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

Stephen McPartland MP is delighted that disadvantaged children in the Stevenage area are set to receive £815,000 this year under the new government's Pupil Premium which is available for the first time.

Stephen said:"This is fantastic news for local children. The gap between the academic performance of children from deprived backgrounds and their peers is far too big and has been ignored for too long. The Pupil Premium will tackle this head on, providing targeted funding for those who need it most. The new government is delivering a massive boost to the education of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in our area."

The Pupil Premium is an extra lump sum of cash which follows every disadvantaged child and is received by schools, allowing them to provide additional support such as one-to-one tuition and extra pastoral care.

In the year from April 2011, the pupil premium will be worth £430 for every pupil on Free School Meals and £430 for every looked-after child. This means that in Stevenage this year 1,900 children overall will benefit from an additional £815,000.

Research conducted by a mobile and broadband comparison website shows that 3G mobile broadband speeds in Stevenage are amongst the worst for towns and cities in the UK.

Stephen said, “We are all using technology more and more in our jobs and personal lives, so it is absolutely vital that we have the best speeds available. I will certainly be taking this issue up, to identify how the new government’s plans to develop faster broadband services will help here in Stevenage. Stevenage is a great town, with world class companies of all sizes and we need the best downloads speeds available.”

MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland MP is supporting the British Lung Foundation’s Children’s Charter campaign. He recently attended the BLF’s parliamentary launch and met the British Lung Foundation’s young campaign champions who explained the charity’s action plan to improve children’s lung health in the UK.

Stephen said, “I am delighted to support the British Lung Foundation’s Children’s Charter and believe it is important that adults are encouraged to protect children from the dangers of passive smoke.”

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive for the BLF said: “The number of children whose lungs are being damaged by adults lighting up when children are in the car is alarming. We are calling on all children who want to put an end to passive smoking to add their voice to the BLF’s campaign by going to www.lunguk.org/childrenscharter.

This is great news for local people, they will have more money, more jobs, more training and more educational opportunities.

I am delighted we have frozen council tax, scrapped Labour's fuel duty escalator, reduced fuel duty by a penny, introduced the fair fuel stabiliser and increased personal tax allowances. So in just 9 months the Government has taken 1.1 million people out of tax altogether.

With the pupil premium, funding for apprenticeships and slashing of bureaucracy for small businesses. We are reducing the gap between education and employment at the same time as giving local businesses the confidence to employ local people.

Stephen McPartland
Member of Parliament for Stevenage
23rd March 2011

Last week Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland dropped in to see leading advocacy charity, POhWER and update them on the progress of their feedback to a governmental white paper.

POhWER sent a survey to members, held workshops and drew up a response called ‘We will if you will’ - which they handed to their MP last October. The charity’s response provided a unique perspective on the Government’s proposals and Stephen personally handed it to the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley. POhWER was particularly concerned that the independent complaints advocacy service (ICAS), which POhWER delivers in many parts of the country, including Hertfordshire, may be replaced by a more limited and less independent service.

Stephen said “I am delighted that we have managed to secure the ICAS contract for another two years and safeguard local jobs. I know Andrew was pleased to receive such a positive contribution to the consultation from many of the most vulnerable people in our community. This was the perfect example of the wonderful work POhWER does in speaking up for those who often find it difficult to communicate their views. ”

 

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage has been selected to serve on the Education Bill Committee. This is a small committee of MP's whose job is to scrutinise the government's flagship education reforms.

Stephen said "This is a fantastic opportunity to get to the heart of legislation and make a real impact. I work closely with the Education team in Parliament and after I spoke in the Education debate, I was asked to take part. The bill offers us the opportunity to improve educational standards for all pupils, especially those from poorer backgrounds".

The Education Bill covers everything from extending free education for fifteen hours a week to two year olds from disadvanated backgrounds, restoring discipline in the classroom, reforming OFSTED inspections, to Academies and Free Schools.

Stephen McPartland MP was very pleased to be a judge of a couple of the many competitions at the Stevenage Dog Watch Carnival Day. Stephen said, "I thoroughly enjoyed the day and am pleased to be associated with this great organisation. I think it is a fantastic initiative that helps tackle crime by providing a great partnership between the police and the local community."

The Stevenage Dog Watch scheme is in its second year and was the first of its kind in Hertfordshire. It aims to encourage dog walkers to report suspicious incidents to police and also to report environmental issues to the council. It has been developed with the help of Neighbourhood Watch and members get regular updates on incidents of note as well as crime prevention advice.

Stephen added, "I would encourage anyone with a dog to have a look at the website www.stevenagedogwatch.org and begin to take part."

Sarah Shelrick, who is the Dog Watch Co-Ordinator, said "I was very pleased with the turnout and how the event went. Dog Watch is growing and I am so pleased with the interest which people are showing; we now have over 900 members.  I would like to thank Stephen McPartland for judging some classes and also Assistant Chief Constable Steve Divine and Detective Superintendent Jane Swinburne who also did some judging.  And everyone else who made it the best event ever."

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland toured the affordable homes and accommodation available to medical staff, police, the fire service and other key local professions at Lister Hospital.

Stephen said, "This is a fantastic facility for Stevenage and provides real flexibility for people starting training and jobs locally. It is very important that such accommodation is both affordable and high quality.  I can testify to the fact that the properties I saw were to a very high specification and believe these types of initiatives are a real asset to Stevenage."

Commenting on the Spending Review 2010, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “Nobody wants to make cuts, but it is important to protect the most vulnerable in our society by driving waste out of Government. We are paying £121 million a day in interest, most of which leaves this country, and prevents local people having the housing, jobs, health and education that they should be given.”

“I am pleased with some of the measures outlined”, Stephen explained, “such as the people premium and the increase in child tax credit, as these should help lead to improved educational attainment for some of the poorest children in our society.”

“I also like that we are protecting winter fuel payments, free bus passes, free prescriptions, free eye tests and free TV licences for the over 75s.”, Stephen continued, “I am also pleased that the licence fee for the BBC has been frozen for the next 6 years, and the Coalition Government is investing heavily in health and education in Stevenage. We have secured over £250 million since May and I will continue to stand up for Stevenage.”

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