17 APR 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR VOTES IN TOWN TEAM ELECTIONS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on local people to vote in the election of two new members of Gosport Town Team.

The Town Team is made up of local people, local business owners and Council representatives. Since it was established in 2012, the group has been working to broaden the retail mix, increase the take up of empty units and enhance the shopping environment in Gosport.

Commenting on the elections, Caroline said:

"All of the five candidates are passionate about the local area and want to make their own contribution to the fantastic work which is already being done to breathe new life into our high street.

I would urge anyone who lives, works or has a business interest in Gosport to vote in the election and help secure the future of our town centre."

Caroline has long been committed to securing the prosperity of Gosport High Street and helped to secure £110,000 of Government funding for the Town Team in 2012.

You can vote online here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/townteamelections2014.


16 APR 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES STRONG EMPLOYMENT FIGURES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that unemployment in her constituency has dropped considerably over the last twelve months.

The unemployment rate decreased from 3.4% in February 2013 to 2.4% in February 2014, with 495 more people entering employment. The youth unemployment rate also fell over the same period and now stands at 4.6%, down from 7.3% at the same time last year.

Commenting on the data, Caroline said:

"The figures released today show that Gosport has made good progress over the last twelve months. I am proud that local people are overcoming the barriers to employment, thanks to targeted support from local organisations and businesses.

Nationally, the outlook is also promising, as unemployment has fallen to a five year low of 2.24 million. There is still more to be done, but I am pleased that this Government's policies are helping people to get back on to the job ladder."

Gosport's current unemployment rate is 2.4%.


10 APR 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES SHARP FALL IN TRUANCY RATES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that the number of pupils persistently skipping school in Hampshire has fallen by over 25 per cent since 2010. In 2009/10 9,510 pupils were persistently absent from school, but this has fallen sharply to 7,111 in 2012/13.

Caroline said:

"The evidence shows that persistent absence for school has a seriously detrimental effect on pupils' performance. Those that skip school end up playing a constant game of catch up – a game most of those children sadly end up losing. It is therefore great news that, thanks to this Government's actions, truancy has dramatically reduced across Hampshire.

This Government is reintroducing rigour into our schools, ensuring high standards of discipline are maintained, and our EBacc means that more young people are studying for the key academic subjects that will help them get on in life."

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

"There is no excuse for skipping school. We have taken action to reduce absence by increasing fines and encouraging schools to address the problem earlier.

These figures show we are making progress, with 130,000 fewer pupils regularly missing school under this government.

Alongside our measures to give teachers powers to search pupils and impose same-day detentions, this demonstrates our determination to get tough on bad behaviour."


08 APR 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO SIGN UP TO THE BIG DEAL CAMPAIGN FOR CHEAPER ENERGY BILLS

Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, has today urged local residents to sign up to the ThisIsTheBigDeal.com campaign to beat the Big Six energy companies and save hundreds of pounds on their energy bills.

ThisIsTheBigDeal.com is a national campaign for cheaper energy. It brings people together to harness their collective buying power and deliver lower bills. The campaign has already received support from senior figures in every major party, and almost ten thousand people have already signed up in just a couple of weeks. Similar schemes across the world have led to savings of 16.5%. In Britain the equivalent would be about £200 per person.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I know that energy bills are one of the biggest worries for people in the Gosport area. ThisIsTheBigDeal.com is all about people power – more people means lower bills. Together, we can beat the Big Six and save hundreds of pounds."

Henry de Zoete, Co-founder of ThisIsTheBigDeal.com, said:

"We are delighted that Caroline has chosen to support our campaign for cheaper energy. Energy bills have become completely unaffordable; by joining together we can take on the Big Six and demand cheaper bills. Sign up is free, there's no obligation, and it takes less than sixty seconds."

Gosport area residents can sign up online in less than a minute at www.thisisthebigdeal.com, or by calling 0333 222 5871 anytime on standard rates. There is no obligation to switch.


08 APR 2014

CAROLINE SUPPORTS CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is backing a brand new project to tackle homelessness in the Gosport area.

The 'Heart for Homeless' initiative is being led by the local Christian group, Churches Together in Gosport, and aims to offer care and support for vulnerable people who or are at risk of homelessness. The organisation is now looking for volunteers to fulfil a number of roles including committee membership, activity leaders and employment advisors.

Speaking in support of the project, Caroline said:

"I am delighted to be supporting this project which will help to ensure that vulnerable people in Gosport do not feel cut off from their community. By offering emotional support, advice on entering employment and access to leisure activities, I am confident that this initiative will help to rebuild the confidence of those who fall on hard times.

I would urge anyone thinking of registering to become a volunteer for this project to sign up and help make a real difference in our local community."

The initiative will be officially launched at churches across Gosport on Sunday 11th May. For more information, please visit: www.together.ourchurchweb.org.uk/gosport/events.


04 APR 2014

CAROLINE CONTINUES FIGHT FOR BETTER BUS PROVISION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was today joined by local Councillors and transport bosses for a productive meeting with First Bus to discuss the future of essential local routes.

The meeting follows months of negotiations with the public transport provider which announced significant changes to the provision of services across the Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, and Hill Head in January.

During the meeting, which was also attended by Cllr Scard and Cllr Burgess from Gosport Borough Council as well as Cllr Woodward, the Executive Member for Transport at Hampshire County Council, a number of options were discussed, with the hope of finding solutions to existing weaknesses in local routes.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"This is a situation which must be resolved urgently – too many local people have been affected by route changes, including students at local schools and colleges. Today's meeting was a good opportunity for transport bosses from Hampshire County Council and First to sit down with local representatives to discuss possible solutions.

I am grateful that there is a desire on all sides to work together and hopeful that we have taken another step forwards towards securing improved bus provision for residents across the Gosport peninsula."

During her visit to First's regional headquarters, Caroline also got behind the wheel of a First bus giving her an insight into the experience of local bus drivers.

Since First's announcement was made at the beginning of the year, Caroline has been in regular contact with company bosses, Gosport Borough Councillors and Hampshire County Councillors trying to find a solution to the situation.


04 APR 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES TAX CUT FOR BUSINESSES & EMPLOYERS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed a bold new tax cut for businesses and employers in Gosport, which will take effect this Sunday.

A new Employment Allowance will take £2,000 off the National Insurance bill of every employer – open to businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs. This measure will take 68,000 small businesses in the South East out of having to pay any tax on jobs at all.

Employers will be able to hire one extra person on £22,400 a year, or four people working full time on the minimum wage, without paying any National Insurance.

Caroline commented:

"This new tax cut is great news for businesses in Gosport, making it cheaper and easier for firms to hire new employees thus helping to give more people the security and stability of a regular pay packet.

Thanks to this Government's policies, 1.3 million people have entered employment since 2010; however, there is always more to be done which is why I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to helping businesses get more people into work. As a small business owner myself, I am proud to support a policy that will help firms around the country to expand, to innovate and crucially to create jobs."

Since her election, Caroline has endeavoured to boost the number of jobs and stimulate economic growth across the Gosport peninsula. She has worked hard on a number of development projects, including the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and the Bridging the Gap fund, and continues to collaborate with local organisations & businesses to help get more people into work.


02 APR 2014

CAROLINE’S PLEA FOR BETTER ACCESS TO FORT BROCKHURST

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage spoke up in the Houses of Commons today calling for better access for local people to Fort Brockhurst. In a debate on the future of English Heritage the Gosport MP argued it was crucial that local people are able to engage in their regional history.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Caroline said "Our unique heritage is not something to be kept in a dusty vault under lock and key; it should a living thing that local community groups and individuals feel able to engage with.

Giving local groups the ability to participate in their own heritage is crucial in protecting our connection with the past. But more than that – it offers a real opportunity to involve local people in preserving historic sites for the future."

The remarks followed the decision by local community group "The Gosport Shed" to relocate from Fort Brockhurst to Priddy's Hard. Fort Brockhurst is only open to the general public for 6 days of the year – on the second Saturday of the month during the summer, with the historic site being closed to the public for 6 months across the winter.


02 APR 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES GOSPORT FERRY CAMPAIGN SUCCESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is today celebrating news that the Ministry of Defence will restore the entitlement to Home to Duty Travel allowance for service personnel travelling to work on the Gosport & Hayling Ferries.

Caroline has campaigned for this policy to be reinstated for three years, raising the matter with Ministers from both the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport. At present, those commuting to Portsmouth from Gosport can claim expenses for travel that they make by road but not by water, thus encouraging service personnel to travel by car. However, today's announcement will promote a much more sustainable journey to work, reducing congestion on key routes such as the A32 and Newgate Lane.

Welcoming the news, Caroline said:

"After many years of letter writing, parliamentary questions and ministerial visits, I am delighted that the MoD has decided to overturn its existing policy and actively encourage service personnel to commute between Gosport and Portsmouth on the Gosport Ferry. This is a much more sustainable option; taking cars off local roads at peak times, reducing pollution, promoting a healthier lifestyle and cutting MoD costs.

I would like to thank the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, who visited Gosport last year when he recognised the potential that the Gosport Ferry has to alleviate local road congestion and backed my campaign for the reinstatement of this important entitlement."

The Managing Director of Gosport Ferry, John Foster, added:

"I am delighted to hear that the MoD has agreed to reverse its policy and will allow its staff to claim expenses for commuting on the Gosport Ferry once more. Not only will the MoD's decision help our small business, it will also make an important contribution to keeping MoD spending under control. Caroline's help was critical to securing this change which will benefit all commuters in Gosport."

The entitlement will be reinstated with effect from 1 May 2014.


01 APR 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES PROTECTION OF FRONT LINE NHS SERVICES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke up in the Houses of Commons in defence of Government plans to protect front-line NHS services while dealing with the legacy of PFI debt left by the last administration.

Speaking in the Commons, Caroline asked "Does the Sec of State share my hope that the Government's joint commitment to increasing NHS spending and dealing with the legacy of PFI debt will help areas like Gosport which are living under the umbrella of a huge PFI hospital approved under the last Government which is sucking up most of the NHS budget?"

Responding, the Secretary of State said that "This PFI debt is costing the NHS more an a billion pounds every year. That is money that in some cases was well spent but very often was very poorly spent, and she's absolutely right to say that we want that money to be spent on front line care which is why we have drawn a line under the appallingly bad deals negotiated by the last Labour government and we're spending money where it should be spent: to help patients."

In 2014-15, PFI contacts will cost the taxpayer a staggering £3,660 per minute or £220,000 per hour, while the total bill for NHS PFI contracts signed under Labour will hit £79 billion. The Chancellor has announced that the PFI which has locked hospitals into poor value contracts will be fundamentally reformed; freeing up funding for front line services.

Speaking outside the chamber Caroline said,

"The PFI contracts the last Labour Government negotiated left the NHS sitting on a mountain of debt. I'm pleased that this Government is reforming PFI to get the best value for the taxpayer while increasing overall spending – meaning that there are now almost 15,000 more clinicians in the NHS."


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