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Weekly newsletter from Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne

by derekdeedman on 1 December, 2017

Welcome to my weekly newsletter!

Amongst other things I took the opportunity to press Health Minister Jeremy Hunt on maternity services in Eastbourne, and spoke on the situation faced by the many WASPI women in our town. Please see my update below.

Remember that for more regular news you can like my page on Facebook, follow me on twitter or visit my website.

I received a direct answer to my question and a commitment from a minister to do something about the issue this week in parliament, which is not as common as you may think.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was making a statement to the House updating what steps have been taken across the NHS to reduce the number of still-birth’s. I told him that a recent (excellent) report compiled by the ONS (Office of National Statistics) and Eastbourne Borough Council has identified our own Trust – ESHT – had 19 still-births last year and that this figure was higher than most comparable Hospital trusts. So would he, the Secretary of State, agree to the Department of Health looking into this?

Hunt agreed and I have already written to him asking for details of the process; in politics as in life it’s important to both bank and act on a commitment immediately! With regard to our own  NHS Trust, ESHT, which runs the DGH, the Conquest and the community health services, I have been tremendously impressed with the different, pro-active style of leadership the new(ish) chief executive, Dr Adrian Bull, has provided since he took over from the un-lamented Darren Grayson (who I can safely say if he’d lived in Eastbourne wouldn’t have voted for me!), and my frequent visits to the DGH since being re-elected to meet the staff across a range of different departments show me that our hospital is going in the right direction which is excellent, but 19 still-births is too high for whatever reason. I will keep readers of my e-Newsletter informed of progress from Jeremy Hunt and his department.

I also spoke this week in Westminster during an opposition day debate brought by the SNP on the issues affecting WASPI women. These are women who were born in the 50’s and whose pension age has recently been equalised with men. Though it was only an opposition day debate and an SNP one at that, the Chamber was pretty full as it’s an issue which affects many hundreds of thousands of women across the UK.

There was a considerable amount of humbug thrown around the Chamber as all sides appeared to profess complete ignorance of their own party’s culpability. A point I made forcefully in my own contribution; we are all culpable and we all let these WASPI women down. The Tories for not properly communicating the impact years ago when they introduced the pensions act in 1995, the Labour government who agreed with the changes for their 13 years of government but singularly failed to tell the women about what was coming down the track, the coalition for speeding up the age to be impacted and, from what I gathered during the debate, the SNP because they have the powers in Scotland to do something but prefer instead to just blame everyone else. Not an edifying sight frankly.

I went on to urge the government to pay WASPI women a proper transition payment to make up for their loss. It’s the least the government can do (it’s the least all of us can do frankly) and it would also be the right thing. This generation of women, our wives, our mothers, our friends, have been treated shoddily so less humbug and more honesty from all politicians I suspect would be appreciated. I will keep actively pressing the WASPI case in parliament.

Speaking in the WASPI Debate 29-11-17
I also co-sponsored the launch this week of Relate’s report examining the impact of debt problems on relationships.

The panel included MPs of all Parties, including the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Caroline Dineage MP, as well as charities such as Stephchange, MoneyAdvice and Relate.

The report paints a stark picture of the problems caused by the cycle of debt that effects so many people and the relationships they have with their partners. The report highlights some very good, if not obvious, recommendations – which I will be lobbying the Government on with colleagues from across all Parties. Including joining up the links with relationship charities and debt advice bodies as there is an obvious overlap of the issues which exacerbate the problems people are having.

Speaking at the Relate report launch
The Department for Transport this week issued it’s report into the state of the Nation’s railways and their future plans for the networks. Included in the report was the news that the Government would be looking to break-up the GTR franchise and looking to give some contracts to Transport for London – a rather ground-breaking revelation!

Regular readers of my e-Newsletter will know how the service on Southern Rail was one of my first prioirites when I won back the seat this June. Many of you will probably agree with me that the service provided by Southern has simply not been good enough irrespective of the strikes, and a lot of it stems from the Thameslink project. So I welcome the news in this report – but urge the Government fix the crisis on our railway far sooner than 2020.

To read what I’ve been doing on Southern Rail since being elected please read here.

I managed to get representatives from RMT and ASLEF round the table in June

That’s all for this week folks. Thank you for taking the time to read my e-Newsletter and hope you have a good weekend.

All the best,

Stephen Lloyd MP
Eastbourne & Willingdon
Lib Dem Front Bench Spokesman
Department for Work & Pensions

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