Member of Parliament for Amber Valley


Ripley & Heanor News Column

As published in the Ripley & Heanor, Thursday 30th October 2014

We’ve had some great news on the economy over the past couple of weeks, with the JSA claimant count confirmed as 2.2% in Amber Valley in September, compared to 3% last year and 4.9% when I was elected – that’s a fall of more than half since I was elected. I promised to get Amber Valley back in to work during the election campaign, and so far I’ve delivered on that pledge through holding two Jobs Fairs and supporting SMEs taking on more staff, but there’s much more to do.

If we’re to get to the Chancellor’s vision of full employment, we must stick to our long-term economic plan and see that the job is done.

Many of you reading this will be aware that I’ve been campaigning to get the Personal Allowance in Income Tax increased to over £12,000 – meaning nobody working a 30-hour week on the National Minimum Wage, which has just increased to £6.50 – would pay the tax. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Prime Minister announced at the Conservative Party Conference that we’ll increase the allowance to £12,500 over the course of the next parliament, providing the savings can be found. This will mean nobody working a 30-hour week on the Minimum Wage will pay any Income Tax at all, and it’ll deliver a further tax cut for the rest of us.

Locally, we saw great news last week with the confirmation that Heanor Hospital is to be rebuilt – a £2.5m investment and enhancement of services. This is great news, especially since 4,000 of my constituents joined me in petitioning Parliament to ensure health services are enhanced, not diminished. You can read more on my web site at

I’m so grateful to those of you that signed my petition to help make this happen.

As you may be aware, the Labour-controlled Amber Valley Borough Council passed its Local Plan last Wednesday night. Many people attended the meeting and were allowed to discuss points for up to three minutes, with many left waiting outside in the rain without having had their chance to speak.

If the Council is aiming to get the Local Plan right in terms of engagement with the people, it is going in the wrong direction. The chosen approach that the Council has taken is undemocratic and not localised. We need to involve local communities in planning so that they take ownership of it, if we’re to build all the houses we need.