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Fortnightly Update #14 - 21.11.16

This week I was delighted to be appointed Vice-Chair of the f40 Campaign group. The cross-party organisation represents a group of the lowest funded education authorities in England, including Gloucestershire.

F40 campaigns for a fair funding national formula for the country’s schools.  It currently has 41 member authorities representing  2.8 million pupils (35.9% of the total in England) in 9,002 schools (41%). I have been involved in the f40 campaign for several years. Getting a fairer deal for Cheltenham and Gloucestershire schools is something I am passionate about.

Last week I also launched my campaign to improve health services in Cheltenham following the publication of Gloucestershire's Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

At my recent meeting with Jeremy Hunt in Parliament I made a simple point: the STP must be first and foremost about delivering improvements for my constituents. That’s why, after the setback of the A&E downgrade back in 2013, I’m calling upon managers to introduce a dedicated Urgent Care Centre at Cheltenham General. We need it to support our A&E and give our town the night-time cover that was lost.
 
I’m calling too for a reduction in waiting times for mental health services and more focus on promoting resilience and early support. I’d like to see a LINAC radiotherapy machine to support our excellent oncology centre, and more GPs to share the load. Our GPs do a heroic job in the face of ballooning demand. But they simply cannot be expected to do it all with existing numbers. They must have more manpower.

I'm inviting Cheltenham residents to get behind my campaign. You can do so by clicking HERE

In other news, I will be hosting the inaugural Great Cheltenham Quiz in aid of Cheltenham Open Door. Just £5 entry. It won't all be about Article 50 I promise... READ MORE HERE

Thank you for reading this update. 

Best wishes,
 

Alex Chalk MP

PS. Please note that these fortnightly updates are intended to be no more than an overview. If you want an in-depth update on my various campaigns (from education funding, to the Air Balloon roundabout, to broadband etc) please do get in touch.
 
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Over the last two weeks, Alex has:

IN PARLIAMENT
  • Spoken out in Parliament for the swift implementation of the Government's new fair education funding formula to level the playing-field for Cheltenham pupils READ MORE HERE
  • Presented his 'Stalking (Sentences) Bill' [Alex's Private Member's Bill to tighten up laws to protect victims of stalking] to Parliament at Second Reading
  • Held talks with the Education Minister, Nick Gibb MP, and fellow Gloucestershire MPs to press for the implementation of the new fair education funding formula 
  • Written to the Business Minister, Margot James MP, to support Gloucestershire LEP's bid for Growth Deal funding for infrastructure improvements to benefit Cheltenham
  • Been appointed the new national Vice-Chair of the F40 Group leading the England-wide campaign for fair schools funding
  • Received an armed forces briefing from Lt Gen Nick Pope
  • Scrutinised legislation regarding electricity market reform as member of the Third Delegated Legislation Committee
  • Hosted and chaired an All Party Parliamentary Group for Pro Bono event (Law Society, Bar Pro Bono Unit, FRU etc in attendance) to support Pro Bono Week
  • Attended two meetings of the Justice Select Committee (one, effectively, cancelled due to Prison Officers' 'day of action')
  • Hosted Leonard Cheshire reception in Parliament for their 'Can Do' programme to support volunteering by people with disabilities
  • Chaired a stakeholder meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling to set priorities for coming year
  • Hosted 50 constituents for a tour of Parliament and a Q&A session
  • Supported Sainsbury's campaign to reduce food waste by attending their event in Parliament
  • Backed the launch of the UK World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative Report in Parliament. READ MORE HERE
IN CHELTENHAM
  • Commemorated Cheltenham's fallen at Remembrance Day service at the Municipal Offices and the Cheltenham Festival of Remembrance at the Town Hall READ MORE HERE
  • Launched a campaign to secure improvements to Cheltenham's health services following the publication of the Gloucestershire NHS Trust's Sustainability and Transformation Plan READ MORE HERE
  • Welcomed Cross Country's announcement of improvements to train services between Cheltenham and Birmingham/Bristol READ MORE HERE
  • Addressed the congregation at the inauguration of the latest cohort of Cheltenham Street Pastors at Charlton Kings Baptist Church
  • Hailed latest milestone in his campaign to end 'e-poverty' in Cheltenham with news that BT Openreach had reached an agreement with residents to upgrade the Cabinet 151 not-spot in Up Hatherley.READ MORE HERE
  • Welcomed Gloucestershire County Council's decision to scrap the controversial A40 Bus Lane plan, which Alex has consistently opposed along with local residents READ MORE HERE
  • Presented the Team Award at the Gloucestershire Local Business Charity Awards at the Star College
  • Hosted the Welsh Secretary, Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, in Cheltenham for a speech to local businesses
  • Attended the launch of the new Cheltenham Powerchair Football charity at Cheltenham Town Football Club
  • Given lecture to the Gloucestershire Philosophical Society on 'Burke and Brexit' - a talk about how Edmund Burke, the 18th century Whig MP, might have responded to the current debate
  • Visited Severn Wye Energy in Highnam to hear about their initiative to encourage environmental awareness in Gloucestershire
  • Visited Cheltenham Animal Centre to see brilliant volunteering work by people with disabilities, supported by Leonard Cheshire's 'Can Do' project
  • Supported the Mayor of Cheltenham's Charity Auction at Sacred Hearts Church Hall
  • Attended the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts coffee morning at Christchurch Hall
  • Answered questions from local pupils taking part in the InterClimate Trust Debate at the Town Hall
  • Joined local traders in Montpellier for a first aid training session following the installation of new defibrillators in the area
  • Given a talk to primary school pupils at St Thomas More Primary School in Hesters Way for their Aspirations Week
  • Visited Masterchef finalist Koj's new pop-up restaurant on Regent Street. Do visit while you can!
  • Visited All Saints' Academy to support a campaign to promote greater financial education in schools
  • Supported the St Christopher's Play Group Christmas Bazaar in Warden Hill
  • Met the director of Allied World Healthcare to discuss their work with the NHS in Gloucestershire
  • Announced inaugural ''Great Cheltenham Quiz'' on Friday 2 December in aid of Cheltenham Open Door READ MORE HERE
  • Attended Inter-Faith Week event at Cheltenham synagogue
  • Held a constituency surgery
  • Hosted two work experience students

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Alex has also received responses from the Government to the following Written Questions. You can read the full answers by following the hyperlinks below:

 

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Deduction from Earnings Orders are in place relating to child maintenance arrears cases under the 2012 statutory scheme. CLICK HERE

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many liability orders have been applied for since June 2014 in respect of child maintenance arrears cases administered by the Child Maintenance Service. CLICK HERE

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to ensure that the UK intellectual property practitioners will continue to have the right to file European Trade Mark and design applications and appear on behalf of clients at the EU Intellectual Property Office after the UK leaves the EU. CLICK HERE

He has also submitted the following questions to the Government. The answers will be published here in due course:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what considerations have been given to the use of Clean Air Zones charging revenues to promote healthy sustainable transport alternatives such as cycling and walking

To ask the Secretary of State whether the Government has considered reassessing the remit of the public sector pension cap in light of the disparity that presently exists, with some areas of the public sector affected and others left unaffected.

  IN THE MEDIA

  • Written two articles for The Gloucestershire Echo (regarding Gloucestershire's STP, Social Media and Donald Trump). Read all Alex’s articles here
  • Been interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the US election result
  • Been interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the scrapping of Benhall bus lane
                   
UPCOMING CONSTITUENCY SURGERIES

Alex will be holding a constituency surgery in December for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling Hannah Wright on 01242 210473 or emailing hannah.wright@parliament.uk

GROT SPOT UPDATE

Alex wants our beautiful town to look its best. That's why he regularly raises Cheltenham eyesores - from broken railings to tarmac infills and derelict buildings - with the local authorities as part of his 'Grot Spot' campaign. Set out below are the latest updates:

  • Welcomed the announcement that the County Council will now repaint the lampposts on Montpellier Walk and Lypiatt Road this week, following consistent lobbying by Alex on behalf of local traders
  • Welcomed the public consultation event held at the Springbank Shopping Centre outlining Newland Homes' plans to redevelop the long standing eyesore
  • Further progress has also been made in the campaign to replace bent street railings in the town, with the County Council replacing the damaged railings along St Margaret's Road. Those on the Montpellier roundabout and the junction of Gloucester Road and Tewkesbury Road are expected to follow.
PHOTO GALLERY
Commemorating Cheltenham's fallen with local school children 
The turnout in Cheltenham has soared in recent years. It does great credit to the town
With Cheltenham's Sea Cadets
Supporting Aspirations Week at St Thomas More Primary School
Hosting a Can Do reception in Parliament for Leonard Cheshire
Promoting improved financial education in schools at All Saints' Academy
Lobbying the Schools Minister for the swift implemention of the new fair education funding deal 
Undertaking defibrillator training with the local NHS and Montpellier traders
What's on in Cheltenham
 
Copyright © 2016 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.


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