20 JUL 2017

AMBULANCE RESPONSE PROGRAMME

The Secretary of State for Health is authorising NHS England to implement the Ambulance Response Programme recommendations in all ambulance services in the England so that patients across the country will benefit from the improvements seen in the pilot ambulance services.

The University of Sheffield report evaluates a series of Ambulance Response Programme pilots. Based on the extensive evidence base detailed in the report, NHS England is proposing a new framework of ambulance performance standards to help the service to operate more efficiently.

In particular: enabling ambulances to dispatch resources much more clearly based on the clinical needs of patients, introducing specific standards for stroke and heart attack, improving performance management of 'tail' waits and achieving greater consistency and transparency for less urgent calls by bringing all response standards into a consistent national framework.

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20 JUL 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES BAN ON UNFAIR CARD CHARGES

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the announcement that the Government are banning unfair credit and debit card fees.

In 2010 alone the total value of surcharges for debit and credit cards was an estimated £473 million. The new rules, which come into effect in January 2018 will ban companies from all bank card charges.

'Surcharging' is common practice across the country - with businesses ranging from takeaway apps to global airlines charging people to make card payments or for other services such as Paypal. The government has previously capped the costs that businesses face for processing card payments, and will engage with retailers to assess if there is any more that can be done to help.

While many industries have acted to absorb the cost and not pass these on to consumers, these rules will bring an end to the practice entirely. The rules will also tackle surcharging by local councils and government agencies.

Caroline commented:

"These small charges can really add up and this change will mean shoppers across the country have that bit of extra cash to spend on the things that matter to them.

I am pleased that the Government are committed to ending these unfair fees."


19 JUL 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES £1.3 BILLION BOOST TO THE CORE SCHOOLS BUDGET

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed this week's announcement that there will be an additional £1.3 billion for schools funding over two years – helping to create more good school places.

Education Secretary Justine Greening announced the boost to the core schools budget, which will deliver the biggest improvement to the school funding system for well over a decade.

This additional funding to the fairer schools funding will mean an increase in the basic amount that every pupil will get, protected funding for those with high needs and will ensure every local authority is in a position to give schools a cash increase through the new formula.

This means that, working with teachers and schools across the country, we can continue to raise standards and give every child the best possible education, and the best opportunities for their future.

Caroline commented:

"The Conservatives are committed to ending the postcode lottery of school funding – so all children receive the education they deserve, wherever they live.

This announcement sends a clear message that we are committed to raising standards and giving every child the best possible education and the best possible opportunities for their future."


14 JUL 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES HIGHEST EMPLOYMENT RATE

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that employment across the UK is at its highest rate since comparable records began in 1971, according to the latest labour market figures, with 74.9% of people in employment.

In Gosport, the number of people claiming the key out of work benefits has fallen by 757 since 2010, representing a 53 per cent drop.

Today's figures also showed that full-time employment is at a record high, there are over 537,000 more disabled people in work over the past three years and the number of women in work has increased by one million since 2010.

Caroline said:

"Today's figures are another reminder that our strong economy is giving record numbers of people the chance to find and stay in work. Unemployment is low, employment is high and there are over three quarters of a million vacancies. This is great news for Britain and for millions of ordinary working families. We're committed to delivering a welfare system which transforms lives and offers help to those who need it most, whatever their background or wherever they are from.

Today's figures are good news for families in Gosport and across the UK. Economic regeneration is an absolute priority for the Gosport area and it's fabulous to see that more and more people are entering paid employment."


12 JUL 2017

MP WELCOMES INQUIRY INTO CONTAMINATED BLOOD TRAGEDY

Caroline Dinenage MP has welcomed the Government's decision to hold a full inquiry into the contaminated blood tragedy of the 1970s and 1980s.

The human cost and scale of this tragedy is vast, and saw thousands of NHS patients given blood products infected with Hepatitis C and HIV. At least 2,400 people are believed to have lost their lives as a result of receiving contaminated blood products.

To date, over £390 million has been given in financial support to victims and their families. Over 5,500 documents pertaining to blood safety of the period have been published on the Department of Health website and over 200 files are publicly available through the National Archives. However, the decision to hold an inquiry recognises that more needs to be done. The Government will now work closely with victims and their families to determine the most appropriate form for the inquiry to take.

Commenting, Caroline said: 'I am delighted that the Government has announced a full inquiry, which recognises the need to get to the bottom of this appalling injustice. For the last 7 years I have been campaigning in Parliament on behalf of a number of my constituents who have been personally affected by this tragedy, which has caused unthinkable suffering up and down the country. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that the full scale of this scandal is properly investigated, and I am glad that a public inquiry will now provide the answers they need.'


11 JUL 2017

CAROLINE MEETS FUTURE LEADERS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, recently met with Members of Future Leaders Connect in Parliament.

The British Council is seeking exceptional young people aged 18-35 to join a long-term global network of emerging policy leaders for an intensive policy and leadership development programme, including a conference in the UK Houses of Parliament debating some of the world's biggest challenges.

Future Leaders Connect, launched this year by the British Council, will offer nine days of leadership learning and development for young people, to provide them with the skills they need to turn innovative ideas into tangible policy recommendations.

Those taking part will meet some of today's leading thinkers from public, private, third sector and political worlds.

Caroline said:

'We have a long, proud tradition of democratic policy-making in this country and this is a great opportunity for the next generation of leaders to take it forward. The connections these young people will make not only with UK decision makers but also with their counterparts from across the world, will be invaluable to them in their careers.

'I would urge anybody from Gosport who wants to make a difference, have their voice heard and become a great leader, to apply to Future Leaders Connect.'

Ten finalists from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be awarded a fully funded place as part of Future Leaders Connect. They will join finalists from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and the USA to form a powerful network of emerging leaders. The programme of delivery in the UK will include training in public speaking, policy development expertise and leadership skills. This culminates with a one day conference in the Houses of Parliament, meeting MPs and law makers. There have already been 10,000 applications to join Future Leaders Connect from across the world and young people from the UK have just over one month to make their application.

Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council, said:

'An international outlook is vital for the future leaders of all countries, if they wish to overcome the challenges they will face.

'Through Future Leaders Connect the British Council will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today. The programme will help them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change in their countries.

'The British Council's Future Leaders Connect aims to identify exceptional young people in the UK and across the world who have the potential to be future leaders of their countries in the fields of politics and policy, and who will be amongst the shapers of global policy making in the years ahead. We will offer them the opportunities they need to develop their skills in leadership and policy making, while at the same time building a life-long connection to the UK.'

Anyone who would like to take part needs to submit an online application by 23.59 Thursday 20 July 2017 (BST). They will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and about their experience as a leader.

For more information please visit www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect.


07 JUL 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES TRANSPORT INVESTMENT PLAN

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed today's announcement of a multi-billion pound fund to combat congestion in towns and cities across England.

This cash will aim to improve local roads that were "de-trunked" by Labour nearly two decades ago and is part of a fund totalling more than £61 billion to 2020/21 that will upgrade the road and rail network.

With a significant element of the fund set aside for improvements, like bypasses, the plan will aim to decongest local towns, create smoother journeys, reduce air pollution and – in some places – create a better opportunity for the housing developments that we need for the future.

The Transport Investment Strategy sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending – meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy. And it features the proposed creation of a new Major Road Network, which would see a share of the annual National Road Fund, funded by Vehicle Excise Duty – which restores the link between the amount that people pay in car tax and the amount spent on roads – to end the disparity between Britain's motorways and local A roads.

Caroline commented:

'The state of our roads is consistently raised with me by local residents, so I welcome the government's latest step to invest in the future of the road network.

'I'll be making the case to the Transport Secretary to make sure that we get our fair share of the funding locally, especially for access roads to Gosport.

'Today's announcement shows that we are delivering on our commitment to invest in infrastructure to attract businesses and fix pinch points – opening up opportunities for new housing and local growth.'


30 JUN 2017

THE QUEEN'S SPEECH PASSES THROUGH PARLIAMENT

The Queen's Speech passed unamended through the Commons with a majority of 323 to 309.

Labour had proposed an amendment to lift the cap on public sector pay. This would not only seen the pay of frontline staff increase, but also that of high level executives already receiving large salaries. If wages were to rise at a percentage rate then benefits would be disproportionately enjoyed by those on higher wages, at huge expense to the public purse. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that lifting the public sector pay cap would cost double the amount that Labour suggested.

The Government has demonstrated its commitment to supporting working families by increasing the tax free allowance, introducing a National Living Wage and doubling the free childcare entitlement. In its drive to make the NHS more sustainable it has targeted consultancy contracts, agency spending and executive pay. However, difficult decisions on pay have had to be made across the board. These decisions have enabled the Government to deliver nearly 12 000 more doctors and 13 000 more nurses, compared with 2010.

Commenting, Caroline said: 'We owe our public servants a huge debt and I would love to have voted in favour of a pay-rise for the men and women that keep us safe, make us well and educate our children. But the proposed amendment wasn't viable, and would have jeopardised vital public services. The present situation will need to be addressed, but there are better ways of doing this, and I am glad that the Prime Minister has indicated her willingness to listen to the recommendations of independent pay review bodies.'


30 JUN 2017

TRANSPORT FOR THE SOUTH EAST

A new partnership, 'Transport for the South East' (TfSE), has been formed which brings together the South East's sixteen local transport authorities and its five Local Enterprise Partnerships.

TfSE will speak with a single voice on the area's transport priorities. It will devise an integrated transport strategy to focus the attention of Government on the area's needs and will directly influence when and where money is invested in the South East's transport network.

Work is now beginning to prepare for a comprehensive future transport strategy for the South East, identifying where investment and innovation can transform journeys for travellers and businesses. This will include examining the options for smart, integrated ticketing to allow more seamless travel across a wide area.

TfSE will be consulting South East residents and key interest groups on the scope and final shape of the strategy. It intends to move to full operation, with government backing, in 2019.


30 JUN 2017

EQUALITIES OFFICE TO FUND ABORTIONS FOR WOMEN IN NORTHERN IRELAND

'Caroline Dinenage MP has welcomed the Government's announcement that residents of Northern Ireland will no longer be required to pay for abortion services performed by NHS England.

Health is a devolved matter, meaning that while residents of Northern Ireland are currently able to access these services in England, they generally have to make their own arrangements for doing so. However, Justine Greening, the Minister for Women and Equalities, yesterday confirmed that such services will now be paid for by the Government Equalities Office. This will ensure that the NHS faces no additional costs, and that no English health service user is disadvantaged a result.

It is the longstanding position in Northern Ireland to fund abortions in very limited circumstances only. The change will therefore help to bring the abortion rights of women in Northern Ireland in line with those of women in England, Wales and Scotland, without challenging the fundamental principle of devolved healthcare.

Commenting, Caroline said 'This is such a sensitive issue, and Abortion Law has always been a matter of each individual MP's conscience. However, the central issue here is the clear inequality of treatment between women in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. I am glad the Government has taken action to address this.'


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