

It’s been a busy few weeks back in Parliament following the Christmas recess, with debates on energy, the new State Pension and housing; and it was in the Housing and Planning Bill that the new English Votes for English Laws system was used for the first time.

Alongside this, I held a Westminster Hall debate on the importance of hand hygiene in the NHS in light of the research and work of the Deb Group, who are based in Denby and are one of the leading providers of skincare and hand hygiene products.

Many of us will have seen the adverts, signs and gel dispensers as we enter GP surgeries and hospitals, and on every ward, asking us to keep washing or sanitising our hands to keep patients, staff and visitors safe from infections. These campaigns have helped, but it’s still shocking that patients in England have a 6.4% chance of contracting a healthcare associated infection in the NHS (according to 2011 data). This shows that more has to be done and I’m pleased that, as a result of my debate, the Minister has committed to working with local trusts to make hand hygiene inspections more effective and further increase awareness of how important and how many lives this simple practice can save!

In Amber Valley, I recently spoke at a Planning Inquiry to support many South Wingfield residents in their strong campaign against a proposed development on Inns Lane. I know that this planning application, for nearly 70 houses, is against the wishes of the local people and councillors, and I support their concerns that this would be an inappropriate major development of greenfield land which would irreparably alter the character of the area and harm the fantastic setting of Wingfield Manor.

To prevent these sorts of proposals, as I indicated in my last column, the priority for 2016 must be pushing Amber Valley Borough Council to progress their new local plan as soon as possible to ensure that we have a clear five-year housing supply focused on what you want for your area.

I’ve also been working with Job Centres, local Councils and employers to arrange a special Jobs Fair and Training Event, which will take place at Alfreton Leisure Centre on Friday, 29th January 2016 from 10am-3pm. Following the awful collapse of Leaderflush Shapland at the start of the year, with the terrible consequence that more than 400 local people were made redundant, I’m eager for those who lost their jobs, and their families, to again have the security of employment and a regular pay packet.

The event will be free and open to all to attend and trentbarton are kindly sponsoring the event by providing discounted bus vouchers to the venue on the day (these can be downloaded from my website at

I’m pleased that there are already more than 30 local employers already signed up, including Gowercroft Joinery, East Midlands Airport, Talk Staff Recruitment, trentbarton, Serco and Joseph Merritt Group PLC. Training providers such as Derby College, QA Associates and the Money Advice Service will also be there to offer advice and skills sessions. Any people and employers who are interested in attending or who would like further information can get in touch on the usual details, by emailing or calling 01773 744341.