What do you think about the availability and cost of housing?

One of the main problems facing people in Britain today is the availability and cost of housing. Many people have told me that they are really struggling to buy or rent a property in the current market. They are anxious about the risks of losing their home and the lack of security in their leases. Many parents are worried also about the ability of their children to find and afford somewhere to live when they become adults.

Labour is committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 if we form the next government. We will also regulate the private rental sector by banning ‘letting agent fees’ on tenants and legislating to make three-year tenancies standard for those who rent their homes in the private sector. We’ll act on unpredictable rent rises too by putting a ceiling on excessive rent increases during the period of these longer-term tenancies. I believe that a more stable rental market will be good for both tenants and landlords.

I’d like to hear what you think and about your current housing situation – whether you own or rent. I would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey below and let me know what you thinking about housing in your area.


Corby demands fair funding for healthcare

Today I spoke in Parliament to demand fair funding for healthcare in Corby, highlighting a recent report from the National Audit Office that says the town is the worst funded area of England for healthcare.

The report, which can be read here, shows that Corby receives £186 less per person per year than the allocation that NHS England says it needs. It is officially recognised by the NAO as the worst funded area of England for healthcare.

It is totally wrong that health services in Corby are being starved of funds. How can it be right that people in Chelsea or in Kensington in West London are allocated £694 per person extra a year for health funding? Corby Healthcare is doing a good job of managing with limited funds in some areas, such as the new Urgent Care Centre, but other services are having to be cut back.

The problem is even more acute than the National Audit Office suggests because the allocation decisions do not take account of population growth. Corby is a fast growing town with the highest birth rate in England.

I am calling on the government to fund Corby Healthcare at the target amount next year. We are not asking for a rebate for underfunding in previous years, although that would be welcome, but it is a basic question of fairness that Corby should be funded according to needs.

In the coming months I will be asking local people to join my campaign for fair health funding and together we will demand that the government listens and ends the injustice of filling the coffers of health commissioners in wealthy areas at the expense of Corby. Read the rest of this entry »


Bill Busters: cut your energy bills

bill busters

I am working with Corby Borough Council, Electric Corby and the Corby Telegraph to organise an event that will help you lower your utility bills.  We have all the main energy firms coming – including EDF, British Gas, Eon, NPower and Scottish Power, along with Anglian Water, uSwitch, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and more.

This event is free and is taking place 10 – 3pm on Friday 3 October in James Ashworth Square.

I really hope you are able to take this opportunity to come along and get practical help for lowering your bills or switching suppliers.

If you cannot make it on the day but are still interested I will be collecting the contact details of all the firms and making those available.

Finally, I would also recommend that you come along bring a copy of a recent energy bill so that you can speak to your current provider to see if they can get a better deal, and also speak to some of the other firms who will be there on the day to see what they have to say.

Please fill in this short form to let me know you’re attending.


What do you think about bus services across Corby and East Northamptonshire?

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I have secured a 90 minute debate in Parliament on Tuesday 17th June on Bus Services. I will be highlighting issues across Corby and East Northamptonshire, such as Northamptonshire County Council cutting subsidies for bus services more than any other council in the country and the impact this has had on local residents.

Please fill in the short survey below and let me know what you think about local bus services.

 

 


Policing in Corby & East Northants survey

police survey

Corby has become much safer over the past decade and crime has fallen. Just lately, however, there has been a worrying number of violent crimes.

I believe that our local police and PCSOs are doing their best with the resources they have. Nevertheless, many residents have expressed concerns to me about police presence, response times and related issues such as poor streetlighting and the need for CCTV in some areas.

One of the biggest concerns that I have is about the future of Corby Police Station. The Northants PPC has said that it is outdated and that he plans to close it. The wind-down has already started. For example, the police have been told recently to take suspected criminals to Northampton to be charged and detained, instead of using Corby. This is a waste of valuable police time and takes police away from the town.

If Corby police station is closed, then this will only get worse.

I strongly believe that Corby needs an operational police station and I am determined to fight for this.

I would like to know if you agree with my campaign to retain an operational police station in Corby and also to hear your feedback about other policing and community safety issues. Please would you fill in the survey below, or click here to open it in a new window.


What you told me about local NHS services

Thank you to everyone who responded to my recent survey on local NHS services. I really appreciate it that you took the time to let me know what you think.

The main conclusions from the survey are:

  • 95% of people supported my cross-party campaign to improve hospital services in our area
  • Many of you have used the NHS in the last 12 months – in particular GP services – and I’m glad to say that over 90% of you were satisfied with the treatment you received
  • Some people had experienced long waiting times and phone lines being engaged when trying to book a GP surgery appointment
  • Access to ‘out of hours’ services was seen to be problematic and a number of people expressed frustration with both the new 111 NHS telephone service and the inadequate arrangements for GP cover provided by your surgery
  • There was a high level of concern about the increasing privatisation of services. 71% of people were in favour of bringing services that have previously been privatised back into the NHS and only 7% were happy to see more privatisation.

Going forward, I will continue the cross party hospital improvements campaign, and I will take up the issues about GP appointments and out of hours cover with the local clinical commissioning group and ask them to let me know how they will work together with local surgeries to improve access to services.

Funding is always a critical issue of course and I very much support Ed Miliband’s announcement this week that a future Labour government will guarantee that all patients will be able to get a GP appointment within 48 hours. There will be an extra £100 million a year to achieve this massive improvement in standards funded mainly by the savings it will lead to in other health budgets, such as reducing visits to A&E.

Thank you once again for getting in touch. Please do not hesitate to contact me to share your views or ask for help. The easiest way to contact me is to call 01536 264194 or email andy.sawford.mp@parliament.uk. I also hold regular surgeries in Corby, Irthlingborough, Raunds, Thrapston and Oundle. Please telephone or email me for further details. 


Corby wins Assisted Area Status

I have been informed today by the government that Corby will become an Assisted Area for the purpose of receiving additional support from the European Union.

Assisted area status makes local businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and tax breaks to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery and grow. Programmes in England include the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain initiative.

Four years ago the Tory County Council and Tory MP for the town failed to effectively back Corby to become an Assisted Area. This left the town locked out of opportunities to get vital help for the local economy. As Corby’s MP I have campaigned for my constituency be to designated an Assisted Area, working closely with Corby Borough Council and the two Local Enterprise Partnerships serving the area. I am delighted that our combined efforts for Assisted Area Status have been successful.

When I backed the bid by Fairline Boats for money from the Regional Growth Fund the government turned it down because we were not in an Assisted Area. The same thing happened when I supported the bid by Benteler Automotive for funds from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain initiative.

For the past four years Corby has been at a competitive disadvantage to other areas of the country, despite having higher levels of unemployment and a need for support.

I will now be lobbying the European Commission to approve the re-drawn Assisted Area map, and pressing both the EU and the government to work with me, the council and local businesses to ensure vital help and support flows to Corby and East Northamptonshire.