Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Scunthorpe County Constituency

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An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change.  And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that.  Constituents, local businesses and other organisations head a list that includes professional lobbyists as well as amateur enthusiasts.  One mechanism is the ten minute rule bill – a slot of prime time in the House of Commons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where an individual MP can speak for 10 minutes on a particular issue without interruption. Theoretically a colleague can speak against, though this rarely happens.

Occasionally there is a vote.  When there is a speech against and/or a vote it’s really a bit of theatre to draw more attention to the issue as both Government and Opposition front benches usually stay out of the vote which the Government has no obligation to take any notice of!  Theoretically the ‘Bill’ will then be listed for further consideration on a sitting Friday though everyone knows it will never be debated again before finally falling off the future agenda as this session of Parliament concludes and a new Queen’s Speech sets out the Government of the Day’s next chapter of legislation.  So why does any MP bother with a ten minute rule bill at all?  More particularly why have I claimed the slot on 28th February to go through the rigmarole of preparing a draft bill and accompanying speech? 

I have presented two previous ten minute rule bills.  In both cases I worked with outside bodies so that my bill was part of a wider campaign.  I worked with the charity Sue Ryder on the first bill which sought to exempt hospices from certain VAT costs.  This was accompanied by various other pressures on Government including parliamentary questions and meetings with ministers.  Although the bill went nowhere a measure was incorporated soon after in to a Government Bill to make the very changes in the law that my bill was looking for. 

Likewise with my bill to give 16-18 year olds who attend colleges the same right to free school meals as those that attend schools sixth forms.  After working with the Association of Colleges, using my bill as part of a strong cross-party campaign the Government changed the rules so that students attending colleges like John Leggott and North Lindsey in my constituency are no longer discriminated against in their entitlement to free school meals. 

My bill next week will argue that colleges should have access to school students in their schools to talk to them about the options available.  For the last 6 years we have been going backwards in the quality of careers information, advice and guidance available to our young people.  Sadly some schools put barriers in the way of their students learning about options other than their sixth form.  This is not in the students’ interest and it is not in the country’s interest.  Hopefully the Government will be listening again and will before very long adopt my latest ten minute rule bill into law.  And by doing so they will be benefiting young people across our great country!

My article for the Lincolnshire Reporter February 2017

An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change.  And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that.  Constituents,...

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I am encouraging local schools to compete in the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition – The UK Rocketry Challenge.  Schools can register now for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid-trip to the Paris Airshow.

This week in Parliament I joined the winning UK secondary schools from 2015 and 2016, to find out how schools in Scunthorpe can become this year’s champions and perhaps even the next generation of rocket scientists. 

The UK Rocketry Challenge involves the design, build and launch of a model rocket with the aim of ensuring the passenger - one raw egg - remains intact throughout the launch and landing. The rocket must reach 775 feet with specific target flight duration of 41-43 seconds. Rules governing the competition are altered every year to ensure designs can’t be repeated.

The national final champions win an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, to represent the UK in a fly off against teams from the USA, Japan and France at the Paris International Airshow in June 2017.

The UK Rocketry Challenge provides students a unique opportunity to apply what they have learnt in science, technology, engineering and maths and gain highly valued skills. The competition is a great chance for students to apply their skills creatively whilst also having a lot of fun.

GO SKY HIGH WITH NATIONAL ROCKETRY COMPETITION

I am encouraging local schools to compete in the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition – The UK Rocketry Challenge.  Schools can register now for the chance to win an...

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related industries has published a report it commissioned into the future of the steel industry in the UK.

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The document, titled ‘Steel 2020’, is the product of an inquiry conducted in collaboration with the University of Leeds Business School. Testimony was collected from industry experts ranging from business leaders, R&D specialists, and the workforce, through to the European Commission, international trade body representatives, politicians, and local authorities.

Seven key areas of policy and regulatory reform have been identified, setting out key recommendations for the Government to incorporate into its industrial strategy.

1.     A radical reshaping of the energy market to reduce uncompetitive energy costs faced by the steel industry, improving energy efficiency and spreading out the burden of decarbonisation policies.

 

2.     Ensuring free and fair international trade by developing a clear UK post-Brexit trade strategy to minimise uncertainty. This should include trade defence instruments against Chinese dumping, as well as maintaining single market access vital to steel and related sectors such as automotive.

 

3.     A positive procurement policy to ensure domestic steel is used as far as possible in public projects, including enforceable rules and greater use of the ‘Kite Mark’ certification system

 

4.     A national review of business rates, removing the perverse incentives that punish investment in capital by steel producers, while compensating Local Authorities to ensure no loss of income.

 

5.     Supporting supply and value chains within steel and the wider manufacturing sector. The Government should take a more strategic view, incentivising key areas of supply chains to re-shore in the UK so fewer steel products are exported abroad for final processing.

 

6.     For advanced economies like the UK, industry needs constant innovation to improve productivity and remain competitive. The Government must take a strategic role in supporting R&D and upskilling of the workforce, while also ensuring support for skills retention and “short time working” tied to training and up skilling, enabling companies to respond to fluctuations in the market without cutting jobs. The report calls on the government to provide support for investment by creating a National Bank for industry. A Steel Catapult is essential to provide a base for new ideas and the report calls on the Government to override vested interests to support this.

 

7.     A more collaborative relationship between industry and the trade unions, working together to develop a national industrial strategy which includes worker representation on boards. The report also calls on the Government to provide financial support for mothballing in incidents of plant closure and for the workers made redundant to ensure skills are not lost.

The report from the cross party group of MPs representing steelmaking communities offers a blueprint for how the UK Government and the devolved administrations could reshape policy to turn the fortunes of the steel industry around.

Steel is a ‘key foundation industry’ crucial to a ‘renaissance for British manufacturing. It is though at risk from ‘a future of perpetual crisis and decline’ if the trading and regulatory environment is not reformed to allow a cutting edge industry to thrive.

Steel 2020

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related industries has published a report it commissioned into the future of the steel industry in the UK.  


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