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

Stephen McPartland was invited to be the guest of honour and officially launch the new "Probashe Proyashe" community group at the Oval in Stevenage.

The group is aimed at the Bengali speaking community in Stevenage and wants young and older members of the community to come together to celebrate a variety of festivals and take an active part in Stevenage's voluntary work.

Stephen said "I was honoured to be given the opportunity to launch this new community group which is focused not just on celebrating festivals but rewarding young people for good exam results and community work. The focus on hospitality and helping one another is deeply rooted in Stevenage and both the British and Bangladeshi cultures. I wish them every success with the new group and look forward to coming back to make the awards to some young people and learn more about their work."

Stephen McPartland MP for Stevenage said: “I am very impressed by the team at Stevenage branch who work efficiently and with a smile to serve all their customers with the wide range of services offered. I am delighted that Post Office Ltd recently won the DVLA contract, which will help to safeguard the future of the Post Office network. It was so easy to renew my driving licence using the Post Office driving licence checking service.”

Trudi Clarke, Branch Manager commented: “We were really pleased that our local MP, Stephen McPartland, came to show his support for Post Office workers and delighted he was able to use our driver licence renewal service, which is such a quick, efficient and affordable service to use.”

Photocard driver licences need to be renewed every ten years. Stevenage Post Office is one branch that has cutting-edge biometric technology to capture a customer’s details digitally and send their application securely to the DVLA. This makes it quick and easy to keep a licence up-to-date. The hassle-free service offered by the Post Office only takes a few minutes to complete.

Stephen McPartland MP has begun publishing the responses from FTSE 100 companies to his challenge for greater tax transparency at www.taxchallenge.co.uk. The responses have been wide ranging with HSBC offering to help design a tax transparency standard, BT and others welcoming the transparency initiative but not the means and Hargreaves Lansdown questioning the value of the taxes they pay.

Stephen took up the initiative after meeting Christian Aid supporters when the Tax Justice Bus tour visited his constituency of Stevenage.  The tax justice campaigners believe that tax dodging by international companies costs the UK around £35 billion and developing countries an estimated $160billion per year.

Stephen said, "Just imagine the dramatic difference such a huge sum of money would make if it was available to invest in public services, infrastructure and other vital services essential for economic growth."

"There is a growing anger and concern that some large companies are hiding behind complex accounting rules that may be strictly legal, but are considered to be unethical by the public. The problem of missing billions in tax is not just a problem in the UK, it is worldwide and does the greatest damage to poor and developing countries who cannot stand up to massive corporations."

"I know governments from all around the world will agree with the sentiments of greater tax transparency, but they will struggle to introduce it as every nation competes in the global race. Therefore, it will be up to the companies themselves to lead the way and they will only do that if their customers, the British public in many cases, drag them kicking and screaming towards tax transparency and a fairer tax system for us all."

Stephen McPartland MP has written to the Chief Executives of all the FTSE 100 companies to ask them individually if they are willing to pledge their support for corporate tax transparency and if they will support a new international accountancy standard for country-by-country reporting. The responses are being published at www.taxchallenge.co.uk so that the general public know which FTSE 100 companies are willing to sign up to tax transparency and which are not.

Stephen added, "Everyone of us can then decide individually whether the biggest companies in Britain really do care about the poorest in our society at home and abroad."

It has been a fantastic year for Stevenage and my favourite moment was welcoming the Queen to the Lister hospital to open the new Maternity Unit, closely followed by the arrival of the Olympic Torch. Stevenage continues to go from strength to strength and is helping to lead the country out of these difficult economic times. Unemployment continues to fall, more young people are in apprenticeships than ever before, the Da Vinci studio school has opened its doors and is specialising in Science and Engineering for 14-19 year old students. The newly built Nobel, Marriots and Lonsdale schools will be officially opened in 2013 with other schools seeing extensions and refurbishments.

In the last few weeks we have just secured more funding which is transforming the Lister hospital into one of the most advanced and modern facilities in the UK. The next year will see lots of new buildings being constructed as part of the massive £280 million government investment in infrastructure I have secured for our local schools, hospital, housing and jobs. There are plenty of challenges ahead but 2013 looks set to be another year of hope, ambition and achievement as we build on our success.

 

With best wishes,
Stephen

www.stephenmcpartland.co.uk

Local MP Stephen McPartland visited the exhibition of work by members of the Stevenage Arts Society held this month at the Denington Galleries at Springfield House.  Earlier in the year he had tried his hand at pottery, using the specialist facilities at Springfield House, ably instructed and assisted by experienced potter Vivienne Western.  Stephen was pleased by the result and that it was included in the exhibition.

Stephen said "The standard of work in the exhibition was amazing and it was a surprise and real honour to have my bowl displayed. I had great fun making the piece and would like to thank Vivienne for her patient support."

Stephen is pictured with Mary Green who is Chair of the Stevenage Arts Society.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, took a group of local charities into Parliament to meet the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP Minister for Civil Society.  The meeting was arranged after Stephen held a debate in Parliament to celebrate the work of charities in Stevenage and the Minister extended an invitation to them to meet.

Stephen said, "I am proud of the contribution charities and community groups make to our area and was delighted to take a broad range of groups in to meet the Minister. It was a great opportunity to discuss the challenges facing charities and extend personal invitations for the Minister to visit and see our work in action."

Charities that were represented at the meeting were: POhWER, Hertfordshire PASS, Turn the Tide, The Living Room, Weldability-Sif Foundation.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, visited Royal Mail’s Stevenage delivery office to pass on best Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Stephen said, “It was great to meet the hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Stevenage delivery office and to see at first hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year. Postmen and women do such an important job at this time of year. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”

Stephen was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager Paul Johnson, who introduced him to all the postmen and women who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in the Stevenage area in the run-up to Christmas.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, was the guest of honour at charity Abbeyfield’s regional launch of their annual Christmas campaign, Companionship At Christmas last Friday at a supported house in Stevenage for older people.   The visit was to find out more about Abbeyfield and its attempt to help combat the increasing trend in festive isolation. Abbeyfield is inviting members of local communities with elderly neighbours living alone, family members in need of respite support and those who plan to spend the Christmas period alone to contact them.

Stephen said, "Christmas is a wonderful time of year with many families getting together to share the celebrations, but we must take a moment to remember those who will be alone this Christmas. I launched the local Companionship at Christmas campaign at Abbeyfields in Stevenage and had thge opportunity to meet many of the residents and volunteers who share their time. Let us all have a great Christmas and take a moment or two for a neighbour that may be having Christmas alone."

Companionship At Christmas was created to provide an alternative to spending the celebratory period alone. They will be offering free overnight stays and delicious Christmas lunches over the festive season (24th December – 4th January) in over 100 Abbeyfield sheltered houses and care homes across the country.

The Charity will take enquiries via their website www.abbeyfield.com or via their dedicated telephone number 0845 052 3553 up until the 18th December.

Around 1 in a 100 people suffers from autism and Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is supporting a nationwide charity challenge to help raise awareness of issues affecting pupils with autism.

Stephen said, “I am delighted to be supporting the Anderson Schools Challenge and help raise awareness of autism. School can be a real struggle for many children with the condition, but better understanding can make a real difference. This is a fun and easy way to improve awareness of autism and I am happy to attend any of the events in schools."

The Anderson Schools Challenge is a joint campaign between The National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Anderson Foundation, which asks schools to complete 50 fun and easy tasks. The tasks, which range from fitting 50 items into a Smarties tube to holding an autism-awareness assembly. To sign up to the Anderson Schools Challenge visit www.autism.org.uk/schoolschallenge

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