27 JUN 2017

CONFIDENCE AND SUPPLY AGREEMENT WITH THE DUP

The Chief Whip yesterday signed a confidence and supply agreement between the Conservative & Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, which means the DUP will support the Conservative Party on votes on the Queen's Speech, the Budget, and on legislation relating to Brexit and national security. This agreement will ensure that Theresa May has the parliamentary support to provide stability and govern in the national interest.

In recognition of the unique challenges faced by Northern Ireland the Government has committed additional funding to the region, to support infrastructure projects, healthcare and superfast broadband. Both parties have also agreed there will be no change to either the triple lock pension of the Winter Fuel Payment, for the duration of the parliament. The agreement will remain in place for the length of the present Parliament, and will be reviewed at the end of the parliamentary term.

Both the DUP and the Conservative party remain fully committed to their obligations as laid out in the Belfast Agreement and its successors, and recognise the need for the early restoration of power-sharing in Northern Ireland. The UK Government will continue to govern in the interests of all parts of the community in Northern Ireland.


22 JUN 2017

LOCAL COUNCIL FIRE SAFETY UPDATE

Following the tragic events in Kensington, Caroline Dinenage MP has written to both Gosport and Fareham Borough Council to ensure that everything possible has been done to prevent a similar tragedy taking place in Gosport.

Fareham Borough Council (FBC) has emphasised that it does not own any 'high rise' properties, i.e. flat blocks exceeding 18 metres in height. Its low-rise property stock is subject to regular property inspection regime which includes a fire safety/risk assessment. FBC will continue with this approach while it awaits the findings of the investigation at Grenfell Tower.

The only high-rise property in the Fareham part of the Gosport constituency is Mitre Court, which is owned by Vivid Homes. The Chief Executive has reassured FBC that Vivid has appropriate and robust measures in place to ensure this development meets fire safety standards, which are kept under constant review. He also confirmed that Mitre Court has no cladding. For further information please contact Julie Smith, the Head of Housing, at julie.smith@gosport.gov.uk.

Gosport Borough Council (GBC) has similarly emphasised that the insulation systems used by their properties are significantly different from the 'screen' style cladding used at Grenfell. The system used by GBC is fixed against the structure, removing any risk of the suspected chimney effect seen with this recent incident. The external render face that the Council uses is designated and tested as Class "0", or low risk. This means there is little or no risk for a flame being able to generate or spread across the face of the render.

Gosport Borough Council assured Caroline that Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) are carried out on all council-owned blocks in compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. An independent company, Energy Footprint, carry out the FRAs for the sheltered blocks, while the FRAs for the other general needs properties are carried out by an in-house team of surveyors. The recommendations that come from these reports are assessed for priority and any necessary works are then fulfilled by the Repairs Contractor. For further information, please contact Andrew Wannell at awannell@fareham.gov.uk.

Caroline will continue working with both Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils, as well as Hampshire County Council, as more information about the Grenfell Tower tragedy comes to light, to ensure that families across Gosport are properly protected.

NB: Caroline has also contacted Hampshire Fire Services and this post will be updated to include their response, once received. 


16 JUN 2017

MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENT

I am very happy to be able to confirm my new ministerial portfolio – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance in the Department of Work & Pensions. You can read my full list of responsibilities at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/people/caroline-dinenage.

This is a change from my previous role as Early Years Minister in the Department for Education and in the Government Equalities Office. While I am excited for the challenges and opportunities ahead, as ever, remaining a good constituency MP and a strong local voice for our area remain my utmost priority.


15 JUN 2017

CAROLINE SEEKS ASSURANCE ON FIRE SAFETY

Following the tragic event which took place at Grenfell Tower earlier this week, local MP Caroline Dinenage has sought assurances that measures are in place to prevent a similar tragedy occurring in Gosport.

Caroline has contacted both Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to gain their assurances that all local blocks, council owned or otherwise, will be have a fire safety inspection carried out as soon as possible and any concerns to be addressed quickly and fully.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have a dedicated high-rise fire safety section on their website which can be found at https://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/loveyourhome/highrise/.

Caroline commented:

"This tragic event is deeply distressing and my thoughts are with the friends and families of those involved, as well as the incredibly brave emergency services who fought valiantly to save lives.

With this in mind, I have contacted the local council and fire service to seek reassurance for both myself and other local residents that all possible measures have been taken to prevent a tragedy like this in our area ."


09 JUN 2017

GOSPORT GENERAL ELECTION RESULT

I'm thrilled to have been re-elected as the MP for Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head, with an increased majority of 17, 211.

I'm incredibly lucky to be backed by such a fantastic group of supporters, and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that voted for me and all those who helped out so generously with my campaign over the past 6 weeks.

I'm very excited to have the opportunity to build on the progress of the last seven years, and continue fighting for our local area in Parliament.


06 JUN 2017

IF RE-ELECTED ON 8TH JUNE...

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to get your voices heard.

A group of local residents from Elson Road had long complained about the noise and damage caused by the uneven surface and steep camber, I met with them at one of my open surgeries where they highlighted to me the issues they faced. During 2016, I brought numerous decision makers from Hampshire County Council and First Buses on visits to the road and had a long exchange of correspondence and meetings with Hampshire County Council, the Police and First Bus to try and address these issues.

I strongly welcomed the news that Hampshire County Council decided to take action and resurface Elson road. I was so pleased that Elson Road residents' concerns had finally been heard and that we managed to make progress in resolving this issue.

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to fight for you.


05 JUN 2017

IF RE-ELECTED ON 8TH JUNE...

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to cuddle cute animals!

As a committed supporter of animal welfare, I previously served as an honorary Vice-Chairman of the RSPCA. This enabled me to work with them on a number of national campaigns and join the local inspector on her rounds in Gosport.

The Conservative manifesto has promised a free vote to give parliament the opportunity to decide on the future of the Hunting Act. Rest assured I am fully committed to the preservation of the Hunting with Dogs Act.

I will continue to argue passionately for it, to campaign against hunting, and when the matter comes to the House and if I am elected, I will vote to uphold the ban. As a supporter of the League Against Cruel Sports and Conservatives Against Fox Hunting, I have worked hard to ensure this cruel practice remains outlawed, and was even chosen as rockstar Brian May's 'Hero of 2010' for my work in this area.

I am seriously concerned about the effect of illegal poaching and ivory trafficking on the long-term prospects for the survival of the elephant. Just how seriously the Government takes this issue was demonstrated when it held the London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking. Over 40 countries adopted the London Declaration in an effort to save iconic species, including elephants, from being poached to the brink of extinction. The Buckingham Palace Declaration followed with a range of commitments to help the private sector tackle this illegal trade.

The UK made available £13 million for various projects through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, and is now doubling that funding. It is also training rangers in Gabon, home of Africa's largest population of forest elephants, to combat poaching.

I am committed to the highest standards of animal welfare and I know that the Government takes the same view. This strong commitment is reflected in World Animal Protection's Animal Protection Index, which judged 50 countries on their policy and legislation for animals and saw Britain ranked joint top alongside New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland.

In the Conservative manifesto Theresa May confirmed that we will continue to take action to improve animal welfare. We will implement our proposed reforms on pet sales and licensing and will make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory. As we leave the European Union, we can also take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter.

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to protect our animal friends.


04 JUN 2017

IF RE-ELECTED ON 8TH JUNE...

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to keep pushing for improvements to our local heath services.

I am passionate about protecting local health resources, and fought successfully to secure the reopening of Blake Maternity Unit at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital in early 2011. I have since supported the Children's Heart Unit at Southampton Hospital, and met the local GPs' Commissioning Group, visited the War Memorial Hospital and campaigned against the transfer of vascular surgery facilities from the QA to Southampton.

Since Gosport was chosen by the Department of Health to be part of their Vanguard project to improve community care in March 2015, I have frequently met with the project leaders, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and local GPs to be updated on the progress of the project.

One example of the Vanguard pilot is the Same Day Access Service on offer at Gosport War Memorial Hospital where a Multi-speciality Community Provider hub has been established. The Hub integrates different healthcare specialists into one centralised hub with the aim of cutting GP waiting times, reducing hospital admissions and move people out of hospitals more quickly. I visited the hub in February 2016 and was pleased to see the difference it was already making for Gosport constituents. In October 2016, I took local GPs who lead on the MCP hub to Westminster to meet with the Public Health Minister.

I regularly meet with staff and management at the QA Hospital to raise constituents concerns and keep updated with developments at the site. Before Parliament was dissolved for the General Election, I was part of a group of local MPs and healthcare professionals working to find solutions to the existing problems at QA. I have also met with partners at Stubbington Surgery to help find a solution to the cramped conditions at the practice.

I am keen to bring greater fairness to the IVF guidelines implemented by the local Clinical Commissioning Group which means that couples in the Gosport and Fareham area cannot access the levels of IVF treatment they would be entitled to in other parts of the UK.

I am keen to see improvements made to mental health services across the constituency. Since 2010, the Conservatives have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21, so that we can deliver the mental health services people deserve.

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to fight for better local healthcare.


03 JUN 2017

IF RE-ELECTED ON 8TH JUNE...

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to celebrate the success of our children!

I have visited all 41 school across the constituency attending various events and classes at each school. Many times I have presented students with awards of certificates to celebrate their wonderful achievements.

I regularly host Democracy classes for primary school students to help them learn about our political system and my role as an MP and often host school visits to the Houses of Parliament so the children can see and learn about the heart of our democracy.

I am pleased that in the Conservative Manifesto, children from low income families will continue to receive free school lunches and all children will now receive free breakfasts, ensuring no child arrives at school too hungry to learn. This means that children from low income families will now receive two meals instead of one.

All savings made through this policy will go directly to schools, meaning that no schools will face the cuts proposed by the National Funding Formula (NFF). It had previously been suggested that Gosport schools would lose around £200 000 as a result of NFF, and so this is great news for our local area. I lobbied Government Ministers over the proposed changes to school funding and am thrilled that they listened. Our schools have made impressive progress in recent years and it is vital that they remain properly supported.

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to support our children to learn and succeed!


02 JUN 2017

IF RE-ELECTED ON 8TH JUNE...

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to cut brightly coloured ribbons!

In 2010, when I was first elected to represent the Gosport Constituency, there was only half a job per working adult on the Gosport peninsula, and therefore, I made economic regeneration an absolute priority.

In addition to my work to bring an Enterprise Zone to the disused military airfield at Daedalus, I have 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 which has secured over £4 million for businesses in the local area. I regularly meet with local employers – from major companies such as BAE to micro-businesses and have been a keen advocate of apprenticeships, supporting schemes at the CEMAST Skills Centre, Blackball Media and Vector Aerospace among others.
I campaigned for the regeneration of Gosport High Street and waterfront, having met with the British Retail Consortium, backed the Council's submission to the Portas Review, and helped secure £100,000 of funding from the Government.

I am also keen to build on Gosport's fantastic location as a world-class yacht destination. In 2011, I was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene, bringing local marine businesses & individuals together to promote the interests of Gosport as a major maritime hub on the south coast.

I have worked closely alongside the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since its establishment in 2011 with the aim of supporting them to create an environment that will bring about sustainable economic growth and private sector investment in the Solent. I continue to work with the Solent LEP to ensure that the Gosport constituency is at the forefront of regeneration plans and consistently seek updates on their progress and future plans.

I have also been working alongside Berkeley Homes and the Royal Clarence Marina Residents Association to encourage businesses to open in Royal Clarence Yard. New businesses including The Victualler, the Wendy House, The Flour Mill Emporium and Arty's have recently opened at the location.

If re-elected on 8th June I will continue to push to create local jobs for local people.


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