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"Aidan Burley MP" <news@aidanburleymp.org> To: <news@localconservatives.com> Reply-To: <news@aidanburleymp.

org> News Bulletin from Aidan Burley MP #48

2 November 2012 09:27

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In this edition:
Aidan Burley MP's Diary Quote of the week: Aidan quizzes Minister in EU Budget debate Burley backs cut in EU budget Website of the week: Hednesford Cycles Photo news: 120th Anniversary celebration of the consecration of St Chads Church MP seeks local views for new Select Committee role Council Watch Photo news: British Pub Week 2012 Hospital working group Terms of Reference published Photo news: Local Member of Youth Parliament completes work experience placement in MPs Westminster office Aidan supports big energy saving week Fact of the week MPs Christmas Card Competition deadline looms Europe news: Conservative MEPs block plan to scrap traditional food label Aidan in the papers: MP Aidan Burley seeking to secure future of Cannock Chase Hospital How to contact Aidan Burley MP

Issue 48 Friday 2nd November 2012

Since the last edition, Aidan has:


Met with the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP to discuss the future of Cannock Hospital. Voted against his Partys Whip to cut the EU Budget. Been appointed to sit on the Work and Pensions Select Committee. Attended the 120th Anniversary celebration of the consecration of St Chads Church in Chadsmoor. Aidan attended the church service and enjoyed the flower festival displays. Questioned the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what steps his department are taking to support business in Cannock Chase. Met with Mark Winnington of Staffordshire County Council, and Glen Watson of Cannock Chase Council to discuss attracting major new businesses into Cannock Chase. Aidan and Glen also discussed other regeneration schemes and economic developments in Cannock Chase, including important public transport links. Voted for a motion calling on the Government to stop the proposed badger cull. Aidan was one of only a handful of Conservative MPs to vote against the cull. Attended an event celebrating British Pub Week where he signed a pledge to support the British Pub. Welcomed local Member of the Youth Parliament (MYP) Fern Jobling to Westminster where she completed a weeks work experience. Questioned the Secretary of State for Health on the use of NHS resources by non exempt overseas visitors.

Quote of the week:

Aidan quizzes Minister in EU Budget debate

Click on the image above to watch Aidan quiz Treasury Minister Greg Clark MP over the EU Budget proposals. Can the Minister confirm the amount of extra money which, under the Governments proposals, we will send to the EU over the next two and a half years? According to my calculations and the House of Commons Library, it is an extra 1.3 billion between now and the next general election. Can he confirm that figure or tell the House what the figure is? - Aidan Burley speaking in the House of Commons yesterday in the EU Budget Debate, pointing out how much extra money would still be given to Brussels under the governments own proposals, which Aidan voted against.

Burley backs cut in EU budget


Aidan defied his party's whip this week to support an amendment calling for curbs to the EU Budget. The debate in the House of Commons came ahead of key talks between European leaders to discuss member states' contributions to the EU Budget for the next 7 years. The amendment tabled by Conservative MP Mark Reckless passed by 307 votes to 294. The European Commission's proposed budget for 2014-2020 would see a 5% increase in spending on the current seven-year period. Commenting Aidan said: "At a time when we are making necessary savings across government departments and national Governments across the EU are facing deep austerity - it is simply not acceptable for the European Union to want to increase its own budget. "If the EU commission gets its way taxpayers will soon be handing over 22,000 to Brussels every minute which is more than many of my constituents earn in a year. This is simply not fair in the current economic climate and is why I had no hesitation in standing up for hard pressed taxpayers in Cannock Chase and supporting the amendment calling for a cut in European Union budget. He added: "I believe that the vote yesterday in the House of Commons far from weakening the Prime Minister's negotiating position has actually strengthened the Government's hand as they can now go into the discussions with a clear mandate from our national Parliament on our position."

Website of the week:

www.hednesfordcycles.co.uk
The website of local business Hednesford Cycles.

Photo news:

120th Anniversary celebration of the consecration of St Chads Church

Aidan at the 120th Anniversary celebration of the consecration of St Chads Church in Chadsmoor.

MP seeks local views for new Select Committee role


Aidan will next week be confirmed as a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. The cross-party committee, headed by Labour MP Dame Anne Begg, scrutinises the work of the Department for Work and Pensions and conducts inquires and produces reports on the Government's welfare and pensions policy. The vacancy for the position had become available following the recent Government reshuffle. Aidan, who has previously served on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "I am honoured to be joining such an important committee looking at vital areas such as welfare reform and pensions. These are issues of significant importance to local people here in Cannock Chase. "This Government's recent Welfare Reform Bill marks the most comprehensive overhaul of the welfare system since its inception and will, at last, make work pay and help restore integrity and fairness to a system that is failing the very people it was supposed to help. As a member of the select committee, I see it as my role to hold the government to account and ensure that this Bill and its provisions such as the Universal Credit and Work Programme are implemented as swiftly as possible." He added: "In order to help fulfil my role effectively, I feel it is important that I hear first hand from local people about their own personal experiences with the benefit system. If any individual or group would like to speak about their view of the benefits system and, more importantly, how they feel the system could be improved, I would welcome them contacting me through the Help Zone."

Q: When is an Advice Centre not an Advice Centre? A: When its a Conservative MPs Advice Centre Cannock Chase Council considered a Business Rates Relief application for Aidan Burleys MP Help Zone on 27th September 2012. An official report records that it was refused as follows; That, having regard to the nature of the premises, the service being provided and the potential cost to the General Fund, the application for Discretionary Rate Relief in respect of the above premises be refused. This is contrary to the Labour Cabinets own policy, agreed in December 2011, recommending 85% relief be awarded to Advice, Support and Training Centres. The MP Help Zone in Cannock has helped over 2,000 local people with issues such as housing and employment free of charge, and with no appointments necessary. Advice is free, impartial, and the Help Zone is also used by a number of local charities such as Trudys Trust who raise money for brain tumour research. It is not a business, does not make a profit and should not incur 5,850.00 business rates for providing advice and support to local people. Despite this, the Chairman of the meeting, Labour Councillor Alan Pearson used his Chairmans casting vote not once but twice to block any support for the MP Help Zone, first defeating a Liberal Democrat proposal to award relief, and then passing his own motion to refuse any relief. He even suggested that the Help Zone should be closed, despite the fact that it has helped thousands of local people often with complaints against his own Council. It seems that the Council would rather play party politics than support the residents of Cannock Chase with their problems and concerns.

Photo news:

British Pub Week 2012

Aidan supporting British Pub Week 2012. British Pub Week is an initiative, borne of the Save the Great British Pub campaign, which celebrates everything that is great about the British pub! The event, from 26th October to 4th November, aims to get people back into pubs by promoting their positive impact on society through a packed series of events. For more see: www.britishpubweek.org.uk.

Hospital working group Terms of Reference published


Chase MP Aidan Burley has published the draft Terms of Reference for his Working Group set up to look at the future of Cannock Hospital. You can read the Terms of Reference by clicking on the image to the right. It comes ahead of the first meeting of the new working group which will take place on Friday 2nd November 2012 at the MP Help Zone in Cannock. Attendees confirmed include Mid Staffs Chief Executive Lyn Hill-Tout, Mid Staffs Finance Director Aaron Cummins, Cannock Chase Council Leader George Adamson, Chairman of Stafford and Cannock League of Friends Colin Wilkinson and representatives from a number of local trusts who operate services out of the hospital. The Working Group was set up by the Cannock Chase MP in September following the closure of the hospital's kitchens and the decision to call in Independent regulator Monitor to explore a broader, more innovative solution to the Mid-Staffs Trust's financial problems. 2,000 local people have also signed a petition calling for the future of the Hospital to be guaranteed. Recent figures have shown that the Hospital is running at just 40% capacity and is predicted to have an annual deficit of around 8 million next year. The Terms of Reference, which will be formally approved at the first meeting, asks local stakeholders to work together in order to examine and consider ways in which Cannock Hospital can become fully utilised again. Options to be discussed at the meeting will include the feasibility of Cannock Chase District Council purchasing a controlling stake in Cannock Hospital to protect the facility on behalf of local residents. Other suggested options to be discussed at the meeting include; possible additional inpatient and community services, County and District Council services being provided from the site, more GP surgeries and the potential for other community organisations using the hospital and paying rent (e.g. a nursery). Commenting ahead of the meeting Aidan said: "Local people are understandably very concerned about the future of Cannock Hospital closing it will doubtless be one option recommended by the Monitor taskforce in March 2013. "Before then we have a five month window locally to come up with an alternative solution and find options to secure the hospital's future. This Working Group is my attempt to bring together all the key stakeholders and NHS experts in one room to discuss and come up with a positive lasting solution. "I look forward to working with all those who have agreed to take part in the Group and hearing their ideas as to how their organisations can help secure the long term future of our Hospital."

Photo news:

Local Member of Youth Parliament completes work experience placement in MPs Westminster office

Local Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) Fern Jobling completing her week's work experience in Aidan's busy Westminster office last week.

Aidan with MYP Fern Jobling during her week's work experience in Westminster. Any young people interested in having a work experience placement in Aidans office should contact Aidan by email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk.

Aidan supports big energy saving week


Two thirds of people think their energy bill will be higher this winter with many living in colder homes than they would like. That's according to new figures from Citizens Advice as it launched Big Energy Saving Week (2227 October) to help people cut their winter fuel bills. Aidan is supporting the campaign which will give people practical advice on how they can 'check, switch and insulate' to make savings on their energy bill. Citizens Advice also found that 62% don't having the heating on as much and 18% are not using some rooms in their home in a bid to cut the size of their energy bills. Despite this only a quarter had checked with their supplier to see if they were on the best deal and just 16% had changed to another energy company. Commenting Aidan said: "It is now, when the temperatures start to drop, that people in Cannock Chase begin to worry about whether they will be able to afford their winter energy bill. That's why I am backing Big Energy Saving Week to make sure my constituents aren't paying more than they need to." Citizens Advice, Chief Executive, Gillian Guy added: "People must check, switch and insulate to make sure that they're getting the best deal for their energy. "Big energy bills and rising daily costs are putting extra pressure on household budgets that are already stretched thin. We're worried that some people are finding themselves unnecessarily hard-up because they're paying more than they have to for their fuel bill and aren't getting all of the help that's available to them. "Throughout Big Energy Saving Week we're helping the nation prepare for winter and putting money back in people's pockets." To ease the strain of energy bills on your budget you can get advice online at www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk, on the phone 0300 123 1234 or through your local CAB and at local Big Energy Saving Week events. Big Energy Saving Week top tips to cut bills: Check you are on the best deal with your current supplier and whether there is a better way you can pay your bills. Most suppliers offer a discount if you pay by direct debit, on average around 100, compared to paying your bill by cash or cheque. Make sure you are getting all the financial help you are eligible for. Up to 20 billion of benefits went unclaimed in 2011. Your supplier might be able to offer you a discount if you are on certain benefits too. Speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau who can help. Switch to a better deal with a new supplier, particularly if you have never switched before. You could potentially save as much as 200 or more by shopping around. A list of accredited websites can be found here. If you use heating oil, consider joining or setting up a local oil buying club. You might be able to negotiate a discount with suppliers if you are buying in bulk. Also, buy early before winter and you might get it cheaper. Insulate the loft and cavity walls of your home is a great way to save money on your heating bills, up to 160 per year if you do both. Most major energy suppliers are also offering this free or at a reduced price. Act now before winter! You might also be able to get some help with improving the efficiency of your property from Government funded schemes if you are on a low income. There are also lots of small things you can do for free or at low cost around the home to save money on your energy bills saving, on average, up to 195 per year. You can find out more by calling the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 or fill out an online home energy check here.

Fact of the week:


Since the launch of the Governments Enterprise Finance Guarantee, 32 EFG-backed loans worth 2.66 million have been utilised by companies in Cannock Chase, and 313 loans worth over 30 million by companies in Staffordshire.

MPs Christmas Card Competition deadline looms

Aidan with his 2011 Christmas Card Competition winner Keeley Aubrey and runner-up Emma Barmer from Moorhill Primary School and Sharon Birch from Pertemps People Development Group who are sponsoring Aidan's Christmas Cards for the third year running. Aidan has once again invited young people across the area to design his Annual Christmas card, following on from successful competitions in 2010 and 2011. The local MP has recently written to every primary school in Cannock Chase to invite them to take part in the competition which once again is sponsored by local employment firm Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG). Picture shows Aidan with last year's winners. The theme for this year's competition is 'Cannock Chase at Christmas' and, as with previous years, the winning design chosen by Aidan and his team will be made into a professional published card and sent as the MPs official Christmas Card to 500 recipients including local schools, businesses, charities, colleagues and friends throughout the constituency - as well as the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street! The winner will have their name, age and school printed on the inside front page of the card and will also receive a framed copy of their winning card, a certificate and a special present from the House of Commons. The closing date for entries is Friday 9th November and can be submitted by hand or post to the MP Help Zone at 6 High Green Court, Newhall Street, Cannock, WS11 1GR. All entries should be A5 sized, and portrait orientation. Commenting Aidan said: "I am once again delighted to be able to give local pupils the opportunity to design my MP Christmas card which will go out to 500 recipients. I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to this competition over the past couple of years and the standard of entries has been exceptional. "I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my young constituents the very best of luck and I look forward to receiving their entries." Phil Pemble from Pertemps People Development Group added: "Pertemps People Development Group are once again delighted to have the opportunity to support Aidan Burley MP in encouraging local schoolchildren to develop their artistic talents with their designs for this year's Christmas card. This is the third consecutive year we have been involved in sponsoring Aidan's cards which sees ever-increasing participation from pupils across Cannock Chase."

Europe news:

Conservative MEPs block plan to scrap traditional food label


Conservatives Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have fought off an attempt to scrap the respected "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed" food-labelling scheme which gives protection to prime foodstuffs produced to time-honoured methods. The European Commission had proposed to drop the scheme - and to rescind all permits already granted to use the special labelling. But the move was defeated by a vote in the European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg. The move means that premium products including "Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey" and "Traditionally Farmed Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork" can continue to be labelled that way. The Commission claimed that too few producers were wanting to join the scheme - but other British products awaiting TSG approval include "Traditional Free Range Goose", "Cask Conditioned Ale", "Traditional Bramley Apple Pie Filling" and even "Birmingham Balti". Richard Ashworth, leader of the UK's Conservative MEPs and shadow rapporteur on the proposed legislation, said: "These labels for traditionally-produced foodstuffs are coveted by producers and valued by consumers. "Shoppers respect them and see them as a reassurance that they are buying something which is produced with care and prepared to methods that have been handed down. "The Commission was being over-hasty in wanting to kill them off. We have stepped in to keep them alive." Aidan added: I am delighted Conservative MEPs have stopped this nonsensical scheme dreamt up by bureaucrats in Euro-land.

Aidan in the papers:

MP Aidan Burley seeking to secure future of Cannock Chase Hospital


Express & Star Tuesday 30th October 2012 Converting parts of Cannock Chase Hospital to offices or classrooms is among options being put forward to safeguard the future of the site, it emerged today. MP Aidan Burley has unveiled a raft of proposals for the hospital after bosses admitted it is operating at 40 per cent of capacity, sparking fears it could be closed. He will later this week chair the first meeting of a working group he has set up amid speculation over services being withdrawn from Cannock. Plans to close the kitchens at the hospital and instead send food from Stafford were announced this summer, in a move expected to save 220,000 a year. Health chiefs need to save 10.4 million over the next three years but more than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals to shut the kitchens. Hospital chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout has agreed to attend Fridays meeting. Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson will also be there. Health watchdog Monitor is carrying out a review of the finances of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Cannock and Stafford hospitals, as it tries to balance the books. Cannock Chase MPMr Burley has drawn up a list of suggestions to increase use of the hospital site, which he says is posting an 8m annual deficit. They include providing extra GP surgeries there, as well as renting out rooms to councils or schools. He said: People are understandably very concerned about the future of Cannock Hospital. Closing it will doubtless be one option recommended by the Monitor taskforce in March 2013. Before then we have a five month window locally to come up with an alternative solution and find options to secure the hospitals future. This working group is my attempt to bring together all the key stakeholders and NHS experts in one room to discuss and come up with a positive lasting solution. I look forward to working with all those who have agreed to take part in the group and hearing their ideas.

5 ways to contact Aidan Burley MP:


By Phone: 01543 502 447 By email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk By post: Aidan Burley MP 6 High Green Court, Newhall Street Cannock, WS11 1GR In person: Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Aidan Burley MPs regular help and advice surgeries.

www.aidanburleymp.org

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Aidan Burley MP Putting Cannock Chase First!


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