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Tim Loughton's Parliamentary Newsletter
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Newsletter - February 2017
 
Dear Constituent

Welcome to my February constituency e-newsletter where again there has been a lot happening. The news continues to be dominated by Brexit and earlier this month we completed all the Commons stages of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill which gives the Prime Minister permission to trigger Article 50 and thereby begin the formal process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Bill has now gone to the House of Lords without any amendments for further consideration with the intention that the Article 50 process will be completed by the end of March as the Government had planned. This is a simple Bill which is nothing to do with the terms of our eventual withdrawal and subsequent relationship with the EU although there have been many attempts to write such considerations into the Bill which I, along with the Government, resisted. This process is likely to become even more ‘heated’ in the Lords and I have produced a short podcast on my website to explain why I think the Bill does not need amending at this stage and what is likely to happen next.

In the constituency, Adur’s Local Plan has been under scrutiny by the planning inspector and of course includes controversial proposals which could see Brighton & Hove Albion FC develop New Monks Farm into a substantial residential area with a huge IKEA on the A27. I have already set out my concerns on my website and it is vital that when the formal application is submitted as many residents as possible engage with the planning process and I will be helping to make that possible. I have also provided updates on the situation regarding the crown post office closures in Lancing and Shoreham as well as the battle for a fairer funding formula for West Sussex schools – never a dull moment!
 
Best wishes


Tim Loughton MP
Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham
Surgery Dates

Advice Surgery

I hold regular constituency advice surgeries for my constituents to come by appointment and talk to me about issues and problems.

Thursday 9 March - Southwick 
17:00 - 19:00

Friday 24 March - Shoreham
17:00 - 19:00

Please call 01273 757182 or email eastworthingandshoreham@gmail.com to arrange an appointment. 

Street Surgeries

To make it easier for constituents to meet me, I also hold street surgeries with local councillors on most Saturday mornings, whatever the weather. You can find me at the following locations with my A-board and anyone is welcome to come along for an informal chat without appointment.

Shoreham Street Surgery

Saturday 12 March  - Shoreham Farmers' Market 
10:00 - 12:00
(This will be councillors only as I am away.)

Lancing Street Surgery

Saturday 19 March - Lancing Queensway
10:00 - 12:00

Worthing Street Surgery

Saturday 19 March - Worthing Town Centre
12:15 - 13:45

In Westminster
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

My "short" update on the progress of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. This is the legislation that gives Parliament's consent to allow the Government to enact Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, thereby beginning the process of our withdrawal from the EU. The terms of our leaving is not for now, that is for forthcoming negotiations. 

We should not tie the hands of the Government going into negotiations, we want the best deal possible for Britain and so should not reveal our red lines, which any amendment to this Bill would become, to the EU. 

Hopefully the Bill will pass through the House of Lords unamended - just as it went through the Commons - meaning the Government can activate Article 50. Just because we do not accept amendments around EU citizens' rights or trade agreements in this Bill does not mean that I do not agree with them, moreover it is that this is not the appropriate place for these amendments to take place.

Unaccompanied Children from Europe

The issue of child refugees arriving from France in particular continues to be a very topical and emotive one. The recent announcement by the Home Secretary about changes to the so-called ‘Dubs Scheme’ has understandably raised a lot of concerns and I share many of those concerns and have lobbied the Government to do more. Although to be fair we have already done a great deal and I do not want to get completely ‘hung up’ on one of many forms of help to vulnerable children that we are contributing to.

Last week we held a special session of the Home Affairs Select Committee in order to interview many of the aid agencies at the front line and local authority representatives, who in some cases are offering to take more children. The detailed Government position is set out below, but I have made my views clear to ministers about what more they could do:

Britain has a proud record of helping the most vulnerable children who are fleeing conflict and danger, and I know this Government is committed to upholding this fine tradition.
 
The UK has contributed significantly to hosting, supporting and protecting the most vulnerable children affected by the migration crisis. In the year ending September 2016, the UK had granted asylum or another form of leave to over 8,000 children. In 2016, over 900 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were transferred to the UK from Europe. This included more than 750 from France as part of the UK's support for the Calais camp clearance. I should also highlight that of the 4,400 or so individuals resettled through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme so far, around half are children. By the end of this Parliament, we will have resettled 20,000 Syrian nationals through our Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and a further 3,000 of the most vulnerable children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region under the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme. According to EU figures, in 2016 the UK resettled the highest number of refugees of any EU country. The UK can be proud of its record of helping refugee children. 
 
In full accordance with section 67 of the Immigration Act, the Government has announced it will transfer the specified number of 350 children, who reasonably meet the intention and spirit behind the provision. This number includes over 200 children already transferred under section 67 from France. It does not however include children transferred to UK where they have close family here. 
 
As required by the legislation, the Government consulted with local authorities on their capacity to care for and support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children before arriving at this number. Local authorities informed the Government that they had capacity for around 400 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children until the end of this financial year. Similarly the Government estimated that at least 50 of the family reunion cases transferred from France as part of the Calais clearance will require a local authority placement in cases where the family reunion does not work out. 
 
I have also been assured that the UK will continue to work closely with our European partners to meet its obligations under the Dublin regulation and accept responsibility for processing asylum claims where the UK is determined to be the responsible member state, ensuring that it is in their best interests to come here. 
 
While the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in Europe lies with the State in which they are present, an expert has been seconded to Greece in addition to the long-standing secondee in Italy to support efforts to identify children who may qualify for transfer to the UK. A £10 million Refugee Children Fund has been established for Europe to support the needs of vulnerable refugee and migrant children arriving. Since October 2015 the Department for International Development has been supporting child refugees in Greece with assistance such as food, clean water and safe shelter, as well as access to protection and psychosocial care, and in Italy the Department has provided assistance to unaccompanied minors and supported the deployment of child protection experts.

The Government has always been clear that it does not want to incentivise perilous journeys to Europe, particularly by the most vulnerable children. That is why children must have arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016 to be eligible under section 67 of the Immigration Act.
School Funding

The battle to secure fairer funding for pupils in West Sussex goes on and the County’s MPs arranged a meeting in Parliament between Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, and nine heads from local schools. There was a ‘full and frank’ exchange of views, as they say. The unfairness of the average pupil in West Sussex receiving around £4,200 funding per head each year against nearer £7,000 in equivalent schools in some London boroughs for example is incontrovertible.

The heads made a strong case with the full support of the County’s MPs and have subsequently had further discussions with Department for Education officials about the details of alternative proposals. I have been meeting governors and heads at schools across the constituency and I share their frustration that their hard work and dedication is being thwarted by West Sussex schools losing out in this way.

It is good that the Government has pledged to bring in a new fairer funding formula for the long term but it is essential that we get it right.

I have raised serious concerns about the proposals in the latest consultation for a new funding formula. Put simply they really do not help West Sussex schools to anything like the level we need and certainly do not cancel out the additional unfunded pressures from increases in salaries, pension and national insurance contributions, apprenticeship levy etc and I cannot support them in their current form. In addition, there are no signs that the Government will accede to calls for transitional funding to help plug the gaps caused by years of relative under funding. This view is shared by many other MPs and I think it is likely that the outcome of the consultation will be rather different from the initial proposals and it is therefore vital that as many parents as possible respond formally to the consultation before it closes on March 22nd. You can find further details here: 
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/schools-national-funding-formula-stage-2

Channel 4 - Domestic Violence - 18-02-2017

Domestic Violence

I spoke to Channel 4 about the Prime Minister's commitment to bringing in new laws to improve the way domestic abuse cases are dealt with, and to end the postcode lottery in the support survivors receive. It will be a personal priority, the Prime Minister has declared.

I also stated my support for a private member’s bill which would protect rape victims from being cross-examined in court about their sexual history. You can read the article here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/08/mp-proposes-uk-shield-law-to-protect-victims-in-court

Court of Appeal rules against equal civil partnership

Last week the Court of Appeal  ruled in favour of the Government’s position and rejected the appeal of Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld to have their civil partnership allowed. But the decision was made on a split judgement and the Court was clear that this is an inequality that the Government must address.

The judges agreed that an inequality exists and the Government cannot allow this to continue. That inequality potentially effects over 3 million cohabiting couples responsible for over 2 million children who have virtually no recognition and security in the eyes of the state.

The judgement effectively puts the Government on notice that time is running out to come up with proposals to bring about equality for opposite sex couples. We will now redouble our efforts in Parliament to lobby ministers to bring forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech or risk amendments being tabled to other appropriate Bills, where I am confident that there is a cross party majority in the Commons for change.

I wrote about this issue in more detail here: https://www.timloughton.com/news/it-unfair-and-illogical-deny-someone-civil-partnership-just-because-they-happen-be-straight

Train Update
 
Along with other Sussex MPs, I had a further urgent briefing with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling after the very disappointing news that ASLEF train drivers had narrowly voted to reject the deal with Southern Rail recommended by their own ASLEF union leadership. Fortunately there are no immediate plans to return to strike action and I am optimistic that a revised deal can be thrashed out, and we made a number of suggestions for a way ahead which I am glad to say the Minister is happy to take back to both sides.

However I am afraid to say that the RMT are continuing with their illogical strike action despite driver operated doors having been operational on Southern trains for some weeks now and every conductor having signed up.

I will continue to publish any updates on my website and Facebook page, including travel advice on strike days. Can see all the work I am doing on this issue here: https://www.timloughton.com/campaigns/trainwatch
You and Yours: Should we take more responsibility for our elderly relatives?
 
I discussed on Radio 4's You and Yours whether we all have a duty to do more to care for our elderly parents. In addition to more money being put into the adult social care, we need to have a societal change whereby different generations cannot better interact with one another. At the moment the younger generations are isolated from the older generations and vice versa, whether that geographically as a result of increasing house prices or the way we design housing estates.

You can listen to the full interview here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08fd9zt
WASPI Lobby
 
Hundreds of 1950s Women’s Action Groups protesting against changes to the State Pension age staged a demonstration outside Parliament last week. After the protest, I hosted a meeting of supportive MPs and WASPI women to discuss the key issues affecting them. The vast majority of women there were clearly concerned with finding a compromise that would work for the government. They are quite right to take this view, as any attempt to reverse either of the Pensions Act, including 2011, would be colossally expensive. Instead the WASPI All-Party Parliamentary Group with the help of WASPI women is working on proposals to put to the DWP. As ever you can keep up-to-date with my work on this issue on my website here: https://www.timloughton.com/campaigns/waspi-campaign
House of Commons - Health & Social Care Debate - 27-02-2017
Health & Social Care Debate

Thank you to all those who wrote to me and asked me to attended the Health and Social Care debate. I am happy to say that I was able to attend and spoke about the care we offer to the elderly, particularly the social care side when they do come out of hospital, which is too often delayed and costly as well. These are the growing pressures that the estimates appear not to take proper account of.

You can read the Hansard of the debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-02-27/debates/CAD3842F-D160-4924-BCA9-476B2CA44884/HealthAndSocialCare
Compulsory Sex Education
 
I have been urged by a number of constituents to lobby the Government to introduce compulsory sex education in schools. It is an issue I have long been interested in and indeed have been campaigning for its introduction for many years.

With this in mind I have put my name to an amendment to the Children and Social Care Bill, which is likely to be debate on Tuesday. Since I put my name to it, the Government have suggested that they will bring forward their own amendment supporting compulsory sex education, which is great news.  

Tidal Lagoons

Along with 107 MPs, I signed a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Greg Clark calling for the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons, and in particular Charles Hendry's call for a pathfinder Tidal Lagoon, as soon as possible.

Former Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, started his Review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast. He was very clear in urging the government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea - the world's first ever tidal lagoon - and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.

There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the Government's new industrial strategy. Clearly the Business Secretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy. Our letter is to urge the government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.

The Hendry Review final report can be found here: https://hendryreview.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/hendry-review-final-re…

Information regarding the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons can be found here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/160721/marine-e…

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://richardgraham.org/press-release-107-mps-call-for-swift-governmen…

In East Worthing and Shoreham

Post Office Demonstration

Not surprisingly there has been a big backlash against plans by the Post Office to close their Crown offices in Lancing and Shoreham and move the business to new franchise partners.

Hundreds of people have signed petitions and sent letters of objection to the Post Office. At my recent Lancing street surgery, I joined up with councillors from various political parties and representatives from the CWU union to stage a demonstration outside the Lancing branch and spoke to staff.

Last week, I also arranged for a representative of the Post Office to come to the Shoreham Centre to brief Adur councillors on their plans. They confirmed that several potential franchisee partners had expressed an interest in hosting the two branches and those applications are now being assessed. When they come forward with a preferred partner there will be further public consultation and I will make sure that they are held to account that what they are proposing will be an appropriate substitute for what we are losing – somehow I doubt it!

Shoreham Airshow Crash Report
 
The final and full report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) into the Shoreham Airshow Crash will be released at midday on Friday 3 March. 
Southern Rail Documentary - volunteers need
 
Seaside Hospital Radio are in process of creating a documentary on the impact that Southern Rail has had on the passengers. They are looking for people who have suffered as a result of industrial action, including people who have lost businesses or jobs, or suffered relationship breakdowns. They would be looking to do interviews with those would like to share their experiences and ask them about their experiences.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Edward Jeffery via: teddyjeffery@gmail.com. 
New Gym in Shoreham
 
I was delighted to be invited to the opening of the new gym in Shoreham which has been set up by Chris and Tony on the former Frosts car showroom site. This is a facility that Shoreham desperately needs and I am not surprised they have already signed up several hundred new members. I was really impressed with the range of state of the art equipment and the use of technology to manage individual fitness programmes with the expert guidance of the experienced personal fitness trainers on hand. It is also encouraging to see the emphasis and support for nutrition and healthy eating so TSF really does offer the full package and I wish it well.
Shoreham Citizen Advice
 
Last week, I caught up with staff at Citizens Advice based at the Shoreham Centre to hear about changes to their structures in Adur, Worthing and Mid Sussex.

Reflecting the increase in enquiries by phone and online they will be setting up a dedicated telephone and digital focused team based at Shoreham. There are also plans to move the Lancing office from the Parish Hall to Lancing Library whilst CA have piloted a successful new triage approach at their Worthing Centre which enables more people to get the advice when they need it as quickly as possible.

We also had a helpful discussion about increasing complications with benefit payments and shared experiences of inadequate service from local housing staff. Last year Central and South Sussex Citizen Advice helped 24,077 people with over 47,900 issues. Well done and many thanks to Chief Executive Sarah Martin and all her volunteers. If you need any help or would like to volunteer you can get in touch on communications@westsussexcab.org.uk
Lancing Royal Voluntary Service

I found a great new place in the constituency for lunch or tea and cakes, namely the Chesham House community centre and tea room run by the Royal Voluntary Service in South Street, Lancing. RVS manager Annick Lynn invited me to the pensioners’ lunch day and very good it was too, masterminded by award winner Shirley whose volunteering efforts have been recognised on national television recently.

Amongst other community schemes Chesham House also runs a fantastic volunteer ‘Good Neighbours Transport Service’ where drivers can be booked and stay with you for hospital appointments, shopping trips and the like. It is a very popular service and unsurprisingly they could do with more volunteers. So if you have a bit of free time on your hands, have a car (and they pay expenses) and want to join a great team give them a ring on 01903 851558, and you might want to stay for lunch too!

Keep Lancing Lovely's Newsletter
 
Hello there
 
Upcoming events
12th March – Research based litter pick with Marine Conservation Society meet near The Perch on Beach Green 10.30am
26th March – Our regular monthly beach litter pick, meet near The Perch on Beach Green 10.30am
30th April – Joint litter pick with Beach Gym/Eco Gym, one of our sponsors – meet near The Perch on Beach Green 10.30am
 
"Day of Action" on Monks Rec in Lancing 21st February 2017 Thanks to the Keep Lancing Lovely Team and members, Sea of Lights/ACE for use of Gazebo, our partners from The Co-op store in North Road Lancing, members of Electric Storm Youth, members of the public, local government officers and councillors for making it such a worthwhile and enjoyable day. There is slideshow of this event on the home page of our website
 
Membership
Our Membership cards have just been launched and already we have 25 members. You can join us when you come along to one of our events/picks. We are looking at ways that those who are not able to come along can join up as well. Membership is £1 per year. Members will receive occasional newsletters and information from us about upcoming events via email
 
HERE IS A LINK TO OUR WEBSITE
 
 
All the best to you from the Keep Lancing Lovely team
Shoreham Beach Residents Association
 
I think it was the 20th AGM of the Shoreham Beach Residents Association I attended on Saturday and it was a packed house as usual There were helpful presentations from the Environment Agency with a progress update on the tidal walls defence work and from the Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Forum. You can find details on their website at http://shorehambeachra.co.uk
Orchard Gate

Together with Adur District Councillor Steve Chipp and Shoreham County Councillor Debbie Kennard I held a neighbourhood meeting for residents of the Orchard Gate development in Shoreham built on part of the Southlands Hospital site. A number of concerns were raised about management of the estate and in particular parking which we will be taking back to the managing agents and reporting back to constituents. If you would like us to arrange a similar neighbourhood meeting in your area please let me know.
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This newsletter is published by Tim Loughton MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Contact details:
Email: loughtont@parliament.uk
Tel: 01273 757 182
Write: 88A High Street, Shoreham, BN43 5DB.

Surgery details:
If you have a problem you think Tim could help you with and you would like to meet him to discuss it please ring 01273 757182 to book an appointment at one of his fortnightly surgeries.

Please visit www.timloughton.com for more information about Tim.

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