Stephen McPartland MP
Working hard for you
in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, said "It is good news that we are seeing less crime in our town and reassuring to all residents and our communities.  I know from the work I have done with the Police how hard our local officers work and the message to criminals is that they are not welcome in Stevenage."

Full details of local crime figures can be found at the Hertfordshire Police website.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland is supporting Big Energy Week, a campaign by the Citizens Advice Bureau to help people cut their energy bills.

Stephen said: “Fuel bills are a big worry for many local people at the moment. I am pleased to support Big Energy Week and hope the tips and practical advice being offered will make a big difference to local people by saving them money on their bills.”

During Big Energy Week, and afterwards, you can get practical advice on cutting your fuel bills and help to see if you are getting all of the financial support you are entitled to. Staff at the Citiizen Advice Bureau are available to help, and there is also a leaflet providing advice as well as a website – www.bigenergyweek.org.uk full of tips on how to cut your energy bills. The website also has details of local Big Energy Week events.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, and Hertfordshire County Councillor Terry Douris were invited to celebrate the topping out ceremony for the new Marriotts Lonsdale School in Stevenage. They joined the head teachers and students from Marriotts and Lonsdale Schools and the Balfour Beatty team to mark the construction milestone.

Stephen said, "I am delighted the government is paying for this school to be rebuilt as part of our massive £250 million infrastructure investment in Stevenage schools, local hospital, housing and jobs. Bringing Marriots and Lonsdale together is an exciting project and I am proud we are delivering this new school for generations of Stevenage children. We will now be watching closely to assess improvements in exam results and pupil attainment."

Councillor Douris said: “Marriotts Lonsdale is a nationally leading edge co-location of a mainstream secondary school with a special school for children with physical and neurological impairments. It is right and proper that I should acknowledge and pay tribute to MP Stephen McPartland for his unfailing support without which the funding for this great development is unlikely to have been forthcoming. The school will bring wonderful educational benefits for all, both now and in the future, and a great new sporting facility for the whole community.”

The total cost of the project is over £80 million and is being developed in partnership with Balfour Beatty under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The school is scheduled for completion this summer with opening in the new school year.

Stephen McPartland, speaking in the House of Commons recently, said, "It is great news that the number of apprentices in Stevenage has risen by 73% over the last year, from 380 to 650. Those numbers are important, because they relate not just to training schemes but to apprenticeships that will lead to real jobs".

Stephen went on to praise the quality of apprenticeships in Stevenage and said "My constituency contains a couple of manufacturing firms: MBDA, which builds complex weapons systems, and Astrium, which builds 25% of the world’s telecommunications satellites. Their boards are run by people who were apprentices 20 or 25 years ago, and they offer massive apprenticeship opportunities. MBDA recently won an award for being one of the best apprenticeship organisations in the country. The companies take on students aged 16 or 18, give them real jobs, and support their development and acquisition of skills. They even pay for their degrees so that they can make progress".

Stephen also made the point that, "The quality of apprenticeships depends on the quality of the colleges that provide the training. North Hertfordshire college has an inspirational leader, Fintan Donohue, who has been working very hard. I am grateful to the Department for Education for providing it with a studio school last week, one of 12 in the United Kingdom, which will focus on science and technology. That brings me back to MBDA and Astrium, whose apprentices specialise in those subjects. The headquarters of the Institution of Engineering Technology are in Stevenage, and it is very involved in the provision of engineering qualifications. We need more young apprentices gaining skills that will make firms want to employ them in real jobs".

 

Stephen McPartland MP’s campaign for children with Asthma in schools to have access to an inhaler in emergency situations has gained widespread national and local support. Stephen highlighted the campaign at a visit to The Barclay School in Stevenage which coincided with the school’s Teenage Well-Being Week.

Stephen said, "The tragic case of Stockport schoolboy Samuel Linton, who died in 2007 following an asthma attack at school, shows that there is a real lack of understanding and awareness as to what to do if a child has an asthma attack whilst they are at school. This is why this campaign is so crucial, not only in terms of giving teachers access to an emergency inhaler but also empowering them with understanding, awareness and support in how to deal with asthma at school".

Under current legislation, bronchodilators (blue ‘reliever’ inhalers) are prescription-only medicines. This means the law prevents schools from having a spare inhaler kit available for emergencies, something Stephen is keen to change.  He gained support across all parties when he launched the campaign in Parliament last November. Stephen has now requested a meeting with Earl Howe, the NHS Quality Minister, to discuss the campaign and get rid of the red-tape that can prevent children from accessing inhalers in an emergency.

 

A ceremony to celebrate the topping out of the new Nobel School in Stevenage took place recently to mark reaching the highest point of the £28 million construction project.

Alastair Craig, head of Nobel School welcomed guest of honour local Member of Parliament Stephen McPartland, together with Cllr Frances Button, Hertfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, There were joined by students from the school and representatives of Hertfordshire County Council, and their construction partner, Hertfordshire Schools Building Partnership and Mansell Construction.

Stephen said,"I am delighted the government is paying for this school to be rebuilt as part of our massive £250 million infrastructure investment in Stevenage schools, local hospital, housing and jobs. The new school is an exciting project due to the innovative design and I know the government will now be watching closely to assess improvements in Nobel exam results and pupil attainment".

This complex project is being constructed while the existing school continue to operate from the same site. When completed, state-of-the-art single & four storey buildings will provide new facilities for Nobel School, with the addition of a new sports hall, auditorium and Learning Resource Centre.

Interesting article in the Daily Mail about my campaign for a change in the law so that schools can have asthma inhalers available for emergency use.  Find it on-line under the heading Asthmatic children's lives put at risk by 'red tape' as schools banned from keeping spare inhaler, article at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2085547/Asthmatic-children-risk-schools-banned-keeping-spare-inhaler-needless-red-tape.html#ixzz1jKBh3d49

Stephen McPartland MP for Stevenage recently launched a report in Westminster that shows how a government subsidy for biomass is increasing the price of wood used for furniture production.

Stephen commented, “I have been working with the furniture industry as Chair of the Furniture Industry APPG and one of the most pressing concerns is the problem of increasing wood prices and the impact this is having on competitiveness. This report shows how the current woody biomass subsidies are a significant cause of rising wood prices which are damaging British furniture businesses. I look forward to working with the industry and the Government over the coming months to find a way to resolve this ongoing concern.“

The Stevenage-based Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA)’s Biomass Report suggests that the Renewables Obligation woody biomass subsidy should be reformed as it is damaging to the UK furniture industry. The introduction of biomass subsidies has encouraged power companies to burn wood, distorting the market for wood with prices rising by 55.1% over the past 5 years and so having a significant impact on furniture production costs.

Stephen launched the report in his capacity as Chair of the Furniture Industry All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and also provided the foreword.The report was commissioned by the FIRA, based in Stevenage, with the support of the British Furniture Confederation (BFC).

FIRA’s Biomass Report is available at http://www.fira.co.uk/document/biomass-government-report.pdf

2011 has been a fantastic year for Stevenage and I am delighted we have secured over £250 million of infrastructure investment from the government for our local schools, hospital, housing and jobs. We have already begun to see the difference this money has had locally, with new facilities opening across the town.

The New Year will be incredibly exciting as the newly built Marriotts, Lonsdale and Nobel schools begin to open their doors in September, the new Biotechnology Park is set to open and new building continues at the Lister hospital.

I have more plans underway for even more infrastructure investment in our local health service, refurbishment and expansion of many of our schools and I will continue to focus on improving the quality of life for local people.

2011 was a great year for Stevenage and 2012 promises to be even better.

Happy New Year!

Stephen McPartland
Member of Parliament for Stevenage

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