My Newsletter 15/12/17

Welcome to my latest newsletter as Member of Parliament of Nottingham North.

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, I headed to Festive Firbeck on Sunday, which was an awful lot of fun despite the cold weather. As we edge closer and closer to the holiday period, there’s a lot of Parliamentary business still to be done, with Brexit taking centre stage as you can tell, but this week again I was once again fortunate to be able to spend a decent chunk of time in the constituency, for meetings and one or two Christmas socials!

That wasn’t all I got up to this week though, with my first Prime Ministers’ Question earlier on in the week amongst much more. Read on to find out more about that…

As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Holding the Prime Minister to account

Although the Prime Minister answers questions on a weekly basis while Parliament is sitting, these are understandably popular so it’s very rare to be selected to ask one. So when I was selected for the first time this week, I had to think long and hard about how best to take the opportunity, in the end choosing to build upon Tuesday’s debate (which I’ll go into more detail on below) to highlight the threats to Domestic Violence refuges that Women’s Aid say are a likely result of the Government’s proposed changes to short-term housing support.

Nottingham has four such refuges for those who need them in their darkest times but the Government’s current plans for them have two key flaws, so I asked the Prime Minister whether she will step in, especially given she personally launched the Government’s Ending Violence Against Women And Girls Strategy as Home Secretary in 2016.

You can watch a clip of the PMQ here.

Women’s Refuge Centres

On Tuesday, I spoke in Parliament against proposed changes to the way the Government is funding women’s refuge centres.

There are two flaws in the current plan proposed by the Minister:

  • Firstly, grouping refuge provision with other short-term housing services. Refuges fulfil a completely different function to these other services – such as for those with substance abuse issue or care leavers. Aggregating refuges with other such services risks them disappearing from proper commissioning processes and getting lost.
  • Secondly, local devolution of the funding for these services. I am a big fan of devolution. I believe that decisions should be taken at their lowest appropriate level. However, the lowest appropriate level for refuge provision is not at the local authority. As much as domestic violence services are a complex local ecosystem they have a significant impact on each other across local boundaries. For a woman in Nottingham fleeing a violent relationship, the safest place for her may well be Birmingham.

And it’s not just local authority funded refuge provision that I fear for. We have a fourth refuge that is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. We know that DCLG have committed to £40m of supported funding between 2016 and 2020 for organisations such as this and Nottingham Central Women’s Aid benefited from this. What we don’t know is what happens with the next element of funding. I understand that the DCLG do not want to allocate the 18-20 funding until they have evaluated or audited the previous funding round. And that’s a sensible idea. But why haven’t they done that already? The NWCA is at a cliff edge – when will Ministers be able to let them know if they will stay open?

I know that some things take long time to change. However, what we’re talking about today doesn’t take time to change. Publishing funding decisions could be done this week. Moving away from this dangerous new model of funding could be done on the 23rd of January. I strongly encouraged ministers to do so – the cost of not doing so is so great.

You can see my whole speech here.

Busy days in Nottingham

Today and yesterday I’ve spent in Nottingham, with a great mix of events thanks to the festive season bringing out a wonderful range of social activities. It wasn’t all fun and games though. Here’s what I got up to:

  • I had meetings with John Dexter and Chris Henning, who work for Nottingham City Council, to discuss how we can continue to work together in each of their specialist areas, local schools and economic development respectively
  • Last night I attended a political Christmas social
  • This morning I visited Bilborough Sixth-Form College, where I was treated to a tour of the facilities by Chris Bradford, the Principal, and met with members of the National Education Union too, with both of whom I discussed the issues they’re facing and what I can do to assist from my role as Member of Parliament
  • This was followed by an interesting meeting with Nottingham Citizens this afternoon. Nottingham Citizens is an alliance made up of 36 organisations across the city, including trade unions, faith groups, charities, schools and universities, so give a truly representative view of the city’s important issues. The issues we discussed included hate crime and homelessness, the latter being particularly pressing with this weather. Leaving people on the streets as temperatures get below freezing is simply unacceptable.
  • And this afternoon I have another Christmas political social before heading to Bulwell Riverside for my final surgery of the year. As always, you can get in touch with my office on 0115  975 2377 if you’d like to talk to me about something at a surgery in the new year.

Other Parliamentary Engagements

Debates on Brexit (focused on deficiencies in retained EU law and implementing the withdrawal agreement, the key moment of which was defeating the Government to ensure that Parliament gets a meaningful vote at the end of negotiations, and thus maintaining vital Parliamentary Sovereignty on the issue) and the Finance Bill have taken up a lot of the time this week, but this is what else I got up to that I haven’t already mentioned:

  • I met with the new Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, Professor Shearer West, along with my fellow Nottinghamshire MPs. This was my first chance to talk to her since she took the post, so it was great to discuss our shared priorities for the City and discuss how we can all work together in the future.
  • I attended the launch of Action Cerebral Palsy’s Identify, Intervene, Impact campaign, which is aiming to increase the focus on how we can improve outcomes for children with cerebral palsy. This was also a great opportunity to discuss the current quality of care for sufferers of Cerebral Palsy in Nottingham’s hospitals.
  • I met with Union Reps from TUC and made a commitment, by signing the TUC ‘Dying to Work charter, to support and protect any of their employees who become terminally ill. It is shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work. I hope local businesses will consider following suit.
  • I had my regular meeting with my fellow Co-Op MPs to discuss the work we’re doing together
  • And I met with the Kennel Club, to discuss how I can support their campaigns around irresponsible dog ownership!

Next week’s newsletter will be the last of the year – and something of a roundup of all my best work so far!

What’s On

I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.

Christmas Concert
A concert in Celebration of Christmas by The Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers directed by BM WO1 Simon Kerwin
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Tonight, 15th December, 7:30pm
Tickets £6.00 or pay on the door. For more information tel 01159161787

Drop In Café
All welcome for a free cuppa and biscuit, and a place to sit and have a chat
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Community Centre, Brooklyn Rd, Bulwell NG6 9ES
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reform Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-3pm

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

Bulwell Connectors
Free monthly group developing opportunities for more art in public places in Bulwell. With trips to galleries and hands-on creative workshops, this group is for local people who want to be arts champions for Bulwell. Facilitated by Nottingham Contemporary associate artist Gillian Brent
Bulwell Riverside, Community Room 2
2nd Tuesday every month, 6-8pm
For further info: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com

Crafty Ladies
Bring along a project, or learn to do something new.
St Martins Church, St Martin’s Rd, Off Strelley Rd, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Every Wednesday, 11am – 2pm
50p, for further info: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.ukinfo@stmartinsbilborough.uk

Crochet Clinic
Community Room at Tesco Bulwell, Jennison St, NG6 8EQ (upstairs near the cafe)
First Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm–8:30pm
£5 (covers refreshments and materials)
For further info: www.apriltowriess.co.ukhello@apriltowriess.co.uk

 

Recently I’ve told you about the great work being done by Opportunity Nottingham, with Big Lottery Fund support, to improve the lives of people who are experiencing multiple and complex needs. Since then I’ve been informed by the Big Lottery Fund that in the last 3 months alone they’ve also funded a further 4 projects in Nottingham North, to the tune of £371,558. Most of this has gone to Next Steps, who are working with 9-13-year-olds in Bulwell to provide safe spaces in the community where they can come together and get involved in stimulating activities, discuss their anxieties, their ambitions and develop skills for living. The other three projects that have been funded are by The Learning Zone, ‘Woodpeckers’ and Broxtowe Mothers Action Group. These groups all have amazing projects planned for different groups in our community.

 

Sound as a Pound have asked me to advertise their 2-day finance ‘Money Talks’ courses in Nottingham. Transport and lunch are both provided, attendees will receive a £10 gift voucher for each day and there are plenty of other freebies on offer, as well as some sound money-saving advice! For further information you can call 0115 844 3745, email soundasapound@ncha.org.uk or visit their website at www.soundasapound.org.

 

You may also recall I advertised Aviva’s Community Fund recently. I’m pleased to hear that Bilborough Arts have applied to support their 2018 Festival. However, this funding depends on public votes, so please can you show your support by voting for their project here. I’m sure it will be an incredible festival, and be even better if they can receive this extra funding.

I’m delighted to hear that Bilborough Arts aren’t the only group who have applied for this funding. Nottingham Peace Project, who I talked about in the summer have been busy providing music and poetry lessons to groups of disadvantaged young people across the constituency, and have also applied to the Aviva Community Fund. They’re an amazing group and you can show your support for their project here.

 

If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk.

That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…

All the best,

Alex

 

 

 

How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:

  • your full name
  • your full postal address, including postcode
  • a contact telephone number and
  • any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.

Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here: findyourmp.parliament.uk.

You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.

 

Other useful links

LABOUR PARTY

  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.

LOCAL NEWS

LOCAL INFORMATION

  • Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
  • Housing: please contact your City Council
  • Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
  • Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
  • Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
  • Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
  • Another useful website on public services is Direct.gov.

NATIONAL LINKS

  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.

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