23 NOV 2015


Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the Prime Minister's publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and its clear commitment to investing over £178 billion in buying and maintaining military equipment over the next decade. This will directly benefit the Solent region by providing job security to local servicemen and women and the defence industry, which drives our local economy.

The SDSR is the Government's foremost document on defence strategy. Together with the National Security Strategy it reviews the threats the UK faces, what capabilities the UK needs to respond to them and how to configure the Armed Forces accordingly. The last SDSR made significant cuts to Armed Forces personnel and equipment. However, the global context has shifted significantly since 2010, with new developments including Russia's actions on NATO's eastern flank and the rise of the Islamic State, which are at the forefront of national attention following on from the tragic events in Paris.

The Prime Minister today confirmed that the Ministry of Defence will be purchasing a new squadron of 24 F35 Joint Striker aircraft. These will be available on our two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers by 2023, ensuring their long lifespan. Both of the new carriers currently under construction will be brought into operation, ensuring that a carrier is available at all times. This is excellent news for the Solent region as Portsmouth Naval Base will be home to the two aircraft carriers and these are the largest ships that the Royal Navy has ever had under its command.

In addition, the Government announced the creation of two new strike brigades, forces of up to 5,000 personnel each, fully equipped to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field; nine new maritime patrol aircrafts to protect our nuclear deterrent; £2bn for the SAS and other special forces; 2 typhoon squadrons; 8 type 26 frigates and at least another 5 frigates; £1.9bn to be spent on cyber-security; and the replacement of the strategic nuclear deterrent (Trident).

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"The publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review brings fantastic news for our local area. The commitment to making both Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers operational with a new F35 aircraft squadron will ensure that Portsmouth's historical status as the centre of the British Navy will be maintained. The Government's commitment to significant military expenditure will also provide job security for our area long into the future.

"In the current geo-political climate, these measures are vital for ensuring national security. We have no way of knowing precisely what course events will take over the next five years but the announcements made in the SDSR will ensure our Armed Forces and security services have the versatility and means to keep us safe."

The Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

"Our renewed economic security means we can afford to further invest in our national security – and this Government has taken a clear decision to do so. This is vital at a time when threats to our country are growing. The Strategic Defence and Security Review presents a clear vision for a secure and prosperous United Kingdom, with global reach and global influence."

The United Kingdom is the only major country in the world which is simultaneously going to meet the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of our GDP on defence and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of our GNI on development, while also increasing investment in our security and intelligence agencies and in counter-terrorism. This means the defence budget will rise by 0.5% above inflation each year from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

23 NOV 2015


Local MP Caroline Dinenage visited a local charity, Harbour Cancer Support Centre, on Friday.

Harbour Cancer Support Centre offers support to anyone who is affected by cancer across the South East of Hampshire. They run a variety of services including; advice & information, a drop in centre, counselling, befriending and support for Children.

Harbour Cancer Support rely entirely on donations and fundraising which they do throughout the year. Their next event is a Christmas Fayre which will be held on Saturday 28 November from 10am – 3pm at St Mary's Church Hall.

They also collect ink & toner cartridges, mobile phones, stamps, milk bottle tops and foreign coins. If you would like to donate any of these items, please drop them to the Harbour Cancer Support Centre in Gosport Bus Station or Unit 26 Fareham Shopping Centre.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"It was great to visit the Harbour Cancer Support Centre to see the amazing work that they do and how they touch people's lives.

I met various people involved in the organisation including staff, counsellors and service-users to hear how vital this support is to many people in our community and the enormous difference that their amazing volunteers make."

For more information about Harbour Cancer Support Centre and the services they provide, please visit www.harbourcancer.org.uk.

17 NOV 2015


Local MP Caroline Dinenage will celebrate Parliament Week with a student debate and Q&A session at Bay House School on Friday.

Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy. The annual initiative kicked off yesterday, running until Sunday 22nd November and is co-ordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords.

Caroline will play the role of Speaker, while Bay House School students take part in a lively debate & Parliament-style vote on the subject of "a Living Wage for those aged 16 and over". She will then have a question and answer session with pupils about her day-to-day life as the Member of Parliament for Gosport.

Speaking before the visit, Caroline said:

"It is vital to engage young people with politics and Parliament Week is a great initiative to get them involved. I always enjoy hearing from young people in our area about the issues they are most passionate about.

I am looking forward to meeting the students and listening to their opinions on a topic which is very big issue in Parliament at the moment."

For more information about Parliament Week, please visit www.parliamentweek.org

16 NOV 2015


Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is backing Global Entrepreneurship Week which runs from today until Friday.

Enterprise First are holding four free events across Gosport for local people to gain support to help start or grow their business. There will be a variety of events including; a Business Start-up Workshop, a Meet the Local Expert session, Gosport Informal Network meeting and an Introduction to Bookkeeping Workshop.

Caroline Dinenage MP will be dropping into the 'Introduction to Bookkeeping' Workshop on Friday 20 November.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"Global Entrepreneurship Week is a great way of inspiring people who are thinking about starting their own business. Previously starting up a small business myself, I know that however rewarding the experience is, the obstacles to getting started are daunting.

The range of events that Enterprise First are putting on are a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to get the support and guidance they need to get started or grow their business into a real success story."

For more information about the free events being held by Enterprise First please visit http://www.enterprisefirst.co.uk/events/.

13 NOV 2015


Today it was announced that National Grid is planning a major new energy infrastructure project linking the UK's electricity network to France, with proposals for the UK connection point being located on the Fareham side of the Daedalus site.

Investment of this nature is crucial to ensuring that the UK's future energy supply is secure, affordable, sustainable and resilient. It will guarantee that we are able to keep the lights on post 2020 and help reduce energy bills for consumers.

The electricity interconnector would be capable of exchanging 1,000 megawatts of power between the two countries, enough to run over 1,000,000 homes. It would link to the electricity network at a replacement substation building at the existing National Grid site near Chilling, Warsash. Undersea cables would run between Daedalus to Chilling, protecting the natural beauty of our unique coastal landscape.

Interconnectors are set to make a bigger contribution to securing UK energy supplies in the future with plans for facilities at Ramsgate in Kent and Blyth in Northumberland underway. The UK's goal is for 10% of our energy to be generated by interconnection by 2020. At present, 50% of energy in France is generated by nuclear means and 20% through hydro techniques, however 70% of the UK's energy supply is still reliant on fossil fuels which has a higher wholesale price.

As well as seeing around £500 million investment into Daedalus, Fareham Borough Council will receive money from the land sale and business rates. There will also be mitigation money for Daedalus which could bring forward plans for the extension and lighting of the runway and a new visitors centre. The brownfield site suggested for the new interconnector had previously been identified for potential gravel extraction or housing.

Fareham Borough Council will seek high quality designs and plans will not be finalised until the Council and residents are totally happy that the site is entirely safe and that there would be no dangerous electro-magnetic field emissions.

The Council will hold a special Community Action Team (CAT) meeting for residents to explain the proposals more fully. This will be held at Stubbington Baptist Church on 10 December at 7pm. It will be a ticketed event and tickets can be obtained from Fareham Borough Council by emailing cats@fareham.gov.uk or telephoning 01329 236100.

There will also be a number of information events running across the area in the coming weeks. The details are as follows:

· Tuesday 8th December – Lockswood Community Centre, Locks Heath, 1.30pm-5.30pm

· Wednesday 9th December – St Faith's Parish Centre, Lee-on-the-Solent, 4pm – 8pm

· Thursday 10th December - Stubbington Baptist Church, Stubbington, 3pm-7pm

· Friday 11th December - Warsash Victory Hall, Warsash, 4pm – 8pm

· Saturday 12th December - Crofton Community Centre, Stubbington, 10am – 4pm

For more information, contact the community information line by phone on 0800 0194 576 or visit the project website: www.ifa2interconnector.com.

13 NOV 2015


Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted her much anticipated Disability Confident event, giving local businesses an understanding of why they should take on disabled jobseekers and the support available to them to do so.

The event was attended by businesses from across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, including QinetiQ, Huhtamaki, Tesco and Thorngate Almhouse Trust as well as local schools. Delegates heard from a range of speakers: employers, employees with physical disabilities and learning difficulties and providers of employment support, all of whom offered a valuable insight into the importance of making businesses accessible to disabled jobseekers. The key note speaker was former BBC The Apprentice contestant, Pamela Uddin who is dyslexic and dyspraxic and runs a successful company educating employers in maximising their business potential by promoting inclusivity.

Held at St Vincent College in Gosport, the event gave businesses a chance to build valuable links between schools and providers, bridging the gap between education and employment. Attendees were also asked to make pledges, detailing how they hoped to make changes to their employment practice, enabling them to take on disabled jobseekers more easily.

Commenting after the event, Caroline said:

“People with either physical disabilities or learning difficulties have a huge amount to offer growing businesses so it is important their skills are tapped into, however the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is currently at thirty per cent. Having heard from speakers who are living with these difficulties it is clear that businesses need to be doing more to make the workplace more accessible.

Today’s event is the first step towards breaking down the barriers which prevent disabled jobseekers here in the Gosport constituency from getting into work. I know that those who attended were inspired by our fantastic speakers and I’m confident that they will do their best to meet the commitments that they have made today.”

The Disability Confident campaign was established by the Prime Minister in 2013 and is run by the Department for Work and Pensions. So far, 238,000 have found work and the Prime Minister has made a commitment to get one million more disabled people into work.

11 NOV 2015


Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is set to host an event this Friday to encourage businesses to take on disabled job seekers.

The Disability Confident event is run in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions and will be held at St Vincent College on Friday morning. It is designed to break down the barriers which prevent many disabled people from getting into the work places whilst challenging negative attitudes towards disability.

Speakers include former The Apprentice contestant, Pamela Uddin who is dyslexic and dyspraxic, Disability Confident employer Barclays and representatives from Jobcentre Plus and Remploy. They will talk about their experiences be it getting into work, employing disabled job seekers or helping businesses to understand the benefits of becoming a Disability Confident employer.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"With an employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people of approximately thirty per cent, it is clear that we must take action to help disabled people get into the work place.

Friday's event will be a great opportunity for businesses from across the Gosport constituency to come together to learn about the importance of being a Disability Confident employer and make pledges on the small changes they can make to their organisation to become more accessible to disabled job seekers.

I would encourage any local employer to come along – there are still some places left!"

You can read more about the Disability Confident campaign here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign.

The event will take place at St Vincent College on Friday 13th November from 1030 to 1400. For more information, call 0207 219 7078 or email caroline.dinenage.mp@parliament.uk.

09 NOV 2015


With winter on the way, local MP Caroline Dinenage has called on the people of Gosport to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

Caroline recently met with British Gas in Parliament to learn about schemes which can help constituents get ready for winter and cope with the cost of bills. One of the schemes she learned about was the British Gas Energy Trust (BGET), which provides funding, face-to-face advice and grants to clear household debts. Applicants don't have to be British Gas customers so click here for more information.  

In addition, Government led programs can help you keep warm this winter. For example, if you meet certain criteria you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount. This forms part of the Government's commitment to making homes warmer, tackling fuel poverty and driving down bills for a million more homes by 2020.

One of the best ways to be energy efficient and keep your home warm for the long-term is to insulate it. As part of the Government's Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which supports low-income and vulnerable houses in making home-improvements, British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation. This may help you save hundreds of pounds per year on energy bills: loft insulation can save up to £140 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £160 per year in a typical semi-detached home. To find out if your home is suitable call British Gas free on 0800 316 4051 or visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/insulation.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"I am really pleased that the Government is committed to helping people get winter ready and cope with the costs of heating. It's wonderful that energy suppliers such as British Gas are backing this.

"There's lots of advice around about energy efficiency and keeping bills under control. Schemes include the Home Heat Helpline - a free, impartial and confidential service offering support including grants for insulation & new boilers, discount schemes and rebate schemes."

The Home Heat Helpline number is 0800 33 66 99 or 0333 300 3366.

06 NOV 2015


Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage visited the Gosport Youth Project as part of the National Youth Agency's National youth work week.

Gosport Youth Project supports young people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender and is one of the LGBT groups which Y Services run for young people across Gosport, Fareham and Havant. Y Services are involved in delivering quality LGBT youth work because they want to ensure that young people have the opportunity to explore their sexuality and identity in a safe and supportive environment. All young people need to be able to be who they are without fear of judgment, prejudice or discrimination.

Following the visit, Caroline commented:

"I was delighted to meet with the Gosport Youth Project and to hear how vital LGBT support groups are, everyone deserves to be in a safe and understanding environment. I am so pleased that we have these valuable groups in our constituency.

When I visited, the Young People discussed their views on current topics with me; both local constituency issues as well as issues that come under my capacity as Minister for Equalities. It was interesting to hear the suggestions and ideas that they had."

For more information about the Gosport Youth Project, please contact Dawn Tracy on dawn@yservices.co.uk or on 07503 353636.

02 NOV 2015


Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the successful passage of the Government's proposals for English votes for English laws through the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 October following a debate in the chamber. This addresses the so-called "West Lothian question" where English MPs could not vote on matters which have been devolved to other parts of the UK, but Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs could vote on those same matters when the UK Parliament was legislating solely for England.

Under the proposals, English MPs will have a fairer say over laws that affect only their constituencies and have already been devolved elsewhere. During a new stage of Parliamentary consideration called the 'Legislative Grand Committee', MPs with constituencies in England (and, where relevant, England and Wales) will now be asked to give their consent to legislation that only affects England (or England and Wales).

Caroline has long campaigned for England to be able to decide its own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of more devolved parts of the UK are able to do. In the last Parliament, she set up a petition online and in her Gosport office calling for English votes for English laws to be introduced as soon as possible. Almost 400 local people signed the petition, which Caroline then formally delivered it to the Speaker in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am so pleased that the House of Commons has passed the Government's proposals for English Votes for English Laws because this will ensure that English people have more of a voice over matters that only affect them. This is crucial for creating a fairer system and a stronger Union. It is wonderful to think that the views of the local people who signed my petition played an important part in bringing about this change."

Chris Grayling MP, leader of the House of Commons said:

"We have delivered our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws. We are determined to strengthen the Union – we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny. Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union."

All MPs will continue to debate and vote on legislation at Second Reading, Third Reading and Report stage. This ensures that new laws are made with the agreement of the whole House of Commons, but that English (and Welsh) laws will only be made with the consent of MPs who represent those parts of the country. As part of the Government's commitment to devolving powers in a fair and balanced way, the proposals will be reviewed after 12 months to ensure the process is working effectively.

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