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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
16th November 2018
Issue #71

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter. 

You're likely aware of the week we have had in Parliament, as Theresa May has revealed the Brexit deal that she has negotiated, which has triggered several resignations from her Cabinet and is likely to lead to a very interesting few weeks ahead. 

Throughout the process, Labour has stated that if the Bill fails to meet our six tests, then we will vote against it. After two years of botched negotiations, this deal is a miserable failure, which does indeed fail our six tests, and I will be voting against it. It is a template for a blind Brexit – and a deal that won’t protect jobs, rights or the economy. Jobs have always been my personal priority, and this isn’t a document I can sign up to. It doesn’t protect jobs, rights and living standards. It’s asking MP to leap into the unknown. And it won’t reassure anyone. 

I won’t say any more than that here for now, as things continue to unravel, but rest assured that while I accept the result of the referendum, I won’t accept a Brexit deal that puts our jobs at risk. 

All of that didn’t stop me having a very busy week though, including a Westminster Hall debate on another botched Conservative brainchild. Read on to find out what I’ve been up to… 

As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested. 

Universal Credit in Nottingham

The latest stage of the Universal Credit (UC) rollout in Nottingham took place about one month ago, so last week I hosted a debate on the dangerous impact this system will have on Nottingham. I was very pleased to be joined by fellow Nottinghamshire MPs Chris Leslie, Lilian Greenwood and Vernon Coaker to highlight the anxiety the people of our constituencies are facing.  

For the last month, all new benefit claimants in Nottingham have had to claim UC. With the state that the system is in, and having seen how the rollout has gone elsewhere, this is not acceptable. The rollout should be stopped. 

In June this year, a National Audit Office report found that UC may end up costing more than the benefit system it replaces and cannot prove it helps more claimants into work. Even the Government’s own Work and Pensions Secretary told her cabinet colleagues that millions of families would lose £200 a month under UC. 

This makes me wonder how the Government are still pushing on with this system that is not fit for purpose. When it was first announced, UC was sold with the aims of simplifying the benefits system, improving work incentives, reducing the potential for error and fraud and mitigating poverty among low income families. 

But unfortunately, UC, as it is today, is not that system, and it is the most vulnerable people who are suffering and will continue to suffer as a result. 
Some of the situations they are facing because of how this rollout has been handled are both devastating and completely unjust. 

For example, when applying for UC, couples must make a joint claim, and the benefit is awarded to a single household, either to one recipient or a shared bank account. 

This creates an opportunity for abusive partners to exert financial control over their spouse, by withholding funds and thereby making it more difficult for victims of abuse to access money to meet their own and their children's needs, and to leave their abusive relationships. 

People are already suffering, but most people are yet to come. The Government has time to fix this before the ‘managed migration’ of existing benefit claimants, and the sooner this is done, the less who will suffer as a result, in Nottingham and across the country. 

You can watch a clip from my speech during the debate here or watch the whole debate here. 

In Nottingham

With Thursday’s proceedings, I’ve only been able to spend today in Nottingham, but my schedule has been packed. Here’s what I’ve been up to: 

  • Fitting in with my recent Ten-minute Rule Bill, this morning I demonstrated my support for Respect for Shopworkers Week by visiting the Co-op store on Bracebridge Drive. While there I discussed local community safety issues with store staff and heard about the Co-op’s operational programme to help tackle crime. 
  • I then headed to Wollaton Mosque for a coffee morning, where I was able to have a relaxed discussion about the issues important to our Muslim community. 
  • I then met with Charlotte from Unity Academy, to discuss the links between crime and our local schools. Unfortunately, criminal activity isn’t exclusive to adult populations, and schools play an important part in attempting to reduce this to achieve better outcomes for their pupils. 
  • My next meeting was with Dean Fathers from Nottinghamshire healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to discuss the work of the Trust and their plans for the future. 
  • And just now I’ve been at the Council House with my fellow Nottingham MPs for our regular meeting. On the agenda was Council unitarisation, Local Investment Opportunities and the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. 

In Parliament 

Not for the first time, Brexit has hogged the limelight, and I had my say on that, but here’s a highlight of what else I got up to this week too: 

  • I would have had two opportunities to question Ministers this week – firstly during Education Questions on Monday when I did raise Sex and Relationships Education, which you can watch here, and secondly during Women and Equalities Questions on Thursday, but there wasn’t time for me to fit in my planned question about Buffer Zones for Abortion Clinics, so I used Business Questions later on to ask the Leader of the House if she would consider allowing a debate on Government time about this important measure which can protect women’s right to an abortion.
  • I also directly questioned the Prime Minister following her Brexit statement on Thursday, emphasising that workers’ rights must be protected, and asking when therefore she would be speaking with Union leaders about her proposal. You can watch here. 
  • Although I had to leave a little early for my Westminster Hall debate, I sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee to hear evidence on our nation’s police, including from the Minister for Policing, Nick Hurd MP. Budget cuts have affected the police significantly, but it’s still very important that the Home Office’s oversight of the nation’s Police Departments is ensuring that we are kept as safe as can be. I also had the final sessions of the Overseas Electors Bill Committee. 
  • I joined Wildlife Trust Notts at a Parliamentary reception, where I was pleased to meet some of the young people who are helping to deliver positive change for our local environment and community.   
  • I also welcomed two local delegations to Westminster this week: 25 members of our local Filipino community on Monday morning, with whom I was able to have a long discussion about the issues that are important to them, and on Wednesday evening, a delegation of East Midlands business representatives, for the launch of East Midlands Chamber’s ‘Delivering a Great Future – a Business Manifesto for Growth’. 
  • I also had meetings with our regional Schools Commissioner, John Edwards, the British Retail Consortium, and the Co-Op Party Parliamentary Group. 

UK Parliament Week

This week marks UK Parliament Week, which runs until Sunday. UK Parliament Week is an annual festival that engages people from across the UK with Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved. 

There is something for everyone: whether you attend or organise an event. Organisations across the UK run events and activities throughout UK Parliament Week which explore what the UK Parliament means to them and their community. 

I am very pleased to hear this has been embraced by several organisations in our area, including schools, Scout groups and Guide groups. Unfortunately, being kept in London most of the week limited my opportunities to go and see what was taking place, but I did manage to get to Southwark Primary School today, who have fully embraced the week. 

It was amazing to see the children’s enthusiasm towards learning about our Parliamentary system, as every class has held an election to decide an important issue in their classroom. I hope this enthusiasm doesn’t wane, and maybe in some years' time I’ll be joined in Westminster by some of the bright youngsters with whom I discussed what being an MP is all about. 

Looking ahead to next week

Next week I expect we’ll have much more Brexit on the agenda, and I also have an important WASPI debate to look forward to, as well as an evidence session for one of my APPGs. Read next week to find out more.

What's On

I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.

If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk.

That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…

All the best,

Alex

Bulwell Build a Bike Course
By taking part in this course you will gain the skills to strip down and rebuild a preloved bike, and then get to keep it too!

Crabtree community Centre, Bulwell
Thursdays:
22nd Nov, 6-8pm.
All sessions to be attended.

The courses are FREE to Nottingham City Residents and suitable for people who are over 14 (children to be accompanied by an adult).

To book onto one of our courses, please send your full name, address, email address and phone number to flo@ridewise.org.uk. Places are limited, so be quick!

GOSPEL STREET is a powerful mix of theatre, comedy and spoken word – a breath-taking ride through all the important issues of life, death… and miraculous street food. Good news with wisdom, laughter, energy and insight.

At Bulwell United Reformed Church:
Saturday 17th November
7:00pm

Tickets: £5
Box Office: 01904 613000 or book online

Christmas Community Coffee Morning
There will be many stalls - Homemade jams and preserves, Home made cakes, handmade wooden Christmas gifts and novelties, prize every time stall, bric-a-brac, children's books, mosaics and games! Plus we will be serving bacon cobs, Vegetarian cobs, homemade lentil soup and warm mince pies. Gluten free options.
Saturday 17th November, 10.30am
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Rd, NG6 9GJ

Joint Christmas Fayre and Open Day
Bric-a-brac stall, a candle, Christmas decoration and a stall selling paintings as well as a tombola, raffle, refreshments and lots of games to play; as well as an opportunity to talk about moving into retirement housing
Saturday, 24th November, 10.30am-2.30pm
Lilian Hind Court, Cheviot Drive, NG6 7FX  

New Wellbeing/Self-Help Group
An opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and help you build up confidence and self-esteem.
Identify areas of your own wellbeing - physically & mentally.
Referral support to other services & support.
Friendly & comfortable environment, with no pressure to talk.
Hosted in the West Room, St Mary’s the Virgin & All Souls Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell, NG6 9AD.
For further info: fay.goodhand@icloud.com

Drop in Café
All welcome for a free cuppa and biscuit, and a place to sit and have a chat
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Community Centre, Brooklyn Rd, Bulwell NG6 9ES
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-2pm

Whiz Kids Junior Church
Free breakfast, arts & crafts for children aged 5ish – 11ish
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Every Sunday, 9:30am

Crafty Ladies
Bring along a project, or learn to do something new.
St Martins Church, St Martin’s Rd, Off Strelley Rd, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Every Wednesday, 11am – 2pm
50p, for further info: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.uk, info@stmartinsbilborough.uk

An Evening of 'Bogger' Talk
An event celebrating our local dialect 
There will be poetry, storytelling and a quiz (for a small donation)
The Malt Cross, 16 St James's St, Nottingham, NG1 6FG
Friday November 30th, 7.30pm
This is a charity event raising funds for the Stroke Association. Just £2!

Athlete Accelerator
Khian Mility is helping young athletes reach their potential, with the goal of obtaining US College Sports Scholarships. For further information please visit his website.
https://www.theathleteaccelerator.com

Messy Church
All welcome – food, fun, arts & crafts, & God slot
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
2nd Sunday every month, 3-5pm

Whiz Kids
Special breakfast, followed by stories, games, crafts & fun!
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Sundays, 9.30-11.15am
For more info contact Kerry Palmer - 0115 953 1780 or by email.

Messy Church Bestwood/Bulwell Forest
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Bestwood Park
Various Thursdays, 4:30-6pm
Church on Rise Park, Revelstoke Way, Rise Park
Various Thursdays, 5-6:30pm

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

Bulwell Connectors
Free monthly group developing opportunities for more art in public places in Bulwell. With trips to galleries and hands-on creative workshops, this group is for local people who want to be arts champions for Bulwell. Facilitated by Nottingham Contemporary associate artist Gillian Brent
Bulwell Riverside, Community Room 2 
2nd Tuesday every month, 6-8pm
For further info: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com

Crochet Clinic
Community Room at Tesco Bulwell, Jennison St, NG6 8EQ (upstairs near the cafe)
First Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm–8:30pm
£5 (covers refreshments and materials)
For further info: www.apriltowriess.co.uk, hello@apriltowriess.co.uk

 
How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.

If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:
  • your full name
  • your full postal address, including postcode
  • a contact telephone number and
  • any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.
Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here: findyourmp.parliament.uk.

You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.
 
Other useful links
LABOUR PARTY
  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.
LOCAL NEWS
LOCAL INFORMATION
  • Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
  • Housing: please contact your City Council
  • Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
  • Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
  • Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
  • Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
  • Another useful website on public services is Direct.gov.
NATIONAL LINKS
  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.
Copyright © 2018 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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