Enfield CCG and the Prime Minister announced today that the opening hours of the urgent care centre at Chase Farm Hospital have been extended to 8am-10pm 7 days a week.
Nick spoke about the news in his 'Nick in a Minute' series.
You can read more about the rebuild of Chase Farm at: http://nickdebois.com/local-campaigns/re_build-of-chase-farm-hospital
Following numerous delays on top of performance failings in the second month of the new franchise agreement, Nick demanded to know exactly what is causing these delays, what remedial action is planned and what assurances Govia can give passengers that this winter the service will show a sustainable improvement. He also asked for a public meeting so that commuters can raise their concerns directly with Govia.
In response Govia sent Nick the following statement:
"We are sorry for recent disruption on the Hertford Loop.
Last Wednesday (26 November) services were affected during the day by a fire alarm going off at Old Street at 1140 which affected all lines, and then in the evening by a train breaking down between Kings Cross and Finsbury Park which caused delays of up to 30 minutes and service alterations.
On Monday (2 December), there was a problem with the signal box at London Kings Cross for a short time in the morning peak which affected services between Bowes Park and Hertford North. A number of trains were unable to move until around 0930 and the congestion that built up because of this caused delays throughout the rest of the morning.
Network Rail was working on the signal failure but we were aware it would take time to get trains up and running as normal again. With this in mind we ordered replacement buses to run between Hertford North, Alexandra Palace and Stevenage and arranged for our tickets to be accepted on both London Underground and Greater Anglia rail services.
Today an East Coast train failed near Welwyn North at 1230, causing other services to be diverted to the Hertford Loop, with consequent impact on our services during the middle of the day.
However, the overall trend for performance on the Loop remains positive given the significant improvement on the situation last year. The figures [provided] show performance data for the Hertford Loop from November 2013 to November 2014 (each Period represents four weeks) compared with the previous year. It shows that since June 2014, performance has been consistently better than it was in the corresponding period in the previous year.
On that basis, we remain confident that performance will improve into the New Year.
We are accelerating the process of setting up an Alliance arrangement with Network Rail; our emphasis is about enabling effective collaboration to improve all aspects of train operation.
We are also working to ensure we do everything we can to avoid minor delays that can have severe knock-on effects; we have started joint sessions with Network Rail and other train operators to work on how we can do everything we can to avoid minor delays to ensure best practice is effectively shared.
[My colleagues] will be in touch with your office shortly about the plans for a public meeting in January."
You can read more about Nick's campaign to improve local rail services here.
Nick invited Turkish journalists to a question and answer session with himself and MP for Stratford-on-Avon Nadhim Zahawi.
The press pack were invited into parliament to grill the MPs on issues including ISIL, the BBC and the upcoming General Election. Nadhim, who was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents before coming to the UK, gave his views on the situation in Iraq and Syria, as Nick explained that Turkey should be congratulated for taking in many refugees but people around the world expected Turkey to do more.
After the event Nick said, "It's important for MPs to be willing to speak up about important things happening around the world. This was a great opportunity for journalists to hear Nadhim give his very well informed thoughts about some of the biggest issues of the day."
Following poor service on the line, Nick and David Burrowes MP wrote to Govia about the recent delays experienced by passengers on the Hertford Loop:
It is clear commuters on the Hertford Loop are having a very bad week and not unreasonably passenger confidence has plummeted. The current delays come on top of the performance failings in your second month of the new franchise agreement.
Last year our constituents had a dreadful winter service and were assured this would not be repeated. Indeed both David Burrowes MP and myself following our meeting last month were given similar assurances. We attach of copy of the correspondence between us from last month.
Whilst it is clear that considerable investment was made by Network Rail during 2014 to improve performance, including vegetation clearing and engineering works being bought forward following our debate in the House of Commons raising these issues, the recent performance has been inadequate.
Please advise us urgently exactly what is causing these delays, what remedial action is planned and what assurances you can give passengers that this winter the service will show a sustainable improvement?
Finally we would be grateful if you would contact Nick de Bois's office and arrange the public meeting we discussed so that you can engage directly with passengers. This meeting should be set for January and we are happy to help make arrangements.
We await your urgent response."
After a day of campaigning yesterday Nick welcomed his action team to the Hop Poles pub on Baker Street.
On Saturday he was joined by volunteers from all over London, as well as the MP for North East Bedfordshire Alistair Burt, delivering surveys to local residents. Nick very regularly joins Councillors knocking on doors in the local community to keep in touch with the views of residents and follow up on any issues of concern, which he often raises in Parliament.
At the end of the day they gathered in the Hop Poles, which recently reopened having closed before the summer. Nick recently welcomed the passing of an amendment to the Small Business Bill which gives tenants of large pub companies the ability
to get a fair deal by running their pub without the tie.
Nick said, "Thank to everyone for coming along. I had a whirlwind day speaking with people across Enfield and it was great to finish up in the Hop Poles - an iconic local business that is finally getting back on its feet."
If you would like to let Nick know of any issues of concern in your local neighbourhood, you can tell him via his online survey here. You can also read about Nick's campaign to back local businesses here.
Nick joined the owners of the Aksular at the grand opening of their new restaurant on Silver Street.
The Aksular restaurant on Hertford Road has expanded into new premises, bringing classic Turkish food to residents in Enfield Town. Other new restaurants have recently opened their doors on Enfield's high streets as the economy gets back on course to prosperity thanks to the government's long term economic plan.
Nick said, "Thanks to Aksular for having me at their opening of restaurant number two - it's a shame I couldn't stay! I'm so pleased to see our shops flourishing again as Enfield's economy gets back on track."
Nick visited the The Village Health Food Store on Forty Hill in Enfield to wish them a happy 5th anniversary.
The shop, which combines a Health Food store and village shop, sells things that people want from a corner shop as well as allowing customers to do their bit for their own health and sustainable development in general. It offers organic, fair trade, environmentally friendly and special dietary products, from free range eggs to bio-degradable bin bags.
Nick said, "Congratulations to another pioneering small business in Enfield that's been doing its thing for five years now. Best of luck for the next five!
Yesterday Nick spoke to a breakfast meeting about establishing the UK as the global leader in event sustainability.
Having run an events business for 25 years, Nick understands the challenges faced by small and medium sized firms. As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Events, he uses his experience to look into conditions in the events industry and see how what help businesses might need.
He thinks that sustainability is the next big opportunity for the UK event industry to show leadership and give the economy an advantage in the global race.
Nick said, "Great breakfast chat with events organisations and as Chair of the Events APPG I'm looking forward to the report being presented to the Government at the start of next year."
He has previously attended conferences about boosting UK events trade, which you can read about here.
Nick visited the Tesco store on Southbury road to learn more about the Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection, which is done in conjunction with the Trussell Trust and FareShare.
The food collection was held at the end of November and relies on the generosity of Enfield residents and support from community organisations. Nick was delighted to show his support and promote the latest efforts.
The last collection, held in July, was a major success. Thanks to the generosity of customers, the hard work of staff in store, Tesco's 30 per cent top-up donation and surplus food donation, it reached the target of 5.1 million meals for those in need.
Nick said, "At this time of year more than ever people in need are at the forefront of our minds and Enfield residents continue to show their generosity by supporting the Trussel Trust and North Enfield Foodbank collection, organised with Tesco. Of course this support continues throughout the year and that work is appreciated greatly."
Education Minister Sam Gyimah MP joined Nick at a local primary school meeting pupils and teachers.
Together they visited Kingfisher Primary School in Ponders End, which opened in 2012 and was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted this summer, to see their fantastic nursery provision. The school was set up under the Government's Free School programme by the Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust (CHAT), in response to the massive demand for more excellent primary school places on the eastern side of Enfield.
Nick said, "It was lovely meeting everyone and seeing Sam playing with the pupils! The teachers at Kingfisher should be extremely proud of their outstanding status and we're very lucky to have great new free schools like this setting up in Enfield."
He previously visited a secondary school that was capitalising on the its new freedoms to improve facilities, which you can read about here.
Nick met with local shopkeepers and businesses at his office in Enfield to discuss progress on security, parking and footfall for traders on Hertford Road and plan helping revitalise the shopping opportunities there.
The Hertford Road Retail association was set up by Nick following conversations with local shop-owners so that they could take collective action on issues affecting local businesses, and Nick could carry their concerns and complaints to parliament. The regular meetings of the Association are also attended by local police officers so traders can speak to them directly about their issues.
Nick said, "Another great meeting of the Retail Association, discussing developments and planning new measures such as CCTV which local businesses are telling me they want to see on Hertford Road. I'm looking forward to updating everyone at the next meeting, and hope to see more traders getting involve with the Association in the meantime."
You can read about the previous meeting, and action that Nick has taken in parliament, here.
Nick was handing out prizes at a fundraising event for Enfield charity Naree Shakti.
Naree Shakti was set up in 2005 by a group of Asian Women who felt there was insufficient support for Asian Women in Enfield. They provide informal advice for Asian women who feel isolated by language and cultural barriers as well as a number of activities including regular social events, yoga, and drop in clubs.
Enfield has a strong and diverse collection of charities and Nick regularly visits, speaks to and fundraises for them to support them in doing the great work they do around the community.
Nick said, "The event was superb and I really enjoyed dishing out the prizes! Keep up the good work Naree Shakti and let me know if there's anything I can do to help out again."
Nick was out on the doorstep with local councillors meeting and speaking with residents and listening to their concerns.
Alongside Councillor Dogan Delman, Councillor Lee David Sanders and the rest of the Highlands Ward action team, Nick was delivering his Residents' Survey to find out what people think of local issues in their area as well as immigration, Europe and the NHS. He very regularly joins Councillors knocking on doors in the local community to keep in touch with the views of residents and follow up on any issues of concern, which he often raises in Parliament.
If you would like to let Nick know of any issues of concern in your local neighbourhood, you can tell him via his online survey here.
Nick spoke to a conference of small and medium sized businesses about the importance of supporting UK trade and industry.
With 25 years experiences in business, Nick often takes the opportunity to speak to small business groups about the government's long term economic plan and how to help them boost trade with the rest of the world.
At the conference on Thursday, Nick spoke about the exhibition and events industry and met with entrepreneurs from all over the country to discuss what they think needs to happen in the next few years to help British business.
Nick said, "We hear a lot about the economy and rightly so, but events like this really bring home the global race we're in and what it means for businesses in the UK. The conference was a great insight into helping boost that trade so I'm grateful for the invitation."
He has previously spoken to businesses about small business exports, which you can read here.
Following the July summer school that Nick organised along with neighbouring Finchley MP Mike Freer, they hosted an awards evening in Parliament for the students involved.
Yesterday students came from across North London to collect their certificates for taking part in the programme. Nick congratulated them on completing the summer school which saw them run charity events, watch a debate in the House of Commons and visit Number 10 Downing Street.
Nick said, "Well done to everyone - you thoroughly deserve the awards and it was good to see you all again. Don't forget to keep in touch and let me know when one of you becomes PM!"
You can read more about Nick's summer school here.
Nick sponsored an event with London Ethnic Fashion as part of Parliament Week in the House of Commons.
During the week there is a programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy, by inviting different groups to use parliamentary facilities and speak to MPs.
As a sponsor of London Ethnic Fashion, Nick spoke to the fashion students about the importance of voting and the origin of garments from low wage economies. The attendees also engaged in political discussions alongside a catwalk and photo-shoot.
Nick said, "Thanks to London Ethnic Fashion for bringing everyone in and it was a pleasure to speak about fashion and politics. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did and, luckily for me and the young fashionistas, I didn't have a go on the catwalk!"
You can find out more about Parliament Week here.
Nick joined other Enfield MPs in laying a wreath to commemorate those that fought for Britain in the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War.
At the ceremony Nick and the MP for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes, met with veterans of the convoys and laid wreaths at the Arctic Convoy War Memorial outside of the Civic Centre in Enfield Town. Frederick Thomson, formerly of Enfield, was also awarded an Ushakov medal by Russian Captain, Oleg Kornienko, for his bravery as a signalman in the icy North Atlantic delivering supplies to starving Russians.
Nick said, "The convoys were called the 'worst journey in the world' by Winston Churchill and we must never forget the sacrifices these men made to stop the Allies losing the Second World War. Britain and Russia owe them a lot."
Nick helped out volunteers at the North London Asian Care awards with fellow MP David Burrowes.
North London Asian Care is a homecare services with particular skills in meeting the needs of people from the Asian community and is based on Bowes Road in Bounds Green. Nick and David helped volunteers serve food at the awards ceremony.
Nick said, "It was a please to meet everyone last night and well done to North London Asian Care for all the work they do."
Following a meeting with Govia this week, Nick asked for a statement on the recent delays to services experienced by passengers on the Hertford Loop. The following is the Govia statement:
"We recognise that there has been delays and cancellations on Great Northern services in recent weeks as a consequence of engineering works over-running or adversely impacting on our ability to run a good service. At a recent summit with Network Rail, we challenged them on the management of weekend engineering. As a result Network Rail has reviewed their programme and amended their plan to provide greater confidence in handing the railway back for passenger operation. They have also identified the root cause of the possession over runs and have put actions in place to mitigate further occurrences.
Recent weekend engineering work on the Hertford Loop has allowed track to be replaced and the power supply upgraded. We anticipate a much lower amount of engineering work on the Loop in particular in 2015.
There have also been some train cancellations due to staff availability. We are taking proactive measures to improve driver availability and we recently started a new recruitment campaign for new drivers – in anticipation of the extra demands in 2016 and beyond as new fleets of trains are introduced.
Having achieved 94% of Hertford Loop trains arriving within five minutes in the first four weeks of the franchise, it was disappointing that this fell to 88.2% for the subsequent four weeks.
However, the overall trend in performance on the Loop remains positive given the significant improvement on the situation last year. We are developing our operational plans with Network Rail to ensure this improvement is sustained."
Peak capacity increases in 2018
"You asked for more detail regarding the capacity increases for peak Moorgate services in 2018. Our plans involve providing an increase in the number of trains arriving in Moorgate between 0700 and 1000 from 32 to 37. With all these trains being six carriages long, this will provide an increase in the total number of carriages going into Moorgate in the three hour peak from 186 to 222 (19.4% increase).
The precise number of seats and standing capacity involved in this increase is yet to be determined, as this will require agreed designs for the new fleet to be in place."
You can read more about Nick's local rail services campaigns here.
Having been actively involved in the stakeholder groups consulting on the future of Chase Farm, Nick has a latest update on investment plans:
"I am pleased to be able to outline the investment plan for Chase Farm Hospital which begins early next year. The old facilities, although treated with affection by many, are frankly out of date and in many case unfit for purpose. We should no longer have a hospital where patients are wheeled across open spaces on trolleys. That's why the £260 million investment from the government in re-building a new four story hospital on the site is to be welcomed. The funding is not PFI so the hospital will not be saddled with debt.
Following the merger with the Royal Free Hospital Chase Farm became part of a Foundation Trust which means it has more power to decide on its investment plans without returning money raised from asset sales to the Treasury. This freedom means we can for the first time in decades see investment in our local hospital.
With the implementation of the BEH strategy it was important that investment was delivered both on the Chase Farm site and in primary care. We have been involved in extensive discussion with Treasury, Department of Health, Royal Free Foundation Trust, CCG and NHS London trying to secure the best possible deal for Enfield.
The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust acquired Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital NHS Trust on 1 July 2014. As part of this acquisition, the Department of Health and the NHS Trust Development Authority engaged in discussions with the Royal Free about the terms and the funding for the acquisition. These conversations were at all times focussed on then future sustainability of the merged entity in the long term. It was crucial that the Chase Farm site was able to manage within budget and free itself of historic debt.
As a result it is the agreed position of the Trust, DH and NHS TDA that the future sustainability of services is dependant not only on the levels of funding identified but also the various capital works required and that, in turn, this represents best value for the taxpayer.
It is in this context that the government committed to the transaction and as a result of this is committed to the future sustainability of the enlarged Royal Free including the redevelopment of Chase Farm Hospital. The government wrote to Royal Free on 21 May 2014 setting out a number of points including confirmation from the department that it has set aside £229.3m of funding representing the elements of the transaction which fall to the department to cover. A further £38.7m has been committed to by local commissioners, NHS England and TDA as part of the Transaction Agreement.
Broadly speaking the total sum is split between approximately £120 million as a capital sum and the balance in revenue over a 5 year period (for transaction, historic debt, integration costs). As stated at our meeting this is "new" money and not private finance capital."
You can read more about Nick's campaign for Chase Farm hospital here.
Nick volunteered to help out with the Enfield Island Village Youth Centre Cookery Class.
The class is designed to teach young people key skills by giving them the ability to cook some basic dishes. Nick volunteered to help out in the kitchen with young people from the local area.
He said, "The young chefs were actually better than me and couldn't help questioning my culinary skills! I had a great time and well done to Enfield Island Village Youth Centre for this and all the other work they do."
Nick has previously visited youth clubs in Enfield, and you can read about one of his visits here.
Nick attended the service of remembrance and and wreath laying ceremony in Enfield Town to commemorate those who have died in conflicts around the world.
Royal British Legion in Enfield held its parade in the afternoon, beginning at Trinity Street, Enfield, at 2.45pm before marching through Enfield Town to Chase Green War Memorial, where a service of remembrance was held and wreaths laid.
Nick said, "The ceremony was packed this afternoon because we all want to pay our respects to those that have lost their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today."
Nick was delighted to cut the tape on the 12th Enfield Scout Group's new headquarters on Stratton Avenue.
Supermarket chain Tesco supported the project and Tesco employees from stores in Enfield and Barnet played a key part in the voluntary makeover of the new HQ, in partnership with local people and traders. All of the work to renovate the derelict old site into the new scout hut was done by weekend volunteers over several years.
Representatives from Tesco joined Nick and Mayor of Enfield, Ali Bakir, to open the building and welcome the scouts. The 12th are the one of the fastest growing Scout Groups in North London and are delighted to finally have a HQ they can be proud of.
Nick said, "The incredible work that everybody has put into this project is astounding and really shows our Enfield community at its best. I'm sure the 12th will enjoy their new outdoor HQ and I hope to be back to start earning my badges soon!"
Enfield Scouts have previously joined Nick in Parliament for quizzes and other activities, one of which you can read about here.
Nick was impressed to visit the World War One museum and poppy display at St Michael's Primary School near Hilly Fields.
The excellent school project was created to mark Remembrance Sunday, with a poppy display with poppies artistically draped down the side of the school.
Nick said, "I couldn't believe this remarkable project - it's fantastic and such an original way to commemorate Remembrance Sunday. Big well done to everyone at St Michael's!"
Nick spoke in parliament about the progress of the Enfield Over 50s Jobs Forum and the benefits it provides by breaking down the barriers to work for older people.
The Enfield Over 50's Jobs Forum is the first of its kind in Britain, and the Government has now given its backing to the idea.
Nick de Bois (Enfield North): Ministers will be aware that another first for this side of the House is the launch of the Enfield over-50s jobs forum, helping to break down the barriers of getting older people back into work. Will Ministers meet me and support the vast number of local and national companies that have got behind it and fully support it?
Esther McVey: I will indeed meet my hon. Friend. I congratulate him on all the work he is doing, not just on job fairs in general
but in supporting people over 50. He has developed something unique to help people have fuller working lives. I would be delighted to take forward what he is doing. In fact, I have looked at it, the Department now has a hold of it, and we are
going to spread it right across the country.
Nick was out selling poppies to local residents in Enfield Town in preparation for Remembrance Day this Sunday. This year marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.
The money raised by selling poppies goes to the veterans' charity, the Royal British Legion, and over 40 million poppies are distributed by the Legion every year.
Nick will be attending the Remembrance Day parade and service in Enfield Town on Sunday.
If you would like to donate to the British Legion, you can find out more here.
Nick is once again encouraging people in Enfield to start preparing for winter this year and has some top tips from British Gas:
Insulate your home
One of the best ways to keep your home warm is to insulate it. British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation which is available to 90% of homes that need it. Loft insulation can save up to £145 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £150 per year.
Get the best deal
Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. There are lots of deals and fixed prices to help you control your costs, with every energy provider.
Constituents may be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year around 550,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount – a one off discount of £135 on the electricity bill, rising to £140 this year.
British Gas Energy Trust
The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. British Gas has teamed up with 18 debt centres across the UK to fund support workers to help people apply for a grant and provide face-to-face advice - you don't even need to be a British Gas customer to apply. For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust visit: britishgasenergytrust.org.uk
Nick said: "It's is really important to be prepared for the chill this winter and I want all my constituents to know what help is available."
The Enfield Homes team invited Nick to their Four Hills Family Fun Day in Brigadier Hall on Cedar Road.
The community event was open to all local residents and was complete with face painting, juggling lessons and a prize draw. The Enfield Homes Community Engagement team put on events and activities to bring local people together.
Nick said, "I had a very enjoyable time at the Four Hills fun day and well done to the engagement team for putting on such a lively event - I'll be back to improve my juggling!"
Nick joined the Dogs Trust at an event in parliament promoting new requirements for microchipping of dogs.
The dog charity Dogs Trust have been offering free microchipping across the country, including a previous visit to Enfield where Nick met them to discuss the benefits of microchipping our pets.
The latest event was held in parliament for MPs to show their support for microchipping, which identifies owners and increases a pet's chances of getting home if they are lost. The Dogs Trust were promoting the fact that, from April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped by law.
Nick said, "The Dogs Trust Chip Van was a good way of reminding us that the charity is still providing free microchipping for dogs before the change in law comes into force. I hope my constituents will take up this great offer for the benefit of their pet pooches!"
In a vote on the right to recall MPs Nick voted in favour of an amendment taking power away from politicians and giving voters the genuine ability to sack bad MPs.
In a parliamentary vote on Monday the amendments were defeated when 340 MPs clubbed together and voted against allowing the public to recall MPs, instead opting for a committee of politicians to decide if bad MPs should face a by-election. Labour MPs were ordered to vote down the amendments and kill the chance of real recall.
Nick said, "I supported giving voters the power of real recall on Monday because I think it would have helped rebuild trust in politics. The 2009 MPs' expenses scandal caused great damage and five years later people still bring up on the doorstep the actions of my predecessor Joan Ryan who claimed for a second home, council tax, re-decoration and many other things that people think was unacceptable. Unfortunately it seems not all MPs agreed which is why our rebel amendment failed last night despite 166 MPs backing it. I know Enfield does not want to return to the old politics and residents will be disappointed with the outcome."
You can read more about Nick's work co-sponsoring real recall here.
Nick appeared on BBC Sunday Politics to discuss London issues including shared council services, smoking bans and the race to be Mayor.
He was joined by Diane Abbott MP in saying politicians should trust voters to have a say when the parties select their candidates for London Mayor. Nick also pointed out that politics was changing and voters now wanted a real choice on the left between Labour and the Green Party.
On the programme Nick also warned about employing more well-paid CEO's to oversee shared services, as well as getting our priorities right on public health and not overstepping the mark by banning smoking in parks.
You can watch BBC Sunday Politics London, as part of the BBC Sunday Politics programme, here.
Nick was joined by councillors and activists from all over London to help deliver an update on local issues to residents around Enfield.
As part of his campaign to clean up Enfield, started following complaints from constituents all over the borough, Nick was asking residents for their concerns over the amount of litter and fly-tipping in their local area. He is determined to push the Council to take action by cracking down on offenders and more promptly cleaning up rubbish.
People living around the A10 have also complained to Nick about the problems caused by illegal speed racing on the road at weekends. Having met with Mayor Boris Johnson, Nick managed to secure regular enforcement operations and average speed cameras along the stretch of the A10. Enfield Councillor for Chase Ward, Nick Dines, welcomed the development following his own experience of the noise caused by the racers.
Nick said, "These average speed cameras are an important device to help deal with these night time drag racers on a permanent basis. I am grateful for the Mayor's support but we must keep the campaign going until we are sure this problem is dealt with once and for all."
Following the admirable work of campaigners in Enfield and across the country, Nick spoke in a parliamentary debate about Primodos, a hormone pregnancy test which campaigners have linked to birth defects, urging the government to take a moral stance and provide justice to the victims.
Nick's constituent Chris Gooch has campaigned tirelessly for MPs to do more to investigate the reasons why the drug was ever given to pregnant women. In the debate, Nick demanded that more be done to shed light on this issue
Nick said, "Primodos contained a higher concentration of hormones than the morning-after pill but was given to pregnant women. Questions urgently need to be asked; it seems like nothing has been learned from the Thalidomide tragedy. Hopefully politicians will now come together and something can be done."
A record of the debate and Nick's speech is available here.
Yesterday Nick joined Enfield residents at Central Hall in Westminster for a rally about fair compensation for victims of the Equitable Life scandal.
The event was organised by the Equitable Members Action Group, which invited Nick to join EMAG members from Enfield to hear about the need for better compensation levels, including a speech by former James Bond actress, Honor Blackman. Nick has recently been investigating the situation with compensation levels with colleagues in the Parliament.
Nick said, "The Treasury has been very reluctant to change its mind when it comes to Equitable Life compensation. Nonetheless, there are around 380 Equitable Life policy holders in Enfield North and I will do my best to make sure EMAG's legitimate concerns are at the very least given a fair hearing."
Nick spoke to online community based TV station 'London Live' about knife crime. New guidelines have been announced for sentencing criminals who use knives.
The new proposals will mean tougher punishments for robbers and muggers, and follows Nick's campaign for 'Enfield's Law' for mandatory prison sentences for people caught using a knife to threaten someone. On the programme, Nick praised the good work of organisations like Anti Knife Crime UK and Lives Not Knives.
Nick explained, "Just putting people in jail isn't going to be the answer to dealing with knife crime culture. As I said, there's a lot of work we are going to have to do with groups that have been on the front line of engaging with this problem, and doing it much more effectively than any politician can. Prison is part of the solution, not the only solution"
You can find out more about Nick's work on knife crime campaigns here.
Nick invited a constituent to join him at Number 10 Downing Street for a Diwali celebration.
Enfield resident Ashok Sodha joined Nick at the reception with MPs and guests to mark the festival of Diwali. Every year the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, organises the reception at Downing Street to celebrate the festival and speak to guests, with Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all invited.
Nick said, "It's good to hear that Ashok had a good time and I'd like to wish a very happy Diwali to all Hindus and Jains."
You can read the official release on the reception, including the Prime Minister's speech, here. Nick has previously invited other constituents to Number 10 and you can read about one of these visits with Nick here.
Nick discussed the UK tax bill with the Chief Executive of the TaxPayer's Alliance, Jonathan Isaby.
At an event in Enfield Town, Jonathan spoke about the burden that taxes put on ordinary families, including everything from beer, to holidays and fuel. He explained that 60 per cent of what customers pay at the petrol pumps goes straight to the tax man. The TPA also handed out copies of their newsletter, Taxing Times.
Nick said, "As ever, Jonathan spoke a lot of sense about the burden of UK taxes. I share his view that people should keep more of what they earn and well done to the TPA on all their hard work campaigning for hardworking taxpayers."
Following the by-elections yesterday in Clacton and Heywood & Middleton, Nick has a reminder that if you vote for UKIP you won't get what you vote for.
When the results were announced today we learned that UKIP took a seat from the Conservatives, but not from Labour. While UKIP say they take votes from all parties, in reality they cost the Conservatives seats. In May, this will put Labour closer to winning government and pushing Ed Miliband in Number 10.
If what happened yesterday happened at the General Election, then Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister. But now more than ever, with the threats we face at home and abroad, we need stability and security. Only the Conservatives offer more jobs, more growth, less debt, lower immigration and a vote on the EU.
If you'd like to tell Nick what you think, or have an issue he can help you with, you can contact him at email@example.com
Nick joined the 'Men United' campaign which aims to tackle prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men.
The campaign, run by Prostate Cancer UK, was at the Conservative conference highlighting the need to unite people across the UK in tackling the inequalities that exist in cancer treatment. Within three months of being launched at the start of this year, over 100,000 people had signed for Men United.
Nick said, "It was very interesting to learn more about the inequalities in prostate cancer treatment, including things like location, age and colour. It kills more than 10,000 men every year and we have to make sure there's a level playing field when it comes to cancer treatment."
After the Prime Minister's passionate speech yesterday, which you can watch here, Nick has seven reasons why the Conservatives are the party of the NHS.
1. The Conservatives have protected the NHS Budget in real terms.
2. The Conservatives have brought an end to Mixed Sex Wards.
3. The Conservatives have set up a special Cancer Drugs Fund.
4. The Conservatives have got rid of 19,000 managerial positions and increased the number of nurses by 3,300 and doctors by 6,000.
5. The Conservatives have halved the time people wait to be assessed for A&E. An extra 80,000 people with dementia have been diagnosed.
6. The Conservatives have restricted excessive hospital car parking charges for patients and nurses.
7. The independent Commonwealth Living Fund say that under this Government, the NHS is the best in the world (you can read about it here).
Nick said, "I care deeply about our NHS and have fought tooth and nail for a better quality of care for patients. Despite the mess Labour left, the Government's ringfencing of the health budget means 721 more doctors in North East London and I recently welcomed plans for a major rebuild of Chase Farm hospital. Unlike Labour, the Conservatives don't just rest on our laurels when it comes to improving the NHS."
You can read more about Nick's work on Chase Farm hospital here.
Nick attended the opening of the newly expanded Fortuna Mobility showroom off Southbury Road.
He joined attendees in celebrating National Older People's Day, which seeks to recognise and celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society.
Nick also spent time with the Enfield Metropolitan Police Service who were also offering advice to residents. The opening was organised and supported by Age UK Enfield.
After the event, Nick said, "It was great to meet with Age UK Enfield at the opening of Fortuna Mobility's new offices. I feel it's really important that we recognise Older People's Day and raise awareness of all the amazing things that older people contribute to Enfield."
Nick has launch the Enfield Older Persons Jobs Forum to help older people into work, which you can find at: http://www.eo50s.com/
Yesterday evening Nick spoke to a reception organised by the British Tamil Conservatives about the situation in Sri Lanka.
The event drew attention to ensuring accountability for war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, as well as the need for a durable and negotiated political settlement between both sides. Nick spoke about his desire to see justice done through engaging with all parties involved, and the need to build a stronger relationship between the Conservative Party and the British Tamil Community.
Nick said, "I hope we will find a proper and fair solution to this issue. I can never ever compromise in my belief that justice must be met legitimately and fairly. But it must be justice for all, and we must look forward and not back."
Nick has previously spoken in Parliament on this issue. You can find this, along with some of his other contributions, on this page.
Nick showed his support for the Cypriot community by speaking at a reception hosted by the Conservatives for Cyprus group at the Conservative conference.
The Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers MP and Foreign Office Minister David Lidington MP also addressed delegates, with Nick explaining his own reasons for his affection towards Cyprus. The event was also attended by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Euripides Evriviades, and prominent members of the Cypriot community in the UK.
Nick said, "The reception with Conservatives for Cyprus is always one of my highlights of the party conference. For as long as I'm in Parliament, I shall make every effort to lend my support to achieving a solution to the situation in Cyprus."
Earlier this year, Nick attended an exhibition about Cyprus in Parliament, which you can read about here.
At an early morning meeting Nick spoke about the measures which could be taken to boost UK exports.
The meeting discussed the main market barriers for small and medium sized businesses when exporting abroad. It was hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce at a hotel in Birmingham.
Nick said, "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need them to help them compete on the global stage. Enfield has some fantastic exporters and the UK is very proud of them."
You can find out more about Nick's work with local exporters here.
Nick visited and spoke with Mark Cooper, founder of Direct Boot on Hertford Road.
Direct Boot is one of Enfield's oldest companies and is a supporter of the new Enfield Older Persons Jobs Forum. The online forum aims to help older people into employment through job advertisements from companies that support the idea, such as Direct Boot, as well as a section for reviewing tips and advice from recruitment specialists, employers and fellow job seekers.
Since the Forum launched over 20 local organisations have posted advertisements for positions. Nick is also planning to host an Enfield Older Persons Forum Day next month to bring together businesses and potential employees.
Nick said, "I really enjoyed visiting Mark and learning more about his business. Direct Boot is a great example of a thriving local company that recognises the benefits that older people can bring to the workplace, and is committed to taking on people of all ages."
You can find out more about the Enfield Older Persons Jobs Forum on the website, here.
Nick told the BBC he would support intervention in Iraq if it was debated in Parliament.
Interviewed outside his front garden, Nick was discussing the possibility of Parliament being recalled to debate the situation with ISIL in Iraq.
Nick said, "I don't think anyone is exactly hungry to go in to military action. What we are trying to do is have a wide alliance that will control, contain and ultimately over the long term, defeat IS."
Last month he discussed the situation with Kurdish residents in his constituency and listened to their views, experiences and first-hand accounts of the appalling atrocities of ISIL. You can read about it here.
Nick and local councillor Joanne Laban attended the opening of a new fitness centre at Enfield Grammar School in partnership with Nuffield Health.
Enfield Grammar have used the freedom provided by its academy status to partner with Nuffield Health, the UK's largest healthcare charity, and transform an old gymnasium into a state-of-the-art new facility for the school. Michael Duberry, a footballer and ex-pupil who opened the centre, said it was as good as the facilities at many premiership football clubs.
The gym will be used by the boys of Enfield Grammar during the day and members of the local community at evening and weekends, as well as offering discounted memberships to staff at the school.
Nick said, "I am delighted by this exciting new partnership which is bringing world class facilities to local children. Congratulations to Enfield Grammar for making great use of their freedom to enter this partnerships, and well done to Nuffield Health for supporting young people in this way. I hope all the boys enjoy their new gym!"
Nick joined local councillors on the doorstep yesterday, asking local residents for their views and speaking to them about their concerns.
Local councillors from Chase Ward, Cllr Tom Waterhouse and Cllr Nick Dines, were joined by other local councillors and London activists helping Nick deliver his residents survey. He very regularly joins Councillors knocking on doors in the local community, to keep in touch with the views of residents and follow up on any issues of concern, which he often raises in Parliament.
If you would like to let Nick know of any issues of concern in your local neighbourhood, you can tell him via his online survey here.
Yesterday Nick's mobile surgery moved into Enfield Town, where Nick met with local residents to listen to their views and concerns.
Local councillors for Town Ward, Cllr Joanna Laban and Cllr Jim Stevens, joined Nick for an enjoyable evening of speaking with residents. Nick launched his mobile advice surgeries to make himself available and accessible to his constituents, no matter where in Enfield they live.
Nick said, "I love jumping in the van and meeting constituents all over Enfield to listen to their views and give them any advice I can. Politicians need to work to restore people's faith in politics and setting up a surgery at the bottom of their road is a good way to start!"
If you would like Nick to come to your area please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick has launched a new online forum to provide support and guidance to help older people get back into work: the Enfield Older Persons Jobs Forum.
Although employment in Enfield, including youth employment, is increasing, older people are still struggling to find work. Many constituents have told Nick that, for those older people who are looking to either return to work after a career break or have faced redundancy, it seems to them to be harder to get back into work because of perceived age related barriers. However older people have many unique selling points, not least extensive experience of the workplace, so there should be no reason for employment amongst older people not to rise too.
The website will aim to bridge this gap through job advertisements from companies that support the older persons jobs forum, a section for reviewing tips and advice from recruitment specialists, employers and fellow job seekers. You can visit the site by clicking here.
In conjunction with the website, Nick has also organised the upcoming Older Persons Jobs Forum Day on 23rd October at Southbury Leisure Centre. More details are available here.
Nick celebrated the 50th year of the Willow Residents Association at an informal social evening at Chase School.
Founder and Chair of the Association, Irene Wilson, welcomed the people in attendance. The evening was also celebrating 30 years of Neighbourhood Watch, also spearheaded by Ms Wilson, which has helped build a great community spirit in the area.
Nick said, "We owe a huge thanks and congratulations to Irene for everything she has done in the community over the last 50 years. Residents Associations make a big difference to an area and I'm delighted Willow is still going strong."
Nick invited community representatives from Enfield to visit Number 10 Downing Street and meet Prime Minister David Cameron.
The guests included representatives of local businesses, religious groups and charities, who were taken on a tour of Number 10 and then met with David Cameron for photographs in the Cabinet Room.
Nick said, "I'm so glad that everyone enjoyed the tour and meeting the Prime Minister. Given how many excellent things this group of people does for our Enfield community, it's only fair that we try and give them something back!"
Nick has previously invited local school children to visit Number 10 Downing Street, which you can read about here.
Nick met with a McDonald's franchisee to discuss employment and training opportunities for older people at local restaurants.
During the visit to the Brimsdown branch of McDonald's, he learned more about the efforts the chain is making to employ people of all ages and maintain a diverse workforce. Whilst McDonalds are one of the biggest employers of young people, they also have nearly 1000 people over the age of 60 employed across their UK restaurants.
Staff at the restaurant spoke about the work the chain is doing in the local community to overcome the barriers to employment. Nick is currently in the process of launching an Enfield Older Person's Job Forum, which will use the experience and support of employers like this to help older people into work.
The website has been launched and is available here.
Nick had a roaring time speaking with representatives from the Chickenshed Theatre Company and other admirable charities at the Enfield Town Show.
Chickenshed, which is based in Cockfosters, is an inclusive theatre company which promotes the arts across Enfield. Nick is a strong supporter of local charities such as Chickenshed, having himself fundraised for organisations like the Nightingale Cancer Support Centre and North London Hospice.
Nick said, "I am very proud of our charities in Enfield, who go above and beyond to help people across the borough. It's great to see a lot of them represented here at the show. It's a good opportunity for them to show local people the kind of work that they do and for us to show them how much we appreciate it."
If you are intending to support a charity by donating, make sure you do it safely, as Nick explains here.
Nick joined the driver in the cab of the 7.45am Gordon Hill to Moorgate service to learn more about the commute from the operator's point of view.
New providers, Govia, took over the running of the First Capital Connect service on the Hertford loop line after the government awarded the company the tender following a series of complaints and a debate in Parliament, organised by Nick and other local MPs. In particular, Nick highlighted the problems of delays and last-minute cancellations that blighted journeys made by his his constituents last winter.
In the train cab, Nick learned more about the massive infrastructure work which should mean better winter reliability on the line in the future. Extra services are also planned on the line by 2017.
Nick said, "My ride was informative but thankfully uneventful! I'm certainly pleased that Govia are addressing the issues with the Hertford loop line. I will make sure that they understand the needs of commuters in Enfield and that they deliver on the promises they have made."
For more information and the latest updates about Nick's local rail campaigns, please click here.
Nick was part of a cross-party group of MPs which welcomed the publication of their alternative recall bill. The committee have worked together to devise a genuine recall bill that puts voters in charge of sacking MPs who have lost the confidence of their constituents.
The bill would allow 5% of the electorate to vote to serve notice that they wish to recall their MP, with 20% triggering a by-election, and with the same standards applying to local councillors and members of the National Assemblies.
Nick believes these measures are vital for restoring the public's faith in politics following the expenses scandal that hit many MPs, including Nick's predecessor in Enfield North.
He said, "Now we've put an alternative bill on the table, I hope the political parties will take note of our proposals for a real recall law. I've always said that I answer to voters in Enfield, not other politicians, and this is the best first step towards giving power back to the public and restoring their faith in MPs."
You can find a copy of the proposed alternative recall bill here.
In Parliament, Nick raised the question of the obsessive use of mobile CCTV cameras putting off shoppers on Hertford Road.
Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con): The Hertford road in Enfield is a struggling, though viable, shopping parade. Does the Secretary of State agree that Enfield's Labour council's obsession with mobile CCTV cameras in the area is simply a demonstration of its wish to raise fines and not support local businesses, and will he offer assurances to help out?
Penny Mordaunt: We now have a huge amount of evidence of what prevents local growth, and over-zealous parking restrictions are top of the list. My hon. Friend's remarks are absolutely correct. We need to be giving support to local traders, listening to them and removing these obstacles to help our high streets thrive.
As reported here, Nick has already consulted with local businesses on the problems they face with mobile CCTV cameras.
Nick attended the Spirit of Ukraine festival at Forty Hall on Sunday to celebrate the most important state holiday in Ukraine.
Friends of Forty Hall invited the organisers to showcase Ukrainian culture, with lively music and dance from performers in traditional dress and workshops for children, as well as plenty of traditional Ukrainian food on offer.
Nick said, "I had a fantastic time at the festival and learnt a lot about the vibrant culture of the people of Ukraine. The entertainment, hosts and even the weather were all terrific." This was also a time to reflect on the troubling times in the Urkaine and emphaise the British people's unity with Ukraine as an independent state.
Below is a copy of the letter Nick has sent to concerned constituents about puppy farming and retail conditions for pups in the UK. Nick is continuing to work with colleagues to bring about necessary statutory changes. In addition he remains interested in the responses from Enfield Council and the RSPCA which, although conforming to requirements, do not mean that the animals are being kept in satisfactory conditions whilst up for sale. This is a matter he continues to press for change locally.
"I wanted let you have the link to the debate in the House of Commons earlier today on puppy farms. As a result if your interest and that of campaigners across the country I do believe that change will come about in how we regulate this and related matters. In the mean time I will continue to maintain my extensive interest in this area, including my commitment to continue to work with both other MPs and PupAid, the charity seeking to end puppy farms, to ensure that we tackle the mass commercial production of puppies and indeed kittens. Although I know this conversation has been primarily concerned with conditions of sale, today's issues have a direct bearing on this end of the trade.
Therefore, I want to assure you that I am monitoring this matter and want to keep you updated on its developments. You can find a record of the debate in Hansard, which is available here.
Nick was out with his local Action Team and Highlands Councillors Lee David-Sanders, Don Delman and Glynis Vince, meeting and listening to local residents on John Gooch Drive.
He very regularly joins Councillors knocking on doors in the local community, to keep in touch with the views of residents and follow up on any issues of concern, which he often raises in Parliament.
If you would like to let Nick know of any issues of concern in your local neighbourhood, you can tell him via his online survey here.
Recently, Nick followed up on visits with local businesses and shops on Hertford Road and Ordnance Road inviting them to a meetings to discuss issues affecting local businesses such as crime, parking and CCTV. The meeting led to the forming of a local Retail Association that could take collective action on these issues.
Nick held a second meeting on Tuesday, in Kettering Hall, and was joined by local ward officers from the Met Police and a representative of the Enfield Business and Retailers Association (EBRA). Nick then began working on an action plan to address the important issues raised at the meeting.
He subsequently raised in Parliament on 8th September the question of obsessive use of mobile CCTV cameras to put off shoppers in this part of the borough.
Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con): The Hertford road in Enfield is a struggling, though viable, shopping parade. Does the Secretary of State agree that Enfield's Labour council's obsession with mobile CCTV cameras in the area is simply a demonstration of its wish to raise fines and not support local businesses, and will he offer assurances to help out?
Penny Mordaunt: We now have a huge amount of evidence of what prevents local growth, and over-zealous parking restrictions are top of the list. My hon. Friend's remarks are absolutely correct. We need to be giving support to local traders, listening to them and removing these obstacles to help our high streets thrive.
Nick made a cute new friend at an event with the Dogs Trust in Enfield Lock, who were on Kinetic Crescent providing free microchipping for local dogs.
The Dogs Trust explained that microchipping helps identify a dog if it is lost or stolen by logging the owner's details, including their address and telephone number, with the microchip.
Nick said, "Microchipping is a good way of protecting your dog and I'm very pleased that the Dogs Trust are offering this. Certainly, the dogs I met seemed to think it was a good idea!"
Nick joined Royal Mail delivery teams in Enfield to learn more about the work that local postal staff do and to understand hear first hand about the new device that helps protect Royal Mail staff from dog bites.
There were 13 incidents of postmen and women being bitten by dogs on their rounds in Enfield North last year. The device allows staff to post mail through letterboxes without having to put their hands through the letterbox itself.
Nick said, "It was great to join local Royal mail staff on their rounds and hopefully this device will help reduce instances of dog bites going forward."
As reported here Nick called for the return of parliament to discuss the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Gaza. Recently he was contacted by Kurdish residents from within his constituency who he invoted to meet with him to listen to their views, experience and first hand accounts of the appaling attrocities of ISIL. This meeting took place this evening.
Nick was keen to hold this meeting so that when Parliament returns he can contribute to the debate on policy in the region with the help of this invaluable information.
Nick has been determined to re-build trust in MP's and politics after the scandal of the last parliament. The expenses scandal did so much to undermine trust in politicians.
One way Nick tries to do this is make himself available to constiuents as much as possible. He does this through open meetings known as Nick Dorect, regular advice surgeries at his office or other locations such as supermarkets. More recently Nick has launched mobile advice surgeries that see him park up a camper van he borrows from Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer and uses it as a mobile advice surgery around the constituency. This week he was on Holtwhites Hill, and not even the rain could keep him away! If you would like Nick to come to your area please contact him on email@example.com
This morning Nick met with Simon Hughes from St Mungo's Broadway.
St Mungo's Broadway provides a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and works to prevent homelessness, helping about 25,000 people a year. They support men and women through more than 200 projects including emergency, hostel and supportive housing projects, advice services and specialist physical health, mental health, skills and work services.
Currently work across London and the south of England including in Bristol, Reading, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Sussex, as well as managing major homelessness sector projects such as StreetLink and the Combined Homeless and Information Network. In Enfield they provide a variety of accommodation services. On Ladysmith Road and at two properties on Southbury Road they provide short term accommodation to clients with mental health needs. On Natal Road they offer accommodation to help clients in the transition from living in a hostel to living in their own property, essentially acting as a landlord with an invisible safety net to avoid the risks of moving unprepared clients into independent accommodation. On Palmerston Road we provide semi independent accommodation to a wide variety of clients.
St Mungo's met with me to lobby against certain aspects of change that may purt them at a disadvantage in future. Nick see's it as his roke to llisten carefull to representations and where he sees fir make a case to government for change.
For more information on St Mungo's go to their web site or email Beatrice Orchard, Public Affairs Officer, St Mungo's Broadway
Tel: 020 8762 5697
With best wsheh
Today Nick published his letter sent this weekend to Prime Minister David Cameron explaining why he believes Parliament should be recalled.
Dear Prime Minister
We are writing to urge you to recall Parliament in the light of the escalating crises in the Middle East.
What we are witnessing in Iraq is truly shocking and requires a co-ordinated international response. The horrific persecution of minority groups in the region impose both a moral obligation and a duty to our constituents to reconvene so that the escalating crisis can be properly debated with a view to the government being able to seek guidance from and support of the House for policies aimed at ending the killing. It is vital that the House of Commons debate an appropriate response to this emergency.
Whilst the government is rightly engaged in a massive humanitarian effort we believe that the lack of a co-ordinated international response and the unilateral military intervention of the US demand the urgent attention of parliamentarians at this time.
In addition, the continuing conflict in Gaza is the subject of widespread concern amongst our constituents. The failure of a sustainable ceasefire and the increasing loss of life of innocent civilians seems set only to escalate and with the UK having a significant strategic influence on the region the voice of Parliament should be heard at this time.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Nick de Bois MP
David Burrowes MP
Today the Evening Standard published a poll showing that Londoners back Nick's proposed law that those convicted of carrying a knife for a second time receive a compulsory jail sentence. The House of Lords are due to vote on the bill in September and some Lords are trying to kick the proposal out. The evening standard poll reminds the Lords that this bill is necessary and supported by the vast majority of Londoners. To read more click HERE
With support from Silver Star Diabetes Awareness Charity and Enfield Diabetes Support Group Nick hosted his second Diabetes awareness day in Enfield Turkey Street ward and Enfield Lock. The stars of the day were the 14 students who had signed up to Nick's Summer School program for those interested in politics.
The students gained a hands-on experience of organising and running an event in the constituency, promoting health and diabetes awareness with the Silver Star Charity Mobile Diabetes Testing Unit (MDU)
( www.silverstaruk.org )where members of the public could drop in and have a free test to find out whether they are at risk of Type 2 diabetes. Approxiamately 60 local people came to take the test during the day and had the opportunity to chat with Nick about this, and other local issues.
Every year Nick meets many students from local schools who meet him wither on visits to the House of Commons or when he is invited to their schools. Although many people think young people are disengaged with politics, Nick's experience is very different. This year, along with neighbouring Finchley MP Mike Freer, he organised a summer school week for interetsed students.
Nick hosted this political summer school for 14 students from Lea Valley Highschool, Chase Community, Kingsmead, Enfield County and Highlands School.
The aim of the week long course is for students to get an understanding of Westminster political life, the legal and legislative processes and grass root political campaigning. Students were taken on a tour of Westminster, The Supreme Court and will be visiting No 10 Downing Street on Friday. They have met with Richard Harrington, the Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party and watched Foreign & Commonwealth Office Questions which have helped them prepare for a debate with students from Finchley and Golders Green at the end of the week.
Today the students gained a hands-on experience of organising and running an event in the constituency, promoting health and diabetes awareness with the Silver Star Charity Mobile Diabetes Testing Unit (MDU) where members of the public could drop in and have a free test to find out whether they are at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The MP for Enfield North Nick de Bois, wrote to schools across the constituency inviting students to apply for the Summer School.
Commenting on the week Nick said " Trust in politics and the democratic process was severely damaged during the last parliament and the expenses scandal. It's important the next generation are encouraged to participate in the democratic process and be part of the movement to make politics more representative, open and re-build trust in the system. The students this week are both fantastic ambassadors for Enfield and hopefully future political leaders"
This Saturday Nick took his new mobile advice surgery to Crews Hill. The idea behind the project is to pitch up at different locations across the borough with his vintage campervan that acts as a mobile advice surgery. Residents are norified that he will be coming to their area by a leaflet drop and invited to come out and meet with Nick and local councillors on any issues they may need help, assistance or advice on. Nick is also happy to chat about any policy issues or other matters of interest to residents.
The dates that the mobile surgery will be out in the future are scheduled presently as follows and if you would like Nick to come to your area please let him know:
It's 10 years since this excellent primary school was opened - that long ago?! This evening Nick was invited to join hundreds of parents, children and staff at a school "birthday party" which meant, BBQ food, live music, acrobatics, stalls and, as you can see some fabulous Disney characters! The cast are from smptheatre.co.uk and are clearly superb at what they do. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to put on such a good show.
Responding to concerns from constituents, Nick has published this report of his visit to Top Pets in Crews Hill.
"I visited TOP PETS yesterday afternoon to first have a look. I am already aware that these puppies are reportedly sourced from a puppy farm and understand from a campaign group that, notwithstanding the display conditions, pups may have been sold with prevailing conditions and problems. Some of these conditions are caused, I am told, by the long transportation of puppies to the eventual retailers.
I also spoke to the staff today and eventually tracked down the owner over the phone whilst at the shop. He has stated that he complies with all regulations and paperwork, and has been vetted by the RSPCA. He denied that puppies came from a puppy farm. I have asked him to set out these rebuttals in writing and he has agreed. I have informed him that I will be requesting an investigation into the source of his puppies and whether he is compliant with all trading and husbandry of the puppies as he states. I cannot guarantee this investigation will happen although I am nevertheless hopeful.
Whilst I do not approve of the conditions of display of the puppies on this trip, they all had access to water from what I could tell. It is though, in my opinion, worrying that the puppies were seemingly so lethargic; I would have expected them to be more lively. Indeed my first impressions of the shop was it was too warm, without adequate cooling other than the open main door. Some appeared too young to be away from their mothers. I am not an expert, however I suspect that the RSPCA will find the shop compliant with rules and regulations but I intend to press them in this and persuade then to visit the premises unannounced.
For your information a small group of MPs are working with a campaign group on the question of puppy farms over which I have considerable concerns not least because of the treatment of the animals, the absence (often too early) of the mother and the subsequent behavioural issues owners confront. In the meantime this group will help establish the source of the puppies on TOP PETS."
Tuesday morning kicked off with a visit to the monthly charity fund raising coffee morning for parishoners of St Mary's Church, Windmill Hill. The Church supports IMAGINE of which you can read more HERE The project is very worthwhile and as you can see from the picture Nick was taking time out to review the work the charity has undertaken in Mozambique.
Beating the rain, the annual St Andrew's Fete was held today and Nick ensured he was there to meet stall holders and enjoy some of the emntertainment laid on.
As you can see from the photos its a wonderful afternoon, with funds being raised for good causes. The beautiful vicarage is I am told Queen Anne, and part of the frame of the house is medieval.
Nick joined spectators and participants for the annual Armed forces in Enfield where veterans and servicemen and women were honoured and commemorated during a special service and parade on Sunday.
The borough marked the national Armed Forces Day with a parade of veterans, families, recruits and cadets between the Enfield Town war memorial and Enfield Civic Centre.
Nick commented, " Obviously this year the event tales place almost 100 years to the day after the outbreak of the First World War, and just more than 70 years on from the D-Day landings. Its right we honour both the present and former service men and women in this fasion." Although Nick marched with the parade members he then joined waiting dignitaries at the civic centre where a service was held recognised the bravery of Enfield's past and present military personnel and a flag was raised in their honour at 11am.
Tonight's Night Hike is a must do on Nick and his wifes calendar. They will join walkers covering a 15km route around the borough with many fund raising walkers dinning their best PJs for the occasion.
Nick said, "The Enfield Night Hike is a great event and raises money for cancer sufferers and for Chase Farm Hospital which is a serious matter, but fundraising for this event is also about having fun. The route will travel through Southbury Road, Hertford Road, Old Park Ridings and back to the Civic Centre, and this is Nick's third time on the route, although his wife,Helen, has managed 4!
Mayor of London Boris Johnson Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy, in The Ride, Enfield when he went on a tour of the £4.1million building. The free school moved into its new premises in September 2013 while it was still under construction but the building has now been fully completed.
Nick joined the Mayor and Headteacher Matthew Laban at the opening. He commented "We need to add to the number of schools in the borough and free new schools are leading the way in helping solve the demand for places here in Enfield."
Officially opening the school, Mr Johnson was also announcing that he has freed up public land and properties to help build eleven schools, nine of which are free schools, across London in an attempt to cope with 90,000 places needed in the capital.
Kingfisher Hall is part of the Cuckoo Halls Academy Trust which has three other schools in Enfield, received £260,900 for the project.When at full capacity, the school will hold 420 pupils.
From 1 July Chase Fame Hospital became par of a foundation trust following its merger with the Royal Free Hospital. Apart from the usual benefots associated with becoming a foundation trust it guarentees that and proceeds from redundant land sales are kept withiin the hospital for re-investment into the hospital. That proposed investment was outlined to the public this month.
Nick attended the first meeting with some fellow Conservative councillors to listen to the plans for the re-build of the hospital and timetable for delivery. Unfortunately no Labour representatives were present.
What was established is that this November residents will see the first full details of what the new Chase Farm Hospital is going to look like. The changes include;
Knocking down Chase Farm's clock tower and surrounding buildings and almost completely rebuilding facilities across a smaller, manageable and cost effective site.
The Trust's rchief executive David Sloman told the local Advertiser that a strategic outline case for the redevelopment of Chase Farm will be put before the trust board next week. He also commented that "The existing Chase Farm site is not fit for purpose, with buildings far apart and with many in a bad state of repair, and there are five 35-year-old oil boilers which are very inefficient. The capital investment will reduce revenue costs."
"All the services set out under the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy will form the clinical footprint for the development. We will redevelop the site in accordance with the strategy."
The funding for the development will come from both the proceeds of the redundant lland sale at Chase Farm and an investment though to be worth approx. £75 million from the government. There is no planned Private Finance Inivestment.
The Royal Free expects to submit a planning application to Enfield Council in November when further details will emerge.
In total the trust will receive £263million in transitional funding over the next five years and has said that it will invest £100m in the Chase Farm site to modernise facilities – funded partly by the sale of land there.
Andrew Panniker, director of hospital capital and estates, has stated that the trust aimed to keep Chase Farm's Highlands Wing and the multi-storey car park. Other than that, he stated, it would be a "complete facelift".
here will be a proper consultation with stakeholders, staff and neighbours living near the hospital, in accordance with planning rules.
The trust is planning to start initial works next spring and the main building work in the summer of 2016. It expects the works to be completed by spring 2017.
This website will keep you up to date with development proposals.
Nick joined the family of the late Mr Hippokratis Spanos who having developed a brain tumour which sadly proved to be fatal, leaving this wife and two children without a father who was, and had always been 100% devoted to them. Doug, their father, worked in a senior position at a bank and provided well for his family in every respect.
As a mark of rememberance and to help raise funds for the North London Hospice who helped look after Doug, every year his widow Rue sets off with friends and supporters from their home in Chase Ward on a sponsored walk. Nick was delighted to join them this year.
Nick was delighted to support Julian Newman of the Enfield Scouts, Jagz Barth and Inderjeet Singh, to help them take part take in the world scout jamboree in 2015.The trio are among 36 14 to 17 year olds from North London heading to the Far East, and must each raise £3,000 to attend the event.
Nick offered tips on how to raise cash as they have to fund their own trip.
Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: "Congratulations to Julian, Jagz and Inderjeet and all the other young people who have been selected to represent their communities at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015.
Over the course of the jamboree these young people will be able to meet people from around the world, take part in amazing adventures and experiences and be challenged to think about global issues in a new light.
Nick's campaign to change the law so that if you are convicted of carrying a knife for a second time you will receive a mandatory jail sentence has won the backing of The Sun. Now its over to the Lords who would be fkying in the face of common sense and public opinion if they do not pass this law.
You can read HERE Nick's speech to the Commons yesterday outling his case for introducing mandatory sentencing for second time conviction for carrying a knife. The New Clause was adopted by the House and will now form part of the Bill that goes to the House of Lords. Scroll down by about 90% of the page to find the speech.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois has succeeded in his attempt to bring in a new law to tackle knife crime.
Having previously been successful in getting a new law in place so that anyone who uses a knife to threaten would face jail, Nick has now strengthened the law even further. Now, anyone caught carrying a knife on two occasions will get a mandatory six month prison sentence.
Nick had tabled an amendment to the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill and lobbied fellow MPs as well as Government ministers. After arguing his case for a tougher deterrent in Parliament and in the media, Nick convinced a staggering 404 MPs to support his plans to see the law approved.
Nick said, "Knife crime has tragically taken the lives of far too many people in this country. Prosecuting people who use a knife to threaten, injure or kill a person is not enough - we need to prevent it even getting that far by sending to prison people caught carrying a knife".
He added, "I want to see knife crime come down drastically. That's why I am strongly of the view that as well as having a strong deterrent, we must also have effective early intervention measures and better education. Only by tackling it from all sides can we truly fight knife crime".
Nick has been a tireless campaigner on knife crime, working closely with anti-knife charities such as STOP, the Godwin Lawson Foundation and Anti-Knife UK.
A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Primary Care and Public Health highlights that England is in the midst of an inactivity pandemic which is responsible, according to a study in the Lancet, for 17% of premature deaths through diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancers.
"The cost of inactivity to individual's lives is clearly too high," comments APPG co-chair, Nick de Bois MP for Enfield North, "in addition; we cannot ignore the cost to the NHS in England which is almost £10 billion."
The impact that inactivity is having on individuals, society and the NHS is no longer sustainable and there is an urgent need to turnaround this escalating problem.
Baroness Masham of Ilton, APPG Secretary stressed the importance of engaging people in their health "the reality is that these deaths are avoidable, by educating people and supporting them to become more active, we can save 37,000 lives a year."
"The inactivity pandemic is a serious public health issue and it is crucial that we address it now" said Sir Kevin Barron, APPG Co-chair and MP for Rother Valley "local authorities must take the lead to create local environments to support positive behavioural change in their population to get more people, more physically active and more often. And, it is essential they do this in partnership with local agencies, such as community pharmacists, schools, work places and recreational spaces to offer adults and children a range of opportunities to engage in activity."
"As adults and our children are increasingly choosing to live sedentary lives," continues Mr de Bois, "we are facing a tsunami of premature deaths in England. And, with the news that our children are now being diagnosed with long-term conditions as a consequence of unhealthy lifestyle choices, there is an urgent need to improve people's physical literacy. To ensure our population enjoy good lifelong physical health and mental wellbeing."
In the past, the APPG has recommended a Public Health Secretary of State is appointed to ensure issues around public health are given greater prominence, and Sir Kevin repeats this view "public health is crucially important and should be discussed at cabinet level with all departments being held to account in measuring the public health impact of their policies and regulations."
Nick holds regular receptions at the House of Commons for small and medium size businesses owners and staff. The objectives of the meetings are to discuss what government, and local government could be doing better, or in fact less of, to help our local economy thrive. It's great news that unemployment is on the way down, some 35% lower than at the General Election in 2010, but it's clear we can do so much more to help, not hinder business and shops. Tonight the discussions ranged from problems of poor council support in the harder pressed areas such as Hertford Road in Enfield Lock, Freezywater and Lancaster Rd through to what improvments in skills and education can be made to make more local people qualified for working in the existing and emerging businesses. It is not all work as Nick was able to take some 24 guests on a tour of the House of Commons, which was an unexpected surprise as the House was not sitting that evening.
Following on from his visit last year to the annual Anatolian Cultural Festival held in Stoke Newington's Clissold Park, Nick promised to attend again this year. This Saturday he joined hundreds of other visitors to the three day festival that brings together cultural, food, business and voluntary groups from across the Turkish speaking community and in particular the Anatolian community.
What is always very satisfying is the number of other local people who also attend to sample the delights of this cultural fare. Nick tried out some rather poor Turkish in his opening remarks where he, along with his colleague from the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Turkish Vice Consul and local councilors opened the event.
Residents Associations play a critical role in helping to maintain the character, services and quality of life for local residents. Crews Hill Residents Association is one of the most active, and particular focuses on protecting Enfield's green belt and maintaining local environmental standards. This evening Nick addressed the residents at the Annual General Meeting where an estimated 80 members turned out to review the work of the Association. If you want to find out more, or join the Association please click HERE
Nick was delighted to present the awards to the 3rd Enfield Boys Brigade at Christ Church URC Hall on Chase Side this evening. The Boys Brigade in Enfield has a wonderful history first established in 1889. The Boys' Brigade need the support of everyone these days, there are many hard working and dedicated leaders who give up their time to help keep running such companies, and this is true for nearly 125 years in Enfield! If you want to join or are interested in helping please go to www.3rdenfieldbb.co.uk
If you are interesting in learning more about the history of this once very famous BB company, there is a comprehensive archive on the history on the web-site link below, The history of the 3rd Enfield also mirrors the history of Enfield North. There are thousands of pictures uploaded and information at hand dating back to the 1880s. The 1st Enfield was formed only five years after the whole BB movement was founded, so the history of the BB in Enfield is long and rich.
Nick was delighted to receive the backing from Home Secretary Theresa May today for his amendment calling for mandatory sentencing for offenders convicted of carrying a knife for a second offence. You can read the Enfield Independent coverage of the exclusive interview she gave when visiting Enfield explaining why she backs the call for tough sentences HERE
Crime and policing remain one of the key priorities of this government, and Nick in particular is pressing for more visible policing to help deter crime. Nick invited the Home Secretary to Enfield Lock and Turkey Street to meet with two local businesses on the Hertford Road who had been victims of crime, including Everitt the long established florist. Here she heard how deliberating it is to small shop owners who incur massive costs and time because of the thugs who break into their properties. Visible policing reduces the propensity for crime and this point was well made the Home Secretary. She was told of the time the CO-OP parked an old marked police vehicle in their car park and how crime reduced substantially whilst the vehicle was there as it acted as a deterrent- however the police then insisted the vehicle was removed. Absurd.
Nick is now pressing the Mayor of London and the Borough Commander to continue to increase the numbers of uniformed officers in the borough and ensure they are more visible in vulnerable areas of his constituency. You can read the report on the Home Secretaries visit to Everitt's HERE
Voluntary schools have an important role to play in helping further the academic, social and cultural skills of immigrant families. Nick visited the Enfield Turkish School to meet with parents and leaders of the school that now operates from Oasis Academy in Kinetic Crescent. The school helps develop a better understanding of the English language as well as reflect on Turkish cultural and historical matters. Many of the founders have been at the school for over 20 years, and now parents, once children at the school, have their own children enrolled.
However, the school is looking for a more permanent home and Nick discussed with them how to support applications for grants from charity groups that want to support the voluntary education sector as well as life style organisations designed to influence healthy living through increased sport and social activities.
The number of bingo halls had plummeted" by three quarters over the past 30 years and because of this the government halved bingo tax to 10 per cent.
Nick was invited to Enfield's wonderful Gala Bingo Hall to welcome this new measure, which will protect local jobs and a popular local community past time.
Nick commented that " Enfield's Gala Bingo Hall is one of the best if not the best bingo club in the country. The staff are incredible, members are unbelievable and I am delighted with the tax cut. It was great to meet and see so many people enjoying a sociable and fun night out in such pleasant, modern facilities. I will be back!"
"This tax cut should mean even a better club, more jobs and bigger prizes as there will now be investment opportunities in the bingo club. "
Whilst at the Bingo club Nick also presented a cheque for £2000 to the North London Hospice which was raised by members of the club over the course of the week that Gala Bingo Hall had chosen to raise money for the local charity. Nick added " This was a fabulous gesture by club members and I want to thank them for their generosity for such a worthwhile and terrific local hospice"
Primodos was an Oral Hormone Pregnancy drug given to women to determine pregnancy in the 1960s and 1970s. As a consequence of taking this drug, many suffered instant miscarriages and thousands of babies were born with; missing limbs, abnormalities of internal organs, or other handicaps.
Up to now, there has not been a public inquiry or compensation for the victims of this drug companies neglect. The whole issue was bought to my attention by a long-term campaigning constituent of mine and I am working with colleagues on a cross party basis through the newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Oral Hormone Pregnancy Drugs.
There appears to be a substantive lack of justice for victims in this matter and I hope we will persuade the health minister to grant a public inquiry.
To find our more read HERE courtesy of the Enfield Advertiser
Nick, along with his colleague and neighbour David Burrowes MP for Enfield Southgate have tabled amendments to the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill going through parliament presently. The amendments are designed to introduce mandatory custodial sentences for those convicted of carrying a knife for a second time. Nick sets out his thinking below.
Is enough being done to combat knife crime in Britain? Official statistics suggest so. The latest Crime Survey of England and Wales released by the Office for National Statistics shows knife crime is down 4% on last year.
I wonder how much comfort however these figures bring to victims of knife crime. Will the family of 14-year-old Breck Bednar be heartened? Described as a "gifted and dedicated student", he was stabbed to death in February after leaving home to meet with a friend.
Last month sentences were handed out for a brawl at Westfield Stratford shopping centre. People on both sides of the argument were carrying knives, with Liam Woodards – out celebrating his 24th birthday – being stabbed and killed. As he lay dying, the fight moved on to Stratford tube station where one of his friends stabbed someone from the opposing group.
Even short descriptions of these awful incidents can bring home the horrific nature of the attacks. The families and friends of the victims will have to live with the knowledge of what happened to their loved ones for the rest of their lives. Knife crime down 4%? It's very welcome news indeed but the fact is, knife crime is still too high.
That is despite some progress being made. In December 2012 an amendment I put forward to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill became law. It meant that from then on, anyone aged 16 or above convicted of using a knife to threaten someone will receive a mandatory six month prison sentence. The change in the law only came about after the campaign was endorsed by anti-knife crime campaigners, charities, the public and backbench MPs. Despite our success, I don't think it's enough.
The Conservative Party manifesto of 2010, upon which all Conservative MPs were elected, was spot on. It stated on page 56, "We have to send a serious, unambiguous message that carrying a knife is totally unacceptable, so we will make it clear that anyone convicted of a knife crime can expect to face a prison sentence." Well, we now have a Conservative Justice Secretary who wants to fulfil that pledge and who I believe will have support across the Conservative party. However, in a coalition government he does not enjoy the support of the Liberal Democrats, who it transpires are actively blocking the measure.
That's why I have now tabled amendments to the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill currently going through Parliament that will ensure anyone caught carrying a knife for a second time will go to prison.
Last year there were 16,031 instances of someone being caught in possession of a knife that resulted in action being taken. Of these, just 28% resulted in immediate custody. The other 72% were let off with softer options, including over 3,200 people simply being given a caution or fine. 4,415 people carrying a knife were given a community sentence – regarded by recipients as a soft option.
Over 2,500 of those caught in possession of a knife last year were aged 10 to 17. If we need any more convincing about the weak message being sent out about carrying a knife, then we need to look no further if thousands of children don't regard it as serious. That's why my amendments also permit mandatory Detention and Training Orders for 16 to 18-year-olds.
Let's unequivocally state that if you decide to carry a knife having already once been convicted of doing so once, you will go to jail.
Some will argue that tougher sanctions aren't the answer. They are partly right. Education, early intervention, mentoring schemes, qualifications and even training when inside prison – these are all just as important in making sure we reduce knife crime. Indeed it cannot go unsaid about the outstanding work undertaken by organisations such as STOP, the Nelson-Williams Foundation, Anti-Knife UK, TAG, Gangline and the Godwin Lawson Foundation.
However the reason why people who raise the point about measures other than prison are only partly right is because these measure are not an alternative to custody, but part of a total solution. A clear starting point to preventing knife crime is a clear, unambiguous message to people of all ages that carrying a knife is serious and will result in a prison sentence.
I'm confident that the amendments I and my colleague David Burrowes MP are proposing will have the support of our Conservative colleagues but a question mark remains over the intentions of our coalition partners. It appears that so far the Deputy Prime Minister is not in favour of stronger measures to tackle knife crime. If the Liberal Democrats decide to try to block this amendment they will not only be out of step with public opinion, they will be preventing the Government from sending out a serious, unambiguous message that carrying a knife is unacceptable in British society.
That clear message is a fundamental part of the holistic solution this country needs to tackle the scourge of knife crime. The support across the country and amongst backbench MPs should give the Deputy Prime Minister pause to reflect on his decision. It should also give the Prime Minister the confidence that he would be in tune with both his party and the country to support this measure.
Yorkshire Post: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/leeds-teacher-chased-by-pupil-during-fatal-knife-attack-1-6587364
Nick has been hosting open meetings for constituents for the last three years and last night saw the latest one taking place at the Kettering Hall once again on Ordnance Road. This time however he combined the open question and answer session with an advice surgery for those that had specific problems for which they were seeking advice.
Along with help from his constituency office team, and his local volunteers from his Action Team a useful two hours was spent helping local residents and having a wide-ranging discussion on local and national issues. If you would like Nick to either host or attend a meeting near you please email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick joined the Bishop of Edmonton and the Rev Gordon Giles, vicar at St Mary's, for the opening of the Garden of Play and Peace. It was a beautiful day and the church was packed with friends and congregation of St Mary Magdelene's. The play centre was funded by the Residents Fund and fundraisers from the church and will be a valuable, long lasting facility for the church playgroup. Nick gave a short speech to welcome everyone.
Today kicked off with a visit by Nick to Forty Hill Primary School where 200 pupils assembled together to grill him over parliamentary behaviour! Following the soat between Ed Milliband and David Cameron a few weeks ago when they were less than flattering about each other the school children wrote to the Prime Minister to ask him to explain his behaviour, and also invited Nick in to discuss the matter. Which is exactly what happened, all be it in a very friendly atmosphere!
Capel Manor College is one of the countries most eminent horticultural colleges in the country and we are privileged to host the college's main centre of operations in Enfield. As a provider of many post 14 and adult courses they offer full and part-time courses leading to national qualifications which support progression to employment or further study in horticulture, animal care and management, groundsmanship, garden design, floristry, balloon artistry, saddlery, arboriculture, countryside management or the environment.
It was important that the principal funders of the college, the government visit and understand the training on offer and continue to support the college's diverse needs. Nick was delighted to secure the Minister for Skills and Enterprise to visit the college today. In addition to visiting the college, Nick invited a cross section of further education establishments and local employers to meet with the Minister for a round table discussion on employer needs.
Nick was honoured to be invited to be a Patron for Break The Cycle along with the other borough MP's. Today Nick was able to attend the Enfield Good Samaritin Network, including BTC and listen to some of the work they do and their achievements.
Break the Cycle (BTC) is an independent peer support group for current and ex-users of drug and alcohol treatment services.
BTC also provides support to the carers and families of current and ex-users. A drop-in sessions take place at Community House, 311 Fore Street, where people with a drug or alcohol dependency can meet in a safe environment and get information about specialist services available.
Tuesdays from 3-7pm
Wednesdays from 4-7pm
Fridays from 2-6pm
A women's only group is also accessible every Wednesday at Community House as well as group-based social and recreational activities, including bingo, artwork, gym membership and badminton lessons. Access to a 'Hot Works' café is available at Claverings facility in Edmonton offering hot and cold food and refreshments to those accessing treatment.
Support is also provided to carers and families of current and ex-users. Membership of BTC is free and open to all adults living in Enfield. For more information;
Phone: 07507 410848
Nick was today the first MP to be grilled by Jewish Londoners as part of a series of debates with MPs and mayoral candidates has answered questions on housing, education and foreign policy issues.
Nick was speaking to community members as part of the London Jewish Forum's event, with the price of housing top of many people's agenda. Jewsih News reported the event with some of the following observations..
"The Tory backbencher, who told of how voting against the government five months after entering Parliament put his would-be ministerial career "under a cloud," recognised the community's interest in rent caps."
"There are those who feel they are being penalised disproportionately by rent caps placed on property... It's interesting that it is particularly affecting the Jewish community," he said.
There were also questions on stamp duty, about which he said he was pursuing a change, as well as a question on Iran and Tony Blair's recent speech on the dangers of extremism and political Islam.
Forum trustee Adam Cannon said: "Nick was a great MP to kick off the Think Jewish London series. He was really engaging and refreshing, providing his thoughts on numerous key policy issues that face the London Jewish community, in particular, a long discussion on housing issues. This led to a top level policy discussion amongst the guests."
More than 2,000 scouts and guides took the streets of Enfield for a carnival parade to celebrate St George's Day, and nick was delighted to join them once again for this important annual event. Along with the Mayor Chaudhury Anwar, he accompanied the Scout groups of the borough on Sunday as they made their way through Enfield Town and along Silver Street.
Led by the Enfield District Scout Band, the parade concluded at Enfield Grammar Lower School where Paul Symons, the district commissioner for Enfield Scouts, addressed the parade, which for scouts and guides holds great importance as St George is the patron saint of Scouting.
Nick commented "It's fantastic to see the young people of Enfield coming together to Scouting in such style. I am proud of their efforts and thise of the leaders and parents."He added "We must have seen 2,000 members of the Guides and Scouting movement at the St George's Day parade this Sunday, which was a wonderful occasion.
A big thank you to the organisers and volunteers for putting on such a great day and of course most of all congratulations to all the scouts and guides who took part. It was Enfield once again at its best.
Another fantatstic event hosted by the wonder pub on Chase Side where a fun day was organised for St George's Day raising money for Noah's Ark Childrens Hospice Charity.
This local pub deserves our thanks and support for hosting the event for such a terrific charity as well as providing a good day out for the family.Check out the web site for http://noahsarkhospice.org.uk
What do you do with 130 volunteers on a Saturday afternoon?! That is exactly the challenge Enfield North Conservative Party happily had to deal with when this constituency was selected for a nationwide action day event. Volunteers from as far away as Somerset descended on Enfield to help campiagn by distrubuting literature, surveys and knocking on doors to rally support for the local elections. They then boosted the local economy when many of them stayed for a few drinks and a curry that evening in the tiwn centre. A big thank you to all!
It was a real pleasure for Nick to join up to 300 members of the congregation at St James, Enfield Highway this evening to welcome the new Vicar. In a wonderful service and reception afterwards in the neighbouring community hall, the Bishop of Edmonton led the service and induction.
St James has had to wait for two years for their new Vicar, but judging by the reception he recievd and his warm words of introduction to his congregation the wait will have been worth it!
Nick was delighted to support the opening of the exhibition Vision of Cyrpus and accompanying book by Doros Partasides at House of Commons. The exhibition will be on display from Monday 7th April 2014 to Friday 11th April 2014 at the House of Commons, Upper Waiting Hall, London Sw1A 0AA from 10.0am to 8pm - See more here
Every year Nick joins students at Kingsmead Academy School from the 6th form politics group. These students have a keen interest in politics and are preparing for their AS level exam. The sessions are always rewarding and students ask questions on topical issues of the day. If you or your school would like a visit please email email@example.com
Nick helps secure victory for the Visteon
Enfield residents and pensioners of the collapsed Visteon Group joined Nick and other MPs today outside the House of Commons
After a long four year campaign, Nick is celebrating victory along with Visteon Pensioners as Ford enter into constructive and binding talks with the view to settle claims for losses with a multi million pound deal in the very near future.
Joining colleagues across the House, Nick de Bois has been campaigning for Ford to honour their moral responsibilities to their former employees who suffered pension losses of up to 50% when Visteon UK collapsed in 2009 after being was spun off from Ford in 2000. The All Party Parliamentary Group in support of Visteon pensioners, chaired by Mr Metcalfe MP,have held debates in the House of Commons on the matter, made representations to the Government, attended demonstrations, and have supported the Visteon Pension Action Group (VPAG) in the fight for their pensions.
Up to this point Ford washed their hands of responsibility for the pensioners, claiming that Visteon was its own company,
responsible for its own decisions. Now, to the delight of Visteon pensioners up and down the country and in Enfield, Ford has agreed in principle to do the right thing and settle the claim.
VPAG, who have been ardently campaigning on this issue, are said to be delighted by the news and were praised in the House of Commons for their determination.
Nick de Bois commented: "I am delighted to hear that Ford are living up to their responsibilities and doing the right thing. This is fantastic news for VPAG and for Visteon pensioners across the UK including those in Enfield, and I would like to congratulate them and VPAG for their hard fought campaign. Theirdetermination has resulted in a well earned victory and I know that the people they represent will be forever grateful for their efforts."
"Colleagues from across the House worked together in this fight relentlessly campaigning for their constituents and this cross party effort has shown democracy working at its finest."
Nick added " I would also like to thank Ford for honouring their responsibilities. By righting this wrong, they have restored their proud reputation for looking after their workers"David Burrowes MP for Enfield Southgate said : "This is great news for VPAG and for Visteon pensioners in Enfield and across the UK who fought a tireless campaign alongside MPs from all parties. We now need to ensure that justice is done with the amount of the settlement."
Nick informed Parliament about the benefits that the New Enterprise Allowance had brought to Enfield North.
He asked the Minister of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, for an update on her plans for the scheme.
Nick de Bois: In my constituency, there have been 60 new enterprise allowance take-ups, and there have been 200 across the borough of Enfield. Will the Minister update me on her plans for continuing that scheme? Will she also update the House on the scheme's progress across the country?
Esther McVey: My hon. Friend makes a good point. The new enterprise allowance has been a huge success. The latest figures, which came out last week, show that 40,000 people have set up businesses in that way. It is now running at 2,000 new businesses a month. That is because we support those businesses financially, but it is also because we support them with strong mentoring. Equally, at the very beginning, they must have a good business plan. New enterprise allowances are here, and they are staying.
You can find a full record of the debate in Hansard, which is avilable here.
This evening Nick welcomed 30 local companies to the House of Commons.
Although the focus of the reception and meeting was to engage with local businesses to keep in touch with the opportunities and issues they face, the event also acted as an informal business networking link established new contacts for all those attending.
Matthew Hancock, minister from the BIS and Andrew Selous MP and
PPS to Iain Duncan Smith attended the event taking questions from the 40 guests. Nick took the opportunity to update guests on plans for the Enfield Export event later in the year to help encourage export business development and on his recent discussions with ministers for the Northern Gateway Access Road proposal.
Nick commented "Last night for me was an excellent opportunity to remain closely in touch with the priorities and issues facing local Enfield businesses as well as learning of company successes. Their efforts are making a big difference to the local economy and local people and I wanted to thank them for those efforts."
Our next event will be announced shortly and if you would like to attend please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick spent some considerable time at the North Enfield Foodbank today, run by the Trussell Trust and our own local Jubillee Church. During the visit Nick spoke with staff, volunteers and clients of the food bank who were happy to share their experience and what led them to a foodbank for help.
Speaking after his visit Nick said: "It's difficult to appreciate the circumstances and causes for why people are seeking help from a foodbank without visiting one in action, so I was keen to talk to both volunteers and clients to understand more. Clearly, failures in processing applications for benefits is a big part of the problem, but there are also a wide variety of other issues. For example I met a young man caught in the criminal justice system who was temporarily without support as he had just been sent to a bail house. Another was a succesful asylum seeker who having been granted leave to remain, no longer received benefit assitance under the asylum scheme and was caught between either finding work or securing JSA. "
Nick thanked all the volunteers and members of the Jubille church for their commitment and hard work as well as the donors of food to the bank.
This evening Nick hosted a panel discussion on the prevailing situation in Turkey and the question of democratic accountability.
The event was topical given the forthcoming local elections this coming weekend. The guest speaker was Ihsan Yilmaz , Associate Professor of Political Science at Fatih University, Istanbul. He is the author of Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan, (Ashgate, 2005) and co-editor with John L. Esposito Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives (Blue Dome, 2010). Together with Paul Weller, he is also co-editor of European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement (Continuum, 2012).
He is also the editor of Turkish Journal of Politics (TJP), and has published his work in international scholarly journals such as British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Journal, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Law and Politics Journal. He is a regular columnist of Today's Zaman, an English language daily published in Turkey. His current research interests are Islam-constitutional law-human rights; and Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan.
Nick was delighted to host and lead questions after the opening speech.
Pop up shops have emerged in the last two years on our streets. Where there are empty properties Nick is always keen to see landlords let them be used on a temproary basis for pop up shops. Inside these empty units allow emerging businesses, often trading from home, have the chance to test the high street as a place to sell their product and then possibly expand their business. Today Nick visited the latest pop up store in Southbury Road organised by Enfield Enterprise. From cake stalls to beauty products, art to jewelery Nick spent an hour testing the products and chatting to stall holders. If you have time pop down to Southbury Rd just past Tesco and support these local businesses!
Today Nick raised again in Parliament the criminal sentencing guidelines for manslaughter in the case of so called "One Punch Law" .This follows an article in the Sunday Express this weekend. The full Hansard exchange is as follows in which his colleague Tobias Elwood MP began the exchange with the minister ;
Mr Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) (Con):
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of current sentencing guidelines in manslaughter cases where a single punch to the head results in death; and if he will make a statement.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Jeremy Wright):Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. There is no current Sentencing Council guideline for manslaughter. However, the Court of Appeal issued a guideline judgment in 2009 on sentencing for that offence in which it made it clear that attention should be paid to the problem of gratuitous, unprovoked violence in our city centres and streets.
Mr Ellwood:In November last year Andrew Young, a constituent of mine, challenged a cyclist for riding on the pavement. For his troubles he was viciously punched in the head and tragically died the next day. His attacker was convicted of manslaughter a fortnight ago and received a sentence of just four years, so he is likely to be out in just two years. I am grateful for the Attorney-General calling the case in, but I hope that the Minister will agree that there is no excuse for such violent behaviour and that the sentence seems unduly lenient.
Jeremy Wright:I certainly agree that there is no excuse for that kind of behaviour, and this is clearly a very tragic case. My hon. Friend is right to refer to the Attorney-General's consideration of the matter. My right hon. and learned Friend will reach his own conclusions in due course. As I have said, I think it is right that we have high penalties available in appropriate cases. Of course, as my hon. Friend will recognise, it is for individual sentencers to decide how to use them.
Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con):Does my hon. Friend understand that, as there has been more than one instance of a low sentence in the event of taking a life under such circumstances, as illustrated by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), there will be a growing demand for mandatory sentences unless the courts respond accordingly?
Jeremy Wright:I understand my hon. Friend's concern; he has an enviable track record in campaigning on these matters. It is important, however, that we all recognise that it is difficult to make an appropriate judgment on the adequacy of a sentence unless we have heard all the evidence and mitigation in the case; few of us have that advantage. The existence of the right of the Attorney-General to refer matters to the Court of Appeal where he believes there to be unduly lenient sentences is the right mechanism. As my hon. Friend knows, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering the matter at the moment.
Nick was delighted to welcome one particular constituent to Parliament today as part of this years JDRF the type 1 diabetes charity event in parliament. JDRF are committed to improving lives until a cure is found. They fund research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes. The Type 1 Parliament event was hosted today.
Amongst the 60 adults and children who live with type 1 diabetes and descended on Parliament to explain to MPs the impact the condition has on people's lives was Enfield's Ellie Huckle. As you can see from the photo she spoke about the impact of living with type 1 diabetes making a remarkable impact on all present including MP's. The event marked the launch of our#CountMeIn campaign pushing the Government to increasespending on type 1 diabetes research.
Over 60 Parliamentarians attended the day including Home Secretary Theresa May, who lives with type 1 diabetes as does shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed MP . JDRF supporters were able to meet their MPs and others, and ask what they will do to help type 1 diabetes research along with a list of recommended actions.
You can find out more HERE
Nick joined about 40 guests at the fabulous bridal shop The Boutique at 539-541 Hertford Road this afternoon to celebrate two years of business. The two sisters Christine and Andrea launched this very tastefully designed bridal shop on 3rd March 2012 and have enjoyed widespread support from across London.
This not surprising given the polished shop environment, wide choice of designs and unmatched customer attention staff give to their customers. Nick was delighted to attend the celebrations and launch the fabulous fashion show that enthral led all the guests.
Then a visit to The Boutique is a must !
Statement by Nick de Bois MP
This coming Monday and Tuesday the Care Bill comes back before the House of Commons at Report Stage. This is where the detail of the bill that has been considered in Committee stage is then reviewed on the floor of the House and amendments voted on. I do support the main thrust of the care bill but I will not be voting for clause 119 which has been the centre of considerable debate.
The aim of clause 119 is that that if things go badly wrong at a particular NHS trust, we put them right as quickly as possible. This is why the last Government created the option for appointing Trust Special Administrators (TSA) to secure, within a tight timescale, a complete solution for sustainable and high-quality services where the trust providing them is failing significantly.
I have followed closely the current debate about whether these Administrators should be able to make recommendations about the future of the failing trust and its services that may apply to services beyond the confines of the trust under administration. NHS trusts, foundation trusts and other providers do not exist in isolation from each other. They are part of a complex, interdependent, local health economy. Everyone involved in the normal planning process agrees with this, so I do accept that the same broader picture needs to be considered when/if an Administrator is appointed. This clause sets out to add the power, which the Government always felt was the original intention of the legislation, to take into account the wider health economy. However I do not believe sufficient public consultation is provided for.
The government suggest that It is not correct to suggest that any such changes can be conducted without consultation and the Government has always stated that full public consultation is required in any major changes to services. The clause it is argued would widen the scope of a TSA’s statutory consultation.
However, given my extensive experience of flawed consultations I cannot put my name to this clause and will not vote for it.
Ultimately however I believe, and am sure you will agree , that NHS patients and the public suffer if we do not deal effectively with rare failures in our Health Service, but I do not believe that this clause advances that cause when balanced against the need for genuine consultation with the public.
The situation has changed further in the last few days with another amendment put down not amending the clause but withdrawing it altogether as well as NC16 which amends it. I will definitely not be voting for the government clause 119, and presently intend to support opposing clauses if they are called for a vote.
I hope this email answers your concerns.
Today Nick opened his third annual jobs fair at the Southbury Leisure Centre. The event was attended by some 700 visitors and supported by a mix of companies offering jobs, apprenticeship training organisations and recruitment agencies. The event ran from 11am until 3pm and was free to both exhibitors and job hunters.
Nick was the first MP in this parliament to organise and stage a jobs fair in February 2011. Local companies such as Kelvin Hughes, Johnson Matthey and Winchmore Brickworks amognst others understand the value of good local employee's and of course for local people securing a job during these economically testing times can bring the security and dignity of a monthly or weekly payslip.
Nick said " Although unemployment in Enfield North is now lower that before the General Election there are still people finding it difficult to get into or back into the jobs market. The jobs fair is an annual event that does put job seekers in front of potential employers creating a rare opportunity to bypass the sifting out process that often takes place when applying for a job in the usual fashion. Sometimes the biggest challenge is just getting to meet the employer and this way we can make a difference by putting job seeker right in front of employer."
Nick added "For the employer, they can can save on the recruitment costs associated with recruitment agencies or advertising as ell as knowing that people who attend a jobs fair are highly motivated and keen to work"
The jobs fair will be back!
Nick throughly enjoys welcoming students from my contituency school to Parliament. Today it was the turn of Enfield County who had a tour arranged by the Educational Visits department that allowed Nick to meet with students at the end of their tour. Lots of questions packed into a short amount of time clearly left the students wanting more as Nick has already been invited back to the school to contue the session, he wil be accepting the invitation!
it was also his first experience of lots of people taking "selfie's" with the iphones and tweeting them after the meeting...
Tonight Nick joined Enfield Ignatians rugby club and 400 spectators at the home of premiership rugby club Saracens for rugby tournament day. Nick was handing out the awards and very pleased that most of them went to the Ignatians! it was a fabulous day with some resounding results at all levels across the club. Well done Enfield Ignatians!
More usually they play at their club ground in Donkey Lane at the weekends.
Nick was delighted to join the PAARS charity team at the opening of their new premises in Enfield Town today. This local born chairity fills an important need overlooked by the state. In some families parents, particularly single parents, become victims of abuse by their own children, often for complex reasons over a lengthy period of time. This charity, formed by a group of teachers who worked together have been working for 18 months as a charity offering reconcilliation services to both the parents and children. To find out more click HERE
What do Kelvin Hughes Ltd, Construction Industry Training Board, Lovells,Ardmore, Metropolitan Police, Johnson Matthey, Tesco, Barclay, Barclay Brothers, Data Connection and Asda all have in common?
They are some of the employers looking to recruit people at this years Jobs Fair hosted by Nick de Bois MP for Enfield North.
Open on Friday 7th March from 11am -3 PM at Southbury Leisure Centre entrance is free.
This is the third Jobs Fair hosted by Nick since being elected in 2010.
Nick is once again organising for companies looking to recruit staff to set out their stalls at Southbury Leisure centre so that people looking for work can find out about current and future vacancies.
No need to register - just drop in on the day.
Nick was the first MP to hold a Jobs Fair and the idea has been reproduced up and down the country.
Tell you friends and promote it on twitter: @EnfieldJobsFair
The Enfield Jobs Fair is back! Nick is once again organising for companies looking to recruit staff to set out their stalls at Southbury Leisure centre so that people looking for work can find out about current and future vacancies.
The event will be on Friday 7th March, 11am to 3pm at Southbury Leisure centre on Southbury Road. No need to register - just drop in on the day.
Nick was the first MP to hold a Jobs Fair and the idea has been reproduced up and down the country. This is the third Jobs Fair Nick has organised since becoming an MP. Tell you friends and promote it on twitter: @EnfieldJobsFair
At one of Nicks regular meetings with Enfield Enterprise he caught on how the organisation is helping people start up their own businesses.An independent organisation that provides both training courses and start up advice ( first session free),
Enfield Enterprise has also accessed. £650000 worth of start up loans through the government a Business Start Up scheme in partnership with North London Credit Union. With typical loans of up to a maximum of £10,000, professional advice on hand this is definitely the place to go if you are considering setting up your own enterprise.
Email email@example.com if you want more information
Following the debate held in Parliament over the level of service on the First Capital Connect Great Northern lines, and in particular the "Hertford Loop" Nick has led a coalition of MP's in taking the campaign to the next stage. Along with Conservative MP for Stevenage Stephen McPartland, and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes they have tabled a series of parliamentary questions aimed at challenging whether FCC are fit for putpose to run the existing and future franchise for this service. The questions also examine the role of Network Rail, customer refunds and the views of passengers being factored into decisions about the the frachise provider. The answers to the questions should be published from the week beginning 24 February, in the meantime here are the questions for your information:
Ordinary Written question to: Transport for answer on 13 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
What representations has he received on updating 313 rolling stock on the current the Great Northern route including the Hertford Loop and will he make a statement?.
Ordinary Written question to: Transport for answer on 13 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
Will he require new replacement 313 rolling stock for the current Great Northern route as a condition of the new Greater Thameslink franchise?.
Ordinary Written question to: Transport for answer on 13 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
What representations has he received over customer service levels on a) the First Capital Connect Great Northern service and b) The Hertford Loop and will he make a statement?.
Ordinary Written question to: Transport for answer on 13 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
Will he include in the new Greater Thameslink franchise agreement a conditional level of customer satisfaction on the current Great Northern services?.
Named Day Written question to: Transport for answer on 24 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
Will he include in the new Greater Thaneslink franchise agreement a conditional level of customer satisfaction on the current Great Northern services with an option to withdraw from the franchise if breached?.
Named Day Written question to: Transport for answer on 24 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
Will he include in the new Greater Thameslink franchise agreement a conditional level of customer satisfaction on the current Great Northern route services with an option to withdraw from the franchise if breached across a) the entire franchise area b) the Hertford Loop.
Named Day Written question to: Transport for answer on 24 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
Will he include in the new Greater Thameslink franchise agreement an unconditional requirement to refund season ticket holders automatically when required to do so?.
Named Day Written question to: Transport for answer on 24 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
What representations has he received from First Capital Connect for compensation from Network Rail in the event of delay to operating services as a result of Network Rail infrastructure failings and will he make a statement?.
Ordinary Written question to: Transport for answer on 13 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
What representations has he received from First Capital Connect for compensation from Network Rail in the event of delay to operating services as a result of Network Rail infrastructure failings a) over the entire Great Northern route and b) The Hertford Loop and will he make a statement?.
Named Day Written question to: Transport for answer on 24 Feb 2014 12:00 AM
What representations has he received from First Capital Connect that compensation from Network Rail in the event of delay to operating services as a result of Network Rail infrastructure failings a) over the entire Great Northern route and b) The Hertford Loop may be passed onto passengers and will he make a statement?.
What plans does Sec of State for Transport have to ensure refunds are processed automatically for any rail tickets purchased by credit and debit card?
What plans does Sec of State for Transport have to roll out electronic ticketing such as the Oyster Card system on the Greater Thameslink Northern Line franchise?
What plans does Sec of State for Transport have to include a renewal of rolling stock on the Hertford Loop Line under any new Franchise granted from September 2014?
What plans does Sec of State for Transport have to increase passenger access to WiFi in the new franchise from September 2014 on the Greater Thameslink Northern line route?
What plans does Sec of State for Transport have to include a passenger satisfaction obligation in the new Greater Thameslink Northern Line Franchise?
What enforcement measures will be available to passengers if the franchisee was to fall below an passenger satisfaction obligation the Sec of State for Transport may introduce?
Nick will update this page when the answers are received
Today Nick's amendment allowing descendants of deceased adopted parents passed the last legislative hurdle through parliament. The Hansard transcript on the amendment is below. Commenting on the Bill Nick said "Thanks to all those who have helped campaign for this change and to the minister who engaged so constructively with his officials to get a satisfactory outcome all round. It will not be long before descendants of deceased adopted parents will be able to trace vital genetic medical information previously so hard to obtain, yet off potentially life saving importance."
Mr Timpson: It is a pleasure to set out to the House a number of Lords amendments. The changes will improve our reforms, and make a real and lasting difference for children and families. I hope Members will support them. I will try to be as succinct as possible in explaining each set of amendments. 7.45 pm As the House will recall, part 1 of the Bill covers adoption, and we have made Lords amendments 1 to 11 to this part. Through Lords amendment 1, we have added a clause that will enable us, by regulation, to ensure that those with a prescribed relationship to people adopted before 30 December 2005 can apply to access intermediary services to facilitate contact with the adopted person’s birth relatives.
Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): Will the Minister please say whether there will be a presumption in favour of disclosure to children and grandchildren? Specifically, if an adopted person does not wish to have contact with the birth parents, does the amendment state that prescribed persons can go against those wishes?
Mr Timpson: I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for his continued interest in this important matter. The whole basis of the amendment is to extend the provisions that already exist, so that anyone who wants to make further inquiries, about accessing information or making contact, has to do so through the intermediary services. There is not a presumption, therefore, in that sense. We are looking to go beyond the direct line of descendants from the adopted person, who obviously fall within the prescribed relationship category, and consult on whether we should widen that to others. The provision certainly does not work on the basis that if someone does not want to have contact there is a presumption that that will take place. Mr Djanogly: Is my hon. Friend saying that the intermediary might have more discretion than the adopted person, who may have a different view from the children?
Mr Timpson: The intermediary service is there to ensure that anyone who seeks access does so in a way that does not compromise the position of the person they are seeking either to gain access to or make contact with. That is in line with the approach that already exists, and which works well and successfully. What I can say on the record to reassure my hon. Friend is that this will not force anybody to have contact if they do not wish to do so. Clearly, there will be lots of reasons why people will either want to make contact or have access to records. For example, someone may want to understand the genetic history of direct descendants to see whether there is a prevalent hereditary disease to which they are more prone. At this juncture, may I say how grateful I am to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield North (Nick de Bois) for his tireless campaigning on this issue, as well as to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Government Policy, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Mr Letwin), who has continued his personal interest in pursuing these important changes? I believe that the changes will ensure, where it is appropriate to do so and through the intermediary services, a greater prospect for those who want to establish contact or have access to information, to be able to do so without compromising those who may be also involved.
Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con): I am grateful to the Minister for giving way and for his generous words. I put on record that many of my constituents, and many people from outside my constituency, have contacted me on this matter. I have been able to say to them that this has been Parliament at its best, working with Ministers on this subject. I am grateful to him for the advice and support of his office in moving towards an acceptable solution. Mr Timpson: I thank my hon. Friend for those words. As he knows, this has been a long-standing issue on which we have sought the advice of the Law Commission and others to establish a way forward. The fact that we can now legislate and implement these provisions represents a good outcome for many people, including his constituents.
Following the publication of an inaccuarte article about Enfield in The Guardian this week, Nick and David Burrowes MP have responded with a letter in that paper today. The full text is below:
Enfield MPs call on The Guardian to stop talking Enfield down.
Please see below a letter sent by Nick de Bois MP and David Burrowes MP to the Guardian in response to an article by Aditya Chakrabortty ( Article HERE)
Nick and David's letter is now online on the Guardian website HERE
We are pleased that your paper has chosen to focus on our borough of Enfield over the next couple of years. However we are disappointed that Aditya Chakrabortty has started on the wrong foot. In fact he has put only a foot in one part of the borough, Edmonton, rather than base his analysis on the whole borough of Enfield, which includes our two constituencies of Enfield North and Enfield Southgate.
Edmonton certainly does have deep rooted problems. The economic and social legacy of previous Government failures is particularly stark in Edmonton but across the borough there is a growing recovery as the ingenuity and hard work of local people, inward investment by new companies, and investment in education, housing and welfare reform begin to bear fruit.
In response to the question you posed in your headline 'if living in Enfield holds them back' increasing numbers of constituents are answering with a resounding "No". Take the current figures on jobs - unemployment is now lower than at the time of the last General Election and more people, particularly young people, are in work than ever before. Or crime, rather than use a map of 2011/2012 statistics, the up to date position is that crime is down, serious youth violence has reduced by 19% and we have 65 more police with another 25 to follow. Or small businesses where one company alone has reported over 60 start ups last year taking advantage of Government backed loans.
It is true that the 2011 riot in Enfield Town and the North East of the borough ( not Edmonton) was a major blow for the borough. But most rioters came from outside Enfield and the community responded magnificently by supporting local high street businesses, feeding the local economy and re-building civic confidence. The community platform Love Your DoorStep now supports 450 local businesses and is helping to revitalise our community.
It is also true that we face significant social challenges, particularly in relation to housing and health. We hope the Council and CCG can make good use of the £3.3M New Homes Bonus and an extra £33M health and social care funding.
Whilst we can reminisce about our manufacturing heritage we should not forget that there has been significant business investment, not least in the NE of the borough with Sony, whose entire plant was burnt down, re- investing and Kelvin Hughes re-locating in Enfield Lock.
Far from Enfield holding people back, Enfield is well placed to support growth through Government investment in infrastructure, including the newly approved expansion of the 3rd Rail Track to Angel Rd (Edmonton) and subsequently to Enfield Lock, the redevelopment of the A406 area, and the planned Meridian Water Housing and business development.
Your paper may like to spend time on the so called "Enfield Experiment" but in the meantime our constituents are increasingly getting in to jobs, off welfare and growing businesses due to a Government that has a long term economic plan.
Nick de Bois MP Enfield North
David Burrowes MP Enfield Southgate
Today a local campaigner Iana Vidal made a presentation to 6th formers at Chace Community School on how to be a "Life Saver". She is a volunteer with the REGISTER & BE A LIFESAVER campaign team which is an education programme supported by the Anthony Nolan Trust that helps to teach 16–18-year-olds about the importance of donating bone marrow, blood and organs. Nick is currently trying to encourage all Enfield secondary schools to take part in this proigram so students have a chance to decide if they want to register and help be a life saver.
See more HERE
Anthony Nolan is a pioneering charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancer. Every day, we use our register to match remarkable individuals willing to donate their bone marrow or blood stem cells to people who desperately need lifesaving transplants. Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.We need more men aged 16–30 to sign up. Male donors are far more likely to be chosen to donate by transplant centres as many doctors believe that they give patients the best possible outcomes, yet young men currently account for just 12% of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.We urgently need people from black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to sign up, as they're underrepresented on our register.
If you want to find out more on how to be a lifesaver read more at REGISTER & BE A LIFESAVER
This evening Nick joined parents, children and jujitsu trainers at Kettering Hall, Ordnance Rd for a memorable fund raising evening. This club has been operating over the borough for many years offering jujitsu classes for all, with children and adult classes. The self disciplin and skills developed were on display this evening as various demonstrations took part. Nick was on the reciving end of a jujitsu demonstration which certainly kept him in order!Congrats to all for rasing the money for such a wondeful cause.
Nick joined Highlands School again this week on his second visit in two weeks to a different politics class. The students were meant to be discussion "what does Conservative mean" but in fact it quickly moved into a lively Q&A session on a wide range of subjects.In two weeks Enfield County will be in Parliament and if your school would like to arrange a visit to parliament or for Nick to come to your school please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
This evening Nick hosted an open meeting on Enfield Island Village in the community hall. Unfortunatelly the cold weather meant this was a small meeting but neverthelss some key local issues were discussed that are specific to the Island Village. Nick will be meeting with residents again shortly in a private meeting to pursue their concerns.
Nick has recorded his first audio newsletter for blind and visually-impaired constituents. You can listen here.
The idea came after meeting representatives of Enfield Vision, who told Nick that more and more blind and visually-impaired people were accessing audio content online.
Nick aims to do an audio newsletter for every constituency newsletter.
Today local Enfield MPs, Nick de Bois MP and David Burrowes MP, helped lead a debate in Parliament regarding First Capital Connect.
The debate was tabled by Nick de Bois, and joined by David Burrowes, in response to many of the concerns that they both had received from constituents travelling on the Hertford North route to and from London.
Nick de Bois MP: ""MP's representing constituents along the whole of the Hertford Loop joined me for this debate to press First Capital Connect and Network Rail to urgently deal with the appalling delays and cancellations passengers have faced in the last few months. Clearly long term work is underway which will bring improvements, but there are steps that can be taken now to help ease the delays. FCC have been left in no doubt about what to do and we have full ministerial support for them to act swiftly."
David Burrowes MP said: " I was delighted to take part in this debate and call to account First Capital Connect. For too long my constituents have had to put up with sub-standard services and this must stop. As a London commuter I appreciate the frustrations and problems that unexplained cancellations, service alterations and delays can cause to those who work and travel daily into London. First Capital Connect can no longer ignore this issue as this debate has helped put my constituents' concerns on record here in Parliament."
A full link to the debate can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140128/halltext/140128h0001.htm.
Nick was responding to the months of turmoil for constituents using the Hertford Loop line during both peak and off peak services. Following this debate Nick will be setting out how the campaign will secure both long term improvements to infrastructure and rolling stock and reporting back to commuters shortly.
Nick'takes a step' against prejudice by signing Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment
Marking Holocaust Memorial Day this week, Nick signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, honouring those who died during the Holocaust as well as honouring the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured.
Monday 27th January will mark the 69th anniversary of 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.
Nick said "Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance. Here in Enfield we will be marking this important occasion with our own event at the Dugdale Centre this evening and I am looking forward to joining the Mayor , Councillors , representatives of the Jewish faith and of course the many residents who come along to show their support for this important day"
Nick is always very keen to meet with students from across the borough. Today he was at Highlands School with the sixth form politics students to lead a discussion on a wide range of subjects. As expected the questions were well informed and challenging. The class even held a mock opinion poll on voting intention to illustrate some of the points being discussed. ( A narrow lead for the opposition presently!)
If your school group would like a visit do email nick on email@example.com
Pictured here with Sandra Gammage the manager of the Enfield Town Post Office which today launched the new Post Office current bank account.
Nick welcomed the introduction of more competition on the high street which will give customers more choice as to where to bank and manage their finances. More competition will drive better charges and rates for customers.
The new account is being trialled in Enfield and North London. If succesful it will be rolled out across other parts of the country.
Nick joined Secretary of State Theresea Villiers, David Burrowes MP and Marina Yannakoudakis MEP for a breakfast meeting with President Anastasiades of the Republic of Cyprus.
Nick represents many constituents from the island, both Greek Cyrpiots and Turlish Cypriots who naturally have a considerable stake in the future of a peaceful settlement for Cyprus. Nick ensures he meets with politicians from both the North and the South as the peace talks evolve.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne dropped in at an Enfield garage this morning to promote a new initiative to cut the cost of hiring new staff. (From the Enfield Independent )
In a low-key meeting accompanied by MP Nick de Bois, Mr Osborne spoke to staff at Ridgeway Garages in The Ridgeway, Enfield.
The Government's new Employment Allowance to be introduced in April this year aims to reduce the cost of recruitment by giving benefits of up to £2,000, giving small businesses the chance to expand.
There will also be a drive to employ more people under the age of 21, with the cost of taking on younger staff significantly reduced with the abolition of National Insurance contributions.
Mr Osborne said: "I wanted to come to a great small business that is expanding. We are launching the national campaign and this will really benefit a small business like this by taking that money off their jobs tax and because of the extra cash they are going to invest in more facilities here and take on extra staff.
"It fits with what Nick has been doing, which is more than almost any MP has done in the country in supporting jobs in his local constituency and hosting jobs fairs. He was the one who said that this is a great small business and the type of job creation we want to see more of."
The scheme is intended to give employers nearly £5.5billion per year. When asked where the money would be coming from to fund the allowance, Mr Osborne said: "We have had to make savings elsewhere in government; we have been able to afford the things that help create jobs.
"I have always been clear if you want to reduce taxes and help with the job creation, you have got to make sure you can pay for it and because we have a grip on the public finances and restored stability to the economy that we can do these things."
During Questions to the Deputy Prime Minister today Nick called for improvements to be made to voter registration. In the House of Commons, Nick stated the following: The Deputy Prime Minister and I agree that the integrity of voter registration is crucial, and he will know that I am interested in the issue. Nick followed this statement by asking if the Deputy Prime Minister will change his mind and press for voter identification cards such as those used successfully in Northern Ireland?
To which the Deputy Prime Minister replied: I recognise that my hon. Friend has raised this issue on several occasions and he clearly feels strongly about it. We are confident that the measures being introduced through the individual voter registration system, originally planned by the Labour party and being delivered ahead of time by us, will stamp out the problems of fraud about which he is rightly so concerned.
Today in Parliament Nick questioned the Attorney General on unduly lenient sentences. In the House of Commons Nick asked The Attorney-General (Mr Dominic Grieve): On how many occasions in the last 12 months he has referred a criminal sentence to the Court of Appeal for review because it was felt to be unduly lenient? To which the Attorney General replied: From 31 December 2012 to 1 January 2014, the sentences of 67 offenders were referred as unduly lenient and have either been heard or are due to be heard by the Court of Appeal.
Following this answer, Nick further questioned the Attorney General stating that it is the will of Parliament that the use of a knife in an aggravated fashion would carry a mandatory six-month jail sentence, but according to the latest statistics, the courts have only imposed such a sentence in half of all cases. Does the Attorney-General agree that perhaps these should be considered for appeal, and does he back Parliament's will?
To which the Attorney General replied: My hon. Friend may be aware that such cases are not currently referable. It is for Parliament to decide whether it wishes to extend and make referable those sentences. If Parliament's will is that they should be, it is my job to consider that. It is worth bearing in mind that the principle enunciated originally was that only a small number of cases in specified and very serious offences would ever be referred. But there needs to be finality in sentencing and, of course, if many more cases are referred, that will place burdens both on the Court of Appeal in considering them and on my office in making the assessment of around 450 cases per annum.
Following a meeting today with First Capital Connect National Operations Manager and Network Rail Area Manager I have published below a letter given to First Capital Connect at the end of the meeting. We were pleased that both Network Rail and the train operator were at the meeting and demonstrated a joint commitment to resolving the recent unprecedented level of poor service levels to customers.
There was an admission of serious failings to deliver a satisfactory service to customers. Whilst measures to improve the situation were outlined including infrastructure investment they conceded that there were no quick fixes. David Burrowes and myself have on your behalf pressed for a written commitment to set out what has and will be undertaken to dramatically improve performance.
Head of Communications
7 January 2014
With regards to each point we would be grateful if you would assist with the following:
i) A full explanation from FCC explaining why the incident took place.
ii) A plan of action detailing how FCC will endeavour to reconcile the problem.
iii) In relation to issues that are the responsibility of Network Rail, we would like an explanation specifying how FCC plan to work together with Network Rail to resolve the problem raised.
Specific Constituent reports:
7th January 2014: There were signalling problems at Baldock leading to congestion.
7th January 2014: The 8:51 out of Hitchin a full 10 minutes late. (Twitter)
6th January 2014: There were power supply problems at Drayton Park' – so trains bound for Moorgate diverted to King's Cross, and then back again.
21st December 2013: The 9.30ish train and the train just before 10am were cancelled due to staffing shortage.
17th December 2013: There were hardly any trains at Enfield Chase due to signal failure on the Welwyn Garden line. As a result of this, all the main line services were being diverted through the Hertford/Enfield loop leaving local commuters to find alternative routes to work.
13th December 2013: There were further delays and cancellations during the peak evening period.
12th December 2013: From Enfield Chase to Essex Road there were no trains in the morning due to overhead power problems.
5th and 6th December: From Enfield Chase to Essex Road there were widespread delays and cancellations due to weather events 70-80 miles away.
2nd December 2013: I had a 1hr 25 minute journey from Enfield Chase to Essex Road.
17th December: Due to train delays on the line between Gordon Hills to Moorgate, a constituent got into work half an hour late.
16th December, a constituent got in an hour late on the line between Gordon Hills to Moorgate. Going home there was the same problem. This has also happened on the same line on the 9th December, 10th December, 11th December, and 13th December.
General observations raised by constituents:
6th January 2014: The service is unreliable. (Twitter)
6th January 2014: The compensation scheme complex too. (Twitter)
7th January 2014: Why can't First Capital Connect take responsibility for their poor service instead of passing blame to network rail? (Twitter)
18th December 2013: I am back on bike despite dark nights rotten weather, can't rely on train. (Twitter)
18th December 2013: FCC have no accountability. (Twitter)
18th December 2013: Many commuters have now defected to Bus/Piccadilly Line. (Twitter)
18th December 2013: We are paying vast sums of money for an appalling service. (Twitter).
18th December 2013: Would FCC provide a run through of the service provided in December? (Twitter)
18th December 2013: Experience daily delays, unexplained cancellations, never ending signal failures. Complete standstill in Dec. (Twitter).
The Winchmore Hill to Moorgate line is closed for repair every Sunday. When will we see this work filtering through as service improvements?
Why aren't customers on the Hertford loop provided with rail replacement busses?
There is a lack of support/customer care offered from First Capital Connect.
Hertford North loop travelling from Gordon Hill to Old Street
- A constituent has been delayed between 5-30 minutes on numerous journeys either travelling into or out of Old Street in each week during last 3 months often 2-5 times per week.
- There have been delays due to signal problems.
- Late running trains have led to bottleneck at Finsbury Park running into Moorgate.
- Delays have been caused due to autumn leaf fall why don't FCC run specialist cleaning units during the night to improve rail traction?
- Ridiculous levels of passenger overcrowding leading to delays with people trying to get on and off at various stations en route.
- Overrunning weekend track maintenance.
- Delays caused by failed trains due to old stock. New stock is on order for delivery in 2016, yet this doesn't apply to the Hertford North loop trains. They are a smaller size than the stock running in the rest of country and are already the oldest – 35 years and counting. Yet First CC won't be replacing these particular trains that are unique to this line (they have to fit the bore of the tunnel running to Moorgate). Can they keep on repairing them forever? How old does this stock have to become before being replaced?
- A constituent continually experiences delays which are causing her to get into work half an hour to an hour late because of signal problem on the line between Gordon Hills to Moorgate.
Northern Route from Enfield Chase
- When the signal goes down on this line, there is no alternative, such as busses, or altered routes available.
- A train was held out Alexandra Palace station for so long and without any communication from the driver that a woman became severely claustrophobic, distressed and panicky. The train made an unscheduled stop and, because it was so, nobody would open the doors, thus exacerbating the situation. That day, the 8.04 left Enfield Chase on time, but got in to Finsbury Park 30 minutes late."
Moorgate line Southbound
- Diversions to King's Cross are disruptive and time consuming.
- During school holidays the reduction in services are unpublished.
- During school holidays trains are cancelled without notice.
- Heating on carriages doesn't work.
- Off peak there are only two trains an hour. Shouldn't there be an increase in service provision?
- If a train is late for any reason it is likely to get diverted to King's Cross. This is quite disruptive and it also means that the trip to Moorgate can take twice as long.
- During school holidays there is an unpublished reduction in service trains are cancelled without notice.
- Sometimes the heating doesn't work in a carriage.
We look forward to your response.
With every best wish,
Nick de Bois MP and David Burrowes MP
Nick often appears on LBC discussing policy issues and matters that affect both his constituents and Londoners.
In addition he has been invited on three occasions so far to present as a guest program host alongside former Mayor Ken Livingston standing in for the regular show host David Mellor. For this "stand in" appearance
Nick, receives a fee from LBC which he is putting towards a business start up competition for a local Enfield North entrpreneur. Details of the competition will be announced when the fee's total £1500 should Nick be invited to host any more shows. All proceeds will go to this competition.
Nick is delighted to announce the Government's decision to provide an additional £33 million for healthcare in Enfield between 2014 and 2016.
In 2014, the Clinical Commissioning Group Budget Allocation will be increased by 4.35% or £14million, the 5th highest increase in London. In 2015, the CCG Programme Budget Allocation will receive a further 3.98% increase or £13.4 million, which is the 4th highest increase in London. There will also be an additional £5.9million provided for the Better Care Fund to support integration of health and social care.
Nick said: "I am pleased the government have listened and delivered a large real terms increase in funding for Enfield. This new increased allocation begins to address the years of underfunding by the last Labour government who failed to recognise the particular healthcare needs of the changing Enfield population."
Nick took the opportunity to raise the issue of uncollected Council Tax in Enfield Council with the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government Brandon Lewis MP.
During a debate on Local Government Finance Nick asked the Minister if he agrees that it is unacceptable that Enfield Labour council has allowed uncollected council tax to increase over the last three years, against the trend for the rest of London, from £6 million to a staggering collective £32 million, particularly given that those figures already discount uncollectable council tax?
To which the Minister replied:
My hon. Friend makes a good point. There is some £2 billion-worth of uncollected council tax, and councils should be working on the problem. This is not councils' money, but taxpayers' money. Whenever there is uncollected council tax, it costs other taxpayers more money. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight this issue; good councils will be working hard on it.
Following yesterday's inexcusable disruption to rail lines Nick has written a letter (also signed by David Burrowes MP) to Myriam Walburger, Head of Communications at First Capital Connect. The letter highlights a number of issues raised by constituents and requests an urgent meeting with First Capital Connect to discuss ongoing disruption and delays to services. The letter is reproduced for constituents below:
I am sure you are aware of the appalling delays and disruption to services on the Kings Cross Moorgate Lane and in particular the Hertford Loop which affects our constituents travelling from Crews Hill, Gordon Hill, Grange Park, Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green and Enfield Chase. Notwithstanding the immense difficulties yesterday, 17 December, it is clear that there have been a consistent level of problems in recent weeks.
A brief summary of the worst incidents during the past two weeks are:
Yesterday constituents found very limited service as a result of apparent signal failure on the Welwyn Garden line resulting in all the main line services being diverted through the Hertford/Enfield loop.
This left local commuters to find alternative routes to work.
Our constituents reluctantly acknowledge that Inter City services will get priority but why are the Enfield link passengers seemingly the last priority?
I would appreciate an urgent response, before the Christmas break and a plan of action to help mitigate what has become a very troubling and frustrating situation for my long suffering constituents. We realise that you may also need to consult with Network Rail but given the severity of the difficulties experience one would hope that those discussions have taken place.
Both Mr Burrowes and I are also prepared to meet with you and officials during the Christmas New Year break given the pressing nature of this matter.
Nick de Bois MP & David Burrowes MP
Statment as follows:
Following my previous update, we are experiencing a signal failure at Potters Bar which means that no train service can go through the East Coast mainline. Network Rail's engineers are on site working to resolve the issues as possible.
Network Rail have issued an apology for the ongoing infrastructure failures, which I include below.
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail said: "We apologise for the disruption to passengers this morning. This was due to a fault in the signalling system between Alexandra Palace and New Barnet. Our engineers have been out on site since early this morning and are working to fix the problems as soon as possible. An investigation into the root causes of the failures is also underway."
We are running a very limited service on some routes, but these will be disrupted until further notice and we are advising passengers to take alternative routes if possible. There is currently no trains between Finsbury Park and Stevenage via Welwyn Garden City. Replacement buses run between Stevenage, all stations to Potters Bar then Cockfosters (for tube connections to central London) and vice versa. Customers travelling to/from stations between Finsbury Park and Potters Bar are advised to use local bus and tube services to complete their journey. Our rail tickets remain valid on replacement and local buses, as previously notified.
Please check the latest service information on our website, which we update as the situation progresses. I will update you later today once the future service pattern is known.
There have been appaling delays on the trains today between Welwyn Garden City and Finsbury Park. As a result of this First Capital Connect were unable to serve stations between New Southgate and Hadley Wood and had disruption to services across all routes into King's Cross and Moorgate affecting Enfield commuters.
A statment has been relased from First Capital Connect stating the following which is reporduced for constituents below;
I am contacting you as our passengers have experienced severe disruption on the GN route this morning (since the early hours), affecting all of our services to King's Cross and Moorgate. This was due to signalling problem between Welwyn Garden City and Finsbury Park. We worked with Network Rail to ensure that they were able to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
As a result of this, we were unable to serve stations between New Southgate and Hadley Wood and have had to thin out our service across all routes into King's Cross and Moorgate.
FCC rail tickets were valid on Greater Anglia, the Bedford to Brighton Thameslink route (car park season ticket holders will be able to park in our station car parks there) and London Underground. Our tickets were also accepted on local buses, and replacement buses, as follows:
Potters Bar and Alexandra Palace ( Replacement bus service )Potters Bar to Cockfosters (Ticket acceptance in place for London Underground services from Cockfosters)Hatfield to St Albans ( Replacement bus service / Uno ticket acceptance)Between St Albans and Potters Bar ( Metro Line route 84 bus )Between Luton and Hitchin ( Local bus service )
I also want to inform you that the signalling issue has had a knock on effect on the train describer systems, which is why many stations did not have the required information on their display screens. Due to the scale of the disruption we deployed members of office staff at stations to help our passengers with their onward journey.
Alternative route maps are available online and at stations, to help passengers with their onward travel. For ease I include the link for the Great Northern route maps hereafter:
Our website was of course kept updated and we updated our 50,000 twitter followers by broadcasting service updates.
We are now starting to run a very limited service on all routes. Three trains per hour are running between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City in both directions, calling at all stations except Harringay, Hornsey and Alexandra Palace in the northbound direction. Passengers at Harringay, Hornsey and Alexandra Palace travelling to stations towards Welwyn Garden City, are advised to travel to Finsbury Park for train connections.
Most FCC services between Kings Cross and Peterborough / Cambridge / Kings Lynn in both directions are being diverted via the Hertford Branch, with a limited number of semi-fast trains from London King's Cross to Cambridge running via Welwyn Garden City, calling at Hatfield, Potters Bar, Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn North, Knebworth, and then as booked. This applies in both directions.
We are very sorry that our passengers had a very difficult start of the day. Passengers who were delayed by more than 30 minutes can claim compensation via our delay-repay scheme. Further details and forms are available from our stations or online at firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/delayrepay.
If you have any questions regarding the service then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Myriam Walburger, Head of Communications
First Capital Connect
1 Cranwood Street
North London Hospice persuaded Nick and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes to both dress as Father Christmas for the day and attend all constituency engagements accordingly to raise money for this vital, superb local organisation. If you wish to support Nick's sponsorship page please go to http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=NickDeBois&un_jtt_redirect
During the day Nick met with shopkeepers, council leaders and officials as well as joining the annual AgeUK Enfield Christmas lunch
Or just enjoy the photographs....
Nick has urged households to prepare to face the cold winter. New research reveals 6,000 households in Enfield North are eligible for assistance from their energy supplier with heating their homes. The findings from Home Heat Helpline show that a total of 3.6 million households across Great Britain qualify for help.
16% of homes in Enfield North are entitled to relief from energy companies this year. Households that qualify include low income pensioners, disadvantaged families with children or those with a disability, or any household that lives in one of the most deprived areas in the country.
A free, confidential call to the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 can be made in minutes and can save up to £300 per home. Support includes insulation and boilers, with many elderly and low income families qualifying for the £135 Warm Home Discount on energy bills.
Nick said: "Forecasters are predicting a cold winter ahead, and many people who are elderly or on low incomes may not know where to turn for help and advice on keeping their homes warm. The best way for people in Enfield north to prepare is to act now, and call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 to see if they're eligible for assistance."
Following Nick's press release in November asking Ford Motor Company to reconsider its stance towards thousands of people with regard to their pension provision following the collapse of Visteon in 2009, nick today took the opportunity to raise the issue in the House of Commons. In the debate on Ford and Visteon UK Ltd Nick stated:
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for South Basildon and East Thurrock (Stephen Metcalfe) for securing this debate and the spirit in which it is being held. We have all been at pains to stress our understanding and support for Ford as a major employer in this country, and I echo those sentiments. It has a proud history and plays a very significant role in our industrial base. Notwithstanding that, I do not believe that this House has ever been prevented from doing or saying the right thing when it matters, and I think we do so in that spirit today.
I do not wish to repeat the points that have already been made, but that does not mean I do not agree with them. I will highlight one or two specific areas, but before doing so I would like to say that I, like many Members here, am conscious of Visteon's national reach, because it has reached into many constituencies. I compliment all of them on the conduct of their campaign, which at all times has been impassioned and powerful, but also courteous and respectful. I pay particular tribute to my neighbours and constituents in Enfield, whom I admire for their tenacity, of which I have had first-hand experience. I am delighted to be here to speak for them on the matter.
Ford, we are told, even on its website today, is a family of global vehicles and global employees. I think that they probably believe that, but today we have seen the evidence that that is not quite true.
Geraint Davies: I need to leave the Chamber for 10 minutes to give an interview to discuss whether or not Ford is a happy family across the pond, and how important it is for us to act to make it so for the future so that everybody has their fair share. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman and to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for having to leave, but I want to air that on the media.
Nick de Bois: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention and understand that he has to attend to pressing priorities, and rightly so.
I would like to highlight two points. We have talked about the possible lack of understanding at Ford in the US about the consequences of the decisions that were taken here in the UK. I have considerable experience—some might say that I have the scars on my back—of working in America, having worked with American businesses and set up my own business there. It is an extremely different culture, particularly when it comes to employee relations. I can speak only about my area, and of course the company was not a substantive corporation like Ford, but I know that the work force protection schemes in America are nothing like those in this country, and many say that we have some of the least onerous schemes, compared with the rest of Europe. In America, an employer can hire and fire almost at will without recompense. There are a limited set of protections for redundancy or sacking with or without cause, but it is a very different culture. We may speak the same language, but we are not necessarily united by it in our practices.
It may well be that people in the boardrooms in America do not understand the implications or the potential harm to their reputation of pressing ahead and distancing themselves from the issues facing the pensioners of Visteon. I urge them to listen carefully and to imagine themselves not in the boardrooms of America looking over here, but over here looking at it through the eyes of their UK allies and partners. They might then understand what has driven us to the Chamber today and what has driven the unrelenting cause of Visteon pensioners.
Stephen Metcalfe: Does my hon. Friend agree that had the situation occurred in the United States and 3,500 employees who had worked for such an iconic corporation were banging on Ford's front door in Dearborn because they had had their pensions reduced so dramatically, the issue might have been solved long ago? It is out of sight and out of mind over here.
Nick de Bois: I am afraid that I have to agree with my hon. Friend. I cannot give an example off the top off my head, but it is certainly true that companies are often preoccupied with what is happening on their own side of the pond, whichever side that is, and even for a global corporation it is still challenging to understand the dynamics that drive the worker-employee relationship and the customer relationship. He makes the point extremely well.
We have heard evidence today that Visteon was, to all intents and purposes, a captive supplier—of that there is little doubt. Given the choice of being a captive supplier or a partner, of course companies in these business environments seek to be a partner. As a supplier, they have to strive for a long-term relationship to guarantee the future of their business and employees. It is interesting that Ford's supply chain strategy, which was started some considerable time ago, was to develop an aligned business framework with suppliers that recognised the need to work closely with them in a way that is, according to its website,
"designed to create a sustainable business model to increase mutual profitability"
and encourage a long-term partnership. That implies a deep and close understanding of the business dynamics at play in Visteon, including the financial accounts; it cannot mean anything else.
I was surprised to read that Ford spokesmen still stick to this line:
"While Ford recognises the severity of the situation for former Visteon UK employees, Visteon became an independent company in 2000 and was responsible for its own business decisions."
That does not sit comfortably with the reality of working with a captive supplier or partner, or someone who aspires to be an aligned business framework supplier. That suggests that there are grounds for genuine doubts as to whether the demise of Visteon was part of a strategy, first, to reduce a burden of cost on Ford's balance sheet, and subsequently, to change its supplier base. I carefully say that that is the question it is perfectly legitimate to ask in the light of its strategy statements about how closely it works with its suppliers.
The moral case has been explored today, and I obviously add my weight to that, but let me add some perspective on the financial matters facing Ford Motor Company globally. Yes, it faced some challenging times. Certainly, the whole industry faced some challenging times, not least in the previous three to five years that we know about all too well. However, its record now is more than satisfactory. While its European business is still undergoing some financial restructuring, the last quarter saw a $1.27 billion profit. In fact, its operating basis was $1.82 billion for the quarter, but the notes to its accounts say that that was reduced to $1.27 billion because it was restructuring in Europe, including large pension lump sum payoffs. If my constituents and the other Visteon pensioners were part of those payoffs, this would be a far happier time for them and for Members in this House who represent them.
I urge Ford in the US not only to challenge itself on the moral case but to look itself in the eye and say that this is a relatively small price for an exceptionally profitable company whose results have been delivered by employees who not only worked for it but then worked in its supply chain. Then it can live up to the values that it has until recently had cause to be proud of.
Nick has introduced a series of regular open forums for local business which will be held across the constituency.The most recent was this evening in Bolyne Hall, Southbury Ward. With many government reforms easing the buden of taxation and regulation with the introduction of the Employment Allowance and £1000 discount for businesses with properties up to £50,000 rateable value it's clear that engaging with government can be a worthwhile process. Please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to fond out when our next one is.
The British Association for Adoption and Fostering has welcomed the news that Nick's Ten Minute Rule Bill will receive Government support.
BAAF is very pleased to announce that the campaign to enable descendants of persons adopted before 30th December 2005 to access an intermediary service has been successful.
On 9th December 2013 the Government supported this amendment to the Children and Families Bill by adding a new clause which recognises descendants of adopted people as having a prescribed relationship under Section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. The new clause will enable regulations to be made to extend access to intermediary services to those who have a prescribed relationship with the adopted person. The Government will be undertaking a consultation in the New Year before Regulations are made and the law implemented.
The campaign to address this anomaly in the law has been run by a group of committed organisations and individuals for a number of years. We are grateful for the concerted efforts of Baroness Sally Hamwee, with the support of Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Nick de Bois, MP, who ensured that the matter was raised in both Houses of Parliament, and helped to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion.
Today Nick urged the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that universal credit makes work pay. In the House of Commons Nick posed the following to the Secretary of State:
May I remind the Secretary of State that when he came to office, it was possible for claimants, on returning to work, to lose 96p of every £1 that they earned? The prize for his universal credit system is to make work pay. It is not only Government Members who will support him for sticking with it, but those who are seeking to return to work, because it will help to make work pay.
To which the Secretary of State replied: In more than 10 years in government, the last lot never did a thing to improve the quality of life for those who were seeking work. So far, we have more people in work and we have systems of change that will improve the quality of life of those who are disabled and those who are on sickness benefit. Universal credit will complete that process. It is no surprise to me that the Opposition have nothing to say on welfare reform, but want to nit-pick away about this programme.
Nick is hoping to secure legislation in Parliament that will make a huge difference to lives of descendants of adopted people.
An amendment to the Families and Children's Bill will seek to end the problem of the descendants of deceased adopted people being left unable to access important information about their deceased relative's biological family.
The amendment is being introduced today as a Lords amendment with government support. Nick recently presented a 10 minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons in October of this year. 10-Minute Rule Bills are rarely successful in actually changing the law, and are mostly used as a means of making a point on the need to change the law on a particular subject. However, Nick secured Government support after a meeting with Ministers and members of the House of Lords this year who also were pressing for changes.
Education Minister Edward Timpson said, "The government is determined to improve the adoption system so that the over 6,000 children currently waiting to be adopted can find a loving home, but in doing so we also need to consider the descendants of those who are adopted. Nick has been instrumental in bringing this important issue to the fore and it is testament to his efforts that this is now to become law".
Nick said, "I'm delighted the Government has listened to the arguments surrounding this issue and have broadly supported the measures I have put forward. I hope that these proposals will make it easier for descendants of deceased adopted parents to get the vital information they may need often at a time of considerable stress in their own lives. It's good to be able to hopefully make a difference this way."
The Bill has the backing of both the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons campaign group.
Have you been been affected by this issue? Contact Nick at email@example.com
Nick has been leading the Help4HighStreets campaign which aims to encourage residents to shop local when possible, relax parking measures, reform business rates and deliver a freeze on future rate rises to help support hard pressed shops.
He has also set out the case for the local Labour council to use the new powers they have been granted to cut local business rates further to ease the pressure on hard pressed retail outlets across the constituency. So far the council have refused to do so.
Last week he led an action team across the constituency to promote the campaign and collect signatures to demonstrate public support. You can sign the petition at www.help4highstreets.org.uk
Today the Chancellor has responded with important measures to relieve the pressure on all business rates and with specific cuts to business taxes to help the shops across the constituency. The package includes:
"Yesterday in Parliament I outlined the case for why Business Rates are no longer a fair or credible tax and urged the Government to act now. His response today is very welcome news indeed. The more support we give business the more jobs for local people.
Now it's time for the Labour controlled Enfield Council to do their bit and not just cut business rates for shops but ease the parking restrictions on a permanent basis to help increase the footfall and breathe new life into the shopping parades and high streets.
With Small Business Saturday this weekend Conservatives are giving the help they need to grow and create jobs. It's time Labour in Enfield did the same."
London Mayor Boris Johnson visited Enfield on Thursday to launch a new campaign calling on Enfield Council to cut business rates.
Mr Johnson visit came about following an invitiation from Nick, who has said businesses in his constituency are in need of help in order to flourish and employ more people.
Nick took the London Mayor to meet jewellers G Mantella in Enfield Town which in 2011 had been ransacked during the summer riots. Mr Johnson was pleased to open a new laser clinic as part of the business expanding. Nick de Bois said, "The way G Mantella has bounced back following the riots in inspirational and a great advert for Enfield".
Mr Johnson then visited shops along Lancaster Road in Enfield, where businesses have been calling on the local council to cut business rates. Mr de Bois has spoken in Parliament to highlight that all local councils now have new powers to cut business rates locally.
The Mayor said, "What Nick's campaign is doing is very important because it's a great issue for many businesses. I have been mayor for almost six years and since then I have seen London businesses do brilliantly and also seen the pressure they are under because of these rates."
Meeting Deniz Murat, who runs Lancaster Café (top picture), the Mayor was told how much business rates have increased in recent years which has prevented small shops from employing more staff and boosting local employment.
Nick de Bois said, "While the national economic picture is improving, we won't be complacent and will always look to help businesses so they can employ more people."
"Enfield Council could cut wasteful spending and instead cut business rates - it would help businesses like the Lancaster Café and many, many others".
Enfield Council will be consulting on its 2014/15 Budget in January.
As Christmas shopping frenzy Cyber Monday (December 2nd) approaches, research has found that British online shoppers have been victims of fraud totalling £1.5bn in the past twelve months.
According to the research, conducted by Barclays and Kaspersky Lab, supporting partners of Getsafeonline.org, more than four million people have fallen victim to online fraud in the UK since last December, with an average loss of £371 per incident.
Online criminals could be set for a fraud field day on Cyber Monday, as 33.6 million people plan to purchase their Christmas gifts online this year.
Despite online shopping becoming part of the fabric of life in the UK, there are still large numbers of consumers who have a naïve attitude to the risk of fraud with over a quarter (27%) admitting that they don't take the precautionary measure to protect their finances online.
To prevent the festive period becoming a windfall for fraudsters, Barclays and Kaspersky Lab are encouraging the nation to be more netwise and to pay greater attention to their internet security.
Alex Grant, Managing Director, Fraud Prevention at Barclays, said: "As the number of people shopping online is set to peak this Monday – with 33.6 million of us planning to do our shopping on the web this Christmas – cyber-criminals will have a field day if precautions aren't taken. Our research has shown that internet shoppers will be faced with a high level of threat to their personal and financial information as they hit the online stores this Christmas.
"That's why we've teamed up with Kaspersky Lab to offer all our customers free access to their suite of products that keep financial information safe and have created a range of tools and advice working with Getsafeonline.org.
"If everyone takes some simple steps, we can all avoid giving fraudsters a gift this Christmas."
When it comes to taking precautions online, consumers should be following the cautious habits of older shoppers. While over eight in ten (82%) of over 55s take precautionary measures to protect their finances, just six in ten (62%) 18-24 year olds do the same.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: "I've been talking to people about shopping safely online for years but every Christmas, without fail, I see worrying statistics about people being scammed online. £1.5 billion is a huge amount of money. The problem is, scams are evolving and getting more sophisticated all the time, they also change as trends come and go so it's understandable that people sometimes get caught out."
Not only does the older generation take the necessary steps to safeguard their online purchases, nearly nine in 10 (87%) say they always consider the risks of online fraud when making a purchase, compared to less than seven out of ten (68%) of their younger counterparts.
David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab said: "Fraud is not the only thing that will be putting Brits at risk when they hit the online stores this Christmas. In 2013 more than one in three people encountered malware when searching the web. With the anticipated spike in online shopping traffic in the run up to Christmas, this statistic must act as a red flag reminder that we need to protect ourselves against the variety of cyber threats we may face.
"The good news here is that the answer to protecting ourselves against these threats lies in common sense. There are simple tools and tricks we can all employ when shopping online to avoid risk – such as being mindful of where you log on to the Internet and keeping your personal information secure. It's not dissimilar to offline safety. It might be OK to walk alone at night – but it's risky. If we take the right precautions in the first place (for example taking well-lit routes, staying close to our friends), the risk reduces. We should adopt a similar common sense mindset when we shop online."
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online continues: "At Get Safe Online we make it our responsibility to try and highlight new types of fraud as much as we can to keep shoppers safe online. What consumers need to do is keep the basics in mind as a good preventative measure. We know that Christmas is a busy and stressful time for people so we don't try and overwhelm people with over complicated advice. If you've managed to hunt down that perfect present that you've been traipsing round the high street for online, at a fraction of the cost, take a step back and think before you buy it. Is it too good to be true?"
To ensure that British consumers are protected when they shop online, Barclays offers the award-winning Kaspersky Internet Security Suite, Kaspersky Mobile Security Suite and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac free of charge to all its Online and Mobile Banking customers.
Top tips on how to protect yourself whilst shopping online this festive season:
For further information and tips on protecting yourself whilst shopping online visit this festive season visit www.getsafeonline.org/Christmas
Nick joined with colleagues from across the House to support constituents who have lost their pension benefits as a result of the collapse of Visteon UK, a company once part of the Ford Motor Group. Many former workers at the plant in Enfield and elsewhere across the country have an undertsandable sense of injustice at the way they have been treated by both Ford and the collapsed firm Visteon, a captive supplier and formerly part of the Ford Group when they found that pension rights were not protected following the collapse of the company Visteon. A copy of Nick's press release is below.
Nick de Bois MP calls for Justice for Visteon Pensioners
MPs from the APPG supporting Visteon pensioners have this week written to Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company, urging them to reply in person to a letter that they sent him in March 2013, -which so far has been ignored.
Nearly 50 MPs wrote asking Ford Motor Company to reconsider its stance towards thousands of people with regard to their pension provision following the collapse of Visteon in 2009. MPs did receive a reply from the company but not from Alan Mullally or WC Ford Jnr who the letter was addressed to, and the reply ignored key points made in their letter.
Following the collapse it emerged that the Visteon UK pension fund appeared to be underfunded to the tune of around £350m, this resulted in many of the pensioners receiving reduced pensions, in some cases by almost 50%
Those who lost their pension believe that Ford did not take enough care of its employees when they were transferred from Ford to Visteon UK at the time of spin-off in 2000. In particular, they feel that their transferred pensions were mis-sold to them and that assurances which were given at the time by Ford turned out to be meaningless. This issue is the subject of legal action here in the UK and will be tested in court at some point this in 2014.
Many loyal employees, some who had worked for Ford for 30 years and were only transferred to Visteon for the last 3 months of their career, are now paying the price of failure and receiving much reduced pension rights.
MPs believe that Ford has a moral duty to support to support its former employees who lost their pensions and point to many statements by members of the Ford family who claim to support all their employees. Bill Ford said in 2011 on the occasion of the centenary of Ford: "I want to thank and congratulate all of our employees, dealers, suppliers and partners for the outstanding job you have done. Because of your efforts, our centennial is much more than a trip down memory lane – it is a celebration of a brilliant present and a promising future." It is these sentiments that MPs feel Ford is not living up to with the 3000 former Visteon employees whose pensions have been affected
Nick de Bois MP for Enfield North said;
"I have been in contact and working with a number of constituents concerning the collapse of Visteon UK and the devastating effect this had on their pension rights".
"Because of the actions of Ford, my constituents believe that the company should make up the shortfall in their pensions
"My constituents and I believe Ford has a moral duty to try and rectify the situation and to restore the losses people have suffered. Whilst commercially there may well have been a good argument to spin off Visteon, here in the UK there has been a real human cost to that action, for which we believe Ford is morally responsible.
"William Clay Ford said in his 2011 speech to celebrate the Centenary of Ford in the UK: 'I have always thought of Ford employees, dealers, suppliers and partners as members of our extended family.'"
"The way Ford has dealt with my constituents is not how most families operate, families should stick together when things get tough or go wrong. However the constituents I represent feel very much part of that wider family and now feel very let down.
"Ford must do what I and many people feel is morally right and support these people who gave Ford lifelong service and helped build what is an iconic motor company worthy of the positive reputation it has and who now find their pensions are worthless.
"I know that Enfield is a long way from Dearborn, USA and therefore out of sight and out of mind but I will not let Alan Mulally or Bill Ford get away without answering our questions. Ford must not let this difficult situation damage it's deserved reputation any further than it has to date; it must consider how it can rectify this to bring the former Ford employees who transferred to Visteon back into the Ford Family."
Nick expressed his concerns for care of the elderly in the House of Commons today and asked the the Secretary of State for Health (Jeremy Hunt) what progress his Department has made on improving out-of-hospital care for frail elderly people.
Jeremy Hunt replied: improving the quality of out-of-hospital care is the biggest strategic long-term change that we need to make in the NHS. It will help to make the NHS sustainable. Reforming the GP contract is the first step, but we also need to make major progress on integrating the health and social care systems.
Nick then went on to state: Enfield CCG is working closely with Enfield council to try to deliver integrated health and social care, particularly for the elderly and the frail. Noting our higher-than-average elderly age demographic in the borough, will the Secretary of State take steps to ensure that those efforts are supported with extra funding?
Jeremy Hunt replied: My hon. Friend knows that the funding arrangements are decided independently of the Government, by NHS England, which will make its decision at a board meeting before Christmas. He is absolutely right to suggest that the funding formula should reflect not only social deprivation but the age profile of constituents, because the oldest people are of course the heaviest users of the NHS.
Enfield borough police have an extra 65 police officers compared to levels at May 2010. At a time of intense demands on the nations finances this is very welcome news. The total increase in numbers is set for 85 new uniformed officers by 2015, and as is clear, we are well on our way to meeting those numbers.
Meanwhile, in the light of missinformation from the Labour opposition about Safer Neghbourhood teams, Nick sets out below the changes to the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs). These changes include:
- A signficant increase in Neighbourhood Police Officers- an extra 2,600 officers across London, .
- SNT will now be responsible for investigating neighbourhood crime, tackling and reducing anti-social behaviour.
- A neighbourhood inspector will take responsibility for reducing crime in their area and be held accountable to the local community. They will have the flexibility to direct officers to where they are needed un-restricted by ward boundaries.
- SNTs will be more visible with officers on patrol later into the evenings, over the weekends and at peak times.
- There will be also be additional contact points in police buildings staffed by SNTs across their neighbourhoods for a minimum of three hours per week.
For more information on SNTs visit: http://content.met.police.uk/News/Changes-to-your-local-police/1400019711213/1257246745756?scope_id=1257246957736&sourceview=team
Labour say that SNT teams are being dosbanded. This is not the case.
Nick is a regular contributor to political blogs on policy matters. Earlier this week Conservative Home published his article on how social care needs have changed, and why primary care must lead the response. The article is reproduced below.
Jeremy Hunt's announcement last week on freeing up GP's time to advance personal named care for elderly patients is perhaps going to prove to be one of the most significant developments in healthcare under this government. The plan sets out to help deal with the existing dysfunctional nature of healthcare in the country – namely, that we focus too much on treatment rather than prevention, resulting in an ever-spiralling demand that the state is struggling to keep up with.
In 1947, when the National Health Service came into being, the challenges facing both social care and healthcare are were very different to those we faced today. Life expectancy after retiring at 65 was less than three years, and even less for many occupational groups. Delivering state services for personal care to large numbers of frail and elderly people was, therefore, not an issue and such services as were needed were left as the responsibility of local authorities, since these were viewed as being very much part and parcel of the wider issues of poverty and deprivation.
The Times (£) recently reported the huge pressure on acute hospitals caring for the frail and elderly. Last week, we were told in no uncertain terms that A & departments are populated by too many people who don't really need to be there, including a fair proportion of elderly people not my words, incidentally). Notwithstanding journalist license, the issue of social care and health care remains a huge challenge, but I believe that an opportunity exists if we are bold enough to press on with NHS reform, against this background of a constantly-increasing demand on resources.
The main challenge facing Healthcare in 1947 was that of public health and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, polio and so on, which by their very nature cause a need for episodic acute care. More bluntly, this meant recovery or death being the norm. The need for the long-term management of multiple chronic diseases through a prolonged period of increasing frailty was never envisaged or catered for when the NHS was planned. In that sense, its developed a National Illness Service as opposed to a National Health Service.
We now face an entirely different challenge which is well documented. The life expectancy of a retiree age 65 is now over twenty years. The number of over 85 year-olds is set to rise from 1.1 to 2.7 million by 2032. The number of 65 to 84 year olds will increase by about four million by 2035. Even allowing for no cuts to health spending by 2020, there will be a potential £30 billion annual gap between the healthcare needs of the population and the service capacity of the NHS, which is largely consumed by this age group.
While these demographic and demand led changes have been evolving, the NHS has remained largely unchanged. However, GPs, who traditionally acted as the filter between community-based need and secondary or hospital services have, thanks mainly to Labour's contract arrangements, been able to opt out of 24 hour cover – therefore driving people with care needs to acute hospitals. But, in the main, they do not have the appropriate resources and skill mix to deal with the needs of the largely frail and elderly patients being admitted.( Some are trying to adapt by introducing Older Peoples Assessment Units such as my local hospital, Chase Farm. However, while such moves deserve credit, they are dealing with the symptoms and not the cause, since the unit will still capture people after they have been presented at their hospital, and not before.)
Combine this with the continued separation of the resources required for discharge and rehabilitation into the community, and it is not surprising that up to forty per cent of acute hospital beds at any one time are occupied by inappropriate and unnecessary admissions that consume a large proportion of the healthcare budget – which would be better spent providing appropriate and effective community-based services. It's not unreasonable to conclude that little attention it seems is focussed on the often complex healthcare needs of the frail elderly, who comprise the bulk of the 2.5 per cent of the population that consume up to 30 per cent of healthcare resources.
Hunt, it seems, is willing to restore the gatekeeper role of the GP. The British Medical Association has supported his reform of the contract, but the detail will be crucial if GPs on the ground are actually to deliver the personalised care promised. The contracts to date have been generous. So if they are to change to ensure a role for GPs as gatekeepers who deliver on the ground, they will surely have to incentivise not only GPs but also the wider community services – such as the under-utilised pharmacies, who will need to provide care pathways for this segment of the population. In tandem, however, there must also be the proper co-ordination and delivery of domiciliary-based care so that the present situation can be transformed. Let's not forget: having fewer people in hospital is a good thing.
The threat of doing nothing was all to obvious in our over-pressed hospitals. The opportunity we now have is not just to ease pressure on the budgets, but also to improve the quality of life for the fast- growing ageing population.
Cyprus's former President Glafcos Clerides was laid to rest last week after politicians, dignitaries and hundreds of ordinary Cypriots paid their last respects to the man whose statesmanship was seen by many as the driving force behind the divided country's successful European Union membership bid.
The state funeral service at the Church of the Lord's Wisdom in the capital Nicosia was the culmination of a three-day mourning period for Clerides who died last week at the age of 94.
Glafcos Clerides was a British-trained lawyer and World War II veteran, who helped shape Cyprus' politics over a career spanning nearly half a century. He won the powerful office of President in 1993 and a second five-year term in 1998. During that time he oversaw the completion of negotiations for entering the EU, though he left office before the country formally joined in 2004. He was driven by a wish to re-unify the island of Cyprus.
Whilst Nick never met the former President he was honoured to be invited by the High Commisoion of Cyrpus to sign the official book of condolence today where he was joined by MP's David Burrowes and Hendon MP Matthew Offord. Following paying his respects he met with the new Cyrpus High Commisoner to the UK, Euripides Evriviades.
Today Nick has used his regualr column in the Enfield Advertiser to argue that the local cross-party campaigning on health issues needs to continue if we're to get the best deal for Enfield.
You can read it via the Comment section.
In case you missed it, Nick wrote for the Conservative Home website earlier this month arguing that it's time to cut business rates.
Crucially, he pointed out: "What isn't very well known is that this Government has actually already delivered the legislation to allow councils considerable discretion to reduce (but not increase) business rates. Not many business owners know that, and interestingly, only 18 authorities have chosen to exercise these powers. Indeed, not only do the powers exist to reduce rates but, in a little known amendment to the 2012 Finance Act, the Government will subsidise discounts by up to 50 per cent if councillors can demonstrate that a reduction is in the interest of local taxpayers."
You can read this and all of Nick's comment pieces for newspapers and websites via the Comment section.
Following a committed campaign from Nick, the Enfield Law passed by Parliament in December 2012. This law ensures that anyone aged 16 or over who uses a knife to threaten someone faces a mandatory six month prison sentence.
Knife crime continues to be an issue of utmost importance to Nick and today, Nick took the opportunity in the House of Commons to ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the most recent quarterly statistics on knife possession sentencing under the new offence of aggravated knife possession, published in September 2013.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling) replied: Knives on our streets are a social scourge, and that is why we introduced new mandatory minimum sentences for threatening with a knife. Few offenders have been sentenced so far, but the majority have received custodial sentences. We are keeping this whole area under close scrutiny and I have raised how the offence is being sentenced with the senior judiciary and the Sentencing Council.
Nick then went on to ask the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice if he agrees that Parliament has spoken, that the offence should carry mandatory sentences, and that sentencers should bear in mind the will of Parliament? Will he use the opportunity to press the case for introducing mandatory sentencing for possession as well?
Chris Grayling replied: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work in this area. I also pay tribute to the work done by members of his community in Enfield, whom I have met and spoken to. I fully understand the nature of the impact of knife crime on their community and on communities around the country. I assure him strongly that we will keep the issue under review. The clear will of Parliament is that such offences should be dealt with with great severity. I hope that those presiding over our courts recognise the will of Parliament. I also assure him that I continue to look at this area extremely carefully.
This afternoon the seven-year battle to keep Chase Farm Hospital's accident and emergency unit open was lost when a High Court judge threw out a legal challenge lodged by Enfield Council. The Enfield Advertiser has the story, as does the Enfield Independent and BBC.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois, who led the Hands Off Our Hospital campaign, said: "The decision by the High Court is very disappointing. I believe Enfield Council had a good case and made the right decision in seeking a judicial review, and residents in the borough supported it too".
He added, "I think we can be proud of the cross-party and borough-wide campaign fought locally to try and save Chase Farm, and we need to continue to put party-politics aside as we begin a new fight to get the best possible healthcare services for the people of Enfield."
Today Nick joined colleagues from the APPG Bangladesh to launch the report into the ready made garment industry in Bangladesh.
The report was undertaken by the cross party group in the wake of the horrific Rana Plaza tragedy in the country which cause such a tragic number of deaths. Bad building construction, unnaceptable working practices and other reasons were to blame but it is cruicial that the Bangladesh garment trade, which is so vital to the local economy,emerges vastly improved with better working conditions following Rana Plaza and indeed other workplace incidents that have cost far too many lives.
As UK consumers of many of the goods produced in Bangladesh by familiar high street retail chains the APPG set about investigating the circumstances that led up to Rana Plaza and the many related complex issues pervading the ready made garmet industry.
To read the full report click HERE and download the pdf.
An inquiry into whether roadworks have contributed to a spike in fatal accidents on the M25 is to be carried out by the government following calls from Nick.
Two weeks ago a lorry driver was killed when his vehicle overturned and caught fire near junction 25. Last week four men were injured after a lorry overturned across a central reservation.
Nick's constituency is bordered by the junctions concerned, and last week he spoke in the House of Commons to call for an inquiry. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the House of Commons he would look to have a full investigation.
The roadworks, which began in February, are scheduled for completion in December 2014, and include the installation of a stronger concrete barrier, strengthening bridges as well as resurfacing the roads.
Nick told Mr McLoughlin there had been a "serious spike in fatal accidents" on that part of the motorway and called for the causes, which may include the road management during the works, to be "urgently" investigated.
Mr McLoughlin said the "appalling incidents" had obviously caused great distress to the families of the victims but also "incredible disruption" to the area. He said, "I will want to have a full investigation as to whether the points that you have raised have any bearings on these particular accidents," he said.
Nick said, "It's clear from discussing this with hauliers and regular users that many are concerns that the lanes are too narrow and the lighting is inadequate. No-one wants to see more loss of life so I'm pleased the Secretary of State is treating this matter with the urgency it requires".
He added, "The effect on main roads and even residential streets in Enfield from accidents on the M25 can be quite incredible; not just causing gridlock which is disruptive but makes it impossible for emergency vehicles to serve the area too".
Nick attended the commoration service at the War Memorial on Windmill Hill this afternoon, followed by a review of the march through the town centre. Later that afternoon he joined former service men and woman, members of the British Legion and all the community groups, scouts,brigades, St John's and cadets along with the Salvation Army at the British Legion on Holtwhites Hill for a reception. Commenting on the days events Nick said" Enfield residents once again showed the borough in its very best traditions with an excellent level of participation in the service and march, as well as a large turnout from residents for the march where I joined the Mayor, Leader of the council and Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough to take the salute. A fabulous day to commemorate those who have given the greatest possible sacrifice so we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that this country is so proud of".
Nick has won Parliamentarian of the Year for his support for press freedom.
He was awarded the prize jointly with 14 other MPs by national magazine the Spectator, who praised the MPs for going "through the 'no' lobby to prove that our ancient tradition of press freedom is not abolished without a fight".
Nick has warned of society "sleepwalking into a controlled press" after the laying down of foundations for regulation by statute.
There are concerns that the measures, which may see lengthy arbitration negotiations result in high costs, could drive local newspapers out of business.
Nick said: "Our local press, already under pressure financially, could be pushed over the edge. That would be a disaster for communities as well as employees. The Enfield Advertiser has a reputation as an investigative newspaper and would be the type of newspaper most at risk".
He added, "Who can forget the expenses scandal of 2009 where MPs were terrified of being 'caught out' in abusing public money? It was journalists, not elected representatives, that exposed this gross abuse."
Also among the MPs was Broxbourne MP Charles Walker, who collected the award on behalf of the 15.
Today, at Westminster Hall, Nick spoke on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Click the link HERE for Nick's speech on Sri Lanka hosting the summit while human rights abuses continue to occur within their nation.
Nick joined the Peoples Pledge team to show his continuing support for an EU referendum. The Peoples Pledge support the Conservative Party commitment to a referendum. MP James Wharton presents a Bill to parliament this Friday that will, when passed, guarentee an In: Out referendum on the UK's EU membership no later than 2017. Nick was one of the 81 Conservative rebels who voted for a referendum in 2011 which led to the policy being adopted by the Prime Minister.
Nick is backing the Governments' Employment Allowance to allow small business to give their employees the pay rise that they deserve. The Federation of Small Businesses has released figures that 29% of its members will use the Allowance in this approach. Nick put to Mr David Gauke (The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury) that the Employment Allowance is a policy that will deliver sustainable growth and sustainable wages.
Nick: The Minister has talked about wages. Interestingly, the Federation of Small Businesses has said that about 29% of its members will use the employment allowance to give a pay rise to some of their employees, which they have been unable to do because of the economic circumstances. Does that not show that this policy is a way of delivering sustainable growth and sustainable wages, and not just a gimmick that will do more harm than good?
Mr Gauke replied: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is worth bearing it in mind that tax plays an important role in the cost of living. If taxes are put up, it increases the pressure on the cost of living. Ultimately, that is where the policies of the Labour party would lead.
The Employment Allowance will give businesses and charities a £2,000 tax cut off their National Insurance Contributions bill from April 2014.
Speaking in the Commons, Nick fought back against Labour's politicking, Labour who started the process and authorised the downgrade of Chase Farm were rightly refuted by Nick.
Nick: The Secretary of State, his predecessor and the Prime Minister are well aware of my continued opposition to the decision to downgrade Chase Farm. However, today, will he join me in condemning the shadow Secretary of State, who has said that Chase Farm is closing? It is not closing. Against my wishes, there is a proposal to downgrade the A and E unit. The hypocrisy and politicking is worse because the previous Labour Government initiated the process and authorised the downgrade in the first place.
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): My hon. Friend speaks wisely. It is disappointing that we are not having a more intelligent debate. When Labour was in power, it closed or downgraded 12 A and E units in 13 years. The then Government realised that there were problems. He is right that they started the problem in Chase Farm. That is why, when we are facing such difficult decisions, it is important to have a responsible debate. I accept that MPs have views on their constituencies, but we have to start looking above the parapet to the wider interests of patients. That is a difficult thing to do, but I would have hoped for more leadership from the shadow Secretary of State, who used to be Health Secretary.
In parliament, today, Nick and the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr Nick Hurd) praised the efforts of the National Citizen Service. Nick was keen to draw particular attention to the Challenge Network Campaign Day in which he attended in Enfield.
Nick asked the question to Mr Hurd: What assessment he has made of the work of the National Citizen Service?
Mr Nick Hurd: The National Citizen Service is growing fast and is proving enormously popular with young people. The research shows clearly that it helps to develop life skills that employers value, and that for every £1 of public money we invest, society is receiving £3 of value back.
Nick: I thank the Minister for that answer. I was privileged to attend a challenge network campaign day in my constituency, where social action projects were put into effective and lasting programmes across the constituency. What steps will the Minister take to roll out the National Citizen Service further and expand it, and will he join me in congratulating the efforts of Enfield youngsters?
Mr Hurd: I certainly join my hon. Friend in congratulating Enfield youngsters and all youngsters across the country who have participated in the National Citizen Service on their efforts. He may be interested to know that to date the young people have contributed more than 1 million hours of their time to volunteer and do good work in communities. They get a huge amount out of that process, which is why we are ambitious to grow it and have said that we will make at least 90,000 places available next year.
Nick believes that the National Citizen Service is a vital way in engaging young people with the community and is delighted to see Enfield's youngsters at the forefront of this worthwhile programme. For more information about the National Citizen Service please follow the link HERE
Weather events like the recent storm are exactly what insurance is for.
If you need to make a claim then you should call your insurer as soon as possible and ask for advice. Most insurer's offer 24 hour emergency helpline services to arrange for damage to be inspected and repairs to be carried out as soon as possible. Household, business and comprehensive motor insurance policies cover flood and storm damage. Most home insurance policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation if you need to move out while your home is being repaired.
For more information on how insurance companies respond to flood and storm claims please read the following link HERE
Nick was delighted to be one of the judges for the Friends of Holmesdale Tunnel Open Space today where families and their children had made such an effort to dress up on a Halloween theme. All the judges were impressed but as ever, we had to chose three winners. Not an easy task! The weather did not discourage the many friends and neghbours who turmeed out to enjoy a range of local activites. Well done to all for the hard work in putting this together.
It was a pleasure to be there along with sitting councillor Tahsim Ibrahim and Conservative Action Team member Karl Schofield.
The British Legion Poppy Appeal is the major source of funding for the important work the Legion do. Every poppy helps us them support the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. Every year Enfield residents give generously and many people wear their poppy with pride. We do however need more collectors so if you want to help please contact my office and we will put you in touch with the local co-ordinater. I am delighted that already today three local clubs and businesses have asked me to arrange for them to sell poppies, Fit For Less Gym, Holywhites SSC and Ma Battley's Tea Room.
MPs and Peers were invited today to attend Westminster Flu Day, a flu vaccine clinic held in the House of Commons, to encourage their constituents to get this season's flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations.
Last year, 73.3% of people over 65 years and 51.8% in the at risk groups were vaccinated against flu in Enfield compared with the national averages of 73.4% for the over 65s and 51.3% for those 'at risk'.
Nick said "Flu can be a very serious illness for certain groups of people. I would therefore encourage all those that are over the age of 65 or are in one of the 'at risk' groups to visit their surgeries and get vaccinated."
The NHS has a very successful seasonal flu programme. The uptake rate for flu vaccines in those aged 65 and over was 73.4% in 2012/13, which is just below the WHO target of 75%. The Department of Health, however, wants to improve the uptake rates for those people under 65 years of age with clinical conditions which put them more at risk from the effects of flu. This currently stands at 51.3%, and the Department hopes to increase it to 75%.1,2 Uptake among pregnant women in 2012/13 was only 40.3%1 and amongst healthcare workers the uptake was only 45.6%.3 The ABPI Vaccine Group is working hard with the Department of Health to understand how we can improve implementation of the seasonal flu programme in the at-risk groups and amongst pregnant women and healthcare professionals.
Westminster Flu Day is an established event in the Parliamentary calendar. It is sponsored by the ABPI Vaccine Group and is supported by the Department of Health as a useful way to highlight the importance of flu vaccination.
MPs who would not be eligible for a free seasonal flu on the NHS made a £10 donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee. £10 is equivalent to the cost of a private vaccination.
Today, Nick again took the oppurtunity to question the Government on Chase Farm Hospital. Nick asked The Minister of State, of the Department of Health, Norman Lamb "What progress has been made on implementation of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey clinical strategy?" To which Mr Lamb responded, "The local NHS continues implementing the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey clinical strategy, which was approved by the Secretary of State in September 2011 following a review by the independent reconfiguration panel."
Nick then put forward the following question "Will the Minister confirm that patients will have access to a doctor on the Chase Farm site 24/7?" In response, Mr Lamb stated that "a doctor will be available to see patients at Chase Farm 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Nick pushed Mr Lamb for an answer of the implementation of the investment in primary care first promised by the Secretary of State in 2008, however, due to judical reasons Mr Lamb believed that it was not appropriate for him to comment further at this time.
For more information on this story please follow the link HERE
Today Nick presented his 10 Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons and succesfully saw it pass through its first reading. The Bill will look to end the current quandary where the descendants of deceased adopted people are often left unable to access important information about their deceased relative's biological family.
The Bill is high on Nick's agenda and has been hailed by Julia Feast of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. In Julia's own words the "descendants of deceased adopted people should have been included when a description of a birth relative was defined in the Adoption and Children Act 2002. I welcome the measures being put forward in this Bill, and hope that they will pave the way for meaningful change." The Bill's second reading is on Friday 22 November.
If you would like to see Nick's presentation of this bill in the House of Commons please follow the link HERE
Today, during Topical Questions Nick once again took the oppurtunity to reer the issue of business rates affecting shops in Enfield.
He said "The Secretary of State has rightly introduced discretion for councils to reduce rates where possible, particularly for hard-pressed retailers. Will he please put his considerable weight behind our campaign to persuade Enfield council to make the right choices and give relief to our hard-pressed retailers by using that discretion?"
Brandon Lewis (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government) supported Nick's conviction that lowering buisness rates will relieve local buisness and therefore fuel the local economy by stating "He is right to suggest that councils seeking to develop their town centres, their businesses and their local economy should look into the discretion we have given them that allows them to discount local business rates in whatever manner they see fit."
Host, Singur Cambaz invited Nick to join him for the late night two hour current affairs show for Enfield based Genc TV, a Turkish Cyrpiot channel. The discussion was very wide ranging from Health service provision, Public Health and the prevention of disease and illness amongst the Turkish speaking population of North London. In addition the program toucvhed upon Nick's recent visit to Cyprus where he met with both civic and political leaders in the North and the South of the island.
Nick took the opportunity during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday to raise the issue of business rates affecting shops in Enfield.
He said, "The Prime Minister will know that in my constituency some businesses are paying almost as much in business rates as they are in rent. What steps will he take to persuade local councils to use the powers this Government have given them to reduce those rates and make the right choices to support hard-pressed retailers?"
Prime Minister David Cameron replied that Nick was "a real champion on this issue for small business" and said, "We should continue to look at the business rate system and encourage councils to make sure that they do everything they can to apply the discounts where they are available and to continue to work on this issue."
UPDATE: Charlie Peat at the Enfield Independent has the story.
Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill – House of Commons
Nick took the oppurtunity during oral questions to the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday to question the extradition clauses in the European Arrest Warrant and the lack of proper scrutiny. The European Arrest Warrant has the capability of exradiating any european resident to another european nation within thirty days of the required paperwork being handed in. In the House of Comons, Nick continued his calls for amendments to the European Arrest Warrant in asking the Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice (Mr Damian Green) to clarify the protections provided to British citizens.
Nick: "The Minister says that the Bill was improved in Committee and on the Floor of the House. While I am sure that that is the case for most of the Bill, he is well aware that we did not have the opportunity to scrutinise Government new clauses on extradition, or discuss the amendments tabled by my hon Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) and 28 other hon. Members from across the House. How confident is the Minister that we are providing protections that British citizens have lacked in the past?"
Damian Green understood Nick's particular interest in this topic and replied "It is a big step to extradite a person from one country to another. The impact on family life and employment will be far greater than in cases where a person is prosecuted in his or her own country of residence. We should not, therefore, be hoovering up British residents and dispatching them to all corners of Europe to spend months in prison awaiting trial for minor offences."
For more information on Nick's postion on the European Arrest Warrant please follow this link and see Nick's speech on the European Arrest Warrant http://www.nickdebois.com/nick's-work/parliament-_-debates
The Enfield Independent's Charlie Peat reports:
Small businesses say they could face financial crisis if they are not given help with business rates.
Shopkeepers in parades in one part of the borough have called on Enfield Borough Council for a helping hand paying the rates – the equivalent of council tax for companies.
Empty shop windows have become a familiar sight in recent years, with real concern for the future of the high street as it competes with out-of-town shopping centres.
However, with the first draft of the council's 2014/15 budget coming at the end of the year, businesswoman Trish Kelly, who owns IndiviJewlistic in Lancaster Road, is hoping shops in this corner of Enfield can be protected.
She said, "We have seen a lot of shop fronts become empty during the past few years and we do not want this to continue. A reduced business rate or rebate on our existing rates from the council would certainly see more shops and indeed shoppers back in this part of Enfield".
Piloted schemes have previously been set up in Edmonton and Enfield Town in which the council has helped to pay a percentage of their business rates, something the jewellery shop owner wants to see in Lancaster Road and Chase Side.
She said: "It's good that the council has provided specific help for businesses in Edmonton and Enfield Town, and we think shops in this area would benefit from support too."
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois supports the idea. He said: "There's aclear message from local shops and businesses to Enfield Council here – simple measures that have been tried elsewhere should be offered equally throughout the borough."
In the House of Commons today Nick asked Mr Dennis Laws (Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office) how his policy will increase literacy and numeracy nationwide.
Nick asked "Employers will tell the Minister that it did not need an OECD report to show that England has—shockingly—some of the least literate students, because they only have to look at job applications to see that. Will he ensure that his system will have widespread effect, especially on literacy and numeracy, as opposed to focusing on a few?"
In response, Mr Laws stated that he believes the new system will "reduce the amount of gaming behaviour across the C/D borderline and the amount of teaching for the test, which often distorts our appreciation of educational standards, and all of the changes go hand in glove with the further changes to GCSEs that were announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State earlier this year, which will try to ensure that GSCEs in English, maths and other subjects are fit forpurpose and will ensure that young people in this country are as well prepared as those in other top education countries."
In addition to "Nick Direct" public meetings, Nick hosts session with residents " on demand". Often groups of people are keen to just meet the local MP or take up various issues with him or quite simply have a Q & A session. Nick is always willing to try and make time for these meetings so if you wish to arrange one please don't hesiate to contact him at his Westminster Office 0207 219 7066
Nick joined up with North London Hospice for National Carers Week to highlight the role of volunteers and support the Carers week campaign. In Enfield the North London Hospice run a thriving charity shop where he spent some time working both back and front of house. As you can see he was a dab hand with the steam iron ( or so he thought).
Today Nick spent the afternoon visiting small businesses across the constituency. From retail high street shops ,clothes packaging and distribution centres, bakeries and restaurants in total Nick called in on 8 different businesses. All of them were beginning to see an upturn in trade but most significant was the determination to stay in Enfield and help keep the high streets in particular alive.
Nick commented " I was particularly pleased to see long established businesses as well as new in Hertford Road and Baker Street where doing business has been particularly hard."
He went on to add "All businesses had one issue in common, that the business rates needed reform, not just tinkering and supported Nicks campaign for this reform" Here is a selection of photos from the day and I will be promoting each business on Twitter @nickdebois over the next week..follow me!
Nick was honoured to co- host with Labour MP David Lamy the Godwin Lawson Foundation awards reception at the House of Commons this evening to celebrate the achievements of young people who participated in the Godwin Lawson Foundation Leadership Programme.
Nick first met Yvonne Lawson before the general election in 2010 shortly after his tragic death. With Yvonne Nick campaigned for chanmges to knife criome laws that led to the so called "Enfield's Law" which introduced mandatory jail sentences for using a knife in a threatening or endangering fashion. Yvonne commented "The Godwin Lawson Foundation was set up in memory of my son, Godwin, who was tragically killed in a knife crime in 2010. My aim is to facilitate activities that tackle the causes of knife crime in London, as well as across the UK.
"Football was a passion for Godwin and I want to raise awareness of the positive role that sport can have in challenging gang culture and the use of weapons as a status symbol."
Nick de Bois MP said: "Yvonne has suffered something few of us can imagine, the loss of her son through a senseless knife assault. She has since shown a determination rarely seen in others to ensure others understand positive influences on their life rather than a life of crime and violence. Her foundation programme and awards are the perfect tribute to her late son Godwin and I am very proud to host this event with my fellow parliamentarian David Lammy."
Yvonne added: "Our lives feel empty without our beloved Godwin, however we are determined to use his memory to create something positive. The Godwin Lawson Foundation's aim is to invest in young people who want to be part of a positive initiative to reduce gang and street crime.
"We are also aiming to deliver road shows to schools using Godwin Lawson Peace Ambassadors to deliver anti-gang and anti-knife messages."
Nick arrived for a brief visit to Cyprus with fellow co-chair of the Friends of Cyprus Group, Andy Love MP at a time when the momentum appears to be building for new talks for a final settlement to the on going partition of Cyprus.
Recently, UN Special Advisor, Alexander Downer, has arrived back in Cyprus preparing to assist the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to "bridge the gap". No date has been set for the new talks and they await the Leaders' being ready. However he met in the meantime with the two Representatives/Negotiators (Andreas Mavroyiannis and Osman Ertag) on Monday 7 October and another meeting on Wednesday, 9 October. The Negotiators have themselves already been meeting this past week.
Mr Downer said yesterday "let's solve the 50 year-old Cyprus problem within three months". The Turkish paper "Sabah" carried a report saying that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had made a proposal to UNSG Ban Ki-moon to solve the Cyprus problem by the end of the year. Natural Gas is on Turkey's agenda although President Nicos Anastassiades said last week that this was not on the table of the Talks.
During the visit the British MPs were able to listen to the diversity of views and to assess the mood of optimism and some sceptical feelings of deja vu. Following the Friends of Cyprus visit to Cyprus, they issued the following Media Release:
British MPs encounter Cyprus Optimism and Scepticism
At what may prove a pivotal time in Cyprus history, for individual citizens, civil society and politicians, the two Joint-Chairs of the Friends of Cyprus, MPs, Nick de Bois and Andy Love, arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday 1 October.
They met with Greek and Turkish Cypriot politicans, local and community representatives, business people, trade unionists, with the Home for Cooperation, the Cyprus Community Media Centre, members of the Cultural Heritage Technical Committee, the Committee on Missing Person in Cyprus, the British High Commissioner, the UN Special Advisor and the Head of the Programme Team, at the European Commission's Task Force Turkish Cypriot Community. They visited Famagusta, the Bicommunal Wastewater Treatment Plant at Mia Milia/Haspolat and Nicosia, north and south.
They were able to discuss issues raised with them, including: the possibility of successful talks and referendums; the vested interests of the US, EU, the British, Turkey and the Cypriot communities in an early settlement; relationships between political parties after the 2013 elections; involvement of individual Cypriots and civil society in the peace process; the economy, environment and energy/hydrocarbon developments; Famagusta, Varosha, the Famagusta Initiative and the Ecocity Project; security, the British Sovereign Base Areas and de-mining; ports, airports and free trade; the media, universities, teaching and school books; cooperation in the Nicosia Master Plan and on Sewage and other Bicommunal or intercommunal projects on the island.
On leaving yesterday, Friday 4 October, Nick de Bois, Conservative MP for Enfield North, said:
"There is clearly a new momentum in Cyprus and interestingly the idea of the return of Varosha in supporting a comprehensive settlement. There is an opportunity for Britain to engage and to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable, long term settlement. We look forward to taking our report to the UK Minister."
It was good to see bicommunal initiatives, such as the Nicosia Master Plan, having a role to play in building confidence. Of paramount importance was the work by the Committee on Missing Persons. which involves teams of Cypriots working together and leads to closure to the families who lost loved ones in the 1960s and 1970s. They investigate sites, exhuming and identifying the remains of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot Missing supported by international funding. We hope that the UK can continue to make symbolic grants in this field.
Top left With Turkish Cypriot Mayor of Nicosia
Top Right with Committee for Missing Persons
Second Left Negotiator for Greek Cypriots
Second Right With Turkish Cypriot Mayor of Famagusta
Third Left With Republic of Cyprus Foreign Minister
Third Right At the bicommunal sewage workls project for Nicosia
In additon to holding regular advice surgeries at my constituency office in Hertford Road, I also make sure I hold drop in surgeries where no appointment is necessary. This evening we hosted our latest one outside Tesco on Southbury Road during the early evening. We always promote these on my twitter account @nickdebois or on this web site, so if you can't wait for an appointment do check out when we are holding our next drop in surgery.
This morning Nick attended the meeting of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of local GPs and healthcare clinicians. They met to make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the BEH Strategy that would see Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield downgraded.
Nick and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes took the opportunity to challenge the idea of giving the go ahead to downgrade, saying promises on primary care had not been kept and that residents were against losing A&E and maternity services. These promises were set as pre-conditions in 2008 by then Labour Health Secretary Andy Burnham and then reinforced by Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2011.
In the end, the CCG voted near unanimously to approve the BEH Strategy, thereby giving the go-ahead to downgrade Chase Farm.
Speaking after the meeting, Nick said "This is the wrong decision".
"The promised improvements in primary care have not been kept. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel said these pre-conditions had to be met in order for the downgrade to go ahead. I therefore support the statement made by Enfield Council that this decision to proceed is unlawful".
"I will continue to put party politics aside by supporting the Labour administration on Enfield Council in seeking a judicial review of this decision".
The Leader of Enfield Council, Doug Taylor, has announced that the Council is preparing its legal case and intends to have the case ready within two weeks.
Tonight Nick held his third in a series of five public meetings in Southbury ward. This is an opportunity for constituents to come along and ask Nick about quite simply anything. Local and National issues are often discussed and all residents who turn up get their chance to speak if they wish.
Nick introduced this session commenting, " The last parliament saw the reputation of MP's understandable blighted by the expenses scandal which underlined a deep level of mistrust betqween constituents and their MP's. Since being first elected in 2010 I have tried to re-build that relationship with the public by making sure I am available as much as possible to share views and ideas with my constituents and reflect that by being their voice in Westminster, not Westminster's voice in Enfield"
The next public meeting is on 24 October at St. Mary Church Hall, Windmill Hill, Enfield
As reported HERE Nick has now completed his trip to Bangladesh with the All Party Parliamentary Group to conclude our investigation into the garment factory business from the tragic incident at Rana Plaza earlier this year. Here are some photographs from his trip. These distressing photographs include a young victim who had been working in the factory at Rana Plaza who lost both legs, a young man who was injured ina seperate factory accident and lost all four limbs, a bedside visit to a volunteer rescuerer who was then tragically injured in the aftermath of Rana Plaza and finally a photograph of one of the 'good' factories. Our report will be published later this year.
As Co- Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Public Health and Primary Care I have a deep interest in ensuring we all take steps to prevent ill health and improve the quality of our lives. Blood pressure control is a vital step towards avoiding preventable conditions.
I am supporting Blood Pressure UK's Know Your Numbers! Week from 16th-22nd September because taking steps to lower blood pressure is something we can all do to improve our general health. Each year 120,000 adults in the UK have a heart attack or stroke in which high blood pressure is a key factor - that's a preventable stroke or heart attack every 4 minutes. If you want to lower your blood pressure, you can start today with just a handful of changes to your weekly shop - less salt and fat, and more fruit and vegetables - it's as easy as that. To find your nearest 'Pressure Station' for a free check, visit www.bloodpressureuk.org.freebychecks/findfreecheck"
Or for more information, please visit www.bloodpressureuk.org or call 020 7882 6255
Enfield MPs David Burrowes and Nick de Bois have changed from blue to pink to support a breast cancer campaign.
To support "Wear it Pink" day on Friday, October 25, the two Conservatives encouraged people to sign up for the event by donning some questionable pink clothing.
Approximately 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year. Sadly 12,000 women and 80 men die from the disease each year. Breast Cancer Campaign's research aims to reduce this figure, which cannot be done without the vital support provided by members of the public and MPs.
Nick said, "Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25 October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign's lifesaving research. It's a great campaign and I am delighted to give it my support."
To register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org or call 0800 107 3104.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy - providing nearly half of all private sector jobs across the UK, and since 2010 we've seen over 300,000 of them start up.
The Conservatives are getting behind Britain's entrepreneurs in every way possible: from Start-Up Loans for those setting up, to our New Enterprise Allowance for those who are unemployed and want to start a business.
We want to celebrate what small businesses do for our economy: creating jobs, bringing life back to high streets, acting as centres of the local community.
So please nominate your favourite - it could be a local newsagent, hardware shop, bakery, curry house or any great small business.
Help them get the recognition they deserve by telling us about them today - simply click HERE to fill out a short form.
This Friday Nick will be joining a small delegation of MPs to Bangladesh to continue a Parliamentary investigation into working conditions, safety and influences on the Ready Made Garments industry.
The work is being undertaken through the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh, which Nick is a Vice Chairman of. It was prompted by the awful tragedy of the collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight story multiplex housing clothing factories in the Savar district of Dhaka, which killed 1,129 people and left 2,500 injured.
The incident came after the Tazreen Fasions factory fire which killed 112 workers. The enormous human cost of doing some business in Bangladesh is all too evident.
The Ready Made Garment industry is however crucial to the livelihood of many people and their families as well as the future growth of the wider Bangladesh economy.
Nick said, "Our investigation is aimed at examining the underlying issues as well as the more obvious ones, and we hope we can contribute to the debate and ultimately the improvements of the working conditions and safety within this industry."
If this matter is of interest to you please do not hesitate to contact Nick directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Doing so will ensure you receive a copy of the investigation report when it is published later this year.
During the visit the MPs will be meeting with retailers, manufacturers, employees, regulators and politicians as well as Non Government Agencies and charities.
Nick added, "It will be a busy four days but I am looking forward to making a contribution to this important issue."
Today Nick pledged to take action to support the 800,000 people living with dementia across the UK.
Joining up with representatives from Alzheimer's Society in Portcullis House, Westminster to provide a handwritten statement of the action he will take to support people with dementia and their carers. Nick pledged to help make their constituency dementia friendly so people with dementia can play a full role in their community and he pledged to campaign for better dementia care in their constituency and raise the profileof this condition to helpunderstanding and awareness.
Alzheimer's Society campaigners were in Westminster to drum up political support for their trailblazing Dementia Friends initiative that launched in February this year. Dementia Friends aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Alzheimer's Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, to help make England more dementia-friendly and improve the lives of the 650,000 people currently living with the condition.
Nick said " We can all make a difference and helping people with this condition, but to do so it is important first to raise awareness of dementia, how many people are likely to be affected by it in our neghbourhood and help generate a better understanding of what it is like to live with this condition."
This morning Nick secured a slot on 22 October to present a 10 Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons which will seek to end the quandary where the descendants of deceased adopted people are often left unable to access important information about their deceased relative’s biological family.
The current situation causes a great many problems for the descendants of deceased adopted people, especially if the deceased adopted person had not previously sought any information about their biological family. This can often prevent descendants from accessing information as vital as medical histories and information about hereditary conditions.
Nick has previously asked questions in the House of Commons on this topic, and recently held a productive meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP and a representative of the Law Commission.
With the introduction of his 10 Minute Rule Bill, Nick has the opportunity of introducing a new law which will allow the descendants of deceased adopted people to access vital information.
Following the announcement of the date for his 10 Minute Rule Bill, Nick commented: “I’m pleased to again have the opportunity to raise this important issue in the House of Commons. My Bill has the backing of both the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons campaign group."
He added, "It’s very important that the descendants of deceased adopted people have access to the available information about their biological relatives – especially in relation to potentially hereditary medical conditions”.
If you’ve been affected by the issues Nick intends to raise during the introduction of his 10 Minute Rule Bill please do contact him directly at email@example.com.
What a terrific Enfield Autumn Show this weekend.
The weather was kind to visitors who turned out in force to support this annual local event.
Nick and his colleagues from the local Conservative Association had a stand for the weekend show which saw plenty of visitors taking the opportunity to speak to their local Conservative councillors, candidates for the 2014 local elections and of course Nick and his neighbouring MP David Burrowes.
Last night's Nick Direct was held at Kettering Hall on Ordnance Road and gave residents the chance to quiz Nick on his views, as well as sharing their own.
Understandably, a fair amount of time was devoted to discussing the situation in Syria. Nick explained the difficult decision he made to vote against military intervention, with the overwhelming majority of those present supporting his stance. The Enfield Advertiser has more.
Residents were keen to discuss public health, school places, foreign aid, MP's expenses and many more besides.
Nick said, "Having Nick Direct meetings gives residents the chance to put me on the spot which is the most straight-forward way of holding their MP to account. It also ensures that I'm keeping in touch with what constituents think on important local and national issues, so it's very valuable to me as an MP".
The next Nick Direct meeting is on Tuesday 24th September at the Bush Hill Park United Reform Church, Main Avenue - 7pm start, 8pm finish. No need to register - just turn up!
Special thanks to...
Gary Maas and his Jiu-Jitsu colleagues. Kettering Hall had been double-booked and Gary (to the left of Nick) kindly finished his juniors' class a few minutes early to allow the Nick Direct meeting to start on time. If you're interested in learning Jiu-Jitsu, self defence, improving your fitness, whether children or adult, contact Gary on 07950 337732 or firstname.lastname@example.org
During a House of Commons debate of Universal Credit on the 5 September Nick posed the following question to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:
Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con): May I urge my right hon. Friend to reject the shadow Secretary of State's offer of cross-party talks, not only because of Labour's failure on IT, benefit fraud and the tax credits system, but because Labour Members fundamentally do not believe in the welfare reform that this country desperately needs?
Mr Duncan Smith: I will not reject the offer of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr Byrne) because I am an optimist. On the road to Damascus, there is always a chance that such an individual may change his view and realise that what we are doing is the right thing. I will do my level best to persuade him that everything that he has done so far is wrong and that there is a better way—marked "coalition".
Today Nick joined the Church of Bangladesh at Westminster Central Hall where a campaign was founded to help improve working conditions and safety in the Ready Made Garments Industry in Bangladesh.I welcome the interest and work of this group into this very important matter.
Coincidently this coming Friday he will be joining a small parliamentary delegation to continue a cross party parliamentary investigation into the working conditions, safety and influences on the Ready Made Garments industry in Bangladesh. This was prompted by the awful tragedy of the collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight story multiplex housing clothing factories in the Savar district of Dhaka. This incident, so soon after the Tazreen Fasions factory fire killed 112 workers. The enormous human cost of doing some business in Bangladesh is all too evident.
The Ready Made Garment industry is however crucial to the livelihood of many people and their families as well as the future growth of the wider Bangladesh economy. Our investigation is aimed at examining the underlying issues as well as the more obvious ones, and we hope we can contribute to the debate and ultimately the improvements of the working conditions and safety within this industry.With many UK and EU companies ordering supplies from the Bangladesh manufacturers our interest in this important matter is considerable.
If this matter is of interest to you please do not hesitate to contact me either by writing to Nick at the House of Commons or contacting him by email on email@example.com with your views, and he will also ensure you receive a copy of the investigation report when it is published later this year.
During our visit we will be meeting with retailers, manufacturers, employees, regulators and politicians as well as Non Government Agencies and charities.
In support of small businesses, today Nick posed the question to The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Miss Chloe Smith) "What steps he is taking to ensure that more small and medium-sized companies win business from Government?". Nick believes that it is vital for small and medium business to win these contracts so that they can expand there entreprise.
Nick's view was supported by Miss Smith "It is this Government's policy to dismantle the barriers facing small and medium-sized companies to ensure that they can compete for contracts on a level playing field and grow".
Nick then went on to raise the issue local government procurement: " I am grateful for the Minister's answer and I welcome her reforms to Government procurement processes, which are a marked improvement on the previous Government's efforts. However, will she share her Department's best practice with local government, which is still issuing cumbersome and complicated tenders that are excluding so many SMEs from competing for business because of the amount of time that they have to put into them?"
Miss Smith: "I welcome that support from my hon. Friend, who is extremely active on these matters in trying to secure more jobs, particularly in his constituency. He rightly says that we have a clear job, which we will do: to transfer the successful procurement reforms that we have made in central Government to the wider public sector. We are accepting the recommendations made in Lord Young's "Growing Your Business" report, which deals with the complexity, cost and inconsistency that can face small businesses in the wider public sector."
The government are keen to help small and medium size businesses win contracts from both national and local government. This will help support the thousands of SME companies across the country. I know from when I ran my own business how complicated local government made it for companies to tender for bids, in fact it was so time consuming I never bothered to try and bid . Today I asked the minister to make sure that we persuaded local authorities to change their ways and help make it easier for SME companies to both qualify for, and bid for contracts. Here is the exchange in parliament -
"The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Miss Chloe Smith):It is this Government's policy to dismantle the barriers facing small and medium-sized companies to ensure that they can compete for contracts on a level playing field and grow. I refer the House to the letter I sent last month to all hon. Members, in which I set out some of the progress we have made and the further steps we will be taking to ensure that Departments continue to increase their spend with small companies.
Nick de Bois:I am grateful for the Minister's answer and I welcome her reforms to Government procurement processes, which are a marked improvement on the previous Government's efforts. However, will she share her Department's best practice with local government, which is still issuing cumbersome and complicated tenders that are excluding so many SMEs from competing for business because of the amount of time that they have to put into them?
Miss Smith:I welcome that support from my hon. Friend, who is extremely active on these matters in trying to secure more jobs, particularly in his constituency. He rightly says that we have a clear job, which we will do: to transfer the successful procurement reforms that we have made in central Government to the wider public sector. We are accepting the recommendations made in Lord Young's "Growing Your Business" report, which deals with the complexity, cost and inconsistency that can face small businesses in the wider public sector.
Parliament meets today to debate the principle of intervention, including the possibility of military intervention in Syria. I have posted a link to an article published yesterday in the Spectator that sets out my current thinking on this issue. I am deeply uncomfortable with the prospect of military intervention of the type spelt out by the US, UK and French governments, however I also recognise that it is important to keep an open mind on this question given the ever changing nature of the situation. My article can be found here
A further update from FCC for commuters on the Gordon Hill Enfield Chase line.
correspondence regarding disruption affecting all services on the Great
Northern route on 27 August, I would like to provide you with further details
regarding the incident and our response to it.
The issues occurred following work by Network Rail, over the bank holiday weekend, to install and
commission new signalling for the additional southbound line between Alexandra
Palace and Finsbury Park. This is part of a multi-million pound project to remove
a major bottleneck on the East Coast Mainline, benefits of which will start to
be felt from December 2013. Network Rail were unable to commission the
signalling equipment until late in the morning on Tuesday due to unexpected
complications which are currently under investigation. As a result, a number of
our trains were trapped in Hornsey depot, preventing us from operating a full
To ensure that all stations were served, we instituted a back-up timetable which can be brought
into effect when there is a severe lack of resources. As the day progressed and
further trains became available, we were able to institute some additional
services during the evening peak and to support the high levels of demand
following the Champions League match at Emirates Stadium.
A number of measures
were put in place to ensure that passengers could continue their journey in a
timely manner despite the disruption. Passengers travelling via Cambridge and
Enfield were able to make use of Greater Anglia services to London Liverpool
Street, while customers travelling via Peterborough and Stevenage could make
use of East Coast services to King's Cross. All customers could make use of
services operated by London Underground, London Buses or on the Thameslink
route to complete their journey.
All passengers who had their journey delayed by more than 30 minutes are eligible to claim
compensation through our delay-repay scheme. Full details of this are available
from our stations or online at firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/delayrepay. Details
have also been available on the front page of our website, on OIS screens and
through Twitter to ensure that all those who are eligible are made aware of it.
If you have any
questions regarding this incident, please do not hesitate to contact me.
First Capital Connect
I have posted this email from FCC about the disruption to today's service for my constituents who seem to be getting a tough time on their commute to work from Enfield Chase,Gordon Hill and Crews Hill stations in the constituency recently. I use the Town and Lock lines most of the time, but will make sure I travel from these stations a bit more often in future. Email follows ...
We are very sorry for the disruption that has happened today (27/08/13) on our services to and from King’s Cross. Network Rail encountered problems early this morning during the testing period of a new signalling system in the Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. Because of this Network Rail informed us that we were going to have to run a back-up timetable which is a reduced service based on a published timetable.
This back-up timetable will remain in place for the entire day. We are keeping our customers updated with travel advice online through our website, twitter service and all other available channels. Customers can also get real time updates using our free travel alerts. Ticket acceptance is in place with other National Rail operators, London Underground, and with London bus to ensure passengers are able to get to their final destination. We are confident that the full timetable will be back in operation first thing tomorrow.
We have already been in contact with the Arsenal FC press office to agree travel lines for the fans travelling to and from the match at the Emirates stadium this evening. All passengers who experienced delays in excess of 30 minutes as a result of this disruption may make a claim under our Delay-Repay scheme. Forms for this are available from our stations or online at http://www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/customer-care/delay-repay/. Please let me know if you would like any more information.
First Capital Connect Customer Service Director First Capital Connect Limited. Registered in England & Wales No. 05281077. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London, W2 6LG. This message is confidential. It may not be disclosed to, or used by, anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this message in error, please advise us immediately. Internet email is not necessarily secure. First does not accept responsibility for changes to any email which occur after the email has been sent. Attachments to this email could contain software viruses which could damage your system. First have checked the attachments for viruses before sending, but you should virus-check them before opening. For more information on our range of services or to book your tickets online, please visit:- http://www.firstgroup.com
More than 400 British citizens are leaving the country every day in a drain on talent that is leading to the "disappearance" of skilled middle-class professionals, Nick has warned.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that, according to the Office for National Statistics, the number of British citizens who have moved abroad has risen by a fifth under the Coalition, reaching 154,000 last year. Separate figures, published by the OECD, show that almost 1.3million Britons with university-level education are living abroad, more than any other developed economy.
Nick told the Telegraph: "We live in a very mobile, global market people can look around and they can judge where they want to go. My concern is that people are putting their own interests first and looking to beyond the European Union.
"We have to convince those people, who we have invested so much in, to make Britain their first choice. We have to continue to drive lower taxes, we have to keep driving the change and reform in our public services."
The Co-op car park on Hertford Road hosted today's Creative Market which I was lucky enough to get to. The vast majority of businesses who took a stall were local businesses often running from their homes. These 'micro' businesses are crucial to our local economy and I was pleased to see so many here today. I stopped to chat to every stall holder there, some attending their first event ever having just launched their business. I shall be promoting them on my social media accounts and hope whenever you can you will support these businesses if you get the chance. Helen and I picked up two lovely cakes ( which we all but finished off today) from Dainty Cakes. Lovely!
Koos Couvee writes in the Enfield Advertiser:
A GROUP of GPs charged with commissioning health services in the borough have called on Enfield North MP Nick de Bois to drop his opposition to the planned downgrade of Chase Farm Hospital.
In a letter sent to the Conservative MP on July 24, Liz Wise, chief officer of the Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group, said that the implementation of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy was "critical to the long-term sustainability and quality of healthcare services in Enfield."
The £115million strategy will see accident and emergency and maternity services removed from the hospital in The Ridgeway, Enfield, in November.
Ms Wise's letter came in response to a letter sent by Mr de Bois on July 2, in which he pointed to a recent report commissioned by Enfield Council concluding that the clinical strategy was based on inaccurate population projections, that improvements to primary care had been lacking and that question marks over the future provision of maternity services remained.
In her letter, Ms Wise set out a detailed repudiation of that report.
She said it drew on information obtained in from the NHS in November 2012 as opposed to details from full business cases published in February 2013, which included more accurate modelling, and said that the original population projections did not throw into doubt the whole strategy.
She added that projections of patients flows are constantly revised so that there is sufficient capacity at hospitals, and that concentrating A&E and maternity at Barnet and North Middlesex hospitals will allow for better and safer care.
The acute aspects of the clinical strategy are not dependent on improvements in primary care, and maternity capacity at Barnet and North Middlesex is based on the most accurate and up-to-date population figures, wrote Ms Wise.
Mr de Bois said: "A commitment was made that sufficient primary care development must be provided before services are being taken away from Chase Farm, which I have repeated time and again.
"The CCG also argues that population projections are irrelevant, but I disagree, as these projections formed the basis of the strategy, and turned out to be wide off the mark."
Tonight Nick held a public meeting for constituents at St Luke's Hall, Morley Hill. There are a further four meetings planned between now and October.
This evening 70 residents turned up for a lively question and answer session on subjects covering local traffic problems, Chase Farm Hospital, access to GP surgeries, the planned referendum in 2017, immigration and the immigration vans, child care vouchers were just a few of the topical questions raised.
Politics came into disrepute during the last parliament, most notably for the expenses scandal. Many MP's were regarded as out of touch with their constituents, and divorced from the issues that mattered to residents most. It seemed at times MP's were more interested in doing their expenses than doing the right thing for their constituents. One of my reasons for hosting public meetings, calling on people at home and having 'drop in advice surgeries' in public places such as supermarkets, is because I want to be both available and ready to listen to your priorities, not just the priorities of Westminster and the government.
The next open meetings are scheduled on the dates listed HERE
This week the Chancellor introduced some very welcome proposals to help meet the very high costs of childcare when he launched a consultation on tax-free childcare voucher plans, which will offer support from 2015 to families where both parents work, as part of a £1bn-a-year package of help with nursery bills.
The scheme will eventually help 2.5 million households with vouchers available to parents. Parents who claim universal credit will benefit from a separate scheme under which the state will cover up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs – rather than 70 per cent as at present – though critics claim this is less generous than the help on offer to working families.
The new scheme will cover 20 per cent of working families' childcare costs up to a limit of £6,000 per year per child, meaning that up to £1,200 could be claimed for each child. The average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two in the UK is now over £5,000 per year
In addition, parents who do not work because they are carers will be eligible to claim childcare support worth up to £1,200 a year for each son or daughter under a new Government scheme. And the initiative – announced in Chancellor George Osborne's Budget in March – will be extended to those who are off work during maternity or paternity leave.
However I have been very clear in recent radio and TV interviews this week that whilst this is a welcome step, I want the tax system to recognise the families where one spouse choses to stay at home with their young family. I am clear that I believe that Conservatives recognise the vital role of families in helping build a stable, prosperous society, be they single parents or couples. For couples I hope the government will introduce sooner rather than later transferable tax allowances thereby helping young families by allowing them to keep a little bit more of their own money. I recently wrote this blog on the subject which you can read HERE
A number of constituents have contacted me about the consultation for the proposed CrossRail2 proposal. I have posted the submission made in support of the regional plan for CrossRail 2 which is a cross party borough wide submission here in text form only.
Mayor of London
The Queen's Walk
Councillor Doug Taylor
Leader of the Council
Please reply to
020 8379 4116
My Ref :
1st August July 2013
Crossrail 2 Public Consultation – Response from the London Borough of
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the options for Crossrail 2.
It is well known that London is facing significant challenges over the coming
decades in terms of projected growth in population, housing and employment.
The Government recognises these challenges and a need for a long term
strategy to support this growth. The Council therefore welcomes the opportunity
to submit its views on Crossrail 2 and on potential route options.
London's population is growing at a far quicker rate than previously thought and
at a much faster pace than anywhere else within the UK. By 2020, London will
have a predicted population of around 8 million people, rising to 9 million by
2030. This scale of growth cannot be accommodated on the existing transport
network, even with the delivery of Crossrail and other planned improvements
and upgrades to existing railway lines and the Underground. Therefore, doing
nothing is not an option, the Council and local constituency MPs support
Crossrail 2 as it will add vital capacity to the public transport network, relieve
pressure on existing lines and support growth and regeneration along key
In terms of the proposed options (Regional and Metro), we favour the Regional
Option. Transport for London's own assessments show that it is clearly the
stronger of the two as it delivers the most benefits, offering better value for
money, more capacity, better connectivity and the greatest crowding relief
across the network. The Regional Route overall offers the greatest economic
benefit for people and businesses in London and neighbouring regions through
better and more direct access to employment/work force, homes and key
. The Upper Lee Valley
The Upper Lea Valley area has been recognised as an area for significant
growth and opportunity and the recently published Opportunity Area Planning
framework (OAPF) provides a spatial framework for delivering an additional
10,300 jobs and 16,200 homes to the area. London First's report Crossrail 2:
Supporting London's Growth (May 2012) recognises the area alone as having
the potential to deliver some 13% of London's estimated housing need and 8%
of projected employment growth. A report by Oxford Economics on behalf of
Enfield Council has estimated that this scale of growth and appropriate
investment could deliver cumulative gross added value (GVA) of around £10
billion by 2031. It is crucial therefore, that the Regional Option must include a
branch and serve key stations along the Upper Lee Valley and beyond as a
core component to supporting planned development along this corridor.
The opportunity area is one of the biggest in London with the largest
concentration of growth expected in Central Leeside (Meridian Water – some
5000 new homes and 3000 new jobs alone) and Tottenham for both homes
and jobs. It is crucial therefore, that the transport network and in particular
public transport can fully support the projected growth along this corridor.
The Upper Lee Valley Transport Study (2012) estimates that this level of
growth will generate an increase of over 20% in peak period trips to, from and
within the valley. With much of the existing transport network currently
operating at or near capacity, this additional demand will place severe pressure
on the network, and will increase current levels of road congestion and public
transport crowding, unless network enhancements are made. The current two
track Lee Valley mainline is already at capacity, with local services having to
compete with the Stansted Express and longer distance services. Four tracking
of the mainline must be a priority for delivery in Control Period 6 to improve
both local and regional, and to support planned growth in the Upper Lee Valley.
Crossrail 2 will not only help to support the planned growth for this area, it
would also provide further opportunities for greater regeneration potential than
enhancing existing rail links in the area could otherwise provide. London First
believes that "a Crossrail 2 link could help the regeneration in these areas in
the same way that the extension of the Tube in north-west drove London's
expansion in the 1930s and the extension of the Jubilee line eastwards spurred
regeneration of the Docklands and east London from the 1980s".
Research into the Planning and Development of Crossrail 2 was carried out for
TfL in the early part of 2013 and draft conclusions indicate that accessibility and
capacity would be "substantially improved" as a result of Crossrail 2 at many
nodes along the Upper Lee Valley. The east of the borough suffers from some
of the highest levels of deprivation in the country and is highly diverse. For
example around 60% of the people in the eastern wards are of BME origin and
deprivation is in the top 5-10% in England. Crossrail 2 would substantially help
to eradicate some of the problems associated with deprivation, particularly by
significantly increasing access to a wide range of employment opportunities.
The following sections highlight the areas in Enfield which will benefit
significantly from being directly served by Crossrail 2. The Council would like
to see their respective stations being included in the safeguarding for the
Regional Option as we believe there is an undeniable business case to support
. Meridian Water (Angel Road)
The Meridian Water area in Enfield has the potential to deliver significantly
higher housing growth than is forecast in the current London Plan. Currently,
the potential for 5000 new homes and 3000 new jobs as part of the new
Meridian Water development has been identified. However, this level of growth
is dependent on the provision of a regular, reliable 4 train per hour (at least)
service between Angel Road, Tottenham Hale and Stratford.
For the few trains that currently stop at Angel Road, journey times to various
destinations are summarised below:
• Stratford – 16 minutes
• Liverpool Street – 26 minutes
• Euston (change at Tottenham Hale) – 35 minutes
• Victoria (change at Tottenham Hale) – 42 minutes
The Regional scheme could provide 10 additional trains per hour and a "turn up
and go" service to the West End in addition to the 4 trains per hour as above.
Journey times for Crossrail 2 are estimated to be:
• Stratford – 16 minutes (no change)
• Liverpool Street – 22 minutes (15.38% reduction)
• Euston (direct service) – 17 minutes (51.43% reduction)
• Victoria (direct service) – 23 minutes (45.24% reduction)
The growth in the OAPF will not be fully delivered by 2033 so there is scope to
increase the number of homes and jobs through higher density development
and also further land release post implementation of Crossrail 2. Furthermore,
the Regional Scheme and confirmation that it will stop at Meridian Water will
help to encourage market investment.
Job growth will be supported further by enhanced rail services as this will
increase access to a much wider work force, enable sustainable travel to work
for employees and enhance connectivity for businesses wishing to locate in the
area with easy reach of Central London and both Stansted and Heathrow.
The potential housing supply for the Meridian Water area with the Regional
Scheme would also increase significantly beyond that already identified with
the currently funded transport improvements. It will also help to attract potential
residents to the area due to the opportunities the Regional Scheme would bring
in terms of accessibility to central London and beyond.
The Regional Scheme would also provide existing and future businesses with
greater accessibility to the rest of the UK and Europe due a direct link to other
rail services, including Eurostar and the proposed High Speed 2.
. Ponders End
Another area recognised as a key area for development in the OAPF is
Ponders End. It is also one of the few points where it is possible to access the
Lee Valley Regional Park and waterfront. Under current plans, it is planned to
deliver between 1150 and 1400 new homes, a greater commercial
concentration around Ponders End Station and improved access to the Lee
Valley Regional Park.
The land adjacent to the Lee Valley Regional Park waterside is also set to be
redeveloped into a new mixed-use employment community to help reconnect
Ponders End with its waterfront and improve access to and through the
regional park for the Lee Valley as a whole. New and improved footpaths and
cycle paths within the park will connect to the wider network of walking and
cycle routes, linking the park with the River Lee Country Park to the north,
Tottenham Marshes and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the south.
Currently, Ponders End has 2 trains per hour to Liverpool Street and it is
possible to travel (via the Victoria Line) to King's Cross (33 minutes) and
Victoria (42 minutes). However, with the Regional Scheme, Ponders End could
be served by 10 trains per hour to Tottenham Hale, Euston/St. Pancras and the
West End. The Planning and Development for Crossrail 2 research indicates
that example journey times could be:
• Tottenham Hale – 7 minutes
• Euston/ St. Pancras – 20 minutes
• Victoria – 26.5 minutes
The research concluded that there are "substantial opportunities" to increase
development aspirations across the Ponders End area if the Regional Scheme
is implemented and it will also help to support existing development proposals.
In particular, TfL has carried out initial research which indicates that the
Regional Scheme would provide residents in Ponders End with access to 5
times more jobs within 45 minutes than would otherwise be the case. This
increase is more than any other station studied by TfL by a substantial margin.
The Regional Scheme would also substantially improve access to the
Brimsdown Industrial Area, the 2nd largest industrial estate in London.
Covering an area of some 350 acres, it is currently home to a mix of around
230 businesses (mainly logistics and manufacturing) employing in excess of
8000 people. Accessibility is currently an issue with shift workers who are
unable to get to the site by public transport. However, this would be addressed
through the implementation of Regional Scheme and it will also support the
area's important strategic function as well as allowing for further expansion and
investments and further jobs.
TfL modelling to 2031 and beyond has substantially underestimated the
number of jobs in the Upper Lee Valley because, and despite the historical
decline in the manufacturing sector, there has already been an off trend
increase due to recent relocations from the Lower Lea Valley. There is potential
for considerably more consolidation and expansion under existing plans. The
Regional Scheme would help support further growth in this key employment
area and make the resulting jobs more accessible.
. Enfield Lock
Enfield Lock lies in the northern part of the Upper Lee Valley Opportunity Area,
serving a substantial residential area as well as Innova Park and the growing
number of major businesses locating in North East Enfield. The Regional
Scheme provides the opportunity to dramatically improve the area's
accessibility and connectivity, with the potential for an additional 10 trains per
hour and a 30% reduction in journey times into central London (Victoria). The
Regional Scheme will therefore help realise existing development potential in
the area and stimulate significantly higher levels of housing and employment
growth in the future. In addition, as with Ponders End, the Regional Scheme
will substantially increase the number of employment opportunities accessible
to the local community and help tackle significant pockets of deprivation.
The level crossing in Ordnance Road is already a significant barrier to local
movement and the higher train frequency that would follow the four tracking of
the main line will effectively require its closure. It is therefore essential that
Network Rail and TfL work with the Council and the local community to fully
consider options for maintaining local access.
. Victoria Line
With the forecast increase in population and employment in London it is clear
that the Victoria Line will become seriously congested in the future despite
recent upgrades increasing capacity by 21%. Other lines also face similar
challenges and a longer term solution must be sought. Only the Regional
Scheme delivers the required congestion relief.
Although the Victoria Line does not directly serve the borough, many residents
access the line at Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters. The most recent
Census statistics (2011) indicate that, despite the lack of direct access, the
tube represents the 4th most popular mode of (main) transport to work for
residents in the east of the borough1. However, as noted above, at least a 20%
increase in peak period trips is expected within the Upper Lee Valley between
2007 and 2031 on the back of a 24% increase in population and 20% in
employment. Without the Regional Scheme, a large proportion of this will be
transferred on to the Victoria Line and further development opportunities will be
seriously hindered by a lack of transport infrastructure to support it.
. Stansted Airport
Stansted Airport is the fourth largest airport in the UK and currently serves
around 17.5 million passengers a year (mppa). However, with approval to
serve 35 mppa, it is the only London airport with the space and permission to
expand, therefore highlighting its strategic importance for the future of London's
aviation market. The airport also has the highest proportion of passengers
(50%) using public transport to access it when compared to others in the
country, and this is planned to increase further. However, the current capacity
constraints on the West Anglia Line severely limit options to improve rail links
with Central London. The Regional Scheme could provide the opportunity to
serve Stansted and this needs to be investigated further following publication of
the Davis Commission report. Whilst supporting better rail services to
Stansted, it is important that this is not achieved at the expense of the Regional
Scheme stopping at stations in Enfield.
In conclusion, the Council and local MPs strongly support Crossrail 2 as it will
deliver much needed capacity to the existing public transport network and
support regeneration and growth by improving connectivity and accessibility.
In particular, we support the Regional Scheme because it offers far greater
capacity, connectivity and more regeneration benefits to London as a whole
compared to the Metro Option. It also will provide greater crowding relief on the
existing public transport network and in particular the Victoria Line.
Early indications show how invaluable the Regional Option will be in terms of
generating substantial benefits for the economy. However, for these benefits to
be maximised, it is crucial that Crossrail 2 directly serves stations and areas
1 Enfield Highway, Enfield Lock, Ponders End and Edmonton Green wards
where there is the greatest potential for future development, including Meridian
Water, Ponders End, Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and other growth points in the
wider Upper Lee Valley.
Four tracking of the Lee Valley Mainline remains a crucial requirement if rail
services are to improve and meet current projected increased demands in this
area. It is also a pre-requisite for Crossrail 2 and therefore remains a priority
for delivery as soon as possible. However, the implications of associated level
crossing closures need to be fully understood and measures identified to
maintain local accessibility.
The Regional Scheme has the flexibility to serve Stansted airport and further
investigation of this option is required following publication of the Davis
Commission report. However, whilst we support better rail services to
Stansted, it is important that this is not achieved at the expense of the Regional
Option stopping at stations in Enfield.
There is recognition that we are at the beginning of a very long process and
there is a great deal more to be done before the plans for Crossrail 2 are
finalised. We look forward to working closely with you and other key
stakeholders in developing the business case for a Regional Scheme that will
help transform eastern Enfield and the rest of the Upper Lee Valley.
Leader of the Council Enfield North
Nick De Bois MP
Andy Love MP
David Burrowes MP
This evening I held another drop in advice surgery. It was a pleasure to meet so many people outside Tesco in Enfield Town who stopped by either to just chat or raise specific issues. I held the surgery between 5-6.30 pm. Our next one will be at the CO-OP in Hertford Rd. Before that however don't forget we have a public meeting on 8th August in Chase Ward, St Luke's Hall, Morley Hill starting at 7pm.
Following a recent trip to Istanbul where I took time out to meet demonstrators and officials at the Taksim Sq demonstrations, I was invited to comment in the London based Turkish language press on reports that the Turkish Prime Minsiter was threatening to sue The Times over publication of an advert he found offensive. The full article is found HERE My quote if full for those not able to read Turkish is as follows:
"I was in Istanbul earlier this month and I visited Taksim Square where I talked to both demonstrators and police. Freedom to demonstrate peacefully is a crucial part of a democratic society as is the very important fundamental right to free speech.
It is crucial that free speech, including legal advertisements be tolerated- no matter how awkward the message is for the government of the day.
Turkey is a young emerging democracy and the government are having to adjust accordingly Threatening to sue a newspaper for publishing political commentary is not in my opinion sensible or likely to succeed."
I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Great Debate Tour @GreatDebateTour which is a national conversation and action plan across the country designed to increase voter registration across all Black Minority Ethnic Communities. Voter regitration is ofcourse a national issue, but the problem is particularly acute amongst BME communities. I am delighted that so many young people turned up at the meeting to take the campaign national, and I look forward to supporting their efforts at future meetings elsewhere across the country.
Today I was invited to meet with the London Waterway Trust and the Canal and River Trust which is based in Navigation Drive, Enfield Lock. The trust is responsible for the upkeep and management of all our canals, including of course the Lee Valley Navigation waterway canal that runs through the east of the constituency. Locally I heard about some of the excellent volunteering projects recently completed - and more help is always welcome! To find out more go to http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteering
The Hop Poles Pub function room hosted a residents get together for the Turkish speaking community across the constituency who asked for an opportunity to meet with their local MP. I am always delighted when groups of residents or local organisations want to host these types of meetings, more so when the organisers provided platefuls of baclava cakes! Subjects raised included Chase Farm Hospital, the quality of education and disciplin standards in schools, breaking down barriers to help small busineeses thrive and of course topics of international interest including the demonstrations and the governments response to the Taksim Square
demonstrations in Istanbul. I was in Istanbul during some of the demonstrations and went to the square where I spoke with demonstrators and police to gain an understanding of the issues
This afternoon I met with members of the Emfield Lock Friday Muslim Prayer Group at Kettering Hall. Following their prayer meeting I attendeed a question and answer session with about 40 members, almost all from the local neighbourhood. I make a point of visiting as many groups as possible across the constituency, church groups, parenting groups, special interest groups or just neghbourhood coffee mornings. Do please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to arrange a get together. Events like this are always a pleasure to attend and keep me in touch with all the priorities across the constituency.
Today Nick visited Halo Dogs, a unique training centre for dogs based in Enfield. Alongside offering facilities like dog day care, puppy training and dog walking; the team at Halo Dogs do considerable work with both stray dogs and those with serious or dangerous behavioural problems.
Following his visit, Nick commented: "It was fantastic to visit this unique training centre based in Enfield. They're offering a fresh, innovative approach which seeks to get the best out of the dogs in their care. Not only do they have a very successful commercial arm, they're doing amazing work with stray dogs and those with dangerous behavioural problems".
If you would like more information about the work of Halo Dogs, you can find it here.
As Parliament goes into Summer Recess Nick has been keen to spend as much time as possible meeting residents and visiting businesses across Enfield North.
So far this week he's been meeting residents in Town Ward, Chase Ward and Highlands Ward – and plans to spend plenty time in Southbury, Turkey Street, Enfield Lock and Highway next week.
Nick is always happy to visit businesses or meet with residents in the constituency, if you'd like to meet with him during the Summer Recess please feel free to send him an e-mail to see if something can be arranged.
You can e-mail Nick directly at email@example.com
This evening Nick attended a residents meeting in Elmhurst Road following the recent murder which had taken place.
The meeting was organised to give residents the opportunity to meet with the police and representatives of the council to discuss their concerns, and receive an update in relation to the on-going criminal investigation.
Obviously, as there is currently an on-going criminal investigation, Nick is limited in the comments he can make.
If you would like any more information about the incident in Elmhurst Road please contact Nick directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
This evening Nick took part in a panel discussion titled "Information Overload" which sought to answer the question: Are we being overwhelmed with information or should we embrace non-stop news?
Alongside Nick the panel included columnist for the Independent newspaper, Steve Richards; The Spectator Coffee House Blog editor, Isabel Hardman; and Vice President of Digital Communications for Visa Europe, Nick Jones.
Following a lively discussion, the panel collectively helped to develop a list of Twitter Top Tips which you can read here.
Following the discussion, Nick commented: "It was fantastic to join a panel discussion alongside other keen Twitter users. I've used Twitter for a number of years to communicate with a large range of people, including my constituents. I think it's a valuable tool for getting out messages but as with everything there are always risks attached".
This afternoon Nick hosted the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Primary Care and Public Health's launch of their report: Sustainability of the NHS – Is Bevan's NHS under threat?
The report follows a six month inquiry by the APPG, which Nick is the Vice-Chair of. The report found that if current trends continue the NHS could make up fifty percent of public spending in the next 50 years - as a result of not only an aging population but also people making unhealthy lifestyle choices.
The report suggests that future NHS savings should be invested back into the service as opposed to being returned to government and more school nurses should be employed to help educate children about looking after their own health.
Two areas specifically highlighted by Nick were the over-prescribing of medicines – with a Parliamentary question tabled showing that over £60 million was spent by the NHS on paracetamol prescriptions alone in 2011; and that seventy percent of UK adults engage in two or more of the main unhealthy behaviours which is a direct cause of many preventable conditions.
Following the launch of the report, Nick commented: "There is never going to be any question of the NHS being anything other than free at the point of use, funded by general taxation – however unless we face up to growing problems it could face a funding gap of £50 billion by 2022. Health professionals and politicians have been well aware of the challenges facing the NHS for over a decade but all that has happened is these groups have in effect been having conversations with themselves. IF we hope to ensure the survival of the NHS we have to make sure that the public becomes part of the solution - and challenging lifestyle choices is a major part of that process".
Today Nick has backed Ofcom's latest campaign to prevent people from receiving expensive phone bills after their summer holiday.
The summer holidays are just around the corner for many and with mobile internet access and Wi-Fi it has never been easier to stay in touch with what's going on at home and upload photos to share with friends.
However, using a mobile phone overseas (known as data roaming) can cost considerably more that it does in the UK – particularly if you're surfing the web, uploading photos or sending a large number of e-mails.
Ofcom has launched a set of handy tips to prevent mobile phone users from arriving home to find a far larger than expected telephone bil:
Following Ofcom's campaign launch, Nick commented: "I'm a big fan of Twitter and can often be seen using my mobile phone to tweet and I'd hate to arrive home from my summer holiday to find my phone bill has more than tripled. Everyone should take a look at Ofcom's tips to prevent them from being stung by a high phone bill over the summer".
This morning Nick took part in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Breast Cancer's launch of their 2013 report - "Age is just a number", which outlines a number of recommendations to combat inequality in the treatment, services and support available to older breast cancer patients.
The report's findings are backed by the UK's leading breast cancer charities including Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Campaign - with support from broadcaster Dame Jenni Murrary DBE, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.
Some of the main areas highlighed in the report are:
After the report's launch, Nick commented: "It's deeply concerning that older breast cancer patients are being denied access to the full treatment and support options available purely because of their age. By learning from those at the heart of the issue, the APPG for Breast Cancer has gained a clear picture of these barriers and what must be done to eradicate them".
If you'd like to see more information on the Report and its findings, you can do so here.
During a Ministerial Statement this afternoon, Nick spoke to welcome the Government's decision not to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing following a long-running consultation process.
Following Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne's speech, Nick intervened saying "I am pleased that the blanket approach has not been adopted because the target is heavy, not moderate, drinkers. Does the Minister agree that there is little advantage in lining the turnover of supermarkets when local initiatives can adapt to local needs? With a coalition of retailers, police commissioners, pubs and, above all, local authorities, we can have more impact locally, where the situation is of course different from area to area."
The Minister responded saying "My hon. Friend makes an important point and does so very well. I merely add that the position of Opposition Front Benchers who are shouting at me throughout this statement is, in effect, that they think that money should be taken from their poorest constituents and put towards the profits of supermarkets. That is an unusual position for Labour Members to take."
Today in the House of Commons Chamber, Nick raised his concerns about the Home Secretary's decision to opt Britain back into the European Arrest Warrant.
Linking his concerns to the case of his constituent Andrew Syemou who was extradited to Greece and held in prison awaiting trial for over a year, Nick said "is not the core of the problem that the European Arrest Warrant fundamentally rests on a concept of mutual recognition and mutual trust that all systems are the same and have equal fairness and human rights?"
Nick then when on to highlight the difference in EU Member State's behaviour following his recent attendance at the Organisation for Security Co-Operation in Europe Conference where "Hungary, a member of the EU, was condemned by parliamentary delegates for working practices, which surely cannot allow mutual trust to continue".
Following the debate on the Home Secretary's decision, Nick commented: "While I understand the decision the Home Secretary has made – I am yet to be fully convinced that the European Arrest Warrant will work in the manner it is intended. I want to see far more protections in place which prevent people like Andrew Symeou being extradited before their case is ready for trial".
Today Nick has backed the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) top tips for businesses to stay safe online. The Federation of Small Businesses recently published a report, Cyber security and fraud: the impact on small businesses, which shows that cyber crime costs its members around £785 million per year as they fall victim to fraud and online crime.
The report shows that 41 per cent of FSB members have been a victim of cyber crime in the last 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business. Around three in 10 members have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13%) or through 'card not present' fraud (10%).
However, the report finds that almost 20 per cent of FSB members have not taken any steps to protect themselves from a cyber crime, even though 36 per cent of respondents said they regularly install security patches. Almost six in 10 members regularly update their virus scanning software to minimise their exposure to online crime.
In response to this the FSB has developed ten top tips for small firms to help them keep their data secure and reduce the risk of online fraud. The tips include measures on having the right security protection and practices, staff training, and having regular assessment and testing of security.
Following the launch of the campaign, Nick commented: "Cyber crime can hit small firms hard, so its important they think carefully about the procedures in place to prevent it. The FSB's top tips include measures on having the right security protection and practices, staff training, and having regular assessment and testing of security".
The tips can be accessed at the FSB's website here.
This afternoon Nick spoke in support of James Wharton MP's Private Member's Bill which is calling for an EU Referendum in 2017.
Intervening during James Wharton MP's opening statement, Nick said "Does my honourable friend agree that what irks the people of this nation more than anything else is the democratic deficit that exists in the EU, and that deficit has grown time after time as a result of the treaties that Labour Members signed up to? His Bill will remedy that democratic deficit by giving the British people trust?"
James Wharton MP replied saying that his Bill would "restore trust by engaging with" the British public.
The European Union (Referendum) Bill passed its Second Reading by 304 votes to 0 – and is now undergoing its Committee Stage.
If you'd like to see more information on the passage of the Bill, you can see it here.
Nick has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying a recent report has proven the case for downgrading Chase Farm is flawed.
A report from independent monitors from Hygeian Consulting, commissioned by Enfield Council, has found that population projections in the BEH Strategy (which recommended downgrading Chase Farm) were wildly incorrect. Nick believes the report also proves that promised improvements in primary care will not be in place by the November deadline.
In his letter to the Secretary of State, Nick wrote: "With the BEH Strategy being based on worryingly inaccurate population projections and promised improvements to primary care certain to be unfulfilled by November, I therefore wish to urge you once again to halt the downgrade of Chase Farm Hospital and to review the BEH Strategy."
You can read his letter to Jeremy Hunt here.
You can also read his letter to Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Doug Taylor, here in which he gives the Council his full support should they decide to challenge the BEH Strategy in court. Nick has also written to Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group, urging them to back the Council if they go down the legal route.
Nick's actions have been highlighted in today's London Evening Standard.
With the summer break just around the corner, many students and families will be heading off on their holidays or gap years abroad. To ensure a hassle free trip this summer, Nick has been encouraging residents living in Enfield North, particularly students planning a gap year, to be prepared before travelling abroad.
Every year, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff around the world see a range of cases from lost and stolen passports to hospitalisations and detentions. Nick highlighted that it is crucial for students in Enfield North planning a gap year to take basic actions to avoid getting into difficulty abroad. These include four simple steps that any traveller can take to ensure a safe, happy and hassle free holiday this summer:
1: Check your travel documents
It is important to check that your travel documents such as passports and insurance are valid and that you have all of the necessary visas for the country you are travelling to. It is also worth making copies of travel documents and/or storing them online using a secure data storage site.
2: Research your destination
The more clued up you are, the smoother your trip will be so check out some key facts about your destination – even if it's a familiar one. Look up information such as local transport, local dress codes, availability of ATMs and the local laws and customs. The FCO website is a great place to start.
3: Get comprehensive travel insurance
Whether you fancy an adrenaline fuelled holiday, trekking across the outback or a chilled break in the sun, make sure you get comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for everything you want to do while you are travelling abroad. If you are travelling to a European destination also make sure you have an EHIC card when travelling in Europe.
4: Check health requirements
Research the health risks for the country you are visiting online as early as possible before travelling, so you can get the right vaccinations and preventative measures (e.g. malaria tablets) if required.
It is essential for gap year students to follow these simple guidelines. Fully researching the local laws and customs of the countries you are visiting, especially in relation to alcohol and drugs, will ensure you don't accidently offend people or break local laws. Just having a little bit of local knowledge of the countries you are visiting can make the whole gap year experience even better.
Following the launch of the campaign, Nick commented: "It is extremely important that we all take time to prepare properly before travelling avroad to ensure we have a safe trip this summer. I would strongly recommend that everyone takes out comprehensive travel insurance and does a bit of research about the local laws and customs for the country they are travelling to. If you are a student or young person who has never travelled before it is particularly important to have a look at travel advice and take these four crucial steps as a bare minimum before you travel".
From This is London:
Plans to ease traffic to the M25 in Enfield have been supported by a Prime Minister's aide.
John Hayes, advisor to David Cameron visited hi-tech company Kevin Hughes, who will be carrying out the operation, in Enfield to support changing the Bullsmore Lane entrance onto the M25 to Mollison Avenue.
Nick de Bois, Enfield North MP accompanied Mr Hayes around the site and has championed the idea of relieving traffic from Bullsmore Lane since being elected.
The Enfield North MP said: "I was very keen for the minister to understand the importance of this Lea Valley corridor and how we need to continue the investment and the infrastructure. It is crucial that we get the Northern gateway access road that will link the industrial area of Mollison Avenue with the Junction 26."
Nick was making the case for a Northern Gateway Access Road back in 2009:
Hopes of a successful bid hinge on a report from Transport for London (TfL) who have assessed the traffic flow through the junction.
However, MP de Bois is confident that the report, due this month, will come back with positive results.
He said: "I believe when the traffic assessment is made, that will show the need for the road. When the environmental considerations are taken in to account and how it is going to improve quality of life, it will be a win-win case and I hope we will get a positive response from TfL."
Special advisor John Hayes said: "He (Nick de Bois) has been incredibly helpful to the business and that is a great tribute to him. It is partly because of Nick that I am here.
"The northern gateway access is a critical part as to why the businesses are here and the govt will need to look at this in the round."
Chairman of Kevin Hughes, Maxwell Packe said: "We are absolutely delighted that the minister has graced us with his presence here, we really appreciate it and we are delighted that we have built a working relationship with MP Nick who has been extremely helpful to us."
Nick has today sought to remind people in Enfield North to ensure they make simply checks before giving to charity collections, as part of a campaign by the Charity Commission.
Almost all collections are genuine, but some people will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. In the last year 1 in 10 charities with incomes over £100,000 have been victims of fraud. Charities are working hard to protect themselves but the Charity Commission has also been working to promote safer giving amongst the public via their "Top Ten Tips" for giving safely.
Following the launch of the campaign, Nick commented: "Many people often give generously and these donations allow many charities to continue with their good work. I don't want a single penny that is intended for charity to end up elsewhere – so it is very important that everyone follows the Charity Commission's Top Tips".
Charity Commissions Top Ten Tips
1: Before giving, check the charity's name and registration number. Anyone can verify this on the Charity Commission's website.
2: Fundraisers require a license from the local authority (or the Police in London) to collect in a public place. Check that they have this.
3: When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.
4: If in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
5: Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity's name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
6: Make sure that when you give to radio or television appeals that the process is secure. Ofcom lists the rules for radio and television charity appeals on its website.
7: Take care when responding to emails or clicking to a charity's website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your chosen charity to check you have the right website address. For further guidance see the GetSafeOnline website.
8: Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they care from a genuine charity.
9: After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission.
10: Don't be pressured to give to a collection immediately. If in any doubt, donate directly to the charity.
Ruth McKee from the Enfield Advertiser has the story in this week's paper on Nick's stance on an increase in MP's pay. You can read it here.
There have been reports that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will next week recommend that MPs recieve a pay increase of £10,000, taking an MP's salary up to £75,000.
Prime Minister David Cameron has urged IPSA to show restraint and said it would be unthinkable to make Westminster more expensive to the taxpayer.
Nick has given a short statement:
"My job is to represent my constituents' interests. I publish my expense claims on my website every month and try to give good value to the residents I serve. Accepting such a payrise would not be fair to my constituents".
There have been reports that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will next week recommend that MPs recieve a pay increase of £10,000, taking an MP's salary up to £75,000.
Prime Minister David Cameron has urged IPSA to show restraint and said it would be unthinkable to make Westminster more expensive to the taxpayer.
Nick has given a short statement:
"My job is to represent my constituents' interests. I publish my expense claims on my website every month and try to give good value to the residents I serve. Accepting such a payrise would not be fair to my constituents".
Nick today warned Enfield North residents about the dangers of travelling on holiday without travel insurance. In support of a campaign by ABTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Nick is urging constituents to "pack their policy" ahead of the annual summer getaway.
According to new research from ABTA, many UK holidaymakers are unaware of the potential costs of medical treatment abroad and are putting themselves at risk of astronomical medical bills if something goes wrong.
Nearly a third of people in Enfield North now travel abroad without insurance, despite the need for medical assistance being relatively common. According to the ABTA research, nearly 1 in 5 of Enfield North residents has had the need to visit a doctor or hospital while abroad.
Most at risk are younger travellers, as almost half will have a holiday abroad without taking out travel insurance. Recently, research by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office found that 4 out of 5 young people admit to taking part in more adventurous behaviour on holiday – yet fewer than half check that their insurance covers riskier pursuits.
As part of the campaign to raise awareness of the potential risks of not being insurance, Nick commented" We all look forward to our well-deserved summer holiday. However, it is very important that we all make sure that when we do travel overseas, we are covered if something goes wrong. Many countries do not have national schemes to cover the costs of healthcare and treatment abroad can therefore be very costly. It is just not worth the risk".
ABTA has recently launched a new advice section of its website on travel insurance, which can be visited here.
The Enfield Advertiser devotes its front page this week to Nick's call for all A&E downgrades - including Chase Farm's - to be suspended.
Writing in the Spectator, Nick argued:
"The long term strategy of specialist, centralised hospitals supported by excellence in primary care is well documented and well supported in the medical professions. Yet we are in danger of putting the cart before the horse – reducing A&E provision before the alternatives are in place – and exacerbating the lack of trust rather than building it."
He added, "Surely, however unappetising it is to the Health Secretary, he should now accept until the causes of increased attendance at A&Es are dealt with he should instruct all downgrades to be suspended."
Koos Couvee has the story here.
Today, research by Nick has shown that Labour's plan to cut pensions would hit 14,620 pensioners in Enfield North, many of whom depend on their Basic State Pension to pay their bills and put food on the table.
Labour has chosen to announce they will cap pensions rather than benefits, meaning the Basic State Pension would be £234 less a year by 2017/18.
After hearing Labour's plans, Nick commented: "Now we know that when Labour say they will cut the welfare bill, what they really mean is they would choose to cut the Basic State Pension over capping benefits. This would take £234 a year away from 14,620 pensioners in Enfield North – people who have worked hard all their lives. This is a about a simple choice: the Conservatives who want to reward pensioners and Labour who want to punish them".
As part of his role as a member of the Justice Select Committee, today Nick attended a televised hearing featuring evidence from representatives of legal professions as part of their ongoing inquiry into the Government's plans to reduce the £2.2billion spent every year on legal aid.
Further information on the consultation can be found online here.
Today Nick took part in the debate in the House of Commons on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
Nick raised a point regarding the idea of the community trigger, asking the Home Secretary, "Does my right hon. Friend accept that in some instances severe antisocial behaviour leads almost to a fear of reporting incidents, and will she therefore welcome the idea that councillors, MPs and third parties may implement the trigger under those circumstances?"
Theresa May replied, "I understand the point my hon. Friend is making. The point about the community trigger is that it is not just about the individual on the receiving end of antisocial behaviour. It is called the community trigger precisely because others in the community may be able to exercise it, as opposed to the individual who has been subjected to such behaviour."
You can see the rest of the answer and comment here.
Nick joined representatives from the Anatolian Community Association (ACA) and members of the Turkish community at Clissold Park for the grand opening of the Anatolian Cultural Fete on Saturday 8 June.
The Fete is one of the largest cultural events in the UK and this year celebrated its 7th anniversary.
Left: Nick at the Festival with Ottoman Marching Band member.
Nick hosted a visit from 19 members of the North Enfield Conservative Club, giving them a tour of Parliament and sharing his experiences of working in the building.
In addition, those visiting got the opportunity to join Nick on the House of Commons terrace for tea and to talk politics.
If you would like to arrange an opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament or sit in the public gallery to watch a debate, please contact Nick.
Nick joined women looking for work at a unique event offering women from the community at an exclusive forum to explore income earning opportunities, offer information on as many options they can consider such as skills training, apprenticeships and self-employment and a chance to meet face-to-face direct employers.
Similar to Nick's own Jobs Fairs (left), the event provided an excellent opportunity to promote opportunities to women that they may not have previously considered certain lines of work or are struggling to find employment.
Today Nick chaired an evidence session in his role as Chair of of All Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Events Industry.
The inquiry invited witnesses from the industry to give evidence in front of a panel of MPs. The inquiry heard evidence from:
Michael Hirst, Chairman - Business Visits and Events Partnership
Simon Hughes, Chairman - Eventia
Jennifer Jenkins, Managing Director - MCI Petersfield/ London
Chad Lion-Cachet, Managing Director, Sports Division - TUI Travel Sport
The next public hearing will involve evidence from further witnesses from the industry and questions to John Penrose MP, former Tourism and Heritage Minister and Member of Parliament for Weston-Super-Mare.
Yesterday Nick spoke during Communities and Local Government questions to highlight the amount of money spent by local councils on translating public documents into foreign languages.
Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis had said, "We have published "50 ways to save", a practical guide to councils on how they can make the most of their budgets through saving money—making sure the pennies get taken care of, so the pounds do as well. We have also developed the transformational challenge award to encourage councils that are looking innovatively at how they can work together, such as St Edmundsbury borough council, which I visited this morning and is saving almost £1 million a year through shared management with its neighbours."
Nick replied, "I thank the Minister for his answer. Does he also agree that councils should review their portfolio of literature requiring translation, as in the last three years over £40 million was spent on that in England, and my council spent £1 million?"
The Minister replied, "Yes, absolutely."
Message from Nick
This afternoon I have called on the Secretary of State for Health to suspend the downgrading of all Accident & Emergency units – including ours at Chase Farm Hospital.
The reason I have done this is simple: until we deal with the causes of why so many people are turning up at A&Es, we must not be closing down A&E services.
I have set out my case in more detail on the website of the Spectator.
The are many causes including the NHS 111 telephone service driving excessive numbers of patients to A&E, poor access to some GP services, and an increase in clinical need - the list goes on. Overall, far too many patients who should not be treated at A&E are nonetheless being sent there anyway.
Indeed only today Dr Dan Poulter, the Health Minister, said "we've got to start thinking about how we stop people who didn't need to be in hospital arriving there". However until the thinking is done, and changes are made so that we stop funnelling patients to A&E - when we are downgrading so many A&E units – I believe the Health Secretary should call a halt to all plans to downgrade Accident & Emergency units.
The long term strategy of specialist, centralised hospitals supported by excellence in primary care is well documented and well supported in the medical professions. Yet we are in danger of putting the cart before the horse - reducing A&E provision before the alternatives are in place - and exacerbating the lack of trust rather than building it.
Today Nick met with Business for Britain Chief Executive, Matthew Elliott, to learn about the new independent, non-partisan campaign seeking a better deal for Britain in the EU.
Involving people from all parties and none, run by business for business, the objective of the campaign is to urge all political parties to join in committing themselves to a national drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the EU.
Nick said, "I'm delighted that the Business for Britain campaign has been launched as it will provide an essential contribution to the important subject of Britain's membership of the EU. Vital in this debate is demonstrating that the country has nothing to fear from renegotiation and to give business a voice in the debate, which is exactly what Business for Britain will do".
The number of council tenants in Enfield buying their own homes has rocketed – with Enfield the fifth highest borough in London for new sales.
In April last year the Government launched the Right to Buy scheme, allowing council tenants discounts of up to £100,000 to help them buy their home. Last year just 8 tenants bought their homes, but under the new scheme this figure has jumped to 56 – the fifth highest in London.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois said, "I'm delighted that people in Enfield are taking advantage of Right to Buy and I hope that Enfield Council is ensuring it's doing all it can to promote the discounts to tenants".
Across England the number of tenants buying their own homes has doubled on last year from 2,638 to 5,942.
This morning Nick was pleased to cut the ribbon on Fortuna Mobility's newly expanded showroom in Enfield.
Fortuna is located at the Northgate Business Centre on Crown Road and is part of Fortuna Healthcare which was established in Enfield in 1995. They have about 40 employees on site who largely live in Enfield.
Nick said, "I'm delighted to see another local business going from strength to strength in Enfield and I wish Fortuna every success in the future".
Today Nick has joined the Prime Minister in calling on start-up businesses and entrepreneurs across Enfield North to get involved in this year's Conservative Party Start-Up Hub and win the opportunity to showcase their work in front of thousands of visitors at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Launched for the first time two years ago, the national competition is a chance for 12 new businesses to demonstrate their ideas or designs during the four day conference running Sunday September 29th until Wednesday October 2nd.
Launching the competition, the Prime Minister said: "The Conservative Party believes that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy. To show our continued commitment to British enterprise and entrepreneurs I am pleased that the Conservatives are one again running the Start-Up Hub at our Conference. I support this initiative and encourage start-ups and entrepreneurs to apply".
Nick added: "This is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs in Enfield North and I would greatly encourage anyone with a brilliant new idea to enter for a chance to show off their work to thousands of delegates, the nation's media and business leaders from across the country".
Twelve applicants will be chosen to showcase their ideas at the conference and winners will be chosen by a panel of senior businessmen chaired by Damian Collins MP.
Those aged over 70 account for around 35 per cent of all emergency admissions to hospital; however often hospital is simply not the best place for these patients and therefore the Government is seeking to reduce the number of older people admitted to hospital.
This is why the Secretary of State for Health has launched the Vulnerable Older People Plan which will cover three important areas:
Alongside this work, the Government is bringing forward historic legislation to ensure the health service meets the demands of people with more complicated health needs. The Care Bill seeks to put compassionate care at the heart of services, ensuring they are joined up and that there is certainty about the future funding of long-term care for older people.
Following the announcement of the Plan, Nick commented: "It's great news that the Government is seeking to place far more attention on the care offered to older people. Many end up in hospital when they could be far better looked after in other places. I wait the outcome of the Government's plan with great interest".
Enfield Council have promised to sign the community covenant to support members of the Armed Forces – a week after Nick urged them to do so at Prime Minister's Questions.
The Royal British Legion highlighted two weeks ago that while over 300 councils had already signed the covenant, Enfield Council had not done so. The aim of the community covenant is to encourage local communities to support the service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting members of the armed forces.
As reported before, Nick spoke during Prime Minister's Questions to highlight that Enfield Council had been named by the British Legion as one of the local authorities that had not signed up. Nine days later, Enfield Council has now announced details of a signing ceremony to be held in June this year.
Nick said, "I was pleased to be able to raise this at Prime Minister's Questions. Our Armed Forces are a source of immense pride in Britain and it's absolutely right that as a nation and in our borough we give them all the support they need. The community covenant is an incredibly important part of that promise to support them, and I'm delighted that Enfield Council will finally be signing in June".
Yesterday in Parliament Nick asked a number of questions of the Department of Health, including if they will make it policy to require airlines to provide onboard oxygen for patients reliant upon NHS-provided home oxygen equipment.
Health Minister Anna Soubry replied: "We are aware, through recent engagement with patients and the British Lung Foundation, that patients are now more able to travel locally and abroad due to the recent enhancements made to the contracts for home oxygen in England (and Wales). The Department has had feedback from a recent engagement event that patients on oxygen want to be able to do more in terms of travel, and we will continue to work with NHS England and home oxygen suppliers in this area."
You can see all the questions and the full reply here.
Nick has this morning welcomed the Government providing £10m in funding to ensure homeless people receive the help they need once they leave hospital.
It is estimated that around 70 per cent of homeless people are discharged from hospital back onto the streets without their health and housing problems properly being addressed. The new funding stream will be used to support voluntary funding organisations who work with the NHS to create bespoke services to guarantee that homeless people receive the best possible care after leaving hospital.
Following the Government's announcement, Nick commented: "Homeless people are too often discharged back onto our streets without their problems being addressed properly. This creates a revolving door situation in the NHS – by making £10 million available to invest in homelessness prevention measures, vulnerable people will be put in touch with the right help early on and be helped to get their lives back on track".
Nick has given his backing to Yvonne Omini from Enfield, who is campaigning to empower young mums.
The 24-year-old met Nick to discuss her project to inspire young female parents to aim high and fulfil their goals.
Working with Fixers, the national movement of young people 'fixing' the future, Yvonne is drawing on her own experience as a single mum of two children.
She was delighted with how the meeting with Nick went. "It was a phenomenal experience" she said, "If somebody had told me this time last year that I would be sitting down with an MP, I wouldn't have thought it was possible."
"I was just being myself and knowing that he was listening to what I was saying and helping to open doors of opportunity for me was amazing."
During the meeting Yvonne explained the details of her campaign and Nick pledged his future assistance.
Nick said, "I am delighted to have met Yvonne who is clearly an inspiration to others who want to take back control of their life and release their potential," he said.
"She has an extraordinary story, fantastic energy and enthusiasm, and I look forward to working with her.
"I know that Fixers has a very powerful message and offering to young people, which is very relevant to our needs here in Enfield."
Yvonne has made a professional documentary with Fixers exploring her experience as a single mum and is hoping to take into schools across Enfield to share her message. She is keen to reach out to teen mothers and young girls who could be at risk of falling pregnant, after noticing a lack of support available to them. When Yvonne had two children before she was 20, she was fearful about how she would cope, and wary of how she would be judged.
While it was incredibly challenging, Yvonne - who wants to become a motivational speaker - decided not to see her children as a burden and vowed to take control of her life. She now wants to help other young women to do the same.
She added, "As a young mum there will always be challenges because you're growing as a person yourself at the same time as raising a child".
"But knowing you want better for them can push you to turn a negative into a positive. It's not the situation that is the problem, it's how you deal with it."
The Fixers project has already supported over 7,400 young people across the UK to have an authentic voice in their community. Now, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery, Fixers aims to work with a further 20,000 young people over the next three years.
Nick has opened a new cash machine he has secured for residents - after their nearest one was located nearly one and a half miles away.
The Enfield Independent has the story.
Residents on the Enfield Island Village previously had to travel to Hertford Road to find an ATM, despite having a number of local shops nearby. Nick campaigned on their behalf to Tesco, RBS and Enfield Council and has now cut the ribbon after it was installed and made operational.
Nick said, "It may seem like a small thing but actually I found this was a big concern when talking to residents and members of the Enfield Island Village Trust. I'm pleased that I've been able to take up this cause as the local MP and make this happen".
The ATM has been installed on the outside wall of the Tesco Express on the Island Village, and will not charge users for withdrawing cash. Mr de Bois was the first person to use it and afterwards residents were already queueing to make use of it.
Iain Campbell of Amber Management, the Managing Agent appointed by the Enfield Island Village Trust, was quoted in the Enfield Independent saying, "This is great news, a fantastic facility for residents. Without Nick's pressure we would never have achieved this, and what really pleases me is the ATM will be free".
Today Nick joined representatives of Enfield Town FC who were receiving the FA Charter Standard Community Club Award.
The club received the prestigious award in recognition of the standards reached by the club across all sections of the club, from the first team all the way through to the many boys and girls teams playing under the club banner.
The award was presented by the FA at a Youth Day held by the club at the QEII Stadium this afternoon.
Nick said, "I want to offer my congratulations to Enfield Town FC for winning this award - everyone at the club who has worked hard to achieve this should be very proud of themselves. It's fantastic news for the club and reflects well on our borough, too."
Nick was delighted to open the new Vic Smith Beds store in Enfield Town on Saturday.
With another store already doing extremely well in Southgate, Vic Smith Beds have now opened a "virtual store" on Savoy Parade.
Nick said, "What Vic Smith Beds have done here is really clever, and I'm really pleased that they're expanding in Enfield. It's great news for that businesses like Vic Smith Beds are giving the borough a vote of confidence in this way".
This morning Nick welcomed the news that prisoners across England and Wales will in future need to make real progress towards their own rehabilitation and work hard in prison before they can receive privileges, like access to television sets and being able to wear their own clothes.
Under the new 'Incentives and Earned Privileges' (IEP) scheme, the mere absence of bad behaviour will not be enough for prisoners to earn perks, as it currently is at the moments. Other changes include:
Welcoming the new measures, Nick said: "Like many people around the country, including Enfield, I believe our prisons should be place of hard work and serious rehabilitation. Any privileges that convicted criminals receive should be hard-earned, and be rewards for taking real steps towards rehabilitation and reform. They should certainly never come as a right".
Nick continued; "These tough and sensible reforms show will mean that our prisons will become places of serious rehabilitation and reform. This is the only way we will break the cycle of reoffending and make our streets and communities safer".
Today Nick opened the St. George's Day community event at The Wonder which had been organised by local residents.
Attracting hundreds of people throughout the day, the event welcomed people of all ages with children taking part in a shield-making competition and everyone enjoying a variety of attractions such as a working steam engine, a dove release and egg and spoon races!
Nick said, "What residents have achieved here is superb - there are loads of people here and everyone is having a good time. I'm a big supporter of St. George's Day but especially when it brings the community together like this".
Nick has criticised Enfield Council for failing to sign the community covenant, a pledge already signed by over 300 councils to support members of the Armed Forces.
Nick spoke during Prime Minister’s Questions last week to highlight that Enfield Council had been named by the British Legion as one of the local authorities that had not signed up.
Community covenants complement, at a local level, the armed forces covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the government and the armed forces. The aim of the community covenant is to encourage local communities to support the service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community.
However, as yet, Enfield Council has not signed.
Nick said the armed forces covenant was something Conservative MPs were “immensely proud of”, and asked David Cameron, “Will the Prime Minister join me in urging those councils to sign the covenant locally and help support work across the constituency, particularly before Armed Forces day?”
The Prime Minister thanked Nick for raising the issue and added, “I also commend the fact that the Government are using the LIBOR fines to help fund some powerful elements of the armed forces covenant. It means that those people who behaved badly in our economy—some of the banks—are paying for some of those who behave the best.” Mr de Bois said afterwards, “Enfield Council should have signed up to the community covenant and I call on the administration to do so without delay”.
You can read the full exchange here.
You can read more about the community covenant here.
Today Nick met with leading representatives of the UK Cypriot community and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP in order to discuss the measures being taken by the Government to increase investment in Cyprus.
The meeting was also attended by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Mike Freer MP, David Burrowes MP and a representative of David Lammy MP.
Issues discussed at the meeting included the provision of technical assistance to Cyprus, potential collaboration relating to the establishing of a Cyprus investment fund and ways in which UK investment in Cyprus could be stimulated.
Particular focus was placed on issues such as cash-flow challenges faced by small and medium sized British-Cypriot enterprises following the failure to transfer loans and overdraft facilities from Laiki UK to the Bank of Cyprus UK as part of the measures taken to protect UK depositors following the collapse of its parent bank in Cyprus.
Following the meeting, Nick commented: "I greatly valued the opportunity to meet with colleagues, representatives of the UK Cypriot Federation and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in order to discuss the various issues currently affecting Cyprus, especially those related to small and medium sized enterprises. I welcome the action taken by the Government to protect the deposits of UK savers in the country and will continue to monitor developments in the region incredibly closely".
Today MPs were debating the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. Part of the debate centred on easing employment regulations for new business start-ups.
Nick, who started his own company and ran it for 25 years before entering Parliament, made a number of contributions. He said, "The biggest step someone takes when they start a small business is employing someone. They cease to be a sole trader working in their own environment; their own boss without responsibility for anyone else and having to meet only their own needs and those of their family. They do not want to take that step chained by too many onerous responsibilities too early on. They seek therefore to strike a deal with their investor or partner, and in return for that flexibility, they do not ask for a single penny in cash to invest in the business. That is a good deal. I would have taken it, had it been on offer to me and had I faced these regulations."
You can read more and make comments here.
Nick spoke in Parliament today to ask the Work and Pensions Minister "if he will take steps to prevent Jobcentre Plus from accepting job advertisements which require the applicant to telephone a premium rate telephone number in order to apply?"
Mr Hoban replied on behalf of the Government: "The use of 070 and 09 premium rate telephone numbers is prohibited within Universal Jobmatch and their use is blocked automatically by the service. The Universal Jobmatch terms and conditions must be accepted by employers before they can use the service. By accepting these, employers agree not to use premium rate and income generating numbers (070 and 09 prefixes) when posting their jobs to the service.
The ''Finding a Job' area within Gov.UK contains a section called 'Your rights and safety when looking for a job'. This includes advice to jobseekers that some job adverts have a number to call for more information, which may be a premium rate number. There is also a link to the Ofcom site which shows how to identify premium rate numbers and details the costs that can be incurred when dialling them."
You can see the exchange in context, and comment, here.
In 1979 it took years to qualify for a mortgage, you were limited to taking £200 on holiday with you if you were lucky enough to travel abroad and incidentally, the average wait to get a phone installed in your home was 6 months by the then state-owned monopoly provider. Britain was being run by unelected trade union barons and governments of all colours presided over state-controlled companies building cars, aero engines, telecoms and of course the railways to name but a few. Strikes were common place, and during the early 1970s we even got used to having electricity for only three days a week because of the unions. It was only when the dead were not getting buried and rubbish was left to pile up on the streets that Britain finally lost its patience with this political consensus and elected Margaret Thatcher to change things.
And change she did. That is why she is regarded as one of the few political giants of the 20th century. Britain became an economic power again as her government lifted economic barriers and welcomed in a generation of entrepreneurs that helped transform the country's fortunes. Alan Sugar, Clive Sinclair and Ricard Branson - regardless of their political allegiance - now recognise that without Margaret Thatcher there probably would have been no Virgin, Amstrad or a host of other innovative companies generating wealth through employment, tax revenues and of course flying the flag that Britain was the place to do business. Perhaps the most iconic representation of how she transformed Britain was the inward investment of Nissan Motor Cars in (ironically) the Labour heartlands of Tyneside. Who would have thought that less than 10 years before this Britain was known as the "Sick Man of Europe", personified by Derek "Red Robbo" Robinson, the enigmatic shop steward of British Leyland who helped cripple the British Car Industry. Thanks to Mrs Thatcher, Britain would become host to the then world's leader in car manufacturing. She transormed us from being losers into being winners.
And entering into this new world I left Technical College in 1981 with a weak qualification in Business Studies, but unlike many who had gone before me who had been convinced that unless you had the "right" background you would not succeed, I knew that the grocer's daughter who became Prime Minister was right: it was not where you came from that mattered, but where you were going.
By laying down economic reforms that opened up access to borrowing for small business on a greater scale than ever before, reducing the tax barriers to success, and encouraging a sprint of entrepreneurial adventure, looking back it was never a better time to advance one's prospects. Social scientists would now call this social mobility; I just wanted to improve my circumstances, support my family and own my own home. I wanted the chance to increase my earning potential and create a business where I would work for myself. I did not have the advantage of family wealth that was so often a pre-requisite of starting your own business before Margaret Thatcher's government, but I admit I had ambition The difference was that Margaret Thatcher pulled down the economic and social barriers so that I had a chance to make a go of it. The rest was up to me - and that's something else I and Margaret Thatcher understood - the heavy hand of the State should be lifted to allow the individual the chance to succeed at whatever level they wished. It was not the job of the State to tell people how to succeed.
One of the reasons I came into politics after 25 years in business was because I wanted to create the conditions to allow others to succeed. I believe that 13 years of Labour created more State dependency and lost Britain's place as the entrepreneurial centre of the West. Whether you work for yourself or for others, effort should be rewarded and not penalised. We should, I hope, return to celebrating success and not criticising it, and perhaps more importantly re- capture Baroness Thatcher's understanding that people should not be weighed down by a State that wants to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator. Everyone should have the chance to aspire to their own goals in an environment that encourages not hinders the individual.
I only met Baroness Thatcher once, on being elected to Parliament. It did however at least give me the chance to thank her for letting this son of a WWII veteran Flt Sgt (and later Wing Commander) in the RAF have the chance to do things that as a young man, he never though he would be able to do.
Nick has paid tribute to Lady Thatcher, following the news that Britain's first female Prime Minister has died.
Posting on Twitter, Nick said, "I'm deeply saddened by the death of Lady Thatcher - a great Prime Minister whose influence is still very much felt across Britain today".
Prime Minister David Cameron has said, "We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton"
The Telegraph's website writes: Known as the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher governed Britain from 1979 to 1990.
She will go down in history not only as Britain's first female prime minister, but as the woman who transformed Britain's economy in addition to being a formidable rival on the international stage.
Lady Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply. Many features of the modern globalised economy - monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade - were all promoted as a result of policies she employed to reverse Britain's economic decline.
Above all, in America and in Eastern Europe she was regarded, alongside her friend Ronald Reagan, as one of the two great architects of the West's victory in the Cold War.
Of modern British prime ministers, only Lady Thatcher's girlhood hero, Winston Churchill, acquired a higher international reputation.
Following the publication of this article, Nick recieved a number of communications from individuals wishing to add to the views he had expressed, one of these individuals was Nara Hodge who was brought up in the USSR. Nick has decided to public her tribute in full:
"Behind the IRON CURTAIN in one of the most sinister socialist societies in the world under the watchful eye of the hated Communist Party I was brought up secretly admiring Margaret Thatcher. Secretly because the consequences of openly admiring her and what she stood for would have been terrifying.
She stood for personal freedoms, for religious tolerance, for freedom of speech, for personal responsibility for one's life - all of it was totally absent in the socialist USSR. I was 8 years old when I first fell in love with the Conservative values Thatcher represented and vowed to do what seemed to be the impossible at the time- to break away from the evil shackles of Communism, join the CONSERVATIVE PARTY and fight for its cause.
Years later, I still sometimes have to pinch myself in the mornings and remind myself that it is not a dream: I am a Proud British Conservative. I intend to take my fight to socialism to the end. Today I mourn the loss of my childhood idol, my inspirational leader, the champion of feminism and someone whose incredible rise to power made it clear that anything is possible in life.
I hoped one day I would be able to thank Lady Thatcher in person for the instrumental role she played in my life by inspiring me from my early years. Today this hope has died but the legend of Margaret Thatcher will live on.
RIP, The Iron Lady."
From today more disadvantaged new parents in Enfield North will benefit from one to one help and support from a specialist nurse.
Around 11,000 families are already benefiting from personalised support from family nurses and Ministers are extending this to a further 16,000 parents. This follows initial research showing support from family nurses boosts mothers' self-esteem and their ability to return to education and training when their children are old enough for them to do so.
Following the announcement, Nick commented: "Parents across Enfield will benefit from this much needed extra support. Family nurses do a great job helping new parents give their children the kind of start in life they need to succeed. This announcement again shows this Government's commitment to helping people who do the right thing and want to get on in life".
Following extensive work by Ministers, the UK subsidiary of the Bank of Cyprus has acquired all of the customer deposits which were previously held at the UK branch of Cyprus Popular Bank – this equates to some 15,000 accounts with a total balance of approximately £270 million, alongside matching assets.
Unlike the Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank UK operated in the UK as a branch of its Cypriot parent company. Under European Law, primary responsibility for the supervision and resolution of Cyprus Popular Bank UK therefore rested with the Cypriot authorities. If nothing had been done, the depositors in Cyprus Popular Bank's UK branch would have been drawn into the Cypriot bank restructuring and all of the uncertainty that would have been brought with it. This is now not the case.
The transferred deposits will be added to the Bank of Cyprus UK's existing deposit book. The Bank of Cyprus UK will continue to operate as it does now, regulated and supervised by the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – providing a range of banking services to all its customers, including those transferring from Cyprus Popular Bank.
As it is a standalone subsidiary, all eligible deposits held in the Bank of Cyprus UK, including those previously held with Cyprus Popular Bank, are protected under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The PRA and FCA are now working with firms to minimise disruption during the transition.
Following this announcement by Greg Clark MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Nick commented: "I am pleased to see that the Government has helped facilitate a resolution which doesn't see my constituents sucked into the Cypriot bank restructuring process. This was an incredibly efficient and effective operation conducted by the Government which protects depositors of banks located in the UK without the loss of UK taxpayer's money".
Today Nick had the honour of hosting a three hour show on LBC Radio alongside the previous Mayor of London – Ken Livingstone.
While making his first foray into hosting a talk radio show, Nick chaired debates about the Government's immigration policies, reforms to education and took lots of phone calls from listeners.
If you'd like to listen to Nick's appearance you can do so by visiting the LBC Podcast website here.
Last night Nick attended the Centre for Turkey Studies Community Achievement Awards.
Attended by around 500 guests, including MPs, Lords, journalists and academics, the event aimed to celebrate the contribution of Turkish individuals to British society.
The Centre for Turkey Studies is a non-partisan organisation promoting expert opinions and debates focusing on Turkey and UK relations, foreign affairs, economic issues and social developments in Turkey and the wider region. Nick has been a keen supporter since its creation in 2011, and was invited to present some of the awards.
The Community Achievement Awards aims to improve solidarity among Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot communities as well as promoting successful individuals and institutions as good role models for the younger generations and aspiring new businesses.
Nick said, "We have a significant Turkish-speaking community in Enfield and I strongly support organisations like the CTS which work to facilitate greater community cohesion. I was delighted to see Conservative Councillor Ertan Hurer win an award, and look forward to the event gaining even greater prominence in years to come".
Left: Nick with Raife Aytek and Ibrahim Dogus
Today the Enfield Advertiser's Koos Couvee has the story on the latest development with Chase Farm Hospital.
Nick has written to Council Leader, Cllr Doug Taylor, about exploring new grounds for a legal challenge against the removal of services from Chase Farm.
The Enfield Advertiser had accused the Labour-run adminstration of "cowardice" back in December 2011 after failing to go ahead with a judicial review to challenge the Government's decision to downgrade the Hospital.
However, Cllr Taylor has told the Advertiser he was happy to meet lawyers and discuss the possibility of legal action. Nick has already secured a meeting for him, his fellow Enfield MPs, and Enfield councillors to meet with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the very near future.
Nick said, "People in Enfield expect their local representatives to fight for Chase Farm and I'm determined to get the best possible services at our local hospital. Residents will be reassured that we can put party differences aside to work together in the best interests of the borough".
Today Nick has had a letter published in the Enfield Advertiser.
It is actually a joint letter with Southgate MP, David Burrowes, although David's name was accidentally left off the end by the paper.
Following this week's Budget, the amount people can earn before paying income tax - the personal allowance - will rise to £10,000 from April next year.
Rises in the personal allowance mean people in Enfield will be over £700 better off - every year- in comparison to May 2010.
Almost three million more of the lowest paid will pay no income tax at all.
The tax cut will benefit an estimated 120,233 people in the borough. In April 2014, 1,131 people will be lifted out of income tax, taking the total number of people in Enfield lifted out of tax by the Government to an estimated 12,098.
Nick said, "This Budget has delivered real support for people who aspire to work hard and get on. Around 120,000 people in Enfield will be over £700 better off every year. With this landmark tax cut, Conservatives have cut tax bills for 24 million people".
He added, "Labour want to reintroduce the 10p tax band that they abolished. Conservatives in Government have now turned Labour's 10p tax band into a zero pence tax band. Every person paying tax at the 10p rate when Labour doubled it, will now be paying no income tax at all on that income."
This morning Nick held a debate in Westminster Hall to discuss UK trade and investment.
The debate aimed to find out why the UK's share of global exports has declined sharply over the past decade - by 20% - and what the Government could do about it.
As Nick asked, "What is holding back a nation of entrepreneurs?" Are UK companies slow to react to opportunities? Are there inherent uncompetitive disadvantages? Has the UK been tapping into the wrong markets, been over-reliant on the EU and US? Nick told MPs that we need to answer these questions in order to increase exports and inward investment - and thereby create jobs.
Nick focused on the work of Government organisation UKTI, and the Foreign Office, and the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to export goods around the world. One in every four SMEs in Europe is an exporter, but the figure in Britain is currently one in five.
Nick said in the debate, "During the few parliamentary delegations that I have attended, I have always met local embassies, and local UKTI representatives and staff. Every time I visit, I ask the staff a simple question: "What are the top three UK companies doing business in this region?" I confess that the answer is often mixed. Some do not know, some waffle, while others are extremely well briefed. The picture is mixed, but what all have in common is that although the large exporters may be identified and known to them, very few of the SME companies, which might even be in the same supply chain as the well known prime contractors, are known. That worries me."
Read more of Nick's candid assessment of the situation here.
Nick concluded, "The FCO and UKTI have the full support of the House, but we need to make a realistic assessment of our strategic challenges and ensure that we are delivering the tactical support to meet them, so that my children and grandchildren will have the chance of a wealthy, prosperous life in the future."
Nick asked the the Secretary of State for International Development what representations her Department has made to the Palestinian authority to ensure any social welfare payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reach those intended, and what representations her Department has made to the Palestinian Authority about the value of monthly payments made to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
DFID Minister Alan Duncan replied that the Department had answered these questions on a previous occasion, and stated DFID is not answerable for parliamentary scrutiny in other countries, nor for any such issues as may exist between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority.
You can comment on this question and answer here.
Nick is a member of Parliament's Justice Select Committee and took the opportunity during discussions on Youth Justice to ask the Select Committee Chairman:
"Is he concerned, as I am, that we found the practice of restorative justice to be a postcode lottery around the country? Although we recommended that Ofsted may have a role to play when looking at care homes, we need a sense of urgency from the Government to advise on strategy in areas that are not delivering restorative justice. Does my right hon. Friend think we will have the impetus to achieve that?"
Mr Alan Beith replied, "I agree with that comment. The phrase "postcode lottery" is one I do not like in areas where there is innovation because what happens is that some places show what good work can be done, and we want to spread best practice as quickly as possible, but I agree with my hon. Friend's conclusion that the Government and we as a Committee should put as much weight as we can behind spreading the knowledge, experience and skills involved in restorative justice. On our visit to Denmark and Norway we saw the benefit of intensive multi-systemic therapy, with a concentrated range of skills dealing with young people who are on the fringes of the criminal justice system and likely to become involved in it."
You can comment on this at theyworkforyou.com here.
1,840 people in Enfield started apprenticeships in the academic year 2011-12, new figures have revealed.
The newly released data, coinciding with the start of National Apprenticeship Week, shows that another 460 have also started in the first quarter of this academic year. This is a percentage increase of 160% compared to Labour's last year in office.
This news comes as the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) have released a forecast that apprenticeships completed over the next decade could contribute productivity gains worth up to £3.4 billion a year to the economy by 2022.
Nick said, "Conservatives in Government are investing in apprenticeships to ensure that the country has the skills it needs to compete in the world and people across the borough are benefitting from this. I know from work that I have seen at Johnson Matthey in my constituency that apprenticeships are a win for the individual and a win for the business."
He added, "National Apprenticeship this week provides a great opportunity to celebrate the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy."
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade, to build their careers, and create a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the fierce global race we are in. But we need to challenge ourselves to go even further - that is why I want it to be the new norm for young people to either go to university or into an apprenticeship. We need to look at how we can expand apprenticeship opportunities so that they are available to all young people who are ready and eager to take them up, and aspire to get ahead in life."
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, has written to MPs to clarify rules regarding the Spare Room Subsidy.
In Britain, there is not enough social housing to cope with demand. In England there are two million families on housing waiting lists, and 250,000 families living in over-crowded accomodation. Indeed, last year in Enfield there were 7500 people on Enfield Council's housing register and while only 884 properties became available for letting in Enfield.
To tackle this problem, the Government is taking steps to ensure our housing stock is used effectively and the number of instances of social homes being under-utilised is reduced. One measure is to put an end to the unfair situation where the taxpayer is subsidising people to have homes, paid for by the state, with spare rooms they do not need.
The Secretary of State has confirmed that people who are approved foster carers will be allowed an additional room, whether or not a child has been placed with them (or they are between placements) so long as they have fostered a child or become an approved fosterer in the next 12 months.
Armed Forces personnel who live with their parents will be classed as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations.
Guidance as also been issued to local authorities to inform them that a family will keep their spare room subsidy where their child's disability means they cannot share a bedroom.
Nick has written for ConservativeHome today on the Government's welfare reforms.
The bishops may be vocal on benefits, but why were they silent about 90% tax rates on the poor?
The intervention from 43 Anglican bishops in the public debate on welfare benefits could not be more timely. As a country, we are in very choppy waters. Public policy decisions due to be made in the next few months and years will be critical to setting Britain's future course. The bishops' letter strikes a moral tone against limiting benefits rises to 1% a year for the next three years. But it is their position which should provoke moral outrage.
No-one wants to take away benefits from people who are worst off in society. No-one. The fact that we have to do so lies with the economic reality that, even in times of growth and prosperity, the previous Government increased the welfare bill by some 60%, to a staggering £200billion. To fund what the Government was giving with one hand, it simply took more with the other.
Labour took us to the position where, in Britain, the Government imposes high taxes on its citizens in order to give them back their own money in benefits. As Dr Liam Fox rightly argued yesterday:
"Today, we see the full destructive consequences of that behaviour with ordinary families paying too much tax so that it can be given back to them in benefits and credits... It is debilitating for society, demeaning for individuals and expensive for the taxpayer."
The Welfare Trap that the last Government created ensnared five million people, and meant almost two million children were growing up in homes where nobody worked. Where was the moral outrage when the welfare system made it financially disadvantageous for the worst off in society to take a job instead of benefits? Was it not "deeply disproportionate" that some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society were subject to tax rates of 70%, 80% or even 90% due to the structure of the benefits system? It is disappointing that only now, with a Conservative-led Government seeking to free people from welfare dependency, that the bishops have found their voice.William Hague as Party leader in 2003 made the moral case against government imposing high taxes on its citizens. "High taxes", he said, "mean less freedom, less responsibility, less community, more dependency, a less elevated human condition". It was right then, and it's right now.
High taxes do of course mean less freedom. The more a government takes from a person in tax, the more it limits that person's ability to follow their own values and preferences rather than someone else's. "It is this recognition of the individual as the ultimate judge of his ends", wrote Hayek, "the belief that as far as possible his own views ought to govern his actions, that forms the essence of the individualist position".
More government activity funded by higher taxes then creates a downwards spiral. As the state gets larger, the individual gets smaller. But worse, the more the state grows by providing more for its citizens, the more its citizens come to expect from their government. The more we pay, the more we expect to see the state do for us and therefore the less responsible we become.
This downward spiral continues because when individuals begin to rely on the state more, community recedes. Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute, spoke at a TaxPayers' Alliance event entitled "The Moral Case for Lower Taxes". He explained how higher taxes mean less community, saying:
"Politicians and officials have their own interests and agendas when tax is taken from us... I think it promotes interest group politics because you have this wodge of public cash and people are vying for their share of it and they want other people to pay. It's morally corrosive because it makes us think of ourselves as 'groups' which are supplicants to the state, and 'let's get our bit and stop everyone else getting theirs'".
I look forward to even more Conservatives taking up this theme and resisting the urge to enter into a bidding war with Labour on who raises more tax.
And of course, with a Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, higher taxes under Labour led to greater dependency. It is difficult to see how anyone could argue that trapping people into welfare dependency creates a more 'elevated human condition'.
The moral arguments for reducing the welfare bill are there to be made, and as this week proves beyond all doubt, it is only Conservatives that will make them. Making difficult decisions in order to deliver welfare reform will stand as one of the Conservative-led Government's proudest achievements. In 2015 when Britain chooses its Prime Minister, achievements like this will reinforce in people's minds that Britain can continue on a clear course with David Cameron, or risk being sunk by putting Ed Miliband at the helm.
Today Nick has written for London24 about the European Court of Human Rights.
Nick writes, "One of the most damaging pieces of legislation the last Labour government left this country with was the Human Rights Act – which sought to enshrine the judgements of the ECHR into UK law. Rather than protecting fundamental human rights, as was intended, the Act has become a criminal's charter – protecting the rights of those who don't seek to contribute to society above those who work hard and do the right thing."
You can read the article in full here.
This evening Nick attended Maha Shivaratri celebrations at the Dharma centre on Hertford Road.
The Hindu festival Maha Shivratri, which literally translates to "great night of Shiva", is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture. People often fast on the night of Shivratri and sing hymns and praises in the name of Lord Shiva. Hindu temples across the country are decorated with lights and colorful decorations and people can be seen offering night long prayers to Shiva Lingam.
Nick said, "It was an honour to be invited to attend Maha Shivaratri celebrations. I'd like to thank everyone for making me feel very welcome".
Following the announcement of his "Next Steps Roadshow" events, Nick hosted the first one at Lee Valley High School this Monday, with more due to happen over the next few weeks.
A team of employeers and recruitment experts will be visiting secondary schools across Enfield North to hold seminars providing advice in CV writing, interview techniques, information on job searching and personal attitudes. The students were challenged on what actions they were going to take in order to get the best out of the advice on offer, and how they were going to sucessfully represent themselves to employers.
Following the first Roadshow Nick commented "I am impressed with the way students took onboard the advice being offered to them and I certainly hope they will go on to use it when they begin to look for work following their studies. I fully expect that with the help of the employers and recruitment experts helping me that the rest of the Roadshows will all be just as successful".
The next schools to host a Next Steps Roadshow are - St. Ignatius Colleague on 7th March; Chase Community School on 8th March; Enfield Grammar School on 25th March and Kingsmead School on 28th March.
Today Nick questions Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith on benefits for Romanians and Bulgarians who come to Britain.
Nick asked, "The Secretary of State is to be congratulated on his robust approach in trying to build a coalition of European partners to deal with this matter. How confident is he that he will be able to reach agreement before the end of the year? If such agreement is not forthcoming, will he press ahead robustly with whatever unilateral measures he can?"
Mr Duncan Smith replied, "We need to reach an agreement within that time scale, so I really am going to push the accelerator pedal down. I have already called for an urgent meeting with those other countries that have agreed to meet us to discuss the issue. We also need to talk to the Commission. The Minister of State, my hon. Friend Mr Hoban, is hugely responsible for this area, and I will do whatever I can in an arbitrary manner to make sure that nothing else takes place."
You can see the question in context here.
This morning, new advisers who will give intensive support to troubled families and help them get into work have been welcomed by Nick.
These employment advisers will provide practical support, including CV writing, job interview skills and highlighting training opportunities and job vacancies in Enfield.
New figures have also shown that Local Authorities across the country have successfully tuned around the lives of 1,675 troubled families after just 9 months of the 3 year programme.
Following the announcement of new advisers, Nick commented: "Across Enfield, 775 families have been identified as needing extra support and help to turn their lives around. These extra employment specialists will provide practical help to put adults from troubled families on the path back to work".
Today, during Questions to the Secretary of State for Education – Nick highlighted the quandary that the descendants of deceased adopted people are left in: with them often being unable to access important information about their deceased relative's biological family.
The current situation causes a great many problems for the descendants of deceased adopted people; especially if the deceased adopted person has not previously sought any information regarding their biological family. These problems can often prevent descendants from accessing information as vital as medical information about potentially hereditary conditions.
As part of his question Nick asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP for a meeting where he would be able to further set out the concerns of the descendants of deceased adopted people; and the Minister agreed. The meeting is due to be held as soon as possible.
Following his question, Nick commented: "I was pleased to raise this important issue, which has the backing of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering. It's very important that the descendants of deceased adopted people have access to the information about their biological relatives that they need – especially in relation to potentially hereditary medical conditions. I look forward to me meeting with the Minister so that I can expand fully on the points I raised in Parliament".
Below is a copy from Hansard of Nick's question during Questions to the Secretary of State for Education:
3. Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con): What steps he is taking to improve outcomes for adopted children in (a) Enfield North constituency, (b) London and (c) England. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Mr Edward Timpson): Adoptive families can struggle to get the help that they need, and I am determined to change that. We have already announced measures that give adopted children rights to priority schools admission and free early education, and we are introducing an "adoption passport" so that adoptive families know about their entitlements. Further measures in the Children and Families Bill are aimed at tackling delay and improving outcomes for adopted children, including children in Enfield North.
Nick de Bois: Is the Minister aware that the children of adoptive adults who have died without locating their biological families are often left in a quandary, as they are unable to gain access to vital information about their parents' families, including information about hereditary medical conditions? What steps will he take to rectify that? Will he agree to meet me to discuss this important matter, in which the British Association for Adoption and Fostering is taking an interest?
Mr Timpson: My hon. Friend is right to raise what is indeed an extremely serious and important matter. We must think carefully about the information that adopted people have to find out about their parents' families, particularly when there may be hereditary medical problems. I know that the matter was referred to the Law Commission in 2010, but we must do more work to establish how we can ensure that more information can be provided when it is needed. I should be happy to meet my hon. Friend and discuss the matter in more detail.
From the Daily Telegraph:
Senior Tory demands resignation of NHS chief over Mid Staffs scandal
A senior Tory backbencher has become the latest Conservative MP to call for the resignation of Sir David Nicholson, the NHS chief implicated in the Mid Staffs scandal.
Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, said he supported a Commons early day motion calling for Sir David to resign.
The motion tabled by Charlotte Leslie, the Conservative MP Bristol North West, calls for "accountability" over the deaths at Stafford hospital in the last ten years.
Sir David, the current NHS chief executive, was a health manager in the region early in the scandal.
A public inquiry this month found that at least 1,200 patients died needlessly due to poor care and mismanagement at Stafford hospital.
Despite the report, none of the managers who oversaw the hospital have been sanctioned or punished.
Mr de Bois, the MP for Enfield North, said the calls for Sir David's resignation are not about "finding a scapegoat".
"There has to be accountability over Mid Staffs," Mr de Bois said. "Many of my constituents have spoken to me about this.
"Although I appreciate the position of the Prime Minister I don't think this is a question of finding a scapegoat. This is about accountability and there is a sense of a lack of accountability in the NHS organisation.
"David Nicholson should reflect on his position."
From today's Daily Telegraph:
Almost 8,000 criminals sent to prison last year had been given at least 11 community sentences before finally being jailed, figures showed.
More than 400 of those eventually sentenced to time behind bars had already been handed at least 21 community sentences and almost 1,800 had served 16 or more, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.
Repeatedly letting thousand of criminals off with community sentences was failing to protect the public or reduce reoffending, campaigners said.
Tory MP Nick de Bois, a member of the Commons justice select committee, said: "Community sentences have their place in the justice system – but common sense says that justice is not served if they are repeatedly used to no effect.
"Almost 8,000 people who have had 11 community sentences should have instead faced jail time and therefore protect the public from their shameful criminal behaviour."
Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, is bringing in new laws that would require courts to include a punitive element in future community orders.
Jeremy Wright, the prisons minister, said: "Prison does work.
"But we are toughening up community sentences so every sentence contains a genuine punishment, including fines, unpaid work and strict curfews and exclusion zones - which can be enforced with state-of-the-art GPS tracking."
He went on: "Reoffending rates are unacceptably high - and are currently highest among those sentenced to short prison sentences.
"We are tackling this by changing the way we deal with offenders released after short sentences, so there is greater supervision and rehabilitation."
Some 108,000 criminals were sent to prison in 2011/12 but three in four of these had previously been handed at least one community sentence, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures showed.
Of the 82,000 offenders with at least one previous community sentence, some 7,783 had 11 or more to their name.
A total of 1,784 had been given 16 or more and 407 had at least 21.
Hundreds of thousands of criminals who were convicted and not jailed also had previous community sentences on their records.
Of the 400,000 criminals convicted in 2011/12, more than 220,000 offenders had previously served at least one community sentence.
Some 120,000 criminals had served three or more, more than 90,000 had served four or more, and more than 50,000 had served six or more, the figures showed.
Other MoJ figures showed some 123,675 offences were committed by 37,833 criminals within a year of them receiving a community sentence.
Community sentences can include between 40 and 300 unpaid hours of work such as removing graffiti, clearing wasteland and decorating public places.
They can also include treatment programmes for drug addiction or mental health conditions.
Peter Cuthbertson, director of the Centre for Crime Prevention which uncovered the figures, said: "Community sentences are a failure.
"Even relatively successful schemes may be throwing good money after bad, merely rewarding those who fail least.
"Community sentences fail to protect the public for their duration – unlike prison – and they have a higher reoffending rate than either medium or long prison sentences.
He went on: "The figures prove letting thousands of criminals off with one community sentence after another is failing.
"Stiff prison sentences protect the public and have lower reoffending rates.
"Community sentences fail to protect the public and fail to stop reoffending. Prison works."
However, Graham Beech, of the crime reduction charity Nacro, insisted community sentences were more effective at reducing reoffending rates than jail sentences for similar offenders.
"That said, it is true that more could be done to improve the effectiveness of community sentences in reducing reoffending and raising public confidence in them," he said.
"What the public and victims want is for crime to stop.
"Prison should be reserved for those who commit dangerous and serious offences and we must focus on community sentences that build on progress made, balancing punishment with reform in order to reduce crime in our communities."
Nick has welcomed the fantastic news that the Government is to ensure injured military personnel who have legs amputated are to be given the most up-to-date prosthetic limbs.
The Government has set aside £6.5m for the micro-processor limbs, known as "bionic legs". One of Nick's constituents, Rifleman Jack Otter (left), lobbied Defence Ministers personally. Nick said, "I was pleased to be able to set up the meeting for Jack to meet with Ministers face to face, and he made a huge impression on them as you can imagine".
The prosthetic limbs will be available to service personnel who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and will offer them greater stability and mobility.
The BBC reports:
The move is expected to benefit about 160 members of the armed forces.
The Help for Heroes charity said the money would help "transform lives".
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it was a top priority to give troops the best possible care and support.
Chancellor George Osborne, who is making the money available from the Treasury's special reserve, added: "Our troops are heroes who have and continue to give absolutely everything for their country and it is only right that we do everything possible to help them, especially when they suffer injury.
Walk backwards"I am delighted, therefore, that we have been able to make funding available for this cutting-edge prosthetic technology, which will go a long way to improving the lives of people who have done so much for the UK."
Defence Minister Mark Francois says the money will provide "the best, most capable legs"
Experts say the "bionic legs" - the same as those used by Paralympics discus thrower and former soldier Derek Derenalagi - will significantly improve the quality of life and speed of rehabilitation for amputees.
The new technology provides better stability and greater mobility, as well as improvements in the ability to step over obstacles, negotiate stairs and walk backwards safely.
The limbs will be fitted where clinically appropriate at the Headley Court military rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
Rail operator First Capital Connect have contacted Nick regarding disruption to rail services on FCC lines:
Currently, the overhead electrical supply in the Alexandra Palace area is being disrupted. As a consequence access to the Enfield loop from London is currently unavailable. We're asking customers to use alternative services where possible and are running rail replacements buses.
I will be issuing a full briefing on this disruption later tonight or tomorrow, but in the mean time I would like to offer apologies on behalf of FCC for any disruption to you and your constituents this evening.
As reported in today's Enfield Advertiser, Nick has hit out at the lack of progress with improving primary care services in Enfield - something that was promised to have been put in place before reconfiguration could go ahead.
Nick told the Advertiser's Koos Couvee, "It is vital that that promise is delivered, but it is already some four years since the change was envisaged and very little has been put in".
Nick has secured a cross-party delegation to the Health Secretary to discuss Chase Farm in March.
As reported in the Enfield Advertiser yesterday, Nick has secured a commitment from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to recieve a cross party delegation to discuss Chase Farm.
The delegation will consist of the most senior elected representatives in the borough - the three MPs and Leader of Enfield Council.
Nick took the opportunity to call for a delegation following the statement about Lewisham hospital in south London. Nick said, "The Secretary of State recognises that Lewisham is the victim of an unfair decision as a result of failed PFI and failed finance, which were not of his making. He will recognise the striking similarities with Chase Farm hospital, which has also been downgraded because of the appalling PFI arrangements at neighbouring hospitals. He knows that I utterly oppose that decision. Given the present concerns, particularly with regard to implementation, will he meet me and a cross-party delegation to look closely at these matters?"
The Secretary of State replied, "I recognise how hard my hon. Friend has campaigned on behalf of his constituents and how deeply they feel about these issues. He knows that the decision has been made. We want to get the safe implementation of that decision absolutely right and I would be more than happy to meet him to discuss how we can best ensure that that happens."
Yesterday evening Nick attended an Apprentice evening hosted by Enfield-based precious metals experts Johnson Matthey.
In collaboration with the North London Chamber of Commerce, the event aimed at encouraging local employers to consider Apprentices as a real business option for future recruitment.
The focus of the event was to give people a better understanding of the Apprenticeship programme from an employers' perspective, and how it may benefit your business. Barry Connelly of Johnson Matthey will shared his experience setting up their first engineering apprenticeship scheme in 30 years.
Nick was a keynote speaker at the event, and spoke in Parliament earlier in the day to highlight the work of Johnson Matthey in promoting Apprenticeships. During Business Questions, Nick said "North London chamber of commerce and Enfield's Johnson Matthey are tonight hosting a local business awareness of apprenticeships programme, and are determined to exceed last year's recruitment of 107 new apprentices. Will the Minister offer a message of support for tonight's event and, in particular, for Mr Barry Connelly of Johnson Matthey of Enfield who has led that programme?"
Business Minister Matt Hancock replied, "I would be pleased to support Johnson Matthey and the work it is doing to expand the number of people in apprenticeships, and indeed to increase the quality of apprenticeships. I know that the apprenticeships it offers are of high quality and it is well worth raising awareness of that and getting involved."
On Thursday Nick held a Diabetes Action Day in the constituency.
Nick arranged for charity Silver Star to bring its Mobile Diabetes Unit to Enfield, staying at two locations for two hours each. The unit gave residents the opportunity to have a free Diabetes test, with results given in less than 5 minutes.
In an effort to inform residents in higher risk groups, Nick wrote to London Turkish newspapers and appeared on a UK Bangladeshi TV channel to promote the event. He also used his regular column in the Enfield Advertiser to highlight the event. A local Councillor, Don Delman, provided a Turkish translation a letter to residents as well as being present throughout the day to assist Turkish-speaking residents.
Nick said, "Diabetes is a serious concern as it not only affects people's quality of life but also accounts for 10% of the NHS's
entire budget. We're spending £11.9 billion a year on Diabetes, but this could even double in the next 10 years if we don't raise awareness of the condition and let people know how to avoid getting it".
Diabetes is a long-term condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. In the UK, diabetes affects approximately 2.3 million people, and it's thought there are at least half a million more people who have the condition but are not aware of it.
People of Black African-Caribbean origin are up to five times more likely, and people of South Asian origin are up to six times more likely to develop Diabetes compared to white people. While it affects around 12% of Londoners, the rate is 17% among the Turkish speaking community in the capital.
Nick added, "As an MP I want help raise awareness of the condition but also do something practical to help, particularly in terms of raising awareness among people at higher risk".
The Mobile Diabetes Unit provided tests for 50 people in 4 hours, with a number of test results showing higher than average blood sugar levels. Following the tests, an expert was on hand to provide advice and information on what steps to take next. It stopped at Brick Lane in eastern Enfield and in the car park of the Co-Op supermarket on Hertford Road.
Nick said, "Silver Star have been superb and with the help of Cllr Delman we have helped raise awareness of Diabetes in Enfield today, which I hope will go further than just those we met as they will tell friends, family and colleagues too".
Above: Nick took the test too!
Nick spoke in Parliament today to ask about the Government's policy towards moving Category A prisoners.
Speaking at Justice Questions, he asked Minister Jeremy Wright, "what considerations are made when incarcerating aCategory A prisoner in any category of prison other than a Category A prison?"
Mr Wright responded, "The principal consideration when locating a Category A prisoner outside of a Category A prison is always the need to protect the public. Category A prisoners would normally only be located outside of the High Security Estate where there is no alternative to doing so, and even then, strictly on a temporary basis. Where a Category A prisoner must be held outside of the High Security Estate, a set of specific processes are put in place to ensure that the risk of escape continues to be minimised."
Recently Nick joined Nick Ferrari on his LBC breakfast show to take part in the morning review of the news - part of the review centred around plans to downgrade services at Lewisham Hospital - in very similar circumstances to those which led to the threatned downgrage of Chase Farm Hospital.
As part of the review Nick explained why he felt the downgrade of Chase Farm Hospital was wrong - he rejected claims by NHS boses that Members of Parliament should not campaign against the downgrading of local NHS services saying he was elected to fight the downgrading of Chase Farm Hospital and therefore has continused to do so in Parliament.
Nick attacked the consultation process, saying it was "flawed" as obviously the people of Haringey and Barnet would be happy to see services in Enfield downgraded. You can listen to this section of the Nick Ferrari show in full here.
Today Nick appeared on BBC 2's The Daily Politics to discuss Chase Farm Hospital.
He rejected claims by NHS chiefs that MPs should not campaign against hospital A&E closures, saying he was elected to fight against the downgrade of Chase Farm.
You can watch the interview on BBC iplayer here. This will only be available for one week but a youtube version will follow soon.
Nick attacked the so-called consultation process, saying "If you say we're going to consult with a majority of people from Barnet, from Haringey and from Enfield - which is exactly the area we're talking about - is it any wonder that there is a majority which is based on Barnet and Haringey that says we'd rather downgrade Chase Farm and give everything to our neighbouring hospitals, which is now what is happening."
Responding to claims from NHS chiefs that MPs should back hospital downgrades, Nick said "If you going to have a transparent, open, honest consultation I think the medical profession have a chance [of making their case]. But I'm not signing up to anything that's been going on with Chase Farm where it's not transparent, it hasn't been fair and frankly it's wrong."
Videos - short and long versions - now available below.
Today Nick spoke in Parliament on future negotiations regarding Britain's relationship with the European Union.
It follows the news that Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that, should the Conservatives win the next general election, Britain will have an in/out referendum on the EU. This is something Nick has consistently supported.
Residents supported Nick in this during the first Nick Direct event back in October.
Speaking in Parliament during a debate on Europe, Nick asked Foreign Secretary William Hague, "Given that free trade agreements are currently an exclusive competency of the EU and that nothing can be more important than delivering new markets for growth and jobs, does he agree that if it takes the British Government to take a stand on renegotiation, and that brings speedier and more successful agreements to a conclusion, that is the right way?"
Mr Hague replied, "My hon. Friend rightly highlights the importance of working on that area. Whatever the circumstances and whatever the disagreements in Europe, progress on free trade agreements is always at the top of our priorities."
Nick's column for the Enfield Advertiser today promotes the Diabetes Action Day happening tomorrow.
This evening Nick was a guest on UK Bangladeshi TV channel, NTV.
There was a live phone in for viewers to speak to Nick and an Enfield GP about Diabetes. Nick is arranging for a Mobile Diabetes Unit to visit Enfield on Thursday 31 January to offer free Diabetes tests to local residents.
Diabetes takes up almost 10% of the NHS budget - £11.9 billion a year. This could double in just 10 years unless those at risk understand how they can reduce their risk of contracting the condition.
Nick said, "Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, people of South Asian origin and from a Black African-Caribbean background are at a greater risk of getting Diabetes than white people. I'm therefore working to raise awareness among different ethinc minority groups as well as among the general population so that we can help people live healthier lives in Enfield".
Sir Bruce Keogh, respected surgeon and current director of medicine for the NHS has criticised politicians for defending local service re-configuration. Nick has responded to his points in an open letter.
Sir Bruce Keogh, the former heart surgeon who now leads on standards and performance in the health service, told the Guardian this weekend that failing to embrace change, including closures, would inhibit excellence and "perpetuate mediocrity". Given the lengthy battle Enfield residents have experienced with Chase Farm Hospital and the proposals to move some service to North Mids Hospital and Barnet he could have been talking directly to Enfield residents, and therefore Nick felt it important to challenge some of his points.
Dear Sir Bruce,
As Medical Director of the NHS responsible for standards and performance I was interested in your comments that MPs by defending local interests are "consigning hospitals to mediocrity". I believe your comments are wrong because you fail to understand that driving change is as much about winning the hearts and minds of the public you serve, as it is about winning a clinical argument on excellence with politicians.
My hospital Chase Farm in Enfield, North London has been subject to re- configuration proposals since 2003. During that time NHS London adopted a flawed consultation process with the public, often carefully selected individuals meeting in central London hotels far removed from the locality the hospital served. The NHS failed to be transparent and consistent in their arguments over the years leading to mistrust and lack of confidence in the administrative leadership of NHS London,Enfield PCT and the acute hospital board of Chase Farm, Barnet and North Middlesex.
No wonder in 2010 I was elected on a mandate to defend Chase Farm against the downgrade of the A&E unit in particular. My concern is that you choose to dismiss the electoral mandate so easily and with such contempt underlines exactly why the public do not trust the management of the NHS as they fail to engage or listen to the concerns of informed local patients and residents.
If re-configuration is the route to clinical excellence in hospitals why were the medical front line profession not taking the lead in arguing for these changes? Since 2003 in Enfield I don't recall many GPs or clinical leads from the acute hospitals publicly arguing for the changes. I hope that on reflection you will realise it is not politicians who are just concerned about some of the proposals for change but the public that elected the MPs. That is why I and my residents will continue to fight these proposals.
That to date both this government and the last have chosen to ignore the views of patients and residents despite their repeated pledge not to do so is deeply regrettable.
Nick de Bois MP
Member of Parliament Enfield North
Enfield's MPs have secured a top 10% rise in Enfield's public health funding.
Following meetings between Enfield North MP Nick de Bois, Southgate MP David Burrowes and Edmonton MP Andy Love with the Public Health Minister, the Government has announced a 10% increase in public health funding for Enfield for 2013. Leader of Enfield Council Doug Taylor also attended.
By announcing allocations for the next two years the Government hopes to provide local authorities with greater certainty of future resources, enabling them to plan for initiatives that may be better delivered across more than one year. These grants to local authorities will be ring-fenced for their public health responsibilities.
Across England, increases have ranged from 2.2% to 10%, with Enfield therefore among the local authorities with the highest percentage increases. This 10% rise will mean an extra £1.2 million and takes Enfield's allocation to £12.9 million for 2013/14.
A further £1.3 million has been allocated for the following year to see the borough's public health budget rise to £14.3 million in 2014/15.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois said, ""Every local Council in England is receiving a real terms increase in its public health budget, which shows how serious the Government is about wanting to help people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives, and to improve the health of the most vulnerable fastest."
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes commented, "The Government has listened to our concerns about the increasing public health needs of Enfield and delivered an increased budget. The money Enfield has received will allow Enfield Council to tackle the poor public health outcomes in the Borough. The increase funds can transform the lives of local people through commissioning a wide range of innovative services."
Nick has written for the Daily Telegraph today: 'Our best talents are leaving Britain'
In a global market, Britain needs to do more to retain the best and the brightest, argues Nick de Bois MP.
When it comes to discussing migration numbers in the UK we often only hear about immigration, and then the debate is often around the net immigration totals. Supporters of immigration argue we need the skills from abroad to drive
our economy, opponents of immigration argue our public services cannot cope with the rapidly rising population. But lost in the debate is the enormous damage being done to our economy by migration from the UK.
According to the ONS, over the last decade around 3.6 million people left the UK for a new life abroad. That's 986 people a day.
Many observers think this is the older generation leaving for warmer shores to enjoy a well-earned retirement, happily forsaking the British winter and the escalating cost of living. Look beyond the headline numbers and a much more
worrying pattern is emerging. Of the 3.6 million emigrating, nearly 2 million are aged between 25 and 44, and a further 849,000 are aged between 15-24. Only 125,000 are over 60.
In short, our most economically active are leaving to apply their talents elsewhere. The figures show that they are, in the main, heading towards growth economies and warmer climes. Looking outside the window as I write this, who
really blame them?
The Government has yet provide a public estimate of the economic cost of this drain of talent, but questions have to be asked as to why, even in a truly global economy where labour markets are relatively open, we here in the UK
cannot hold onto our own home-grown, home-educated talent.
If we are losing talent to overseas pharmaceutical, aerospace, engineering and creative companies, not to mention the drain of public sector trained doctors, nurses and teachers, then surely we should be shaping policy to capitalise on the years of investment in and by these individuals.
Certainly we must look to be introducing more competitive personal tax rates as a start, but not all are motivated by higher disposable income. Government must help lead a culture change in this country that competes with the new economies, one where competitiveness and success are valued and personal achievement and personal wealth are respected, not pilloried. The language that Government uses will be as important as the policies it presents to compete with the lure of other countries who are attracting some of our country's best home-grown talent.
It is not an easy decision to leave your home nation behind and move to another country, and often immigrants will return home after ten to twelve years away. So surely it makes sense that the UK works hard to keep people here and ensure both the country and individual benefit from these productive years.
The Conservatives ran a superb poster during the last election with a picture of a new born baby and the copy 'Dad's nose. Mum's eyes. Gordon Brown's debt'. It encapsulated the most powerful justification for the Conservative's economic approach: that refusing to deal with the deficit will see our debt pile up and place an unbearable burden on future generations. The previous Government's disastrous economic policies have left us with the outlook of a bleak financial landscape, with future generations inevitably included in paying the price of this economic failure. There is no doubt this has fuelled economic migration.
The Coalition Government is picking up the pieces of the last government's failure, and I would suggest that it is crucial that policy experts and strategic thinkers pay close attention to this issue. Work needs to begin on keeping people here and not relying on importing others to fill the gap.
::Nick de Bois MP is secretary of the Conservative 1922 Committee
From the Daily Telegraph's front page:
Emigration: Two million quit Britain in 'talent drain'
Two million people of working age have left Britain over the last decade in a "drain of talent" that is damaging the economy and forcing employers to rely on immigrant workers, a senior Conservative has warned.
Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, said that Britain needs a "culture change" to stem the flow of talented emigrants by encouraging success.
Office for National Statistics figures obtained by Mr de Bois show that in the ten years to 2011, a total of 3,599,000 people permanently left the UK.
Contrary to the perception of the typical emigrants being older people retiring to a life in the sun, the figures show that 1,963,000 of those who left were aged between 25 and 44.
By contrast, only 125,000 people of retirement age emigrated.
"Our most economically active are leaving to apply their talents elsewhere," the MP said, warning that talented Britons are being lured away to "growth economies" elsewhere in the world.
Writing for telegraph.co.uk, Mr de Bois warned that the current political focus on cutting immigration has meant not enough attention is paid to the impact of emigration.
"Lost in the debate is the enormous damage being done to our economy by migration from the UK," he said.
Ministers must do more to persuade high-achieving, highly-mobile workers that Britain remains the best place in the world to work and prosper, he said.
"Work needs to begin on keeping people here and not relying on importing others to fill the gap," he said.
Many of those who are leaving are going to work for foreign-based pharmaceutical, aerospace, engineering and creative companies, Mr de Bois said.
He added: "Questions have to be asked as to why, even in a truly global economy where labour markets are relatively open, we here in the UK cannot hold onto our own home-grown, home-educated talent."
Research for the Home Office last year found that almost half of all Britons who emigrate each year are professionals and company managers.
Some business leaders have blamed Britain's tax regime for encouraging skilled professionals and executives to leave.
Mr de Bois said tax does play a part in emigration, but suggested that culture is a more important factor, warning that Britain should encourage people to succeed and get rich, not criticise them.
"Government must help lead a culture change in this country that competes with the new economies, one where competitiveness and success are valued and personal achievement and personal wealth are respected, not pilloried," he said.
"The language that Government uses will be as important as the policies it presents to compete with the lure of other countries who are attracting some of our country's best home-grown talent."
The MP's warning is the latest suggestion that Britain is suffering a "brain drain" and losing out in the global competition for highly-educated workers.
Official figures in November revealed that thousands of British graduates from the best UK universities are choosing to work abroad.
Almost one in 10 British graduates from institutions such as Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford who found jobs in 2011 were working overseas.
Yesterday in Parliament Nick raised a question to ask about the number of inmates who are taking drugs in prison.
He asked Justice Minister Jeremy Wright, "what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of prisoners using (a) cannabis, (b) psilocybe mushrooms, (c) phencyclidine, (d) opium,(e) morphine diacetate, (f) MDMA, (g) morphine, (h) methamphetamine, (i) methadone, (j) lysergic acid diethylamide, (k) hydrocodone and (l) cocaine."
Mr Wright responded that some drugs are grouped under the same category (see full answer here), before giving the following figures.
Mr Wright added, "It is not possible to determine from the centrally held data which specific opiates or amphetamines prisoners have used. This information is however provided to prisons when individual results are received from the testing laboratory. The sum of the number of positives for each drug does not equate to the total number of positive samples, as some samples may have been positive for more than one drug. The number of positive samples for each drug does not equate to the number of prisoners that tested positive, as some prisoners may have tested positive more than once."
Today Nick spoke in the House of Commons to ask about what the Government is doing to tackle insurance fraud.
Nick asked Transport Minister Stephen Hammond, "What representations he has received on the insurance industry's Access to Driver Data project; and if he will make a statement?"
Mr Hammond replied, "Officials from the Department for Transport have been working very closely with the motor insurance industry on access to the driver database (IIADD) project for two years. Furthermore, I have met with representatives from the motor insurance industry on a wide range of insurance issues, including the IIADD project."
He added, "The Government is committed to reducing the number of uninsured drivers on our roads. Tackling fraud is key to making this happen and good progress is being made in allowing the insurance industry access to DVLAdriver details on penalty points and disqualifications."
Today in Parliament Nick asked health ministers how much funding was being made available for drug addiction services.
Nick asked Health Minister Norman Lamb "what funding his Department has allocated for drug addiction services in (a) the London borough of Enfield, (b) London and (c) England in each of the last five years?"
Mr Lamb replied, "Central funding for adult drug treatment services has been provided to primary care trusts through the adult pooled treatment budget (PTB). Adult PTB allocations to the London borough of Enfield, London and England in each of the last five years are set out in the following table:
This evening First Capital Connect have issued a winter weather warning - heavy snow is expected across the network tomorrow morning and into the early afternoon, this is likely to affect services in and out of Central London.
First Capital Connect aim to run to their normal timetable but services will be subject to delays or short notice cancellations. Customers have been asked to leave more time for their journeys and to check either www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk or www.nationalrail.co.uk before they travel.
Information about services can also be found at First Capital Connect's Twitter page, or by using the hashtag #FCC.
582 people took part in Nick's January online poll, answering questions on benefits, the Coaltion and council tax.
You can download the results in full here.
There was a strong endorsement of the decision by MPs to limit annual benefit rises to 1%. Residents also sent a clear signal to Enfield Council about freezing council tax. Views were split on the whether people want the Coalition to continue to 2015.
To take part in future polls, sign up to Nick's e-newsletter on the front page of the website.
Nick joined a giant bumble bee and campaigners from the environment charity Friends of the Earth today to draw attention to the alarming decline in UK bee numbers.
Nick de Bois was one of more than 125 MPs to show their support for Britain's threatened bees. Last year Friends of the Earth launched its Bee Cause campaign, which has been backed by more than 80,000 people and calls for the Government to urgently to introduce a National Bee Action Plan aimed at saving our bees.
Bees are not only makers of honey, they are also crucial for pollinating crops and plants. A sharp fall in their number in recent years has led to growing concerns about the impact this may have on our local environment, farmers and the economy.
A study last year found that if bees disappeared it would cost British farmers at least £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their
crops by hand - which would cause food prices, such as fresh fruit and veg, to rocket.
Nick de Bois MP said:
"I am extremely concerned about the rapid decline in British Bees. They're not only an iconic part of our countryside; they play a vital role in pollinating our crops and flowers too. It's great news that Friends of the Earth is creating a buzz about these crucially important insects – I'll be doing all I can to help protect our bees in 2013.
Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "I'm delighted Nick de Bois MP is showing support for Britain's threatened bees – they are under severe threat and need all the support they can get. People up and down the country can help by creating bee-friendly gardens and habitats to enable bees to thrive, but it is vital that the Government does its bit too by introducing a National Bee Action Plan."
Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign is asking David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan:
Today Nick spoke in the House of Commons to call on the Ministry of Defence to play its part in helping people with Dementia.
Nick asked Defence Minister Mark Francois: The Minister may be aware that last Thursday an exceptional debate on dementia took place in this House, with the consensus being that cross-government working must play its part in helping to meet this challenge of dementia. Will he assure me that the Ministry of Defence will play its part in helping us to meet that challenge?
Mr Francois replied: Almost one in 10 adults in this country is an armed forces veteran, so clearly the increasing prevalence of dementia has implications for those veterans, too. As I have said in response to other questions, we work very closely with our colleagues in the Department of Health. They have primary responsibility for dealing with this challenge, but of course we also work closely with armed forces charities—the Royal British Legion and many others—to try to provide bespoke services for veterans who are dealing with this challenge in their life.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has this week published his draft Police and Crime Plan which reveals that Enfield will get 85 more police officers by 2015 - the fourth highest increase in London.
The draft document, which sets out how the Mayor aims to ensure Londoners receive the best service possible from the police, outlines that the total number of police officers in the borough will rise from 524 to 609.
Based on analysis of demand and relative crime levels across each borough, the Metropolitan Police Service has reviewed the allocation of police officers per borough. This has resulted in all boroughs gaining police officers, with Enfield receiving the fourth highest rise in London.
The plan outlines that the new Local Policing Model will be implemented from April this year and will see an extra 2,600 officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams across the capital with the aim of improving visibility and ensuring the police are "out fighting crime, not behind desks completing paperwork".
Each Ward will have a named Sergeant, dedicated named PC and dedicated PCSO.
Nick said, "I'm delighted that Enfield will be seeing such a welcome increase in the number of police officers. The Mayor's plan will ensure these extra officers are out pulling criminals off the streets, not indoors pushing paperwork".
He added, "Enfield has greater policing needs than some other London boroughs and residents will be very pleased that this has been recognised by the Mayor".
The Sunday Telegraph has reported that 17 NHS hospitals have dangerously low staffing levels, according to rulings by the official safety watchdog – one of which is Chase Farm Hospital.
The Care Quality Commission conducted an inspection at one hospital ward at Chase Farm on 20 August 2012 and found it not to be meeting the required standards in respect of staffing and some documentation.
Over the weekend Nick has contacted Chase Farm Hospital Chief Executive Dr Tim Peachey to seek assurances that current staffing levels are safe.
Nick said, "Patients and residents in Enfield will be extremely concerned for patient care and safety at Chase Farm after reading that our hospital had been described as "dangerously understaffed". It is totally unacceptable. I know that the survey was from August 2012 but I have sought assurances from the Interim Chief Executive over the weekend and today that present staffing levels are safe. I have pressed him to ensure that the changes agreed when the hospital were made aware of the failings have been put in place and regularly monitored."
He added, "Of course, there is continued uncertainty over whether Enfield Council will seek a judicial review of the downgrade of Chase Farm. It is a shame Enfield Council took so long to appoint independent consultants to monitor Chase Farm after making a pledge in December 2011, but I hope the report from the consultants which is due soon will give a clear verdict on services and staffing at Chase Farm. As I have said before, I would support the Council pursuing a judicial review if the promises over primary care have not been kept."
Yesterday Nick wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt regarding Chase Farm regarding evaluating promises given regarding primary care, and a possible judicial review of decision to downgrade services.
You can read the letter in full here.
UPDATED: 14 January, letter sent to Council Leader Doug Taylor regarding Council's appointment of an independet monitor.
This morning Nick has launched a survey. You can take part here.
There are just four questions - including on benefits, the Coalition and council tax. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to complete.
The results will be published on this site. Watch this space!
Today Nick spoke in the House of Commons to highlight the cost to the NHS of treating people addicted to Class A drugs and called on the Government to focus on prosecuting drug dealers.
Nick asked Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne: As a result of a written question that I tabled on 9 November, it emerged that, on average, three babies a year are born with an addiction to class A drugs. Given that the national health service is spending half a billion pounds on the treatment of people who are addicted to class A drugs, does the Home Secretary agree that the police should make it a priority to prosecute dealers, and that those dealers should face the severest of sentences?
Mr Browne replied: My hon. Friend has raised a particularly tragic aspect of drug abuse, namely its effect on newborn children. This is part of a wider effort to reduce the harm caused by drugs. I am pleased that over the past decade there have been substantial falls in the consumption of illegal drugs—including the more harmful ones such as heroin—but the problem is continuing to evolve, especially in relation to legal highs. We are constantly thinking about how we can do more to prosecute those who trade in drugs, and how we can reduce the harm caused by them.
The Enfield Independent has covered Nick's call for drugs reform.
It follows Nick's article for The Sun last month, highlighting that over 1,000 babies are born every year addicted to drugs.
The Daily Mail has today highlighted that three babies are born every day in Britain addicted to drugs.
The shocking statistic was uncovered by Nick through asking questions in Parliament.
Drug addict babies: Three born every day are already hooked on heroin and cocaine
More than 5,500 babies born addicted to drugs over five yearsThey are often given opiates to 'ween them off' heroin within the first few hours of lifeHighest rate of addicted baby births in the North West
By Amanda Williams
PUBLISHED:10:18, 2 January 2013| UPDATED:12:23, 2 January 2013
Three babies are born every day addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs, it has today been revealed.
Over the past five years in Britain, more than 5,500 babies have been born hooked on the drugs because of their mother's own addictions.
Statistics from the Department of Health show that all of the newborn babies were showing 'neonatal withdrawal symptoms' within the first few hours of drawing breath.
This can see the babies - who need specialist care to cope with fever, severe vomiting and diarrhea and are so addicted they fit within the first few hours of life - given opiates to 'ween them off' heroin.
The figures, revealed by Conservative MP for Enfield North Nick de Bois, show the highest rate of addicted baby births is in the North West Strategic Health Authority, which covers Liverpool and Manchester.
He said: 'We have got to be handing out proper sentences to drug dealers and put the fear of god into them.
'Otherwise we will forever have this cycle of addicts.
'The scale of the problem has been a constant figure for five years so this 'war on drugs' is a nonsense.
'And either way we are not going to declare war on young mothers with babies. Not all drug addicts are criminals.
'What we need to do is work with more of the whole family unit, however dysfunctional that unit is.
'There are an estimated 350,000 children living with hooked parents, and their chances of become drug addicts are seven times more likely.
'We need a fresh approach, a more holistic approach'
It comes after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was slapped down by David Cameron after saying Britain was 'losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale'.
The Liberal Democrat leader threw his weight behind a controversial report by MPs which suggested decriminalising the possession of small quantities of drugs.
And he backed the report's call for a Royal Commission on the issue to reconsider all aspects of drugs policy.
But he was given short shrift by the Prime Minister, who rejected the report's findings this week and insisted drug policies were 'working'.
Critics have also warned that watering down drugs laws could see more young people becoming hooked.
Alan Hopley from Addaction, which works with addicted mothers in a specialist centre in Scotland, said the figures were part of a wider problem with parenting.
He said: 'These figures are shocking in themselves,yet they illustrate a wider problem: There are thousands of children in the UK growing up with parents who have a drug problem.
'It's why services like Addaction's have to do more than help someone recover.
'We work with the entire family, too, to restore structure and stability. Without that help, children are up to seven times more likely to develop their own problems, later in life'.
Former police officer Norman Brennan campaigns for victims of crime.
He told The Sun he hoped the figures would make Mr Clegg re-think his comments adding that the 'liberal elite had no idea about the true scale of the problem'.
Nick is backing the Meningitis Matters campaign run by the Meningitis Research Foundation's to raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia.
The campaign also aims to ensure that tackling the diseases remains a top public health priority while the current NHS reforms are implemented.
Meningitis is still a serious and life-threatening disease, affecting around 3,400 people in the UK each year. Infants and young people are at greatest risk, and meningitis causes the largest number of deaths amongst children under five - more than any other infectious disease.
Meningitis Matters aims to raise awareness of the disease and ensure that the changes brought about by the new Health and Social Care Act 2012 do not have unintended effects on meningitis research, surveillance and immunisation rates.
Supporting Meningitis Matters, Nick met local constituent Jessie Clark whose grandson Thomas survived the same disease in 1999 aged 17 months to discuss her personal experience of the disease.
Jessie, pictured with friends at Westminster after meeting Nick, said: "Thomas was was normally so healthy and active that we realised something was amiss when he became ill. Unfortunately we were reassured by the doctors and sent home from hospital, which almost cost him his life. We rushed him back to hospital the next morning and they were amazing and looked after him for two weeks. Thomas made a full recovery, save some scarring, but we know we were so lucky. I am backing the Meningitis Matters campaign to make sure that meningitis does remain a high priority during the NHS reforms and to ensure that other children in the UK don't have to face what we have been through."
Along with other MPs, Nick has signed a pledge calling on the Government to introduce new meningitis vaccines as soon as readily available. Many deadly strains of meningitis remain uncontrolled, and vaccination is still the most effective way to prevent and control it.
Nick said: "Meningitis hasn't gone away - it still kills far too many children and leaves many more with life-long disabilities. Although real progress has been made over the last decade, more needs to be done. Meningitis and septicaemia are terrible diseases which are vaccine preventable and no child should be dying from them in today's world."
Today Nick has written for The Sun on drugs reform.
Nick highlights the shocking fact he found when asking Parliamentary questions that over 1,000 babies a year are born addicted to drugs. He says that the phrase "war on drugs" is ridiculous; here's why:
HIGH TIME FOR DRUG REFORM
In this country 1,000 babies a year are born addicted to drugs.
That's why Nick Clegg is right. We do need to look at what we are doing and acknowledge that Britain's drugs policy is not presently a success.
It also highlights why the "war on drugs" is a ridiculous phrase.
You can have a war on dealers. But addicts and newborns need help and to be treated as patients, not targets of a "war".
It is wrong to think legalising drugs is the answer, though.
And Mr Clegg is also wrong on the need for a royal commission. That's the last thing we need.
Let Parliament crack on with developing a fresh approach, including new laws where appropriate.
We should crack down much harder on dealers and traffickers and use the justice system to treat patients as a health and social problem and cure them. Not just send them to jail.
What can you possibly do to rehabilitate an addict on a 30-day prison term?
In 2011 if you dealt class C drugs there was only a 16 per cent chance you would be sent to prison. If you dealt class B drugs, there was a 21 per cent chance you would go to prison.
While only 24 per cent of class A drug dealers were not sent to prison, those who were could happily expect to receive a sentence of around 40 months and serve just half of that.
Today, the drug debate is whether we should legalise cannabis — as if that will help us defeat drug misuse.
Yet no one is questioning why the UK's drug supply is so strong and profitable, particularly when it comes to class A and B "hard" drugs.
People know where the drug dealers are in their community, but no one seeks to eradicate them.
How can we seriously deal with the drug problem in this country without tackling the supply?
The Portuguese system of decriminalisation deals with those who take drugs as a health concern.
Rather than drive addicts underground through the fear of prosecution, when they're caught, they're offered treatment and help. I agree with this.
However, because we don't send users to jail, that doesn't mean we should tolerate the dealers.
For far too long, drug dealers in Britain have been aided by a liberalised justice system.
The punishments they receive — including, for example, the six class A drug dealers who received fines in 2011 — are viewed simply as a business cost.
While those at the lower scale of dealing receive little to no punishment, those at the top reap the rewards as the penalties they expect to receive become weaker.
So how can we solve this? The answer is simple — severely punish those who deal drugs while seeking to help those who take them with programmes of treatment and education.
The education of young people will be a vaccine for the future, providing them with the information they need to come off drugs rather than just sending them to prison.
I am sick and tired of seeing families torn apart when their loved ones get hooked on drugs while the dealers merely have their business interrupted for 18 months, at best, if convicted.
We need sentences for dealers that either frighten the life out of them to the point that they choose not to deal drugs — or lock them up for so long they simply can't.
This morning Nick visited Enfield's Post Sorting Office on Southbury Road.
185 staff are employed in preparing parcels, letters and cards for distribution. Staff work 8 hour shifts, but at this time of the year some volunteer for 10 hour shifts. The entire system is all powered by manual labour and visiting the site gave Nick a clear impression of the scale of operation required to ensure people's post is delivered on time.
Nick said, "It was fascinating seeing how the Post Sorting Office runs at this incredibly busy time of year. As you would imagine, the staff diligently control what is a very complex process to make sure people's gifts and Christmas cards are arriving on time. It was great to see them all in action".
Today the House of Commons debated NHS funding.
Nick spoke in the debate to once again highlight the campaign against the downgrade of Chase Farm saying, "We have had a long fight against the downgrading of my hospital, Chase Farm. Many people think that that fight is over, but I do not. With the new demographic figures and population increases in London, it is important that we continue to press authorities and Ministers to take these things into account, even at this late stage, because where people go is even more of a priority than she assessed it was before the figures came out."
Nick said afterwards, "The decision to downgrade was the wrong decision. I will never pass on an opportunity to argue against the downgrade. Although the hospital is not closing, it is still the case that the arguments for for retaining full A&E at Chase Farm are getting stronger, not weaker, as time goes on".
An Enfield resident has contacted Nick asking to help highlight that a choir of Games Makers has launched a charity single.
Carol Dekan from Enfield, who was a Games Maker herself, is part of the choir that was formed during the London 2012 Olympic Games and is hoping to make a bid for the Christmas No.1 spot.
The all-volunteer group, who performed at the Olympic Park during the Games, have teamed up with singer songwriter Alistair Griffin to record a new song entitled 'I Wish For You The World'.
Nick said, "The volunteer Games Makers represented one of the best parts of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and by having a charity single to raise funds for the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association they are keeping the Olmypic legacy going".
Hollywood star Carey Mulligan has launched a new campaign with Prime Minister David Cameron to help relatives spot and support loved ones with dementia over the festive season.
Carey, star of upcoming blockbuster The Great Gatsby, spoke about Christmases with her grandmother 'Nans' while the Prime Minister shared a story about rushing son Ivan from hospital down to Devon in time for a family Christmas. They were joined by Dominic Batty who lives with dementia and wife Jill to launch the campaign Christmas to Remember by hanging a Dementia Friends bauble on the Number 10 tree.
Carey is encouraging people returning home for Christmas to look out for signs that a loved one may be living with dementia. Awareness of the condition is particularly important during the festive season when people may be seeing relatives for the first time in months and notice changes in behaviour.
As part of the campaign, celebrities such as Lynda Bellingham and John Challis – Only Fools & Horses' Boycie – will share their favourite Christmas memories on a Tumblr blog. People will be encouraged to share their favourite memories – whether good or bad, about a treasured present or Christmas dinner disaster – on Twitter using #xmas2remember. The Tumblr will include Alzheimer's Society information on seeing relatives with dementia over Christmas, and ask people to register their interest in becoming a Dementia Friend.
Actress Carey Mulligan, whose grandmother "Nans" has dementia, said:
'My favourite Christmas memory is every Christmas we spent with my grandmother. She used to alternate between us and our cousins and every year we were lucky enough to have her was particularly precious.
'This Christmas we want people to tell us about their favourite Christmas memory - it can be funny, sad, silly or serious. Write a memory on a piece of paper, take a photo and tweet using #xmas2remember or comment at facebook.com/alzheimerssociety'
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer's Society said:
'Christmas is a time when families who may not see each other all year come together. If you are worried about your own or a loved one's memory or think they might have dementia it's important to know that there is help and support available. This year you can follow advice and information on the internet or call our National Dementia Helpline. You can also give yourself the gift of becoming more dementia aware by registering your interest in becoming a dementia friend.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
'Dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing our population today which is why I launched the Dementia Challenge and am supporting the Dementia Friends project. There are already nearly 700,000 people in England with dementia who need support, but hundreds of thousands of them aren't diagnosed and aren't receiving the help they need.
'We may not want to think about dementia at Christmas time, but spotting the signs of dementia as soon as they start is the best way to help our friends and family keep the memories they make for as long as possible.
'That's why I'm launching the Christmas to Remember campaign and encouraging everyone to share their Christmas memories. By working together to raise awareness of the signs we can tackle this dreadful disease and make Christmas a happier time for millions.'
Dementia is caused by brain diseases which cause the brain to slowly shut down; the most common is Alzheimer's. Symptoms to spot dementia include struggling to remember recent events, forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects or not being able to recall information you've read.
Calls to Alzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline increase by a third immediately after Christmas, many of these calls are from worried relatives. The number to call is 0300 222 1122.
For further information please contact:
Ian Preston, Alzheimer's Society, 020 7423 3595 / 07802 688 774
Legislation to prevent youth knife crime in Britain that was championed by people in Enfield officially came into law today.
As of today, 3rd December, anyone aged 16 or over who uses a knife to threaten someone faces a mandatory six month prison sentence.
It follows Nick's efforts, backed by the Enfield Independent and local anti-knife crime campaigners, in seeking to amend the Government's Justice Bill. The 'Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill' had originally only sought to give minimum sentences to those over the age of 18, but a borough wide effort saw hundreds of signatures gained on a petition calling for 16 and 17 year olds to be included.
After Nick presented this to Parliament, MPs voted to approve an amendment tabled by the Enfield North MP on 2 November 2011. The leading role played by Nick de Bois and the borough's residents led to the new legislation being dubbed "Enfield's Law".
Nick de Bois said, "I'm delighted that Enfield's Law is now officially on the statute book, it will act as a strong deterrent. We of course need to match this with support for early intervention schemes and improvements in education, as a deterrent on its own is not enough. However, it is vital that people now know that if someone threatens them with a knife, that person will go to prison."
He added, "Achieving this new legislation is something we as a borough can be very proud. Last year people were looking at the riots in Enfield and were shaking their heads in shock and dismay. Now they can look at Enfield and nod in approval".
Read about the campaign in more details here.
There is coverage in today's Daily Mail.
UPDATE: The Enfield Advertiser has it covered too.
UPDATE II: So has the Enfield Independent
60 residents packed into St. Mary Magdalene church hall last night for the final Nick Direct event of the year.
The topic of debate was whether coalition government was a good thing for Britain.
As with all Nick Direct meetings, the event was a chance for people to ask questions and make points directly to their local MP. If they didn't agree or feel Nick didn't answer the question, they could put him on the spot and say so. It made for a lively evening where people could connect personally with the person representing them in Parliament.
Residents raised lots of important points - such as disatisfaction with the way coalition government gives parties the opportunity to drop promises in their manifestos during coalition negotiations. Nick said he recognised why voters found this frustrating but argued that as no party had won the election, coalition was in the national interest and could only be achieved by two parties compromising. He also said that, in effect, parties themselves are coalitions of different views and opinions and therefore consensus among two fundamentally different parties would always be challenging, but the end result was on the whole worth it.
Being the final Nick Direct of the year, lots of residents also asked questions about previous topics including the EU and welfare.
Afterwards Nick said, "I'm pleased we've had such good turnouts for these meetings - despite the time of year and weather - as it's given people the chance to question me directly on important national issues. I'm really grateful to everyone who came along and made the events such a success".
Nick will be holding more Nick Direct events next year. If you would like to suggest a topic for discussion, please use the comments section below.
Today Nick met with high profile Turkish politicians to discuss a new UK trade delegation to Turkey for Spring 2013.
Nick, as Vice Chair of the UK's All Party Parliamentary Trade & Export Group, met with Turkish Ambassador to the UK Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz, Ibrahim Kalin (the Deputy Under-Secretary at Prime Minister Erdogan's office) and Omer Çelik (the Deputy Leader of the AKP) to discuss creating closer UK-Turkish relations, with their talks also covering important issues of democracy, Cyprus and Syria.
Nick agreed to help lead a trade delegation to Turkey early next year. Presently, Turkey imports over $212 billion dollars but the UK is not a significant trading partner. Russia, China, Germany, Italy and France all enjoy a closer relationship.
Nick said, "We have a close political relationship with Turkey, we support their entry into the EU and above all many Turkish and Turkish Cypriot people live and work in this country. Yet the UK has failed to build on this relationship by selling our excellent products to Turkey. In this climate we need to be exporting much more to growing economies and I want to see the UK selling more to Turkey."
He added, "We have the skill and the products that are needed to support the Turkish economy, so I am delighted to be playing an active part in building this vital area of business between our two countries".
Nick has joined 86 MPs from all three main political parties in signing a letter urging the Government not to bring in new press laws if Lord Justice Leveson recommends state regulation on Thursday.
Lord Justice Leveson's report into the culture, practice and ethics of the press will be published at 13:30 GMT today.
The letter warns that state regulation would lead to newspaper licensing, which was brought in during the English Civil War in 1643 and scrapped 50 years later under William III.
- FULL LETTER -
SIR – With the publication of the Leveson Report imminent, the issue will be whether the press should be subjected to statutory regulation or whether a new system of self-regulation should be put in place.
As parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control even if it is dressed up as underpinning. It is redress that is vital, not broader regulation. Statutory regulation would require the imposition of state licensing – abolished in Britain in 1695. State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.
Statutory regulation of the print media may shift the balance to the digital platforms, which would further undermine the position of properly moderated and edited print journalism.
The press abuse chronicled at Leveson was almost wholly about actions which were against the law. It demonstrated not a failure of regulation but law enforcement. We cannot countenance newspapers behaving as some have in the past. The solution is not new laws but a restructuring of the self-regulatory system.
Lords Hunt of Wirral and Black of Brentwood have come forward with a proposal for a much improved, independent regulator. They need to deliver on this promised reform. We agree with the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee which came out against any form of statutory regulation – not least because of the signal it would send to emerging democracies around the world.
Public debate following publication of the Leveson Report will be needed to provide confidence in a rigorous new system of self-regulation.
Nick de Bois
Sir Peter Bottomley
(A full list of signatories can be found here).
The Government is to investigate Enfield Council's decision is to spend money designed to fund new schools to pay for CCTV and road works, it has emerged.
Under the Government's free schools programme, a set amount of money is allocated to approved groups to build new schools. But after the Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust won permission for a new primary school in Edmonton it was hit with a £110,000 fee from Enfield Council under planning rules, called a Section 106 payment. It has been confirmed that the Council will use this money to fund CCTV cameras and road works.
The Government has stated it will be investigating "as a matter of urgency" following questions raised in Parliament by Nick.
Nick asked Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, "All the money awarded for the building of a new free school in my constituency should go to benefit our children's education, so is the Secretary of State surprised to learn that Enfield council is demanding tens of thousands of pounds of that budget for section 106 costs, providing no educational support?"
The Secretary of State replied, "My hon. Friend makes a reasonable point and I, the planning Minister—the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend Nick Boles—and the Secretary of State for Education are looking into it as a matter of urgency."
Nick said afterwards, "With Enfield suffering a shortage of primary school places in the borough, this news will anger parents who will question why the Council has prioritised CCTV installation instead of funding school places."
There is great news for Post Offices in Enfield as the the Government has announced a new £450 million contract to provide DVLA services throughout the UK Post Office network.
Nitin Mehta, who runs the Lancaster Road Post Office, said, "This is great news and makes sense as it saves the taxpayer money and will help a lot of local post offices".
Under the contract, the Post Office will initially offer DVLA services at over 4,700 outlets and will save the taxpayer between £13 million and £15 million a year.
DVLA-related services at the Post Office will expand to include services currently only offered through DVLA local offices. There is also scope for the provision of other Government services through the post office network.
Nick said, "This announcement is very welcome. Local post offices sit at the heart of community life, and this decision will make life easier for everyone who drives in Enfield."
He added, "As we saw under the last government when they closed Post Offices on Chase Side, Green Street and Freezywater, it affects other nearby businesses that rely on the branches to generate more footfall. So I'm delighted the Government has secured this deal with the Post Office".
Enfield Council's application for a licence to hold events on Chase Green in Chase Side has horrified residents.
I have received dozens of letters and emails from locals who fear that the licence will convert the quiet park into an entertainment venue which could host events between 7am and 11pm.
I have worked with the area's councillors to inform people how they can make their feelings known to Enfield Council, which I know they will – and I hope the council listens.
The government's localism agenda is about giving residents more say over what happens in their communities.
The Localism Act has created new powers for neighbourhoods to decide their futures, and also gives councils the ability to take action against people who break planning laws.
But what Enfield Council is doing is not breaking the law – it has followed the letter of the law perfectly.
My point is that councils also need to respect the spirit of the law. Respect is crucial.
Not far from Chase Green is Hilly Fields Park, where the council is again angering
residents, this time by building a cycle path when people have – time and time again – expressed their opposition to it.
Indeed, residents will be further disappointed to hear that a Labour councillor (who chairs the borough's green belt forum) used the word "nimby" in last week's full council meeting when referring to local opposition to these plans.
That does not strike me as very respectful to people simply voicing their view on what the council wants to do to a key community asset.
The council and certain councillors may not like the fact that residents disagree with their various plans and schemes.
They may even feel they have the powers to ignore residents and plough ahead regardless of local opposition.
But they must understand that however long they are in power, residents will be here longer.
That's why they care so passionately about permanent changes to their neighbourhoods, and their views should come first.
First Capital Connect has confirmed a number of improvements that will be welcomed by Enfield commuters this winter.
Nick sought a meeting with the rail operator to press home complaints about poor station sign lighting and concerns about passenger safety at stations. Following this FCC have given a commitment that Crews Hill, Gordon Hill and Enfield Chase stations will have new lighting completed by the end of November.
Existing orange sodium lamps are being replaced with more modern lamps which generate a bright white light, making it easier for customers and staff to navigate the stations at night.
Further to this, First Capital Connect said they would be refurbishing the underpass at Enfield Chase station and also install CCTV at Gordon Hill.
Nick said, "I know from regularly using trains from Enfield to Parliament and back that in winter it's difficult to tell which station you're arriving at because the lighting is so poor. My constituents who use commute tell me the same thing. I'm therefore delighted that First Capital Connect has taken this on board and will be improving the lighting before the end of November."
SOME politicians shy away from talking about Europe – not Nick de Bois.
Watching the MP for Enfield North as he dissects the things he sees wrong with the European Union during a chat in one of Enfield Town's greasy spoons, you can almost see the political sniper in him lining up to take fire.
Mr de Bois seems to know his stuff, producing figures left, right and centre about waste, trading regulations and the cost of EU bureaucracy – and he is definitely not afraid to give Brussels a few jabs for good measure while he's at it.
When I met with the self-confessed Eurosceptic, he is in a buoyant mood – having helped to send a clear message to the coalition government, along with 52 other rebels, that the European Union needs to tighten its fiscal belt.
Mr de Bois was one of the Tory MPs who voted for an amendment to have a real terms cut to the EU budget.
Rather than call for a freeze on the 2014-2020 EU budget, the Tory backbenchers and Labour MPs supported a motion demanding that David Cameron pushes for a 2.5 per cent reduction.
"We don't believe the EU should have a cash increase, it's as simple as that," exclaimed a confident sounding Mr de Bois.
"The government believes that a real-term freeze is enough but we backbenchers don't – we think there should be a cut.
"Is it really impossible for the EU to get its costs under control and save 2.5 per cent? We're doing it over here so why can't they do it?"
For the former PR man, however, the rebellion wasn't about personal political interest – this was about representing his constituents.
"We are coming to the stage where more and more MPs, like myself, are willing to stand up for their constituents and take a stance against their own party to get the message home," he said.
"I am yet to meet a constituent who would say they are happy to take cuts here but yet want to keep feeding the bloated mouth of the EU."
Highlighting that very point, a 45-strong delegation of Enfield residents at the MP's Nick Direct meetings last month slated the government for failing to deliver a referendum on Europe.
But why the public anger over the UK's role in the EU?
The Treasury calculated that in the 2010-2011 financial year, the UK made the fourth largest contribution – £8.91billion – of any country to the EU.
And figures published in 2010 show that a UK worker will on average pay £157 a year to Europe, getting just £87 in return.
In contrast, a Greek taxpayer will contribute £148 to Europe annually and get £406 in return.
Eurosceptics say the EU is simply not worth the investment.
Mr de Bois believes that last week's vote will give Mr Cameron the authority to negotiate for a reduced budget and he added: "The Prime Minster will have to insist – at a minimum – that the budget is frozen and if he doesn't get that then I'm convinced he'll veto the whole budget process, guaranteeing no increase."
As secretary of the 1922 Committee, the Tory backbench group, Mr de Bois no doubt played a hand in organising last week's rebellion – but he is happy to condemn Labour.
"The vote was not a coalition issue," he stated firmly. "The deep irony is you had a very opportunist Labour Party which basically just supported the amendment so they could play politics.
"They lack credibility on the issue but I welcome their support to the cause, no matter how late their conversion.
"Things are going to be interesting because Labour are stuck with this position. Say David Cameron comes back from negotiations having vetoed the budget process – are they really going to vote against that?"
The question might also be though, if Mr Cameron chooses not to veto at the upcoming budget negotiations, what will the next course of action be for Enfield's rebel MP?
If the Conservative Party knows one thing, it's that a Eurosceptic never lies down quietly.
Held at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Highlands was one of six teams competing in the final of a competition that has been entered by 3,000 pupils across the country.
The teams, made up of pupils from Years 9-11, have prepared business plans and presentations which meet the brief set by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore. This year they are focused on improving the match-day experience for supporters.
Over the last couple of months the teams have brainstormed, conducted research, met club officials and calculated costs and possible revenues for their proposals.
After coming through two keenly fought semi-finals at the stadiums of Newcastle United and Aston Villa, the teams delivered their pitches and ideas to a panel of judges and in front of special guests at the Westminster Conference Centre. They pitched to a 'Dragons' Den'- style judging panel, with a further three minutes set aside for the judges to quiz the students on their ideas.
Nick said, "The team from Highlands can be really proud to have got to the final of such a big competition, they did a great job of presenting a super idea."
He added, "Competitions like this are designed to realise the business potential in young people and are a excellent idea from the Premier League, and well supported by Spurs too."
Nick joined members of the Royal British Legion at Remembrance Sunday services in Enfield.
As reported in the Enfield Independent, serving and retired servicemen marched from Chase Side Primary School in Trinity Street to the Enfield War Memorial on Chase Side and arrived at 2.55pm.
The service was, as always, well attended by members of the public with the police stopping traffic for the 3pm service. The march then continued through Enfield Town before returning to Holtwhites Hill around 4pm.
Nick tweeted the above picture from the War Memorial and the Enfield Independent highlighted cadets and veterans that attended.
This morning Nick helped launch Enfield's first audio ATM in Enfield Town.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has been running a campaign for "talking ATMs". Thanks to the Make Money Talk campaign, blind and partially sighted people can now take along their earphones and plug them into one of more than 3,000 Barclays speech enabled ATMs, and access their money.
Nick joined Bob Bond, Chief Customer Network Officer for Barclays, and Fazilet Hadi, Group Director of Inclusive Society for RNIB.
Nick said, "I want to congratulate the RNIB for the way they have run the Make Money Talk campaign. It is only fair and reasonable that banks in the UK provide ATMs with audio facilities for their blind and partially sighted customers, and Barclays deserve great credit for being the first High Street bank to provide this facility."
To use the new technology customers need to plug in a set of earphones to the audio jack and listen to the options that will be read out. People will be given several choices and asked to press the appropriate option on the key pad. For instance, a customer maybe asked to press 'one' to select cash withdrawal and 'two' to select balance enquiry. On each key pad the 'five' has a raised dot which enables people with sight loss to navigate the key pad.
When the campaign launched last year research found that the majority of blind or partially sighted people who wanted to access their own money needed to ask a friend or relative for help using the ATM or go into their branch during working hours. Some people even rely on the help of a passer-by, which could breach their privacy and put them in a potentially dangerous situation.
There are almost two million people living with sight loss in the UK and this is set to increase dramatically. It is predicted that by 2050 the number of people with sight loss in the UK will double to nearly four million.
Scouts from Enfield took part in a quiz with MPs at the House of Commons to learn more about how Parliament works today.
The event was held to celebrate the launch of "Talk this Way: from Scout to Speaker of the House", a campaign designed to allow young people to understand how Parliament works, how they can influence politics both locally and nationally and express their views constructively and powerfully.
Over 120 Scouts from across the country took part, and an online resource has been created with the help of Parliament's Education Service available at www.scouts.org.uk.
Nick took part in a team with Scouts from his constituency. He said, "This campaign is a brilliant idea. It's an imaginative way of allowing young people to find out how Parliament works, something we need to do more of."
He added, "Our team did well to finish 12th out of 31 teams, although I have to admit that I was relying on the Scouts for most of the answers!"
Yesterday Nick charied a debate organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care & Public Health.
The roundtable event was attended by MPs, Peers, NHS professionals and representatives from clinical commissioning groups. A number of expert panelists gave their views before the wider discussion focussed on NHS funding, competition, commissioning and moving health services to the local level.
Nick said, "The health landscape, post April 2013, is going to be very different from 2010. Even though the reforms are now being implemented, it is vital to keep assesing their progress and today's event allowed us to take a forensic look at what the experts think is going to happen."
He added, "A report will be produced from the meeting and if there are any recommendations or conclusions as a result of the discussion, we can share these with the Government."
Nick joined families of missing people yesterday to pledge support for the charity Missing People's Missing Rights campaign, which is seeking legislative support for families fighting the bureaucracy and heartache of resolving or managing a missing loved one's affairs.
Meeting with Peter Lawrence, father of missing Claudia, and Claire Chandler, whose partner went missing in February 2011, Nick signed a postcard to formally show their support for the campaign.
Nick is a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, which has produced a report recommending new legislation that will help families of missing people.
The charity Missing People has campaigned for a number of years to secure support for families and ensure that anyone affected by the 'missing' issue is spared any unnecessary anguish caused by financial and legal bureaucracy. In addition, the charity is campaigning for families to be routinely provided with emotional support and should know that everything possible is being done to find their missing loved one.
Nick said, "For people who suffer the anguish of a loved one being missing, the legal and financial burdens it can also bring can be devastating. As a member of the Justice Select Committee I welcome the Government's positive response to our report on Presumption of Death, and I will be campaigning for the Government to support the Presumption of Death Bill when it reaches the House of Commons next month".
Nick has welcomed the 142% increase in the number of apprenticeships in Enfield.
Nick said the Conservative-led Government has delivered a record number of apprenticeships in England, with half a million people starting an apprenticeship last year. The latest figures show that in Enfield, 1,720 people are in apprenticeships, an increase of 1,010 since 2010.
Nick de Bois said, "It is fantastic that over 1,700 people started an apprenticeship last year. That's over 1,000 more people now benefiting from apprenticeships thanks to the Conservative-led Government."
Mr de Bois, who organised the Enfield Jobs Fair in February, added, "We are getting behind people who work hard and want to get on in life. Apprenticeships are a great way to help people get the skills they need to make a better future for themselves."
Over 1,600 people attended the Enfield Jobs Fair this year, which was opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson. As well as featuring companies seeking to fill full time posts, it also included local firms such as Johnson Matthey who have been praised for their apprenticeship schemes.
Nick added, "I want many more people in Enfield to have the chance to earn and learn at the same time as an apprentice. I would urge everyone to think about whether they can benefit from the many apprenticeship opportunities that are now available."
This evening Nick attended the Curry Life Chefs Awards.
Following the outstanding success of the several British Curry Festivals abroad and the launch Curry Life Chefs Club (CLCC), Curry Life Magazine introduced the Curry Life Chef Awards in 2010. The aim is to honour Curry professionals home and abroad - those have shown outstanding performance and achievement in culinary excellence.
Every year, Curry Life Magazine select a team of accomplished 'Super Curry Chefs' from different regions of the UK to participate at the international British Curry Festival in different countries. Over the last ten years we have worked hard, with major five star hotels such as Sheraton in various countries, to ensure that the British Curry Festival has become an international triumph. Wherever the festival has been held, it has helped to raise the profile for our curry chefs and the British Curry Industry.
Nick said, "It was a pleasure to attend the awards, which celebrate the passion and dedication of British chefs as well as promoting British curry at home and abroad".
The first Nick Direct meeting was held last night at St. Luke's church in Enfield to discuss whether now was the right time to have a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
50 residents braved the appalling weather to deabte what is a crucial politcal issue. The overwhelming consensus was that residents wanted a referendum, and wanted one as soon as possible.
Nick said, "My own view is that we need a referendum on our membership of the EU, and I was interested to hear just how passionately people supported having one right away".
The discussion lwas held for an hour but could have continued all evening with residents from across Enfield keen to put forward their views on Europe directly to their MP.
Nick added, "I'm pleased we had 50 people attend despite the weather, and I'm very grateful for all the kind comments people made about how pleased they were that the meeting had been set up. I wanted to have these 'Nick Direct' meetings so that people can put their views straight to me and hopefully the next one will have even more people attending".
Nick visited the Royal National Institute of Blind People's futuristic sight loss simulator to experience at first hand common sight conditions and find out how he can work with RNIB to reduce the risk of sight loss for people in Enfield North.
Using a specially designed simulator pod to illustrate common sight threatening eye conditions, RNIB highlighted the importance of regular eye tests, the need to detect and treat conditions that lead to sight loss at an early stage and how local authorities can make eye health a priority.
Currently there are almost two million people with sight loss in the UK and it is predicted that by 2050 the number of people with sight loss in the UK will double to nearly four million. That could mean around 6,000 people in the Enfield North constituency alone. However, up to 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided if detected and treated early enough, so it is vital that eye health is made a priority.
Nick said: "It is vital that people do not take their sight for granted, because sight loss can be avoided if problems are detected early. Using the simulator to get an idea of the problems people with these common sight conditions face really emphasised the importance of people having eye checks at least every two years, so that any problems can be identified at a stage at which they can be treated."
Following the recent Conservative Parliamentary delegation to Bangladesh, which Nick attended, he has sought to promote the valuable work of Project Shapla to other members of the Conservative Party. This year Project Shapla has a stand at the Conservative Party Conference, as part of the Social Action Zone.
While speaking to Conservative Party members at the Project Shapla stand, Nick was joined by the co-Chairman of the Conservative Party Grant Shapps MP and Lord Feldman of Elstree.
Project Shapla is run by the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh which seeks to raise awareness of the potential Bangladesh has to offer and encourage relations with the Bangladeshi people in both Bangladesh and the UK. It also aims to promote Bangladeshi culture, and advocate closer relations between Bangladesh and the UK.
Following the Co-Chairmen's visit, Nick commented: "I was proud to have the opportunity to introduce the value work of Project Shapla and the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh to the two Co-Chairmen of the Conservative Party. The valuable work undertaken, and supported by the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh is seeking to make real changes in Bangladesh and I am proud to be associated with it".
Today at the Conservative Party Conference, Nick met with the Guide Dogs charity to discuss their "Silent but Deadly" report which has expressed concern about the lack of noise generated by quiet electric and hybrid vehicles.
Guide Dogs has proposed the creation of international standards for sounds to be generated by quiet electric and hybrid vehicles when manoeuvring at low speed, especially at less than 20 miles per hour.
While attending the Guide Dogs stand at the Conservative Party fringe, Nick was challenged to set the best lap time on a Top Gear themed Scalextric track, all supported by The Stig who was on hand to guide Nick along the track.
Following his attendance at the stand, Nick commented: "This stand defiantly had a fun element to it, but did help to raise an incredibly important issue. It promotes the Safe and Sound campaign, which highlights the dangers posed by quiet and electric vehicles to blind and partially sighted people. If you can't see or hear a car, how do you know when it's safe to cross the road?"
This morning Nick addressed a fringe at the Conservative Party Conference hosted by the New Statesman titled "What is the Future of Criminal Justice". Nick was joined on the panel by Paul McKeever, the Chairman of the Police Federation; Jonathan Ledger, the General Secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers; and P.J McParlin, the Chairman of the Prison Officers Association.
The fringe sought to investigate how the Coalition Government's reforms to criminal justice will take shape and if the appointment of Chris Grayling as Secretary of State for Justice would result in fundamental changes in the Ministry of Justice.
Following his appearance, Nick commented: "This fringe was a valuable opportunity to hear from justice practitioners about how they feel the Government's reforms will directly affect them. I fully support the Government's reforms to the UK's justice system but am conscious that we still have a long way to go. I am fully committed to a justice system which seeks to rehabilitate offenders but I would far rather we prevented people from ending up in the criminal justice system to begin with. However, I also wish to see the punishment of offenders remaining a central part of our criminal justice system."
Today at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Nick visited the Conservative Friends of India stand and met with Lord Popat of Harrow.
Conservative Friends of India is a new-member led organisation which is building lasting, meaningful links between the Conservative Party, the British Indian community and India. It seeks to champion the culture, successes and values of British Indians and strongly advocates closers relations between India and Britain.
Following his visit, Nick commented: "India not only shared a common history with Britain but also makes a huge contribution both directly and indirectly to life in Britain. Conservative Friends of India is a fantastic organising which is seeking to strengthen the links between India and Britain and they have my full support."
Unfortunately the future of the Royal British Legion Club on Holtwhites Hill has run into tough times and looks as though it may have to close with the site beng sold off.
Nick today met with the Director General of the Royal British Legion who licence clubs as a way of raising money for the many worthwhile causes the British Legion undertake for our ex-servicemen, women and families.
The focus of Nick's meeting was to try and ensure that any future developer would be able to maintain a smaller but nonetheless important facility for the club members and wider community. The Director General assured Nick that if such a facility was derived as part of any new development on this site the British Legion would look favourably at issuing a new licence for a club.
The Enfield Independent has more: MP on a mission to save Enfield Royal British Legion Club
Nick was a guest on the London section of the BBC's Sunday Politics Show, discussing the idea of a "mansion tax", the possibility of expanding Heathrow and the week's other news.
You can still currently view it on the BBC iPlayer here
Today Nick addressed the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton to highlight the case of Andrew Symeou.
As a guest speaker for a debate about civil liberties, Nick spoke to highlight how the use of the European Arrest Warrant affected Enfield resident Andrew Symeou.
Nick campaigned for the release of Andrew, who was extradited to Greece under the European Arrest Warrant in July 2009. Despite evidence against him being obtained from witnesses who had been beaten – and who changed their accounts after arriving safely back in the UK – Andrew Symeou had to endure a three year ordeal, including a year in a notorious Greek prison.
In June 2011 Mr Symeou was cleared of killing Jonathan Hiles, 18, from Cardiff, who died of a brain injury after falling from a dance podium in Zakynthos.
Nick said, "Andrew Symeou's case tells you everything you need to know about how flawed the European Arrest Warrant is. His awful experience shows how a British citizen can be taken from their home to another country to face serious charges, despite evidence against them being weak or even fabricated".
Nick said he hopes to secure support for the UK opting-out of particular EU crime and policing laws, which can only be done in 2014 or else be accepted indefinitely.
He said, "Andrew will never get those years back. No-one should ever have to go through what he did. As his local MP I want to make sure people understand that unless we reform the European Arrest Warrant, it could happen again."
On being at Liberal Democrat party conference itself, Nick added, "I'm really pleased to be attending the Liberal Democrats' party conference, it should prove to be very constructive. I've always believed that people in politics should put more effort into working together on things they agree about, rather than focussing on what we disagree about."
UPDATE: 27 September: Cameron prepares series of moves to claw back 100 powers from EU
Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened the newly rebuilt Sony distribution centre in Enfield Lock today.
Nick joined the Prime Minister on a tour of the rebuilt warehouse, with David Cameron saying he was delighted that the new building was up and running.
The warehouse had been destroyed during the London Riots last year. The billowing black smoke could been seen across London and firefighters fought for six days to control the blaze. It is estimated that a quarter of all Britain's CDs, DVDs and Blue-ray discs were lost due to the arson attack, threatening 200 jobs and those of hundreds more that were indirectly connected to the centre. Nick brought the Home Secretary to Enfield to witness the damage caused.
Nick said, "I pay tribute to Sony, in particular their Vice President Natasha Tyrell, for the vote of confidence they have given to Enfield".
"As I stood in front of the devastated site last summer with the Home Secretary, calls were already being made from Downing Street to Sony urging them to rebuild. It is fantastic news for the borough that Sony has rebuilt here especially in terms of the jobs that depend on this centre".
Every member of staff from last summer was retained by Sony, and the Prime Minister commended Sony for this and for taking the opportunity to build an even better facility.
Today Nick attended the official opening of the newly refurbished QEII Stadium in Enfield.
The project was started by the previous Conservative administration and completed by the present one. The stadium, which is the home ground of Enfield Town Football Club, has a new six lane track, two long jump/triple jump strips/pits, high jump and shot put areas and improved changing facilities installed as a result of money from the Council Football Foundation, the Mayor of London and the London Marathon Trust.
In addition to being the new home of the Enfield Town football club, the stadium is available for athletics hire by clubs, groups and schools.
Nick said, "It was a pleasure to see the Stadium has officially opening and meet to meet hose who have played such an important
role in pulling off such an impressive project. The Stadium will now doubt play a key role in ensuring a sporting legacy in Enfield on the back of the London 2012 Games".
Enfield Conservative MPs Nick de Bois and David Burrowes are backing the fight against breast cancer.
They are taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign's award winning fundraiser, wear it pink day – and wants constituents to join them.
Nick said, "There aren't many causes that I will wear a pink baseball cap, sash and rosette for... but this is definitely one of them! I'm more than happy to help raise awareness because breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, so hopefully people will donate £2 and we can make a difference".
Now in its 10th year, wear it pink, on Friday 26 October 2012 will see supporters from all over the country in schools, colleges and businesses embracing the event's new theme, superheroes.
Breast Cancer Campaign is asking everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2.00, whether it's a superhero cape, pink socks or pink pants you wear over your tights, you can help the charity achieve its target of raising £2 million, so they can continue to fund ground-breaking research.
Join the hundreds of thousands of people who take part in wear it pink every year - register here. With your help Breast Cancer Campaign can improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.
GOOD CALL: Nick and David back the "wear it pink" campaign
Nick is supporting a motion in Parliament that seeks to end the appalling situation whereby so-called "health tourists" from abroad use NHS services and then return home without paying.
As Nick highlighted back in December, Enfield's hospitals have been left to pay a staggering £812,000 in unpaid fees from overseas visitors who have left the country without paying for NHS treatment they received.
The motion will call upon the Government to "bring in a Bill to require the Secretary of State to instruct the National Health Service to record and audit the cost of treatment of individuals not entitled to free health care".
Under the NHS regulations, anyone who is deemed to be "ordinarily resident" in the UK is entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England. Non UK residents must pay for using the NHS, except when receiving treatment in an A&E department or for a small number of other instances, such as for family planning or for compulsory psychiatric treatment.
Nick has condemned the costs, saying it is "grossly unfair" to Enfield residents who have to foot the bill while suffering cuts to health services themselves.
This evening Nick was knocking on doors on the Roman Way estate in Enfield and talking to residents on the doorstep.
Backed by a team of volunteers including local Conservatives Peter Fallart and Adele Panayi, Nick was able to pick up important local issues most of which concerned anti-social behaviour in the area. Lots of residents spoke highly of the police who conduct regular patrols, but said they had noticed a return of problems related to people from outside the estate coming onto it during the evenings. With the Olympics over and many local police officers now available to resume local patrols, residents are confident the problems will once again be reduced.
Nick said, "I became an MP at a time when trust in politicians is at an all-time low. There are many causes for this, not just the MPs expenses scandal of 2009. Part of rebuilding trust is being in touch with people all the time, not just at elections".
He added, "I therefore believe that going out knocking on doors is important not only to pick up local issues, but also to rebuild people's trust in politics. If we have to do that one doorstep at a time, then that's what we'll have to do".
Today Nick visited distributor JJ Foods, a large and successful company whose first major centre is in Enfield, with 5 more around the country.
Whilst Nick was there to visit this major local employer, he also discussed the problem of scams that are hitting the industry. This involves false orders being placed by criminals in the name of credible businesses, with goods then being redirected to unknown destinations where they are then stolen.
Nick has pledged to investigate what steps can be taken to clamp down on this crime, as it is claimed authorities are not responding well to the problem.
Today Nick met with a group of students from St. Ignatius College and St. Anne's High School who are members of London Citizens, which is part of Citizens UK – an organisation which believes in people working together having the power to change their own community and country for the better. There are over 250 members across London all working to tackle a range of social justice concerns.
The team met with Nick in order to discuss job opportunities for young people in Enfield, following the meeting Nick commented "It's fantastic to meet young people who are so committed to fixing the problems in their local communities. We discussed a number of different ideas, all of which I will be taking back to Parliament and sharing with my colleagues in Government."
This afternoon, Nick visited the new Kelvin Hughes premises in Brimsdown in order to formally welcome them to Enfield North. The company, which manufactures land and sea surveillance radar systems, relocated from Ilford and employs over 300 people – including many from Enfield. The building the company have moved into was previously unused and has been specially adapted to allow the company to continue manufacturing its products, including electronic chart displays, integrated bridge systems and low profile antennas.
During his visit, Nick met with Russell Gould, the Chief Executive of Kelvin Hughes, Martin Taylor the Managing Director and members of staff. Following the visit Nick commented "Kelvin Hughes is one of Britain's success stories, exporting equipment across the world as we as to the Royal Navy. Its relocation to Enfield Lock underlines what a great place we are to do business from. I am delighted that the company has chosen to come here."
Today Nick met with Mark Rudling, Town Centre manager with the Enfield Business and Retailers Association and Dan Thompson, the founder of the Empty Shops Network in order to encourage Enfield landlords to join forces with the charities vInspired and the Retail Trust with the aim of transforming disused spaces into creative retail shops.
The charities are training 30 local 16-25 year olds to makeover empty shops in Enfield for the month of November. Following his meeting with Mark Rudling and Dan Thompson, Nick said "Enfield has been chosen as one of the very first Retail Ready People locations. This is a unique opportunity to use empty spaces in a meaningful way. I am urging property owners and agents to contact vInspired to discuss how they can lend their support to this excellent opportunity for our young people."
For landlords to donate an empty shop in Enfield, or for more information about the scheme, you can contact Danielle Domanski, the Special Projects Manager at vInsipred on 07775001024 or email email@example.com.
This morning Nick's local action team delivered 1,500 leaflets urging residents to attend the public consulation on plans for a Joint Service Centre in Ordnance Road.
You can read the leaflet here.
Enfield Council announced in a press release on Monday 13 August that the consultation would be going ahead on Monday 20 August. This meant it could only appear in local newspapers on Wednesday 15 August - extremely short notice for residents.
Nick said, "I know many people will be disappointed at the short notice given by Enfield Council, which is why I wanted to get a leaflet out this weekend to inform residents what is happening."
He added, "Hopefully we have gone some way to making up for the Council's frankly dismal efforts to highlight the consultation to residents."
As reported in the Enfield Independent, Nick has welcomed the news that a global radar manufacturer has relocated its headquarters to Enfield.
Kelvin Hughes, which manufactures land and sea surveillance radar systems on site, opened its doors in Mollison Avenue, Brimsdown, on Monday 13 August.
Approximately 300 members of staff moved from Ilford, in Essex, where the company had been based since 1917.
Nick said: "Kelvin Hughes is one of Britain's success stories, exporting equipment across the world as well as to the Royal Navy. Its relocation to Enfield Lock underlines what a great place we are to do business from. I am delighted the company chose to come here."
The building was previously unused and has been adapted to allow the company to manufacture products including electronic chart displays, integrated bridge systems and low profile antennas.
Russell Gould, chief executive of Kelvin Hughes, said: "Our business has evolved greatly over the years and our current facility is no longer capable of supporting the manufacturing methods and efficiencies required for our state-of-the-art products and services. We are very pleased to have found a new home for Kelvin Hughes in Enfield."
Enfield Council have finally launched a consultation on plans for a Joint Service Centre on the site of Ordnance Road library - but have also announced that construction will take place next year, making residents question whether their views will be listened to.
The proposals for a Joint Service Centre would see a library, GP surgery, dentist and community space located at Ordnance Road library. You can read more about the proposals here.
Nick has consistently said that residents should be consulted properly before plans are progressed. However, before the consultation has even been conducted Enfield Council has announced that "construction on site is expected to begin early in 2013 for a 2014 completion".
Nick said, "Enfield Council should be consulting with residents on what are major changes to local public services. But how much confidence can people have that their views will be taken on board when Enfield Council has already said that construction will be starting next year?"
Nick added, "I urge all local residents to attend the drop-in sessions and let Enfield Council know exactly what you think".
Residents are being asked to give their opinions on the proposed design of the centre at two drop-in sessions to be held at the Ordnance Road Library on Monday 20 August from 3pm-6pm and Tuesday 21 August from 10am-1pm.
Nick launched an online survey for residents, see here.
We've now had some further photos through from the Capel Manor College's Student Presentation Awards ceremony from last month.
Nick was guest of honour at the event to celebrate the achievements of students and dedication of Capel Manor staff. Nick was delighted to present some of the awards.
17 year old Katerina Nicola (pictured) won best student BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management, and gave a vote of thanks speech on behalf of all students at the close of the ceremony. She was nominated by her tutor Lindsay Lederer for her hard work and dedication to the college and her course. She will now go on to study further at university.
Kofi Bosomafi (pictured) has successfully completed the Countryside Management course at Capel and won best student Level 3 Extended Diploma after being nominated by his tutor and Head of School Gavin Leonard. Gavin has been instrumental in Kofi's development throughout his time at Capel.
Gavin said "Kofi has been a pleasure to teach, his dedication to the course has been without question. At times the cultural differences have raised additional challenges for Kofi, but he has overcome them, and proved to be a top class student"
Kofi originally from Ghana came to England in 2002 and started the course at Capel in 2010. Whilst in Ghana he was working in environmental conservation, putting out bush fires and maintaining vast areas of forests. Even though English is Kofi's second language this did not stop him perusing his longing to return to his love of the outdoors and is keen to continue his educational journey and attend university once gaining practical knowledge through employment".
Other winners included:
Sarah Varney, Schools Plus best student – Animal Care
Tom Yaxley, Functional Skills best student - Arboriculture and Countryside
Jacqueline Layzell, Carl Bosche Cup, Level 2 Diploma in Floristry
Yvette Starnes, best student BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management
Kayce Davies, best student Level 2 Diploma in Countryside and Environment
Francis Fermin, best student Level 2 Extended Certificate in Horticulture, Fruit, Vegetable and Propagation Expert
Philippa Boddy, The Stapeley Water Garden Shield, for the student who has contributed most to the college. Currently studying L1 Horticulture.
Congratulations to them all!
Today Nick led a delegation of MPs to meet the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
As a senior member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Bangladesh, Nick met with Sheikh Hasina in London.
The purpose of the meeting was to further the aims of the APPG, which seeks to foster a greater understanding of the country of Bangladesh and provide a conduit for the Bangladeshi community here in the UK to Parliament.
Nick said, "It was an honour to meet the Prime Minister of Bangladesh."
He added, "We have a sizable Bangladeshi community in Enfield, so I was pleased to help efforts to bring people together and create a stronger society in our borough as well as throughout the rest of the country".
Nick also recently met with the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh.
Nick joined thousands of Enfield residents today in lining the borough's streets to welcome the Olympic torch to Enfield.
As reported in the Enfield Independent, emotions ran high when 24-year-old Rifleman Jack Otter, who lost both legs and an arm after an IED detonaetd in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2009, realised his dream and walked with the Olympic Flame.
Nick was there to cheer on Jack near the Cherry Tree pub with Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes (pictured below).
Nick said, "The support from people in Enfield for the Olympic torch is phenomenal. There were people lining the whole route, there must have been tens of thousands of people."
He added, "It's a great way to kick off Olympic celebrations and it was wonderful to see Rifleman Jack Otter carrying the Olympic flame. I can't think of a more inspirational torch bearer".
Today Nick officially opened Travelodge's new hotel on the A10 in Enfield.
The 132-bed hotel represents a £9.6 million investment by Travelodge in Enfield, creating 17 jobs within the community. The new hotel is located on the Lumina Park retail site.
To celebrate the official opening Nick declared the hotel open for business at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
16 new staff members have been recruited via the Job Centre Plus's Long Term Unemployed Scheme – which helps to get the long term unemployed back into the workplace. As part of their induction training, staff members undertook a comprehensive four-week training programme at nearby Travelodge hotels. They also attended a sleep seminar to ensure they are fully equipped to ensure their customers get a good night's sleep.
Nick said, "I'm delighted to open the new Travelodge in Enfield. I was very impressed to learn that Travelodge will ensure that the 16 new jobs created here will, with the help of Jobcentre Plus, be going to local, long-term unemployed people. The new hotel will be a boost for the Enfield economy because of Travelodge guests coming into the borough and spending their money here, and the new jobs created by the development means the hotel really is a win-win for Enfield".
Today Nick attended the Enfield Women of Achievement Awards.
The first Diamond Jubilee Enfield Women of Achievement Awards, set up by Nick's fellow Enfield MP David Burrowes, went ahead at Enfield Civic Centre in Silver Street.
All 14 nominees were given awards, with special commendation given to Helen Otter, Maggie Govender and Elena Sideri-Costa, who were named Diamond Jubilee Enfield Women of the Year.
Helen Otter, pictured with Nick and Mayor Cllr Kate Analoue, was recognised for her charity and campaigning work in aid of severely injured soldiers.
Her son, Rifleman Jack Otter, who lost both his legs and his left arm when an improvised explosive device detonated in Afghanistan, will be an Olympic torchbearer for Enfield this week.
Read more here.
Today Nick met with Barclays in Enfield Town.
He pressed the bank on its lending levels to small businesses, pushing for more support for local companies.
Nick said, "In tough economic times, even strong businesses can be undone by poor cashflow even though their order books are healthy. That's where banks are vital to our economy and today I pressed Barclays on their lending levels to local businesses in Enfield".
"However, I was pleased the bank will help with efforts to promote export businesses and also support start-up entrepreneurs".
Today Nick attended an open day at Enfield College on Hertford Road for the new Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy - another free school that is opening in the east of the borough. He was welcomed by Matthew Laban (pictured with Nick) who will be the new school's headteacher.
Free Schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community. The are free from local council control.
In Enfield there is a shortage of primary school places, which is being eased by a number of free schools opening.
Free Schools are non-profit making, independent, state-funded schools. There is not a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.They are not defined by size or location: there is not a single type of Free School or a single reason for setting them up. Free Schools could be primary or secondary schools. They could be located in traditional school buildings or appropriate community spaces such as office buildings or church halls. They could be set up by a wide range of proposers – including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, visionary teachers or committed parents – who want to make a difference to the educational landscape. They might be needed because there simply are not enough school places in a local area and children have to travel too far to the nearest school.
The thing which unites all Free Schools is that they are being set up in response to real demand within a local area for a greater variety of schools, they meet rigorous standards and they are all absolutely committed to providing young people with the best possible chance to succeed.
Interested in setting up a free school, or simply finding out more? Go here.
Members from the North Enfield Club came on 9th July and from the Enfield Town Club today.
If you're interested in having a tour of the Houses of Parliament, whether with just your family or a larger group, have a read of this and then e-mail Nick.
Nick has visited local company Noble Gift Packaging, located in Lockfield Avenue in eastern Enfield.
A family-owned business employing 35 people, Nick was told about the way the company operated in offering customised jewellery packing and presentation services.
Nick said, "I started my own business and built up a company over 25 years, but it's vital for me to keep in touch with Enfield businesses to understand the challenges they are facing.
"I'm pleased to say that family-run businesses like Noble Gift Packaging are flourishing and continuing to contribute to the Enfield economy."
This evening, the Environment Agency has issued a Flood Alert for the Lower Lee Tributaries. This means that flooding is possible at: The Lower Lee Tributaries, including the Nazeing Brook, Ching Brook, Cobbins Brook, Pymmes Brook, Rags Brook, Salmons Brook, Turkey Brook, Trinity Marsh Ditch and the Small River Lee this afternoon and evening (Friday 13th July). Low lying land and roads will be affected first.
Further heavy showers are expected to continue and these could persist overnight and well into Saturday. If the area recieves the level of rainfall forecast, the heavy showers will fall on already saturated ground, and the river could come out of its banks in some low lying areas. Some low lying roads could also be affected by surface water.
The Environment Agency does not currently expect any propery flooding at this stage, but are monitoring the situation closely.
What You Can Do
For up-to-date flooding information, call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 - selecting Option 1 and entering QuickDial Number 172912.
Sign up for Flood Warnings here.
Visit the Environment Agency website, here, which contains details of river levels and flooding information.
Follow the Environment Agency on Twitter, here.
Please report any flooding in your area to your local Environment Agency Office:
Environment Agency South East, North East Thames Flood Warning Duty Officer, Area Incident Room, 2 Bishop Square, St Albans Road West, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9EX
Tel: 01707 632 444 (Office Hours or Incident Room open)
Tel: 0845 850 3518 (Out of Hours)
Nick has used his column for the Enfield Advertiser this week to criticise Labour-run Enfield Council for refusing to abolish Sunday parking charges, despite the damage it's doing to shops and businesses.
You can read more about the campaign here.
Nick has had a letter published in today's Enfield Independent regarding the recent problems of anti-social behaviour in the Baker Street area.
Nick points out that the action taken all stemmed from an anonymous letter he received from a resident, and urged people to come forward with any further information to assist the police.
Last night MPs voted on the Government's proposals for reform of the House of Lords.
The plans would see the current set up - where 100% of members that are chosen by political parties and serve for life - replaced with a system of 360 politicians that are elected via a closed party list, for 15 year terms (at the end of which they leave and cannot stand for election again).
Nick voted against these proposals, arguing it's like selecting a team before it's known what game you're playing; the plans are set to change the composition of Parliament's upper chamber before it is decided what the chamber should actually do.
Nick was one of 91 Conservative MPs who rebelled. He argued in the debate that there was no consensus on reform across the three parties, and that no thought had been given to the role of the second chamber and it's relationship with the lower chamber (the Commons) and the executive (the Government). Nick argued that an elected upper chamber will lead to gridlock as it would no longer be a revising chamber as at present but instead would challenge the House of Commons.
Nick's speech is at 21:29:10
Nick has also given an interview to the Enfield Advertiser on the issue.
Today was Capel Manor College's Student Presentation Awards ceremony. Nick was the guest of honour and was delighted to present some of the awards.
The annual event, this year held at the Enfield campus on Bullsmoor Lane, celebrates the achievements of students who have through sheer hard work, adversity and courage have managed to successfully complete their courses. The students were nominated by those who know them best, their tutors.
Nick has been a great supporter of Capel Manor College and Garden, especially since being elected as the local MP in 2010. Nick has been a keen advocate of the way Capel Manor allows people of all ages and backgrounds to achieve academically as well as vocationally.
Nick said, "It was a great pleasure to accept the invitation to the awards ceremony which I think will be a celebration of excellence in Enfield. Events like this are important as they recognise that students of all ages and abilities have proven that hard work and studying can change people's lives."
He added, "We've also had the chance to applaud the staff at Capel Manor, as it's their dedication and skill that allows their students to achieve their potential. So in many ways it's been a double celebration and I've very much enjoyed it."
At last night's Full Council meeting, Labour-run Enfield Council voted down a motion to abolish Sunday parking charges.
Conservative councillors had put forward a proposal to scrap Sunday parking charges, imposed on residents by Enfield Council in January. Conservative councillors presented a petition with an incredible 7,500 signatures, and three representatives from the business community addressed councillors directly. The traders pleaded with Labour to abolish the charges: footfall has dropped 12% on Sundays compared to just 2.8% between Mondays and Saturdays.
Despite the overwhelming case in favour of abolishing the charges, which raise just £70,000 a year whilst hitting Enfield shops and businesses, Labour councillors chose to ignore residents and businesses and voted to keep Sunday parking charges. People in the public gallery shouted out "shame" when Labour councillors raised their hands to vote.
Conservative leader Cllr Michael Lavender said, "We're disappointed for Enfield. Sunday parking charges are hurting our borough's businesses and shops and therefore threatening jobs, but the Labour administration won't listen. We will carry on opposing the policy for the sake of the borough".
An online petition against the charges can be signed here.
Nick said, "The case against Sunday parking charges is staring Labour councillors in the face, but they are choosing to look the other way. These charges are hurting local shops and businesses, are unfair to church-goers and need to be abolished before the damage done to the Enfield economy is permanent".
The Enfield Independent has the story: "Council rejects call to scrap Sunday parking charges to cries of 'shame'
Today Nick attended a private viewing of Images Through My Lens: 45 years of retrospective photography, an exhibition on Cyprus by Doros Partasides.
Doros' work has been chosen to mark the presidency of the Council of the European Union by Cyprus in the second half of 2012 for the first time since the country joined the EU in 2004.
Doros has spent 45 years capturing Cyprus' history, identity and culture in his images of people, places, events, landmarks and everyday life.
The event was hosted by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Alexandros N. Zenon, and the Head of the EC Representation in the UK, Jonathan Scheele.
Nick said, "I know that Enfield's Cypriot community will see Cyprus's presidency of the Council of the European Union as something very positive and will want it to be a success. This event - looking back over 45 years of photographs capturing the history, identity and culture of Cyprus - seems to me an apt way of marking this important milestone".
This morning Nick met with Enfield's Police Borough Commander, Chief superintendent Jane Johnson.
Nick meets with the Borough Commander on a regular basis to be briefed on crime and police matters in Enfield, and to raise concerns from local residents.
Nick raised the problem reported on the front page of the Enfield Independent of how a group of young thugs had subjected local residents and shopkeepers to four years of violence, intimidation and anti-social behaviour. The Borough Commander assured Nick that the case was high on the police's agenda; the police have indeed arrested one youth after taking statements from victims and are holding meetings with families of the troublemakers and council officers.
Nick will continue to press for further action to be taken.
Sharing the acolade with 10 other MPs, The Sun said Nick successfully campaigned for the 3p rise to be scrapped by doing it "the old fashioned way, by having the courage to put their constituents' interests above those of their powerful party leaders."
The article by joking warning Nick and the other 10 MPs, "Be careful, you're beginning to give politics a good name again".
The front page of this week's Enfield Independent carries the story of how local residents and shopkeepers on Baker Street have reported being terrorised by "young thugs" who have led a four year campaign of violence.
The police have been called to take action after reports of how youths living near to the shops regularly threatened locals, smashed windows and set fire to bins.
The story came to light after Nick recieved an anonymous letter from a local resident detailing the violent activities of the people in question.
Nick felt compelled to act immediately and contacted a local reporter who then accompanied Nick as he called on residents and shopkeepers in the neighbourhood.
They heard countless reports of how a small group of young men had made locals live in fear through continued acts of intimidation, aggression and acts of violence.
But despite four years of threatening behaviour and dozens of complaints to police, the group are still free to frighten residents.
The Enfield Independent has received reports of the group hurling racist abuse at shopkeepers, breaking into cars, dealing drugs and even using a homemade flame thrower. Many people were too frightened to be named for fear of reprisals.
Enfield Police have today reported that they had arrested one youth after taking statements from victims and are holding meetings with families of the troublemakers and council officers.
Nick said, "I'm pleased that the local police are on the case but it's quite clear to me that more needs to be done to bring these thugs to justice."
"It seems everyone knows their identity and of their disgraceful behaviour."
He added, "Crime of this level needs to get dealt with before it gets much worse and these youngsters commit serious crime."
For how to contact Nick, click here.
At today's Prime Minister's Questions, Nick called for local councils to give more support to anti-knife crime campaigners.
Nick highlighted the work of Enfield's Yvonne Lawson, whose 17-year-old son Godwin was stabbed and killed on 27 March 2010. Nick said that since Godwin's death, Yvonne had become a "powerful force for challenging the culture of knife crime" and called on local authorities to back anti-knife crime campaigners.
UPDATE: The Enfield Independent have covered the story.
Nick has welcomed today's news that the planned 3p increase in fuel duty has been scrapped.
Nick has publicly thanked the Sun, PetrolPromise and FairFuelUK for campaigning to scrap the rise, but also said "well done" to the Government for listening carefully and reacting accordingly by scrapping the 3p rise.
Nick was the chief auctioneer today at an event aimed at raising money for essential repairs to a local church.
St. John's church at Clay Hill, Enfield, needs to raise £150,000 for repairs to the roof. The church, first opened in 1858, has already required significant work to stabilise the building by underpinning its foundations and refurbishing and re-ordering the interior.
Nick conducted the auction at the fundraising event held at the Fallow Buck at 1pm. Prizes included a tour of House of Commons and tea on the terrace, meals at local pubs and restaurants as well as a variety of other gifts.
Nick de Bois said, "I was delighted to conduct the auction in aid of such a historic and well-loved building. Every pound raised will go towards repairing the church roof, and as promised it was a fun afternoon and I'm pleased so many people turned out in support".
People who couldn't attend on Sunday can still donate by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick was jointly awared the prize of "MP of the week" by PetrolPromse.com after he wrote to Chancellor George Osborne calling for the planned 3p increase in fuel duty to be scrapped.
PetrolPromise learned of Nick's support for the campaign after seeing on twitter that he had lobbied the Chancellor on scrapping the rise which is due to come into effect in August.
Last night Nick attended an event hosted by the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh in central London.
The Conservative Friends of Bangladesh website says the CFOB "aims to foster within the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom greater understanding and sympathy for the country of Bangladesh which is endowed with natural resources but also faces many challenges."
The organisation also wishes to help raise awareness of the great potential Bangladesh has to offer and to build and encourage relationships with the Bangladeshi people both in Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. Its aim is to promote the culture, successes and values of British Bangladeshis and advocate closer relations between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.
Nick said, "I fully support the work being undertaken by the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh, and I wish it every success in promoting the shared values held by British Bangladeshis and the Conservative Party alike. Organisations like this can play an important part in creating a stronger and more cohesive society which is why I'm delighted to give the CFOB my full support".
Diabetes is a common life-long health condition. There are 2.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 people who have the condition but don't know it. The cost of diabetes to the NHS is over £1.5m an hour or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales. This equates to over £25,000 being spent on diabetes every minute.
Enfield Support Group is a leading example of how local patients can join together to influence and improve disease management and knowledge across the local earth service and support each other in their daily lives
Nick was concerned to learn of the variety in standards of GP support and knowledge across the various disciplines required to help support Diabetes. He along with the CEO of Diabetes UK will host an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) session in Parliament with primary care specialist to highlight and seek ways of improving the care and information available for patients.
The Environment Agency has this evening issued a flood warning.
This flood alert covers the Lower Lee tributaries, including the Nazeing Brook, Ching Brook, Cobbins Brook, Pymmes Brook, Rags Brook, Salmons Brook, Turkey Brook, Trinity Marsh Ditch and the Small River Lee.
River levels have risen in response to the heavy rainfall which have been experienced overnight and through the morning. River levels have now peaked and are either going back down or levelling off. Standing surface water will be present for some time and disruption to transport may still be possible. The Environment Agency are expecting heavy showers overnight, however this is unlikely to significantly affect river levels. They will of course continue to monitor the situation.
What can you do?
Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 using quickdial 172912 for up-to-date flooding information visit the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk which contains details of river level and flooding information.
Follow the Environment Agency on Twitter for updates @EnvAgencySE
Report any flooding in the area to the local Environment Agency office
Environment Agency South East North East Thames Flood Warning Duty Officer
Area Incident Room
2 Bishop Square
St Albans Road
Tel: 01707 632444 Office Hours or Incident Room Open
Tel: 0845 850 3518 Out of Hours
Nick visited the new London Gateway Port which will open next year.
Construction is well underway at what will be the UK's newest deep-sea container port combined with Europe's largest logistics park, 25 miles east of central London.
Once complete, London Gateway will create 12,000 direct jobs and over 20,000 indirect jobs. It will enable the world's largest container ships to call at the heart of the UK's economic and population centre. The port's highly efficient road, rail and sea links will offer a quicker, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way to transport goods to their destination.
This port will be able to handle the world's largest ships and be amongst only 22 ports worldwide that can do this, ensuring the UK remains a leader in this industry. The whole project is privately funded.
Nick said, "It is great to see such an ambitious project that will allow London and the UK to remain competitive in this industry. As well as the thousands of jobs that will be created in London, Enfield businesses will benefit from the close proximity of this port and enjoy the competitive edge this new location will bring".
Nick's team recently delivered a leaflet to residents near Ordnance Road library seeking their views on plans for a Join Service Centre on the site.
You can read more here.
A few residents have contacted Nick via Facebook to ask if an online version of the survey is available - there is now! Take the online version of the survey here.
Please also forward the link "https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q9MJKBR" to your neighbours if you have their e-mail addresses.
Today Nick joined Education Minister Lord Hill in visiting Kingsmead School in Enfield.
Kingsmead School was one of the first schools in the country after the general election to convert to Academy Status and exert more influence and control over the running of the school.
Lord Hill and Nick were introduced to teachers and school governors by the Headteacher, Mrs Barry, and enjoyed a tour of the school. Both were extremely impressed with what they saw, and it was clear to see why Kingsmead have been judged as "Outstanding" by Ofsted.
The school's newsletter covers the visit.
As mentioned above, Kingsmead has academy status. Academies are publicly-funded independent schools that provide a first-class education.
What's different about academies?
Academies benefit from greater freedoms to innovate and raise standards. These include:
Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the local authority as a maintained school, plus additions to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. However, academies have greater freedom over how they use their budgets to best benefit their students.
The principles of governance are the same in academies as in maintained schools, but the governing body has greater autonomy. Academies are required to have at least two parent governors.
... and what's the same?
Academies are required to follow the law and guidance on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as if they were maintained schools. Academies have to ensure that the school will be at the heart of its community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the wider community.
Schools which already select some or all of their pupils will be able to continue to do so if they become academies, but schools becoming academies cannot decide to become newly selective schools.
You can read more about academies here.
This morning volunteers have delivered around 2,700 lealfets from Nick in the Ordnance Road area of Enfield Lock Ward, seeking residents' views on plans for a Joint Service Centre on the site of Ordnance Road library.
You can read the leaflets here.
The Enfield Independent have covered the story.
On 25th April Enfield Council's Cabinet agreed to "proceed with the development of a Joint Service Centre (GP Practice, Dental Practice, library and community space) on the Hertford Road Site".
Nick argues in the newsletter that plans must have the backing of local residents, and invited people to send him their views so that he can make sure they are heard by Enfield Council.
In April last year Nick led the Hands Off Our Libraries campaign against Enfield Council's proposals to close three libraries in the north east of the borough.
Yesterday Nick spoke in the House of Commons on the Government's plans to strengthen the voting system against electoral fraud. He has written on the subject before .
Speaking in support of measures such as Individual Electoral Registration, Nick also called on the Government to go further and bring in the requirement for ID at polling stations.
He said, "In many boroughs and districts throughout the country it is harder to obtain a library card than to exercise one's franchise, which is a state of affairs that has left us open to the possibility of fraudulent use of that franchise by people who are on the electoral register when they are not entitled to be."
Responded to comments from Labour MPs that there is limited evidence of electoral fraud, Nick responded, "I remind the House that last year I took a random sample of 100 people who had been to my constituency seeking leave to remain, and who had absolutely no right to vote in this country. Of those people, 21 were on the electoral roll. I repeated the exercise this year, and it produced a similar result." You can read more about that here.
Nick warned that the Government's reforms would not come into effect until the 2020 general election. "... we must consider the timetabling of the Bill, and the fact that many key elements, such as individual registration, will not be put in place until 2014, given the two years it will take for individuals to drop off the register. Therefore, the 2014 general election will be fought using fundamentally the same register as before, but with an increased possibility that it will not be as clean a register as we would like. I fail to understand why we are not trying to focus on the 2015 election."
Finally, Nick called for ID at polling stations, just like in Northern Ireland. "I therefore ask the Minister to expand further on the reasons for not requiring some form of voter identification at the polling station... I was delighted that the chair of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, who has been calling for voter identification at polling stations since 2010, has urged for such a change in the law to be considered, to 'help us all be sure our voting system is safe.' I am confused as to why the Government will not pursue this matter further. I understand that one objection might be that such a change is a step change too far, and may threaten voter turnout. However, within two years of its being introduced in Northern Ireland, the turnout was up to 62.9%, which was slightly higher than the average for a UK general election. I ask the Minister to share his thoughts with us."
You can read Nick's speech in full here
Last night Nick took part in the Enfield Night Hike to raise money for the Nightingale Cancer Support Centre.
The hike - a 15km sponsored walk for women and men around Enfield - started and finished at the Civic Centre as part of the Enfield Festival.
Hikers were invited to take part wearing their pyjamas! Nick duly obliged as did Cllr Jonne Laban (below).
Nick has raised 66% of his fundraising target and you can still sponsor him in support of this worthwhile cause here.
Today Nick stood as a candidate in elections for the influential 1922 Committee.
The 1922 - made up of all 229 Conservative backbench MPs - is a forum for MPs to connect with the leadership and is seen as a barometer of party opinion. It elects a Chairman as part of an 18-strong group of officers to lead it. In a break with tradition, this year's elections saw a faction of MPs, the "301 Group", field favoured candidates. The group is broadly supportive of the leadership and feel the committee needs modernisation. In response those on the right of the party also endorsed particular candidates.
Nick is neither part of the 301, but was also not standing as a candidate of the right either. With 98% of backbenchers voting, Nick was elected as one of two Secretaries and therefore becomes part of the 18-strong team of officers to lead the 1922.
The Spectator reported: "These elections are odd affairs, people vote on friendship as much as ideology. Jenkin, for instance, pulled in a large number of personal votes from those who do not agree with his politics. Nick de Bois, who ran as a 'non-slated' candidate, appears to have benefitted both from his own popularity and irritation at the 301's decision to run so public a slate."
The Guardian wrote: "The main battle for the two coveted secretary posts on the executive of the 1922 committee, which is open to all Conservative MPs not serving in government, resulted in a draw. Karen Bradley, who was on the 301 Group slate, won a post. But Charlie Elphicke, a Cameron loyalist, was beaten to the other by Nick de Bois, a popular figure with all wings of the party who was not on the 301 Group slate."
Today Nick has had an article published on the Conservative Home website on electoral fraud.
Nick writes, "Currently, there are no barriers to someone simply turning up at a polling station, using someone else's details, and being given a ballot paper. It's known as "personation" in electoral law. This is because we do not require people to prove who they are when voting. This isn't just a possibility, it's actually happening. It's happening because our electoral system is dependent on trust, and unsurprisingly some people are content to abuse that trust."
You can read the full article here.
Today Nick visited the Oasis Academy in eastern Enfield as part of a Youth Action event sponsored by Starbucks.
Around 140 people from Starbucks worked with Oasis on the day, re-vitalising the community garden at the Academy, the community centre at Hadley and the Island Youth Centre.
Starbucks were also be running a series of 'work readiness' workshops, offering help with CV writing, interviewing, presenting, an introduction to business and a coffee-making workshop.
Nick said, "I have to commend Starbucks for the contribution they've made through this Youth Action event".
"They've not only given advice to young people but also had an immediate benefit to the community from the work they've done to re-vitalise the community garden and community centre".
Wednesday saw the English Lacrosse Association launch their Bid to host the 2017 Women's World Cup with the help of the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, and an array of MPs including Nick.
Nick helped demonstrate his support by signing the 'Back the Bid' England flag.
Sue Redfern, Chair of the English Lacrosse Board said "We were delighted with the response and support that we received from Members of Parliament yesterday and with over 10% of the House behind us, we believe that this puts English Lacrosse in good position in the bidding process."
Nick said, "This bid gets my support as I know the economic value it will bring to its local community. England will do an
excellent job hosting this tournament and I wish the English Lacrosse Association every success in this venture."
The final decision will be made by the Federation of International Lacrosse in June this year. The proposed venue for the event is
Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, having welcomed the Lacrosse Home Internationals in April this year and the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2010. 30 nations are expected to compete in the FIL Women's World Lacrosse Cup in 2017 in comparison to the 16 countries that competed in Prague in 2009.
Nick joined the Mayor of Enfield at the head of the annual St. George's Day parade on Sunday.
Hundreds and hundreds of people lined the streets in support of the event, led the the Enfield District Scout Band.
Nick said, "It was fantastic to see so many people come out to support St. George's Day; people in Enfield always come out for this event which is what makes it special".
Nick was delighted to attend Enfield Town's top-of-the-table clash with Leiston today.
Ryman League Division One North league leaders Leiston needed just a point from the game with Town in order to take the title back to Suffolk. But a 90th minute penalty means second-placed Town are still in with a chance of winning the league - with just the final game of the season left on Saturday.
Nick said, "At 0-0 with only a few minutes to go I thought we were heading for a draw and Leiston to take the title. Liam Hope showed remarkable nerve by putting away the penalty and I'm delighted Enfield Town will take the championship down to the last day of the season. It obviously needs Leiston to slip up against Potters Bar and a win against Grays, but it's great that Enfield are still in the hunt."
The Enfield Independent has a write up of the game here.
This evening Nick was invited onto BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight to discuss the potential reforms to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which the UK wishes to introduce while it holds the Presidency of the Court.
The interview followed the new row over the deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordon in relation to bomb plotting charges.
If you would like to listen to Nick's interview, click this here and scroll to 12 minutes and 3 seconds.
Nick visited Kingsmead school in Enfield last month to talks about politics with the students there.
Rated as an Outstanding school by Ofsted in 2007, Kingsmead is a mixed comprehensive in eastern Enfield hosting pupils aged from 11 to 18. Kingsmead students wear a smart, business-like uniform. Classroom expectations of behaviour and commitment to learning are high and Kingsmead has received national recognition for its Behaviour improvement Programme. It has Specialist Status in Performing & Visual Arts.
Nick said, "It was a pleasure meeting students at Kingsmead and talking about politics, and what MPs do."
"The way that young people get involved in politics has changed considerably over the past 10 or 15 years; it's more issue-based than party-based and I think that's a good thing. As I saw for myself at Kingsmead, the younger generation is more engaged in politics than we sometimes give them credit for".
Statement on the attack on the Koprulu Haci Ibrahim Aga Mosque in Limassol on the 13 April
Following the appalling attack on the Koprulu Haci Ibrahim Aga Mosque in Limassol on the 13 April Nick de Bois MP has issued the following statement.
"The attack on the Koprulu Haci Ibrahim Aga Mosque in Limassol on the 13 April was an appalling and utterly unacceptable act.
I welcome the Church of Cyprus issuing a press release condemning the attack and supporting religious freedom and respect for both Muslims and Christians.
During the forthcoming visit to Cyprus I intend to visit the mosque next month. I hope Imam Shakir Alemdar will be able to join me along with colleagues from the Cyprus APPG
Below is the full text of the press release issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cyprus on Nick's forthcoming visit to restore religious sites in both the North and the South of the island.
British MPs to lead clean-up of Cyprus cemeteries and churches
Four British MPs are inviting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to
volunteer in support of a clean-up of churches and cemeteries in Cyprus.
Nick de Bois MP said, "I'm determined that, in an even-handed and non-political way we can work to restore some respect to the sacred sites. I think it's important we visit sites in the south such as Kivisili and in the north and I hope both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots will join us."
David Burrowes said, "When I last visited Cyprus with Nick de Bois in November I was appalled by the condition of the churches and cemeteries which I visited. I resolved to do something practical about it and return with volunteers to clean up and restore some respect to religious and cultural heritage and also build confidence."
He added, "The aim of the visit is not to apportion blame for the past nor deal with longer term issues of restoration of heritage, but in a measured to way show some care for the sites that remain and restore some respect. We will be visiting both Christian and Muslim sites and I encourage both Greek and Turkish Cypriots to take part and support the initiative."
The Archbishop Chrisostomos has asked for work to be carried out at the following sites:
St. Anastasios (2 churches)- Peristerona
Archangel Michel- Pigi of Amochostos
St George – Genagra
Panagia – Assia
St Artemonas –Afania
Cemetery of village Pigi (Amochostos)
Cemetery of village Genagra
Cemetery of village Assia
Turkish Cypriots have also asked for cemeteries in the following villages to be visited:
If you would like to join the group of volunteers, particularly if you have a family connection to the villages please email email@example.com
London Mayor Boris Johnson visited eastern Enfield this morning to meet some of the borough's apprentices.
Arriving into Brimsdown station at 9am, Boris joined Nick and GLA Conservative candidate Andy Hemsted to meet apprentices from precious metals specialists Johnson Matthey. The company have recently helped place 100 apprentices in different organisations in 100 days. As well as meeting apprentices, Boris was given a tour of part of the huge site to learn more about Johnson's Matthey's success.
During his time as Mayor, Boris has championed apprenticeships. Working in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), the Mayor's campaign has seen a total of 28,120 people finding places on schemes with companies across a wide range of the capital's business sectors. Its success means that London's share of Apprenticeship starts has leapt from just five per cent to more than 8.5 per cent nationally in a year – the largest growth of anywhere in the country.
Above: Boris, Nick and Andy are joined by Barry Connelly of Johnson Matthey in front of the Battle Bus.
In 21 days London goes to the polls to choose their Mayor. Recent opinion polls have given Boris a 6 point lead over Ken Livingstone, especially following continued criticism of the Labour candidate's tax affairs.
GLA candidate Andy Hemsted said, "The only poll that matters is the one on Thursday 3rd May, and I urge everyone that wants a Mayor who offers four more years of sensible, responsible and cost-effective government in London to back Boris".
Johnson Matthey attended the Enfield Jobs Fair in February:
The Enfield Good Samaritan Network's Recovery Champion Awards is being held on 26th April from 7 - 9pm at the Gladys Child Theatre, Southgate College - and everyone is welcome.
You can download a leaflet here.
The Enfield Good Samaritan Network (EGSN) is an initiative recently set up in Enfield with the help of Nick's fellow Enfield MP David Burrowes. The EGSN aims to aid those with addiction and mental health problems into recovery and to promote recovery within the local community. Further information can be found via the EGSN website.
The Recovery Champion Awards will recognise individuals who are championing recovery in their own lives, in the lives of others, in their organisation or in the local community. The evening will be dedicated to the celebration of recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse and will feature testimonies from recovered addicts and those working within the local community.
This event is open and free to all who are interested in attending so please do come along.
Nominations for recovery champions should be directed to Rebecca Chard by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0207 219 5414.
From the Enfield Independent.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois pledged to help small businesses recruit in the borough when he met with trading campaigners.
Leaders of the Federation of Small Businesses invited the Conservative politician to back their campaign encouraging companies to take on young entrepreneurs.
In becoming a small business champion, traders hope Mr De Bois will be able to encourage managers to take on more skilled young people.
Senior development manager for north London Matthew Jaffa, said: "We want real life entrepreneurs working in apprenticeships in Enfield.
"We're looking to work with Mr de Bois in the future and he seems very keen to help businesses take on staff and remove the bureaucracy and red tape surrounding employment.
"We were encouraged he has signed up to be a champion and hope he will help us create opportunities by making businesses aware of the benefits of taking on young entrepreneurs."
During Friday's meeting, business leaders in north London exchanged their own ideas on how to best encourage employment among smaller businesses.
Mr de Bois said: "It was a very positive meeting and a good exchange of ideas. My job was to support their entrepreneur scheme, but we also discussed working on a couple of joint ideas.
"These included working with employers to encourage hiring apprenticeships and using common business facilities to get young entrepreneurs off the ground. They came up with a lot of good ideas, which was refreshing to see."
Today the Government published its planning reforms, known as the National Planning Policy Framework.
Nick had recieved lots of letters and e-mails from constituents concerned about the draft proposals and their potential impact on Enfield's Green Belt. Following today's publication of the reforms, changed following extensive consultation, Nick has said he is satisfied the revised Framework addresses the concerns raised by campaigners.
According to the Daily Telegraph, whose Hands Off Our Land campaign championed the concerns of groups including the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the revised Framework heralded a "good day for anyone who cares about the countryside". It continues:
Following a campaign by The Daily Telegraph, Greg Clark, the planning minister, published a revised version of a hotly contested planning rule book which contained a series of concessions.
Campaigners said the rewritten version of the rules, which are now in force in England, contained "important changes" to the draft document which attracted such criticism last summer, and allayed many of their concerns.
The revised rule book was also welcomed by business groups and property developers, suggesting that attention will shift to how it is implemented by local planners.
Nick said, "In my view, the changes to the revised NPPF go a very long way to addressing the concerns raised by campaigners. Enfield is blessed with an wonderful expanse of Green Belt that, following the publication of the NPPF, is guaranteed for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of Enfieldians".
Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee today by paying tribute to the British virtues of "resilience, ingenuity and tolerance", and to the Duke of Edinburgh, her "constant strength and guide" over the decades.
In a landmark address to both Houses of Parliament the Queen paid tribute the "remarkable sacrifice and courage of our Armed Forces", adding, "Much may indeed have changed these past sixty years but the valour of those who risk their lives for the defence and freedom of us all remains undimmed."
Her Majesty repeated the vow she made on Accession Day in February this year to "rededicate myself to the service of our great country".
Nick and fellow Enfield MP David Burrowes were among the guests which included Prime Minister David Cameron.
Left: Nick and David in front of the new Jubilee window - made up of almost 1,500 pieces of glass and designed by Brit artist John Reyntien. It has been paid for by members of both houses out of their own pocket.
Nick de Bois spoke in Parliament today to call for swift enforcement against metal thieves.
It comes after Forty Hall in Enfield, currently undergoing a £3 million Heritage Lottery funding refurbishment, has been the target of metal thieves three times in the last 12 months. Threats have been made against security guards on site and the Grade I listed building damaged by the thieves as they took lead from the building.
Home Office Minister James Brokenshire told the House of Commons, "We are taking legislative action to tackle metal theft, including raising the financial penalties for rogue dealers, banning cash payments for scrap metal and giving the police powers to enter unregistered scrap yards."
Nick de Bois specifically highlighted the case of the 17th century manor house, saying "Forty Hall in my constituency is a Jacobean mansion undergoing a £3 million refurbishment. There have been three thefts in the last year including threats of violence on security guards. While speed of implementation is one thing, can the Minister assure me there will be speed of enforcement against these criminals?"
Mr Brokenshire replied, "I absolutely accept the point that my Honourable Friend has made of the need for strong enforcement and I'm clearly sorry to hear the problems that he has been experiencing at Forty Hall in his own constituency." We added, "What I can say to him is that we have put forward £5 million for enforcement and that is already bearing fruit with enforcement action taking place."
Speaking afterwards, Nick de Bois said, "Forty Hall is an incredibly important part of Enfield's history and heritage, so I'm very pleased to hear of the strong action the Government is taking to tackle metal theft. With swift enforcement I'm confident we can clamp down on the criminals responsible".
Today Nick spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on UK Trade and Investment. He called for the Government, Government agencies and also MPs and Peers to do more to win business with newly developing, fast growing economies.
Speaking about UKTI, the Government agency that works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, Nick talked of it having a "Marmite effect" on many businesses:
"The CBI report in 2011, which looked back over the previous decade—I will try to resist making any political points—rightly acknowledged that the UKTI had what can only be called the Marmite effect on many businesses. It was a love or hate situation. Some experiences were absolutely marvellous and terrific and others were not. I am sure that organisation and administration had something to do with it, but in the end, as everyone says, it comes down to people and how motivated and how good they are at their jobs."
Nick went on to call for the UK to seek more trade with countries outside the Eurozone in order to boost growth:
"For the next 10 years, average growth in the eurozone will be pretty awful. The average growth for Germany is forecast at 1.4%, which does not make it a good place to invest money or to solicit sales. It is natural and right to look elsewhere... If we look at areas outside the eurozone, and match them with our historical links, the links that I have raised and where there is growth, we start to see the basis of a strategy through which we could reach out and seek future growth. Indeed, many of the countries that I am talking about are in the Commonwealth. I am not ashamed to admit that. In fact, I can think of no greater legacy in this diamond jubilee year than for the Prime Minister to make a formal, public, demonstrable commitment to boosting trade with the Commonwealth."
As well as looking to the Commonwealth, Nick argued that trade with Gulf countries could also benefit Britain. He concluded by highlighting how MPs and Peers could aid this process:
"I echo the call of my hon. Friend Priti Patel: parliamentarians—I choose that word carefully—can play an active role in that process. Parliamentarians from both Houses can do that; there are skill sets everywhere... In different parts of the world, our parliamentarians are respected and valued; sad to say, they may be more respected and valued than they are in parts of this country. We should use their talents, whereby they are consistently able to build relationships, and consistently use—frankly, let us say what it is—the power of office and patronage to help practically in opening the doors and driving our business.Above all else, if we match not only the titles but the talent, skill and expertise of our parliamentarians with the abilities of UKTI, we can make a practical demonstration of effective support from Government to meet the real needs of business."
You can read Nick's contributions in full here.
Today Nick spent all day with a team of paramedics based at Chase Farm responding to emergency calls in order to view what their jobs entail. After originally planning to spend 3 hours with the team, Nick rearranged the days other meetings to spend more time with the team.
The team, based at the London Ambulance Centre on The Ridgeway spent the entire day in Enfield attending to patients and taking them to Chase Farm Hospital.
Following his visit, Nick commented: "This has been an extraordinary day watching the paramedics at work. I have listened carefully to what they say and I think it is crucial to listen and learn from professionals themselves".
This evening Nick visited Lea Valley High School to attend the Jack Petchy Foundation Achievement Awards. Around 150 young people and 10 Leader Award Winners from 21 schools around the London Borough of Enfield were recognised for their achievements.
The Jack Petchy Foundation is an independent charitable trust which gives grants to organisations working with young people across London and Essex. The total grants available for 2012 are around £9 million which makes the Foundation one of the largest private charitable institutions in the country.
The Achievement Award scheme runs in almost 2000 secondary schools and youth organisations and is designed to recognise outstanding achievement amongst young people. Achievement comes in many different forms and the Award Scheme recognises that. Each Award winner receives a framed certificate, gold boxed medallion and £200 which they can spend on a school or community project of their choice. The Scheme also allows each school to recognise one Leader Award winner every year – an adult who has made a significant contribution to the school or community.
Following the award presentation, Nick commented: "It was great to see so many outstanding achievers receive awards. It was a very memorable evening and one the whole Borough of Enfield should be proud of."
Today Nick met with Pauline Waldron, manager of Felix Neubergh House, as part of the Care and Support Alliance's mass lobby of Parliament. The meeting gave Nick and Pauline an opportunity to discuss the Coalition Government's approach to social care, the Dilnot Commission's report, and the Care and Support Allowance's calls for a Minister for Older People.
Following the meeting Nick commented: "It was interesting to meet with Pauline today and discover her views about what reforms are needed within social care. Urgent reform is needed of the social care system in order to provide much more control for individuals and their carers, and to reduce the insecurity that they and their families face. I shall certainly take Pauline's comments away with my today and continue to support the Government as they work towards developing a system which is fair, affordable and sustainable in the long-term."
Today Nick spoke at the "Preventing Knife Crime" event which was held at the Mevlana Rumi Centre. The event aimed to facilitate a platform and parents and young people to gain knowledge and advice on how to help prevent knife crime. Nick shared the platform with Hazel Nelson Williams, from the Nelson Williams Foundation, and PC Karl Morris from the Metropolitan Police.
Nick was the first to address the audience and spoke about both his knife crime amendment, which is currently in the House of Lords, and the Government's approach to gang and knife crime. Throughout his speech Nick talked about early intervention and how such interventions are essential in preventing young people from being drawn into a life of gang or knife related crime.
Following the event, Nick commented: "It's fantastic to see such a large group of people coming together with the sole aim of preventing more of our young people becoming involved with gang and knife crime. Such problems cannot be solved alone by the police of the Government but solutions must involve communities working together and showing young people that they have other options – rather than carrying a knife."
This evening Nick attended the launch of The Big Switch campaign, which encourages energy customers to ensure they get the best deal from their supplier.
The Big Switch, launched by the organisation Which? is a completely new way for people to buy their energy. It will be the first time in the UK that a large number of people will join together as a group to negotiate a deal with energy companies. Those interested are able to join the already more than 200,000-strong group who have already signed up to The Big Switch, and to use their collective power to cut their energy bills and help shake up the market.
Which? has invited all energy companies to take part and will be negotiating with them to secure the cheapest deal. Energy companies will be asked to submit a market leading deal and take part in a reverse auction. Once the deal is secured Which? will contact everyone who signed up with a personalised savings estimate. Which? will then handle the switching process, making it as quick and easy as possible.
Following his attendance, Nick commented: "The Big Switch is a fantastic scheme and I congratulate Which? on it. I would recommend that all of my constituents who want to secure a better deal on their energy bills should visit www.whichbigswitch.co.uk and find out more".
Nick today welcomed the passing of the Welfare Reform Bill, ensuring that no family can get more in benefits than the average working family earns.
Under the reforms, the benefit payments of a household on out of work benefits will be capped at £26,000 per year so that work always pays. Under the previous Labour administration, households were able to receive up to £104,000 per year in Housing Benefits alone.
The Labour Party opposed this fair cap on benefits, voting to maintain a something for nothing culture whereby some families who don't work get thousands of pounds more in welfare handouts than the average working family earns.
Following the Bill's passing, Nick commented: "In Enfield North, the average person would have to pay tax for 24 years to pay for one household to receive £104,000 in housing benefits a year, which could happen if Labour had their way. This benefit cap shows that the Conservatives are the party of fairness, standing up for hard working taxpayers. By voting against it, Labour have once again shown they are the party of something for nothing."
Today Nick appeared alongside Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, on BBC One's Sunday Politics: London. The topics discussed included the re-introduction of the Routemaster bus, the Occupy protests, the deportation of foreign criminals and the levels of council tax in London.
Nick's appearance on The Sunday Politics can currently be viewed here on the BBC iPlayer for the next seven days. You need to scroll to 30 minuites in to see Nick's appearance.
Enfield Island Village Trust is holding a "Community Action for Jobs" event tomorrow, 9.30 to 12.30 at the EIV community centre.
Today, along with representatives from the Labour Party, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, Nick took part in the Scouts Question Time hosted at the London School of Economics.
The panel were asked a full range of questions including topics such as the Health and Social Care Bill, the future of the Royal Family, the Falkland Islands and the future of youth services.
The event was attended by around 50 Scouts from all over the country who had visited London to take part not only in the question time event but also learn debating skills though taking part in mock-House of Commons style debates. The debate included the use of questions send in by Twitter users under the hastag #ScoutsQT.
Following the event Nick commented: "It was fantastic to see such a large group of politically active young people, all with their own very well considered and thought-out opinions. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and would welcome the opportunity to take part in another one. I also really enjoyed the integration of Twitter throughout the event allowing those who could not attend the ability to follow the proceedings."
Credit for the photographs goes to: Stephen Way
Today Nick was visited by the team behind Enfield-based Loving Social Media who specialise in increasing the awareness of social media within businesses and also have a keen interest in both the We Love Enfield campaign and Nick's work in supporting local high streets on the back of the Mary Portas Review.
The details of Loving Social Media's interview can be read both on their blog here, or by watching the video below.
A personal messsage from Nick
Let me say at the outset that I think our local newspapers do care about jobs in Enfield. Indeed, the Enfield Independent is running a story next week about the Enfield Jobs Fair which will be vital for publicising the event to residents. So why, you might ask, have I written such a provocative question for the headline?
In Enfield we're fortunate to have such well respected and successful newspapers as the Enfield Advertiser and Enfield Independent. The papers can print whatever they like, and however much I might like them to print more stories about me as the MP or what's going on in politics, at the end of the day they have to fill their pages with what they know their readers want to read.
It's my view that people in Enfield would be interested to read about the Enfield Jobs Fair. I'm organising an event which will be opened by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, where over 40 local companies and training providers are showcasing hundreds of genuine job vacancies. Big names such as BT, Tesco, Virgin Media, Sainsbury's, Barclays and Greggs will be there, as will local big-hitters Winchmore Brickwork, Johnson Matthey and Barclay Bros. And yet so far, in the last four editions of each newspaper, news of the Enfield Jobs Fair has only appeared in one paper. Once. On page 19.
So I need your help to make the case that the Enfield Jobs Fair is news worth printing.
By clicking to read the online stories they've posted HERE and ALSO HERE, it will drive the event up their website's "Most Read" chart. We need lots of publicity for this event where genuine job vacancies - hundreds of them - are on offer.
At the moment we're not in the Top 5 of the Advertiser's Most Read, and at number 4 for the Independent. Let's climb the chart! Feel free to leave a comment on the websites, too.
Many thanks indeed for your help,
Nick de Bois MP
London Mayor Boris Johnson explains how crime is down, there are more police on the streets and he has frozen his share of council tax every single year he has been Mayor.
First thing on Monday morning Nick joined residents at the Enfield Island Village coffee morning hosted by Martine, the new RSA Trust community co-ordinator.
During the morning Nick was able to learn of the plans for developing a more robust community spirit across the neighbourhood and the wide variety of activities underway. From foreign language lessons, a jobs club, to an ambitious eco garden project the spirit of "Big Society" was very much alive and thriving.
Nick said, "It was great meeting residents here and I was delighted to see such ambitious and creative plans underway that will benefit the whole of the Island Village".
Nick visited the Oasis Enfield Island Village Youth Club this evening.
Established for over nine years the Youth club is booming. Nick's visit to the club included listening to young music artists record cover versions as well as their own music. This included original rap and cover versions of some of Adele's best known songs. He was so impressed with the artists he asked for a CD of their work which he listens to when in his car.
Nick said, "I was very impressed with the activities, all very creative including music, art and of course computer games and pool. The facilities are great, and best of all I was able to listen to some of the youngsters tell me in their own words how much help and direction they were getting from being members of this club".
Nick joined council leaders and neighbouring MP Andy Love to welcome Lord Triesman, Mayor Boris Johnson's regeneration representative for Enfield, on a tour of the proposed areas for development.
This included the plans for a third rail line along the Brimsdown Enfield Lock line to Liverpool Street and back again. In addition Lord Triesman visited the congested Bullsmoor Lane-Mollison Avenue area. Nick has been campaigning for a Northern Gateway Access Road (NGAR) to the M25 to ease congestion.
Nick said, "The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has through his Outer London Regeneration Fund already committed over £4 million to Enfield for high street regeneration in the east of the borough. My purpose today was to press for support from the Mayor's office for these key strategic developments which will shape Enfield's jobs and industrial base for the next 30 years".
Recently Nick was interviewed by Amina Taylor from PressTV about the UK's extradition treaties with both the United States of America and within the European Union under the European Arrest Warrant.
Following the e-petition regarding the imprisonment of Babar Ahmad for seven years while awaiting extradition to the United States of America, which gained over 140,000 signatures, a debate was held in both Westminster Hall and the chamber of the House of Commons on the topic of the UK's extradition arrangements.
Nick has joined with Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes to call on Enfield Council to freeze council tax next year.
All local councils are being offered access to an £805m government fund to freeze council tax for 2012/13, but Enfield Council is undecided as to whether to accept the money.
They have launched a Budget consultation paper, inviting residents to comment, with p.12 saying the Council is undecided on whether to take the Government's money.
Writing on the letters page of this week's Enfield Independent, the two MPs said, "At a time when household budgets are being stretched further by the rising cost of living, it is unthinkable that the council would hesitate in accepting Government money to help residents in this way".
They add, "Councils up and down the country will be tapping into this fund. Enfield Council should take this money on offer from the Government, rather than taking it from the pockets of Enfield residents".
Nick and David are urging residents to take part in the consultation and demand that the administration freezes council tax. You can do so by e-mailing:
Today Nick, along with fellow Enfield Members of Parliament David Burrowes and Andy Love, backed a campaign to boost trade on high streets across the London Borough of Enfield.
The campaign, which was launched by the Enfield Business and Retailers Association, is called "Love Your High Street" and aims to tackle lower sales in light of the current economic climate and show that Enfield is very much open for business following the wide scale disorder in the summer.
While attending the launch, Nick helped draw the winning ticket in the raffle which was held in conjunction with the campaigns launch.
Following the launch, Nick commented: "Enfield Town has shown resilience during the difficult economic times but it would be entirely wrong to suggest that retailers are having an easy time. The local community needs to think, when spending their money, not just think of Westfield or Bluewater but think about using their own local high street which is a vital part of the local area and economy".
Today, Nick met with John Penrose MP, the Tourism Minister, to discuss the Coalition Government's support for tourism related businesses in Enfield North and the rest of the UK.
The Government has recently introduced a series of measures to boost the hospitality and tourism industries and the Minister explained how these would directly impact on jobs in Enfield North.
From abolishing red tape and reforming unnecessary regulations the Government is determined to do everything it can to help the incredibly important tourism sector, especially with the London 2012 Olympics, the Cultural Olympiad and Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee all happening next year.
Following the meeting Nick commented "I'm glad that the Government is prioritising the tourism industry as it plays such a vital part in our local economy. Many residents in Enfield North as employed in this sector so it was good to have the opportunity to make their case directly to the Minister. The plans to capitalise on the Olympic Games next year should generate over 60,000 jobs around the country and I want to make sure that as many of these as possible come to Enfield North and its residents".
As reported in a previous post, Labour-run Enfield Council has refused to seek a judicial review of the decision to downgrade Chase Farm.
In its comment piece today, local newspaper the Enfield Advertiser has accused the Council of "cowardice" and being "lily livered".
As the comment piece states, "The people of Enfield were first of all failed by their government. Now they have been failed by their council".
The previous Conservative administration had sought a judicial review of the then Labour government's decision to downgrade services at Chase Farm. In failing to act in the same way, the current administration "has proved itself a whole lot more lily livered than its predecessors".
You can read the comment piece in full here.
Labour-run Enfield Council has decided not to seek a judicial review of the downgrade of Chase Farm Hospital.
As reported on the front page of the Enfield Advertiser today (e-edition here, online article by Mary McConnell here), many residents and healthcare groups had hoped Enfield Council would seek a judicial review of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's decision, taken in September, to downgrade Chase Farm's A&E and maternity services.
Nick gave his support to a judicial review when hopes were first raised by the Council in November.
However, Council Leader Doug Taylor said a legal challenge would be "premature" after Mr Lansley promised primary care provision in Enfield would be improved before any services at Chase Farm were shut down - although these promises that were in fact in place before the Council were considering a judicial review.
Nick said, "These are not new commitments from Andrew Lansley, so I think the council should be clear about that, as it seems odd that this is the reason for not pursuing a judicial review".
The Council has put forward the idea of appointing an independent health expert to monitor the levels of health services in the borough. Nick said, "I do believe the new clinical commissioning group led by GPs - who will be responsible for commissioning services in the borough - are best placed to monitor the quality of services and are independent of politicians. If they think an independent specialist is also required they should decide who to appoint to this role, not the council."
Nick has urged people to call a new helpline for information about staying warm this winter.
New figures reveal that in Enfield 13,800 homes are entitled to some form of assistance with their fuel bills. That help is worth an average of £250 per household and a free helpline is available for more information.
Nick said: "Around 4,500 homes in my constituency are entitled to some form of support. Anyone who is concerned about staying warm should call the Home Heat Helpline and seek advice".
The number for the Home Heat Helpline is 0800 33 66 99 or you can visit the website here. It is a free service that provides independent advice to people on low incomes on how to get help with their gas and electricity bills as well as other help such as grants for insulation or a new boiler.
The helpline advises people to turn radiators down in rooms which are only used occasionally, to regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it's operating at full efficiency and to draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room.
It also recommends moving furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room, and to open internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel around your home.
Today Nick attended the first community French Market to be held in Enfield Island Village organised by the Enfield Island Village Trust. The market included numerous stalls selling gifts and food, including crepes. The organisers hoped for as many Enfield residents as possible to visit in order to encourage the Market back this time next year.
Following his visit, Nick commented: "It's fantastic to see the community coming together, especially at this time of year. There were many fantastic stalls selling fresh produce, although I probably spent a little too-long at the crepe stall! I do hope that residents make use of this French Market in order to encourage it to re-attend at this location next year".