26 MAY 2016


Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Psychoactive Substances Act which comes into effect today.

Unscrupulous dealers in psychoactive substances face up to 7 years in prison as the trade becomes illegal and Police will have new powers to shut down 'headshops' and UK-based online dealers, helping to protect potential users from harm and communities from anti-social behaviour. The blanket ban on the sale, supply, importation and exportation of the dangerous drugs will apply across the UK whenever they are intended for human consumption.

Caroline recently backed the "lethal highs" campaign, launched by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Youth Commission, calling for more information surrounding psychoactive substances, both in terms of advice and usage, to be given.

Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said:

"Too many lives have been lost or ruined by the dangerous drugs formerly referred to as 'legal highs'. That is why we have taken action to stamp out this brazen trade.

The Psychoactive Substances Act sends a clear message – these drugs are not legal, they are not safe and we will not allow them to be sold in this country."

Caroline commented:

"Legal highs are lethal and across both Gosport and the UK, too many lives have been ruined or lost.

I am pleased that the government have taken steps to make Psychoactive Substances illegal and make our country a safer place."

For more information about the act please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/trade-in-so-called-legal-highs-now-illegal.

25 MAY 2016


Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed Government proposals in the Digital Economy Bill to make switching providers quicker and easier across a range of sectors.

The Government is taking the first step towards consistently quicker switching across all major services by setting out proposals which could allow consumers to switch provider in a week or less. The Government is asking consumers and industry for evidence of how these proposals could be implemented and new rules could be in place as soon as next year.

The call for evidence looks at how long it takes for people to switch providers across a number of markets, including energy, broadband, mobile phones, current accounts and mortgages, and asks what more could be done to speed the process up. The document also seeks views on a range of other proposals to help consumers, including requiring that customers should be able to cancel contracts online if they signed up for them online. Government will meet with industry bodies in the coming months to discuss how the proposals could be taken forward. Consumers will also be able to unlock their phone at the end of the contract for free after agreement has now been reached with major mobile providers. This means it will be easier to change providers, but keep an existing handset. Overall, handset owners spend an estimated £48 million a year unlocking their phones.

Under proposals to be brought forward in the Digital Economy Bill, the government is also taking steps to improve the experience for broadband and mobile phone customers:

customers will soon be able to check broadband and network coverage information for individual properties, finding out not only what speed they are getting but also what speed their house could get from other providers. Online property search portals will be able to display this data, making it easier to compare available broadband speeds when moving houselegislation in the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill will mean that consumers will only have to deal with their new provider in order to switch, ending the headache of having to contact the old provider to exit contractswhen things go wrong, consumers will also be automatically compensated by their telecommunications provider. This could include, for instance, when a telecoms package isn't brought online on the day it was promised, is offline for a couple of days, or if the repair-person doesn't turn up

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

"I want to give consumers more power over switching providers for the services they rely on to make sure they are getting the best deals. The government is committed to creating a system that works for consumers and makes markets more competitive.

At the moment the time it takes to switch depends on which service you are switching. I want to hear what consumers and businesses think of making switching quicker and more consistent across all markets."

Caroline commented:

"This is a positive step towards making it as easy as possible for consumers to spot the best deal for them, and switch providers quickly and easily if they want to, saving people time and money.

The proposals are great news for Gosport and the country as a whole, who are now more reliant on these services than ever before."

You can take part in the call for evidence at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-consumer-landscape-and-quicker-switching-call-for-evidence.

23 MAY 2016















Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, welcomed apprentices from the Gosport constituency to the House of Commons last week to celebrate the UK's aerospace, defence, security and space industries.

They were amongst more than 80 apprentices from some of Britain's leading companies who attended the ADS Parliamentary Reception.

Organised by the trade organisation ADS Group, and sponsored by UTC Aerospace Systems, the event recognised the valuable contribution apprentices make to our important, high-skill manufacturing industries, and highlighted the world-leading technologies that many of the apprentices are working to develop. The aerospace, defence, security and space sector provides 10,400 apprenticeships in the UK.

Caroline said:

"Here in our area, aerospace and defence companies are really big players so it was great to meet apprentices, like George from Stubbington, and Natalie May who are working hard to get the technical skills they need for a highly rewarding career. For the long-term viability of our local economy, it is important that companies invest in training up the next generation so I am delighted that ADS group keenly champions apprenticeships.

"It was very interesting to hear about George and Natalie May's work at SAFRAN – they are great ambassadors for our local area."

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of ADS Group, said:

"Companies in the UK's aerospace, defence, security and space industries offer high quality apprenticeships and provide young people with routes into high value, long term jobs. Many of the apprentices at this week's reception will be the industry leaders of tomorrow and it is great for them to see the political support for our industries and their future prosperity."

19 MAY 2016


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed figures that show the total number of unemployed claimants of Jobseekers Allowance and Universal Credit in the Gosport constituency has fallen from 1,644 in 2010 to 593 today.

This represents a rate of 1.2% of the economically active population. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.5% showing that Gosport unemployment is lower than the national average. The total number of claimants in Gosport is 206 lower than in April 2015 and 57 lower than in March 2016.

There were 145 claimants aged 18-24 in Gosport constituency in April 2016, 65 lower than in April 2015.

Nationally, the employment rate in the UK has hit a record high of 74.2%, meaning there are more people in work than ever before.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline said:

"Our community in Gosport has a really strong work ethic and the lower unemployed claimant figures released by the Office for National Statistics clearly show that local people are taking advantage of growing employment opportunities.

"The stats are great news for Gosport because they indicate the competitive growth of our local economy, which improves financial security for families."

18 MAY 2016


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, visited the Stokes Bay Head Quarters of Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) on Friday.

Founded in 1969, GAFIRS is an independent search and rescue facility covering the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour. It is funded entirely by charitable donations, which are used to deliver emergency lifeboat and rescue services. All of the crew are volunteers and freely give up their time to help others in distress in, on or near water.

The meeting provided Gosport's MP with the opportunity to learn more about GAFIRS life-saving work and even climb aboard and inspect their brand new, state-of-the-art lifeboat.

Caroline commented:

"Having long been a supporter of GAFIRS, it is fantastic to finally see first-hand the Stokes Bay hub where they launch their search and rescue vessels and vehicles in times of emergency. I was extremely impressed by the professionalism of the team, the equipment and the headquarters.

"I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and determination of those GAFIRS volunteers who keep us safe while we enjoy our wonderful coastal location. GAFIRS have played an incredibly important role in recent emergency situations where local people have been in distress on the water, clearly demonstrating how much our local area relies upon this unit."

To learn more about GAFIRS or to make a donation, please click here or follow them on twitter @GAFIRS.

13 MAY 2016


Local MP Caroline Dinenage urges local organisation to bid for money from the Discover England Fund.

The Discover England Fund is a three-year staged fund from 2016-19 announced by the government as part of last year's spending review. It has been set up to build 'world-class' tourism products and experiences that cater to the needs and aspirations of international visitors to boost inbound spend across England, and also benefit the domestic tourism market.

The fund is designed to tackle head-on some of the challenges facing English tourism. How tourists choose and book their holidays is changing. Visitors from traditional tourism markets are demanding new experiences and places to explore, with some of the strongest growth coming from markets that do not know much about England, or which might have different travel expectations and requirements. And while London continues to have global appeal and attract more than half of visitor spend, there are also a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy beyond the capital. Our transport connections do not always make this exploration easy, and customers now expect to book online, use distributors and comparison websites, and see availability at short notice, so we need to be tech and digitally savvy as an industry to keep ahead.

Caroline commented:

"I urge local organisation to apply for this funding, the Gosport peninsula has a wealth of maritime, naval and other tourist attractions and we should take full advantage of that.

Tourism generates about £106 billion annually for the English economy and employs more than 2 million people and it would be fantastic to attract more of the tourism to Gosport!"

You can find more information about the fund here: https://www.visitbritain.org/discover-england-fund-overview.

12 MAY 2016


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, attended a meeting in Parliament marking the launch of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)'s Solent Strategic Transport Investment Plan.

The Plan provides a strong business case for infrastructure improvements in the Solent region, calling for long-term investment to unlock the Solent's growth potential over the next 25 years.

It sets out a clear rationale and justification for investment in the Solent region, which suffers from a huge transport infrastructure deficit. Average vehicle speeds are 32% slower than the national average. Meanwhile, it takes on average 88 minutes to travel to London (a distance of around 80 miles). This starkly contrasts to the 78 minutes it takes to travel from Sunderland to London (a distance of 270 miles). The Solent region also does not fully exploit its assets, with no direct rail link between Southampton Airport and Portsmouth.

The Solent Strategic Transport Investment Plan outlines how good transport links are utterly essential for improving the Solent's economic fortunes by connecting people to jobs and products to markets, and meeting the demands of a growing population. The Plan suggests that in the future, a metro-style public transport service connecting Portsmouth and Southampton should play a central role, alongside improved connectivity to London.

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage welcomed the thorough analysis, while firmly calling on the Solent LEP to ensure the needs of Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head are met.

She said:

"This robust and persuasive analysis by the Solent LEP clearly shows the disparity between other parts of the country and the Solent region, which for too long has suffered from underinvestment. This problem is particularly severe in Gosport, which is one of the largest towns in the country without a train station where over 20,000 workers commute out of the peninsula every day.

"Investment in Solent transport infrastructure is the lynchpin for our area's long-term economic success and I was sure to impress upon Solent LEP bosses that the Gosport constituency must get its fair share of the cash and not be left behind. Improved transport infrastructure is critical to support our productivity, which is growing thanks to investment in key sites like the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, which I helped to establish.

"I look forward to continue working with my Parliamentary colleagues, the Solent LEP and other key stakeholders to ensure the Solent region is supported to reach its full potential."

You can access the Solent Strategic Transport Investment Plan, here.

10 MAY 2016


On 23 June 2016, the British public will have the opportunity to vote on Britain's continued membership of the European Union. As you may know, I believe that it is for individuals to make their own minds up on this important issue so I am not campaigning for either side. However, I thought it would be useful to provide some neutral information ahead of the date.

First of all, logistics.

If you want to have your say at the EU Referendum, you must be registered to vote. Anyone who was already registered to vote (or recently registered) before the 18 April deadline for the 5 May elections will also be registered to cast their vote at the EU Referendum. You do not need to re-register.

To check if you are registered to vote, please contact your local electoral registration office. For constituents living in Gosport, the Gosport Electoral Services team can be reached on 023 9254 5227. For constituents living in Stubbington and Hill Head, the Fareham Electoral Services team can be contacted on 01329 236100.

You can vote in person at your polling booth, by post, or by proxy. To apply for a postal or proxy vote, please contact your local Electoral Services team on the aforementioned telephone numbers.

Making your mind up.

I know many people have yet to decide on how to vote in the EU referendum.

The referendum question that will be posed on 23 June 2016 is as follows:

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

There are very strong arguments on either side and I know that many people feel the debate thus far has not provided the impartial "facts" that will help them decide.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee have published a report which they hope will help. The Committee acknowledges that each individual will consider one argument more important or relevant but it has tried to cover some broad topics such as trade, defence, economic and foreign policy and the UK's reputation in the world. The Committee is split equally between Leave and Remain and therefore it considers it report to be unbiased and hopefully of help. The report can be found here.

Finally, my view.

As I said, I will not be campaigning in the EU referendum and I have a lot of sympathy for many of the arguments on both sides. However, I have decided how I personally will vote. You can read about my personal deliberation here.

I do hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries on this subject please do not hesitate to get in touch.

09 MAY 2016


NHS England is currently considering changes to Southern Hampshire Vascular Services that would see the creation of one Wessex Vascular Network. Patients would continue to receive vascular care at the hospital closest to their home but emergency or major unplanned treatments would be provided at University Hospital Southampton with a new dedicated vascular ward offering 24 hour care from a team of specialists. You can read details about the proposals here.

NHS England are hosting a public event in Gosport on Wednesday 11 May at Thorngate Hall, Bury Road, from 4:30pm to 6.30pm to discuss the proposals and give local people the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. Details about the event can be found here.

If you have any concerns about the implications of the proposals and you are a constituent, please let me know. I can be reached via e-mail (caroline.dinenage.mp@parliament.uk) or you can write to me at 167 Stoke Road, Gosport, PO12 1SE.

05 MAY 2016


On 29 April 2016, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its latest inspection report for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The report, which is available here, highlights specific concerns about the Trust's governance arrangements, how it has learned from past incidents and the physical environment of some services inspected.

This latest report follows the CQC's inspection into Southern Health last year, which resulted in the December 2015 Mazars Report. The Mazars Report determined that Southern Health had failed to properly investigate the deaths of patients who were mentally ill or had learning difficulties.

On 6 April 2016 the CQC issued Southern Health with a warning notice highlighting the need for further improvements to governance arrangements. On 14 April healthcare regulator NHS Improvement placed a condition on the Trust's lease, asking it to make urgent patient safety improvements to address the issues found by the CQC. On 29 April, the Chairman of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust stood down.

The CQC is currently considering Southern Health's response to its warning notice, which required significant improvements to be made by 27 April. Southern Health's delivery plan has been received by the CQC and is in the process of being evaluated. NHS Improvement is working closely with the CQC and the trust to give independent oversight.

As the situation has unfolded, I have been attending meetings and receiving updates both from Southern Health and the Care Quality Commission alongside my colleagues from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I know that a number of local residents rely on the services provided by Southern Health and I am keen to hold them to account for their failures and make sure that past mistakes cannot be repeated.

I welcomed that this matter was raised in the House last week and that the Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt MP is treating the situation with the utmost seriousness. You can read his full response to an Urgent Question raised in the Commons here.

The findings of the Care Quality Commission are deeply worrying, and necessitate serious action at a local and national level. The most vulnerable people in our society must receive care in a safe and secure setting, and failures of leadership and governance at Southern Health to ensure patient safety are grossly unacceptable.

If you or your family members have been affected by the findings of the CQC, you are a Gosport constituent and would like assistance, please get in touch.

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