My major focus this week has been on how we can support Scunthorpe Hospital staff to turn our hospital around. All four Northern Lincolnshire MPs met with Health Minister Philip Dunne to press him to do all he can to give Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospital Trust the help it needs. I spoke to the new Chief Executive, Peter Reading who showed an impressive grasp of the challenge he has taken on. And I met with Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, the body charged to do all it can to provide the necessary support to square things up. Everyone is making the right noises. Time will tell if they can turn their good intentions into actions that impact positively on outcomes for patients and staff. Anything else is not acceptable! As Jim MacKey said it’s important MPs keep asking the right questions and are impatient for the necessary change in performance to happen. We owe that to our constituents, the hospital’s patients.
I continued arguing for fairer 16-19 funding at Education Questions and was rewarded with a poor answer from the Skills Minister, who is beginning to look out of her depth. We had a good meeting of the All Party Group for Sixth Form Colleges - another opportunity to strengthen the cross-party campaign. Locally it was good to visit Huntcliff Academy and thank Sue Bond for her brilliant service as head teacher since 2002 as she approaches her retirement. It was good to meet so many enthusiastic students and staff.
There was great enthusiasm about all things sugar at Slate Farm. I joined representatives of British Sugar (who make silver spoon sugar) and NFU Sugar to learn more about how important sugar beet is to local farmers like Robert Borrill. It was fascinating to hear about the opportunities and challenges facing sugar growers and manufacturers. There are 9,500 jobs directly linked to sugar production in the UK; most in the east of England, including our area. And recent surveys show that most people don’t realise that 60% of our sugar comes from UK grown sugar beet.
Finally it was good to catch up with Ongo and learn about how they are planning for the introduction of Universal Credit. They share my concern that there is a real risk that it will plunge more people into debt. Indeed research published over the weekend shows that is exactly what has happened so far. With the bigger roll out happening next month it is crucial that everyone works together to minimise the risk to people who move on to it. So I was furious when in answer to my written parliamentary question the Government confirmed that Conservative North Lincolnshire Council is the lowest spender of its Discretionary Housing Payments in the country. This is exactly what could be used to help tenants who get themselves into temporary trouble. I was pleased that when I raised it with senior council officers they appeared to take on board the need to have another look at what is going on. Let’s hope that results in using the money for what it’s intended – helping North Lincolnshire tenants.
My major focus this week has been on how we can support Scunthorpe Hospital staff to turn our hospital around. All four Northern Lincolnshire MPs met with Health Minister Philip...
Parliament is back in full swing, suddenly everything is flying at us again: constituents concerns, lobbyists pushing issues, me getting local issues and concerns back on the agenda and then - of course - the process of leaving the European Union. So it's been pretty full on!
It was good to meet with John Leggott's Principal and Grimsby's Franklin College Principal to hear first-hand how cuts in funding of 16-19 year olds are affecting college and school sixth forms. I led a very well attended debate on the issue, where MPs from all parties were urging the Government to respond positively to the joint campaign from Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Association of Colleges (AoC) and Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) to SupportOurSixthformers and deliver an immediate £200 per student uplift in funding whilst carrying out a fundamental review of sixth form funding. I also raised in Parliament my very real concern about how the changes to the British Steel Pension Scheme will affect local pensioners. I was promised a response from Government to my concerns. I am also writing to TATA and the BSPS Trustees to raise a number of questions from constituents who've contacted me.
It was good to join local nurses who came down to Westminster to protest at the Conservative Government's policies on nurses pay. I am very happy to echo their call to ScraptheCap on nurses pay. it was also good to join colleagues celebrating the birth of the National Education Union formed from a merger of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).
Worryingly Conservative North Lincolnshire Council is riding roughshod over local people's views across the patch. The decision to serve notice on Sandfield House has upset the mental health service locally and caused dismay amongst many service users. I was very pleased to join protesters on Saturday Morning and pleased to see the very positive response they were getting from local people. It would be good to think the Council would listen properly to concerns. Instead they look like they are taking steps to shut people up by significantly by reducing the number of unpaid, voluntary Town councillors for Bottesford and Kirton-in-Lindsey. They have given no reason for this attack on local representation. I can only guess that it is because these Town Councils do a good job on behalf of local people in campaigning against changes like the cuts in bus services carried out by Tory North Lincolnshire. Other people tell me the Conservative Council are trampling over them without listening to their concerns as they threaten to build on green open space or tell the market traders that they need to move out from their current location. Doing things to people rather than with them seems to be the new Conservative way!
It was good to visit Carisbrooke Manor and learn more about the excellent work of the Kapil Group of care homes locally. It is always good to learn from people at the sharp end of delivery what is working well and what the current challenges are. My visit to Oswald Road Medical Centre was equally illuminating. As always I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism of the staff I met. Finally it was wonderful to join North Lincolnshire Bangladesh Welfare Association for their wonderful, colourful Eid Mubarak celebrations at Scunthorpe Central Community Centre.
Parliament is back in full swing, suddenly everything is flying at us again: constituents concerns, lobbyists pushing issues, me getting local issues and concerns back on the agenda and then... Read more
I was delighted to champion the Starts at Home campaign that celebrates the role that supported housing continues to play in transforming people’s lives. I met with Creative Support who...
I was pleased to see that the sun held up for the long weekend – even if today it’s slightly damper outside. I’m sure that won’t have much of an impact on Scunthorpe United under 21s as we play Sunderland this evening.
Universal Credits will start rolling out in our area from October which is already causing some concern for local residents getting in touch with my office. I understand that from October only new claims will be processed as Universal Credits.
One particular area of concern for me is how Housing Benefit will change as part of the transition and I have concerns for renters and landlords. My staff will be attending a training day this week to see how we can best support people through the transition period.
It was GCSE result day on Thursday which saw parents and pupils alike interpreting the new 1 – 9 grades and the old A* - U. Under the new system the best grade to be awarded is a 9 with a C grade being around a 4 or a 5. I did see someone on my Facebook suggest next time we change the grades we use Emojis but I think that’s a long way off for now!!
64% of pupils across North Lincolnshire achieved Grade 4 pass in both English and maths, with 40% achieving the higher Grade 5 in both subjects. Congratulations to all the pupils who did receive their results and we should also pay tribute to the teachers and parents for the crucial role they played in these achievements.
Looking ahead to my debate in Parliament next week I was very interested to hear from the Sixth Form College Association that the cuts made to 16-19 funding in 2011, 2013 and 2014 have proved particularly damaging. For example, the average Sixth Form College lost 17% of its funding before inflation – a figure that masks the plight of some institutions that lost a third of their funding between 2011 and 2016.
Education funding has long been one of my areas of focus but I am keen to hear from you on what you think my priorities should be as we start this new Parliament. Any suggestions you have are welcome so that together we can make a difference locally. Please do share any views you have with me via my website: http://www.nicdakin.com/have_your_say
I was pleased to see that the sun held up for the long weekend – even if today it’s slightly damper outside. I’m sure that won’t have much of an...
I am pleased to continue support for local Women Against State Pension Inequality Waspi. Nationally, there are moves to support the use of a Labour Party Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons to consider WASPI and to force a vote on the issue – this will put more pressure on the Government who will not want to face an embarrassing first defeat in the new Parliament.
I am keen to hear from you on what you think my priorities should be as we start this new Parliament. Any suggestions you have are welcome so that together we can make a difference locally.
The things that seem most pressing to me at the moment are listed below. I am keen to hear your views on these issues or anything else you think I should be focusing on.
Scunthorpe Hospital and our local health services
Battling for steel and other local businesses
A fair pension deal for 1950s born women
Scunthorpe Town Centre
Fair funding for our schools, colleges and nurseries
To learn more about my thoughts and to let me know what you think visit my website: have_your_say
The Dog’s Trust continue with an effective campaign regarding ‘puppy smuggling’, which many local residents have contacted me about.
The campaign seeks to tackle the abuse of the current pet travel legislation and the number of undeclared dogs entering Great Britain every day, abusing the present Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
These puppies are often underage, with fraudulent veterinary records and transported for days in unsuitable conditions only to be sold via online adverts to unsuspecting members of the public.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) are heading up their campaign entitled ‘Please Keep Our Pubs Afloat’ seeking to address pub and job losses by looking at a freeze on beer duty for the lifetime of the present government and for business rate relief for pubs.
On a more local theme, I was presented with a petition by North Lincolnshire’s Councillor Tony Gosling (Member for Kingsway with Lincoln Gardens) signed by members right across the Scunthorpe Constituency regarding the Council’s intention to remove the moat surrounding The Pods Leisure Centre.
Petitioners point out that The Pods Moat compliments Scunthorpe Central Park and the Appleby Frodingham Works Sports Complex creating “a pleasing and relaxing ambience to the whole area” and as such the moat should be retained and maintained to satisfactory wild life and environmentally standard.
I was happy to support the petitioners’ initiative and therefore made my own representation to North Lincolnshire Council in addition.
I am pleased to continue support for local Women Against State Pension Inequality Waspi. Nationally, there are moves to support the use of a Labour Party Opposition Day Debate...