10 MAR 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEWS OF SUPERFAST BROADBAND IN GOSPORT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed new research revealing that Gosport benefits from some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.

Research published by the House of Commons Library sets out the current situation for broadband access and coverage in all four nations of the UK, as well as how the roll-out of superfast broadband is being managed. It found that the average download speed in Gosport is 50Mb/s, compared with an average speed of 37.8Mb/s nationally. It also found that Gosport is ranked 47th out of 650 constituencies for connections receiving superfast broadband, and 76th for superfast broadband availability. In Rowner and Holbrook 73.2% of connections receive superfast broadband speeds, meaning it is in the top 20 wards nationally.

Fast, reliable broadband internet access is essential for businesses to compete globally and ensure customers can benefit from online services. Broadband Delivery UK, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is committed to bringing superfast broadband access to 95 per cent of UK premises by the end of the year. By 2020, this should reach 97 per cent, through a combination of public and commercial investment.

Commenting, Caroline said: 'A fast internet connection is vital to small businesses, driving efficiency and productivity. The internet plays such a huge role in business growth, and so I'm thrilled to learn that Gosport benefits from some of the best broadband infrastructure in the UK.'


09 MAR 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES 2017 BUDGET

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Chancellor's 2017 Budget, which prioritised stabilising and strengthening the UK's economy as we leave the EU, while meeting the Government's commitment to build a country that works for everyone.

Provisions in the Budget included:

Supporting the NHS and Social Care: An additional £2 billion funding will be made available to support social care in England over the next three years. Alongside that, £100 million will be made available immediately for up to 100 new triage projects at A&E in English hospitals, in time for next winter. This stands alongside the Government's commitment to delivering a £10 billion real terms increase in annual NHS funding by 2020.

Backing business: A £435 million package will support businesses coming out of Small Business Relief and cap their increases at £50 per month in 2017-18; all pubs with a Rateable Value of under £100,000 will see a £1,000 discount on their 2017 Business Rates bill; and local authorities will receive a further £300 million to deliver discretionary relief to target hard revaluation cases in their local areas.

Helping working families: The National Living Wage will rise to £7.50 in April, representing an income boost of £500 for a full time worker this year, and the personal allowance will rise for the seventh year in a row to £11,500 this April. Free childcare for working parents will be doubled, rising to 30 hours per week, supporting around 390,000 working parents with the cost of childcare, saving parents using the full entitlement around £5,000 per year.

Promoting skills: The introduction of T-levels will provide a clearer system of technical qualifications recognised by employers with clear routes into work. Funding will also be made available for a further 110 new free schools, on top of the current commitment of 500, alongside an additional £216 million over the next three years to look after existing schools, taking total investment in school condition to well over £10 billion in this Parliament. £40 million will be invested in helping adults re-train and up-skill throughout their lives.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I'm really pleased that the Chancellor has delivered a budget that balances the need to invest in key services, such as the NHS and Social Care, whilst recognising the value of fiscal restraint. Forecasts released by the Office for Budget Responsibility are encouraging - the UK economy is forecast to grow by 2 per cent in 2017, and the deficit is forecast to fall to 0.7 per cent in 2020-21. This would be the lowest it's been in over two decades. But we mustn't be complacent, and I'm glad that the Budget takes a sensible approach as the UK prepares to withdraw from the EU."


08 MAR 2017

CAROLINE CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has shown her support for International Women's Day, an international initiative that celebrates women and promotes gender equality. The theme of this year's event addresses the need to 'Be Bold For Change'.

In her role as Minister for Women & Equalities, Caroline opened the London Stock Exchange this morning, alongside Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Awards finalists.

Commenting, Caroline said: 'International Women's Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate how far we've come, and take stock of what more we need to do. I'm thrilled that in Gosport 40% of our local councillors are women, and with the election of Trudy Harrison to the House of Commons last month 30% of MPs are now women. But there is of course much more to do and we must be bold in order to affect real change for women and girls not just in the UK, but around the world'.

Caroline welcomed the announcement in today's budget that £30 million would be allocated to initiatives that promote women's equality. £20 million will be awarded to organisations working to tackle domestic violence and abuse. This increases total funding for the Government's Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy to over £100 million in this Parliament.

£5 million will be used to support 'returnship' schemes, which help women returning to work after a career break. With women far more likely than men to experience an interrupted career pathway, this funding will help to ensure that women's skills and talents are not wasted.

A further £5 million will be used to support educational initiatives surrounding the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which in 1918 granted women the vote for the first time.


06 MAR 2017

MP JOINS IN THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, took part in the Great British Spring Clean along with many anti-litter heroes working to keep Gosport clean at an event at Stokes Bay on Saturday.

Caroline joined The Friends of Stokes Bay, the team from Gomer Juniors, a group of our local Conservative Councillors and others to tidy up Stokes Bay.

The Great British Spring Clean is a new national initiative launched by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. Taking place from the Friday 3 March until Sunday 5 March, it was the nation's biggest ever anti-litter campaign, inspiring 500,000 people across the UK to get involved with community initiatives to tackle litter in their local areas.

The Great British Spring Clean built on the success of the 2016 national clean-up, which saw 250,000 people take part. This aim of the Great British Spring Clean is to encourage half a million litter pickers to help clean up the country, whilst also raising awareness of the damaging economic and environmental consequences of litter. RSPCA data reveals that there are 5,000 reports of animals being injured by litter each year, and the annual economic cost of cleaning Britain's streets is £700 million.

Dropping litter costs councils hundreds of millions of pounds every year to clear up and spoils our enjoyment of towns and the countryside. Littered areas can reduce property prices and local businesses may suffer as people stay away. This affects the whole community and it can be avoided by everyone taking responsibility.

Commenting, Caroline said:

'The Great British Spring Clean is a fantastic event that really encourages residents to make a positive difference to their local communities. It was fantastic to see that 10 clean ups were arranged locally and over 2500 clean up's took place across the UK, showing that people really got behind this initiative.

Litter is an unsightly addition to our neighbourhoods and picking it up costs taxpayers millions of pounds every year, that's why I am glad to lend my support to such an important initiative. I am thrilled to see Gosport residents taking a pro-active approach to litter with regular litter-picks and action groups already doing a fantastic job to help keep Gosport tidy.'

You can find out more about the Great British Spring Clean, here: http://www.greatbritishspringclean.org.uk/home/2684. Information about future clean up events happening in Gosport can be found here: http://www.litteraction.org.uk/sea-solent-environmental-action.


03 MAR 2017

CAROLINE CELEBRATES EARTH HOUR


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, pledged her support for Earth Hour this week at a parliamentary reception hosted by the environmental charity, the WWF.

Earth Hour, which will take place from 8.30-9.30pm on the 25th of March, is a global initiative that encourages individuals, organisations and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour, one day a year. It is the world's largest climate change demonstration, and last year over 6 million people in the UK alone took part. Iconic landmarks across the country switched off their lights, from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, to Brighton Pier, Edinburgh Castle and Caerphilly Castle.

The recent WWF Living Planet Report, which was published in 2016, shows that from 1970-2012 there has been a 58% decline in vertebrate numbers, and it is now estimated that climate change could lead to the extinction of 1 in 6 species.

The UK Government has consistently demonstrated its commitment to protecting the planet. When the UK passed the Climate Change Act in 2008, it became the first country in the world to set legally binding long term targets for reducing emissions. 25% of the UK's energy came from renewable sources last year, and more power came from solar panels than from coal stations in Britain between April and September 2016. The Prime Minister's ratification of the Paris Agreement last year signalled the Government's continued commitment to taking environmental issues seriously.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"We cannot take our planet for granted, and I know that the environment is a key concern for many of my constituents. I welcome the Government's hard work to develop environmentally sustainable practices for future generations. Environmental and economic progress are not just compatible - they depend on each other. Earth Hour is a great way of making a powerful point and I am sure this year's anniversary event will be a huge success."


02 MAR 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES £600k INVESTMENT IN GOSPORT SPORT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed figures revealing that Sport England has invested £602,855 of National Lottery money in Gosport sport since 2010.

The range of local sports clubs awarded funds include Hill Head, Lee-on-Solent and Hardway Sailing Clubs, Gosport Bowling Club, Gosport District Scout Council and Gosport Jedi Volleyball Club, to name but a few.

At a briefing session in Parliament, Caroline learned about the range of support Sport England continues to offer encourage people to play sport regularly, to help talented athletes become the best they can be and to make sure the right sports facilities are in the right places. Their support includes the Community Asset Fund, which awards between £1,000 and £150,000 for local clubs and community groups dedicated to enhancing spaces in the local community, and the Small Grants fund, which awards between £300 and £10,000 to support not-for-profit organisations who want to get more people playing sport.

Both funds are open all year round, meaning there are no strict deadlines for submitting an application. Furthermore, they have been developed to focus on viability and the value of the bid, rather than just the professionalism of the application, thereby making the fund more accessible to smaller community groups, that may have less experience in writing funding proposals.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I am a massive supporter of Sport England. At a national level, their campaigns like This Girl Can are so important for helping women overcome fear of judgment and play more sport. But these figures show that their work at a local level is also critical for small clubs at the grass-roots level. We have so many fantastic groups in Gosport, who have already benefited from Sport England's investment. But I will be sure to contact local groups to bring the current support on offer to their attention, so they can continue to grow and expand, helping even more local people reap the rewards of sport and physical activity."

To stay up to date with Sport England's latest funds visit www.sportengland.org/funding.


01 MAR 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES £415 MILLION HEALTHY SCHOOLS INVESTMENT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the Government's announcement of £415 million to transform school facilities and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Primary, secondary and sixth-form colleges will be able to use the Healthy Pupils Capital Programme to pay for facilities to support physical education (PE), after-school activities and healthy eating. It will also be available for projects which improve facilities for children with physical conditions and support young people struggling with mental health issues.

The money – from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – will be available in the 2018/19 financial year. Alongside the funding for the PE and Sport Premium, Breakfast Clubs and Universal Infant Free School Meals, it represents over £1.3 billion government investment to help young people live healthier lifestyles. It also builds upon wider government work such as the recent sports strategy.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"The UK has one of the highest overall obesity rates amongst developed countries, with the NHS spending over £6 billion a year on overweight and obesity-related ill health. Instilling healthy eating and good exercise habits from a young age is so important for boosting our children's wellbeing and ensuring they lead long, health and happy lives. I welcome the Government's record on tackling the issue of childhood obesity and I sincerely hope local schools will take advantage of this funding from the sugar tax when it becomes available."


28 FEB 2017

MP PUTS GOSPORT HERITAGE ON THE MAP

On Tuesday 21st February, Caroline Dinenage MP attended an event in Parliament hosted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to learn more about the impact of National Lottery investment in Gosport. Caroline learned that Gosport is ranked an impressive 7th in England by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts' Heritage Index, which sets out to measure the strength of heritage at a local level across the UK. Produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Index is an annual index that combines over 120 metrics, from historic buildings to local delicacies, revealing which local authorities are best at using heritage to foster a distinctive identity. Analysis of this year's heritage index suggests that making the most of local heritage is linked with a higher quality of life.

The event was part of National Lottery in Parliament, an exhibition to raise awareness among politicians in Westminster of the National Lottery funding available to its constituencies and demonstrate how National Lottery players' money is changing people's lives and improving the nation's wellbeing.

Gosport has benefited from nearly £10 million in Heritage Lottery Funding since 1995, with money being used to support a wide range of projects. £10 000 was granted to Gosport Heritage Open Days last August to support a project exploring the effects of the First World War on the local area, and nearly £2 million was awarded in March 2015 to support the regeneration of Priddy's Hard. Importantly, many smaller, community-led groups have also benefited from Heritage Lottery Funding. For example, the Lions Club of Crofton received over £4 000 in 2007 to run a three day festival in celebration of local heritage, while organisations such as Gosport Camping Capers, Rowner South Brownies and Friends of Bridgemary Park all benefited from micro grants of up to £100.

Commenting, Caroline said:

'Gosport has such a rich history, and Heritage Lottery Funding has been invaluable in preserving this and ensuring as many people as possible are able to enjoy it. I'm thrilled Gosport is ranked so highly in the RSA's Heritage Index – this really emphasizes the fact that important heritage sites aren't limited to cities like London and Oxford.

The Heritage Lottery Event also highlighted how diverse heritage can be. It's not all about preserving old buildings, but seeks to connect people to the places they live in a wide range of exciting ways.'


27 FEB 2017

MULTI-MILLION POUND INVESTMENT TO GENERATE 300 JOBS AT DAEDALUS

Plans have been approved for a 37,000sqft extension to the Innovation Centre at Daedalus. This will double the centre in size, create 33 new office units, five new workshops, new parking spaces and an estimated 300 local jobs.

The hub, which opened in 2015, provides space and resources for small businesses, mainly from the aviation, aerospace and marine sectors, to prosper and grow. Within its first year of opening it reached full occupancy, bringing 120 new jobs and 27 new businesses to the Enterprise Zone.

The Daedalus site has made immense progress since October 2010, when local MP Caroline Dinenage first chaired a mini summit with key stakeholders and formed the Daedalus Strategy Group, which she continued to chair until October 2015. The group was instrumental in Daedalus's successful bid to become an Enterprise Zone in 2011 and successive funding bids which have seen over £50 million invested in the site by various bodies.

In recent years, the site has seen the establishment of CEMAST (Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training), training over 900 learners, apprentices and employees in specialised engineering and manufacturing solutions. Furthermore, investment has enabled building of a new runway, new hangars, refurbishments to the control tower and providing a large area of public open space.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus Airfield is going from strength to strength. I am delighted that this bustling business hub is set to double in size, which will provide much needed support and resources for local fledgling businesses. Schemes like this, accompanied by the Stubbington Bypass and other road improvement projects, are so important for attracting investors and encouraging enterprise to our area, helping to boost growth, jobs and skills."

The work on expanding the hub is expected to cost around £6.6m and take just under a year with completion due in early 2018.


24 FEB 2017

MP SUPPORTS 'THIS GIRL CAN'

Caroline Dinenage MP has shown her support for the innovative 'This Girl Can' campaign, which aims to encourage more women and girls to get involved with sport. Caroline was treated to an exclusive preview of the campaign's new television advert, which airs for the first time today, and met with some of the inspiring women who have used 'This Girl Can' to help support women in their local areas to get active.

Developed by Sport England, 'This Girl Can' is a lottery funded project that celebrates active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, or how they look. Research continues to demonstrate a huge disparity in the number of men and women that participate in sport and exercise. This is not because women and girls dislike exercise, but because fear of judgement discourages them from taking part. Given the considerable benefits associated with an active lifestyle, 'This Girl Can' aims to empower women to enjoy sport regardless of their skill level, fitness level, ethnicity, size or body shape.

Commenting, Caroline said:

'It's so important that societal pressure to look or behave a certain way doesn't stop women from enjoying the huge array of benefits associated with exercise and sport. I'm a keen netball player and an enthusiastic advocate of women's sport generally. Why should we let the men have all the fun?

Since This Girl Can was first launched a few years ago 2.8million women have started exercising or exercising more. I can't wait for everyone to see the new advert, and hope it encourages women to take that first step towards a more active lifestyle.'

The new advert has been available on Facebook and twitter since noon today. It will be aired on television during Coronation Street this evening, between 7.30 and 8pm on ITV


23 FEB 2017

SULTAN & BLOCKHOUSE FUTURE RAISED IN PARLIAMENT

The proposed closure of HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse in Gosport was discussed in Parliament on Tuesday during a Westminster Hall debate on the "A Better Defence Estate" strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, member of the Public Accounts Committee, explained that she was dissatisfied that detailed and holistic economic cases have not yet been done for each of the sites identified. She used HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse as examples, reporting that the business cases for disposing of both sites remain unclear. She highlighted the Ofsted-rated excellent training at HMS Sultan as an important reason not to dispose of the site.

Ms Trevelyan's comments come following a detailed submission to the Public Accounts Committee by Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage. On 9 January 2017, Mrs Dinenage wrote to the Committee explaining her concerns about the decision regarding HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse. Mrs Dinenage highlighted that while she did agree there was potential for commercial investment in Fort Blockhouse to generate employment for the local community, this would only be realised if the waterside part of the site was part of the sale. She also explained the detriment to Gosport, the MoD and the Royal Navy that would result from the proposed disposal of the HMS Sultan.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I'm so pleased my noisy campaigning is being heard across parliament and warmly welcome Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP's comments, which shone a light on the risks associated with disposing of HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse. I appreciate the MOD's need to streamline its massive defence estate. But in my view, a pragmatic, business-minded approach must drive disposal decisions to exact the best possible outcomes for the taxpayer, the MOD and the local community here in Gosport."

The "Better Defence Estate" strategy was announced by the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, on 7 November 2016. It outlines plans to dispose of 91 military bases across the UK by 2032, representing a 30% reduction in the size of the defence estate. During the debate, MPs voiced a range of concerns about how the strategy was formulated and the implications for local areas.

The full transcript of the debate can be found here and on Parliament TV here.


17 FEB 2017

MP CALLS UPON RESIDENTS’ SUPPORT FOR BASICS BANK

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, recently met with Philip Rutt from Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank at one of her constituent surgeries.

Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank is a Christian organisation who provide practical help such as food and essential goods in a welcoming, caring environment where each person is valued and respected as an individual.

In the last 12 months the Basics Bank has dealt with over 2000 referrals in Fareham and Gosport. They provide a week's worth of food, toiletries and in some cases, nappies, for people in crisis.

However, they are on the search for new premises in Gosport. Unfortunately their current base, David Bogue Hall, is part of Bury Road URC which is amalgamating with another congregation and therefore these premises will no longer be available for the Basics Bank to use.

They are looking for a space such as a small industrial unit or warehouse or a building with the use of three separate rooms. Ideally, the new base would be in a central and accessible location so that those in need can still receive the essential services they provide.

Caroline said:

"Gosport Basics Bank do a fantastic job of helping people in our area who find themselves with nowhere else to turn. It would be wonderful if we were able to help them in their quest to find a long-term base to continue their incredibly important work.

That is why I am encouraging anyone who knows of a local premises that might be suitable to get in touch with the Basics Bank to see if it might meet their needs."

Phillip Rutt, Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank, said:

"We are grateful for our involvement with Bury Road URC and we have received generous support from the Church.

Due to the growing need in Gosport, we are committed to finding new premises so that we can carry on doing what we always have done, supporting the vulnerable members of our community."

If you have any ideas or suggestions of any locations which would be suitable for Gosport Basics Bank, then please contact Philip Rutt on 07709 962397 or philip.rutt@icloud.com.

For more information about Gosport and Fareham Basics Bank or to see how you can help please visit http://www.friendsofthehomeless.org.uk/index.html or https://www.facebook.com/FarehamandGosportBasicsBank/.


16 FEB 2017

CAROLINE CALLS FOR LOCAL INNOVATION AUDIT EVIDENCE

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, is calling for Gosport organisations involved in science, research, innovation and technology, to submit evidence to the South of England Science & Innovation audit.

The government-endorsed audit is designed to identify the region's innovation strengths and examine their potential influence on business growth in four key sectors:

Connected digital systems, services & productsAdvanced engineeringMarine and maritimeBioscience

In light of the Government's recent proposals for a new national industrial strategy, the Science and Innovation Audit is a timely opportunity to showcase the innovation assets and entrepreneurialism in our local area; and to make a powerful case for investment in the region and its businesses.

"Innovation South", a consortium of businesses, universities and local enterprise partnerships in the South of England, has been chosen to carry out the Government-endorsed audit. They have published a call for evidence, with the deadline of 17:00 on Tuesday 28 February. To inform the Audit, they want to make sure they take account of the existing evidence on the innovation landscape – and want to capture local intelligence and insight into the impact digital enabling technologies are making to industries, markets and networks.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Here in the Gosport area, we have masses of potential within the science and innovation agenda, owing to the presence of cutting-edge maritime, aeronautical and advanced manufacturing businesses. We have an increasingly excellent support network for new start-ups, like the Fareham Innovation Centre and educators like Gomer Junior School, Bay House Sixth Form and CEMAST are delivering innovative STEM education and high-quality technical apprenticeships.

"That is why I am calling on local organisations involved in science and innovation to consider putting forward evidence to the audit. Not only will this help to promote the excellent work already underway in the Gosport constituency, but also to create an agenda for further investment and growth in years to come."

If you have evidence that you feel would be useful – whether this is data, reports, case studies or insights from your knowledge and experience – Innovation South would very much like to hear from you. For more information, visit: https://www.enterprisem3.org.uk/node/1156


16 FEB 2017

LOCAL ORGANISATIONS SECURE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER FUNDING

Caroline Dinenage MP has welcomed news that 14 organisations serving the Gosport area have been successful in their applications for Police and Crime Commissioner funding. Collectively, they will be awarded £326 305, with this money being used to fund projects that prevent offending, support victims and help individuals to realise their potential without being drawn into the Criminal Justice System.

The Police and Crime Commissioner received 148 applications in total, of which 70 have been successful. The projects chosen were those believed to best meet the specific needs of their local areas.

A number of Gosport-based organisations have been awarded funding. Gosport Community Safety Partnership will be awarded over £28 000 in total, which includes £7 830 to continue its annual Summer Passport scheme. Commenting, Caroline said:

'I was delighted to see so many enthusiastic young people involved in a session of the scheme I visited last August. Access to fun, free activities during the summer holidays makes such a difference, many see a lack of recreational options as a key factor in youth crime. I'm thrilled that Gosport Community Safety Partnership has been awarded funding to continue their valuable work. I am pleased that so many organisations are working across Gosport to improve the community for everyone, and in such innovative ways. I have no doubt that the funding awarded will make a big difference to local people's lives'.

The Gosport based youth charity Motiv8 will receive £17 655 to deliver a programme aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour among young people, and the Wheatsheaf Trust will receive £30 000 to support an intensive mentoring project for young offenders across Gosport and neighbouring towns. Crimestoppers Hampshire, the Hampshire Stalking Clinic, the Crime Diversion Scheme, Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Domestic Abuse Service, the Footprints Project and the Prince's Trust have also been awarded funding to support work in the Gosport area.

Michael Lane, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, has emphasised that even where he has been unable to offer funding, he is keen to support community groups in their efforts to make the local area safer. Further information about the Police and Crime Commissioner can be found, here: http://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/commissioner.


15 FEB 2017

MP ENCOURAGES APPLICATIONS FOR SKILLS AND OPPORTUNITIES FUND

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has encouraged Gosport residents to apply for Natwest Skills and Opportunities Funding which will see £2.5m given to charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the country in 2017.

The Fund has already shared £5m in four rounds of funding since being launched in 2015, with successful applications ranging from educational outreach projects to healthy eating initiatives and careers advice workshops.

Applications for funding should reflect the priorities of each region, which in the South East focus on developing enterprise and improving the financial capability of disadvantaged groups. A diverse range of projects will be considered, and the maximum amount any one organisation can apply for is £35 000. Applications for the current round of funding close at noon on Friday the 24th of February.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"As MP, I've been lucky enough to see first-hand the brilliant work being undertaken by a wide range of community and not-for-profit groups in Gosport, and would strongly encourage any eligible organisation to apply for Skills and Opportunities funding. Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to undertake rewarding careers is so important, benefiting not only the individual but also the local community and economy. I am delighted, therefore, to see funding being made available to support community groups in this valuable work."

To find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit: http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.natwest.com/


08 FEB 2017

MP SHOWS SUPPORT FOR THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, showed her support for the many anti-litter heroes working to keep Britain clean when she attended The Great British Spring Clean parliamentary launch at Westminster. The Great British Spring Clean is a new national initiative launched by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. Set to take place from the 3rd – 5th of March, it will be the nation's biggest ever anti-litter campaign, inspiring 500,000 people across the UK to get involved with community initiatives to tackle litter in their local areas.

The Great British Spring Clean is endeavouring to build on the success of the 2016 national clean-up, which saw 250,000 people take part. This year's aim is to encourage half a million litter pickers to help clean up the country, whilst also raising awareness of the damaging economic and environmental consequences of litter. RSPCA data reveals that there are 5,000 reports of animals being injured by litter each year, and the annual economic cost of cleaning Britain's streets is £700 million.

A Voice For Gosport and Solent Environmental Action are organising a Community Clean Up to take place on the 5th March in Walpole Park, to mark the national initiative. To get involved, meet by the creek shoreline nearest to Haslar Car Park at 11am. Bring equipment with you and wear sturdy shoes! Everyone is welcome, and children joining will receive a goody bag and a certificate to say thank you.

Commenting, Caroline said:

'The Great British Spring Clean is a fantastic event that really encourages residents to make a positive difference to their local communities. Litter is an unsightly and potentially dangerous addition to our streets, parks and beaches, and I am glad to lend my support to such an important initiative. I am thrilled to see Gosport residents taking a pro-active approach to litter, and I am sure people will get behind the campaign and help to improve our public spaces for everyone.'

You can find out more about how to get involved in the Great British Spring Clean, here: http://www.greatbritishspringclean.org.uk/home/2684. Information about events happening in Gosport is available here: http://www.litteraction.org.uk/sea-solent-environmental-action


06 FEB 2017

MP PROMPTS MULTI-AGENCIES ACTION ON UNTAXED CARS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, met with DVLA last week to raise the issue of abandoned or untaxed vehicles in the Gosport area, which has been a growing topic in her inbox over recent months.

The MP invited the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to a meeting in her constituency to discuss the issue and attempt to put a plan in place to start to resolve this escalating problem, in an attempt to tackle this local problem.

The meeting took place last week along with representatives from Hampshire Constabulary, Gosport Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council's Streetscene department and Hampshire Trading Standards.

After the meeting, Caroline said:

"This meeting was hugely valuable in pinpointing the exact powers of each organisation and how we can all work together in an effort to reduce the problems that abandoned and untaxed vehicles are causing in Gosport.

We have agreed a plan of action which will be implemented in the coming months with all organisations working together to tackle the issue."

To report an untaxed car to the DVLA, please visit https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle. To report an abandoned vehicle, please visit, https://www.gosport.gov.uk/sections/environment/streetscene/enforcement/abandoned-vehicles/.


02 FEB 2017

STUBBINGTON BYPASS GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

Today, the Government confirmed that it will provide the funding necessary to complete the long-awaited Stubbington Bypass.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, announced the Local Growth Deal allocations to Local Enterprise Partnerships up and down the country. The Solent LEP will receive £31.02 million, providing sufficient funds to build the Stubbington Bypass.

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, a strong campaigner for improved access to the Gosport peninsula, has welcomed the news.

"I am delighted that this much-needed road improvement project will be delivered. The Stubbington Bypass is a critical part of the solution to our area's traffic problems, which is why I have campaigned for investment in the project ever since I was first elected. This new strategic route is essential to meet the needs of long-suffering residents and commuters, who put up with terrible congestion on a daily basis. It will transform connectivity of the Solent Enterprise Zone and the wider Gosport peninsula, breaking down a key barrier to our area's economic regeneration."

The Bypass scheme involves a package of transport infrastructure improvements including:

  • A new 3.5km long single carriageway road that will run south of Fareham and north and east of Stubbington, bypassing the existing B3334 through Stubbington; 
  • New junctions at either end of the Bypass and at Peak Lane; 
  • Junction and link improvement works at either end of the bypass on B3334 Titchfield Road and B3334 Gosport Road;
  • Supporting highway improvement works in Stubbington village; 
  • and New / improved / modified facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

The total project cost is £34.2m. An £8.5m contribution from the local roads authority, Hampshire County Council, was confirmed in summer 2016, meaning £25.7m was required from central Government to complete the project.

It is estimate that the project will unlock £200m of private sector leverage. In addition, traffic studies show that half of cars leaving Gosport heard west on M27 towards Southampton. A new peninsula access route will help take cars off of the A32, therefore supporting the whole Gosport peninsula.

Since becoming elected, Caroline has tirelessly lobbied for this investment and has prioritised tackling road congestion problems in the Gosport constituency. In 2013, she welcomed the former Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP, and the former Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the area. Last year, she held high-level meetings with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make the case for funding to complete the bypass.

As a result, Caroline was pivotal in securing the Enterprise Zone status for Daedalus airfield as well as an £8.5 million package for work on Newgate Lane, which began in January 2014. Last year, Caroline helped secure the £19.7m Government funding package for the preliminary bypass work. This secured planning permission and additional road improvements in the Gosport & Fareham area.

Caroline has also held frequent meetings with the Solent LEP and Hampshire County Council to encourage these local stakeholders to maintain the bypass project at the top of their agenda.


01 FEB 2017

MP ASKS GOSPORT TO GET BEHIND FESTIVAL

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, is urging members of her local community to support Gosport Marine Festival in February.

Gosport Marine Festival have successfully applied to receive funding through the Tesco Bags of Help scheme and now they need your help.

Bags of Help is Tesco's local community grant scheme where the money raised from the 5p bag levy in Tesco stores is being used to fund thousands of community projects across the UK. The projects must meet the criteria of promoting community participation in the development and use of outdoor spaces.

Three local community projects are voted on in Tesco stores each month across Tesco regions throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In each region, the project that received the most votes from all stores in their region will receive a grant of up to £5,000. The second placed project receives up to £2,000 and third placed up to £1,000. Every year, over 7000 projects will receive funding through this scheme.

You can vote in many local Tesco's including; Gosport Tesco Superstore, Forton Road Tesco Express, Rowner Tesco Express, Lee on the Solent Tesco Express and Fareham Tesco Superstore. To vote, you will need to make a purchase within store of any value. You will receive one token per transaction and it's not necessary to purchase a carrier bag in order to receive a token.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Gosport Marine Festival is a wonderful free event hosted in Gosport every two years aimed at showing local residents the abundance of opportunities on and in the water.

Every token helps to support this fabulous event run by Gosport Marine Scene so please get behind them and vote."

For more information about Gosport Marine Festival please visit http://www.gosportmarinefestival.org.uk/.


30 JAN 2017

MP TO HOST MULTI-AGENCY MEETING ON UNTAXED CARS

The issue of abandoned or untaxed vehicles in the Gosport area has been a growing feature of MP Caroline Dinenage's mailbag over recent months.

In an attempt to tackle this local problem, the MP has invited the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to a meeting in her constituency to discuss the issue and attempt to put a plan in place to start to resolve this escalating problem.

The meeting will take place later this week along with representatives from Hampshire Constabulary, Gosport Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council's Streetscene department and Hampshire Trading Standards, who alongside Caroline, will meet with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Ahead of the meeting, Caroline said:

"Correspondence from constituents shows they are increasingly concerned about this issue. Many state how it has affected parking availability, caused hazards on the roads and in one case has even affected a business expansion.

This, entirely avoidable, issue should not be blighting people's daily lives in this way. I am looking forward to hosting this meeting and, with the relevant organisations, designing a joined up approach. If all of the authorities are tackling this issue together, we should find a solution."

To report an untaxed car to the DVLA, please visit https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle. To report an abandoned vehicle, please visit, https://www.gosport.gov.uk/sections/environment/streetscene/enforcement/abandoned-vehicles/.


26 JAN 2017

MP SIGNS HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST BOOK OF COMMITMENT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment. In doing so, she has pledged her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day, honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust and paid tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Friday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year's commemorations is 'How can life go on?'

After signing the Book of Commitment, Caroline commented:

"A few years ago I was invited to take a group of students from Gosport on a visit to Auschwitz. The experience of seeing that former death camp has never left me, that's why I see Holocaust Memorial Day as an important opportunity to reflect on those tragic events. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors."

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Caroline Dinenage for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.


25 JAN 2017

GOVERNMENT WEBSITE RELAUNCHED TO PROMOTE AND SUPPORT EXPORT TRADE

The Department for International Trade has relaunched their website to support small businesses in exporting their goods. Research has shown again and again that exporters are more productive, adaptable and resilient. They achieve a stronger bottom line and are more likely to stay in business. However, of over 2.5 million registered UK businesses, only 11% export.

Great.gov.uk has been designed to help business owners take this next step. The website acts as a single digital destination for Trade and Investment, bringing together UK businesses, international buyers, international investors and online marketplaces. It will give users access to millions of pounds worth of potential overseas business, as well as signpost first class information, preferential deals with e-commerce sites and great support services to help businesses win lucrative contracts.

Commenting, Caroline said: “As Britain looks to forge new relationships with the rest of the world, it’s never been a better time for small businesses to consider the benefits of exporting. I am a huge champion of local businesses, and have seen first-hand how much Gosport’s businesses have to offer. Making the move into any new market can be daunting, but the Government’s new digital services make it so much easier. I urge every business owner to take a look!”


24 JAN 2017

MP PRESENTS LOCAL CHARITY WITH COMPLIMENTARY RAILWAY TICKETS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage recently met with Charlie's Beach Hut Charity to present them with two complimentary railway tickets.

Great Western Railway offered MP's two complimentary first class tickets for any journey which they could donate to a local charity, community organisation or school for them to use for a charitable or voluntary purpose or perhaps to include in a raffle or auction.

At the end of last year, Caroline ran an online poll via Facebook for local people to nominate and vote on which local charity, community organisation or school should receive the tickets

The poll was open for two weeks and over 20 organisations were nominated with 2,500 votes cast. The winners, Charlie's Beach Hut Charity, received an outstanding 1034 votes.

Caroline said:

"I was delighted to meet Steve Codling to present him with the tickets and find out more about the charity. Born out of the tragic loss of their young son Charlie, the charity offer much needed breaks in beautiful coastal Cornwall for families with poorly children.

The support for the Facebook poll was overwhelming and is a real testament to the strong community spirit and great voluntary activity in our local area."

Steve Codling, from Charlie's Beach Hut Charity said:

"The support that Charlie's Beach Hut received and we watched 'live' on Facebook from this generous donation was overwhelming, not only from the perspective of the Charity but also from the memory of Charlie.

We would like to thank Caroline and all our supporters for allowing us to help families to 'Find The Wonderful In Today' when they most need it."

For more information about Charlie's Beach Hut Charity please visit http://charliecodling.co.uk/.


24 JAN 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEW MODERN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed a green paper on a new modern Industrial Strategy, which will support businesses across the country to grow and create more high skilled, high paid jobs for local people.

While the UK starts from a position of strength, being the 5th biggest economy in the world with the highest employment in our history. However, the Government argues that is vital that we build on our strengths in order to extend excellence into the future and ensure more people from the UK are able to share in wealth and prosperity. This is deemed particularly pressing following the vote to leave the EU as Britain seeks to plan a long-term outward looking future.

The Industrial Strategy outlines ten 'pillars' that underpin a new approach and will identify all of the new opportunities across the UK economy:

  • Investing in science, research and innovation 
  • Developing skills 
  • Upgrading infrastructure 
  • Supporting businesses to start and grow 
  • Improving procurement 
  • Encouraging trade and inward investment 
  • Delivering affordable energy and clean growth 
  • Cultivating world-leading sectors 
  • Driving growth across the whole country
  • Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic Industrial Strategy that will deliver more high skilled, high wage jobs and improve living standards and drive economic growth across the country. I am pleased that local businesses and workers have the chance to contribute to this vision and submit their views. I would encourage local people to get their voices heard in helping the Government develop a strategy for creating a high-skilled economy where businesses can grow and more jobs are created."


23 JAN 2017

MP WELCOMES STEM INVESTMENT IN GOSPORT SCHOOLS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed an announcement of sponsorship for iSTEM+ activities across the full age and ability range of pupils within the Gosport & Fareham Multi Academy Trust.

The Foundation sponsorship will support a ground-breaking initiative in Gosport schools in 2017 through which every Key Stage 2 student at Gomer Junior School, and every Year 7 student at Bay House School, will make use of micro:bits. These are pocket-sized codeable computers, designed to facilitate computer and tech education. The open-ended STEM explorations the pupils engage in will be designed and supported by older students and assisted by external experts. The Foundation believes that this model of collaborative development is one which could be followed by schools throughout the UK.

The iSTEM+ approach is an initiative to enable schools to respond to UK employers' needs by equipping learners with STEM, digital and employability skills. It has been developed by a team from the Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education led by Professor Adrian Oldknow. The first iSTEM+ local cluster was established in a group of schools, academies and colleges in the Gosport constituency in May 2015. The lead schools are Bay House School and 6th Form and Gomer Junior School. These schools are two of the founding schools of the new Gosport & Fareham Multi Academy Trust which opens this year.

Gomer Junior School, one of the schools in the Gosport & Fareham Multi Academy Trust, has developed its own 'gSTEM' Key Stage 2 version of the iSTEM+ approach. School leaders will be showcasing this model at the UK's leading tech education roadshow, BETT 2017, on 25th January at 17.10 in the STEAM village.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"It is vital that we equip our young people with STEM skills. This boosts aspiration and broadens horizons for pupils leaving school, as well as responding to the tech skills-gap in our economy. I am proud to have schools innovating on the STEM agenda in my constituency. This support from the Micro:bit education foundation will help Gosport schools continue to inspire their pupils through an exciting STEM curriculum."


19 JAN 2017

NEWGATE LANE SOUTH REFUSE COLLECTIONS

A constituent recently raised with me the issue of refuse collections taking place along Newgate Lane South at around 7:30am causing more problems during rush hour.

I raised this issue with Cllr Sean Woodward, who has now advised me that in the long-term, Fareham Borough Council will be making fundamental changes to the scheduling of this round however it will require considerable planning and communications with residents to change their bin collection rota's and therefore will not be a quick fix.

However, in the interim, the early collections will be shared between crew which should enable the refuse collectors to be clear of Newgate Lane South by 7am at the latest. Fareham Borough Council are looking to implement this in the next week or so and will then carry out an internal review into whether or not this is helping to ease the situation.


18 JAN 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT IN OVER 10 YEARS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that unemployment across the UK remains at the lowest rate for over a decade – down nearly 900,000 since 2010 – according to the latest labour market figures, with 329 000 more people back in work across the South East since 2010.

In Gosport, the number of people claiming the key out of work benefits has fallen by 857 since 2010, representing a 60 per cent drop.

Today's figures also showed that the employment rate amongst women is at record levels, there are over 500,000 more disabled people in work over the past three years and the number of young people unemployed is now at the lowest level in over 12 years.

Local MP Caroline Dinenage said:

"We start the New Year with another encouraging set of figures, which show the strength of our economy as we step up to the challenges of 2017. Long-term unemployment is the lowest it's been since 2008, more women are working than ever before and youth unemployment is down by 360,000 since 2010. This is great news for families, as well as for the economy generally.

"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."


17 JAN 2017

A GLOBAL BRITAIN

The referendum vote last June, in which 64% of people in Gosport voted to leave, was a vote for change and I am pleased that the Prime Minister has confirmed that this decision will be honoured in full. Theresa May outlined 12 negotiating objectives for Brexit, which amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.

1. Certainty: whenever the Government can, it will provide it. It will also put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

2. Control of our own laws: bringing an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.

3. Strengthen the Union: as powers are repatriated back to Britain, the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations. No new barriers to living and doing business within our Union should be created.

4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom's immigration system.

5. Control of immigration: continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain but there must be control.

6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: the Government has told other EU leaders that we can offer EU nationals here this certainty, as long as this is reciprocated for British citizens in EU countries.

7. Protect workers' rights as we translate the body of European law into domestic regulations.

8. Free trade with European markets: the Government will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the EU, allowing for the freest possible trade in goods and services. But this cannot mean membership of the EU's Single Market. That would mean complying with European Court of Justice rulings, free movement and other EU rules and regulations without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are.

9. New trade agreements with other countries: through the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, full Customs Union membership prevents us from doing this – but the Government wants a customs agreement with the EU and has an open mind on how this is achieved.

10. The best place for science and innovation: continued collaboration with European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.

11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism.

12. A smooth, orderly Brexit: an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two year Article 50 process has concluded. From that point onwards, a phased process of implementation will avoid a disruptive cliff-edge.

While Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe, the Government is clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.

I welcome this clear and detailed plan, which gives us certainty as we move forward to forge a new place for ourselves in the world. You can read the Prime Minister's speech in full, here.


13 JAN 2017

CAROLINE WELCOMES FUNDS TO FIX POTHOLES

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed news that road-users in Hampshire will benefit from a dedicated £2,123,000 pothole fund.

This cash is part of a £1.2 billion fund for local road that the Government is allocating to councils to repair and rebuild transport links across the country.

This funding will improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Pothole Action Fund. It also includes £75 million which councils can bid for to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.

Local motorists will benefit from the dedicated funding after the Government announced that nearly £50 million of funding will be made available to local councils over the next 12 months. This is part of a wider package totalling £11,689,000 across the South East.

Caroline commented:

"The state of our roads is consistently raised with me by local residents and remains a great source of frustration for drivers. I was pleased that last year the Pothole Action Fund targeted key local roads including the A32 from Fareham to Gosport Town Centre.

"This funding, which builds on the £1,488,000 Hampshire got last year, shows the Government delivering on its commitment to invest in infrastructure to attract businesses and secure a better future for local businesses."


09 JAN 2017

MP WELCOMES NEWS OF GOSPORT DAY SERVICES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the news that Gosport Day Services is to remain fully open.

Caroline had received numerous correspondence from service users expressing their concerns with proposals to move Gosport Day Services into the Gosport Discovery Centre as part of Hampshire County Council's plans for a new Community Hub. Due to this, Caroline made representations to Hampshire County Council regarding the issues raised.

Hampshire County Council have recently informed both Caroline and service users that Gosport Day Services is to remain open fully with the potential for further access to the Gosport Community Hub space for some activities based in the local community.

Commenting Caroline said:

"I am pleased to hear that Hampshire County Council have taken on board the feedback they received regarding this proposal and have decided to keep Gosport Day Services open.

This service is vital for so many in the Gosport Constituency and I am encouraged that service users can continue to use this wonderful facility."


22 DEC 2016

MP PROMOTES INTERNS PROGRAMME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging people to apply for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Centenary Interns programme.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is seeking applications from the brightest and the best young people aged 18+ to join a new CWGC Centenary Interns programme in 2017.

The CWGC Centenary Interns will join the Commission for four months, based in France and Belgium, to welcome visitors to some of the CWGC's most well-known sites. These will include the CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ieper (Ypres), which will be the focus of the UK Government commemorations of the Centenary of Passchendaele: Third Battle of Ypres in July 2017.

The CWGC Centenary Interns will welcome visitors to, and guide them around, CWGC cemeteries and memorials. They will also undertake research and help offer context and a clearer understanding of both the CWGC and the First World War, from the perspective of people the same age as many of the war dead.

UK Government funding for the new programme was announced by former Chancellor George Osborne on the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme in July 2016, and it will launch early in the New Year. Over the next two years the CWGC expects to bring more than 40 interns to the Western Front, funded by a £600,000 LIBOR grant.

CWGC Director General Mrs Victoria Wallace, said

"This is a fantastic opportunity for young people interested in the First World War to help others gain a real insight into the workings of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has done such wonderful work in commemorating the fallen of the two World Wars for 100 years. The CWGC Centenary Interns will be able to welcome and help visitors, and share with them the stories of so many of those we commemorate. It is a chance to be right at the heart of the UK and Commonwealth commemorations in France and Belgium in 2017 and 2018. Please tell any enthusiastic young people you know to consider this great role, playing a part in marking such historic anniversaries."

Caroline added

"These internships are an exciting, high quality opportunity as well as an appropriate and enduring way to remember and reflect on the First World War.

The successful applicants will get a fantastic chance to be right at the centre of the commemorations and it will have an incredible impact on the way they look at life."

Those wishing to apply can find full details on the CWGC Blog at blog.cwgc.org/interns2017 or register their interest via interns@cwgc.org.


20 DEC 2016

CAROLINE AND MINISTER WELCOME GOSPORT APPRENTICES TO PARLIAMENT



Last night, local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed Gosport apprentices and their employers to a parliamentary reception to thank them for their contributions to her local Get In Go Far campaign.

Since 2010 there have been over 11,000 apprenticeship starts in the Gosport constituency. The national average is only 4,900, meaning that Gosport has the third highest number of apprenticeship starts in the country. But Caroline launched her Get In Go Far campaign in the summer because she felt more could be done to raise the profile of apprenticeships in our local area and highlight the wealth of opportunities on offer.

Each week, local apprentices contributed a short biography, which Caroline published on her website. The fantastic submissions showcased everything from mechanical engineering and defence munitions apprenticeships to automotive journalism, tax collection, child and nursing care and microbiological laboratory.

The group enjoyed refreshments in historic surroundings and had the opportunity to take a tour of the Houses of Parliament and watch proceedings in the Commons and Lords from the public galleries. They were joined by the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Rob Halfon MP, who praised the diversity of apprenticeship opportunities on offer in Gosport.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I am always excited to welcome people from the Gosport constituency up to Parliament and this evening is no exception. It is a delight to host these fantastic apprentices and their employers and congratulate them for the work they do. Apprenticeships offer such amazing opportunities to learn the specialist skills needed to forge a rewarding career in a specific sector."

Speaking at the event, the Minister said:

"We need apprenticeships in our country to give young people that ladder of opportunity and improve the skills of our nation. It is brilliant to see so many employers and apprentices here tonight, including apprenticeship coordinators from Gosport's local Sixth-Form College – a fantastic model that could be replicated across the country. There is such a fantastic array of professions here tonight – I never knew Gosport was such an amazing place!"

You can read the full range of apprentices' stories on Caroline's website, here.


15 DEC 2016

MP WELCOMES JOINT-LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES IN OVER 10 YEARS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that unemployment across the UK remains at the joint lowest rate for over a decade – down nearly 900,000 since 2010 – according to the latest set of labour market figures out today, with 331,000 more people back in work in the South East since 2010.

In Gosport the number of people claiming the key out of work benefits has fallen by 779 – a 56% per cent drop – since 2010.

As well as unemployment continuing to run at a 10-year low, the number of women in work is at a record high of almost 15 million and youth unemployment is down 352,000 since 2010. There are 31.8 million people in work, up by 2.7 million since 2010 – that's well over 1,000 jobs created on average every day – and average wages excluding bonuses grew by 2.6 per cent over the last year.

Caroline said:

'Building an economy that works for everyone means making sure everyone can have the security of a regular income so they can provide for themselves and their family.

'Today's figures are good news for families in Gosport and across the UK. Unemployment continues to run at its joint lowest rate for over a decade, there are over 330,000 more people back in work in the South East since 2010, and the number of people in Gosport relying on the key out of work benefits has fallen by over 750 – an incredible 56% drop.

'But there is more to do to help people of all backgrounds and abilities into work, which is why we will continue with our important reforms to welfare that are ensuring it always pays to be in work.

'It's because of the measures we have taken to put our economy in a position of strength that we can build a country that works for everyone – with more people sharing in our country's prosperity.'


14 DEC 2016

MP SEEKS BEST LOCAL KEBAB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling for local people to get nominating in the British Kebab Awards.

The British Kebab Awards were launched in 2013 and are the first and only of their kind, the annual event celebrates the contribution of the UK's kebab businesses to the British economy and the achievements of the hard-working people of the UK's almost 50 year old industry.

The British kebab industry is constantly growing and contributes more than £2.2 billion to Britain's economy every year. The British Kebab Awards aim to celebrate the best of the industry and improve the public image of the kebab. The awards are sponsored by the UK's largest takeaway website JUST EAT.

With nominations now open, this is a chance for local people to have a say on which restaurant they think deserves a prestigious British Kebab Award.

Caroline said:

"The contribution that the British kebab industry makes both economically and culturally is worth celebrating, so this is the perfect time to show how much you appreciate your favourite kebab shop by nominating them for the British Kebab Awards."

Nominations are now open via www.britishkebabawards.co.uk.


13 DEC 2016

THE CARE QUALITY COMMISSION'S LEARNING, CANDOUR AND ACCOUNTABILITY REPORT

Today, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a review of the way NHS trusts review and investigate the deaths of patients in England.

A year after a review commissioned by NHS England uncovered failings at Southern Health Foundation Trust, the CQC looks at how acute, community and mental health trusts across the county identify, report, investigate and learn from deaths of people who have been in their care.

The review finds that there is no consistent national approach to support the NHS to investigate deaths. The CQC is calling for a national framework, so that NHS trusts have clarity on the actions required when someone in their care dies. This includes ensuring that families are consistently listened to as equal partners alongside NHS staff.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt confirmed his commitment to implementing the CQC's recommendations in full, including the establishment of a national framework.

The most vulnerable people in our society deserve care in a safe, secure and dignified setting. The system failures at Southern Health, which resulted in such tragic and unacceptable outcomes, are clearly not unique to our local area, but are happening up and down the country. We urgently need systemic action at a national level to address grossly unacceptable failures and I welcome the Secretary of State's commitment to delivering on the CQC's recommendations.

I am pleased that the CQC recently noted improvements at Southern Health. But further changes still need to be made and I will continue to hold Southern Health to account to ensure such unacceptable failings can never happen again.


12 DEC 2016

MP CALLS FOR YOUNG WOMEN'S TRUST AWARD NOMINATIONS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on constituents in Gosport to nominate a hard-working young woman for a Young Women's Trust award.

The awards will recognise young women who have overcome barriers like a lack of confidence or juggling childcare to succeed at the start of their careers. Most awards ceremonies celebrate those at the very top of their profession. But Young Women's Trust wants to shine a light on women who are working hard and often overlooked.

Despite girls on average doing better at school, there are still more young women out of work and stuck in low-paid jobs than men and for many it is a real challenge. Gender stereotypes often encourage women into lower-paid sectors and a lack of flexible work can make it difficult to balance jobs with caring responsibilities. The awards will highlight how challenging it is for many young women who are starting out in the world of work and reward their determination.

The Influencer Award will recognise a young woman who uses her voice to speak up for others. The Exceptional Apprentice Award is for a young woman who has achieved a lot, either personally or professionally, in her apprenticeship. The Conqueror Award will celebrate a young woman who has overcome personal challenges while starting her career path. Nominations are now open and Caroline is asking local residents to get nominating.

Caroline said:

"We have an exceptional amount of talent in the Gosport constituency but sometimes starting out can be really tough for young women. They face challenges like a lack of self-confidence or having to juggle childcare with work or studies.

The Young Women's Trust awards are a great way to recognise the determination of young women who are overcoming those barriers to find work and training opportunities. I'd really encourage everyone to nominate someone they know, so we can make sure our local young women get the recognition they deserve."

Carole Easton, Young Women's Trust chief executive, said:

"Progress is being made to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles, but this work is not making a difference to the barriers young, disadvantaged women face getting a job in the first place. These awards are our way of recognising the amazing young women we meet through our work and all the young women we are still to meet in the UK who overcome challenges every day.

Maybe you are a young mum who has been able to juggle life so that you can study part-time, or perhaps you have held on to a job even though you are in a man's world. We think you are incredible and we want to tell you."

Gladys, 28, used Young Women's Trust's 'Work It Out' service to get back in to work and wants to recognise other young women who are overcoming barriers to work:

"Young Women's Trust is a banner of hope for any young women struggling to get in to or back to employment. These awards are a significant way of recognising the young women who have worked really hard to overcome barriers to work. Make sure you nominate someone you know!"

Nominations are open until 1 January 2017. To make a nomination, go to http://www.youngwomenstrust.org/ywtawards. The awards ceremony will take place in London on 21 February.


09 DEC 2016

MP REVEALS CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION WINNER

Local MP Caroline Dinenage announced the winner of her fourth annual Christmas Card Design competition at Gosport Discovery Centre this evening.

Earlier this year, Caroline invited primary schools in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head to submit designs for her 2016 Christmas card competition and received over 200 entries!

Nevaeh-Rose MacLennan, aged 5 from Rowner Infant School was crowned overall winner with her stunning Big Ben at Christmas design.

This year's runners up, whose designs features on the back of the card were, Eystan Mawby-Moore from Alverstoke Infant School, Fleur Edwards from Crofton Hammond Infant School and Macie-Jane Apps from Haselworth Primary School.

After the announcement Caroline commented:

"This year's decision was so difficult due to the amount of brilliant designs I received. It it was fantastic to meet my so many of the artists that took part in this year's Christmas card competition – they are all extremely talented with artistic skills, imagination and creativity.

With the talent that they are already showing at such young ages I am sure that there are great things in store for these budding artists and I look forward to receiving their entries next year!"

All of the entries will be on display in the Children's Section of the Discovery Centre until 19 December 2016. You can also see the 4 shortlisted designs here.

This year's judging panel included Caroline, the Mayor of Gosport Lynn Hook, Will Rooney from The News and award winning artist Daniel Williams.


07 DEC 2016

VOTE ON THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANS FOR BREXIT

This evening Parliament will, for the first time, get the chance to vote on the Government's plans for Brexit.

In a Government amendment to an Opposition Day Motion, today's vote says;

"......consistently with the principles agrees unanimously by this House on 12 October; expects that this House will respect the wishes of the UK as expressed in the referendum on 23 June; and further calls on the Government to invoke Article 50 by 31 March 2017."

Although today's vote does not have the power to trigger any legislation in itself, it is a crucial statement of intent by MPs, many of whom are expected to vote in favour of the government's timetable, of starting formal talks by the end of March. SNP & Liberal Democrat MPs are all expected to vote against.

Following the overwhelming Leave vote in Gosport & Fareham, I firmly believe that the people of my constituency have spoken and I will therefore be supporting the government amended motion.


05 DEC 2016

MP SUPPORTS LOCAL CHARITIES DAY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting Local Charites Day on Friday 16 December.

This year, the Office for Civil Society provided £250,000 in match funding to boost Localgiving's 'Grow Your Tenner' and will support the #GiveMe5 campaign which will run on Local Charities Day. This brings the total match funding available for local charities participating in the campaigns to £350,000.

Grow Your Tenner matched one time donations from the public by up to £10 and monthly direct debits by up to £10 for the first three months. #GiveMe5 will give people another opportunity to get involved and support charities in their area by matching 1,000 £5 donations made on Local Charities Day.

Caroline said:

"Local charities are so important to our community and they touch the lives of so many people. The work they do is incredible and Local Charites Day is a great way to put these fantastic organisations in the spotlight and help them to raise a bit of money!"

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

"On Local Charities Day, I want us all to shout from the rooftops about small, local charities: their energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits they bring to their communities. We have already done a huge amount of work for small and local charities, reducing regulation and introducing a Bill to parliament which will make Gift Aid even more flexible and generous.

There is more to do, and Local Charities Day and campaigns like Grow Your Tenner give us a chance to ensure that these responsive, locally engaged and committed organisations get the recognition they deserve, helping us build a Britain that works for everyone. I would encourage as many people as possible to donate to a local cause through the 'Grow Your Tenner' campaign, helping us build a compassionate Britain that works for everyone."

For more information please visit https://localgiving.org/what-we-do/campaigns/giveme5/.


02 DEC 2016

MP SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will be supporting 'Small Business Saturday' this weekend and she urges shoppers to support local independent retailers.

'Small Business Saturday' is an initiative encouraging everyone in the UK to shop small, both on the day and beyond. It is the fourth year that the campaign, which originated in the USA, has been run in the UK. The initiative is being led by American Express in collaboration with British businesses, organisations and local authorities, and is fully supported by the Government.

In 2015, shoppers spent £623m with small businesses on Small Business Saturday, an increase of £119m or 24% on 2014. #SmallBizSatUK trended at number 1 all day on Small Business Saturday with over 100,000 tweets sent in support of the day, reaching more than 25 million people and over 75% of local councils actively supported the campaign, delivering on the ground activities including free parking, Christmas fairs and small business networking events plus much more.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have the power to drive us ahead in the global race. Alongside government support, small businesses are dependent on British consumers. That is why I am proud to be backing 'Small Business Saturday' which will get people in through the doors of our local independent retailers.

This is a great opportunity for Christmas Shopping in some of the fantastic independent retailers in Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hill Head and Stubbington and don't forget that by shopping small and supporting small business you are also supporting our local community and economy!"

Having run a small business for over 20 years, promoting the value of small businesses has always been a key priority for Caroline. She is an active member of the BIS Select Committee and was recently appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.

For more information please visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.


01 DEC 2016

SULTAN TOP OF THE AGENDA AS CAROLINE MEETS CHANCELLOR AND DEFENCE SEC


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Dinenage MP yesterday met the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon to discuss a range of issues affecting the Gosport constituency and her fight against the planned disposal of HMS Sultan.

The meetings follow announcements that three Government sites in Gosport will be disposed of in coming years: Fort Blockhouse, HMS Sultan and the Haslar Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

Caroline raised her concerns with the Chancellor about the cumulative impact of these disposals on Gosport's economic base. She made clear her position that to lose the excellent training establishment at Sultan would be to the detriment of Gosport, the Royal Navy and the country as a whole.

In the wake of the Autumn Statement, in which the Chancellor announced a new Productivity Investment Fund worth £23 billion, earmarked for high value-generating infrastructure and research, Caroline made the case for greater investment in the Solent region. She emphasised how poor infrastructure undermines our region's growth making our area 4% less productive than the South East region and called for Government support to correct this deficit.

At the meeting with the Defence Secretary, Caroline honed in on the MOD's decision to close HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse. She made a strong case against the proposed plans regarding HMS Sultan, pointing out that the decision is not in the best interests of the Gosport community, the Royal Navy or the MOD themselves and sought further detail on the level of research that had taken place to reach this conclusion. Caroline also questioned what measures the Department will be taking to ensure a viable future for the sites listed for disposal, which is essential not just for the local community but for military capabilities and the taxpayer. She stressed that the MOD's record in this area is not strong in Gosport, citing the examples of the low-value sale of Haslar and that RNAS Daedalus still remains under public ownership.

Speaking after the appointments, Caroline said:

"In the wake of a number of difficult announcements concerning the Gosport constituency in recent months, I have today made representations at the highest levels regarding HMS Sultan. The MOD owns roughly 21% of the land in the Gosport constituency. While a great deal of this could better serve our area by being released to commercial developers, who would help create jobs and deliver growth, I believe it would be to the massive detriment to Gosport and the Royal Navy to entirely lose the excellent engineering training at Sultan.

"I welcomed the Government's focus on boosting productivity in the Autumn Statement last week. Today I made clear to the Chancellor that there is massive potential for the Solent region to attract international investment and generate growth but we are currently lagging behind the rest of the South East region in terms of productivity and connectivity, so extra Government support in the coming years would be most welcome."

Alongside the meetings Caroline has created a taskforce to strategise a way forward for HMS Sultan, Fort Blockhouse and the former Haslar IRC. She hopes that yesterday's high level deputations will help secure Government support for the group's ambitions to see a vibrant, productive future for the Gosport constituency and Solent region more generally.


30 NOV 2016

MP PROMOTES EXPORTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting GREAT.gov.uk, a website set up by the government to make it quicker, more cost effective and easier for UK businesses to export and find investors.

Research has found that many businesses have the potential to export but don't, whereas others may already be selling abroad but could significantly increase their exports with the right support and encouragement.

Both the Government and private sector have a range of services available to help new and existing exporters, these have been brought together in a single website that acts as a one stop digital destination for trade and investment, bringing together UK businesses, international buyers, international investors and online marketplaces. It will give access to millions of pounds' worth of potential overseas business, as well as signpost to first class information, preferential deals with e-commerce sites and great support services to help businesses win lucrative contracts

Speaking about the website, Caroline said:

"I'm passionate about helping small and medium sized businesses grow because it benefits our local economy. Research has shown again and again that exporters are more productive, adaptable and resilient. Exporters achieve a stronger bottom line and are more likely to stay in business. However - while there are over 2.5 million registered UK businesses - only 11% of them export.

Too often, businesses are unsure of how to get started exporting or take the next step onto the global marketplace. GREAT.gov.uk matches supply and demand, puts power in the hands of businesses to start exporting or attract investors, and makes doing business abroad as attractive as it is to do business at home."

For more information please visit www.GREAT.gov.uk.


29 NOV 2016

MP WELCOMES LIBOR FUNDING FOR LOCAL TRUST

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that Coastal Forces Heritage Trust's will receive a £925,000 cash injection from the fines levied on banks for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) financial benchmark.

Coastal Forces Heritage Trust is a small charity with the mission of preserving the history of the Royal Navy's Coastal Forces. Coastal forces volunteers made an immensely important, but often forgotten, contribution in WW2. The small sea craft they operated went into enemy waters at night, achieving remarkable success totally disproportionate to the numbers and size of the vessels.

They are seeking to establish a permanent exhibition at Explosion! Museum in Gosport to commemorate the achievements of Coastal Forces personnel. The proposed museum will fulfil three significant functions: firstly, commemorating the memory of those brave citizen sailors of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and "Hostilities Only" ratings who rallied in great numbers to the defence of the nation in WWII; secondly, informing and educating young people about their achievements; and thirdly, providing local employment and investment within a challenging part of Hampshire.

Following the news Caroline said

"I am delighted to hear that the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust have received LIBOR funds for this fantastic proposal.

It's absolutely right that fines paid by bankers who helped create the financial crisis are being used support the armed forces community. Our brave service personnel have sacrificed so much for our country and the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust is a way of ensuring we never forget their achievements."

For more information about the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust please visit www.coastal-forces.org.uk.


28 NOV 2016

MP BACKS 'STAY WELL THIS WINTER' CAMPAIGN

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, is today urging local people to get their flu jab and find out more about how they can stay well this winter.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign, run by Public Health England and NHS England, aims to raise awareness of the vulnerability of the elderly and those with long-term health conditions at winter among family, friends and carers.

People suffering from a long term health condition, those aged 65 or over and pregnant women are entitled to receive the free flu vaccine free of charge.

The campaign encourages people to seek immediate advice from a pharmacist at the first sign of winter illnesses - before it gets too serious, heating homes to at least 18°C (65°F) and keeping an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours.

Caroline said:

"It is so important that if you are a pensioner, suffer from a long term condition, or have children between 2 and 7 that you find out about how to stay well this winter.

If you have older relatives or elderly neighbours please check that they have had a flu jab and keep a closer eye out for them over the winter months."

For further information about how you and your family can stay well this winter, please visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.


25 NOV 2016

HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT SUSTAINABILITY AND TRANSFORMATION PLAN

In recent weeks, I have received significant levels of correspondence with regards to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is one of 44 areas across England that are developing detailed local transformation and sustainability plans (STPs) to find ways of meeting the opportunities and challenges facing the local health and care system. This has focused on both the need to empower people to stay well and also on how to provide safe, high quality, consistent and affordable health and care to everyone.

The plan does not replace or slow down local transformation programmes. Instead, organisations have come together to do the things that can only be achieved by working in partnership. This includes describing the implementation of a number of critical national programmes, including the Five Year Forward View for mental health and for general practice

The full STP Delivery Plan and a summary are now available on Fareham & Gosport CCG's website, here. This includes details on how you can get involved.


23 NOV 2016

CHANCELLOR PRIORITISES PRODUCTIVITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, today delivered his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons. Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the prioritisation of investment to improve productivity and ultimately living standards.

Highlighting the role infrastructure investment plays for transforming growth potential and people's daily lives, the Chancellor announced £1.1 billion investment in local transport networks, including £220 million to address pinch points on strategic roads. The Chancellor also announced a new National Productivity Investment Fund worth £23 billion, earmarked for high value-generating infrastructure and research.

£683 million to Local Enterprise Partnerships in the South West, South East and London was announced, with individual allocations to be announced shortly.

In other highlights, a further £102 million of LIBOR bank funds will be made available for Armed Forces and Emergency Services Charities. To help working families, the Chancellor has cancelled the fuel duty rise, saving families £130 per year. The personal tax-free allowance will rise to £12,500 in April 2017, when tax-free childcare will also be introduced. The National Living Wage will be increased from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour, worth an additional £500 per year for full time workers.

To support enterprise, Corporation Tax will fall to 17% next April. The Government will implement the business rates reduction package worth £6.7 billion.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Productivity in Britain is too low, so I am delighted that this Autumn Statement prioritises investment to transform growth potential and support businesses. In particular, I am pleased it prioritises investment in transport infrastructure, which is so essential for unlocking economic potential and improving people's daily lives. This is a big issue in our local area and I earnestly await news as to whether the Stubbington Bypass and BRT project will be funded.

"In addition, the measures to support ordinary working families and improve living standards are very welcome. The fact that this Government is able to raise the National Living Wage, increase the personal tax-free allowance and deliver on its manifesto commitment to provide tax-free childcare despite fiscal pressures proves this Government's competence and commitment to social justice."


23 NOV 2016

GOSPORT TAKSFORCE UPDATE - 23 November 2016

As readers may know, I have launched a taskforce to address the implications of recent Government announcements concerning the Gosport constituency. Namely, the disposal of HMS Sultan, Fort Blockhouse and the former Haslar Immigration Removal Centre.

On Friday 18 November, I hosted the first taskforce meeting. Representatives from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Gosport Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council were all in attendance. The private marine sector was also represented, along with the Higher Education sector. This group of experts have practical experience and in-depth understanding of local governance and planning, the Ministry of Defence and utilisation of public land. This knowledge base is so essential for strategizing a smart path forward.

The group will be assisting me in developing a detailed analysis of the implications of the site disposals for the Gosport community and economy. This will enable me to effectively make the case for investment in Gosport, with evidence-based arguments.

I have already raised my concerns at a meeting with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Looking forward, I have meetings arranged with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Defence Secretary in the coming weeks to raise my concerns about these announcements.


22 NOV 2016

CAROLINE MEETS LOCAL 'CAN DO' ACHIEVERS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, and Young disabled volunteers marked the expansion of a volunteering programme for young disabled people.

Leonard Cheshire Disability's 'Can Do' scheme offers exciting opportunities for 10 to 35‑year-old disabled people to volunteer in their community. Over 6,000 young disabled people have volunteered through 'Can Do' since Leonard Cheshire established it in 2008.

With the programme now serving 18 regions across the UK, the charity hosted a reception in Parliament for volunteers and politicians who believe 'We Can Do'. Caroline met some of the 1,000 disabled people to have this year developed skills and gained confidence through Can Do workshops, community projects and mentoring.

Caroline said:

"I was delighted to meet two really inspiring young people from our local area, Carrieanne from Portsmouth and Connor from Gosport. It was great to hear about the skills they'd learnt on the scheme and how it has made a real difference to them. Not only does it allow hundreds of young disabled people the opportunity to gain skills, meet new people and have fun, but their work makes a real difference to their local communities.

I hope many more will get in touch with Leonard Cheshire to volunteer."

Felix Labwo, a 26-year-old Can Doer with Asperger's Syndrome was one of the VIP speakers on a night that featured poetry and a film screening. He said:

"I would recommend Can Do to anyone looking to develop themselves or wanting to make a contribution to their community. Can Do helped my communication skills, and gave me drive and motivation."

Speaking to MPs at the event, Leonard Cheshire Chief Executive Neil Heslop said:

"I am delighted so many people have joined us in celebrating the many ways we all 'Can Do' together."

This winter, the homeless and refugees will be among those to benefit from projects delivered by Can Doers.

For more information please visit www.leonardcheshire.org.


21 NOV 2016

CAROLINE HOSTS GOSPORT ENTERPRISE FAIR

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, hosted Gosport's very first enterprise fair, a free event for residents and the local armed forces community who either own their business or are interested in setting one up.

Over 100 local residents attended to hear speakers including Anne-Marie Mountifield, the Chief Executive of the Solent LEP; and Ren Kapur MBE; founder and CEO of X-Forces.

Local business owner, Darren Holt of Angel Marine, explained how LEP funding had supported him as he grew his business while Lee-on-the-Solent resident, Don Hodgson MBE explained how X-Forces helped him establish Aardvark Photography after he suffered a life-changing stroke.

Brian Clark of British Marine next explained the business support available to the local maritime industry. Finally, local success stories James Baggott of Blackball Media and Sir Robin Knox Johnston CBE gave their top tips for running a successful business. Mr Baggott spoke of the importance of investing in a good team of people around you, while Sir Knox Johnston highlighted Gosport's great business potential owing to its fantastic maritime location.

Following the speeches, a networking session ensued where guests had the opportunity to circulate with 18 exhibitor organisations including the Department for International Trade, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Start-Up Loans Company and Basepoint Gosport, to name but a few.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to host Gosport's very first enterprise fair on Friday. The fantastic turn-out of over 100 guests proves that Gosport has a big appetite for events like this, which showcased the funding support and advice on offer for entrepreneurs and business owners in the local area. I would like to thank all of the guests and delegates that made this event a success, including the Solent LEP, X-Forces and our wonderful speakers."

Photo credit - Emma Paxton, Imagistic 


16 NOV 2016

GOSPORT SCHOOL WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD


Last night local MP, Caroline Dinenage, attended a special awards ceremony in central London, where she presented Bay House School with the British Council's prestigious International School award.

The award recognised the school's leading role in developing a truly global approach to education. The British Council, which aims to promote understanding between the UK and the wider world, praised Bay House School's programme of inspiring exchanges and exciting international visits and collaborations, as well as its outward-looking curriculum. The school became a Global Learning Programme centre of excellence last year, and is also one of only 42 Confucius Classrooms in the UK, with this status reflecting its ongoing work in promoting Chinese language and culture.

Commenting, Caroline said:

'When I met with overseas delegates at Bay House for a conference last year, I became aware of how effectively the school engages with international stakeholders. This not only enriches the educational experiences of Bay House students, but also promotes a fresh approach to education more broadly. This award puts our area on the international map and I am thrilled that Bay House has been recognised for its fantastic work.'

The British Council commended Bay House for promoting an outlook that equipped students to make the transition from being a citizen of Gosport, to a global citizen.

Photo credit - J.GM Photography


15 NOV 2016

HMS SULTAN UPDATE - 15 November 2016

Last week the Ministry of Defence published plans for "A Better Defence Estate". This includes the disposal of 91 sites, including HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse. In the statement I published 7 days ago, I made clear that while I appreciate the economic case for the sale of Fort Blockhouse, I firmly believe that it would be to the detriment of both Gosport and the Royal Navy to lose the outstanding training at Sultan.

With this in mind, I intend to provide a rolling update on the action I take over the weeks and months ahead in an attempt to plot the best possible future for HMS Sultan and Gosport.

Last week I met with the Chief Executive of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Anne-Marie Mountifield. We agreed to work together to develop a business case for the economic impact Sultan's closure would have on the Gosport constituency as well as exploring alternative uses for the site.

I also met with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones over in Whale Island. He explained how he has worked hard to keep most of the jobs at Sultan in the local area at HMS Collingwood. While I am very grateful for this, it doesn't change my position – I still believe there is a strong business case for keeping Sultan open. At the weekend, I caught up with the Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan, Captain Towell.

Today, I am meeting with the BEIS Minister and Solent Growth Champion, Jo Johnson MP, to raise my concerns about the cumulative effect of cross-departmental Government land disposal in our local area. I will be also speaking to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth as I believe it is important to seek their input in backing up our business case with sound academic research.

On Friday I am gathering a small taskforce of influential stakeholders to draw upon their considerable expertise as we plot our way forward.


14 NOV 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES BRUNE PARK TO PARLIAMENT

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today welcomed Brune Park pupils to Parliament.

The school was visiting Parliament's newly built education service centre. They had the opportunity to take a tour of the Palace of Westminster before taking part in a Q&A session with their very own Member of Parliament, Caroline Dinenage.

The visit comes during Parliament Week, a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy. Co-ordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords, Parliament Week has a number of important aspirations.

It seeks to engage audiences with the work of the UK Parliament, MPs and members of the House of Lords, through participative events and activities. It wants to help audiences explore the history of the UK Parliament and think about its role in democracy. Finally, it aims to empower audiences to get involved with the UK Parliament and make their voices heard about issues that matter to them.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to welcome Brune Park to Parliament today and answer their questions about my role as MP. The pupils were very engaging and it was great to hear about their enthusiastic interest in current affairs. Boosting youth engagement with politics is really important to me, which is why I celebrating Parliament Week."

For more information about Parliament Week, click here.


11 NOV 2016

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR MARRIAGE ALLOWANCE?

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging people to check if they are eligible for Marriage Allowance.

Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,000 (ten percent) of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner if they earn more than you, so as a couple you can save up to £220 from your tax bill this tax year.

You can get the Marriage Allowance if all the following criteria apply: you're married or in a civil partnership, you don't earn anything or you don't pay tax on your income (for most people that's an income under £11,000), your partner doesn't pay tax at the higher or additional rate (for most people that's an income of £43,000 or below) and if you and your partner were born after 6 April 1935.

Couples born before 1935 can benefit from the separate Married Couples Allowance.

You can apply if you or your partner are currently receiving a pension and if you were eligible for the Marriage Allowance in the 2015-2016 tax year, you can backdate your claim to 6 April 2015, and save up to £432.

Caroline said:

"Marriage Allowance can create savings for so many couples. I would encourage everyone to see if they are eligible and, if so, to apply straight away!"

It's easy to apply for the Marriage Allowance, the easiest route being through the online application service, which takes less than seven minutes to complete. You can apply at: www.gov.uk/apply-marriage-allowance, or alternatively you can apply on the phone by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3300


10 NOV 2016

CAROLINE ATTENDS PATIENTS’ CHOICE AWARDS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, recently joined the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) at their parliamentary reception. The event saw the launch of the 'AS it is: patient voice & patient choice' campaign as well as the inaugural UK-wide Patients' Choice Awards, voted for by people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

The reception was an opportunity to discuss local issues for people with AS, and pledge support for the implementation of Clinical Guidelines for Spondyloarthritis which are due to be published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in Spring 2017.

AS is a form of inflammatory arthritis which mainly affects the spine. It is a painful, progressive, long term condition which can have a major impact on the lives of those who have it and those around them. There is no cure for AS, instead anti inflammatory medication combined with regular physiotherapy and exercise are the cornerstones of treatment. Around 200,000 people in the UK have AS, with symptoms tending to first appear during late teens or early twenties. AS is a life-long condition.

The current average delay to diagnosis for AS in the UK is eight and a half years; Patient Voice & Patient Choice is a parliamentary campaign to raise awareness of the condition but also to ask MPs to pledge to help to reduce this delay by working with their local NHS Trusts.

At the event, Caroline was able to meet with constituent Claire Jeffries of Queen Alexandra Hospital, who was awarded Best Care by a Physiotherapist in the Patients' Choice Awards, to congratulate her on this achievement. Ms Jeffries was also part of the award winning team from Queen Alexandra Hospital who won the award for Best AS Clinic.

Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to attend the launch of the 'AS it is: patient voice & patient choice' campaign as well as to congratulate our local winners.

AS affects so many people and it is fantastic to see that those who care for sufferers are getting the recognition they deserve."

Debbie Cook, NASS Chief Executive said:

"I am delighted to see both Claire and the team who run the AS Clinic at Portsmouth receiving these awards. I have seen first-hand how hard this team work and how passionate they are about providing their AS patients with excellent care.

It was great to see this passion and dedication reflected in the patients' nominations".

For more information about the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society please visit www.nass.co.uk.


10 NOV 2016

GOSPORT BUSINESSES SET TO BENEFIT FROM GOSPORT ENTERPRISE FAIR

Caroline Dinenage MP, is hosting the Gosport constituency's first ever Enterprise Fair next week as part of Gosport Borough Council's week-long celebrations for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Local businesses, aspiring entrepreneurs and those due to leaving the Armed Forces are set to hear from a high-profile list of inspiring speakers including successful local business owners James Baggott of Blackball Media; Don Hodgson of Aardvark Photography; Daren Holt of Angel Marine and Sir Robin Knox Johnston, sailor, explorer and Chairman of Gosport based Clipper Ventures plc.

They will also have the opportunity to network with a range of exciting delegates from business support organisations including: the Department for International Trade, the Start Up Loans Company, Enterprise First, and British Marine to name just a few.

The event is being hosted in partnership with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and supported by X-Forces, British Marine and Gosport Borough Council.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"I am very excited to welcome local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to this event, which will provide them with ample opportunity to hear about the support they need to grow their business or realise their ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur. I have been delighted with the enthusiasm for this event – with over 130 guests already signed up it is clear that the Gosport constituency is ready for business! It would be great to fill the last few places, so do RSVP if you'd like to come along to hear more about entrepreneurship."

Ren Kapur MBE is the Founder and CEO of X-Forces, an organisation which supports ex-service personnel and their families to start their own business. Ren, who will be delivering a keynote at the event, said:

"Enterprise Skills are so important to the UK Economy, and X-Forces is proud to be working with Solent LEP to help the Armed Forces Community to launch, start and scale-up their businesses. Having launched over 750 businesses in the UK, X-Forces have witnessed this extraordinary community become one of the most successful cohorts of small business owners. Unlocking the skills that they have acquired in the Forces and coupling these with commercial knowhow, support and on-going mentoring is proving to be an invaluable model. Working with Solent LEP cultivates this and together we are able to build and deliver a service where is it needed, at the heart of small business community, in Gosport."

Please RSVP to lucy.burton@parliament.uk


09 NOV 2016

CAROLINE PRAISES LOCAL CHARITY TRUSTEES

To mark the seventh annual Trustees' Week, Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, is celebrating the important contribution that charity trustees make to their local communities and thanking the 1411 trustees in her constituency for their hard work over the last year.

A wide range of activities and services are carried out by the charities in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head. All of which couldn't carry out their important work without the diligent efforts of trustees, most of whom are volunteers.

Trustees Week which runs from 7-13 November highlights the important work that charity trustees do all year round and raises awareness of how people can gain valuable experience and skills through volunteering as a charity trustee.

This year's theme for Trustees' Week focuses on Stronger Charities through Good Leadership, reflecting the excellent leadership the Charity Commission often sees in its case work from a range of trustees and charity staff.

Caroline said:

"The charities in our area simply wouldn't be able to make the difference they do without the important contribution of the charity trustees. With so many great local charities doing important work, I want to mark the National Trustees' Week by thanking the 1411 local charity trustees for their tireless dedication to our civic life .

I would like to encourage anyone thinking of becoming a trustee to use Trustees' Week to find out more about the role and the various ways they can get involved. Trusteeship brings excellent opportunities including meeting new people, developing new skills, and applying existing expertise to new, real-life challenges."

William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission, said:

"We know the work of trustees is crucial to the success of their charities, and they often bear a considerable load. However, this Trustees Week we want to encourage trustees to keep doing excellent work - and remind them that despite the recent increase in focus, the legal burden hasn't changed.

We see great stewardship in our engagement with charities, often by trustees facing difficult and complex situations. Some of the best decision-making we have seen has been a product of having diversity on boards, meaning trustees can challenge each other and offer conflicting perspectives to ultimately achieve the best outcome for their charity."

Trustees' Week runs 7-13 November 2016. To learn more about Trustees' Week and trusteeship, visit www.trusteesweek.org and follow @trusteesweek. The website includes case studies, recruitment resources, details of local events being held during Trustees' Week and links to trustee matching services for those who want to become a trustee.


08 NOV 2016

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE ESTATE REVIEW: HMS SULTAN AND FORT BLOCKHOUSE

Yesterday, in a statement to the House of Commons, the Ministry of Defence announced that they will be selling off 91 of their sites. Two of these sites are in the Gosport Constituency: HMS Sultan and Fort Blockhouse.

Having been frustratingly underused by the Ministry of Defence for decades, the sale of Fort Blockhouse provides a welcome opportunity for this prime piece of waterfront real estate to generate a much needed boost for our local economy.

HMS Sultan is a different story, I have been fighting its closure for the last seven years. Importantly the long timescales mean that we have ten years to both urge the Government to reconsider their decision while plotting the best possible alternative strategy for the site moving forward with a focus on employment rather than housing. While it is reassuring that most of the jobs will be remaining in the Gosport peninsula area at HMS Collingwood, rather than South Wales as planned by the last Labour Government, I firmly believe that it would be to the detriment of both Gosport and the Royal Navy to lose the outstanding training at Sultan.

To this end I have already met with the Ministry of Defence, I have arranged meetings with the First Sea Lord and Jo Johnson MP, the Solent Growth Champion, I am also putting together a Task Force of key local stakeholders to plot our best way forward.

A full copy of the report can be found here


07 NOV 2016

HIGH COURT RULES AGAINST GOVERNMENT ON ARTICLE 50

Last week, the High Court ruled that Brexit cannot be triggered without a Parliamentary vote.

Here in the Gosport constituency a resounding 64% of people voted to leave the EU. The people have spoken and I see it as the Government's duty to deliver on the result of this referendum.

The Prime Minister is clear that she has no intention of letting this result change its timetable for triggering Article 50 and the Government will appeal this judgment.


04 NOV 2016

MP JOINS FORCES TO SELL POPPIES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday joined armed forces personnel from HMS Sultan selling poppies at Monument Station in central London.

London Poppy Day is a campaign led by the Royal British Legion to raise money to support service men and women, veterans and their families. Each year, uniformed personnel and volunteers hit mainline and underground stations across the capital to sell poppies ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11th. This year, over 2000 servicemen, women and volunteers took part.

Over 150 staff from bases in our region were in the capital, including HMS Collingwood, the Diving School at Whale Island and HMS Sultan. The Gosport bases had a great turn out, with 80 Sultan personnel doing their bit to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.

Speaking afterwards, Caroline said:

"I was honoured to join the HMS Sultan team in London today collecting for the Royal British Legion. This is such a worthy cause and reminds us of the huge sacrifices that these brave people make to keep us safe. Huge thanks to our local service men and women for supporting this worthwhile campaign and in particular Sultan's Steve Munday for recruiting so many of them."

Caroline also met up with sailors from HMS Sultan last year, when they sold poppies at London Bridge Station from dawn until dusk.


03 NOV 2016

HASLAR IRC TO BE SOLD

The Ministry of Justice has today announced that the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) will not be reopening the former Haslar Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) as a prison, the site will be fully decommissioned. Following the Home Office's decision to no longer use Haslar as an IRC, NOMS had considered finding a new role for the establishment in the future.

This announcement forms part of the Government's reforms to the prison estate to make it safer and more efficient, while building an additional 10,000 places across the country. This requires the closure of establishments which do not have a long-term future in the estate.

The Government feels the former Haslar IRC site would not be efficient to operate as a prison due to its structural layout. However, set in over 60 acres of parkland, with many Georgian Grade II listed buildings and a prime seafront location, it is an attractive site for commercial investment.

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today written to all former Haslar IRC staff that have contacted her to inform them of the announcement. Commenting, she said:

"After nearly 2 years of uncertainty it's a relief to finally know the fate of Haslar IRC. The great waterfront location has the potential to attract economic investment into Gosport and it's been frustrating to see the site in mothballs for so long. My main concern is the implications for staff and, although the minister has said that redundancies are not expected, I have asked him for clear assurances about their future."

The Government has stressed that the decision to fully decommission the Haslar site is not a reflection of the dedication and professionalism of the staff who worked there. The Government also recognised that the length of time in detached duty employment has been extremely difficult for staff but it hopes that providing clarity on Haslar's long-term future will allow staff to progress with their careers.


01 NOV 2016

CAROLINE PROMOTES PARLIAMENT WEEK

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging local schools and community groups to get involved in Parliament Week.

Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy; the annual initiative kicks off on Monday 14 November and will run until Friday 18 November.

Caroline will be hosting students from Brune Park in Westminster and visiting schools as part of Parliament Week this year. In previous years she has hosted debates and Q&A sessions at St Vincent, Bay House and CEMAST.

Speaking ahead of Parliament Week, Caroline said:

"Parliament Week is a great way to engage young people with both politics and Parliament. I always enjoy getting involved with the initiative every year.

I am looking forward to meeting a number of students and listening to their opinions on topics which are big issues in Parliament at the moment"

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

For more information about Parliament Week, please visit www.parliamentweek.org.


31 OCT 2016

#GetInGoFar

Today, two more inspiring apprentices from Gosport are being profiled as a part of local MP Caroline Dinenage's #GetInGoFar campaign.

Samantha Buckley, 26, has worked at Alver Vets for 7 years as a receptionist and chose to do an apprenticeship to help enhance her business administration skills within her role for future career progression.

Thomas Brading, 22, is an apprentice at Defence Munitions Gosport. He originally planned to do engineering at University, however after listening to the opinions of others and realising high current demand for apprentices, he decided that doing an apprenticeship would best facilitate his goals and ambitions.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"While it was not Samantha and Thomas's original plan to do an apprenticeship, they agree that the experience has given them both great opportunities to learn skills in their different sectors. Their decisions will benefit them in the long run with expertise, knowledge and great possibilities for career progression."

You can read Samantha and Thomas' biographies in full, here: http://caroline4gosport.co.uk/get-in-go-far/.


27 OCT 2016

CAROLINE TO HOST GOSPORT ENTERPRISE FAIR


Local MP, Caroline Dinenage is hosting a free business support exhibition and networking event in partnership with the Solent LEP and supported by X-Forces, British Marine and Gosport Borough Council.

The Gosport Enterprise Fair will take place on Friday 18 November 2016. The event is aimed at local marine businesses as well as residents and the armed forces community that are either running a business, or thinking of starting a business.

An exciting line-up of keynote speakers will talk about entrepreneurship plus the funding and support available locally for starting and growing a business. Confirmed speakers include:

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, sailor, explorer and Chairman of Gosport-based Clipper Ventures plc; Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership;Ren Kapur MBE, founder and Chief Executive of X-Forces;Brian Clark, Head of External Relations at British Marine; Caroline Dinenage, Entrepreneur & Member of Parliament for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent & Hill Head

Following on from the speeches, there will be opportunities for networking with representatives from key business support organisations, including The Start-Up Loans Company; British Marine; Enterprise First; Gosport Informal Network; Hampshire Enterprise Circle; X-Forces; the Solent LEP and more to be confirmed.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Having run my own business for many years, I know how important it is for entrepreneurs to be able to access the support they need to see their business flourish. I am delighted to host this event with the Solent LEP, which will bring together important stakeholders to help boost local enterprise. While the event will have a special Armed Forces and maritime focus, budding entrepreneurs and businesses from any sector are welcome to attend to take advantage of the special opportunities on offer."

The event will take place at the Jervis Gallery, St Vincent College, commencing at 1:30pm. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to lucy.burton@parliament.uk.

You can read more about the range of activities taking place across Gosport in celebration of Global Enterprise Week, here.


24 OCT 2016

#GetInGoFar

Today, two more inspiring apprentices from Gosport are being profiled as a part of local MP Caroline Dinenage's #GetInGoFar campaign.

Hannah Bentley, 40, started a Level 5 apprenticeship last October. She is now the manager of Redclyffe House Learning Disabilities Home in Gosport and was proud to oversee a good in all areas CQC inspection.

Matthew Close, 19, is a warehouse operative in Gosport, completing a warehousing NVQ. He reports how this apprenticeship has taught him the skills of using a fork lift, palletising and other warehousing jobs, so he is ready to be a supervisor.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Hannah and Matthew are doing two very different apprenticeships, but both are gaining the specialised skills they need to add value to the organisation for which they work. As a former business owner myself, I know how important it is to have staff experienced and trained to provide the services you need. This brings huge benefits to the business and offers the apprentices great opportunities for career progression."

You can read Hannah and Matthews's biographies in full, here.


20 OCT 2016

MP GETS HER FLU JAB!

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage this week attended Westminster Flu Day, a flu vaccine clinic held in the House of Commons, to promote the importance of getting this season's flu vaccine, especially for vulnerable groups.

53% of at-risk people and 27% of people over the age of 65 in Gosport were not vaccinated against flu last year, even though the consequences of not having a flu vaccine can be serious. The national figures are even worse, around 55% at-risk patients and 30% over 65s.

People in a risk group, such as pregnant women, or those with an underlying health condition such as liver disease and heart disease, are at significantly increased risk of dying as a result of flu. Every year, an estimated 12,000 people die from seasonal influenza in England and Wales. Flu is the most frequent cause of death in pregnancy.

The vaccine is available free to many groups including over 65s and younger people with health conditions, as well as those who work as carers or in health & social care.

As an asthma sufferer, Caroline knows the potential consequences of her catching the flu could be more serious

After the event Caroline said:

"The best way to help protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu vaccine. As an asthma sufferer, I know the risks of complications as a result of getting the flu virus can be higher, that's why I would urge everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccine to go and visit their GP or pharmacist."

Nicola Blackwood MP, Public Health Minister added:

"Make sure you get your flu jab this winter. People often get the flu in winter and it can lead to more serious illnesses and even death, so it is good to protect yourself".

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust said:

"If you're the main carer for an older or disabled person, we recommend that you ask your GP or pharmacist for a free flu jab this winter. Being an unpaid carer is tough, and coming down with the flu can make it almost impossible to look after someone."

Westminster Flu Day is an established event in the Parliamentary calendar. It is sponsored by the ABPI Vaccine Group in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing and Carers Trust and with the support of the Department of Health and Public Health England.

Parliamentarians receiving the vaccine made a monetary donation to the Carers Trust.


19 OCT 2016

MP GETS READY FOR WINTER

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage visited the Getting Ready for Winter event with British Gas last week, to find out what support is available to ensure people are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

British Gas offers many ways to help customers save money, such as alerting customers in their bills to any better tariffs for them. They allow customers to switch between tariffs without paying a penalty charge and offer flexible payment plans which enable customers to set and manage their own payments.

To keep an eye on energy usage, energy suppliers will be able to install a smart meter, meaning an end to estimated bills. British Gas customers are provided with online tools to help them manage their energy usage.

Constituents may also be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year more than 700,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount - a one off discount of £140 on the electricity bill. The company has the broadest eligibility criteria of all energy suppliers. British Gas customers should call 0800 072 8625.

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. Since it was established in 2004, British Gas has provided £85million of funding to the Trust which has helped more than 176,000 people with debt advice and grants.

Gas appliances should be checked for safety every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. These important checks can detect a range of problems from boiler faults to gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Caroline said:

"It's really important to be prepared for winter and to promote what help is available. There are a number of simple steps that people can take to make sure they're doing all they can to keep their bills down and their home warm."

For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk.

For more information on booker checks, visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/homecare.


17 OCT 2016

#GetInGoFar

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is today profiling two more inspiring apprentices from Gosport.

Briar Leary, 18, is an accountancy apprentice with Tax Assist. She attends an AAT college course one day a week and spends the other four days working as a trainee accountant in a small practise.

Nicola Holley, 27, works at The Royal Nursing Home in Gosport. She has achieved 3 apprenticeship qualifications within the health & social care industry (Level 2, 3 and 5) and has recently been recruited as an Assessor.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Briar and Nicola provide great examples of the diverse opportunities that apprenticeships can provide. In both cases, achieving qualifications through an apprenticeship scheme has helped them identify longer-term career goals and make tangible progress towards them."

You can read Briar and Nicola's biographies in full, here.


14 OCT 2016

CAROLINE HELPS AWARD £25,000 TO LOCAL CHARITIES AT HMS SULTAN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday helped award a total of £25,000 to local organisations at the HMS Sultan's Charity Cheque Presentation alongside commanding officer Captain Peter Towell.

These funds were raised at the Sultan Summer Show, a hugely popular event that takes place in Gosport every year. At the show, a variety of exciting acts put on spectacular performances. This year, crowds enjoyed monster trucks, the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motorcross Display Team, and Bob Hogg's Lamb National and Sheepdog displays as well as music, foods and rides. HMS Sultan are dedicated to putting the money raised from this event to good use throughout the community, supporting local charitable organisations.

This year, the Summer Show raised an amazing £25,000, which was divided up between local voluntary and charity groups. Local recipients included Loud and Proud; Leesland School's Pool Fund; Scouts Groups and Gosport Men's Shed.

Speaking after the presentation, Caroline said:

"I was honoured to once again be invited by HMS Sultan to help Captain Towell award cheques to local charities at HMS Sultan's Charity Cheque Presentation, it is one of my favourite events of the year. The Sultan Summer Show, as well as providing a wonderful day out for local families, serves an amazing charitable purpose – delivering vital funds to support local charitable organisations.

We need to celebrate how important HMS Sultan is to the local community and how lucky we are to have so many wonderful voluntary and charity groups in the Gosport Constituency. I would like to take this opportunity to commend our voluntary organisations and all the team at HMS Sultan for making Gosport and Fareham such wonderful places to live."


13 OCT 2016

CAROLINE OPENS LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage opened the London Stock Exchange this week on behalf of the 30 percent club.

Caroline was at the Stock Exchange to deliver a speech to finance and asset management companies about about gender diversity, as part of her role as Minister for Women and Equalities. But before that, the Gosport MP was invited to open the London Stock Exchange at the official Market Ceremony.

Caroline's speech was followed by a roundtable discussion on gender diversity with the investor community.

The 30 percent club launched in the UK in 2010 with a goal of achieving a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards - currently the figure stand at 26% up from 12.5%.

Commenting on the event, Caroline said:

"I was honoured to have been asked to open the London Stock Exchange this week and speak to members of the investor community with the 30 percent club. It was a really important opportunity to address the issue of gender balance in the financial sector, which is so crucial for business success and the future of our economy."


03 OCT 2016

#GetInGoFar

Today, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is promoting Gosport apprentices working in the childcare sector.

17 year old apprentice nursery nurse, Allana Meredith, explains how her apprenticeship provides rewarding opportunities to learn about the different stages of child development and how she can help build their confidence to achieve milestones.

Nursery apprentice Chloe White, 20, sees her apprenticeship as a win-win – because she gets to do what she loves while learning, progressing and earning at the same time.

Paige Hillier, 19, is a level 3 childcare apprentice, working with children aged 2-5. She points out how importantly, apprenticeships enable her to learn skills in a work based setting. She states – "there's a lot you can't learn from book...seeing how everything is implemented in a real life situation is so useful."

Commenting, Caroline said:

"It is truly inspiring that Allana, Chloe and Paige have started a career based upon their love of working with children and are pursuing apprenticeships to achieve their ambitions. It is so great to hear how passionate they are about their jobs and their eagerness to learn the skills they need to progress."

You can read Allana, Chloe and Paige's stories here.


26 SEP 2016

#GetInGoFar CAROLINE SHOWCASES TALENT OF GOSPORT APPRENTICES

Today, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage continues her campaign to showcase the talent of inspiring Gosport apprentices.

This week, Caroline has published the biographies of three inspiring Gosport apprentices. Craig Moxham, 21; Josh Lynas, 20; and Harry Haggard, 19, all from Gosport, are employed as trainee engineers at BAE Systems in Portsmouth. You can read their stories, here.

Caroline said:

"BAE Systems is a big local employer so it is great to see that the company is training up the younger generations with the skills they need to become the engineers of the future. This kind of investment is really important to meet the future needs of our local economy. I really enjoyed learning about the diverse experiences that Craig, Josh and Harry have had at BAE and the opportunity they have to progress their apprenticeships further to achieve degree level qualifications."


23 SEP 2016

MP CELEBRATES WWI FUND FOR HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has congratulated the organisers of Gosport Heritage Open Days on securing a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000. The money is to increase public awareness of Gosport's contribution to the war effort through HLF's First World War: Then and Now programme.

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in Gosport to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £81 million in projects that are marking this Centenary and helping local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how the conflict has shaped our modern world.

Four local groups will be created with a wide range of ages and abilities. Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like. The project will centre on a series of workshops being conducted with the four groups and will include talks by visiting historians.

There will also be visits to at least four historic sites which, subject to confirmation, will include HMS Sultan Airfield Museum, Royal Clarence Yard, World War One Remembrance Centre or Portsmouth Naval Dockyard Archives. A commemorative Great War newspaper will also be produced with a final exhibition in Gosport's Discovery Centre.

With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an online interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front.

Commenting on the grant, Caroline said:

"I am pleased that in Gosport we have so much support for the preservation of our local history, helping the younger generations understand why this centenary is so important.

I hope that many of my constituents get involved to celebrate our heritage and increase awareness of the war effort that came from Gosport."

You can read more about Gosport Heritage Open Days at www.gosportheritage.co.uk, and more about the HLF at www.hlf.org.uk.


22 SEP 2016

MP URGES GOSPORT TO ‘CELEBRATE!’

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging constituents to take advantage of the Big Lottery Fund's 'Celebrate!' Programme.

The Big Lottery Fund wants to help the local community come together with their 'Celebrate!' Programme, and are offering grants of between £300 and £10,000 for groups to hold one off events or activities which celebrate their local community.

Six out of ten people surveyed say they cannot remember ever coming together to celebrate with their community. The Big Lottery Fund wants to help change this.

You could celebrate something from your community's history or a local hero. Or maybe it's a chance to bring people together to get to know their neighbours better.

Due to the huge success of Celebrate they have allocated an extra £4.1 million of funding to give even more local communities the chance to come together and celebrate and now have a total of £7.695 million for projects in England.

Caroline said:

"Feeling part of a community is so important and I know the Gosport constituency already has fantastic community spirit. This programme is a great opportunity for constituents and organisations to help boost that spirit!"

For more information please visit https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/programmes/england/celebratefund.


21 SEP 2016

CAROLINE CELEBRATES UK NATIONAL FITNESS DAY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage celebrated ukactive's National Fitness Day at Coca-Cola GB's ParkLives parliamentary reception this September.

ParkLives is a unique partnership between local authorities and Coca-Cola Great Britain, delivering free physical activity sessions in parks across the country. All the sessions are fun, accessible to all – young, old and families, male and female - and are completely free of charge. ParkLives is running in ten cities across the UK this summer, having recently expanded to Swansea, Stoke, Dundee and Southampton.

Caroline enjoyed participating in a range of informal activities – including boccia – and spoke with ParkLives coaches and instructors working in local communities across the UK to learn more about the scheme.

Commenting on the event, Caroline said:

"I was pleased to attend the ParkLives reception and learn about how this great scheme, which was rolled out in Southampton this summer, is helping people from across the country get fit and active."

You can read more about ParkLives, here.


20 SEP 2016

MP WEARS IT PINK FOR BREAST CANCER

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, has joined fellow parliamentarians in donning eye catching pink garments in Westminster to help promote Breast Cancer Now's 'Wear it Pink' campaign in October.

The Breast Cancer Now charity have an ambition that, by 2050, everyone that develops the disease will live.

Caroline is encouraging her constituents to take part in the UK's biggest, brightest and pinkest fundraiser, Wear It Pink, on Friday 21 October. Wear it Pink raises close to £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it's going to be pinker and more fun than ever before. Anyone can take part, whether at work, at home or at school. All you have to do is wear something pink and donate what you can.

Caroline said:

"50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, and sadly around 11,500 women and 80 men will lose their lives to the disease. Together, we must put a stop to this, and in Wear it Pink there is a fun and simple way for everyone to get involved. I am very proud to help promote this campaign & I hope the local community will join me in pink on Friday 21 October and show their support for Breast Cancer Now."

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now said:

"It's wonderful to see so much parliamentary support for wear it pink. Far too many women are still losing their lives to this dreadful disease. On Friday 21st October, every cake baked, every feather boa or pink tie worn and every laugh shared will help us create a future where no one dies from breast cancer. We will all be standing together, with colleagues and friends, to stop breast cancer taking the lives of the people we love – and we very much hope you'll join us."

Sign up to wear it pink on Friday 21 October to support Breast Cancer Now's life-saving research. For more information or to register, visit www.wearitpink.org.


19 SEP 2016

#GetInGoFar CAROLINE SHINES A LIGHT ON GOSPORT APPRENTICES

Today, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage continues her campaign to shine a light on inspiring Gosport apprentices.

This week, Caroline has published the biographies of three inspiring Gosport apprentices, Catherine Waite, Joseph Salmon and Toby Hayden.

Catherine and Joseph have both completed the first year of their apprenticeship at Defence Munitions, a weapons engineering firm based in Gosport. Alongside their apprenticeship, both Catherine and Joseph are studying for engineering qualifications at the CEMAST college at Daedalus airfield (Centre for Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training).

Toby Hayden has just completed his apprenticeship at ECDIS, a UK company based in Whitely offering courses to seafarers around the world.

You can see their stories in full, here.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I am so pleased that the fantastic resources on offer at the CEMAST campus are being exploited by highly skilled apprentices like Catherine and Joseph. It is great to hear about the value Catherine, Joseph and Toby attribute to learning while working and earning. I am sure the technical skills and knowledge they are gaining at Defence Munitions & ECDIS will serve them well in the future."

Caroline has shared Catherine and Joseph's stories on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Caroline4Gosport/ and tweeted about them @cj_dinenage.


16 SEP 2016

TAX CREDITS: CONCENTRIX

HMRC held an emergency drop-in session yesterday for MPs whose constituents are facing difficulties receiving their child tax credits due to Concentrix at which we raised the cases of all constituents who have approached me. HMRC will contact these constituents within 48 hours.

HMRC has decided not to extend its contract with Concentrix. HMRC's Chief Executive, Jon Thompson, has said: "We want to reassure customers who have had their tax credits stopped that we will prioritise their cases, and make sure that they are processed as quickly as possible. While it's right that we ensure that tax credits customers receive only the money to which they're entitled, it is vital that those customers have a high level of service."

On Wed 14 September, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison MP, responded to an Urgent Question on the Concentrix issue in the House of Commons. You can read the full transcript here.

If you are having trouble with your tax credits, please contact me at caroline.dinenage.mp@parliament.uk or on 0207 219 0198.


16 SEP 2016

CAROLINE SUPPORTS OLDER PERSONS MONTH IN GOSPORT

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, is urging people to get involved in the third year of 'Older Persons Month' in Gosport this October.

An effort to celebrate maturity and encourage older residents to get 'out and about', Older Persons Month involves lots of events around Gosport and marks several special days, including the UN International Day of Older Persons, UK Older People's Day and Silver Sunday. Gosport Borough Council have worked closely with Gosport Older Persons Forum and local organisations and groups, to fill the whole month with events.

This includes the annual 'Joint 55+ Info Fest and Winter Warmth Event' which will take place on Friday 21 October at Thorngate Hall, with lots of information about a broad range of organisations, local services, social activities, help with keeping warm and well during the winter and fun interactive demonstrations. Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service will also be at the event to carry out electric blanket safety checks.

Speaking in support of Older Persons Month, Caroline says:

"I am so pleased that Gosport Borough Council is working to promote social engagement amongst the older generation and reduce loneliness. Loneliness affects many older people in our area and is a huge cause for concern and I am proud of the work that is taking place across Gosport to tackle this.

I am confident that these events will help people to feel that they are part of a strong and caring local community."

To see what other events will be on around Gosport during October please visit http://www.gosport.gov.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=40628 or contact Donna Simpson on 02392 545421.


15 SEP 2016

MP CALLS ON CHANCELLOR TO DELIVER INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond yesterday, to call for government funding to complete the Stubbington Bypass and Bus Rapid Transit scheme

Having met with the former Chancellor George Osborne last year, Caroline helped to secure the funding necessary to carry out the preliminary work on the Stubbington bypass . The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has now submitted its Regional Growth Fund (round 3) bid to Government, seeking funds to complete both the Stubbington Bypass and BRT on the grounds that the better peninsular access is utterly essential for addressing Gosport's congestion problems.

Earlier this summer, Hampshire County Council agreed to contribute £8.5m to the bypass project, 25% of total expected cost, which will be paid back through business rates from the Daedalus Enterprise Zone. The Government should make a decision on whether to fund the rest of the project in the Autumn.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"I was pleased to meet with the Chancellor today to make my clear case for why we need central government funding for both the Stubbington Bypass and BRT. For too long our local area has suffered from underinvestment in infrastructure and these projects are an important part of the solution to our traffic problems. The Government should make a decision in Autumn and I will continue to make the case for investment in the Gosport constituency."

Earlier in the week, Caroline also met with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling and the Local Growth Minister, Andrew Percy to raise local traffic problems and request that the Government correct the historic lack of investment in infrastructure in the Gosport constituency.


13 SEP 2016

GOSPORT PUPILS ATTEND GOOGLE CAMPUS


 

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage organised for 30 pupils from Bridgemary school to visit Google's Campus London yesterday to learn what it means to be an entrepreneur.

To inspire young people, Google has created Future Founders, a youth entrepreneurship programme, which aims to tackle myths and perceived barriers to entrepreneurship, encourage a mind-set of experimentation and bold thinking, and educate young people about the support and advice available to start-up founders. Students also learn about the positive social impact of many start-ups.

According to research by YouGov, only 34% responded that entrepreneurship aims to make a social impact and only 32% believe they would benefit from starting their own business. 56% perceive it as risky, 21% as unstable and 11% as reckless. This might highlight the need for more inspirational examples as one in three young people don't know anyone who runs their own business.

The programme, aimed at 15-18 year olds, will not only include stories of young UK entrepreneurs but also invite attendees to pitch their social entrepreneurship ideas and make a first step towards applying for UnLtd funding, which offers social start-up grants to young people ranging from £500 to £5000.

Caroline Dinenage MP went to meet the pupils at Google Campus London to see what they were up to. Commenting on the event, she said:

"It was great to see Bridgemary pupils today being inspired by the fantastic team at Google Campus. I sat in on the neighbourhood session, when the pupils identified positives and negatives about living in Gosport and came up with ideas for social enterprise companies. Their ideas were truly impressive and given that we have low business start-ups in Gosport, I sincerely hope that some pupils will come away from today feeling inspired to be the entrepreneurs of the future."

Sarah Drinkwater, Head of Campus London, said,

"No matter what their eventual career, we know that teaching students about entrepreneurship builds critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. These are highly important skills for young people as they prepare to enter the world of work, but can also ensure that the UK's start-up ecosystem flourishes in the years to come. By running the Future Founders programme with Bridgemary we hope to inspire the next generation of innovators who will shape Britain's future."

Having set up her own business Caroline is a strong advocate of entrepreneurship and keenly champions the growth of small businesses in Gosport and Westminster. In the last Parliament she was the Prime Minister's Small Business Ambassador for the South of England and sat on Parliament's Business, Innovation & Skills Select Committee.


12 SEP 2016

#GetInGoFar CAROLINE LAUNCHES INSPIRING APPRENTICES CAMPAIGN

Today, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage launches an Inspiring Apprentices campaign, drawing attention to the immense value of apprenticeships in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head.

This week, Caroline has published the biographies of two inspiring Gosport apprentices, Sam Stones and Jessica Ernerth.

Sam Stones is in the second year of his three-year apprenticeship with Airbus Defence and Space. You can read more about this highly technical role, and Sam's exciting experience mountain trekking and raft building in Wales as part of his apprenticeship, here.

Jessica Ernerth is a marketing apprentice at Fareham College who sees her apprenticeship as a great route into pursuing a professional career in marketing and design. You can read her full bio, here.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Jessica and Sam provide two great examples of the diverse apprenticeship opportunities on offer here in Gosport. I was delighted to read about how they both feel the skills they are gaining through their apprenticeships set them in excellent stead for rewarding future careers."


09 SEP 2016

CAROLINE MEETS WITH NEW DISTRICT POLICE COMMANDER

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, met with the new District Police Commander for Gosport and Fareham today.

Caroline met with the Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich, the newly appointed District Police Commander for Gosport and Fareham to discuss Policing in Gosport.

The meeting focused on a variety of topics including criminal issues in the Gosport constituency and the forthcoming closure of Gosport Police Station and move to the Civic Offices.

Chief Inspector Woolrich informed Caroline of Hampshire Constabulary's plans to reduce criminal activity in Gosport and maintain frontline policing, she also explained the changing nature of criminal activity. For instance, these days people are ten times more likely to be a victim of cybercrime or fraud than burglary, leading to officers roles having to change and adapt to ever advancing methods of crime

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"It was great to meet with Chief Inspector Woolrich to maintain strong links with the Police and find out what I can do to support them to keep Gosport constituents safe.

It was encouraging to hear the plans and ideas that Hampshire Constabulary are using in the Gosport and Fareham area to help tackle crime."

Currently, Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is asking you to "Have your say: Police and Crime Plan 2016 – 2021" to help shape his priorities for the Police and Crime Plan. You can take this survey at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2939050/Public-Consultation-July-2016.


08 SEP 2016

CAROLINE MEETS WITH HAMPSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, met with senior staff from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service today.

Caroline met with the newly appointed Group Manager for Gosport and Fareham, Justin Harden, and Dave Curry the Chief Officer. They discussed the "Making Hampshire Safer" strategies and plans which are starting to take shape.

Hampshire's Fire and Rescue Service have recently been given a gold award for their involvement of public and staff in the reshaping of services. The Consultation Institute (TCI) described the work of the Service over the last two years as a "model of best practice".

The Safer Hampshire consultation, which shaped proposals that will help save £5m and see frontline services radically overhauled, was not only given the highest possible grading by TCI but was also described as an exemplar of public and staff engagement.

Option 2 was chosen for Gosport from the consultation, which replaces the current two Enhanced Vehicles with One Enhanced, One Intermediate Vehicle and One First Response Vehicle. The average first response time was 5 minutes 36 seconds but under this proposal would be 5 minutes and 17 Seconds, a slight improvement. This was the option Caroline favoured and she wrote to the Chief Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue in support of.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"It was great to meet with Justin and Dave to find out how the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are adapting to deal with the new challenges they face daily.

I think it is vitally important to maintain strong links with the emergency services and find out what I can do to support them to keep Gosport constituents safe"

You can read more about their Integrated Risk Management Plan at http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/about-us/a-safer-hampshire/need-more-details/.


07 SEP 2016

#GetInGoFar : MP TO LAUNCH INSPIRING APPRENTICES CAMPAIGN

On Monday 12 September Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will launch an Inspiring Apprentices campaign, drawing attention to the immense value of apprenticeships in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head.

In 2014/15, 2,560 apprenticeship starts were made in the Gosport constituency. This was the 3rd highest number of starts amongst all other English constituencies. Since 2010, there has been an incredible 11,240 new apprenticeship in Gosport.

However, young people, teachers, and parents in the local area may not be fully aware of the amazing opportunities on offer. Therefore, Caroline will be publishing inspiring biographies of current Gosport apprentices to highlight the diverse and rewarding work taking place. Gosport apprentices from a range of companies including BAE Systems, Airbus Group, Defence Munitions and Tax Assist among others will all be featured.

The stories will be published each Monday on Caroline's website and promoted via Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #GetInGoFar.

Caroline needs your help to raise the profile of her campaign. She is calling on you to retweet, blog and share her posts so that together, we can raise perceptions of apprenticeships in Gosport as a highly desirable route into work.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Here in Gosport, apprentices provide an invaluable contribution to our local economy and incredibly rewarding career opportunities.

"The high number of apprenticeship starts in our local area means we have a lot to be proud of. But I want more young people from our local area to take advantage of the opportunities on offer and I want more local businesses to utilise Government support to employ a higher number of apprentices. Therefore, I am hoping you will help me raise the profile of Gosport apprenticeships by sharing these inspiring bios of young apprentices from our local area."

The first article will be published on www.caroline4gosport.co.uk on Monday 12 September. To contribute a biography for publication, please contact Lucy Burton on 020 7219 0198 or lucy.burton@parliament.uk


06 SEP 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES THE LAUNCH OF 105

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, is backing the launch of a new number that aims to support members of the public if they experience a power cut.

Many people don't know who to contact during a power cut and wrongly call the electricity supplier they pay their bill to. 105 has been set up to help people get through their local electricity network operator – the company responsible for the power network that delivers electricity to their door.

It is a free, easy-to-remember number that people can call to report or get information about a power cut in their area. It puts callers through to the people who will repair their local power network and restore their power.

Caroline said:

'I welcome the introduction of 105 and believe the service will be of great benefit to all of my constituents. Power cuts can leave people feeling confused about what to do. 105 will help to tackle this.'

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said:

'We know there's a need to provide people with a simple and memorable number they can call in the event of a power cut. This is particularly important when there's bad weather, as severe storms can cause disruption to the electricity supply into homes and businesses.

That's why we've launched 105. It is jointly funded by electricity network operators and is the first three-digit number to be approved for use by the private sector. We hope it will be welcomed by electricity customers who are often unsure about what to do in a power cut.'

105 is available to electricity customers in England, Scotland and Wales. The number can be accessed from most landlines and mobile phones. It doesn't matter who you choose to buy electricity from - anyone can call 105.

The public can also call 105 if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put them, or someone else, in danger. If there's a serious immediate risk, the emergency services should be called too.

Visit www.powercut105.com to find out more about 105 and electricity network operators.


02 SEP 2016

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN BRITAIN AT RECORD HIGH

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed figures showing that Britain has benefited from record-breaking inward investment by foreign companies. Figures released on 30 August show that 5,507 new jobs have been created in the South East as a result of foreign direct investment.

In the last financial year almost 1,600 new jobs were created every week by foreign direct investment – nearly 390,000 new jobs since 2010. Across the country, 2,213 projects were secured with around 116,000 jobs created or safeguarded as a result of inward investment, the second highest total on record.

The statistics are the latest confirmation that the UK ranks highest in Europe for foreign direct investment.

Commenting on the latest figures, Caroline said:

"These impressive results show that Britain continues to be an attractive place for overseas investors to do business. The figures demonstrate that as we prepare to negotiate our exit from the European Union, we do so from a position of strength.

"Since 2010, we have seen almost a million new businesses across the UK and employment is at a record-high. This will undoubtedly help us to forge a new role for ourselves in the world - negotiating our own trade agreements so that we can build a country that works for everyone."


23 AUG 2016

I AM TEAM GB, THE NATION'S BIGGEST EVER SPORT DAY, COMES TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, is delighted to be supporting I Am Team GB, the nation's biggest ever sports day on Saturday 27 August. I Am Team GB is brought to you by ITV and The National Lottery, working with the British Olympic Association, UK Sport and supported by Join In, the London 2012 volunteer legacy charity.

British Olympians returning from Rio will be joined by famous faces from ITV, to celebrate Team GB's success.

The day will see thousands of sports clubs across the UK open their doors and in an unprecedented move, ITV, STV and UTV will switch off their channels for an hour to inspire the nation to take part in a wide range of sports, free of charge. The day will also celebrate the support the public gives Team GB's athletes by playing The National Lottery. Over £80 million has been raised each year by National Lottery players to help fund elite athletes during the four-year build-up to Rio 2016.

It is a golden opportunity for every sports club and activity group to welcome new members and supporters and Caroline is asking local clubs in Gosport to get involved.

Caroline said:

'I am so proud of all our Olympians returning from Rio, and would love for everyone to get involved with I Am Team GB to show support for our local sports clubs and groups.

It is important that we can keep up the interest in sports between the Olympics and look for the next generation of great, home-grown, Olympians.'

If you are a local sports club and would like to take part, or a member of the public wanting a fun day out on Saturday 27th August, please go to http://iamteamgb.com/ to find out how you can be part of I Am Team GB.


19 AUG 2016

CAROLINE WECLOMES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed Round 2 of the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund, which is available to charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges.

RBS launched the fund in May last year as part of their on-going commitment to make a difference in the communities in which they serve. So far, £1.25 million has been awarded to people in the UK and Ireland.

Commenting on the launch, Caroline said:

"In the Gosport constituency we have an exceptional voluntary sector, which does so much to make our local area a wonderful place to live. This is a great opportunity for local groups to secure the financial support they need to continue their immensely valuable work in our community. I hope local groups will consider putting forward an application."

To find out more, including the application criteria, please clich here. The deadline for applications for Round 2 2016 is midday on Friday 9 September.


18 AUG 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEW JOBS FIGURES SHOWING STRONG ECONOMY IN GOSPORT

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed today's record-breaking figures showing that there are more people in work than ever before, with 320,000 more people in work across the South East. Since 2010, there are over 2.7 million more people across the United Kingdom in work, meaning that more families in Gosport have the security of a regular pay packet.

In Gosport the number of people claiming the key out of work benefits has fallen by 751 - a 56 per cent drop – since 2010.

These figures show that the record high employment rate has been fuelled by full-time work, which has accounted for three quarters of the employment growth since 2010, and that average wages grew by 2.4 per cent over the last year.

Caroline commented:

'Today's figures show that employment is growing across all the regions and nations of the United Kingdom as we build a Britain that works for everyone not just the privileged few.

The number of people in Gosport relying on the key out of work benefits has fallen by over 750 since 2010 – a 56% drop. Nevertheless, we aren't complacent which is why we're pressing ahead with welfare reforms like Universal Credit making sure that it always pays for people to be in work.

'With the employment rate at a record high, the unemployment rate at its lowest level in over 10 years, and wages up whilst inflation has remained low, we are making sure that everyone can share in the country's wealth.'


17 AUG 2016

MP PRAISES SUMMER PASSPORT SCHEME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has praised the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme after attending a session last week.

The Gosport Summer Passport scheme is a well-established initiative organised by Gosport Community Safety Partnership which began in 2008. The scheme provides open access diversionary activities for young people of secondary school age attending schools in either Gosport or Fareham, or living in Gosport and Fareham.

The scheme, which Caroline has visited each year, ran for three weeks across the Summer Holidays at various locations across Gosport and Lee on the Solent with a variety of activities such as Pizza making, Brick laying, UV Face Painting, off-road biking and many more.

After her visit Caroline said:

"I was delighted to see so many young people taking advantage of Gosport Summer Passport Scheme once again this year. It provides some really unique experiences for young people and encourages them to get out of the house during the school break, try different hobbies and meet new people.

It is fantastic that Gosport Borough Council and their partners provide a range of free activities to reduce potential anti-social behaviour during these long holidays that can result through lack of things to do."

For more information about the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme please visit http://www.safergosport.co.uk/?content=pages&id=passport-scheme.


12 AUG 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES JO JOHNSON MP AS SOLENT GROWTH CHAMPION

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has announced that for the first time all ministers in the Department for Business, Energy Industrial Strategy will act as local growth champions across the United Kingdom. Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement of Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, as local growth champion for the Solent region.

Ministers will be tasked with building relationships with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), businesses and local leaders and will act as a first point of contact for respective LEPs in England within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

"Government has helped transform the business landscape by putting power back into the hands of local communities and businesses to drive economic growth. To make sure every corner of the UK benefits, I am giving ministers in my team geographic areas of responsibility so they can build on existing relationships to better connect government policy with the businesses and industries we're working with.

"This is part of our plan to build an economy that works for all. An effective industrial strategy has to recognise and take advantage of the differences and unique strengths that exist across the country, and I will be encouraging all my ministers to get out there and meet the people who know their area best."

Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, said:

"I am delighted with the Government's decision to appoint Ministers as regional champions, responsible for promoting growth in specific areas. We have a number of unique attributes in the Solent region, including our close connection to the maritime, defence and engineering sector. Tailoring industrial strategy to meet local needs and capitalising upon these attributes are vital for effective economic growth.

"I look forward to working closely with Jo and local stakeholders towards our common ambition of seeing the Solent region compete, prosper and thrive."


29 JUL 2016

MP WECLOMES ELSON ROAD RESURFACING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has strongly welcomed the news that Hampshire County Council have decided to take action and resurface Elson road.

Local residents have long complained about the noise and damage caused by the uneven surface and steep camber. Over the course of the last year Caroline's has brought numerous decision makers 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 minimise these issues.

Commenting on the news Caroline said:

"My team have worked hard over many months with the relevant decision makers to try and improve this situation for the local Elson community.

I'm so pleased that Elson Road residents' concerns have now been heard and that we have finally managed to make progress in resolving this issue."

The roadworks began today and are due to be finished by Tuesday 9 August.


26 JUL 2016

GOSPORT YOUTH COUNCIL VISITS PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage arranged a tour of Parliament for Gosport Youth Council last week.

Gosport Youth Council help to represent the views of Gosport's younger residents. It is an organisation run by young people for young people aged between 11 and 19 who live in the borough of Gosport. They tackle issues that affect youngsters and get involved in projects such as Gosport Summer Passport, the Royan Twinning and Youth Award. They recently held a careers conference and are organising the next Tour De Gosport.

Gosport Rotary funded the trip to Westminster so that all members of the Gosport Youth Council could join in the trip to and see for themselves how the political system works.

The Gosport Youth Council spent the morning sightseeing - visiting the Cenotaph, St James' Park, the Queen's Walk and more. In the afternoon the Youth Councillor's visited the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street.

Commenting on the visit, Caroline said:

"I wholeheartedly support Gosport Youth Council and their work. It is so important that the voices of young people in the Gosport area are heard by those who are elected and can implement change.

I was delighted to be able to organise a tour of Parliament for the Youth Council so they can learn more about democracy and how our politic system works. It was especially great to see an overwhelming number of young women interested in politics."

For more information about Gosport Youth Council and how you can get involved, please visit http://www.gosport.gov.uk/sections/community/youth-council/.


21 JUL 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES BYPASS BID

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has strongly welcomed the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) bid to central Government for funding to complete the Stubbington Bypass.

Last year, funding was secured to carry out the preliminary work on the project and take it through the planning permission process. The Solent LEP is now submitting its Regional Growth Fund (round 3) bid to Government. It has named the Stubbington Bypass as a top priority project on the grounds that the new peninsular access route is utterly essential for addressing Gosport's congestion problems.

For the project to stand the best possible chance of receiving Government funding, the Local Authority needs to put forward a local contribution of 25-30%. Over the past year, local stakeholders including Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, have been working together to make this funding available.

A deal has now been secured whereby Hampshire County Council plan to contribute £8.5m to the project, which will be paid back through business rates from the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"The welcome investment in the Stubbington Bypass is a clear demonstration of faith in the strong economic potential of the Gosport Constituency. A new peninsular access route is utterly essential for addressing the area's crippling congestion problems and would vastly improve both the lives of local residents and the prospects for local businesses. I am delighted that it has been named the top priority project by the Solent LEP. This sends a clear message to the Government about how seriously both the Council and other local stakeholders are about investing in the future prosperity of Gosport & Stubbington. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of Cllr Sean Woodward, whose hard work and commitment to the bypass project has been critical to moving the project forward."

Caroline has long campaigned for the Stubbington Bypass. Last year, she raised our traffic problems with the Chancellor, helping to secure the funding necessary to carry out the preliminary work for the Stubbington Bypass.

Over the past few months, she has held frequent meetings with the Solent LEP to support them in making their bid for infrastructure funding to central Government. Last month she met with Cllr Humby, Hampshire's new transport boss, calling on him to make the necessary local funding available. She also galvanised the support of other Hampshire MPs, who wrote to Cllr Humby in favour of the project.


20 JUL 2016

CAROLINE LEARNS HOW TO STACK THE ODDS AGAINST CANCER

Local MP Caroline Dinenage attended a Cancer Research UK event in Westminster to learn more about how lifestyle changes can reduce people's risk of getting cancer.

Caroline met with campaigners and nurses from the charity's Cancer Awareness Roadshow, to find out more about their work on cancer prevention.

More than four in ten cancer cases in the UK could be prevented each year, with smoking and obesity being the biggest avoidable causes of the disease. But while the dangers of smoking are well known, many are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer. This is particularly concerning when 60% of people in the South East are currently overweight or obese.

Caroline said

"We've come such a long way in the fight against cancer, it's shocking to hear that so many cases in Gosport, and across the country, could be prevented. There are around 570 deaths from cancer per year in the Fareham and Gosport CCG area and the numbers make it clear we need to act now to help people to make positive lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active and maintaining a healthy weight.

While there are no guarantees against the disease, I want to do everything I can to help my constituents, and their families stack the odds in their favour and lead long and healthy lives."

The Westminster event coincided with the launch of Cancer Research UK's new 'Junk Free TV' campaign, which aims to help address children's obesity. It calls for the removal of junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, to help reduce the impact of this negative influence over children's food choices.

Alison Cox, Director of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, said:

"It's great to have Caroline's support with raising awareness of how people can reduce their risk of cancer. There are a lot of things working against us when it comes to making healthier choices. We're all bombarded by advertising of junk foods packed with extra calories and this leads kids to pester their parents to buy unhealthy food for them.

That's why we're calling on Government to introduce a number of measures to protect the health of the nation's children, including removing junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed. Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, so it's vital that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make."

To support the Junk Free TV campaign, visit cruk.org/junkfreetv.


18 JUL 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES FUNDING FOR FALKLAND VETERANS FOUNDATION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that the Gosport based Falkland Veterans Foundation will receive a £550,000 cash injection from the fines levied on banks for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) financial benchmark.

The Falklands Veterans Foundation was the first UK based charity for Falklands Veterans and their immediate families and is committed to providing a network of support and direction for those in need. The Foundation, based in Stoke Road, works in partnership with other service charities and organisations which assist Falklands Veterans and their families.

This funding will help the Falkland Veterans Foundation to subsidise flights for veterans and the relatives of those killed in action so that they can travel to the Islands to pay their respects to those 'still on patrol'.

Following the news Caroline said

"I am delighted to hear that the Falkland Veterans Foundation have received LIBOR funds for this fantastic venture.

It's absolutely right that fines paid by bankers who helped create the financial crisis are being used support the armed forces community. Our brave service personnel sacrifice so much for our country and the FVF does amazing work to support those who fought in the Falklands & their families"

For more information about the Falkland Veterans Foundation please visit http://www.falklandsveterans.org.uk/.


13 JUL 2016

CAROLINE SUPPORTS INTERNET MATTERS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage showed her support for keeping children safe online.

On 'Stand Up to Bullying' day and ahead of a House of Comments debate on online abuse, Internet Matters held a Parliamentary drop-in to show how industry is tackling this important issue, hosted by Mims Davies MP.

Caroline met with Carolyn Bunting, the General Manager of Internet Matters, and spoke to her about their work. Keeping children safe online is an increasingly significant issue for families across the country; sexting, online pornography and cyberbullying have all made headlines recently and parents are often confused about what they need to do to help keep their children safe.

Internet Matters is a not-for-profit organisation that offers families simple, practical and up to date advice about online safety. The organisation was set up in 2014 by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin to give parents straightforward e-safety messages. BBC & Google joined in April 2016 and together their aim is to ensure children can stay as safe as possible in their digital worlds.

Caroline said

"Internet Safety is vital in this day and age for children. I am pleased that so many organisations are working together to help combat online issues that children face.

I recently visited Haselworth Primary School to take part in their Google Internet Legends Assembly teaching them about internet safety and I was encouraged at how engaged they were."

Parents looking for more information on how to keep their kids safe should go to www.internetmatters.org.


12 JUL 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES THERESA MAY AS NEXT PM

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed Theresa May being chosen as the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

It comes after Theresa May's only rival to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out of the contest earlier in the day.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am delighted that Theresa May will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Her wealth of experience and competency in office means she is ready to take on this massive responsibility and I am confident she will hit the ground running from day one. I strongly believe that she is the person to unite the party and country through a challenging time and get Britain the best possible deal as she leads us out of the EU."

The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, is to tender his resignation to the queen on Wednesday and Theresa May will take over.

Theresa May said she is "honoured and humbled" to have been chosen as the new leader of the Conservative Party and UK prime minister. Speaking outside Parliament she pledged to build a "better Britain" and make Brexit a "success".


11 JUL 2016

CAROLINE CONDEMNS HATE CRIME

Following on from the outcome of the EU referendum, a number of constituents have contacted me concerned about a rise in xenophobic and race related hate crimes. Whilst I understand and equally respect the strength of feelings on both sides of the EU debate, I unequivocally condemn any such attack. Hate crimes must not be tolerated and I take allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

I therefore welcome the creation of the 'Hate Crime Fund' recently announced by the Prime Minister, along with a set of new guidelines to prosecutors from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in better tackling hate crime in our communities.

I would urge anyone who has been a victim of or a witness to racial, religious or other forms of hate crime to report this to the police immediately on 999 for emergency cases or 101 for non-emergency. Further information about identifying hate crime and what to do if you experience it can be found on Hampshire Constabulary's website here


11 JUL 2016

MPs SUPPORT SINGING FOR SYRIANS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage joined the launch of Singing for Syrians 2016 and found out more about what they can do locally to encourage local people to get involved in any way they can.

The flagship Parliamentary concert will take place in St Margaret's Church, Westminster on Tuesday 13 December 2016. All money raised will go to fund medical teams on the ground in Aleppo and to prosthetic limb clinics in the region. It is currently estimated that over 50,000 Syrians are amputees in urgent need of treatment.

This is Singing for Syrians' second year; last year, £90,000 was raised with the support of match-funding from the Department for International Development. Over 300 people came to St Margaret's to sing carols and show their support.

Unfortunately the need is even greater this year so it is hoped that this will become a nationwide initiative. Whether local people organise their own events or even just pass a bucket around at a pre-planned carol concert, every little helps.

Caroline commented

"Singing for Syrians is a fantastic initiative that I am very proud to support. It is a positive way of helping Syria's most vulnerable people, whose lives have been ruined by the civil war. Paying the salaries of the brave medical staff who risk everything to provide life-saving treatment is one way that we can make a real difference to the victims of this terrible crisis.

I would encourage local people to get involved as much as they can. Singing together is a joyful way to express our solidarity and to take a hopeful stance against the horrors of terrorism."

For more information on the Singing for Syrians initiative please visit http://www.singingforsyrians.com.


07 JUL 2016

CAROLINE SPEAKS OUT ON SERVICE FAMILY ACCOMMODATION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has written to the Public Accounts Committee raising her concerns about the standards of Service Family Accommodation in the Gosport constituency.

The Public Accounts Committee scrutinises public spending and holds the government and its civil servants to account for the delivery of public services. It is currently conducting an inquiry into Service Family Accommodation following reports that the contract with Carillion Amey, agreed in January 2015, was letting down many service families and that this was having an impact on the retention of trained military personnel.

As MP for a constituency with a great number of service families, Caroline has actively campaigned against inadequate Service Family Accommodation. She frequently raises the matter with the Ministry of Defence, the Government and Carillion Amey. On Monday Caroline met with Naval Families Federation at HMS Collingwood in her Gosport Constituency to discuss their concerns along with MOD Personnel & Veterans Minister, Mark Lancaster. She will be meeting Carillion Amey bosses shortly.

On 7 June 2016, Caroline wrote to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee to submit evidence ahead of their hearing. She raised concerns over substandard SFA, inadequate complaints procedures and poor customer service.

Caroline's evidence was raised twice in the hearing at Q37 and Q57. You can access the full transcript of the hearing, here.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I receive a number of complaints from service families in my constituency concerning the complete disrepair of some SFA properties, inadequate complaints procedures and poor customer service. Many feel they receive lower quality housing as a direct result of being employed in the Armed Forces. This is completely unacceptable and needs to change. Armed Forces families devote their lives to public service and they should be able to live in good quality housing.

"I am pleased that the Public Accounts Committee are conducting an inquiry and that they included my evidence from Gosport in their recent hearing. I will continue to pursue this matter closely with the Government and Carillion Amey until we see real change."

Following on from the hearing, the committee's report is due to be published next week.


07 JUL 2016

CAROLINE CELEBRATES COMMUNITY RADIO

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is celebrating two community radio stations that have been awarded licenses and are available in Gosport.

BFBS Portsmouth has been awarded their licence and is a radio station for the military community of the Naval Base and Royal Navy ships in Portsmouth.

Angel Radio is a community service for people aged 60+, it currently broadcasts a service to Havant, but as a result of this licence award the station will be able to expand its service.

Both of these community radio stations will be accessible in Gosport.

Community radio licences are awarded for a five-year period. These services are provided on a not-for-profit basis, focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular geographical community or a community of interest.

This year community radio, which offers thousands of volunteers the chance to get involved in broadcasting across the UK, is ten years old. The last decade has seen the number of community radio stations increase from just a handful to more than 240 stations, each reflecting the local needs and interests of its audience.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said

"It is fantastic that Gosport will now be able to access more community radio stations, specifically two which are aimed at over 60's and the military community."

For more details about BFBS Portsmouth please visit http://www.bfbs.com/ and for more details about Angel Radio please visit http://angelradio.co.uk/.


05 JUL 2016

CAROLINE BACKS THE LISTEN TO YOUR LUNGS CAMPAIGN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting the British Lung Foundation's lung health awareness campaign by taking part in an online 'breath test' and encouraging others to do the same.

During a week-long exhibition on lung health at Westminster, the charity will showcase their upcoming Listen to your lungs campaign, due to start in Mid-July. The UK-wide campaign will aim to raise awareness that feeling out of breath doing everyday tasks could be a sign of lung disease.

The exhibition gives visitors to parliament a chance to find out more about lung disease in the UK and to test their lung health using an online 'breath test', displayed on an interactive display.

The test allows people to check their health through 10 simple questions, based around the Medical Research Council breathlessness scale. The aim is to reassure people who don't have a problem and guide those with significant breathlessness to make an appointment with their GP.

Commenting after the exhibition, Caroline said

"Completing the BLF's online 'breath test' is a really easy way of checking your lung health. I'd encourage everyone to try it. It'll either give you peace of mind or start you on a path to helping you manage your breathlessness.

Sixty-five per cent of people underestimate the proportion of deaths in the UK that are caused by lung disease, it kills someone every 5 minutes. If you're even slightly worried a loved one has been feeling increasingly short of breath then please make sure they take the test."

Steven Wibberley, Chief Operating Officer for British Lung Foundation said

"This exhibition gives us the opportunity to throw the spotlight on breathlessness, which can be sign of lung disease. Fewer than half of us would be concerned at feeling short of breath doing daily tasks. Often people put it down to age or fitness, and don't seek advice from their GP.

"It's great to have the support from Caroline in encouraging people to 'Listen to their lungs' if they feel breathless. Together we can ensure that those people who are suffering with an undiagnosed lung condition seek help and get the support they need. With treatment, people can live longer, healthier lives."

The British Lung Foundation wants at least 100,000 people to take the test and share it with their friends and family.

The Listen to your lungs campaign complements the launch of Public Health England's national Be Clear on Cancer campaign on 14 July, raising awareness of persistent cough and inappropriate breathlessness as possible symptoms of lung disease, including lung cancer, and heart disease. To take the test visit: www.blf.org.uk/breathtest.


30 JUN 2016

CAROLINE BACKS MAY FOR PM

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has confirmed that she will be backing Home Secretary, Theresa May, to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I firmly believe that Theresa May alone can unite our party, stabilise our economy and lead our country at this deeply uncertain time.

"Yesterday, I contacted members of the Conservative Party in the Gosport constituency to ask for any views on who should be the next leader of the Conservative Party. From the responses, one favourite was absolutely clear – Theresa May.

"Many responses outlined Theresa has the aptitude, strength and unrivalled experience to effectively negotiate our exit from the European Union and bring the country together."

Caroline attended Theresa May's campaign launch this morning at the Royal United Services Institute, where May outlined why she believed she should be Prime Minister. She said:

"If ever there was a time for a Prime Minister who is ready and able to do the job from day one, this is it. We have immediate work to do to restore political stability and economic certainty, to bring together the Party and the country, and to negotiate a sensible and orderly departure from the European Union. But more than that, we have a mission to make Britain a country that works not for the privileged and not for the few but for every one our citizens."

You can watch Theresa May's full candidacy campaign launch speech here.


30 JUN 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES SUPERFAST BROADBAND IN STUBBINGTON

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that the second wave of the Hampshire Superfast Broadband programme is getting underway.

Hampshire County Council and partners are pressing ahead to boost the number of properties across the county with access to superfast broadband speeds of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) or faster. Wave 1 of the programme has already delivered access to superfast speeds to 63,000 premises across the county, whilst Wave 2 will deliver to a further 34,500 premises by September 2018, including to Stubbington and Hill Head.

Gosport has some of the best broadband infrastructure in the UK with 98% of premises already able to access speeds above 24Mbps and 80% of premises able to access speeds of 200Mbps. On top of this Hampshire's Superfast Broadband programme will be upgrading services to a further 700 premises between January and December 2017 which should result in more than 99% of premises in Gosport having access to superfast speeds.

County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, said

"The UK continues to be the leading nation in Europe for take-up and usage of digital services, and take-up through Hampshire's programme has exceeded expectations. Thanks to £28.4 million of funding from the County Council, the Government, partner authorities and BT, the programme has already increased superfast broadband coverage from 80% to 90% of premises in the county. Wave 2 of the programme will further increase coverage to 96% of premises in the county – supporting businesses, the local economy, the provision of educational resources, as well as helping reduce social isolation."

Commenting on the news, Caroline said

"In this day and age, it is vitally important for people and businesses to have access to reliable and speedy broadband, which is why I am proud of the government's commitment and Hampshire County Council's programme to ensure people can stay connected.

When we came to office in 2010, only 45 per cent of the country had access to superfast broadband. Today, we have provided superfast broadband access to 90 per cent of the UK – some additional 4 million homes and businesses. By the end of next year, we will have reached 95 per cent. This is a result of £1.7 billion of investment from the Government, local councils, the devolved administrations and BT."

For more information please visit http://www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com/.


24 JUN 2016

BRITAIN VOTES TO LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION

The UK has voted to leave the European Union by 51.9% to 48.1%. Leave won the majority of votes in England and Wales, while every council in Scotland saw Remain majorities.

Across the Gosport Constituency Leave won by 63.9% to 36.1% with a turnout of 73.5% in Gosport and Leave won by 55% to 45% with a turnout of 79.6% in Fareham.

In a statement this morning the Prime Minister David Cameron stated:

"The country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise, perhaps the biggest in our history. Over 33 million people from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, have all had their say. The British people have voted to leave the European Union and there will must be respected."

David Cameron emphasised the importance of delivering stability following this vote and therefore confirmed that he will continue in his post as Prime Minister for the next three months. He then intends to step down with the aim of having a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am proud that this Government fulfilled their promise to deliver the EU referendum. It is right that this critically important decision was made by the British people.

"The result is clear, the people have spoken and we now need to unite and move forward to make this work. There is no doubt the impact will be enormous - there will be big opportunities and also big risks. My priority will always be to see both the Gosport constituency and the UK continue to thrive and prosper.

"I am pleased that the Prime Minister put the stability and security of the British economy at the heart of his statement. Our Government, with him at the helm, has made great progress in rebuilding our economy over the past six years. I will be extremely sad to see him go but I completely understand his decision."

You can read the Prime Minister's statement in full here. The full results of the EU Referendum are available here.


21 JUN 2016

MPs MEET BAE APPRENTICES

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond was joined by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage on a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base where the pair met with apprentices from BAE Systems.

The politicians went to see the new skills training centre which trains 50 apprentices each year and spoke with the young people on four-year courses learning skills such as electrical engineering and fabrication.

Afterwards they visited the ship hall, which is being used to refurbish Royal Navy mine hunter vessels.

Flick and Caroline were also briefed by the Royal Navy about the latest developments in the preparations for the arrival of the two new aircraft carriers to Portsmouth.

"It was great to see so much high quality work being undertaken in the naval base, especially with regards to the minehunters that will undergo work there", said Flick.

"Meeting the apprentices was also a pleasure. These are very able young people who got a place with BAE in competition with 49 others who applied for each position. It goes to show the depth of talent we have and it will help Portsmouth and Gosport prosper in the future."

Caroline said: "Having such a high technology company as BAE in our area which is training the next generation of technicians and engineers is a real boost for the local economy.

"I know that many people in Portsmouth and Gosport are also looking forward to the arrival of the aircraft carriers in the coming years and this will be a source of great pride for both sides of the harbour."


20 JUN 2016

EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND BRINGS £500k TO THE SOLENT AREA

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed a new contract between Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation and the Department for Work and Pensions, which will bring £500,000 of European investment to the Solent region.

The European funds will be matched by Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth Councils and HIWCF fund holders to create a £1m programme. They will be used over the next two years to help those most in need along pathways to employment; not only young people but also the disabled, those with learning difficulties and many others who find it challenging to enter the workplace.

This programme will be implemented irrespective of the outcome of the EU Referendum on June 23.

In 2016, in addition to the ESF programme, HIWCF will also be supporting three themes: firstly 'Wellbeing and health' which is targeting the issues around obesity, isolation and mental health; secondly, 'Culture in the Community' which aims to connect local people with their local culture; thirdly, 'Small Grants for Small Items' which provides grants of around £500 to purchase essential items such as new chairs, IT equipment, volunteer training and sports equipment.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am delighted that the EU has committed funding to the Solent Region to tackle unemployment among our most disadvantaged communities. People from our local area deserve the financial security that comes from a regular wage and it is important that those individuals struggling to find work are provided with the additional guidance and support they need, so they can reap the benefits of a rewarding job.

"This money can make a real difference locally, so I am pleased that the EU has recognised the Solent region in this way."

To find out more about the work of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, and how to apply for grants: please visit their website, here


14 JUN 2016

MP WELCOMES HASELWORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS TO WESTMINSTER

 

Local MP Caroline Dinenage was delighted to welcome pupils from Haselworth primary school to Westminster yesterday.

The pupils took a tour of the Houses of Parliament and then met Caroline in Westminster Hall where they posed questions to her about the work of an MP and the role of Parliament.

The children visiting Parliament were all Young Governors at their school who meet with their teacher, Mr Thomas-Bond fortnightly to discuss how to continue to improve their school. The pupils will be handing over their positions of power to a new cohort of Young Governors in September. They were keen to use their Q&A session with Caroline as an opportunity to ask for her advice on running for office, so they could pass back the tips back to their classmates.

Commenting on the visit, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to welcome Haselworth primary school pupils to Westminster for a tour of the Houses of Parliament. Many of them told me how much they enjoyed their visit and they had lots of questions for me after their tour. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement of these Young Governors. "


10 JUN 2016

CAROLINE VISITS HASELWORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, visited Haselworth Primary School today for a tour of the school and to meet the pupils.

Haselworth Primary School were mentioned in the Department for Education's White Paper released recently for Educational Excellence Everywhere. The number of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics has grown from 47% in 2012 to 76% in 2015 shows the incredible hard work that leaders, teachers and governors are putting into the school to enable pupils to truly fulfil their potential.

Their most recent OFSTED report in 2015 was rated 'good' compared to 'requires improvement' in 2013, demonstrating how well the school is progressing.

Caroline commented:

"It was great to visit Haselworth and see how well the School is doing. I had a fantastic chat with some of the students about the school and they were all very enthusiastic!

I am very proud of all of the schools in Gosport and it is great to see Haselworth's success in particular being acknowledged in both the White Paper and OFSTED ratings."

Emma Steele, Headteacher said:

"We are very proud of all our achievements and are continuing to strive towards outstanding. Our school and community have worked hard together to ensure every child is successful.

Caroline was able to hear how we are trying to access funding to improve our limited outdoor spaces, so as to provide every child with the opportunity for a healthy lifestyle."

Since her election, Caroline has visited all 41 schools in her constituency – many of those on a number of occasions. She takes a great interest in education issues and has helped to secure an additional £13 million in funding for schools since 2010.

Caroline is looking forward to welcoming Haselworth students to Parliament on Monday.


09 JUN 2016

CAROLINE URGES CONSTITUENTS TO 'RESPECT THE WATER'

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the launch of RNLI's Respect the Water campaign today to help keep people safer around our coasts.

British waters are dangerously unpredictable. Over 200 people accidentally die each year around our coast and RNLI (the Royal National Lifeboat Institution) want to change this. The Respect the Water campaign aims at drowning prevention. It highlights the risks associated with water and provides information to help people avoid them and stay safe.

Half of those who died in coastal waters never even intended to get wet but slipped, fell, or got into trouble in, on or by the water. RNLI highlights the importance of recognising water's dangers and never underestimating its power.

Caroline met with representatives from RNLI in Parliament to hear more about their campaign. Commenting on the launch, she said:

"Being an MP for a coastal constituency, I know full well how important it is that we promote water safety. This is a big issue locally and GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service) do an amazing job at keeping us safe - they have already responded to 45 incidents since 1 January 2016.

"While we enjoy our fantastic coastal location this summer, it is right that we also respect the power of the water and take care to avoid potentially devastating situations."

GAFIRS, an independent Lifeboat & Inshore Rescue Service, provides emergency lifeboat services in the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour. On 17 July 2016, they are hosting an open day to give the local community the chance to see some of their life saving units in action. They will be collecting 2p coins on the day to try and make up a mile of coins and raise money to help continue its vital work. More details are available here.

Please click here to find out more about the Respect the Water campaign and take the virtual challenge to find out whether you would know what to do if you fell into the water.


09 JUN 2016

CAROLINE PRAISES FEMALE REPRESENTATION ON GOSPORT BOROUGH COUNCIL

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, paid tribute to Gosport's female councillors in a debate on Women and the Vote in the House of Commons last night, praising the fact that nearly forty percent of Gosport councillors are female.

In her capacity as Minister for Women and Equalities, Caroline was responding on behalf of the Government to an Adjournment debate called by Alison McGovern MP for Wirral South. The debate marked 150 years since the philosopher and Member of Parliament, John Stuart Mill, moved the first mass petition to the House of Commons on behalf of women claiming their right to vote.

The debate focused on the political representation of women and Members from across the House joined together in celebrating how far women have come since 1866. Caroline welcomed increasing female participation in local Government and drew attention to the strong record in Gosport, stating:

"I am delighted that, in my local council of Gosport, nearly 40% of our councillors are female, and I pay tribute to every single one of them."

13 out of 34 councillors in Gosport are women, meaning the number of female councillors has nearly doubled since 2012 when only 7 held office. In the recent local elections on the fifth of May, 6 new female councillors were elected in Gosport, three of whom were Conservative.

Nationally, the 2015 General Election saw a thirty per cent increase in the number of female MPs. However, shockingly, the number of women to ever be elected as Members of Parliament is still lower than the number of male MPs holding office today. Caroline agreed that much more needs to be done.

She stated:

"The progress we have made on these issues has not simply been given to us. It has been fought for every single step of the way and there is still such a long way to go to achieve the genuine equality we all want to see."

"The petition back in 1866 called for women to be given the same political rights as men. Shocking though it seems now, that was a very radical thought back then. Every woman in this country owes a massive debt of gratitude to those early suffrage campaigners, who did so much to advance the cause not only of women's political rights, but other rights too. As the 310th woman to have been elected to Parliament, this subject resonates with me, as I am sure it does with all 190 of my female colleagues around the House."

"We need to keep up the fight, we need to talk about the issues that matter to us, we need to encourage the women around us to get politically engaged, and above all we must encourage them to go out and vote. That is the right that those early suffragettes fought for and we must all use it."

Footage of the debate is available here and you can read the full transcript on Hansard here.


01 JUN 2016

CAROLINE URGES ORGANISATIONS TO APPLY TO THE MORRISONS FOUNDATION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage urges local organisations to bid for money from the Morrisons Foundation.

The Morrisons Foundation was established in February 2015, and makes use of the money from the sale of single-use carrier bags by supporting various charities across the country. It has been set up to support charities that directly improve people's lives, and since launching, have supported over 400 charities across England, Scotland and Wales to give back to the communities they serve and make a positive difference.

The fund is designed to make a positive and lasting impact in local communities, and in 2015 awarded grants of over £2.4 million to charities across the country, including Epilepsy Action, Wellchild, Children in Poverty and the Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association. It is important to support our local charities and help them continue their vital work and by getting involved with the Morrisons Foundation they could receive donations that are so important to the local community. The Morrisons Foundation have supported charitable activity in a wide range of different fields so every charity is eligible.

Money is also raised through Morrisons colleagues doing work personally to support charities, with the Morrisons Foundation's match funding scheme adding to the large amounts of money raised. Such work has included runs, bike rides, hikes and triathlons all over the country, as well as Morrisons contributing a proportion of their income from charity scratch cards and in-store clothing banks.

Caroline commented:

"I urge local organisations to apply for this funding. It is so important to support the amazing work of our local charities.

This funding is a great opportunity for many local community groups to get the funding boost that they need."

You can find more information about the fund here: www.morrisonsfoundation.com.


26 MAY 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES ‘LEGAL HIGHS’ ACT

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

CAROLINE WELCOMES PLANS TO MAKE 'SWITCHING' EASIER!

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

CAROLINE WELCOMES HIGH-FLYING APPRENTICES TO PARLIAMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

CAROLINE WELCOMES DROP IN NUMBER OF GOSPORT UNEMPLOYED

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

CAROLINE VISITS GAFIRS HEADQUARTERS

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

CAROLINE URGES ORGANISATIONS TO APPLY TO THE DISCOVER ENGLAND FUND

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

CAROLINE SPEAKS UP FOR IMPROVING GOSPORT TRANSPORT

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

THE EU REFERENDUM

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

SOUTHERN HAMPSHIRE VASCULAR SERVICES

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

THE SAFETY OF CARE AND SERVICES PROVIDED BY SOUTHERN HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

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.


03 MAY 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES LATEST INCOME TRACKER NEWS

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcome figures released in Asda's latest Income Tracker, which show that families' household income is on the rise.

Asda's Income Tracker, which charts wages, taxes and household spending, showed that the average UK household's disposable income rose to £198 per week in March 2016, £12 more than in March 2015. This means that annual growth in spending power has remained above £10 for 17 consecutive months.

Asda's report detailed how essential item inflation slightly rose to 0.1% - the first time the measure has stood above zero since the end of 2014. However, the report demonstrated a number of positive signs for families. In contrast to the rising prices across clothing and footwear (1.4%), as well as the increased expense of dining out in restaurants and cafés (1.9%), notable drops were seen in the cost of vehicle fuel (-9.2%) and electricity and gas (-3.7%) compared with the same time a year ago, helping to keep inflation generally low. Furthermore, there was a further decrease in the cost of food and drink (-2.7%).

Employment levels and wage growth also remained stable last month. The employment rate stood steady at 74.1%, while regular earnings growth remained at 2.2%.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline said:

"I am really pleased to see a boost to families' spending power this March. The fact that households' disposable income is on the up, with a £12 rise from the same time last year, is great news for local families and will make a real different when they reach the tills.

"Combining these figures with the Government's introduction of the National Living Wage this April and the increase of the personal tax free allowance to £11,000, it is clear that this Government is delivering on its promise to deliver economic security to all."

The full Asda Income Tracker report can be accessed here.


27 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES FALL IN CRIME

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed news that crime has fallen by over a quarter (32 per cent) since 2010, to its lowest ever level, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

In the year to December 2015, there were 6.4 million crimes, 3.0 million fewer than the 9.4 million in the year to June 2010. This includes 226,000 fewer burglaries and 427,000 fewer violent offences.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"In Hampshire, crime recorded by the police has fallen by 5%. This is making our community a safer place to live, work and raise a family, which is great news for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head.

"These figures show the strength of this Government's record in bringing crime down to its lowest ever level. It is important that we continue to build on this success by electing a Police and Crime Commissioner on Thursday 5 May that will work with the Government to deliver more visible policing and better use of police resources.

"That is why I am backing Michael Lane, the conservative candidate for Hampshire PCC, who I believe will do an excellent job building upon the strong record of Hampshire constabulary to further improve outcomes in policing, crime and disorder.'


25 APR 2016

CAROLINE ORGANISES VISIT TO NATIONAL GRID INTERCONNECTOR

On Friday 22 April, four local councillors and a senior member of Caroline Dinenage MP's staff visited the National Grid facility, BritNed, on the Isle of Grain, Kent.

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, organised the visit to learn more about the implications of interconnectors because of National Grid's proposals to build a similar facility at Daedalus airfield.

The facility at BritNed is not identical to that planned for Daedalus: it was built 7 years ago and technology has moved on. It also has more components located outside than planned for Daedalus. However, the visit provided local Councillors and the MP's staff member with the opportunity to see first-hand the facility and gain an idea of the size of the buildings and the sound and electro-magnetic waves it produces.

It was also an opportunity for Councillors to have their questions answered by National Grid's technical experts in front of similar equipment to that proposed for the IFA2 Interconnector at Daedalus. Local councillors together with residents associations and planners at Fareham Borough Council were all invited.

Those attending agreed that it was a very interesting and rewarding day and well worth the long journey to see for themselves a similar operational site to that being planned for Daedalus.

Councillor Tim Knight for Hill Head Ward said:

"I found it an extremely interesting visit which answered a lot of concerns that I had. A great pity that the three dissenting Resident Associations and my Fareham colleagues did not attend as I think they would have found the visit very helpful. All my questions were fully and satisfactorily answered."

Caroline said:

"A number of constituents have raised concerns about the possible implications of the IFA2 project on our local area. Therefore, I was keen to organise a visit to see a similar interconnector up close and gather information about the facility's impact on the area in which it is situated. I am pleased that the visit to the Isle of Grain provided local councillors and my office with the opportunity to better understand the visual impact, the noise produced and the electro-magnetic emissions of an interconnector."

For more information on the IFA2 interconnector click here


22 APR 2016

CAROLINE OPENS GOSPORT MENS SHED EXTENSION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage opened the Gosport Men's Shed extension in their home at St Vincent College today.

The Gosport Shed was founded in 2013 to provide a meeting place for men who no longer work and miss the companionship and camaraderie of the workplace and the membership has flourished since, reaching 100 members. There are men from all backgrounds who together combine their skills to help the community.

They are currently making picture frames for specially-commissioned paintings to be displayed on board HMS Warrior, renovating a play area and refurbishing the Institute of Naval Medicine Gardens, to name but a few projects.

During her visit, Caroline spoke to members of the Men's Shed and was given a tour of the new facilities.

She commented:

"I always enjoy catching up with the lovely chaps at the Gosport Men's Shed and was thrilled to see their fantastic extension which they have worked so hard for. I feel a closeness to this group as I was at their very first inaugural meeting and have maintained a close friendship with them ever since!

The Men's Shed gives older men a chance to get together for comradeship, to learn skills and take part in community projects."

Earlier this year, Caroline welcomed members of the Men's Shed to Parliament and supported them during their departure from Fort Brockhurst.

You can find more information about the group here: www.thegosportshed.btck.co.uk.


21 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES TESCO'S CARRIER BAG FUNDING

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging constituents to apply to Tesco's 'Bags of Help' funding.

As a result of the 5p bag charge, Tesco now have grants up for grabs for local projects to improve green spaces. The fund is managed by Groundwork, which specialises in improvements to communities and the local environment.

Tesco award grants each year in around 400 Tesco regions to make sure the funding is spread evenly across England, Wales and Scotland. In total the Bags of Help programme supports thousands of projects each year, due to the major demand for grants, Groundwork assesses all of the applications received and then provides a shortlist of the applications received for a Tesco Shortlisting Group to agree three successful projects to forward to a vote in Tesco stores.

Projects might include: parks, pocket parks and urban green spaces, green corridors & rivers, cycle ways, formal and informal play areas, open access sports facilities within public parks and recreation grounds, informal outdoor recreation facilities, Nature reserves, community woodland, churchyards, seafront improvements, community allotments, community gardens, orchards and city farms, spaces in the grounds of hospices and day centres, allotments, school grounds, community spaces on housing estates or residential areas

Caroline commented:

"It is fantastic to see that the 5p bag charge is already helping our community. The last round of funding led to grants being awarded two applicants in our constituency, CESSAC House for their garden which I am visiting soon, and Haven Nursery School and Children's Centre for an outside classroom!

This funding is a great opportunity for many local community groups."

For more information on how to apply for funding and to see if you qualify please visit http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/tescocommunityscheme/pages/large-grants-tes.


19 APR 2016

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will hold an open surgery at the Gosport Discovery Centre this Friday.

Caroline's open advice surgeries give her constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns about both local and national issues without making an appointment beforehand. By holding these surgeries, Caroline is fulfilling her pledge to reach out to people across the constituency.

Caroline commented:

"My open surgeries at the Discovery Centre tend to be really popular, particularly with people who wouldn't think of booking an appointment to meet me at my office.

It is so important that my surgeries are as accessible as possible so if you want to have a chat, raise problems or receive advice, please pop along."

Caroline's open surgery will take place between 2pm and 3:30pm on Friday 22nd April at the Gosport Discovery Centre.

For more information about these surgeries, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


19 APR 2016

CAROLINE BACKS THE LIVING MEMORY PROJECT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging Gosport constituents to take part in the Living Memory Project.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has launched The Living Memory project to mark the 141 days of the Somme Centenary here in the UK as well as France by enabling community groups to discover war graves in their local area and remembering the "forgotten front" - the 300,000 war graves and commemorations right here in the UK. They are offering funding and creative resources to community groups to support local remembrance activities which raise awareness of war graves here in the UK.

Gosport Constituency has the 3rd highest number of war graves in the UK, with over 1,600 First and Second World War graves. These are located throughout Gosport at Haslar Royal Navy Cemetery, Alverstoke Churchyard, Ann's Hill Cemetery, St Mary Rowner Churchyard, Lee-on-Solent Memorial and Holy Rood Churchyard. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has 200 large sites across the UK, almost all in big city cemeteries and linked to the hospitals: the majority of these men either died of their wounds in hospital or (in 1918-19) died in the influenza epidemic. War graves in the UK are located in over 12,000 locations. They must not be forgotten.

Caroline said:

"The Living Memory Project is a great scheme from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is so important that we remember the huge sacrifices that these brave people made to keep us safe 100 years ago.

Gosport's large number of war graves is even more reason for the local community to get involved and become a Commonwealth War Graves Champion."

For more information about how you can take part please visit http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx.


15 APR 2016

CAROLINE CONGRATULATES GOSPORT YOUTH COUNCIL ON SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has praised Gosport Youth Council for a successful 2016 Careers Conference held yesterday.

Gosport Youth Council conducted a survey in December 2015 to obtain views from young people living in Gosport. Results from this survey can be found here and amongst the findings, the top three concerns for young people in the Gosport area were: crime; bullying; and career opportunities. As a result of these findings, Gosport Youth Council hosted a Youth Conference, supported by Gosport Borough Council and Caroline Dinenage MP, which focused on the topic of careers for students in Years 10 and above. There were attendees from Bay House, Bridgemary, Brune Park, Motiv8 and Loud and Proud.

The conference consisted of inspiring local young people as guest speakers, workshops on topics such as CV writing and interview skills and stalls with information about volunteering, apprenticeships and much more to help improve the confidence of young people who are applying for employment opportunities. Feedback forms were completed by the attendees and nearly 80% found the whole day useful and enjoyed the event, 14% found just the morning or afternoon of benefit.

Caroline said:

"I believe that young people's concerns about the Gosport area should be raised to those who can implement change and this is why I wholeheartedly support Gosport Youth Council and the work that they do. I was delighted to hear how successful their first annual conference was since a break from 2012, with many of the members never running an event like this before.

I have previously held events with Gosport students regarding careers, most recently an Enterprising Women event at Bridgemary School, so I understand the importance of careers as a topic."

After attending the Conference, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Mark Hook said:

"I was delighted to be involved with the Gosport Youth Council's annual conference. It was well attended, well run and extremely informative. For over ten years the Council have taken into account the views of young people, through the youth council, who have helped design skate parks, advised on lighting in parks to additional litter bins and youth shelters Young people have an important role to play in designing the future of their town."

Gosport Youth Council represent you if you are aged between 11 and 19 and you live in the borough of Gosport. They tackle issues that affect young people and get involved in projects such as Gosport Summer Passport, the Royan Twinning and Youth Award 2016. The next meeting is on Wednesday 4 May at 5pm at Gosport Town Hall.

For more information about Gosport Youth Council please visit http://www.gosport.gov.uk/sections/community/youth-council/. You can also keep up to date with the latest Gosport Youth Council news and events by following them on twitter: @GYC_online.


14 APR 2016

CAROLINE BOWLS OPEN THE SEASON

Local MP Caroline Dinenage officially opened Gosport Bowling Club's 2016 Season on Saturday.

Gosport Bowling club is a flourishing community facility with in excess of 100 members. Based at Anglesey Gardens, the club was founded in 1925 with one Green - a second Green was added in 1977. The game of Bowls is truly an outdoor sport for all. It can be played by all ages, abilities and gender, making it the perfect sport for anyone.

Caroline had a tour of the club facilities, met the club officials, captains and bowlers before 'delivering the first wood' of the season.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"This was my 3rd visit to Gosport Bowling Club, it was great to meet the players and officials and have a go at the sport myself. Bowling is good fun – it keeps older players active and healthy long into retirement, but it's also a sport for young people too. We're fortunate to have some great facilities in our area and I would encourage people to come down and check out this fantastic Club."

Gosport Bowling Club have an open day for all ages on Sunday 24 April from 2pm - 4pm. So pop down and have a bowl for free!

For more information about Gosport Bowling Club please visit http://www.hugofox.com/community/gosport-bowling-club-10588/about-us.


13 APR 2016

CAROLINE MEETS WITH NATS BOSSES TO DISCUSS PROPOSED RADAR REFERENCE FACILITY AT DAEDALUS AIRFIELD

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today met with NATS (National Air Traffic Services) bosses to discuss their plans to develop a Radar Reference Facility (RRF) at Daedalus airfield for engineering training purposes. 

NATS have held a public consultation on this issue to give residents the opportunity to ask any questions.

The deadline to register your concerns about the project is tomorrow 13 April 2016. This can be done either in writing to:

Planning Department
Fareham Borough Council
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Fareham
PO16 7AZ 

or on the Fareham Borough Council website here, by seaching for planning reference P/16/0270/FP .

An FAQ document for the proposed radar was handed out to residents at the public consultation. It is available online here.


12 APR 2016

CAROLINE FEATURES IN YEAR 9 PUPILS FILM ABOUT GOMER JUNIOR SCHOOL gSTEM INITIATIVE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has featured in a short video filmed by Year 9 pupils from Bay House about the gSTEM initiative at Gomer Junior School in Gosport.

Gomer Junior School has introduced gSTEM (Gomer: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) into its curriculum. Every Wednesday morning, the pupils take part in STEM projects at school. Pupils also have the opportunity to attend the gSTEM club and get involved in exciting after school projects, supported by the British Science Association's CREST Star Award Programme.

The gSTEM programme aims to enable pupils to understand real world applications of STEM subjects by experiencing hands-on STEM activities that innovate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life.

In Autumn 2015, Caroline visited Gomer Junior School to see gSTEM in action. On the day, year 9 pupils from Bay House School filmed pupils taking part in gSTEM projects and interviewed both staff and guests, including Caroline Dinenage MP.

Caroline said:

"I was delighted to visit Gomer Junior school in December to see the fantastic gSTEM projects the pupils have been working on. I had the opportunity to talk with staff, key stakeholders and pupils, who told me all about their fascinating work using engineering, electronics and programming to better understand the mysteries of outer space.

"The gSTEM initiative is great because it engages pupils in subjects that so many of them find intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable. But as an MP I also know how important it is for our local economy to get these pupils involved in STEM subjects early on. Here in Gosport our local economy greatly relies on talented aeronautical engineers and it is wonderful that Gomer are taking such an innovative and enthusiastic approach towards training up our next generation of STEM specialists."

The full video, filmed and produced by a talented cohort of year 9 pupils from Bay House School, is available online, here.


11 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES CASH FOR COUNCILS TO FILL POTHOLES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new dedicated funding from the Government to fill nearly 1 million potholes across the UK, including £1,488,000 to fill 28,075 potholes in Hampshire.

Local motorists will benefit from the dedicated funding after the Government announced that nearly £50 million of funding will be made available to local councils over the next 12 months. This is part of a wider move to fill 157,282 potholes across the South East with over 100 councils in England receiving funding.

The funding has been made available to councils as part of the Government's £250 million Pothole Action Fund included in last month's budget, which will see over four million potholes fixed by 2020/21, and is part of the Government's plan to invest in infrastructure to secure a better future for our economy.

Caroline commented:

"This new funding is welcome news for Gosport residents who greatly rely on our roads to get around. Potholes can be a real frustration for drivers so I am pleased the Government is taking clear action to improve the state of our roads.

"Investing in our infrastructure, both nationally and locally, is also really important for our economy and can help attract businesses to the local area."


11 APR 2016

LOCAL MUSICIANS & FILM-MAKERS INVITED TO ROCK AND FILM THE HOUSE

Gosport's MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging local musicians & film-makers to enter Parliament's two largest creative competitions, Rock the House and Film the House.

The competition, now in its fifth year, offers the opportunity to put bands and film-makers in direct contact with the movers and shakers of the two industries and to have the best local talent take centre stage. Judged by the leading lights of industry, with prizes ranging from festival slots, studio time and top-notch equipment, the Rock the House and Film the House competitions are a pioneering opportunity to showcase what the Gosport constituency has to offer, raising awareness about the importance of Intellectual property (IP) to our creative industries and country.

Dates for the 2016 competitions are:

  • 14 April, under 19's closing date for entries to MPs
  • 28 April, closing date for MPs to announce their under 19's constituency nomination
  • 1 May, over 19's closing date for entries to MPs
  • 31 May, closing date for MPs to announce all other constituency nominations
  • 20 June, final battle of the bands
  • 4 July, awards ceremony

Caroline said:

"I welcome the return of Parliament's most-hotly contested competitions, and would urge all local musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House. This is an excellent opportunity for the Gosport area to celebrate our local talent and, as all nominations are judged by industry experts, there is no finer chance for our musicians and film-makers to gain exposure."

Member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, Nigel Adams MP (Selby & Ainsty) and Liberal Democrat Lords' Spokesperson for The Creative Industries, Lord Tim Clement-Jonesare to head up Rock the House & Film the House for 2015-2016 in Parliament.

Rock legend and actor, Alice Cooper said:

"Rock the House is a great project which celebrates the fantastic diversity of the British music scene and gives musicians a vehicle through which to hold their legislators accountable about protecting the music industry's intellectual property."

Former Intellectual Property Minister Lord Younger said:

"Rock the House has once again been a genuine success this year, engaging a unique combination of politicians, young people and consumers alike with the message of respect for IP. I am committed to making sure the copyright system that underpins the UK's outstanding music industry is understood and respected."

For more information on how to enter Rock the House go to www.rockthehouseuk.com; and for Film the House www.filmthehouse.com.


08 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES TAX REFORMS FOR BUSINESSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the start of tax reforms that will help businesses across Gosport to invest more of their money into growing and taking on more staff.

From 6 April 2016, employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 are completed abolished, saving a business employing an apprentice on the National Minimum Wage over £500 a year.

The employment allowance for all businesses and charities is also rising today from £2,000 to £3,000 so that a firm can employ up to four people full time on the new National Living Wage and pay no employer National Insurance contributions at all.

Businesses will also benefit today from a cut in Capital Gains Tax – with the higher rate falling from 28 per cent to 20 per cent and the basic rate from 18 per cent to 10 per cent – ensuring they can access the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

Last Friday, 1 April 2016, saw a range of other reforms begin, including the further extension of the doubling of small business rates relief into 2016/17 and the freezing of fuel duty – which will see small businesses with a van save £12 each time they fill their tank compared to the fuel escalator plans left behind by Labour.

Caroline commented:

'This is great news for businesses big and small across Gosport, making it easier for them to grow, create jobs and help train young people.

'Policies like these show that the Conservative government are delivering on our commitment to support businesses and train people so they have the skills they need to secure and job and benefit from the security of a regular pay packet.'


07 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES STATE PENSION REFORM

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the biggest reform of the state pension since it was created more than a century ago, alongside a major package of reforms to tax, pensions and savings to help workers which is coming into effect today.

From 6 April 2016 – eligible people in Gosport who reach retirement age will receive the new State Pension, with the full rate set at £155.65 per week, or over £8,000 a year.

The new State Pension particularly benefits women reaching pension age over the next decade. In the past, many were unable to build much of the previous earnings-related additional State Pension – from now on, everyone will build up the new State Pension in the same way. Over 75 per cent of women and over 70 per cent of men will gain in the first 15 years of the new State Pension, and by 2030 over three million women stand to gain an average of over £550 extra per year as a result of these changes.

The new pension is among a number of reforms to taxes, National Insurance allowances and savings coming into effect today to back hard work, support savers and ensure economic security at every stage of life. This includes a new personal savings allowance that means most people will be able to earn up to £1,000 interest a year on their savings without paying tax. Over 18 million are set to benefit, with nearly 17 million taken out of savings tax altogether.

The tax free personal allowance also increases from £10,600 to £11,000, giving an £80 tax cut to a typical taxpayer in Gosport, while the higher rate threshold rises to £43,000, delivering on the Conservatives commitment that working people will keep more of the money they earn. An estimated 989 low-earners in Gosport will be taken out of paying income tax altogether today, while 49321 people in Gosport will see their income tax cut.

Caroline commented:

'We are committed to supporting people at every stage of their life, which means helping hardworking people keep more of the money they earn and providing dignity and security in retirement.

'The new State Pension will provide clarity and confidence for people across Gosport about what income they will get from the state in their retirement while helping those who have historically lost out under the old system.

'It's great news that just under 50,000 people in Gosport will receive an income tax cut today and nearly 1000 low-earners will be taken out of income tax altogether as we continue to back people who are working hard, saving hard, and doing the right thing.'


01 APR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the launch today of the Conservative Government's new National Living Wage – giving a big boost to the lowest-paid in Gosport.

From today, 1 April 2016, workers aged 25 and over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship will be legally entitled to at least £7.20 an hour under the National Living Wage – that's an extra 50 pence an hour compared to the National Minimum Wage – a £20 a week pay rise for a full time worker.

1.3 million hardworking people across the country are expected to benefit directly from the National Living Wage – which is set to rise to £9 an hour by 2020 – while 6 million could see a pay rise as a result of a ripple effect pushing wages up across Britain.

At the same time, the government are increasing the tax-free personal allowance so that hardworking people keep more of the money they earn. From 6 April 2016 the personal allowance will rise to £11,000 – a saving of £80 – and from April 2017 it will rise again to £11,500 – taking 1.3 million of the lowest-paid workers out of income tax altogether and giving a tax cut to 31 million across the country.

Caroline commented:

'Gosport deserves a pay rise and I'm very proud to be part of a Conservative party that is delivering the higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare economy we all want to see.

'Boosting wages and making sure that more families have the security of a decent, regular pay packet, while ensuring that people are always better off in work, are at the heart of our long-term plan.

'We're backing hard work and aspiration – creating opportunity for hardworking people and, with more people in work than ever before, our plan is working.'

Workers and employers can find more information online at www.livingwage.gov.uk.


22 MAR 2016

CAROLINE PLEASED WITH HELP TO BUY FIGURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that Help to Buy, the Conservative scheme to help people access an affordable mortgage with a small deposit, has helped 22,136 families to buy their own home in the South East.

Across the country, Help to Buy has now enabled nearly 150,000 families to buy a new home. With 80 per cent of those helped being first-time buyers and 95 per cent of completions have been outside of London.

Help to Buy is part of our wider plan to create a million new homeowners by 2020/21. The housing budget has been doubled to £2 billion a year and Government-backed schemes are helping people into homeownership. Our plans are working with the latest figures showing that planning permissions are at an eight year high, with planning permission for new homes rising 6 per on a year earlier.

Aspiring home owners also have a boost from the Help to Buy: ISA which was launched in December 2015. The scheme provides first-time buyers with a bonus up to £3,000 to help them save for a home of their own and has already helped a quarter of a million first-time buyers.

Commenting on the figures Caroline said:

'We are helping people achieve their aspirations of having the security and stability of owning their own home, with Help to Buy turning dreams into reality.

Help to Buy means people can get an affordable mortgage with only a 5 per cent deposit and it is welcome news that so many families across the UK have already benefitted. The scheme continues to stimulate the housing market, so that we are building the homes people want and need.

We are supporting people who want to work hard, to save and buy their own home, with Government-backed schemes making home ownership possible for hardworking families.'


18 MAR 2016

CAROLINE MEETS WITH CHILDREN'S SERVICES BOSS TO DISCUSS CONSULTATION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today met with Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children's Services, Hampshire County Council to discuss the Children's Services Consultation which is currently taking place.

Hampshire County Council is asking for views on a proposed new Family Support Service for families with children aged 0–19 years (or up to age 25 for young adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities). The Council say that this would involve the development of a single service which would bring together the work of children's centres, Early Help Hubs (including Youth Support Services) and align with the Supporting Troubled Families Programme to provide a joined-up, whole-family service to those who have high levels of need but do not meet the threshold for statutory social care.

This proposal would close five of the six Children's Centre's in Gosport and leave the Rowner Centre as a Family Support Service Hub. Back in 2011 Caroline campaigned against the closure of Surestart centres and her position remains the same. She wrote to Hampshire County Council to express her concerns and request an urgent meeting with Councillor Mans on the matter.

Caroline said:

"Back in 2011, I vehemently campaigned against the closure of Surestart centres in my constituency, even speaking to the Prime Minister against proposed cuts to these frontline service upon which so many local people rely.

I was shocked and saddened to learn that similar proposals are back on the table. I took the opportunity to meet with Cllr Mans to express my grave concerns about Hampshire County Council's proposals for a stream-lined Family Support Service that would shut down five out of six children's centres in my constituency.

These centres provide invaluable services to my constituents. Families sometimes need practical and social support when coping with the challenges of raising young children. This is particularly true in Gosport which not only has pockets of deprivation but also many forces families which may not have nearby relatives to rely upon for support.

In my meeting I strongly urged Hampshire County Council to reconsider these proposals Cllr Mans agreed to take my concerns into consideration as part of the consultation.

I would encourage constituents to make their voices heard too."

The consultation can be found at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services-consultation and closes at midday on 3 May 2016.


17 MAR 2016

CHANCELLOR RECOGNISES SOUTHERN DOMESTIC ABUSE SERVICE IN BUDGET 2016

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Chancellor's commitment in the Budget to grant £190,000 for the Southern Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS) to provide support to victims of domestic abuse in South East Hampshire.

SDAS provides services to women, children and men who have experienced or who are experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse in their relationships. They manage refuges offering support and temporary accommodation to women and children who are escaping domestic abuse as well as offering outreach to women, children and men not staying in the refuge but still in need of advice, support and information.

Caroline recently visited both the Gosport and Fareham refuges to meet with the support and outreach workers who support domestic abuse victims in the local community. She is a keen supporter of the charity and wrote to the Chancellor in February endorsing SDAS's application for Tampon Tax funding.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"I am delighted that the Chancellor has recognised the incredibly important work of the Southern Domestic Abuse Service in protecting people in our local area who are vulnerable to domestic violence. The services they provide can be life-saving and it is right that we ensure victims are safe and can access emotional and practical support from staff who understand what they have been through."

If you are affected by domestic abuse you can contact SDAS on 01329 285375 or for more information please visit http://www.southerndas.org/.


16 MAR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES THE BUDGET 2016

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a Budget that will provide greater economic security for the people of Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, for now and the future.

The provisions in the Budget:

Cut taxes for working people. From April 2017 the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500, a tax cut for 31 million people that means a typical basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax then in 2010. The higher rate threshold will also increase to £45,000, a tax cut of over £400. In Gosport, 51,009 people will benefit from these changes, while 1,934 people will be taken out of tax all together.

Cut taxes for small businesses. 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all, an annual saving of up to almost £6,000, and 250,000 small businesses will get a tax cut on their business rates bill.

Ensure taxes are paid. The Government will legislate against property developers shifting profits offshore, raising over £500 million a year. A further £500 million will be raised by imposing a duty on public sector bodies to ensure their employees are paying the right tax.

Introduce a new Lifetime ISA to help the next generation save. The ISA limit will be increased from just over £15,000 to £20,000 for everyone. For those under 40, a completely new Lifetime ISA will be introduced.

Freeze fuel duty to help household budgets and support small firms. This will save £75 a year to the average driver and £270 a year to a small business with a van. Beer duty and cider duty will also be frozen to back British pubs.

Tackle homelessness. A £100 million investment will deliver accommodation for rough sleepers leaving hostels and domestic abuse victims and their families.

Keep public spending under control. The Government will continue working to reduce the deficit so Britain will run a budget surplus by 2019/20 and the burden of our debt will be lifted from the shoulders of the future generation.

Caroline said:

"The Office for Budget Responsibility statistics show that while Britain's economy and productivity are continuing to grow, we still face challenges due to the slowdown in global economic growth and trade. I am pleased, therefore, that this Budget takes a long-term approach that will deliver economic security into the future. For too long, we have borrowed at the expense of the next generation which is both unfair and short-sighted.

"I am delighted that this Budget delivers on the Government's commitment to cut the deficit whilst lowering taxes and restoring fairness to the system by closing tax loopholes. I particularly welcome the support shown for small businesses, which are the bedrock of our local economy. In a competitive market, every little helps and I know the vibrant small business owners in my constituency will welcome this support. It is also great news that 51,009 people across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head will be paying lower taxes and will be able to keep greater hold of their hard-earned money."

Today the Office for National Statistics also revealed that employment in Britain is at a record high at 74.1% with a record high of 31.42 million people in work. In Gosport, the number of Job Seeker Allowance Claimants has reduced by 63% since 2010.


16 MAR 2016

CAROLINE SUPPORTS FIRST WORLD WAR HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, is encouraging Gosport constituents to consider applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for community projects to learn more about the First World War and to think about how they would like to mark the Centenary.

The Heritage Lottery Fund supports projects across the UK that focus not just on the events of 1914–1918 but also on the lasting changes the war brought about. They are making at least £1million a year available until 2019 as part of the First World War: then and now programme for small, community grants. It provides grants of £3,000 to £10,000 enabling groups right across the UK to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.

The Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded grant to groups within Gosport such as; Friends of Gosport Museum, The Gosport Society, Groundwork Solent, The Historical Diving Society and many more.

Caroline said:

"I'm delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is making this money available to local communities. Since they began in 1994, they have given £9,758,461 in grants to projects in Gosport.

Like many areas across the UK, the impact of the First World War on the people of Gosport was extensive. For those who want to find out more about its legacy or who wish to mark the Centenary, I would urge them to get in touch with Heritage Lottery Fund."

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, said:

"The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund's First World War: then and now programme will enable communities to explore the continuing legacy of this war and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world."

Since April 2010, HLF has awarded over £70million to more than 1,300 projects – large and small – that will mark the Centenary of First World War. If a group have a project idea to mark the Centenary of the First World War, an online application pack is available here. If a group needs a grant of more than £10,000 for a First World War project, it can apply to HLF through its open programmes.


11 MAR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES THE START OF NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Government's commitment to creating apprenticeships at the launch of National Apprenticeship Week 2016. The growing number of people in Gosport starting apprenticeships demonstrates that we are delivering on our manifesto commitments.

The theme for this year's National Apprenticeship Week is that an Apprenticeship can take you anywhere, as a growing number of young people are looking to an apprenticeship as an alternative route for people who don't want to go to university.

Caroline said:

"Apprenticeships make sense for young people across Gosport, which is why 11,490 new apprentices have started since May 2010 and over 2.6 million new apprenticeships have started across England.

"I want to give young people the chance to get the skills that they need to get on in life. That's why I am supporting the Government's commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and congratulate every college and business locally that has taken on an apprentice.

"The Government is driving up the standards of apprenticeships and introducing new routes into the professions. The opportunity to earn and learn is why we've already seen 348,300 new apprenticeships created in the South East since May 2010. These recent figures show that we are making progress towards our goal."

The Government also plans to launch the new independent, employer led, Institute for Apprenticeships. The Institute will regulate the quality of apprenticeships in England, taking on responsibility for approving new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans. Only standards that are valued by employers will be approved and funded.


09 MAR 2016

SOUTH-EAST DATES ANNOUNCED FOR GOVERNMENT 'Exporting Is GREAT' ROADSHOW

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Minister for Trade and Investment's announcement that the Exporting is GREAT Hub will be visiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 25 May 2016 as part of its Roadshow of the South East region.

Exporting is GREAT (EiG) is the UK Government's initiative to inspire and support 100,000 more UK business to sell their goods and services overseas by 2020.

The Export Hub will bring together advice and practical guidance for businesses on how they can find customers overseas for their products and services. There will be an array of workshops, one-to-one meetings and networking opportunities with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) International Trade Advisers, E-Commerce Digital Advisers, UK Export Finance (UKEF), local support services as well as offerings from private industry leaders in business support.

The events are free to attend and are designed for SMEs that are looking to export for the first time.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"International trade presents fantastic opportunities for SMEs to grow and prosper but becoming an exporter for the first time can be daunting. That is why I welcome the Exporting is GREAT initiative, which seeks to provide business owners with the practical guidance and advice they need to find customers overseas for their products and services.

"I am really excited that the Export Hub is coming to our area and I hope local business-owners who are considering expanding their company internationally take advantage of the valuable support on offer."

The Exporting is GREAT website now contains over 1,400 live export opportunities from across the globe, and a thousand new opportunities are being uploaded every month. For further information please click here.


07 MAR 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES FIRST CHOICE SECONDARY SCHOOL ALLOCATION FIGURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that over 98% of parents applying for a Year 7 place have been offered a place at a secondary school of their choice, with 93.3% getting a place at their first preferred school through Hampshire County Council.

Those pupils who did not secure a place at one of their chosen schools will be allocated a place at a school, near to where they live, with available spaces. Parents have the right to appeal in these situations, and can put their child's name down on their preferred school's waiting list.

In recent years Hampshire County Council have delivered 6300 additional places in Hampshire schools. This is caused by the popularity of Hampshire as an education destination with 84% good or outstanding schools, which causes in-migration of families, and also a sharp rise in the birth rate nationally. The completed programme in 2018/19 will have delivered 17300 places at a cost of £308million, the biggest HCC school building capital programme for at least 30 years.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am pleased to see these encouraging figures of parents getting places at their first preferred school. Hampshire County Council have worked hard to ensure additional school spaces are created to keep up with the ever growing population of Hampshire.

I am also pleased that Bridgemary School was recently awarded a good OFSTED rating, this is great news for Gosport and shows the enormous hard work and effort of staff, head teachers and students."

Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Education, said:

"We have again been able to offer a very high number of pupils a place at their preferred secondary school. That's a significant achievement considering the size of the county and increasing demand for school places – this year's applications were up over 500 from last year. Pupil numbers continue to rise, and I am pleased to say that our investment in schools to provide the additional places is keeping pace, thanks to our strong track record in planning for the future.

I understand there will be some disappointment for those parents who did not secure a place at one of their chosen schools, but every child whose parents applied for a place at a Hampshire secondary school, has been offered one. There are always individual schools with exceptionally high demand, which is a credit to the high standard of teaching at these schools."


04 MAR 2016

CAROLINE TO JOIN CLEAN FOR THE QUEEN LITTER-PICK IN GOSPORT

This weekend, local MP Caroline Dinenage will be joining Solent Environmental Action (SEA) to help tidy up Gosport ahead of HM The Queen's 90th Birthday.

Solent Environmental Action are backing the national "Clean for the Queen campaign", which will bring together all the anti-litter organisations from across the UK in Britain's largest ever litter pick over the weekend 4-6 March 2016. Caroline will be meeting with a team of volunteers to help tidy up Walpole Park, as part of SEA'S Round the Harbour clean up.

There are many other Clean Ups taking place across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head this weekend, including:

  • Joining of Car park Haslar Road and Haslar Lake shoreline; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10am to 11:30am
  • Gosport Ferry, at South Street, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1EP; Saturday 5 March 2016, 10am to midday
  • Splash Pool, Stokes Bay; Saturday 5 March 2016, 10am to midday
  • Olympia Amusements, Centre of the Promenade, Lee-on-the-Solent; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10am to 1pm
  • Hill Head Beach, Salterns Car Park at the Rotary Club; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10:30am to midday
  • Clean Up Bridgemary, Sat 5 March by the Wych Lane way Co-op shop

Caroline said:

"I am really looking forward to contributing to the tidy up of Gosport along with the fantastic team at Solent Environmental Action. This weekend is a great opportunity to honour HM The Queen's 90th birthday and also take pride in our local area.

"It is great to see we have so many local events arranged and I really hope lots of people get involved so together we can help mark this momentous occasion with the biggest ever spring clean"

Further information about the local events organised for this weekend can be found on the CFTQ website's interactive map: http://www.cleanforthequeen.co.uk/home/2365.


04 MAR 2016

EU REFERENDUM

Since the Prime Minister returned to the Commons with a date for the Referendum on our future membership of the European Union, there has been a flurry of interest about which way each MP will be voting: 'in' or 'out'.

So far, like most of the people I speak to who aren't card carrying members of the Westminster bubble, I have been genuinely undecided which way to cast my vote on 23 June.

To say that I do not hold the EU in high regard is an understatement. As a former business owner I am frustrated when EU red tape entangles enterprise. As a proud 'Brit' I am distressed by the checks on our sovereignty. Frankly, I find the EU capacity for wasting money nothing short of flagrant and appalling, especially in the context of the tough fiscal choices we have had to make in recent years domestically.

In my heart I feel that Britain could survive and indeed thrive outside the EU. We are the fifth biggest economy in the world. We have a wealth of highly skilled workers and talented business owners driving economic innovation. There are 2.2 million more people in work here than in 2010 and we are creating employment faster than any G7 country.

However, in my head I am plagued by the realisation that this is a pivotal decision, one from which there is no turning back. No country has ever left the EU before and, while Switzerland and Norway are often heralded as examples of how countries flourish beyond its grip, I've visited both in recent years and seen that, in reality, they are both trapped firmly in its shadow. Both countries are bound by EU regulations and directives, compelled to allow free movement of people and impose costly burdens on business, in exchange for trade deals.

As one of my parliamentary colleagues put it, it's like we are on a bus that's driven by a lunatic, do we stay on board and try to reason with the driver, or jump out and risk being crushed by its wheels.

To help me make up my mind I set about trying to establish, as best as I could, what the impact of a potential Brexit could be on our local area.

We know that Gosport suffers more than many of our more affluent neighbours during times of economic uncertainly. When I was elected back in 2010, our area was still suffering from years of neglect thanks to a Labour Government that deemed our peninsula 'strategically unimportant.' Being treated as peripheral meant the recession hit us bitingly hard. That's why bringing prosperity to our local area has been my top priority as MP. Recently things are really starting to look up, we have attracted significant Government investment, companies want to do businesses here and unemployment has fallen by 64% since 2010.

Yet last week a local small business owner told me that they are already experiencing the negative impact of market uncertainty due to the Brexit debate. Their customers, who are big businesses, have simply pressed the pause button in this time of uncertainty.

Our currency's volatility backs this up: the pound worryingly dropped to its lowest value since 2007 last week.

What do our biggest local employers think? BAE Systems, Airbus Group UK, QinetiQ, Babcock, IBM, Serco and Northrop-Grumman have all made clear their support for Britain remaining in the EU. We depend on these big companies for local jobs and economic prosperity. In turn, these companies depend upon accessing the European single market to which we send 45% of our exports. In the event of a Brexit the best guess is that renegotiating our terms of trade could be a long and painstaking process, during which Britain's attractiveness to international investors may suffer.

Which brings me back to where I started. In 2010 this country was on the brink of bankruptcy. In 2016 we are the fifth biggest economy in the world, there are 2.2 million more people in work and we are creating employment faster than any G7 country. We have achieved all this within the EU. Should we now put that at risk?

In my heart the emotional argument for a 'Brexit' is still enticing – the EU system is flawed and needs further reform.

But, in my head, there is too much uncertainty about the economic implications of leaving for me to risk the prosperity and security of Britain and the people I represent.

My head wins – there is too much at stake.

This is not something I intend to campaign on. Ultimately, because this Government delivered on its manifesto promise to hold a public referendum, my vote is just one among millions. It is right that every voter should come to their own conclusion. It is right that this important choice ultimately belongs to the British public.


29 FEB 2016

CAROLINE CHALLENGES BARCLAYS BRANCH CLOSURE

On Friday 26 February local MP Caroline Dinenage met with Barclays' Community Director for Hampshire to discuss the forthcoming closure of Barclays Stubbington branch. The meeting followed a letter Caroline wrote to Barclays on 7 February 2016 urging them to reconsider their decision.

At the meeting, Barclays explained that transactions at the Stubbington branch have reduced by 11% in the last year and more than 68% of customers use alternative branches, of which there are three within a five mile radius. Caroline raised her concerns about the impact of the closure on the local area where elderly or vulnerable customers may entirely depend on accessible banking services close to home.

Barclays confirmed that they will reach out to the most vulnerable customers by:

  • Promoting understanding of alternative options of using the local Post Office, mobile, online and telephone services to set up direct debits, check a balance, or change contact details
  • Organising Digital Eagles sessions called 'Tea and Teach' for those customers who want to understand more about on-line and mobile banking, which will include tips on fraud awareness

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"Over the past two years my constituency has been subject to a number of local bank closures, which I have vehemently campaigned against. While I understand that commercial pressures force banks to take tough decisions, if they continue to make these solely on the basis of diminishing footfall they could conceivably get to a stage where there are no branches left!"

"While disappointed that Barclays won't be changing their mind, I am pleased that they are making efforts to mitigate the impact of the closure through the useful Tea and Teach sessions. I hope local people take full advantage of this opportunity to hone their online banking skills."

Chris Maynard, Barclays Community Director for Hampshire, said:

"The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. At Barclays Stubbington, customer usage has continued to decline, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on Friday 20th May 2016.

"Our colleagues at the Barclays Stubbington branch have been consulted about the change and will be relocated to alternative branches nearby. We hope that the availability of branches at Gosport, Fareham and Park Gate and access to services at the local Post Office at 39 The Green, Stubbington, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers as we move out of Stubbington branch.

"We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the new UK Government protocol on branch closures. We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally, before the branch closes on Friday 20th May 2016."

The Stubbington 'Tea and Teach' sessions are organised for the 2nd March and 11th March at Barclays Stubbington branch at 2pm. Subsequent dates will be confirmed depending on take-up. Anyone interested in attending should register at the branch in advance to secure their space. On the day attendees need to bring with them their laptop, tablet or mobile device.


25 FEB 2016

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICE

Hampshire County Council is consulting on a proposed new Family Support Service for families with children aged 0–19 years (or up to age 25 for young adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities). The aim is to provide a joined-up, whole-family service delivering targeted support to the most vulnerable families.

Service-users, stakeholders and the general public are invited to respond to the consultation. More information about the proposals and how to respond can be found here: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services-consultation.


24 FEB 2016

IFA2

Following my meeting with National Grid last week, I have been provided with a Q&A document which covers the concerns that were raised by me, local residents associations and local councillors.

You can download it here.


18 FEB 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES FURTHER DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed employment figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics. There are 18% fewer claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) across the Gosport constituency than in January 2015.

The total number of claimants in the Gosport constituency in January 2016 was 657, which represents a rate of 1.1% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. This is considerably lower than the national average of 1.5%. Since 2010, the number of JSA claimants across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head has fallen by 1150, representing a 64% reduction.

The figures also show that wages are continuing to grow, with average total pay up 1.9 per cent, while inflation remains close to flat. With employment at a record 74.1 per cent, and the majority of the increase in employment over the last year in full-time jobs, today's statistics show that the Government's economic plan is working; it's creating jobs and growing pay packets for families in Gosport.

Commenting on the statistics, Caroline said:

"I welcome the publication of the latest employment figures this week, which clearly show that more families throughout Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head are enjoying the security that comes with a regular pay packet

Our economic and welfare reforms are delivering more security and providing opportunities that give families in Gosport the best chance in life. This is further evidence of the need to stick to the Government's long term plan to deliver economic security against the cocktail of risks affecting the world."


17 FEB 2016

CAROLINE HOSTS NATIONAL GRID MEETING

Local MP Caroline Dinenage hosted a meeting today between National Grid, local Resident Associations and local Councillors regarding the IFA2 proposals.

The meeting was a chance to discuss concerns about the proposal to locate the Interconnector at Daedalus.

The meeting, which lasted 2 hours and included representatives from Lee on the Solent, Stubbington, Hill Head and Peel Common, discussed concerns including ....

  • Alternative locations for the project
  • The safety of the site and potential for electro-magnetic and/or noise emissions
  • The visual impact
  • The potential impact on aircraft & airfield users.

National Grid brought a team of 8 people, with specialities in everything from noise to engineering, as well as a representative from their Isle of Grain Interconnector site, in order to be able to answer questions as fully as possible.

Findings from the first round of IFA2 consultations can be found here.

A second round of consultations will be held in March. For more information and to keep up to date with National Grid's IFA2 proposals please visit ifa2.nationalgrid.com.


17 FEB 2016

BRUNE MEDICAL CENTRE

As a result of receiving a communication from Brune Medical Centre, I contacted the Fareham and Gosport Clinical commissioning Group to which Brune Medical Centre belong to get an update on the situation as it affects patients and patient care. I have received the following information which can be downloaded via the link below.

Brune Medical Centre


16 FEB 2016

CAROLINE VISITS SAME DAY ACCESS SERVICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met with Same Day Access Service staff at Gosport War Memorial Hospital on Friday.

The Same Day Access Service has recently been launched in Gosport and runs from a hub at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. It is currently being resourced by staff from four participating GP practices. Patients registered with; Waterside (Mumby Road), Stoke Road, Brune (Rowner Road) and Forton (Whites Place) can access telephone triage and face-to-face appointments on the same day.

Dr Donal Collins, GP lead for Better Local Care, Gethin Hughes, Director of Services (Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust) and Kerry Cooper, Better Local Care General Manager were able to show Caroline was able to see how the service operates. Caroline also spoke to Dr Sarah Brooks, GP partner at Forton Medical Centre, who clearly explained the pressures and challenges facing GP practices in Gosport and how working in this new way is starting to alleviate these.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"I have received correspondence regarding waiting times for GP appointments so it was great to see the difference that the Same Day Access Service is already starting to make for Gosport constituents.

It is encouraging to see GP practices working together to tackle the frustration for people having to wait for GP appointments, whilst improving the quality and experience of care. I hope that more surgeries make the move to join this successful same-day appointment pilot, and make it more sustainable for the future."

Calls in January to the Same Day service led to 665 GP, 694 nurse, 152 paediatric and 94 physiotherapy appointments. For more information about the Same Day Access Service please visit http://www.betterlocalcare.org.uk/.


15 FEB 2016

CAROLINE PLEDGES TO 'CLEAN FOR THE QUEEN!'

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on schools, businesses and community groups to help tidy up our local area ahead of HM The Queen's 90th Birthday.

"Clean for The Queen" brings together all the anti-litter organisations from the UK and aims to get people involved in Britain's largest litter pick. Community groups including parish councils, residents' associations, Girlguides and Scouts, as well as businesses and schools are encouraged to organise their own litter pick, or clean up, in the coming weeks, or on "Clean for The Queen" weekend, 4 to 6 March 2016.

There are many Clean Ups taking place across the Gosport constituency including;

  • Joining of Car park Haslar Road and Haslar Lake shoreline; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10am to 11:30am.
  • Gosport Ferry, at South Street, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1EP; Saturday 5 March 2016, 10am to midday.
  • Splash Pool, Stokes Bay; Saturday 5 March 2016, 10am to midday.
  • Olympia Amusements, Centre of the Promenade, Lee-on-the-Solent; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10am to 1pm.
  • Hill Head Beach, Salterns Car Park at the Rotary Club; Saturday 5 March 2916, 10:30am to midday.

Caroline said:

"This is a great opportunity to make sure we get our area neat and tidy in time for HM The Queen's official 90th birthday on 21 April. Although the big litter pick will take place over 4, 5 and 6 March, people can get involved whenever they like.

It is the support and action people are taking, and not the dates, which are important. It is great to see we have so many local events arranged already and I really hope people in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head will get involved so together we can help mark this momentous occasion."

Further information, including how to register your own clean-up event, can be found at www.cleanforthequeen.co.uk.


12 FEB 2016

GOSPORT MP TO LEAD NATIONAL GRID MEETING

Caroline Dinenage MP will next week lead a meeting between local residents' associations and National Grid among concerns about proposals for an IFA2 interconnector at Daedalus.

This meeting follows up from an initial one that Caroline attended with National Grid before Christmas, where she first heard about the plans and sought assurances on a number of serious concerns, which included:

  • The safety of the site - what the impact of electro-magnetic or other emissions would be on local residents and the natural environment?
  • What the noise emissions would be from the site how they would be minimised?
  • The visual impact of an interconnector - how much could the building be underground and the site landscaped to reduce the visual impact?
  • ​The potential impact on aircraft & airfield users.

The meeting that will take place next week will allow both Caroline and representatives from local Residents Associations to seek answers from National Grid bosses on these and other matters and discuss whether the interconnector would be better at a different location.

Caroline said "We know that projects of this nature are necessary to keep the lights on, however I absolutely share resident's doubts that this is a suitable location. I am concerned about any potential impact of this development on both our local communities and our landscape.

Although no planning application has been submitted to Fareham Borough Council for this project yet, local residents are rightly worried about proposals. That's why I have arranged this meeting at the earliest possible opportunity to allow us to question National Grid fully."

Caroline will be joined at the meeting by representatives from Lee on the Solent, Peel Common and Hill Head residents associations as well as local Councillors.


11 FEB 2016

CAROLINE SUPPORTS BLOOD CANCER CHARITY'S SEARCH FOR STEM CELL DONORS THIS VALENTINE'S DAY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage supports Delete Blood Cancer UK's recruitment of potential blood stem cell donors this Valentine's Day.

While many people will be looking for a romantic match for Valentine's Day, the donor recruitment charity says that around 1,800 people in the UK with blood cancer are searching for someone with a matching tissue type who could help save their life by donating some of their blood stem cells to them.

For many blood cancer patients, a blood stem cell donation from another person is their only chance of survival. A matching donor not being found doesn't mean that there is nobody with a tissue type compatible with the patient. There could be someone with a tissue type that matches the patient's, but tragically, they may not be registered as a potential blood stem donor.

You can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit which will enable you to do your own tissue test to become a potential blood stem cell donor: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk.

Emphasising how important it is for local people to register, Caroline said:

"For people suffering from blood cancer, stem cell transplants are an increasingly important treatment to manage their disease and improve survival rates. However, I know that some people with this terrible disease can really struggle to find a match. Therefore, I support Delete Blood Cancer UK's efforts to encourage more local people to become blood donors.

"Registering online as a potential blood stem cell donor only takes a few minutes, but it could lead to you giving decades to someone else."

Jenny Clegg, Head of Communications a Delete Blood Cancer UK, said:

"There are currently 8821 people in Portsmouth & Isle of Wight that are registered as potential blood stem cell donors with Delete Blood Cancer UK. Please take a few minutes this Valentine's Day to register to see if you could be someone's lifesaving match."


02 FEB 2016

CRACKDOWN ON ROADWORK DISRUPTION WILL EASE CONGESTION FOR MOTORISTS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed new proposals to crackdown on disruption caused by roadworks on local roads, with new rules being considered that would reduce disruption for families and businesses in Gosport who rely on our local roads to get around.

The new rules would encourage the start of 7-day working on local roadworks. Under the plans being considered, councils and utility companies would face paying up to £5,000 a day if motorists are needlessly inconvenienced by roadworks left in place on local A-roads over a weekend with no one actually working on them. There could also be charges when temporary traffic lights are left in place.

Roadworks on these council-managed A-roads would either have to continue over the weekend, minimising the length of the project, or be lifted until work was resumed.

By minimising disruption this would mean faster and more reliable journeys on our roads, benefitting local people who have had to deal with disruption at places like the already busy A32.

This action comes alongside big investment in our roads, with £15 billion being invested in England's road network through the Road Investment Strategy for major projects to improve and renew the network.

Caroline commented:

"This is fantastic news for all the families and businesses in Gosport who rely on our local roads to get around. We all know the frustration of the disruption that roadworks can cause.

By encouraging 7-day working, or the lifting of works at weekends, these changes could help minimise the inconvenience we all face. By taking action on roadworks, and delivering £15 billion of investment in our roads, the Conservatives are ensuring that our roads are looked after and improved for the future, with fast, reliable journeys for the working people and businesses that depend on them.'


01 FEB 2016

TOP BUSINESS AND CAREER WOMEN INSPIRE GOSPORT SCHOOL GIRLS TO BECOME ENTERPRISING WOMEN

Caroline Dinenage MP today welcomed Jacqueline Gold CBE and a cohort of successful local businesswomen to Bridgemary School in Gosport to help host an Enterprising Women event.

The event was designed to encourage Year 9 school girls from Bridgemary and Brune Park schools to explore all career opportunities available to them and overcome any barriers of self-doubt they may have to become the next generation of Enterprising Women.

After an introduction from the Head Teacher of Bridgemary School, Vicki White, and Caroline Dinenage MP, who herself was a business woman before entering politics, the girls heard from seven inspirational mentors about their journeys to become successful business and career women. The guest of honour, Jacqueline Gold CBE, chief executive of Ann Summers, gave a motivational speech in which she encouraged the girls to 'think about your passion and what you're really interested in' and 'help drive that change' to see more women in business.

During the event, the girls worked on an entrepreneurial challenge to design a business plan for a vacant commercial property in Gosport. The mentors circulated, providing the girls with tips and advice.

The girls then pitched their ideas in a 'Dragons Den meets The Apprentice' format. Despite only having an hour-and-a-half to come up with their plans, the teams' ideas were extremely well thought-out, creative and varied. One team planned to launch a careers advisory business called 'Opening Doors' to help local people build the confidence to enter work, building on mentors comments that when they were younger there had been an lack of high quality careers advice for young women. Another team came up with the idea of a Performing Arts Academy putting on shows, providing drama lessons, and hosting lucrative children's parties to provide a year-round income.

The winning team, however, was SeaFix, a boat repair and engineering company that set itself apart from competitors by its willingness to travel any distance to repair your boat. The company planned to employ semi-retired marine engineers from Gosport, as well as new apprentices, so the experienced boat repair-men and women could train up the youngsters on the job. The judging panel prided the girls on intertwining the skills of the older and younger generations to ensure the continuation of Gosport as a national hub for maritime excellence and training.

Commenting on the event, Caroline said:

"The girls' projects were really inventive and they all clearly identified businesses that Gosport needs. I hope today was an opportunity for them to gain some experience in the business world and be inspired by our fabulous team of businesswomen. I hope that they leave today believing in themselves with the goal of moving forwards to be the very best that they can be, in whatever career path they choose."

Commenting on the pitches, Jacqueline said:

"I could see so much talent in the room today. It's about time that girls started realising how fantastic they really are and what they have to offer."

When Jacqueline Gold joined Ann Summers, the annual turnover was £83,000 but it now stands at £140 million: a clear testament to her brilliant business acumen.

13 year old Mia from Brune Park School said:

"The women here today have been very inspiring, especially to me as I was quite sure of what I wanted to do for a career and I am not sure now, the women here have inspired me that much. I've got some ideas now, I think I can go further in life, considering some of them were quite shy and have gone really far."

The mentors were: Freya Derrick, owner of Hopscotch Nurseries, which employs over 160 local staff; Melanie Lawson, founder of the Brighton-based Omega3 specialist company, Bare Biology; Lulu Whitmore, founder of Southsea's premier events management company, Love Southsea; Dee Farwell from the forward-looking accountancy firm, Business Bar; Commander Sophie Shaughnessy, Executive Officer at HMS Sultan and the most senior female engineer in the Royal Navy to date; Christine Biddle, who is Gosport born and bred and now Operations Manager at Maritime Services International; and Abby Thomson, director and co-founder of Gosport Marine Scene.

Photo credit - Matthew Hibbard ©


01 FEB 2016

SRN4 HOVERCRAFT @ DAEDALUS

Caroline Dinenage MP welcomes the end of a 5 year legal dispute over two Mountbatten Hovercraft (SRN4s) that were standing in the way of developing the Daedalus Waterfront area.

Caroline is very supportive of the Hovercraft Museum who want to save one of the SRN4s; 'Princess Anne' and scrap the larger SRN4 'Princess Margaret' because it is too big for the Museum's future plans. The Museum is in discussions with the Homes & Communities Agency who are in turn talking to Gosport Borough Council and other authorities before a decision is made.

Caroline commented: "I am hopeful that a deal can be struck which will enable the Museum to gain an important addition to their collection (SRN4 Princess Anne) that adds to the site and does not distract from developing the waterfront area of Daedalus which is very important in the creation of jobs and the economic prosperity of the area".


29 JAN 2016

TOP UK BUSINESSWOMAN SET TO INSPIRE GOSPORT SCHOOLGIRLS

On Monday 1 February Caroline Dinenage MP will be welcoming top female entrepreneur, Jacqueline Gold CBE, as well as a host of successful local business and career women to Bridgemary School in Gosport to inspire and empower local school girls to become Enterprising Women.

Jacqueline, chief executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox, is one of Britain's most successful business women. Her ingenuity and dedication made Ann Summers the iconic brand it is today, loved by women all over the country. In January 2015 she awarded a CBE for services to Entrepreneurship, Women in Business and Social Enterprise.

Monday's event will take the form of a workshop and 'The Apprentice meets Dragons Den' style challenge, where Year 9 girls from Bridgemary and Brune Park schools will be tasked with formulating business plan ideas. Local business women will take the role of mentors, circulating around the groups to provide the girls with tips, advice and inspiration.

Local mentors include Commander Sophie Shaughnessy, Executive Officer at HMS Sultan and the most senior female engineer in the Royal Navy; Lulu Whitmore, founder of the well-known local events management company, Love Southsea; and Melanie Lawson from Brighton company Bare Biology

Speaking about the event, MP Caroline, who spent almost two decades running her own local business before entering politics, said:

"Monday will be an incredible opportunity for the girls from Brune Park and Bridgemary to learn about the fantastic career opportunities the world of business has to offer and gain experience in designing their own business plan with the help of some expert mentors. I really hope that hearing from Jacqueline Gold and talking directly to the brilliant career women on our doorstep, will inspire and encourage the next generation of Enterprising Women."

Jacqueline Gold added:

"I am delighted to be attending the Enterprising Women event, which I hope will inspire the girls to become the entrepreneurs of the future. Running your own business is hugely rewarding, and I hope that the girls of Bridgemary and Brune Park schools see that with self-belief, courage, hard work and determination a good idea can become a great business. The girls will be incredibly lucky to have access to some wonderful entrepreneurs and business woman from their local area, I hope they are inspired by all these women have achieved and it allows them to realise that anything is possible."


27 JAN 2016

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will hold an open surgery at the Gosport Discovery Centre next Friday.

Caroline's open advice surgeries give her constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns about both local and national issues without making an appointment beforehand. By holding these surgeries, Caroline is fulfilling her pledge to reach out to people across the constituency.

She commented:

"My open surgeries at the Discovery Centre have been a huge success, particularly with people who wouldn't think of booking an appointment to meet me at my office. It is so important that my surgeries are as accessible as possible so if you want to have a chat, raise problems or receive advice, please pop along."

Caroline's open surgery will take place between 2pm and 3:30pm on Friday 5th February at the Gosport Discovery Centre.

For more information about these surgeries, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


26 JAN 2016

CAROLINE TO ATTEND GOSPORT BUSINESS AND EMPLOYMENT FAIR 2016

On Thursday 28 January Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will be attending the Gosport Business & Employment Fair (GB&EF) 2016 at Gosport Leisure Centre.

The GB&EF is Gosport's largest annual jobs, careers and training exhibition. It provides local jobseekers with the opportunity to network with local employers and receive employment support from training organisations and local advisory networks. This year, there will be over 50 exhibitors under one roof, including 30 employers promoting both job and apprenticeship vacancies across a wide range of employment sectors. It is expected that around 400 vacancies will be advertised on the day.

At the event, Caroline will be meeting with exhibitors and jobseekers to see the types of career opportunities on offer and talk to them about local employment.

Gosport Borough Council have a number of useful web resources available in the run up to the event. A "Tips for Visitors" guide provides advice on what to do before, during and after the exhibition, while the "Employer exhibitors" page gives an overview of the employers and job opportunities on offer, so attendees can tailor their CVs in advance.

Speaking before the event, Caroline said:

"I am really looking forward to attending this year's Gosport Business and Employment Fair, which will enable employees and jobseekers alike to network and have face-to-face discussions about the exciting careers opportunities on offer in our local area.

"I would highly encourage local Jobseekers to attend because they will get the chance to talk in person with recruiters and receive high quality careers advice so they can make their CV and job application stand out. It is also a great opportunity for businesses, who will be able to meet with members of Gosport's talented workforce."

The event is sponsored by local employer, Huhtamaki, which is a world-leading food and drink packaging manufacturer that employs 373 local people at its two production facilities on Rowner Road and Grange Road.

Confirmed exhibitors include Aldi, the Royal Air Force and Vector Aerospace among many others.


26 JAN 2016

TOP FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR TO STAR AT GOSPORT SCHOOL 'ENTERPRISING WOMEN' EVENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and Jacqueline Gold CBE will jointly host an event at Bridgemary School in Gosport next week, to inspire and encourage schoolgirls to become Enterprising Women.

Jacqueline Gold is chief executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox - with over 140 stores nationwide she is one of Britain's leading businesswomen. Jacqueline is renowned for managing a company by women, for women and in January 2015 she was awarded a CBE for services to Entrepreneurship, Women in Business and Social Enterprise.

Girls from Year 9 at Gosport Schools, Bridgemary and Brune Park, will take part in the half day event on 1st February. In an 'Apprentice meets Dragons Den' style challenge the girls will be tasked with formulating business plan ideas for a new Gosport enterprise with the help of some inspiring mentors.

Jacqueline and Caroline will be joined by a host of successful business and career women from across the local area who will provide mentoring support and advice for the girls throughout the event. These include: Lulu Whitmore, who runs local events management company 'Love Southsea'; Commander Sophie Shaugnessy, the most senior female Engineer in the Royal Navy who is based at HMS Sultan; and Melanie Lawson, founder of Brighton based company, Bare Biology.

Speaking about the event, MP Caroline, who spent almost two decades running her own local business before entering politics, said:

"I really want girls in Gosport to explore all career opportunities available to them and have the confidence to get involved in enterprise and entrepreneurship. Successful women come from all sorts of backgrounds and overcome many obstacles. I hope that hearing from Jacqueline Gold, a world-class entrepreneur, as well as some of the brilliant career women on our own doorstep, will inspire and encourage the next generation of Enterprising Women."

Jacqueline Gold added:

"I am delighted to be attending the Enterprising Women event, which I hope will inspire the girls to become the entrepreneurs of the future. Running your own business is hugely rewarding, and I hope that the girls of Bridgemary and Brune Park schools see that with self-belief, courage, hard work and determination a good idea can become a great business. The girls will be incredibly lucky to have access to some wonderful entrepreneurs and business woman from their local area, I hope they are inspired by all these women have achieved and it allows them to realise that anything is possible."


20 JAN 2016

CAROLINE DINENAGE MP SIGNS HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST BOOK OF COMMITMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has this week signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons.

Her signature marks her commitment to honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about this historical tragedy.

Wednesday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Caroline commented:

"Seventy-one years on from the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau it is as important as ever to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and ensure that they are never forgotten, to help prevent these terrible tragedies ever occurring again. I encourage all local people to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and join together in the fight against prejudice and intolerance."

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

"We are proud that Caroline Dinenage MP is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry."

 

Shortly after becoming an MP, Caroline visited Auschwitz-Birkenau with a group of sixth-form students from Bay House School and St. Vincent College.

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has this week signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons.

Her signature marks her commitment to honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about this historical tragedy.

Wednesday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Caroline commented:

"Seventy-one years on from the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau it is as important as ever to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and ensure that they are never forgotten, to help prevent these terrible tragedies ever occurring again. I encourage all local people to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and join together in the fight against prejudice and intolerance."

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

"We are proud that Caroline Dinenage MP is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry."

 

Shortly after becoming an MP, Caroline visited Auschwitz-Birkenau with a group of sixth-form students from Bay House School and St. Vincent College.


12 JAN 2016

BIG REDUCTION IN GOSPORT COMPLAINTS TO THE FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN

Latest figures showing that 34% fewer people living in Gosport contacted the Financial Ombudsman last year have been brought to the attention of local MP Caroline Dinenage.

The Financial Ombudsman (FO) is a free service set up by law with the power to sort out problems between consumers and financial businesses. They recently published figures showing that during the last financial year (2014/15) there was a 34% reduction in people from Gosport contacting the FO helpline. This led to the FO taking on 782 complaints which required investigation, 409 fewer than in 2013/14 when 1,315 complaints were investigated.

This represents a clear decline in the overall number of cases from people in Gosport over the last year. Although this is largely down to the number of PPI cases levelling off, in most areas across the UK there has actually been an increase in the number of complaints about other financial products.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline said:

"These figures clearly suggest that fewer people in Gosport are having to cope with financial problems associated with issues like PPI claims, bank accounts and mortgages. These cases can be hugely difficult and stressful, so it is good to hear that fewer problems are arising in our local area.

"However, it might also be the case that people in Gosport don't know who to turn to when facing complex financial problems.

"The Financial Ombudsman Service exists to provide guidance, a channel for complaints and to raise consumer awareness of financial rights. It is really important that people use this valuable resource, which provides advice and assistance for both consumers and businesses."

More information about the Financial Ombudsman service can be found here


06 JAN 2016

CAROLINE WELCOMES POST OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the announcement that the Post Office will now accept banking transactions from HSBC business customers.

The move will allow HSBC business customers to pay in cash, withdraw funds as well as check their account balance. The Post Office, with its extensive branch network, will provide HSBC customers access to 11,500 Post Office branches to carry out their banking needs.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"Having fought against the closure of HSBC, the last bank branch in Lee on the Solent, I've consistently campaigned in Parliament on this issue. I welcome this announcement and hope that it aids HSBC business customers in the parts of our region without a bank branch."

Following an extensive modernisation programme, more and more Post Office branches are open for longer, with Sunday openings increasingly common across the network – more than 3,000 branches are now open seven days a week. This gives HSBC's personal and commercial customers another channel through which they can do their day-to-day banking.

Post Office first introduced banking services in 2002 allowing partner banks' customers to carry out transactions such as balance enquiries, cash withdrawals and lodgements. Since then it has introduced more services to meet customer demand.

Nick Kennett, Group Director of Financial Services, Post Office said: "HSBC personal customers can already use their local Post Office for their day-to-day banking needs. We are delighted to extend our successful partnership with HSBC to their business customers as well. With its extensive branch network open longer and many on Sundays, the Post Office will make it easier for all HSBC's customers to access banking services across the UK."

Ian Stuart, HSBC Head of Commercial Banking UK, said: "The extension of our partnership with Post Office has broadened the range of channels available to our business customers to access banking services. Customers with business debit cards can now access a number of important services at Post Office counters, including cash deposits, cash withdrawals and balance enquiries."


21 DEC 2015

CAROLINE'S CHRISTMAS CARD DESIGN WINNER REVEALED

Local MP Caroline Dinenage announced the winner of her third annual Christmas Card Design competition at Gosport Discovery Centre on Friday.

Lucie Johnson-Allan, aged 6 from Rowner Infants School was crowned overall winner with her stunning Christmas in London design which has already been printed on cards that Caroline has sent out this month.

This year's runners Up, whose designs features on the back of the card were, Keira Garrett from Holbrook Primary School, Sophie Thompson from Alverstoke Infants School, Ava Rattley from Gomer Junior School and Travis Underwood from Holbrook Primary School.

This year, due to the number of impressive designs, there was a shortlist of 12 which created Commended and Highly Commended awards. Brett Reynolds-James and Ellie Reynolds-Mustoe both from Holbrook Primary School were awarded highly commended. Caitlin Pogson from Rowner Infants School and George Knight, Owen Johns, Keira Wright and Skyler Scollan all from Holbrook Primary School were awarded commended.

After the announcement Caroline commented:

"This year's decision was tough due to the amount of fantastic designs so it was fantastic to meet my shortlisted artists in my Christmas card competition – they are all extremely talented with artistic skills, imagination and creativity.

Given the promise they are showing at such young ages I am sure that there are great things in store for these budding artists and I look forward to receiving their entries next year!"

All of the entries will be on display in the Children's Section of the Discovery Centre until 9 January 2016. You can also see the 12 shorlisted designs here.

This year's judging panel included Caroline, the Mayor of Gosport Keith Farr, Steve Reid from Blitz Photography and Robin Young from The Gosport Globe.


17 DEC 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES GOSPORT EMPLOYMENT FIGURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed employment figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics. There are 24% fewer claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) across the Gosport constituency than in November 2014.

The total number of claimants in the Gosport constituency in November 2015 was 603, which represents a rate of 1.2% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. This is considerably lower than the national average of 2.4% and lower than the South-East average of 1.3%. Since 2010, the number of JSA claimants across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head has fallen by 779, representing a 56% reduction.

The figures also show that average pay across the UK is up by 2.4 per cent while inflation is close to flat, meaning that wages are growing. There are 275,000 more people in work across the South-East since 2010 and a record level of employment across the UK as a whole – with over 2.2 million more people in work than in 2010. There are now nearly a million more women in work and 86% of 16-24 year olds are now in full-time study or work, the highest proportion on record.

Commenting on the statistics, Caroline said:

"I welcome the publication of the latest employment figures this week, which clearly show that more families throughout Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head are enjoying the security that comes with a regular pay packet. With employment at a record high and wages continuing to grow above inflation, I am so pleased that more people will reap the rewards of the UK's economic growth this Christmas.

"However, the Government mustn't rest on its laurels because even more can be done to help unemployed people back into work. I welcome plans for more apprenticeships, thirty hours of free childcare for working parents and a National Living Wage as incredibly important measures that will keep driving up employment and increasing prosperity."

The labour market data was published by the Office for National Statistics on 16 December 2015.


16 DEC 2015

CAROLINE'S CHRISTMAS CARD ARTIST TO BE ANNOUNCED

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will announce the winner of her third annual Christmas Card Design competition at a presentation event on Friday.

Earlier this year, Caroline wrote to all primary schools in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head, inviting pupils to submit designs for her 2015 Christmas card competition. Caroline was joined by a judging panel which included the Mayor of Gosport, Keith Farr, Steve Reid from Blitz Photography and The Gosport Globe Editor Robin Young and after much deliberation a decision was made.

On Friday 18th December at 4pm a presentation will take place at Gosport Discovery Centre which all of the participants have been invited to attend. All of the entries will be on display in the Children's Section of the Discovery Centre until 9 January 2016.

Speaking ahead of Friday's announcement, Caroline said:

"The young people of Gosport never cease to amaze with their artistic skills, imagination and creativity. There were so many impressive designs that this year we have a shortlist of 12, it was a very tough decision to make but I am thrilled with the final designs that have featured on this year's card.

I hope that all of the young people who took part enjoyed the competition and I would like to thank the schools who co-ordinated the entries."

This year's competition follows on from the success of the 2014 competition which was won by Maia Cooper from Crofton Hammond Infant School.


23 NOV 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO INVEST £178 BILLION IN MILITARY EQUIPMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the Prime Minister's publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and its clear commitment to investing over £178 billion in buying and maintaining military equipment over the next decade. This will directly benefit the Solent region by providing job security to local servicemen and women and the defence industry, which drives our local economy.

The SDSR is the Government's foremost document on defence strategy. Together with the National Security Strategy it reviews the threats the UK faces, what capabilities the UK needs to respond to them and how to configure the Armed Forces accordingly. The last SDSR made significant cuts to Armed Forces personnel and equipment. However, the global context has shifted significantly since 2010, with new developments including Russia's actions on NATO's eastern flank and the rise of the Islamic State, which are at the forefront of national attention following on from the tragic events in Paris.

The Prime Minister today confirmed that the Ministry of Defence will be purchasing a new squadron of 24 F35 Joint Striker aircraft. These will be available on our two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers by 2023, ensuring their long lifespan. Both of the new carriers currently under construction will be brought into operation, ensuring that a carrier is available at all times. This is excellent news for the Solent region as Portsmouth Naval Base will be home to the two aircraft carriers and these are the largest ships that the Royal Navy has ever had under its command.

In addition, the Government announced the creation of two new strike brigades, forces of up to 5,000 personnel each, fully equipped to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field; nine new maritime patrol aircrafts to protect our nuclear deterrent; £2bn for the SAS and other special forces; 2 typhoon squadrons; 8 type 26 frigates and at least another 5 frigates; £1.9bn to be spent on cyber-security; and the replacement of the strategic nuclear deterrent (Trident).

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"The publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review brings fantastic news for our local area. The commitment to making both Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers operational with a new F35 aircraft squadron will ensure that Portsmouth's historical status as the centre of the British Navy will be maintained. The Government's commitment to significant military expenditure will also provide job security for our area long into the future.

"In the current geo-political climate, these measures are vital for ensuring national security. We have no way of knowing precisely what course events will take over the next five years but the announcements made in the SDSR will ensure our Armed Forces and security services have the versatility and means to keep us safe."

The Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

"Our renewed economic security means we can afford to further invest in our national security – and this Government has taken a clear decision to do so. This is vital at a time when threats to our country are growing. The Strategic Defence and Security Review presents a clear vision for a secure and prosperous United Kingdom, with global reach and global influence."

The United Kingdom is the only major country in the world which is simultaneously going to meet the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of our GDP on defence and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of our GNI on development, while also increasing investment in our security and intelligence agencies and in counter-terrorism. This means the defence budget will rise by 0.5% above inflation each year from 2016-17 to 2020-21.


23 NOV 2015

CAROLINE VISITS HARBOUR CANCER SUPPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage visited a local charity, Harbour Cancer Support Centre, on Friday.

Harbour Cancer Support Centre offers support to anyone who is affected by cancer across the South East of Hampshire. They run a variety of services including; advice & information, a drop in centre, counselling, befriending and support for Children.

Harbour Cancer Support rely entirely on donations and fundraising which they do throughout the year. Their next event is a Christmas Fayre which will be held on Saturday 28 November from 10am – 3pm at St Mary's Church Hall.

They also collect ink & toner cartridges, mobile phones, stamps, milk bottle tops and foreign coins. If you would like to donate any of these items, please drop them to the Harbour Cancer Support Centre in Gosport Bus Station or Unit 26 Fareham Shopping Centre.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"It was great to visit the Harbour Cancer Support Centre to see the amazing work that they do and how they touch people's lives.

I met various people involved in the organisation including staff, counsellors and service-users to hear how vital this support is to many people in our community and the enormous difference that their amazing volunteers make."

For more information about Harbour Cancer Support Centre and the services they provide, please visit www.harbourcancer.org.uk.


17 NOV 2015

CAROLINE TO HOST STUDENT DEBATE TO MARK PARLIAMENT WEEK

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will celebrate Parliament Week with a student debate and Q&A session at Bay House School on Friday.

Parliament Week is a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy. The annual initiative kicked off yesterday, running until Sunday 22nd November and is co-ordinated by the House of Commons with support from the House of Lords.

Caroline will play the role of Speaker, while Bay House School students take part in a lively debate & Parliament-style vote on the subject of "a Living Wage for those aged 16 and over". She will then have a question and answer session with pupils about her day-to-day life as the Member of Parliament for Gosport.

Speaking before the visit, Caroline said:

"It is vital to engage young people with politics and Parliament Week is a great initiative to get them involved. I always enjoy hearing from young people in our area about the issues they are most passionate about.

I am looking forward to meeting the students and listening to their opinions on a topic which is very big issue in Parliament at the moment."

For more information about Parliament Week, please visit www.parliamentweek.org


16 NOV 2015

CAROLINE BACKS GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is backing Global Entrepreneurship Week which runs from today until Friday.

Enterprise First are holding four free events across Gosport for local people to gain support to help start or grow their business. There will be a variety of events including; a Business Start-up Workshop, a Meet the Local Expert session, Gosport Informal Network meeting and an Introduction to Bookkeeping Workshop.

Caroline Dinenage MP will be dropping into the 'Introduction to Bookkeeping' Workshop on Friday 20 November.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"Global Entrepreneurship Week is a great way of inspiring people who are thinking about starting their own business. Previously starting up a small business myself, I know that however rewarding the experience is, the obstacles to getting started are daunting.

The range of events that Enterprise First are putting on are a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to get the support and guidance they need to get started or grow their business into a real success story."

For more information about the free events being held by Enterprise First please visit http://www.enterprisefirst.co.uk/events/.


13 NOV 2015

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT AT DAEDALUS

Today it was announced that National Grid is planning a major new energy infrastructure project linking the UK's electricity network to France, with proposals for the UK connection point being located on the Fareham side of the Daedalus site.

Investment of this nature is crucial to ensuring that the UK's future energy supply is secure, affordable, sustainable and resilient. It will guarantee that we are able to keep the lights on post 2020 and help reduce energy bills for consumers.

The electricity interconnector would be capable of exchanging 1,000 megawatts of power between the two countries, enough to run over 1,000,000 homes. It would link to the electricity network at a replacement substation building at the existing National Grid site near Chilling, Warsash. Undersea cables would run between Daedalus to Chilling, protecting the natural beauty of our unique coastal landscape.

Interconnectors are set to make a bigger contribution to securing UK energy supplies in the future with plans for facilities at Ramsgate in Kent and Blyth in Northumberland underway. The UK's goal is for 10% of our energy to be generated by interconnection by 2020. At present, 50% of energy in France is generated by nuclear means and 20% through hydro techniques, however 70% of the UK's energy supply is still reliant on fossil fuels which has a higher wholesale price.

As well as seeing around £500 million investment into Daedalus, Fareham Borough Council will receive money from the land sale and business rates. There will also be mitigation money for Daedalus which could bring forward plans for the extension and lighting of the runway and a new visitors centre. The brownfield site suggested for the new interconnector had previously been identified for potential gravel extraction or housing.

Fareham Borough Council will seek high quality designs and plans will not be finalised until the Council and residents are totally happy that the site is entirely safe and that there would be no dangerous electro-magnetic field emissions.

The Council will hold a special Community Action Team (CAT) meeting for residents to explain the proposals more fully. This will be held at Stubbington Baptist Church on 10 December at 7pm. It will be a ticketed event and tickets can be obtained from Fareham Borough Council by emailing cats@fareham.gov.uk or telephoning 01329 236100.

There will also be a number of information events running across the area in the coming weeks. The details are as follows:

· Tuesday 8th December – Lockswood Community Centre, Locks Heath, 1.30pm-5.30pm

· Wednesday 9th December – St Faith's Parish Centre, Lee-on-the-Solent, 4pm – 8pm

· Thursday 10th December - Stubbington Baptist Church, Stubbington, 3pm-7pm

· Friday 11th December - Warsash Victory Hall, Warsash, 4pm – 8pm

· Saturday 12th December - Crofton Community Centre, Stubbington, 10am – 4pm

For more information, contact the community information line by phone on 0800 0194 576 or visit the project website: www.ifa2interconnector.com.


13 NOV 2015

CAROLINE HOLDS DISABILITY CONFIDENT EVENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted her much anticipated Disability Confident event, giving local businesses an understanding of why they should take on disabled jobseekers and the support available to them to do so.

The event was attended by businesses from across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, including QinetiQ, Huhtamaki, Tesco and Thorngate Almhouse Trust as well as local schools. Delegates heard from a range of speakers: employers, employees with physical disabilities and learning difficulties and providers of employment support, all of whom offered a valuable insight into the importance of making businesses accessible to disabled jobseekers. The key note speaker was former BBC The Apprentice contestant, Pamela Uddin who is dyslexic and dyspraxic and runs a successful company educating employers in maximising their business potential by promoting inclusivity.

Held at St Vincent College in Gosport, the event gave businesses a chance to build valuable links between schools and providers, bridging the gap between education and employment. Attendees were also asked to make pledges, detailing how they hoped to make changes to their employment practice, enabling them to take on disabled jobseekers more easily.

Commenting after the event, Caroline said:

“People with either physical disabilities or learning difficulties have a huge amount to offer growing businesses so it is important their skills are tapped into, however the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is currently at thirty per cent. Having heard from speakers who are living with these difficulties it is clear that businesses need to be doing more to make the workplace more accessible.

Today’s event is the first step towards breaking down the barriers which prevent disabled jobseekers here in the Gosport constituency from getting into work. I know that those who attended were inspired by our fantastic speakers and I’m confident that they will do their best to meet the commitments that they have made today.”

The Disability Confident campaign was established by the Prime Minister in 2013 and is run by the Department for Work and Pensions. So far, 238,000 have found work and the Prime Minister has made a commitment to get one million more disabled people into work.


11 NOV 2015

CAROLINE TO HOLD DISABILITY CONFIDENT EVENT ON FRIDAY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is set to host an event this Friday to encourage businesses to take on disabled job seekers.

The Disability Confident event is run in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions and will be held at St Vincent College on Friday morning. It is designed to break down the barriers which prevent many disabled people from getting into the work places whilst challenging negative attitudes towards disability.

Speakers include former The Apprentice contestant, Pamela Uddin who is dyslexic and dyspraxic, Disability Confident employer Barclays and representatives from Jobcentre Plus and Remploy. They will talk about their experiences be it getting into work, employing disabled job seekers or helping businesses to understand the benefits of becoming a Disability Confident employer.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"With an employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people of approximately thirty per cent, it is clear that we must take action to help disabled people get into the work place.

Friday's event will be a great opportunity for businesses from across the Gosport constituency to come together to learn about the importance of being a Disability Confident employer and make pledges on the small changes they can make to their organisation to become more accessible to disabled job seekers.

I would encourage any local employer to come along – there are still some places left!"

You can read more about the Disability Confident campaign here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign.

The event will take place at St Vincent College on Friday 13th November from 1030 to 1400. For more information, call 0207 219 7078 or email caroline.dinenage.mp@parliament.uk.


09 NOV 2015

CAROLINE HELPS GOSPORT GET READY FOR WINTER

With winter on the way, local MP Caroline Dinenage has called on the people of Gosport to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

Caroline recently met with British Gas in Parliament to learn about schemes which can help constituents get ready for winter and cope with the cost of bills. One of the schemes she learned about was the British Gas Energy Trust (BGET), which provides funding, face-to-face advice and grants to clear household debts. Applicants don't have to be British Gas customers so click here for more information.  

In addition, Government led programs can help you keep warm this winter. For example, if you meet certain criteria you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount. This forms part of the Government's commitment to making homes warmer, tackling fuel poverty and driving down bills for a million more homes by 2020.

One of the best ways to be energy efficient and keep your home warm for the long-term is to insulate it. As part of the Government's Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which supports low-income and vulnerable houses in making home-improvements, British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation. This may help you save hundreds of pounds per year on energy bills: loft insulation can save up to £140 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £160 per year in a typical semi-detached home. To find out if your home is suitable call British Gas free on 0800 316 4051 or visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/insulation.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"I am really pleased that the Government is committed to helping people get winter ready and cope with the costs of heating. It's wonderful that energy suppliers such as British Gas are backing this.

"There's lots of advice around about energy efficiency and keeping bills under control. Schemes include the Home Heat Helpline - a free, impartial and confidential service offering support including grants for insulation & new boilers, discount schemes and rebate schemes."

The Home Heat Helpline number is 0800 33 66 99 or 0333 300 3366.


06 NOV 2015

CAROLINE VISITS THE GOSPORT YOUTH PROJECT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage visited the Gosport Youth Project as part of the National Youth Agency's National youth work week.

Gosport Youth Project supports young people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender and is one of the LGBT groups which Y Services run for young people across Gosport, Fareham and Havant. Y Services are involved in delivering quality LGBT youth work because they want to ensure that young people have the opportunity to explore their sexuality and identity in a safe and supportive environment. All young people need to be able to be who they are without fear of judgment, prejudice or discrimination.

Following the visit, Caroline commented:

"I was delighted to meet with the Gosport Youth Project and to hear how vital LGBT support groups are, everyone deserves to be in a safe and understanding environment. I am so pleased that we have these valuable groups in our constituency.

When I visited, the Young People discussed their views on current topics with me; both local constituency issues as well as issues that come under my capacity as Minister for Equalities. It was interesting to hear the suggestions and ideas that they had."

For more information about the Gosport Youth Project, please contact Dawn Tracy on dawn@yservices.co.uk or on 07503 353636.


02 NOV 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES ENGLISH VOTES FOR ENGLISH LAWS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the successful passage of the Government's proposals for English votes for English laws through the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 October following a debate in the chamber. This addresses the so-called "West Lothian question" where English MPs could not vote on matters which have been devolved to other parts of the UK, but Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs could vote on those same matters when the UK Parliament was legislating solely for England.

Under the proposals, English MPs will have a fairer say over laws that affect only their constituencies and have already been devolved elsewhere. During a new stage of Parliamentary consideration called the 'Legislative Grand Committee', MPs with constituencies in England (and, where relevant, England and Wales) will now be asked to give their consent to legislation that only affects England (or England and Wales).

Caroline has long campaigned for England to be able to decide its own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of more devolved parts of the UK are able to do. In the last Parliament, she set up a petition online and in her Gosport office calling for English votes for English laws to be introduced as soon as possible. Almost 400 local people signed the petition, which Caroline then formally delivered it to the Speaker in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"I am so pleased that the House of Commons has passed the Government's proposals for English Votes for English Laws because this will ensure that English people have more of a voice over matters that only affect them. This is crucial for creating a fairer system and a stronger Union. It is wonderful to think that the views of the local people who signed my petition played an important part in bringing about this change."

Chris Grayling MP, leader of the House of Commons said:

"We have delivered our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws. We are determined to strengthen the Union – we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny. Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union."

All MPs will continue to debate and vote on legislation at Second Reading, Third Reading and Report stage. This ensures that new laws are made with the agreement of the whole House of Commons, but that English (and Welsh) laws will only be made with the consent of MPs who represent those parts of the country. As part of the Government's commitment to devolving powers in a fair and balanced way, the proposals will be reviewed after 12 months to ensure the process is working effectively.


29 OCT 2015

HMS SULTAN JOINS LONDON POPPY DAY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today thanked personnel from HMS Sultan for taking part in London Poppy Day, selling poppies at London Bridge Station from dawn until dusk.

London Poppy Day is a campaign led by the Royal British Legion to raise money to support service men and women, veterans and their families. Each year, uniformed personnel and volunteers hit mainline and underground stations across the capital to sell poppies ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11th.

Caroline commented:

"I was extremely proud to see so many personnel from HMS Sultan giving up their time to raise vital funds for the Royal British Legion which does such incredible work in supporting our Armed Forces community. They had an exceptionally long day having got up at 4:30am to be selling poppies by 6:00am – when I saw them they were bracing themselves for the evening rush of commuters!

It is important that each year we remember the huge sacrifices that these brave people make to keep us safe and I was delighted to thank our local service men and women for supporting this hugely worthwhile campaign."

Since first becoming elected in 2010, Caroline has always stood up for the interests of the Armed Forces both locally and nationally. She led the campaign to secure the Arctic Star medal for veterans of the Arctic Convoy, twice fought to protect the Royal Naval School of Engineering at HMS Sultan from relocating to south Wales and helped to reinstate the Home to Duty Travel Allowance for service personnel commuting on the Gosport Ferry.


29 OCT 2015

THE TAMPON TAX VOTE

Social media is a fantastic tool for people to communicate with their MP and vice versa. The downside is when people see an issue in only black and white, and don't hesitate to criticise. Sadly politics - and indeed life, is rarely that straightforward!

A classic example is the criticism which I, and many of my colleagues have received for voting "against" a Labour amendment to the Finance Bill regarding the so-called "tampon tax". I thought it would be helpful to explain my position and that of the Government.

As background, I firmly believe that women's sanitary products are neither a non-essential item, nor a luxury, as they are currently defined under EU tax rules. In my view, women shouldn't be taxed for these basic and utterly essential items - in fact this was an issue I campaigned on during the last Parliament.

Thanks to a recent petition it has again come on to the political agenda. At this point I again raised my concerns, as did many other colleagues. Thanks to this pressure the Government listened and agreed to discuss this issue with the European Commission. Clearly a direct appeal from the Prime Minister is a much more effective and appropriate way to address this indisputable inequity.

It was unfortunate that this policy change was not recognised by the opposition and a vote was called, dividing us into two crude camps of for and against when in fact we are all on the same side!

As the founding lady of this campaign said:

"...today's outcome can still be chalked up as a success. This is the first time the Government has made a commitment to ending sanitary tax and it's something us campaigners won't forget."

So I hope that reassures those who simply look at the voting record, or believe the noise on social media, that I and other female (and male) colleagues have been working on this issue for some time and welcome the strong commitment from the Minister to do something about this.

But don't take my word for it - please read the full article from Laura Coryton, the leading campaigner on this here


27 OCT 2015

CAROLINE TO JOIN LOCAL POPPY SELLERS IN LONDON

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will join service personnel from her constituency as she gives her support to the London Poppy Day campaign, collecting donations at a London railway station.

This year, London Poppy Day is taking place on Thursday 29th October when thousands of uniformed personnel and volunteers will hit mainline and tube stations across the capital, selling poppies and raising money for the Royal British Legion. Caroline is set to join forces with personnel from HMS Sultan at London Bridge station and contribute to the attempt to exceed the £1 million fundraising target.

Speaking ahead of London Poppy Day, Caroline said:

"As MP for a constituency with very close links to our Armed Forces, I know only too well how important the support provided by the Royal British Legion is to serving personnel, veterans and their families. The money raised by the sale of the emblematic red poppy is crucial to ensuring that the Legion is able to reach individuals and families across the country which is why I am thrilled to be contributing to the fundraising efforts next week.

However, this campaign isn't only about raising money – it is also about raising awareness of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve or have served in our Armed Forces."

To find out more about London Poppy Day, click here.


26 OCT 2015

CAROLINE VISITS GOSPORT AND FAREHAM SPORTING CLAY CLUB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage visited Gosport and Fareham Sporting Clay Club and took part in a Clay Pigeon Shoot.

The Gosport and Fareham Sporting Clay Club Shoot is located in Lee-on-Solent and are a small and friendly clay target shooting club that meets every two weeks. The Shoot has been established for over 50 years and has many members.

Following the visit, Caroline commented:

"I was delighted to attend a Shoot with the Gosport and Fareham Sporting Clay Club, although I wasn't much of a hot-shot myself it was interesting to find out about the club and the competitions that they take part in.

It was great to meet the members and experience the leisure activity which they enjoy so much."

For more information about Gosport and Fareham Sporting Clay Club please visit http://www.gosportfarehamsportingclayclub.com/.


20 OCT 2015

CAROLINE BACKS LETHAL HIGHS CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed a campaign to promote an understanding of new psychoactive substances (NPS), launched yesterday by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's Youth Commission.

Part of the problem surrounding NPS, also known as legal highs is the lack of information surrounding them, both in terms of advice and usage. This campaign is aimed at finding out what people know about legal highs and gaining an understanding of how many people are using them. The Youth Commission has therefore created a survey for local people to complete.

Commenting on the campaign, Caroline said:

"Legal highs should be re-named lethal highs; the prolific use of them, particularly amongst young people in our area is a grave cause for concern. For that reason it is absolutely right that the Youth Commission should be conducting research into the usage of these substances locally in order to gain a more informed idea of the action that needs to be taken.

The bigger the dataset the better so please do take a minute to complete this survey."

The survey can be found here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2374959/Lethal-Highs-survey.


19 OCT 2015

CAROLINE MEETS WITH FIRST BUS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage recently met with Marc Reddy, Regional Commercial & Business Growth Director, First Bus.

Caroline regularly meets with the company to raise her constituents concerns with regard to bus routes/stops and to discuss how the profits from the Bus Rapid Transit scheme will be re-invested locally.

At this meeting Mark also updated Caroline about the £3 million investment First Bus are making in 17 new buses called the “Solent Rangers” which will serve the X4 and X5 routes. These new buses will have 'next stop announcements', particularly helpful for those who are visually impaired. This facility will also soon be rolled out to most of the other First buses.

She was also shown the new automatic vehicle location technology which means First Bus can now monitor more easily how efficiently buses are running and can improve the timetables and routes to reflect the data they have obtained. This system is also enabling the real time information shown on electronic screens at some bus stops. This information can now be obtained by anyone with a smart phone by scanning the QR code on a stop or by using the First Bus App.

Commenting on the information, Caroline said:

“It was great to meet with First Buses to discuss the improvements and innovative ideas that they are using. They now have a mobile app where you can pre-pay for your bus tickets for both adults and children, meaning boarding the bus is quicker and easier.

I was also able to raise constituents concerns regarding various routes and the positions of bus stops. First Bus are going to carry out site visits to the areas discussed. First have a commitment to invest some of their profits from the successful Bus Rapid Transit back into further bus improvements in our area, it was helpful to talk about how that money might be used.”

To keep up to date with the improvements First Bus are making locally visit http://www.firstgroup.com/portsmouth-fareham-gosport.


14 OCT 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES LAUNCH OF PUBLIC ACCESS DEFIBRILATORS SCHEME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed a new campaign by the British Heart Foundation and the Department of Health to make public access defibrillators (PADs) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training more widely available across England.

Nearly 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital each year, with fewer than one in ten surviving. However, a bystander giving immediate CPR and defibrillation can potentially double chances of survival. Currently, only 38 per cent of the public are aware they can use PADs in an emergency and only 22 per cent say they would be confident to do so. For this reason, the BHF will be accepting applications for PADs and CPR training kits from organisations such as charities, community groups and social enterprises. This is enabled by a £1 million grant from the Department of Health and forms part of the British Heart Foundation's "Nation of Lifesavers Campaign", which seeks to equip people across Britain with the vital skills they need to become potential lifesavers.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"I was really shocked to learn that less than 10 per cent of people who suffer a cardiac arrest survive. Therefore, I welcome the scheme launched by the British Heart Foundation and the Department of Health this month to make public access defibrillators and CPR training more widely available across England.

This represents a really important opportunity for local communities to work together to help improve survival rates of people suffering cardiac arrests. I really hope Gosport groups get involved and I have written to a number of organisations urging them to make an application."

It is vital that members of the public have access to these PADs, and therefore, applicants should be able to demonstrate its accessibility, preferably on a 24/7 basis. Furthermore, applicants should be prepared to commit to training within the local community and be able ensure the PAD is well maintained. A full criterion for applicants and details on how to apply are available here.


09 OCT 2015

CAROLINE VISITS MILITARY CHARITIES AT CASTAWAY HOUSE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today visited Castaway House in Portsmouth to meet staff and volunteers from Armed Forces charities operating locally.

Castaway House is home to a number of charities and organisations which offer welfare and financial support to service men and women, veterans and their families. During today's visit, Caroline heard from the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, Seafarers UK, the Women's Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust and the Naval Families' Federation as well as the Naval, Military and Air Force Bible Society, Aggie's and the Regular Forces Employment Association.

Many of the organisations that Caroline heard from have benefited from the Chancellor's decision to channel the LIBOR fines which were levied from banks following the manipulation of interest rates scandal to military charities.

Following the visit, Caroline commented:

"With such a large Armed Forces community in our area, it is incredibly reassuring to know that we have fantastic charities operating in their interest. At Castaway House there are organisations to meet the needs of a wide range of people who are involved with the military and I know that their support is invaluable.

I was delighted to receive an update on the great work that each of the organisations have been doing in recent months and to hear about their plans for the future."

Caroline is a keen supporter of our Armed Forces and has worked hard to protect the military community since she was first elected in 2010. She has campaigned to save HMS Sultan, helped restore the Home to Duty travel allowance for service personnel travelling on the Gosport Ferry and called for fairness for War Widows' Pensions.


09 OCT 2015

CAROLINE AWARDS £26,000 TO LOCAL CHARITIES AT HMS SULTAN


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday helped award a total of £26,000 to local charities at the HMS Sultan's Charity Cheque Presentation alongside commanding officer Captain Trevor Gulley.

These funds were raised at the Sultan Summer Show, a hugely popular event that takes place in Gosport every year. At the show, a variety of exciting acts put on spectacular performances. This year, crowds enjoyed high adrenaline Motorcycle Display Teams and the more traditional Steam Fayre and Festival Circus as well as music, foods and rides. HMS Sultan are dedicated to putting the money raised from this event to good use throughout the community, supporting local charitable organisations.

This year, the Summer Show raised an amazing £26,000, which was divided up between a total of 39 groups and charities. Some examples of local recipients include First Gosport Scouts; Gosport Men's Shed; the KIDS Family Centre Fareham and Gosport Partners through Pain.

Speaking after the presentation, Caroline said:

"I was so honoured to be invited by HMS Sultan to help Captain Gulley award cheques to local charities at HMS Sultan's Charity Cheque Presentation today. The Sultan Summer Show, as well as providing a wonderful day out for local families, serves an amazing charitable purpose – delivering vital funds to support local charitable organisations.

These local charities are the bedrock of our local community, providing much-needed services and boosting community spirit and I know just how important this money is to help them continue their excellent work. I would like to take this opportunity to commend our voluntary organisations and all the team at HMS Sultan for making Gosport and Fareham such a wonderful place to live."


08 OCT 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES ARMED FORCES’ BUSINESSES GROWTH FUND

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and X-Forces have partnered to launch a new growth fund for Armed Forces' businesses.

The fund is specifically designed to help young and start-up businesses from the military community in the Solent region. It will provide crucial growth capital, while the partnership will support and mentor businesses throughout their early years.

A launch event at Portsmouth Dockyard has been organised for 15 October to introduce the fund. This provides a great opportunity for service leavers, veterans, families, reservists and cadets to learn more about the enterprise resources available for Armed Forces in the Solent Region. They will also be able to network with local businesses, hear about X-Forces and the MiliTech program and experience Google's Digital Garage. Speakers will be present from the Government and the Armed Forces community.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"In Gosport, we have a huge Armed Forces community and I know just how difficult it can sometimes be for our service men and women to adjust to life in civvy street. One great way is through enterprise, which enables them to pursue innovative business ideas and use their considerable and diverse skills and expertise.

I am so pleased, therefore, that the Solent LEP and X-Forces are helping to cultivate local businesses through this exciting fund. By focusing on military ventures they will be tapping into a huge field of talent and enthusiasm and I am sure that their guidance and capital will provide the environment in which Armed Forces' businesses can grow and prosper."

More information about the fund and event can be found here.


06 OCT 2015

CAROLINE TO HOST DISABILITY CONFIDENT EVENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is set to host an event next month which will encourage employers to make the most of the talent that exists amongst disabled people in the local area.

The Disability Confident event is part of a Department for Work and Pensions initiative to help get disabled people into work. It will ensure businesses across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head understand the financial, operational and social benefits of being Disability Confident employers.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"Disabled people have a huge amount to offer local businesses which is why I am so keen to encourage employers to understand the business benefits of taking on disabled job seekers.

I'm hoping that my Disability Confident event will promote a greater appreciation of how employees with physical disabilities and those with learning difficulties can be a great asset to employers and to ensure that disabled people living in our area have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations."

The event is taking place at St Vincent College on Friday 13th November and is open to employers across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head. For more information and to register, please contact Caroline Dinenage on caroline.dinenage.mp@parliament.uk or 0207 219 7078.


06 OCT 2015

CAROLINE VISITS TEACHING HUB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage visited Harrison Primary school in Fareham to find out more about the Pioneer Teaching Alliance and the School Centre for Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

The Fareham and Gosport Primary SCITT, run a Primary PGCE course where trainee teachers spend four days a week in schools across the area, working alongside an expert class teacher, whilst meeting together at a partner school once a week to work towards a qualified teaching status. 23 trainee teachers took the course last year and 100% of them have gained employment for the start of the 2015 school year, mostly within Fareham and Gosport Schools.

They are now recruiting next years' trainees and keen to hear from anyone in the local area with a degree qualification who is thinking about a career in teaching.

The Pioneer Teaching Alliance has been in place for 4 years and has been recognised for its impact on school improvement across Fareham and Gosport. The Department for Education has identified that work undertaken by the Alliance has improved outcomes for young people in the area.

Caroline commented after the visit:

"Education is vitally important so it is lovely to see the schools of Gosport and Fareham working together to try and improve standards in our local schools.

We are always on the look out for more great teachers in our area and the SCITT course delivers a winning combination of valuable practical experience along with excellent training and support."

Carolyn Clarke Executive Headteacher of Harrison Primary School & Director of Pioneer Teaching Alliance said:

"It was great to work with Caroline on Friday, you can see how passionate she is about schools and education for young people and we are looking forward to working with her further in the near future."

For more information or if you are interested in the Primary PCGE please visit www.pioneeralliance.co.uk.


02 OCT 2015

CAROLINE VISITS WOMEN’S REFUGES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage visited both Gosport and Fareham women's refuges today.

Southern Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS) provides services to women, children and men who have experienced or who are experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse in their relationships. They manage refuges offering support and temporary accommodation to women and children who are escaping domestic abuse as well as offering outreach to women, children and men not staying in the refuge but still in need of advice, support and information.

Caroline met with the residents at both the Gosport and Fareham refuges as well as the support workers and the outreach workers who support domestic abuse victims in our communities.

Caroline commented after the visit:

"We must do all we can in Gosport and around the country to protect women who are vulnerable to domestic violence. The work that Southern Domestic Abuse Service does is vital to many individuals across our area.

It was brilliant to see the help and support that domestic abuse sufferers can get and how they can turn their lives around. The services they provide to everyone who is affected can be lifesaving!"

Claire Chatwin, chief executive of SDAS said:

"We were delighted that Caroline was able to visit both the Gosport and Fareham refuges and meet residents and staff to find out more about the vital services we provide to women and their children. A refuge is a place where women can be sure they are safe, and where they can access emotional and practical support from staff who understand what they have been through.

Caroline was also able to meet staff that deliver services to women, children and men living in the local community and find out more about Southern Domestic Abuse Services to victims and survivors we are able to support to remain safely in their own homes. It is important that we are able to continue to provide a range of services to meet the needs of all women, children, young people and men affected by domestic abuse"

If you are affected by domestic abuse please contact SDAS on 01329 285375 or for more information please visit http://www.southerndas.org/.


01 OCT 2015

NEW ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE HELPING GOSPORT ENTREPRENEURS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that 130 people in Gosport have been supported to start their own business since April 2011 thanks to the Government's New Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

The allowance – which supports people on out of work benefits to start their own business – has helped more than 73,000 people across the country set up businesses since it was introduced in April 2011.

The support available to people starts with help from a business mentor to develop their business idea. Then, once they have got the business up and running, and have moved off benefits, they are eligible for 26 weeks of financial support as they get their business going. To date, 90 people in Gosport have received mentoring support while 40 have successfully established a new business.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline said:

"I'm so pleased that people in Gosport have been able to get off of benefits and realise their dream of starting their own business and being their own boss. Small enterprises are a hugely important part of our community and vital to local jobs.

"Supporting small businesses is an important part of the Government's commitment to backing working people. There's certainly more to do, but these figures show that this support is giving people the promise of a brighter future. Each new job these businesses create in Gosport represents another family with the security and dignity of regular work and a regular pay packet."

If you have a great business idea and are interested in the money and support offered by the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme, talk to your local Jobcentre Plus adviser. More information about eligibility can be found here.


29 SEP 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES OPPORTUNITY FOR GOSPORT BUSINESSES TO JOIN THE UK SOUTH COAST MARINE CLUSTER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed an exclusive opportunity for Gosport businesses to join the South Coast Marine Cluster and get involved with international maritime trading events.

Portsmouth and Plymouth City Councils have received funding to help local marine businesses attend world-leading marine and maritime trade events this Autumn and Winter at a very reduced fee with grants available, saving up to 80% on normal prices. An example of an event on offer is 'Oceans 2015' – North America's premier conference and trade show focusing on advances in marine technology.

Gosport marine companies, as part of the Solent's Marine Industry, are eligible to apply.

Commenting on the funding scheme, Caroline said:

"Joining the South Coast Marine Cluster and attending these prestigious worldwide events offers an exciting opportunity for Gosport companies to promote their business overseas and potentially expand into an international market.

"In an increasingly globalised industry it is vital that the Solent region, a hub of maritime excellence, can contend with international competitors. It is therefore wonderful news that funding is being made available to help businesses meet the costs of travelling overseas to promote their products and services."

To see all of the events available and to apply for funding please click here


25 SEP 2015

CAROLINE MEETS WITH PLANET ICE

Many local people have recently expressed concern about a change in the coaches' contracts at Planet Ice, Gosport and fears of possible price increases and a potential closure of the rink. Caroline met with a representative of Planet Ice her constituents concerns.

After the meetings, Caroline said:

"I fully understand the concerns that people had regarding the future of ice skaters and Gosport Ice Rink and met with Planet Ice to discuss the issues which had been brought to my attention. I hope that users of the Rink will find the company's response reassuring."

Planet Ice has answered a number of questions posed by Caroline in a summary document which can be found here.


22 SEP 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES PLANNING POLICY CHANGES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Department for Communities and Local Government about changes to planning policy, which help to restore fairness to the system and ensure all communities are treated equally.

Two key reforms have been introduced. Firstly, anyone from the travelling community who no longer travels will have their planning application considered in the same way as any other member of the settled population. This means that special planning rules designed to support England's travelling community will only apply to those who lead a genuine travelling lifestyle.

Secondly, greater protection for the Green Belt has been authorised. Councils must now place stricter limits on the number of new traveller sites developed in open countryside, particularly in Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

Commenting on the new planning policy, Caroline said:

"I think it is vitally important that we protect open spaces on the Gosport peninsula by providing councils and the police with a range of appropriate powers.

Moreover, it is right that today, when housing is in short supply, planning applications are considered in a fair and just manner. For these reasons I welcome the DCLG's new Planning Policy."

You can find more information on the new Planning Policy here.


17 SEP 2015

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERIES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is taking her advice surgeries into the heart of local communities once again this September.

Following the success of previous open surgeries, Caroline will be running a series of sessions throughout the constituency over the coming week. The surgeries, which are open to all constituents without the need for an appointment, will be taking place in Peel Common, Gosport High Street, Bridgemary, Elson and Stubbington.

The September tour is part of Caroline's commitment to listening to and helping all residents, regardless of where they live in the constituency.

Caroline commented on the surgery tour, saying:

"Every single one of my constituents – from the tip of the Gosport Peninsula to the Borough of Fareham – has the right to talk to their MP, raise problems and receive advice.

This surgery tour is a great way for me to hear from those who might not think of coming to my regular surgeries on Stoke Road, and I'd encourage residents from throughout the constituency to pop in and have a chat!"

Full details of the open surgeries are as follows:

Monday 28th September – Carisbrooke Arms from 5.30pm-7.30pm

Tuesday 29th September – Gosport High Street Market Stall from 9.30am-11am

Tuesday 29th September – Bridgemary Library from 11.30am-1pm

Tuesday 29th September – Elson Library from 2pm-3.30pm

Thursday 1st October – Stubbington Library from 9.30am-11am

Please call Caroline's constituency office on 02392 522 121 with any questions about the surgeries.


14 SEP 2015

CAROLINE VISTS K&GO HOLIDAYS AND SOLENT DAY CARE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage visited K&Go holidays and the Solent Day Care Centre on Friday.

K&Go Holidays are a specialist holiday company for adults with physical or learning disabilities, running both day trips and holidays for people across the South Coast. The Old Railway is the new home of K&Go Holidays.

The Solent Day Care Centre in Stoke Road is in its fifth year and provides day care for adults with learning disabilities. They also have a charity shop, Dependent on U, on Brockhurst Road where the users of the Day Care Centre can learn life skills.

After the visit, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to meet the staff and users of these two important services in the Gosport area. So many volunteers work really hard to support those who need it - it's another fantastic example of the strength of our local community.

It was interesting to speak to the management about what they have achieved to date and their plans for the future."

For more information about K&Go Holidays please visit www.kandgo.holiday and for more information about Solent Day Care please visit www.solentdaycare.co.uk


14 SEP 2015

CAROLINE CELEBRATES STOKESMEAD RECOMMENDATION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Inspector's report on the Gosport Borough Local Plan which recommends that the Stokesmead site in Anglesey should be classified as open space.

The site is owned by Abbey Homes who Caroline met with at the end of last year, along with the Chief Executive of Gosport Borough Council and the Chair of Anglesey Conservation Group. Abbey Homes had identified Stokesmead as a site for a future housing development, however local residents were strongly opposed to the site being built on.

Now the Inspector responsible for reviewing the Gosport Borough Local Plan 2011-2029 has stated that the site should be classified as open space as a result of a number of reasons including a high risk of flooding. The Inspector has recommended that the site should instead be used as a children's play area as proposed by Gosport Borough Council.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I'm so pleased to hear that Stokesmead looks set to be protected from development; it is a very special piece of land which is extremely important to the local community. Given its location near the centre of Alverstoke village it is the perfect location for a play area to be enjoyed by local children and I hope that these plans are able to proceed.

Whilst this is just a recommendation from the Inspector, I hope that the developers see fit to comply with his advice."

The Stokesmead site was bought by Abbey Homes from the National Children's Home in 1984 and since then a number of planning applications have been turned down.

In October 2014, a public meeting was held in St. Mary's Church in October attended by over 200 local residents. Last year, Caroline raised the site's future in the House of Commons, when she asked for a debate on land-banking which prohibits the public use of sites such as Stokesmead.


11 SEP 2015

CAROLINE DEFENDS SULTAN AGAIN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Ministry of Defence revealing that the Defence School of Marine Engineering and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School will be remaining at HMS Sultan following a recent Government review.

As part of the Defence Training Review, the Defence Technical Training Change Programme (DTTCP) was established to reform the way in which technical training was delivered to the Armed Forces. Proposals were set out to move the two schools at HMS Sultan to MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire. Since the Review began, Caroline has repeatedly stood up for these two local military training schools; she has written to Defence Ministers calling for the schools to be protected, met with former Defence Minister Anna Soubry MP on the issue and raised the matter during Questions to the Secretary of State for Defence in Parliament.

It has now been decided that it is in the best interest of the Ministry of Defence to maintain the schools at HMS Sultan, both of which will continue to play an invaluable role in forming the UK's Defence College of Training.

Caroline said:

"After months of letter writing and discussions with Ministers, I am thrilled to hear that these two schools which provide outstanding training to Navy personnel and a large number of jobs to local people are set to remain at HMS Sultan. We have a proud history of serving our Armed Forces and training facilities such as these are vital to ensuring that our personnel are equipped with the skills they need to defend our country."

After Caroline was first elected in 2010, she led a similar campaign to protect the Royal Naval School of Engineering at HMS Sultan from relocation to south Wales and since then it has delivered training for service personnel to a level that has been rated 'Outstanding' by OFSTED.


10 SEP 2015

INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY IPSA

Today (10 September), the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) published data stating that Caroline was one of 26 MPs to have an outstanding balance of £13.50 owed to the organisation. Since then, IPSA has confirmed that this was an administration error made on their part and that Caroline does not have any outstanding expenses to be paid. This is set out in the email from IPSA below.

Speaking about the mistake, Caroline said:

"Until today, I was unaware of the outstanding balance of £13.50. I am extremely upset that this inaccurate information has been published and that IPSA's mistake led to my name being incorrectly included on this list. I do appreciate the concerns of local people about this story and am pleased that the situation has now been clarified."

Read the full email from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority received by Caroline this afternoon here.


10 SEP 2015

CAROLINE LOOKS FORWARD TO HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging local people to take advantage of the Gosport Heritage Open Days which are taking place across the area this weekend.

The series of events is once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring Gosport's history and culture to life. In total, there will be 66 events taking place at sited including HMS Alliance, Fort Blockhouse, HMS Sultan and Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery.

This year, for the first time Royal Clarence Yard will be joining the line-up of sites involved. The former Bakery and Slaughterhouse will be open to the public (the first time the Slaughterhouse has been open for over ten years) and guided tours through the Yard will take place on all four days.

Speaking ahead of the events, Caroline said:

"Each year I look forward to the Heritage Open Days which offer local people a terrific insight into our area's rich cultural and military history. We are so lucky to have such a wide range of notable historic sites on our doorstep and I would urge everyone looking for something to do this weekend to get involved with the Open Days.

I am looking forward to dropping into Royal Clarence Yard myself to take a look at the classic buses and HMS Sultan steam lorry on display."

The Heritage Open Days are taking place from today, Thursday 10th September to Sunday 13th September. For a full programme of events and details of availability, visit: http://www.gosportheritage.co.uk/events-2015/find-an-event/.


04 SEP 2015

CAROLINE MEETS WITH W.I.L.D

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, learned more about Interstital Lung Disease earlier today when she met with local campaigner, Gill Southwell from Wessex Interstital Lung Disease support Group (W.I.L.D).

W.I.L.D is a group that was set up in 2014 by local clinicians, patients and volunteers to provide information, support, collaboration and a voice to patients for Southampton, Portsmouth and the surrounding areas with Intersatial Lung Disease (ILD).

Gill's husband sadly died from ILD and she has joined the W.I.L.D. group to campaign for more information and support for ILD sufferers.

There are currently 15,000 people living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a form of ILD, in the UK and the number of people developing and dying of IPF in the UK is rising each year.

After the meeting Caroline said

"The work W.I.L.D does is so important in raising awareness of ILD. The support they provide is so valuable and often desperately needed when sufferers and their families face this illness"

The group holds regular meetings at Fleming Park Bowling Club in Eastleigh. To find out more information about W.I.L.D and the work they do visit www.wildsupport.co.uk.


24 AUG 2015

CAROLINE TO ATTEND FIRST AID TRAINING EVENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will be attending Mum Aid First Aid's training event this Wednesday, 26th August.

Mum Aid First Aid offers affordable first aid training for children and families. Wednesday's event will be free of charge and will educate attendees in baby and adult CPR as well as defibrillation.

Speaking ahead of the session, Caroline said:

"As a parent, I know how frightening it can be when a child becomes unwell which is why it is important that we are well equipped to carry out emergency first aid procedures including CPR and defibrillation.

Being able to act quickly is crucial and can have a dramatic effect on outcomes so I would encourage anyone with small children to come along and learn more about these potentially lifesaving procedures."

The scheme will be running for six weeks at Arty's at The Coach House, 98 Fareham Road, Gosport, PO13 0AG between 7pm and 9pm on Wednesday. For more information visit: http://www.mumaidfirstaid.com/#!cpr/c15cc.


12 AUG 2015

CAROLINE ENCOURAGES PARTICIPATION IN HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging local people to sign up for the Gosport Heritage Open Days which will run from 10th-13th September.

The series of events is once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring Gosport's history and culture to life. Bookings for the 35 events taking place during the Open Days will be available from the Gosport Discovery Centre from 9am on Saturday 15th August.

Highlights from last year include tours of Fort Blockhouse, HMS Sultan, Fort Rowner and Royal Clarence Yard whilst new to the bill this year is a twilight tour of HMS Alliance.

Caroline commented:

"The Heritage Open Days give local people a unique insight into the history of our area by opening up the sites which have a real story to tell about Gosport's role in events of historic significance.

With so many exciting events on offer there is something for all the family so I would really encourage local people to get down to the Discovery Centre on Saturday and put their names down."

From Sunday 16th August, booking can be done by email (tickets@gosportheritage.co.uk) or by telephone to the Tourist Information Centre (023 9252 2944). A full list of events can be found here: www.gosportheritage.co.uk.


30 JUL 2015

GOSPORT INDEPENDENT PANEL CALLS FOR INFORMATION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging anyone who wishes to raise concerns about the treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between the 1980s to early 2000s to contact the Gosport Independent Panel.

The Panel was set up in July 2014 by then Care Minister, Norman Lamb MP to address historic concerns raised by families over a number of years about the initial care of their relatives in Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the subsequent investigations into their deaths. The Panel is chaired by Bishop James Jones and is currently reviewing documentary evidence held by a range of organisations and individuals.

As part of the review, the Panel is inviting anyone who may have concerns to make contact in confidence. A series of adverts are set to appear in the regional press and posters will be displayed in local libraries and other community hubs.

Caroline commented:

"For everyone who has been involved in this case, from bereaved families to hospital staff, it has been a long and difficult journey. I am pleased that the Panel is now at the point where it can reach out to the individuals affected and give them an opportunity to voice their concerns.

I would encourage anyone who has any information, no matter how small it may seem, to get in touch with the Panel and help them to gather the evidence that they need to bring closure to this case."

Bishop James Jones said:

"As Chair of the Panel, I would like to invite anyone who wishes to raise any historic concerns about the treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital to contact the Panel. Many families have concerns about the way their relatives were treated and how their complaints have been handled. I want to make sure families' views are taken into account and fully considered by the Panel."

Since the announcement of the Panel Members and Terms of Reference in December, a significant number of families have already come forward.

If you would like to contact the Panel, you can do so in confidence by completing the contact form at: https://gosportpanel.independent.gov.uk/contact/ or by emailing enquiries@gosportpanel.independent.gov.uk or by calling 0207 972 4212 during normal office hours.


23 JUL 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES HERITAGE OPEN DAYS NEWS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announcing that the organisation will be providing support to the forthcoming Heritage Open Days in Gosport.

The RIBA's public engagement programme, Love Architecture is partnering nationally with Heritage Open Days for the first time this year, with the theme 'Engaging people with the story of buildings – past, present and future'.

Gosport was one of two towns (along with Hastings) selected by the RIBA to receive support through this initiative and therefore specialist historians will lead tours and provide architectural background during the Heritage Open Days which will run from 10th-13th September.

Caroline commented:

"The Gosport peninsula has an incredibly rich history so I am really pleased to hear that the RIBA has decided to support the 21st year of Heritage Open Days here in our area.

The talks and tours are set to provide a real insight into our heritage and it is a great opportunity for young people to learn more about the area in which they live. I would encourage local people to make the most of the forthcoming events by taking a look at what is on offer and marking the date in their diary!"

For more information about the Heritage Open Days and details of the events, please visit: http://bit.ly/1JxneRy.


22 JUL 2015

CAROLINE PRESENTS CITIZENSHIP AWARDS AT CROTON ANNE DALE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage visited Crofton Anne Dale Infant School to present pupils from Year 2 with their citizenship awards last week.

In order to earn a citizenship award, the children have to work in the community for a number of weeks, take part in a hobby regularly and organise an activity or event.

After the presentations, Caroline said:

"It is wonderful to see young people taking part in activities which will help them become citizens who are mindful of our community and actively involved in society.

This initiative encourages young people to take part in extra-curricular activities from an early age and I was delighted to hear from the pupils about the new skills they have developed and hobbies they have found."

Since her election, Caroline has visited all 41 schools in her constituency – many of those on a number of occasions. She takes a great interest in education issues and has helped to secure an additional £13 million in funding for schools since 2010.


20 JUL 2015

CAROLINE URGES COMMUNITIES TO LAUNCH WW1 PROJECTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging communities in her constituency to apply for a portion of the new £4m Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the impact of World War One.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced that new National Lottery money will be available to help communities across the UK mark the centenary of the First World War, following the huge success of its community grants programmes, First World War: Then and Now.

Between 2015 and 2016, communities looking to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War will be able to apply for grants between £3,000 and £10,000.

Commenting on the initiative, Caroline said:

"It is really important that we keep our heritage alive, particularly for younger generations to whom World War One is becoming increasingly distant.

Here on the Gosport peninsula we have a rich military history and plenty of stories to tell so I would encourage communities with an idea for their own project to get in touch with the Heritage Lottery Fund."

For more information about how to apply, visit: www.hlf.org.uk.


17 JUL 2015

GOSPORT TO FORM NEW COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Department for Communities and Local Government that Gosport has been successful in its bid from the Coastal Community Fund.

The area has been chosen as one of 28 tasked with reviving the South East's seaside towns which will share the £1 million fund set aside to support the initiative. It will also be able to bid for up to a £50,000 share of a new £3 million Coastal Revival Fund to support or restore local heritage and facilities which benefit the wider community.

Centred on the waterfront and town centre, the Gosport Coastal Community Team will use the grant awarded to develop an Economic Plan and attract further funding into the area. The Team will build on the work of the emerging town centre business partnership and other established business and community partnerships, including the Town Team and Gosport Marine Scene. As well as involving representatives from these groups, the Coastal Community Team will bring together other business and partner organisations that have a stake in the area.

Commenting on the good news, Caroline said:

"This is a terrific opportunity for us to further solidify our area's reputation as a fantastic marine location and great place for business and leisure. It shows that the Government believes in our area, its great economic potential and our strong vision for Gosport's future.

I am looking forward to supporting the team and learning more about its plan for the future – watch this space for more news about this project!"

Since her election in 2010, Caroline has been firmly committed to helping Gosport reach its full potential. She played a key role in establishing the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, came up with the idea for the Gosport Marine Scene and helped to set up the Gosport Town Team.

Other areas selected to form a Coastal Community Team include Dover, Littlehampton, Ramsgate and South Hayling Island. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coastal-community-teams-to-take-control-of-seaside-regeneration.


16 JUL 2015

CAROLINE CELEBRATES UNEMPLOYMENT DROP

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that since 2010 the number of people in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 705 – a 50 per cent drop.

The figures also showed that wages are rising at the fastest rate in real terms since 2007, rising for the eighth month in a row. This means more people are in work, with the security of a good job and a regular pay packet.

Commenting on the good news, Caroline said:

"Thanks to the hard work and determination of local people and the Conservative Party's strong economic plan, we have seen a dramatic reduction in the local unemployment rate over the past five years. This is great news for our area with more financial security for people in work and more families with the stability brought about by a regular income.

I am confident that this Government's policies will help to build on this progress, backing businesses to create more good jobs and supporting those who want to work hard and get on as part of our ambition to achieve full employment."

Across the UK, long-term unemployment has fallen by 184,000 and 92,000 fewer young people are unemployed than a year ago. At the same time, more women are in the labour market with 159,000 more women in work than at the same time last year.

Unemployment in Gosport now stands at 1.5%.


13 JUL 2015

CAROLINE RECEIVES FAIR TRADE PETITION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage met students at Brune Park School on Friday to receive a petition calling for more support to be given to small-scale banana producers.

Students from Brune Park School have been taking part in the 'Make All Bananas Fair' campaign which aims to increase the number of fair trade bananas sold by both ASDA and Tesco to a point where they only sell fair trade bananas like other supermarket chains.

Last year Caroline welcomed a group of Brune Park students to Westminster and joined them as they delivered their petition for a better deal for banana farmers to Downing Street. This was part of the 'Stick with Foncho' fair trade campaign that aims to transform the banana industry to ensure banana farmers and workers are treated fairly.

Caroline said:

"It is great to see young people from our area getting involved with campaigns such as these that can approve the lives of people living across the globe. I was really pleased to hear the students talk with such passion about this issue and to receive their carefully co-ordinated petition."

In 2011 over £1.3 billion worth of fair trade goods were sold in the UK; compared to just £50 million a decade earlier.


13 JUL 2015

CAROLINE CALLS FOR LOCAL INVOLVEMENT IN RAIL CONSULTATION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement that the Department for Transport will soon be launching a full public consultation on the future of railway provision in the South West.

The announcement comes as it was revealed that the Department had been unable to reach an agreement with Stagecoach South West Trains to make a Direct Award for the next South Western rail franchise which will run from February 2017 – April 2019. Therefore, a franchise competition will be launched to ensure that passenger benefits are delivered in a way that achieves best value for taxpayers.

In reaction to the news, Caroline said:

"Whilst it is disappointing to hear that the Department for Transport was unable to reach an agreement with Stagecoach South West Trains, I believe that the launch of a franchise competition will pave the way for the development of an exciting and innovative plan for service provision into the 2020s.

This is a great opportunity for improvements to our local rail connectivity and I would recommend that local people who travel regularly on services from our area respond to the consultation and get their voices heard."

Caroline has long campaigned for better rail services to the Gosport peninsula; in the last Parliament she led debates in the House of Commons, asked questions of Government departments and held meetings with South West Trains.

The Department of Transport has yet to confirm the details of the consultation but once it does so, the details will be posted on Caroline's website.


10 JUL 2015

CAROLINE BACKS SUMMER READING CHALLENGE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging primary school children across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head to get involved in the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge is facilitated by a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK and got 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2014. This year the Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with Guinness World Records to create Record Breakers. When children sign up at the library they will receive a special poster and as they borrow and read library books over the summer, they will collect stickers to complete their poster and discover fascinating facts about record breakers as they go.

The Reading Agency is calling on people of all ages, across the country to pledge to use their local library over the summer and help libraries set a Guinness World Records title. The Gosport Discovery Centre will be collecting pledges between Friday 10 and Monday 13 July.

Speaking in support of the initiative, Caroline said:

"It is really important to get children into reading from an early age as it boosts confidence and improves life chances which is why this campaign is so valuable. I am delighted that Gosport Discovery Centre will be facilitating the Summer Reading Challenge and would urge young people from across our area to get involved.

Last year 26,768 children in Hampshire took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year, show local libraries what a crucial resource they are to us and help set a world record at the same time."

Children can use the special website www.recordbreakers.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 450,000 peer to peer children's book recommendations in child-friendly categories.

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved and resources for schools, visit: www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge.


09 JUL 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES THE CHANCELLOR’S BUDGET

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has commended measures set out in the Chancellor's Budget that will benefit working families across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head.

From next April, the personal tax allowance is set to rise from £10,600 to £11,000 whilst the threshold at which the 40p rate is paid will rise from £42,385 to £43,000. In addition, the Government will introduce a new compulsory National Living Wage for all working people aged 25 and over, meaning 2.5 million people will get a direct pay rise.

Businesses will also benefit as the Employment Allowance is set to rise to £3,000, cutting the jobs tax for firms and corporation tax will also be cut to 18% by 2020 thanks to changes to forthcoming dividend taxation system.

In order to boost productivity, the Government will introduce a new system of Vehicle Excise Duty meaning that from 2020 every penny raised through VED will be reinvested into our roads thus improving connectivity across the UK. It will also put an apprenticeship levy on large firms to fund three million more quality apprenticeships.

Ensuring that taxes are fair, the family home will be taken out of inheritance tax thus raising the effective threshold for most couples to £1 million and non-dom rules will be changed to ensure that British people pay British taxes in Britain.

Speaking in support of the Budget, Caroline commented:

"This is a Budget for the hardworking people of Britain and I am proud of the measures that the Chancellor is putting in place to ensure that we move towards a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy.

Britain is now growing faster than any other major advanced economy thanks to the decisions taken by the previous Conservative-led government and I am confident that over the next five years supportive policies will further boost this growth."

For a detailed breakdown of how today's Budget will benefit people in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, visit: http://caroline4gosport.co.uk/help-/budget-2015.


09 JUL 2015

CAROLINE APPLAUDS COMMITMENT TO NATO PLEDGE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Chancellor's commitment to meeting the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence every year of this decade.

During yesterday's Budget, the Chancellor, George Osborne revealed that the Government would be committing additional resources to defence and security and meeting the NATO pledge.

Towards the end of the last Parliament, Caroline called for this pledge to be met during a debate in the House of Commons, arguing that not doing so would weaken the Armed Forces and damage Britain's standing amongst its allies. Yesterday she applauded George Osborne's decision to commit to this pledge which will protect Britain's Armed Forces and national security.

Speaking after the Budget, Caroline said:

"Today we received very welcome news from the Chancellor about the future of the UK's defence budget and I know that people from across the Gosport constituency will join me in applauding his announcement.

Not only will this decision help to strengthen our Armed Forces and security as a nation, it will also benefit the broader defence industry. Here in Gosport we know only too well how fluctuations in the defence budget can impact upon local economies and the productivity of businesses so I am pleased that the Chancellor has committed to protecting the defence budget until 2020."

Historically, Gosport has very strong links to the Armed Forces with a large proportion of the population working in the Royal Navy and a number of major defence companies choosing to base here. Since first becoming elected in 2010, Caroline has always endeavoured to protect the defence industry; she fought hard to stop the Royal Naval School of Engineering at Sultan from moving to south Wales and helped to secure funding for local defence companies.


08 JUL 2015

CAROLINE COMMENDS GOSPORT’S HEAT HERO

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage joined local lady Carol White as she was named a Heat Hero by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) during an event in Parliament last week.

The Heat Hero Award Scheme recognises individuals across England and Wales who have gone above and beyond in helping people in their community who are struggling to keep their homes warm.

Ms White has worked at Gosport Borough Council for a number of years, going the extra mile to ensure that all people have access to funding and Government schemes to help them heat their homes. She worked on the 'Help is on Hand – Warm & Well' project, working closely with partner organisations to identify and safeguard vulnerable people living in fuel poverty.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"I am so proud that we have individuals such as Carol working hard to support vulnerable people living in our community and I was delighted to see her receive her award.

For many people the cost of heating bills is a real worry and so people like Carol can make a real difference."

Carol was one of eleven winners who gained recognition for their work across England and Wales.


06 JUL 2015

CAROLINE VISITS BARCLAY HOUSE GARDEN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today visited Barclay House's garden and met the volunteers who are tending it.

Barclay House is a council run facility which provides families who find themselves without accommodation with temporary shelter. Resident, Lorraine Brownsea started looking after the garden at the site and has now turned it into a vegetable plot. Her aim was to bring the residents together, help manage stress and give them new life skills.

The vegetable plot now provides produce for the residents of Barclay House and Lorraine continues to volunteer to help maintain the garden and inspire new residents to get involved.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to meet Lorraine and see what she and the residents of Barclay House have achieved. This is a brilliant project which encourages people facing difficult times to get involved with community activities and build support networks with their fellow residents."

Lorraine is looking to expand this project to the other garden of Barclay House and to Agnew House, if you can be of assistance please contact Lorraine via lbrownsea@yahoo.co.uk.


03 JUL 2015

CAROLINE JOINS TESCO NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD COLLECTION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has visited Tesco Superstore in Gosport to participate in the Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection.

This year is Tesco's sixth Neighbourhood Food Collection, in conjunction with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. Tesco now has 500 food collection points in stores across the country, allowing people to donate food all year round.

Since Tesco's first Neighbourhood Food Collection in December 2012, shoppers have donated 21.5 million meals to help FareShare and the Trussell Trust support those people in the community who need our support.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"This is a fantastic event to raise awareness of food collections which take place all year round to help those in need.

Food banks do an incredible job of helping people in our area who find themselves in challenging times and I was overwhelmed by the amount of food donated by our local community."

For more information please visit www.tesco.com/foodcollection.


26 JUN 2015

CAROLINE APPLAUDS SUPPORT FOR NEW BUSINESSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that the Conservatives' Start-Up Loans and New Enterprise Allowance schemes are helping people in Gosport to set up their own business.

Start-Up Loans have helped 20 people in Gosport to set up a business in Gosport with £99,581 worth of loans since the scheme launched in 2012. Meanwhile, the New Enterprise Allowance has also helped another 40 people to launch their business.

Across Britain 30,000 people have now benefitted from the Start-Up Loans scheme – with £155 million lent to help new businesses get going. This is progress towards the Conservatives' commitment to increase the number of loans to 75,000.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"As a small business owner myself, I understand just how important it is to have an injection of cash when you are getting started which is why I am so pleased that new businesses in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head are able to capitalise on these schemes.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, bringing jobs and economic security to communities across the UK. I am proud that the Government is working hard to support them and help them to reach their full potential."

Caroline is passionate about promoting the interests of small businesses. Not only did she set a small manufacturing company up when she was 19, she also sat on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and was Small Business Ambassador for the South in the last Parliament.


25 JUN 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES AFFORDABLE HOUSING FIGURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures showing that the Conservative's long-term economic plan is delivering new affordable homes for families in the Gosport area.

Since 2010 a total of 630 new affordable homes have been built in Gosport. Across the country over 260,000 new homes have been delivered, with nearly 60,000 homes built last year alone – a rise of 63 per cent on the previous 12 months, exceeding the targets originally set by the Government.

Caroline commented:

"Everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own. Our long-term economic plan has turned this around and got Britain building again, with house building now at its highest level since 2007. I am delighted that this has helped to deliver 630 new affordable homes in Gosport since 2010, giving local people the security and peace of mind that comes from owning their own home.

However, it is always important to remember that given Gosport's peninsula location new homes must always be partnered by investment in our roads. I am delighted that Hampshire County Council intend to apply for planning permission for the Stubbington Bypass and upgrade to Newgate Lane South next month. "

The Government is now going further, with work having already begun on building another 275,000 affordable homes across the country over the next five years. This will be the fastest level of house building for 20 years.


24 JUN 2015

CAROLINE COMMENDS LOCAL CITIZENS ADVICE SERVICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has thanked staff and volunteers at Gosport Citizens Advice for providing constituents with advice and support.

At an event in Parliament last week, Caroline met people from across the Citizens Advice service and heard about their experiences of volunteering with this invaluable organisation.

Gosport Citizens Advice provides free confidential and impartial advice to people across the Gosport area both face-to-face and over the telephone. Common issues recorded to Citizens Advice include queries about benefits, debt problems, employment and housing.

Speaking after the event, Caroline commented:

"Here in the Gosport area we have an incredible team of volunteers at Citizens Advice who support local people through difficult times. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of their hard work and dedication to our community.

It is absolutely vital that people across our area have access to this type of help and I am committed to working with Citizens Advice to ensure that is possible."

To contact Gosport Citizens Advice, call: 0844 477 2232 or for more information and to access advice online, visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk.


23 JUN 2015

CAROLINE COMMENDS HELP TO BUY SCHEME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures showing that the Conservatives' Help to Buy scheme has enabled 166 families to get on to the housing ladder in Gosport.

The Help to Buy scheme gives people access to an affordable mortgage with a small deposit and has already assisted 100,000 families to buy their own home – an average of 131 new homeowners every day since the scheme began. Over 80% of those who have been helped are first time buyers and 94% of sales were outside London.

Caroline said:

"When the Conservative Party came into office in 2010 there were too many hardworking people unable to buy their own home because they couldn't afford the huge deposit required to get on the housing ladder.

To tackle this problem we launched Help to Buy so people could get an affordable mortgage with only a 5 per cent deposit. This is fantastic for people in the Gosport area where 166 families have been able to get a house of their own, bringing them security and peace of mind."

Help to Buy is being extended to allow thousands more families to get on the housing ladder. This is in addition to other measures to help first-time buyers including building 200,000 new Starter Homes reserved exclusively for first-time buyers under 40 and the new Help to Buy ISA that will help people to save a deposit for their first home.

For more information about the scheme, visit: http://www.helptobuy.org.uk/.


22 JUN 2015

CAROLINE CELEBRATES FEMALE ENGINEERS AT QINETIQ POWERBOAT CHALLENGE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met outstanding female engineers at the QinetiQ Powerboat Challenge which took place in Gosport on Friday.

The QinetiQ Powerboat Challenge is in its sixth year and had teams from 13 schools from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight participating. Each team designed and built its own miniature powerboat, which was put to the test in an obstacle course in QinetiQ's ocean basin facility at Haslar. The aim of the day is to get young people enthused by STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

At the event, Caroline met Becky Thomas, the event organiser in 2014 and winner of QinetiQ's Outstanding Graduate of the Year Award this year. Becky is a project engineer at QinetiQ and Caroline spoke to her about her experience in engineering.

Caroline commented:

"I was delighted to see the QinetiQ Powerboat Challenge get underway again this year and to talk to the young people involved. It was great to see Becky Thomas again and to hear about her latest achievement – she is a real inspiration for girls wanting to enter the field of engineering.

For too long, women have been underrepresented in this exciting industry and the take up of STEM subjects has been too low. I am proud that QinetiQ is leading the way in getting more youngsters engaged through their powerboat competition, it is just the kind of event that could help spark a lifelong passion for science and engineering."

Caroline has always been passionate about getting young people interested in STEM subjects and is a keen supporter of the many manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships that are on offer in the Gosport constituency.


19 JUN 2015

CAROLINE VISTS OUT THERE PROJECT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today visited the Out There Project at the Nimrod Centre as part of Adult Learners' Week.

The 'Out There' Project is a community project delivered by St Vincent College giving adults in the local area an opportunity to gain new skills, try different hobbies and meet new people. The courses are mostly free and are delivered in various venues across the Gosport area. The aim of the project is to engage adult learners to improve social cohesion, inspire greater self-confidence and help people lead healthier, happier lives.

Adult Learners' Week is a national celebration of lifelong learning which takes place each year.

After the visit, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to meet some of the learners taking part in the courses that were running at the Out There Project today. Adult learning is something I'm passionate about; I've campaigned on the issue in Parliament, leading a debate in the House of Commons and securing an inquiry by the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee in the last Parliament.

This year Out There has reached over one thousand learners; I am extremely proud of everyone involved in the project which is now used as an example of excellence on the EU stage."

For more information, visit http://www.stvincent.ac.uk/adult-education/out-there-project.


18 JUN 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES FALL IN UNEMPLOYMENT TO LOWEST POINT IN OVER SEVEN YEARS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics which reveal that unemployment in Gosport has fallen to its lowest point since January 2008.

The figures for May 2015 show that the unemployment rate in the Gosport area is down to 735 jobseekers (a rate of 1.5%). The youth unemployment numbers have also dropped and now stand at 190 (2.4%), the lowest rate since November 2004.

In more good news, the ONS's official statistics show that real wages are growing at the fastest rate since 2007 with annual real wage growth now at 2.7%.

Commenting on the promising figures, Caroline said:

"Over the past five years the Conservative-led coalition government was committed to breaking down the longstanding barriers to employment and getting people back into work. The figures released today show that the people of Gosport really benefited from supportive policies, as well as targeted assistance from local employment organisations.

There is always more to be done and I am confident that under this Government progress will continue to be made on getting people into work."

The national average unemployment rate currently stands at 5.5%.


17 JUN 2015

CAROLINE CALLS FOR COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on local organisations to consider forming a 'Coastal Community Team' as part of a Government-led initiative to boost the economies of coastal towns.

Coastal Community Teams will be made up of groups of local organisations (including the Local Authority) who will work together to produce an economic plan for the area. The purpose of the Teams is to encourage greater collaboration between different organisations and the community as a whole, in order to ensure that projects and initiatives are delivered in a way that maximises local benefits.

Each Coastal Community Team will be given £10,000 of grant funding to help them establish themselves as a group and form their plan for the area.

Speaking in support of the initiative, Caroline says:

"I really hope that local organisations will seize this opportunity to help shape the future of our fantastic area and capitalise upon our coastal location to boost the local economy. This initiative could help solidify the Gosport constituency's standing as a great place for business and leisure."

The application process to set up a Coastal Community Team closes on 30th June. The application form and more information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coastal-community-teams-bidding-prospectus.


16 JUN 2015

CAROLINE CELEBRATES RETURN OF GOSPORT SUMMER PASSPORT SCHEME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging young people to sign up to the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme and take advantage of the activities available.

Organised by the Gosport Community Safety Partnership, the event runs for two weeks during the summer holidays and provides a wide range of activities for young people of secondary school age. The activities available include sailing, quad biking and food tasting as well as new additions such as total wipeout, base jump and rock 'n' roller.

Expressing her support for the event, Caroline said:

"I'm delighted to hear that the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme is returning for its eighth year. It provides some really unique experiences for young people during the long school holidays and encourages them to get out of the house, try different hobbies and meet new people.

I hope that as many young people as possible sign up and make the most of the fabulous activities that are on offer."

Activities will run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays between 28 July and 13 August with activities running from 12pm - 4pm at different locations around Gosport Borough. Pre-registration is free and those who do not pre-register will need to pay £1 on the first day of attendance.

For more information, visit http://www.safergosport.co.uk/?content=pages&id=passport-scheme.


11 JUN 2015

CAROLINE PLEDGES SUPPORT TO GOSPORT’S CARERS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has pledged her support to carers across Gosport as part of Carers Week which runs from 8-14th June.

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who care for a partner, relative or friend of which 9,860 are in Gosport. Without the right help and support carers can become isolated, with their physical and emotional health, work and finances all affected.

The six charities driving Carers Week 2015 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to take action to improve the lives of carers by building 'carer-friendly communities' that consider and support their needs.

Speaking after the event Caroline said:

"Carers make a hugely valuable contribution to society and they need support to carry on the work they do. That is why I am supporting this initiative to encourage services in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head to think about the needs of carers across our area and reach out to them to help ensure they don't miss out on support."

Thousands of events are taking place across the country this week and to find out more about what's going on in the Gosport constituency, visit www.carersweek.org.


10 JUN 2015

ALTERNATIVE NUMBER 11 BUS ROUTE

From Monday 15th June Haslar Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic for four months whilst it undergoes repairs; unfortunately, this means that the Number 11 bus will no longer travel along its regular route. The initial route suggested by Hampshire County Council excluded Clayhall and Haslar Roads so plans were being put into place to introduce a taxi share service running two days a week.

However, in order to ensure minimum disruption to people travelling along this route, Cllr Alan Scard suggested to Hampshire County Council that the route should be adjusted as follows:

The Ferry, Stoke Rd, Foster Rd, Anglesey Rd, Clayhall Rd as usual, then instead of turning left into Haslar Rd it will bear right into Fort Rd, pass the old Detention Centre, Gilkicker Rd, Clayhall Rd, Anglesey Rd, Foster Rd, Bury Rd, South St and back to the Ferry.

This is a much better option which will ensure that stops on Clayhall Road and Anglesey Road continue to be serviced by the No.11 bus. Unfortunately the No.11 will not return to the Ferry via Stoke Road due to time constraints and so a temporary stop will be placed on South Street, behind Waitrose.


04 JUN 2015

CAROLINE BACKS VOLUNTEERS’ WEEK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is marking Volunteers' Week 2015 by joining local charities to thank volunteers for their contribution to the community.

Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration in recognition of the dedication and hard work of volunteers across the country and this year it is taking place from 1-7 June.

Caroline has always been a keen supporter of volunteers across the Gosport area and has visited numerous local community projects and charities since she was first elected in 2010. For the past four years she has also hosted a reception in Westminster for volunteers from the constituency, which she funds herself.

Commending volunteers, Caroline said:

"Volunteers are so important to the work of charities and organisations – they have an invaluable presence in communities across the UK, helping out in places from sports clubs to hospitals.

We have such a strong body of volunteers in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head who give up so much of their time to help other people in our area and give back to our local community. I am extremely proud of their inspirational dedication."

For more information about Volunteers' Week, please visit www.volunteersweek.org.


27 MAY 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES 'VISION FOR A COUNTRY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE'

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the first Queen's Speech of the new Conservative Government in Westminster today, saying that it set out "a brilliant vision for a country of opportunity for everyone." The speech included plans to link the tax free allowance to the minimum wage, cut red tape for small businesses by £10bn over the next five years, and introduce 30 hours of free childcare a week for the parents of 3 and 4 year olds.

Commenting outside the House of Commons chamber, Caroline said, "Over the last five years we took difficult decisions to fix our economy; now the task is to make sure that the economy works for everyone, and that everyone has the chance to get on in life. As a working mum under the last Labour Government I know how expensive childcare got, so I'm particularly pleased with our plans to bring in 30 hours of free childcare a week for the parents of 3 and 4 year olds."

Alongside the above measures the speech outlined plans to deliver an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union; to control immigration by limiting access to public services; and to extend Right to Buy to tenants of housing associations, with new measures to boost housebuilding.


19 MAY 2015

CAROLINE BACKS DEMENTIA AWARENESS WEEK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is backing Dementia Awareness Week this week having become a 'Dementia Friend' earlier this year.

Dementia Awareness Week is about ensuring that life doesn't end when dementia begins and that people living with dementia are able to hold on to their lives and the things they love for longer.

The initiative is led by The Alzheimer's Society alongside the well-known 'Dementia Friends' project which Caroline became involved in at the beginning of the year. She held a training session for her team in Gosport and some local Councillors, during which they learned about how to help people living with dementia feel included in their community. Caroline then went on to host an event at the Gosport Discovery Centre which gave local people an opportunity to put forward their ideas about making the local area 'dementia friendly'.

Speaking in support of Dementia Awareness Week, Caroline said:

"My grandma suffered with Dementia and I saw first-hand the effect it had on her and the rest of our family so I was thrilled to become 'Dementia Friend' and develop a greater understanding of how people living with dementia in our community can be helped.

I really want to see our area become 'dementia friendly' and will continue to work with The Alzheimer's Society and local people to see this become a reality."

More than 1 in 3 people living with dementia live within the community so it is crucial that they are given the support and compassion that they need to live as normal a life as possible.


15 MAY 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEW MINISTER FOR PORTSMOUTH

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement that the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP has been appointed as the new Minister for Portsmouth.

The Minister will be responsible for coordinating work across Whitehall to support jobs and growth in the city and surrounding area. Mark Francois is also Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for coastal communities.

Speaking after the appointment, Caroline commented:

"I'm delighted to hear that Mark Francois has been appointed as the new Minister for Portsmouth. Having been a Minister at the Ministry of Defence for a number of years, Mark understands our area's proud links to the Royal Navy, our defence industry and their importance to the national economy. I am very much looking forward to working with him and hope to welcome him to Gosport in the near future."

Mark Francois is the third Minister for Portsmouth following the appointment of Michael Fallon in January 2014 and Matt Hancock in July 2014.


11 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 1: THE DAEDALUS ENTERPRISE ZONE

One of the first meetings that I had as this area's new MP back in 2010 was about the Daedalus airfield. At that point, this former military site had stood unused for 14 years and had entered a state of disrepair. I was shocked to be presented with plans to fill the site with new houses - that was the last thing we needed! We needed jobs, training opportunities and investment, and Daedalus was the ideal place to kick start a regeneration project that would boost our local economy. And so I set about bringing together all of the stakeholders involved with the site to form the Daedalus Strategy Group.

Since then, this group has delivered a £54 million Enterprise Zone specialising in advanced manufacturing and engineering in the marine and aviation sector. The site is now home to a number of cutting edge businesses, a brand new Business Innovation and Centre and the CEMAST Skills Centre where 900 engineering MH students are training. The site is set to create even more jobs, allowing more people to work locally and taking cars off the road at peak times.

The Daedalus Enterprise Zone, as a flagship Government initiative, has given us the means to secure much needed investment for our local transport infrastructure. I firmly believe that the success of Daedalus is crucial to the future of our local economy. There is still much more to be done to see the site reach its full potential, and if I am re-elected tomorrow I will go on bringing investment to the Enterprise Zone so that it will continue to flourish.


06 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 2: PROGRESS ON ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

The last Labour Government told us that our peninsula would never receive any money for road improvements because it was "strategically unimportant". Fast forward to 2015 and Gosport & Fareham have seen more progress made on our roads in the past five years than the preceding five decades. I have worked tirelessly with local councils and the Solent LEP to get the support and funding we need for local road improvements. I even brought the Secretary of State for Transport to the area to see the problems for himself!

We have secured over £100 million for local improvements including upgrades to Newgate Lane, Peel Common Roundabout, the A27 and St. Margaret's Roundabout as well as preliminary work on the Stubbington Bypass. These works will take time, but once they are complete I am confident that they will ease congestion from the Gosport peninsula right up to the M27. The Stubbington Bypass is a vital part of the solutions to our traffic problems which is why, if I'm re-elected on Thursday, I will continue to fight hard for the remaining funding to ensure it is delivered.


06 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 3: SECURING ARCTIC STAR MEDAL

I campaigned for almost a decade to get a medal for the heroic veterans of the WW2 Arctic Convoys. These men endured unimaginable danger and freezing conditions in order to keep the supply lines with Russia open but for over 70 years this remained the only major sea campaign of the war to not have received a specific medal.

To rectify this, upon election, I met with the Prime Minister and Defence Ministers, finally leading a debate in Parliament which persuaded the PM to commission Sir John Holmes to conduct a Military Medals Review to which I was able to contribute.

In December 2012, the Prime Minister finally announced that the Government would be creating an Arctic Star medal and finally giving these heroes the recognition that they deserved. I was honoured to attend a ceremony at 10 Downing Street when the first medals were handed out to veterans. Sadly my dear friend, Cdr Eddie Grenfell was too ill to travel but proudly received the Arctic Star, for which he had campaigned so passionately, back in Portsmouth Guildhall. Eddie died only a matter of weeks later, but knowing that his tireless efforts to secure this medal had not been in vain.


06 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 4: SECURING ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS

Over the past five years, schools across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head have received an additional £13 million of funding which has been spent on boosting school places and improving buildings & facilities.

I have visited all 41 schools in the constituency, many more than once and, although there is still some progress to be made in certain areas, I am pleased to see just how much of an impact this boosted budget has had.


06 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 5: SAVING HMS SULTAN

Before I was elected back in 2010, the Defence Training Review suggested that the Royal Naval School of Engineering at HMS Sultan was set to move to south Wales - a potential loss of up to 900 local jobs in the process. I immediately embarked on a campaign to stop this relocation; meeting with & writing to Shadow Ministers & Ministers, when elected I spoke in Parliament on the matter and continued to hold meetings with the MoD. Thankfully, our campaign was successful and the SDSR concluded that RN School of Engineering should remain at Sultan where it continues to deliver essential training for service personnel to a level that has been rated 'Outstanding' by OFSTED.


01 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 6: BRIDGING THE GAP

During tough economic times we rely on the hard work & enterprise of our small businesses to grow this country out of recession. So, on becoming this area's MP, I was clear that we needed to do more to support our fantastic small businesses.

I came up with the idea of starting the 'Bridging the Gap' fund using the Governments Regional Growth Funding. Luckily I talked The News and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership into supporting the idea. Since then the fund has giving small businesses in the local area an opportunity to bid for £4M funding - supporting them to flourish & grow.


01 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 7: THE CEMAST CENTRE & APPRENTICESHIPS

Ensuring that young people are equipped with the skills they need to get on in life must be a priority and I am extremely proud that the Gosport constituency has had the highest number of apprenticeship starts in Hampshire - nearly 9,490 since 2010. 49% of these were in the engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, demonstrating the strength of these industries in our area. The new CEMAST skills centre at the Daedalus Enterprise Zone now has 900 students on its roll who are undertaking apprenticeships with companies such as Britten Norman, Vector Aerospace and BAE. The skills centre was a key priority for the Daedalus Strategy Group which is working to ensure that the Enterprise Zone meets its full potential and we fought hard to bring CEMAST to Daedalus and create skills training opportunities for young people & employers in our area.


01 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 8: STARTING THE GOSPORT MARINE SCENE GROUP

To capitalise on our fantastic coastal location, I came up with the idea of bringing together our local maritime companies to promote Gosport as a world class marine & sailing hub.

After an initial meeting to bounce some ideas around, the Gosport Marine Scene was formed. The group is now run by an experienced & dedicated group of amazing volunteers & local businesses and is developing a great reputation. Gosport Marine Scene has hosted a number of fantastic events in the last few years including a Boat Jumbles, networking lunches & 'on the water' days. Watch this space for more details of the Gosport Marine Festival coming up on 13th June.


01 MAY 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 9: GETTING HtD TRAVEL ALLOWANCE RE-INSTATED FOR FERRY USERS

In light of our local road congestion, it is vital that commuters in our area have other, more sustainable, options available to them. However for years, service personnel travelling across the Harbour to work in Portsmouth were only able to claim back their travel costs if they went by car.

For three years I campaigned for the Home-to-Duty travel allowance to be reinstated for our armed forces commuting to work on the Gosport Ferry. I even brought Government Ministers to our area to get them on side. I was delighted when the MoD finally agreed.

As one of the most expensive stretches of water in the UK it would be great to see ferry fares lower for all commuters, but in our quest to take cars off the roads at peak times every little helps!


29 APR 2015

CAROLINE VISITS GOSPORT’S PARTNERS THROUGH PAIN

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Caroline Dinenage today joined the Partners Through Pain group in Gosport at one of its regular meetings.

Partners Through Pain brings together people living with chronic pain to keep abreast of changes in the development of pain management and treatment. It also campaigns on issues such as the funding of pain management locally and regularly engages with the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group to voice concerns. At today's meeting the Chair of the CCG, Dr David Chilvers updated members on the progress being made to improve the provision of healthcare in the area and took questions from attendees.

Caroline took the opportunity to talk to members about local and national issues. Speaking after the event, she commented:

"Partners Through Pain doesn't just form a support network for people living with chronic pain but also gives them a strong voice with which they can raise their concerns with local healthcare decision makers. It is a really welcoming group and such a valuable resource for our area."

For more information about Partners Through Pain, please visit: http://www.gosport-ptp.org/index.html.


27 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 10: SECURING RELEASE OF MOD LAND

We have exciting plans for the waterfront area between the Gosport Ferry and Royal Clarence Marina but before these can be pursued we had to persuade the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (formerly Defence Estates) to release a key piece of disused MoD land. For years I have been battling with the DIO, and at the end of 2014, after I finally attracted an official from the organisation to Gosport we finally got their go-ahead.

The release of this land will unlock the development of the entire waterfront area, where we have plans for a marine business park and a number of commercial ventures as well as improvements to our High Street.


27 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 11: BRINGING FAIRNESS TO WAR WIDOWS PENSIONS

From 1 April this year, widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of all members of the Armed Forces Pensions Scheme will retain their pensions for life. Previously, Armed Forces widows lost their right to a pension for life on remarriage or cohabitation.

Given our area's strong connection to the Armed Forces I worked hard in support of this campaign, lobbying Ministers, speaking in Parliament and meeting the war widows affected. It was a tough fight but extremely worthwhile and I am pleased that the partners of our service men and women now have greater financial security and peace of mind.


27 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 12: PROTECTING BLAKE MATERNITY UNIT

Following the devastating closure of Haslar Hospital under the last Labour Government, I have fought to protect the local healthcare services on which our community depends.

In early 2011, I joined the campaign to secure the reopening of the Blake Maternity Unit at Gosport War Memorial Hospital after midwives were temporarily transferred to QA. Given our peninsula location, I was greatly concerned about mothers in labour facing a long journey to the Portsmouth hospital to receive care and joined a group of local mums to call for the return our midwives to Gosport.


27 APR 2015

CAROLINE CONGRATULATES LOCAL ESTATE AGENCY

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Caroline Dinenage today visited RPS Estate Agents in Lee-on-the-Solent to mark its success at the ESTAS Awards.

The ESTAS (Estate Agent Awards) are based on customer feedback and take place across the country each year. RPS earned the Gold Award for the southern region which includes Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Caroline met the owner of RPS, Mark Rowe and congratulated him on the company's success. She commented:

"It is such good news to hear that this local independent estate agency has gained national recognition when up against its multi-branch competitors.

The company should be very proud to be held in such high regard by its customers; it just shows how small businesses excel in providing the attentive and pro-active service that clients require when selling or buying a property."

The awards were sponsored by Zoopla Property Group.


25 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 13: FORMING GOSPORT TOWN TEAM

Back in 2012, I helped set up the Gosport Town Team and secure £110,000 of Government funding to improve Gosport High Street. This came as a result of Mary Portas' review of high streets across the UK. Here in Gosport, the Town Team has come up with a number of ways to breathe new life into the High Street, including the Empty Unit Support Scheme which helps new businesses move into empty premises - meaning Gosport now has half the national average of vacant shops. There is so much more to do, if re-elected I will continue to push for more investment & improvements to our High Street.


25 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 14: BACKING SMALL BUSINESSES

Back in 2013, the Prime Minister appointed me as his Small Business Ambassador for the South. As part of this role I travelled around our region meeting business owners and feeding back to the Government about the niggly pieces of legislation that prevent small businesses from flourishing. This info resulted in the Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Act which has been another step towards helping small businesses to flourish & grow.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 15: JUSTICE TO DANGEROUS DRIVERS

Following the tragic death of two local young women who were run down by a dangerous driver, I joined the campaign to deliver proper justice for the victims of criminal driving and their family.

Having met with the Secretary of State for Justice and Attorney General and spoken in Parliamentary debates to call for a more robust punishment for offenders, I am pleased that progress is being made. The Government has requested that the maximum sentence for this offence be reviewed and changed the law so that someone convicted of dangerous driving will now serve their driving ban upon release – rather than concurrent with their prison sentence. If re-elected I will continue to fight to see proper justice for the victims of this crime.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 16: SECURING PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY INTO LITERACY AND NUMERACY

Yesterday I talked about our fabulous 'Out There' project which offers education courses to adults in our local area. Having led a debate in the House of Commons about the importance of adult literacy and numeracy, a secured a high level Parliamentary inquiry to look into this important matter. We took evidence from a number of experts and published a report showing that there is still an alarmingly high proportion of adults with low literacy and numeracy skills. We set out recommendations such as reassessing the funding provision for literacy and numeracy courses and moving away from the traditional approach to qualification attainment.

It was really important that the inquiry took place as it will help to inform future Government policy on this important matter.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 17: SAVING ADULT OUTREACH RESOURCES

I am passionate about lifelong learning so when I heard that the adult outreach centre in Rowner was set to be closed down, I joined the fight to save it. Our successful campaign led to the resource being reopened in collaboration with St Vincent College at the Nimrod Community Centre where adults can now enrol on courses to boost their basic skills. The 'Out There' project is now flourishing and iseven used as an example of excellence on the EU stage.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 18: GOSPORT'S 'DEMENTIA FRIENDS' INITIATIVE

Earlier on this year, I hosted a 'Dementia Friends' training session for my local team during which a representative from the Alzheimer's Society explained what we can do to ensure that people living with dementia are not isolated from our community. Following on from this successful session, I held an event in Gosport Discovery Centre to kick start the expansion of the 'Dementia Friends' initiative in Gosport and lots of local people dropped in to put forward their suggestions about how we can make our area 'Dementia Friendly'. This is something that I would like to drive forward if I am re-elected on May 7th.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 19: DELIVERING EVEL PETITION TO PARLIAMENT

After the Scottish Referendum in 2014, it was clear that action needed to be taken to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English-only issues. I set up a petition both online and in my Gosport office, calling for English votes for English issues to be introduced to the House of Commons as soon as possible. Almost 400 local people signed the petition and in the last week of Parliament, I formerly delivered it to the Speaker in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

We want to be able to decide our own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of Scotland are currently able to do.


23 APR 2015

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS NUMBER 20: SECURING FUNDING FOR NEW SPORTS FACILITIES

Having excellent sporting facilities in our area not only helps maintain a healthy community, it can also help to develop new talent amongst our young sport players. I worked closely with Bay House School and Bridgemary School to secure funding for their new facilities – a brand new sports hall and a cutting edge 3G football pitch respectively. Bay House's new hall is almost ready to go and the new pitch at Bridgemary was opened earlier this year. Both of these facilities will be used by community sports teams as well as school students.


22 APR 2015

CAROLINE KICKS OFF CANCER CHARITY DAY

The Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Gosport, Caroline Dinenage kicked off the Football for Cancer Charity Day at Fleetlands on Sunday.

Football for Cancer was formed in 2008 and helps to raise money for local cancer charities by hosting football events throughout the year, each in memory of someone who has passed away or suffered from cancer. The Gosport teams were named after Alistair 'Kiwi' Walker and Ray Martin.

At the event, Caroline was invited to kick off the match which was eventually won by the Alistair Kiwi team.

Caroline commented:

"It was great to deliver the first kick at Gosport's Football for Cancer match on Sunday - this is a fantastic organisation which raises a lot of money for cancer charities as well as families in our area and I was proud to support the local teams."

As Gosport's MP, Caroline supported a number of cancer charities including Breast Cancer Campaign, Macmillan, Brain Tumour Research and Prostate Cancer UK.


27 MAR 2015

DAEDALUS ENTERPRISE ZONE UPDATE

Five years ago HMS Daedalus was a disused & decaying military airfield. Now, after much hard work, sweat & tears our Daedalus Enterprise Zone is really beginning to see all that effort come to fruition. The newly resurfaced runway has been reopened, the Marine Coastguard Authority's new national training facility is complete and the keys for the Business Innovation Centre have been handed over with 3 companies ready to move in and many more expressing interest.

For more information about the site, the Homes & Communities Agency have produced a handy document.


27 MAR 2015

CAROLINE CELEBRATES NEWS OF NEW MINIBUSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has celebrated the news that two local community organisations are set to receive brand new minibuses thanks to government funding.

Last November, the Department for Transport established a £25 million fund to purchase new minibuses and today it was revealed that Lee-on-the-Solent's ICANGO and Gosport Voluntary Action were successful in their bids.

Caroline commented:

"Both of these community organisations provide vital support to our local community and I am delighted to learn that their hard work has been recognised by the Government. These new buses will help to ensure that both ICANGO and GVA are able to go on providing the lifeline that they offer to so many people in our area.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the new buses on the road!"

Caroline has been a keen supporter of local community organisations since her election in 2010 and helped to re-launch the ICANGO buses which received new livery last month.


26 MAR 2015

CAROLINE APPLAUDS IMPRESSIVE APPRENTICESHIP FIGURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures which show that 1,240 people started an apprenticeship between August 2014 and January 2015 in the Gosport constituency.

Forty nine per cent of these apprenticeship starts were in the engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, demonstrating the strength of this industry in the Gosport area. The Daedalus Enterprise Zone is a hub of advanced manufacturing and engineering, with the new CEMAST skills centre accommodating apprenticeships operated by companies such as Britten-Norman, BAE and Vector Aerospace.

In total, there have been 9,490 apprenticeship starts in the Gosport constituency since 2010, the second highest of all constituencies in the South East.

Caroline commented:

"These figures reaffirm our area's excellent track record of providing solid training opportunities for young people and I am particularly pleased that such a large proportion of these apprenticeships are rooted in the engineering and manufacturing sector.

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to students who don't necessarily want to take the traditional route of further education and can set participants on a lifelong career path within a given company, developing invaluable skills on their way."

Across England, over 2.2 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010.


24 MAR 2015

CAROLINE PRESENTS ENGLISH VOTES PETITION TO PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage this evening presented to Parliament a petition calling for English votes for English issues to be introduced in the House of Commons as soon as possible. Petitions have been raised in dozens of constituencies across England. There was a co-ordinated presentation of the petitions to the Speaker in the House of Commons Chamber, with MPs from across England taking part.

Caroline said: "I am delighted to be presenting this petition for English votes for English issues on behalf of my constituents. Hundreds of people signed up online and the people of Gosport expect a fair settlement for England. We want to be able to decide our own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of Scotland are currently able to do. It is a basic unfairness that Scottish MPs can currently vote on English-only issues. English votes for English issues is a simple, but important change that will remove this injustice.

With the threat of an SNP-Labour Coalition just a few weeks away, we cannot risk the possibility that Alex Salmond will decide how English hospitals and English schools are run. English votes for English issues is the best way of ensuring Scottish Nationalists do not determine English-only issues."

Graham Stuart MP, Chairman of the Fair Votes for All campaign, said: "Caroline is a fantastic local campaigner, and has done a great job representing the views of her constituents. People across England feel strongly that their voice in Parliament on English-only issues should not be diluted by Scottish MPs. I congratulate Caroline for raising her petition which calls for an end to this fundamental unfairness."


24 MAR 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES FALKLANDS COMMITMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a statement from the Secretary of State for Defence expressing the Government's commitment the Falkland Islands.

In a statement made to the House of Commons this afternoon, Michael Fallon set out the outcomes of the recently completed review of the forces that the UK holds on the Falkland Islands. He explained that the current military presence is proportionate to the threats faced at present but a number of measures have been designed to protect resilience in the short, medium and long term.

Over the next ten years, £180 million will be invested in improving and modernising infrastructure on the Islands whilst military support helicopters will be returned to provide tactical mobility.

Speaking in the Chamber, Caroline highlighted Gosport's link to the Falkland Islands:

"Gosport is the proud home of the Falklands Veterans Foundation, does the Secretary of State agree with me that it is right to reassure these proud brave men, some of whom still bear the scars of this conflict, that we will always fight to defend their legacy, the sovereignty of those Islands?"

In response, the Secretary of State said:

"My Honourable Friend is right to remind us that the sacrifice of those who died to fight for the freedom of the Falkland Islanders and their right to determine their own future should never be forgotten by the British people or indeed by this House."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline added:

"The Falkland Islanders have expressed their overwhelming to remain part of the United Kingdom and we therefore have a responsibility to protect their interests. I welcome the new measures that are being put in place so we can uphold our longstanding commitment to the Falkland Islands and their people."

Caroline visited the Falkland Islands in 2011 and was struck by the huge gratitude our service men and women received from the Islanders.

You can watch Caroline's question to the Secretary of State in full here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/af817e14-70c2-47c9-983b-70a83f47cb51 (from 13:33:15).


23 MAR 2015

CAROLINE CONTINUES CAMPAIGN FOR REAL JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF CRIMINAL DRIVING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has backed a manifesto, launched in Parliament this week, on delivering proper justice for victims of criminal driving and their families. This follows debates, events, and even Prime Minister's Questions in which Caroline has pushed the Government to bring in tougher sentences for dangerous drivers. The manifesto was written by Greg Mulholland MP and based on evidence from the families, working closely with Brake. It sets out a number of changes being called for; from tougher punishments for dangerous drivers, better support for victims, improved investigations of collisions, and many other measures.

Leader of the House and former Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday became the first minister to give his support, calling it "a welcome campaign and manifesto".

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I am pleased to give my backing to the manifesto - we have seen in Gosport where tragically young people have been killed and families do not feel they have received justice. I hope ministers will properly look at this manifesto, listen to families, campaigners and make the meaningful and long-lasting changes that have been called for."

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, the road safety charity, added:

"We are proud to support the launch of this manifesto, which echoes many of the calls of Brake's crackdown campaign. We are delighted to have Caroline on board, whose support will be key to achieving the reforms we are calling for."


23 MAR 2015

CAROLINE REVEALS RESULTS OF ONLINE SURVEY

Caroline Dinenage has published the results of a survey of Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head residents which reveal that just 11% of respondents think Ed Miliband would make a better Prime Minister than David Cameron.

Caroline's survey went live at the beginning of the month, quizzing respondents on local and national issues; it has received in excess of 300 responses so far. Of local issues, people were most concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour with 44% putting it at the top of their list. Meanwhile, nationally the greatest cause for concern was the NHS which polled 54%. Road improvements were also at the forefront of respondents' minds and 54% said that a new peninsular access road would make a difference to their day-to-day life.

David Cameron proved popular among residents, with 54% stating that he would be a better Prime Minister than Ed Miliband who mustered support from just 11% of respondents. 35% indicated that they were unsure who would make the best Prime Minister.

Caroline commented:

"Hearing about the issues that matter most to local people has been absolutely crucial to my role as this area's Member of Parliament. I am so pleased with the huge volume of responses we have received which offer a great insight into residents' views.

With a huge number of people expressing concern about road improvements and indicating that a Stubbington Bypass would improve their day-to-day life, our campaign for better road connectivity has been reinforced and I will go on fighting for the upgrades we so desperately need.

Unsurprisingly David Cameron was revealed to be considerably more popular than his Labour counterpart, mirroring the national trend of feelings towards Ed Miliband."

If you have yet to complete Caroline's survey, you can find it here: http://bit.ly/1wVliwZ.


19 MAR 2015

GOSPORT ‘CLEAN UP’ EVENT SET FOR KICK OFF

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will lead a spring clean of Gosport High Street to mark Community Clear Up Day this Saturday, 21st March.

The event has been arranged by Caroline and Gosport Borough Council and will be kicked off at the Falkland Gardens at 10:30am. With litter estimated to cost the taxpayer over £1 billion per year nationally, Caroline is urging local people to support this bid to get our local area tidy.

Speaking ahead of the event, she said:

"Litter is an unsightly addition to our streets, green spaces and beaches but thankfully we have individuals and organisations such as our local Litter Action team who help to tackle the problem.

I'm hoping that local residents will come together on Saturday to clean up our High Street or even think about organising their own clean up day in an area that is special to them."

For more information about how you can get involved in the High Street clean up or to find out how to set up your own event, contact Streetscene on Freephone 08000 198598 or email streetscene@gosport.gov.uk.

In addition, Rowner Litteraction will meet at 10am by the Green Dragon Pub on Rowner Road and the Friends of Stokes Bay will meet at 10am by the Splashpool.


17 MAR 2015

CAROLINE MEETS BRITTEN-NORMAN APPRENTICES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met apprentices at Britten-Norman to mark the final day of National Apprenticeship Week on Friday.

Britten-Norman is the UK's only independent civil aircraft manufacturer and

Speaking after her visit, Caroline said: offers a wide range of aerospace apprenticeships, from airframe construction to avionics installation. During her visit to the company's site on the Daedalus Enterprise Zone Caroline heard from apprentices, Brad Tillett and Sam Dowers about their experiences of the training programme and their plans for the future.

"Britten-Norman does very impressive work at Daedalus and the young people enrolled on their apprenticeship scheme have an incredible opportunity to develop highly specialised skills which will be invaluable to future employers, be it Britten-Norman or others.

Apprenticeships are a really good alternative to traditional paths of further education and I am proud that there were 2,330 starts in the Gosport area in 2013/14. There is a huge range of companies offering these training schemes locally, many of which have been boosted by the new CEMAST skills centre at Daedalus."

Britten-Norman is now looking to take on eight new apprentices in September of this year. The deadline for applying is Friday 27th March.

National Apprenticeship Week takes place in March each year and celebrates the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole.


16 MAR 2015

CAROLINE JOINS CLUB’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was delighted to visit the Gosport RNA last week to celebrate the Daring Club's 3rd Birthday.

Since its formation in 2012, the group, for adults with learning difficulties and their carers, has flourished and monthly meetings now attract over 100 people from across the local area. Founded by Mary Claridge and her grandson Ryan, the Club lays on lunch, karaoke, a disco and a range of other activities on two Monday's each month.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"I always enjoy my visits to the Daring Club and am extremely proud of how much it has grown in the past three years. It is a greatly valued resource for adults with learning difficulties, giving them an opportunity to socialise and participate in fun activities.

One of the most popular features of the Club is its pop-up store selling inexpensive CDs and DVDs. If you have any unwanted CDs or DVDs, please take them to the RNA to help boost the Club's coffers!"

The Daring Club meets at the Royal Naval Association Club on Fareham Road, Gosport, and is open to all adults with learning disabilities.


13 MAR 2015

CAROLINE TO LEAD ‘CLEAN UP THE HIGH STREET’ EVENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will lead a spring clean of Gosport High Street to mark Community Clear Up Day on Saturday 21st March.

The event is supported by Gosport Borough Council and will be kicked off at the Falkland Gardens at 10:30am. Caroline is calling on local people to join in and help keep our local area tidy.

Speaking ahead of the event, she said: “Litter is an unsightly addition to our streets, green spaces and beaches but thankfully we have individuals and organisations such as our local Litter Action team who help to tackle the problem.

On 21st March, I’m hoping that local residents will come together to clean up our High Street or even think about organising their own clean up day in an area that is special to them.”

For more information about how you can get involved in the High Street clean up or to find out how to set up your own event, contact Streetscene on Freephone 08000 198598 or email streetscene@gosport.gov.uk.


12 MAR 2015

CAROLINE TO MEET APPRENTICES AT BRITTEN-NORMAN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is set to mark National Apprenticeship Week by visiting Britten-Norman at the Daedalus Enterprise Zone tomorrow.

National Apprenticeship Week takes place in March each year and celebrates the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. The Gosport constituency has a strong track record on apprenticeships with 2,330 starts in 2013/14 and the new CEMAST skills centre providing support to 900 students on local programmes.

Britten-Norman is one of the companies pioneering growth locally thanks to its reputable apprenticeship scheme at its site on the Daedalus Enterprise Zone. It is the UK’s only independent civil aircraft manufacturer and offers a wide range of aerospace apprenticeships, from airframe construction to avionics installation. The company is now looking for 8 new apprentices to start later on this year.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Caroline said:

“I am extremely proud of the recent boom in apprenticeships across our area – these training opportunities are a fantastic alternative to traditional forms of further education, facilitating the development of essential qualifications and skills within a given sector.

Thanks to our thriving engineering and manufacturing industry, this sector accounts for the biggest proportion of apprenticeships in the Gosport area. I am really looking forward to meeting apprentices at Britten-Norman tomorrow and hearing more about their experiences of the scheme.”

As a strong advocate of the learning and skills agenda, Caroline has a long-standing commitment to promoting apprenticeship opportunities and regularly champions this issue both nationally and in Gosport.


11 MAR 2015

CAROLINE CALLS ON PM TO PROTECT DEFENCE INDUSTRY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today called on David Cameron to express his commitment to protecting the defence industry during Prime Minister's Questions.

Caroline asked:

"In Gosport we have a very proud history of supporting the Armed Forces and the recent £420m contract to service the Chinook helicopter fleet will help local companies like Vector Aerospace to preserve those links.

With that in mind, will the Prime Minister reassure us of his commitment to defence spending, to the defence industry, defence procurement and defence jobs?"

The Prime Minister replied:

"I can certainly make that commitment and we have said that the £160 billion equipment programme over the next decade is fully protected, will grow in real terms and having been recently to Portsmouth to see for myself the new docks that are being put in to welcome the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and the massive investment that will go into Portsmouth in terms of ship servicing and of course her own constituency of Gosport will benefit from this Chinook contract, a new order of Chinooks, pumping money into our defence industry and also leading to the training of apprentices and jobs and livelihoods for many years to come."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Here in Gosport we take great pride in our strong links to the military but unfortunately, our economy has been greatly affected by historic fluctuations the Defence budget. I welcome the Prime Minister's comments and hope to see even more investment in our local defence industry in the future."

Today's question follows on from a speech which Caroline made in Parliament earlier this month in which she emphasised the need to hit the Government's target of spending 2% of our GDP on Defence.


06 MAR 2015

CAROLINE TO JOIN LOCAL INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MARCH

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging local women to come together on Sunday to celebrate International Women's Day.

International Women's Day is a worldwide event which promotes the achievements of women and recognises where further progress towards equality is needed. It is being marked in Gosport with a march from the Millennium Bridge near the Explosion Museum at 2pm this Sunday (8th March). Women are invited to bring their mums, sisters, daughters and friends (men are also welcome!) to join this celebration of women.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"International Women's Day gives us a fantastic opportunity to stand back and recognise just how much progress women have made. Thanks to this Government's policies there are now more women in work and more women starting up their own businesses than ever before.

I am really looking forward to coming together with local women of all ages and from all backgrounds to celebrate the inspirational women who have helped us to get to where we are today. I hope to see you there!"

International Women's Day takes place on 8th March each year and has been celebrated since the beginning of the 1900s.


05 MAR 2015

GOSPORT MP PRESSES MINISTER ON SOUTH COAST RAIL LINKS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today continued her fight for improved rail links between Portsmouth and London, pushing the Government in the House of Commons for faster trains from the south coast to the capital. Having successfully secured a number of significant funding packages for local roads, the local MP has repeatedly pushed the Government on rail issues in the South of England, calling numerous debates and inviting Ministers to her constituency on multiple occasions.

Speaking in the chamber Caroline said, "I recognise this Government's enormous investment in our railways, but I'm keen to know when we might see some improvements in the London to Portsmouth line; it's still faster to get to Doncaster which is twice as far."

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Rail Minister Claire Perry said, "The honourable lady will know that the Portsmouth station is not only an important station for her constituents but is a vital artery for people travelling up and down through the counties. One of the problems has been the inability to run longer trains into Waterloo station where the throat has effectively been blocked for many years. We are now investing to increase platforms length and unblock some of that complexity, and indeed there is the draft Wessex route study going on to see how we can get faster trains from her constituency."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Whilst vast amounts of money are being ploughed into rail projects and route upgrades across the country, Gosport is still the largest town in the UK without a railway and commuters travelling between Portsmouth and London are faced with long, uncomfortable journeys.

I look forward to reading the Wessex Route study & hope that the Government will recognise the need to improve connectivity to the South Coast and work with providers to secure this."


04 MAR 2015

CAROLINE TO HOST ‘DEMENTIA FRIENDS’ TRAINING SESSION

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will host a 'Dementia Friends' training session for the community this Friday at the Gosport Discovery Centre.

The 'Dementia Friends' initiative is led by The Alzheimer's Society and aims to ensure that people living with dementia feel included in their community and gives people an understanding of the condition and the small things they can do to make a difference.

Friday's event follows on from a successful training session which Caroline hosted for her local team and some Gosport councillors last month.

Caroline commented:

"My grandma suffered with Dementia and I saw first-hand the effect it had on her and the rest of the family so I was thrilled to become a 'Dementia Friend' and to have a greater understanding of how people living with dementia in our community can be helped.

I'm really keen to see Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head become a Dementia Friendly area which is why I am hosting this event on Friday. It would be great to see as many people as possible there on the day so please do come along."

More than 1 in 3 people with dementia live within the community and so the Dementia Friends initiative is extremely important. There are now already well over half a million Dementia Friends in the UK.

The session will take place between 1330 and 1530 this Friday 6th March at the Gosport Discovery Centre. For more information, please contact Caroline's Gosport office on 02392 522121.


03 MAR 2015

CAROLINE CALLS ON SCHOOLS TO SUPPORT 'TROOPS TO TEACHERS'

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today written to local schools encouraging them to consider joining the Troops to Teachers programme.

Troops to Teachers is about recruiting the very best service leavers into teaching in order to capitalise on the skills and experiences that personnel gain during their time in the Armed Forces. Given Gosport's proud military history, Caroline is keen for local schools to take advantage of the programme.

During Questions to the Department for Education yesterday afternoon, she highlighted the benefits of the scheme, asking:

"My Gosport constituency has very strong links to the Armed Forces, particularly in the field of Navy engineering. Does my Honourable Friend agree with me that schemes like this can only help to spread expertise to students in my area?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson replied:

"I absolutely agree and I know that my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State recently visited Bristol to see for herself the latest cohort being trained and was hugely impressed by both their calibre and their commitment. Along with my Honourable Friend, I would strongly encourage schools in Gosport and elsewhere to contact the University of Brighton to secure a trainee in their school for this September and benefit from the next tranche of Troops to Teachers."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"The Troops to Teachers programme is a fantastic initiative which really takes advantage of the unique skillsets of former service personnel. It is not only of great benefit to the students who can learn from them, but also to the teachers themselves who can feel a renewed sense of purpose.

I hope that schools across Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington and Hill Head will sign up to the programme and support service leavers locally."


03 MAR 2015

CAROLINE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT DEFENCE SPENDING COMMITMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday emphasised the need to hit the Government's target of spending 2% of our GDP on Defence.

Caroline was speaking in a Parliamentary debate about the next Defence and Security Review and NATO and took the opportunity to call on the Government to protect its commitment to spending 2% of GDP on Defence. She argued that not doing so would weaken the Armed Forces, damage Britain's standing with its allies, and impact upon the UK's credibility as a major player in NATO and on the world stage.

Speaking in the Chamber, Caroline said:

"There are those who believe that we no longer have a significant role to play in the world, and consequently that spending on defence is not a priority. I think the nature of the threats we face from an aggressive Russian dictator who rips up the international rule book; as well as that from ISIS and other terrorist organisations, means now would be the worst possible time to cut back on our defence."

After the debate, she commented:

"Our area has an extremely proud military heritage and over the years we have been deeply affected by Government cuts to Defence spending. At this time of great international tension, the damage caused by reducing the Defence budget will go well beyond our Armed Forces and the communities that support them.

A lot is at stake and we must stand up alongside our allies and take responsibility for preserving the peace and stability that we currently enjoy; protecting our Defence budget is a key part of doing that."

You can read the full speech here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150302/debtext/150302-0003.htm (from Column 754).


27 FEB 2015

CAROLINE VISITS CANCER RESEARCH UK SHOP

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today paid a visit to the Cancer Research UK shop on Gosport High Street.

During her time at the store, Caroline met the volunteers giving up their time to run it and discussed the prevalence of smoking – the most important preventable cause of cancer – in the area. In Gosport, 26.5% of people smoke in comparison to the 19.5% national average, and 323 deaths in every 100,000 are smoking related.

Speaking after her visit, Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to meet the enthusiastic and committed volunteers who man our local Cancer Research UK branch; however they do need extra support so if you would like to help out please do get in touch with the store.

Whilst I was there I also heard about the high rate of smoking in our area which is driving up the instance of cancer and heard pleas from the charity to vote in favour of plain cigarette packaging when the matter is discussed in Parliament."

Charity shops make an important contribution to causes such as cancer research; in 2013/14 they provided over £76 million of the £351 million which Cancer Research UK spent on research to prevent, control and cure all cancers.


26 FEB 2015

CAROLINE CALLS FOR REVIEW OF PARALYMPIC SAILING DECISION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today voiced her strong concerns about the International Paralympic Committee's decision to exclude sailing from the 2020 Games in Tokyo during Questions to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Caroline's Gosport constituency has a very strong marine community which is outraged about this significant decision which could hold back the sport just as it is gaining real momentum.

Caroline asked:

"Does the Minister agree with me that the decision of the International Paralympic Committee to exclude sailing from the Tokyo Games in 2020 is not only an enormous setback for this important British sport but will also rob us of the next generation of inspiring sailing sportsmen like Fareham's Geoff Holt?"

The Minister responsible, Helen Grant MP said on this issue:

"Although this is a decision for the International Paralympic Committee, I recently met with the Chief Executive of the BPA to discuss this very issue. Britain is a great sailing nation and I can understand completely the frustration of our Paralympic sailors. I therefore intend to speak to the IPC Chairman, President Sir Philip Craven in the very near future."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Given the huge success of the sailing events held off the south coast for the 2012 Paralympics, I firmly believe that the sport should remain on the agenda.

Here in the Gosport area, there is a wide range of sailing opportunities available for people of all ages and abilities; having something to aspire to such as the Paralympics is really important so I feel strongly that the sport should be reinstated for future Games."


25 FEB 2015

CAROLINE TO VISIT CANCER RESEARCH UK SHOP

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will visit the Cancer Research UK shop on Gosport High Street this Friday 27th February.

Recent figures from Cancer Research UK show that 1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime. However, in the past forty years cancer survival rates have doubled so that now 2 in 4 people survive.

Charity shops make an important contribution to causes such as cancer research; in 2013/14 they provided over £76 million of the £351 million which Cancer Research UK spent on research to prevent, control and cure all cancers.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"I'm really looking forward to meeting the staff and volunteers at our local branch of Cancer Research UK. They play a vital role in not only raising funds but also promoting the importance of fighting cancer in the community.

With so many people affected by this devastating disease, I am pleased that local residents can contribute to the fight against cancer by donating to and shopping at our Cancer Research UK shop."

Since becoming Gosport's MP, Caroline has supported a number of campaigns led by cancer charities including Breast Cancer Campaign, Macmillan, Brain Tumour Research and Prostate Cancer UK.


17 FEB 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES NEW CONTRACT FOR VECTOR AEROSPACE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed an announcement from the Prime Minister, detailing a £420 million Ministry of Defence contract to be completed at Vector Aerospace in her Gosport constituency.

The five year contract will see Boeing provide the in-service support for the Chinook helicopter at Fleetlands, securing 450 jobs and saving the taxpayer £150 million. Chinook is the UK's only military lift helicopter, able to transport up to 54 troops or 10 tonnes of supply. The contact will support the RAF's fleet, which will be 60 strong by early 2017 and includes the new Mark 6 helicopters.

Today's news follows on from an announcement made last week that Vector Aerospace is set to receive £2 million from the Regional Growth Fund.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"Hearing that this important military contract will be carried out at Fleetlands is very welcome news for our area. Not only will it secure a huge number of jobs and boost our local economy, it also highlights the excellent engineering capabilities housed in the Gosport area.

We have a proud history of supporting the military and I am pleased that this new contract will ensure that we continue to do so."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has been committed to protecting Gosport's defence industry and frequently raises local issues with her Ministerial colleagues at the Ministry of Defence.


13 FEB 2015

CAROLINE HELPS RE-LAUNCH COMMUNITY BUS SERVICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today helped re-launch Lee-on-the-Solent's ICANGO buses which have a new livery thanks to sponsorship from local estate agents, Eckersley White.

ICANGO is an organisation working in partnership with St. Faith's Church and Gosport Voluntary Action to operate three minibuses for community trips. This community service is operated by volunteers who also drive and clean the mini buses. It organises around 40 community trips per month for residents of Lee-on-the-Solent.

Today's event celebrated a £1000 sponsorship by Eckersley White which will ensure that the valuable community resource can be maintained.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"We all know that local services are under considerable pressure so schemes such as this, which are run by volunteers, offer a lifeline to vulnerable people.

We are extremely fortunate to live in a community where people are prepared to give up their time to help others and I would like to commend all of those who work so hard to ensure that ICANGO can operate."

Caroline is a keen advocate of volunteering and hosts an annual reception in Westminster to personally thank local volunteers for their hard work and dedication.

For more information, call 07787 292 666 or email icangolee@outlook.com.


12 FEB 2015

CAROLINE MEETS INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES AT BAY HOUSE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage last week met international delegates who were visiting Bay House School for a conference to discuss findings in the field of educational leadership research.

The International School Leadership Development Network is made up of over thirty education researchers and practitioners from as far as Nepal and New Zealand. The head teacher at Bay House, Ian Potter is one of the researching professionals making up the network and last week's conference at the school follows on from the first event which took place in Atlanta in 2014.

During a visit to Bay House to talk to Sixth Form politics students, Caroline took the opportunity to meet the delegates.

Speaking afterwards, Caroline said:

"It is great that Bay House School was chosen to host a conference of this pioneering network of education professionals. The event puts our area on the international map and recognises the excellent work that is going on in local schools."

Ian Potter commented:

"Having these well-known names, who are renowned in the educational research world, coming to Gosport to be part of a three day symposium is something the town should feel very proud of."

The delegates also visited Brune Park School and were treated to a traditional British meal cooked by Bay House students.


12 FEB 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES INVESTMENT IN VECTOR AEROSPACE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that Gosport aviation firm, Vector Aerospace is set to receive a £2 million investment from the Government.

Today's announcement confirms that Vector Aerospace's bid for funding from the Regional Growth Fund will be taken forward. Subject to due diligence, this will enable the local company to enhance the design and aviation services capability at its Fleetlands site in Gosport. Caroline will hear the Minister's good news as she joins him on his visit to Vector Aerospace this afternoon.

Caroline commented:

"This is really fantastic news for Vector Aerospace and the Gosport area more widely. The company already provides critical support for military aircraft and this investment will help it to diversify its customer base and take on more skilled workers at its Gosport site.

Today's announcement is a terrific boost for our local economy and shows that the Government is committed to supporting our area reach its full potential."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has remained committed to boosting economic growth in the Gosport 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.


04 FEB 2015

MP GOES UNDER THE WHEELS OF A TEAM OF TIGERS!

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage came face to face with a team of tigers this week! Fortunately these weren't big cats, but the "Tigers Children's Motorcycle Display Team", who showed off their 'impurressive' skills in a team training session. The "Tigers" includes children from just 4 to 12 years old who perform tricks, stunts and jumps in public shows around the UK. After meeting the gang during one of their weekly training sessions at Daedalus airfield in Lee on the Solent, Caroline agreed to take part in a daring stunt; lying beneath a jump as tiger after tiger roared above her!

Commenting, Caroline said "When the Tigers invited me to one of their training session I didn't know that they would be jumping over me! Despite the risk of a Gosport by-election had they missed their target, I had an enormous amount of fun. The Tigers group is run by parents who give up so much of their time to travel across the country, supporting something that their kids clearly love and making thousands of pounds for local charities in the meantime. It's another great example of the exciting activities taking place across the Gosport Peninsula!"

The 'Tigers' can be found training at Daedalus most Sundays during the winter and performing at events and shows across the UK during the summer months. For more info contact Andy on 07792 220443.


03 FEB 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES LIBOR BOOST FOR HMS SULTAN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed a £3 million cash injection for Royal Navy projects taken from the fines levied on banks for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) financial benchmark. The cash boost will include £1 million for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity to support Royal Navy personnel and their families in Gosport through projects including refurbishing the Warrant Officers Mess in HMS Sultan.

Commenting on, Caroline said:

"This is absolutely fantastic news for Gosport. Since being elected in 2010 I've worked really hard to keep HMS Sultan and the 900 jobs it creates on the Gosport Peninsula. This investment shows that our efforts are paying off and that the Government is as committed as I am to keeping HMS Sultan in our area.

It's absolutely right that this investment is paid for by those bankers who attempted the rig the system and helped create the financial crisis. Our brave servicemen sacrifice so much for our country: the worst of Britain is now paying to support the very best."


29 JAN 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES FURTHER INVESTMENT IN LOCAL ROADS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the announcement that the Solent region will receive a further £27.1 million in the second round of the Local Growth Deal.

The investment follows on from the £124.8 million which the region won in the first round of the Deal in July 2014, bringing the total to £151.9 million.

£19.7 million from the initial package has already been ring-fenced for improving transport infrastructure in the Fareham and Gosport area. The extension of funding announced today will further support these works, enabling transport interventions to improve access to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone in Lee-on-the-Solent and the Welborne development in Fareham.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"For decades, the Gosport peninsula has been plagued with severe congestion problems but now we are making real progress towards tackling these issues once and for all. Improvements to our local infrastructure are crucial to the success of the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and cutting the journey times of long suffering commuters.

Not only does the investment show that the Government recognises our need for better transport connections, it also proves that the hard work of local MPs, Councils and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is paying off."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has been firmly committed to tackling her constituency's road congestion problems. She helped to secure an £8.5 million package for the work on Newgate Lane which began in January 2013 and later that year brought the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP to the area to see the issues for himself.


28 JAN 2015

CAROLINE CHALLENGES LOCAL BANK CLOSURE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday met with the head of UK Regional Public Affairs at RBS to discuss the forthcoming closure of NatWest in Stubbington.

The branch will close on Tuesday 10th February, leaving many local customers concerned about the future provision of services.

Caroline was keen to speak directly to bosses at the bank in order to challenge them about their decision to pull out of Stubbington and to ensure that adequate alternatives are put in place for both personal and business account holders. During the meeting, NatWest stressed that they had arranged for their bank customers to access services at the Post Office instead.

Caroline commented:

"As ever, it seems these decisions are made before local customers even get to hear of them, but I was determined to hold Nat West to account on this. I understand that footfall has dropped 32% in the last 5 years while online and mobile banking is up 232%, forcing banks to make some difficult decisions about the future of their branches. However, I do still feel that they have a moral responsibility to support our communities."

The closure of NatWest in Stubbington follows the decision by HSBC to shut down the last bank in Lee-on-the-Solent. Since then, Caroline has campaigned against bank closures, speaking out during questions to the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the House of Commons.


27 JAN 2015

CAROLINE MARKS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has marked Holocaust Memorial Day by signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. Last week, Caroline took the opportunity to honour those who died during the Holocaust as well as the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured.

Following the signing, Caroline said:

"It is vital to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, not only as the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau but also as an important opportunity to remember and honour all the victims of genocide.

I encourage all my constituents to mark the day and to commit to working together to combat prejudice and racism today."

Shortly after becoming an MP, Caroline visited Auschwitz-Birkenau with a group of sixth-form students from Bay House School and St. Vincent College.


27 JAN 2015

CAROLINE & TEAM BECOME DEMENTIA FRIENDS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has qualified as a 'Dementia Friend' at a course hosted in her Gosport Office for her local team and some Gosport Councillors.

The 'Dementia Friends' initiative is led by The Alzheimer's Society and aims to ensure that people living with dementia feel included in their community and gives people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference.

The group of 17 people, heard from a representative from The Alzheimer's Society who explained more about the illness and what can be done to allow dementia sufferers to carry on with their daily lives – be it helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"My grandma suffered with Dementia and I saw first-hand the affect it had on her and the rest of the family so I was thrilled to become a 'Dementia Friend' and to have a greater understanding of how people living with dementia in our community can be helped. With an ageing population the challenges of Dementia are only ever going to become greater, so I'm hopeful that this is the first of many such events in our local area, I would like to see us becoming a Dementia Friendly Town."

More than 1 in 3 people with dementia live within the community and so the Dementia Friends initiative is extremely important. There are now already well over half a million Dementia Friends in the UK.

For more information, visit: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/.


26 JAN 2015

CAROLINE CALLS ON LOCAL SUPPORT FOR ENGLISH VOTES FOR ENGLISH LAWS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today called on local people to back her efforts to secure English Votes for English Laws in the House of Commons. As a Patron of the Fair Votes for All campaign Caroline has launched a petition calling on the Government to introduce English Votes as soon as possible. The petition can be signed online here.

Commenting Caroline said, "This is a basic matter of fairness for people in Gosport. Scottish MPs should not continue to determine the laws on issues; such as education and health; that do not affect their constituents. With even more powers set to be devolved to Scotland I would urge as many people as possible to sign my petition and show the Government that people in England want their voices heard."


26 JAN 2015

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERY ON FRIDAY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will hold an open surgery for her constituents at the Gosport Discovery Centre on Friday.

The surgery will be a chance for local people to drop in and speak to Caroline about any concerns they have about local or national issues, without having to pre-book an appointment.

Caroline commented:

"My open surgeries tend to be really popular, particularly with people who wouldn't think of booking an appointment to meet me at my office. It is incredibly important that my surgeries are as accessible as possible so if you have any concerns about local or national issues (or if you'd just like to have a chat!) please do pop in."

Caroline's open surgery will take place between 2pm and 3:30pm on Friday 30th January at the Gosport Discovery Centre.

For more information about the surgery, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


22 JAN 2015

CAROLINE TO MEET LOCAL ASDA CUSTOMERS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is set to meet Asda customers tomorrow to discuss the supermarket's Mumdex report.

Over 11,500 mums of all ages have signed up to be part of Asda's national Mumdex panel which is consulted on a range of issues affecting families and reported on quarterly. In advance of the General Election, these women have identified the cost of living and the NHS as the biggest priorities.

Caroline will meet with local mums who shop at Asda to talk about their concerns and the findings of the most recent report.

Caroline commented:

"The Mumdex report is an important resource as it gives women a real opportunity to raise awareness about what is important to them. I am looking forward to hearing what local mums have to say about both local and national issues."

You can find more information about Mumdex here: http://your.asda.com/mumdex.


22 JAN 2015

CAROLINE TO HOST DEMENTIA FRIENDS EVENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will host a 'Dementia Friends' event in her constituency offices tomorrow.

The event will see the MP and local Councillors sign up to become 'Dementia Friends' as part of a nationwide initiative led by The Alzheimer's Society. The campaign aims to ensure that people living with dementia feel included in their community and gives people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference.

Speaking in advance of the event, Caroline said:

"I am delighted to be pledging my support to people with dementia who are living within our community. It is really important that those living with the condition do not feel isolated so I am looking forward to learning how we can make this a reality in the Gosport area."

More than 1 in 3 people with dementia live within the community and so the Dementia Friends initiative is extremely important. There are now already well over half a million Dementia Friends in the UK.

For more information, visit: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/.


21 JAN 2015

CAROLINE PRAISES FORTHCOMING BUSINESS & EMPLOYMENT FAIR

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will attend the Gosport Business and Employment Fair tomorrow.

The annual fair brings together local employers and job seekers to help find the right staff and jobs for them. It will take place at the Gosport Leisure Centre and 50 exhibitors are expected to be in attendance.

The event will also incorporate apprenticeship and skills training opportunities, careers advice and tips on how to start a business.

Speaking ahead of the fair, Caroline said:

"This is a great opportunity for employers and job seekers to come together and find out what is on offer locally. Having face-to-face contact is really important when looking for jobs or employees so I'm confident that the event will help to forge some fruitful relationships."

The fair is organised by Gosport Borough Council and supported by the Gosport Employment and Skills Partnership, which is made up of local employment support agencies and training providers.

For more information, visit: http://www.go-gosport.co.uk/grow-a-business/business-and-employment-fair.


21 JAN 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES GOSPORT'S LOWEST LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN 7 YEARS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the latest unemployment figures which show another fall in the number of people looking for work in Gosport. The number of people looking for work fell to 769 in December - the lowest number since January 2008, with the JSA claimant rate steady at just 1.3%.

The good news on jobs was matched by figures that show that across the UK median pay per hour - reflecting what a middle-income person earns - has gone up by 3.3% in the last year; six times the current rate of inflation.

Caroline commented:

"The number of people looking for work in Gosport has halved since 2010. This is shows the fantastic work that our local businesses have been doing over the last 5 years.

But there's always more work to be done. We need to continue to back the small businesses that provide the growth in our local economy by cutting red tape and bureaucracy. We also have to maintain our support for rigorous education and proper skills training so that people have the skills they need to get good jobs. Finally it's crucial for both businesses and families that we keep interest rates low by sticking to the plan of restoring sanity to our public finances."


20 JAN 2015

CAROLINE CHAMPIONS ENGLISH VOTES FOR ENGLISH LAWS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has been made a Patron of the Fair Votes for All campaign.

The campaign is calling for English votes for English issues to be introduced into the House of Commons as soon as possible.

Caroline commented:

"I am delighted to become a Patron of the Fair Votes for All campaign. This is a basic matter of fairness for people in Gosport, whose voice in Parliament is currently diluted by Scottish MPs. With more powers being devolved to Scotland following the independence referendum last year, it is not fair that Scottish MPs continue to determine issues that do not affect their constituents. We should be able to decide our own priorities in our classrooms and in our NHS."

Graham Stuart MP, Chairman of the Fair Votes for All campaign, said:

"I am glad to welcome Caroline as a Patron of the campaign. Caroline is a fantastic local representative who is standing up for Gosport. As more powers are handed over to the Scottish Parliament, this basic constitutional unfairness cannot be ignored any longer."


20 JAN 2015

CAROLINE TEACHES SISKIN PUPILS THE VALUE OF DEMOCRACY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday visited Siskin Junior School to talk to Year 6 pupils about democracy.

During her visit, Caroline was given a tour of the school which was recently federated and met the acting head teacher who told Caroline about the terrific progress the school is making. Caroline then led a democracy class with Year 6 and set up a House of Commons style debate on whether the voting age should be lowered from 18.

Caroline commented:

"It is always a pleasure to visit local schools and I was particularly pleased to meet the delightful staff and pupils at Siskin, a school which is a real success story here in Hampshire.

Our democracy session certainly helped teach Year 6 about the value of hearing a debate before casting a vote."

Since her election, Caroline has visited all 41 schools in her constituency and frequently welcomes school groups to Westminster for tours of Parliament.


16 JAN 2015

CAROLINE SENDS SUPPORT TO ALEX THOMSON

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday sent her support to Gosport yachtsman, Alex Thomson who was forced to retire from the Barcelona World Race on Wednesday night.

Alex is a major talent in international yacht racing and has competed in world famous events including the Clipper Race, the Vendee Globe and the Fastnet Race. On 31st December 2014, he and co-skipper, Pepe Ribes began the Barcelona World Race in their yacht, HUGO BOSS. Unfortunately, on Wednesday night a rigging failure led to the yacht being dis-masted and forced the pair out of the race whilst in lead position.

During Questions to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Caroline said:

"Will the Minister join me in sending both our support and our condolences to Alex Thomson from Gosport, the yachtsman who was dramatically dis-masted last night while leading the Barcelona World Race. Fortunately none of the crew were hurt but in a place like Gosport where we have a world class marine scene, he is one of our true champions."

Responding on behalf of the Government, Helen Grant MP replied:

"I'm very very sorry indeed to hear about that and my thoughts and prayers go to him and his family and friends."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"This is really devastating news for Alex, Pepe and the rest of the HUGO BOSS team but we are extremely proud of them for doing so well in the first part of the race and look forward to supporting their future endeavours."


15 JAN 2015

CAROLINE CALLS FOR FAIRNESS AFTER OIL PRICE DROP

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today called for transport companies to pass savings made by falling oil prices on to their customers.

Global oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months, however, in some parts of the energy sector, consumers have yet to feel the benefits. Speaking during Questions to the Leader of the House, Caroline asked:

"There has been a lot of recent discussion about the impact of falling oil prices on energy bills but does the Leader of the House agree with me that actually transport companies should also be looking very urgently at how they can pass any savings on to their passengers and could we possibly have a debate on that?"

The Leader of the House, William Hague MP responded:

"Yes, this is very important. Of course, people think immediately of the price of fuel for motorists so vividly displayed on every forecourt around the country but it's also very important that across the whole energy sector companies are passing on the reduction in prices. They're starting to; as we discussed earlier suppliers of energy to households are starting to do so. It will be important for transport providers to do so as well and I know that my Rt Hon Friends the Chancellor and the Energy Secretary will be very keen to promote that."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"During these tough economic times it is absolutely crucial that households are able to make savings in any way they can. As falling oil prices have put transport companies in a position to reduce their fares, I believe it is only right that they should do so."


12 JAN 2015

CAROLINE VISITS MEN’S SHED IN THEIR NEW HOME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage paid a visit to the Gosport Men's Shed in their new home at St Vincent College on Friday.

The Men's Shed provides workshop facilities to older men to complete both community and personal projects. It was established in May 2013 and now has over 60 members. At the end of last year, the organisation moved from its original home, Fort Brockhurst to a new premises at St Vincent College.

During her visit, Caroline spoke to members of the Men's Shed and was given a tour of the new facilities.

She commented:

"I am always delighted to see the lovely chaps at the Gosport Men's Shed and was thrilled to see their fantastic new home. I feel a particular fondness for this group as I was at their very first inaugural meeting and have maintained a close friendship with them ever since!

The Men's Shed provides an invaluable social network for many older men in Gosport and helps to give them a renew sense of purpose in their retirement."

Earlier this year, Caroline welcomed members of the Men's Shed to Parliament and supported them during their departure from Fort Brockhurst.

You can find more information about the group here: www.thegosportshed.btck.co.uk.


07 JAN 2015

QA UPDATE

Local people may have been affected by the current situation at Queen Alexandra Hospital which has been inundated with unprecedented demand at its emergency department.

In order to reduce the pressure on this department, it is important to remember that there are a number of other options before resorting to A&E – for example, the 111 service, out of hours services and local walk-in treatment centres.

The minor injuries unit at Gosport War Memorial Hospital (Bury Road, Gosport, PO12 3PW) is open from 8am to 9pm every day. This local facility treats injuries such as cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, broken bones and fractures, bites and stings, infected wounds, minor head injuries and minor eye problems. Experienced NHS nurses are there to treat any such problems.


07 JAN 2015

CAROLINE WELCOMES APPRENTICESHIP FIGURES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures released yesterday which show that apprenticeship starts in her constituency are continuing to rise.

In 2013/14, 2300 people started apprenticeships in the Gosport area – a rise of 140 on the previous year and up 570 since 2010/11 when 1730 people took on apprenticeships locally. The drastic increase in the number of apprenticeship starts in the constituency has helped to bring down the local youth unemployment rate from 5.9% in May 2010 to 2.8% in November 2014.

Engineering and manufacturing technologies were the most popular sectors, accounting for 1140 apprenticeship starts in 2013/14. A number of high profile companies offer apprenticeships to young people in Gosport including QinetiQ, Defence Munitions and Vector Aerospace.

Caroline commented:

"Apprenticeships do more than offer young people experience of the work place; they facilitate the development of essential qualifications and skill sets which set participants on a lifelong career path within a given company.

The figures released today show that this Government's commitment to boosting apprenticeships is being fulfilled and I am pleased that businesses operating locally are investing in young people and taking action to tackle youth unemployment."

As a strong advocate of the learning and skills agenda, Caroline has a long-standing commitment to promoting apprenticeship opportunities and regularly champions this issue both nationally and in Gosport.


05 JAN 2015

CAROLINE WARNS OF LABOUR’S BORROWING BOMBSHELL

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has warned that Ed Miliband's Labour Party would put at risk all the hard work to turn the economy around in Gosport after new research was published showing Ed Miliband's Party would borrow £20.7 billion more in 2015/16 – £1,200 for every working household in Gosport.

The published research is an objective, thorough and detailed cost analysis of policies that Labour's frontbench spokesmen have already announced for 2015/16 using official Treasury costings and public sources. It shows that Ed Miliband's Labour Party still wants to spend and borrow more – putting at risk all the recent progress in Gosport just as increased uncertainty in the international economy shows the need to stick with the Conservatives' long-term plan to build a stronger and healthier economy.

Commenting on the latest research, Caroline said:

"Ed Miliband's Labour Party haven't learned their lesson. With just four months until a crucial election, we've now found out they still want to spend, borrow and tax more – borrowing an extra £1,200 for every working household in Gosport

It hasn't been easy, but with local businesses growing and jobs being created, the economy in Gosport is getting stronger. Unemployment has halved in Gosport since 2010; Labour would risk all that progress with more borrowing and return us to economic chaos. Just as the global economy is struggling with the Eurozone teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, we need to stick with the Conservatives' long-term economic plan that is helping turn our country around."

The cost analysis of Labour policy is available here - http://betterfutu.re/labourcostanalysis


12 DEC 2014

CAROLINE POPS BY TO THANK POSTIES

Caroline Dinenage MP visited the Gosport Sorting Office today to say thank you to all the Royal Mail staff who are working so hard over the festive period. With online sales hitting record highs this is the busiest year yet for staff in the sorting office, who are unable to take any leave over the whole of this hectic season.

The local MP was given a guided tour of the office and met with post men and women who are sorting and delivering cards and parcels across the Gosport area in the run up to Christmas.

Commenting Caroline said, "It was fantastic to meet to the men and women in our local sorting office who make Christmas happen. Without their dedication most of us would have very little under the tree come Christmas Day!

They work extremely hard all year round getting our post delivered to us on time, but I know that the pressure is really on at this time of year, so I think it's important to pop in and show them just how grateful we all are."

Last posting dates can be found here: http://www.royalmail.com/greetings


12 DEC 2014

CAROLINE CHAIRS MEETING ON STUBBINGTON FLOODING

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday chaired a meeting to discuss the ongoing problem of flooding at Newton Close, Morgan Drive and Discovery Close in Stubbington.

Caroline called the meeting of all agencies involved in order to seek a solution to the problems which have plagued residents for over a year. Fareham Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, the Environment Agency and Southern Water were all represented at the meeting.

Caroline commented:

"Flooding is hugely distressing for all those affected which is why I was so keen to bring the relevant agencies together in one room to discuss what can be done to halt the existing problem. I hope that yesterday's meeting will put us on the path to finding a swift and realistic solution."


11 DEC 2014

CAROLINE HOLDS STOKESMEAD MEETING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted a meeting in Parliament to discuss the future of the Stokesmead site in Alverstoke.

The Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Abbey Homes (which owns the site) joined Caroline for a meeting in the House of Commons with the Chief Executive of Gosport Borough Council and the Chairman of the Anglesey Conservation Group.

It was an open introductory meeting during which a range of possible outcomes for the site were discussed. Gosport Borough Council and the Anglesey Conservation Group now have time to discuss these options in more detail and pleasingly, Abbey Homes have agreed to visit Alverstoke and the land in question.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"For too long this issue has been unresolved and this area fenced off from the local community. Today we took a positive step in the right direction – I'm pleased the Chairman and Managing Director of Abbey Homes took the time to engage with us and that we were able to have an honest and productive conversation about Stokesmead. I am confident that this has opened the door for further positive discussions towards eventually finding a solution that suits local residents."

The Chairman of the Anglesey Conservation Group, Judy Newell said:

"It was nice to meet the faces behind the names at Abbey Homes and I am grateful that they have expressed an interest in both further constructive talks and visiting the site. I look forward to updating our committee on the progress that was made at today's meeting."

The Stokesmead site was bought by Abbey Homes from the National Children's Home in 1984 and since then a number of planning applications have been turned down. Development of the land is vehemently opposed by both Gosport Borough Council and local residents who want it returned to public open space.

Today's meeting follows on from a public meeting which was held in St. Mary's Church in October attended by over 200 local residents. Caroline also raised the matter in the House of Commons, when she asked for a debate on land-banking which prohibits the public use of sites such as Stokesmead.


11 DEC 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES BETTER CAREERS ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed yesterday's announcement by Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, that the government will set up a new careers and enterprise company for schools and colleges. Caroline has consistently pushed for better links between businesses & employers so that young people are fully prepared for the world of work.

Commenting, Caroline said "For years businesses have complained to me that school careers advice doesn't open young peoples' eyes to the massive range of education and employment options that are out there.

The key is that this isn't re-inventing the wheel. In areas where there are organisations which already do this well – like the excellent Education Business Partnership in Portsmouth - they will be supported, and where they aren't, they will be set up. By providing better careers advice and encouraging employers to work in closer partnership with schools this is a big step towards making sure our young people enter the world of work with the skills they need to succeed."

The company will be backed up by £20million of Government funding that was included in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.


09 DEC 2014

INDEPENDENT PANEL ESTABLISHED TO REVIEW DEATHS AT WAR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a statement from the Department of Health giving more details about the Independent Panel which has been launched to investigate deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Following the publication of Professor Richard Baker's report in August 2013, which looked into the unexpected deaths of a number of elderly patients in the 1990s, the Department of Health held consultation sessions with the families involved, facilitating discussions on how the case should be taken forward.

In July, Health Minister, Norman Lamb MP announced that a Hillsborough-style panel would be setup to review documentary evidence held by a number of organisations. The Panel will be chaired by Bishop James Jones who led the Hillsborough Panel and today it was revealed that he will be supported by Dr Bill Kirkup, Dr Colin Currie, David Hencke and Duncan Jarrett OBE.

The remit of the Gosport Independent Panel will be to consult with the families of the deceased and analyse documentation from relevant organisations and individuals and then to produce a report of the findings.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"For all those involved, from bereaved families to hospital staff, this has been a very long and difficult journey. Today's announcement marks the first step in finally bringing closure to this case.

I welcome the Government's commitment to finding out what really happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and am pleased that the expertise of Bishop James Jones and his colleagues will be drawn on throughout this process. I would urge anyone with information to make contact with the Independent Panel."

The review be the Independent Panel is expected to complete by the end of 2017 when the Secretary of State for Health will make arrangements for the publication of the final report to Parliament.

You can contact the Gosport Independent Panel through its official website: http://gosportpanel.independent.gov.uk; via email: enquiries@gosportpanel.independent.gov.uk; or by phone: 0207 9724212.


08 DEC 2014

CAROLINE ANNOUNCES WINNER OF CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today visited local schools to announce the winner and runners up in her 2014 Christmas card competition.

Maia Cooper, aged 6 from Crofton Hammond Infant School was crowned overall winner with her attractive penguin design which has already been printed on cards which Caroline will be sending out this month.

Highly commended were Isabelle Maylia from Rowner Infant School, Amie Westphal from Crofton Anne Dale Junior School, Shyloe Wilson from Rowner Infant School and Tabitha Long from Crofton Anne Dale Infant School.

This morning, Caroline visited pupils from Crofton Hammond and Crofton Anne Dale Schools as well as Rowner Infant School to thank them for participating in her competition.

She commented:

"It was lovely to meet the winner and runners up in my Christmas card competition – they are all extremely talented and given the promise they are showing at such young ages I am sure that there are great things in store for these budding artists!"

This year's judging panel included Caroline, the Mayor of Gosport Keith Gill and Ben Fishwick from The News.


05 DEC 2014

CAROLINE TO ANNOUNCE THIS YEAR’S YOUNG CHRISTMAS CARD ARTIST

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will announce the winner of her second annual Christmas card design competition when she visits local schools on Monday.

Earlier this year, Caroline wrote to all primary schools in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head, inviting pupils to submit designs for her 2014 Christmas card competition. Caroline was joined by a judging panel which included the Mayor of Gosport, Keith Gill and The News reporter for the Gosport area, Ben Fishwick and after much deliberation a decision has now been made.

Speaking ahead of Monday's announcement, Caroline said:

"Yet again, young people have stunned me with their artistic flair and creativity; it was a really tough decision to make but I am delighted with the final design. I hope that all of the children enjoyed taking part and I would like to pass on my thanks to the teachers who co-ordinated the submissions."

This year's competition follows on from the success of the 2013 competition which was won by Lili Kurzfeld from Haselworth Primary School.


04 DEC 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES IN AUTUMN STATEMENT

Caroline Dinenage MP welcomed the measures to help families and businesses announced in yesterday's autumn statement.

The Chancellor announced that he would be scrapping Air Passenger Duty for children under 12 on economy flights - something Caroline has campaigned for. As one of the Prime Minister's Small Business Ambassadors she also welcomed the proposed review of the current system of business rates, and the extension of small business rate relief.

Commenting, Caroline said "I'm delighted that the Government has responded to our campaign and will be scrapping Air Passenger Duty for children. This will make a family holiday that bit more affordable."

She added, "As a small business owner I know how much of a burden business rates are so it's great news that the Government is doubling small business rate relief for another year, and has listened to those of us who have been calling for a review of business rates."

However the Gosport MP has written to the Chancellor outlining her concerns that Gosport is missing out on crucial infrastructure investment.

"While it's great that the Government has pledged £15bn for new roads including much needed improvements to the M27; in Gosport we were disappointed not to receive the additional money to complete the new access road. I have written to the Chancellor asking him to look carefully at the Solent LEP bid for this money that was submitted last week."

Alongside these measures the Autumn Statement included the confirmation of an extra £2bn for health services across the UK, an unprecedented six-year £2.3 billion flood defence programme that includes funding for schemes in Hampshire, and an immediate overhaul of stamp duty.


27 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES NEWS OF AMERICA’S CUP EVENTS IN PORTSMOUTH HARBOUR

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that America's Cup Racing will return to British waters when it is held in Portsmouth in July 2015 and July 2016.

During an event in London on Tuesday Sir Keith Mills, whose company will manage the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in Portsmouth revealed plans for two action packed long weekends. Spectators will enjoy three days of racing, including practice racing on the Friday and then two races on Saturday and two races on 'Super Sunday Final'.

There will also be a three year activation programme running right up until the end of the 35th America's Cup in 2017.

Speaking in support of the events, Caroline said:

"This is great news for the Portsmouth area which has so much to offer big marine events such as these. Here in Gosport, the cutting-edge marine facilities and services will be put to excellent use and I'm delighted that our area will play a key role in supporting the upcoming events in 2015 and 2016.

These events are sure to attract a huge number of spectators from across the globe and will give us a fantastic opportunity to reaffirm the status of Portsmouth Harbour as a world class hub for maritime and marine activities."

The organisers of ACWS Portsmouth hope to bring the action to the public with 'free-to-view' areas in the Race Village where spectators can enjoy the atmosphere, and watch the racing.

Since her election, Caroline has worked hard to promote Gosport as a world-class marine and sailing destination. She was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group in 2012.Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that America's Cup Racing will return to British waters when it is held in Portsmouth in July 2015 and July 2016.

During an event in London on Tuesday Sir Keith Mills, whose company will manage the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in Portsmouth revealed plans for two action packed long weekends. Spectators will enjoy three days of racing, including practice racing on the Friday and then two races on Saturday and two races on 'Super Sunday Final'.

There will also be a three year activation programme running right up until the end of the 35th America's Cup in 2017.

Speaking in support of the events, Caroline said:

"This is great news for the Portsmouth area which has so much to offer big marine events such as these. Here in Gosport, the cutting-edge marine facilities and services will be put to excellent use and I'm delighted that our area will play a key role in supporting the upcoming events in 2015 and 2016.

These events are sure to attract a huge number of spectators from across the globe and will give us a fantastic opportunity to reaffirm the status of Portsmouth Harbour as a world class hub for maritime and marine activities."

The organisers of ACWS Portsmouth hope to bring the action to the public with 'free-to-view' areas in the Race Village where spectators can enjoy the atmosphere, and watch the racing.

Since her election, Caroline has worked hard to promote Gosport as a world-class marine and sailing destination. She was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group in 2012.


25 NOV 2014

CAROLINE LAUNCHES EARLY YEARS MATHS REPORT

At an event in Parliament today Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage unveiled her Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy's report on early years learning.

In 2013/14, 28% of children in England failed to achieve the expected level in mathematics at the end of the early years foundation stage. The first report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) calls for a better trained and qualified workforce that inspires a 'can-do' attitude in early years maths teaching. It is informed by a briefing session which took place in 

At the event, the skills Minister, Nick Boles MP spoke about the hugely significant impact that a child's early experience with maths can have on their numerical ability as an adult. Meanwhile, the TV presenter and maths guru, Johnny Ball highlighted the need to promote maths in play.Westminster in June when a number of education experts spoke to MPs and Peers about issues in their fields of expertise.

Caroline commented:

"Only one in five 16-64 year olds in England have numeracy skills equivalent to GCSE grade C and this situation is estimated to cost the UK economy £20 billion per year.

It is clear that we need to act fast. I'm pleased that the thought piece launched today by the APPG sets out some clear recommendations to the Government and am confident that Nick Boles will feed back to the rest of his department positively about the contents of the document."

Caroline formed the All Party Parliamentary Group at the beginning of the year in order to raise awareness about the importance of basic maths skills and to inform policy on improving adult numeracy and the future teaching of maths in schools.

You can read the report here.


25 NOV 2014

CAROLINE BACKS CAMPAIGN FOR CHEAPER HOLIDAYS FOR HARD PRESSED FAMILIES

Caroline Dinenage MP today wrote to the Chancellor in support of the campaign to cut the cost of a family holiday by scrapping the tax on children's flights.

Scrap the Tax on Family Flights calls on the Government to scrap the Air Passenger Duty (APD) on children's tickets (2-11yrs), giving families the break they deserve by helping to make their annual holiday more affordable – and delivering a vital saving, as many household finances continue to be stretched. Currently, children pay the same tax on their tickets as adults, despite there being a well-established principle that children are exempt from taxation, for example VAT on food and clothing.

Commenting, Caroline said "Families in Gosport deserve a break, and the Government should be helping them to make an annual holiday less strenuous on the family Budget. The Government have toughened up rules on taking kids out of school during term time, so alongside that should take steps to make family holidays more affordable.

That's why I'm calling on the Chancellor to scrap the tax on children's flights and I'm asking my constituents to support the campaign by going online and finding out how much tax they pay on their children's flights."

More details about the campaign can be found at http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/scrap-the-tax-on-family-flights/.


24 NOV 2014

CAROLINE TO LAUNCH EARLY YEARS MATHS REPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will launch a thought piece on early years learning conducted by the Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy during an event in Parliament tomorrow.

In 2013/14, 28% of children in England failed to achieve the expected level in mathematics at the end of the early years foundation stage.

The first report from the Group is calling for a better trained and qualified workforce that inspires a 'can-do' attitude in early years maths teaching. It is informed by a briefing session which took place in Westminster in June when a number of education experts spoke to MPs and Peers about issues in their fields of expertise.

Caroline commented:

"Far too many young children in this country struggle with maths and numeracy. This leaves them playing a game of catch up for the rest of their lives; a game most of them end up losing.

As this report sets out we need a greater focus on maths and numeracy in the early years. If we can provide children with a good grounding at a young age then we will set them up to succeed in their later studies and their future careers."

Skills Minister, Nick Boles MP will deliver the key note address and television presented and maths guru, Johnny Ball will also speak at the event.

Caroline formed the All Party Parliamentary Group at the beginning of the year in order to raise awareness about the importance of basic maths skills and to inform policy on improving adult numeracy and the future teaching of maths in schools.


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.


10 NOV 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES WAR WIDOWS PENSIONS ANNOUNCEMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Government's announcement that from 1 April 2015, widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of all members of the Armed Forces Pensions Scheme will retain their pensions for life.

At present, Armed Forces widows lose their right to a pension for life on remarriage or cohabitation. The issue has caused much concern over many years, particularly in the Gosport area which has such strong ties to the military.

Since she was elected in 2010, Caroline has been firmly behind this campaign. Not only has she written numerous letters to Ministers calling for greater fairness in the system, she has also spoken about the issue in Parliament and attended meetings with war widows.

Welcoming the announcement, she said:

"With so many service men and women living in the Gosport area, it is a huge relief to know that their partners now have greater financial security and peace of mind. This has been a long and difficult campaign, supported by many local people; I am pleased that it has been worthwhile and that war widows have now secured this important concession.

With members of our Armed Forces sacrificing so much for our country, it is absolutely crucial that we do everything in our power to ensure that they and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of service. That is the key message of the Armed Forces Covenant and it is fantastic that the revised policy on war widows' pensions now better meets the Government's commitment to this Covenant."

From 1 April next year, the spouse or civil partners of all members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 75 and War Pension Scheme will retain their pension for life if they have not already surrendered it due to remarriage or cohabitation. For those who have already surrendered their pension due to remarriage or cohabitation, should that relationship end they can apply to have their pension restored for life.


07 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CALLS ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS TO GET INVOLVED IN MONEY FOR LIFE CHALLENGE

Caroline Dinenage MP for Gosport is encouraging education and training organisations to back Lloyds Banking Group's Money for Life Challenge, a national competition for 16–24 year olds.

As financial education has recently become part of the national curriculum, the Challenge is a complementary way for young people to learn vital money management skills, whilst helping to promote financial education in their community. The Challenge seeks to find the most successful and innovative ways that young people can use to improve their money management skills, as well as those of their friends, families and communities.

Caroline commented, "It's vital that young people in Gosport improve their financial skills and share their new knowledge with others in the community, and the Challenge is the perfect way to do this. In addition to the financial education that young people will receive as part of our new national curriculum, I'm keen to encourage education or community-learning organisations in Gosport to submit teams of young people to take part in the Money for Life Challenge.

"Applications for this year's competition are open until Friday 21 November 2014. I look forward to hearing about the innovative new projects that will be offered from young people in our area."

Teams of up to ten young people in further education, work-based learning, community learning or a training organisation can apply for a £500 grant to enter, with the support of an individual project sponsor from their organisation. Teams have until Friday 21 November 2014 to enter the competition.

National finals will take place in April 2015, followed by a UK Grand Final in London on 28 May 2015 to select the overall competition winner.

Young people interested in taking on the Challenge should keep an eye out for news of the 2014/2015 competition at moneyforlifechallenge.org.uk, visit the Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/moneyforlifeuk, or follow on Twitter at: @MoneyforLifeUK.


07 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR MUSICIANS AND FILM MAKERS TO ENTER THE ROCK THE HOUSE AND FILM THE HOUSE COMPETITIONS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting musicians and film-makers from Gosport by calling for local artists to enter Parliament's two largest creative competitions, Rock the House and Film the House.

The annual competitions offer the opportunity to put local musicians and film-makers in direct contact with the movers and shakers of the two industries, and to have the best of Gosport's talent take front and centre stage. Judged by the leading lights of industry, with prizes ranging from festival slots, studio time, top-notch equipment, and your work premiered in London's West End, the Rock the House and Film the House competitions are a pioneering opportunity to showcase what Gosport has to offer, raising awareness about the importance of Intellectual property (IP) to our creative industries and country.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"I welcome the return of Parliament's most-hotly contested competitions, and would urge all local musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House. This is an excellent opportunity for Gosport to celebrate our local talent and, as all nominations are judged by industry experts, there is no finer chance for our musicians and film-makers to gain exposure."

The closing dates for entries to MPs is 31 December 2014, while the finals will take place on the 18th March 2015 in the House of Commons.


06 NOV 2014

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERY TOMORROW

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will hold an open surgery tomorrow morning at Bridgemary Library.

Caroline's open advice surgeries give her constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns about both local and national issues without making an appointment beforehand. Tomorrow's surgery follows on from the hugely successful open surgery she held at Gosport Discovery Centre last month.

Caroline commented:

"It is really important that my surgeries are as accessible as possible and mu open surgeries ten to be extremely popular with people from across the area popping in to have a chat, raise problems and receive advice. I would encourage anyone who wouldn't normally think of booking an appointment at my Stoke Road surgery to drop in tomorrow."

Caroline's open surgery will take place between 9:30am and 11am tomorrow, Friday 7th November, at Bridgemary Library.

For more information about the surgery, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


05 NOV 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES BYPASS PROGRESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the news that Hampshire County Council has approved the routes for the Stubbington bypass and southern section of Newgate Lane.

During a meeting at the Council offices in Winchester, Cllr Sean Woodward (Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment) rubberstamped key projects which will dramatically improve the road network between Gosport and Portsmouth. Councillor Woodward also agreed for work to begin on Peel Common Roundabout, the A27 (including works needed ahead of the Stubbington bypass) and Segensworth Roundabout.

Caroline was unable to attend the meeting in person as she was required to vote in Parliament, but submitted a written deputation to Cllr Woodward, outlining why the Gosport area is in such desperate need of infrastructure improvements. She also expressed concerns about the proximity of the proposed Newgate Lane south route to Woodcote Lane.

Caroline commented:

"It has been a long journey to get to where we are today and there is still a great deal to be done before these improvements are fully secured. However, yesterday's decision marks another significant milestone in our campaign for better access to Gosport and I will continue to urge my ministerial colleagues and local stakeholders to push forward these much needed improvements.

Not only will these changes provide great relief for longsuffering commuters, they will also help to ensure that the Gosport peninsula is able to reach its full economic potential in the coming years."

The Council's decision was made following a public consultation to which the majority of respondents expressed their support for the proposed routes.

Since becoming elected, Caroline has been firmly committed to tackling her constituency's road congestion problems. She has held numerous meetings with government ministers and last year she welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP to the area.


04 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CONTINUES CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF DANGEROUS DRIVING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed a decision by the Government to keep dangerous drivers off the road for longer, and continued her campaign for an increase in the maximum sentence for dangerous driving. A decision announced by the Government will mean someone convicted of dangerous driving will now serve their driving ban upon release – rather than at the same time as their prison sentence. A review of current sentencing guidelines will soon take place, and the local MP urged those who believe this appalling crime deserves a longer sentence to sign the petition calling for an increase in the maximum sentence: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67911.

Having written to the Justice Minister and raised the issue previously at Prime Minister Questions, Caroline took the opportunity of a Westminster Hall debate led by fellow MP Alok Sharma to push for a change in the sentencing guidelines.

Speaking in the debate Caroline said, "It was a year ago yesterday that two teenage girls from my constituency were mown down by a gentleman who was driving over twice the speed limit on a cocktail of drugs, and for that crime he received a 9 year prison sentence; which amounts to just 4.5 years per life. Does the Honourable Gentleman agree with me that this is absolutely inadequate for the life sentence that he has inflicted upon their families?"

The sentiment was shared by all MPs in a sombre debate in Westminster, as families of victims of dangerous driving looked on. In a sympathetic response, Government Minister Mike Penning, said that while he didn't wish to pre-empt the review, "we do need to look very carefully to see if the punishment fits the crime."

In a positive move he also said that he found it "completely perverse" that the driving ban and prison sentence for someone found guilty of dangerous driving run concurrently, and that the Government would change this even without the review of sentencing.

Commenting outside the chamber, Caroline said "This is a really important step forward: it's ridiculous that someone could essentially skip their driving ban through time in prison. I welcome this move by the Government to keep dangerous drivers off our streets for longer. Now we need to see progress on sentencing. I really would encourage all those who believe that this shocking crime, which rips apart families across the country, deserves a more fitting punishment to sign the petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67911."


04 NOV 2014

CAROLINE RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT HSBC CLOSURE IN LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke out for local people and small businesses in Lee-on-the Solent which have received the unwelcome news that the last bank in the town will soon be closing.

Last week it emerged that the Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP would be writing to big banks, urging them to keep branches open in towns where no other banks were open. However, HSBC will soon be closing down in Lee-on-the-Solent meaning that the town will be left without a bank.

Whilst customers requiring personal services will be able to use the Post Office, the same provision has not been made for business customers.

During Treasury Questions, Caroline asked:

"Can I urge the Chancellor to support the BIS Secretary in calls for banks not to shut down the last branch in a town? HSBC are about to shut the last branch in Lee-on-the-Solent, leaving businesses with no banking support at all."

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury replied:

"The Honourable Lady makes a very important point. There are many people who are concerned about bank closures, in fact recently I had a roundtable with a number of banks and challenger banks to discuss this issue, not least of which is the change of people towards mobile banking and telephone banking but we're certainly looking very closely at this."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Lee-on-the-Solent is home to a huge number of small businesses, many of whom depend upon the services of their local bank which is why it is so worrying to hear that HSBC is soon to close.

Earlier this year, I wrote to the bank urging it to mitigate against the impact of the closure by allowing business customers to carry out their banking needs at the Post Office. Whilst HSBC is unable to facilitate this at present, the Deputy Regional Director has agreed to keep options under review and pledged to offer business customers with alternative solutions."


04 NOV 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR SWIFT BENEFIT PAYMENTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday stood up for terminally ill patients facing lengthy waits for their benefits.

During questions to the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday afternoon, Caroline highlighted hold ups in the system which deals with benefits claims made by people with terminal illnesses.

She asked:

"Casework in my constituency has shown that although the Department for Work and Pensions do well in identifying and prioritising claims made by terminally ill patients when those claims are passed to ATOS there is a lack of monitoring. What steps is the Department taking to ensuring that these claims are dealt with in a timely manner at every point in the system?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper said:

"We've introduced a range of improvements for claims from terminally ill people. We're already seeing claims at around their expected level of ten days. The assessment providers treat these cases as a high priority; 99% are processed within two days and 100% within five days."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"It's important that all parts of our benefit system are as streamlined as possible but for claimants with terminal illnesses, it is crucial that payments are made on time. I am pleased that the Government shares this sentiment and hope that processing times can be brought down even further."


28 OCT 2014

CAROLINE BRINGS DIO OFFICIAL TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage last week welcomed an official from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to the constituency to discuss the future of local military sites.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for providing the infrastructure to meet defence needs; this includes the management of Ministry of Defence owned sites across the UK. Last week's visit enabled Caroline and local stakeholders to promote the potential of two currently disused MoD assets to boost Gosport's standing as an important marine hub on the south coast.

Firstly, the waterfront site at Royal Clarence Yard has been earmarked as an ideal location for a marine business park which would bring prosperity and jobs to the area whilst taking advantage of the maritime industries already operating in Gosport. Secondly, the redevelopment of the Crane Jetty at Fort Blockhouse and better use of the accommodation blocks would ensure that Gosport is able to provide a crucial support role when the new QE Class carriers arrive in Portsmouth Harbour in late 2016. In the meantime, the site has berthing facilities which could play a key role in berthing large yachts involved in Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup venture between 2015 and 2016.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"Gosport is already home to a number of world class racing teams and big maritime businesses but there is still more to be done to secure its status as a marine hub. That is why it is so important that these crucial sites are released for development and allowed to unlock this significant potential for growth.

Having fought hard for discussions with the DIO, I am pleased that our plans are now being considered and hope that today's visit will precipitate further negotiations in the interest of Gosport's future."

Since her election, Caroline has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Gosport peninsula reaches its full potential. 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.


27 OCT 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR MATHS FUNDING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today called for more action to ensure that Sixth Form Colleges are equipped to provide high quality maths education during questions to the Department for Education.

Earlier this year, the Government introduced the Golden Hello scheme for new graduate maths teachers to encourage them to work in the Further Education sector. However, neither of the two post-16 education providers in the Gosport constituency are eligible to participate in this scheme as Sixth Form Colleges are excluded.

Addressing this discrepancy, Caroline asked:

"There has been a 15% increase in the number of students enrolling at Sixth Form Colleges without a GCSE in maths and yet these post-16 education providers are excluded from the £20 million Golden Hellos that are available to attract maths teachers to Further Education. With maths skills so crucial to young people's futures, what's the department doing about this?"

The Minister responsible, Nick Gibb MP responded:

"We introduced the Golden Hello scheme to support the recruitment and retention of well qualified maths teachers in publicly funded FE sector who can teach GCSE level and above. Sixth Form Colleges are not included in the scheme because along with school Sixth Forms, they are eligible for the recruitment support and incentives offered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership which are not available to FE colleges."

Caroline is a keen advocate of maths skills; earlier this year, she established a Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy which is working to inform Government policy and raise awareness about numeracy in the UK.


24 OCT 2014

CAROLINE SLAMS £1.7BN EU SHAKEDOWN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage reacted angrily to news that the European Union is demanding extra cash from Britain following recent economic growth. Britain will be forced to pay a £1.7bn surcharge by December – because our economy is doing so well - while France and Germany are set to gain money back.

Caroline commented, "It is absolutely staggering that the European Union thinks it can just change the fees for previous years and demand extra cash at no notice. This country has taken tough decisions and we've got our economy back on track; now we're being forced to fork out for the failures of the Eurozone.

I'm pleased the Prime Minister has said we will not be paying this ludicrous bill. It just underlines how important it is that we get a referendum on Europe. Brussels has already banned hoovers; now they're sucking up ever more cash to pay for their failures. We've got to make sure we get a Conservative Government in 2015 so that we can finally have a say on Europe."


24 OCT 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES £50M SKILLS FUNDING BOOST FOR BRITISH BUSINESSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the news that £50m worth of fully funded training is now available to all businesses, from small start-ups to FTSE100 giants. But the money is only there for a year - so they need to hurry! Caroline has long worked on boosting skills in the UK; and recently persuaded the BIS Select Committee to launch a landmark inquiry into the country's basic skills gap. She also recently co-founded the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Maths and Numeracy. The new major national campaign, For Business, For Life, is urging employers to make use of EU funding to upskill their employees in the crucial areas of literacy and numeracy.

Welcoming the move, Caroline said, "We have a shocking skills gap in this country, with far too many people left behind without the basics in literacy or numeracy. It's therefore great news that this fund will help those who may lack confidence in these key areas; giving them the tools to unlock their potential. It's also great for employers; who will get a real boost from their employees' news skills."

Alongside Caroline, a group of firms known as the National Consortium of Colleges and Providers (NCCP), are reaching out to business leaders in every sector to tell them about the advantages of their employees receiving training in English and maths. In addition to acquiring more confident and ambitious workers, the vast majority will receive funding for their training; costing them nothing. Basic Skills training is fully funded via the EU's European Social Fund; with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receiving £800 per learner for the first three learners. For more details visit http://www.ncc.ac.uk/


21 OCT 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR BETTER ACCESS TO GP APPOINTMENTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today stood up for local people who are facing lengthy waits for appointments with their doctors during questions to the Secretary of State for Health.

Whilst the Government has expressed its commitment to boosting access to GPs by extending opening hours and making GP services available seven days a week by 2020, people living in the Gosport area are yet to feel tangible benefits of these improvements.

Caroline asked:

"In my Gosport constituency, waiting times for GP appointments are remaining lengthy and practices are struggling to recruit enough doctors. Will my Honourable Friend reassure me that the improvements he's making elsewhere in the country will take effect in Gosport and will he meet with me to discuss this?"

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt replied:

"I'm delighted to discuss that with my Honourable Friend and she is right to focus on the role of GPs because if we are going to transform the NHS by the end of the next parliament, we need to fundamentally improve the out-of-hospital care that we offer. GPs are at the heart of that, we've recruited 1000 more this parliament, we need many more going forward and definitely that would include her constituency."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Each week I get a number of letters and emails from local people who are frustrated by the time it takes to secure an appointment with their GP; equally, I receive a lot of correspondence from local GPs who are concerned about the difficulties of recruiting new GPs. It is quite clear that more needs to be done to tackle both of these problems here on the Gosport peninsula and I will look forward to discussing the issues in greater detail with the Secretary of State."


21 OCT 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES BROADBAND GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that grants of up to £3,000 for superfast broadband are now available for businesses in Gosport.

Gosport Borough Council has joined forces with Portsmouth City Council on its £4.7 million 'Super Connected Cities scheme' to enable Gosport based businesses, registered charities and social enterprises employing less than 250 people to apply for grants to install superfast broadband.

Grants will range from £100 to £3,000 and will go towards the capital and equipment costs of improving internet connectivity.

Speaking in support of the scheme, Caroline said:

"The internet plays a huge role in business growth now which is why it is so important that businesses in Gosport have access to the best possible broadband services. This is a fantastic scheme and I would urge all local business owners to find out if they are eligible to apply."

Details on how to apply, more background information on the scheme and the technology involved, plus advice on what type of connection your business may need are available via www.connectionvouchers.co.uk.


20 OCT 2014

CAROLINE PRESSES GOVERNMENT ON FUTURE OF HMS SULTAN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today pushed the Government to commit to the continued presence of HMS Sultan in Gosport in the run up to the next Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). One of Caroline's first major campaigns on being elected to Parliament was the successful blocking of attempts to move the engineering school to Wales, and she has consistently pressed the Government to commit to keeping the facility in Gosport.

Speaking in the Chamber Caroline said, "The Secretary of State will be aware of HMS Sultan in my Gosport constituency which is the Royal Navy's School of Marine Engineering, and also was the first Ministry of Defence (MoD) establishment to have received an outstanding OFSTED report. Can he confirm that sites like this which are not only incredibly valuable to the MoD but also to local communities will continue to be valued as part of the SDSR?"

Responding, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, "Well I certainly appreciate the valuable and positive benefits that all defence education and training facilities do provide to the armed forces. I'm not aware of any plans to alter this establishment, and I know that my Hon. Friend met my Ministerial colleague last week to discuss it further."

As part of her ongoing commitment to retaining military jobs in Gosport Caroline recently met with Defence Minister Anna Soubry to discuss the future of MoD sites in Gosport.

Speaking outside the Chamber Caroline said, "We have a long and proud military tradition in our area, so I'm delighted that the Minister has confirmed that there are no plans to move this outstanding school away from Gosport. HMS Sultan provides training that is second to none to over 5,000 sailors every year; I will keep pushing the Government to make sure that as we approach the next SDSR there are no plans to move this thriving training facility."


17 OCT 2014

CAROLINE BACKS OLDER PERSONS MONTH

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is urging older people in Gosport to take advantage of activities scheduled throughout the Borough to mark Older Persons Month.

During the month of October, Gosport Borough Council is leading the Older Persons Month initiative to encourage older people to get involved in community events and activities. It is running a number of events across the area including an Alzheimer café which brings together people affected by the disease and an information session about keeping warm over winter.

Speaking in support of Older Persons Month, Caroline says:

"Loneliness affects many older people in our area and is a huge cause for concern. That is why I am so pleased that Gosport Borough Council is working to tackle this problem and promote social engagement amongst the older generation.

I am confident that these events will help people to feel that they are part of a strong and caring local community."

Events will run until the end of the month. For more information, please click here or contact Gosport Borough Council on 023 9258 4242.


16 OCT 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR WESTMINSTER DEBATE ON STOKESMEAD

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today raised the issue of the Stokesmead site in the House of Commons; calling for a debate on companies hoarding land that they won't sell off but can't get permission to develop. Stokesmead field in Gosport is a beautiful but controversial site that despite a lack of development remains closed to the local community.

Speaking in the Chamber Caroline said, "For 30 years a company called Abbey Homes have been sitting on the Stokesmead site in my Gosport constituency; unable to develop it and yet unwilling to sell to the local borough council, or indeed to local residents who would like to see it used as a village green. Could we have a debate on this type of land-banking, which does nothing to benefit out local communities?"

Responding, Leader of the House William Hague said, "Well such issues do create strong feelings in local communities and my Honourable Friend is always very strong in speaking up for her local community, and has done so again today. As on other issues that we have talked about in this statement it is open to her to promote such a debate and to seek an adjournment debate or a backbench business debate, and I encourage her to do so."

Speaking outside the Chamber Caroline said, "This could be a lovely area for local people; instead it sits undeveloped and surrounded by very high fencing. In the coming weeks I'll be calling an adjournment debate in the House of Commons both about this site and about the wider issue of companies who sit on undeveloped land and shut out local communities."


15 OCT 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES GOSPORT CAB TO WESTMINSTER

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed volunteers from Gosport Citizens Advice Bureau to Westminster for a tour of Parliament and a discussion about the big issues faced by CAB clients in the area.

Following a tour which took in Westminster Hall, Central Lobby and the House of Lords, the CAB joined Caroline in her office to talk through some of their concerns. These included the long waiting time for Personal Independence Payment decisions, which Caroline recently raised in Parliament.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"The team at Gosport CAB do a fantastic job of advising people on how they can overcome the problems that they encounter in their everyday lives. For that reason, I was thrilled to invite them to Parliament and to hear directly from volunteers about the difficulties faced by many local residents.

Such discussions are invaluable to me in my work as MP and I intend to raise some of the issues in forthcoming meetings and Parliamentary debates."

Caroline is a keen advocate of volunteering and hosts an annual reception in Westminster to personally thank local volunteers for their hard work and dedication.


15 OCT 2014

CAROLINE DEMANDS ENGLISH VOTES FOR ENGLISH LAWS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday slammed Labour party plans to deny English people the same rights as those enjoyed by Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters. While the Conservative party has pledged to deliver English Votes for English Laws; and will force a vote on this by the end of November; in the House of Commons yesterday representing Labour Sadiq Khan attempted to claim there was no popular demand for English-only votes.

The local MP hotly contested this, saying that "I represent a constituency in the South of England, and while he keeps talking about this as...something coming down from Westminster, and there being no requirement for it...I get letters about this every day, every week; English people want English votes."

Speaking outside the House of Commons chamber Caroline said, "English people just want basic fairness in the political system. All they want is a fair deal for England in which their voices carry the same weight as those of people in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is unbelievable that the Labour party are trying to block this; yet this is sadly predictably from a party that just doesn't trust people in England. They don't trust voters with equal constituency sizes, they won't allow people a say on Europe, and now they won't even give voters in England the same rights as those of people in every other part of the UK. They're out of touch with English people, and rather than trusting us they want to rig the system and sneak into Government via the back door."


14 OCT 2014

CAROLINE & PEEL COMMON JUNIORS HAND PETITION TO DOWNING STREET

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today escorted a group of Year 5 pupils from Peel Common Junior School to Downing Street.

Fifty more pupils from the school met up with Caroline and were given a tour of Parliament.

At school, the children had been learning about international development through the popular book, 'Running Shoes' by Frederick Lipp. They wrote to the Prime Minister asking for further action to be taken to extend the impact of the Millennium Development Goals. Caroline invited them to come to Downing Street to deliver their letters in person.

Speaking after the school's visit, Caroline said:

"I always enjoy welcoming local school children to Parliament and was thrilled to help Peel Common Junior School deliver their petition to 10 Downing Street. We were particularly lucky to bump into the Chancellor, George Osborne, while we were there. He stopped for a chat and answered some of the children's questions - one asked about her grandparent's pensions and he told her the good news that pensions will be going up next year!

I hope that today's visit will have inspired some budding politicians of the future!"

Caroline actively promotes engagement between local schools and Parliament. In the past year alone, she has welcomed 7 schools to Parliament and since becoming elected, has visited every school in her constituency.


13 OCT 2014

CAROLINE STANDS UP FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today called on the Government to send out the clearest possible message to victims of sexual violence that they will be given the support they deserve if they go to the police.

Speaking in the chamber, Caroline said, "Horrifyingly 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence over the course of their lives; yet only fifteen percent of the victims of the most serious sexual offences report those crimes to the police.

Does the Minister agree with me that if more victims are to come forward the police up and down the country need to send out a robust message that these crimes will be taken very seriously?"

Responding, the Minister said, "I completely agree with the comments of my honourable friend; victims must have confidence when they come forward, and the confidence in the force and in the police officers that are dealing with their complaint."

Commenting outside the chamber, Caroline said,

"Almost half a million women are sexual assaulted each year in England and Wales; with sexual violence affecting the lives of millions of women and men across the country. Unfortunately far too few people feel able to go to the police. We need to send out the message loud and clear that the police are there to support you, and if you wish to take legal action they will do everything in their power to help you get justice.

If you feel that you have been a victim of sexual violence the best thing to do first is to go along to your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre; there they can store results until you make up your mind whether you wish to report to the police or not."


10 OCT 2014

CAROLINE JOINS RED, WHITE & BLUE DAY CELEBRATIONS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today donned her red dress for visits to Crofton Hammond Infant and Junior Schools to join in their celebrations of Red White and Blue Day.

Red, White and Blue Day is a national initiative which encourages schools to show their support for Service families across the country. Given the Gosport constituency's strong links to the Armed Forces, it is a particularly pertinent campaign. At Crofton Hammond Junior School, 25% of pupils have a parent in the Armed Forces, whilst at the Infant School this figure rises to 40% showing that the area's connection to the military stretches beyond bases and barracks.

Today, pupils at both schools will be involved in a broad range of activities, many of which will be led by Service parents. One father from the Royal Marines will be running fitness training sessions whilst another from the RAF will teach pupils how to build and fire rockets made from old cola bottles. The children will also learn about submarines during a session with staff from HMS Alliance and will be able to get up close to field guns from HMS Collingwood.

Speaking after her visit, Caroline said:

"I am extremely proud of our area's strong links to the Armed Forces which is why I was so pleased to see pupils at Crofton Hammond Infant and Junior Schools learning more about what our servicemen and women do for our country whilst raising money for Forces Charities.

During my visit I was delighted to meet with the head teachers, staff, parents and pupils who are so enthusiastic about marking this special day. The Infant School's very own handmade 'Field of Poppies' was a particular highlight and will certainly rival that at the Tower of London!"

Caroline is a keen supporter of the Armed Forces; she participated in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and stood as Co-Chair for the Royal Navy branch of the Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces for four years.

Red, White and Blue Day is run jointly by ABF The Soldiers' Charity, The RAF Benevolent Fund and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.


06 OCT 2014

CAROLINE VISITS THE CENTREPEACE HUB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has visited the Centrepeace Hub in her constituency to learn more about how the organisation is helping those in need of emotional support and practical advice.

The Centrepeace Hub is run by volunteers from the local church community who offer a listening ear to those who feel that they cannot talk to family and friends. The volunteers can also signpost people to various help agencies and offer short courses to those wishing to build up their confidence.

During her visit, Caroline met with volunteers and spoke to clients about how Centrepeace's services are helping them through difficult times.

She commented:

"Centrepeace offers invaluable help to those who feel they have nowhere else to turn and having spoken to people who have benefited from the kind, friendly and helpful approach of volunteers, I am extremely proud that such an organisation is operating in our area."

Caroline is a keen advocate of volunteering and hosts an annual reception in Westminster to personally thank local volunteers for their hard work and dedication.

For more information about Centrepeace and to get involved, please call 07756 945660.


01 OCT 2014

CAROLINE: WE'VE COME A LONG WAY - LET'S FINISH THE JOB AND BUILD A BRITAIN TO BE PROUD OF

In a barnstorming speech today David Cameron set out his plans to finish the work of the current Government: building a Britain to be proud of by cutting taxes, reducing the deficit, and improving public services. Under Conservative plans 30 million people will see their taxes cut; with the tax free Personal Allowance increased to £12,500, and the Higher Rate Threshold at which people start paying 40 per cent tax increased to £50,000. This would take all of those working 30 hours a week or less on minimum wage out of income tax altogether.

I was also delighted by the news that 3 million apprenticeships will be created to help give our young people the skills they need to succeed, and happy that unlike the Leader of the Opposition the Prime Minister managed to remember the deficit; pledging to eliminate it by 2018 - through spending cuts, not tax rises.

There were other excellent measures. The commitment to build 100,000 new Starter Homes is great news for those looking to get their first foot on the property ladder; while the ring-fencing of NHS spending is a reminder that it is the Conservatives who are the true party of the NHS.

The Prime Minister also set out his plans for renegotiation with Europe; including a firm line on the free movement of people. Once this has happened Conservatives in Government – and only Conservatives – will deliver that in/out referendum. In addition the Prime Minister said that a Conservative Government would never let European Courts dictate to our Parliament on issues like prisoners voting – and committed to introducing a British Bill of Rights and scrapping Labour's Human Rights Act.

The contrast with Ed Miliband's performance last week – so forgettable that he forgot it himself – was stark. There is now a clear choice for 2015: David Cameron or Ed Miliband. A Conservative Government that will cut taxes, reward hard work, and protect our public services, or a weak Labour leader whose only answers are more taxes, more borrowing, and more debt. As the Prime Minister said, if you vote UKIP – that's really a vote for Labour. On 7th May you could go to bed with Nigel Farage, and wake up with Ed Miliband.

We are now creating more jobs here in Britain than in the whole of Europe put together: 1.8 million jobs in the last 4 years. We have the fastest growing economy in the Western World. But there is still much more to do. We need to finish the job and deliver a Conservative majority in 2015 to build a Britain we can all be proud of.


30 SEP 2014

CAROLINE VISITS BASEPOINT CENTRE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today visited Gosport Basepoint Centre for a tour of the facilities and took the chance to speak to the licensees.

The Basepoint Centre is home to a large number of fledgling businesses which are working to innovate and expand. It offers a range of office space, workshops and incubator suites as well as state of the art technology and high speed internet access.

Speaking after her visit, Caroline said:

"I always enjoy speaking to local business people and was delighted to hear about their experiences at the Basepoint Centre. It is a fantastic environment and the strong business community provides a network of support that is invaluable to entrepreneurs.

I was extremely impressed by the facilities and particularly the technology available – it is wonderful to have this cutting edge business centre on our doorstep."

Having run a business since the age of 19, Caroline is passionate about supporting small business owners. She is an active member of the Business, Skills and Innovation Select Committee and was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the South by the Prime Minister last year.


30 SEP 2014

CAROLINE TO HOLD OPEN SURGERY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will hold an open surgery at the Gosport Discovery Centre this Friday.

Caroline's open advice surgeries give her constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns about both local and national issues without making an appointment beforehand. By holding these surgeries, Caroline is fulfilling her pledge to reach out to people across the constituency.

She commented:

"In the past, my surgeries at the Discovery Centre have been a huge success, with people from across the area popping in to have a chat, raise problems and receive advice. I would encourage anyone who wouldn't think of coming to my Stoke Road surgery to drop in on Friday."

Caroline's open surgery will take place between 2pm and 3:30pm on Friday 3rd October. She will continue her surgery tour on Friday 7th November at Bridgemary Library.

For more information about these surgeries, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


26 SEP 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES DISCRETIONARY INCOME INCREASE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Asda Income Tracker showing that last month, the discretionary income of the average UK household is fast approaching its all-time high.

In August 2014, the average family had £172 per week of discretionary income, in comparison to the high point of £174 per week last seen in January 2010. The August increase marks the biggest annual increase in the Income Tracker for five months.

Caroline commented:

"Hearing that discretionary incomes are up £5 a week on the same time last year is really good news for households across the Gosport peninsula. That additional money will make a real difference to families, reducing the pressure on their household budgets.

The increase will also boost spending power thus helping to accelerate the recovery of the British economy."

The Asda Income Tracker measures how much families have left to spend each week after paying for essentials such as electricity and fuel, food and housing costs. It is based on research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR).


24 SEP 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES FA SKILLS SUCCESS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage this month attended an event in Parliament to celebrate the success of FA Skills, The FA's flagship coaching programme for 5 to 11 year old girls and boys.

At the event, Caroline met former England and West Ham United midfielder, Sir Trevor Brooking who played a key role in establishing FA Skills back in 2007. The programme enables children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy football both in and out of school. It is delivered by 158 full-time coaches in England.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to join Sir Trevor to celebrate the huge progress that FA Skills has made since it began seven years ago. With six million children already having benefited from the initiative, I am confident that it will continue to flourish in the years to come, giving children the chance to have fun with their peers and refine their football technique."

Caroline is a keen advocate of getting children into sport. She is a Parliamentary Sport Champion and has worked closely with community sport providers to help them deliver the best sporting opportunities for people in Gosport.

FA Skills is free to primary schools thanks to funding from The FA, the National Lottery and the Government through Sport England. For more information please visit http://faskills.thefa.com/.


22 SEP 2014

CAROLINE BACKS FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign's flagship fundraiser, 'wear it pink' day.

On Friday 24 October, people across the country will come together to wear pink in the office, at home or at school in order to raise vital funds for lifesaving breast cancer research. The initiative coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is held every October.

Caroline said:

"It is devastating to know that 12,000 women and 80 men die from breast cancer each year in the UK. That is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign's fundraising efforts to facilitate world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments.

I hope that people across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head will join me by 'wearing it pink' on Friday 24 October and showing their support for breast cancer research."

For more information or to register for 'wear it pink' and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org.


19 SEP 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES NO VOTE & CALLS FOR MORE POWERS FOR ENGLAND

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has this morning welcomed the news that the Scottish people have voted against independence and is calling for a review of the existing devolution framework.

Yesterday's landmark referendum rightly gave the people of Scotland the opportunity to decide on their own future, however, learning that the country will remain part of the United Kingdom comes as welcome news to many.

In response to the referendum, Caroline is backing the calls to give English people more power by revising the devolution framework that was put in place by the last Labour Government.

"I am pleased that the Scottish people have voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. The UK is stronger with Scotland, and Scotland is stronger as part of the UK.

However, following this referendum, Scotland will have new powers; so should England. It is absolutely right that English MPs should be the only elected representatives with the right to vote on issues that only affect English people.

The majority of the letters that I have received on the issue of the Scottish Referendum were asking if, in the case of a yes vote, shipbuilding would return to Portsmouth. That's symptomatic, not of an area that doesn't fully appreciate the historic ties that mean we are better together, but more a reflection that English people feel it's time we were allowed to put our own interests first."

Caroline will continue to support the campaign for a review of the devolution framework.


17 SEP 2014

CAROLINE ATTENDS SOUTHAMPTON BOAT SHOW

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday visited the Southampton Boat Show where she met with a number of local marine businesses and attended an event to commend the success of maritime apprentices.

The Southampton Boat Show takes place every year, showcasing the best of the British marine industry. Amongst the other exhibitors, Gosport's own Haslar Marina and Marine Advertising Agency were promoting their services at the event.

Caroline also met Sir Ben Ainslie who was giving out awards to apprentices from the marine sector, and speaking about his Portsmouth Harbour-based Americas Cup venture. 

Speaking after the event, Caroline commented:

"I always enjoy attending the Southampton Boat Show and particularly seeing local marine companies flying the flag for Gosport.

This year, I was honoured to join Sir Ben Ainslie at the Apprenticeship Graduation Awards and was delighted to hear about his hopes for local apprentices in the lead up to the Americas Cup. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for young people to develop industry specific skills and Sir Ben's project will offer terrific opportunities to those in our area who are passionate about the maritime sector."

Since her election, Caroline has worked hard to promote Gosport as a world-class marine and sailing destination. She was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group in 2012.

The Southampton Boat Show will run until Sunday 21st September.


16 SEP 2014

PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR MATHS AND NUMERACY PUBLISHES FIRST PAPER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the publication of a new briefing document on the issues of maths and numeracy in the UK.

The paper was put together by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy which Caroline established at the beginning of the year and highlights some startling facts about numeracy skills in the UK. For example, only one in five 16-64 year olds in England have numeracy skills roughly equivalent to GCSE grade C.

Caroline said:

"This Parliamentary Group was launched to shed light on the huge impact that poor numeracy has on individuals and our economy as well as to make recommendations about how the situation could be improved. With an estimated cost to the UK economy of £20 billion per year, the Group's first publication sheds light on the need to address poor numeracy urgently.

I am confident the Group's future work will continue to place pressure on policymakers, maintaining momentum in this important campaign to boost numeracy skills in the UK."

Caroline has long campaigned on the importance of numeracy and literacy. Most recently, she was instrumental in securing a landmark Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee inquiry into literacy and numeracy which presented its findings earlier this month.

You can access the full report here: APPG Briefing Paper


11 SEP 2014

CAROLINE DEMANDS TOUGHER ACTION ON LATE PAYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today pushed the Government to introduce tougher measures for large companies that fail to pay their bills on time. Late payment is one of the most serious issues affecting small businesses; with research showing that in 2011, 125,000 businesses were almost put out of business by late payment; and the local MP, who is the PM's Small Business Ambassador for the South has repeatedly pushed the Government to take a firmer stance on big companies failing to pay small businesses on time.

Speaking in the chamber, Caroline said, "Businesses in my region really welcome proposals in the Small Business Bill on prompt payment but with £46 billion currently owed to businesses in the UK, up £10 billion on last year, as the bill goes forward will the Minister consider making the code even tougher, and broadening it to more companies?"

Responding for the Government, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills Vince Cable replied:

"Well she's quite right that particularly given the overall problems with access to finance for small and medium sized companies, the issue of late payment is critical and it is on a massive scale as she describes. We will in the course of this bill be making it much more transparent; how larger companies in particular make their payments, helping small companies in that way. I'm very happy to look at how we can strengthen the code and indeed we are talking to the institute of credit management about how we can do that."

Commenting outside the chamber, Caroline said, "As a small business owner I know first-hand the problems a late payment can cause for small and medium sized firms. This Government has a good record on backing small businesses – but we need to go further in tackling a widespread and harmful culture of larger firms failing to pay smaller companies on time."


11 SEP 2014

CAROLINE CONTINUES CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER RAIL LINKS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today continued her fight for improved rail links between Portsmouth and London, during Questions to the Leader of the House in Parliament.

Improving the transport links to her Gosport constituency has been a key priority for Caroline since she was elected in 2010; having successfully secured a number of significant funding packages for local roads, she is calling for reduced journey times and better conditions on the rail route between Portsmouth and London.

Caroline asked:

"In light of South West Trains' announcement that £210 million will be invested in rolling stock and not a single penny will be used on rail routes between Portsmouth and London, will the Leader of the House agree to a debate on the much needed improvements to this important route which has been painfully neglected for decades?"

The Leader of the House, William Hague MP, replied:

"The investment that my Honourable Friend is referring to is the investment coming in to provide additional capacity to meet the expected increase in the number of peak time passengers arriving at London Waterloo and this is targeting the suburban network by creating extra platform capacity.

There will be a small number of evening peak services to Portsmouth that will be lengthened with more cars in the train, something that I hope she will welcome, but I know she will continue to make the case for investment that benefits her constituents and again there are many opportunities open to my Honourable Friend and Honourable Members to raise such issues in the House."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Whilst vast amounts of money are being ploughed into rail projects and route upgrades across the country, Gosport is still the largest town in the UK without a railway and commuters travelling between Portsmouth and London are still faced with a journey that takes longer than that from London to Doncaster, a distance that is more than twice as far.

I hope that the Government will recognise the need to improve connectivity to the South Coast and work with providers to secure improvements."

Today's question follows a Parliamentary debate which Caroline led in March, during which she urged the Government to invest more money in the transport network across the Solent region.


09 SEP 2014

CAROLINE URGES GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE LITERACY RATES IN OUR PRISONS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today pushed the Government to cut reoffending and improve rehabilitation by helping inmates improve their reading skills. The move came following a report by the Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee which emphasised how the ability to read is critical to the rehabilitation of inmates, and the local MP called on the Government to ensure that all prison libraries are open at weekends.

Speaking in the chamber, Caroline said, "Can I ask the Sec of State to carefully consider the report from the Business, Innovation, and Skills select committee that was published this week that shows that improved literacy really supports rehabilitation and recommends that prison libraries should be open at weekends?"

The Secretary of State for Justice replied that he would "read this very carefully indeed", commenting that this was "a very helpful contribution to how we address the literacy problem."

He also took the opportunity to "pay tribute to all of the volunteers in the Toe by Toe programme, and also to all the prisoners who can themselves read, who devote time to helping those who cannot, to do so."

Speaking outside the chamber Caroline said,

"There is a clear link between those people who leave prison without any real skills and those who instantly slip back into a life of crime. If we don't equip people with the right skills then we can't hope to properly rehabilitate them. The ability to read is so fundamental that we have to do everything we can to make sure that everyone leaving prison can read and write well – only then can they get on in life and make a real, positive contribution to society."


08 SEP 2014

CAROLINE COMMENDS LOCAL LITTER ACTION GROUP

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today praised the work of Gosport and Lee Litter Action during questions to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The local organisation is part of a wider national campaign to keep Britain's streets tidy. It has held a number of events across the Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent area, bringing residents together to tackle the litter problem locally.

Caroline asked:

"This Saturday, I will be cleaning up Gosport with my local Litter Action group. In light of the recent launch of the DCLG Select Committee inquiry into litter, will the Minister join me in commending the Litter Action initiative which sees community volunteers from across the UK working to keep their local streets clean?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister responsible, Kris Hopkins MP, said:

"Well I fully commend the work of the group that she is supporting and also just to say that my own previous authority we identified six million pounds will have been spent on picking up litter; and across the country if you added that together, how many more elderly people could we be supporting? How many individuals in schools? How many books could be buy for libraries? It's about the lack of responsibility of the individual which needs to be addressed and challenged."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Not only is litter a vastly expensive problem, it is also an eyesore which can give an area an unflattering reputation. I hope that the Select Committee's inquiry will help inform the Government about how best to tackle this widespread issue and in the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing members of the local community on Saturday for our 'Big Clean Up' here in Gosport."


08 SEP 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES ADULT LITERACY & NUMERACY REPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has this morning welcomed the publication of the long-awaited Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report on adult literacy and numeracy.

Caroline is one of eleven members of the Committee which looks into Government policy and makes recommendations about how it could be improved. She led a debate in Parliament on the issueof literacy and numeracy problems amongst the adult population last year and campaigned passionately for the Committee to investigate the matter further.

The report reveals that there is still an alarmingly high proportion of adults with low literacy and numeracy skills and that previous Government interventions have not been effective. A number of recommendations are outlined in the report, such as reassessing the funding provision for literacy and numeracy courses and moving away from the traditional approach to qualification attainment. The Committee also calls on Government departments to implement a joined-up plan to address the problem.

Caroline commented:

"The scale of adult literacy and numeracy problems in the UK is a huge cause for concern. With a large proportion of the adult population unable to reach their full potential because of weak basic skillsets; it is not just affecting individuals, it is impacting upon Britain's economy as a whole.

That is why it was so important that the BIS Select Committee looked into the matter, taking evidence from organisations and stakeholders with experience in the adult skills sector. I was delighted that Gosport-based charity 'We Can Read' and St. Vincent College were asked to provide their invaluable insights during the oral evidence sessions.

I hope that the publication of this report will shed light on the issue and encourage the Government to do more to tackle this longstanding problem."

For the first time, the BIS Select Committee has produced a video to accompany the report which features Caroline and the Committee Chair, Adrian Bailey MP, setting out the recommendations. You can watch the video online here: http://youtu.be/eC33GxFBCYc.

The full report is available on the BIS Select Committee website: http://bit.ly/1k8di4s.


03 SEP 2014

CAROLINE HOSTS BOSOMBUDDIES IN PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted the charity, BosomBuddies, in Parliament for an event aimed at raising awareness about the importance of the early detection of breast cancer.

Through BosomBuddies, breast cancer survivors ('Buddies') have been deployed to visit schools across the country speaking to girls of Year 11 age about how they can self-examine and why early detection of the disease is so crucial. The Buddies also offer support to young girls who may have been affected by breast cancer indirectly – living with a family member who is undergoing treatment for the disease.

Whilst 1 in 8 women in the UK will get breast cancer at some point in their lives, 1 in 3 still do not self-examine. The charity is now looking to recruit more Buddies from across the UK and to get MPs to promote the initiative in their constituencies, hence the event in Parliament.

Speaking in support of the initiative, Caroline said:

"BosomBuddies is made up of a truly inspirational group of women who are reaching out to young girls and ensuring that the next generation is better prepared to protect itself against breast cancer.

Early detection is absolutely key to tackling this disease which is why I am delighted to be supporting this accessible and informative initiative."

Over the next few months, Caroline will be working to create linkages between BosomBuddies and schools in Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head.


03 SEP 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES EXPANSION OF FREE CHILD CARE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that from this week, the Government has extended the entitlement of 15 hours of free early education to the 40 per cent of most disadvantaged two-year-olds.

At present, 116,000 two-year-olds benefit from this initiative and from this week, eligibility will be extended to encompass over 260,000 children, including 4,000 two-year-olds in Hampshire. The Government already offers 15 hours of free early education per week to all three- and four-year-olds.

Speaking in support of the news, Caroline said:

"Giving children an equal start in life and ensuring that they are ready for school is hugely important. That is why I am pleased that this Government has expressed its commitment to giving the most disadvantaged two-year-olds 15 hours of free early education.

This will help to ensure that all children are able to reach their full potential, regardless of their background."

Alongside this, the Government now meets up to 70 per cent of childcare costs for low and middle income families through tax credits. It is introducing tax-free childcare from autumn 2015 which will see all eligible families receive up to £2,000 towards each child's childcare costs.


01 SEP 2014

CAROLINE SPEAKS OUT ON PIP APPLICATION DELAYS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today raised her concerns about the delays to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application reviews during questions to the Department for Work and Pensions.

PIP helps with some of the extra costs faced by those living with disability or long-term ill health.

Caroline asked:

"A number of my constituents have experienced lengthy delays while waiting for a decision on a review for their PIP application, at a time of great uncertainty and stress for all concerned. In addition to the efforts already outlined by the Minister, could he outline what steps are planned to speed up the application review and appeal process?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP said:

"As well as making sure that the assessment can take place faster, we are already making sure that as those cases move through the system, the DWP decision makers will be able to cope with that increased number of cases so that once we have got the assessment process sorted out, those decisions will be made in a timely way that helps hers and my constituents in the future."

Speaking outside the chamber, Caroline said:

"When people are being forced to live on a reduced income it is crucial that waiting times are as short as possible, that is why I am pleased that the Minister has expressed his commitment to streamlining the entire PIP application process, including the procedures for reviewing a decision that an individual is unhappy with."


06 AUG 2014

CAROLINE PRAISES EFFECT OF EMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that 109,000 businesses in the South East are already benefitting from the Employment Allowance.

The Employment Allowance was introduced in April and reduces the cost to businesses of employing people. It takes up to £2,000 off the National Insurance bill of every employer and is open to businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs.

Speaking in support of the tax cut, Caroline said:

"Cutting the tax on jobs is a fantastic way to back small businesses and create more employment opportunities. Local businesses will find it easier to take on new staff thus giving more people the stability of a regular pay packet and peace of mind for the future.

Thanks to this Government's policies, 1.8 million people have entered employment since 2010; however, there is always more to be done which is why I am pleased that this Government is committed to carrying out its long-term economic plan."

The Employment Allowance means a business could now hire someone on £22,400 a year, or four people working full-time on the minimum wage, without paying any employer national insurance at all. In total up to 1.25 million employers will benefit from the allowance, with 450,000 taken out of paying the tax on jobs altogether.


04 AUG 2014

CAROLINE APPLAUDS HELP TO BUY SUCCESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed new figures showing that the Government's Help to Buy scheme is helping families to buy their own home.

In Gosport, 55 families have been helped on to the property ladder by the scheme which gives people access to an affordable mortgage thus enabling them to buy their own home.

Caroline said:

"It is great to hear that so many local families have been able to achieve their dreams of owning a home thanks to the Government's Help to Buy scheme. Getting a foot on the property ladder can be a daunting prospect, particularly in the aftermath of an economic recession.

I am pleased that more people in Gosport will now experience the security and independence that home ownership brings."

Across the UK nearly 40,000 people have been able to buy their own home thanks to Help to Buy; 80 per cent of those helped have been first-time buyers.

Help to Buy is also giving builders the confidence to build, with the Equity Loan part of the scheme directly supporting demand for new-build homes. Since the scheme was launched, private sector housebuilding has increased by 34 per cent with the construction sector growing and taking on new workers at the fastest rate for 17 years.


01 AUG 2014

CAROLINE VISITS GOSPORT SUMMER PASSPORT SCHEME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday paid a visit to the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme and met young people who are making the most of the activities on offer.

Organised by the Gosport Community Safety Partnership, the event is running for three weeks during the summer holidays and provides a wide range of activities for young people aged 12-17. Caroline saw for herself the diverse opportunities open to participants, from kayaking to hair chalking.

Expressing her support for the initiative, Caroline said:

"Now in its seventh year, the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme just keeps getting bigger and better. The huge variety of activities on offer means that there really is something for everyone and I am delighted that so many young people are taking part in this year's events.

The scheme provides some unique experiences to participants and gives them the chance to think about hobbies that they may like to take up in the future. It is also a great way to get out and about and spend time with friends during the long summer holidays."

The Gosport Summer Passport Scheme will run until the 14th August; for those who haven't pre-registered, participation in activities will cost £2 on the day of the event. You can find more information here: www.safergosport.co.uk/?content=pages&id=passport-scheme.


17 JUL 2014

KARREN BRADY HELPS CAROLINE INSPIRE BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was today joined by businesswoman, Karren Brady for a business and entrepreneurship workshop at Bay House School.

Students from a number of year groups were tasked with an 'Apprentice' style challenge - formulating an innovative business plan for empty units on Gosport High Street. After a morning of planning, they pitched their entrepreneurial ideas to Caroline, Karren and a panel of local business people. The successful group from Year 8 came up with the idea of opening a joke shop targeted at the younger market and even outlined how they could franchise their business model.

Karren gave an inspirational speech, detailing her rise in the business world and encouraging pupils to take the bull by the horns and realise their dreams. Students also heard from local business woman and record breaking endurance swimmer, Anna Wardley, who urged them to set their goals high.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"Karren is a fantastic role model for budding entrepreneurs and I am hugely grateful to her for joining us at today's business workshop.

I was extremely impressed by the students who presented their business ideas – pitching in front of such an esteemed panel is always daunting but they did a fantastic job and should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Having spoken to a number of pupils after the event, I know that they were enthused by Karren's passion for business and I hope that hearing from her will propel their aspirations for their own careers."

Karren built up a strong reputation as the managing director of Birmingham City FC and is currently the vice-chairman of West Ham United. She also works as an advisor to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice. She was visiting Gosport as part of her role as the Conservative Party's Small Business Ambassador. As Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline has been working with Karren and a group of MPs to promote the interests of small enterprises across the country which has culminated in the second reading of the Small Business Bill in Parliament this week.

The local business panel was made up of Anna Wardley, Gary Jeffries, Louise Whitmore and Joanna Murchie.


14 JUL 2014

KARREN BRADY SET TO VISIT GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome business woman, Karren Brady to her constituency on Thursday when she joins local business owners for an entrepreneurship event at Bay House School.

In collaboration with Bay House, Caroline has organised an entrepreneurship workshop for students with a keen interest in business. In small groups, they will be asked to come up with a business idea before pitching their proposals to a panel made up of Caroline, Karren and local entrepreneurs.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"It is really exciting to have such a well-known and successful business woman come to Gosport and I am delighted that Karren will be meeting budding entrepreneurs from Bay House School.

Engaging young people with business from an early age is essential to fostering enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism and I am confident that having heard from Karren, Bay House students will be inspired to follow in her footsteps and forge a career in business."

Having built up a strong reputation as the managing director of Birmingham City FC, Karren is currently the vice-chairman of West Ham United and also works as an advisor to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice.

She is visiting Gosport as part of her role as the Conservative Party's Small Business Ambassador. As Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline has been working with Karren and a group of MPs to promote the interests of small enterprises across the country.


10 JUL 2014

INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO DEATHS AT GOSPORT HOSPITAL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a statement from the Minister of State for Care and Support, announcing a Hillsborough-style inquiry into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Following the publication of Professor Richard Baker's report last August, which looked into the unexpected deaths of a number of elderly patients in the 1990s, the Department of Health has held consultation sessions with the families involved, facilitating discussions on how the case should be taken forward.

Today, the Minister responsible, Norman Lamb MP, revealed that he will set up an Independent Panel to review documentary evidence held by a range of organisations. The Panel will be chaired by Bishop James Jones who led the Hillsborough inquiry.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"For the families involved, this has been a long and hard journey. I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to addressing their ongoing concerns and finding out what really happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

I have always called for openness and transparency – the families deserve nothing less. The inquiry, selected by the families as their preferred course of action, is an important first step in finally bringing closure to this difficult case."

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb MP, said:

"The events at Gosport War Memorial hospital have caused immense distress to the families of the patients who died.

"I was deeply concerned by the findings of the Baker report, and I am confident that the appointment of Bishop James Jones to chair this independent process will help answer the many questions of the families affected by these shocking events."

Further details about the members of the Panel and agreed Terms of Reference will be announced in the autumn.


09 JUL 2014

CAROLINE SPEAKS UP ON PASSPORT DELAYS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has called on the Government to ensure that greater efficiency is brought to the process of issuing passports during Questions to the Home Office on Monday.

Over recent months, HM Passport Office (HMPO) has seen the highest rate of applications for passports in over 12 years. Despite robust efforts to manage the increased demand, many citizens have faced delays in receiving their passports. Caroline commended the hard work being done by HMPO to ensure that holidaymakers receive their passports in time for the summer season.

She asked:

"It's important that long-term lessons are drawn from the review of operating procedure, will the Minister assure the House that there will be a focus on improving efficiency and ensuring customer service is at the heart of all HMPO activities in the future?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister for Security and Immigration, James Brokenshire MP, said:

"I think my Honourable Friend makes an important point around the focus on customers, the focus on improving the processes further. I think that there is a real focus that will be given to this once we have managed this period of excessive demand, indeed looking at the forecasting, we are bringing in the Home Office's scientific lead to examine those projections as well as ensuring that where there are changes that can be made to improve performance they will be done."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"With the summer holidays fast approaching, I am sure that many local people have been concerned by the delays in the issuing of passports and I am pleased that the Government is taking decisive action to help prevent these issues from arising again in the future."


08 JUL 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES MINISTER TO DAEDALUS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the Minister for Housing, Kris Hopkins MP, to her constituency for a visit to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.

Caroline and the Minister were joined by representatives from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and other key stakeholders for a tour of the site which took in the brand new CEMAST Skills Centre. The group then convened for a meeting to discuss the future of the Enterprise Zone, with particular reference to plans for the Waterfront area.

Whilst at the Enterprise Zone, the Minister announced confirmation of a £7 million investment which will be used to create a new spine road on the site, linking the CEMAST Skills Centre to the Waterfront area, facilitating the development of a vibrant new complex of commercial and leisure businesses. The funding package was initially announced by the Government in January, subject to an approved business case, following a successful bid by the Solent LEP.

Speaking after the Minister's visit, Caroline said:

"It was great to welcome Kris Hopkins to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, particularly as he brought with him yet more good news for our area. The confirmation of further funding proves that Ministers are strongly backing the Solent region for success.

What with the new CEMAST Skills Centre nearing completion, the Innovation Centre going ahead and numerous other projects currently underway at Daedalus, the extended funding will really serve to propel the site's development, ensuring that it meets the potential it has to boost our local economy, create jobs and generate new skills."

Today's visit follows on from yesterday's announcement that the Solent LEP has been successful in its bid for government funding through the Local Growth Deal and will receive a total of £124 million to deliver the Solent Strategic Economic Plan.


07 JUL 2014

STUBBINGTON BYPASS GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has this morning welcomed news from the Government that the long-awaited Stubbington bypass has finally received the go-ahead.

In response to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership's bid for a funding package to ease congestion in Gosport and Fareham, the Government has agreed to an initial investment of £19.7 million which will be used for preliminary work on the Stubbington bypass. The funding will also go towards improving existing transport connectivity between Gosport and Fareham.

In addition, the Government has agreed to work with the Solent LEP to negotiate a phase of co-investment to support road improvements on the Gosport peninsula, namely the construction of the Stubbington bypass.

Speaking about the announcement, Caroline said:

"For decades, the Gosport peninsula has been in desperate need of an additional access road so today's announcement of the first tranche of money to build a new access road is landmark news. Not only would this new road cut travelling times for long suffering commuters, it would also make our area more attractive to investors and help to create jobs locally.

Having worked hard to secure this new road for the past four years, I am delighted that the ministerial visits and numerous meetings have paid off and that the Government has recognised our very real need for a decent access road to Gosport."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has been firmly committed to tackling her constituency's road congestion problems. Last year, she welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and former Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the area and was pivotal in securing the Daedalus Enterprise Zone which has helped to secure an £8.5 million package for the work on Newgate Lane which began in January.


03 JUL 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES 'NAUTICAL NEWS' IN PARLIAMENT!

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage celebrated a week of excellent nautical news for her local area this morning, when she welcomed the arrival of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation's Oceans of Hope yacht in Portsmouth during questions to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Oceans of Hope circumnavigation is a project which gives people living with MS an opportunity to play an active part in a 61,000 kilometre sailing voyage. Having set off from Copenhagen last month, the team will arrive in Portsmouth today.

The arrival of Oceans of Hope follows Monday's announcement that Portsmouth Harbour will be the new home to Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup sailing team.

Speaking in the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Will the Minister join me in welcoming two pieces of excellent nautical news for Portsmouth Harbour area; not only will it be playing host to Sir Ben Ainslie's new America's Cup sailing team hub, but today it welcomes the Oceans of Hope, the first yacht to complete a global circumnavigation with a working crew with multiple sclerosis, including my Gosport constituent Phil Gowers."

The Minister responding, Helen Grant MP, replied:

"Of course I will congratulate them and I think the Oceans of Hope project is a really fantastic one. The crew are a real inspiration and they deserve our warmest congratulations."

Since becoming Gosport's MP, Caroline has worked hard to promote the area as a world-class marine and sailing destination so the arrival of these two significant ventures come as very welcome news.

As a keen supporter of the MS Society, earlier this year Caroline abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower to raise vital funds for the charity.


02 JUL 2014

CAROLINE HOSTS LOCAL VOLUNTEERS IN PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted 80 local volunteers at her annual Volunteers' Reception in Westminster on Monday evening.

Each year Caroline invites representatives of voluntary groups and charities from across the Gosport peninsula to an event in Parliament, which she funds, to thank them for the work they do for the local community.

After the reception, which included a speech from Caroline, thanking them for their contribution to organisations within her constituency, guests were treated to a tour of the Parliamentary Estate which included Westminster Hall, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Entertainment was provided by talented young musicians from Bay House School.

Speaking after the event, Caroline praised the work of volunteers in her constituency:

"The Volunteers' Reception is one of the highlights of my year; it is a great opportunity for me to personally thank volunteers for the invaluable work they do across Gosport, Lee-on-the Solent, Stubbington and Hill Head.

The fact that this event gets bigger each year just shows how many people in our area are giving something back to their community. Their dedication is truly inspirational."

Organisations that were represented at the event included Gosport Basics Bank, Lee-on-the-Solent Sailing Club, GAFIRS and Solent Mind.


01 JUL 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES £8M GOVERNMENT BOOST FOR BEN AINSLIE'S HQ

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the news that Ben Ainslie's America's Cup HQ will be based in Portsmouth, receiving an £8m cash boost from the Government. Construction on the site will get underway immediately, and the investment is expected to create 90 direct jobs, with hundreds more created indirectly across the region.

Commenting, Caroline said, "It is fantastic news for our area that the South Coast will play host to this exciting project. This will not only create good jobs and boost skills for local people but will reaffirm the status of Portsmouth Harbour as a world class hub for maritime & marine activities, benefiting local businesses & enthusing young people about the great sport that is sailing.

This investment is another part of this Government's long term economic plan to get Britain building, investing & training. As someone who has long pushed for more skills training I'm delighted that this scheme will see apprenticeships and good jobs created in our area."


25 JUN 2014

CAROLINE SUPPORTS IONA CLUB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the recent lifeline given to one of Gosport's most popular social clubs.

Earlier this year, members of Bridgemary's Iona Club received the upsetting news that their club was to close owing to its poor state of repair. Since then, Caroline has been in regular contact with the club's committee and the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth which owns the building, helping the two parties to reach a mutual agreement. This week, it was announced that the Diocese will work with the Iona Club on proposals to allow it to reopen.

Following the announcement, Caroline said:

"I am delighted to hear that the Iona Club's committee and the Catholic Church have agreed to work together to ensure that this community hub can continue to thrive. With over 1100 names on the petition to keep the club open, it is clear that this social club is extremely important to Bridgemary's residents.

The club's committee has done a fantastic job of mustering local support and I am pleased to have played a small role in securing this vital lifeline for their future"

Whilst no final decision has been made, it is hoped that the Church may offer the club a long-term lease of the land and building or give them the opportunity to buy the site.


18 JUN 2014

CAROLINE MAKES PLEDGE TO HELP REDUCE DROWNINGS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday signed up to support the UK's drowning prevention charity in its work to reduce drowning and provide water safety education and lifesaving awards across the UK and Ireland. Representatives from The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) made the trip to Parliament ahead of its annual national campaign, Drowning Prevention Week which, this year, runs from June 21 to 29.

Caroline said, "Tragically, more than 30 people drowned in just seven weeks during last summer's heatwave. Locally we are lucky to have the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service who do a wonderful job responding to lifesaving calls and delivering safety presentations – however this is an issue right across the country. Around 400 people accidentally drown in the UK every year - one every 20 hours - and thousands more have near drowning experiences.

These deaths could have been avoided, so I'm more than happy to support The Royal Life Saving Society and its volunteers in their excellent work to provide water safety education as well as lifesaving courses for all ages to try and reduce this figure and save lives."

The RLSS UK works to promote drowning prevention messages and deliver water safety education nationally, as well as offering a range of awards and programmes that teach lifesaving skills to all ages. The support it has received from the pledge will go towards its aim of getting water safety education on the National Curriculum and in all schools.


17 JUN 2014

CAROLINE PLEDGES SUPPORT TO HELP HOMELESS PEOPLE IMPROVE ENGLISH AND MATHS SKILLS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today pledged to support the efforts of homelessness charity St Mungo's Broadway after hearing how homeless people are held back by a lack of basic literacy skills. Caroline has long pushed for improvements in basic skills, and this pledge follows her work in the House of Commons to improve both literacy and numeracy amongst children and adults.

St Mungo's Broadway carried out the largest ever recorded survey of the English and maths skills of homeless people in England and found that 51% lack the basic literacy skills needed for everyday life and wouldn't achieve a grade D-G in GCSE English. This figure compares with one in six (15%) of the general population who struggle to read.

Commenting, Caroline said: "Basic literacy and numeracy are absolutely vital in preparing for and finding work; lacking these skills can make recovering from homelessness so much harder. Everyone should have the chance to build the skills to lead an independent life, which is why I am keen to support St Mungo's Broadway with their campaign to increase the opportunities available to homeless people to improve their English and maths skills."

Caroline's comments follow her campaign to improve adult skills, which has seen her lead Parliamentary debates, successfully lobby for a Business, Innovation and Skills inquiry into the issue, and even co-found the All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy.

The findings, published in the report Reading Counts: Why English and maths skills matter in tackling homelessness, also show that homeless people who lack basic skills make less progress in addressing other problems such as poor physical and mental health. The report makes recommendations for increasing the availability of effective English and maths programmes for all homeless people.


16 JUN 2014

CAROLINE SUPPORTS LINKS BETWEEN SCHOOLS & BUSINESS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage continued to push her skills agenda in the House of Commons today as she spoke up in support of the Education Business Partnership. The EBP work to create links between schools and businesses to help make sure that young people have the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.

Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons Caroline said,

"As the Minister said it's vital that schools forge strong links with businesses so that school leavers are not just literate and numerate but also employable. Does he agree that organisations such as the Education Business Partnership often can play a significant role in building these links?"

Matt Hancock, Minister for Skills, welcomed the news that there is a wide array of organisations helping to broker links between employers and education.

Speaking outside the Chamber Caroline commented, "Organisations like the Portsmouth Education Business Partnership do excellent work bringing together schools, colleges, and businesses, and giving young people a real understanding of what employers are looking for. These links are absolutely vital so that our young people leave school with the right approach to work and the appropriate set of skills to get on in life and achieve their potential."


16 JUN 2014

CAROLINE VISITS THE "OUT THERE" PROJECT FOR ADULT LEARNERS' WEEK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has marked the start of Adult Learners' Week by visiting the 'Out There' project at the Nimrod Community Centre.

The 'Out There' project is funded by Hampshire Learning in collaboration with St Vincent College and provides courses for those wanting to extend their basic skills. Courses on offer include Basic Keyboard and Internet Skills, Buying and Selling on eBay and Introduction to Microsoft Word.

Adult Learners' Week is a celebration of the transformational power of lifelong learning and runs from 14-20th June.

Commenting on her visit, Caroline said:

"Learning doesn't need to end when we leave school which is why initiatives such as the 'Out There' project play such an invaluable role in offering adults a chance to boost their basic skill set.

I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved by the 'Out There' project; between 2012 and 2013 it attracted 2427 hard to reach learners and has even been used as a case study of excellence on the EU stage. It's friendly and informal environment has helped numerous adults in the Gosport area to break down the barriers which previously discouraged them from engaging in education."

Caroline is a passionate campaigner on the matter of basic skills. Last year, she held a landmark debate in the House of Commons on the importance of literacy & numeracy and more recently she helped to secure a Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee inquiry into the problems of weak skills and how the Government could tackle them.


12 JUN 2014

CAROLINE BACKS CERVICAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging local women to sign up to the NHS Cervical Screening Programme as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

The Cervical Screening Programme aims to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer by regularly screening those at risk so that conditions which may develop into invasive cancer can be identified and treated.

Through the Cervical Screening Programme, over 3 million women are screened every year and experts estimate that this saves up to 4500 lives annually in England alone.

Caroline commented:

"So far, the Cervical Screening Programme has been a great success but coverage rates among women have fallen slightly over the last decade. I would urge all women who are eligible for screening to take up the opportunity and find out whether they are at risk of developing this disease."

Cervical Screening Awareness Week is taking place from 8-14th June this year. For more information about the Cervical Screening Programme, visit: www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/cervical/index.html.


11 JUN 2014

CAROLINE HOSTS GOSPORT MEN’S SHED IN PARLIAMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed 24 members of the Gosport Men's Shed to Westminster for a tour of

 Parliament.

The group of gentleman were shown the most famous parts of the building, including Westminster Hall, the House of Commons and the House of Lords before meeting with Caroline to discuss her life in politics as well as some local issues.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"I was so delighted to welcome the gentlemen from Gosport Men's Shed to Parliament this morning. I feel a particular fondness for this group as I was at their very first inaugural meeting. The Men's Shed gives older men a chance to get together for comradeship, to learn skills and take part in community projects.

With the effects of loneliness estimated to cost the NHS more than smoking, I was unsurprised when one member told me that this group had literally turned his life around."

You can find more information about the group here: www.thegosportshed.btck.co.uk.


11 JUN 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES ANOTHER FALL IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that unemployment has fallen yet again in her constituency.

The figures for May 2014 show that the unemployment rate in the Gosport area is down to 1.9%, compared to a rate of 3.2% when the Government took office in May 2010. The youth unemployment rate also fell over the same period, down from 5.9% in May 2010 to 3.4% in May of this year.

Commenting on the promising figures, Caroline said:

"Over the past four years this Government has been committed to breaking down the longstanding barriers to employment and getting people back into work. The figures released today show that the people of Gosport have really benefited from supportive policies, as well as targeted assistance from local employment organisations.

There is always more to be done, however, I am delighted that unemployment is at its lowest point in four years."

The national average unemployment rate currently stands at 6.6%.


05 JUN 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES SMALL BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE & EMPLOYMENT BILL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the introduction of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which was announced in the Queen's Speech yesterday morning.

As Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline was part of a team of MPs who travelled around the country hearing from business owners and representatives about how policy changes could help their businesses to flourish. Caroline has attended a number of events across the South in the past year and regularly fed back her findings to key policymakers.

The Small Business Bill includes a package of measures designed to create a fairer marketplace and improve the general operating environment for small businesses. It will tackle issues around prompt payment, access to finance, employment law and procurement as well as large pub companies controlling rent increases and beer prices for smaller public establishments.

Speaking in support of the Bill, Caroline said:

'This is a significant piece of legislation which comes as great news for small businesses owners across the UK and really shows that this Government is committed to breaking down the barriers which prevent small enterprises from growing.

I am proud to have played a part in informing the contents of this Bill and am pleased that it has been driven by the opinions of those who have real business experience."

Having run a business since the age of 19, Caroline is passionate about supporting small business owners. She is an active member of the Business, Skills and Innovation Select Committee and was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the South by the Prime Minister last year.


03 JUN 2014

CONSULTATION ON LOCAL ROADS TO LAUNCH

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging residents of her Gosport constituency to take part in the second round of public consultation on improving road access to Gosport and Fareham.

The consultation will set out proposals for a Stubbington Bypass, improvements to the Peel Common Roundabout and southern section of Newgate Lane as well as upgrades on the A27.

Speaking ahead of the consultation launch, Caroline said:

"After years of little progress, it's great to see that the wheels are finally in motion for real solutions to be found to our area's long-standing congestion problems. As well as the ongoing work at Newgate Lane, this consultation will not just address plans which will move the problem further down the road, it will present ideas for a joined-up road improvement scheme which could remedy a number of traffic complications on our roads.

I would therefore urge all those who are fed up with enduring lengthy daily commutes to take part in the consultation and give the Council the necessary evidence to get our roads moving again."

Caroline is dedicated to tackling transport problems in the local area. Last year, she welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and former Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the area to discuss potential solutions.

Consultation drop-in sessions to discuss the proposals will be held at:

Crofton Community Centre: Monday 9 June, 1pm-6pmTitchfield Community Centre: Wednesday 11 June, 3pm-8pmLee-on-the-Solent Community Centre: Friday 13 June, 3pm-7pmFareham Academy/Neville Lovett School: Monday 16 June, 4pm-7pmRoyal Sovereign Pavilion, Newgate Lane: Thursday 19 June, 2pm-7:30pmCrofton Community Centre: Saturday 21 June, 10am-4pmFareham Academy/Neville Lovett School: Tuesday 24 June, 4pm-7pmTitchfield Community Centre: Wednesday 25 June, 3pm-8pmPeel Common Junior School: Monday 30th June, 4pm-8pm

There will also be unmanned exhibitions from Monday 9 June until the end of July at Gosport Discovery Centre, Fareham Library, Stubbington Library, Lee-on-the Solent Library and Locks Heath Library. For more information, visit: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/transport-schemes-index/stubbingtonbypass.htm.


02 JUN 2014

CAROLINE PRAISES HEROES RETURN SCHEME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging Second World War veterans to sign up to the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return programme.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, Heroes Return 2 is offering WW2 veterans grants from between £165 to £8,140 towards travel and accommodation expenses to enable them, their spouse and carers to make trips back to places where they served, both in the UK and abroad.

Speaking in support of the scheme, Caroline said:

"This is a tremendous opportunity for those who served in the Second World War to go back to the places where they served and remember the sacrifices made by their fallen comrades.

I would urge the family members of eligible veterans to make an application and take advantage of the chance to commemorate this important anniversary in a very special way."

To date, through the Heroes Return programme, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded over £28 million to more than 57,000 veterans, their widows, spouses and carers, for journeys in the UK, France, Germany, the Middle East, Far East and beyond.

For more information, please visit: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn or call the Heroes Return helpline on 0845 0000 121.


28 MAY 2014

CAROLINE JOINS LOCAL SCHOOLCHILDREN TO PETITION PRIME MINISTER FOR FAIRER TRADE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed students from Brune Park Community School to Westminster last week and headed up Downing Street with them to petition the Prime Minister for a better deal for banana farmers. The petitions came as part of the "Stick with Foncho" Fair Trade campaign that aims to transform the banana industry to ensure banana farmers and workers get a fair deal.

Commenting Caroline said:

"I fully support this excellent campaign to lift farmers and workers around the world out of poverty. These campaigns make a real difference so it's fantastic to see children taking an interest in the world around them at such a young age, and doing what they can to help those in need.

Thanks to the work of campaigners like these students, Fair Trade has taken off in the UK. In 2011 over £1.3 billion worth of Fairtrade goods were sold in the UK; it was just £50 million a decade earlier. It's wonderful to see kids from our area doing what they can to make all bananas fair."

Foncho is a banana farmer from Colombia who was trapped in poverty before his cooperative was certified as Fairtrade. He is now working to help banana farmers and workers around the world to get a fair deal for their produce. For more information on the "Stick with Foncho" campaign visit http://foncho.fairtrade.org.uk/


27 MAY 2014

MP’s FUTURE HANGS BY A THREAD!

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage's future hung by a thread at the weekend, not because of local election results which pointed to a successful return in 2015, but because of a charity abseil in aid of the MS Society.

Caroline took part in the challenge with her husband, Mark Lancaster MP. The pair were part of a team who abseiled down the 170m Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth last Saturday raising nearly £10,000 for the charity.

Safely back on the ground, Caroline said:

"It was a slightly nerve wracking experience as it's very, very high. I must admit that I encouraged Mark to step over the edge first! However, it's all for a great cause that is close to our hearts."

"The MS Society have been very supportive to one of our friends and the least we could do was support them in return."

The challenge follows on from Caroline's 2012 charity sky dive which also helped to raise funds for the MS Society.

Caroline and Mark's sponsorship page is still live and you can access it here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/marklancasterandcarolinedinenage.


27 MAY 2014

CAROLINE APPLAUDS EUROPEAN COMMISSION SUPPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that the European Commission has approved parts of Gosport and Portsmouth for inclusion in the 2014-20 Assisted Areas Map.

This status makes local businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and tax breaks to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery and grow. Programmes in England that offer such regional aid include the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

At the start of the year Caroline wrote a joint letter, with Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt, to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, asking officials to recommend wards in Gosport and Portsmouth be granted Assisted Area status in order to ensure that their economic potential is capitalised upon. This is just part of Caroline and Penny's continued campaign to secure further Government support for our local region.

Welcoming the European Commission's decision, Caroline said:

"It is great to hear that the European Commission has identified our area as having real potential for business and manufacturing growth. In light of BAE's decision to terminate shipbuilding in Portsmouth, it is essential that we make it known that our area is still open for business.

This is a great opportunity for Gosport and Portsmouth and I really hope that businesses operating in the identified areas will take advantage of the funding and tax concessions available to them."

Caroline has a strong track record of securing key funding packages for her Gosport constituency. She has played a key role in getting investment for the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and other local growth initiatives including funding for road improvements at Newgate Lane.

You can access the map online here.


23 MAY 2014

CAROLINE TO ABSEIL DOWN SPINNAKER TOWER TOMORROW

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will be taking the plunge tomorrow when she and her husband abseil down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower in aid of the MS Society.

Caroline and her husband, Mark Lancaster MP, will be abseiling down the 170 metre structure at 1pm tomorrow in order to raise essential funds for the MS Society in their constituencies of Gosport and Milton Keynes North.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"It is fantastic to be fundraising for the MS Society which does such excellent work to help those affected by this distressing disease both here in Gosport and across the UK. Nevertheless, I am ever so slightly trepidatious about the jump and am trying not to look up whenever I pass the Spinnaker Tower!"

Last weekend, Caroline's dad, Fred Dinenage, abseiled off the Spinnaker Tower with Doris Long on her 100th birthday, making her the oldest person to have abseiled down the building. They were raising funds for The Rowans' Hospice.

To sponsor Caroline and Mark, please visit their donation page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/marklancasterandcarolinedinenage. Any donations, no matter how small, will make a real difference to people living with MS and their families and would be hugely appreciated.


21 MAY 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES £66 MILLION BOOST FOR NEW SCHOOL PLACES IN HAMPSHIRE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed new figures which show that Conservatives in Government have doubled spending on new school places - including £89 million for school places in Hampshire. This is £66 million more than they received under the last Government.

Commenting Caroline said:

"Unfortunately the last Government didn't do nearly enough to plan for a growing population – shockingly they actually cut 200,000 places in the middle of a baby boom. That's why I welcome the swift action taken by the Government to double the funding for school places across the country, with a big increase for new school places in Hampshire. This extra funding will deliver 11,230 additional primary places in our area by 2016.

This is good news for Hampshire: the Government's action will ensure we can deliver the best schools for our young people so that they have the skills they need to get on in life."

Figures show that funding for new school places across the country has increased to £5 billion in 2011/15, more than double that spent by Labour. A further £2.35 billion of funding has also been announced for 2015/17.


20 MAY 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES SURPRISE £50 MILLION BOOST TO SKILLS BUDGET

Local MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed a surprise £50 million injection to the adult skills budget to help working adults improve their English and maths skills. Caroline has long campaigned on the issues of adult literacy and numeracy, and the last year has seen her co-founding the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy, helping to secure a Business Innovation & Skills Select Committee inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy issues in the UK, and even bringing the responsible Government Minister to the House of Commons Chamber to debate these issues.

Commenting, Caroline said, "It's shocking that in the UK today 1 in 6 adults in the UK are functionally illiterate, while 1 in 5 lack basic maths skills. I hope that this funding will help drive forward my campaign to end illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK by giving support to those who so desperately need it."

The money, made available through the European Social Fund, is intended to reach some of the 7.4 million adults in the workforce who lack level 2 or above qualifications (equivalent to A*-C at GCSE level). In particular the funds will be targeted at female and disabled workers working for over eight hours a week.


19 MAY 2014

CAROLINE ADDS VOICE TO CALLS FOR SEARCH FOR MISSING YACHTSMEN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has written to Ministers in the Foreign Office and Department for Transport, urging them to put more pressure on the US authorities to continue the search for the missing crew of the Cheeki Rafiki.

The four British yachtsmen were sailing from the Caribbean to Southampton when their vessel capsized in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday. The US authorities led a 48 hour search which has since been called off due to bad weather conditions. However, an upturned yacht with its life raft missing has been spotted.

Having received correspondence from a number of her constituents, Caroline wrote to Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP at the Foreign Office and Stephen Hammond MP at the Department of Transport, asking them to do all they can to ensure that the search is resumed.

Caroline said:

"I am shocked that the rescue efforts have been terminated so quickly, in spite of robust evidence that the men could still be alive. These are able and experienced seamen who are well prepared for dealing with difficult situations.

It is vital that the search is resumed as soon as possible and I hope that our colleagues in the USA recognise the urgency of this matter."

The news has sent shockwaves through Gosport's yachting community.


15 MAY 2014

LOCAL MARINE NETWORKING EVENT CASTS OFF!

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today participated in the Gosport Marine Scene's 'Grown in Gosport' networking event, which brought together representatives from across the local maritime industry.

The event enabled some of Gosport's successful entrepreneurs to share their experiences of running a business in the area, whilst representatives from organisations including the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Gosport Borough Council offered advice on how to access helpful business support.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"Networking events such as the one held today are vital in forging strong inter-company links which can really secure the future prosperity of Gosport's flourishing marine industry.

It is always a pleasure to be able to talk about why Gosport is such a great place to do business and with the sun shining on Gosport today; it is easy to see why our marinas are so popular with sailors from across the UK and abroad!"

Since her election, Caroline has worked hard to promote Gosport as a world-class marine and sailing destination. She was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group in 2012.


14 MAY 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES FURTHER FALL IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that the unemployment rate in her constituency is at its lowest point since before June 2010.

The unemployment rate has decreased from 3.2% in April 2013 to 2.1% in April 2014, with 533 people entering employment over this period. The youth unemployment rate also fell over the same period, down from 6.6% in April 2013 to 3.9% in April of this year.

Commenting on the promising figures, Caroline said:

"Yet again, data from the Office of National Statistics has shown that local people are succeeding in getting back on to the job ladder as our economy turns a corner. Thanks to supportive government policies and the excellent work of local employment organisations, people are overcoming some of the longstanding barriers to employment.

There is always more to be done, however, I am delighted that unemployment is at its lowest point in almost four years."

The national average unemployment rate currently stands at 6.8%.


13 MAY 2014

CAROLINE BACKS #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today joined her fellow female MPs in backing the international #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

The campaign was launched in response to the devastating kidnap of Nigerian schoolgirls last month and has garnered support from across the globe, including the US First Lady, Michelle Obama. Today, Caroline and female MPs from all parties came together to express their own support for the campaign by taking part in a photocall on the Parliamentary estate.

The photocall follows a joint statement released last week and signed by 49 female MPs, including Caroline:

"We, as female MPs, stand with women worldwide in condemning in the strongest possible terms the sickening crimes being perpetrated against schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. The brutal treatment of girls seeking an education – a right we take for granted for our daughters – demonstrates the cruelty and immorality of this group.

We welcome the work the Government has done already and support continuing work with the Nigerian authorities and international partners to help bring an end to this heartbreaking situation and reunite these girls with their families as soon as possible."

Caroline commented further:

"This abominable act of terrorism has sent shockwaves around the world. I am pleased to be supporting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign which has put the spotlight on women's rights to education across the world."


08 MAY 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR DEBATE ON IVF POSTCODE LOTTERY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today called for a Parliamentary debate enabling MPs and Ministers to discuss the variation in access to IVF treatment across the UK during questions to the Leader of the House.

Caroline first became aware of the regional inequalities when she discovered that couples living in Fareham and Gosport had much tighter restrictions on their access to the fertility treatment than other parts of the country.

Caroline asked:

"Despite NICE guidelines suggesting that women up to the age of 42 should be allowed up to three rounds of IVF treatment, women in my local area are offered only one round of IVF treatment up to the age of 35 by the local Clinical Commissioning Group. Does the Leader agree that we should really have a debate on what effectively is a postcode lottery for fertility treatment in the UK?"

The Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley MP, replied:

"Well, I'm grateful to my Honourable Friend and she will no doubt recall that these are issues with which parts of the NHS have wrestled for a very long time. My view is, and I think the Government's view is, that Clinical Commissioning Groups in their responsibility for commissioning should take full account of the NICE clinical guidelines.

NICE have published fertility guidelines – they're not mandatory but they're there for a reason and the recognition that three full cycles of IVF and the age limit is evidence based and Clinical Commissioning Groups should look to the evidence, because not least if they do otherwise, very often, large amounts of money will have been spent on investigations of infertility but then the opportunity to maximise the chances of conception in the IVF that follows is undermined and it's important to use the resources that are used in investigation to support proper treatment."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"It's saddening that couples in our region are being denied the opportunity to have children as a result of rules which do not correlate with national recommendations. I know that Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group have previously had budget constraints that limited the amount of fertility treatment they could offer, but this year they have had one of the most generous budget increases in our region and, in light of that, I have been urging them to reconsider their approach."

Earlier this year Caroline wrote to Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), urging them to reassess the regional policy and consider aligning it with the rules implemented in other areas of the UK.


08 MAY 2014

CAROLINE CONTINUES FIGHT FOR BETTER RAIL LINKS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today continued her campaign for better rail links to the south coast during questions to the Department for Transport.

Caroline highlighted the lengthy journey times between London and Portsmouth and expressed her concern for how slow connections can impact upon businesses in the south.

Caroline asked:

"More people now travel through Waterloo in three hours every morning than through Heathrow in an entire day, but train services to the south coast remains painfully slow, as has already been mentioned. Will the Secretary of State commit to looking into ways by which travel times, particularly to Portsmouth, can be speeded up because it is affecting business investment in our region?"

The Minister responsible, Robert Goodwill MP, responded by saying:

"Well certainly as additional capacity is provided at Waterloo, which is the busiest station in the country with almost 100 million passengers per year, that will allow more flexibility further afield. But it is a problem in terms of addressing the tremendous increase we've had in passenger ridership since privatisation."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"Commuters on the south coast have been struggling with an inadequate transport infrastructure for decades. With significant investment being made in rail links to the north, I am keen to ensure that our region is not left behind so will continue to urge the Government to do more to improve connectivity in the south."

Today's question follows a Parliamentary debate which Caroline led in March, during which she urged the Government to invest more money in the rail and road network in the Solent region.


07 MAY 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL SCHOOLS TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO HANDLE THEIR FINANCES

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, is encouraging local schools to put on money lessons this June to give their pupils a head-start in financial education, before it becomes a compulsory part of the new National Curriculum in September. As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People Caroline has long championed the cause in Westminster. The move comes in advance of this year's My Money Week (9 to 15 June), run by national financial education charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group).

Every primary and secondary school in Gosport is being given the chance to take part in My Money Week, which aims to help young people learn more about money and personal finance, for free. This year My Money Week will be themed around current affairs, challenging young people to improve their financial skills, knowledge and confidence through topical lessons and activities on personal finance. As the UK's leading financial education charity, pfeg is offering teachers in Gosport free online resources, advice and training to help plan their activities.

Commenting Caroline said, "I'm delighted that the Government has added financial education to the National Curriculum. My Money Week is a fantastic early opportunity for young people to learn about money in a fun and engaging way, and I urge all local schools to get involved."

Financial education will become a compulsory part of the National Curriculum for the first time this September, after years of campaigning by MPs like Caroline, Peers, pfeg, and MoneySavingExpert.com's Martin Lewis.

Since the first My Money Week in 2009, millions of young people have been helped to understand more about money and personal finance through focused activities in schools. In 2013 My Money Week reached approximately 1.3 million young people in more than 4,500 schools and other settings across the UK.

Schools and other organisations that work with young people in Gosport can find out more about My Money Week at www.pfeg.org/mymoneyweek


06 MAY 2014

CAROLINE TO ABSEIL DOWN SPINNAKER TOWER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will be taking the plunge later on this month when she and her husband abseil down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower in aid of the MS Society.

Caroline and her husband, Mark Lancaster MP, will be abseiling down the 170 metre structure on Saturday 24th May in order to raise essential funds for the MS Society in their constituencies of Gosport and Milton Keynes North.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"It is fantastic to be fundraising for the MS Society which does such excellent work to help those affected by this distressing disease both here in Gosport and across the UK. Nevertheless, I am ever so slightly trepidatious about the jump and am trying not to look up whenever I pass the Spinnaker Tower!"

To sponsor Caroline and Mark, please visit their donation page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/marklancasterandcarolinedinenage. Any donations, no matter how small, will make a real difference to people living with MS and their families and would be hugely appreciated.


01 MAY 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO CLAIM £140 OFF THEIR ENERGY BILLS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today reminded people to ensure they are taking advantage of the free help and support that could save them £140 on their energy bills.

British Gas has announced that its Warm Home Discount Scheme, which helps those in need with £140 towards their energy bills, is open for registrations on 1st May. The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a five-year scheme introduced by the Government and delivered by the larger energy suppliers. It helps those in need with their winter energy costs by paying a credit onto the energy account of the qualifying account holder.

Commenting, Caroline said: "No one should be left in the cold in Britain today and this scheme is just one of a wide range of programmes and services this Government is introducing to help people heat their homes. Anyone who's worried about rising costs should contact their energy provider or a relevant charity to discuss the help available."

Registrations will be open on 1st May. To be eligible customers must:

Be receiving the Savings or Guarantee & Savings element of the State Pension CreditBe receiving eligible Means Tested BenefitsHave a household income below £16,190 and have a disability or long term illnessOr have a household income of below £16,190 and be spending more than 10% on fuel for adequate heating (usually 21 degrees for the main living area)

Consumers must apply each year to qualify for the payment, so British Gas is urging customers to get in contact to ensure they receive it. Applications can be made by calling the British Gas Home Energy Care team (for credit meter customers) on 0800 072 8625 or our Here to Help team (for Pay as you Go customers) on 0800 294 8604. Alternatively, customers can apply online at www.britishgaswarmhomediscount.co.uk

Anyone who receives Pension Credit Guarantee or Pension Credit Guarantee and Savings, should automatically qualify for this year's rebate of £140. The Department of Work and Pensions will send a letter to all those who qualify around September time, confirming their supplier will make the payment.


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."


31 MAR 2014

CAROLINE RAISES AWARENESS FOR DIABETES

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport last week joined volunteers from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and staff from Novo Nordisk and Roche to raise awareness of the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the UK. Diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes, is a significant and growing health issue, affecting over 382 million people worldwide – and IDF figures show this could rise to 592 million by 2035.

Commenting, Caroline said: "Diabetes is a real problem in the UK, and with rates increasing across the country and around the world, I am pleased to support the International Diabetes Federation in raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and hypoglycaemia."

Around 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, but it is estimated that a further 850,000 people may be living with the condition without realising it. This means that around 1 in 16 people in the UK are living with the disease. However if diagnosed early, diabetes can be actively managed to help mitigate the serious consequences of the disease. Caroline had a diabetes test and met with healthcare professionals at a special event in Westminster to find out more about the disease.

Caroline added, "Getting tested takes only a few minutes and could save you years of illness. If you are concerned about diabetes, talk to your GP or pharmacist about having a blood glucose test, just like I did last week."


28 MAR 2014

CAROLINE SUPPORTS WEAR A HAT FOR BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will be wearing a hat made by the children at Alverstoke Infant School to all of her meetings on Friday in support of Brain Tumour Research. WearAHatDay was created by Brain Tumour Research, and is the UK's largest and most famous national brain tumour awareness and fundraising campaign.

Caroline explained:

"Alverstoke Infant School made me this glorious, nautical themed, hat for Wear A Hat Day on Friday in aid of Brain Tumour Research. I am wearing it with pride to raise awareness of brain tumours, and in memory of Joe Gower, a pupil from the school who sadly died from a brain tumour last year.

"Research into brain tumours receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK yet this devastating disease, with which over 16,000 people are diagnosed each year, kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

I am hoping that by wearing a hat and making a donation to the charity on the 28th March we will be helping fund the scientists who are investigating to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure."

For more information about Brain Tumour Research visit their website www.braintumourresearch.org or email the charity at info@braintumourresearch.org or call them on 01296 733011.

              


27 MAR 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO NOMINATE GOOD CAUSES IN GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today urged local people to nominate good causes in the Gosport area for the Lloyds Bank Community Fund. The community fund provides grants to support local good causes across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and for the first time people across the country are able to nominate their own community groups.

Commenting, Caroline said "With grants of up to £3,000, this is a great way for projects and services that make a real difference to the Gosport area to get the funds they desperately need. If anyone has a nomination I'd encourage them to send it in today!"

Around 1,400 good causes in 350 communities across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands are set to benefit from the Community Fund. Nominations can be made online at www.lloydsbank.com/communityfund. Once nominated, each group will be invited to directly apply to Community Fund online. Nominations are now open, and will close on 30 April 2014, with applications remaining open until 9 May 2014.

If you would like to learn more about the Lloyds Bank Community Fund programme, please contact the Community Fund team direct at community.fund@lloydsbanking.com


24 MAR 2014

CAROLINE URGES COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS TO APPLY FOR PEOPLE’S MILLIONS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging local community groups to participate in this year's People's Millions competition.

In partnership with ITV, the Big Lottery Fund is inviting organisations to apply for up to £50,000 of funding, with the general public making the ultimate decision on which projects will receive grants.

Caroline commented:

"I'm proud of the thriving community spirit that we have here in Gosport and know that our voluntary sector makes a significant contribution to the lives of local people. The People's Millions competition provides a fantastic opportunity for groups to obtain financial support and will enable them to build on the brilliant work that they already do in our area.

The competition will also serve to mobilise support and create publicity for local causes and I would encourage organisations to put their names forward."

Applications can be made at www.peoplesmillions.org.uk or by contacting the Big Advice Line on 0845 410 2030. The deadline for applications is 16 May 2014.


21 MAR 2014

CAROLINE VISITS LOCAL WW1 CENTRE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today paid visit to the World War One Remembrance Centre at Fort Widley.

The centre, which opened last year, brings together collections of items and experiences to memorialise the First World War. During her visit, Caroline was given a tour of the facilities and spoke to staff about how they will be marking the 100th Anniversary of the start of the war.

Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to visit this unique Remembrance Centre which really highlights the important role that our local area played throughout World War One.

With the 100th Anniversary now upon us, I would encourage local people to pop in and learn more about the South's contribution to the war effort."

Today's visit follows the news that WW1 practice battlefield may have been unearthed at the Browndown site in Gosport after an official from Gosport Borough Council noticed a plan of what appears to be a complex system of First World War trenches in a 1951 aerial photo. Documentary and archival evidence is now being consulted in order to validate the theory.

For more information about the Remembrance Centre, please visit: http://bit.ly/PXk4Tl.


20 MAR 2014

CAROLINE LAUNCHES SCHOOL SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage joined EDF Energy and the British Science Association in the House of Commons this week to launch a new initiative: The Great EDF Energy Experiment. The project aims to get children, their parents and teachers to participate in a series of live mass participation experiments that address real scientific questions, and is designed to inspire children in the Gosport area into science.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Engaging young children with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is critically important. Getting involved in these subjects is not only great fun but gives kids real skills and exciting career options.

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be a challenge getting kids involved - so I was delighted to learn about The Great EDF Energy Experiment. I urge every school in the Gosport area to sign up to the programme"

The Great EDF Energy Experiment is a new five-year initiative launched in partnership with the British Science Association, aimed at inspiring a new generation of science enthusiasts. By taking part in mass participation experiments that address real scientific questions, pupils, parents and teachers will be encouraged to engage with science in a new way.

The first experiment in this five year initiative – The Big Bumblebee Discovery – will launch in Spring 2014, and will seek to 'recruit' thousands of children and parents to act as scientific researchers this summer.

For more details visit www.beediscovery.org.


20 MAR 2014

CAROLINE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO APPLY FOR ENTREPRENEUR SCHEME

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today encouraged local people keen to set up or expand their own business to apply for the 2014/15 intake of Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs. The scheme is now open until Thursday 3rd April, and all you need is a good idea!

Launched in April last year, the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme with the School for Social Entrepreneurs provides both financial support (grants from between £4,000 - £15,000) and access to a comprehensive learning support programme including a business mentoring scheme. Over the next five years the programme, which is also supported by The Big Lottery Fund, will support around 1,300 social entrepreneurs to Start and Scale innovative social organisations

Commenting, Caroline said,

"This scheme is a great chance for local people who want to start their own business and learn the basic business skills to turn their dream into a reality. But it's also great for those who have an established organisation and are looking to take it to the next level. I'd encourage any budding entrepreneur from the Gosport area to sign up today!"


19 MAR 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed announcements in the Budget which will help workers, savers and businesses across her constituency.

This afternoon, the Chancellor revealed that businesses operating within Enterprise Zones will benefit from extended tax breaks which will promote further investment. This is a particularly welcome announcement for the Daedalus Enterprise Zone which will play an integral part in generating local jobs and prosperity. In addition, reduced energy bills will help manufacturers located on the site and around the local area.

The Budget also delivered good news for hardworking people. In the Gosport constituency, 390 further people will be taken out of income tax altogether from April 2015 and 40,853 will experience a tax cut. These people will be in a better position to save thanks to the simpler and more flexible ISA, the new zero pence tax rate on savings up to £5,000 and a new Pensioner Bond which will offer a better return than anything available now. Furthermore, the tax on bingo will be halved, helping to protect local bingo halls, such as Crown Bingo in Gosport, and those who frequent them.

A reduction in VAT on fuel for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance as well as Inshore Rescue boat services such as GAFIRS will help to ensure that local emergency services are better equipped to carry out their duties. Search and rescue services will also benefit from funding from LIBOR fines.

Caroline commented:

"This Budget has delivered good news for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head. With extended tax breaks at Daedalus and reduced costs for manufacturers, I am confident that today's announcements will help to stimulate growth and prosperity in our area.

Hearing that such a large number of people in the Gosport constituency will see a reduction in their tax bill is also fantastic news and shows that this Government is committed to standing up for hardworking people."

Today's announcements are part of the Government's wider long-term economic plan to give economic security to the families of Britain.


18 MAR 2014

CAROLINE DEMANDS BETTER TRANSPORT LINKS FOR THE SOUTH

Caroline Dinenage last night called a debate in Parliament on the state of transport in the south of England. Speaking in the House of Commons the Gosport MP urged the Government to invest more on blocked up roads like the A32 and the M27, and on overcrowded rail routes linking up southern cities and the capital. The local MP argued that improved transport links are vital to make sure that people on the Gosport peninsula can travel for work, and to help tackle the pockets of deprivation that exist across the south coast.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Caroline said,

"The presence of international hubs such as Portsmouth and Southampton means that the south and, in particular, my region of the Solent act as a gateway to the world. Good transport links are therefore crucial to connect local firms with the rest of the country and international markets. Unfortunately, people in the south too often feel cut off from prosperity due to unreliable and overcrowded transport links.

The deep pockets of deprivation across the south coast will never be overcome while we have the second-rate transport network that we currently endure. Better connections would allow suppliers to reach more businesses, allow businesses to reach more customers, and allow customers to visit more towns to spend their hard-earned cash. In short, they would increase trade, create jobs and raise the living standards of people throughout the region."

The local MP also highlighted the unacceptable length of the journey times between Portsmouth and Southampton, and between the South Coast and London. It takes longer to get from London to Portsmouth on the fast train than it does to get from London to Doncaster—a distance that is more than twice as far. Caroline has long campaigned for better transport links for the area, and this debate follows the securing of an £8.5 million package for improvements to Newgate Lane in Fareham and Gosport, and comes as part of her efforts to lobby the Government for a £90 million package of road improvements across Gosport and Fareham including a new road onto the Gosport Peninsular (Stubbington bypass), improvements to the A27 and better access to the M27.


17 MAR 2014

CAROLINE FIGHTS FOR TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will today make a deputation to Hampshire County Council for a £90 million funding package to ease congestion in Gosport and Fareham.

The package consists of four schemes which will offer a joined up solution to the area's longstanding traffic problems. The plans include a Stubbington bypass, work on Peel Common roundabout, Newgate Lane and on the A27 corridor. Caroline will urge Councillors to vote in support of the proposals which would considerably reduce the time taken to travel between Gosport and the M27.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said:

"Our local infrastructure has been in desperate need of attention for a long time. Whilst improvements have been made in some areas, such changes often aggravate existing problems in other parts of our road network.

Remedying a number of traffic complications on the roads between Gosport, Fareham and the M27 will make a significant difference to the lives of longsuffering commuters who endure arduous journeys from the Gosport peninsula each day. That is why securing this funding package is so important and why I am pleased to be making a deputation in support of the bid today."

The deputation comes on the same day that Caroline is to lead a parliamentary debate on transport infrastructure in the South of England. She will call for better transport links to the Solent region by rail as well as by road, and is confident that debating the issue with MPs and Ministers will help to shed light on lengthy journey times.

Caroline is dedicated to tackling transport problems in the local area. Last year, she welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and former Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the area and she previously helped to secure an £8.5 million package for work on Newgate Lane which began in January.


13 MAR 2014

CAROLINE LAUNCHES PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR MATHS AND NUMERACY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy in Westminster yesterday.

Joined by Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss MP, and Johnny Ball of Think of a Number fame, Caroline welcomed MPs, Peers and delegates from across the skills industry to Parliament and introduced the aims of the new Parliamentary Group.

With over 8 million adults in the UK having the numeracy skills of 7-9 year olds or younger, the National Numeracy charity has estimated that poor numeracy costs the economy £20.2 billion per year, approximately 1.3% of the UK's GDP. The Group has been established to raise awareness of this issue and to make recommendations on improving adult numeracy and the teaching of maths in schools.

Speaking after the launch, Caroline commented:

"Today's launch marks the start of a hugely important drive to tackle poor numeracy in the UK. Having the support of influential figures such as Liz Truss MP and Johnny Ball highlights the urgency of the task at hand.

I am confident that working in collaboration with the National Numeracy charity, the ICAEW and Parliamentarians from all parties, we are well placed to make a real difference to the face of maths and numeracy in the UK."

During her speech, Elizabeth Truss MP, said:

"I am delighted that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy is being established. There is a growing political consensus around the importance of maths education with both Conservatives and Labour wanting all students to continue with maths until 18.

Building up confidence in maths, getting across the importance of maths, working with people to drive up numeracy - that work is essential. The emphasis is on the fact that maths is for everyone, not just specialists and experts."

Caroline has long campaigned about the importance of basic skills; most recently, she helped to secure a Business Innovation & Skills Select Committee inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy issues in the UK. She will act as Co-Chair of the APPG, alongside Barry Sheerman MP, whilst the group's secretariat will be formed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW) the National Numeracy charity.


12 MAR 2014

CAROLINE ENCOURAGES LOCAL BIDS FOR COASTAL COMMUNITIES FUND

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today encouraged local businesses and voluntary organisations to submit applications for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund. The Fund aims to support the economic development of UK coastal communities like Gosport, Lee on the Solent & Hill Head, by awarding funding to deliver sustainable economic growth and good jobs.

Commenting, Caroline said,

"The south coast is undergoing huge economic changes, so I welcome the fact that the Government is investing in communities like Gosport to provide local people with job opportunities. I'm also glad that for this round the Government has added coastal flood recovery and risk management to priority areas for the Fund. We've all seen the incredibly destructive power of flooding recently, and I welcome this move to focus on coastal protections. I would urge businesses and any voluntary groups and organisations to make applications to the fund."

The 2014 funding round is hosted by the Big Lottery and is accepting applications until 30thApril. Applicants should contact the Big Lottery Advice line on 0845 410 20 30 or email ccf@bigfund.org.uk.

For more information about the 2014 round of the Coastal Communities Fund, including qualification criteria please go to http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/programmes/uk-wide/coastal-communities.


10 MAR 2014

PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR MATHS AND NUMERACY TO LAUNCH

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will formally launch her brand new All Party Parliamentary Group for Maths and Numeracy in Westminster on World Maths Day this Wednesday, 12th March.

The group has been set up in light of last year's OECD figures which showed that 8.5 million adults in England and Wales have numeracy skills weaker than the average ten year old. The aim of the APPG is to raise awareness about the importance of basic maths skills and to inform policy on improving adult numeracy and the future teaching of maths in schools. The group will be launched by Education Minister, Liz Truss MP.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Caroline said:

"Not only are basic maths skills essential to our daily lives, they are also essential to Britain's economic prosperity. If the UK is to be successful in the global race, it is essential that we take action to tackle this problem and raise the mathematical ability of people of all ages.

I am confident that the APPG for Maths and Numeracy will make a valuable contribution to policymaking in the future and I welcome the enthusiasm that Parliamentarians have shown for the Group so far."

Education Minister, Liz Truss MP, added:

"Maths is a vital subject for our children to master and for our country's prosperity – maths qualifications command the highest earnings premium and are the best protection against unemployment. We have instigated a top-to-bottom overhaul of the subject so that all the way from the start of primary school through to 18 our young people have the best chance to succeed in maths.

I am pleased to see the launch of the new APPG on maths and look forward to seeing its work."

Caroline has long campaigned about the importance of basic skills; most recently, she helped to secure a Business Innovation & Skills Select Committee inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy issues in the UK. She will act as Co-Chair of the APPG, alongside Barry Sheerman MP, whilst the group's secretariat will be formed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW) and the National Numeracy charity. 

MPs and Peers from a wide range of parties will be attending Wednesday's event, as well as key stakeholders from the education and skills sector. The event will also mark the launch of the National Numeracy Challenge which aims to lift at least a million adults in the UK out of poor numeracy over the next five years.


08 MAR 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday marked International Women's Day with business women from across the local region.

Having addressed delegates at a 'Women in Leadership' conference, Caroline asked the attendees to join her in a group 'selfie' to celebrate the women that inspire them.

Caroline commented:

"International Women's Day gives us a fantastic opportunity to stand back and recognise just how much progress women have made in a male dominated world.

We have a lot to be thankful for, which is why I was delighted to mark this special day with local business women and to celebrate the inspirational women who have helped us to get to where we are today."

International Women's Day takes place on 8th March each year and has been celebrated since the beginning of the 1900s.


07 MAR 2014

WW1 PRACTICE BATTLEFIELD FOUND IN GOSPORT?

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has celebrated the discovery of what appears to be a practice battlefield dating back to the First World War in Gosport.

Two opposing systems of trenches facing each other across a 'no man's land' have been unearthed at Browndown Common, and experts believe that they may have been used as a practice battlefield during World War One.

The discovery was made when Rob Harper, Head of Conservation and Design at Gosport Borough Council, uncovered a 1951 aerial photograph of the Alver Valley and noticed an unmistakeable plan of what appears to be a complex system of First World War trenches. Although documentary research is needed to confirm that this site does indeed date back to World War One, the existing physical evidence supports this notion.

The Gosport site is now being used by English Heritage and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) to launch a national initiative aiming to uncover hidden First World War sites across the UK.

Caroline commented:

"If confirmed through research, this remarkable discovery will further entrench the hugely important role that Gosport played in supporting Britain's Armed Forces throughout World War One. I have always been proud of Gosport's historic ties to the military and it is hugely exciting to hear that our area has inspired the launch of a nationwide hunt for First World War sites."

English Heritage and the CBA are now looking for volunteer input; to access the online recording toolkit, guidance and resources for use in the field, visit: www.homefrontlegacy.org.uk.


05 MAR 2014

CAROLINE PRESSES PM ON SENTENCING FOR DANGEROUS DRIVING

Local MP Caroline Dinenage pushed the Prime Minister at PMQs today to review the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. The question followed the recent sentencing of Gosport resident Samuel Etherington to nine years in prison after he admitted causing the deaths of two local girls, Jasmine Allsop, 14, and Olivia Lewry, 16, whom he hit with a car.

Speaking in the House of Commons Caroline asked the Prime Minister:

"Last week a judge sentenced a Gosport man to 9 years in prison for causing the death by dangerous driving of two teenage girls. Given that amounts to effectively 4 years per life, does the PM agree that it is high time we looked again at the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?"

Responding to the question, the Prime Minister replied:

"The point she raises about dangerous driving is indeed an issue that was raised at Prime Ministers questions last week, and as I said then, I think it's important that the Lord Chancellor and his department look carefully at what more we can do to send the clearest possible message about the unacceptability of this crime."

Caroline has recently written to the Justice Minister asking for a review of the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, which currently stands at 14 years.


28 FEB 2014

CAROLINE REOPENS NELSON’S BAR

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has reopened the revamped Nelson's Bar on Gosport High Street.

A firm favourite of the Gosport community, Nelson's Bar has undergone a considerable internal refurbishment which is sure to be popular with its patrons. The installation of a brand new kitchen will mean that food can be served throughout the day from an updated and appetising menu.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"Pubs and bars really are at the heart of every local community and Nelson's Bar is no different. It is a great place for people to come together after a hard day at work and I am confident that the recent improvements will draw even more customers into the establishment.

The best news is that twelve brand new jobs have been created, offering invaluable employment opportunities to the people of Gosport."

Caroline's visit to the bar reaffirms her commitment to supporting the British pubs sector. She has previously done shifts at The Three Tuns in Elson and The Village Home in Alverstoke.


28 FEB 2014

CAROLINE PRAISES ADVICE PACK FOR VOLUNTARY EVENTS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the publication of a brand new "Can Do" guide for people planning community-led events.

Following a review of the organisation of voluntary and community events, it was concluded that existing event guidance was unclear and inconsistent and often focused on what people can't do rather than what they can.

The "Can Do" guide attempts to combat perceptions that community event planning is bound up in prohibitive red tape. It will help people to plan and run successful events by overcoming needless restrictions and bureaucracy.

Speaking in support of the guidance, Caroline said:

"Voluntary events are a fantastic way to bring local people together and generate good old-fashioned community spirit. I am pleased that the Government is helping local communities to mark one off occasions and celebrate annual events by busting off-putting myths about the organisation difficulties that they may face.

I hope that "Can Do" will provide real encouragement to people across the Gosport constituency who are thinking about organising an event to get out and do it!"

Caroline is a keen advocate of the work of volunteers in her constituency. Every year, she welcomes a group of local volunteers to Westminster for a reception to thank them for their commitment to the community.

You can access the "Can Do" guide here: http://bit.ly/1hNFRW9.


13 FEB 2014

CAROLINE FIGHTS FOR BETTER BUS PROVISION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has held a beneficial meeting with the Regional Director of First to discuss the recent changes to local bus services.

During the meeting, which was also attended by Cllrs Alan Scard and Graham Burgess, Marc Reddy of First gave a detailed explanation of the current situation. The former number 9 service through Alverstoke and Anglesey was subsidised by a developer grant which has now come to an end and at present, demand is not high enough for First to fund the route commercially.

Instead the company has sought a subsidy from Hampshire County Council for the new number 11 route which will serve the area on a less frequent basis. Unfortunately, the company is unable to use the profits generated by a popular bus route to subsidise more frequent provision of a service which already receives external funding.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline commented:

"For many people, local buses are an invaluable lifeline so I understand the frustrations of the residents not only in Anglesey and Alverstoke but also in Lee-on-the-Solent and Rowner, which have been negatively impacted by recent re-routing.

Last week's meeting was very productive and I am hopeful that with a little bit of creative thinking we may be able to improve the provision of buses across the Gosport peninsula. I will continue to keep pressure on First and will be holding meetings with Hampshire County Council and others in the coming weeks."

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


11 FEB 2014

CAROLINE’S CALL FOR EVIDENCE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has made a landmark call for evidence, urging people who struggle with reading, writing and maths to come forward and contribute to the Business, Innovation & Skills Select Committee's forthcoming inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy.

Caroline is one of eleven members of the BIS Select Committee which looks into Government policy and makes recommendations about how it could be improved. She has long campaigned for the Committee to investigate the issue of literacy and numeracy problems among the adult population. With 1 in 6 adults in the UK functionally illiterate and 1 in 5 lacking basic maths skills, tackling the issue is becoming of increasing importance.

Hearing that an inquiry will take place has come as very welcome news and Caroline is keen to gather as much evidence as possible. In a first for government Select Committees, contributions can be uploaded and submitted as video or audio files.

Caroline said:

"Adult literacy and numeracy problems are a huge cause for concern and we need to act swiftly if we are to tackle them. The launch of the BIS Select Committee Inquiry marks a considerable milestone in my ongoing campaign to combat this longstanding issue.

I am delighted that a number of familiar faces will be participating in the first oral evidence session today, including Libby Ainley, author of Yes We Can Read, alongside Gosport's very own Linda Curtis and Di Lloyd who work relentlessly to help those struggling with reading, writing and basic maths.

It is essential that we have a wide range of evidence which is why I have made a video urging adult education providers and anyone who has problems with literacy or numeracy to come forward and tell us about their experiences."

Last year, Caroline brought together a number of leading experts for a briefing seminar in Westminster on adult literacy and numeracy and also held a debate in the chamber of the House of Commons. More recently, she has established an All Party Parliamentary Group for Numeracy which will make recommendations on improving adult numeracy and the teaching of maths in schools.

You can watch Caroline's call for evidence here: youtu.be/gaIiYYchPT8. For more information about the inquiry and to make a contribution, visit: bit.ly/1aCrJzj.


10 FEB 2014

CAROLINE LAUNCHES WORK ON NEW SPORTS FACILITY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today joined staff and pupils at Bridgemary School to kick start work on a brand new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch on the school site.

Last year, Caroline supported the school's funding bids to the Football Foundation and Sport England which secured grants totalling over £500,000. The new full size, floodlit pitch will replace the School's existing pitch which has been hampered with drainage problems in recent years, rendering the surface unplayable during periods of wet weather.

The installation of the 3G pitch will ensure that the school can deliver curriculum PE and competitive fixtures twelve months of the year. Not only will the facility benefit students from Bridgemary, it will also be used by local football clubs and members of the wider community of Gosport.

Caroline joined Kim Thackery, head teacher at Bridgemary School for the official first breaking of the ground which was followed by a taster futsal session for students from Bridgemary and surrounding primary schools.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"Access to high-quality sporting facilities is an essential part of getting young people enthusiastic about physical activity. I am delighted that Bridgemary will be opening up the pitch for use by local sports clubs and teams, enabling the community to reap the benefits of an all-weather facility.

With over 20% of Year 6 children in Gosport thought to be obese, it is of the utmost importance that we promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I am confident that the improvement of facilities in our area will encourage more people to stay fit and healthy through participation in sport."

Caroline is a keen advocate of living a healthy and active lifestyle. She was recently appointed a Parliamentary Sport Champion and has worked closely with community sport providers to help them deliver the best sporting opportunities for people in Gosport.


10 FEB 2014

CAROLINE BACKS COLD HOMES WEEK

Local MP Caroline Dinenage joined campaigners in Parliament last week calling for more help for those struggling to keep warm this winter. "Cold Homes Week" was a series of events and activities focussing attention on those struggling to pay their fuel bills.

Commenting, Caroline said,

"I'm glad that the Government is committed to tackling fuel poverty; we must continue to do all we can to make sure that people stay warm this winter. Proper insulation could save families hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and end fuel poverty for good – so I'm backing this crucial campaign to help families struggling to heat their homes.

This is such an important issue affecting people in and around Gosport, so I'm more than happy to do all I can to support both this campaign and the Government's efforts to tackle fuel poverty."

Cold Homes Week also saw the release of new fuel poverty figures showing 7 million people in England are currently living in fuel poverty. Since coming to power the Government has increased Cold Weather Payments from £8.50 to £25 to help vulnerable people during periods of severe weather, maintained Winter Fuel Payments that over 12 million older people, and is expected to revolutionise energy efficiency in the UK by offering families cash to make energy efficiency improvements as part of "The Green Deal."


07 FEB 2014

CAROLINE PRAISES GOSPORT TOWN TEAM

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has praised the work of the Gosport Town Team during a debate in Westminster this week.

Speaking about the importance of independent retailers to our high streets, Caroline commended the local Town Team's Empty Unit Support Scheme which helps new businesses to locate in empty premises on Gosport High Street. So far, two businesses have already set up shop thanks to the financial grant and business advice offered by the scheme.

Speaking after the debate, Caroline commented:

"Independent shops hold the key to rejuvenating our town centres and revitalising community spirit. I am proud that the Gosport Town Team is coming up with imaginative ways to breathe a new lease of life into our high street.

The Empty Unit Support Scheme also offers invaluable help to fledgling businesses who may otherwise not be able to access sites in prime town centre locations.

I am always eager to promote the wonderful work being done in Gosport and this week's debate was a great opportunity to sing the praises of our local Town Team."

Caroline has long been committed to securing the prosperity of Gosport town centre and helped to secure £110,000 of Government funding for the Town Team which was set up in 2012.


06 FEB 2014

CAROLINE, SECRETARY OF STATE CELEBRATE TOPPING OUT OF NEW CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage was joined at the Daedalus site today by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable, to celebrate the topping out of a new Fareham College training facility for over 900 students on Automotive, Engineering and Manufacturing courses.

Commenting, Caroline said,

"It is so important that our young people get the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive jobs market. This new Centre of Excellence will offer students from our local area the chance to learn practical skills and get the qualifications that will set them up for great careers."

As a strong advocate of the learning and skills agenda, Caroline has a long-standing commitment to promoting practical learning and apprenticeship opportunities, and regularly champions this issue both nationally and in Gosport.

"I've frequently pushed the Government for more skills training and better vocational qualifications – and it's fantastic that the Secretary of State has come to see a site in our area that will help young people get the skills they need to get on in life."

The new Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing & Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) is set to open on the Daedalus Airfield in September 2014, and will also act as the main learning centre for students on apprenticeships with firms like BAE Systems, GE Aviation, and Virgin Atlantic.


06 FEB 2014

CAROLINE DEMANDS BETTER TRANSPORT LINKS FOR THE SOLENT REGION

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage has written to the CEO of Network Rail, calling for better rail links from the South of England to London. The local MP has long championed better transport links for the region, and she urged them to look at ways by which they can cut the journey time between Portsmouth and London.

Commenting, Caroline said,

"Commuters in the South get a raw deal – while we've seen investment in huge projects like Crossrail and HS2 for London and the North, journey times between cities in the Solent and the capital are painfully slow."

Caroline recently wrote to every small businesses in her constituency asking them what they thought were the priorities for the area, and the number one concern raised by local firms was transport.

Caroline added,

"An effective and robust transport infrastructure is absolutely vital for our area, and I hope that Network Rail will examine every possible option in trying to cut down journey times."

The letter follows last week's call by the Gosport MP for a debate on the issue in the House of Commons, when Caroline pushed Government ministers for an immediate discussion of the transport infrastructure of the Solent region. It takes longer to travel on the fast train from Portsmouth to London than it does to go from London to Doncaster – a distance over two and a half times as far.


05 FEB 2014

CAROLINE ANGRY ABOUT ENERGY COMPANIES’ RIP-OFF CHARGES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage backed a motion in Parliament yesterday condemning rip-off charges that hit customers who don't pay their energy bills by direct debit. With companies charging upwards of £70, MPs have looked into the matter and found that many firms are using these charges as a stealth tax on hardworking families. Of 26 companies, a shocking 17 charged their customers different rates depending on how they pay their bills.

Commenting, Caroline said,

"These charges often hit some of the most vulnerable people in the country – including those 1 million people who don't have bank accounts. I think it is totally unfair that energy companies are boosting their profits with these disproportionate fees, so I strongly supported the motion to limit these charges.

In the debate I made the point that companies should instead be using some of their profits to invest in new technologies to help families on prepayment meters and give them more options when it comes to topping up their meter.

Energy companies should not be making money off the backs of some of the poorest people in the country, and I think it is absolutely right that the energy regulator, Ofgem, looks into this matter as soon as possible."

Almost half – 45% - of customers do not pay their bills by direct debit, with companies such as British Gas and EDF then charging these households an extra £73. Eon charge their customers £70, SSE £80, while Npower hit families with an £90 fee. One company – Spark Energy, levies a staggering £390 extra charge.


05 FEB 2014

CAROLINE BACKS BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has added her voice to the British Heart Foundation's call for people to Ramp up the Red and raise awareness of 

Yesterday, Caroline visited the British Heart Foundation's first ever pop-up-shop in the Palace of Westminster and met with shop staff and volunteers to hear how BHF shops raise vital funds for life-saving research.heart disease.

She also pledged her support to the Ramp Up the Red fundraising campaign which encourages the public to wear something red, host a red-themed party or bake some red-coloured treats this Friday (7th February).

Caroline said:

"By popping-up in Parliament, the British Heart Foundation has reminded us of the important role that their shops play in raising funds for life-saving research.

I hope that people in Gosport and across the UK will pledge their support to the charity by taking part in Ramp Up the Red on the 7th February."

Coronary heart disease is the UK's single biggest killer, responsible for almost 74,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 200 people each day. There are currently 2.3 million people in the UK living with coronary heart disease.

For more information about Ramp up the Red, please visit: bhf.org.uk/red.


03 FEB 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR PROMPT PAYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has stood up for the Ministry of Defence supply chain during departmental questions this afternoon.

Caroline called on the Government to ensure that small businesses receive prompt payment as part of their contracts with the Ministry of Defence.

She asked:

"Prompt payment is particularly crucial for small businesses who can face really significant cash flow problems without it. Can the Minister assure the House that he is doing all he can to see that small businesses are paid on time?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister responsible Philip Dunne MP said:

"This Department under this Government is well aware of the benefits of prompt payment and the importance of cash flow to SMEs. That's why not only are we paying our suppliers on time, but we're also encouraging our suppliers to pay their subcontractors within 30 days of receipt of a valid invoice."

Speaking outside the chamber, Caroline said:

"As a small business owner myself, I know from experience how late payments can impact upon the productivity and growth of a company, particularly in this tough economic climate. The Government must be seen to set an example to other contractors by ensuring that all suppliers are paid on time and I am pleased that the MoD is leading the way."

The Minister revealed that the MoD paid 92% of correctly submitted invoices within 5 working days for the financial year 2012/13.


30 JAN 2014

CAROLINE CALLS FOR A DEBATE ON TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE SOLENT REGION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has continued her fight for improved transport infrastructure on the south coast during Business Questions in the House of Commons this morning.

Caroline called on the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley MP, to invite MPs to debate the longstanding problems faced by commuters in the Solent region.

She asked:

"Commuters on the south coast have been struggling with an inadequate transport infrastructure for decades. Gosport is the largest town in the UK without a railway, it takes longer to travel on the fast train from Portsmouth to London than it does to go from London to Doncaster, and the A32 and M27 are both virtually at gridlock. I wondered if the Leader of the House would agree to have a debate on the transport infrastructure in the Solent region?"

The Leader of the House replied:

"I may say on behalf of the Government, from our point of view, I will of course get a reply from my Honourable Friend at the Department of Transport, which of course reflects not least the fact that we have the largest investment in railways in this country since the Victorian era."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"Whilst northern cities and London boroughs are receiving considerable transport improvements thanks to HS2 and Crossrail, commuters in our area still face a daily battle with our roads and lengthy journeys on the train. Debating the matter with other MPs and Government Ministers would be a prime opportunity to shine a light on this longstanding issue."

Since her election, Caroline has remained committed to tackling local transport problems. Last year, she welcomed Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the Gosport constituency and urged them to help local stakeholders improve the peninsula's transport infrastructure.


30 JAN 2014

CAROLINE BACKS BIG ENERGY WEEK

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging her constituents to get involved with Big Energy Week, an initiative which will help them to cut hundreds of pounds from their energy bills.

The campaign, which runs from 27th to 31st January gives practical advice on how to save money by checking, switching and insulating their homes. Citizens Advice Bureaux are running over 500 events to help consumers get advice on how to cut their bills.

By following the advice, consumers could save up to £200 by switching supplier and an average of £100 by paying direct debit instead of by cash or cheque.

Speaking in support of the initiative, Caroline said:

"The cost of energy is a big worry for many people at the moment. That is why I am proud to support Big Energy Week which gives consumers an opportunity to take decisive action and significantly reduce the energy bills.

I would encourage everyone who is concerned about energy costs to make the most of the extra help available ensure that they aren't paying more than they need to."

Since her election, Caroline has frequently raised the matter of high energy costs with her Ministerial colleagues and has supported a number of campaigns aiming to tackle the problem.

For more information and advice, pop into Gosport's Citizens Advice Bureaux or visit www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk.


29 JAN 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES £7M INVESTMENT IN SOLENT ENTERPRISE ZONE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the news that the Solent Enterprise Zone has been shortlisted in its bid for a £7 million share of the Government's Enterprise Zones Capital Grant Fund.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today announced that the Daedalus site will receive further funding for capital projects which will help to overcome the existing barriers to growth.

The investment would be used to unlock Gosport Waterfront's potential by building roads to open up dormant land for development, making the site more attractive to investors and creating business & employment opportunities across the area.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said:

"Shortly after my election, I formed the Daedalus Strategy Group which brought together key stakeholders for the first time to make robust plans for the site's future. This group have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Daedalus site reaches its full potential to provide a vital economic boost to the Gosport & Fareham area. Today's announcement marks a significant step forward for the Enterprise Zone and I am confident that the newly allocated funding will help to secure a prosperous future for our local economy."

Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, said:

"The Government is working together in partnership with business and local leaders to generate new jobs and growth in this great city. This £7million funding is another welcome boost for the local economy and will ensure that the infrastructure is in place to successfully regenerate the Gosport Waterfront Site. The target is to have 3,500 jobs in this Enterprise Zone and today's announcement is an important step in making that a reality."

Today's announcement follows the £25 million investment package committed to the Solent Enterprise Zone by DCLG in September 2012. Steady progress is being made at Daedalus with Fareham College's CEMAST Skills Centre set to launch this year and earlier this month, work began on improvements to Newgate Lane which will improve infrastructural links to the site.


28 JAN 2014

CAROLINE RAISES AWARENESS OF CYBER CRIME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging the local community and small businesses to "Be Cyber Streetwise" and keep their information safe online.

The "Be Cyber Streetwise" campaign was launched earlier this month and aims to change the way people view online safety and provide the public with the skills and knowledge they need to protect their cyber security.

The campaign comes on the back of findings from the Government's most recent National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker which shows that more than half of the UK's population are not taking simple steps to protect themselves online.

Commenting on the initiative, Caroline said:

"Now that the internet can be accessed on a whole range of mobile devices, it is more important than ever that people stay savvy about the dangers posed by cyber criminals.

It is easy to forget just how vulnerable we are online which is why I am backing this initiative to ensure that all people know how they can stay safe whilst making the most of the invaluable resources which the internet has to offer."

The key behaviours the campaign is focusing on changing are:

1) using strong, memorable passwords;

2) installing anti-virus software on new devices;

3) checking privacy settings on social media;

4) shopping safely online – always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure; and

5) downloading software and application patches when prompted.

For more information about safety online, please visit: www.cyberstreetwise.com.


27 JAN 2014

CAROLINE HONOURS HOLOCAUST VICTIMS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has marked Holocaust Memorial Day by signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons.

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. Last week, Caroline took the opportunity to honour those who died during the Holocaust as well as the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured.

Following the signing, Caroline said:

"It is vital to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, not only as the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau but also as an important opportunity to remember and honour all the victims of genocide.

I encourage all my constituents to mark the day and to commit to working together to combat prejudice and racism today."

Shortly after becoming an MP, Caroline visited Auschwitz-Birkenau with a group of sixth-form students from Bay House School and St. Vincent College.


24 JAN 2014

CAROLINE BACKS NATIONAL OBESITY CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has pledged her support to National Obesity Awareness Week and its campaign to combat obesity in the UK.

Caroline met with organisations backing the initiative, which has been organised on behalf of the National Obesity Forum. The Awareness Week is promoting a 'National New Year's Resolution' to tackle obesity, calling for government and business action whilst encouraging individuals to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Caroline said:

"Obesity is a considerable problem here in Britain and has implications not just for an individuals' health, but also for the country's infrastructure and economy. In Gosport, 20% of Year 6 children are thought to be overweight, which is a very worrying statistic.

I am pleased to be supporting this national campaign having previously backed local initiatives, such as the MEND lifestyle scheme, which are endeavouring to promote the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in our area."

The National Obesity Forum recently estimated that as much as half of the British population could be obese by 2050, costing the tax payer £50 billion per year.

For advice on healthy eating, nutrition, physical activity and weight loss, visit the National Obesity Awareness Week website at: www.noaw2014.org.uk.


23 JAN 2014

CAROLINE BRINGS DEFENCE MINISTER TO GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed Defence Minister, Philip Dunne MP, to Gosport and took the opportunity to discuss some of the issues facing Gosport's defence industry.

Having taken part in a tour of Portsmouth Naval base and met with representatives from BAE, Caroline and the Minister visited Gosport's Oil Fuel Depot and Vector Aerospace.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"The past couple of months have been a tumultuous time for the defence community in Gosport what with the announcements of closures at BAE and restructuring at Vector. I am pleased that the Minister has shown the Government's support for our area by meeting with representatives from the Oil Fuel Depot and Vector Aerospace today.

If we are to successfully mitigate against the closures at Portsmouth shipyard, we must ensure that associated industries are well prepared for their future roles. What's happened in Portsmouth emphasises the importance of protecting companies such as Vector which employ a large number of highly skilled local people.

I hope the Minister will recognise this and do all he can to secure even more support for the Gosport area."

Mr Dunne said:

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to see for myself the important role Gosport plays in supporting defence. The Oil Fuel Depot plays a vital part in supplying vessels at HMNB Portsmouth and should do so for years to come as facilities are made ready to receive the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

I was impressed by the range of support capabilities provided to military and civil helicopters and aircraft at Vector Aerospace. The company and its workforce have played a critical role in maintaining availability of helicopters in use in Afghanistan in recent years."

Caroline is committed to protecting Gosport's defence industry and frequently raises the issue during meetings with her Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Defence. In November last year, Caroline welcomed Defence Minister, Anna Soubry MP, to Gosport and introduced her to key stakeholders at Gosport Borough Council.


22 JAN 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES FURTHER FALL IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that unemployment in her Gosport constituency is down again.

The unemployment rate decreased from 2.4% to 2.3% between November and December 2013 and the number of people in employment has increased by 489 since December 2012. The youth unemployment rate also dropped last month and currently stands at 4.4%, down 2.7% from December 2012.

Commenting on the data, Caroline said:

"Hearing that unemployment in Gosport has fallen again is very good news. I am proud that local people are overcoming the barriers to employment, thanks to targeted support from local organisations and businesses.

The outlook for the UK is also promising, with more people in unemployment than ever before. 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 2.3%, compared to the national average of 7.1%.


22 JAN 2014

CAROLINE URGES CREATIVE ARTISTS TO SIGN UP FOR ROCK THE HOUSE AND FILM THE HOUSE COMPETITIONS

Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage today encouraged promising musicians and filmmakers in the Gosport area to take part in the annual Parliamentary artistic competitions, Rock the House and Film the House.

Rock The House was founded in support of the UK live music sector to raise the profile of intellectual property rights issues, and enjoys the support of rockstars like Alice Cooper. Film The House gives up and coming film producers, directors and scrip-writers the chance to showcase their work in the Houses of Parliament. Both competitions offer the opportunity for Gosport's creatives to have their work judged by the leading lights of music and film industry and entrants can win a wide range of prizes including festival slots, studio time, musical equipment, and even the chance to see their work premiered in London's West End.

Musicians and filmmakers within the Gosport area can apply online through the websites at http://www.rockthehousehoc.com/apply.html and http://www.filmthehouse.com/apply.html

Commenting, Caroline said,

"There is a wealth of creative talent in Gosport, and I would urge all budding musicians and filmmakers to take part in these great competitions. Not only are their top prizes on offer, but the recognition and contacts entrants can get from taking part could kickstart their artistic careers. Sign up today!"


21 JAN 2014

CAROLINE STANDS UP FOR ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY

Local MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday praised the support received by Armed Forces personnel in Gosport during questions to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A keen supporter of the Armed Forces, Caroline also called on the Government to ensure that members of the Forces are treated fairly in the wait for social housing.

She asked:

"My Gosport constituency has a very proud history of serving the Armed Forces and were an early adopter of the Armed Forces covenant. While I really warmly welcome the Government's efforts to encourage local authorities to prioritise local people when allocating social houses, I wonder what he is doing to encourage other local councils to make sure that Forces families are not disadvantaged in this measure."

Responding on behalf of the Government, Kris Hopkins MP, the Minister responsible said:

"As a former Squaddy myself, I think this Government can be very proud of what we've done. Whether it's about the Help to Buy Scheme, whether it's about the covenant and certainly about making sure that members of our Armed Forces who have been away from home still have a high priority on our waiting list and that issue has gone out there to local councils and they need to adhere to that support the members who live in your constituency and many others."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"As an area which has a strong connection to the military, we know only too well the sacrifices made by our Forces members. That is why it is so important for us to ensure that personnel and their families are not left behind in the wait for social housing."


20 JAN 2014

CAROLINE CHALLENGES NEW BUS ROUTES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has written a strongly worded letter to senior management at First Buses regarding the unwelcome changes to local bus routes.

At the beginning of the year, First announced that a number of services would be re-routed and subject to new timetables. Having received complaints from people affected by these changes, Caroline has written to the company to express her thoughts and request an urgent meeting. She is now awaiting a response.

Of particular concern is the re-routing of the number 9 bus which will no longer travel via Alverstoke village, leaving the area served only by the new number 11 bus once every two hours.

Caroline commented:

"Gosport is one of the largest towns in the country which isn't serviced by a railway station, making the local community hugely dependent on the bus network. Whilst I recognise that First is an independent company which has to consider the financial viability of its services, some of the changes will cause great inconvenience for local bus users and will not have a hugely positive commercial impact.

Therefore, I have written to First asking them to meet with me as a matter of urgency and to reconsider some of the new routes. I would urge all of those who will be affected to do the same. The more people who voice their concerns, the greater the chances are of seeing a return to previous schedules."

Caroline is hopeful that First Buses will seriously consider the effect the new timetable is having on Constituents and make the necessary changes particularly to accommodate the elderly and those that don't have access to any other forms of transport.


17 JAN 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES START OF NEWGATE LANE PROJECT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has celebrated the announcement that work on the improvements to Newgate Lane will begin on Monday (20 January).

Since her election, Caroline has worked closely with both Council representatives and her Ministerial colleagues to secure funding and support for local road projects, so hearing that work will finally start is very welcome news.

After months of negotiations, advance preparation work will begin next week with the main contract works set to commence after Easter 2014. The initial stages of the project will involve vegetation clearance followed by the relocation of utility cables and equipment by British Gas and British Telecom.

Commenting on the news, Caroline said:

"Road congestion is a hugely significant issue in our area which is why I am thrilled that work on Newgate Lane will finally get underway next week. Having campaigned tirelessly for change, I hope that this will mark the beginning of widespread improvements to the local road network.

Newgate Lane will become of even greater strategic importance in the coming years as development at the Daedalus Enterprise Zone gains pace. In the meantime, I am delighted that long-awaited change is finally being delivered to those commuting in out of Gosport, Stubbington, Hill Head & Lee-on-the Solent."

The improvement scheme is focused on the section of Newgate Lane from Palmerston Drive to Tanners Lane and includes the provision of a new footway on the west side of Newgate Lane from Tanners Lane southwards to meet the existing footway.

Information about traffic restrictions will be available at www3.hants.gov.uk/transport-schemes-index.htm.


16 JAN 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES MINISTER FOR THE PORTSMOUTH AREA

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement that Michael Fallon MP has been appointed the brand new Minister for the Portsmouth area.

Caroline met with Mr Fallon in December to explain the impact of BAEs decision to cease shipbuilding in Portsmouth on the area, so was pleased to hear that the Prime Minister has created a new ministerial post to ensure that the city and it's surrounds are well supported through a difficult period of structural and economic transition.

Mr Fallon will be responsible for representing Portsmouth's interests in Whitehall and making sure that every effort is made to create new jobs in the local maritime sector.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"Closures at Portsmouth dockyard have had a huge impact locally and particularly in Gosport where a large number of its workers live. I met the Minister late last year to explain how this recent bad news is just the latest chapter in recent decades which have seen continued decline in the Navy's local footprint. I'm pleased that the Government have appointed a taskforce to plot a better future and I am confident that with ministerial support, great things will be achieved in the Portsmouth region.

I will be working hard over the coming months to ensure that Gosport is involved in future developments and that our local economy is able to benefit from Mr Fallon's assistance."

Since BAE's decision was made public, Caroline has held meetings with company bosses, trade union representatives & Government Ministers and will continue to do so. She remains committed to standing up for the local naval community and boosting the fortunes of Gosport's economy.


14 JAN 2014

CAROLINE VISITS LOCAL FOOD BANK

Local MP Caroline Dinenage last week met with staff from Gosport Basics Bank and Lee-on-the-Solent FISH (Food Information Supply Hope) to learn more about the work they do to support those in need.

Gosport Basics Bank and FISH are Christian organisations working to provide food and essential goods to local people who find themselves in crisis situations. Whilst the Basics Bank offers targeted support for those in urgent need, FISH delivers a regular supply of fresh produce to people facing hard times.

During her visit to the Basics Bank, Caroline was given a tour of the store room and spoke with volunteers about the services they offer. She then joined FISH staff as they delivered produce donated by local supermarkets to some of their regular clients.

Caroline said:

"These two organisations do a fantastic job of helping people in our area who find themselves with nowhere else to turn. I was overwhelmed by the dedication of volunteers and the generosity of the local community."

Since her election, Caroline has been a keen supporter of the Gosport Basics Bank. She has pledged her full support to the organisation and will be offering her expertise to volunteers in order to help them deal with benefits and housing issues which their clients may face. 


09 JAN 2014

CAROLINE VISITS LYNBYRD EXPRESS TRAINING CENTRE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today paid a visit to the Lynbyrd Express training centre in her constituency and learnt more about how the organisation is helping local people get back into work.

Lynbyrd Express is a company which specialises in delivering business training and personal development courses for the long-term unemployed and those wishing to progress their careers. A wide range of options are available including CV writing workshops, practice interview sessions and more targeted business-based courses.

Speaking after her visit, Caroline said:

“It was wonderful to visit Lynbyrd Express and to meet the passionate staff who are helping local people to turn their lives around. Having spoken to Lynbyrd alumnae, I was delighted to hear such glowing feedback about the courses and to see the inspirational progress which participants have since made.

During these tough economic times, the help provided by companies such as Lynbyrd is particularly important which is why I am delighted to pledge my support to their work.”

As a strong advocate of the adult skills agenda, Caroline is committed to promoting the significance of lifelong learning. Last October she lead a debate in the House of Commons on the importance of adult literacy and numeracy.

For more information about the courses which Lynbyrd Express offers, visit: www.lynbyrdexpress.co.uk or contact 01329 848681.


02 JAN 2014

CAROLINE PRAISES EXTRA FUNDING FOR SCHOOL PLACES IN HAMPSHIRE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Government's announcement of a further £2.35 billion to create more school places, on top of the £5 billion that is already being spent this parliament.

The funding boost means that schools in Hampshire will receive more than £81 million between 2014 and 2017. It is the first time that local authorities have had 3-year allocations of funding to spend on school places, so councils can now plan ahead and ensure that every child has a school place.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"The last Government failed to address the pressure that rising birth rates has placed on our schools, instead choosing to cut 200,000 primary school places and allow immigration to soar. I am proud that this Government is working on a long-term plan to help young people develop the skills they need to fulfil their potential.

It is great news for young people in Gosport that this Government has secured additional funding to make sure that every child has a place at school."

Since 2010, the Government has created 260,000 new school places and today's announcement means thousands more are on the way.


19 DEC 2013

CAROLINE APPLAUDS CCG BUDGET INCREASE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that Fareham & Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group will receive the largest increase in funding in the Thames Valley region over the next two years.

Earlier today, NHS England revealed the CCG budget allocations for 2014/15 and 2015/16. The figures show that Fareham & Gosport CCG will get a 3.49% budget increase in 2014/15, followed by a 3.17% rise in 2015/16.

This comes as welcome news to Caroline who recently wrote to the Clinical Chair of the local CCG, expressing her concerns that Fareham & Gosport CCG was the 4th most underfunded CCG in 2013/14.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"I am delighted to hear that our local CCG will receive a greater allocation of funding over the next two years. The budgets given to these groups have a significant impact on health outcomes in their geographical area so every little helps.

One of the biggest concerns that I have had in recent months is the postcode lottery which dictates the availability of IVF treatment. Having previously been restricted by budgeting issues, I hope that the CCG will now look favourably on my request to bring local rules in line with national guidelines."

Every CCG in the country will receive an inflationary budget rise of at least 2.14%, thanks to this Government's commitment to increasing local NHS budgets.


18 DEC 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES ANOTHER DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures from the Office of National Statistics which reveal that unemployment in the Gosport constituency is down again.

One hundred people entered employment between October and November 2013, bringing the unemployment rate down to 2.4%. That's 501 less unemployed in the Gosport area than in the same month last year. The youth unemployment rate also dropped last month and currently stands at 4.7%, down 2.5% on November 2012.

Commenting on the data, Caroline said:

"Yet again, Gosport has received good news from the Office of National Statistics, as has the rest of the UK. Employment has now reached a record high, with over 30 million British people in employment for the first time ever.

There is still more to be done, both in Gosport and across the country. However, these figures show that this Government's policies are securing a better economic future for Britain."

The National average unemployment figure for November 2013 is 3.9%. In October 2013, the rate of unemployment in Gosport was 2.6%.


17 DEC 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES APPRENTICESHIP FIGURES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures showing that the number of apprenticeship starts in her constituency has reached record highs.

According to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 2100 individuals began an apprenticeship in Gosport in 2012/2013, compared to just 1730 in 2010/2011. This marks a significant increase and brings the number of new starters to its highest point in recent years.

Engineering and manufacturing technologies were the most popular sectors, accounting for 910 apprenticeship starts in 2012/2013. A number of high profile companies offer apprenticeships to young people in Gosport including Network Rail, EDF Energy, QinetiQ and Vector Aerospace.

Caroline commented:

"Apprenticeships do more than offer young people experience of the work place; they facilitate the development of essential qualifications and skill sets which set participants on a lifelong career path within a given company. In these tough economic times, I am pleased that businesses operating locally are investing in young people and taking action to tackle youth unemployment."

As a strong advocate of the learning and skills agenda, Caroline has a long-standing commitment to promoting apprenticeship opportunities and regularly champions this issue both nationally and in Gosport.


16 DEC 2013

CAROLINE STANDS UP FOR NAVAL SUPPLY CHAIN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage urged the Government to support SMEs impacted by closures at Portsmouth shipyard during questions to the Ministry of Defence today.

A month after BAE Systems revealed that its Portsmouth shipbuilding facility will not operate after the first part of 2014, Caroline continued her campaign to ensure that those affected are given the help they will need to mitigate against future losses.

Caroline asked:

"The BAE announcement of plans to cease shipbuilding in Portsmouth will have not only an impact on their own employees but those in the wider supply chain. What steps is he taking to support SMEs through this very difficult time?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister responsible for Defence Equipment and Support, Philip Dunne MP, said:

"The decision from BAE Systems to extract itself from shipbuilding in Portsmouth will have a significant impact locally but the Honourable Lady will be well aware that there are more than 11,000 people who will continue to be employed in the Royal Naval base at Portsmouth and that will maintain vital jobs for SMEs throughout the supply chain."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"Shipbuilding is a huge operation with a number of associated industries working closely with BAE to deliver remarkably innovative ships. Many of these industries are highly specialised which is why it is vital that their expertise continues to be put to good use in light of last month's announcement."

Since BAE's announcement, Caroline has held meetings with company bosses, trade union representatives & Government Ministers and will continue to do so. She continues to call on her Ministerial colleagues to do more to support Gosport's military community. Last month, she welcomed Defence Minister, Anna Soubry MP, to Gosport to highlight the development potential of former military sites.


16 DEC 2013

CAROLINE DELIVERS CHRISTMAS CHEER TO ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY OFFICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has visited Royal Mail's Gosport delivery office during its busiest time of year.

Caroline was given a guided tour of the office and met with local post men and women who are sorting and delivering cards and parcels across the Gosport area in the run up to Christmas.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"It was great to meet staff at our local sorting office who work tirelessly, not just at Christmas but all year round, to ensure our post arrives safely.

At this time of year, the pressure is certainly on and I would like to thank our postmen and women for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period."

For a list of last posting dates, visit: www.royalmail.com/greetings.


11 DEC 2013

CAROLINE BACKS SCHEME TO TACKLE LONELINESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has praised an initiative being run by The Abbeyfield Society to tackle loneliness this Christmas.

As part of the 'Coping at Christmas' campaign, Tamar House and Privett Farm House in Gosport (both Abbeyfield homes) are inviting older people in the local area to join residents for a free festive meal or overnight stay.

Speaking in support of the scheme, Caroline said:

"For many people, Christmas is a very difficult time of year, which is why I am pleased that local Abbeyfield houses will be opening their doors to elderly people who would otherwise be alone over the festive period.

It is community spirit such as this which really makes Christmas a special time of year."

The Abbeyfield Society is a charitable organisation operating globally to improve the lives of older people. You can find out more about the Coping at Christmas campaign at www.abbeyfield.com/get-involved/coping-at-christmas.


06 DEC 2013

CAROLINE CALLS ON SHOPPERS TO SHOP SMALL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will be backing 'Small Business Saturday' this weekend as she urges shoppers to support local independent retailers.

'Small Business Saturday' is an initiative encouraging everyone in the UK to shop small, both on the day and beyond. It is the first time that the campaign, which originated in the USA, has been run in the UK. The initiative is being led by American Express in collaboration with British businesses, organisations and local authorities, and is fully supported by the Government.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have the power to drive us ahead in the global race. Alongside government support, small businesses are dependent on British consumers. That is why I am proud to be backing 'Small Business Saturday' which will get people in through the doors of our local independent retailers.

I hope that shoppers will seize the opportunity to see what small businesses across the Gosport constituency have on offer. With Christmas just weeks away, where better to get that one of a kind gift for a loved one whilst also supporting Britain's small businesses?"

Having run a small business for over 20 years, promoting the value of small businesses has always been a key priority for Caroline. She is an active member of the BIS Select Committee and was recently appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.


05 DEC 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news that 2000 business properties across her constituency will benefit from a package to help the high street and support businesses at the Autumn Statement today.

The package includes a 2% cap on business rate increases as well as a business rate discount of up to £1000 for retail premises. Furthermore, the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief will be extended until April 2015 and a new reoccupation relief will halve the rates bills of businesses taking over premises which have been empty for over a year.

Speaking in the aftermath of the Statement, Caroline commented:

"I am pleased that the Chancellor has announced plans to reduce the huge burden of business rates which constrict the growth of local businesses in Gosport and across the country. It is great news for small businesses who will now have more capital to reinvest in their enterprise and stimulate growth.

High street businesses are an important part of local life which is why I am backing Small Business Saturday this weekend. I hope as many people as possible from across the area will show their support for local businesses and shop small."

A small business owner for over 20 years, Caroline has championed the cause of small businesses since her election. This year she was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.


04 DEC 2013

CAROLINE SPEAKS UP FOR LOCAL NAVY COMMUNITY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage yesterday stood up for local communities which have provided vital support to the Armed Forces historically.

During a Westminster Hall Debate on Royal Navy Ships, Caroline highlighted the impact that closures at Portsmouth shipyard will have on communities in her constituency and across Portsmouth. She expressed particular concern about the strategic gap between the completion of re-fit work on the Type 23 frigates and the commencement of work for the Type 45 destroyers. She called on the Minister responding, Philip Dunne MP, to mitigate against the potential of further job losses caused by this break in work.

Caroline also addressed the huge cost of the groundbreaking new Type 45 destroyers and urged the Minister to ensure that future global combat ships are more affordable and exportable, ensuring that our Navy is quantitatively strong.

Speaking after the debate, Caroline said:

"The Royal Navy plays a huge part in Britain's history and continues to have a vital role today, not just in defence, but also in protecting trade routes and transporting aid to areas affected by humanitarian disaster. We must ensure that it is large enough and strong enough to provide these services.

Here in Gosport, our ties to the Armed Forces and the Royal Navy in particular, are inextricable. Not only are we experiencing the pressures of this close relationship with the termination of shipbuilding at BAE, but also with the vast amount of redundant military land that has yet to be released by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation."

Since the announcement that shipbuilding in Portsmouth will cease next year, Caroline has held meetings with BAE bosses, trade union representatives and Government Ministers. She continues to call on her Ministerial colleagues to do more to support Gosport's military community. Last month, she welcomed Defence Minister, Anna Soubry MP, to Gosport to highlight the development potential of former military sites.


03 DEC 2013

CAROLINE ANNOUNCES WINNER OF CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted a group of local school children and their families at an event last night to announce the winner of her Christmas card competition.

Out of over 100 entries, Lili Kurzfeld of Haselworth Primary School was awarded first place and her design has already been printed on over 200 cards. Highly commended were Harvey Pratt and Emily Chandler of Newtown Primary School and Jack Harrop of Holbrook Primary School.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"It was lovely to meet the winner of my Christmas card competition and I was delighted that so many children brought their families along to the event to see their designs on display.

Gosport's school pupils certainly do not lack artistic talent and I'm sure there are great things in store for many of our budding young artists!"

The competition was open to pupils from primary schools across the Gosport constituency. Caroline was joined by Cllr John Beavis (Mayor of Gosport), Mark Waldron (editor of The News) and Andy Wing (prolific local artist) to judge the entries.

The event took place at Gosport Discovery Centre where all competition entries will be on display until Monday 9th December.


29 NOV 2013

CAROLINE TO ANNOUNCE YOUNG CHRISTMAS CARD DESIGNER

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will celebrate the artistic talent of the young people from her constituency at an event to announce the winner of her Christmas card design competition on Monday.

Caroline wrote to all primary schools in Gosport, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington & Hill Head earlier in the year, inviting pupils to submit designs for her 2013 Christmas card competition. Having received over 100 entries, Caroline was joined by Cllr John Beavis (Mayor of Gosport), Mark Waldron (editor of The News) and Andy Wing (prolific local artist) to judge the designs.

After a lot of deliberation, the winner and three runners up have been decided upon and will be announced during an event at Gosport Discovery Centre on Monday evening.

Speaking ahead of the event, Caroline said:

"I was very impressed to see such fabulous creativity from our local school pupils and hope that they enjoyed designing their entries. A huge thanks goes to all of the teachers who co-ordinated their school's participation in the competition."

The event at Gosport Discovery Centre will begin at 5pm on Monday 2nd December and all entries will be on display at the Centre until Monday 9th December.


28 NOV 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES LORD HESELTINE TO SOLENT AREA

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today introduced former government minister, Lord Heseltine, to students and business representatives from across the local area.

Lord Heseltine's visit follows the publication of his report on local growth, 'No stone unturned in pursuit of growth', last year, in which he cited engagement between schools and businesses as an essential part of regional economic development. Today, he joined Caroline at Brune Park School to speak to local students and business representatives who have already benefited from his recommendation, thanks to the work of Education Business Partnership.

Following the meeting in Gosport, Caroline and Lord Heseltine attended the Solent Growth Summit arranged by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership at Botleigh Grange Hotel and spoke to business leaders and delegates from across the region.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"I was delighted to welcome Lord Heseltine to our area. His work on local growth is held in very high regard, and I am proud that some of his recommendations have already been acted upon in the Solent region. It was fantastic to hear from local students who are so enthusiastic about the schemes they are involved in.

As ever, it was great to speak with regional business delegates at the Solent Skills Summit – and I was interested to hear Lord Heseltine's fascinating insight into how we can stimulate growth in local areas."

Caroline has long been a champion of business & local growth. She is a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and a Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on local growth. More recently, she was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.


27 NOV 2013

CAROLINE TO INTRODUCE LORD HESELTINE TO LOCAL STUDENTS AND BUSINESSES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome former government minister, Lord Heseltine, to Gosport tomorrow to see how local growth is being achieved in her constituency and the wider area.

Lord Heseltine published a report on local growth for the Government last year and since then, a number of his recommendations have been acted on in the South.

Tomorrow, Lord Heseltine will join Caroline at an event being run by Education Business Partnership to hear how students and business people have benefited from his recommendation to promote greater integration between schools and local businesses. His visit will also encompass the Solent Growth Summit which is taking place at Botleigh Grange Hotel later on in the day.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"Encouraging young people to engage with businesses is essential to getting them enthusiastic about entrepreneurism. I am proud that this is already happening in our region and am confident that more schools and businesses will be inspired to forge linkages in the future.

I hope that Lord Heseltine is looking forward to meeting with business representatives from across the region and speaking to them about the findings of his report during the Growth Summit."

Caroline has long been a champion of business and local growth. As a member of the Business, Skills & Innovation Select Committee as well as a Co-Chair of the APPG on local growth, she is well placed to be accompanying Lord Heseltine on his visit to the Solent area tomorrow.


27 NOV 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES SENTENCE INCREASE IN TOSELAND CASE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Court of Appeal that the sentence given to a youth who brutally attacked a Gosport man has been increased.

Samuel Armstrong was sentenced in September to 64 months in a young offenders' institute after he attacked Andrew Toseland off Forton Road in Gosport, leaving him with life changing injuries.

After conversations with Mr Toseland's family, the MP wrote to the Attorney General in October to express concerns about the punishment given to the attacker and to ask for the case to be referred to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Armstrong's sentence was increased to nine years at a Court of Appeal hearing earlier today, where the judge said that his crime had been a "wicked offence with devastating consequences".

Speaking after the announcement was made, Caroline said:

"The priority in this case has been to seek justice for Andrew Toseland and his family, whose lives have all been devastated by this horrific attack in which he suffered a brain injury so severe that he will require 24 hour care for the rest of his life. The Court of Appeal's decision to increase the sentence sends out a firm message that brutal behaviour of this nature is not acceptable and will be punished."


26 NOV 2013

CAROLINE CHAMPIONS FINANCIAL EDUCATION

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on local schools to get involved in pfeg's campaign to improve the financial capability of young people.

pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) is driving an initiative to get children talking about money and personal finance. The charity has delivered Get Money Smart posters and teaching materials to every primary and secondary school in the Gosport constituency. Ideas for different ages include checking your change, estimating the cost of a weekly shop, comparing mobile phone tariffs and budgeting for a holiday.

The campaign follows the Government's announcement that financial education will be taught in secondary schools as part of the National Curriculum from September 2014.

Speaking in support of the initiative, Caroline said:

"Getting pupils talking about money and the financial decisions they will face in the future is a fantastic way for them to develop lifelong skills.

I am delighted to be supporting this scheme which will help schools to get children enthusiastic about the crucial role that maths plays in everyday life. I would urge schools in the Gosport area to bring money to life in the classroom using the learning tools available."

The campaign comes as welcome news to Caroline, who has been a longstanding champion for raising rates of numeracy among British adults. Last month, she held a landmark debate in the House of Commons on the importance of literacy & numeracy skills and is currently working to establish an All Party Parliamentary Group on maths and numeracy.


20 NOV 2013

CAROLINE BACKS STRONGER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND THE ARMED FORCES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage spoke in Westminster today in support of a stronger relationship between employers and the Armed Forces. The remarks came during a debate about the Government's plans to revitalise the Reserve forces.

Under the Government's proposals £1.8bn will be invested in the Reserves as they change to become an integral part of the Armed Forces that enjoys an open, predicable and supportive relationship with employers. As part of the reform package small and medium sized enterprises will be given additional financial support for employees who are away on service, while Reservists will be able to obtain fully accredited civilian qualifications while on duty.

Speaking in Westminster Caroline said, "As someone who has run a small business for 20 years, I know that for all Reservists, successful service in the military depends on the support of their employers.

It is therefore fantastic news that this Government will be placing a clear emphasis on the development of our Reservists, and on building and maintaining a transparent and productive relationship between employers and the Armed Forces. The extra finance for small and medium size businesses is a real step forward, and I welcome any opportunity that sees us helping people to learn new skills and acquire valuable transferable qualifications.

We owe a great debt both to the individuals who protect our national security and to the businesses that employ our Reserve Troops, and I'm delighted that Government is making sure that we are repaying both the employers, and the reservists themselves, by providing them with the training and skills to flourish both in the field and in the workplace."


20 NOV 2013

CAROLINE BECOMES ‘VIRTUAL MO SISTER’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is backing this year's Movember campaign by becoming a 'Virtual Mo Sister'.

Caroline has joined a group of female MPs who have pledged their support for Movember 2013 by becoming 'Virtual Mo Sistas' on the Movember in Parliament website.  Since its inception ten years ago, Movember has become a global campaign to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues.

Praising the initiative, Caroline said:

"On average, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer.  That is why it is so important for us to back initiatives such as Movember which aim to increase early cancer detection and facilitate the development of effective treatments.

I'm proud to be showing my support for Movember 2013 by donning a rather dashing moustache on the Movember in Parliament website!"

The money raised by Movember is invested into programmes that help support prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's mental health.  To see which other MPs are backing the campaign, visit: www.movemberinparliament.co.uk.


19 NOV 2013

CAROLINE SUPPORTS ‘EXPORTING IS GREAT’ CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is backing the Government's 'Exporting is GREAT' campaign to boost exporting by small businesses.

The 'Exporting is GREAT' initiative is part of the 'Britain is GREAT' campaign and aims to tackle the lack of confidence many SMEs have about exporting. It is hoped that over 3000 appointments with UKTI International Trade Advisors will be generated, giving small businesses access to expert advice, support and finance.

Caroline said:

"International trade offers a significant boost to a company's commercial success, and with just 25% of British businesses currently exporting, it is clear that we are missing an invaluable opportunity to stimulate growth. Exporting is also essential to the UK's economic recovery, in fact, if the number of small businesses exporting was to increase from the current 1 in 5 to just 1 in 4, we would wipe out the trade deficit overnight.

That is why I am pleased that the Government is making help even more accessible to small businesses and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage SMEs on the Gosport peninsula to make the most of advice from UKTI."

Since her election Caroline has championed the cause of SMEs, working hard to encourage enterprise and innovation on the Gosport peninsula. More recently, she was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.

If you would like more information or to book an appointment with a trade advisor, visit: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/ukti or call 0800 093 2094.


18 NOV 2013

CAROLINE CALLS FOR BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT OUR ARMED FORCES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging companies to sign up to the Defence Discount Service.

The scheme gives members of the Armed Forces Community discounts both online and on the high street when they show their Defence Privilege Cards at participating stores and restaurants. There are currently around 29,000 cards in circulation and a number of high profile businesses have already signed up. The Defence Discount Service also allows smaller companies to get involved and is encouraging businesses in local areas to offer discounts to the Armed Forces Community.

Expressing her support, Caroline commented:

"As an area which has a strong connection to the military, we know only too well the sacrifices made by our service personnel. This is a very small way to say thank you to our men and women who do, and who have done, so much for us and I hope local businesses will be keen to sign up."

For details of who can apply and register for free please visit: www.defencediscountservice.co.uk. If you are a business that would like to offer a discount and get behind our Armed forces please visit: www.defencediscountservice.co.uk/support.


15 NOV 2013

CAROLINE URGES CHILDREN TO SHOOT FOR THE STARS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today encouraged local schoolchildren to get involved in The UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoc).

UKAYRoc is the largest model rocket showcase in the UK, and involves teams from schools across the country pitting their wits against one another to see who can design the best rocket.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"The Rocketry Challenge is a fantastic way to show more students in the Gosport area that not only does getting involved in engineering give you lots of exciting career options, but that it can be great fun too!

I'm keen to encourage as many schools, colleges and young people in the Gosport area as possible to enter the 2014 challenge."

UKAYRoC is open to the first 140 teams that submit an application by 20th December 2013. Teams must be made up of a minimum of three and no more than five students who are currently enrolled in years 7 through 13 in a UK school. Full details can be found at www.ukayroc.org.uk.


15 NOV 2013

CAROLINE BACKS VOLUNTEERING AWARDS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling on her constituents to nominate inspirational volunteers for the vInspired National Awards 2014.

Now in its fifth year, the vInspired National Awards celebrate the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and the youth workers who support them. The categories include Best Young Volunteer, Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker and Most Outstanding Social Entrepreneur.

A passionate supporter of volunteers in her constituency, Caroline said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the great work done by young volunteers up and down the country. Here in Gosport, volunteering is at the heart of our community and I am proud that people of all ages are committed to helping others.

I hope as many people as possible think about the young people giving back to our community and take the time to nominate someone who inspires them."

Winners will be rewarded with a star-studded awards ceremony held in London on 27th March next year. For more information or to complete a nomination form, visit: www.vinspired.com/nationalawards.


14 NOV 2013

CAROLINE CALLS ON SMALL BUSINESSES TO JOIN CAMPAIGN

Gosport MP and Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline Dinenage, has joined forces with Karren Brady to launch the Conservative Small Business Campaign.

Caroline joined fellow Small Business Ambassadors at a meeting with Karren to discuss what more can be done to support small businesses in the run up to Small Business Saturday, which is taking place on the 7th December.

The group are calling on all small businesses to sign up to take part in the event, which encourages customers to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.

Speaking in support of the campaign, Caroline said:

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have the potential to create a long-term sustainable recovery both in Gosport and nationally.

The Small Business Campaign is vital to ensure that we continue to build a partnership with entrepreneurs & small business owners and I am delighted that Karren Brady has been appointed to help drive this important work forward."

Echoing Caroline's comments, Karren Brady said:

"In my new role, I am looking forward to listening to the needs of small businesses to make sure we make Britain the best place to start and grow a business, supporting those who work hard and want to get on. That is why I would encourage small businesses to join our campaign."

For more information about the campaign, visit: www.thesmallbusinesscampaign.com.


13 NOV 2013

CAROLINE SUPPORTS ENERGY GRANTS CALCULATOR

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging people to keep their energy bills down using a brand new online calculator.

The new tool enables householders to check what grants and financial support are available to them. With the forthcoming freezing temperatures set to stretch household finances across the Gosport peninsula, the calculator will prove to be an invaluable resource.

Caroline commented:

"Fuel bills are a big worry for many people, both in Gosport and across the UK. I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to helping hardworking people get the cheapest electricity and gas tariffs that suit their needs."

Since her election, Caroline has frequently raised the matter of high energy costs with her Ministerial colleagues and has supported a number of campaigns aiming to tackle the problem.

To access the calculator, visit: www.gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator and you can find more information on energy matters at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/helping-consumers-with-energy.


12 NOV 2013

CAROLINE COMMENDS BRAND NEW CITY DEAL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement of a significant investment package which will enable Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils to secure the future of major redevelopments in the region.

The deal will eventually bring £950 million of public and private investment into the area, creating more than 17,000 jobs for local people. The flagship project will stimulate the regional economy by unlocking two strategically important sites in Portsmouth and Southampton.

As part of the deal, the Solent Jobs Pilot will provide £5.8 million to help 1,000 long term unemployed people to get back to work and a £10 million programme will be launched to help local SMEs flourish.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline commented:

"After the disappointing news that Portsmouth shipyard will no longer be building our naval ships, I'm pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to supporting our area through this difficult economic and structural transition. Putting the power in the hands of local people will ensure that the funding reaches those who need it most.

Portsmouth and Southampton are cities with vast amounts of potential and I am confident that the City Deal will ensure that these opportunities are maximised. Gosport's geographical location between the two cities means that we stand in a great position to benefit from the investment."

The announcement comes a week after the news that shipbuilding will come to an end in Portsmouth next year. The package will provide essential support for the regional economy and will help to mitigate job losses caused by the shipyard's closure.


11 NOV 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES TRANSPORT SECRETARY TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage put local transport issues at the top of the agenda today as she hosted Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, in her constituency.

Prior to a driving tour of the peninsula, the Secretary of State took part in a meeting with Caroline and local stakeholders to discuss the future of transport infrastructure in the Gosport area.

Caroline also took the opportunity to show the Transport Secretary the successful Network Rail apprentice training programme at HMS Sultan, as well as the expanding Maritime Coastguard Agency base at Daedalus.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"With less than half a job for every working adult, the number of people commuting out of Gosport is extremely high, creating vast amounts of congestion at peak times. Since I was elected, I've worked hard to bring this to the attention of my Ministerial colleagues, and I am delighted that the Secretary of State has now seen for himself what drivers face on a daily basis.

Following the recent consultation on the proposed Stubbington Bypass, my Council colleagues and I were able to put forward the case for a new road which would significantly reduce traffic on the existing roads in and out of Gosport. I hope that the Secretary of State will recognise the huge potential of this project and report back to his Department accordingly."

Today's meeting follows Transport Minister, Norman Baker's visit to Gosport in March and the £8.5million package to enhance Newgate Lane that Caroline helped to secure.


08 NOV 2013

CAROLINE COMMENDS PROGRESS ON VETERANS’ HEALTH POLICY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the terrific progress which has been made in facilitating the rehabilitation of veterans.

Following a review by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Ministers from the Department of Health and the Ministry of Defence have been working in collaboration to tackle the physical and mental health issues faced by former servicemen and women.

Among the numerous policies that have been introduced, a National Veterans' Mental Health Network has been established to recommend how best to deliver mental health services for ex-service personnel. For amputee veterans, nine centres across the country (including Portsmouth) have been identified for additional funding and will, in time, provide prosthetic services at the same standard as that at Headley Court.

Caroline, an enthusiastic supporter of rehabilitation efforts for ex-service men and women, said:

"We owe a lot to the people who fight for our country, many of whom suffer from long lasting mental health problems and debilitating injuries. I am delighted that the Government has shown its commitment to supporting veterans and that so many excellent programmes are being rolled out across the country.

Here in Gosport a number of organisations are helping to take care of our ex-service personnel, including Shore Leave Haslar and Alabaré Christian Care & Support. Alongside these, the schemes offered by the Government will ensure that local veterans assimilate back into civilian life as seamlessly as possible."

The Government is also supporting a number of programmes funded from the LIBOR fine, including a 24 hour veterans' mental health helpline and a therapeutic training programme in North Yorkshire. Locally, Aggie Weston's Royal Sailors Rests has recently benefited from the LIBOR fine.

You can learn more about schemes and policies for veterans on the brand new help pages of Caroline's website (Help) where you will also find links to some of Gosport's most useful websites along with advice for local business people.


07 NOV 2013

CAROLINE TO BRING TRANSPORT SECRETARY TO GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, to the Gosport peninsula next week.

As part of her long-running commitment to secure a meaningful solution to the congestion issues on local roads, Caroline will show the Transport Secretary first-hand the problems that motorists have to endure on a daily basis. She will also introduce him to key local officials in order to discuss potential solutions, such as a Stubbington Bypass.

The visit will also give Caroline the opportunity to show the Secretary of State the successful Network Rail apprentice training programme at HMS Sultan, as well as the expanding Maritime and Coastguard Agency base at Daedalus.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"The transport infrastructure is such a major issue in our area and I've worked hard since my election to raise this with my ministerial colleagues.

I'm delighted that the Secretary of State has accepted my invitation to visit Gosport, it will be really useful for him to see our transport problems up close, along with discussing potential solutions."

Caroline is dedicated to tackling the problem of congestion on the A32 and other access roads. Monday's meeting comes off the back of Transport Minister, Norman Baker's visit to Gosport in March and the £8.5million package to enhance Newgate Lane that Caroline helped to secure.


06 NOV 2013

CAROLINE STANDS UP FOR PORTSMOUTH SHIPYARD

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today spoke up for those who will be affected by job losses at Portsmouth’s dockyard.

This morning, BAE Systems announced that shipbuilding at Portsmouth will cease in the second half of 2014, resulting in the loss of 940 jobs. However, Portsmouth will continue to play host to the company’s maritime support services.

After a statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, Caroline took the opportunity to ask how the Government will be supporting the Portsmouth area in light of today’s announcement.

Caroline asked: “The end of shipbuilding in Portsmouth is devastating for a community with over 800 years of proud service with the Royal Navy. Does the Secretary of State know when we’ll hear of plans to help ease the pain of this decision, particularly with regard to the City Deal and what conversations have taken place with Portsmouth City Council about the timing of this announcement?”

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State for Defence said: “Well Mr Speaker, my Honourable Friend is of course right, and I recognised in my statement that the decision is a very hard one for people in Portsmouth to accept. But we should get this in context. Nine-hundred-and-forty jobs will be lost. Eleven-thousand will remain in dockyard related activity in Portsmouth, which will be largest centre of surface maritime support in the UK and that will continue into the future. We are in discussions with Portsmouth Council and with Southampton around the City Deal proposal and I am advised that a statement is likely to be made very soon, as soon as those negotiations have concluded.”

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

“The news that shipbuilding in Portsmouth will come to an end after 800 years of operations is devastating and my thoughts are with those who will be affected by job losses. BAE now has a responsibility to ensure that the loss of building jobs is supplemented with opportunities within the maritime services branch of the company.

We also need to secure a Government funding package to counter the impacts of any job losses in Portsmouth. I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to supporting our local area as these changes take place.”

As the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth shipyard has played an instrumental role in the defence of the British Isles for over 800 years.


05 NOV 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES DEFENCE MINISTER TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage discussed local military matters with brand new Defence Minister, Anna Soubry MP, during her visit to Gosport this afternoon.

Caroline held a meeting with the Minister and Ian Lycett, the CEO of Gosport Borough Council and Cllr Mark Hook, Council Leader, to discuss the future of various military and ex military sites and the experiences of serving personnel. Caroline also took the Minister on a tour of Gosport to allow her to see for herself the extent of Gosport's ties to the Armed Forces.

Speaking after the event, Caroline commented:

"21% of Gosport is owned by the MOD and we have the 2nd highest population of veterans in the UK, so was thrilled to be able to show the Minister around our town. I was grateful for her interest in the important role that the Armed Forces, particularly the Navy, plays in our local area.

During our meeting, the representatives of Gosport Borough Council & I shared with the Minister some of the projects involving current and ex-military sites in the area that are key to Gosport's future economic prosperity."

Since becoming Gosport's MP, Caroline has worked hard to ensure that the area is able to capitalise on the huge number of opportunities offered by its military estates. She is also committed to getting a better deal for service personnel & veterans and frequently raises local issues with her ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Defence.


04 NOV 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES £2000 BOOST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND CHARITIES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today backed the Government's plans to cut taxes for small businesses by up to £2000 a year.

The Employment Allowance will work by taking the first two thousand pounds off the employer National Insurance bill of every company in the country.

Speaking in Westminster, Caroline said:

"By taking a tax off jobs, it will now be much easier for millions of people who have set up their own firms to take on new employees. What's more is that that 98% of the benefit of this change will go to small and medium sized enterprises.

This is great news for small businesses in Gosport. Indeed, as a result of this bill 450,000 small businesses around the country– that's one third of all employers - will now pay no jobs tax at all.

This a key part of a wider programme that the Government has introduced to support aspiration, encourage job creation and boost growth. As a small business owner I am proud to support a policy that will help firms around the country to expand, to innovate and crucially to create jobs."


04 NOV 2013

CAROLINE TO WELCOME DEFENCE MINISTER TO GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome brand new Defence Minister, Anna Soubry MP, to Gosport tomorrow to discuss local military issues.

The visit will include a tour of the military and ex-military sites around the constituency. Caroline will then hold a brief meeting with the Minister to consider how the potential of these sites can be maximised.

She will discuss some of the key issues facing the area, such as the urgent need to replace the Victorian Oil Fuel Depot in time for the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Caroline will also continue her campaign to end a discrepancy in payment rules which prevents service personnel from claiming expenses for journeys made to and from work on the Gosport Ferry, but incentivises them to drive the distance between Gosport and Portsmouth.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"I'm really grateful that the Minister has found time in her busy schedule to visit Gosport. I'm looking forward to taking her on a tour of the peninsula and hope that we can secure even more MoD support for our area.

Gosport's close links with defence are essential to its heritage and a number of exciting plans are currently being drawn up for some of our former military sites. I am also pleased to have the opportunity to discuss policies affecting serving personnel."

Caroline is determined to ensure that Gosport capitalises on the huge number of opportunities offered by its military estates. She is also committed to getting a better deal for service personnel & veterans and has raised various issues with her ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Defence since her election in 2010.


31 OCT 2013

CAROLINE APPLAUDS ‘MUMPRENEURS’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage celebrated the success of 'Mumpreneurs' during questions to the Department of Women and Equalities this morning.

Getting back into work after having children can be a challenge for many women. However, across the UK, the number of mothers setting up their own businesses from home is on the increase.

Caroline asked:

"Is the Secretary of State aware of the importance of the so-called 'Mumpreneurs' who work from home and contribute approximately £7 billion a year to our economy? Will she join with me in congratulating these inspirational women and pledge to support them?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, said:

"I absolutely will join her in congratulating and applauding the work of 'Mumpreneurs'. I know my Honourable Friend is herself a businesswoman, a small businesswoman, and knows a great deal about this sector and I think, Mr Speaker, the figures speak for themselves. In the last quarter, we saw a further 27,000 women taking up entrepreneurial roles in our economy, making 1.2 million in total. I think real progress indeed."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline commented:

"Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy – they have played a very important role in Britain's financial recovery. With 60% of businesses started from home, Britain's Mums are ina great position to play a vital part in this economic regeneration."

Joanna Murchie, a 'Mumpreneur' from Gosport, was recently shortlisted in the final ten for the Best International Business Award for her company CV Essentials at the UK Mumpreneur Awards.


31 OCT 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES SCHEME TO TACKLE LONELINESS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is backing an initiative to help support elderly, homeless and vulnerable people this Christmas.

According to a survey commissioned by Age UK, more than three quarters of a million British people over the age of 65 often feel lonely. This Christmas, Waitrose Gosport is offering financial support and manpower to back-up the efforts of local groups organising Christmas lunches in the Gosport area.

Caroline said:

"I am delighted to hear that our local branch of Waitrose will be helping to tackle loneliness this Christmas. At the most sociable time of the year, it is saddening to think of people who are not surrounded by their family and friends.

The Christmas lunch initiative is an excellent way to address this problem and I hope that local organisations will take Waitrose up on their kind offer of support."

Over the past five years, Waitrose Gosport has donated £152,000 to 180 local causes through its Community Matters scheme.  The branch also provides its employees with 250 paid hours per year to volunteer in the community.

The deadline for requests for the Christmas Lunch initiative is 15th November.


30 OCT 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES PLANS TO CAP PENSION CHARGES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the Government's announcement of radical reforms to pension charges designed to help people who have worked hard and done the right thing by saving for their retirement.

Conservative MP and Financial Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid MP announced that the Government will introduce a cap on pension charges to save hardworking people thousands of pounds and make sure employers & savers are better-informed about the pensions available, so they can make the choice that is best for them.  The Government will now consult on the best way of reducing these charges.

Speaking in support of the proposals, Caroline commented:

"This is great news for hardworking people both in Gosport and across the UK who are doing the right thing and saving for retirement.   It will help ensure they get the value for money from their pension that they deserve.   I am proud that this Government has already taken action to cut fuel duty and income tax and this announcement marks another step taken by the Government to help people who want to work hard and get on in life."

Reducing pension charges can save significant amounts of money.   In the case of someone who saves throughout their working life, they could end up losing almost £170,000 from their pot with a 1 per cent charge, and over £230,000 with a 1.5 per cent charge.


30 OCT 2013

CAROLINE STANDS UP AGAINST ATROCITIES IN SRI LANKA

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage drew attention to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka during questions to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office yesterday.

Following a recent meeting with British Tamils in her Gosport Constituency, Caroline was keen to take the opportunity to underline their concerns surrounding the violation of human rights by government officials in regions across the northern and eastern parts of the country. With the Heads of Commonwealth Government Meeting taking place in Sri Lanka next month, Caroline asked the Secretary of State, Rt Hon William Hague MP, for re-assurance that he is committed to addressing the problem.

She asked:

"Many of my constituents are concerned about the human rights abuses, not just in the north of Sri Lanka but also the east as well, and they are also concerned that the visit by the Commonwealth Heads will somehow legitimise this desperate reality.  Will the Secretary of State undertake to leave the Sri Lankan authorities in absolutely no doubt that this is not the case."

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:

"Yes absolutely, my Honourable Friend is quite right about that. They are in no doubt as things stand of what the position is on this as I've explained to the House earlier and they will be left in no doubt by me and the Prime Minister and the Minister of State on our visit to CHOGM."

Speaking outside the chamber, Caroline said:

"What is going on in Sri Lanka is shocking. I am pleased that the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister will be visiting northern parts of the country to see the devastating impacts of these shocking violations for themselves. It is essential that we maintain pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka and I hope that the Commonwealth Heads will have the opportunity to do so during the upcoming meeting."


23 OCT 2013

CAROLINE ATTENDS HOCKEY MINIFEST

Local MP Caroline Dinenage showed her support for Gosport Borough Hockey Club during the regional MiniFest tournament which took place last weekend.

Each month during the hockey season, young teams from across Hampshire and West Sussex get together to participate in an informal tournament. The MiniFest matches are designed to support the development of young players by allowing them to put into practice the skills they learn on the training ground, whilst having fun playing against other clubs.

The tournaments have been taking place for the past five years and target the Under 8 and Under 10 age groups. This month, it was Gosport Borough Hockey Club's turn to host the event on grounds at St Vincent College.

Reflecting on the MiniFest, Caroline said:

"I am passionate about getting young people in our area enthusiastic about sport; events such as these are absolutely essential to doing that. Not only is sport a great way to develop a healthy lifestyle, it also teaches children how to work well in a team which is why we must do all we can to promote sporting opportunities to young people.

I am delighted that we have outstanding local coaches, volunteers and teachers who are committed to upholding the legacy of London 2012 in our area. I hope that the new sporting facilities coming soon to Bridgemary School and Bay House School will encourage young people to get involved."

Caroline was recently appointed as a Parliamentary Sport Champion and frequently works with local schools and sports clubs to ensure that children in Gosport are given every available opportunity to get into sport.


22 OCT 2013

CAROLINE OPENS REVAMPED POST OFFICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage cut the ribbon at the refurbished Alverstoke Post Office during an opening ceremony last week.

Alverstoke Post Office has undergone a number of alterations since its temporary closure in August and is now open for business again. As well as a new open plan counter which will be much more accessible to customers, the branch will now stay open until 5:30pm on Saturdays.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"Thanks to the recent transformations, Alverstoke Post Office is now almost completely unrecognisable. I'm sure the modern and spacious environment will be hugely popular with customers, as will the longer opening hours!

I was delighted to see so many members of the community out celebrating the launch of the newly modernised Post Office. It really shows how much local people value the services of the village Post Office – even in the age of emails and Facebook."

The refurbishment of Alverstoke Post Office is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open plan environments.

The new opening hours are Monday to Saturday: 9:00am – 5:30pm.


22 OCT 2013

CAROLINE CHALLENGES IVF POSTCODE LOTTERY

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has stood up for women in the south who are unable to access IVF treatment in line with national guidelines.

According to recommendations made by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), women up to the age of 40 who have not conceived for two years should receive three rounds of IVF treatment on the NHS. However, commissioners at NHS South have stipulated that this rule should be reduced to include only women below the age of 35 and that they should receive just one round of treatment.

Caroline has written to the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), urging them to reassess the regional policy and consider aligning it with the rules implemented in other areas of the UK.

Speaking against the current policy, Caroline said:

"It's saddening that women in our region are being denied the opportunity to have children as a result of rules which do not correlate with national recommendations. Although NICE guidelines are not mandatory, it must be very upsetting for women who fall victim to the postcode lottery for IVF treatment.

Hearing that commissioners across the whole of the east and north east of England are able to provide these services proves that it is possible. I understand that resources are scarce but I sincerely hope that Fareham and Gosport CCG will call on NHS South to see if there is anything they can do about their existing policy."

Fareham and Gosport CCG cited a number of reasons for the strict rules on IVF treatment, including value for money and a lack of funding.


21 OCT 2013

CAROLINE ASKS COUNCILS TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has continued her campaign to support small businesses by urging local councils to simplify the procurement process for SMEs.

Small businesses across the UK are playing a vital role in the country's economic recovery and can offer their contractors terrific value for money. Caroline is committed to ensuring that these opportunities are harnessed by local authorities as well as central Government, which is why she has written to Councils operating in the local area, calling for them to assess and document their relationship with SMEs.

Speaking in support of SMEs, Caroline said:

"Tackling the unnecessary bureaucracy which is restricting small businesses from accessing government contracts and reaching their full potential must be a priority. Local business owners frequently tell me how overwhelming they find the process of applying for a government contract and having owned a small business for the past twenty years, I fully understand their concerns.

Helping SMEs to increase their chances of obtaining government contracts is essential to promoting the important role they play in our economy. I hope that our local authorities will recognise this and pledge their commitment to supporting small businesses."

Since her election Caroline has championed the cause of SMEs, working hard to encourage enterprise and innovation on the Gosport peninsula. More recently, she was appointed Small Business Ambassador for the south by the Prime Minister.


17 OCT 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES ANOTHER FALL IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed news from the Office of National Statistics that unemployment in the Gosport area has reached its lowest point since before the General Election of May 2010.

Caroline has always 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.

Speaking after the data was published, Caroline said:

"Hearing that unemployment in Gosport has reached its lowest point in three and a half years is very good news. Nationally, the outlook is also positive as there are now more people in work than ever before. There is still more to be done, both in Gosport and across the UK, but these figures show that the British economy is turning a corner.

Getting your foot back on to the employment ladder can be a daunting task. Thanks to the support provided by organisations such as the Wheatsheaf Trust and the opportunities created by local businesses, I am delighted that local people are overcoming the barriers to employment.

Between August and September of this year, 101 more people in Gosport entered jobs, decreasing the current rate of unemployment to 2.6%, compared to the national average of 7.7%.


11 OCT 2013

CAROLINE LEADS LITERACY & NUMERACY DEBATE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage continued her campaign to boost adult literacy and numeracy by holding a debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons yesterday.

MPs from both sides of the House made valuable contributions to the debate and there was cross-party consensus that education policies of the past have failed generations of young people.  During the debate, the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matt Hancock MP, expressed the Government's commitment to tackling illiteracy and innumeracy both in schools and within the wider community.

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Adult literacy and numeracy problems are a huge cause for concern and we need to act swiftly if we are to tackle them. I was delighted to hear the speeches made by my colleagues – their support shows just how passionately many MPs feel about this matter.

I welcome the Minister's comments about the importance of good English and Maths teachers and the value of community learning.  I hope that this debate will drive forward my campaign to end illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK by giving support to those who so desperately need it."

Throughout her speech, Caroline used examples of successful literacy and numeracy schemes in Gosport. These included the 'Out There' project run by St. Vincent College which provides accessible training for adults and the Read & Grow charity which advocates peer-to-peer learning as a rehabilitation tool.


09 OCT 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES SENTENCE REVIEW

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Attorney General's decision to reassess the lenient sentence given to a young man who inflicted life changing injuries on a gentleman from Gosport last year.

Samuel Armstrong was sentenced in September to 64 months in a young offenders' institute after he brutally attacked Andrew Toseland off Forton road in Gosport.

Caroline feels strongly that Mr Armstrong's punishment was unduly lenient and wrote a letter to the Attorney General, expressing her concerns about the sentence. The Attorney General has consequently decided to refer Mr Armstrong's case to the Court of Appeal, where three judges will decide whether or not to increase his sentence.

Speaking after the announcement was made, Caroline said:

"The Attorney General's decision sends out a firm message to people in society that this form of wicked, evil behavior is not acceptable and will be punished. It's so utterly wrong to wreck another human's life to this extent and effectively get away with it.

I am pleased that the Attorney General has taken this request seriously and that the sentence will be scrupulously reviewed.  Getting justice for Mr Toseland and his family is paramount to this case."

Mr Toseland suffered severe injuries and will require 24 hour care for the rest of his life.


08 OCT 2013

CAROLINE TO HOLD SKILLS DEBATE IN THE CHAMBER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will hold a debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons, to discuss illiteracy and innumeracy within the adult population, on Thursday.

As a keen advocate of lifelong learning, Caroline is committed to promoting training and skills development, both of which depend upon one's literacy and numeracy abilities. Over the past two years, she has frequently raised the matter at PMQs and during questions to various government departments.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Caroline said:

"A staggering one in six adults in the UK are functionally illiterate, and the number of those who are innumerate is even higher. This is an issue that must be addressed if we are to build a skilled economy that will drive Britain forward in the global race.

Unfortunately, adult literacy and numeracy problems are often missed off the agenda as no government department can take sole responsibility. Therefore, to be able to invite MPs and departmental officials to debate this matter provides a unique opportunity to promote meaningful collaboration between departments."

Thursday's debate will begin at approximately 1130 in the Chamber of the House of Commons and will run for three hours.


08 OCT 2013

CAROLINE CALLS FOR ACTION ON SKILLS GAP AMONG PRISONERS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has urged the Government to take more action to beat illiteracy and innumeracy in prisons during questions to the Ministry of Justice today.

One in five prisoners needs help reading and writing, a figure slightly higher than that of functional illiteracy among the UK's adult population, which currently stands at one in six. Improving literacy skills is crucial to reducing reoffending as it boosts the chances of a prisoner getting and holding on to a job when released.

Calling for the Government to renew their focus on this issue, Caroline asked:

"In prisons across the country, education can sometimes take a long time to access and often be viewed as a reward for good behaviour rather than a vital cornerstone of rehabilitations. What plans does my Honourable Friend have to help prisoners overcome these barriers and access the skills which will be so vital to them upon release?"

Expressing his commitment to education for prisoners, the Minister responsible, Jeremy Wright MP, replied:

"Well I think my Honourable Friend is entirely right that rehabilitation is crucial and that education is a crucial part of rehabilitation. So what we're going to do is make sure that prisoners have every incentive to engage in that rehabilitation and that means reforming the incentives and earned privileges schemes so that they do have those clear incentives. And it also means making sure that if prisoners want to get to the top of that particular scheme they'll need to help other prisoners in a range of ways, one of which may be operating as mentors or learning tutors in the way that charities, as she knows, often support."

Speaking outside the chamber, Caroline said:

"I am pleased with the progress that this Government has already made and welcome Jeremy Wright's support, but there is much more to be done. The rates of literacy and numeracy among British prisoners are truly shocking and we have a unique opportunity to directly engage with individuals in prisons and tackle the issue head-on."

Caroline is a fervent believer in the power of lifelong training and skills development. For the past two years she has lobbied the Government to combat literacy and numeracy problems among the UK's adult population. This Thursday Caroline will hold a debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons to discuss adult literacy and numeracy.


07 OCT 2013

CAROLINE FIGHTS FOR DAEDALUS FUNDING

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will continue her ongoing campaign for investment in Daedalus Enterprise Zone by making a deputation to Fareham Borough Council this evening.

Caroline will encourage the Council to be part of a package of funding which will be used to ensure that the Enterprise Zone continues on its path to becoming a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing in the marine, aviation and defence sectors.

Speaking ahead of the deputation, Caroline said:

"Since my election, I have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Daedalus site reaches its potential to provide a vital economic boost to the Gosport & Fareham area. Last year, the Enterprise Zone received a significant investment from the Government and it is essential that funding continues to flow into the project.

I firmly believe that local stakeholders should be involved in this exciting development which is why I am making a deputation to Fareham Borough Council this evening. I hope that they will seize the opportunity to pledge their commitment to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and invest in the future of our local area."

The funding package will be used to drive forward growth by resurfacing the site's runway, constructing a new hangar and developing an on-site business innovation centre.


03 OCT 2013

CAROLINE SUPPORTS MAYOR'S AUCTION

Caroline Dinenage MP is supporting the Mayor's Charity Auction which will take place at the Lee on Solent Community Centre on Saturday 5 October 2013 at 7 for 7.30pm

Caroline commented: "This is a wonderful opportunity for people to help raise funds for local charities while getting the chance to win some great prizes."

Please find the auction programme below:

Auction programme


03 OCT 2013

CAROLINE TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE SUCCESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will present local graduates of the National Citizen Service scheme with certificates signed by the Prime Minister during a ceremony at Bridgemary School this evening.

The National Citizen Service is a programme aimed at 16-17 year olds which encourages them to get involved with their local communities and to cultivate essential life skills. As part of the scheme, participants spent two weeks away from home, working on their team building abilities, and participated in a group project to help their community.

Speaking after the ceremony, Caroline said:

"The National Citizen Service provides a tremendous opportunity for young people, both in Gosport and across the country, to develop skills which will be invaluable to them in the future. It is fantastic that so many students in Gosport have chosen to get involved with this programme and to give something back to their area.

I am a passionate supporter of volunteering, and it makes me very proud to hear about Gosport's young people taking time out to support causes they really care about. The graduates should be extremely proud of everything they have achieved."

In Gosport, the National Citizenship Service is coordinated by the Gosport School Sport Partnership. The scheme takes place three times a year, in the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays.


03 OCT 2013

CAROLINE BACKS GRANT-WINNING LOCAL BUSINESSES

Caroline Dinenage MP praised local businesses yesterday following meetings with three companies who have successfully bid for grants from the 'Bridging the Gap' Fund.

Kev Jones & Son, Fluid Profiling, and Blitz Photography were the three thriving firms that have received financing from 'Bridging the Gap' which was the brainchild of the Gosport MP. The fund, which has so far safeguarded or created 166 jobs, and backed business to the tune of over £3 million, chimes with the Prime Minister's speech at Conservative Party Conference yesterday, in which he commended the contribution that small businesses make to the economy.

Commenting, Caroline said:

"Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and it's fantastic that the 'Bridging the Gap' Fund is helping some brilliant local firms to expand and create jobs in our area. The Prime Minister was spot on in his speech yesterday when he said that we should be celebrating and supporting businesses that provide jobs, raise living standards and create success for our country.

I'm delighted by the work 'Bridging the Gap' are doing to back local firms; since its launch in June 2012, the fund has provided over £1 million worth of finance, and I would urge all local businesses to get involved and apply before the next round closes on 18th October 2013. It's through this kind of investment that we can secure good jobs for our area."

The 'Bridging the Gap' Fund was introduced following a successful bid for Government Regional Growth Funding by the Gosport MP, Portsmouth News and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. It received over 100 applications for grants from local companies and entrepreneurs in the first round alone. The Fund's success highlights Caroline's work in promoting the Gosport peninsula as a great place to do business.


02 OCT 2013

CAROLINE VISITS STUBBINGTON MEDICAL PRACTICE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage paid a visit to Stubbington Medical Practice this week to meet staff members and take a tour of the Surgery's facilities.

In recent years, staff at the Practice have faced the challenges of a building which is no longer large enough to accommodate the needs of a busy Medical Centre.

During her visit, Caroline discussed ways in which she could assist surgery Partners to find solutions to address the lack of space. She also discussed the lengthy waiting times which some people experience when booking appointments with GPs, and the Government's announcement of plans to give people access to GPs seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

Speaking in support of the Surgery, Caroline said:

"The staff at Stubbington Medical Practice are a great team and their hard work is hugely valued by the local community. However, the accessibility of care is sometimes compromised by the absence of space and essential facilities such as lifts. For many people, life would be very difficult without the help and support of the fantastic doctors and nurses that work in our area, which is why I am committed to supporting the Surgery in overcoming the problems it faces.

With regard to waiting times, it is vital that the hard-working people of Stubbington, and the rest of Britain, are able to get appointments with their GPs quickly and at times convenient for them. That is why I am delighted that the Government has decided to extend the opening hours of GP Surgeries across the country."

The new scheme will be trialled in nine pilot areas and will also allow patients to communicate with their doctor by phone, email or Skype.


19 SEP 2013

CAROLINE BACKS DEMENTIA FRIENDS INITIATIVE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has made a commitment to make Gosport a dementia friendly area as part of a campaign being run by Alzheimer's Society.

The Dementia Friends initiative seeks to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and to turn that understanding into action. It will see people from across the UK signing up to become Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions – roles which will be as varied as helping someone find the right bus to promoting the campaign on social media.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"With one in three people over 65 developing dementia, it is a health issue that we cannot afford to ignore. Most people don't know enough about the disease and the impact that it has upon the people who are living with it.

I am proud to be supporting the Dementia Friends initiative; it is a great way to raise awareness of the condition and to provide invaluable support for those in need. I hope that people across our area will sign up to become a Dementia Friend and make Gosport a dementia friendly community."

Alzheimer's Society is hoping to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, helping to improve the lives of 650,000 people with dementia in the UK.

For more information and to register as a Dementia Friend, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk.


18 SEP 2013

CAROLINE VISITS BAY HOUSE SCHOOL TO VIEW PROGRESS ON NEW SPORTS HALL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today visited Bay House School to celebrate the award of long awaited funding for a new sports hall.

Caroline has worked closely alongside the school, parents and local residents to overturn the Education Funding Agency's original decision not to provide a grant for the new facility. After a tough campaign, hearing that work on a new facility will soon be underway comes as a welcome relief to Bay House staff, pupils and parents.

Speaking on behalf of the school, head teacher, Ian Potter, said:

"We are absolutely delighted that the School's new sports hall is coming to fruition because of a £2.5 million grant from the Government. It is a really exciting prospect to be able to offer our pupils and members of the community the opportunity to use high quality sporting facilities.

Our thanks go to all who made a contribution to making this happen, including Mr Allen (parent), local MP Caroline Dinenage, and our own Mr Pay (Estates Manager). We would also like to express our appreciation to neighbours of the School for their ongoing support."

Building on Mr Potter's comments, Caroline said:

"I was more than happy to help Bay House School get a resolution to the problem it faced in getting funding. It was a real combined effort and we were able to muster up plenty of support from local residents – I'm sure they will all be pleased with the positive news.

I am thrilled that the path is now clear for a state of the art facility which will not only bring enormous benefits to the school and its students but also to the wider Gosport community. "

The old 1960s Sports Hall has now been demolished and it is expected that work on the new facility will begin next month for completion in September 2014.


16 SEP 2013

CAROLINE JOINS FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has pledged her support to the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign's biggest fundraiser, 'wear it pink' day.

Breast Cancer Campaign aims to beat breast cancer by funding innovative world-class research to understand how the disease develops, leading to improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cures. Over the last 10 years the 'wear it pink' initiative has raised a staggering £23 million for this pioneering research.

Speaking in support of the campaign, Caroline said:

"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and accounts for nearly one in three of all cancers in women. With around 50,000 women and 400 men in the UK being diagnosed with the disease each year, it is vital that we do all we can to support Breast Cancer Campaign's fundraising efforts.

I am delighted to be promoting this initiative, and I hope as many people as possible, both in Gosport and across the UK, wear it pink and donate £2 to this fantastic cause."

This year, 'wear it pink' day will take place on Friday 25th October. To register for 'wear it pink' and receive your fundraising pack, visit www.wearitpink.org or call 0800 107 3104.


12 SEP 2013

CAROLINE APPLAUDS ‘SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the announcement of a business-led initiative which will encourage people to do their shopping exclusively in retail outlets owned by small businesses.

'Small Business Saturday' will take place on 7th December this year when small retailers will offer unique deals to entice shoppers into their stores.

The initiative is being led by American Express in collaboration with British businesses, organisations and local authorities, and is fully supported by the Government.

Promoting the value of small businesses has always been a key priority for Caroline. She is an active member of the BIS Select Committee and was recently appointed a Small Business Ambassador by the Prime Minister.

Speaking after the announcement, she said:

"'Small Business Saturday' is a great way to get people in through the doors of our local independent retailers and see some of the unique and innovative products that they have to offer.

Here in Gosport we've seen a huge boom in the number of local shops opening up recent months, particularly on Stoke Road where Sunflower, an Oriental cookery shop, and Bay Hill Boutique have joined more established retailers.

With Christmas just around the corner, where better to get that one of a kind gift for a loved one whilst also supporting Britain's small businesses?"

'Small Business Saturday' originated in the USA, where it was pioneered by American Express and taken up by Federal & State authorities and big businesses. President Obama famously took part in 2012, visiting his local bookshop 'One More Page'.


11 SEP 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed figures released today by the Office of National Statistics showing that unemployment in Gosport is now at its lowest rate since July 2010.

Since her election, Caroline has remained committed to increasing the number of jobs in our local area and hearing that there are 69 more people employed than last month is a step in the right direction.

Following the publication of the data, Caroline said:

"The statistics released today prove that the Government's policies are really succeeding in getting people back into work.  There is still more to be done, both in Gosport and across the UK, but these are positive signs that the British economy is turning a corner.

When I was first elected, there was only half a job for every person of working age in Gosport. Now, thanks to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and the Bridging the Gap Fund, we are on the path to economic recovery. I believe passionately in our area and the skills that our local people possess and will never be shy in selling Gosport as a fantastic place to do business."

The current rate of unemployment in Gosport is now 2.8% compared to the national average of 7.7%


10 SEP 2013

CAROLINE OPENS MOVE ON HOUSE FOR VETERANS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage cut the ribbon for a new Move On house in Gosport on behalf of Alabaré Christian Care & Support, during its official opening last week.

Alabaré is a charity which provides accommodation for ex-Service men and women whilst helping them to develop the necessary skills for living independently. The new four-bedroom home will benefit four residents with low support needs.

Speaking after the opening, Caroline said:

"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to members of the armed forces for the service they have rendered us. Charities such as Alabaré play a really important role in getting veterans back on their feet.

I am delighted that the charity has invested in a second Move On house in Gosport. With its help and support, ex-Service personnel in our local area will be able to make a seamless transition back into civilian life."

Alabaré's Homes for Veterans can now be found in 5 areas, and consist of 12 homes.  It has supported more than 210 veterans since its first house opened in Plymouth, in 2009.


04 SEP 2013

CAROLINE STANDS UP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage pushed the Government today to cut even more red tape as she spoke up in support of small businesses in a debate in Parliament.

Having launched a successful crackdown on bureaucracy in the form of the Red Tape Challenge the Government has committed to scrapping or improving at least 3000 regulations, while the one in, one out rule on regulations is estimated to have saved businesses around £1 billion in regulatory costs.

Caroline welcomed the progress made by the Government to support British businesses, but pushed the Government to go even further in eradicating bureaucracy and backing British innovation.

Condemning the bureaucracy that so often stifles growth, Caroline said:

"It is good news for small businesses that this Government has made a firm and meaningful commitment to strip back bureaucracy and support manufacturers. As we move from rescue to recovery we now must go even further to cut red tape and back British businesses through the early adoption of innovation."

"SMEs are often referred to as the lifeblood of our economy. We must match these words with action, and eradicate the lethargic culture of bureaucracy that can clog up the procurement process and hold back British businesses."

Caroline has built up a strong track record of supporting enterprise and innovation locally, playing a key role in the creation of the Daedalus Enterprise Zone and the 'Bridging the Gap' Regional Growth Fund for new and growing businesses in Gosport, Portsmouth & Havant.


04 SEP 2013

CAROLINE INVITES THE PM TO GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage today used Prime Minister's Questions to highlight the importance of Gosport's marine and sailing industries to the UK economy – and invited the PM to come and visit the area.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht race set off from London this week. Hosting the start and finish of this gruelling test of endurance is likely to generate around £50m for the economy. Caroline used her question in PMQ's to highlight the race's positive effect on trade, tourism and sport as well as praising the work of Gosport-based Clipper Ventures, the organisers of the race.

Caroline asked:

"With the UK's economy set to benefit by around £50m from hosting the start and finish of the Clipper Round the World Yacht race that started this week.

Will the PM visit Gosport, so that he can see one of Britain's top marine and sailing hubs and congratulate in person Clipper Ventures who literally fly the flag for UK trade, tourism and sport?"

Expressing his agreement, the Prime Minister replied:

"I think my Honourable Friend is absolutely right. I've seen a model of this incredible vessel and I join her in welcoming the fantastic contribution that Clipper Ventures makes to the British economy. It was great to see the race leave London for the first time and even better to see the flotilla was led by a British boat and superbly supported by the GREAT campaign. I'll certainly take into account her kind invitation to come to Gosport but I wish Sir Robin Knox-Johnston well and all those taking part."

A strong supporter of the marine industries, Caroline's question continues her work towards promoting Gosport as a world-class marine and sailing destination. She was instrumental in the formation of the Gosport Marine Scene group and is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Maritime & Ports Group.


02 SEP 2013

CAROLINE JOINS GADSAD FOR WHEELCHAIR LASER TAG FUNDRAISER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage joined local people for a fundraising game of Wheelchair Laser Tag at Gosport Leisure Centre on Sunday.

Wheelchair Laser Tag, the brain-child of Gosport entrepreneur, Gary Byrne, is a fully inclusive activity that involves people in wheelchairs attempting to "tag" each other with lasers while navigating an inflatable obstacle course. The fundraising event was organised by the Gosport and District Sports Association.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"This Wheelchair Laser Tag event was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to take part in a fun, exciting and fully inclusive activity. GADSAD have been doing wonderful work providing social and sporting activities for disabled people in the local area for over 30 years, it was great to have the chance to help them raise money for the good work they do."


30 AUG 2013

CAROLINE PRAISES HEALTHY LIFESTYLE SCHEME FOR CHILDREN

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the launch of a free healthy lifestyle programme aimed at young children in Gosport.

The scheme is being run by the charity MEND and will target children aged between five and seven. It is designed to promote healthy behaviour by encouraging active play and teaching children to read food labels. The programme will also advise parents about how to take early action to avoid future problems with their child's weight.

Caroline, a keen advocate of healthy lifestyles, said:

"With nearly 20% of Gosport's Year 6 children classified as obese, estimated obesity levels in our area are much higher than those for the rest of the UK. It is therefore vital that we tackle the early signs of obesity as soon as they arise and I am therefore delighted that this scheme is being rolled out in Gosport.

As a mother of two young children myself, I understand the difficulties faced by parents trying to get their children enthusiastic about healthy behaviour. This scheme provides a great opportunity to instil a healthy attitude towards food and physical activity in children in a friendly and interactive environment. I hope as many parents as possible sign up to take part in this excellent programme."

The scheme will begin on Wednesday 16th October at Bridgemary School and will run for ten sessions. For more information, please click here.


02 AUG 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES RELEASE OF BAKER REPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the publication of Professor Richard Baker's report of the review into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Professor Baker's report presents an audit of the care at the Gosport hospital and looks into the deaths of a number of elderly patients in the 1990s. The report was commissioned in 2002 but subsequent police investigations and inquests into 11 of the deaths have prevented it from being made public until now.

Speaking after the report's release, Caroline said:

"I am pleased that after 10 years of waiting, the families of elderly patients who died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital can finally learn the contents of Professor Baker's report.

For the families involved, this has been a long and hard journey.

I have always called for openness & transparency in this case, the families deserved nothing less - I hope that the release of this report goes some way towards achieving that."

Since her election, Caroline has called for families to have free and ready access to the information in Professor Baker's report. She has frequently written to Ministers calling for the report to be published at the earliest opportunity and has been in contact with some of the families concerned.

To view the report, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gosport-war-memorial-hospital-deaths-of-patients.


02 AUG 2013

CAROLINE BECOMES SPORT CHAMPION FOR GOSPORT AND HAMPSHIRE

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has confirmed her commitment to grassroots sport in the local area by signing up as a Parliamentary Sport Champion.

Caroline will work in partnership with Sport Hampshire & IOW to develop opportunities for people of all ages to stay physically active. Sport Hampshire & IOW is part of the nationwide network of County Sports Partnerships which bring together and support local agencies to increase participation in sport.

A keen advocate of sporting opportunities, Caroline said:

"Sport is a great way to keep fit and healthy, and I am delighted that we have outstanding local coaches, volunteers and teachers who are committed to upholding the legacy of London 2012. It is vital we do everything we can to support these leaders in getting people of all ages enthusiastic about sport.

Sport Hampshire & IOW has a great track record for inspiring participation in physical activity and I look forward to working with the organisation more closely in the months ahead."

Since her election, Caroline has been a keen visitor to sports clubs in her constituency, from activities as diverse as gymnastics to lawn bowls. She has worked with Gosport School Sports Partnership to help them deliver the best sporting opportunities for Gosport's young people. She was made a Parliamentary Netball Ambassador, set up a House of Commons netball team and has been a member of the House of Commons ladies tug of war team for Macmillan Cancer Charity.


17 JUL 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES LOCAL VOLUNTEERS TO WESTMINSTER

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted 50 local volunteers at her annual Volunteers' Reception in Westminster on Monday evening.

Each year Caroline invites representatives of voluntary groups and charities from across the Gosport peninsula to an event in Parliament, which she funds, to thank them for the work they do for the local community.

Speaking after the event, Caroline praised the work of volunteers in her constituency:

"I was delighted to welcome local volunteers to Westminster this evening. Their work is invaluable and I always enjoy the opportunity to personally thank them for their commitment to such excellent causes.

The fact that this event gets bigger each year just shows how many people in Gosport are giving something back to their community. Their dedication is truly inspirational."

Organisations that were represented at the event included Gosport Girl Guiding, Lee-on-the-Solent Voluntary Care Group, The Basics Bank and Stubbington Church Groups. After a light buffet, guests were treated to a tour of the Estate which included Westminster Hall, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Entertainment was provided by young musicians from Brune Park Community School.


12 JUL 2013

CAROLINE SUPPORTS SUMMER READING CHALLENGE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year's Summer Reading Challenge, as she presented books to staff at the Gosport Discovery Centre this afternoon.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Challenge is for every child aged 4-11 years to read six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or medal on completion.

Following the handover, Caroline said:

"I fully support this wonderful campaign. As a mother of two voracious readers, I know how important it is for children to not only have access to books, but also actively encourage them to read them.

Our libraries are a valuable asset and I hope parents and carers across the Gosport peninsula will take their children to their local library this summer to sign up for this rewarding scheme."

Over 20 popular children's authors are supporting the campaign including children's laureate Julia Donaldson and fellow award-winning writers Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson.

For more information visit, http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/


12 JUL 2013

CAROLINE CELEBRATES RETURN OF GOSPORT SUMMER PASSPORT SCHEME

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is encouraging local young people to sign up to the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme and take advantage of the activities available.

Organised by the Gosport Community Safety Partnership, the event runs for three weeks during the summer holidays and provides a wide range of activities for young people of secondary school age. This year, sailing has been added to the already extensive list of opportunities which includes scuba diving, fishing, ice skating and jewellery making.

Expressing her support for the event, Caroline said:

'I'm delighted to hear that the Gosport Summer Passport Scheme is returning for its sixth year. It provides some really unique experiences for young people during the long school holidays which can sometimes become a little monotonous, especially if the British weather lives up to its reputation!

I hope that as many young people as possible sign up and make the most of the fabulous activities that are being laid on for them."

The scheme begins on 30th July at Walpole Park and ends on 15th August at Stokes Bay. For more information, visit www.safergosport.co.uk/?content=pages&id=passport-scheme or contact 023 9254 5232.


11 JUL 2013

CAROLINE WELCOMES GOMER JUNIOR SCHOOL PUPILS TO PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed students from Gomer Junior School during their visit to Parliament yesterday.

After enjoying a tour of Westminster, the thirty-two strong group took part in an interactive workshop exploring different aspects of Parliament's work. They then had an opportunity to grill their MP during a lively Q & A session.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"It was fantastic to see some familiar faces from Gosport this morning. These trips provide a great insight into how the country is run and may even inspire some budding politicians! I've had some tough questions from students in the past and I expected no less from Gomer Junior School!"

The school's trip to Westminster was run by the Parliamentary Education Service, which facilitates educational trips on the history and role of Parliament. Caroline's support for the visit reflects her long-running involvement with local schools, which has seen her visit all 41 schools in the constituency since becoming an MP.


10 JUL 2013

CAROLINE CALLS FOR GREATER ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is urging people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donation Register, as she hosted an event to promote the 'Pass it On' campaign in Parliament today.

Coinciding with National Transplant Week (8th to 15th July), today's event saw MPs from across the political spectrum come together and show their support for the Donor Register. Having received a kidney from his father, Gosport's very own Luis Gonçalves is spearheading his own campaign to increase the number of MPs on the Register, and made the trip to Westminster with his family to share his experiences.

Speaking after the event, Caroline said:

"Having closely followed Luis' progress, I've been really impressed with his incredible bravery. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to have gone through dialysis and several operations, but for Luis to battle through all that has been thrown at him at such a young age, he is an inspiration to us all.

With 3 people a day losing their life in the UK because of a shortage of organs for transplant, as MPs it's vital that we use our position to encourage more people to become registered organ donors and I'm delighted to be supporting this worthy cause."

Joining the NHS Organ Donation Register is simple - to register visit www.transplantweek.co.uk, call 0300 123 2323 or text DONATE to 62323. 


09 JUL 2013

CAROLINE SUPPORTS REVIEW OF STOP AND SEARCH PROCEDURES

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the launch of a public consultation on the police powers of stop and search.

Stop and search is a vital tool used to tackle crime but there are suggestions that it is currently being used too frequently and often targets the wrong people. It is estimated that a police officer spends 16 minutes conducting a stop and search and then recording details of the incident. With 1.2 million stop and search incidents every year, this amounts to 312,000 hours per year – the equivalent of 145 full-time officers.

Last week, the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, announced that the Government would be giving the public an opportunity to submit their thoughts about how the procedures are conducted.

Reflecting on the announcement, Caroline said,

"Stop and search is an excellent way to build the confidence of local communities and make sure that people feel safe on their local streets. However, we must do all we can to ensure that these measures are applied fairly and without wasting police time.

I am delighted that the Home Secretary has opened this issue up to public consultation and I hope that as many people as possible use the opportunity to have their say about the future use of stop and search."

Along with the forthcoming report on the issue by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the consultation will inform plans to get stop and search right – in terms of higher search-to-arrest ratios, better community engagement, and more efficient recording practices across the country.

The consultation will run for six weeks from 2 July until 13 August. To take part, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/stop-and-search or email your submission to Stopandsearch@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.


08 JUL 2013

CAROLINE CALLS FOR COUNCIL COLLABORATION IN FIGHT AGAINST HOMELESSNESS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has urged the Government to encourage local authorities to share best working practice when placing families in temporary accommodation, during questions to the Department for Communities and Local Government this afternoon.

The last decade saw a sharp spike in the number of households in all types of temporary accommodation and recent figures have shown the total number of homeless households standing at 55,300.

Efforts by the previous Government to tackle this problem resulted in households being placed primarily in B&B accommodation; however, this expensive short-term measure has led to unacceptable long-term effects on homeless people.

Calling for the Government to renew their focus on this issue, Caroline asked:

"Over 80 per cent of the families who are in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than 6 weeks come from 15 council areas. What more can the Department do to encourage councils to share best practice in how to deal with this issue?"

The Minister responsible, Mark Prisk, expressed his agreement and replied:

"My honourable friend is absolutely right – this is concentrated in some areas for example the numbers halved in temporary accommodation in Leeds in the last twelve months but rose in Birmingham.

So we need to focus in this particular area. We're putting £1.8 million with the bed and breakfast task force to really get under the skin of why there are those local variances and make sure we tackle this problem at source."

Speaking outside the chamber, Caroline added:

"Local authorities would do well to emulate our very own Gosport Borough Council, who rarely house families in B&B accommodation - having worked hard to promote the RAPS (Rented Accommodation in the Private Sector) scheme and invested over £2m towards the redevelopment of facilities for homeless families at the Agnew Family Centre and Barclay House.

However, it is really worrying to see such varied results across different local authorities and I would urge councils with temporary accommodation problems to seek out the help they need."