Category Archives: Newsletters
The Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill Committee
Once more, I’ve found myself on a Public Bill Committee, working to improve an important law passing through Parliament, that will affect local people. As I’ve mentioned previously, this is when a smaller group of representatives from Government and opposition get the opportunity to gather evidence and examine a Bill and proposed amendments in more detail than you’d get in the House during full readings.
The Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill has one central purpose – to institute an absolute cap on energy prices for domestic customers until at least 2020, with power to extend the cap until 2023. While the best way to save money on your energy bill is to switch regularly and avoid being left on the wrong tariff, the cap in this Bill is aimed particularly at those customers not switching and remaining on standard variable tariffs – the most expensive tariff available.
This has been a Labour policy since Ed Miliband was leader. It was written off originally but now all parties agree on it.
I support this Bill, but it has taken far too long to get to this stage and I worry that it’s too little too late for some people. This winter, and the week-before-last particularly, has been the coldest since records began. If the Conservatives had implemented their manifesto commitment in June instead of repeatedly dithering, rowing back and passing the buck to Ofgem consumers could have already been protected.
My position on this Committee has allowed me to fight to freeze energy bills – something that I know will make a massive difference to lots of you in Nottingham North, even now that the worst of the cold is over, as poor and more vulnerable people are those most likely to find themselves on the most expensive standard variable tariffs.
As I mentioned before, changing tariff is the simplest way to save money on your energy bills, so I recommend considering this if you haven’t done recently. The uSwitch website here can help. I spoke with Richard Neudegg from uSwitch this week, who briefed me on the Bill as well as discussing how to keep energy prices low.
While this week didn’t offer the same opportunities for questions in the House of Commons as last, I still had two opportunities to question the Government, once to hold them to account, and once to raise the success of the Jobs Fair (as shown above).
On Monday, I asked a follow-up question to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government about the cap for financing the construction of affordable housing. This is an issue that has rightly been highlighted in the news lately, and indeed one I’ve been contacted on by constituents.
The Government defines affordable housing as homes offered for social rent (often known as council housing), or rented at no more than 80% of the local market rate. The term social housing is therefore often used interchangeably.
Since the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2018, there has been significantly increased scrutiny on the working conditions that workers there have to endure – both migrant (which make up the vast majority of the population) and Qatari. Issues which have been highlighted by Amnesty International include:
As well as the really successful Jobs Fair there has been lots going on:
Bilborough Arts Festival (BArts)
Three Doors Down
All the best,
How to contact me
Other useful links
Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.
It was a bit shorter week in Parliament as Monday was the final day of recess. I used this time to meet with several people and organisations in the constituency as well as attending Ken Bullivant’s funeral.
There are several new additions to my What’s On section so make sure you check those out.
On Monday, I met with representatives from Groundwork Greater Nottingham (Groundwork GN). They are a charity which has been delivering Environmental, Community Development, Children and Young People Support and Employability programmes across D2N2 (Derby/Derbyshire, Nottingham/Nottinghamshire) since its formation in 1990.
Over the past 4 years Groundwork GN has been the D2N2 area lead delivery partner of a national Big Lottery Funded employability programme called Talent Match. This is a programme particularly focussed on tackling long-term youth unemployment and supports 18 – 24 year olds with multiple and complex barriers to gain employment. During this time they have engaged with around 1000 local young people, have helped around 370 clients into employment and countless more into entry level or further education.
Through their work with the Big Lottery Fund on Talent Match and with Youth Employment UK (which is a non-profit organisation and the leading campaign and membership organisation dedicated to tackling youth unemployment in the UK) Groundwork GN are pleased to announce the launch of the Talent Match Mark. This is a new quality standard and kite mark which assesses and recognises employers’ Youth Friendliness. Employers can gain four levels of accreditation to the mark according to them providing young people with opportunities to Explore, Experience and gain Employment and them embedding five key principles (developed in consultation with Goldsmith University London) which ensure that:
In conjunction with the mark, Groundwork GN are delighted to be spearheading an ambitious and exciting campaign to get Nottinghamshire recognised as Youth Employment UK – Youth Friendly Place 2018. In order to achieve this status, Groundwork GN need the participation of as many local employers as possible to achieve the challenging targets which have been impartially set by Youth Employment UK.
This campaign will have huge benefits to our area including attracting new business, helping young people to make a successful transition from education into employment, promoting social mobility, helping employers to diversify their workforce, increasing motivation in their existing staff and for the region to retain and maximise the potential of its future talent pool, and supporting employers in reaching a wider group of young people.
If you are a local employer interested in finding out more about the mark and getting involved in the campaign, please visit www.groundwork.org.uk/sites/nottingham, www.youthemployment.org.uk email Matt Hanrahan – Employer Engagement Officer at Groundwork GN at email@example.com or call 07985555151.
On Tuesday, I gave a speech in the Commons floor regarding a Lords anti-money-laundering bill. In it, I called on the government to take the necessary steps to reduce money laundering in the UK and across the globe.
Recently, it was revealed that $740m from a Russian crime ring was laundered through the UK. This is not the first time it is happened, and I do not believe it will be the last unless we do something about it. The current incentive scheme is too relaxed on banks, as such, they have more of a reason to turn a blind eye and pay measly fines than doing the serious financial scrutiny we want them to.
We must get more assurances from the Government that stronger mechanisms will be put in place to keep banks accountable and stamp money laundering out. Furthermore, we must instate the public register that the Government has been promising for years. If we can stop money laundering through our banks and in housing purchases, then we can keep our communities safer and maybe ease the housing crisis.
I am happy to announce that I will be on the Committee for this Bill, and I will be doing my best to ensure that the appropriate safeguards are put in place to stop money laundering in its tracks.
APPGs on Democratic Participation and Domestic Abuse
I was represented at two All-Party Parliamentary Groups, one dedicated to improving democratic participation in our country and the other dedicated to improving our responses to domestic violence for women and girls.
Some of you may recall that improving our democracy has been one of my key issues since I was elected. Last year, I held a debate on the probable merits of automatic voter registration in Nottingham North—in reality, the benefits of automatic voter registration are far reaching and key to improving representation throughout the UK. At Tuesday’s meeting, there was news of about a collaboration between the Electoral Commission and Experian, where data is corroborated to create a picture of who is not registered and who is being underrepresented. This is a step in the right direction that ensures the accuracy of our registers. I look forward to any new information that comes out and will provide any updates here.
The APPG on Domestic Abuse was a packed house, with many experts speaking on the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill that the Government has promised to introduce. This is an issue that I am passionate about; while on the City Council, I was responsible for the commissioning of Nottingham’s excellent domestic violence services.
As a part of the new legislation we are hoping to establish a new Commissioner for Violence against Women and Girls. This role would be a huge step towards ending the post code lottery that limits access to domestic violence services.
Ideas to Change Britain
I was pleased to be featured in the Co-operative party member’s magazine edition about the new ideas for changing Britain. You can read my contribution below.
I went to see the Brexit impact assessment papers. These are an illustration of the possible outcomes of Brexit, as written up by the Civil Service. The Government is at pains to say that they don’t endorse these scenarios. This is important because each one of them says that all regions of the country and all sectors of the economy will suffer under each of the different scenarios. This isn’t good enough. People did not vote to be worse off. It’s incumbent now on the Government to show how they will make sure this is not the case.
It was the first week back since the recess; as such, it has been a busy week getting back into the swing of things in Parliament.
I’ve mentioned about the speech that I gave and the APPG meetings I attended, so here are some other things I got up to while back in Westminster:
Here’s some of what I’ve been discussing:
And tomorrow I’ll be out knocking doors – say hello if I bump into you!
Women’s equality discussion
A panel of high-profile women in Nottingham will discuss their insights and experience in regard to the ongoing campaign for women’s rights and gender equality. This event is open to the public (both women and men) and it takes place at the Council House on the Old Market Square on 7th March at 6pm. Tickets are free but must be ordered through Eventbrite. Get your tickets here.
Work for a school in Nottingham North? Apply for some of the €170m Erasmus+ funding available this year for schools to exchange staff and pupils. The next deadline for school exchange partnerships is 21 March. Apply now here.
Funding is also available for youth organisations in Nottingham North. Next deadline for youth funding is 26 April. More information here.
Apply now! BArts is gearing up for a second year in venues across Bilborough – involving community groups, schools and individual artists organising creative opportunities and showcasing their work. BArts will take place from Saturday 30 June – Fri 6th July 2018 and the organisers are looking for local artists and volunteers to apply to take part in exhibitions, performances or to run workshops. The deadline for online applications is 26th March 2018 – find out more here.
Applications are open to artists, workshop leaders, performers and volunteers! Taking place from Sat 7th – Sat 14th July 2018, this eight-day festival celebrates the creativity of the people, history and landscape of Bulwell. You can apply to take part via their online application form here.
Local Designer and Maker April Towriess has launched an appeal to crocheters from far and wide to send her white crocheted doilies! These will form part of an installation and exhibition at Bulwell Riverside in the this summer. You can follow April’s Unity Doily pattern, which can be found here or use one of your own. Use any white yarn or thread weight you like. When submitting your doily or doilies, let April know your name, age, gender and briefly describe who taught you to crochet and why you do it now. Each doily and set of comments will be photographed and added to a blurb book which will be available to purchase. All proceeds will be donated to charity. The closing date for submissions is Saturday 26th April 2018.
Chris Tilley Community Champion, C/O April Towriess Crochet
Joining Lines Project, Bulwell Tesco Extra Community Room, Jennison Street, Nottingham, NG6 8EQ
Over the next 6 months, Andy Barrett from Excavate Theatre Company is working with local people who live in and around Minver Crescent in Aspley, to uncover the stories of life in the area over the last 80 years. A series of events are being planned from theatre in living rooms and front gardens, to storytelling, filmmaking and photography to engage as many residents as possible. Contact Cathy Mahmood on 07808 165209 firstname.lastname@example.org or Andy Barrett email@example.com for further information. Dates for your diary include:
Poems in the Pub
Open Mic Night, Free Admission, Local Talent, Full Bar
The William Peverel, Bulwell
Once a month, 7pm for 7:30pm start, next on March 1st
Nottingham North Jobs Fair
Rebalancing the Outer Estates Foundation and Nottingham City Council join forces with local employment and training specialists and employers to hold the first large jobs and apprenticeship fair of the year. It will take place at the Bulwell Riverside Sports Hall on 9th March from 9:30am to 2:30pm.
Bulwell Forest Garden Lunch Club
You can go and harvest, prepare and cook a delicious veggie meal, to share and eat together. The first lunch is held on Friday 2nd March from 10.30am to 1.30pm at Bulwell Forest Garden, Austin Street, Bulwell, NG6 9JU.
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
St Philip’s Church, Knights Close, Top Valley
1st and 3rd Wednesdays every month, 10am-12pm
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
2nd Monday every month, 10am-12pm
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
Various Tuesdays, 4:30-6pm
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Bestwood Park
Various Thursdays, 4:30-6pm
Church on Rise Park, Revelstoke Way, Rise Park
Various Thursdays, 5-6:30pm
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-2pm
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.uk, email@example.com
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.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,
How to contact me
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.
Other useful links
Alex’s Website: click here.
Alex’s Twitter: click here.
Nottingham City Council: click here.
Find your MP: click here.
Register to vote: click here.
School term dates in Nottingham: click here.
If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
To join the Labour Party click here.
Nottingham BBC news: click here.
East Midlands BBC news: click here.
Nottingham Post: click here.
Notts TV: click here.
Housing: please contact your City Council
Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
Another useful website on public services is Direct.gov.