Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage last week welcomed an official from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to the constituency to discuss the future of local military sites.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for providing the infrastructure to meet defence needs; this includes the management of Ministry of Defence owned sites across the UK. Last week's visit enabled Caroline and local stakeholders to promote the potential of two currently disused MoD assets to boost Gosport's standing as an important marine hub on the south coast.
Firstly, the waterfront site at Royal Clarence Yard has been earmarked as an ideal location for a marine business park which would bring prosperity and jobs to the area whilst taking advantage of the maritime industries already operating in Gosport. Secondly, the redevelopment of the Crane Jetty at Fort Blockhouse and better use of the accommodation blocks would ensure that Gosport is able to provide a crucial support role when the new QE Class carriers arrive in Portsmouth Harbour in late 2016. In the meantime, the site has berthing facilities which could play a key role in berthing large yachts involved in Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup venture between 2015 and 2016.
Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:
"Gosport is already home to a number of world class racing teams and big maritime businesses but there is still more to be done to secure its status as a marine hub. That is why it is so important that these crucial sites are released for development and allowed to unlock this significant potential for growth.
Having fought hard for discussions with the DIO, I am pleased that our plans are now being considered and hope that today's visit will precipitate further negotiations in the interest of Gosport's future."
Since her election, Caroline has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Gosport peninsula reaches its full potential. She was instrumental in securing Enterprise Zone status for the former disused airfield at Daedalus and has been part of a number of successful Regional Growth Fund bids across the area including the 'Bridging the Gap' fund for small and medium businesses.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today called for more action to ensure that Sixth Form Colleges are equipped to provide high quality maths education during questions to the Department for Education.
Earlier this year, the Government introduced the Golden Hello scheme for new graduate maths teachers to encourage them to work in the Further Education sector. However, neither of the two post-16 education providers in the Gosport constituency are eligible to participate in this scheme as Sixth Form Colleges are excluded.
Addressing this discrepancy, Caroline asked:
"There has been a 15% increase in the number of students enrolling at Sixth Form Colleges without a GCSE in maths and yet these post-16 education providers are excluded from the £20 million Golden Hellos that are available to attract maths teachers to Further Education. With maths skills so crucial to young people's futures, what's the department doing about this?"
The Minister responsible, Nick Gibb MP responded:
"We introduced the Golden Hello scheme to support the recruitment and retention of well qualified maths teachers in publicly funded FE sector who can teach GCSE level and above. Sixth Form Colleges are not included in the scheme because along with school Sixth Forms, they are eligible for the recruitment support and incentives offered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership which are not available to FE colleges."
Caroline is a keen advocate of maths skills; earlier this year, she established a Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy which is working to inform Government policy and raise awareness about numeracy in the UK.
Local MP Caroline Dinenage reacted angrily to news that the European Union is demanding extra cash from Britain following recent economic growth. Britain will be forced to pay a £1.7bn surcharge by December – because our economy is doing so well - while France and Germany are set to gain money back.
Caroline commented, "It is absolutely staggering that the European Union thinks it can just change the fees for previous years and demand extra cash at no notice. This country has taken tough decisions and we've got our economy back on track; now we're being forced to fork out for the failures of the Eurozone.
I'm pleased the Prime Minister has said we will not be paying this ludicrous bill. It just underlines how important it is that we get a referendum on Europe. Brussels has already banned hoovers; now they're sucking up ever more cash to pay for their failures. We've got to make sure we get a Conservative Government in 2015 so that we can finally have a say on Europe."
Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the news that £50m worth of fully funded training is now available to all businesses, from small start-ups to FTSE100 giants. But the money is only there for a year - so they need to hurry! Caroline has long worked on boosting skills in the UK; and recently persuaded the BIS Select Committee to launch a landmark inquiry into the country's basic skills gap. She also recently co-founded the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Maths and Numeracy. The new major national campaign, For Business, For Life, is urging employers to make use of EU funding to upskill their employees in the crucial areas of literacy and numeracy.
Welcoming the move, Caroline said, "We have a shocking skills gap in this country, with far too many people left behind without the basics in literacy or numeracy. It's therefore great news that this fund will help those who may lack confidence in these key areas; giving them the tools to unlock their potential. It's also great for employers; who will get a real boost from their employees' news skills."
Alongside Caroline, a group of firms known as the National Consortium of Colleges and Providers (NCCP), are reaching out to business leaders in every sector to tell them about the advantages of their employees receiving training in English and maths. In addition to acquiring more confident and ambitious workers, the vast majority will receive funding for their training; costing them nothing. Basic Skills training is fully funded via the EU's European Social Fund; with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receiving £800 per learner for the first three learners. For more details visit http://www.ncc.ac.uk/
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today stood up for local people who are facing lengthy waits for appointments with their doctors during questions to the Secretary of State for Health.
Whilst the Government has expressed its commitment to boosting access to GPs by extending opening hours and making GP services available seven days a week by 2020, people living in the Gosport area are yet to feel tangible benefits of these improvements.
"In my Gosport constituency, waiting times for GP appointments are remaining lengthy and practices are struggling to recruit enough doctors. Will my Honourable Friend reassure me that the improvements he's making elsewhere in the country will take effect in Gosport and will he meet with me to discuss this?"
The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt replied:
"I'm delighted to discuss that with my Honourable Friend and she is right to focus on the role of GPs because if we are going to transform the NHS by the end of the next parliament, we need to fundamentally improve the out-of-hospital care that we offer. GPs are at the heart of that, we've recruited 1000 more this parliament, we need many more going forward and definitely that would include her constituency."
Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:
"Each week I get a number of letters and emails from local people who are frustrated by the time it takes to secure an appointment with their GP; equally, I receive a lot of correspondence from local GPs who are concerned about the difficulties of recruiting new GPs. It is quite clear that more needs to be done to tackle both of these problems here on the Gosport peninsula and I will look forward to discussing the issues in greater detail with the Secretary of State."
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that grants of up to £3,000 for superfast broadband are now available for businesses in Gosport.
Gosport Borough Council has joined forces with Portsmouth City Council on its £4.7 million 'Super Connected Cities scheme' to enable Gosport based businesses, registered charities and social enterprises employing less than 250 people to apply for grants to install superfast broadband.
Grants will range from £100 to £3,000 and will go towards the capital and equipment costs of improving internet connectivity.
Speaking in support of the scheme, Caroline said:
"The internet plays a huge role in business growth now which is why it is so important that businesses in Gosport have access to the best possible broadband services. This is a fantastic scheme and I would urge all local business owners to find out if they are eligible to apply."
Details on how to apply, more background information on the scheme and the technology involved, plus advice on what type of connection your business may need are available via www.connectionvouchers.co.uk.
Local MP Caroline Dinenage today pushed the Government to commit to the continued presence of HMS Sultan in Gosport in the run up to the next Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). One of Caroline's first major campaigns on being elected to Parliament was the successful blocking of attempts to move the engineering school to Wales, and she has consistently pressed the Government to commit to keeping the facility in Gosport.
Speaking in the Chamber Caroline said, "The Secretary of State will be aware of HMS Sultan in my Gosport constituency which is the Royal Navy's School of Marine Engineering, and also was the first Ministry of Defence (MoD) establishment to have received an outstanding OFSTED report. Can he confirm that sites like this which are not only incredibly valuable to the MoD but also to local communities will continue to be valued as part of the SDSR?"
Responding, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, "Well I certainly appreciate the valuable and positive benefits that all defence education and training facilities do provide to the armed forces. I'm not aware of any plans to alter this establishment, and I know that my Hon. Friend met my Ministerial colleague last week to discuss it further."
As part of her ongoing commitment to retaining military jobs in Gosport Caroline recently met with Defence Minister Anna Soubry to discuss the future of MoD sites in Gosport.
Speaking outside the Chamber Caroline said, "We have a long and proud military tradition in our area, so I'm delighted that the Minister has confirmed that there are no plans to move this outstanding school away from Gosport. HMS Sultan provides training that is second to none to over 5,000 sailors every year; I will keep pushing the Government to make sure that as we approach the next SDSR there are no plans to move this thriving training facility."
Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging older people in Gosport to take advantage of activities scheduled throughout the Borough to mark Older Persons Month.
During the month of October, Gosport Borough Council is leading the Older Persons Month initiative to encourage older people to get involved in community events and activities. It is running a number of events across the area including an Alzheimer café which brings together people affected by the disease and an information session about keeping warm over winter.
Speaking in support of Older Persons Month, Caroline says:
"Loneliness affects many older people in our area and is a huge cause for concern. That is why I am so pleased that Gosport Borough Council is working to tackle this problem and promote social engagement amongst the older generation.
I am confident that these events will help people to feel that they are part of a strong and caring local community."
Events will run until the end of the month. For more information, please click here or contact Gosport Borough Council on 023 9258 4242.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today raised the issue of the Stokesmead site in the House of Commons; calling for a debate on companies hoarding land that they won't sell off but can't get permission to develop. Stokesmead field in Gosport is a beautiful but controversial site that despite a lack of development remains closed to the local community.
Speaking in the Chamber Caroline said, "For 30 years a company called Abbey Homes have been sitting on the Stokesmead site in my Gosport constituency; unable to develop it and yet unwilling to sell to the local borough council, or indeed to local residents who would like to see it used as a village green. Could we have a debate on this type of land-banking, which does nothing to benefit out local communities?"
Responding, Leader of the House William Hague said, "Well such issues do create strong feelings in local communities and my Honourable Friend is always very strong in speaking up for her local community, and has done so again today. As on other issues that we have talked about in this statement it is open to her to promote such a debate and to seek an adjournment debate or a backbench business debate, and I encourage her to do so."
Speaking outside the Chamber Caroline said, "This could be a lovely area for local people; instead it sits undeveloped and surrounded by very high fencing. In the coming weeks I'll be calling an adjournment debate in the House of Commons both about this site and about the wider issue of companies who sit on undeveloped land and shut out local communities."
Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed volunteers from Gosport Citizens Advice Bureau to Westminster for a tour of Parliament and a discussion about the big issues faced by CAB clients in the area.
Following a tour which took in Westminster Hall, Central Lobby and the House of Lords, the CAB joined Caroline in her office to talk through some of their concerns. These included the long waiting time for Personal Independence Payment decisions, which Caroline recently raised in Parliament.
Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:
"The team at Gosport CAB do a fantastic job of advising people on how they can overcome the problems that they encounter in their everyday lives. For that reason, I was thrilled to invite them to Parliament and to hear directly from volunteers about the difficulties faced by many local residents.
Such discussions are invaluable to me in my work as MP and I intend to raise some of the issues in forthcoming meetings and Parliamentary debates."
Caroline is a keen advocate of volunteering and hosts an annual reception in Westminster to personally thank local volunteers for their hard work and dedication.
Click here to contact Caroline.
@VictoryV2013 I bought mine too but before I was an MP receives it for free because I was asthmatic - you need to speak to your GP!
22 hours ago
.@carolinenokes & I operating as a south coast nagging tag team -arguing for better value for money for rail passengers #southwesttrains
22 hours ago
In Parliament supporting Dominic Raab's excellent debate on #SouthWestTrains value for money - ranked 3rd worst in the country by customers.
22 hours ago