Therese has welcomed the news in Parliament today that the proposed Stour & Orwell site will not be designated as a Marine Conservation Zone following the announcement from Marine Minister, George Eustice MP.
Therese said: "I received many representations from constituents and businesses, including local fishermen, the Harwich Haven Authority and the Port of Felixstowe, expressing strong concerns about the blanket coverage of the zone and the uncertainty of restrictions for future marine activities. I formally objected to the designations for Suffolk Coastal and pressed the case to the Minister in a debate in Parliament. It has been a pleasure to work with Bernard Jenkin MP for Harwich on this issue. Together we met the Secretary of State for DEFRA and I also met the Marine Minister to press the case. The excellent work already undertaken to protect our local habitat, with several areas already designated as SSSIs and Special Areas of Conservation, has been recognised by the Government. I am glad the Minister has recognised that marine activities coexist happily with our high quality environmental stewardship and will continue to do so without the need for this further designation."
Therese said: "This is very welcome news and builds on the work already underway to increase capacity on the line. Investing in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally connecting our economic hubs. I want to pay tribute to my fellow MPs Ben Gummer, Chloe Smith and Priti Patel for their excellent work on the campaign. By working together with our local Councils and the Local Enterprise Partnerships this is the next step in improving the service for local residents".
The Chancellor said: "East Anglia is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and is establishing itself as a world leader in science, technology and manufacturing. To support this growth we need to have modern, efficient rail services and improved connections."
The new taskforce will be made up of Department for Transport officials, experts from Network Rail, and local MPs.
The DfT has also asked current operator Abellio to develop plans to refurbish and modernise the current fleet, update interiors and provide improved facilities, such as power sockets so commuters and business travellers can work more easily as they travel by train.
Therese met Matt Rudling, Customer Service Director of UK Power Networks, yesterday to discuss their reaction to last week'sstorms.
Therese said: "Since the bad weather hit last week I have been pressing UK Power Networks on behalf of constituents to try and get power restored as quickly as possible and I am glad they drafted in the extra engineers to tackle the extraordinary amount of households suffering power outages. The scale of the outage in Suffolk was very big and overall they did well to reconnect all households in 5 days.
"However, I was critical on the overall lack of specific communication on affected areas on and what was being done to help vulnerable people. It was news to me that the company was offering portable gas heaters or alternative accommodation and from constituents' reactions, it was news to many of them too, I am pleased that UKPN is proactively contacting customers who are entitled to compensation and are doubling the statutory amount."
Therese added: "I found the meeting useful for a next time scenario. I know UKPN staff in Suffolk worked hard to help customers and the review will make that even better for next time. I am also encouraging people that need extra care and support to sign up to the Priority Service Register – which will entitle them to extra help and visits from the Red Cross, when ever your power is down."
For more information and to sign up to the Priority Services Register please visit -http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/power-cuts/priority-services-during-a-power-cut/
Therese has received assurances from Greater Anglia that they have no intention of reducing the availability of cycle space ontrains after she raised the issue on behalf of constituents.
Concerns were raised during Greater Anglia's recent Cycle Strategy consultation which seemed to suggest they were planning on reducing bicycle capacity on their trains.
Therese said: "I am pleased by the reassurance from Greater Anglia that they are not planning to reduce the availability of cycle space. With our ever busy trains it is important to consider future needs and I am glad Greater Anglia are implementing additional cycling schemes such as extra cycle parking and hiring facilities to ensure that those who want to cycle can do so."
Therese has welcomed the Greater Ipswich City Deal that has been launched in Ipswich today.
The deal which has been put together by Suffolk Councils and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership will receive £4m of Government money to help create jobs in the region.
Therese said: "It is great news that the City deal has now been signed which will not only benefit Ipswich but the wider Suffolk area. With local councils, including SCDC, businesses, colleges and the Government working together we can provide our young people with opportunities for extended education, apprenticeships and work."
The New Anglia LEP estimates that the deal with ensure over 3,500 young people are supported into work and 5,000 new apprenticeships will be created.
Therese has today condemned Ofcom for not standing up for consumers in rural areas.
Ofcom have failed to insist that Royal Mail replace the post box that was stolen from Blaxhall earlier this year, despite the nearest post box being over 0.5 miles away.
Therese said: "It is very disappointing that Ofcom are not taking any action despite their much trumpeted policy of extending protections to rural areas. The Royal Mail is an important service for many Blaxhall residents and I want to see the post box replaced."
Therese added: "Ofcom previously stated that Royal Mail must provide collection on delivery if there are not sufficient post boxes but are not considering this either. I hope my Parliamentary petition will help change the Royal Mail's mind where Ofcom have clearly failed."
Therese has welcomed the investment from the Premier League in two football stadia in her constituency.
Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston Football Club have both received just under £12,000 to improve facilities at their grounds. The Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe will see the floodlights refurbished, whilst a new seating stand will be constructed at Leiston Town Athletic Association Sports Ground.
Therese said: "I am delighted that the Premier League have awarded grants to our local clubs through their Football Stadia Improvement Fund. I visited Felixstowe & Walton United earlier this year to learn more about their plans on lighting the ground and I'm delighted that they have been able to realise that dream."
Therese addressed the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation Conference yesterday which has been set up to try to extend the tourist season across the Suffolk Coast.
Therese said: "I was delighted to speak at the DMO conference. One in ten people have jobs in tourism in our part of the world as opposed to one in fourteen nationwide so we need to work hard to make sure our tourist economy continues to thrive. The Suffolk Coast Destination Mangement Organisation provides a great platform for businesses and destinations to come together to help promote themsleves."
Tim Rowan–Robinson, the DMO Chairman, spoke powerfully about what the DMO has to offer to organisations and James Berresford, Chief Executive from Visit England talked about what support they can give.
Therese joined 200 other MPs and representatives from the Alzheimer's Society in Parliament this week to make ahandwritten pledge to join the fight against dementia. Therese pledged to raise awareness of the condition and work for more EMI capable care homes in Suffolk Coastal.
Therese said: "I was pleased to meet the Alzheimer's society to discuss the future of dementia care. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia so it is a health issue that we need to focus on. A key element of that is ensuring that we have residential homes where people with dementia can be cared for."
Alzheimer's Society campaigners were in Westminster to drum up political support for their trailblazing Dementia Friends initiative that launched in February this year. Dementia Friends aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Alzheimer's Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, to help make England more dementia-friendly and improve the lives of the 650,000 people currently living with the condition.
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to dementiafriends.org.uk to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.
Therese is encouraging local businesses & organisations to get involved in the Parliamentary inquiry into youth employment in the freight transport sector.
The inquiry launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport will examine the barriers young people face when they try to begin a career in the logistics sector and identify the education and qualifications industry expects would like new entrants to hold before they begin a career.
Therese said: "With the largest container Port in the UK, freight transport is an important subject for our part of the Country. I am encouraging the Port, businesses and other organisations to get involved in the APPG's inquiry. Young people are our future and it is essential we ensure the industry that is so important to Suffolk is on a sustainable footing."
The inquiry aims to produce recommendations for Government and industry to adopt which will make it easier for those leaving full time education to begin a career in the logistics sector.
The deadline for submitting evidence is 31st October. Please send responses to email@example.com so they can be passed on to the Chairman of the inquiry.
Today in Parliament MPs from across the East of England met the Chairman & Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service to get an update on their turnaround plan that was signed off by the NHS Trust Development Authority just last week.
The plan recognises that the Trust needs to shift its focus onto frontline services to provide more paramedics and double staffed ambulances.
Therese said: "It was a positive meeting and there has been good progress made on the plan. The leadership is in a much better place than a few months ago. One of the things that gave us confidence is that there is clear focus on shifting resources to the front line and that is being presented in a credible manner with clear timelines and detailed activity plans.
"Key issues we discussed included recruitment and training of paramedics, the role of community first responders and the work being done with hospitals to reduce handover times. The next key learnings will come from the clinical capacity review being undertaken which will enable the Trust to plan better where ambulances and paramedics should be based so as to ensure good response times in our rural areas. Patients and constituents should be in no doubt that the service is heading in the right direction and that MPs will continue to monitor progress."
Warren Hill YOI is set to be re-categorised as an adult prison under Government plans to rationalise the prison estateannounced today.
Reacting to the news, Therese said: "I have visited Warren Hill recently and the governor has been doing some good work in terms of tackling poor behaviour and quite a lot of money has been invested there. Having said that I do understand what the Government is doing. We need to make sure we look at ways of modernising and rationalising our prison estate to make sure there are enough prison places at a much lower cost."
Local MP, Therese Coffey has launched a petition to replace the Blaxhall Post Box after it was stolen last month. Following her letter to the Royal Mail, the Suffolk Coastal MP has this week received confirmation from the Chief Executive, Moya Greene, that they don't intend to replace the service.
Launching the petition at The Ship Inn with local Councillors Ray Herring and Andrew Reid, Therese said: "Many residents have contacted me on this issue and it is clear that the Royal Mail is still an essential service for Blaxhall residents. I want to send a clear message to Royal Mail by presenting the petition to the House of Commons"
She added: "I was very disappointed by Royal Mail's response as it seems to contradict the new Ofcom rules designed to protect rural post boxes. The criteria states 'there must be a post box within half a mile of at least 98% of delivery points' and the closest post box to the location of the stolen one is 0.7 miles away. I have also written to the Chief Executive of Ofcom asking them to intervene."
You can sign the petition on-line at - http://www.theresecoffeymp.com/petitions
Therese welcomed Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, to Felixstowe Port today as he helped celebrate the 70thmillion shipping container (Twenty Foot Equivalent) handled at the port.
Therese said: "It was a pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State to Felixstowe today as we celebrated this important milestone in the history of our successful Port. Felixstowe Port is so important for our local economy and as we look to the future we need to ensure that we do all we can to ensure the Port continues to handle many more millions of containers, with more exports too."
"I also took the opportunity to reinforce to the Secretary of State the lack of fairness in singling out the improvements to A14 to require a toll. Applying tolling to just one port could have a major impact on business in Suffolk and I urged the Transport Secretary to take this into account when introducing the scheme."
Therese welcomed the Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, to Suffolk today as he visited the key sites along the Suffolk Coast.
Therese said: "I was pleased to welcome the Minister of State for Energy, Michael Fallon, to Sizewell after his earlier tour of Lowestoft and the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm off our Suffolk Coast."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the helicopter trip to see the how the turbines work close up. This was followed by important discussions about the supply chain and the positive impact Greater Gabbard will have on our energy security and the local economy here in Suffolk"
Suffolk will benefit soon from an improvement in mobile phone coverage thanks to the Government's £150m upgrade.
Arqiva, recently appointed to undertake the upgrade, announced yesterday the areas to benefit.
The improvements in Suffolk are set for phase two of the project due to take place by the middle of next year.
Reacting to the announcement local MP, Therese Coffey said: "This is great news which I am sure will be welcomed by residents and tourists alike. Suffolk suffers from poor coverage in many areas and I am glad this will soon be solved in most places which will also provide a boost for local businesses"
The project is focused on improving 2G in the short term but will also help the rollout of 4G in rural areas.
The full announcement can be seen here
Therese has welcomed today's news that improved 24/7 stroke services are on track to be introduced from November 2013at Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals.
The improvements will see specialist doctors and nurses deliver round-the-clock hyper acute stroke care.
There will also be improvements to the early supported discharge service which will see better after care for stroke patients and more joined-up working between community health services and the hospitals.
Therese said: "This is great news for Suffolk residents. The recent stroke petition set up by Felixstowe residents, Mr & Mrs Arnold demonstrated just how much local people value the stroke service. I am glad local healthcare organisations are working together to deliver this service."
Figures released today show that overall recorded crime in Suffolk has fallen by 12% in the last year including a 25% fall in robbery, 21% reduction in anti-social behaviour and a 10% fall in violence against a person.
Reacting to the figures Therese said: "This is encouraging news for Suffolk residents. My thanks go to our Police Commissioner, Tim Passmore and all of Suffolk Constabulary for keeping us safe."
Therese added: "Whilst this is good news it is important we are not complacent and continue to do all we can to reduce crime. The Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill that is going through Parliament will reduce bureaucracy and provide Police with more flexibility in tackling anti-social behaviour."
Therese has welcomed the Government's commitment for sport funding in our Counties Primary schools which will mean up to £345,000 per year extra for Suffolk Coastal.
Therese said: "The Government is determined to maintain the legacy of London 2012 and this is great news for Suffolk pupils. The London Olympics inspired us all and I hope this will help launch the careers of our Olympians of the future as well as ensuring every child enjoys the sports provision they deserve."
She added: "I am pleased the money will go directly into the hands of head teachers for them to use in their schools this September."
The funding will be ring fenced and can only be spent on PE and sports provision. No other funding for schools is ring fenced, demonstrating the Government's commitment to school sport.
Therese has reacted with delight to the High Court decision to allow the Government to reallocate unused fishing quotarights from big producers to the under-10m fleet.
Small-scale fishing along the Suffolk in coast in fishing communities such as Aldeburgh, Southwold, Felixstowe, Dunwich and Orford have found it difficult to maintain a profitable business due to not having enough quota allocation.
Reacting to the decision, Therese said: "This is great news for our local fisherman and provides real hope to get a fairer deal for our under ten metre fleet. It is a triumph for our Fishing Minister, Richard Benyon, who has long been negotiating a better deal for our small scale fisherman who are the life-blood of our coastal communities. This decision is hugely important for the long term survival of our under 10-metre fleets".
Therese is encouraging residents of Suffolk Coastal to submit areas that are affected by overhead power cables for possible undergrounding.
This week UK Power Networks published its final business plan for the period 2015-2023. Contained within the East of England plan is a commitment to underground 96km of overhead cables that fall within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks. Specific projects have yet to be chosen and there is an opportunity to submit ideas which could form part of their action plan.
Therese said: "We all use electricity and so cables or pylons are necessary to make that happen. However in our part of Suffolk, the environment could be even more special if such cables were put underground. That has already happened between Chillesford and Butley and I encourage residents to nominate areas that could benefit from undergrounding with the new funds available."
You can submit ideas to www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/about-us/contact-us and for more information go to http://www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/planning-and-undergrounding/undergrounding-projects/
Broadband services have now been re-connected in Wangford following a major fault in the network that affected a number of residents.
Therese contacted BT about the outage and they have now re-connected the service.
Therese said: "I am pleased the issue has been now been fixed – a working broadband connection is absolutely essential, especially for rural businesses. BT admitted that the situation could have been handled better and they have promised to refund residents for the period they were cut off. They have also made a commitment to look at any claims for out of pocket expenses."
Any resident wishing to apply for a refund should call BT on 0800 800 151.
Therese has welcomed the increased protection for residents against the removal of post boxes in rural areas, as Ofcomannounce new criteria that will apply nationwide for the first time.
The previous criteria only applied to 61 of the 121 postcode areas in the UK – with the excluded areas mostly covering rural locations.
Therese said: "This is great news for residents in rural Suffolk. Despite the increase in electronic communication the Royal Mail is still an essential service for all of us and I am glad that people in rural areas will now be afforded greater protection against the removal of post boxes."
Therese is backing the Countryside Alliance's campaign to improve mobile phone reception by asking people to becomephone detectives this summer and help it map real phone reception rates across the UK.
The Countryside Alliance is asking people to download the free RootMetrics app onto their smartphone or tablet and use it while they are at home as well as while they are out and about.
The app tests the strength of their signal and automatically records the result. It can also be used to check which company provides the best service in an area.
The information will be used to make the case to phone companies and the Government to improve mobile reception, especially in isolated rural areas.
Therese said: "Everyone pays the same for their phone package but phone reception is very variable and many people are not getting a good deal. I would ask everyone to download the app and make use of it this summer so the Countryside Alliance can have the best possible information to take to the Government and phone companies this autumn."
For further information on how to use the app and to see results so far, visit www.rootmetrics.com/uk
Therese has praised Wenhaston & Saint Felix Primary Schools which are taking part in this year's My Money Week, this week.
My Money Week is dedicated to financial education for young people and a fantastic way to engage pupils in learning about money.
Therese said: "Financial education is so important to give young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage their money well and has enormous benefits for individuals and the community as a whole. I am pleased Wenhaston and Saint Felix Primary Schools are taking advantage of this opportunity".
Therese added: "With the news from the Department for Education that all young people will study financial education in mathematics and citizenship at secondary level from September 2014, now is the perfect time for teachers to start thinking about young people's skills, knowledge and attitudes towards money."
Therese is encouraging prospective students in Suffolk Coastal to apply for a scholarship from Lloyds Banking Group who are inviting applications for 2013/14.
Lloyds Banking Group's Universities Programme supports young people from families with below average income, to get into some of Britain's top universities. It provides students with a complete package of financial and vocational support, including paid internships, access to a dedicated Lloyds mentor and volunteering opportunities in the local community. All 11 eligible Scholars from the first cohort were offered a place on the Lloyds Banking Group Graduate Leadership programme.
The programme is currently partnered with 8 universities (Bath, Birmingham Bristol, Edinburgh, UCL, Oxford, Sheffield, and Warwick).
Prospective Scholars need to apply online at www.lloyds-scholars.com
The Prime Minister paid tribute to our local volunteer coastguards and RNLI in Parliament today as Therese underlined the bravery of the crew who rescued so many people during the Southwold Pub to Pier Swim event the Community Swim last week.
During Prime Minister's Questions Therese said: "The Community Swim could have become a tragedy were it not for the brave efforts of our emergency services and in particular the volunteer coastguards and the RNLI. Will the Prime Minister join with me in thanking our volunteer coastguards and, in particular from the the RNLI helmsman Simon Callaghan and crewmen Paul Barker and Rob Kelvey in pulling out 56 people from the water and averting a tragedy?"
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, replied: "The Royal National Lifeboat Association do an extraordinary job for our country and really are one of our emergency services and should be treated as such. I join her in paying tribute to those brave people."
Local MP Therese Coffey has welcomed the details of when superfast broadband will be coming to Suffolk Coastal, unveiled last week at the Suffolk Show.
The exact timescale varies across different parishes but the first to see work start in 2013 will be Kirton, Hemley, Chillesford, Yoxford, Sibton, Peasenhall, Cookley, Linstead Parva, Linstead Magna, Rushmere and Henstead with Hulver Street. The Better Broadband scheme as a whole remains ahead of schedule in aiming for 90% fibre coverage by 2015.
Therese said: "The unveiling of this timescale brings superfast rural broadband a step closer for Suffolk. It's great news that parishes in Suffolk Coastal will be among the first to get better broadband, and I am very happy that we are ahead of schedule on such an important project for rural areas."
For details of when work will start in your parish, please see http://www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/LineCheck.aspx.
Therese is urging local people to apply become a director of new body, HealthWatch Suffolk, which launched in April.
Healthwatch gives people in Suffolk a real influence over decisions about health and care services in the county - It is the eyes and ears for patients.
The board will have a major role to play in deciding HealthWatch's strategy and provides a great opportunity to help make a difference.
Therese said: "In light of the recent performance of the Ambulance Trust, previous issues on hospitals and the new structures for the NHS, this is a golden opportunity for local people to represent concerns of patients across Suffolk."
HealthWatch are recruiting for 5 additional directors. More information including the recruitment pack can be found at - http://healthwatchpathfinder.onesuffolk.net/
You can also become a subscriber member, receive newsletters & the annual report and vote at Annual General Meetings by signing up here: http://www.healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk/content/membership
Therese is encouraging local residents to come together and enjoy the Big Lunch on Sunday 2nd June.
Since its launch in 2009, the lottery backed Big Lunch has taken place in communities up and down the country enabling neighbours to get together in friendship and fun.
Therese said: "I would urge all residents to sign up and get involved in the Big Lunch. In the last couple of years communities across Suffolk have come together to celebrate the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee. The Big Lunch is another great opportunity to gather together and celebrate our own community."
Therese is pleased to have been invited to join the celebrations at Shottisham, coinciding with the opening of the improved play area.
To request a free Big Lunch pack - go to www.thebiglunch.com.
Greater Anglia has completed a programme to install new automatic ticket vending machines at key locations on the EastSuffolk Line between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
Therese attended the official launch at Woodbridge Train station this morning which will mean for the first time passengers can purchase their train tickets before they travel.
Therese said: "After discussing with the Chief Executive of Greater Anglia last year the need for people to buy tickets at these busy stations, I am delighted that new ticket machines are now ready for use at both Woodbridge and Saxmundham. This is a much needed facility for passengers who can now take advantage of advanced purchase rates and pick up tickets bought on-line."
The new Atos FAST machines are equipped with the most up-to-date and customer-friendly screen layout helping to simplify the method for ticket purchase by reducing the number of steps to complete a ticket transaction.
When purchasing a ticket, the screens also display relevant information concerning any travel restrictions that may apply to a particular ticket type, helping to ensure that customers are easily able to purchase the correct and most appropriate ticket for their intended journey.
The initiative to upgrade and install new ticket machines is aimed at improving the service offered to customers at rural stations which do not have a ticket office.
Therese has today welcomed the Conservative run Government's commitment to enshrine in law the requirement for anIn/Out referendum on our membership of the EU before the end of 2017.
The Conservatives will back James Wharton MP's Private Members Bill due to be discussed in Parliament on July 5th.
Therese said: "Earlier this year the Prime Minister outlined his commitment to offer an In/Out referendum on our membership of the EU and I am delighted that he has now decided to enshrine that commitment in law. If the Bill is successful the referendum will have to be held before the end of 2017."
Therese added: "There is a need to renegotiate the terms of our membership and it should be for the people to decide whether we should accept those terms or come out all together."
Last week Therese attended the Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow that was taking place in Great Eastern Square, Felixstowe.
Therese said: "Proactive events like this are a reminder that preventing disease or at least discovering it earlier is better than late diagnosis. It was a successful event with a steady queue of people waiting to be checked"
"Last time I checked, I was fine but I am trying to make changes to my lifestyle. I already cycle a fair amount in London but I will be onto ebay to get a folding bike."
Therese joined her Suffolk Parliamentary colleagues last Friday in a meeting of the Federation of Small Business Liaison Group.
Broadband was on the agenda for the Ipswich meeting with business organisations and Therese was given an update on the ongoing project.
Therese said: "Many residents will already know that 85% of Suffolk will have super-fast broadband by 2015, all residents will have a minimum of 2MB/s and we were told that 90% will see an uplift of at least 10MB from their current speed. Of course, not everyone can be upgraded at the same time and it will not be done neighbouring parish by parish but in chunks across the county. The final plan should be out by the end of May/early June."
Photo: Therese speaking at the Broadband Conference
Following last month's A14 Summit meeting co-chaired by local MP's Ben Gummer and Therese, the Highways Agency hascommitted to implement measures to minimise collisions and speed up the clearing away of accidents on the Orwell Bridge.
In a letter to Therese, the Highways Agency sets outs a number of actions it plans to take to improve traffic management on this key stretch of the A14. While they are still finalising their analysis of a report it commissioned, the Agency is considering other measures including reducing the speed limit to 60mph and stopping HGVs overtaking on and near the bridge. The Agency is also reviewing its own response to clearing accidents. The report has ruled out traffic joining from laybys and slip roads as a major factor towards accidents.
Therese said: "Many constituents have contacted me on this issue and it is important we do all we can to ensure the free flow of trade, commuters and other road users. I look forward to the full report when it is published shortly but in the short term, I am pleased that the Agency is coming up with concrete recommendations to minimise the traffic chaos on the Orwell Bridge.
Ipswich MP, Ben Gummer said: "I am very grateful for the lead Therese has taken on this important matter, which is so critical to my and her constituents. We must be realistic about the fact that we will not be able to stop all accidents and suicide attempts. But the summit showed we could do a lot better. The Highways Agency, police and Suffolk County Council are aware of the importance we attach to this matter and we will continue to apply pressure to minimise disruption when things go wrong."
The Government's consultation on the introduction of Marine Conservation Zones has now closed and Therese has revealed why she has objected to the designations in Suffolk.
Therese said: "I understand the need to protect our seas and acknowledge the people who shared their campaign emails with me. However I don't believe the zones designated for Suffolk Coastal, restricting activity off our coast is the best way to go about this."
She added: "I received many emails from constituents and businesses, including the Harwich Haven Authority, and have carefully assessed views on the local evidence. As such I have formally objected to the designations for Suffolk Coastal on both the Alde & Ore and the Orwell & Stour rivers reflecting the concerns of local people and businesses . We already have considerable protections in place for our special estuaries."
The Government will now consider all the responses before setting out how they propose to take the proposals forward.
Households across Suffolk Coastal are benefiting from a real terms cut in their council tax bills, official Government figureshave revealed. This is thanks to the third year of the Conservative's council tax freeze initiative, which offers funding to help local authorities keep council tax down.
Under the last Labour Government council tax in Suffolk Coastal & Waveney District Council increased 130% per cent. However, with Conservatives in Government, there has only been a change of 1.3% in Suffolk Coastal and 0.7% in Waveney, keeping it below inflation and delivering a tax cut to provide families and pensioners with real help with the cost of living.
Commenting, Therese said: "These new figures show how the Conservatives want to help families who work hard and want to get on in life. Under the last Labour Government, council tax was allowed to soar .This hit families and pensioners hardest, but the Labour Party still refuse to support our council tax freeze. By contrast, Conservatives understand that families need real help with the cost of living during these tough times. The third year of our freeze means that council tax has remained below inflation – delivering a tax cut for the people of Suffolk Coastal".
Therese has reacted with delight after the Highways Agency confirmed that they would re-surface the section of road along the A14 in Felixstowe from Dockspur roundabout.
Previous patching to the surface of the road currently creates excess noise from HGV's which blights the life of residents. Alongside local Councillors Graham Harding and John Goodwin, Therese spoke with David Gingell from the Highways Agency to press the case.
Therese said: "The Parish Councils, Cllrs Harding and Goodwin have raised this issue consistently. I was delighted that we could meet the Highways Agency director,David Gingell, and get such a good result. Cllr Harding grabbed the chance and persuaded Mr Gingell to drive along that stretch of the A14. It's done the trick and I am pleased they have now agreed to do the work by late summer. "
Cllr Harding added: "Discussions have been going on for a considerable time about the noise coming from the A14 affecting the Trimleys. We expected the surface to be completed with low noise tarmac, instead of which only small sections were done. I am pleased that the work will now be carried out and residents will enjoy some peace and quiet".
Photo: Therese with David Gingell, Cllr Harding & Cllr Goodwin
Therese was joined by Cllr Tony Goldson on a visit to Hammonds Land Rover in Halesworth last week to mark NationalApprenticeship Week. She had a tour of the show room from owner Derek Hammond before talking to apprentices.
Therese said: "Speaking to the current and recent apprentices gave a good insight into the career choices available. The partnership that Hammonds has with leading car manufacturers is of really high quality. The more we can help encourage other employers and people to take the apprenticeship route, the better for Suffolk."
Therese added: "Apprenticeships are open to people of any age but it is important we encourage our younger generation to consider apprenticeships as a route into work. After increasing the numbers of employers participating, Suffolk MP and skills Minister Matt Hancock is now focused on raising the quality of apprenticeships, including the training courses. For anyone considering a fresh start look on-line at www.thesource.me.uk"
Photo: Andy Abbott
Therese has expressed her delight with the outcome of the recent Care Quality Commission report into the James PagetHospital.
The regulator carried out an unannounced visit on the 1st February and found the Hospital fully compliant in all the standards they assessed.
Therese said: "I am delighted with the outcome of the CQC report and I am glad the hospital has had such good feedback from patients. It has been a hard 18 months and I know all staff at the James Paget have worked hard to turn it around. There is a strong team culture which I witnessed on my visit there last month".
The CQC had previously raised concerns about patient care at the James Paget in 2011.
Earlier this month, Therese and County Councillor Graham Newman met the Route Managing Director of Network Rail,Dave Ward, and Greater Anglia Executive, Jonathan Denby, to press the case for improvements to the Ipswich to Felixstowe line, including the need to retain a full passenger service.
Regular users of the train will know that passenger services can often be held up due to delays or over-runnings of the freight trains. While the port is still legally committed to dualling the line, the time frame for this has been extended to up to 2018.
Therese said, "It was a very positive meeting. I was very pleased that Network Rail is also keen to ensure passenger services are kept and that Dave Ward and his team are actively looking for solutions. We all want to see more freight on rail but that must not mean a reduction in the quality of the passenger service. We need action sooner than 2018 and if we can secure a scheme with passing loops, I will support that".
Dave Ward from Network Rail said: "I am pleased with the progress that we are making to develop a scheme for the Felixstowe line that will relieve the current capacity crunch. This is being designed to protect both the vital freight services from the port and the passenger service. We will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders as we look at the options over the next few months, and we very much hope to make an official announcement regarding our plans in the near future."
Jonathan Denby from Greater Anglia said: "We're pleased to be working closely with Network Rail and other key stakeholders on potential future improvements for the Felixstowe line, to ensure we secure an outcome that protects passengers' interests as well as enabling freight services to expand."
Cllr Graham Newman said "The call to reduce the current passenger service between Felixstowe & Ipswich in order to accommodate more freight trains from the Port was greeted with huge dismay by the town's residents. Even now, although the line is not running at its maximum capacity, the passenger service is sometimes delayed or cancelled due to freight train movements. I've worked closely with Dr Coffey on this issue and I'm pleased that Network Rail are working on a scheme to provide extra capacity and greater flexibility, in advance of the Port's requirement to double track part of the line".
Therese added: "I was also able to raise the issue of level crossings. Network Rail has committed to installing barriers to the level crossing at Melton and work is scheduled to take place later this year. There are some innovative solutions coming forward which will make further safety improvements to our other level crossings."
Therese has today welcomed the decision taken by the Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, AndrewMorgan, to bring into service 15 extra double staffed ambulances into the region this coming Monday.
Therese said: "This is welcome news. I am pleased the Board and the Chief Executive have listened to concerns raised by patients, staff & MP's. This action to help improve the service gives me confidence that we are heading in the right direction and that they are getting a grip. This is not the end of the story but a welcome signpost. I still encourage the Trust to be more transparent on its performance. "
Last week shoppers in Suffolk Coastal were encouraged to try alternative, lesser known British fish for free whenSainsbury's gave away fish as part of 'Switch the Fish Day'. Customers were able to try lemon sole, mussels, Cornish sardines, coley fillets or loch trout fillets in a bid to encourage shoppers to expand the range of fish they eat and try alternative species as part of the retailer's continued commitment to sustainable fish.
Therese has pledged her support for the campaign by visiting the Warren Hill store to encourage customers to continue to broaden their appetite for fish.
When a customer asks for one of the Big Five species at the fish counter on 'Switch the Fish Day' they can try a lesser known alternative for free.
Therese said "I back Sainsbury's campaign to promote sustainable fish which will encourage customers to try different species of fish. There are so many great tasting varieties of sustainable British fish available and I will definitely be trying some new alternatives in future."
Justin King, Sainsbury's CEO said: "Sainsbury's is committed to fishing responsibly and helping change UK fish eating habits. We know our customers care about responsibly sourced food and this is a great opportunity for them to try some alternative British fish for free."
Therese has today welcomed new statistics that show a record number of people in Suffolk Coastal started apprenticeship in 2011/12. The data also has provisional results for the number of apprenticeship starts in the first quarter of 2012/13 – in August to October 2012 260 people started apprenticeships in just three months.
In the last financial year, 850 people started an apprenticeship in Suffolk Coastal an increase of 73% per cent compared to the last year of the previous Government.
Therese said: "These record levels of apprenticeships are fantastic news for our country, for Suffolk Coastal and most of all for the people whose lives are being transformed by the opportunities they offer. With the world around us changing, we will only succeed in the global race when everyone is given the chance to reach their full potential."
Therese and her fellow Suffolk MP David Ruffley and welcomed Roads Minister Stephen Hammond MP to Bury St Edmundslast week.
This was a key meeting to make the case in Suffolk for an improved A14, to allow local business the chance to have direct conversation about the impact of any tolling as well as to showcase the growth opportunities in Bury St Edmunds, particularly by J45.
Therese said: "The A14 is an important artery across Suffolk and an economic lifeline for many businesses, including the Port of Felixstowe. Significant investment including the widening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route is very welcome and long needed."
She added: "There are issues concerning proposed tolling that need to be fully thought through and it is important this is not seen as a tax on success nor for Suffolk business to pay for Cambridgeshire commuter congestion. The Minister confirmed that he would not be putting blanket weight limit restrictions on other roads to enforce the use of the toll. This is a great victory as we have changed previous thinking on this within the Department of Transport."
Chief Executive of the Suffolk Chamber Of Commerce, John Dugmore said: "Firms across Suffolk will be encouraged to hear that the Government's Roads Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, has acknowledged the necessity of sorting out the congested stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon and identifying it as an urgent government priority. The solution that Government chooses must be right for business. We have worked alongside our partners in Cambridgeshire for a number of years to raise the profile of the problems on the A14. The Government is clearly listening and we have to make clear that the time is right and the time is now for improvements to be made."
Anglian Water is inviting all of its customers to have their say on how the company spends their money.
They have recently launched a public consultation to determine their next business plan for the period 2015-20. The outcome will determine the level of future water bills and how much they can invest in infrastructure across the east of England.
Following the consultation the business plan will have to be submitted to the regulator, Ofwat to be signed off.
The consultation runs until the 10th March 2013 and you can take part now by visiting www.discoverdiscussdecide.co.uk
Therese joined her Parliamentary colleagues, Brandon Lewis & Peter Aldous in welcoming Care and Support Minister,Norman Lamb, to the site of the East Coast Hospice today.
After a tour of the site where the hospice will be built, the minister met with MP's and a delegation of trustees including the Chief Executive of the East Coast Hospice, David Nettleship.
Therese said: "It was great that the Minister came to visit the East Coast Hospice site. Hospice beds offering end of life care are needed in our part of East Anglia and this will make a huge difference to patients and their families. I pay tribute to all the hard work undertaken to get this project underway and have contributed to its provision."
Therese held 8 community meetings across the constituency last week concerning the proposals for Sizewell C.
Therese said: "It was important to hear back from residents about the design, their thoughts on the roads & rail proposals, as well as the park & ride and accommodation sites. I have already met with EDF to give them an early view of that feedback but will draw together as many of the comments into themes so that I can articulate people's views appropriately at the council meetings and community forums."
"The main points that residents raised were the traffic issues, the park and ride sites, the potential for rail and the sites of the accommodation campus. Concern was also raised about some of the social issues associated with the potential behaviour of workers and contractors. EDF have assured me they carry out random drug & alcohol tests and have the ability to withdraw site passes. Further information on this will appear in Stage 2."
She added: "We are at the start of a fairly lengthy process. There is no doubt that there is going to be disruption in our part of Suffolk for some time. The key job for EDF is to build a power station that will help keep the lights on in 20 years' time but as with any development, it is appropriate for the developer to minimise the impact on local residents and businesses and install essential infrastructure for the development and from which local residents can benefit."
If you didn't make it to one of the meetings, Therese is encouraging you to email her your thoughts and for you to respond to the consultation directly at http://sizewell.edfenergyconsultation.info. The consultation closes on the 6th February.
Therese has today welcomed the announcement from Sport England of a new £40 million fund to support grassrootssporting activity as part of the strategy to deliver a lasting sporting legacy from last year's successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Sport England will invest around £12.5 million in the first two rounds of the Community Sport Activation Fund, with more funding available in 2014 and 2015. First round bids will be accepted until February 4 and will support a small number of strong projects that can be up-and-running by the start of June.
Therese said: "I want to see the success of London 2012 become a catalyst for physical activity, not just distant memory. This is a great chance for local clubs and our council to encourage people to get involved in sport."
Community groups, charities and councils are among those that can bid for funding for up to three years, with grants of between £50,000 and £250,000 on offer for a wide range of projects from family-friendly activities to multi-sport sessions.
The fund will build on previous funding campaigns, which have shown that the key to success is finding out what people want from sport - and what's stopping them from getting involved - before designing an offer that's appealing, accessible and secures their long-term involvement.
Therese has been given assurances from the Managing Director of Clinical Health at Serco that staffing structures in Felixstowe Community Hospital will not change.
Therese said: "Constituents have contacted me about their concerns concerning the Serco contract and the impact this could have on patient care. I have followed these up with Paul Forden, the Managing Director of Clinical Services and he has given me categorical assurances that the staffing structure within Felixstowe Community Hospitals will not change.
Therese added: "Due to staff retirement there is one matron covering two Community hospitals but a new matron for Felixstowe is being recruited. Clinical and support staff at Felixstowe Community Hospital are first rate and they were rated excellent, yet again in an inspection last year. We are so fortunate to have such dedicated and professional staff and I am pleased that Felixstowe Community Hospital will continue to provide an excellent service to our town."
Therese co-chaired the Norfolk and Suffolk banking forum last Friday with her Parliamentary colleagues Elizabeth Truss and Peter Aldous. The forum was an opportunity for businesses to hold banks and MP's to account over lending.
Therese said: "It was important we hear directly from businesses what the situation is like on the ground. Since last year, there does seem to have been an increase in net lending in our region though the picture is not as strong in Suffolk as in Norfolk and particularly Cambridgeshire. The business survey that I conducted last year showed that 54% of respondents in Suffolk Coastal had ready access to finance.
She added: "There is good news that our area is the second best for growth of new businesses but half of all new start-ups are not being given loans by the banks. It is important we get the banks to do as much as possible but we also need to advise business on other routes to finance like private investors or Foundation East, our Community Finance Organisation."
Therese has added a further meeting to the series of public meetings she is holding across Suffolk Coastal next week, tolisten to constituents views about the construction of Sizewell C.
The additional meeting will be held at Beach View Holiday Park in Sizewell at 9am on Saturday 19th January. This will accompany meetings she is holding in Leiston, Theberton, Eastbridge,Middleton, Yoxford, Stratford St Andrew and Woodbridge on Friday 18th January. Full details including times for each meeting are available on-line at - http://www.theresecoffeymp.com/sizewell-c/
Therese said: "I fully understand local concerns on the significant impact and disruption that accompanies such a large project. This is the first stage of a marathon negotiation and it is important that public opinion is conveyed to EDF. It is essential local residents benefit as much as possible from the project including maximising improvements to infrastructure."
If you wish to attend any of the above meeting please e-mail, Patti Mulcahy, at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Therese has welcomed the Ministers hard fought negotiations on fishing quotas for the under 10 metre boats fishing off the Suffolk coast.
The UK Government has successfully stopped an automatic cut in quota for North Sea cod and the number of days that fishermen are allowed to spend at sea following negotiations in Brussels. Fishermen were facing severe reductions to the amount of time they could spend at sea catching their quota as part of the Cod Recovery Plan.
Therese said: "I welcome the hard fought negotiation undertaken by the Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon MP. The proposal from Europe to reduce the amount of time that fishermen have to catch their cod quota was bad for sustainability as it forces fishermen to catch closer to shore, often on spawning grounds. Cancelling this is a real success for the UK."
She added: "The Minister has secured an increase in the quota for some fish stocks and overturned reductions to others offering a real life-line for many fishermen. I have had assurances from the Minister that he will be arguing against the proposed 20% cut in the cod quota set to be decided in January and will continue to fight for Suffolk fishermen."
Following her recent visit to Kyson Primary School Therese raised the concerns of school children worried about the Belfast riots with the Leader of the House of Commons yesterday.
Therese visited the Woodbridge school to take part in a question and answer session as part of Parliament week.
Therese said: "When I visited Kyson primary school I was struck by how often the issue of the Belfast riots came up among 10 and 11-year-olds. Given that some disgraceful things are still happening I asked the Leader of the House whether the Secretary of State could make a further statement on the issue in the New Year so she can update Parliament of what we are doing to prevent this violence from occurring."
The Leader of the House Andrew Lansley said: "We all condemn the lawlessness and thuggery we have seen. It is not in defence of the flag; it is a disgrace to the flag and to Britain that this is happening. We want to see it stop. In particular, the threat to our elected representatives and the threat to and attacks on the police are attacks on democracy."
Therese has today welcomed the announcement by health regulator, Monitor that the decision to award Foundation TrustStatus to the East of England Ambulance Service has been delayed for 12 months.
The deferral decision relates to concerns that the Trust has not yet demonstrated that it meets the necessary quality performance threshold for authorisation.
Earlier todday Therese spoke in an adjournment debate on health raising the issue of the performance of the Ambulance Trust and reiterating her view to Ministers that the Trust should not receive Foundation Trust status until performance is improved.
Therese said: "I welcome the announcement from Monitor. Suffolk residents have received an inconsistent and often poor level of service and until response times are improved the Trust should not receive the greater freedom that comes with Foundation Trust Status."
She added: "I met with the Chairman recently and have asked the board to get a grip of performance. Disappointingly, they are not yet prepared to be transparent on performance by postcode and I have raised this with the Minister."
"The Trust have appointed a new interim Chief Executive and it is important he focuses on performance in rural areas. He used to be Chief Executive of Norfolk and Waveney Health so he is aware of the problem."
Therese will be holding a series of community meetings in the New Year to hear your views on Sizewell C. Meetings willtake place on Friday 18th January in Leiston, Yoxford, Middleton, Theberton, Eastbridge, Woodbridge and Stratford St Andrew. She will be setting out her thoughts on the issues but primarily she want to hear from you. The times for each meeting are as follows:
09:00 Woodbridge The National Hall, Sun Lane Woodbridge, IP12 1EG
13:30 Stratford St Andrew Riverside Centre, Mill Lane, Stratford St Andrew, IP17 1LN
15:00 Yoxford Yoxford Village Hall, Old High Rd, Yoxford, IP17 3HN
16:30 Middleton Middleton Village Hall, Mill Lane, Middleton, IP17 3NG
18:00 Leiston Sizewell Sports & Social Club, King George's Ave, Leiston, IP16 4JX
20:00 Theberton The Lion Inn, Main Road, Theberton, IP16 4RU
21:00 Eastbridge The Eel's Foot Inn, Eastbridge, IP16 4SN
If you intend to come along please e-mail, Patti Mulcahy, at email@example.com to register.
Therese said: "I fully understand local concerns on the significant impact and disruption that accompanies such a large project. This is the first stage of a marathon negotiation and it is important that public opinion is conveyed to EDF. It is essential local residents benefit as much as possible from the project including maximising improvements to infrastructure."
Therese welcomed Trade Minister, Lord Green to Suffolk this week as they met with the Chairman of Innovation Martlesham, David Ralph to discuss the area's commitment to rearch and development.
Therese said: "I do think this site is one of Suffolk's best kept secrets and epitomises Curious Suffolk with its research and development of solutions for daily challenges as well as ground-breaking technology. BT is the UK's largest investor in R&D for technology. Many extraordinary things happen on our doorstep but I am ambitious for even more. Cambridge Science Park has the advantage of a global, leading university on its doorstep but we should still exploit this asset."
Therese joined the Chief Executive of EDF Energy, Vincent de Rivaz this morning to open the new visitor centre at Sizewell B.
The centre will allow people to see nuclear power for themselves and is designed to capture the imagination of children and adults alike through hands-on displays and guided tours of the operating site.
Therese said: "The opening of the visitor centre is an excellent opportunity for local residents to learn more about the Sizewell operation and nuclear power. I am pleased that at a time when local residents are being asked for their views on Sizewell C, EDF are holding public exhibitions and are opening their visitor centre to listen and answer questions."
The Visitor Centre will normally be open every day from 9-4pm. The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by appointment.
Visitors will be given an introductory talk about how the station operates, before being given a guided tour through selected parts of the plant.
Therese attended the opening of the Beccles Loop earlier today to celebrate the launch of the hourly train service between Lowestoft and Ipswich.
Therese said: "I remember the celebration we had 2 years ago in the House of Commons when it was announced and it has proved to be fantastic news for east Suffolk. We already know that more people have travelled on the train when the hourly service as far as Saxmundham was established. A regular timetable with hourly trains in both directions will benefit residents, commuters & tourists visiting the area. The hourly service will also improve links to Ipswich and London for Suffolk Coastal businesses, giving a boost to the whole area. We won't be stopping there though. The next stop is to improve the line speed."
Therese visited Royal Mail's Leiston and Woodbridge delivery offices this morning to pass on best Christmas wishes andencouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.
Therese was shown round the offices by local Delivery Office Managers Rachel Coston and Colin England and was introduced to all the postmen and women who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in the Leiston and Woodbridge areas in the run-up to Christmas.
Therese said: "It was great to meet the hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Leiston and Woodbridge delivery offices 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 like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period."
Rachel Coston, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager at Leiston said: "Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people really do pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that Therese Coffey MP came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes."
Rachel Coston added: "Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts. And as usual, we'd like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!"
Therese Coffey and Deputy Mayor of Woodbridge, Patti Mulcahy have launched a joint campaign to get a ticket vendingmachine installed in Woodbridge station.
Following the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre to the library it is difficult for passengers to purchase a rail ticket before using the service.
Therese said: "I have written to the Chief Executive of Greater Anglia, Ruud Hakett pushing for a ticket machine in Woodbridge station and has committed to look at the practicalities of getting one installed."
Cllr Mulcahy said: "This is a much needed facility for Woodbridge passengers and it is essential Greater Anglia takes responsibility for ensuring tickets can be purchased at the favourable advance purchase rate."
Therese presented the awards to the successful winners of the Iken Bay Riding & Livery Scholarships today a the finalists went through a testing selection process.
Inspired by London 2012 Iken Bay created the 2012 Equestrian Scholarship, enabling a young person who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ride to do so. The competition to find the lucky winner was held through a reader competition in the East Anglian Daily Times.
The standard of the entries was extremely high. So high in fact, it inspired the Ipswich office of Liverpool Victoria to sponsor a second scholarship. LV's Charity Champion, Emma Clint, said, 'The health benefits of riding and the confidence that comes from sport and learning about animal welfare, as well as the friendships with other young riders are all invaluable. Iken Bay Riding has built a real community and it's community benefit which above all LV supports'.
The winner of the 2012 Scholarship was James Walker, 10, a pupil at Stonham Aspal Primary School. Inspired by his mum, who was in the army, James hopes to join Household Cavalry when he's old enough. He thought he'd have to wait until then to ride, pursuing other sports in the meantime, which he enjoys but not as much as being with horses. Instead, James will not only be riding but should begin competing next year.
Ellie Hughes 14, who attends Alde Valley High School, was the winner of the LV Scholarship. Ellie would like a career as a riding instructor but had little chance to ride and again thought she'd have to put her ambition on hold until she was older. Now she'll gain a head start, working for staged training awards with like-minded young people.
Therese said: "The Olympics were a great occasion for our country and a real inspiration to us all. I am delighted that Iken Bay Riding & Livery are playing their part in delivery a lasting legacy. I am pleased to be able to present the awards and add my support to this wonderful programme."
James's riding lessons are being sponsored by Robert Douglas Hair Workshop in Woodbridge. Nadia Catterwell who runs Robert Douglas explained, "A lot of our clients either ride at Iken Bay, or when they visit the area see the horses grazing or being ridden out in Tunstall Forest. It's the most popular topic of conversation in the salon, so this sponsorship was an obvious thing to do as clients can enjoy following James's progress".
Therese has welcomed the news that the post office outreach service in Walberswick will be re-opened tomorrow.
The service previously located at the Tuck Shop but will now operate out of the Village Hall on a Tuesday afternoon and a Thursday morning.
Therese said "I am delighted that the service in Walberswick will continue in its new location. I pressed the Post Office for a long time to re-open the service in Walberswick and raised it with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. It is so important that residents of rural communities get access to the Post Office service.
Therese added "this government have been clear that there will be no programme of Post Office closures, and is providing £1.34 billion of funding over the spending review period to 2015 to modernise the Post Office network."
This week is Parliament week and to mark the occasion Therese visited Alde Valley 6th Form today to discuss the role of Parliament.
Therese said: "As the local MP it is important for me to talk to young people about our democratic institutions and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Alde Valley. The students asked some really insightful questions and I am sure they went away more enthused to take an active part in our political process."
"I have communicated with all the schools in the constituency including resources that may be helpful for children to learn more about our democratic process."
Therese has today welcomed the news that the rural broadband project, under BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) has received state aid clearance from the European Commission.
The Commission has declared that the project is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the scheme is aimed at supporting local projects in rural and remote areas, where such networks would unlikely be developed on commercial terms.
Therese said: This is fantastic news for Suffolk and I thank Ministers for their hard work getting to this stage. This Government recognises that broadband is one of the most important infrastructure challenges and I am pleased that everyone in the County will get a broadband connection by 2015 – 85% of which will be superfast. Lets get ready to dig."
Therese is urging residents to take up the free insulation offer from British Gas before it closes on 30th November 2012.
Therese said: "All constituents will be annoyed in the recent rise in fuel prices. We still have the cheapest unit prices in Europe but our homes are in need of energy efficiency improvements. British Gas are offering every home free insulation which can save around £175 a year on your bill and I urge residents to take up the offer before it closes on 30th November."
She added "Over 1,800 properties in Suffolk Coastal have been insulated under the scheme since January 2011 and research has revealed that energy consumption reduced by an average 22% per household as a result".
The Conservative Women's Forum has today launched a new website detailing the work being undertaken by the inquiry to get more women into executive positions.
The inquiry will study the effectiveness of quotas and alternative options, but particularly issues which risk being overlooked, such as the low numbers of women in executive positions and growing the pipeline of talent.
The website - www.executivewomenintheworkplace.wordpress.com - details the terms of reference of the inquiry and will be kept up to date with progress as evidence is gathered at a number of sessions in the New Year.
The Government has announced plans to help thousands of small and medium-sized businesses get access to affordablefinance to help build jobs and grow the economy.
Under the scheme, leading companies will be able to deliver up to £20 billion of new cheaper finance to their suppliers, including many UK SMEs.
The Government will also offer this scheme to its own suppliers, starting with the first community pharmacies in England, unlocking up to £800 million of new credit for around 4,500 pharmacy businesses.
Therese said: "This Government is backing businesses that want to get ahead and build jobs here in Suffolk Coastal. This year, there are over 460,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the East of England an increase of 33,000 since last year. This new scheme will help these businesses secure the finance they need to protect jobs and help our economy compete."
Therese is meeting the Chairman and Deputy CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service in Westminster today.
Therese has previously spoken out about the inconsistent and often poor level of service received by Suffolk residents and how appalled she is that targets are consistently being missed and delays in resolving complaints.
Therese said: "This is a crunch meeting with the Chairman , Maria Ball, to understand what she and the Board are doing to get a grip of performance. It is the Board that holds the service to account and I think their eye is off the ball when it comes to Suffolk. The key is to get to the bottom of why targets are being missed under the current leadership when similar parts of the country are hitting them.
I am pleased that MPs from Suffolk and across East Anglia are also attending so that Mrs Ball will recognise the seriousness of the problems faced.
She added: "I am disappointed that the Chief Executive, Hayden Newton, is now sending his deputy after originally agreeing to the meeting, which has taken a long time to come to fruition. I recognise that he has now announced his retirement but he is still in charge and accountable for the service until he leaves."
Therese has today urged local councils to develop local renewable energy planning policies rather than to react tospeculative applications, often on agricultural land.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament on planning policy and food prices, Therese outlined her concern about the amount of good grade farmland starting to be used for other purposes– particularly for energy production.
Therese said: "In Suffolk there have been speculative applications for solar farms on arable farmland. By reducing the amount of good farmland will in turn reduce the supply of domestically produced food which can adversely impact food prices and reduce our food security."
She added: "I do support local communities, led by their councillors, on making these decisions. However, I also want to encourage Government departments including the Department for Energy, the Environment and Local Government, to work together to make sure there are no unintended consequences in the current policies to subsidise green energy. Both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils should get on the front foot and devise their own supplementary planning guidance on renewable energy for their local plans so they can take a strategic look on the use of agricultural land in Suffolk. We must ensure food prices and food security are firmly on the agenda".
Therese met with NHS Trust regulators Monitor in Parliament today to discuss the performance of the East of EnglandAmbulance Service and its application for Foundation Trust Status.
Therese said "It is Monitor's role to assess if the Service can move to Foundation Trust status, giving it more autonomy. While I do not have concerns on their financial performance, I do have considerable concerns on the consistency of ambulance services to patients in rural Suffolk. I outlined specific issues to Monitor on response times, complaints handling and the seeming lack of monitoring of performance delivery by the Trust Board on county by county level."
She added: "Monitor is part way through its assessment. I was pleased to be joined by Peter Aldous and David Ruffley today at this important meeting with them. MPs are working together to press for a consistently good level of ambulance service.
There is more to do including a key meeting with the Chair of the Ambulance Trust in early November to further discuss constituents' concerns."
Therese has today welcomed the reduction in unemployment and the fact that the amount of people in work has risen tothe highest ever level.
Therese said: "It is great news that unemployment in Suffolk Coastal is down since the Government came to power and the level of youth employment is down from this time last year. A combination of more people entering the labour market and more jobs being created has led to the highest level of employed people since records began."
She added: "I understand that it is difficult for all those still seeking work and it is important that we continue to focus on creating jobs and re-balancing the economy. The Government has set the conditions which have created 1 million private sector jobs since May 2010 and we need to continue to support business to reduce unemployment still further".
Therese and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the country's greatest Paralympian are calling for nominations from Suffolk to the vInspired National Awards, the country's largest celebration of young volunteers.
Baroness Grey-Thompson will be one of the judges for this year's awards. After seeing the amazing gratitude the games volunteers received from the nation, she wants to ensure that young volunteers across the country are celebrated in the same way.
She said: "The past year has really shown us what amazing stuff volunteers can achieve. Our Olympic and Paralympic Gamesmakers helped to make a once-in- a-lifetime event happen for our country. But there are thousands more un-sung young heroes working hard making equally amazing things happen for their communities every day.
Therese said: "This year more than ever we need to recognise our country's young volunteers – we've never had a better opportunity to inspire a new generation of community heroes. I would urge the people of Suffolk to celebrate a great young volunteer by nominating them at www.vinspired.org.
Therese has welcomed the news that there will be fresh leadership at the East of England Ambulance Service after the Chief Executive announced his retirement.
Therese said: "We need a fresh pair eyes to look at the challenges and increase performance. In recent months we have seen a litany of cases about the failure of ambulances to respond to 999 calls on time. Ever since the response time targets moved to a County basis the Trust have consistently failed them for Suffolk and it is not good enough."
Therese is due to meet with NHS Trust regulators Monitor next week to discuss her concerns with the Foundation Trust application.
Therese added: "I will be setting out my concerns to Monitor, the future regulator and will also be pressing the Secretary of State as I do not believe they should have this enhanced freedom while they are not delivering a consistently good service to the residents of Suffolk. I am due to meet with the Chairman of the Ambulance Trust in early November and before that meeting I have asked them to make a step change in performance."
Therese has spoken out about the poor level of service that the East of England Ambulance Service is giving residents in Suffolk and how appalled she is that targets are consistently being missed.
Therese said: "I have written to the Chairman of the Ambulance Trust, Maria Ball, outlining my concerns about the shocking level service provided and am demanding changes. Ever since the targets moved to a County basis – the Trust have consistently failed them for Suffolk. I have asked the Board to look at this as a matter of urgency."
"I am chasing the Trust on several specific cases, including that of Mr Dennington's mother who had to wait 4 hours for an ambulance with fatal consequences. I am glad they have now issued an apology but still no response has been received about the reasons for the delay which isn't good enough".
Therese added: "I have tasked the Chairman to make a step change in performance and expect that by the time we meet in November there will be a noticeable difference for all patients."
Therese has today spoken of her concern in relation to the travel chaos on the A14 yesterday.
She said: "I agree with the comments made by Ben Gummer. Seven and a half hours to clear an overturned lorry and its load of onions seems like an overly long time, especially as no-one was hurt."
"I will take up this issue directly with Ministers when Parliament returns later this month. It is important that we get traffic moving as soon as possible after any accident providing it is safe to do so"
Therese has welcomed the one hour free parking trial that started in Halesworth this week and has urged shopkeepers to demonstrate to the District Council how it is helping them.
Earlier this year Therese wrote to Waveney District Council urging them to consider the same trial for Halesworth as they had committed to in Bungay and is pleased that it is now underway.
Therese said: "I welcome the start of this year-long trial as an investment by Waveney District Council into Halesworth, doing its bit to help our rural market towns. Now, it is for businesses to grab the opportunity and it is particularly is important that shopkeepers are able to show how this has helped them either in increased footfall or higher sales. Only by gathering solid evidence will we be able to demonstrate that the trial should become permanent.
Therese added, "I have received comments that it is restricted to just one car park in Halesworth compared to all car parks in Bungay. If this causes any capacity issues then I will follow up with the Council."
Local MP's Therese Coffey and Peter Aldous attended the Annual General Meeting of the James Paget Hospital last nightafter a meeting with the Chief Executive.
Therese said: "I am pleased that the strengthened management team are really turning the hospital around and I'm impressed with the can do attitude and professionalism amongst the staff. They have handled the transition excellently and it is heading in the right direction."
She added: ""It is satisfying to see that the James Paget is now rated 8th in the Midlands & East league table higher than that of the Norfolk and Norwich".
Every home and business in Suffolk will have at least 2mbs of broadband speed by 2015 after a decision was taken lastnight by the County Council's Cabinet to award the contract to BT.
Therese said: "this is fantastic news for residents and businesses – a truly game-changing agreement. This Government recognises that broadband is one of the biggest infrastructure challenges and I am pleased that everyone in the County will get a broadband connection by 2015 – 85% of which will be superfast."
"I have already spoken to the Minister Maria Miller in order to get the state aid cleared and I am looking forward to working with Suffolk County Council in relation to the roll out".
Therese is showing her support for National Eye Health Week taking place this week. The aim is to raise awareness of theimportance of eye health and the need for everyone to have sight checks every two years to look after their eyes.
Therese Coffey said: "I am delighted to support National Eye Health Week and had my eyes tested in the Woodbridge branch of Specsavers this week. I encourage all my constituents to find out how they can look after their eye health and to ensure they have their eye health checked by going for a sight test every two years".
Francesca Marchetti, Chair of the National Eye Health Week Steering Group, said: "Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don't know the best way to look after our eyes. This is why it is so important you get your eye health tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine as some eye conditions may not show symptoms. Visit ww.visionmatters.org.uk for more information".
The Eight Annual Countryside Alliance Awards are now open to public nomination and Therese is urging the local community to get nominating.
The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknames the 'Rural Oscars', were borne of a need to support and promote rural communities. They celebrate people going that extra mile to ensure that rural Britain's food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills and forward-thinking enterprises can flourish.
Therese Coffey MP said: "These Awards are an excellent way to promote the local businessmen and women who are working hard to keep rural Britain ticking. The local shop won an award where I used to live in Hampshire in it was a terrific boost to the business and the local community. Our local produce in Suffolk is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition, so please get involved and nominate today."
The Awards run across the following categories:
1) Local food Award
2) Daily Telegraph Village Shop/ Post Office Award
3) Enterprise Award
4) Butcher Award
5) Start-up Award – for businesses that have been trading less than 18 months.
Nominations are available on-line at www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk until 29th October. Regional judging will then take place. Regional winners will be announced in early 2013 and invited to the grand final at the House of Lords in March 2013, where overall champions will be announced.
Plans for the Ipswich Chord line have now been officially approved by the Secretary of State boosting capacity for freight trains on the network
The Ipswich Chord will be a new 1.4km stretch of track, north of Ipswich goods yard, linking the East Suffolk line to the Great Eastern main line.
The work will allow freight trains from Felixstowe to head North and West without having to reverse at Ipswich.
Reacting to the decision Therese said: "This is marvelous news. I am pleased the Secretary of State has approved this. It's about taking lorries of that small stretch of the A14 and there will be a boost for passenger trains as well".
Work will get under way later this year and it is due to be completed in 2014.
Therese is today urging those organisations in Suffolk Coastal that applied to become a Portas Pilot to contact her so shecan talk to them about an additional package of measures that the Government are offering.
Therese said: "Over 400 teams applied to be a Portas Pilot and now the 27 have been selected the Government are determined that the remaining bidding teams are not left behind. There is an opportunity for those who submitted a bid in Suffolk Coastal to become Town Team Partners and access £10,000 worth of funding to deliver part of their plan as identified in their application"
She added "I am writing to the organisations that previously asked for my support directly but I would urge all those Town Teams and Town Centre Groups that applied to get in touch as soon as possible. There is a simple application to fill out but it must be submitted 16th September. This is an opportunity to improve our town centres that we do not want to miss".
There were five organisations that applied to become a Portas Pilot in Suffolk including the Southwold Town Team, Felixstowe Business Enterprise Group, Heritage Coast Market Town Initiative, Woodbridge Town Centre Management Ltd and Halesworth Town Centre Group.
Following the re-tendering of bus services by Suffolk County Council, Anglian Bus decided to keep the 165 service but to run it as a commercial route, without any subsidy from the County Council. In doing so they kept most of the main route but removed certain stops, including those in Blaxhall and Friston.
Following up on an initial request from a Blaxhall resident, Therese contacted County Cllr. Andrew Reid, and they have been working together to see what can be done to resolve this issue.
Therese said: "This is a disappointing situation and I understand the feelings of Blaxhall residents. The lead officer from the County Council is pressing Anglian Bus to reinstate Blaxhall on the bus route and have also written to the managing director of Anglian Bus to press the case for local residents."
She added: "I will continue to work with Cllr. Reid and we will do our best to get this important service restored. In the interim, given the timing of the change I know that Cllr. Reid is arranging for the Suffolk Link bus to be available to residents in the Blaxhall area."
Following a problem with the sewers in Yoxford, Anglia Water has closed the A1120 at little street to carry out urgent works that they say will last 5 weeks.
The closure of the road is having a detrimental impact on local businesses who have previously been frustrated at Anglia Water's attempts to re-pair the sewer.
Therese said: "I fully understand the impact on businesses as a result of this closure and have contacted Anglian Water on the urgency of this matter. I have alerted them to the material financial impact at one of the busiest times of the year and Anglian Water has already indicated that they will consider paying compensation."
She added: "Businesses may also wish to alert the Valuation Office Agency about this situation as they may give temporary relief on business rates, though they will need to have firm evidence of the financial impact caused."
Earlier this month, Therese Coffey, visited Innovation Martlesham to look in on the students taking part in the Young Rewired State (YRS) Festival of Code. The YRS national coding event is designed to foster and challenge young children and teenagers how to code.
Therese said: "I am impressed with the level of enthusiasm of these students for what they are achieving and what it means for the future of ICT. There is a shortage of ICT and high-tech skills, but events like the YSR Festival of Code are exciting opportunities for young people to become more involved in technology."
"Not only are they offered support from mentors to boost their technical skills in ICT they are introduced to a network of like-minded peers so they can carry on learning. Hopefully this event will attract even more students in the years to come."
Therese has today welcomed the decision by Lord Hill, the Minister responsible for school buildings, to give Suffolk CountyCouncil the green light to transfer the Middle School land.
The decision will allow the Halesworth Campus Project to develop the former Middle School into a new resource centre and sports complex for the town and surrounding area.
Reacting to the news Therese said: "I am delighted by this decision. I was asked by Cllr Tony Goldson to write to the Minister, joining other efforts from the project team and the council. There was some nervousness while there was search for premises for the Beccles Free School but a key barrier has been removed for the Campus project."
She added: "I was pleased to give my backing to the project earlier this year and it has been brought to life with the masterplan that was on display last month. Of course with the Middle School closing, there is a great deal of sadness. However, if all goes well (and I know there are financial hoops to jump through) then the new resource centre and sports complex will become a fantastic asset for Halesworth and the wider community. I want to congratulate the project team for developing this once in a lifetime opportunity so quickly. I know they are looking for some more volunteers so please get involved."
Waveney District Council has now given the go ahead to the Halesworth Town Centre Group's proposal for an hour's freeparking in the town, along the same lines as the trial in Beccles.
Therese said "I was pleased to support this proposal by writing to Waveney District Council earlier this year. It is essential for local businesses that footfall is maintained or increased in the town and I hope this will help."
Therese is today visiting the Hinkley Point Power Station in Somerset, where plans for the construction of Hinkley Point C are well under way.
Therese was invited by the local MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, to get a sense of the impact of construction of the EDF site, ahead of the proposed development at Sizewell C.
Therese said: "With the planning application for Hinkley submitted and much of the physical work to prepare the site already underway, it is an opportune time to visit and understand some of the issues that will affect Sizewell and the surrounding area. I want to identify any issues not originally anticipated on the site and use that learning to help improve the process at Sizewell".
She added: "I am also planning to visit the nearby college to see what it is doing in terms of training to support the employment of local people at Hinkley Point. The construction and operation of Sizewell C will create thousands of jobs and we need to grab that opportunity locally."
Therese has today welcomed the announcement from Defra that Norfolk and Suffolk's bid to form a Local Nature Partnership (LNP) across the two counties has been successful.
The bid was put forward by a core team of representatives from the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership, Norfolk County Council and Suffolk County Council, who have been driving forward the idea of the new partnership in a capacity building period funded by Defra.
The LNP, which will be known as 'Wild Anglia', will act at a strategic level to ensure that the natural environment is taken into account in decision making at all levels, across the two counties. It will act as an advocate for nature and will support partners such as the Wildlife Trusts and communities in delivering projects that will strengthen nature and so benefit wildlife, communities and the economy.
Therese said: "With half of Suffolk Coastal being an area of outstanding natural beauty and several sites with a higher protection it is good to see the collaboration across organisations to ensure the natural environment has a high strategic priority".
The Department of Transport yesterday unveiled plans for significant investment along the A14 corridor, including thewidening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route to Felixstowe.
Therese said "The investment in this important stretch of the A14 is very welcome and long needed. I do have concerns though that lorries may be compelled to use a toll road which could put our Port at a disadvantage. Yes a lot of HGVs do use the road but remarkably small percentage actually from our ports. I want to see lorries incentivised to use the toll road – quick, cheap and a clear value for money advantage to using existing roads – but this must not be a penalty for our existing port".
Earlier this month Therese ran a competition for local schools to attend the Cultural Olympiad event of the specially-formed Aldeburgh World Youth Orchestra at Snape Maltings. The competition asked students to present their artistic impression of what the Olympics meant to them.
There were some high quality entries from Melton Primary School and yesterday Therese visited the school to present the prizes
She said: "I was delighted to visit Melton Primary yesterday and present certificates to children in Year 4 who entered the competition. There were some excellent entries, depicting the stadium, the Olympic rings and athletes and I look forward to seeing the 3 lucky winners this Sunday at the concert."
With almost 20 pubs across Suffolk closing their doors since September 2011, one of the UK's leading trade paint brandsis giving independent landlords in the region a helping hand by offering the chance to win a £5,000 makeover for their pub. The Glidden Trade 'Paint and a Pint' competition was created to give the pubs in some of the UK's hardest hit regions a much-needed boost in a bid to help pull in the punters.
As part of Paint and a Pint, Suffolk landlords will have the chance to win a top transformation using Glidden Trade coatings, plus money towards a re-opening party. To help support local decorators in the area, professional painters who nominate their local will also have the chance to carry out the redecoration work, should their entry be selected for the top £5k prize.
Therese, who is supporting the competition, said: "Pubs play an important role in British culture and are the bedrock of many local communities. They deserve support so it's great that brands such as Glidden Trade are helping local pub owners attract more custom with a new makeover."
Alongside the £5k transformation, two second place prizes of £750 of Glidden Trade paints are also on offer and three runners up will each receive £150 worth of paint from the brand to use for their own makeover.
To be in with a chance of winning the £5,000 refurbishment, independent pub landlords and their customers should state why their pub deserves a makeover in up to 30 words. Responses, along with contact details and a photo or a video of the nominated pub, should be entered onto the Glidden Trade website found at www.glidden.co.uk/entryform or sent to the Glidden Trade Pub Competition, Giant's Basin, Potato Wharf, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4NB. Alternatively, entries can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be received before 5pm on 30 September 2012.
Projects will be judged on the originality of their entry, and the benefits the makeover would bring to the pub and the local area. The renovation work will be carried out in late 2012, so access to the pub at this time will be crucial.
Shortlisting will take place in early October, with successful entrants going to an independent judging panel later that month. The winning entrants will be informed of their prize in November.
For more information on the Glidden Trade 'Paint and a Pint' Competition, please visit www.glidden.co.uk.
Following a review of the viability of National Express coach services in East Anglia there is set to be minor changes made to the coach service from Felixstowe to London.
Instead of two early morning journeys a day there will now be one in the morning and one at lunchtime. Other than some slight timing adjustments the service from Walton, Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary remains the same.
Therese said: "Since the changes were made to concessionary travel I recognise the need to re-evaluate the viability of some services. I am glad that National Express have managed to do this by not having to reduce the amount of services between Felixstowe and London."
The changes will take effect from 2nd July.
Earlier this month, Therese attended the official opening of the new playsite facility at Blythburgh. The playground wasdelivered by Blythburgh Parish Council who obtained a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
Therese said: "I was extremely impressed with the new playsite and congratulate the Parish Council for providing a secure and safe leisure facility suitable for young families."
Voluntary groups, schools and parish councils can apply for grants from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver social and environmental projects that benefit local communities. More information and an application form can be found at www.awardsforall.org.uk.
Therese visited Orford Country Market on Saturday to mark National Market Day.
She met with Brian Lee and Judith Golder, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the Market Committee, along with the Market Manager, Maria Brenchley.
Therese said: "Orford Country Market is a super-successful, flagship market where everything is home-produced or hand crafted by local people."
"The local market should be a vibrant part of every town's shopping experience and I am pleased they are many successful markets in Suffolk Coastal. Not only do they provide unique goods they bring communities closer together."
Therese has today said she is shocked at the approval given to the scheme for two wind turbines in Levington.
She said: "I do not get involved in individual planning decisions as it is for local councillors to decide but I had assumed as this application was in the ANOB that it would simply not be granted. I know that the local councillors worked hard for Levington residents and are very disappointed.
In Parliament, I and other MPs pressed the Government on this issue both on planning policy and on financial subsidies. Of course, we need to be more self-reliant for our energy and to reduce carbon but Suffolk Coastal is doing its bit with nuclear and off-shore wind turbines. The Government has responded and has said that to accompany the national policy framework, councils can set policy on renewable energy within their areas."
Therese added: "I am calling on Suffolk Coastal District Council to produce a Supplementary Planning Document on renewable energy so that criteria can be set for these new energy sources including locations, concentrations, height and other aspects. This could include excluding such sites in our AONB or making height references to existing structures. By setting out a policy, local residents will have clarity for the future."
Therese is giving readers the opportunity to win VIP tickets to the Cultural Olympiad event of the Aldeburgh Worldorchestra held in Snape Maltings. The concert takes place on Sunday 22nd July, less than a week before the opening ceremony.
Therese said: "Thanks to my dexterity on a video game concerning wheelchair basketball, I have been successful in securing a number of free tickets to the Cultural Olympiad event. I set the competition for local schools but since I have had no replies I am opening it out to any children or parents who want to enter."
She added: "Quite simply the competition is to present your artistic impression of what the Olympics will mean to you. You can put forward a drawing, a film, a poem or a song and the best entries will win the tickets".
All entries should be sent to Therese's Woodbridge Office, National Hall, Sun Lane, Woodbridge, IP12 1EG by the closing date 28th June 2012.
Therese is today encouraging local schools to take advantage of London 2012 World Sport Day this coming Monday, 25th June.
London 2012 wants thousands of schools across the country to join together in celebrating the athletes and cultures of the world.
Therese said "World Sport Day is the final UK-wide Get Set celebration before the start of London 2012 and I would urge local schools to get involved. It is a great way to involved parents and community members".
On the day, schools are being encouraged to host their own opening ceremonies, to bring their whole school community together.
Therese today met with Highways Minister, Mike Penning in relation to the future of the A14.
Therese said: "It was a constructive meeting. The A14 is so important to businesses in Suffolk and the Port of Felixstowe. The Minister updated us on progress with the road and railway network. 6 options have been published with the preferred option set to be decided by the autumn".
She added "I welcome the progress made although there are serious issues concerning tolling that need to be fully thought through. It is important that the plans do not unduly impact upon our port".
Therese is delighted that the hosepipe ban implemented by Anglian Water will be lifted at midnight tonight.
The exceptionally wet weather since the start of April has boosted flows in many rivers and largely refilled reservoirs hit hard by the two-year-long drought.
Many groundwater aquifers have also recovered from what had been record low levels in some areas.
Therese said "It is great news that the ban has been lifted which will allow constituents more freedom to use water wisely. We are still looking at a summer with reserves below normal and it is important that is managed well to tackle the possibility of future drought".
Therese has welcomed the Secretary of State's approval to establish a new corporation merging Easton & Otley Colleges in Suffolk and Norfolk.
The merger between the two colleges has been preceded by several years of increasing collaborative work. Coming together to form a new corporation is intended to build on this and provide new benefits to learners.
Therese said "this is good news and gives students added benefits of availability of provision, facilities and increased progression routes."
Therese is today delighted to hear that Saxmundham Free School has got the green light from the Department of Education and can know go ahead.
Therese Coffey said " I was pleased to hear the announcement from Lord Hill that funding agreement has got the go ahead which will allow the Seckford Foundation to set up the Free School".
She added: "Whilst there may be some concerns from Alde Valley High School, this is good news for parents and children who will get a better choice"
Local businesses got a helping hand to trade their goods abroad on Friday as Therese & neighbouring MP Peter Aldoushosted an Export Seminar.
Representatives from UK Trade & Investment and UK Export Finance were on hand to give Government advice in doing business overseas.
Therese said: "It was a very worthwhile event. The businesses that attended heard how the UKTI can deliver practical help to businesses of all sizes both here and abroad."
She went on to say: "Government cannot create jobs but can set the right conditions to allow them to thrive. The companies who came along saw the UKTI as a trusted business partner and would recommend their advice to other companies"
Therese has today welcomed the Arts Council for England's announcement that a share of the £30 million Catalyst Arts match funding money is to be distributed to organisations in the East of England.
The High Tide Festival Theatre and the Eastern Angles Theatre Company were awarded £150,000 and £120,000 respectively.
The Catalyst Arts scheme aims to make arts organisations more sustainable, resilient and innovative by increasing their fundraising potential and attracting new money to invest in additional artistic work.
Therese said: "This is great news. These awards will help the High Tide Festival and Eastern Angles to attract new money now and in the longer term."
"They are both excellent examples of organisations that provide opportunities for the public to enjoy the arts. The High Tide festival is an innovative organisation providing an eclectic mix of theatre and Eastern Angles with its touring ethos talking theatre to rural areas"
Following on from the meeting between Waveney District Council, including Cllr Goldson and the Halesworth Town CentreGroup, local Therese was delighted by the response to her letter that Halesworth should enjoy the same free parking trial as Bungay.
She supported Halesworth Town Centre Group's proposal that an hour's free parking in the town would help increase footfall.
Therese said "Cllr Bruce Provan has agreed to present a proposal to council to include Halesworth in the trial, alongside the other transport issues that Councillor Goldson is already dealing with in the Town this is positive news."
Therese Coffey has today spoken out against the consultation on home to school transport published by the County Council as a result of the planned opening of a Free School in Saxmundham.
The documents suggests that although parents can choose which school to send their children too they may be forced to pay to get them there depending on where they live.
Therese said: "It is far too early to be carrying out a consultation on this. Saxmundham Free School hasn't even been given the final go ahead yet. We need to assess the situation in a few years after things have settled down and the Free Schools have had a chance to bed in".
""The very reason the free school came about was parental demand for choice. That choice could be taken away by these proposals."
Therese is conducting a survey of all 2,800 businesses with registered offices in Suffolk Coastal to listen to their ideas, concerns, thoughts and determine how best she can continue serve them.
Therese said: "The Government cannot create jobs itself but it is important the Government sets the right conditions to allow businesses to thrive. There were some important announcements in the recent Budget but I want to hear from businesses of what else they require."
She went on to say: "I am also inviting them to an Export Seminar that I am running with Peter Aldous MP, designed to give some practical advice on how to start exporting goods abroad. Representatives from UK Trade & Investment and UK Export Finance will be able to give 1-2-1 advice on doing business overseas."
The breakfast seminar will take place at 7.45am on 18th May 2012 at Halesworth Golf Club, Bramfield Road, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 9XA. The Conference is due to finish at 10am
Companies should register, by contacting Annette Dunning, Assistant to Dr Coffey by Email: email@example.com or Telephone: 01394 610045.
The seminar is limited in numbers so sign up quickly to secure a place.
The Board of Directors at James Paget Hospital have today announced that its management needs strengthening to achieve the necessary changes in providing quality care at the bedside.
A new Interim Director of Nursing has been appointed, who will bring in over 30 years of nursing experience to improve care at the James Paget.
Therese said: "Following on from the meeting last week, we can already see a series of changes from the new Chief Executive which will shape the future of the hospital. I am greatly encouraged by these steps."
Local businesses will get a helping hand to trade their goods abroad next month, when Therese & neigbouring MP Peter Aldous host an exporting conference.
Representatives from UK Trade & Investment and UK Export Finance will also be on hand to give advice to SME's in doing business overseas.
At the moment 20% of British small and medium sized companies currently export goods abroad but across Europe that figure is closer to a quarter.
Therese: "Exports will make a huge contribution to UK growth prospects over the coming years. The East of England is doing its bit; almost £1 in every £10 of goods currently exported from the UK comes from this region. But we could do more, and this event is designed to help you find out how".
Peter said: "East Suffolk has a long and proud history in trading with other countries and currently there is considerable potential to increase exports, thereby bringing more jobs to the area. At the meeting guidance and advice will be given on how best to take advantage of these opportunities"
Therese added: "We are inviting local businesses to come along and learn first-hand from a real life exporter about how they can do business overseas. There will also be an opportunity for one-to-one meetings with representatives from the UKTI and UK Export Finance"
The breakfast conference will take place at 7.45am on 18th May 2012 at Halesworth Golf Club, Bramfield Road, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 9XA. The Conference is due to finish at 10am
Companies should register, by contacting Annette Dunning, Assistant to Dr Coffey by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 01394 610045.
The Chief Executive of NHS Suffolk, Andrew Reed, has agreed to re-write a letter that is automatically sent to medically fit
patients to encourage them to move out of the hospital, following a complaint that the letter reads more like an eviction notice rather than a notice to set out their options for continued recovery.
Therese took up the case following complaints from several constituents and the Local Medical Committee about a letter forcing discharge from Ipswich Hospital and threatening them with legal proceedings.
Therese said "I understand the hospital needs to manage their beds but the tone of the letter was obviously quite shocking and was very distressing for patients who were recovering from an operation. I am glad the Chief Executive has agreed to reword it. People who are well cannot stay in hospital indefinitely but a more proactive approach on discharge would work better rather than cause distress."
Therese is calling on local businesses to get in involved in Manufacturing Excellence 2012, the UK-wide awardsprogramme which not only identifies and celebrates outstanding UK manufacturing businesses but can also help companies improve.
Past winners have shown that by taking part and adopting best practice they can thrive, grow and become global players. Applications need to be submitted by 1 June 2012 and can be submitted on-line at www.mxawards.org.
Therese said: "I'm calling for businesses to apply and take advantage of the programme. Entry is free and there is up to £20,000 free consultancy advice up for grabs as well as the chance to win at the prestigious Manufacturing Excellence Awards in November."
"Manufacturing is of great economic importance to the UK and by entering companies can ensure Suffolk is at the heart of the country's manufacturing resurgence."
Manufacturing Excellence works with all manufacturing businesses, whatever their size, age, sector or area of expertise to help improve their processes and showcase their successes and innovations.
Manufacturing Excellence 2012 is run in partnership with The ERA Foundation, Lombard and WMG and sponsored by Arup.
As well as Awards for Best Manufacturer and Best SME, categories for this year are: Business Development and Change Management; Customer Focus; Financial Management; Innovation in Products and Processes; Logistics and Operational Efficiency; Partnership with Education; People Effectiveness; Sustainable Manufacturing; and Most Improved Company.
Therese has today backed the Halesworth Town Centre Group's proposal for an hour's free parking in the town.
Dr Coffey has written to the Portfolio Holder at Waveney District Council requesting that Halesworth enjoy the same trial as Bungay to help increase footfall in the town.
Therese said "There is a common perception in the Town that high parking charges are deterring customers from visiting. It is essential for local businesses that footfall is increased."
She added "Developing new car parking strategies was a key part of the Halesworth bid to become a 'Portas Pilot' and I would urge the Council to implement a trial or even consider free parking after 3 or 4pm on a couple of days per week."
Last week, Therese joined her Parliamentary colleagues Peter Aldous and Dan Poulter at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Beccles Loop.
The project will allow trains to pass in either direction at Beccles station allowing for an hourly service between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
The project is being jointly funded by Network Rail and the County Council. Cllr Guy McGregor, the Transport Portfolio Holder was on hand to perform the ceremony.
Therese said: "This is fantastic news for east Suffolk and a regular timetable with hourly trains in both directions will give a boost to the whole area"
Photo: Peter Meades
Therese has intervened in the latest ship to ship transfer regulations issued by the Government, SI 742 on Marine Pollution. Therese "prayed" against the regulation which involved tabling a motion in Parliament.
While Therese welcomes some of the changes in the regulations to include a formal review after five years, the regulations still send a clear message that harbours and the area off South are the only permitted waters for ship to ship transfers.
Therese said, "Residents will know that I believe that ship to ship transfers are safe and not damaging to our area but that I do not want a virtual flashing beacon off the coast of Southwold that encourages ships to do all their transfers in open waters just in our part of the coast. While this intervention is only a further delay, I hope it gives a fresh opportunity to resolve this particular issue."
Therese added, "The skills of ship to ship transfers need to be kept locally and in the UK. There are vessels out there whose cargo is not oil but can still get into difficulty. It is thanks to having these skills in the UK that we can handle those incidents efficiently and effectively."
Therese met with Cllr Stephen Castle, the Chairman of London 2012 East of England Nations and Regions at an event inParliament last week.
She heard about the events and celebrations taking place in the region as we approach the Olympics later this year.
The Olympic Torch will be in the region for seven days, taking in key attractions like Southwold Beach and stop off at 9 other communities in Suffolk Coastal including Wrentham, Reydon, Kelsale, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Ufford, Melton, Woodbridge and Felixstowe.
There are more than 180 community projects officially Inspired by London 2012 taking place across the region which includes the Aldeburgh World Orchestra Project, which will bring together 124 talented young musicians from across the globe to create a 'world orchestra' based in Suffolk.
Therese said "I was pleased to hold the Paralympic torch and discuss the opportunities for our region including economic development, jobs, culture and tourism. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy these events and for businesses to make the most of it"
Following the cable theft from the Eyke exchange on Friday evening, Local MP, Therese Coffey has been pursuing the matter with British Telecom to try and get residents re-connected.
BT have told Dr Coffey that the cables are in and as long as work progresses well they hope to have the vast majority of people connected by the end of tomorrow.
Therese said "I am glad residents will be reconnected soon. This cut off has had such a negative impact on residents and businesses in the area. Metal theft is an increasing problem in the UK and is why the Government is bringing in measures to try and prevent it"
District Councillor, Terry Eastman said: "The local community has been hit hard with local businesses losing thousands of pounds not being able to use their Credit card machines, the elderly feeling cut off from the outside world, the young unable to use the internet for their homework. It is amazing how many ways losing your telephone connection can affect your life. "
Therese added "although there was an initial delay I am pleased BT have resolved the situation".
Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr Colin Hay stated: "If the majority of people are connected again tomorrow then that is very good news as we were hearing reports of Sunday. I would also like to ask all Residents to be extra vigilant as we don't want this happening again. I hope that the new measures that the government are trying to implement really do become a big deterrent to the people that inflict this on communities."
Therese was pleased to welcome shipping Minister, Mike Penning to Felixstowe today to launch the new £40m portexpansion.
The third rail terminal will increase freight capacity at the port reducing the amount of lorry movements on the road.
Therese said "this is hugely important for the local economy as well as being a national asset, providing jobs and growth"
"I was pleased to assist the Minister in breaking the ground with a spade to mark the opening of the works"
Therese has welcomed the firm commitment from Suffolk County Council to install a sluice on the A12 at Blythburgh despite the scheme being pushed back to 2013.
Due to the extra studies and hydraulic modelling required to ensure that environmental , habitat and water quality concerns are addressed, the flood prevention scheme will not now be implemented until September 2013.
There is a tight construction window for works between September and December to order to avoid disturbance to over-wintering birds and to minimise disruption to summer traffic. Due to the extra work required construction work has been re-programmed to start in September 2013.
Therese said "When the road floods it causes major delays and inconveniences people and businesses in the area. It is a shame about the delay but it is important we get it right. I welcome the firm commitment to make this happen in 2013."
herese has today welcomed another positive step towards returning the Post Office service to Wangford.
A consultation has commenced about the opening times and days of the proposed new service and is ongoing until 19th April.
Therese said "it was disappointing that the plan to re-open the service last September fell through and I hope the proposed new service can go live later this month".
"I would urge residents from Wangford to respond to the consultation process by e-mailing – email@example.com or writing to the National Consultation Team, Post Office Limited, PO Box 1138, St Albans, AL1 9UN."
"The Government is providing £1.34 billion of funding over the spending review period to 2015 to modernise the Post Office network. It is so important that residents of rural communities get access to the Post Office service."
Therese today met with representatives from Scottish Power to discuss the new East Anglia Array near Bawdsey and how the energy generated from it is brought on-shore.
She said "It is welcome that cabling instead of pylons is to be used to bring the power onshore but undoubtedly residents are going to have concerns about the route. Scottish Power has agreed to find out more about the possible use of the cable corridor near Waldringfield."
"I have also asked them to consider the leisure activity on the Deben and not to disrupt this, especially during holiday times from Easter through to the end of the summer."
The statutory consultation period on East Anglia Array and will run until the 30th March 2012.
Following on from her recent constituency tour, Local MP Therese Coffey is this week launching Coffey Direct. A seriesof public meetings for residents to come along and ask her questions about national or local matters.
The first of these meetings takes place this Friday at 7.45pm in the Community room of Leiston United Church. On Saturday Therese will be in Wenhaston Village Hall at 11.15am.
It will be a case of first come, first served but no-one will be allowed into the venue till just before the scheduled time.
Coffey Direct will be coming to Wrentham on the 13th and Woodbridge on the 14th April. Details of this and future forums can be found here
Therese has today welcomed the Suffolk Foundation's Surviving Winter Campaign to help those in fuel poverty this winter.
The Foundation has obtained £100,000 by encouraging people who can afford to forego their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to the Surviving Winter fund for people in need.
Therese said "I am pleased that the Surviving Winter grants will help those which are living in fuel poverty especially those who are off the gas grid. I congratulate Suffolk Foundation and Suffolk Age UK for administering the scheme and encourage those who would benefit from the grant to phone 01473 359911, it is a very simple process to apply".
Suffolk Age UK are also undertaking a benefits check for all the older people who could be entitled to benefits but are currently not receiving the entitlements that they should be.
Therese recently met with bosses of Flagship Housing to discuss the amount of empty homes in Suffolk Coastal as well astheir response to the recent poor weather conditions.
Therese said "It was a useful meeting and we had a frank discussion about the amount of properties that flagship has empty, of course they need to be careful with their financing but also we need to be ensuring that if properties are available they come back into use."
"Flagship has committed to come back to me within two weeks to let me know what they are doing with the properties, particularly in Felixstowe. I am pressing for an action plan and if not we will have to see if there is another association who could take over the assets."
In the recent bad weather the paths and access to homes in sheltered and very sheltered accommodation hadn't been cleared of ice. Flagships initial response was that they hadn't done this because of concerns over health and safety and potential impact on their insurance premium.
The Suffolk Coastal MP said "as soon as I met with them the Chief Executive said very quickly that they had got the balance wrong and that in the future they will get their community rangers to clear the paths especially outside sheltered housing".
Therese suggested that bank closures in rural areas should be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as she spoke in a Parliamentary debate today.
Dr Coffey referred to the closure of HSBC in Aldeburgh in late 2010, when the only communication with the wider community was a poster in the window.
She said "keeping rural branches open is key for all sectors of the community, especially for elderly residents and local businesses"
"After its study of oil supplies the OFT is now looking to examine other issues affecting rural communities; access to financial services could be its next topic."
Therese has today given a cautious welcome to the outcome of the drought summit that took place yesterday.
The summit which brought together key players in the water industry focused on the future likelihood of drought, measures that are already being implemented to tackle drought and to decide on the actions that may need to be taken to mitigate against its impact in the future.
Therese said "I welcome the summit it is good we are ahead of the game. There are however, obvious concerns from consumers and especially farmers about any future plans to tackle drought."
She added "It is key that farmers plan for their irrigation needs, including options for scheduling their irrigation, filling their winter storage reservoirs and working with others through local water abstractor groups to share water resources"
"I will be keeping a close eye on things and do my best to make sure Government agencies remain felixible. If Yields fall then food prices increase, so it is in all our interest to help our farmers".
Therese is reminding constituents that the consultation on the Galloper Wind Farm closes this Friday the 24th of February.
Earlier this month she attended the public exhibition at Sizewell Beach Cafe about the proposal.
Kate Harvey, Galloper Wind Farm Project Manager said "these public sessions were designed to let the local community know the latest information on our plans for the Galloper Wind Farm. We're really pleased that so many people came along, and if anyone who wasn't able to attend would like to know more, please check our website www.galloperwindfarm.com."
Therese said "I know many constituents are concerned about where the cables will come onshore and the further transmission via pylons or cables. I urge you to reply to the consultation by February 24th. More information is available online at http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/projects/eastern/galloper-offshore-wind-farm/. I am pleased that Galloper Wind Farm Ltd have changed some of its plans after representations from local residents."
From L-R, Dr Therese Coffey MP, Cllr Marianne Fellows (Suffolk Coastal District Council), Kate Harvey (Galloper Wind Farm Project Manager), Martin Davey (National Grid).
Earlier this week, Therese Coffey had the joy of visiting Henstead Arts & Crafts centre as part of her constituency tour.
Therese aid "It was a great afternoon, the centre has a fantastic variety of shops and is so much more than your usual shopping experience. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Sally Rivett from Your Coasters – who puts on workshops for children as an integral part of her business Paint and Create".
"The businesses told me that the signs on the verge outside advertising the centre had recently been removed. Obviously we don't want the highway unnecessarily cluttered but it is important that businesses are able to advertise. I hope that when the tenants meet Suffolk Coastal District Council this week that a solution is found for better advertising. Government at all levels should be doing what it can to support business in these difficult times."
Therese has today welcomed the Government's financial commitment to Felixstowe's flood defences.
The funding was announced by DEFRA as one of 21 projects across the Country and will allow Suffolk Coastal District Council to continue the work on a new £10m scheme to reduce the risk of coastal erosion and flooding to more than 1,600 homes and businesses, including the Port of Felixstowe.
Therese said "this is excellent news, protecting homes from the threat of flooding and coastal erosion is incredibly important for the Government and one of my top priorities. I am glad Suffolk Coastal District Council will be able to continue to protect our coast".
Next week, Therese will be touring the villages across the constituency to talk with residents.
The Parliamentary recess coincides with school half-term and she hopes to meet as many people as possible, so if you are in the area drop by and say hello.
Her programme for Monday 13th February is as follows:
Snape: Friday Street Farm Shop - 9am; Campsea Ashe: Abbotts Auction 9.25am; Hollesley: Village Store & Post Office 11.05pm; Alderton: Post Office and Store - 11.40am; Melton: Railway Station & Five Winds Farm Butchers - 12.15pm; Waldringfield: The Maybush Inn - 1.05pm; Martlesham: Tesco 1.30pm; Warren Heath: Sainsbury - 2.45pm; Nacton: Post office/Orwell Stores 3.20pm, Bucklesham: The Shannon - 3.45pm; Newbourne: Farm Shop - 4.25pm; Kirton: The White Horse Inn - 4.35
Tuesday 14th February:
Darsham: Village Hall - 9am; Middleton: Farm shop - 9:30am; Yoxford: Post Office - 10.10am; Peasenhall: Emmetts Store - 10.30; Walpole Pavilion - 11am; Bramfield: The Queens Head - 11.30am; Huntingfield: Huntingfield Arms - 12.05pm for a spot of lunch, then Cratfield: Village Hall Car Park -12:50pm; Linstead: Village Hall - 1.20pm.
Spexhall Village Hall Car Park – 1.50pm; Spexhall: The Huntsman and Hounds - 2.05pm; Westhall: Post Office -2.40pm; Brampton: Moo Play Farm - 3.10pm; Hulver Street: Village Hall - 3.45pm; Rushmere: Early Dawn Nurseries and Garden Centre - 4.15pm; Henstead: Arts and Crafts Centre – 4.40pm; Frostenden Uggeshall and South Cove Village Hall Car Park – 5.10pm and Wangford: The Angel at - 6pm.
Therese Coffey has welcomed Government funding for Suffolk Coastal as part of an action plan to boost house building.Through the New Homes Bonus, Suffolk Coastal District Council has received £531,129 and Waveney District Council £530,871 this year, due to the building of much-needed homes in the local area.
The New Homes Bonus is a multi-billion pound programme that rewards communities when houses have been built in their area, with extra reward for building new affordable homes, and for getting long-term empty homes back into use.
Therese said "over the last decade the number of affordable homes built nationally fell, waiting lists almost doubled and first-time buyer numbers collapsed to their lowest level for a generation".
She added "I am delighted to welcome this funding to help enhance communities in Suffolk Coastal. The Government's actions will help local people onto the housing ladder, provide more affordable housing and create local jobs".
The Deputy Leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Cllr Andy Smith said "We really welcome this much-needed additional cash to help improve our area, and via our planning policies we are certainly committed to continue doing everything we can to provide homes as soon as possible for all those local young people who are longing to be able to set up their own home in our local communities".
Therese Coffey added, "this amount of money would have been even higher if we didn't have so many empty homes. I will be asking to meet with Flagship Housing to understand the ways they are tackling this".
Yesterday in Parliament, Therese Coffey met with representatives from Network Rail to continue to press them to install a level crossing at Melton.
Therese said "It is imperative that barriers are installed at Melton as there have been many occasions when cars will go across when the lights are flashing because they think they have enough time. Network Rail have agreed and have promised to install the crossing by 2013 and are looking at the possibility of bringing this forward".
Local Councillor, Michael Bond said "this is fantastic news and long overdue. The accident at Woodbridge recently proves that crossings without barriers are dangerous and the crossing at Melton is much busier."
Yesterday in Parliament, Suffolk MP's, Therese Coffey, Matthew Hancock and Ben Gummer met with the out of hours GPservice, Harmoni to discuss their proposed changes.
On 1st February 2012, Harmoni is proposing a trial to make some changes to the locations of its primary care centre bases. Currently, there are ten base locations across the county, and under the new service model there will be eight. The centres in Aldeburgh, Newmarket and Wickham Market will close and, under the proposed model, there will be a new centre in Saxmundham.
Therese Coffey said "It was a useful meeting. While I understand the residents of Aldeburgh will be concerned I understand the rationale for the changes, for the bases to be closer to the A12."
She added "I know the County Health Scrutiny Committee have asked for a review of the changes and Suffolk Members of Parliament have also asked to be updated. I will be looking closely at the result of the review including the customer satisfaction surveys and I am keen to hear about residents experiences."
"I have asked for signage to the new surgery in Saxmundham to be made as clear as possible as it can be difficult to find".
Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider has today announced theacquisition of the Centre for Integrated Photonics Ltd a world-leading photonics research laboratory, from the East of England Development Agency.
Therese has welcomed the news "saying this adds further strength to the reputation of Adastral Park."
She added "I would like congratulate Huawei for making this investment into research and development in Suffolk Coastal, which demonstrates the quality of the East of England of providing a base for hi tech business".
Therese has today reacted with delight at the news that both Wangford and Walberswick are set to have a Post Office outreach service.
Therese said "this is something I have been pressing the Post Office on for a long time and have raised it in the House of Commons with the Prime Minister. It is so important that residents of rural communities get access to the Post Office service.
"The opening dates are not yet confirmed but I am delighted that a nearby Post Office will provide the outreach service that Wangford and Walberswick so badly need".
Both branches will be open for four hours a day two days a week.
Therese added "this government have been clear that there will be no programme of Post Office closures, and is providing £1.34 billion of funding over the spending review period to 2015 to modernise the Post Office network."
Therese has today welcomed the terrific news that Felixstowe Community Hospital meets every high standard set by the Care Quality Commission.
The review by the regulator of the health and social care service highlighted that local people can be confident they will receive effective, safe and appropriate care.
The CQC review found the community hospital was meeting every high standard of safety and quality.
Therese said "I am delighted with this and pay tribute to the staff for this glowing report. Unusually the CQC gave no recommendation for improvements and I want to convey my congratulations to the nurses, doctors and staff.
This week is Big Energy Week, the Citizen's Advice initiative to help consumers spend less heating their home.
As part of this, uSwitch.com has launched a service called 'Send us your bill' which Therese is backing.
She said "many residents have been hit with an increase in energy bills, the uSwitch.com service is designed to help households that are not online to get accurate and impartial information about energy prices and to switch to a cheaper deal. So send in your bill and make sure Big Energy Week works for you."
Residents interested in the 'Send us your bill' service should post a copy of their latest energy bill with a contact telephone number to: FREEPOST USWITCH. Alternatively, people can call 0800 093 06 07 to speak to a customer services adviser."
Suffolk is set to receive 265,000 in Government funding to run a scheme to help vulnerable people keep warm and safeduring the winter months.
Tens of thousands of people across the country will get help during the cold weather following 163 successful proposals from councils for a share of £20 million of Government funding.
Therese said "Cold weather and fuel poverty can cause misery, avoidable illness and even death for too many older people. I am therefore delighted to welcome the funding for Suffolk from the Warm Homes Healthy People scheme."
She went on to say "Severe cold weather can be dangerous for vulnerable groups such as older people and those with serious illnesses. The money will enable the local authority to work alongside charitable and community organisations to help to keep vulnerable older people well during winter and ease the strain on local NHS services".
MPs and e-skills UK have launched the sixth year of the Make IT Happy competition, a UK-wide technology challenge for primary school students aged 9 to 11. The competition is run by the Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR) and e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology. It is backed by more than 60 MPs from across the UK.
The competition recognises and rewards the excellent and inspirational work primary schools do with IT, and particularly how they use it to make a positive impact on their own and others' lives. This year's Make IT Happy theme of "Make IT Healthy" calls for schools to use IT to improve their own physical, mental or emotional health, or to reach out to help others do the same.
Therese said "I encourage all of the local primary schools to get involved with Make IT Happy this year. The competition offers a unique way for schools to make a positive impact on their own and others' lives, while at the same time enhancing their knowledge of IT. As well as the cash prizes on offer, I'm confident that pupils will enjoy the chance to work together on such an exciting and relevant project. Entries should be as imaginative as possible in order to capture the attention of the judges. The competition is all about giving young people a chance to use their imagination, creativity and technology skills and show how IT can make a difference to their own health and that of others."
The judges will be looking for entries that demonstrate innovative ways in which pupils have used technology to improve health. Projects could be as simple and local as planning a school vegetable garden online; they could involve using technology to reach out to older people or people with disabilities; or perhaps they could show the emotional benefits of building relationships across national or international boundaries.
£1,200 will be awarded to each of the regional competition finalists, with the overall winning school taking home an additional cash prize of £4,000. Winners will also be invited to attend an awards ceremony to be held at the Houses of Parliament in London in June 2011.
The closing date for entries is April 10th, 2011. For further information and details of how to enter, visit the website at http://makeithappy.cc4g.net/
Therese is today warning constituents who give unwanted goods on their doorstep to charitable causes to take care inensuring that the goods will reach genuine charity beneficiaries.
Supporting the Bogus Bags campaign, she said, "We are aware that there are some bogus operators collecting goods and giving the false impression that they are being sold for charitable causes. In some parts of the country, genuine charity collection bags have also been stolen from residents' doorsteps. Not only is this a crime against local householders, but charities are losing out on millions in lost income each year. I am encouraging residents to make a few simple checks so that you can give with confidence to the charities that so desperately need your support".
The campaign aims to help the public give confidently to the charities they care about, offering this simple advice to local residents:
Check – Legitimate charity collection bags will clearly state what organisation funds are being raised for and feature a registered charity number. Check these details with the Charity Commission www.charitycommission.gov.uk.
Look for the tick – As with any fundraising appeal, you can look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation and to industry standards. See www.givewithconfidence.org.uk.
Call – A collector would ensure there is a working landline telephone number on fundraising materials for you to contact them on.
Report - After making these checks, if you think that a collection is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.org.uk.
The Bogus Bags campaign is led by the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) and supported by fellow industry bodies; the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), Charity Retail Association and Textile Recycling Association.
Charity collections of household goods are an important way of not only reducing waste and preserving the environment, but of generating vital funding for good causes. Charities deliver branded bags to households asking the public to fill them with unwanted clothes and goods for a set collection date. Whether collected goods are passed on for resale at charity shops, sold overseas or recycled, they can generate a solid income stream for good causes.
For more information, visit www.givewithconfidence.org.uk
It may be surprising that in the depths of winter measures are being put in place to try prevent a summer drought, butTherese is encouraging everyone to play their part.
In a recent report published by the Environment Agency and backed by the Environment Secretary, farmers, businesses and water companies are being asked to plan carefully how they store, use and share water.
Therese said "the drought that has affected eastern England this year could continue until next summer. We had a very dry spring this year – and back in May I highlighted the issue with the Prime Minister. If sustained rainfall does not replenish water levels that were depleted during that time then there is a high risk that we could be in drought next summer".
She went on to say "water companies have been asked to step up their leak detection to make sure leakage is kept under control and to keep their customers informed, encouraging them to use water wisely. Anglian Water have been issued with a drought permit to refill one of its reservoirs and will continue to work to avoid any hosepipe restrictions next year."
"Farmers have also been asked to plan ahead for their irrigation needs, including options for scheduling their irrigation, filling their winter storage reservoirs and working with others through local water abstractor groups to share water resources."
The Environment Agency will reassess the likelihood of a prolonged drought, along with any further recommendations and report in early 2012. The full report can be read here.
The Government has this week announced that the process of moving to a national networked Coastguard operation willnow go ahead.
Speaking about the decision, Therese said "I understand peoples disappointment at this decision but I have been reassured that there is effective cover for the coastline off East Suffolk".
"This is a good solution for the UK will ensure a network of stations are open 24 hours a day. This will allow more money to go into volunteer Coastguard services for training and support"
She went on to say "I pay tribute to all our coastguard staff for the fantastic job that they do and the way they build effective partnerships with all emergency services and the RNLI"
Due to the significant investment that has gone into the Police Investigation Centre the need to detain prisoners at local police stations has been removed.
Therese said 'it is important money is going to protect frontline services rather than being tied up in bricks and mortar. I welcome the Police's desire to share more premises with other public sector bodies such as the Fire Service".
She went on to say "what matters is that people can talk to the Police face to face. In Woodbridge there will be a desk service closer to the town centre than at the current location. I have also been given assurances that this will be fully operational before the current station closes. A public facing service closer to the Town Centre is in some respects better than what we have at the moment."
Nominations are now open for the vinspired Awards which recognise the commitment of outstanding young people. They are designed to celebrate the brilliant contribution that young volunteers (aged 16-25) make to their communities.
The annual awards offer an opportunity to highlight the positivity, creativity and dedication demonstrated by young volunteers across the Country every day. The awards also honour inspiring youth leaders, who are committed to encouraging young volunteers.
Therese said "whether they are youth workers, scout leaders, young carers we have many inspiring young people in Suffolk who give their time for their communities. It is important to recognise their contribution and I would urge you to nominate your local hero for an award".
If you know anyone in Suffolk Coastal who has made an extraordinary contribution then nominate them for a vinspired National Award today at www.vinspired.com/nationalawards
Nominations must be for young people living in England and for voluntary activity carried out in the last year (between August 2010 and July 2011). Nominations close on November 30, 2011.
1) Best new volunteer
2) All round commitment to volunteering
3) Bringing communities together
4) Team Activity
5) Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker
6) Most Outstanding National Citizen Service Team
Finalists for the awards will celebrated at a star-studded awards ceremony in central London in March 2012. Previous winners and guests have been entertained with performances from Tinchy Stryder and Natasha Beddingfield.
Other famous faces to endorse the event have included: HRH Prince William, Kevin Spacey, Keith Lemon and James Caan.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has today confirmed all the communities through which the Olympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
The exciting news is out that the Olympic Relay will stop off at 10 communities in Suffolk Coastal: Wrentham, Reydon, Southwold, Kelsale, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Ufford, Melton, Woodbridge and Felixstowe. Therese said "Olympics fever will be reignited with this news".
The 70 day Olympic Torch Relay, will start at Land's End, Cornwall on the morning of 19 May 2012. On leaving Land's End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the Uk.
On the final day of the Olympic Torch Relay, it is LOCOG's intention that the Olympic Flame will travel down the River Thames as it makes its way to the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In reaction to concerns raised by several constituents and the Evening Star's campaign calling for action to improve the response times of the East of England Ambulance service, Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey, organised a meeting with Ambulance service bosses which took place today in Westminster. Representatives from the service including the Chief Executive Hayden Newton met with Therese and other MP's from the region to discuss the issue. Dr Dan Poulter MP has also organised another meeting for Friday in the region itself bringing together other groups and people affected.
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust is the only one in the country which failed to meet the government's minimum standard of reaching 75per cent of all urgent calls within eight minutes.
Therese said: "I invited the Ambulance Trust to come to Westminster to explain why the people in Suffolk were not enjoying the same response as elsewhere in the East of England. I was delighted to be joined by Peter Aldous MP, Chloe Smith MP and staff members of others from Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. I know that my colleague Dan Poulter will be following up on specific issues tomorrow on back-up delays at a meeting he has organised in the region. We heard today of some of the challenges and increasing demands on the Ambulance Service in responding to 999 calls as well as some of the proposed changes that may help address the situation in Suffolk. However, the stark reality is that regional measures are what really count at the moment which does not help residents in rural parts of our counties and there is an opportunity to press Ministers to change this approach. It is good that we are working together across Suffolk, Norfolk and East Anglia and will continue to do so for the benefit of our constituents. We have asked for more data from the Ambulance Service to pinpoint real hotspots but have also pledged to work with Hayden Newton and his professional team on the changes that need to happen for a better emergency service for Suffolk."
Therese has today welcomed the news that Saxmundham Free School has reached the next stage of the Free Schools process. The 540 place 11-16 secondary school is hoped to be opened in 2012.
Reacting to the announcement Therese said "this is great news for Saxmundham and I am pleased that the Secretary of State has given the thumbs up to the bid"
She went on to say "there is still hard work to be done to take this application past the final stage but congratulations to parents and members of the community who have championed this so far. Thanks also to the Seckford Foundation for their professional support during the application process".
The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the 'Rural Oscars', were borne of a need to support and promote rural communities. They celebrate people going that extra mile to ensure that rural Britain's food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills, forward-thinking enterprises and, most of all, its people, can flourish.
Therese said "these Awards are an excellent way to promote the local businessmen and women who are working hard to keep rural Britain ticking. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition, so please get involved and nominate today. Lets see if we can bring the British title home and tell a positive story about Suffolk Coastal."
The Awards run across the following categories:
1) Local Food Award
2) Daily Telegraph Village Shop/Post Office Award
3) Enterprise Award
4) Butcher Award
5) Hunter Rural Award
Today is an historic day for Felixstowe as Therese gets ready to welcome Princess Anne to Suffolk. The port is celebrating its125th anniversary with the opening of 2 new deep water berths. The £300 million investment is designed to take the world's largest container ships.
Speaking before the event Therese said "It is important that the Port innovates so it continues to attract global business and that is exactly what it is doing. After 125 years it is a strong as it has ever been and tonight we are going to celebrate".
There will be a carnival atmosphere in Felixstowe tonight with various food stands and amusements topped off with a fireworks display.
Therese said "It is a highly unique company, when many firms in Britain are used to outsourcing their manufacturing abroad – Cogent are persuading firms at home and in other Countries to come here."
It is for this reason - Therese has decided to nominate them for the 'Made in Britain' initiative.
She said "it was a tough choice - with great examples of British ingenuity in this Country but Cogent stood out ahead. Cogent has a healthy balance of export and domestic business and is a company that at the time of the downturn helped its customers diversify in to different markets."
All 650 MPs have been asked to nominate an example of British design and manufacturing from their constituency as part of the scheme. The Business Secretary has said that all nominees will appear on and interactive map and next year it will be extended so nominees will be invited to an exhibition to promote UK manufacturing to overseas companies during the Olympics.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has this week announced that work to take superfast broadband across Suffolk can begin after the local broadband plans were approved.
Suffolk has been allocated £11.68m of Government funding for broadband roll-out and the county will now put the work out to tender.
Secretary Hunt said "I am delighted that Suffolk share our view of the importance of providing people with superfast broadband access".
Reacting to the news Therese added "this is great news for the people of Suffolk, the delivery of rural broadband is a key priority for the Government and it is great that the Suffolk project is being held up as an example for the rest of the country to follow".
County funding allocations are based on need within areas where the market will fail to deliver superfast broadband to enough premises on its own. It is not based on the number of people living or working in a county.
Therese today completed her 7 mile charity walk from Snape to Thropeness for the international charity WaterAid. She organised a team of walkers to take on the coastal paths and raise money for the water charity.
She said "All the money raised is going towards supporting WaterAid's work to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in some of the world's poorest communities".
It is not too late to sponsor Therese. Just log on to her just giving page www.justgiving.com/SuffolkCoastal and pledge your support.
Therese will tomorrow join other walkers, including her Parliamentary Assistant Patti Mulcahy and Helen Macleod from Hollesley, along one of the constituencies spectacular coastal paths to raise money for international charity WaterAid.
Therese is embarking on the 7 mile walk from Snape to Thorpeness, for the charity's Coast Along for WaterAid event. All the money raised will support WaterAid's work to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in some of the world's poorest communities.
Therese said "Around the world, a staggering 884 million people do not have access to the basic necessity of safe water and 2.6 billion are forced to cope without adequate sanitation. When communities do not have clean water, the burden falls to women and children who have to walk miles each day to collect water. The distance we are walking tomorrow is similar to the daily routine for millions of women and children in Africa and Asia".
If you would like to sponsor Therese and her team you can log on to her just giving page www.justgiving.com/SuffolkCoastal and pledge your support.
Following a meeting set up by Therese in July, Suffolk Coastal District Council have arranged two further public meetings for local residents so they can find out more about the proposed works at Sutton Heath and ask questions.
The first meeting is on Tuesday, September 13 starting at 6pm from the Sutton Heath car park on the B1083. A walking tour of the heath will give residents the chance to share any concerns and find out more about the proposals
The second meeting will take place on Monday, October 3 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, again walking the heath and explaining what work will be taking place and when it will be happening.
SCDC have said "The heathland restoration project at Sutton Heath is aiming to largely recreate the heathland landscape that existed just over 100 years ago at the start of the 20th century. In order to achieve this goal, Suffolk Coastal also needs to protect the older more established trees on the site, including where necessary the restoration of old tree belts and the re-introduction of a coppice regime in a large copse of sweet chestnut. All the mature trees of approximately 100 years or older will be preserved and where these are likely to be lost through disease or old age, younger trees will be protected to provide the next generation".
Any resident wanting more details about the public meetings can contact either John Davies, Countryside and Open Space Manager, on 01394 444602 or Peter Ross, Countryside Officer, on 01394 444619 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fern Communications are specialists in a two-way radio communications and provide technology to the oil and gas industry. The radio repeater technology allows radio signals to navigate around solid structures so radio communication is always present in dangerous situations. They have just secured a contract with Qatargas selling them their FRX-1 Radio system.
All 650 MPs have been asked to nominate an example of British design and manufacturing from their constituency as part of the scheme. The Business Secretary has said that all nominees will appear on and interactive map and next year it will be extended so nominees will be invited to an exhibition to promote UK manufacturing to overseas companies during the Olympics.
Therese is due to meet Cogent an Electronics Manufacturer in Melton next week and will then make up her mind who she nominates. A report from her visit to Cogent will appear on this website.
"Therese said - I am proud to have some of Britain's best manufacturing businesses in my constituency, they are fine examples of British ingenuity."
Therese was on home turf in the Village of Westleton, yesterday, as she attended the annual Barrell Fair. Having missed out on the Westleton villagers' race, she joined the allcomers and managed a meritable second – a lady from Kesgrave just pipped her to the post.
For those of you not aware of this particular festivity, it involves pushing barrels with a pole downhill and for the gentlemen, they have the joy of pushing the barrels back uphill as well. It is a difficult skill to master as those barrels develop a mind of their own but it is funny to watch."
Therese said "It is events like this that really bring the community together. The organisation of the Barrell Fair takes a lot of preparation and thank you to those steadfast people who take on the challenge every year."
Therese Coffey is urging residents in Suffolk Coastal to go and watch the likes of Lesiton or Felixstowe & Walton United FC as she backs Non-League Day which takes place on Saturday 3rd September.
It is specifically scheduled for this date because England play the night before and consequently there are no Premier League or Championship games all weekend. However, there is a full programme of non-league fixtures including the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. Therese said "Non-League Day is a celebration of the semi-professional and amateur game and a chance for fans of bigger clubs to experience football at a level they may be otherwise unfamiliar. It is a chance to shine a light on the hundreds of clubs in this country who are almost exclusively volunteer run and do so much good for the local community, be it through coaching, fundraising or providing opportunities for local people."
She went on to say "the new website www.nonleagueday.co.uk has launched today and contains information and advice on how to find your nearest non-league club. Leiston are playing at home in the FA preliminary round or if you fancy a longer trip Felixstowe and Walton United are playing away at Needham Market.
Grassroots football is the bedrock of our national game. Let's all get behind it."
Earlier this month, Therese met with volunteers of the Seafarers Centre in Felixstowe Port.
The Centre is a place where seafarers can relax and unwind away from the ship. There is a Chapel for worship services and private prayer. There is also a bar, shop, recreation area for tabletop games, TV room and a quiet room to sit and write home.
Speaking about the visit Therese said "this is a fantastic organisation. Seafarers are made to feel very welcome by the friendly staff and volunteer helpers."
"It is important that seafarers have access to chaplain facilities – especially when they are away from home and I am proud that this service exists within my constituency. Ken and his team do a great job".
Therese Coffey with the Seafarers' Centre team, including Chaplain Rev Kenneth Martin.
Last month Therese was a guest at the hugely successful Heveningham Hall Country Fair in Suffolk Coastal – and despite the weather the day raised £62,000 for local villages.
The event is organised by the villages of Cookley, Cratfield, Heveningham, Huntingfield, Laxfield and Walpole. ALL the proceeds from both these events go directly into a charitable trust which has been set up to ensure that the funds raised benefit the local community as effectively as possible be this for the local church or village hall.
Therese said "it was a fantastic day and I was delighted to see the community coming together to enjoy themselves taking part in activities ranging from Falconry to Samba."
"I was pleased to be able to present the 'best in show' prize to Diyana Gospodinova for her fantastic floral arrangement. If you didn't manage to make it along this year I would urge you to come along next time."
Diyana Gospodinova won "Best in Show" with her Golden Wedding display (pictured in the Orangery)
L to R Diyana Gospodinova, Head Gardener Kelvin Lynn and Therese
Therese had a useful meeting with the Valuation Office on Friday as she pressed the case for Felixstowe businesses. She has demanded an explanation about why a rise in business rates is being proposed.
Therese has been contacted by local retailers and met with the local chamber of commerce last week to talk about the problem. During the road repairs last year some businesses applied for rate relief due to the loss of footfall. However the Valuation Office Agency has now advised many Felixstowe retailers that rates are going to rise.
Therese said "I had a productive meeting and spoke up for Felixstowe businesses – they still have time to appeal and I will be contacting traders directly explaining to them how they can do this."
"I will also be pursuing this with Government Ministers and will explain to them about this apparent unfairness. Especially in relation to the threat that rates could be backdated."
She went on to say "clearly I want to see Felixstowe businesses thrive and will do all I can to try and secure a successful resolution".
Therese is today meeting with the Valuation Office Agency to try and prevent a Business Rate rise in Felixstowe.
Following a meeting with the Felixstowe Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday evening, she has demanded a full explanation about why a rise in business rates is being proposed.
During the road repairs last year some businesses applied for rate relief due to the loss of footfall. However the Valuation Office Agency has now advised many Felixstowe retailers that rates are going to rise.
Therese said "clearly, we want a thriving High Street, especially after all the work that has been undertaken. We must help small businesses and this proposed rise in rates is something I am most concerned with. I will do all I can to stop it happening".
The Post Office has announced this week that the service at Blythburgh will be closing temporarily due to the resignation of the Sub Postmaster. The Post Office in the White Hart Public House is set to close its doors on the 26th August.
Reacting to the news local MP, Therese said "clearly this is disappointing, especially given the good news that the service is to be restored at Wangford.
She added "The Post Office have stressed that the closure will be temporary and it is their intention to keep a Post Office service in Blythburgh. They are currently investigating the options available and I will work with the Post Office to push for the service to be restored."
Therese is today meeting representatives from the Felixstowe Chamber of Commerce to listen to their concerns about the level of business rates levied against companies in the town.
During the road repairs last year some businesses applied for rate relief due to the loss of footfall. However the Valuation Office Agency has now advised many Felixstowe retailers that rates are going to rise.
Therese said "this is something I am most concerned with it is so important we support our local retailers. Local Businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and economy.
She added "I have already written to the Valuation Office asking for an explanation and am seeking a meeting with them to sort try and sort this out".
Local MP Therese Coffey has today welcomed the announcement of a new Coastal Communities Fund and encouraged projects in Suffolk Coastal to bid.
The Government has announced that it is launching a new multi-million pound fund to support the economic development of coastal communities. This will support a wide range of projects, including those that support charities, the environment, education and health – examples of projects could include support for developing renewable energy, improving skills or environmental safeguarding or improvement.
This will be paid for by allocating half of the revenue raised by the Crown Estate's marine activities, and is estimated to be £23.7 million in its first year, opening in April 2012.
Commenting, Therese said "I am delighted by the announcement of a new Coastal Communities Fund. This is great news for Suffolk Coastal and I encourage local projects to apply. This has the potential to have a real and lasting impact on our local economy."
She added "the fund will be administered by good causes distributor the Big Lottery Fund (www.biglotteryfund.org.uk) and details of how to apply will be made shortly".
Last Sunday, Therese Coffey, visited the Peasenhall Pea Festival to enjoy the festivities. There was a masked pea parade which included the crowning of Princess Sweet Pea, as well as Queen Pea and Captain Pea Pod. The festival also included a pork & pea BBQ, live music with Suffolk Punch and a cookery demonstration.
For her part, Therese took part in a chop stick pea eating competition. She managed to eat 23 peas in a minute but that wasn't good enough for victory as the winner ate 43.
Speaking about the show Therese said "this is a great festival – where the community comes together to organise and to enjoy. It is a unique event that shows off the eclectic nature of this part of the world".
The National Energy Policy Statement, which was announced earlier this month, was debated in Parliament last night.
It was an important debate on the future of energy in this Country and following her contribution in Prime Ministers Questions last week, that Suffolk had ambitions to be the greenest coast, Therese Coffey announced she is fully behind the Policy Statements. In particular the one referring to Sizewell as a potential new nuclear site.
She stated "This is welcomed locally, although about eight constituents have written to me with their concerns about nuclear power. However, I am more than convinced by the Wakeman nuclear review, and given that I see the dome of Sizewell B every time I go home, I can assure my constituents and the House that I live in close proximity to a nuclear power station and feel perfectly safe".
She went on to say that she is comforted that the Environment Agency has provided general support for Coastal Erosion mitigation plans.
The Suffolk Coastal MP does however recognise that the transmission of electricity needs to be considered carefully, considering the Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB and natural landscapes in Suffolk Coastal.
She ended her remarks but stating that "Speed is now of the essence and certainty is needed to engender investor confidence. I have worked with my neighbour, my hon. Friend Peter Aldous, on this issue and we are ambitious to bring energy to our coast—and inland—where appropriate, but we need support in bridging the skills gap and capturing job opportunities".
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of which Therese is a member has this morning received letters from Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in response to its invitation to appear before the Committee.
Rebekah Brooks has accepted the invitation to appear before the Committee next week. Rupert Murdoch has indicated he is unable to attend to give evidence, and James Murdoch has indicated he is unable to attend on the specified date but offered to appear at an alternative date, the earliest of which was August 10th. The letters are attached.
Therese said "The Committee has made clear its view that all three should appear to account for the behaviour of News International and for previous statements made to the Committee in Parliament. Accordingly, the Committee has this morning decided to summon Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch to appear before the Select Committee in Parliament at 2.30pm on Tuesday 19 July 2011".
Update: Rupert & James Murdoch have now confirmed they will give evidence to the DCMS Select next Tuesday.
Today at Prime Ministers Questions, Therese asked the Prime Minister whether he would give his backing to new skills and training opportunities that would come about as a result of new jobs created in the green initiatives.
Therese stood up in the Commons Chamber and praised Suffolk for its ambition of being the greenest county. She said "Suffolk is already committed to a low-carbon world with offshore wind farms, anaerobic digestion, nuclear power and a recycling rate of more than 60%"
She applauded the local enterprise partnership's ambition to enhance skills training to fill the new job opportunities that will be created locally.
The Prime Minister congratulated Therese on branding Suffolk as "the green coast". He said "There is a big opportunity in green jobs, renewable energy and new nuclear. Vitally to encourage the inward investment that we want, we have to demonstrate that we will build up our skills base. That is where local enterprise partnerships can play such a valuable role".
As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brass Bands, Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey is delighted to be asked to support a new nationwide initiative organised by the BFBB (British Federation of Brass Bands). This Saturday is MAD 4 Brass Bands Day (Saturday 9th July 2011). The event has been designed to recognise the huge contribution bands make in our local communities across the UK.
Therese will be at Leiston Middle School this Saturday for the Massed Brass Band Concert which celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Royal British legion and the 125th anniversary of the Leiston Band.
A former trombone player herself, Therese Coffey said "Brass Bands are alive and well in Suffolk Coastal and when I visited Coldfair Green Primary School last Friday the school brass band was limbering up. It is important we use MAD4BB Day to encourage more members of the public to participate in Brass Band music making either as volunteers, players, supporters or audience members."
Therese has today welcomed the new apprenticeship figures that have recently been released that show the Government has exceeded the target by more than double to create new apprenticeships.
When the Coalition Government was formed one of the first announcements made to create jobs was that £150 m of the Train to Gain funding be diverted to deliver an additional 50,000 adult apprenticeships. A year on and the provisional data shows that the Government has delivered 326,700 apprenticeship starts in the first 9 months of the 2010/11 academic year – more than 114,000 more than the previous year.
Therese said "this is an historic achievement not just for Government but for employers, training providers and learners too. This growth proves that employers recognise apprenticeships to be a sound platform for long term economic prosperity."
She went on to say "to build on this work we are now focusing on encouraging firms who haven't taken on an apprentice before to do so and helping those who have to expand their programmes".
Local MP Therese Coffey is today inviting the residents of Sutton Heath to a public meeting to discuss the current plans being implemented by Suffolk Coastal District Council to change the landscape of the area.
Therese said: "Several constituents have contacted me with their concerns on this issue and I want to organise a forum where residents can have their say. I have contacted Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Officer about this and he has promised to come along to the meeting along with Local Councillor Andrew Nunn"
On the same evening, Therese will also be holding a separate meeting about Travellers that are encamped in the area. She has invited the Council Officer with responsibility for this area and local Police, to discuss ways to rectify this situation.
The meeting will take place in Sutton Heath Community Centre on Friday the 1st July. If you would like to come along to the meeting please call Therese's Woodbridge Office on 01394 610045 to obtain a ticket. All those who have previously contacted Therese have been sent an invitation separately. The meeting on the future use of Sutton Heath land will take place at 6.30pm – 7.30pm and the meeting on Travellers will take place from 7.45pm – 8.45pm.
Local MP, Therese Coffey has today formally opposed the application to bring a large Tesco store to the outskirts of Leiston.
In her submission Therese stated that the application clearly indicates that the proposal is an out of town shopping centre for which many people would use a car to access. She said "I expect that the presence of Jewson Builders Merchants will be used to suggest that retail is already permitted outside the town limits. However, Jewsons still markets itself as a supplier to the trade and is not seen as a regular DIY store for normal retail use".
Therese went on to say "I note further that the proposal indicates the creation of 120 full time equivalent jobs and that the proposed s.106 agreement looks to invest in the streetscene of the town, to fund improvements to other retail outlets and to potentially provide funding for extension of a bus route. All these are to be welcomed for Leiston but still do not compensate for breaching the development envelope".
Further commenting, Therese said: "I am not opposed to Tesco supermarkets. I shop in Tesco as I do in other supermarkets, in smaller high street stores and village shops. If this application were to go ahead, I would be concerned for the future of shops in the centre of Leiston. If Tesco were to find a site in the centre of Leiston, it may have a positive impact on the footfall in the town(though I stress "may")."
Yesterday in Parliament Therese Coffey MP chaired the launch of two Seafarer training programmes, where young people will get paid to train for a career at sea.
At a time when 20% of young people are out of work or training, the shipping industry is creating jobs and training opportunities for those seeking a career at sea. The programme led by the Merchant Navy Training Board is a collaborative project with several major shipping companies, seafarer unions RMT and Nautilus, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and nautical colleges across the country to provide a series of rigorous training programmes for new recruits.
Therese said "I was delighted to host the launch of this new initiative, a life at sea can be a very rewarding career and this accelerated training programme providing apprenticeships for young people is a fantastic project"
She went on to say "I am also pleased to learn of a similar scheme for tugboats, a familiar site in the Felixstowe area. I will be encouraging companies and colleges to take full advantage".
For further information please log on to www.careersatsea.org or www.maritimeskills.org
Today in Parliament, the Under Secretary of State for Transport, Mike Penning MP, tabled a written statement giving the go ahead for licensed ship to ship oil transfers off of the Suffolk Coast. He has decided, as he had last December, that alongside licensed harbours, the Sole Bay area will be the designated place within the UK's coastal waters for transfers.
Reacting to the news Therese Coffey " I am extremely disappointed at the news that the Minister has decided to designate Sole Bay as the only place for Ship to Ship transfers to occur within coastal waters. I have pressed the Minister on these matters, along with excellent support from constituents and the Southwold & Reydon Society, but sadly we have not persuaded him."
In her letter to the Minister, Therese passed on information that the major reason why ship to ship transfers were stopped off the Dorset Coast was that the Department for Transport under the last Government had reacted to public pressure to stop STS transfers there.
She went on to say "regrettably the Minister did not take on board these points I made to him. Given the extensive nature of the consultation that was undertaken, even if I ask for a further review, I think it highly unlikely that the Minister will change his mind. However I will be writing to him today to express disappointment and will try one last time to change his mind. If nothing else I want to ensure that the area for transfers will be shifted further north, given that it is Lowestoft that benefits from the STS industry not Southwold, and that a time bound review is included in the regulation".
Therese has lent her support to Abbeyfield Week 2011 by taking part in a generational skills swap in Parliament. Therese was joined by the actor and Abbeyfield patron Geoffrey Palmer in Parliament to raise awareness of this innovative scheme, which brings together older and younger people to encourage them to swap invaluable skills.
The events spearheaded by Abbeyfield, a not-for-profit organisation which has over 700 houses and 80 care homes across the UK, as part of their annual Abbeyfield week. This year's theme is AGEnda – a generational skills swap which will see events hosted at a number of their local residential homes to encourage and improve greater understanding between generations. It will also enable residents to have a fun day interacting with young people to swap skills which are currently unknown to each other.
The parliamentary event was held ahead of Abbeyfield Week (10th-19th June).
Therese said "I am pleased to be able to support this innovative scheme to help raise awareness of the importance of skills swaps. Too often we overlook the need for different generations to get together and learn new skills such as IT, cooking, and reading. It also provides an excellent opportunity for generations to discuss the differences in their lifestyles to encourage better understanding."
Paul Allen, Chief Executive of Abbeyfield said "We are delighted that Therese Coffey is supporting this year's Abbeyfield Week – AGEnda: A generational skills swap. We would like to see more of these generational skills swaps in areas across the country to enable better understanding between different generations. Schemes such as this not only help alleviate loneliness amongst older people, but also teach younger generations skills that they might otherwise have missed."
Earlier this year Therese joined Waveney MP Peter Aldous on a visit to Cutlers Hill Surgery. She met with staff, paramedics, community responders and the Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital to discuss the special nature of the integration with health and social care at the Cutlers Hill campus. She also spoke to the staff their about the proposed NHS Reforms.
Therese said "it was a very useful visit and I hope to show this special facility to the Secretary of State for Health when he is in Suffolk on the 16th June. I continue to support the good work of this Surgery and am pleased to be opening the Friends of Patrick Stead fete this coming Saturday"
Following up on widespread worries about paraffin wax that had washed up on the Thorpeness and Sizewell beaches, Therese contacted concerned local resident Bill Crow for a sample and sent off a sample of the wax to the Marine and Coastguard Agency to be analysed.She has today received the results of the detailed analysis and can confirm that the wax sample showed no visible signs of oil contamination. The wax in question is a white/yellowish colour – and when paraffin wax precipitates out of oil tankers they remain black.
The report stated that "the wax found was a refined paraffin wax, which more than likely came from a chemical tanker carrying paraffin wax as cargo".
Therese Coffey said "I am concerned that this wax has come onto our beaches and have asked the MCA to continue its investigation. However, I am pleased that the analysis suggests this the wax is not coming from oil tankers."
At the moment it looks to be an isolated incident but Therese has requested that if anybody has seen or sees anymore evidence of this then for them to get in contact with her.
Therese went on to say "I have sent the analysis to the Minister, Mike Penning MP so he is aware of the situation and it can be closely monitored".
Concerns have been raised by the NHS regulator about the way Ipswich Hospital cares for the elderly. In a report published today by the Care Quality Commission entitled – Dignity and Nutrition for Older people - Ipswich Hospital have been accused of breaking the law in relation to essential standards of care.
Therese Coffey has today written to the Chairman of the hospital Mike Brooks, asking for an urgent meeting.
Therese said "I read the report this morning with grave concern and I am seeking an urgent meeting with Mike Brooks to discuss his plans on how the Hospital can improve its standards. I will be asking questions why Ipswich Hospital has got into this unacceptable situation and I will be demanding action to see improvements".
Therese Coffey has today backed the 'Get Set Network' that has been launched across schools and colleges throughout the country.
The 'Get Set Network' is a special group of schools and colleges that are committed to making the most of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Therese said "this is a chance for Suffolk Schools to really embrace the Olympic spirit and get involved various activities".
Members of the 'Get Set Network' are able to use the brand new London 2012 educational logo, they get a plague and certificate and have access to exclusive London 2012 competitions, prizes and opportunities. Schools need to log in to the 'Get Set website – www.london2012.com/getset to get started.
Yesterday in Parliament Therese spoke in an adjournment debate that she secured about the threat of a drought due to the current dry conditions and the impact this is having on local farmers. Due to the conditions spray irrigation has started much earlier than usual. The worry is that as a result of the dry weather access to aquifers could be limited and Therese is calling on Government agencies to be flexible.
In last night's debate she said "One of the challenges that our farmers face is that irrigation is needed to meet the quality standards that our supermarkets demand for what they will sell on their shelves. This is also about the price that we are prepared to pay for our food. There is an impact not just on the price of a potato or an onion, but on the feed for our livestock because of a lack of forage and hay, which will have repercussions next winter. We will all pay a heavy price for that and need to act now"
Therese said "Most farmers have a quota for the year. Some people have taken a gamble by starting to spray early compared with previous seasons. They are concerned that they might be restricted later in the season. Thus far, the Environment Agency has not shown the flexibility that it did in 2009, when it allowed people to abstract later."
She went on to say "I recognise that the Environment Agency has been proactive on this front and is working with farmers and other people to manage the situation. I pay tribute to it, because it is difficult to strike the right balance. However, there is no question that people in my constituency are worried about the potential lack of water for their crops".
In his response the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Jim Paice MP, who was born and grew up in Suffolk said that he recognised the problems that farmers face.
He said "it is clear that the main problem is for farmers who do not have reservoirs, who do not abstract from groundwater and who abstract from our rivers. Farmers have to compete for those abstraction rights with water companies, which abstract for human consumption, and with other industries. Overall, therefore, there are diminishing supplies."
He went on to say "we felt this was an issue of great importance, and I can tell the House that we will be arranging a further meeting shortly specifically to consider the competing priorities for abstraction. I emphasise that all Ministers in the Department recognise that, as my hon. Friend has said, both yield and quality of produce are affected by water supply. We do not wish to see farmers restricted unnecessarily, but obviously none of us can guarantee that those restrictions will not be required. The Environment Agency assured us today that it is trying to work with farmers to minimise the consequences."
Following recent reports from a local Thorpeness resident that paraffin wax had washed up on the Suffolk Coastal beach, Therese was quick to react.
She arranged for a sample of the wax, washed up at Sizewell to be sent off to the Marine and Coastguard Agency to be analysed.
Therese said "the sample has been sent off and we are currently waiting for the results. I have also spoken to the County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council to make them aware of this issue".
Therese has requested that if anybody has seen or sees anymore evidence of this then for them to get in contact with her.
Yesterday in Parliament, Therese Coffey MP spoke in the debate about reform to the Common Fisheries Policy and fish discards.
Therese said "In the last few weeks, I have received a great many e-mails from constituents on this matter and public awareness of this senseless waste of food has been boosted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight campaign".
She raised the plight of Suffolk Coastal fisherman in the House of Commons Chamber saying: "Fishermen in my part of the world often catch far more than the quota they are allowed but will land only what they are legally allowed to land. Sadly, the discards—the smaller fish—end up going back into the sea. Fishermen need to secure the maximum price for their fish, so they pick only the best and the rest sadly go to waste. We need to get around that problem."
"Discards are a disgrace but I do not blame the fisherman for doing that because that is their business and that is all they are allowed to do."
Therese criticised the Common Fisheries Policy and said that the CFP does not work at all and that we need to start again. She went on to suggest that instead of having a Fisheries Council including countries that have no fishing fleets, who essentially use their vote on fishing to negotiate other European matters, that a new regime with countries inside and outside the European Union should work together but involving fishermen as well.
Therese has today welcomed a new initiative launched by Vodafone, which allows registered charities in Suffolk Coastal the opportunity to take full advantage of JustTextGiving. For the first time ever, charities and individuals can raise money using text messages with a service that is free to set up and run, with every penny donated going to charity.
Therese said: "with charities facing a tougher environment for fundraising, I hope this launch will motivate a new digital generation of givers. Eighty-nine percent of adults carry a mobile, so there is a great opportunity to open up a new era of charitable giving using text donations."
JustTextGiving enables charities to personalise their own unique 6-digit text code - called a VIC or Vodafone Individual Code - and receive donations of up to £10 per message by text. There are no set-up or running costs for the charity and no network charge for supporters. Gift Aid can also be claimed on each donation. Registered charities can set up their codes from 9 May and individual fundraisers from 20 June. Vodafone is also offering a free marketing support pack for charities to help them to promote their new code.
Until now, mobile fundraising has been only used by large charities for occasional campaigns due to the substantial set-up costs involved but now registered charities can use a simple text message to fundraise - it takes just three steps to get going. Full details are available at www.justtextgiving.co.uk or by calling 0800 0521 081.
Therese Coffey has today announced her delight that the lift at Ipswich Train Station is opening soon. Therese will be at the opening on the 6th June 2011.
Therese said "after a long delay I am clearly delighted that the lift has now sorted, it will be very helpful to passengers changing to connecting trains as well as for other less mobile users of the station."
Last week in Parliament, Therese Coffey MP asked the Prime Minister about the real threat of a drought due to the current dry conditions and the impact this will have on local farmers. Farmers are genuinely concerned about the lack of rain, as their ability to abstract water may become limited.
Therese said "our local farmers are used to dry conditions but spray irrigation has started much earlier than usual. The worry locally is that access to aquifers could be limited and we need Government agencies to be flexible. The risk is that yields will fall and food prices increase, so it is in all our interest to help our farmers right now"
The Prime Minister has agreed to meet Therese to talk about this serious issue and said "farmers face real issues because, at a time of year when they expect a lot of rain, they have had virtually none".
Therese has also secured a debate in Parliament next Monday to raise the issue further and hopes to get a response from the Environment Agency soon.
Yesterday, Therese attended the NHS Suffolk exhibition on the future of the Bartlett Hospital. She only learned of this exhibition yesterday morning when the announcement was made on James Hazell's, BBC Radio Suffolk show.
It transpires that the purpose of the exhibition was to give an indication of how the site could be developed rather than about the use of the site. Therese was disappointed with the lack of commitment to affordable housing and will raise this with the Local Councillors.
Therese said "the underlying issue is that the site is not going to be used for health in Felixstowe nor will any of the money from its sales be used for health provision in the town".
She went on to say "I will continue to champion the cause of healthcare in Felixstowe and will be seeking GP's opinions about the use of the site to discuss the prospects of delaying the sale while the NHS reforms are being worked through so they can have a real say on the future of the site".
Today in Parliament, Therese Coffey spoke in a debate that she secured about the future of BBC local radio to try and stop the recently floated idea to centralise the local radio operation.
During the debate Therese extolled the virtues of BBC Local Radio – saying that they support "community moments, where local radio truly excels, such as the Proms at the Albert hall being taken to the local celebration party, or the royal wedding coming up on 29 April."
She went on to say that "Leiston FC probably would not get commentary on Radio 5 Live, even though they are about to win their championship and get promoted into the Ryman league premier division, but somehow I think that matters to the people of Suffolk" Local radio is so distinctive and valued so much by the listeners in Suffolk Coastal.
Therese has support from 66 of her Parliamentary Colleagues from all political parties for her campaign all of which have signed her Early Day Motion to save local radio.
She said "Many good examples of BBC local radio will be given today, but the reason I wanted the debate was to stand up for the licence fee payer. One of the things that worries me about the BBC's review process is that the licence fee payers have not been asked for their opinions or thoughts".
Therese went on to point out that the BBC could make savings in its bureaucracy and make efficiencies so it could continue to fund local radio – in which local people value. She ended by saying "one of the BBC's core values is to reflect what its audiences want. I call on it to look hard, think hard, and speak to licence fee payers".
As of Friday 1st April, Suffolk NHS started to enjoy an extra £27 million to support key Government priorities such as the Cancer Drugs Fund, investment in talking therapies for those with mental health conditions, 4,200 extra health visitors, and support for carers' breaks.
Spending on healthcare in our local area this year will total £918 million overall.
The increase follows the decision by the Government to protect NHS investment over the next four years.
Across England as a whole, over £89 billion will now be spent on doctors, nurses and frontline services in the NHS an increase of more than £2.6 billion on the previous year.
Welcoming the increases in NHS funding, Suffolk MPs Peter Aldous, Therese Coffey, Ben Gummer, Matthew Hancock, Daniel Poulter, David Ruffley and Tim Yeo said:
"We recognise just how important the NHS is to this country - and to patients here in Suffolk. That's why the Coalition Government is protecting the NHS not just for today, but for future generations"
They went on to say "next year alone, our county will benefit from an extra £27 million of investment going straight to doctors, nurses and other frontline services"
Funding levels for local Arts in Suffolk have been revealed today as the New National portfolio of funded organisations released the figures. At a national level 110 new organisations have been brought into the mix but due to financial pressures it is regretful that some good applications were turned down. Locally it is a mixed bag for Suffolk.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said "It was disappointing that there has been a cut in the funding for Aldeburgh Music, which does so much, but I believe in the leadership of Jonathan Reekie and Lord Stevenson and I am sure they will be able to bridge that gap".
She went on to say "the more pleasing news is that the future of Eastern Angles and Dance East are secure as well as the new funding for the High Tide Festival. I recognise how important the Arts are in the Community and am confident that they will continue to flourish".
Yesterday in Parliament Therese Coffey took part in a debate she helped to secure on Pig Farming. It is an industry that Suffolk is famous for but with Pig farmers losing approximately £20 per Pig - it is clear that it needs support.
Soaring feed prices causing a rise in production costs accompanied by strict animal welfare regulations compared to another nations - means that supermarkets are increasingly buying up cheaper foreign imports.
In her speech Therese said "in 1998, this country was 80% self-sufficient in producing enough pigmeat for our needs. This year we are at 48%". She went on to praise Jimmy Butler of Blythburgh Pork who has 18,000 pigs at any one time. He has previously pointed out that the farming industry loses £4 million per week, while processors make £8 million, and retailers make £16 million of profit per week. It is important that the Government can do all it can to redress this balance and support the UK Pig industry.
She said "We should be proud of the welfare standards that we enjoy in this country but we need to make sure that task of bringing welfare standards up to those enjoyed in the United Kingdom from other nations that have committed to this is completed by the promised date of 2013".
Therese was clear to say that the she or indeed the industry was not calling for a subsidy but she called on the Government to do what ever it can to promote the UK Pig industry. She pointed out that "The industry is good at talking about consumer choice and education, and we need to continue to advertise the fact that 45% of pig herds in this country are reared outdoors, whereas in the rest of Europe it barely reaches 5%. Such things are important, and they are one reason why British pork is rightly a premium product." A good way of doing this is through clearer food labelling She said "that would not cost money, it is free to do, and it would have a dramatic effect on consumer education, as the consumer would know that the products that they buy that sport the British flag were raised and reared here and conform to UK welfare standards".
The Government Minister James Paice was sympathetic with these points and said that consumers should always be better informed and that it is in the interests of the consumer to ensure a supply of British pigmeat for the future.
Therese Coffey walked for water at Westminster today as part of a global campaign to raise awareness for the world water and sanitation crisis.
Marking the United Nations World Water Day, Dr Therese Coffey joined hundreds of thousands of people across the globe who walked in solidarity with the almost 900 million people worldwide who still have no access to safe drinking water, and the 2.6 billion people without a toilet. The event, called World Walks for Water, was organised by global campaign group End Water Poverty.
International development organisations WaterAid and Tearfund hosted today's event in London which saw Dr Coffey and over 40 MPs, including Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell and Shadow Secretary of State Harriet Harman, get a taste for the daily reality for millions of people by carrying water containers on a short walk near the Houses of Parliament.
"Lack of water and sanitation traps some of the world's poorest people in a vicious circle of disease, lost life chances and poverty," said Dr Coffey "The burden of this crisis largely falls on women and children, and so today I wanted to highlight the critical need for these basic services in the developing world."
Globally, campaigners walked for water in over 50 countries from Nigeria to Nepal, London to Las Vegas. In many countries, people walked for six kilometres to demand an end to the global water and sanitation crisis, representing the average distance women and children walk to collect their water for their basic needs.
Highlights included: a walk which took place at Everest Base camp; a circus-themed extraordinaire featuring Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, USA; 15,000 children from 75 schools in Belgium who walked to meet politicians; and over 30,000 campaigners talking part in both Nepal and Nigeria.
It is estimated that in the world's poorest countries, women and girls spend a staggering 40 billion hours every year fetching and carrying water. Households in rural Africa spend an average of 26% of their time fetching water, carrying water containers weighing as much as 20kg, the same as the average baggage allowance on most airlines. The lack of safe water and toilets has a huge impact on a woman's ability to earn a living, get an education and spend time with her family.
"Water and sanitation are essential for improving health, education, gender equality and economic growth," said Margaret Batty, WaterAid Policy and Campaigns Director. "While the world waits to take action on the global water and sanitation crisis, 4,000 children die every single day from related illnesses. Today hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have demanded that the world wakes up to this deadly emergency. The billions without these basic services can't wait any longer."
Twit Relief is a Twitter related way of raising money for Comic Relief. Many national celebrities such as Lilly Allen, Richard Curtis & James Corden are also taking part in this innovative event. The winning bidder is then followed on Twitter by that celebrity. They will re-tweet one of your tweets and encourage their followers to follow you.
Therese Coffey – who got involved through constituent Emma Freud, has already attracted a bid of over £220 on her Twit Relief profile, is also offering tea for four at the House of Commons.
Therese Coffey said "this is a great way to raise money for such a worthy cause, that helps families in poverty both in this country and abroad. I look forward to welcoming the winning bidder to Westminster and interacting with them on Twitter."
If you would like to bid in this auction please go to - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/THERESE-COFFEY-TWITRELIEF-SUPERFOLLOW-PLUS-/250785951533?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3a6401ef2d. The Auction ends on the 20th March.
Local MP Therese Coffey has this week tabled an Early Day Motion in Westminster calling on the BBC to stop the proposals for the centralisation of radio.
In a letter to the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Therese expressed her concern about the recently floated idea concerning BBC Local radio.
She said "Every day that I am in Suffolk, I listen to my local radio station BBC Suffolk. I think that the BBC Executive perhaps underestimates the power, the value and the respect given to BBC Suffolk by many listeners across the county.
BBC Suffolk has led the way with various campaigns including the Treehouse Appeal, supporting the efforts of the East Anglia Children's Hospice in raising over £3 million in under a year, as I mentioned in Prime Ministers Questions last week."
She went on to say "I recognise that the BBC has to make some tough decisions in order to meet its budget with the frozen licence fee. However, I do not believe it is beyond the BBC to think how it can deliver radio locally".
She is calling upon the BBC to put an immediate halt to this idea.
Therese officially opened the new £120,000 Guide Headquarters in the grounds of Deben High School, in Felixstowe on Saturday. Whilst unveiling the plaque Therese said "that this is a great example of the big society in action and the community getting together and investing in our youth".
The Guides previously lost their previous hut due to repeated vandalism but lots of fundraising activities later plus the sale of some land has meant that they have managed to build a new HQ.
The building will be used by Guides, Brownies and Rainbows from Kirton, Nacton, the Trimleys and Old Felixstowe.
Therese went on to say "I am pleased that the building with includes a meeting room and a kitchen will also be used by the whole community".
Following recent complaints from constituents – Therese Coffey MP wrote to Network Rail asking them to clarify the situation regarding the delays to works to install new lifts at Ipswich station.
In their response Network Rail blamed the severe December weather for the delay which affected the pour of the foundation works. They said "this was compounded by a clash with the regular cycle of works at the station, however close cooperation between Network Rail and National Express East Anglia has meant that we are now able to deliver the scheme by 25th May".
Therese has welcomed the upgrades being made to the station.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £955,800 funding towards the restoration of Woodbridge Tide Mill.This grant will contribute towards the preservation of this striking local landmark, which will be restored for the benefit of future generations, whilst transforming the experience for visitors to Woodbridge Tide Mill.
Nigel Barratt of the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, explained:
"Woodbridge Tide Mill represents over 800 years of the nation's heritage. As well as restoring and protecting this historic building, we will be providing a 'living' interpretative experience to demonstrate and explain how our ancestors harnessed the power of the tide, long before it was considered an alternative energy source."
Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal welcomed the excellent news of this grant, saying
"It will provide an opportunity for local and national schools to learn about its important role in the industrialisation of England. Our coastal heritage is of great importance to the United Kingdom; this project is so special in terms of its bridge between the sea, the river and industrial manufacturing."
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England said:
"Woodbridge Tide Mill is one of Suffolk's much -loved heritage treasures, and provides a rare example of this important part of our industrial heritage. Through the range of activities and new exhibitions this project will offer visitors from across the community new opportunities chance to explore and learn about the mill and its history, whilst ensuring that the mill is preserved for future generations to enjoy."
The works include protecting the foundations of the mill with a new concrete breakwater, and the creation of a new wheelhouse to provide more space for maintenance and viewing.
Interactive models, computer generated graphics, games and puzzles will offer interest and enjoyment to all ages and give 'hands on' experience in how the mill and its machinery works.
The conservation work will be supplemented by practical demonstrations to be offered in flour milling. Displays, exhibition boards, information leaflets and audio-visual aids will describe the history of the Mill, the lives and working conditions of millers and the impact on the local community, highlighting the connection between tidal power and other sources of sustainable energy in a reduced carbon economy.
The first recorded evidence of a tide mill on this site dates from 1170. The present Woodbridge Tide Mill was constructed in 1793 and operated until 1957, and was the last working tide mill in the UK. It is still one of only five tide mills that remain of around 70 in the 19th century.
Since then, time and tide, with the constantly changing River Deben has resulted in the deterioration of the fabric and foundations of the Mill. The effects of future climate change, tidal surges, scouring action of the silt, and rising sea levels present an increasingly serious threat to the mill.
The cost of the total project is estimated to be £1,227,000.
Nigel Barratt went on to say:
"The Trust is appreciative of the confidence provided by HLF in offering the full amount of the grant requested. We couldn't have got this far without many others, and loads of thanks to all those who have already contributed or pledged, including the Woodbridge Community Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, the Suffolk Environment Trust, as well as many local charities, individuals and businesses. There's still a lot more we'd like to do, and while this project is fully funded, additional fundraising is currently in hand and all contributions will be welcome. This is an exciting project that will enhance Woodbridge's reputation as the gateway to the Heritage Coast and a popular visitor destination."
Applications for tickets for the Olympic Games open next week on the 15th March and will be live for 6 weeks until the 26th of April. The process is not 'first come first served' and applications made on the 26th April will have the same chance of success as those submitting on the 15th March.
Therese Coffey said "With over 2.5 million signed up for ticket information – this is an exciting time to be applying for tickets. This application process is an innovative way of ensuring that everyone has a chance to get a ticket, not just those who can be sitting on a phone or computer on the first day of sale"
The full Olympic Competition Schedule has been published with details of every sporting session, in every venue, on every day, and at every price. It's your guide to your Games and is available here: http://www.tickets.london2012.com/olyschedule_p1.html
Therese Coffey yesterday signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) which raises the growing crisis that is developing in the UK Pig Industry. In her maiden speech the Suffolk Coastal MP mentioned pig farming as one of the industries that Suffolk was famous for and she is trying to make sure it has a sustainable future.
The EDM notes the soaring feed prices which have caused a significant rise in production costs and recognises that UK producers are now losing a crippling average of £21 on every pig produced.
Therese said "UK Pig farmers such as those in Suffolk observe some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world. The cost of production is therefore higher – and supermarkets buy up cheaper foreign imports".
She went on to say "This motion calls on calls on the supermarkets and processors to support high levels of animal welfare and pay UK farmers a fair price for their pigs".
Therese Coffey has applied for a debate about this issue in the house.
Today in Parliament Therese Coffey asked the Prime Minister in Prime Ministerial Question Time to join with her in congratulating the people of Suffolk who have raised £3 million for the Treehouse appeal.
Therese praised the East Anglia's Children's Hospices for raising the money in less than a year since the campaign was launched. She also highlighted the good work of BBC Suffolk, the Evening Star and the East Anglian Daily Times for promoting the cause. She said "this is an example of the community coming together to support a local project that will really make a difference".
In his response David Cameron said "My hon. friend is absolutely right. I know that Members right across the House back the hospice movement, with its hospices for adults and for children. The Government have put extra money into hospices. He went on to say the the Treehouse appeal "is a great example of the big society, where people come together and make sure that there is real provision to look after those who need it most."
Local MP Therese Coffey has welcomed the new partnership that is due to be launched in Parliament next week between EDF Energy and the Citizens Advice Bureau. The partnership is focused on helping customers who are experiencing difficulties paying energy bills and debts.
Therese Coffey said "EDF have promised to fund a dedicated a freephone number and a dedicated team within the CAB national adviceline to provide customers with independent advice on fuel poverty".
She went on to say: "This is excellent news, not only is this something that will be beneficial to my constituents in Suffolk Coastal, it is a prime example of business working with the voluntary sector for the good of the community".
Today in Parliament, Therese Coffey met senior officials from the Department of Transport along with Mr Dachang Du of the International Maritime Organisation to talk through with them the concerns people have about Ship to Ship Transfers.
Therese Coffey said "The meeting proved very fruitful and I was able to talk through the detailed points of concern with them which will form part of my consultation submission – which I will be submitting next week".
Therese Coffey has welcomed the Government's announcement that it will give over £100 million to councils for pothole repair. This is especially valuable after the terrible weather this winter caused terrible damage to a lot of our roads.
The Government's move has been welcomed by the AA who estimate that, if the £100 million is used entirely for roads, it will repair 1.5 million potholes.
The money is in addition to the £831 million already provided to councils for road maintenance this year and the £30 billion of transport infrastructure spending the Government has committed to over the next four years.
Therese Coffey said 'This money should make a real difference in Suffolk Coastal and to the huge number of drivers and cyclists who are fed up with having to continually battle against dangerous potholes, giving them safer and smoother journeys.'
Therese Coffey MP is supporting 'Rock The House', a national music competition in search of talented new artists and venues from across the UK. It has been set up by Mike Weatherley MP who is champion for the music industry.
Therese Coffey said 'Rock The House' is a music competition with a political twist; supporting unsigned bands and artists, it will raise political awareness of the importance of music and other creative businesses to the UK."
Both culturally and economically, music is hugely important to this country. The purpose of developing 'Rock The House' is to put the spotlight on some very important issues within the music industry and increase political support to ensure that the UK's composers, artists and musicians can continue to dominate the world stage.
Rock The House offers entry categories covering both Live Bands and Live Music Venues - and is open for entries now.
Bands and venues are invited to enter themselves, via their local MP Therese Coffey, who will make nominations to a judging panel of music industry heavyweights.
Entries can be submitted until the closing date of 31st March 2011. Further details and the official application forms are available online at: www.rockthehouse.me.uk and winners will be announced by the end of May and all competition finalists will be invited to attend an exclusive star-studded event on the Terrace of the House of Commons on 30th June.
Following Therese's meeting with Mike Penning, the Under Secretary of State for Transport earlier this month, it was decided that the consultation would re-open until the 10th March so people had a chance to comment further on the Ship to Ship Transfer Regulations.
This is a fresh opportunity for people, especially those residents from the Southwold area who felt they were not heard last summer to put forward their views on the matter. If you would like to comment please write to Mike Penning at the Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR or e-mail Godfrey.Suiter@DFT.gsi.gov.uk
All of those who wrote to the Minister after the original consultation closed on the 30th September will have their comments treated as if they had been received during the period of review and they will be taken into account in deciding the final form of the regulations.
Therese Coffey MP had a short meeting with the Minister, Mike Penning, this week continuing their discussion on proposed Ship to Ship transfers. The new SI is due to be published soon. Therese is pleased to report that the Minister has offered to put the SI directly to public consultation, an unusual move, given the level of interest.
Therese said "I have been pressing the Minister on this and while it is unusual for a Minister to open up consultation on a Statutory Instrument he has recognised the strength of public feeling on this". She went on to say, "This is a fresh opportunity for people who felt they were not heard last summer to put forward their views on the matter".
As soon as the public consultation on this issue goes live I will provide a link to it on my website.
Therese Coffey met actor Jude Law and Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley in Parliament, to discuss their campaign for a Global Truce and a significant reduction in global violence.
Peace One Day aims to advance active learning in the areas of conflict resolution, global citizenship, human rights and the link between sustainability and peace, using Global Peace Day of the 21st September as a focus.
Therese said, "I was delighted to meet Jude and Jeremy to hear of their efforts thus far, including a remarkable day of truce in Afghanistan and used the day to immunise many children instead. Everlasting peace is surely one of the aspirations that all humankind shares and I think it is valuable to have the focus of this one day a year when we can all choose to make a difference."
Therese Coffey has reassured residents of Suffolk Coastal about the Government's decision to look at ownership of the Public Forest Estate.
The Government is consulting on the future of the nation's forests. It is looking at whether the heritage forests would be better run by charitable trusts, whether communities would be interested in running areas of local woodland and whether state-owned woodland which is already set aside for commercial use would be more effectively and more efficiently run by private investors.
Therese Coffey said "It is right to consider who is best placed to own and manage our forests and what role there can be for government, communities, charitable trusts and the private sector. It is also right to end the irresponsible practice of selling woodland without adequate protections which took place under the previous Government. The Government has made clear that, without exception, rights of public access will be guaranteed, heritage forests protected, communities put first and biodiversity preserved. No other approach would be desirable or acceptable."
Therese is holding a public meeting on this issue on Friday 11th February at 5-6pm at at Rendlesham Community Centre, Walnut Tree Avenue, Rendlesham, IP12 2TD.
After pressure from Therese Coffey MP and the Government, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that they will be investigating the recent increases in the cost of domestic heating oil. The study will look at whether the market is working for 'off-grid' energy consumers. Therese said “For those who are reliant on oil or LPG, the cost of heating your home is no joke especially when the price per litre shot up from about 40p to over 70p in just four weeks. I am delighted that the minister Charles Hendry who recently made a visit to Suffolk asked the OFT to investigate”. The OFT has brought forward its study into this market with a view to take action prior to next winter. It is now consulting on the scope of the study which it proposes should cover themes such as how well competition provides choice for consumers at a local and regional level and as well as planning to survey the views of off-grid energy users around the UK. If you would like to make a submission about the scope of the enquiry, you should contact the OFT by the 28 February at: Off-grid Energy Market Study, Office of Fair Trading, Level 2, Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4Y 8JX or email email@example.com.
Therese Coffey has welcomed the launch of the consultation on forestry in England. This issue is of paramount importance with regards to protecting the public's access rights and enjoyment of our forests, and securing our natural heritage.
Therese said "in Suffolk Coastal, we have the delightful forests at Rendlesham, Tunstall and Dunwich. The approach the Government is taking recognises that there is no one model to manage the forestry estate. The consultation aims to encourage wildlife, voluntary and other charitable organisations like Suffolk Wildlife Trust to manage heritage and community forests".
She went on to say "What matters is that people will enjoy access to the forests as they do today and that the stewardship, biodiversity and sustainability of our forests is enhanced. The Government should not be running a timber business but should provide a framework for sustainable land management".
If you would like to submit your views to the Government the consultation runs until April 21st and can be accessed online www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/forests/index.htm.
Therese added, "I will be running a public meeting hopefully on 11th or 12th February. When I have the venue confirmed, I will publicise this on my website."
After a parents organisation contacted Therese asking for more information about the Governments free schools policy, Therese decided to host an information meeting for all interested parties. Therese was approached as the first free school, Stour Valley Community School in Clare was given the go ahead to open its doors in September 2011. To that end Therese has organised the information evening in Blythburgh Village Hall from 4pm – 5.30pm on Friday 4th February. Her aim is to encourage people to look in detail at the Governments policy but she also wants to raise awareness that setting up a new school is challenging and it should not be something that is entered into lightly.
The New Schools Network will give a short presentation and will be on hand to answer any questions. If you would like to come along please let Dr Coffey's office know by calling 01394 610045 to book your place.
Following representations Therese and other members of Parliament made to the Minister for Energy about the recent domestic oil price spike, Charles Hendry MP has written to the Office of Fair Trading to try and alleviate the problem for the future.
The recent severe weather has caused significant concern about the domestic oil market and many people have experienced difficulties with rising prices and supply problems. Therese said "this problem is particularly prevalent in Suffolk Coastal where many people are off the energy grid and I have been making this known in Parliament".
The Office of Fair Trading is currently consulting on its annual plan to help determine its work programme for 2011/12. This includes proposals to prioritise markets impacted by high, rising and volatile commodity prices. The off-gas grid energy market is clearly one such affected market.
The Minister has now written to the Office of Fair Trading asking it to bring forward its competition and consumer study into off-grid energy. Charles Hendry said "in addition, I have asked the Office of Fair Trading if the study could explore the longer term consumer issues such as lifetime payback, consumer standards and labelling for alternative energy sources or supplies. Such a study would provide an independent assessment of the off-grid market and establish what further action may be necessary to ensure it works properly".
He went on to say "I welcome the Office of Fair Trading's support for this area, and look forward to seeing its conclusions in advance of next winter so the lessons from this winter can be learned and any necessary changes made."
Therese has recently been contacted by many constituents who have been unable to make train connections on their way back from London as the timetable is flawed. This has resulted in them being severely delayed and having to wait for a long time on platforms for further trains. Therese has now raised this with the Head of Corporate Affairs of National Express East Anglia who has said that this is an undesirable situation. He has agreed to look at the problems and change their connections policy
Therese is reminding people that the consultation on the national policy statement for energy infrastructure is to close this coming Monday. The consultation is designed to inform a policy framework on planning decisions for energy infrastructure. This will have implications on Sizewell. If you would like to make a contribution to this consultation please click on this link - https://www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk/docs/ConsultationDocument.pdf and follow the guidance.
As promised last year Therese has recently followed up the issue of drugs policy in prisons. She has been in contact with the Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clarke, pressing him on drugs in prisons. In his response the Minister said "getting prisoners off drugs is what matters" and he is looking at how the drugs policy can change to reflect this. Therese will keep up the pressure to try and achieve better results.
This morning Therese Coffey spoke in Parliament in the debate on Fuel Poverty. She re-iterated the point that anyone who does not have access to mains gas is allowed to claim for a dual fuel discount on their electricity bills and said, "if any constituent of mine, or indeed of anybody else, is not taking advantage of that scheme at the moment, they should contact their electricity supplier."
Therese then moved on to press the Government on the heating oil price spike. Therese said, "There is no question that the spike has plunged more people into fuel poverty. We are talking about a significant differential of hundreds of pounds between the cost of heating our homes with gas and the cost of heating them with oil or LPG."
Therese went on to encourage Charles Hendry, the Minister, to think more closely on regulation of the area, social tariffs for oil users and the role of the Office of Fair Trading and OFGEM. Therese also pressed the need for a flexible Green Deal, where it may require more than £6,000 to replace an oil heating system. Therese added, "I was pleased with the response of the Minister who does understand the needs of constituents in Suffolk Coastal. I will continue to press for the needs of the vulnerable in keeping warm this winter."
Yesterday Therese Coffey met the Minister for Business Innovation & Skills, Mark Prisk MP to discuss financing of small businesses.
Therese Coffey noted that one of the recent practices highlighted with her as a result of discussions with local businesses is the immediate referral by banks to factoring of debt. Therese added "this may not be the sexiest subjects but it is an important one. Small businesses are the bedrock of our communities. When it comes to financing a company factoring seems to be a route that is used, but may not be appropriate for every business. Indeed in some cases it is an expensive way of financing a company".
She went on to say "I was pleased to have the time with the Minister to raise this issue on behalf of some of the businesses in my constituency. If there are any businesses that are struggling with securing financing I would be grateful if they would let me know".
Therese Coffey MP for Suffolk Coastal has received a letter from the Minister, Mike Penning responding to her initial concerns on the impact to East Suffolk of the proposed changes in coastguard provision. In his response he acknowledged her concerns that the coastguard provision is planned to be reduced and is looking at them in more detail.
Therese said "I am glad the Minister is listening to my concerns and those of my constituents, I have since written to the Minister asking for a personal meeting to press him further. She went on to say "The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is planning public meetings on this issue and one of these is due to take place in Great Yarmouth. I will keep you informed of the date when it has been confirmed. Meanwhile the consultation is open till 24th March 2011 and submissions can be sent to Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Spring Place, Bay 2/13, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1EG".
Therese Coffey is reminding people of the Dog Trust's famous slogan "A Dog is for Life, Not just for Christmas" this festive season. Therese, who herself has a rescue dog called Rizzo has signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament recognising that despite many years of campaigning by the Dogs Trust, there still exists a problem of dogs being given as Christmas presents; resulting in puppies being abandoned in the New Year.
Therese said "there were over 121,000 stray and abandoned dogs taken in by local authorities last year, over 6,000 of which were put to sleep. I whole heartedly support the Dogs Trust in its campaign to ensure that one day all dogs are cared for responsible owners, and have a home for life".
The Government has today announced that UK's 18 Coastguard stations are going to be cut to just 8. Shipping Minister Mike Penning said that the changes will improve the present levels of service whilst reducing costs. However local MP Therese Coffey is concerned about the impact this will have on Suffolk. She has written to the Minister recognising that there are some technical enhancements in the new policy that will lead to efficient and effective working arrangements but she has stated that Suffolk is in a unique position.
Therese is seeking reassurances that there is effective cover for the coastline off East Suffolk. There is congested seas and larger ships off of Felixstowe in addition though there should be increased activity in this area by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a result of the Ship to Ship transfer regulation which specifies that offshore transfers can only take place in the area off Southwold as enhanced monitoring should be undertaken. Therese went on to say "I am seeking assurances from the Minister on this and will be submitting a full response to the consultation standing up for Suffolk."
Therese Coffey wants to encourage you to have your say. There is a consultation period that began today and will run until the 24th March 2011. You can comment by going to www.mcga.gov.uk and return by e-mail or send written responses to;
HM Coastguard Modernisation Consultation
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
105 Commercial Road
Today in Parliament, Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey raised the issue of the price of domestic heating oil. A month ago the heating oil was just under 40p per litre it is now over 70p per litre. During Energy Questions Therese said "several constituents have contacted me about the price of oil". She asked the minister if "he would take up this issue through Government to ensure that people are not frozen out of their homes this winter."
In his reply the Minister, Charles Hendry MP said that he has "spoken to the Office of Fair Trading about the price of heating oil, as the enforcement of competition and consumer law is a matter for the OFT, and it assures me that it is keeping a very close eye on the situation." He went on to say that the OFT were keen to receive submissions from MP's about this issue. Therese is putting such a submission together and will make representations to the Office of Fair Trading about this issue.
Therese went on to say "this is a matter of huge importance to many people and I would urge anyone who has suffered because of this massive increase in the price of oil to get in contact with me so I can also include that in my submission."
The Minister for Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP has given some welcome news to local fisherman in a debate Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey help to secure. Two weeks Therese joined a delegation of fellow MP's who pressed the Backbench Business Committee for a debate on fisheries. Their request was granted and it took place last week.
During the debate Richard Benyon MP said that he is determined to take forward a reform to allow the under-10's (under 10 metre boats) a bigger slice of the action. He said "in the near future, I will announce some ideas that will be taken to consultation".
The Minister also stated that he wanted to get every vessel possible into a catch quota system. He wants to find a solution where fisherman are incentivised to do something that gives them more fish, ends discards and is a bottom up approach. It allows fisherman to be part of the solution, and instead of being the battered person at the end of the line being hit by a stick, they are given a carrot to find a solution.
Therese Coffey welcomed the announcement that the Minister wanted to concentrate on the Under-10's saying "it is hugely important we try to reform the CFP which gives a larger slice of the action to the under 10's, bring an end to discards and movement towards more catch quotas.
Therese Coffey, Dr Dan Poulter MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Peter Aldous MP for Waveney yesterday met with the Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, the Minister of State for Transport, to discuss investment in the rail service in Suffolk.
The MPs discussed with the Minister the £4 million pledge by the Government to create the Beccles Loop, a passing point for trains in Beccles. The Beccles Loop is essential to ensure that both capacity and frequency of trains can be improved between Lowestoft and London, via Ipswich. All the MPs were keen to stress to the Minister the need for a greater sense of corporate responsibility from train companies to the communities and passengers of East Suffolk. Peter Aldous also highlighted the forthcoming franchise agreement as an opportunity to improve the quality of the stations at Beccles and Lowestoft.
Mr Aldous said after the meeting: "With the anticipated building of the new off-shore wind farm off the Lowestoft coast, investment in the East Suffolk main-line is vital in developing a thriving green economy for Lowestoft. Improved rail access will undoubtedly help attract significantly higher visitor numbers to key events such as the Lowestoft Air Show and the Latitude Festival, which in turn will boost the tourist economy."
Dr Poulter added: "This is fantastic news for tourism in Suffolk, and for those who live and work here. Recent Government investment in transport infrastructure has been primarily in roads and this has been heavily focussed on the western side of the county, but improved rail services in East Suffolk are vital. Rail travel offers a convenient and greener alternative to road travel. The single most important piece of the transport jigsaw for Central and Eastern Suffolk is to ensure a regular and reliable direct train service from Lowestoft to London, via Ipswich."
Dr Coffey said: "I am absolutely delighted that the County Council is also committed to this project. We now need to ensure that building work gets underway as soon as possible."
Dr Coffey added: "The challenge for Government is also to deliver a rail service that is more responsive to the needs of passengers, and we are looking to the rail companies to show a greater sense of corporate responsibility."
The Minister listened to all the points raised, and reassured the Suffolk MPs of the Government's firm commitment to maintaining and improving the line, and reaffirmed that she will continue to press Network Rail to ensure the stations on the line are upgraded to a suitable level, and agreed that, in return for a longer franchise agreement, rail companies needed to be more responsive to the needs of passenger groups and businesses in Eastern Suffolk. She also confirmed that she will be in contact with Suffolk County Council regarding the additional £1 million funding they have agreed to contribute towards the project.
This week in Parliament MP for Suffolk Coastal Therese Coffey went along to the Backbench Business Committee and joined a delegation of fellow MP's asking for two debates in Parliament.
She was successful in lobbying the Backbench Business Committee and secured a debated on Fisheries and Pubs. The Fisheries debate has been granted to take place on 2nd December and will focus on the issue of fishing quotas. The debate on Pubs which is on 9th December will look at keeping rural pubs open. Therese welcomed the success of obtaining both debates saying: "these subjects are both really important to residents in Suffolk Coastal and the issues will be put to the relevant Ministers". Therese plans to go along and make a contribution in both debates if she is successful in getting called by the Chairman.
Therese Coffey has this week welcomed Theresa May's statement on capping immigration. Therese said "The Home Secretary's statement has set out a clear, rational approach to which workers we will allow into the UK job market. The new approach will not only get immigration down to sustainable levels but at the same time, protects those businesses and institutions which are vital to our economy". She went on to say "this should give some comfort to people who are rightly concerned about the numbers people moving here permanently as opposed to short term business placements".
With power-sharing a big no-no among dogs, Rizzo Therese's 11 year old Collie cross narrowly missed out on the prestigious Westminster Dog of the Year 2010 title. Charlie, a five year old Border Terrier belonging to Helen Grant MP (Conservative, Maidstone and the Weald), was this year's absolute winner of the title.
The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is organised by Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club, and seeks to crown a canine worthy of all-party respect. The competition is open to all pooches belonging to parliamentarians of both houses, and this year's prize was presented by TV presenter Jilly Goolden.
The judging panel included Clarissa Baldwin, CEO of Dogs Trust, Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club and TV vet Marc Abraham - were faced with an array of 11 dogs, ranging in size from a Miniature Dachshund (Harriett Baldwin MP, Cons, West Worcestershire) to Lolita the Newfoundland (Roger Gale MP, Cons, North Thanet.)
Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust said; "Our Westminster Dog of the Year competition is all about celebrating the unique bond between person and dog".
Yesterday in Parliament MP for Suffolk Coastal, Therese Coffey, highlighted the plight of Luke Durbin who has been missing since May 2006 in a debate about the future of provision to help missing persons and their families. The debate centred on the good work of two UK organisations the UK Missing Persons Bureau and the charity Missing People. The UK charity Missing People provides a lifeline when someone disappears, by providing support to those affected by missing persons around the clock. The impact of the spending cuts could also affect the future of the UK Missing Persons Bureau.
Therese supported the work of these two organisations and said "A lady called Mrs Nicki Durbin, of Hollesley in my constituency, wrote to me about the importance of the issue, in connection with her son, Luke Durbin, who disappeared four years ago. I hear what the Minister says but how, in the present stricken times, will he prioritise ensuring that the issue of missing persons does not drop off our police forces' priority list?"
The Minister was positive in his response saying that the issue is an important one for Government and "Work has already started, for example, to develop the role of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in relation to missing and abducted children". He went on to say that he "notes the understandable concern and anxiety among some hon. Members about the future of the National Policing Improvement Agency Missing Persons Bureau". However, he also pointed out that no decision future of the bureau, either about funding or where functions may sit in the future had yet been taken. Therese Continues to press the case.
MP for Suffolk Coastal, Therese Coffey has continued to press HSBC, following the proposal to close their Aldeburgh branch. She had a meeting with the Regional Manager and Head Office Representatives last week and expressed her dissatisfaction that they were closing the branch without first talking to the public.
Following the meeting Therese Coffey said "I have kept up the pressure on HSBC and informed them that the Aldeburgh branch is a key asset for all sectors of the community. They however appear resolute in their proposal but are considering my request for a public meeting on this matter so we can discuss a way forward".
She went on to say "I will continue to press them on holding a public meeting and will let the community know of further information soon".
MP for Suffolk Coastal, Therese Coffey has continued to keep the pressure on HSBC, following the proposal to close their Aldeburgh branch. HSBC have previously indicated that they want to close the Aldeburgh branch of HSBC as early as the 3rd December. Therese Coffey is deeply concerned about this and has galvanised local residents to fight to keep the branch open.
Therese has been out gathering petition signatures with Cllr Marianne Fellowes and local business woman Liz Biagoni. The written petition has already attracted over 300 signatures, with a further 93 on the online petition.
Therese said "it is clear the residents of Aldeburgh want this branch to stay open, the bank is key for all sectors of the community, including elderly elderly residents cannot easily get to Saxmundham and for local businesses".
Therese has a meeting with the Regional Manager and Head Office Representatives on Friday 8th October.
You can still sign the online petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/39083.html
Therese Coffey has today written to HSBC setting out her huge concerns about their proposal to close their Aldeburgh branch. HSBC have indicated that they want to close the Aldeburgh branch of HSBC as early as the 3rd December, but Therese Coffey is galvanising local action to fight this.
She said "I am deeply concerned about this closure. HSBC offers a key service for the residents, businesses and visitors of Aldeburgh. Many elderly residents cannot easily get to Saxmundham and the bank is also key for local business in this thriving community. For HSBC to do this without any consultation is shocking. I have asked the regional manager to come to a public meeting to explain his reasons and to hear from our community."
Therese has encouraged local residents to start up a petition in which she will shortly be adding her name to, and encourages all residents in Aldeburgh to do the same. Local residents and businesses can sign online at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/39083.html or local councillors will be gathering signatures in Aldeburgh in the next few weeks.
I am delighted to say that after much pressing by the Minister, Richard Benyon MP, some extra fishing quota has become available.
A swap has been concluded with the Netherlands that gives the UK an extra 60 tonnes of North Sea sole for under 10 metre boats.
The Marine Management Organisation has also scaled back its estimate of the size of the projected overfish by the under 10 metre boats to not more than 25 tonnes and possibly as little as 15 tonnes. This would provide approximately 85-95 tonnes of sole.
Fishing can start again from the 1st September, however I am pressing for this to start earlier and the paperwork done at a later date. It is so important we support small businesses and continue to enable them to fish, they are the lifeblood of our coastal communities.
I recognise that this is only a short term solution and I have already asked for a review of how we manage our fisheries in the UK.
Therese Coffey has today strongly backed the Prime Ministers crackdown on benefit fraud. The total amount lost to fraud and error in the benefit system was estimated at over £3 billion in 2009 to 2010. She said "it is so important this Government takes steps to reduce this excessive waste and credit rating firms have a part to play in that". Dr Coffey is also encouraging members of the public to take an active role in reporting suspected benefit fraud. She believes we all need to work together to clamp down on the cheats. Therese said "this is not a snoopers charter, it is important that benefits goes directly to the people that need it. That is why I encourage my constituents to help. I have already had three people contact my office reporting instances of suspected benefit fraud". Benefit Fraud can be reported by calling the National Benefit Fraud helpline on 0800 854 440 or by reporting it online here.
Yesterday Therese Coffey was joined by Suffolk County Councillor Graham Newman lead member for Children's services and Rob Cawley head teacher at Deben High for meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools Lord Hill. For 30 minutes they pressed the case for the new Felixstowe academy and building work due to replace Orwell High School and Deben High. Therese Coffey added "the meeting was positive, we had a good reception and we wait for the result. I recognise the current financial situation we are in, but I was pleased to have this opportunity to press for Felixstowe".
Yesterday in Parliament during the annual energy policy statement in the House of Commons, local MP Therese Coffey pressed the Minister for assurances that the beautiful Suffolk countryside wouldn't be blighted by unnecessary pylons. Dr Coffey raised the point in respect to the considerable subsidy being proposed for offshore energy and suggested that some of it be used to subsidise the transmission. "One of the great ironies would be the production of all this very environmentally friendly energy but then blight the outstanding natural beauty and beautiful countryside with pylons". Therese added, "I welcomed the statement and invited the Minister to come to the ‘Green Coast' of Suffolk to see many renewable sources of energy. I strongly believe we should use some of the subsidy to have marine cabling and underground cabling." The Energy Secretary Chris Huhne agreed with Therese when it came to the transmission of power from offshore sources and said "We are indeed considering the transmission regime to ensure that we get the appropriate type, my hon. friend's point is a significant one for us in the Department, and we are addressing it."
Therese Coffey has been seeking urgent action to protect the fishing industry in her constituency. Therese said "it is so important we support small businesses and continue to enable them to fish, they are the lifeblood of our coastal communities". She is pressing, along with other Suffolk MP's the Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA, Mr Richard Benyon, to increase the quota with the main focus on under 10 metre small boats. It is these small businesses that need to continue to fish to retain their livelihood.
The MP for Suffolk Coastal is pushing for delegated fisheries management in which local fisherman have an input. Yesterday during business questions in Parliament Therese, asked the Leader of the House about the prospect for a debate about this very issue. She said "May I press for an urgent debate on fisheries management in our country, and perhaps the repatriation of powers from the common fisheries policy?"
Therese Coffey has welcomed the moratorium for the payment of certain back dated business rates at the Port of Felixstowe. Prior to the start of 2005 statutory port authorities were rated through a formula provided by the Secretary of State. Following the ending of this practice under the previous Labour Government, the Valuation Office Agency became aware of a number of port properties which had not previously been rated separately. They therefore undertook a comprehensive review of ports which resulted in a high number of properties becoming newly liable for rates. That was then backdated to 1st April 2005.
Therese Coffey said "in the port of Felixstowe alone there are 10 properties with an estimated cumulative back dated liability of £325,000"
The new Government is committed to providing meaningful help to businesses in ports hit by these backdated rates bills and has already announced its intention to cancel the backdated element. Therese Coffey also said "it is important that this Government stands up for business and that is why we are bringing forward legislation to cancel these backdated payments". The Government in the meantime has implemented a moratorium for the payments.
This week Therese Coffey MP welcomed members of the Youth Parliament to Westminster for a tour of the Palace. The visit not only let them discover the history of the World's finest Parliament but it enabled them to get a deeper understanding about the workings of the Parliamentary system. Therese Coffey said "it is so important that we encourage young people to participate and become active in politics. I hope this visit encourages them to take their interest further." Therese conducted the visit with fellow Suffolk MP's Peter Aldous, Ben Gummer, Tim Yeo, Matthew Hancock & Dan Poulter. One of the MYP's said "I would like to thank you all and everyone else involved, for an excellent day at Parliament". The visit ended with a trip to Downing Street and a group photo outside the most famous address in the UK.
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