This week I was joined in Parliament by local parents Lucie Middleton and Jan Mears and together we attended the launch of a report about the number of children with autism being wrongly excluded from school. I was pleases to sign the Ambitious about Autism pledge to work to improve education for young people with autism. Lucie and Jan are leading the Green Horizons project locally which aims to provide their children with a safe place where they can develop their agricultural skills and have a nurturing, therapeutic environment in which they can also develop their social skills.
I recently visited the Corby Army Reserves Centre. Reservists have a very important role alongside our regular forces in conflict, peace keeping and humanitarian work. The man briefing me in the picture is WO2 Simons of 118 Rec Company who trains Corby reservists. He won a medal for recovering a tank from a battlefield working under fire for 9 hours. I asked the reservists and regulars that I met to keep in touch with me and let me know if there is any way I can support them.
Dualling the A45 is a high priority in the East Northamptonshire area. This will support the economy and improve journey times for local residents. I know there is often congestion in this area and the high lorry usage means that journeys are often slow and can be dangerous when people overtake along this narrow stretch of road.
This week Cllr Steven North, the conservative leader of East Northamptonshire District Council, and I met the Minister for Transport and told him that that now is the time to invest in the A45. We highlighted that the impact of local growth, such as new distribution companies, new housing and potential new retail at Rushden Lakes, will mean more people using this road and this is why dualling is even more critical.
The road, which is dualled from Northampton to Stanwick, carries a high volume of traffic but congestion is frequently caused on the single carriageway stretch between Stanwick and the A14 at Thrapston.
The Department for Transport told me they were investigating accidents on the roads following 6 recent serious incidents. The Minister promised to look further at our plans and raise them with the Highways Agency who are currently reviewing the business case for road improvement schemes in the county.
Cllr North and I agreed to take up the matter at a county level with the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, which has a role in determining priorities for local road improvement.
I’m pleased that Cllr North and I are working together in a cross-party effort to make sure the government and the Highways Agency know how important this is to our area.
Families across Corby and East Northamptonshire are struggling as they face the largest cost of living crisis in a generation.
Wages have gone up slower than prices for the last three years. Many people are struggling to make ends meet. The biggest complaint I hear is about the increasing cost of gas and electricity bills.
Recent figures show that since 2011, the wholesale cost of energy has risen at an average rate of 1.6 per cent a year but the Big 6 have increased prices by an average of 10.4 per cent a year.
And it is not just residents who are struggling with the rising costs of energy. Our local business and local council services suffer too. Small and medium businesses list energy prices as one of their biggest financial strains; and when the council heats Corby International Pool or turns on the lights at the heritage centre, energy companies profit and tax payers pay again.
This cannot be right. So for the sake of local services, businesses and local people I am backing a 20 month freeze to energy prices and will be urging the Government to do the same.
Do you support my campaign to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months? Please let me know if you back my campaign by clicking here and completing a short survey to tell me more about what you think.
Solway Foods have announced that a 45 day statutory consultation period on the future of their operations at Corby has begun, putting 900 jobs at risk of redundancy.
I have spoken with representatives of Solway Foods today. My thoughts are with the 900 strong workforce who will now all be very worried about the future of their jobs. This news comes as a shock. Solway operate in a very competitive market, they have recently lost some customers and they tell me the Corby site is ageing. Solway have told me that they will consider all possibilities, including options for staying in Corby, and I have offered to help in anyway I can.
I have arranged urgent talks with Solway’s Chief Executive, Veepul Patel at 10.00 on Monday morning (10th February).
It is a year since I launched a cross-party campaign with the MPs for Kettering and Wellingborough to save and improve services at Kettering General Hospital, which serves my constituents. This is a review of our campaign and looks forward to our priorities for 2014.
In August of 2012 I learnt of the Healthier Together review of five hospitals: Kettering, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton and Dunstable. At a presentation I attended the review team outlined their preferred option for the future of hospital services, which was to downgrade Accident and Emergency, in-patient paediatrics for children, and obstetrics and maternity at 2 out of the 5 hospitals. Read the rest of this entry »
Taking action on recruitment agencies is one of my 6 pledges.
Information I obtained today in answer to a Parliamentary Question shows that penalties have been levied on two Corby agencies for failing to pay wages properly to local workers as part of my ongoing local campaign.
I have been working closely with the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate and Her Majesties Revenue and Customs to take action where local agencies are abusing employees. Investigations have been taking place in twelve local agencies, two are now completed and ten are ongoing.
In the two agencies where the investigations have concluded, they have received automatic penalty charges totalling £1532 and workers have been repaid wages totalling £3154. These cases Read the rest of this entry »