20 NOV 2014

CAROLINE STANDS UP AGAINST LOCAL BANK CLOSURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke out in Parliament against two imminent bank closures in her constituency.

At the end of this month, HSBC will close in Lee-on-the-Solent leaving the town without a bank and in February next year, NatWest will be closing its doors in Stubbington. Given the dependence of local people and small businesses on these services, Caroline has been fighting to ensure that adequate alternatives are available to her constituents.

Speaking in the House of Commons, she said:

"Access to banking support is vital to small businesses and yet in my constituency, NatWest is closing their Stubbington branch and later this month HSBC are going to shut the last bank in Lee-on-the-Solent. Can the Minister urge these banks to do more to keep these important local services open?"

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, replied:

"The changes in the way that banking is happening and the way that most people bank and the use of technology of course has an impact on how banks operate. Having visited Stubbington and Lee-on-the-Solent with her only this week I know how important these issues are locally. Of course, ultimately this is a commercial matter for the banks but we've got to make sure that banking services are available in all communities, not least to make sure that vulnerable people can get the access to the services if they can't use the technology."

Outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"I have written to both HSBC and NatWest explaining that these closures will have a huge impact on people who depend on them for personal and business banking services. Insufficient local consultation has taken place and the needs of people living on our peninsular have not been fully taken into account. It's about time that banks occasionally put customer service & community responsibilities ahead of profits"

Earlier this month, Caroline asked the Treasury to support calls for banks to not shut down the last bank in town.


18 NOV 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO FIND OUT HOW TO CUT ENERGY BILLS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on local people to ensure that they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

As the winter months set in, British Gas is offering advice on a number of measures to keep energy bills down. These include insulating your home, getting the best deal and finding out if you’re eligible for extra support from the Government and your energy supplier.

British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation which is available to 90% of homes that need it so to find out more, call 0800 316 4051. You can also receive advice about the best gas and electricity tariff for you by calling 0800 048 0202. Finally, to find out if you are a British Gas customer, find out if you’re eligible for support by calling 0800 072 8625.

Speaking in support of the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign, Caroline said:

“At this time of year, it is really important that we’re fully prepared for the cold weather ahead so I am very keen that people across the Gosport constituency understand what help is available for them. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is so important and I would urge everyone to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is available to them.”

You can find more tips on how to prepare for winter here: bit.ly/1ycTB3Q.


17 NOV 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES MINISTER FOR PORTSMOUTH AREA TO DAEDALUS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the Minister for the Portsmouth area to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone in her Gosport constituency.

During the visit, the Minister was given a tour of the site and looked around the new CEMAST centre where he watched practical demonstrations and spoke to students and apprentices about their experiences at the College. He also visited Aerotech Solent Limited and attended a meeting with Caroline and key stakeholders from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to welcome Matt Hancock to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and to show him just a few of the exciting projects which are underway at the site.

He was very impressed by the cutting edge facilities at CEMAST as well as the aircraft at Aerotech and we had an extremely productive meeting to discuss the future of the site and what needs to be done to ensure that it reaches its full potential."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has remained committed to boosting economic growth in her area. 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.


14 NOV 2014

CAROLINE MARKS PARLIAMENT WEEK WITH LOCAL STUDENTS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today celebrated Parliament Week during visits to St Vincent College and Fareham College at CEMAST.

Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy; the annual initiative kicks off today and will run until Thursday 20th November.

Caroline joined students from St Vincent College and Fareham College for lively debates about local and national issues. She also spoke to students about the functioning of Parliament and her day-to-day life as the Member of Parliament for Gosport.

Speaking after her visits, Caroline said:

"It is so important that we engage young people with politics and Parliament Week is a great way to do just that. I always enjoy getting involved with the initiative and hearing from young people in our area about the issues they are most passionate about.

The programme went down really well at both colleges and I hope that we have inspired some budding politicians!"

Parliament Week is co-ordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords.


14 NOV 2014

CAROLINE TO BRING MINISTER FOR PORTSMOUTH AREA TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome the Minister for the Portsmouth area to her constituency when he visits the Daedalus Enterprise Zone on Monday.

The Minister will be given a tour of the site and the newly opened CEMAST centre where he will see practical demonstrations and talk to students about their experiences of the programmes on offer. He will also visit Aerotech Solent Limited and attend a meeting with Caroline and key stakeholders from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"With the responsibility of ensuring that the Portsmouth area recovers from years of under investment, the Minister is our voice in Whitehall so it is extremely important that he understands the intricacies of our area and what we need to maximise growth.

For that reason, I am very much looking forward to showing him the many exciting developments which are currently taking place at Daedalus and talking to him about how we can ensure that the Enterprise Zone meets its full potential."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has remained committed to boosting economic growth in her area. 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.

The Minister will visit Gosport on Monday 17th November.


13 NOV 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIR TO CEMAST

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the Chair of the Education Select Committee to her constituency for a visit to the newly opened CEMAST centre at Daedalus.

The Education Select Committee examines the administration, expenditure and policy of the Department for Education and is chaired by Graham Stuart MP, who today saw for himself the excellent skills training facilities and apprenticeship programmes available at CEMAST (Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing & Advanced Skills Training).

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"I am extremely proud of the opportunities offered to young people at CEMAST – it is fantastic to have on our doorstep such cutting edge facilities which will foster the development of budding engineers from across the Gosport area.

It was a pleasure to welcome my colleague, Graham Stuart to the centre – as Chair of the Education Select Committee he has seen more than his fair share of education establishments but he was thoroughly impressed by what is on offer at CEMAST."

The centre opened in September, welcoming 900 full time and part time students on to its roll. It is the main learning centre for apprenticeship programmes run by companies including BAE Systems, GE Aviation and Virgin Atlantic.


12 NOV 2014

CAROLINE WELCOME CRACKDOWN ON BENEFIT TOURISM

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new measures which came into force this week to limit EU jobseekers' access to benefits.

The reforms will mean that EU migrants who arrive in the UK as jobseekers will only be able to claim benefits for three months as opposed to six months. After three months, any EU migrant claiming Jobseeker's Allowance will have a 'genuine prospect of work' test and if they don't have an imminent job offer, they could lose their benefits and right to reside in the UK as a jobseeker.

Speaking in support of the measures, Caroline said:

"It is right that EU migrants should come to the UK to work and contribute, not to claim benefits funded by hardworking British taxpayers. I am pleased that these reforms will tighten up our welfare system for EU citizens and ensure that migrants aren't simply enticed to our shores by the attractiveness of a benefits system that British workers couldn't expect in other countries."

These new measures are the latest in a series of Government reforms in the last 12 months to ensure that EU migrants come to the EU to work.


12 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR MORE INVESMENT IN SOUTHERN RAIL NETWORK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday called for improvements to the rail links to the Portsmouth Harbour area with a House of Commons debate. The local MP has long pushed the Government on transport issues in the South of England, calling numerous debates and inviting Ministers to her constituency on multiple occasions. With a proposed HS3 set to connect northern towns, Caroline made the case for investment in the South; arguing that those who travel on overcrowded, sluggish South West trains are already subsidising train lines in every other part of the country, making investment in the South both fair and necessary.

Speaking in the House of Commons the MP said that,

"Unlike almost every other line which is subsidised by the Government, passengers on South-West trains will subsidise other train lines to the tune of £1.2 bn over the course of this franchise. Given the pressure on this part of the network would it not be possible for South West trains to keep hold of at least some of this to upgrade the network in the South? This is not a case of asking for more money; we're simply asking for our own money back; invested in the area where it is needed most."

The Hampshire MP called for improvements in the speed and value for money of train services from Portsmouth to London; the expansion of Waterloo station to bring the four former Eurostar platforms back into service as quickly as possible; and a look at the options for a new track to replace the outdated London to Portsmouth link.


11 NOV 2014

EMPLOYMENT SCHEME TO BE PILOTED IN GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that Gosport has been selected as a pilot area for a scheme to help young people who aren't in education, employment or training (NEET) find work faster.

The pilot is being run by the Department for Work and Pensions and will see 16/17 year old NEETs (who aren't in receipt of income based benefit) receive extended support from Job Centre Plus in order to re-engage them with education, employment and training.

Job Centre Plus will act as a single point of contact for employment advice, helping young people to find the support that meets their needs.

Caroline said:

"This Government has a strong track record of getting young people into employment and I am delighted that it is continuing to look at new ways by which youth unemployment can be tackled. It is great that this exciting scheme will be trialled in Gosport and I am looking forward to learning of the outcomes."

Under this Government, youth unemployment in Gosport has fallen from 5.9% in May 2010 to 2.9% in September 2014.


10 NOV 2014

CAROLINE TO HOLD HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATE ON SOUTHERN RAIL LINKS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will tomorrow hold a House of Commons debate on rail links to the Portsmouth Harbour area. The local MP has long pushed the Government on transport issues in the South of England, calling numerous debates and inviting Ministers to her constituency on multiple occasions. While the "North-South" divide receives lots of attention from both press and politicians, the MP will argue that many parts of the South have suffered underinvestment for years - and sometimes lose out on the opportunity to realise their full potential because of "inaccurate and damaging" misconceptions of the region.

Due to speak in the House of Commons the MP will say that,

"We hear constantly about the North-South divide, too often forgetting those communities across the south who are really struggling. In my town of Gosport 19% of children live in poverty – and that number rises even higher to a staggering 32% for parts of Portsmouth.

London may be booming but that's not much use for people south of the capital if they are cut off from prosperity by poor transport links. Gosport is allegedly the largest town in the UK without a railway – and, once our commuters have crossed the harbour on the ferry to catch the train, it takes as long to get to London from Portsmouth as it does from Doncaster – a distance twice as far. When you arrive at Waterloo, the busiest station in the UK, you'll find as many people there in 3 hours every morning as fly from Heathrow every day.

As the south coast struggles with a transport system that is simply not fit for purpose it seems the rest of the country is receiving the investment it needs. It's imperative that we make sure that communities in the South aren't left behind."

The Hampshire MP is set to call for improvements in the speed and value for money of train services from Portsmouth to London; the expansion of Waterloo station to bring the four former Eurostar platforms back into service as quickly as possible; and a look at the options for a new track to replace the outdated London to Portsmouth link.


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