My Newsletter 24/11/17

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

I’m pleased to announce that I have secured another Westminster Hall Debate. Next week I will be leading a debate on Voter Registration in Nottingham North. Way too many of our constituents aren’t registered to vote, and therefore miss out on the opportunity to take part in our democracy. We need to do more to change this, by both making it easier and encouraging people to engage more. I’ll share more on this next week after the debate, but in the meantime, please get in touch if you’ve had any personal experiences or difficulties in either registering to vote, or voting due to a lack of registration.

This wasn’t all that happened this week though – I’ll tell you all about the rest below.

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.

The Budget

This week has of course been dominated by the Budget, made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday. I was very disappointed by a budget that not only confirmed that we are worse off, but didn’t have any plan to deal with the issues facing Britain. Real wages are lower than they were in 2010, economic growth is the lowest it has been since the Tories came to office and productivity has been revised down every year too.

I was particularly disappointed with the lack of support for the NHS, yet again. After seven years of the Tories the NHS faces a funding crisis and this Budget didn’t go far enough to address that. It didn’t even meet NHS England’s call for an extra £4bn for the NHS, let alone the £6bn extra investment Labour are committed to. They’ve allocated more money for Brexit preparations than for the NHS. And there was no money to end the NHS pay freeze at this stage.

I’m hoping to raise these concerns in the House next week, and will let you know if I’m given the chance.

Asking Questions

Some weeks I’m unlucky and don’t get an opportunity to question the Government during Questions, but this week I had two chances at the start of the week.

  • On Monday it was Home Office questions, and I used my question to hold the Government to account on Modern Slavery. Modern Slavery, forced labour below minimum wage, is an oft-understated issue which is widespread, so I’ve been doing a lot of work with the Co-Op Group on the Government’s enforcement of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, with a number of written questions too. On this occasion, I asked the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, when the Government were going to start using the injunction powers prescribed in the Act, as it has now been law for 18 months. You can watch this, and the Minister’s response here.
  • And on Tuesday I questioned the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about human rights. My initial question, which was grouped with one of my colleagues, asked the what steps are being taken to promote human rights in discussions with other countries, and I followed this on by asking about workers’ rights in Qatar. While I try to spend as much time as possible on issues that directly relate to Nottingham North there are times when I’ll need to use my position to speak out on issues further afield. I have a particular interest in issues in Qatar, and on this occasion asked whether the Government supported the FIFA Human Rights Advisory boards calls for FIFA itself to press the Qatari Government for more action on migrant workers’ rights. You can watch this and the Minister’s answer here.

Round Tables

Roundtable events are wonderful opportunities to discuss issues in a way that’s not done enough – where a range of different views and ideas on an issue (including my own!) can all be heard and discussed as a group, as opposed to the adversarial debates of the House or meetings where I only get to hear one view at a time. They’re a great opportunity for me to really learn about the ins-and-outs of topics from experts, and this week I was pleased to not only take part in, but chair two in Westminster:

  • On Tuesday, I chaired an event of Labour MPs with the National Federation of ALMOs where we discussed the role that ALMOs (Arm’s Length Management Organisations) can play in developing new homes, following Labour’s Manifesto pledge to build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale by the end of the Parliament. Even though we didn’t win this is a still an idea we believe in, and ALMOs can play a vital role in this.
  • And yesterday I chaired a meeting of 15 countries from the East Midlands Chamber and Philip Rycroft, the Permanent Secretary from the Department for Exiting the European Union, to discuss the impact that Brexit will have on international trading done by businesses in our area. This not only allowed us to have a productive discussion on the implications, but also allow local businesses to get their voices heard by a key player in the Brexit process, with my support.

Nottingham North

When I was elected as MP for Nottingham North, Graham Allen’s seat in Parliament wasn’t the only one I took over. I also became the new Chair of the Board of Rebalancing the Outer Estates charity, which Graham set up during his time as Member of Parliament in order to try to balance out the disparity between the outer estates of Nottingham where we live, and the rest of the city. Our part of the city often gets neglected, but it has plenty to offer as we all know, and the work I’m doing with Rebalancing will hopefully go some way to stopping this neglect, and help bring the skills, education, business, jobs, culture, healthcare and more that we need to our part of the city.

The charity’s staff comes from generous secondments from other local bodies, such as the City Council, Nottingham City Homes and Public Health England, and they work together on projects covering four main areas: Health & Wellbeing, Communities, Employment & Skills, and Creativity. Some of their previous work you may have heard about range from jobs fairs to CT scans.

Now that I chair the board I hope we can continue this great tradition and progress further. Today’s board meeting and other chats I had this week showed that this aim is shared throughout, and I’ll keep you updated as we continue to do more.

That’s not all I’ve had on in Nottingham today though. This morning I visited Bulwell Academy in the morning, for a tour and to discuss how the school is doing and the challenges it’s facing with the Principal.

This afternoon I’ve been busy too – with an HIV Test thanks to the Terrence Higgins Trust. You can read more about that and find out how you can get your own here. Afterwards I met the team, parent champions, and family mentors at Small Steps Big Changes, a wonderful local Programme funded by Big Lottery, which works through CityCare to improve the outcomes of our 0-3 years olds – when help makes the biggest difference!

And now I’m on my way to another busy local surgery, which will include a meeting with Immigration Education Nottingham, who do great work to help in the city and I’m keen to work with to support constituents who need their assistance. While I’m always available to help by email (alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk) or phone (0115 975 2377), please get in touch if there’s something you’d rather talk to me about at a surgery and my team will let you know when the next opportunity is.

Tackling Issues

As always I also met with several other people and groups throughout the week to discuss the issues their organisations are facing and how I can help them as a Member of Parliament. This week these included:

  • The Wide Horizons Programme; a development programme for young and aspiring public sector workers in Nottingham with whom I discussed the changing relationship between parliamentary democracy, local democracy and the public/ voters and non-voters, after they’d had a tour of the Houses of Parliament of course!
  • A large number of important people in the world of Health and Medicine at a University of Nottingham hosted reception, with Director-General of the WHO, and Nottingham Alumnus, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • John Edwards, Regional School Commissioner for East Midlands and the Humber, with whom I discussed the performance and issues facing academies in Nottingham North
  • A meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • YouGov with whom I discussed the UK’s energy supply and suppliers
  • Divest Parliament to discuss their campaign to end the investment of the UK’s pension funds in fossil fuels

That’s all for this week, but I look forward to telling you how the debate goes on Tuesday, and once again, let me know if you’ve any personal experiences with voter registration issues that I could use.

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 Fayre
Various stalls including Christmas stall, nearly new, gifts and fancy goods, cakes, tombola, bric-a-brac, cuddly toys, jewellery, pluck-a-duck, Christian literature. Santa’s grotto. Light refreshments available.
St Mary the Virgin and All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Tomorrow, 25th November, 11am-2pm

Christmas Coffee Morning
Many stalls, gifts, toys, toiletries, bric-a-brac. Preserves, refreshments, cakes
Bulwell United Reform Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Tomorrow, 25th November, 10:30am

‘Songs by Candlelight’
Concert performed by Carlton Male Voice Choir
St. Martin’s Church, St. Martin’s Road, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Tomorrow, 25th November, 7:30pm
£5 (£3 con.), for more info please email info@stmartinsbilborough.org.uk

Chit and Chatter
Come and meet old friends and make some new ones over coffee, tea and biscuits.
Emmanuel Church Hall, Church View Close, NG5 9QP
29th November, 10am-12pm

Hidden Treasures Homemade Christmas Fair
Cakes, Raffle, Crafts, Refreshments, Cards, Tombola
St. Martin’s Church, St. Martin’s Road, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
1st and 2nd December, 11am-4pm both days
For more info please email info@stmartinsbilborough.org.uk

Bilborough Christmas Festival
Carol singing, fairground rides, live music, Santa’s grotto and other entertainment
Bracebridge Drive, Bilborough Library and Community Centre, and St. John’s Hall
7th December, 4-7pm

Festive Firbeck
Christmas carols, activities for young children, Firbeck school choir, traditional stalls including crafts, tombola, mulled apple and mince pies, and much more!
Firbeck Road park area, NG8 2FB
10th December, 2-3:30pm

Songs for a Winter Evening
Christmas carols and popular songs performed by Bulwell Riverside Community Choir with special guests.
Ravensworth Road Methodist Church, Bulwell, NG6 8FN
14th December, 7pm
Tickets £3 (including refreshments) available from choir members or on the door

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
15th December, 7:30pm
Tickets £6.00 or pay on the door. For more information tel 01159161787

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reform Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Saturdays – Next is 2nd December, 10:30am

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

I’d also like to tell you about Opportunity Nottingham. Opportunity Nottingham is a Nottingham City based project delivered through a partnership of local agencies including; housing, health, advocacy and criminal justice organisations. The project aims to improve the lives of people who are experiencing multiple and complex needs. It is part of the National Fulfilling Lives Programme and is made possible by National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

I supported the project when I worked as Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council, including opening their Annual Event in 2016. I am also very supportive of the work of Framework Housing Association – who work to reduce homelessness in Nottingham, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire – and are the lead partner for Opportunity Nottingham.

Opportunity Nottingham has two main aims: to provide and coordinate services for people who have multiple needs to enable them to live fulfilled lives; and to bring about system change by transforming the way services work at a national and local level so that they are easy to access, connected and delivered with the Beneficiary (service-user) in mind.

Each Beneficiary on the project will face at least three of the following four complex needs; homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental ill health. If you are a frontline worker in Nottingham City, and supporting anyone experiencing at least three of the above complex needs, you can find out more about Opportunity Nottingham on their website at www.opportunitynottingham.co.uk. The project also tweets regular updates – look for @OppNottingham.

 

Sound as a Pound have also 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.

 

I’d also like to congratulate Bulwell Forest Garden on their recent award win.  They were awarded a Michael Varnam Award in the group category for the difference they’ve made in our area, particularly recognising the hard work and commitment from residents doing an amazing job to improve and strengthen our community.

I’ve heard that many families enjoyed their annual Spooky Monday event on Monday, with 260 residents enjoying being able to carve pumpkins, take part in craft activities, bake some delicious pumpkin gingerbread in the clay oven and enjoy homemade pumpkin soup.

The garden, located at will be open to the public 1pm-4pm, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat until mid-December. In January, they will start planning the events and activities taking place throughout 2018. If you would like to be involved, please contact Barbara on 07890557854, and keep an eye out as I’ll be advertising the events in my newsletter once they’ve been organised.

 

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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