18 NOV 2017

Therese Campaigns for a Fairer Game

Therese joined former Arsenal and England footballer, Rachel Yankey recently to discuss the Betfair Fairer Game campaign, which aims to promote better training and opportunities for female coaches in football.

Therese said: "It was also great to meet some of the 50 coaches that have been selected to have their UEFA B licence funded by Betfair, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of women at the top of the coaching pyramid. I am hopeful that this initiative will see increasing numbers of women coaching not just in the women's game but in men's football as well."


14 NOV 2017

Customers to get Automatic Compensation when Broadband is Down

Customers will automatically get money back from their broadband and landline provider when things go wrong following action taken by the communications regulator, Ofcom.

Therese said: "Waiting too long for a landline or broadband service to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation. As a result of Ofcom's intervention, BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Zen Internet– have all agreed to introduce automatic compensation, which will reflect the harm consumers suffer when their telephone or broadband service is down or if an engineer doesn't turn up to an appointment."


25 OCT 2017

Maximum Fines for Littering Increased

As the Minister responsible for litter, I am pleased to announce tougher penalties to deter and punish the anti-social minority who continue to drop rubbish.

From April next year the maximum on-the-spot fine for dropping litter will almost double from the current limit of £80 to £150.

Throwing rubbish from a vehicle is just as unacceptable as dropping it in the street so councils will also be given the power to impose fines on the owners of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Up till now councils had to prove who was driving the vehicle. Now they will be able to take direct action, even if it was discarded by a passenger or someone else driving the car.

These new fines will make sure the perpetrators, not the local community, bear the cost of keeping our streets and roads clean.

https://www.gov.uk/.../new-steps-to-tackle-littering-announced


23 OCT 2017

Energy Cap Draft Bill Published

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister at Conservative Party Conference the Government has now published a draftBill to place a temporary cap on energy prices limiting the cost of standard variable tariffs.

Therese said: "The proposed legislation would mean a cap would run until 2020 and if energy companies have failed to act to get prices under control the independent regulator, Ofgem, would recommend to government whether it should be extended.

I recognise this is a complicated piece of legislation and we need to make sure it works in practice – which I why I welcome the fact that the Government have asked the Business, Energy and Industry Strategy Select Committee to scrutinise the Bill in detail."


04 OCT 2017

Theresa May's Speech to the Conservative Party Conference

At the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this afternoon, the Prime Minister set out what the Government is doing to build a country that works for everyone. She was clear that we will continue to take a balanced approach to the economy, dealing with our debts whilst also investing in public services – making our country a fairer place to live and work.

Therese said: "We will increase the affordable housing budget by £2bn to more than £9bn – allowing more homes to be built for social rent; put a price cap on energy bills by publishing a draft Bill in Parliament next week and on top of freezing maximum tuition fee rates the amount graduates can earn before they start repaying their fees will rise to £25,000.

The Prime Minister also launched an independent review of the Mental Health Act to make it fit for the 21st Century and has committed to an opt-out rather than opt-in system for organ donation – which will save hundreds of lives.

She also reiterated our absolute commitment to get the best Brexit deal for Britain – delivering control over our borders, laws and money whilst maintaining the greatest possible access to European markets."

You can read the Prime Minister's Full Speech here - https://www.conservatives.com/ShareTheFacts/2017/10/Theresa-Mays-Conference-Speech


28 SEP 2017

Funding Formula Increase for Suffolk Schools

Following the announcement by the Education Secretary that every school in Suffolk will see an increase in their per pupilfunding, the indicative funding rise for each school has been published. This includes rises varying from 0.5% to over 18% locally. Indicative as the council decides the final allocation with the advice of the schools forum.

Therese said: "This big change in the new national funding formula, which I pressed for, ensures that every school has a higher basic percentage of funding for every child. Suffolk has traditionally suffered because we have very high employment rates and have far fewer children than the national average receiving free schools meals, which means money has been diverted elsewhere. However, our average levels of household income is not as high as some other places where schools have traditionally been funded more generously – so the change to the formula has started to right those wrongs.

Therese added: "I recognise the frustration locally that increases were not even higher and that Suffolk is still in the bottom quartile for funding per pupil but the teachers' unions and the Labour party campaigned to protect funding for other parts of the country which were already funded much more generously than Suffolk schools. Overall this meant less was available for Suffolk but we have kept our word, improved the funding formula for Suffolk children and we are now firmly on the up for school funding."

More detail can be fond of the Department of Education's website here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs


22 SEP 2017

Therese Welcomes Rule Change to Protect People from Nuisance Calls

Therese has today welcomed the statement from Communications regulator Ofcom that from October 2018 there will be a ban onall phone companies charging for caller display facilities, which will help more people screen nuisance calls.

Therese said: "This is great news. I have received many communications from constituents whose lives are blighted by these types of calls – often dialled automatically by a computer. The new rules will help prevent this, confirming that phone numbers displayed to people receiving calls must be valid, dialable and identify the caller. The regulator are also requiring companies to identify and block calls with an invalid or non-dialable number – a feature of many nuisance calls."


15 SEP 2017

EU Withdrawal Bill Passes to the Next Stage

Parliament has taken another step in the journey of leaving the EU with the European Union Withdrawal Bill passing to the next stage to receive full scrutiny. The legislation is designed to transfer all EU law into UK law – ensuring a smooth transition with legal certainty for businesses, consumers and investors.

Much EU law is already incorporated. These are the laws that stem from what is called an EU directive, which we tailor according to our legal system. Some of this may need to be tweaked as, for example, we will no longer have a European regulator for something but will have a UK or England only regulator and we need to change the name within our law. There is another type of EU law called regulations, which apply automatically in exactly the same way everywhere. All of these need to be brought into law before we leave in March 2019.

Some constituents contacted me asking me to vote against the Bill and the timetable motion, further delaying the Brexit process. I believe eight days on the floor of the House is sufficient to consider this straightforward Bill which is absolutely crucial to provide the continuity Britain needs to function and make a success of Brexit.

The Withdrawal Bill delivers what the British people voted for – control over our own laws after we leave, outside the control of the European Court of Justice.


18 AUG 2017

CCTV to be Mandatory in all Slaughterhouses

Last week, the Environment Secretary and Therese's departmental colleague, Michael Gove, announced plans to require allslaughterhouses in England to install CCTV, an important preventative measure to crackdown on animal cruelty.

Therese said: "The videos that are often seen in the media showing slaughterhouse workers mistreating animals are truly shocking. These are not the conditions animals should be spending their final moments in and my department is committed to ensuring that it stops."


21 JUL 2017

Therese Supports Scams Awareness Month

Therese is supporting Scams Awareness Month this July to encourage more people to play their part and report scams, whereverthey see them.

Therese said: "As MP for Suffolk Coastal, I have seen a wide variety of scams that try to defraud people – and I thank those brave people that have become victims for coming forward. Only 5 -15% of all scams are ever reported – but there is no need to be embarrassed. There is lots of support out there, reporting not only helps to inform the work of advice and enforcement agencies it also helps prevent future scams."

For more information or to report a scam or fraudulent activity visit - http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/


19 JUL 2017

Therese Backs Extra Money for Suffolk Schools

The Education Secretary made an important announcement in the House of Commons earlier this week committing an additional £1.3bn for core school funding to support the transition to a national funding formula.

Therese said: "This is great news for our schools here in Suffolk which will mean an increase in the basic amount that every pupil will get, protected funding for those with high needs and will ensure that the County Council is in a position to give all schools a cash increase through the new formula."

"Crucially, this additional investment in our schools will be funded in full from efficiencies and savings from within the Education Department's existing budget, rather than higher taxes or more debt. This of course requires difficult decisions, but it is right to prioritise core schools funding as we continue the vital task of repairing the public finances."


22 JUN 2017

Therese Welcomes the Queen's Speech

The Queen was in Parliament yesterday, as she read out the Government legislative agenda for the forthcoming Parliamentarysession.

The Queen's Speech focussed on the need to get Brexit right, delivering the result of last year's referendum. It included a Great Repeal Bill to provide as much legal certainty as possible for businesses and individuals; an Immigration Bill that will give us control of the number of people coming here from Europe while allowing us to continue to attract the brightest and the best; a new Trade B and Customs Bill which will enable the UK to conduct its own independent trade policy; a Fisheries Bill to enable us to control access to our territorial waters and an Agriculture Bill which will provide stability to farmers, essential for our industries here in Suffolk Coastal.

The speech also set out measures to make sure that the National Living Wage is increased and included a crackdown on unfair practices in the energy and telecoms market. It also reiterated our approach to continue to bring down the deficit.

The Government will also continue to build a world-class education system by ensuring every child has the opportunity to attend a good school and that all schools are fairly funded; work towards a new Mental Health Act, giving greater rights for those experiencing mental health problems; and - importantly work to address the challenges of social care for our ageing population, bringing forward proposals for consultation to build widespread support.

The Government has committed to meet the 2 per cent NATO defence spending commitment to keep the UK safe but as we have sadly seen with the recent attacks, the country faces an unprecedented threat from terrorism. In light of that our counter-terrorism strategy will also be reviewed to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need to protect our country.

For a full list of measures set out in the Queen's Speech, please see here - https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2017


21 JUN 2017

Therese Celebrates Suffolk Day

Pausing briefly from the pomp and ceremony of the annual State Opening of Parliament, Suffolk's MPs came together today to celebrate the first ever Suffolk Day.

Therese said: "I was delighted to join my fellow county MPs to help create a small piece of Suffolk in Westminster today, as we came together to celebrate the first ever Suffolk Day.

The event which has been spearheaded by BBC Radio Suffolk presenter, Mark Murphy and supported by our local newspapers comes from the successful Yorkshire Day, which takes place on the 1st August every year. As Mark says, being the sunrise county on the east coast, it is fitting that our now annual Suffolk Day will take place on the longest day of the year, June 21st.

Suffolk Day aims to recognise and celebrate all that is great about Suffolk - and my goodness do we have a lot to shout about. With the success of our local economy based on tourism, I hope that Suffolk Day will develop as a useful fillip for our businesses and a fun-filled day for local residents."


27 APR 2017

Therese Welcomes Motability Transitional Support Changes

The Motability Scheme plays a vital role in the lives of many disabled people by supporting their mobility through the provision of a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.

The Department of Work and Pensions and Motability have been working closely to help people affected by reassessment from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.

Therese said: "As a result of that work Motability has kindly offered to enhance their Disability Living Allowance - Personal Independence Payment Transitional Support package to allow scheme customers to retain the car for up to eight weeks after their Disability Living Allowance payments end, a significant increase from the three weeks they are allowed currently.

In addition customers who are eligible for a transitional support payment will be able to retain their car for up to six months, including during the processes of reconsideration or appeal."


20 APR 2017

General Election on June 8th

Following a vote in the House of Commons yesterday – a General Election will now be held on 8th June.

Therese said: "This election is about securing the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, the decision has been made and we need to deliver a Brexit that works for everyone in this country.

The choice is between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May – or weak and unstable coalition government. A strong Conservative Government will also deliver our plan for a stronger Britain, building on our strong economy but also creating a fairer society where success is based on merit, not privilege.

I was delighted to be re-elected as your Member of Parliament in 2015 and over the last two years, as with the previous five, I have been a strong voice for residents and businesses. I hope you will give me your support again to continue to make our part of Suffolk an even better place to live and work but most important of all, please do use your vote."


04 APR 2017

Business Rates Relief Scheme - Have Your Say

Following the Chancellor's Budget announcement to introduce a £300m fund to help small businesses hit with large business rate increases, the Government is consulting on how the fund will be administered.

The consultation asks for views on the criteria of the fund and the amount of money each local authority receives. Provisionally, Waveney District Council has been allocated £417,000 in the first year and Suffolk Coastal District Council has been allocated £406,000.

You can access the consultation via  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/discretionary-business-rates-relief-scheme
All responses need to be received by 11:45pm on 7th April.

Therese said: "I am liaising with our local authorities to try and ensure those business affected the most get the support they require".


08 MAR 2017

Chancellor Announces Discretionary Business Rate Relief to help Small Businesses

Therese has warmly welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor in today's Budget to introduce a £300m discretionarybusiness rate relief fund to help small businesses hit with large increases in the recent business rate revaluation.

The Chancellor has also promised that those businesses that have just come out of Small Business Rate Relief won't pay more than £600 a year under the new revaluation and pubs that have a rateable value of under £100,000 will get a £1,000 discount on their rates.

Last month, Therese led a small delegation of MPs to meet the Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP to press the case over the extraordinary business rate rises in Southwold and Aldeburgh.

Therese said: "I'm delighted the Chancellor has listened to our calls on business rates. At last month's meeting I explained the particular issue in Southwold and Aldeburgh and asked the Chancellor to consider the case to help small independent traders facing very high increases. I was pleased to hear he was using my figures in the Treasury the next day and it is good news we now have this £300m discretionary pot to help our small businesses."

Therese added: "The Chancellor will announce further details of the scheme in due course and I will be liaising with our local authorities to try and ensure those business affected the most get the support they require."


20 JAN 2017

Waldringfield School Council Visit Westminster

The School Council from Waldringfield Primary School travelled to Westminster this week, as they visited Parliament's brand new education centre.

Therese said: "It was a huge pleasure to welcome the School Council to Westminster. We talked about their manifestos and compared notes on the huge responsibility of being elected. Whilst they were there they learnt how Parliament works, including the process of passing legislation through both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

I always encourage schools from Suffolk Coastal to make the trip to Westminster and hope to welcome more Suffolk pupils to Parliament in the coming months."


22 DEC 2016

Christmas Office Opening Hours

Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy your celebrations with family, friends and neighbours.

My office is now closed re-opening on Tuesday 3rd January. Messages will not be checked during this time.

The out-of-hours telephone number for both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils is 01502 527133 if you need to get hold of them in an emergency.


06 DEC 2016

Therese Welcomes Sailing Club to Parliament

Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club visited Parliament last week for one of their club social evenings.

Therese said: "I had the pleasure of welcoming Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club to Westminster recently. They're a really friendly bunch and I thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with them. I was pleased to learn that Felixstowe has produced some world champion sailors over the years and if getting out and about more will be one of your new year's resolutions, they'd be delighted to hear from any potential new members."

You can find out more about the club on their website.


23 NOV 2016

Therese Welcomes SEGway Funding in Autumn Statement

Therese has today welcomed the Chancellor's Autumn Statement which includes funding of up to £1 million for a business case to be developed for the Suffolk Energy Gateway.

Therese said: "This funding announcement is a welcome first step for the Energy Gateway, which we can now use to develop the business case to go on to secure the funding necessary to make it a reality. With Sizewell C on the horizon, I will now work with our local councils to progress this as speedily as possible to try and secure improvements to the A12. This follows the recent delegation of local councillors I led to meet the Transport Minister in Suffolk so he could see first-hand the problems of congestion residents and businesses face."

Other welcome measures in today's statement include 100% rural rate relief for small businesses in rural areas resulting in a tax break of up to £2,900, a new National Savings and Investments (NS&I) savings bond and a freeze in fuel duty. The Chancellor also recommitted to raising the tax free personal allowance to £11,500 in April 2017 and to £12,500 by 2020.

You can read a copy of the letter sent to Therese from the Department of Transport here.


22 NOV 2016

Married Couples Tax Break Rewards Commitment

Therese is encouraging eligible couples to cut their income tax bill by up to £220 by applying for the government's Marriage Allowance. Introduced last year to reward marriage, the allowance is easy to apply for and takes less than seven minutes to complete online.

Therese said: "Marriage is an important institution at the heart of a strong society and it is right that it is recognised in the tax system. The Marriage Allowance is about more than just giving Suffolk families that extra bit of support, it is about valuing commitment. Families are the bedrock of our society and the Marriage Allowance is about saying that as a society, we recognise that.

"Married couples and civil partners can check their eligibility online and apply in less than seven minutes."

You can apply at: www.gov.uk/apply-marriage-allowance, or alternatively by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3300.


15 NOV 2016

Parliament Week 2016

It's Parliament Week and Therese is encouraging young people in Suffolk Coastal to find out more about democracy and how to get involved.

Therese said: "Decisions taken in Westminster impact our daily lives and I regularly have the privilege of visiting schools throughout Suffolk Coastal to talk about my role as the local MP and explain more about our democratic institutions.

"I often welcome school groups to Parliament who make the trip down and hold Q&A sessions with students. A new education centre has recently opened which offers interactive rooms and augmented reality to bring the parliamentary process to life. I want our local schools to take full advantage of this new facility as we seek to inspire the next generation to get involved with politics."

To find out more about Parliament Week click here.

To find out more about educational visits to Parliament for schools click here.


27 OCT 2016

Therese Welcomes New Action On Nuisance Calls

Therese has welcomed new measures introduced by the government to crack down on nuisance calls. Company directors will now be held personally responsible for the actions of their firms, facing personal fines of up to £500,000 on top of any fines against the company. They will no longer be able to simply fold and start trading elsewhere as many currently do.

Therese said: "Nuisance calls calls are a blight on countless people's lives and for the elderly and vulnerable these calls can be more than just a nuisance. Some of them rely on their phone as the only link to the outside world and when they are harassed by nuisance callers it can often leave them feeling intimidated in their own homes, or pressured into being scammed."

The government has already taken action to force companies to display their numbers when they call which should help people dismiss calls they don't want and report them if necessary. Millions of pounds have been invested in a nuisance call package with money set aside for call blocking devices for society's most vulnerable so they can feel safer when answering the phone. The maximum fine issued to nuisance callers has also been increased and this year alone £1.8m worth of fines have been dished out to rogue organisations.

Therese added : "The government will not stand for nuisance calls and these new measures will strike another blow to those organisations and individuals responsible."


25 OCT 2016

Therese Welcomes Farlingaye Students to Parliament

Therese welcomed students from Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge to Parliament last week as they took the opportunity to see how our democracy works up close, touring both the House of Commons and House of Lords. The students also used the new state-of-the-art visitor's centre which uses augmented reality and 360 degree video projections.

Therese said: "It was great to see Farlingaye students down in Parliament and after their tour I had a Q&A session with them where they grilled me about current affairs and life as an MP. I hope they found the experience worthwhile and it was clear there were some budding future politicians among them!"

Schools can find out more about visiting the Houses of Parliament by clicking here.


06 SEP 2016

Public Service Audit to Shine Light on Injustice

The Prime Minister is launching an audit of public services to reveal how people's backgrounds affect the way they're treated and their chances in life. This will cover areas from education to healthcare, childcare to welfare, employment and skills.

Therese said: "The audit will give anybody the ability to check how their background affects the way they are treated by public services and will help government and the public to force poor-performing services to improve.

"The latest figures from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show that white working class boys are less likely to go to university than any other group and that white working class communities in coastal towns like ours are also at a disadvantage when it comes to life chances.

"While some difficult truths may be revealed, we should not be apologetic about shining a light on injustice and by doing so we can make this a country that works for everyone."


05 AUG 2016

Six Billion Fewer Plastic Bags Boosts Environment

There will be six billion fewer single-use plastic bags in circulation this year following the introduction of the 5p charge. Over seven billion carrier bags were issued by seven main retailers in 2014, falling to just over half a billion in the first six months of the 5p charge for single use carrier bags introduced in October 2015.

The charge has also resulted in donations of nearly £30 million from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups.

Eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into oceans each year, posing a serious threat to natural and marine environments.

Therese said: "Taking six billion plastic bags out of circulation is fantastic news for all of us. It will mean our precious marine life is safer, our communities are cleaner and future generations won't be saddled with mountains of plastic sat taking hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill sites."

"The 5p charge has clearly been a huge success, not only for our environment but for good causes across the country that have benefitted from an impressive £29 million raised."


19 JUL 2016

Therese Promoted to DEFRA Minister

Therese has been asked by new Prime Minister Theresa May to become Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Since the general election last year she has been serving as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.

Therese said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed a Minister at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. With so many environmental jewels along our coast co-existing with significant industry including marine, nuclear and agriculture, as well as the challenges of erosion and flooding at one extreme and water shortages for farming at the other, I have had a great apprenticeship already.

"One of my main challenges will be managing expectations locally as I am Minister for the whole country, not just for the Suffolk Coast. I am looking forward to working with Andrea Leadsom, George Eustice and Lord Gardiner in this exciting department which touches everyone across our great country. Rest assured though, I will still be batting for Suffolk and working hard on behalf of constituents on local issues."


08 JUL 2016

Conservative Party Leadership

Following the resignation of the Prime Minister, a leadership contest in the Conservative Party is underway. There has been a ballot of all Conservative MPs to choose which two candidates Conservative members in Suffolk Coastal and across Britain will be voting for. Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom will now compete to become leader of the party and Prime Minister. Many constituents have been in contact with Therese to ask who she will be supporting. Therese will be backing Theresa May for the position.

Therese said: "I am so pleased that Theresa May will be on the ballot for leader of our party and the next Prime Minister. With the support of 199 MPs, 60% of our Parliamentary party, I hope that members will back her. 

"She has a proven track record, strong leadership credentials and a bold vision to make sure that everyone has a better life in a better Britain."


04 JUL 2016

Local Schools Visit Parliament

Therese welcomed pupils from Melton and Bucklesham Primary Schools to Westminster today. The children learnt all about how our democracy works and went on a tour of both the House of Commons and House of Lords. 

Therese said "It was great to meet all of the pupils who had travelled down to Westminster today. They had the opportunity to grill me about my role as a Member of Parliament and Minister and asked some very topical questions including about my stance on the EU referendum and Conservative leadership contest.

"There is a brand new education centre that has recently opened on site so I would encourage other schools from our area to visit Parliament and take advantage of this fantastic new facility."

Click here for more information about Parliament's Education Service.


01 JUL 2016

Battle of the Somme Tribute

Today is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Somme.

Therese said: "The Somme was not only one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, but in all human history. There were more than a million casualties, many of which were British.

"I was at Parliament early this morning for a special tribute which was very poignant. We should all take a moment to remember their sacrifice and to honour the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces today."

 


26 JUN 2016

EU Referendum Result

In the 2015 Conservative manifesto, the Government pledged to hold an In/Out referendum on our membership of the European Union. The nation has now voted to leave the EU.

Therese said: "While I am disappointed with the result, I am pleased by the turnout of 80.7% in Suffolk Coastal and 73% in Waveney. A high turnout is important so that the final national result has a definitive mandate. 53% of voters in Suffolk Coastal voted to leave and 62.9% in Waveney.

"As I have said on many occasions, I wanted to remain due to the economic benefits, but have always said that the Government will implement the result whatever it may be. I have had hundreds of emails about the petition for a second referendum. I understand people feel strongly, but the issue has been decided and we need to respect the result.

"The Prime Minister has announced he will be stepping down this year and a leadership contest will take place in due course. I am sad to see the Prime Minister leave office much earlier than he had planned, but I respect his decision which was likely if the result did not go the way he was advocating.

"My focus now is to work however I can to bring stability to our financial markets, to work on the impact for Suffolk families and businesses and to work to implement our manifesto on which I and a Conservative Government was elected last year."


17 JUN 2016

Therese Presses Minister to help keep Halesworth Crossing Open

Therese met the Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP recently to urge her to do what she can to keep the Halesworth rail crossing open.

A closure proposed by Network Rail would mean that train passengers would not be able to easily access the southbound platform from the car park nor use the ticket machine without a significant detour on a narrow, steep and poorly lit footpath.

Halesworth residents have made their feelings on the proposed closure known with more than 200 people packing into a meeting held by Network Rail earlier this year to protest their opposition.

Therese said: "The Minister was sympathetic to the views of Halesworth residents and emphasised the point that our railways should be rooted at the heart of local communities. I discussed the successful meeting with the Chief Rail Inspector and discussed potential options for keeping the crossing open. The Minister promised to write to Network Rail on finding a good solution for us."

"It is Network Rail which makes the final decision, not the Minister, but I hope the additional encouragement from government will help keep this important crossing open."


10 JUN 2016

Therese Supports National Bike Week

National Bike Week starts tomorrow and this week's theme is encouraging more people to cycle into work.

Therese said: "There are obvious health and environmental benefits to cycling and I always try and take a Boris bike while I'm in Westminster. With some parliamentary colleagues this week, I cycled into Parliament from the Dutch embassy, a nation of course famous for embracing the bike. I used an Abellio bike which was very sturdy, but with 7 gears. Abellio run the Greater Anglia trains and you can hire one of these 'turn up and go' bikes at Ipswich, Lowestoft and Liverpool Street. For just £10 a year you get unlimited use of these bikes.

"Be sure to give these bikes a go if you commute in and out of London Liverpool Street, Ipswich or Lowestoft. It's a very pleasant way of travelling, especially if the sun is shining!"


08 JUN 2016

EU Referendum Registration Deadline Extended

The registration deadline for the EU referendum has been extended. It will now close at midnight on Thursday 9th June.

If you haven't registered yet, please visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to do so.


26 MAY 2016

Felixstowe Yeast Plant Backs Remain

Therese has welcomed the announcement that Felixstowe company Lallemand are backing the campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union. The yeast plant based at the Port of Felixstowe is one of three Lallemand plants based in the UK, manufacturing yeast for a variety of industries.

Therese said: "Companies large and small are coming out in favour of Britain staying inside a reformed EU and I'm pleased that Lallemand have outlined the importance of EU membership to their business. We want our local organisations to thrive so they can create jobs for local people and benefit the economy here on the Suffolk coast.

"The uncertainty that leaving the EU would create would not only have an impact on household budgets, but on businesses as well. A vote to leave could mean an increase in unemployment and wages falling for working people. Staying in the EU means Britain gets the best of both worlds by opting out of ever closer union and maintaining control of our borders while continuing to have access to the single European market of 500 million people which is crucial for British businesses.

Martin Perling, Operations Manager at Lallemand GB said: "British membership of the EU is crucial for Lallemand as our business is reliant on trade with our European partners. Many of our suppliers are based in other EU countries and by staying in the EU we know that anything we import from the continent has to meet a certain standard because of this.

"Leaving could lead to major increase in costs due to potential tariffs being put up for British goods and to delays getting our products in and out of the Port of Felixstowe which would have a severely detrimental impact on Lallemand's ability to prosper."


23 MAY 2016

Rock the House Returns for 2016

The Rock the House competition for unsigned music acts is back for another year, giving a chance to artists from across the UK to showcase their talent and raise awareness about intellectual property rights in the music industry.

This year, Jude Kaine from Suffolk Coastal has entered and will be battling it out against other solo artists.

Therese said: "Congratulations to Jude Kaine who has entered from Suffolk Coastal. Jude will now be put forward against other solo artists and if selected will compete in a Battle of the Bands competition where the winner will play to MPs and industry experts live in the Houses of Parliament. Best of luck!"

You can hear Jude's music at www.judekaine.com.


18 MAY 2016

Queen's Speech Another Step Towards Fulfilling Manifesto Pledges

Therese has welcomed today's Queen's Speech with the Government announcing its legislative agenda for the forthcoming Parliamentary session. 21 Bills have been announced including steps to take fast broadband to every household that wants it, with a minimum speed of 10 MB/s. Other notable measures in the Queen's speech include a British Bill of Rights, legislation on Lifetime ISA, speeding up the process for children to be adopted into homes and families, while also enhancing the prison system and give governors more powers to help rehabilitate inmates and prepare them for the world of work rather than return to crime.

Therese said: "Here in Suffolk we have made great progress on connecting more homes and businesses to superfast broadband, with 20,000 more households now having access thanks to Government and council investment. We do need some further legislation to help bring fast broadband to every household that want it. The other measures are most welcome and I hope that, soon, the governors in our local prisons Hollesley Bay and Warren Hill will have more autonomy to transform people so that on release, people head straight rather than fall back into crime.

"As Deputy Leader of the House, part of my role is to help legislation be ready for inclusion in the Queen's Speech. I'm proud of the agenda that we are setting out, further fulfilling our election manifesto."


18 MAY 2016

Therese writes Message to Dementia as part of Awareness Week

"Dear Dementia,

Be my friend not my enemy. My friends – be patient with me and treasure our shared memories. Life is for living, helped by the love of family and friends.

Therese"

This week is Dementia Week. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia so it is a health issue that is likely to affect each of us directly or indirectly.

Therese said: "Last summer I trained as a Dementia Friend, a trailblazing initiative from the Alzheimer's Society to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and to help those that live with it in their daily lives. I have written how I hope we would all treat those living with dementia."

"There are Dementia Week events going in in Suffolk Coastal all week with Felixstowe Library as a base. Please see here for details. I'm particularly looking forward to the Brainy Dogs demonstration on Friday at 11am in the Felixstowe Triangle."


16 MAY 2016

Bricklaying Apprenticeship Opportunities on Display in Parliament

Therese met apprentices from the Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy in Parliament recently to learn firsthand about the opportunities for a career in brickwork.

Therese said: "The construction industry is an excellent career path for school leavers and we need to show the value that comes with vocational education such as apprenticeships. Bricklaying can be an incredibly rewarding career from both a job satisfaction and financial perspective. The Government is planning for many more houses to be built in the near future so there will always be a demand for this traditional skill."

"While I thought it best to leave the work to those who know what they're doing, it was great to hear how enthusiastic the apprentices were about their future."

If you want to know more about apprenticeships in Suffolk visit www.asbs.org.uk.


13 MAY 2016

Therese Welcomes BBC Charter Reforms

Therese has welcomed the Government's white paper which sets out reforms to the BBC to make sure it remains a valued public broadcaster for years to come. The current Royal Charter which governs the BBC expires at the end of 2016.

The new proposed charter would be for 11 years, separating it from the political cycle and enshrining editorial independence at the heart of it. There will also be new measures on diversity to make sure the BBC reflects every corner of the UK.

Therese said: "There has been an active discussion between the BBC leadership and ministers and I am really impressed with what is proposed. I used to work for the BBC and I cherish it, but I do think there is room for these changes which I think will keep the BBC focused on its distinctiveness and excellence, so it will continue to be a world class public service broadcaster.

"The reforms will provide the foundations for a stronger, more independent, more distinctive BBC that will inform, educate and entertain for many years to come."


12 MAY 2016

New A14 Improvement Scheme to Benefit Suffolk

Therese has welcomed the news that the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, has given planning consent for the Cambridge to Huntingdon A14 Improvement Scheme.

The scheme involves upgrading a 23 mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon which has traditionally suffered from congestion, hampering travel into East Anglia.

Therese said: "This is great news that planning consent has been granted for this major scheme which will benefit the economy here in Suffolk. It's crucial that we invest in the necessary transport infrastructure which will allow our economic potential to be realised.

"I'm looking forward to the diggers breaking ground and this project getting underway."


25 APR 2016

Therese Welcomes New Investment for GPs

Therese has welcomed the Government and NHS England's new General Practice Forward View. The plan will invest up to an addition £2.4 billion a year in GP services by 2020/21, a 14% increase.

Therese said: "I'm very pleased that the Government has published our forward view for General Practice. Billions of extra pounds will now go into four key areas; building the workforce, improving access, cutting bureaucracy and investing in infrastructure. We target increasing the number of GPs by 5,000 with additional incentives for returning to work and moving to areas with very high GP patient ratios. We will also fund 3,000 mental health therapists to be based in GP practices. 

"The hard work now begins to ensure that more of this funding comes to us here in Suffolk. Under the current formula, most Suffolk residents are underfunded when it comes to primary healthcare and much like our battle to address historic underfunding in our local schools, we must also fight to ensure our healthcare receives the fair level of funding that people in Suffolk deserve. I hope that dentistry receives similar attention to ensure everyone can access affordable oral health."

More information about the Forward View can be found here.


21 APR 2016

Therese Concludes Humble Address to Celebrate Her Majesty's 90th Birthday

Happy Birthday to Her Majesty the Queen who turns 90 today.

The House of Commons paid tribute with addresses in Parliament, led by the Prime Minister. As Deputy Leader of the House of Commons I had the privilege of making the closing speech on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

The Queen has been a role model of service over the last 63 years and has provided much stability both in our nation and around the Commonwealth. I believe she could be considered as Britain's greatest ever woman.

There will be events taking place across Suffolk Coastal in the next few days, including beacons being lit in Southwold, Aldeburgh, Nacton, Orford, Friston, Dunwich and Sutton Hoo tonight. This is a fantastic opportunity for communities to get together and celebrate our remarkable Queen.

 

 


31 MAR 2016

Dog Microchipping Becomes Law next week

Dog lover and local MP, Therese Coffey is asking dog owners if their dogs are microchipped yet. She is drawing attention to achange in the law that comes into effect next week (on 6th April) making it compulsory to have your dog microchipped. While most vets will do this, the Dogs Trust are offering a free service.

Therese said: "Microchipping for our canine chums means dogs can quickly be reunited with their owner and prevents dogs from having to be unnecessarily put down. A few years ago, I found a lone dog and thanks to the dog being microchipped the dog was successfully reunited with its owner later that day. "

Therese added: "As of 6th April, it is the law for your dog to be chipped. I'm delighted the Dogs Trust and Blue Cross are continuing to offer a free microchipping service. Vets and large pet shops will also microchip your dog for a small fee. Our family dog Jess is chipped. Is yours?"

For more information on where you can get your dog microchipped for free log on to http://www.chipmydog.org.uk/ or call 0330 123 0334.


24 MAR 2016

Helping Suffolk to Save

Therese has welcomed measures in last week's Budget to introduce a new Lifetime ISA. Aimed at people under 40, it will help those young people struggling to save for both a house and their pension.

Therese said: "The Budget last week was a Budget for the next generation. Many young savers in Suffolk are forced to choose between putting money away for their first home or contributing to their pension pot. This isn't right, so we're going to help them do both.

"This new Lifetime ISA for the under 40s will include a  25% bonus paid by the Government. For every £4 saved, the Government will contribute a further £1. So put in £4,000 a year and the Government will give you £1,000 every year until you're 50.

"This is being backed up by increasing the tax free personal allowance, which means the basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax than when we came into Government five years ago."


16 MAR 2016

Therese Welcomes Budget for Suffolk Savers, Schools and Small Businesses

Therese has today welcomed the Chancellor's Budget statement which puts the next generation first and delivers stability in an uncertain global economy. There was good news for savers, schools and small businesses.

The Chancellor announced that the country is on course to eliminate the deficit by 2019/20 and there will be investment in infrastructure across Suffolk. This includes planning reform, which will help to boost mobile phone signal in rural areas. A new devolution deal will create a Mayor for East Anglia which will ensure more decisions that affect our area are taken locally.

Therese said: "This Budget makes sure Britain acts now so we don't have to pay later. There will be help to support savers, reform schools and encourage enterprise. A new Lifetime ISA will be introduced for under 40s, with the Government generously putting in £1 for every £4 saved. There will also be a rise in the tax free personal allowance up to £11,500 from next year, a tax cut for 31 million people.

"New funding will be provided so every school in England becomes an academy by 2020 or is in the process of converting to one. By the same time, 90% of schools will be benefitting from the New National Funding Formula, which ensures rural areas like Suffolk receive more funding per pupil to address historic unfairness.

"Small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our local economy, will see their rate relief double and the maximum threshold for relief increase by £3,000 to £15,000. This means 600,000 small businesses will now never pay business rates again. I'm delighted that entrepreneurship and enterprise is again being encouraged by this Government."


11 MAR 2016

Therese Welcomes New School Funding Consultation

Therese has welcomed the consultation launched this week as the Government works towards introducing a new, fairer funding formula for schools. Currently, a school in one part of the country could receive significantly more funding than an identical school with exactly the same children in another part of the country, simply because of an accident of history.

Locally, in Suffolk £4,370 is spent per pupil every year, whereas in some of the best funded parts of the country £6,300 per pupil is spent.

Therese said: "Having taken some small steps in the last Parliament to address this issue, I am pleased that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that more is going to be done by introducing a new national funding formula from September 2017.

"The aim will be to ensure that pupils get the funding that genuinely matches their need and I intend to study these new proposals carefully. I will be working with other Suffolk MPs, the county council and our local schools to ensure the new formula works for pupils in Suffolk. I want children to get a great education, whatever their background or wherever they live."

Photo: Therese visiting Langer Primary School. 

The consultation can be found here.


08 MAR 2016

Therese Celebrates International Women's Day

To mark International Women's Day, there has been a celebratory photo of a selection of female Ministers currently serving in the Government.

Currently women make up 26% of Government posts by holding 29 out of 110 positions. A third of Cabinet Ministers are also women.

When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party in 2005, there were just 17 female Conservative MPs. After the 2015 general election, 68 Conservative women were elected to Parliament, constituting a 300% increase.

Therese, who is currently Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, said: "I am proud to serve in a Government which is making real strides towards achieving a representative gender balance amongst its Ministers. Under David Cameron's leadership there have been great advances, but there is still more to be done to increase female representation at all levels of public life.

"Politics is just one profession where women are traditionally underrepresented alongside others such as science and engineering. This is a cause I am passionate about and an area I have undertaken research into before. Gender should not be a barrier to achieving anything in life and while there has been much progress over my lifetime, there is still a long way to go before we have total equality of opportunity for women in Britain and around the world."


01 MAR 2016

Therese Welcomes Sandlings Primary to Westminster

Therese welcomed children and staff from Sandlings Primary School to the Houses of Parliament this week as year 5 and 6 pupils made the trip down to Westminster.

They are the first school from Suffolk Coastal to experience the new Education Centre which opened last summer. The new Centre offers state of the art facilities including 360 degree projections and augmented reality experiences depicting both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Therese said: "It was a pleasure to welcome Sandlings Primary School to Parliament and I was delighted they had the opportunity to use the brand new Education Centre. They learnt all about how our democracy works including the process of passing a Bill through both Houses of Parliament.

"Afterwards the children grilled me on my role as Member of Parliament and more recently as a Minister. There were some interesting questions, including a very poignant one about the legacy I hope to create in Suffolk Coastal. I encourage other schools to make the trip to Westminster and take advantage of this fantastic new facility."

More information can be found on www.parliament.uk/visiting.

Photo: Therese (back, centre) with children from Sandlings Primary at the Education Centre in Parliament.


02 FEB 2016

Business Secretary Meets Suffolk Business Leaders

Therese welcomed Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to the Houses of Parliament along with business and civic leaders to discuss plans for Suffolk with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid MP.

The Secretary of State explained at the meeting the Government's focus on the importance of business taking a lead on adult skills and investing in this locally. He went on to explain that Government has a commitment to continue to fund Growth Hubs and praised the New Anglia Growth Hub for its success in recent years.

Therese said: "The meeting was a good opportunity to highlight to the Secretary of State the success of the Suffolk economy and the opportunities it provides as one of the leading growth areas for UK PLC. He appreciated the interaction and the potential opportunities for future growth after investment in skills and infrastructure."


23 DEC 2015

Merry Christmas & Office Opening Hours

Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful time with family, friends and neighbours.

My office is now closed re-opening on Tuesday 5th January. Messages will not be checked during this time.

The out-of-hours telephone number for both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils is 01502 527133 if you need to get hold of them in an emergency.


21 DEC 2015

Therese Calls for More A14 Investment

Therese recently held a dinner in Parliament with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Roads Minister Andrew Jones MP to discuss the need for investment in Suffolk's roads.

Speaking after the meeting, Therese said: "The A14 was high on the agenda of items to be discussed. It is a vital corridor only on for Suffolk, but for the whole country. Businesses rely on goods coming into the Port of Felixstowe being transported in a quick and efficient manner, something the road is not currently delivering on. With 40% of the UK's container trade coming into Felixstowe and the future development of Sizewell C on the horizon, we made the case to the Minister that Suffolk is being asked to take a significant burden for the good of the country and there must be appropriate investment infrastructure to support this."


18 DEC 2015

Therese Appointed to Digital Taskforce

Therese has been appointed to the Government’s Digital Infrastructure and Inclusion Implementation Taskforce. The taskforce was established after the election and its purpose is to ensure that Government policy for broadband and mobile phone signal rollout is followed through.

Reporting directly to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the taskforce tracks progress, identifies problems and agrees plans to resolve them so that the whole of the United Kingdom can benefit from the growth of the digital economy.

Therese said: “I am delighted to be joining the Digital Taskforce. I will be bringing my experience as an MP in a rural area as well as the experience I have gained since 2010 on the Culture, Media and Sport committee and my ministerial involvement in taking infrastructure legislation through Parliament.

Therese added, “I am looking forward to getting stuck in on the taskforce and making sure Britain is one of the best connected countries in the world.”

Taskforce

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has been appointed to the Government’s Digital Infrastructure and Inclusion Implementation Taskforce. The taskforce was established after the election and its purpose is to ensure that Government policy for broadband and mobile phone signal rollout is followed through.

Reporting directly to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the taskforce tracks progress, identifies problems and agrees plans to resolve them so that the whole of the United Kingdom can benefit from the growth of the digital economy.

Therese said: “I am delighted to be joining the Digital Taskforce. I will be bringing my experience as an MP in a rural area as well as the experience I have gained since 2010 on the Culture, Media and Sport committee and my ministerial involvement in taking infrastructure legislation through Parliament.

Therese added, “I am looking forward to getting stuck in on the taskforce and making sure Britain is one of the best connected countries in the world.”


17 DEC 2015

Therese Welcomes Fishing Quota Success

Therese has welcomed the fishing quota increases the UK has obtained at the EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council – including a

47% increase in quota for North Sea Haddock and a 15% increase for North Sea Cod.

Decisions were based on three clear principles: following the available scientific advice; achieving sustainable levels of fishing and reducing discards.

The negotiation is especially good news for our under 10 metre fleet as the Government made sure that next year's total allowable catch took into account the ban on discarding fish. This means a quota uplift to cover the amount of fish estimated to have been previously discarded, of which the first 100 tonnes - and 10% of anything more – will be given to the under 10 metre fleet.

Therese said: "This is great news. The UK government fought hard to deliver a better deal for our fishing industry from the EU and I congratulate the Minister for an excellent negotiation. I'm especially pleased at the news for our under 10 metre boats locally. This reflects our clear manifesto commitment to support the smaller, inshore fleet"


08 DEC 2015

Sizewell Action Groups Meet Ministers

Therese has facilitated meetings between two Sizewell C Action Groups and Ministers from the Energy and Transport departments.

The Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell met Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom and the B1122 Action Group met Transport Minister Andrew Jones. While neither group oppose the building of Sizewell C, they have concerns about the construction phase.

Therese said: "This was a useful opportunity for local residents to raise concerns with Ministers directly, though the lead negotiators are still the county and district councils.

"I want to thank the residents from Theberton, Yoxford and Middleton Moor who vividly portrayed their concerns on the impact from the construction of Sizewell C. Ministers were keen to engage with the groups about what can be done to help."


03 DEC 2015

A Statement from Therese on Airstrikes in Syria


"Yesterday the Prime Minister set out his stance on why the UK should engage in further military action. I support him wholeheartedly on this and voted to extend airstrikes against ISIL to Syria. I am pleased that the House voted to support this action.

It is important to remember that we are already carrying out airstrikes in Iraq after a vote in Parliament last year. During that time British Forces have not been responsible for a single civilian casualty. As the Prime Minister has said, there are risks in extending military action into Syria but the risks of not doing so far outweigh the risks of doing so. Our security services have already foiled seven potential terrorist attacks over the last year.

The threat posed by ISIL is further underscored by the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2249. The resolution states that ISIL "constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security" and calls for member states to take "all necessary measures" to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL. Britain is also responding to direct request from our allies, including President Hollande after the horrific attacks in Paris last month, to join the international coalition against ISIL. I believe it is wrong for the United Kingdom to sub-contract its security to other countries to stop terrorism here in Britain.

The UK has world-leading military capabilities, which many other countries do not possess. These include the ability to carry out dynamic and rapid air support to ground forces engaged in combat. The UK also has unique precision missile capabilities, which allow for accurate air strikes.

The Prime Minister has been clear that defeating ISIL isn't just about military action alone but about a diplomatic and humanitarian strategy. Britain has so far given over £1.1 billion, surpassed only by the USA, and would contribute at least another £1 billion for post-conflict reconstruction to support a new Syrian Government when they emerge.

I back the Prime Minister's judgement. I back our Armed Forces to undertake the clinical role they need to carry out. I back our diplomats to continue their critical mission to bring about change towards a stable regime. I back our aid efforts that bring relief and substantial progress to a prosperous future for families in Syria and the Middle East and I back action to ensure we are all safer on our own streets."


26 NOV 2015

Therese Welcomes New Strategic Defence and Security Review

Therese has welcomed the new Strategic Defence and Security Review, a comprehensive plan to back our armed forces, counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies with the resources they need to keep Britain safe.

£178 billion will be invested in defence over the next decade, including:

  • Increasing the size of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by 700 personnel.
  • Renewing Britain's continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent.
  • Creating two new strike brigades of 5,000 personnel who will be able to deploy rapidly to fight terrorism.
  • Investing in new maritime patrol aircraft to protect the nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance existing maritime search and rescue resources.
  • Investing £1.9 billion in cyber security.

Therese said: "Our national security depends on our economic security. Our renewed economic strength means we can now afford to invest further in our national security."

"This Government is committed to securing the long-term future of our country and I am proud we are the only major country in the world which is simultaneously meeting the NATO target of spending 2% of our GDP on defence and the UN target of 0.7% of our gross national income on international development."


25 NOV 2015

Therese Welcomes Spending Review

Therese has welcomed the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review. Putting prosperity and security at the heart of the Government's plans over the next five years, the Chancellor outlined a number of measures to protect Britain's economic and national security, including the manifesto commitment to balance the books and start to reduce the nation's debt.

 

  • The Police budget will be protected and 2% of our national income spent on defence.
  • Full funding for the NHS Five Year Forward Plan, with £6billion delivered up front next year.
  • The biggest real terms rise in the basic state pension in 15 years, increasing it to £119.30.
  • Doubling the housing budget to £2 billion and building 400,000 affordable new homes.

 

Therese said: "I was particularly pleased that a full commitment to a new funding formula for schools was announced, which I expect will be helpful to children in Suffolk. Understandably, the decision to preserve police budgets at this challenging time will be well received. Overall, the Autumn Statement delivers on the promises we made to put working people's security first. We are protecting our economic security by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and our national security by defending our interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home.

"I welcome the increase to the basic state pension, rewarding those who have worked hard and contributed to our society all their lives. Additionally, doubling the housing budget and delivering the largest house building programme since the 1970s will help families in Suffolk Coastal who aspire to buy their own home."

The key announcements from the Autumn Statement and Spending Review can be found here.


20 NOV 2015

Felixstowe to Ipswich Rail Services to Resume on Monday

I have been assured that train services between Felixstowe and Ipswich will resume on Monday. I am extremely disappointed that by that stage trains will not have been running for nearly two weeks, this is unacceptable.

Along with James Cartlidge MP, I met with Rail Minister Claire Perry to deliver a letter signed by all affected MPs in the region. We are calling on Ministers to intervene in the process to provide a new rail franchise from October 2016 to guarantee that any bid to provide rail services contains robust contingencies ensuring there is no repeat of this next Autumn. This letter has also been sent to the Secretary of State for Transport and the three franchise bidders.


16 NOV 2015

Paris Attacks

I observed a minutes silence today at 11am, in respect of the people murdered by terrorists in Paris. This is the worst terrorist attack in Europe in a decade, after what happened in Madrid and London.

I want to assure residents that the national counter-terrorism strategy is not just a piece of paper but the police, armed forces and Government have undertaken two significant exercises in the last few years. In 2012, there was a simulated chemical terror attack exercise and this summer, there was a 2 day exercise which simulated rolling terror attacks across London.

The Prime Minister is at the G20 summit in Turkey and undoubtedly, side talks as well as elements of the summit will be focused on this issue.


13 NOV 2015

Therese Welcomes PM's EU Renegotiation Plan

Therese has welcomed the Prime Minister's recent speech, setting out which key areas of Britain's relationship with the European Union need to be reformed as part of his renegotiation plan.

The four objectives at the heart of the renegotiation are:

  • Protecting the single market for Britain and others outside the Eurozone, in the form of a set of binding principles that guarantee fairness between Euro and non-Euro countries.
  • Writing competitiveness into the DNA of the whole European Union – including cutting the total burden on business.
  • Exempting Britain from an 'ever closer union' and bolster national parliaments, through legally binding and irreversible changes.
  • Tackle abuses of the right to free movement, and enable us to control migration from the EU.

Therese said: "These are important renegotiations and I have every faith that the Prime Minister will deliver for Britain. It will be for the British people to decide where our future lies, and everyone will have the chance to vote on our membership of the EU by the end of 2017."

The full text of the Prime Minister's speech can be found here.


09 NOV 2015

Therese Supports Local Pig Farmers

Therese has been taking part in British Sausage Week 2015 by supporting the local pig industry. Along with local Suffolk pig farmers she attended the David Black Award breakfast in Parliament, which recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the pig industry. The breakfast included sausages and bacon made from Blythburgh Free Range Pork.

Afterwards, she led a delegation with Jimmy and Alistair Butler of Blythburgh Free Range Pork and representatives of the National Pig Association to meet Norfolk MP and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss. She re-iterated her commitment to promoting the British pork industry both domestically and abroad and encouraged pig farmers to celebrate their products as British when promoting them. As part of Export Week, Mrs Truss was heading to China to promote the sale of British pig trotters.

Therese said: "I was pleased to arrange the meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the promotion of pork, including how to celebrate and market British pork. Blythburgh Free Range Pork is very well known and the Butlers are heavily involved in the national effort to encourage more people to eat pork. Pulled pork is certainly in fashion now and long may that continue."


23 OCT 2015

English Votes for English Laws - manifesto commitment delivered!

I am delighted that on 22nd October 2015, the House of Commons passed the Government's proposals for English votes for English laws.

English votes for English laws will strengthen the Union, create fairer arrangements and ensure the English have more of a voice over matters that only affect them. The proposals are fair and balanced and are being introduced in a considered way and will be reviewed after 12 months to ensure the process is working effectively. It is important that we have a system which is fair and workable for every part of the UK.

We have delivered our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws. We are determined to strengthen the Union – we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny.

Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union.

Under English Votes for English Laws, every MP will continue to have a vote on every Bill. Where the House of Commons considers a new bill which only affects England, and where the power to make that law has been devolved elsewhere, a new Parliamentary procedure will apply. The Speaker of the House of Commons will be responsible for certifying which bills, or parts of bills, meet this test.

The procedure will see English, or sometimes English and Welsh, MPs being asked for their consent to the provisions which meet this test. They will do this in a new stage of Parliamentary consideration called the 'Legislative Grand Committee', which will let them debate the proposals and secure their consent to them.

All MPs will continue to debate and vote on legislation at Second Reading, Third Reading and Report stage. This ensures that new laws are made with the agreement of the whole House of Commons, but that English (and Welsh) laws will be made with the consent of MPs who represent those parts of the country.

The Government's updated proposals are designed to achieve a fair and balanced settlement which ensures MPs from across the UK continue to have a role in making legislation but also ensures English matters are approved by a majority of English MPs. This will strengthen England's voice just as devolution has strengthened the voices of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst maintaining the strength of the UK Parliament and the Union.

In passing these proposals, we have finally addressed the so-called West Lothian question. Political textbooks will need to be updated! I was pleased to wind up the debate. Click for the clip of my speech at the end of a lively debate


21 OCT 2015

Therese Welcomes Nuclear Deal for Sizewell C

Therese has today welcomed the good news that EDF and China Nuclear Power Corporation are signing an agreement for the development of Hinkley Point C, which includes a Heads of Terms agreement for the construction of Sizewell C and Bradwell. The signing is due to take place today in the presence of Prime Minister, David Cameron and Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

Reacting to the news, Therese said: "It is great news that a deal has been done for Hinkley which brings with it a Heads of Terms agreement for Sizewell, helping to secure our energy security and bringing jobs and investment locally."

"Some people have raised concerns about Chinese investment but they should be assured that the Office for Nuclear Regulation is the toughest for nuclear regulation in the world and the design will go through exactly the same process as it would for anyone else investing. We should not be frightened of Chinese Investment. The Chinese are big investors in Suffolk already whether it be the Port of Felixstowe, Huawei at Martlesham Heath or electricity transmission with UK Power Networks - all supporting local jobs."

Therese added: "There is still much to discuss on Sizewell C concerning infrastructure, accommodation and education and skills. The Managing Director of Nuclear New Build at EdF, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson assured me in March that the next stage of consultation will happen after the announcement on Hinkley. I now look forward to that happening."


22 SEP 2015

Therese Supports Breast Cancer Care Roadshow

Therese was pleased to support the Breast Cancer Care roadshow sponsored by the FA in Parliament recently.

The roadshow will tour 38 locations in England to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Anyone can be at risk of breast cancer, no matter what their age, gender or ethnicity. So it's really important that people are aware of any unusual changes in their breasts, and act quickly if they are worried about anything.

Davinia Green, Head of Breast Awareness and Early Detection at Breast Cancer Care, said:

"We want to say a huge thank you to Therese for coming along to our event and showing her support. It's so important for us to increase breast awareness and reach as many people as possible with our Roadshow."

For more information on the signs and symptoms go to https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/roadshow


16 SEP 2015

A Letter from Therese - Assisted Dying Bill

A letter from Therese outlining why she voted against the Assisted Dying Bill.

"I, with 329 other MPs, voted against the Assisted Dying Bill, which I believe would be more accurately titled Doctor - Assisted Suicide Bill. That is more than half of all MPs who voted to stop this Bill. This issue had been previously debated in Parliament in 2012 in a backbench debate, when Parliament then also voted not to change the law, though that was not debating a specific Bill.

There are many reasons why I voted against this Bill. They include the fact that the current law works. There are very few cases happening. I want to protect the vulnerable, not reinforce the perception that they are a burden. I do not want the focus of doctors to fundamentally shift. Almost all disability groups oppose this ban. Celebrity advocates cite people and cases to which this law would not have applied, only a full euthanasia law would have done so. The law should not be changed just because it has elsewhere. In Washington State, more than half of people who want doctor help to kill themselves say that they do this due to being a burden on family, carers and friends. I think it would open the door to voluntary and even involuntary euthanasia, as is happening in Belgium and Holland. It is no secret that the campaign group now called Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. I could go on but my views were reinforced by many speeches and interventions in Friday's debate, which is available online in Hansard.

It is now the case that Parliament has rejected this twice, as has the Scottish Parliament (also twice) and the Welsh Assembly has also voted against supporting the Bill. I doubt anyone would ever bring forward such a Bill in Northern Ireland. It is also the case that the five main party leaders all personally oppose assisted suicide. While I recognise that those who want it to happen are upset, this issue has been resolved. I will continue to support our local hospices, St Elizabeth's and the EACH Treehouse, with the palliative care they offer

Yours sincerely,

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP"


27 AUG 2015

Therese Welcomes Launch of new Victims' Information Service

Therese has today welcomed the launch of the new Victims' Information Service that gives victims of crime a quick and easy way to access support. The service will mean, that for the first time, all victims of crime can go to one place for advice on what support is available to them and how to access it.

Therese said: "Being a victim of crime can be a horrific experience and the Government puts the highest emphasis on the needs of victims. It is essential that when you experience a crime that you have quick and easy access to support. I'm delighted the new Victims' Information Service will provide that."

The service includes free online and telephone advice which will signpost victims to local services so that they can get the support they need. This could include emotional support, advocacy services and specialist advice for victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse.

The new service can be accessed online via https://www.victimsinformationservice.org.uk or by calling the Freephone helpline on 0808 168 9293.

Therese is also encouraging people to respond to the survey being carried out by UCS on behalf of Suffolk & Norfolk Constabularies to inform our local police on priorities. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/norfolksuffolksurvey


03 AUG 2015

Therese Welcomes Pensions Consultation

Therese has welcomed the Government's consultation on capping pension scheme exit fees.

New pension freedoms were introduced in April giving people more power over their own savings. However, concerns have been expressed about the level of fees being imposed when savers have tried to access their funds. The consultation will consider proposals to impose a legislative cap on exit charges for those aged 55 or over, make the process for transferring pensions quicker and to ensure there is greater clarity around the circumstances in which someone should seek financial advice.

Therese said: "The Government's pension reforms are the biggest in a generation and they offer people much greater choice on how to use their hard-earned savings. Our aim is to give people more control over their money, not to create a new way of charging people which some pension providers are doing.

"This is why we are launching a consultation to ensure that pension providers are not using exit charges and restrictions as a barrier to people using these new freedoms."

The Treasury is running an online survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J3XV3KX and the consultation runs till 21st October https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pension-transfers-and-early-exit-charges-consultation. 


30 JUL 2015

Therese Becomes Dementia Friend

Therese and her team have become Dementia Friends as part of her bid to make Suffolk Coastal a dementia friendly constituency. She invited the Alzheimer's Society, who run the Dementia Friends scheme, into Parliament to help her and her office staff to understand the effect of dementia on people's everyday lives.

The Dementia Friends scheme was launched in 2013 by the Alzheimer's Society to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia, a condition that affects 650,000 people in the UK.

Therese said: "Here in Suffolk Coastal we have a very large proportion of over 65s, who are statistically most likely to be affected by dementia. With a growing number of people living with the condition, it's more important than ever that we all have a better understanding of what it's like to live with.

"One of my election commitments was to make Suffolk Coastal a dementia friendly constituency. This is an important first step in making that happen.

I know that there are some groups already, like Halesworth Dementia Carers' Fund. I want to work with them and others to raise awareness of how we can all make it easier for people to live with dementia."

If you want to know more, or would like to become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk.


23 JUL 2015

Therese Welcomes Farming Boost

The Prime Minister has spoken about the importance of farming when he visited the Royal Welsh Show today.

He unveiled plans to boost productivity and grow food and farming exports by more than £7 billion. Measures include cutting red tape, creating a new Food Innovation Network and protecting 200 great British foods.

Therese said: "I'm pleased at the efforts the Government is making to reduce red tape, particularly from the EU which seems to be unnecessarily complicating some farming procedures. The Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss and Farming Minister George Eustice seem to be making some progress on this front.

"Our farmers not only provide much of our food and nutrition, but are also key conservators of the great British countryside."

More details of the Prime Minister's announcement can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-one-nation-government-backs-british-farmers.


21 JUL 2015

Parents to have early access to exam results

Therese has welcomed plans by the Department for Education to allow parents to have early access to exam results to help them decide to which school to send their children.

Provisional GCSE results will now be made available in mid-October, before the application window closes, so parents are able to use them to finalise their choices. Previously, this data was only shared with schools. The initiative is part of the Government's drive to improve transparency in schools.

Therese said: "Choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions parents will make for their child so it's important they have as much up-to-date information as possible, to allow them to make an informed choice.

"We know parents will rightly consider all aspects of a school, not just its performance, before making a choice, but this information will empower them further, so they are confident they're making the right decision."


09 JUL 2015

A Letter from Therese - Hunting Act Amendments

A letter from Therese outlining the detail of Statutory Instrument that the Government has laid concerning amendments to theHunting Act.

"The government has laid a Statutory Instrument which amends the Hunting Act, though does not repeal it. This is in response to representations made by upland farmers about the problem of foxes killing lambs. The proposed changes will also align the legislation more closely to that operating in Scotland.

The technical amendments will not lift the ban on hunting with dogs. These changes amend the exemptions that Members on all sides of the House agreed during the passage of the Act were necessary for the purposes of "pest control". The amendments will:

  • Enable farmers and gamekeepers to make a judgement, based on the terrain and other circumstances, as to whether it is appropriate to use more than two dogs to flush out foxes and other wild mammals. This is particularly important in upland areas where the use of two dogs across large and difficult areas of ground, often covered by woodland, is not regarded as effective or practical. There is no limit on the number of dogs that can be used in Scotland.
  • Keep the current restriction of only one dog being used below ground in stalking and flushing out animals and extend the provision to livestock, as well as game and wild birds, providing upland farmers with an additional tool against livestock predation. A dog may be used below ground for a much wider range of purposes in Scotland.
  • Amend the requirement to produce evidence of land ownership or landowner consent in cases where a dog is used below ground so it is presented at a police station within seven days. In Scotland there is no such requirement.
  • Extend the scope of the "rescue" exemption to include "diseased" animals. This is a logical extension of the provision that enables hunting to be undertaken to relieve a wild mammal of suffering when it is injured.

These changes do not lift the ban on hunting with dogs and whilst placing greater trust in farmers and gamekeepers – those who know the land and terrain they operate on best. The controls remain more restrictive than those in Scotland.

I believe that these small changes represent a proportionate and common sense response to the problem of fox predation in upland areas, making the exemptions for "pest control" more workable. I will be voting for this statutory instrument.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP"


08 JUL 2015

A Budget for Working People

Therese has warmly welcomed today's Budget which ensures working people and families will benefit from Britain's economicrecovery.

Therese said: "This is a Budget for working people, increasing wages, cutting taxes, creating jobs, reducing rents, helping businesses, supporting families and investing more money into our NHS. The Chancellor has delivered on our pledge to provide economic security for working people."

Therese said: "The big news from today was the introduction of a new national living wage at £7.20 per hour rising to £9 by 2020. A further rise in the personal allowance to £11,000 and the higher rate threshold to £43,000 will cut taxes for 29 million people. These are down payments on our pledge to see the personal allowance rise to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. Families in Suffolk with 3 and 4 year olds will receive 30 hours of free childcare from 2017 – a massive increase from the 15 hours they're currently offered."

"Today's Budget also enables those who have worked hard and want to pass on their hard earned property to their children to be able do so. Changes to Inheritance Tax mean that if you own a property worth up to £1m you will be able to leave it to your children completely free of inheritance tax."

Therese added: "There was also important announcements on the Employment Allowance – cutting National Insurance contributions for employers and the Investment Allowance – allowing companies to invest up to £200,000 of profits in their business without paying tax – both very important measures for our local firms."

"There was also welcome news for motorists with fuel duty frozen once again and new roads fund which means all money raised through the vehicle excise duty will be invested into roads."

Please see below for a summary of the main measures announced today, which I hope you will find helpful:

  • From April 2016, a new National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for the over 25s will be introduced. This will rise to over £9 an hour by 2020.
  • The tax-free Personal Allowance will be increased from £10,600 in 2015-16 to £11,000 in April 2016.
  • The amount people can earn before they pay tax at 40% will increase from £42,385 in 2015-16 to £43,000 in 2016-17.
  • Corporation Tax will be cut to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020.The annual investment allowance will be set at its highest ever permanent level at £200,000.
  • The Employment Allowance will increase by a further £1,000 to £3,000.
  • 3 million new apprenticeships will be created by 2020, funded by a levy on large employers.
  • From September 2017, working families with 3 and 4 year olds will receive 30 hours of free childcare – an increase from the 15 hours they're currently offered.
  • Permanent non-dom status will be ended.
  • Road tax will be reformed and the money raised spent on the road network.
  • The government will meet the NATO pledge to spend 2% of national income on defence every year of this decade.
  • The Inheritance Tax threshold will be increased to £1m from April 2017.
  • The welfare system will be reformed to make it fairer for taxpayers who pay for it, while continuing to support the most vulnerable, including a reduction in the benefits cap to £20,000 and freezes in tax credits and housing allowance.
  • Rents for social housing will be reduced by 1% a year for 4 years.
  • From the 2016-17 academic year, cash support for new students will increase by £766 to £8,200 a year, the highest level ever for students from low-income households.
  • New maintenance loan support will replace student grants Loans will be paid back only when graduates earn above £21,000 a year.
  • The amount people with an income of more than £150,000 can pay tax-free into a pension will be reduced.


02 JUL 2015

Therese Lobbies for A14 Investment

Therese led a small delegation from Suffolk to meet Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP, to make the case for improvements to be made on the A14. She was joined by Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Policy Director Nick Burfield to make the case for investment to be made to improve the capacity, resilience and flow of the road.

Issues such as the congestion at the Copdock interchange, problems on the Orwell Bridge and access to local Business Parks were just some of the items being discussed. 

Therese said: "The A14 is a vital corridor not only for Suffolk, but for the whole country. Businesses rely on goods coming into the port of Felixstowe being transported in a quick and efficient manner, something the road is not currently delivering on. 40% of the UK's container trade comes into Felixstowe meaning the road is crucial to the British economy.

"With the potential development of Sizewell C taking place in the next few years, our county is being asked to take on a significant amount of infrastructure to support this. Investment in one of our main arterial routes will be essential to support this work, both while it is taking place and after completion.

"The economic growth that projects like Sizewell C will bring to Suffolk Coastal, must be complemented and enhanced through better transport links. Improvements in the A14 are an essential part of making this happen, and far local economic growth more broadly."

"I was very encouraged by what the Minister had to say. He recognised how important the A14 is and that there is still much work to be done to make life easier for Suffolk residents and businesses. I will continue to lobby hard on this issue to make sure we get the investment we need."


18 JUN 2015

Therese Celebrates Work of Citizens Advice in Suffolk Coastal

At an event in parliament this week, Therese met representatives from the Citizens Advice service to discuss the invaluable insight local Citizens Advice have about problems experienced by her constituents.

The Citizens Advice service provides free confidential and impartial advice to people in Suffolk Coastal either face to face or over the telephone. There is also a national website providing advice online, over email and via a web chat from www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Common issues reported to the local Citizens Advice include queries about benefits, debt problems, employment and housing.

Therese said: "The local Citizen Advice Centres do a great job in helping people solve their problems and developing the skills and confidence people need to help themselves. Volunteers are the bedrock of the Citizens Advice service. I'd like to thank the people in Suffolk Coastal who give up their own time to help others."


10 JUN 2015

Therese Votes to Let Britain Decide

Last night in Parliament, Therese voted in favour of a referendum on the Uk's membership of the European Union. The EUReferendum Bill passed its second reading by 544 votes to 53. Once the Bill has gone through its remaining stages the legislation will require the Government to hold a referendum on our membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.

Therese said: "I'm delighted that a huge majority of the House of Commons is now backing an in/out referendum on our membership of the EU. This is the Bill that my party tried to pass in the last Parliament but was blocked by opposition parties. It is important we let Britain decide."


27 MAY 2015

Felixstowe Flag Flies in Parliament Square to Mark 800 Years of Rights

A flag designed by pupils of Colneis Primary School in Felixstowe is flying proudly in Parliament Square to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – which established the principle of the rule of law and the rights we enjoy today.

The flag was chosen to represent all of Suffolk at the national celebration after being nominated by local MP, Therese Coffey. It which features the sky rising in the East, the sea, beach and blue sky with a prominent Martello tower.

Therese said: "I was delighted to nominate Colneis School to represent Suffolk in the flag waving ceremony. It's great to have such an iconic vision of Suffolk flying proudly in Parliament Square."

"Magna Carta is a document of such huge significance – which elevated the law above the government and the freedom of the individual above the arbitrary authority of the monarch. It is so important we continue to recognise its importance 800 years after it was signed and I thank all the pupils and staff at Colneis School for their hard work in creating the flag so we can celebrate our hard won rights."


14 MAY 2015

Therese Promoted to Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

Earlier this week, Therese was asked by the Prime Minister to become Deputy Leader of the House of Commons as he assembled his Ministerial team following the election.

Therese said: "I am absolutely delighted to be have been asked by the Prime Minister to become Deputy Leader of the House of Commons – helping Leader of the House, Chris Grayling, implement the Government's manifesto by getting legislation through the House of Commons.  It's a role I'm hugely looking forward to.  Rest assured I will still be batting for Suffolk - lobbying other Ministers on behalf of constituents and on constituency issues."


27 MAR 2015

Halesworth is Rising

Therese visited Halesworth Rising last weekend. The event, organised by Cllr Tony Goldson, was designed to showcase the good work that is currently taking place and the positive plans for the future of the town.

Therese said: "It was a great chance to catch up with a variety of organisations including Halesworth Dementia Carers' fund, the Volunteer Centre, the St Mary's project, the Campus scheme and Halesworth Health."

Therese added: "It was particularly helpful to meet Dr Sanjay Kaushal of Castlemeadow Care, who is signed up as development partner of Halesworth Health with our local GPs. I was pleased to learn more about the number of rooms that would be used to accommodate residents with dementia at differing stages. It is vital that we have more care and nursing homes equipped to offer appropriate support to patients suffering with this terrible disease. That builds on the pledge that I made to the Alzheimer's Society, that I was pleased to reaffirm just last week. Furthermore, I also signed up as a Friend of the Halesworth Dementia Carers' fund"


26 MAR 2015

Therese Makes Alzheimer's Society Pledge

Therese met Alzheimer's Society Ambassador Angela Rippon in Westminster recently to confirm her support forthose affected by the condition.

Therese said: "Dementia is one of the biggest health and care challenge our country faces and one which we need to respond to. I reaffirm my pledge to press for more care and nursing homes which cater for patients affected by dementia. It is my ambition to help make Suffolk Coastal a dementia friendly constituency in the next Parliament".

The Alzheimer's Society is striving to ensure that more people get a diagnosis and the support they need and that communities are encouraged to become dementia friendly to ensure people with dementia can live full and active lives.


18 MAR 2015

Budget 2015: Another Step on the Road to Prosperity

Therese has welcomed today's Budget as another step on the road to prosperity for Suffolk and for Britain.

Therese said: "The Budget will continue the national recovery, cutting taxes, helping first time buyers, aiding farmers, assisting pensioners and supporting savers. Five years ago, Britain was spending and borrowing too much and too many people were out of work. Living standards are now higher than when this Government came into office, with more people in work than ever before."

Therese added: "The big news from today was the rise in the personal allowance – cutting taxes for 27 million people, a tax cut for savers and help for first time buyers. House prices in Suffolk Coastal are some of the highest in the county so the new Help to Buy ISA will be real help for them. The Chancellor has also committed to continuing to freeze fuel duty, £10 off a tank under the Tories, whilst taking a penny off a pint of beer for the third year in a row".

"There was important help for our farmers with measures to extend the period they can average their profits for income tax purposes from 2 to 5 years. There was also very welcome news for our local air ambulance – as £1.7m of banking fines were pledged to purchase a new East of England air ambulance. There was also a doubling of resources to UKTI to support British firms exporting to China, important for the Port of Felixstowe."

Please see below for a summary of the main measures announced today, which I hope you will find helpful:

The Personal Allowance will rise to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after, with the benefit also passed on to higher rate tax payers. It means the typical working taxpayer will be over £900 a year better off and 3.7 million people won't pay any tax at all. This is a down payment on our commitment to raise the personal allowance to £12,500.

  • A new Personal Savings Allowance to abolish taxes for 17 million savers. From next year the first £1,000 of the interest basic rate taxpayers earn on savings will be completely tax free – taking around 95% of people out of savings tax altogether.
  • Help to Buy ISA to help first time buyers. This new ISA will mean for every £200 a first time buyer saves, the Government will give a bonus of £50 up to £3,000.
  • From the autumn, people will have complete freedom to take money out of an ISA and put it back in later in the year without losing their tax-free entitlement.
  • Extend new pension freedoms to the 5 million pensioners who already have an annuity – meaning pensioners will be able to sell their annuity income in return for a lump sum.
  • A rise in the Minimum Wage to £6.70ph.
  • Abolishing the annual tax return to make the tax system simpler.
  • Supporting farmers by extending the average period self-employed farmers can average their profits for income tax purposes from 2 to 5 years.
  • Penny off your pint – Beer duty will be will be cut for the third year in a row. Cider duty cut by 2% and Scotch whisky by 2%.
  • Fuel duty has again been frozen, cancelling the planned duty escalator under Labour, which would have seen a September increase. That's £10 off a tank with the Tories.
  • Doubling resources to UKTI to support British firms exporting to China, important for the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Increasing the bank levy by £900m whilst stopping banks from deducting from corporation tax the compensation they make to customers for products they miss sold.
  • Using banking fine to help good causes including £1.7m to the East of England Air Ambulance.
  • A trebling of the £15m church roof fund.


18 MAR 2015

Therese Welcomes Change in Law to Address Nuisance Phone-calls

Therese has welcomed a forthcoming change in law, which will make it easier for firms that plague consumers with nuisance calls to be hit with fines of up to £50,000.

The law currently requires the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to prove a company caused 'substantial damage or substantial distress' by their conduct before action can be taken. Following a six-week public consultation, the Government is now removing this legal threshold, giving the ICO the power to intervene in more cases. This change will come into effect from 6 April 2015.

Therese said: "A number of constituents have contacted me on this matter. For far too long companies have bombarded people with unwarranted nuisance calls and texts and I'm pleased the Government is taking firm action."

"This change will make it easier for the Information Commissioner's Office to take action against offenders and send a clear message to others that harassing consumers with nuisance calls or texts is just not on."


04 MAR 2015

£22 Million Funding Boost for Neighbourhood Planning

Therese has today welcomed a £22.5 million government boost for Neighbourhood Plans.

Neighbourhood planning groups can now apply for grant funding to pay for events to engage the local community, print leaflets and to pay for specialist planning advice in putting their Neighbourhood Plans together.

Therese said: "I'm delighted that communities can now bid for extra cash to put together their Neighbourhood Plans, enabling them to have a greater say over the future of their parish. Rendlesham have been leading the way in Suffolk and are about to have a referendum on their plan. Though not yet voted upon, the presence of their plan has helped the Secretary of State turn down unsuitable development. Some other communities have already started the journey including Leiston, Melton, Southwold, Wenhaston and Woodbridge. I encourage other parishes to do the same. They give real teeth on how you want the shape and feel of your community to look."

Photo: Therese and Heather Hellis, the Parish Clerk from Rendlesham, looking at the Neighbourhood Plan.


02 MAR 2015

New Coastal Revival Fund to Help Boost Seaside Towns

Therese has warmly welcomed a new £3m Coastal Revival Fund  which will help kick-start the revival of at-risk heritage along the Suffolk Coast.

Therese said: "This is a perfect opportunity for Felixstowe - supporting projects looking to unlock the economic potential of our seafront. The fund is specifically designed to help seaside towns become year round destinations, supporting our local tourism sector and sustaining jobs."

Therese added: "Alongside this, seaside areas will also receive support through the formation of new Coastal Community Teams, able to access up to £10,000, to tackle the specific challenges their area. I will be liaising with local community leaders along our coast to take this opportunity forward."

Details of how to apply to be a Coastal Community Team and further information about the Coastal Revival Fund will be published on the Gov.uk website shortly.


02 FEB 2015

Deal to Improve Phone Signal Finalised by the Government

Therese has warmly welcomed the news that the Government has now finalised the deal with the UK's four mobile networkoperators to deliver improved mobile coverage.

Therese said: "This is fantastic news for our part of Suffolk, which is currently blighted by patchy coverage for all networks. These "partial not-spots" are bad for residents, businesses, health and care workers as well as tourists. I'm delighted the Government has now finalised a binding agreement between EE, O2, Three and Vodafone which now becomes part of their licence conditions which is enforceable by Ofcom."

Therese added: This deal will bring £5bn worth of investment by the mobile networks into the UK's infrastructure, which will help drive the Government's long-term economic plan."

Under the agreement – a first ever – all four of the mobile networks have collectively agreed to:

· £5bn investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017 - potentially creating jobs and a boost for the UK economy;

· guaranteed voice and text coverage from each operator across 90 per cent of the UK geographic area by 2017, halving the areas currently blighted by patchy coverage as a result of partial 'not-spots';

· full coverage from all four mobile operators will increase from 69 per cent to 85 per cent of geographic areas by 2017; and

· provide reliable signal strength for voice for each type of mobile service (whether 2G/3G/4G) – currently many consumers frequently lose signal or cannot get signal long enough to make a call.


19 JAN 2015

Have you ever Thought of Starting your own Business?

Therese is encouraging individuals who have thought about setting up in business to apply for a Government backed start-up loan. Her call comes as new figures reveal that 23 local people in Suffolk Coastal have already been helped by the scheme – enabling them to provide growth and jobs for hardworking people.

Therese said: "The Government start-up loan scheme helps turn the dream of setting up your own business into reality. I'm pleased that 23 local people have now taken advantage of the scheme providing just under £100k of capital. I urge anyone who is thinking of setting up in business to take a look at the scheme, which provides loans at a 6% interest rate and a mentor."

Across the country, 25,000 Start-Up Loans have now been awarded, worth a total of nearly £130 million and generating more than 32,000 new jobs. For more information see - www.startuploans.co.uk


13 JAN 2015

Government Provides Cash Support to Help Councils Crack Down on Unauthorised Development

Therese has welcomed the news that an additional £1m has been made available from the Government to tackle unauthoriseddevelopment to make sure everyone plays by the planning rules.

The new Planning Enforcement Fund gives councils funding towards the legal costs in seeking a court injunction against those who flout planning laws and cause misery to local residents.

Therese said: "This is great news for our local councils. In the past Suffolk Coastal and Waveney councils have had to shoulder the cost of court injunctions. Now they can apply for up to £10,000 per case to secure a court injunction – giving them the tools they need to keep Suffolk special."

Therese added: "The public rightly expects fair play in the planning system. Law-abiding residents and developers follow the rules and obtain planning permission so they find it shocking to see others who don't. This new fund will help prevent this injustice".


08 JAN 2015

Affordable Flood Insurance a Step Closer

People in the higest flood risk areas will be better protected against spiralling insurance costs as successful negotiations tookbetween the insurance industry, Flood Re and the Government in late December. This will enable legislation to be laid in Parliament later this year and - once approved by the financial regulators - enable Flood Re to operate as a reinsurer.

The eligibility criteria has also been widened to include those properties in Council Tax Band H. This received wide support in the public consultation and from the insurance industry, which has agreed to fund this without passing costs on to other consumers.

Therese said: "I'm delighted that agreement has been reached on the detailed proposals for Flood Re. For the first time, we will ensure access to affordable flood insurance for people regardless of where they live. Having access to affordable insurance will give residents peace of mind"


02 JAN 2015

Fish Discard Ban Comes Into Force

The ban on fish discards has now come into force with fishermen targeting pelagic quota species such as mackerel and herringhaving to land all the quota fish they catch.

Therese said: "It has been a long fight to reform the Common Fisheries Policy but this ban marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fish more sustainably by ending the shameful practice of discarding perfectly good fish."

The ban will first apply to pelagic species including blue whiting, boarfish, herring, horse mackerel, mackerel, Norway pout, sandeel and sprat. It will also include by-catch of quota species, such as cod and whiting, and any quota fish that are below the minimum landing size.


19 DEC 2014

Government Secures Landmark deal for UK Mobile Phone Users

The Government this week unveiled a landmark deal with the four mobile networks to improve mobile coverage across the UK.

Therese said: "One of my few irritations in our part of Suffolk is the poor mobile phone signal. These "partial not-spots" are bad for residents, businesses, health and care workers as well as tourists. I'm therefore delighted the Government has secured a binding agreement with the mobile networks EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to tackle poor signal issues in these areas."

Under the agreement all four of the mobile networks have collectively agreed to:

  • A guaranteed £5bn investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017.
  • Guaranteed voice and text coverage from each operator across 90 per cent of the UK geographic area by 2017, halving the areas currently blighted by patchy coverage as a result of partial 'not-spots'.
  • Full coverage from all four mobile operators will increase from 69 per cent to 85 per cent of geographic areas by 2017.
  • Provide reliable signal strength for voice for each type of mobile service (whether 2G/3G/4G) – currently many consumers frequently lose signal or cannot get signal long enough to make a call.
  • Make the deal legally binding by accepting amended licence conditions to reflect the agreement – it will be enforceable by Ofcom.

Therese added: "This deal will also result in cutting total 'not-spots' where there is currently no mobile coverage by two-thirds supporting the Government's existing £150m programme to upgrade phone signal where there is no coverage at all."


17 DEC 2014

Government Publishes Proposals for English Votes for English Laws

Yesterday in Parliament the Governmnet published proposals for English Votes for English Laws.

Therese said: "I pleased the Governmnet has published proposals on this important matter. Devolution to other parts of the United Kingdom has created the situation in which MPs representing constituencies outside England may vote on legislation which does not affect their constituents while English MPs are not able to influence these policies in other nations where they are devolved. Further powers devolved to Scotland as a result of the recent independence referendum campaign has added to this. The situation is fundamentally unfair and has got to change."

For further information including a chance to have your say on the proposals please see here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implications-of-devolution-for-england.


16 DEC 2014

Pensioner Savings Get a Boost

Therese has welcomed the announcement from the Chancellor that the Government's 65 plus bonds will pay savers the best available interest rates.

Therese said: "This is great news for Suffolk savers. The market beating rates will pay annual interest of 2.8% on a 1 year bond and 4% on a 3 year bond.  A key part of our long term economic plan is to support savers at all stages of their lives. Mortgage rates have been kept low which is good for homeowners but has meant savings rates have been below inflation. These bonds will provide certainty and a good return for those who have saved and now rely on their savings in retirement."

The bonds are available from Janauary on a first come first served basis. For further details visit - http://www.nsandi.com/.


03 DEC 2014

An Autumn Statement for Enterprise and Aspiration

Therese has warmly welcomed the Autumn Statement delivered by the Chancellor today setting out the Government's plans tohelp taxpayers, back business and invest in the NHS and infrastructure.

Therese said: "This statement set out a vision of aspiration for hardworking people and entrepreneurs, with the economy set to grow faster than previously expected, while investing more in the NHS. Particularly for the Suffolk coast, the announcement of introducing tax relief for businesses that contribute to flood defences. The tax free allowance for everyone will increase a bit more to £10,600 next April and the threshold will also increase for the 40% threshold. 98% of house buyers will see a reduction of stamp duty, any ISA savings inherited will continue to keep the tax-free allowance and particularly welcome for younger workers is the abolition of employer National Insurance contributions for young apprentices. Finally, we will be increasing the business rate relief for our high street, pubs and restaurants by up to £1500 – which will be welcomed up and down the coast. The deficit inherited from the previous Government has now been cut in half and measures will be brought in to ensure banks can't avoid future tax by offsetting against historic losses."

Therese added: "This has been a great week for Suffolk with big announcements and investments in road and rail that will really help our county, as part of our National Infrastructure Plan"

"The tax relief on flood defences is also very helpful for us along the Suffolk coast and those who help EACH and St. Elizabeth Hospice will welcome the VAT refund for hospices to bring them in line with the NHS."

For full details please see here - www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-2014


02 DEC 2014

Therese Welcomes Massive Rail Investment

Therese has welcomed the massive investment in East Anglia's Rail Service as part of the National Infrastructure Plan. This willmean a major upgrade to the track and new trains with the new franchise in 2016.

Therese said: "This is brilliant news. I'm delighted the Government has backed the excellent work done by the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce for almost £500m of investment in our railways. The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, thanked our campaign made up of MPs working hard with New Anglia LEP, our councils and local businesses for putting the proposal together."

Therese added: "Investing in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally connecting our economic hubs. It's only because we've got a strong economy that we're able to do this. This plan will transform the rail service in the East of England - helping local businesses and creating jobs."


02 DEC 2014

Therese Welcomes Shared Parental Leave

Therese has welcomed the new regulations on Shared Parental Leave which come into force this week. Under the new schemeparents will gain greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth.

The new rules, which apply to couples with babies due on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother's maternity leave.

Therese said: "I welcome this new flexibility for parental leave. The Government recognise that families have their own individual set of circumstances and these new rules reflect that."

Therese added: "The previous maternity system reinforced the assumptions that most of the childcare responsibilities should be done by mums and failed to recognise the vitally important role that dads have to play. These new rules mean that mums will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers can if they want to spend more time with their children during the early stages of development."


01 DEC 2014

Therese Welcomes Investment in East Anglia's Roads

Therese has today welcomed the announcement of £1.5 billion of new investment in East of England infrastructure – dealing with problems on the roads and supporting jobs and growth.

This massive investment will update major corridors in the East of England including the A12 - making life easier for businesses and motorists.

Therese said: "This is fantastic news for motorists and businesses in Suffolk who have had to live with the consequences of previous underinvestment in roads in the East of England. The investment means that the road link between London and East Anglia will essentially become a more resilient road with extra capacity so the delays around Colchester and Chelmsford should disappear. I will be checking with the Highways Agency on the cost-benefit of the overhead message signs, especially if they're anything like the signs on the A14."

Therese added: "Working through our Long Term Economic Plan means that Government is able to invest an unprecedented sum into the East of England. Something that the previous Government failed to do."


26 NOV 2014

Therese Urges Eligible Equitable Life Policyholders to Call Helpline

Therese is encouraging Equitable Life policyholders that haven't received payments so far to call the helpline number to claimcompensation that they may be entitled to.

Therese said: "The compensation scheme has already paid out £990.5m in compensation but the Government want to ensure all those entitled to payments receive them."

Therese added: "Many constituents have contacted me about Equitable Life and I am pleased that most of them have now received their payment. The scheme has gone to great lengths to trace eligible policyholders but not everybody that is entitled to compensation has come forward. If you think you are eligible then I would urge you to phone the helpline number on 0300 0200 150"


19 NOV 2014

New Funding for Minibuses for Community Transport Operators

Therese has welcomed the announcement this week that £25m has been made available from Government to provide minibuses to community transport operators in rural areas.

Therese said: "I'm delighted that the Government has signalled its continued commitment to support local voluntary bus operators by making £25m available for new minibuses. Community bus providers are essential to keep communities alive and independent, especially here in rural Suffolk. This large amount of money is to help those who already do so much to support their community."

The fund is focused on existing voluntary and third sector organisations that already have a permit to run not-for-profit services of benefit to the local community.

Full details of how the scheme will operate and the information charities will need when applying will be set out shortly on the DfT website.


31 OCT 2014

Therese Dishes up Free Chips for all at Dogs Trust Reception

Therese supported the launch of the Dogs Trust Chip My Dog website in Parliament this week. chipmydog.org.uk is a one stop-shop for all microchipping queries giving dog owners advice on the upcoming change in law and free microchipping services.

Therese said: "I was pleased to support Dogs Trust and help the charity launch its Chip My Dog website. Compulsory micro-chipping for all dogs comes into effect in April 2016 and I'm delighted Dogs Trust is offering a free service."

"Having a microchip means dogs can quickly be reunited with their owner. Currently dogs can be put down after just 7 days in kennels if not claimed. It is also easier for police tackle dogs causing problems largely due to their owners."

Therese added: "Recently, I found a lone dog. Thanks to the dog being microchipped, through the vet, the dog was successfully reunited with its owner later that day."

"The Dogs Trust put on a free microchipping event in Woodbridge earlier this year which I attended and there were several in Suffolk during the summer.  I urge my dog-owning constituents to get their canine companions microchipped through the local veterinary practice, which the Dogs Trust will pay for."

Full details of local vets participating in the scheme can be found here.


27 OCT 2014

Creating a Nation of Lifesavers

Therese attended the British Heart Foundation launch event in Parliament last week on a new way to learn CPR.

In the UK, 30,00 cardiac arrests occur out of hospital every year with less than 1 in 10 surviving.  The British Heart Foundation is trying to create a nation of lifesavers by training more and more people in CPR and defibrillator awareness.

Speaking at the launch, Therese said: "I was pleased to be able to refresh my CPR skills with the new watch and learn Call Push Rescue Training Kit.  I urge schools, community groups and businesses to take advantage of the new training kit to teach people in their organisation how to perform CPR. Which could save lives."

The new training kits are free for secondary schools and some community groups, or for a small fee for workplaces.

For more information see here - http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/nation-of-lifesavers.aspx


24 OCT 2014

Repair Work to Benacre Erosion Defences

Therese is delighted to report that the Environment Agency Anglia has this week started erosion repair work on the Benacre sluice.

Speaking about the project, Therese said: "This area suffered significant erosion as a result of the tidal surge last December.  It has been worrying residents and was an issue that was raised with me on my recent constituency tour."

She added: "The work will involve importing rock to extend the southern section of the existing defence slowing erosion in Benacre and neighbouring land."


22 OCT 2014

Government Abolishes 55% tax on pension funds Passed on as Inheritance

Therese is reminding Suffolk residents of the recent positive changes the Government has made to pensions.

The Government has abolished taxes on pension pots that are passed on to the next generation. Till now, pension savings passed on have been taxed at a whopping 55% tax.

From April 2015 individuals will have the freedom to pass on their unused defined contribution pension to any nominated beneficiary.

Find out more about how the new pensions system will work and what it means for you at - http://bit.ly/1nN5VRg


20 OCT 2014

Children's Relationship with Separated Parents Emphasised in Law

Therese has welcomed the reinforcement in law of the importance of children having relationships with each parent following family breakdown.

The new law which comes in effect this Wednesday will require family courts to presume that each parent's involvement in the child's life will further their welfare – where it is safe to do so.

Therese said: "It is important that children have a positive relationship with both of their parents. No parent should be excluded from their child's life for no good reason. This change in the law makes clear to the family courts that there should be presumption that each parent will play a role in the future life of their child. This is not retrospective but a welcome step"

Parental involvement is the last part of the Children and Families Act 2014 to be implemented and marks the end of a significant phase of reforms to the Family Justice system including reducing excessive delays in these cases.


16 OCT 2014

Unemployment at Record Low

Therese has welcomed the biggest annual fall in unemployment with those out of work at an eight-year low.

In Suffolk Coastal the number of people claiming Jobseeker's allowance has fallen to 461, down 32 in a month and 385 from last year. Youth unemployment is at the lowest ever level.

Therese said: "The figures show that unemployment has reached another record low here in Suffolk Coastal which is great news for the extra people in work now with the security of a pay packet."

"There was concerning news this week about potential redundancies in Leiston with the Department of Work and Pensions already providing support. The long term economic plan is seeing more and more jobs being created in the East of England I hope we will continue to see a fall in unemployment in Suffolk Coastal"


16 OCT 2014

Taking the Fight to Fraudulent Websites

Therese has today welcomed Government action on misleading websites that pass themselves off as legitimate government services and is encouraging residents to join the fight to tackle them. Many people come across these third-party sites in the sponsored adverts section on web search engines.

Therese said: "A significant number of constituents have contacted me about misleading websites and I'm glad the Government is taking action. The Government met with Google earlier this year to agree a mechanism for removal and similar arrangements have been put in place with other providers. The adverts often break the search engine providers' terms and conditions but they are not actively removed unless complaints are made. You can now report them at www.gov.uk/misleadingwebsites which will flag a complaint with Google and other search engines For all government services online, I encourage people to look on gov.uk for the legitimate sites."

Therese added: "The Government is also working with the National Trading Standards Board to ensure enforcement action is taken. Trading Standards have received an additional £120,000 this year to help tackle the problem and arrests have been made under the Fraud Act. By working together we can help counter these scams."


26 SEP 2014

£8 Million to Train the Next Generation of the Nuclear Workforce

Therese has welcomed the announcement from government this week that £8 million has been set aside to train the next generation of nuclear technicians and engineers.

As well as providing funding for apprenticeship and STEM workshop places the money will fund a labour market analysis of the current and future skills needs for the UK nuclear industry, including national and regional reports of skills shortages and gaps.

Therese said: "I'm delighted that the Government is investing in training for our nuclear industry. The construction of Sizewell C will create thousands of jobs and will provide a massive boost the local economy. It is essential that we invest in apprenticeships and skills training so that Suffolk people can take advantage of these opportunities and so it's important we tap into this new source of funding".


23 SEP 2014

Labour's Schools Policy Would've Vetoed Saxmundham Free School

Therese has spoken out against Labour's policy, confirmed at their party conference this week, that they would have prevented Saxmundham Free School from opening had they been in power.

Therese said: "Parents of Saxmundham Free school pupils will be concerned to learn that if Labour were in power then the school would never have opened. Labour have confirmed that they would block the opening of any Free School in an area where there are excess places, preventing choice for parents and pupils."

Therese added: "Saxmundham Free School has already demonstrated it's delivering a high standard of education having been rated Good with Outstanding features in a recent Ofsted inspection. It is shocking to think that under a Labour government, parents would've been denied the choice to send their children to this school."


20 SEP 2014

Therese Backs English Votes for English Laws

Speaking after the result of the Scottish referendum yesterday, Therese said:

"The Scots have spoken and by a decisive majority they have voted to stay with the UK.  Our party leaders all pledged totransfer more powers to the Scottish Parliament and to ensure that Scots would not be worse off today than they were last week as a result of voting to stay together. Readers will know that I have been pressing for fairer funding for some time and I will continue to do so. We have made some steps on school funding with an extra £120 per child in Suffolk. NHS England now decides the health spending allocations within England and I will continue to press that case. Meanwhile Labour nationally has lobbied the NHS Board to cut funds to Suffolk and other rural areas to put more into city areas which already enjoy considerably more funding per head."

Therese added: "Devolution has already progressed. Several layers of reporting by local councils to government have been swept away with over £2 billion saved. Cutting red tape has again removed powers from central government and helping business and people avoid unnecessary regulation. Further devolution involving tax powers may take some time to consider but we can make a simple step within the House of Commons that says for those areas that the devolved legislatures lead (like health and education), then MPs from those countries should not vote on laws only affecting other countries. I think Ed Miliband will regret his partisan reaction. The Conservatives campaigned hard in Scotland and delivered half a million votes for the Union, 25% of those who voted No. However, we have raised this issue in our last 3 manifestos and this is the opportunity to make that change. As David Cameron has said, "Why should Scottish MPs be able to vote on what is taught in English schools, to reduce spending on English hospitals, or even vary English or Welsh income taxes, when under the new settlement English or Welsh MPs would have no say in such matters in Scotland? It is fundamentally unjust to have the views of the people of England and Wales overridden in this way." English votes for English laws – you know it makes sense."

Therese is urging constituents with thoughts on next steps to email her with with your views.  You can do so here.


19 SEP 2014

Your Chance to Design the new £1 Coin

Therese is encouraging Suffolk residents to design the tail side of the new £1 coin, which will enter circulation in 2017. A nationwide competition has been launched for one lucky winner to put their art in everyone's hands for years to come.

Therese said: "I know there is a significant amount of artistic talent here in Suffolk and I want to encourage local people to submit their designs for the new £1 coin showing what 'Britishness' means to them. This is a fantastic opportunity and I hope that it will be Suffolk, which will be associated with the new £1 coin for years to come"

In addition to seeing their design on the nation's most important coin, the winner will be invited to visit The Royal Mint to strike their own design on a new £1 before the coins enter general circulation, where when they will ultimately see their design on currency used by millions of people every day. They will also receive a fee of £10,000 in exchange for the right to use their design.

At the 2014, the Chancellor announced that the Royal Mint would manufacture a new £1 coin, which will be the world's most secure circulating coin, helping to reduce counterfeiting and reinforce enhance the integrity of the United Kingdom's currency.

For more information please see - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-1-coin-design-competition-opens


17 SEP 2014

Unemployment Continues to Fall in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has welcomed the official statistics published today, that show unemployment in Suffolk Coastal is continuing to fall. The number of people claiming job seekers' allowance now stands at 493 a fall of 41 from last month and 422 lower than this time last year. Having more than halved since the last general election.

Therese said: "The figures show that unemployment has reached another record low here in Suffolk Coastal. I'm delighted that 422 fewer people are claiming than this time last year, having more than halved since the last election. This means more people with the security of a regular pay packet and a better and brighter future"

She added: "It is clear the long term economic plan is working and we need to stick to it. Businesses locally are creating more and more jobs and I'm determined to see the number of those without a job continue to fall. We need to keep moving towards our target of full employment."


25 JUL 2014

Major Milestone in our Economic Plan means a Brighter Future for Families in Suffolk

Therese has welcomed new figures showing the British economy is now above its pre-crisis peak, after the recession sawthe economy shrink by 7.2 per cent.

The economy grew by 0.8 per cent in Q2 2014, up 3.1 per cent on the same period last year.

This continuing growth means there are more businesses, creating more jobs, so that more families can have the security of a regular pay packet and the peace of mind for the future that brings.

Local signs of growth include rising demand at the Port of Felixstowe, where the opening of a new £40m rail terminal has given Hutchison Ports the ability to handle even more cargo.

Therese said:"Thanks to the hard work of people in Suffolk Coastal and across Britain the economy is now above its pre-crisis peak - a major milestone in the Conservatives' long-term economic plan. It means more businesses, creating more jobs, as they have at Felixstowe, Martlesham Heath and Sizewell, so families can look forward to a brighter, more secure future.

"But there is still a long way to go. The Great Recession was one of the deepest of any major economy and cost Britain six years, hitting people in Suffolk Coastal hard.

"Now we owe it to hardworking taxpayers not to repeat the mistakes of the past and instead to stick with the plan that is delivering economic security and a brighter future for all."


22 JUL 2014

Therese Welcomes Extra Funding for Children in Local Schools in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has welcomed the announcement from the Government that schools in Suffolk will receive an extra £10.5 M in their funding formula next year, up from the £9.2m first announced back in March, which means an average of an extra £120 per child for school funding.

This is part of the move towards a fairer funding formula. In recent years the school funding system has been based on data that no longer reflected pupils' needs and ignored the rurality element of many schools.

Commenting on the announcement, Therese said: "This is a welcome step towards a fairer funding formula. The rurality element of school funding declined under the last Government with a clear bias towards urban schools. I am pleased that the Government are reversing that trend by increasing the per pupil funding by £120 for schools in Suffolk up from the £105 figure announced earlier this year. It means our schools will get the resources they are entitled to and will help improve the quality of education"

Therese added: "I have been campaigning for a fairer funding formula alongside many of my Parliamentary colleagues for some time and have held meetings with Education Ministers pressing the case. I am glad the Government have listened to our proposals and increased the funding further."

Funding will increase in Suffolk from £4,241 per pupil in 2014/15 to £4,361 in 2015/16.


15 JUL 2014

Therese Joins the Government

Therese has today joined the Government as a whip.

Speaking about her appointment Therese said: "I am absolutely delighted to be asked by the Prime Minister to join the Government as a whip and contribute to helping deliver the government's long term economic plan as we continue the country's recovery."


10 JUL 2014

Therese Calls for Improvements to the A12

Today in Parliament Therese pressed the case for improvements to the A12 including the 4-villages by-pass as she questioned Roads Minister, Robert Goodwill MP about congestion.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Therese said: "I welcome the recent growth deal for the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership which I know will help the congestion on many roads but can I make a future bid for the A12 particularly the sections of the road that will be heavily used for Sizewell C construction traffic including for the 4-villages by-pass involving Stratford St Andrew and Farnham?"

Responding to Therese's question the Minister said: "I know my honourable friend was disappointed that the 4-villages by-pass was not included on this occasion but certainly we are still looking at that."

The Minister has just returned from a tour of Suffolk and Norfolk when he was looking at the A12 and the A47 which he suggested requires much needed improvements.


10 JUL 2014

Therese Calls for Debate on Duty to Keep Schools Open During Strikes

Therese has today called for the Government to consider a statutory duty to be placed on school governing bodies to ensure they remain open during strike action and has asked the Leader of the House of Commons for a debate on this matter in Parliament.

Therese said: "Many children in Suffolk will not have been able to attend school today because of the unjustified industrial action that is taking place. This is damaging to their education and places an unacceptable burden on hard working parents who need to find last minute childcare. My thanks go to the headteachers and staff who have come to work today and opened their school as normal. I think it is time that we consider through law that all schools remain open during industrial action by ensuring governing bodies put in place alternative provision for these occasions."


03 JUL 2014

Therese Alerts Travellers to Rogue Health Insurance Websites

As the summer holidays approach Therese is alerting travellers not to use rogue websites that charge for European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) as they are available free for UK residents through the official government website.

Therese said: Your EHIC should be free of charge. If you are being asked to pay then you are not on the official EHIC website. The Government are taking action to crack down on these misleading websites; working with Google to remove adverts and providing extra funding to trading standards to prevent use"

Therese added: "If you have come across one of these websites then you can report them at www.gov.uk/misleadingwebsites which will flag a complaint with Google and other search engines".

The official Government website is www.gov.uk/european-health-insurance-card or applicants can call 0300 330350.


30 JUN 2014

Therese Welcomes Competition Inquiry into Energy Market

Therese has today welcomed the announcement from the regulator Ofgem that it is referring the energy market to a full competition investigation. The review which will be carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate whether competition is working effectively enough for consumers, bearing down on prices.

Therese said: "This review is timely particularly after recent polling indicated over a third of consumers in the East of England do not trust their electricity supplier. This is of concern, particularly when we know that energy companies are big investors and employers in Suffolk like EDF at Sizewell and SSE with its offshore wind farms. We need to ensure that the market works for consumers. I am pleased that energy companies, such as EDF, have also welcomed the inquiry which will provide confidence for investors to help secure the long sustainability of our energy market.

As well as assisting the CMA, Ofgem will continue its work to protect consumers including pushing forward on next-day switching, improving the support available for vulnerable consumers in finding the best energy deal and continuing to ensure that consumers make the most of recent reforms to make the market simpler, clearer and fairer.


20 JUN 2014

Government Investigating New Technologies to Extend Rollout of Superfast Broadband

Therese has today welcomed the announcement from Government that they are to provide a £10m innovation fund to explore ways to take superfast broadband to the most remote and hardest to reach places in the UK.

Therese said: "Suffolk has been leading the way in the rollout of rural broadband and this announcement is great news for our rural parishes, already on course to receive at least 2mbs, to receive faster speeds in the future. With the Government's nationwide programme on track to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of areas by 2017 I am delighted that they are focusing on exploring ways to improve the speeds of those premises in the final 5%, essential for local residents and businesses."

The money will fund eight different projects to explore how to expand coverage in remote areas, using fixed wireless and satellite technologies, a social investment financial model and an operating model which aggregates small rural networks, to ensure no-one is left behind in the digital slow lane.


09 MAY 2014

Therese Welcomes New Green Deal to Save Money on Energy Bills

Therese has today welcomed the new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund announced by the Government.

From June, householders will be able to get up to £7,600 back through the new scheme by undertaking energy efficiency improvements to their homes. The Fund will help households to install energy efficiency improvements by rewarding them with money back on the cost of installing two or more of the twelve measures eligible under the Scheme.

Therese said: "This is great news for Suffolk residents and is the latest in a series of measures the Government are taking to help families enjoy the benefits of more energy efficient homes with lower bills"

For more information go to - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-green-deal-guide-to-the-green-deal-home-improvement-fund


30 APR 2014

Therese Pushes for Rail Line Electrification

Therese and Ben Gummer pushed for the electrification of the Felixstowe rail-line this morning at a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport.

The meeting was also attended by the CEO of Felixstowe Port, Clemence Chang, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Paul Davey and County Council Transport Portfolio Holder, Graham Newman.

Therese said: "It was a very positive meeting. The Secretary of State is aware how important the Felixstowe to Nuneaton freight line is and by electrifying the line we can improve resilience and increase the capacity essential for the smooth running of the passenger service, which helps the Norwich in 90 ambitions."

Ben Gummer said: "We had a good meeting this morning working through some complicated issues of investment. I am glad that all parties are trying to see if they can contribute to significant improvements to the route between Felixstowe and the Midlands."


08 APR 2014

MP on the Lookout for School Flag-wavers to Celebrate Magna Carta

Therese is encouraging local primary schools to apply to become the official flag-wavers for Suffolk at a national celebration next year marking the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta.

In March 2015, flags representing every county in the UK will fly in Parliament Square. They will be selected from a flag designed by one primary school in every constituency and Therese is on the lookout for Suffolk Coastal's entry.

Therese said: "The Magna Carta is an extremely important document which enshrines in law many of the liberties we all enjoy today. Like the barons who settled King John at Runnymede the Speaker's Committee has suggested that local MPs should select a school that has demonstrated excellence in democratic action. It may be that the school council has helped formulate and anti-bulling policy or helped make changes in the local area. I want to encourage local primary schools to apply for this excellent opportunity."

Schools should apply by writing or emailing Dr Coffey by midday on 28th April.


08 APR 2014

Therese Backs Theatre Tax Relief Plans

Therese has backed Government plans to increase theatre tax relief.  In the Budget the Chancellor announced that tax relief of up to 25% would be available to touring productions and 20% to other productions from September, including plays, musicals and dance.

Therese said: "This is good news for the arts in Suffolk and will support our theatre productions which are enjoyed by a great number of people. It is important we enable productions that play such an important role in the cultural life of Suffolk to thrive. Aldeburgh Music as a charity is already able to access gift aid on any donations."

The Government have launched a consultation on how the tax relief will be implemented which is available at - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/theatre-tax-relief


03 APR 2014

Therese Backs Code Club to Help Young People Secure Jobs in Technology

Last week in Parliament Therese attended the Samsung Electronics and Code Club event, the national network of over 1,300after school coding clubs which provide young people with the skills they need for a career in technology.

Code Club runs a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11.

Therese said: "I fully support the work of Code Club to foster digital skills. I recently attended the Championship for young computer coders hosted by BT at Martlesham so know first-hand the benefit of coding to our young people. Educating our children how to code supports the learning of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects essential for encouraging engineering and is vital for young people to take advantage of the opportunities in this sector."

Therese added: "I encourage local schools who want to get involved and find out more to contact me".


27 MAR 2014

Therese Pushes for Dualling of Ipswich to Felixstowe Rail Line in Ports Debate

Therese used her contribution in the access to ports debate in Parliament today to push for the dualling of the Felixstowe to Ipswich rail line. She also received assurances from the Transport Minister that there would be no delay in the upgrade to the A14 now the tolling proposals have been dropped.

Therese said: "Felixstowe to Nuneaton is an important freight rail line and I know the Government have already recognised that. The new Ipswich Chord will in the future allow considerably more freight trains to be able to run smoothly through to Nuneaton and up to the Midlands. It is the Felixstowe to Ipswich line itself though that continues to generate significantly more problems. When it expanded the Port committed to dualling the line and that was written into the legal agreement. The Port is now trying to change that commitment and instead help to fund a loop solution. I recognise that dualling is quite an expensive investment but I still think we should have the line dualled which will make a significant improvement to resilience of freight coming out of the port and improve the service for passengers. The dualling of the line would be the gold standard whilst a set of passing loops would be silver or bronze solution. With the continuing growth of Felixstowe we need that dualling of the line."

Therese also used the debate to raise the important issue of the A14 and the Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond, confirmed that there would be no delay to the project now Therese's successful campaign resulted in the tolling element being dropped.

Therese said: "I am very pleased that the A14 didn't get tolled in the end which was good news not only for the Port of Felixstowe but it was good news for wider businesses across all of Suffolk."

Whilst on the subject of the A14, Therese also raised the delays on the Orwell Bridge.

She said: "We all know that often the bridge can be entirely closed and this causes chaos for the port and residents of Ipswich as traffic gets re-routed. Along with Ben Gummer, I organised a summit with the Highways Agency and the Police last year and one of the things I was pleased to hear was that the Highways Agency had reasonable recovery facilities. The Highways Agency has come up with some proposals to lower the speed limit in that area which I welcome and I want to encourage them to continue to up their game."

Therese ended the debate by praising the Harwich Haven Authority for their essential dredging work in ensuring shipping lines are available which improves the resilience of Felixstowe Port. She said that she would continue to fly the flag for the great Felixstowe


25 MAR 2014

MP Urges Reform to Health Funding Formula to Recognise Ageing Population

Today in Parliament, Therese led a debate on NHS funding for an ageing population in which she suggested that the needs of elderly patients were not being recognised as they should in the allocation of funds across the country, particularly in rural, coastal areas.

Therese said, "I am proud that the NHS budget has risen under this Government and will continue to do so. From my experience as an MP with a rather elderly constituency—more than a quarter of its population are pensioners—I have come to realise that how the NHS has allocated its funding is simply not fair to older patients. The Keogh review states that much of the pressure on operational effectiveness is due to the large increase in the numbers of elderly patients with complex sets of health problems."

Areas like Liverpool receive over £400 per head more than Suffolk despite having a significantly lower population of elderly people (those over 65).

Therese referred to the decision made by the NHS England Board to largely ignore the ACRA recommendation at its meeting in December 2013. "NHS England turned its back on the needs of elderly patients, stuck its head in the sand on the dawning impact of an ageing population and crumbled to political pressure from the Labour party. Here was an opportunity for the board of NHS England to put right the funding formula so that the NHS was no longer a postcode lottery and would provide equally for people in need and on access to services. Frankly, I think the NHS bottled it."

During the debate, Therese mentioned the historic issues with the ambulance service and cited the previous threat that stroke services would be removed from Suffolk. She said: "If stroke services had been removed from the county, it would have taken well over an hour to get access to the sort of care that is necessary to enable a stroke sufferer to have a good life. That is why I was pleased when the local clinical commissioning groups came together and said, no. We are going to keep stroke services in the county. However, I must admit that our significantly lower funding per head means that that decision has potential consequences in the local NHS."

She also applauded the decision to split health funding and increase the public health funding significantly for areas of deprivation though was concerned that the remaining pot should have been allocated more on the basis of age, as it is the primary factor in needing treatment from the NHS.

"The Government cannot wave a magic wand and change the formula. It is for the board of NHS England to do that. I hope it will reconsider and truly look after the patients in question."


20 MAR 2014

Therese Welcomes Budget for a Resilient Economy

Yesterday in Parliament, the Chancellor delivered a Budget for a resilient economy as growth rates were revised upwards and tax cut for millions of people.

Reacting to the speech, Therese said: "The measures announced will help continue the economic recovery; helping savers, cutting taxes, reforming pensions, reducing the cost of childcare and supporting business.  The Chancellor confirmed an additional £140m for flood defences, crucial for our part of the country and reduced the duty on bingo which will be welcome news for those who recently signed my parliamentary petition. The Government have also committed to continuing to freeze fuel duty, have cancelled the alcohol duty escalator and taken a penny off a pint of beer, which is great news for our rural pubs."

She added: "The independent Office for Budget Responsibility have revised growth upwards this year to 2.7%, meaning the economy will be £16 billion bigger than forecast 4 months ago. 1.5 million more jobs have also been forecast in the next five years with real earnings growing in every year of that forecast. The Government have already cut the deficit by a third and next year, it will be half meaning a Budget surplus by 2018."

Please see below for a summary of the main measures announced in the Budget:

The Personal Allowance will rise to £10,500 in 2015/16 a tax cut for 25.4 million people and 3 million people won't pay tax at all. By April 2015, a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £800 less income tax a year.

A tax free childcare scheme which will benefit parents by up to £2,000 per child each year.

ISAs will become simpler by merging the cash and stocks ISAs into a single new ISA. The annual limit will increase to £15,000 a year.

The amount you can put into a Children's ISA will increase to £4,000 helping people who want to save for their children's future.

An additional £140m for flood defence schemes and an extra £200m for pothole repairs.

The 10p rate on savings income will be abolished.

A new pensioner bond will be created. The bond will offer a better return than any equivalent in the market today. The amount people can invest in Premium Bonds will also rise, first to £40,000 on 1 June this year then to £50,000 in 2015/16.

Penny off your pint - beer duty will be cut next week by 1p. The escalator for all alcohol duties has been scrapped. Duties on ordinary cider, whisky and other spirits have been frozen.

The most competitive export finance in Europe will be provided doubling the amount of lending available to £3 billion. From today the typical interest rates charged on that lending will be cut by a third.

Bingo tax halved from 20 per cent to 10 per cent. This will protect jobs and protect communities.

No one will have to buy an annuity if they don't want to. Those who still want the certainty of an annuity, as many will, will be able to shop around for the best deal.

There will be no punitive 55% tax rate if you try and take more than your tax-free lump sum. It will still be possible to take 25% of a pension pot tax-free on retirement. But what you take above the tax-free lump sum will be taxed at normal marginal tax rates – not 55% as at the moment.

This is a budget that rewards businesses investing and exporting and people who save, enabling you to keep more of what you earn and what you save. Now that's what I call a full house.


19 MAR 2014

Therese Delighted at Tax Cut for Bingo

Therese has welcomed the news announced by the Chancellor in the Budget today, that bingo duty will be halved from 20 to 10 percent.

Therese presented a parliamentary petition to the House of Commons on Monday, signed by 220 bingo players at the Palace Bingo in Felixstowe, following the Boost Bingo petition which she helped present to the Chancellor in Downing Street recently.

Reacting to the announcement, Therese said: "This is fantastic news for bingo venues up and down the country and shows that the Government have listened to the Boost Bingo campaign backed by over 300,000 people. The reduction from 20 to 10 percent far exceeds the campaign's call for a 5% reduction. By reducing the burden of tax on bingo clubs, like the Palace Bingo in Felixstowe, we can ensure they continue to thrive, create jobs and provide great entertainment for local people."


18 MAR 2014

Therese Presents Bingo Petition to Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament Therese presented a petition signed by the patrons of Palace Bingo in Felixstowe toreduce the bingo duty ahead of tomorrow's budget.

Therese said: "It was a pleasure to present the petition signed by 220 people to the House of Commons, calling for a reduction in bingo tax. By reducing the burden of tax on bingo clubs like Palace Bingo in Felixstowe we can ensure they continue to thrive, create jobs and provide great entertainment for local people. Thanks go to Vivienne Warren for organising the petition."

The bingo industry is currently subjected to bingo duty at 20% whereas most other forms of gambling are taxed at 15%.


13 MAR 2014

Therese Welcomes School Funding Changes

Therese has welcomed the statement made by the Schools Minister today that Suffolk Schools are in line for a £9.2m increase in their funding under Government proposals to make the formula fairer.

In recent years the school funding system has been based on data that no longer reflected pupils' needs and ignored the rurality element of many schools.

Commenting on the announcement, Therese said: "This is a welcome step towards a fairer funding formula. The rurality element of school funding declined under the last Government with a clear bias towards urban schools. I am pleased that the Government are reversing that trend by increasing the per pupil funding by £105 for all schools in Suffolk.

Therese added: "I have been campaigning for a fairer funding formula alongside many of my Parliamentary colleagues for some time and have held meetings with Education Ministers pressing the case. I am glad the Government have listened to our proposals. There is still progress to make but this is a welcome step in the right direction".

Funding will increase in Suffolk from £4,241 per pupil in 2014/15 to £4,347 in 2015/16.


12 MAR 2014

Therese Presses the Case with Greater Anglia over Disruption on the Felixstowe to Ipswich Line

Therese met the Head of Corporate Affairs at Greater Anglia, Jonathan Denby, this week to discuss the delays andcancellations on the Felixstowe to Ipswich rail line. In the last three weeks there has been significant disruption on the line including several cancelled trains.

Therese said: "I know many people from Felixstowe have suffered with the sudden and ongoing cancellation of trains and I demanded answers on what was happening and how it was going to change. The disruption has been happening for a few months. As was confirmed by my earlier discussion with Network Rail, some of the issues were freight related including disruption due to flooding and other technical problems. However, Greater Anglia has held its hands up and said that the recent issues in the last few weeks are due to problems with their own rolling stock. Across our network, there are normally 22 units available at any one time but four are unavailable. Two have wheel problems, one was badly damaged in the December floods and another unit was damaged in a fatal collision."

Therese added: "There seems to be a problem in obtaining additional wheel sets so I am following this up with the Department of Transport. I am also writing to the Managing Director of Greater Anglia to press the case."

"I have received assurances that in the interim Greater Anglia are protecting key services from Felixstowe to Ipswich and vice versa to ensure the important early commuter trains with London connections run on time. Unfortunately some services have been disrupted and some replaced by buses but Greater Anglia have said that they are not just putting everything on Felixstowe and the pain is being spread around the network. It is important this issue is fixed as soon as possible."

"I am working with Greater Anglia to try and get greater investment on the Felixstowe line to solve the longer term problems including the dualling of the track and the electrification of the line."


12 MAR 2014

Therese Shouts House in the House to Boost Bingo

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese pressed the case to Treasury Ministers ahead of next week's budget to reduce Bingo Duty. Her question backed the Boost Bingo campaign to reduce the tax paid by bingo clubs to 15%, bringing it in line with other forms of gambling.

Therese said: "A few weeks ago I joined my Parliamentary colleagues in presenting a boost bingo petition with over 300,000 signatures to the chancellor calling for a cut in bingo duty. Can he give comfort from this House to those who like to shout house that their concerns will be addressed in the forthcoming budget?"

Therese added: "There was no commitment from the Minister but I wouldn't expect so at this stage. To continue to press the case I intend to present a separate petition to Parliament on behalf of Suffolk Coastal. Copies are in the Palace Bingo in Felixstowe or you can sign up online at http://www.theresecoffeymp.com/news/westminster/therese-launches-petition-to-reduce-bingo-tax/956. By reducing the burden of tax on bingo clubs we can ensure they continue to thrive, create jobs and provide great entertainment for local people."


06 MAR 2014

Therese Welcomes Proposed Extension to Government Energy Efficiency Programme

Therese gave a cautious welcome to the Government's proposed changes to its energy efficiency programme, ECO. The reforms would mean more households in rural areas of Suffolk Coastal would be eligible for funding for insulation and boiler replacement.

Commenting on the announcement, Therese said: "I am pleased at the Government's proposal to widen the eligibility in parishes like Leiston, Peasenhall and Wrentham, which will be welcomed by residents. As co-chair of the all-party group on off-gas grid, I have been advising the Government that far too few rural homes are eligible for efficiency upgrades and I am glad they are extending this. I welcome the simplification as it may accelerate the rollout but I will continue pressing the Government to increase eligibility to more rural areas."

Therese continued: "These changes would mean reduced heating bills for more rural families. But we need to make sure the energy companies do deliver the installations they are obliged to, and that they face stern penalties if they fail. I will work with local councils and businesses to monitor progress."

The consultation runs until 16th April. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-of-the-energy-company-obligation


05 MAR 2014

Prime Minister Praises Apprenticeships being created in Suffolk

The Prime Minister praised the number of apprenticeships created in Suffolk today as Therese highlighted the earn while you learn scheme widely established across the county.

Therese said: "Taking on apprentices can be hugely beneficial for local companies and it is important we do all we can to encourage SMEs to enable our young people to earn while they learn. A great example of this is SPR Trailers, a small family run business in Felixstowe which I am visiting on Friday as part of Apprenticeship Week."

Therese added: "I am delighted the Prime Minister also recognised the efforts of companies like BT and EDF who are creating apprenticeships in Suffolk, building the skills to improve our economy."

The Prime Minister pointed out that large companies such as BT at Adastral Park who are creating 100 new apprenticeships are taking on apprentices in larger and larger numbers and that the challenge now is to encourage small and medium sized businesses to take on apprentices too which is what apprenticeship week is all about.


04 MAR 2014

Therese Launches Petition to Reduce Bingo Tax

Therese is today launching a Parliamentary Petition to reduce the tax paid by bingo clubs to 15%, bringing it in line with other forms of gambling.

Therese said: "During my recent visit to Palace Bingo in Felixstowe I experienced first-hand the pleasant environment for people to come together and enjoy themselves. By reducing the burden of tax on bingo clubs we can ensure they continue to thrive, create jobs and provide great entertainment for local people."

Therese added: "Over 300,000 people have already signed the Boost Bingo petition and I was pleased to be there when the petition was delivered to Downing Street recently.  To ensure the campaign continues to receive a high profile I intend to present a Parliamentary Petition in the House of Commons before Budget Day, which is on the 19th March. It is essential that we press the case to the Chancellor before he announces the Budget."

You can download the petition here and send it back free of charge to the House of Commons.


06 FEB 2014

Therese Welcomes Bellwin Scheme Changes

Therese has today welcomed the announcement by the Government that the Bellwin Scheme, which reimburses local authorities for dealing with emergencies has been extended.

The changes which will help in the aftermath of the recent flooding extend eligibility criteria so that local council's can claim up to 100% of the cost. The Government also announced that extra spending on flood defence schemes would get the go ahead.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Therese said: "I really welcome the changes to the Bellwin Scheme that the Government has proposed, which will help Suffolk people, families and businesses."


27 JAN 2014

MP Welcomes Increased Protection for Telecoms Customers

Therese has welcomed the improved protection for consumers that has come into effect which enables customers to exitlandline, broadband or mobile phone contracts if their provider increases the monthly subscription price.

This follows an Ofcom review into the fairness of contract price terms which found that many consumers were caught out by unexpected price rises in what they believed to be fixed price contracts.

Therese said: "This increased protection is great news for residents and local business, many of which will have carefully budgeted for these services. It enables consumers to switch providers straightaway if their bill goes up and I expect will make providers think twice before they increase their prices".


17 JAN 2014

Therese welcomes Government plan to bring down youth crime

Therese has welcomed the Government proposal published today to tackle youth reoffending.

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP earlier released plans for a network of Secure Colleges with a daily regime of education, vocational training and life skills as well as tackling the wider causes of crime. In addition, the Minister announced he wants to double the hours young people in prison spend in education.

Speaking today, Therese said: "It is unacceptable that nearly three quarters of young offenders in custody go on to commit more crime within 12 months and that on average each place costs £100,000. The existing system is too expensive and is clearly not working. Young people are finishing their sentences with no prospect of getting the jobs which are so vital to preventing reoffending."

Therese added: "When Chris Grayling visited YOI Warren Hill with me in April, he heard directly from prisoners that they need good jobs to stop them from going back to crime. I am pleased that with this announcement we are helping young offenders on the path to becoming law-abiding citizens. Under this Government crime fell 12% last year in Suffolk and this proposal will help us cut it further."


09 JAN 2014

Therese Raises Water Issues in Parliament

Therese has this week raised water issues still affecting residents and businesses in Snape, Iken and Southwold with DEFRA ministers in the House of Commons.

After a recent visit to Snape to assess the damage caused by the floods, Therese asked the Secretary of State for assurances that the role of internal drainage boards will continue to be enhanced to ensure that waterways are freed up and don't become blocked. The Secretary of State, Owen Paterson confirmed that this was the case and that by continuing to allow drainage boards to make local decisions then work will continue apace.

In previous years a scarcity of water not an excess has been an issue – which has led to the water abstraction consultation as part of the Water Bill.

Therese said: "Our local farmers are regular abstractors and it is important that we don't allow water to become an expensive tradable quota by over regulation. I asked the Minister, Dan Rogerson MP, to assure me that there will be consultation events in areas like Suffolk Coastal where there is water stress. He offered to meet with me about this so I hope we can get something organised locally."

The abstraction consultation closes on the 28th March. For more details go to - https://consult.defra.gov.uk/water/abstraction-reform/


07 JAN 2014

Therese Welcomes NHS Funding Allocation for Suffolk

Therese has welcomed the recent announcement that the NHS funding allocation for Suffolk Coastal has increased by more than inflation. Both Ipswich & East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth & Waveney CCG allocations give Suffolk Coastal a real terms increase.

Therese said: "Suffolk has traditionally been getting less than it should do. The previous funding formula was skewed in favour of deprived areas which meant Suffolk received less than the national average. Suffolk needs the resources to be able to serve the needs of an ageing population and this announcement is encouraging news for local residents."

Therese added: "I am pleased Ministers have responded to our campaign for fairer funding.  There is still more to do for a fairer long term funding formula but this is a good start."

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG has received an additional 2.85% from last year with and additional 2.19% increase next year, above the national average. Great Yarmouth & Waveney has received a 2.14% increase with a 1.7% increase next year.


29 NOV 2013

European Referendum Bill Clears House of Commons

Therese has today confirmed that the European Union (Referendum) Bill has passed its Third Reading in Parliament.

Therese said: "It is excellent news that the Bill has now cleared the Commons. I am very proud to play my part in voting for an in/out referendum before 2017. The Bill is now halfway through the process and is now up to the House of Lords to let Britain decide.  Once the Bill becomes an Act it would take further legislation to repeal."


27 NOV 2013

Therese Welcomes Extra Investment to Improve Rural Post Offices

Therese has today welcomed the Government's commitment to invest an extra £640 million in the Post Office Modernisation programme in the 3 years up to 2018. This follows the £1.34 billion that has already been committed in this Parliament. The funding will ensure that the current size and coverage of the Post Office is maintained while improving services for customers.

Therese said: "This announcement is great news for Suffolk. The Government have committed almost £2 billion to ensure Post Offices are protected and importantly for the first time ever, the Government will invest in upgrading community post offices vital for rural areas."

Therese added: "We have already seen improvements to branches in Felixstowe and Halesworth which have improved experiences for customers and this announcement is good news for rural areas like Wenhaston, Westleton, Westhall & Hollesley."


22 NOV 2013

Conservative Push to Reduce EU Bureaucracy

Six British business leaders reported back to the Prime Minister recently with an ambitious package of 30 reforms to slash EUred tape. Taken together, the proposed measures could save Britain tens of billions of pounds.

The taskforce's report – Cut EU Red Tape – targets burdensome rules across various business areas. The Prime Minister has asked the business leaders to present their report directly to Cabinet, reflecting the seriousness of the issue and the Conservative Party's determination to reform the EU to work better for hardworking people in Suffolk Coastal.

Welcoming the report, Therese said: "It's vital that local business gets access to the EU's single market - but all too often EU rules are a handicap for firms in Suffolk Coastal hampering their efforts. Hardworking people, particularly owners of small firms, are forced to spend far too much time complying with pointless, burdensome and costly regulations. That means less time developing a new product, winning contracts or hiring young recruits. The Conservatives are determined to change that and to get the EU working for business, not against it."

Therese added: "That's why the Prime Minister got this Taskforce together so we could establish from businesses what they really need. This report makes clear there are lots of simple and practical ways to cut EU red tape and save tens of billions of pounds.'

Today in Parliament, Conservative MPs are voting in favour of a Bill to enshrine in law a referendum by the end of 2017 of the UK's membership of the European Union. This would follow a period of renegotiation to bring powers back to Britain.


19 NOV 2013

Therese Welcomes Francis Report NHS Transparency Reforms

Therese has today welcomed the Francis Report reforms announced by the Health Secretary which will bring more transparency to patient safety and staffing. The reforms include the publications of staffing levels for patients to Monitor, Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and measures to prevent failed directors from walking into a job elsewhere in the NHS boosting accountability.

Therese said: "It is important we create a culture within the NHS that leads to more openness so people can feel confident to speak up when they think something is wrong and be sure that it will be properly investigated."

"There is no magic formula that determines how many staff should be on a ward at any one moment but this transparency will help inform both patients and the management. One of the lessons we saw in the changes in James Paget Hospital two years ago was that within weeks of the arrival of the new Chief Executive, although numbers of clinical staff didn't change, a greater presence on the ward was seen – demonstrating that clear direction from leadership can make a big difference."

Therese added: "It is good news that measures are being taken to stop failed directors from moving from NHS job to NHS job – I have received assurances from the Secretary of State that this also applies to the Ambulance Service. These checks on previous records is a good test for the CQC to apply when considering appointments of directors within the NHS."

For more details please see the letter from the Secretary of State here.


12 NOV 2013

New Figures show Benefit Cap is Helping to Fix the Welfare System

Therese has welcomed new statistics that show 1,759 households in the East of England have had their benefits capped in line with average earnings since April. The figures show that 19,000 households have had their benefits capped nationally.

This is because of the Government's Benefit Cap, which stops people getting more in benefits than the average family earns by going out to work. The official figures show that without the Benefit Cap some people would be still getting the equivalent of almost a £70,000 salary each year.

Therese said: "Under the previous Government a something for nothing culture was allowed to develop. Thanks to this Governments Benefit Cap, 1,759 households in the East of England are no longer able to claim more in benefits than the average family earns by going out to work. These figures show this Government's plan to fix the welfare system is working."


06 NOV 2013

Therese Backs Fairer Deal for Rural Areas

Therese delivered the Rural Fair Share Petition signed by residents of Suffolk Coastal to the House of Commons this week.

The Rural Fair Share campaign is calling on the Government to address the ongoing disparity in funding between rural and urban areas.

The Petition asks the Government to reduce the Rural Penalty – which sees urban areas receive 50% more support per head than rural areas – by at least 10% by 2020.

Therese said: "I was pleased to present to Parliament the Rural Fair Share petition on behalf of constituents from the Parishes of Wenhaston, Hollesley, Kirton, Orford, Yoxford, Bawdsey, Alderton & the Trimley's. Currently the amount of money our local councils receive from the Government is skewed, I believe, against rural communities where urban areas receive Government grants worth 50% more per head than those in the countryside. Delivering services in sparsely populated rural areas also tends to be more expensive, which can add to the burden. I hope the petition will give the Government the impetus to reduce this rural penalty"


05 NOV 2013

Therese Pledges Backing for Engineering in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has pledged support for engineering at an event in Parliament hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

This week is 'Tomorrow's Engineers Week' and Therese committed to working with schools and industry in Suffolk Coastal to encourage more young people, particularly women, to pursue careers in engineering.

Therese said: "It is essential we do all we can to inspire the next generation of engineers. In order to do this we need to encourage more students, especially girls, to study science and maths. The subjects chosen at 14 can very quickly close down career paths so it's important companies also play their part by showcasing what young people can achieve by going into schools."

IET President Barry Brooks said: "Engineering underpins our everyday lives but we are facing a serious skills shortage. We urgently need to encourage more young people to take the right subjects at school and then progress into jobs in the engineering sector. It will be this next generation of engineers and technicians who help to solve the challenges that we face to make a better society and a stronger economy."

Tomorrow's Engineers Week which is taking place this week from 4th-8th November 2013 is a collaborative effort between industry and Government. The campaign aims to change outdated perceptions about engineering careers among young people, their parents and teachers and will demonstrate the relevance of engineering to young people's everyday lives.

For further information about Tomorrow's Engineers Week and to find out how to get involved, visit www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk


01 NOV 2013

Therese Meets Energy Company to Help People Get Ready for Winter

Therese met representatives from energy company E.ON in Parliament recently to find out about the help and support availablefor Suffolk residents ahead of winter.

Therese said: "Many people are worried about their energy bills this winter so it is vital that energy companies make people aware of the support they're entitled to. This ranges from the Warm Home Discount Scheme, Smart Metering and guidance on home improvements through the Energy Company Obligation.

Therese added: "I'm keen to help people take steps to ensure they get all the support and measures they're entitled to and I'd urge any of my constituents who are worried to get in touch with me or with their energy supplier to find out more."

Sara Vaughan, Director of Strategy and Regulation at E.ON, said: "Through events like this and by working with like-minded organisations we can help raise awareness of the many ways in which we can help our customers".


23 OCT 2013

Therese Welcomes Government Action on ‘Pension Liberation’

Therese has welcomed Government action against unscrupulous companies encouraging people to access their pension savings early.

An increasing number of pension savers are being targeted to entice them to transfer their savings from their current scheme to one that allows 'pension liberation'. The new scheme then allows access to pension savings earlier than tax rules permit, which could result in individuals losing most of their pension savings.

Therese said: "People who are being advised to transfer their pension savings may not be aware of the significant tax consequences of doing so. The Government are highlighting the dangers of this scheme so people don't get caught out and are working with the regulator to take enforcement action against the companies involved."

More information about pension liberation can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/news/pensionliberation.htm


21 OCT 2013

Therese Welcomes Government Announcement on Nuclear Strike Price

Therese has reacted with delight to the announcement that a deal has been struck between the Government and EDF over the strike price for Hinkley Point, which will likely lead to a deal for Sizewell C.

Therese said: "This is very welcome news. Whilst this is not an announcement for Sizewell this is an important indication that Sizewell C will now go ahead. We can then start unlocking the jobs and investment that it will bring".

EDF will lead a consortium of investors, including Chinese firms, to build the first nuclear power station in 20 years.

Therese said: "Some people are wary about investment from China but the Chinese are big investors in Suffolk already whether it be the Port of Felixstowe, Huawei at Martlesham Heath or electricity transmission with UK Power Networks. Suffolk is a friend to China and there is nothing to fear from their investment".

Therese added: "The development of new nuclear power stations is an important part of our green energy mix and the indication that Sizewell C will go ahead, means that we can firmly call ourselves the Green Coast."


15 OCT 2013

Therese Presents Petition to House of Commons to Replace Blaxhall Post Box

Therese presented the petition signed by over 40 residents to Parliament today to replace the post box in Blaxhall that wasstolen earlier this year.

The petition asks the House of Commons to urge the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills who is responsible for Royal Mail, to support the residents of Blaxhall in their request to replace the post box.

Therese said: "The Royal Mail is an important service for many Blaxhall residents and the petition shows the strength of feeling in the village to get their post box replaced. Other efforts haven't yet been successful but I hope this petition will apply the necessary pressure for the Royal Mail to change its mind".

She added: "I am also continuing to liaise with Ofcom about their new criteria 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."


15 OCT 2013

Equitable Life Payment Scheme Extended

Therese has welcomed the announcement from the Government that they will extend the Equitable Life Payment Scheme to2015.

The scheme has already paid out £734m in compensation but the Government want to ensure all those entitled to compensation receive payment.

Therese said: "Many constituents have contacted me about Equitable Life and I am pleased that most of them have now received their payment. Due to the fact that some address information is over 20 years old or non-existent not everybody that is entitled to compensation has come forward. If you think you are eligible then I would urge you to contact the scheme".

The Payment scheme can be contacted on 0300 0200 150.


12 SEP 2013

Constituency Tour

Therese will be embarking on her constituency tour during the week commencing the 23rd September, stopping off in towns and villages to talk with residents in community halls, pubs and shops.

Details of where Therese will be each day are below. Locations to be confirmed.

Monday 23rd September

10:00 - Saxmundham - Outside Market Hall.

10:25  - Carlton - Play park by the village noticeboard.

10:40 - Kelsale - Village Hall.

11:05 - Theberton - Village Hall

11:25 - Middleton - The Bell

11:45 - Westleton  - Lincoln's Village Store

12:15 - Dunwich - Dunwich Museum

12:50 - Darsham - Station

13:15 - Sibton - The White Horse Inn

13:40 - Yoxford - Post Office

14:30 - Peasenhall - Emmett's Shop

14:50 - Ubbeston  - Village Bus Stop

15:20 Heveningham - Village Hall

15:40 – Walpole - Old Chapel

16:05 - Huntingfield - The Huntingfield Arms

16:25 - Cratfield - The Pocaher Pub

17:00- Chediston - Church Room.

17:25 - Halesworth - Halesworth

Tuesday 24th September

11:00 -  Walberswick - Post Office

11:20 -  Blythburgh - The White Hart Inn

11:40 -  Bramfield - The Queen's Head

12:00 - Thorington - Village Hall

12:20 - Wenhaston - Post Office

12:40 Blyford - The Queen's Head

12:55 - Holton - The Lord Nelson Pub

13:10 - Spexhall - Huntsman & Hounds

13:30 - Westhall - Tony's Shop

14:15 - Brampton - Station

14:35 - Hulver Street - Village Hall

15:00 - Rushmere - Early Dawn Garden Centre

15:25 - Henstead - Arts & Crafts Centre

15:45 - Wrentham - Post Office

16:05 - Frostenden - Village Hall

16:25 - Wangford  - Village Store

16:50 -Reydon - Village Hall

17:10 - Southwold - Outside the Conservative Club

18:10 - Sizewell - Outside the Beach Cafe

18:35 -  Aldringham - The Parrot and Punch Bowl

18:55 - Leiston - The Co-op Cafe

19:20 - Thorpeness - The Dolphin Inn

19:45 - Aldeburgh - White Hart Pub

Wednesday 25th September

11:30 - Knodishall - Village Store

11:55  - Friston -Village Hall

12:15 - Benhall - Benhall Club

12:35  - Stratford St Andrew - Riverside Centre

12:50 - Snape - Village Hall 

13:15 -  Iken  - Village Hall 

13:35 -Sudbourne - Village Hall

14:00 - Orford - General Stores

15:00  - Chillesford - The Froize

15:15 - Butely - Village Hall

15:45 Sutton Heath - Barnsdale Community Centre

16:15 -Hollesley - Village Shop

16:35 - Alderton - Village Shop

16:55  -Bawdsey - Village Hall

17:10 - Shottisham - The Sorrell Horse

17:40 - Sutton - Village Hall

18:05 - Bromeswell - Village Hall

18:20  - Eyke - Village Car Park near the school.

18:40 - Rendlesham - Costcutter

19:05 - Tunstall - The Greenman Pub

19:25 - Blaxhall - The Ship Inn

Thursday 26th September

09:00 - Campsea Ashe - Dog & Duck

09:25- Pettistree - The Greyhound

09:45 - Ufford - The White Lion

10:05 - Melton - Parish Rooms

10:25 - Woodbridge - Library

10:50 - Martlesham Heath - Tesco

10:50 - Martlesham Heath - McColls

11:35 - Martlesham Village - Post Office

11:55  - Waldringfield - The Maybush Inn

12:15 - Newbourne - The Fox Inn

12:35 - Brightwell - Village Hall

12:55 - Bucklesham - The Shannon

13:20 - Purdis Farm - Cafe - Sainsbury's Warren Heath.

14:10 - Nacton - Orwell Stores

14:35 - Levington - Village Hall

14:50 - Stratton Hall - TBC

15:20 - Kirton - The White Horse

16:00 Trimley St Martin - Gosling Farm Shop

16:20 - Trimley St Mary - Welcome Hall

16:50  - Felixstowe - Library

17:10 - Felixstowe - Morrisons


12 SEP 2013

Process for the disposal of Radio-active waste gets underway

The Government has today launched a consultation on a revised proposed process for working with communities in order to agree a site for a Geological Disposal Facility. The consultation follows the decision in Cumbria earlier this year, which brought the existing site selection process to an end.

Therese said: "I have been contacted by a few constituents concerned about the long term disposal of nuclear waste and I am glad the Government is getting the process underway again".

The consultation runs until 5th December and the Government will re-launch the national site selection process in 2014.

More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/communities-consulted-on-radioactive-waste-disposal-site


12 SEP 2013

Heating oil customers urged to Buy Oil Early

Therese has welcomed the launch of a campaign to encourage heating oil customers to buy heating oil early.

The Buy Oil Early campaign was launched today at the Ministerial Roundtable event on Heating Oil and LPG supported by the Energy Minister, Michael Fallon MP. It urges users to buy oil before winter when it is cheaper and so they don't get caught out if companies aren't able to deliver before it gets too cold. The campaign backed by Action with Communities in Rural England in conjunction with Citizens Advice and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers recommends that consumers set up or join a buying group so they can purchase in bulk to take advantage of cheaper prices

Therese, who is the co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Off-Gas Grid said: "I am delighted that this campaign has been launched. There are many people in Suffolk who rely on heating oil to get through the winter and the message of this campaign is to stock up before it gets too cold. Delaying risks longer delivery times and higher prices."

Therese added: "Community buying groups really do save money. I would urge users to join one or set one up. Many villages have established buying groups but if you do not belong to one, contact Suffolk Acre online or call. Last year the 20 buying groups through the ACRE network saved £385,000 on behalf of rural customers."

More information can be found online at http://www.communitybuying.org.uk/ or call 01473 345400.


06 SEP 2013

Immigration Continues to Fall

Therese has welcomed the latest statistics that demonstrate the Government is bringing immigration back under control.

Figures show that immigration is at its lowest level in a decade and net migration is down by a third since its peak in 2010.

Therese said: "I welcome the action the Government is taking to tackle immigration. People in Suffolk want an immigration system that works in Britain's interest. It is important we tighten the system to bring mass immigration under control whilst still encouraging the brightest to come."

Therese added: "Whilst the figures represent strong progress we must not be complacent and continue to do everything we can to bring net migration down further."


29 AUG 2013

Syria Motion - In Full

Below is the full text of the motion on Syria that will be debated in Parliament today:

SYRIA AND THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

The Prime Minister, The Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary William Hague, Secretary Theresa May, Secretary Philip Hammond, Mr Dominic Grieve

That this House:

Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;

Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;

Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons;

Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;

Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;

Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the United Nations Security Council, to "overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible";

Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;

Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and whilst noting that the team's mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team's initial mission;

Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and

notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.


28 AUG 2013

Therese Asks for Views on Syria Crisis

Parliament had been recalled tomorrow to debate the continuing crisis in Syria and the possibility of using military actionto intervene.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "Parliament is being recalled tomorrow to debate the situation in Syria. The motion has not yet been published but the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have been clear that this is not about war or regime change but it is about how to deter the widespread use of chemical weapons.

I expect it will seek endorsement for the Government to act alongside other countries in regard to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

I will be attending Parliament for the debate. I anticipate that the Prime Minister will lay out the broad evidence on which such action would be justified. I would also expect to learn the view of the Attorney General and to understand what diplomatic interventions have been undertaken.

There will certainly be a vote, in which I expect to support the Government on the basis of a clear and present danger in the form of attacks on civilians.

I appreciate that there is a lot of concern and differing views on how the UK should react to atrocities being perpetrated in Syria. I would welcome any views that you, as my constituent, may have on the matter, including any points or questions that could be posed and answered."


29 JUL 2013

Therese Backs Internet Safety Controls

Therese has welcomed the Prime Minister's plan to protect our children from accessing inappropriate images online.

For the first time internet service providers are going to install family friendly filters automatically unless an adult specifically opts out.

Reacting to the news, Therese said: "The Government is taking tough action to put parents back in control. For too long children have been able to access inappropriate images with relative ease. Parents can't monitor their children all the time, which is why I'm glad the PM is working with service providers to establish a system where adult content can only be viewed by an adult choosing to opt-in."

Alongside this the Prime Minister has committed to tougher action to prevent service providers from allowing their customers to search for vile and illegal images of child abuse. If they don't commit to action or if progress is too slow the Government will change the law to ensure they do.

Show your support for the campaign at www.protectingourchildren.co.uk


09 JUL 2013

Therese Launches EU Referendum Petition

Therese has set up a petition  encouraging people to support the Bill that guarantees a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.

Since launching the petition after the Parliamentary vote on Friday, it has already attracted over 600 signatures and Therese is encouraging other Suffolk Coastal residents who want a referendum to sign up.

Therese said: "Last week I voted with 303 other MPs to give the British public a say on Europe. If the Bill goes through all its Parliamentary stages then it would enshrine in law a promise to hold a referendum on our membership of the EU by the end of 2017."

She added: "I am delighted that so many people have signed up so far. Astonishingly the Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties don't seem to want to give people a say. When I next vote on this Bill I want to demonstrate just how many people in Suffolk Coastal want a referendum."

To sign the petitions go to http://www.theresecoffeymp.com/petitions/5


01 JUL 2013

Therese Welcomes Flood Insurance Agreement

Therese has welcomed the key commitments on flood defences and insurance announced in theGovernment'sComprehensive Spending Review.

As well as pledging the spend £370m in 2015-16 on new flood defences, increasing the sum by inflation every year, the Government have reached an agreement with the insurance industry to make sure flood-hit homeowners can still buy flood insurance. The agreement will cap flood insurance premiums by linking them to council tax bands.

Therese said: "This is an important announcement for Suffolk residents. Up and down our coast people want to know that they will be able to insure their homes and this agreement gives then that assurance. The new scheme which comes into force in 2015 will ensure residents will know the maximum they will have to pay for insurance."

She added: "The investment the Government is making in flood defences was an essential step in securing the flood insurance agreement with the industry. Taking steps to reduce the flood risk occurring in the first place plays a vital role in bearing down on insurance costs."


27 JUN 2013

Therese Welcomes Infrastructure Announcement on A14 and Renewable Energy

Today in Parliament the Government unveiled that £100bn will be spent on transport and infrastructure projects in the years 2015-20.

Key for Suffolk is the £1.5bn upgrade of the A14 which has been brought forward two years to 2016 as well as the continued commitment to renewable energy and new nuclear construction , although the strike price for nuclear has yet to be agreed.

Therese said: "I am pleased that the Government is making such a big commitment in our country's infrastructure. I have been pushing for improvements on the A14 for some time, which is important for Suffolk motorists and businesses, including the Port of Felixstowe as a key freight route. While the details of the funding split are to be disclosed, I will continue to press on this as we do not want local industry and the Port to be disadvantaged."

Therese added: "The Government has has agreed to the strike price for off-shore wind, which I believe gives the green light to investors for essential for the windfalls of Greater Galloper and the East Anglian Array - reinforcing our reputation as the green coast."


26 JUN 2013

Therese Welcomes School Funding Review

Today in Parliament the Chancellor delivered the Spending Round for 2015/16. It shows how the Government willcontinue to cut the deficit, prioritise investment in infrastructure and ensure fairness for people who work hard and want to get on by further reforming welfare and capping welfare spending.

It also included measures to work with local councils to freeze council tax for another two years, boost investment in science, create more apprentices and importantly for Suffolk to review the funding formula for schools.

Therese said: "The measures outlined by the Chancellor yesterday details how Britain is moving from rescue to recovery. It is important we protect spending on schools and health whilst capping welfare and cutting waste in Whitehall."

Therese added: "I was delighted that the Chancellor also made a commitment to review the funding formula for schools which is something I have been lobbying on for a while. At the moment there is a bias towards urban schools, which is borne out of the conventional aspects of social deprivation and the indices. The fact that this is happening earlier than originally planned is great news for Suffolk schools and pupils"


19 JUN 2013

Building the Executive Pipeline of Talent for Women on Boards

The Conservative Women's Forum is today publishing its report "Executive Women in the Workplace Inquiry: BuildingtheExecutive Pipeline of Talent".

Despite the robust business case for gender diversity and overall increases in the number of women on boards, the numbers of senior executive women in the FTSE 100 are falling. This Inquiry put the spotlight on how to tackle this challenge.

The report outlines how CEOs and boards should measure detailed data about their pipelines and set clear objectives to drive gender diversity at all levels. Executive women can also take responsibility for actively planning their careers and for seeking out the sponsors and mentors to support their progress. Action should be business-led but the Government can also encourage progress by continuing to build the supportive environment, such as by improving careers advice to close the gender skills gap.

Therese, who is co-author of the report said: "Since the Lord Davies report there has been good progress in getting more women on boards. The key challenge now is to increase the number of female executive directors. There are just 3 female FTSE 100 CEOs and the percentage of senior female executives running the UK's top companies day-to-day is actually lower than in 2007."

Therese added: "There is strong evidence that having more women in senior management improves a company's financial returns, corporate governance and decision-making. As women are the key consumers in society, businesses without executive women are losing their connection with their market. UK companies simply cannot afford not to make the most of their female talent."

Mary Macleod MP, co-author and chairman of the Forum, said of the report: "During our Inquiry, we heard from many senior business leaders, all keen to ensure that talented women make it through to the executive ranks. A fundamental starting point is to measure the female talent pipeline at all levels, with committed leadership to meeting future targets. It is clear that we need to broaden this debate beyond board level and beyond the FTSE to make the changes we need for the next generation of women."

She added: "The focus must start in schools and universities. We need businesses to play a leading role in shaping the career aspirations of young women. We want girls to keep their options open when choosing which subjects to study and consider a broader range of career options. This report also offers practical, tangible advice to women already in business aspiring to executive positions, including seeking out sponsors and taking on 'stretch' assignments early in their career. I am optimistic for the future for women in business – we have a wealth of female talent in this country and if we continue to share what works we can go much further in maximising the contribution they can make."

You can view the full report here and the evidence here.  The Executive Women in the Workplace website can be found here - http://executivewomenintheworkplace.wordpress.com/


13 JUN 2013

Therese Welcomes New Off-shore Wind Investment Organisation

Therese has welcomed the announcement from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills that an Offshore Wind Investment Organisation to boost levels of inward investment and to further stimulate jobs in the UK offshore wind industry, will be set up.

Therese said: "The creation of the Offshore Wind Investment Organisation will help bring enormous economic benefit to our shores, supporting skilled jobs. Offshore wind is a major success story in our part of Suffolk with Greater Gabbard and Galloper wind farms playing a major role in the success of our green coast".

Therese added: "The formation of this industry-led partnership will boost the positive benefits that the offshore wind sector can bring to the UK economy."

The OWIO is one of the recommendations of the forthcoming industrial strategy and will be headed by a senior industry figure. The organisation will be a partnership between industry and Government, established by UK Trade & Investment, that will complement the work of DECC and BIS in delivering the Government-wide offshore investment objectives.


12 JUN 2013

Therese Takes Part in Parliamentary Tug of War

Therese was involved in a political heave-ho of different nature this week when she took part in Macmillan Cancer Support's 26th annual Parliamentary Tug of War.

Yesterday Therese joined forces with other cross-party MPs at the charity match but unfortunately The House of Commons Ladies lost in two straight pulls against the Macmillan Ladies. The real success story on the night however was that Macmillan expects to raise around £120,000 to support people affected by cancer, ensuring they don't have to face the toughest fight of their lives alone.

Therese said: "Macmillan's Parliamentary Tug of War asks politicians of all persuasions to pull together and put their weight behind a great cause. The money raised will mean there'll be a Macmillan Cancer Support team behind the two million people living with cancer, supporting them every step of the way."


05 JUN 2013

Therese Asks Local Groups to Support UK Development Efforts

Therese is encouraging charities and not-for-profit groups in Suffolk Coastal to bid for money from a £4m fund tosupport efforts to reduce global poverty.

The Global Poverty Action Fund's Community Partnership Window allows small, UK-based organisations to put forward innovative ideas in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals to help the poorest people around the world.

The bidding process has now opened and closes on 9 July 2013.

Therese said: "I know there are large numbers of individuals and organisations in Suffolk Coastal who spend a lot of time and effort supporting those most in need around the world. The Community Partnership Window of the Global Poverty Action Fund allows them to put forward their ideas to help people the poorest parts of the globe with successful projects receiving funding to turn their vision into reality."

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, added: "This fund is aimed at giving smaller charities and groups the opportunity to support the UK's development efforts around the world. I encourage any organisation that has an idea for delivering real, positive change to those most in need to submit a bid."


05 JUN 2013

Fixing the Immigration System has Cut Net Migration by More Than a Third

Therese has welcomed the latest independent evidence that the Government's action to fix the immigration system is

working, as new figures show that net immigration has been cut by more than a third since the general election – and now stands at the lowest level for a decade.

The Government have reformed all the routes of immigration into the UK to make the system more selective and secure. In the recent Queen's Speech the Government announced new plans to clamp down on those from overseas who abuse our public services.

Therese said: "I believe that people in Suffolk want an immigration system that works in Britain's interest. The action the Government have taken to fix the system we inherited has already seen net immigration cut by more than a third, and our new laws will stop people abusing public services they're not entitled to and make it easier to remove people who should not be here."

She added: "These latest independent figures show that the uncontrolled immigration Britain saw under Labour is ending and we are creating an immigration system people can have confidence in."


05 JUN 2013

Local MPs Disappointed at CQC withdrawal from Ambulance Meeting

MPs were due to meet Care Quality Commission today to informally hear their assessment of the East of EnglandAmbulance Trust's action plan. However CQC has withdrawn from the meeting.

Therese said, "MPs are very disappointed that CQC decided to pull out of this meeting, which had already been postponed from last month. We will be having a further meeting with the Health Minister in the next fortnight but hearing the independent view of the regulator would have been very useful."

Therese added: "At this challenging time, it is more important than ever that candid conversations and observations can be shared. Greater transparency is very important in building trust that standards are improving."

Priti Patel, MP for Witham, said, "I am disappointed that the CQC have pulled out of the meeting as my constituents are extremely concerned about the ambulance service and want to see improvements made. In recent months managers at the Trust have left, a financial crisis is brewing and not enough is being done to improve patient care. Serious concerns remain over the way this Trust is being managed and led and instead of snubbing my constituents the CQC should be engaging with us."

The MP for North East Cambridgeshire, Steve Barclay, commented: "It is obviously concerning that the CQC has pulled out of this meeting. Cambridgeshire MPs have been calling for a serious independent review of the East of England Ambulance Service and these joint meetings are vital part of the process."

He added: "The regulator has an important role to play in the improvements which we need to see in the ambulance service and I look forward to working with them in the future to ensure that ambulance response times come down and patients in the East of England get the best possible service."


24 MAY 2013

Therese Welcomes Local Schools to Parliament

Therese welcomed pupils from the Edgar Sewter School and Ilketshall Saint Lawrence school to Parliament this week as they enjoyed a tour of the Palace of Westminster.

Therese said: I was delighted to welcome the pupils and teachers from two Suffolk schools. I actively encourage our schools to come and visit the House of Commons as it forms an important part of their understanding of our democratic process. After their tour we had an enjoyable question and answer session."

Year six teacher from Edgar Sewter, Hayley Reeve said: "Edgar Sewter and Ilketshall Saint Lawrence school had a great time in Parliament during our trip to London which included staying on HMS Belfast. It was a great pleasure to talk with Dr Coffey and we thank her for meeting us"


23 MAY 2013

Reducing the Health & Safety Burden on Businesses

Therese has welcomed the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which cuts costs for businesses byreducing red tape and simplifying regulation on health and safety.

Therese said: "This is an overdue reform of the Factory Act. The strict duty on employers meant the burden of Health and Safety regulation became too great. It is important for both employers and employees to work in a safe environment with appropriate redress for employees when their employer is at fault. This is a step forward with the onus still on the employer to provide training and safe workplace but with certainty they can avoid expensive litigation when they have made every effort for employees to be safe."

The Act amends the law so that in future compensation claims can only be made where negligence or fault on the part of the employer can be proved.


22 MAY 2013

Therese Speaks out on Flawed Evidence in Marine Conservation Zone Designations

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese outlined to the Minister local concern about the designation of Marine Conservation Zones in Suffolk Coastal.

She said there was 'local uproar' from Aldeburgh & Orford residents and 'consternation' from the Harwich Haven Authority & the port of Felixstowe who work hard to protect habitat, about the blanket coverage of Marine Conservation Zones on the Alde & Ore and the Stour which would restrict activities in the area based on 'flawed evidence'.

Therese said: "It is important we protect our seas and we already have a considerable number of protected areas. However, there is concern about restrictions on activities damaging to our local economy"

Therese referred to the disbelief of residents on the evidence presented to support the designations.

The Fishing Minister, Richard Benyon has promised to enter into discussions with Therese about the local concern.

 

 


08 MAY 2013

Therese Backs Queen’s Speech for Jobs & Growth

Therese has today welcomed the measures outlined in the Queen's speech which prioritises growth in our economy and the continued reduction of the deficit.

It sets out the Government's legislative programme for this Parliamentary session including Bills to curb immigration, cap care costs, strengthen consumer rights and remove the burden on business.

Therese said: "We are introducing measures to help businesses create jobs by cutting the cost of recruiting new employees. National Insurance bills will be reduced each year by enabling every business and charity to claim a £2,000 Employment Allowance. The measures outlined in the Queen's speech are about backing people who work hard and want to get on in life. It is a Queen's speech for jobs & growth"

Therese added: "We will also bring forward a Bill to clamp down on immigrants accessing public services to which they are not entitled and compel landlords of private housing to check the immigration status of tenants"

"We will also introduce a Bill to cap care costs and extend the means test threshold for financial assistance to ensure that no-one has to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care."


22 APR 2013

Upgrade to Ely is Key to Getting More Freight onto Rail

I met Rail Minister, Simon Burns alongside colleagues from Norfolk today to stress the importance of upgrading Ely Junction.

It is essential that the work due to commence next year creates a smooth interchange across East Anglia.  It may be a long way from Ipswich and Felixstowe but opening up this junction is key to increasing capacity and getting more freight traffic onto rail.

Talking of which the project from Network Rail to boost capacity on the Felixstowe to Ipswich line has passed the feasibility study. It will now go on to the next stage in which they will consider options and consult with industry stakeholders. Once the specific option has been decided then detailed plans will be drawn up and it is expected to be delivered in 2015.


10 APR 2013

Therese Welcomes Publication of Cranfield Report

Therese has welcomed the publication of the latest Cranfield University Report on women in FTSE boardrooms.

The report sets out that 17.3% of board places are now taken up by women in FTSE 100 companies, an increase of 2.3% up on last year's figure. 67% of FTSE 100 boards now have more than one woman, however the report also warns against complacency. Therese is currently co-chairing an inquiry into executive women and the pipeline of talent, and the report demonstrates the importance of this perspective, as the numbers of female executive directors and senior executives have fallen.

Therese said: "It is welcome to see more research on the subject, and I am happy to see the number of female board members rise again, vindicating the Government's commitment to increasing women's representation in boardrooms."

Therese added: "The recommendations in the Cranfield report are more aspirational rather than concrete ways to improve the situation. There is a need for more robust recommendations, particularly regarding the executives who actually run the companies. As co-chair of the Conservative Women's Forum inquiry I hope to publish our report within the next month on how we can increase the pipeline of talent and break down the barriers to get more women into top jobs".


27 MAR 2013

Therese Backs Bill to Give Taxpayers Vote on Parish & Town Council Tax Increases

Therese is supporting Kris Hopkins MP's Ten Minute Rule Bill that requires a popular mandate for Town & Parish Councils wishing to increase their precept beyond the limits that are already prescribed for a referendum for District and County councils.

Therese said: "I am pleased to back the Bill and have previously contacted Ministers in the Local Government Department on this matter. In recent years, council tax payers in Suffolk have had their council tax frozen for District and County council services. It is only through the Police (though not this year) and parish or town councils that increases have been levied. Some councils have made substantial increases in their precept year on year and I think constituents deserve similar protection to such increases as they enjoy from other precepting authorities."

She added: "In these tough financial times we need to ensure that any above threshold increase in Council tax is sanctioned by taxpayers themselves. To reduce the cost of any ballot, my proposal is that increases above the % threshold and a de minimis amount should require endorsement at the Annual Meeting or at a Special General Meeting with a secret vote."


26 MAR 2013

Therese Welcomes New Steps to Control Immigration

Therese has today welcomed new steps set out by the Prime Minister to ensure we have an immigration system that

favours people who work hard and want to get on in life. Tough reforms of all the routes of immigration to the UK have already been implemented by the Government and have seen net immigration fall by almost a third since the last general election.

Therese said: "I welcome the new steps which the Prime Minister has set out to ensure that everyone who comes here pays their way and gives something back. By changing the rules on benefits and NHS treatment we will stop our system from being a 'soft touch'. Making entitlement to public services something migrants earn and not an automatic right will stop the 'something for nothing' culture which grew up under the previous Government."

Photo: Therese with Immigration Minister, Mark Harper MP


25 MAR 2013

APPG Publishes Report into Off-Gas Grid Market

Inquiry report by all-party group of MPs calls for same level of consumer protection for off-gas grid households as mains gas users.

The APPG on Off-Gas Grid, which Therese is Co-Chairman, has today published its report on the high costs and high levels of fuel poverty endured by the four million off-gas grid households across the country. A typical off-gas grid family faces bills 60-120% higher than on mains gas and 32% are fuel poor.

MP's have made a number of recommendations including extending the same level of consumer protection to off-gas grid households as exists for those on mains gas. They also call for the Office of Fair Trading to redo its inquiry as they felt the methodology was highly flawed. Further recommendations include earlier payment of the Winter Fuel Payment to allow off-gas grid pensioners to buy more heating oil in the summer and autumn to take advantage of cheaper prices, as well as a dedicated Government Minister.

Therese said: "If you live off the gas grid, the chances are your energy efficiency will be worse, your fuel bills may be over twice as high, and you are more likely to be in fuel poverty. Yet you will not enjoy the consumer protection that mains gas users do and vulnerable households suffer. We think that needs to change."

Co-chair Pat Glass MP added: "We were surprised at what the OFT told us about how they estimated the numbers of heating oil suppliers. In North West Durham, finding a company to deliver can be a real problem. With off-gas grid prices rocketing, we also hope the Government will look at making off-gas grid heating more affordable, particularly for vulnerable people."


20 MAR 2013

Therese Delighted by New Employment Allowance

Therese has welcomed the budget announcement by the Chancellor that a new Employment Allowance will take the first£2,000 off the employer National Insurance bill of every company in the country.

This chimes with what Therese suggested just this month as a member of the Conservative Free Enterprise Group when she suggested giving employers a reduction in their national insurance liability.

Therese said: "This is brilliant news for businesses and will encourage employers to create more jobs and take on more staff. It is a fantastic boost especially for small businesses as third of all employers will no longer pay any employer National Insurance contributions at all. This was a budget for jobs and growth and provides all the incentives to enable businesses to grow"

Photo: Therese visiting Brafe Engineering in Woodbridge 


19 MAR 2013

Therese Backs Landmark step in Childcare Support for Parents in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has today welcomed the landmark announcement to introduce tax-free childcare which, when fully implemented will be worth up to £1,200 every year for each child under age 12 and could benefit 2.5 million families.

From Autumn 2015, the Government will meet 20 per cent of childcare costs for working families and so will save a typical working family with two children under 12 up to £2,400 a year.

From the first year of operation, all children under 5 will be eligible, initially opening the scheme to 1.3 million families, and the scheme will build up over time to include children under 12.

Therese said: "This is a landmark announcement for parents in Suffolk Coastal which will deliver meaningful support with the cost of childcare. It really shows that Conservatives in Government are committed to helping families and support parents back into work."

The Prime Minister said: "If Britain is going to succeed in the global race we must help those who work hard and want to get on. Too many families find paying for childcare tough and are often stopped from working the hours they'd like. That is why we are introducing tax free-childcare, saving a typical family with two children up to £2,400 a year."

"This is a boost direct to the pockets of hard-working families in what will be one of the biggest measures ever introduced to help parents with childcare costs."


19 MAR 2013

Planning Permission Granted for Hinkley Point

Therese has today welcomed the announcement from the Secretary of State for Energy that planning permission has been granted for Hinkley Point power station in Somerset.

Therese said: "I am very pleased with the announcement. It doesn't affect us directly but it is a welcome step towards the building of Sizewell C, helping to secure our energy security and prosperity".

Therese added: "Negotiations are ongoing between the Government and EDF about the 'strike price' for Hinkley Point – which will also be an important indicator for Sizewell. Due to the huge investment and long pay-back time, the strike price will give EDF certainty on their rate of return. I spoke to both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor recently in relation to the negotiations and they are of course very aware of how important the building of Sizewell C will be in boosting the local economy and creating thousands of jobs".


13 MAR 2013

Orford General Stores Named Village Shop of the Year

Congratulations to Penny Teale from Orford General Stores who has won the Countryside Alliance Award for the best Village Shop and Post Office of the Year the UK and Ireland.  She had already won the East of England regional prize and today she triumphed in the national award hosted in Parliament.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "I whooped with joy in the grand House of Lords room when it was announced that Orford General Stores was named National Village Shop of the Year. Penny Teale has done a fantastic job taking Orford General Stores on to another level - top class service, promoting local produce and a warm welcome. This award is richly deserved and is testimony to the incredible hard work that she continues to put in every day in maintaining this local business. The only downside was that her lovely dog Spike was not able to come into Parliament to celebrate too. This is yet more recognition for Orford as a food haven. Well done Penny"


07 MAR 2013

Therese Joins International Women’s Day Celebration

Therese  is visiting Trinity Park tomorrow to attend the University College Suffolk International Women's Day celebrations.

The theme of the day is 'Creating Gender Balance in the Real World' and Therese hopes to raise the issue of unconscious bias training.

Therese said: "International Women's Day is an important opportunity to get women's issues on the agenda. I am currently co-chairing the Conservative Women's Forum inquiry on the barriers to the pipeline of female executive talent reaching the boardroom. There is a growing awareness of unconscious bias in the corporate world, in which our instinct will often seek out people who are similar to us. This can become a barrier to women in recruitment terms and I want unconscious bias training to be commonplace with the work place and wider society"

Therese also took the opportunity in Parliament today to ask the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening MP, about ensuring facilities for women are also thought about when building schools in poorer parts of the world.

Therese said: "When schools are built through international aid we need to ensure that money is spent on providing toilet blocks and bathrooms, not just classrooms. Building schools mean that women have an opportunity to get an education but we must make sure that the right infrastructure is also built."


07 MAR 2013

Therese Calls for Debate on Government’s Road Tolling Policy

Therese has today called for a debate in Parliament on road tolling.

Speaking in Business Questions, Therese called on the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley MP to provide time for adebate on the Government policy on road tolling.

Andrew Lansley's Cambridgeshire constituency is linked to Suffolk Coastal by the A14, which is threatened with a potential toll.

Therese said: "Significant investment including the widening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route to Felixstowe is very welcome and long needed. It is essential these improvements are made to free up capacity. I do however, have significant concerns about the use of tolls and it is important this is not seen as a tax on success."

Mr Lansley said that he would talk to colleagues in the Department of Transport and made a commitment that the Government will discuss the issue with the House of Commons shortly.


05 MAR 2013

23 Engineers Will Stay at Rock Barracks

Therese has welcomed the statement given by the Defence Secretary today confirming that the 23 Engineers will stay atRock Barracks in Woodbridge.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, announced details of changes to Army bases as soldiers return from Germany and the army's operating model is restructured under the 2020 programme.

Therese said: "I am delighted with the announcement that the 23 Engineers are staying at Rock Barracks and it will be welcomed by the wider Woodbridge community. 23 Engineers are an important part of local life and are an invaluable part of our national defence force. I look forward to continue our special relationship."


22 FEB 2013

Getting Households a Fair Deal on Their Energy Bills

Therese has welcomed the announcement by Ofgem to reform the energy market. These reforms follow the plans set out by the Prime Minister last year to ensure consumers get the cheapest deal.

Therese said: 'I know that people across Suffolk Coastal are concerned about their energy bills and it is right that action is being taken to bring them down. Ofgem's reforms are a big step in the right direction".

The reforms endorse the proposals in the Government's Energy Bill currently in parliament. They include:

  • Making the market simpler by restricting suppliers to offering four simple core tariffs per fuel type.
  • Requiring suppliers to give all their customers personalised information on the cheapest tariff they offer for them.
  • New rules which require suppliers to send clear bills which are easier for customers to understand.

Ofgem's reforms will be in place by this summer. The Government' Energy Bill will underpin these reforms and ensure all customers are getting the best deal on their energy bills by 2014.


21 FEB 2013

End of 4G Auction Ensures Faster Mobile Broadband

Therese has welcomed the end of the 4G mobile spectrum auction which will ensure 98% of the UK is covered by fast mobile broadband.

The auction has achieved Ofcom's purpose of promoting strong competition in the 4G mobile market. This is expected to lead to faster mobile broadband speeds, lower prices, greater innovation, new investment and better coverage.

Therese said: "This is fantastic news for rural broadband on the go which will almost double the amount of airwaves currently available for mobile broadband services."

She added: "All along my Conservative colleagues and I pushed for a greater coverage making sure Ofcom extended coverage to 98% of UK homes and businesses not just 95% as previously planned. This is not all about the money raised from the auction it is the mobile infrastcruture and rural coverage that is the key".


19 FEB 2013

Therese Welcomes Social Care Reforms

Therese has welcomed the proposals put forward by the Government to reform Social Care so that if you work hardand save for your future you will not be forced to lose all of your savings if you end up needing long term care.

Therese said: "There will be a £75,000 cap on care costs from 2017. The intention is not that people should pay the £75,000, but that they should not have to pay it because they can cover it through, for example, an option in their pension plan. Only with the certainty of knowing there is an upper limit to costs will insurance companies offer this."

She added: "The threshold for the value of assets someone can hold before qualifying for support will rise from £23,250 to £123,000. This will provide financial protection for those in Suffolk Coastal with modest wealth, while ensuring that the poorest continue to have all or the majority of their costs paid."

"These proposals demonstrate our determination to help people iwho have worked hard, saved and done the right thing. We can be proud we will be perhaps the first country which, in the face of an ageing population, is building a system where people plan and prepare for their care costs as much as they plan and prepare for their pensions."


07 FEB 2013

Therese Welcomes Government Plans to Tackle Irresponsible Dog Ownership

Therese has today welcomed the measures announced by the Government to tackle irresponsible dog ownership and improve dog welfare.

As part of the range of measures put forward there will be a requirement for all dogs to be microchipped with details of their owner by April 2016.

Commenting on the proposals Therese said "Instinctively, I used to oppose compulsory microchipping but after some further research and discussion with animal welfare agencies, last year I switched my view. Having a microchip means dogs can quickly be reunited with their owner. Currently dogs can be put down after just 7 days in kennels if not claimed. Further, police would be able to tackle dogs causing problems largely due to their owners.

Therese added: "It is welcome news that Dogs Trust has generously agreed to provide free microchips for all unchipped dog through local councils, housing associations and vets. . I am pleased that our local animal welfare centre in Walton (Blue Cross) has also pledged to help and I hope Martlesham (RSPCA) will do the same."

The Government are also planning to change the law so that dog owners whose animals have attacked people on private property can now be prosecuted. Therese has urged caution on how this law will be applied.


06 FEB 2013

Therese Welcomes Recommendations in the Francis Report

Therese has welcomed many of the recommendations set out the Francis Report, based on the failings at Mid StaffsHospital.

Therese said: "The report contained some astonishing examples of failure in care at the hospital. Failures were identified at every level - on the wards, management, the Board and the regulator. Both treatment and care should be the focus of everyone in our NHS. This is why I press the Boards on the delivery and governance of our health services locally."

"I am pleased the PM has already announced that a new post of chief inspector of hospitals will be created in the autumn."

The Government will respond to the full 290 recommendations within the next 6 months.

Therese added: "Merging regulators into one, the Care Quality Commission, gives clarity. The key point though is that our leaders, governors and staff need to hold each other and themselves to account in the interests of all patients."


06 FEB 2013

Therese Welcomes Redress on Mis-selling of Interest Rate Swap Products

The FSA have confirmed that the banks involved in the selling of Interest Rate Swap Products will now start a full review of their sales of these products to small businesses. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland have agreed to work on reviewing individual sales and provide redress to customers.

Therese said: "I welcome the stance taken by the regulator. Some local businesses in Suffolk Coastal were mis-sold the interest rate swap product by high street banks and I am glad the FSA are taking action to resolve this matter".

The attached letter explains the next steps in the redress scheme.


31 JAN 2013

Forests to Remain in Public Ownership

Therese has welcomed the Government's response to the Independent Panel on Forestry's report published today whichvows to increase the amount of woodland, to work with nature partners to improve the forestry estate and, particularly importantly to many residents of Suffolk, to keep the nation's forests in public ownership. The policy inherited from the last government of selling regularly a percentage of the estate to subsidise the Forestry Commission will also be stopped.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "It will be welcomed by many that the Government has committed to keeping our forests in public hands. It was clear from the amount of constituents that contacted me on this matter and the public meetings that I had that there was a desire to maintain public ownership and to make better use of our forests. A new independent body will now be set up for the long term holding the public forest estate in trust for the nation and we will continue to improve access to our woods and forests so more people can enjoy them."

She added: "The Government has accepted most of the recommendations made by the Independent Forestry Panel. I am pleased that bodies like the Woodland Trust has supported our new policy."


29 JAN 2013

Therese Presses Minister on Equitable Life Payment Scheme

Today in Parliament Therese pressed Treasury Minister, Sajid Javid MP on the Equitable Life Payment Scheme and raisedconstituents concerns that some entitled to compensation had still not been assessed.

Therese said: "I am proud that our Government have started the payment scheme and that £500 million has already been paid to policyholders. There are still some people who have not been assessed and I urge the Minister to work with his officials to ensure that happens as quickly as possible".

The Minister gave assurances that he is in regular contact with the payment scheme and will work with them to ensure things are improved. A detailed report will be published next week and the scheme will now publish quarterly progress reports.


24 JAN 2013

Inquiry Hears Evidence on Executive Women in the Workplace and Pipeline of Female Talent

The Conservative Women's Forum has this week held the first of five evidence sessions in its inquiry into Executive Women in the Workplace.

On Monday the panel of Conservative MPs and Peers heard from senior corporate figures; a second session yesterday included executive search consultants and senior women from various business sectors. Over the next two weeks other witnesses will include senior businessmen and women, investors, headhunters, campaigners, and a Minister for Women and Equalities.

Therese, who is co-chairing the inquiry, said: "Good progress has been made in appointing more women to boards after the spotlight was shone by Lord Davies. However, while there has been an improvement in the number of non-executives, there are few executive directors and only two female CEOs in the FTSE 100. Quotas are not the answer but we set up this inquiry to focus on the pipeline of talent, to understand what can be done to expand that and what are the barriers."

Co-chair Mary Macleod MP added: "We have asked witnesses in particular about how far companies embed diversity in their aims and practices, so that there is commitment right through a company and action to match. The current debate about corporate gender diversity is too narrow. This inquiry is about women's ambition, aspiration, and achievement."

The next evidence session will be held on Wednesday 30th January. The Forum will publish a report in the Spring.


23 JAN 2013

Therese Welcomes Reduction in Unemployment

Therese has today welcomed the reduction in the unemployment figures for Suffolk Coastal.

Reacting to the news Therese said: "I am delighted that unemployment is now lower than it was at the time of the last election. The December figures show that it is over half a percent better than it was at the beginning of last year and better than it was in November"

She added: "I understand that it is still 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".


23 JAN 2013

Therese Delighted at Boost for Rural Broadband as 4G Auction gets Underway

Therese has expressed her delight that the 4G mobile auction  is now underway.  The 4G auction is the largest ever sale of mobile airwaves in the UK.

Therese said: "This is fantastic news for rural broadband on the go adding to the fixed line contract signed in Suffolk last month."

She added: "The new spectrum will almost double the amount of airwaves currently available for mobile broadband services on smartphones, tablets and laptops, helping to meet demand for mobile data and stimulating investment, growth and innovation."

Coverage of new 4G services will virtually match that of current 2G (e.g voice calls and text messaging) but with data speeds close to those of fixed broadband. At least 98% of UK homes and businesses will be covered by the completion of roll-out.


23 JAN 2013

Therese Welcomes the Prime Minister’s Promise for In/Out Referendum

Therese has today welcomed the Prime Minister's commitment to an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EUafter a period of renegotiation.

Reacting to the speech Therese said the Prime Minister is offering a "clear vision and a clear choice. Significant change is needed in Britain's relationship with the EU and I welcome his commitment to repatriate major powers back to Britain. He will then put the new settlement to a referendum in the next Parliament".

Therese added: "Draft legislation for a referendum will be prepared in this Parliament showing that this is not an empty promise."

Therese is part of the Fresh Start group that recently published its Manifesto for change and was chapter champion on the budget and institutions. Therese wants to ensure that the EU's institutions protect British sovereignty, ensuring that the British Parliament can decide what is best for Britain.


23 JAN 2013

Therese Celebrates Post Office Win

Therese joined Parliamentary colleagues in an event in Parliament this week to mark the excellent news that the Post Office will continue to offer accessible driving licence and tax services to millions of customers in the UK. Therese showed her support for the win by signing a dedicated congratulations board.

Therese said: "The Post Office is a vital part of communities in Suffolk Coastal and has long provided a platform for essential and every day government services. I have been contacted by many constituents about this issue and I am sure they will share my delight in this decision. This is great news for local post offices which will enable them to remain sustainable and for motorists who will still be able to access DVLA services through their local branch."

Martin Moran, Commercial Director at the Post Office said: "We are delighted to have the support of Therese MP. The Post Office has a strong track record in successfully delivering essential government services. Winning the DVLA contract again is testimony to the quality of our staff and subpostmasters, whose longstanding commitment to serving local communities contributed greatly to this success."

The contract covers all existing DVLA-related Post Office services, such as applying for tax discs and driving licences, as well as some new services currently offered through DVLA local offices, such as the provision of duplicate licences and licensing of Heavy Goods Vehicles. These additional services will shortly be available at the Post Office's network, giving better accessibility to DVLA's services to motorists.


16 JAN 2013

Fresh Start Project Launches EU Manifesto for Change

The Fresh Start Project today published its "Manifesto for Change".  The Manifesto sets out a new relationship for Britainwithin the EU which the FSP wants the Government to achieve; success in the negotiation will mean a new and sustainable position for the UK within the EU.

Therese was chapter champion on budget and institutions.  Commenting on the Manifesto, Therese said: "Significant change is needed in Britain's relationship with the EU. We need to focus on what's important; jobs and growth, not on the grandiose white elephants of buildings or museums. We want to ensure that the EU's institutions protect British sovereignty, ensuring that the British Parliament can decide what is best for Britain."

The Fresh Start Project seeks five significant revisions to the EU Treaties:

  • An emergency brake for any Member State in financial services.
  • Repatriation to Member States of the competence in social and employment law.  Failing that a UK opt-out and emergency brake.
  • A UK opt-out from policing and criminal justice measures not already covered by block opt-out.
  • A new legal safeguard for the Single Market.
  • The abolition of the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions.

The FSP calls for additional reforms which can be achieved within the framework of the current Treaties, either by the UK acting on its own (eg improving Parliamentary scrutiny and removing 'gold-plating') or following negotiation with other Member States (eg reforming the Budget, Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy and repatriating regional policy).

Full implementation of all the Fresh Start Project's proposals would enable the UK to make significant savings to its Budget contributions and secure control over such important policy areas as Financial Services, Employment, Criminal Justice and Energy.


11 JAN 2013

Government Consults on Statutory Code for Pubs and new Adjudicator

Business Secretary Vince Cable MP has announced proposals for an independent Adjudicator to address unfair practices in the pub industry.

As well as the new Adjudicator the Government plans to establish a new statutory Code to look at the relationship between large pub companies and publicans, which will be enforced by the Adjudicator. This new Code will ensure fair practices for a number of issues including rents and the prices publicans pay for beer. It would also have the power to investigate and deal with disputes between pub companies (pubcos) and publicans, and in some cases have the power to fine. The Code is similar to that being introduced for supermarkets and the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Therese said: "Our major breweries in Suffolk do act responsibly but there are too many examples across the country where the property value is assessed more highly than the value of the pub to the community. While we should not seek to regulate on every issue nor is the government afraid to act in the interest of small business when a voluntary code has been given a fair chance. Having recently completed a visit to every pub in Suffolk Coastal I know how hard it is for some landlords to survive on small margins. During these tough times, having the security of the brewery interest has often helped but I do know that more freedom for landlords will be welcomed by them."

The formal consultation on these proposed measures will be launched the spring.


09 JAN 2013

Tough Negotiations Vital for Under Ten Fisherman

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese welcomed the statement by Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon MP about his hard foughtnegotiations on fishing quotas for the under 10 metre boats.

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. The Minister has also secured an increase in the quota for some fish stocks and overturned reductions to others offering a real life-line for many fishermen.

Therese said: "I am sure that the fishermen who fish in Sole bay will be delighted by the increase in eastern channel sole, as will those in Southwold, Orford, Sizewell and elsewhere in my constituency. Does the Minister share my concern, though, about the comments of the chief executive of the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association that the deal was damaging, when it has actually proved a lifeline for many of our coastal fishermen?"

Richard Benyon replied buy saying that he thought the chief executive's comments were a pity and added that fisherman will see an "improved prospect for the year ahead across all sectors and around all our coasts."


13 DEC 2012

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Receives Funding Boost for Housing

This week, the Government has announced £713,047 of funding for Suffolk Coastal District and £769,281 of funding forWaveney District Council as part of the Government's New Homes Bonus. The New Homes Bonus is a key part of the Government's strategy to increase the supply of available housing.

The NHB ensures that local authorities who promote and welcome growth can share in its economic benefits. Through the Bonus for every new home built, the Government will match the funding local authorities receive in additional council tax. This includes councils bringing empty properties back into use and there is an additional amount for affordable homes.

Therese said: "It is great news that our part of Suffolk will receive over £1.4m of funding through the New Homes Bonus, which can be spent by on improving local infrastructure, delivering additional homes or on anything that will benefit the local community.

"We are rewarding, rather than penalising, councils and communities for welcoming development, and providing a powerful incentive for Councils to help make sure our children have good quality, affordable housing'.


13 DEC 2012

Therese Welcomes Review of Environment Agency and Natural England

Therese has welcomed the review of the Environment Agency and Natural England that is being carried out by theGovernment.

The review provides an opportunity to look at what functions the Environment Agency and Natural England carry out. It will also be used to explore innovative options for improvements in service delivery and efficiency.

Therese said: "This review gives the Government a chance to take a fresh look at what these bodies do and how they do it. I would encourage residents and groups to respond to the review and suggest any changes that would lead to better results for the environment, economic growth and for people here in Suffolk."

The review is part of a rolling programme across Government to examine non-departmental delivery bodies every three years. The Environment Agency and Natural England have been reviewed separately in the past.

The review documents can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/review-ea-ne/


05 DEC 2012

Prime Minister Commits to Continued Investment in Apprenticeships and Skills Training

Therese welcomed the introduction of the Energy Bill in Parliament today and asked the Prime Minister to continue to invest in apprenticeships and skills training so Suffolk residents can take advantage of the job opportunities at Sizewell C.

Therese said: "I wanted to highlight that the Energy Bill gives a potential green light to the building of Sizewell C and many jobs that come with that that. I am pleased that the Prime Minister re-committed to continuing to invest in apprenticeships and skills training so that Suffolk people can get the jobs that will be created along our Green Coast."

Responding to Dr Coffey, the Prime Minister said: "The presentation of the Energy Bill to Parliament means that we can get out there and sell to all the energy companies the clear and stable framework that the UK has for offshore wind, nuclear, renewables and gas. It is a very positive development and there is a huge amount of potential pent-up investment, and we need to ensure that that results in British jobs and British apprenticeships."

The Bill sets the financial rules which will allow energy companies to invest in jobs and growth increasing the amount of energy from renewables, nuclear and carbon capture. The Bill will ensure we keep the lights on, that bills are as low as possible and the UK meets its carbon reduction and renewable energy obligations.


29 NOV 2012

Therese Welcomes Introduction of Energy Bill

The Government's flagship Energy Bill will be introduced in Parliament today sending out a clear signal of long term security to investors and diversifying our energy mix. The Bill will set the financial rules which will allow energy companies to invest in jobs and growth increasing the amount of energy from renewables, nuclear and carbon capture.

Therese said: "The introduction of the Energy Bill is great news for our part of Suffolk. The Bill will reform the market introducing long-term contracts that pay a steady rate of return for low-carbon energy, covering nuclear and renewables. It will enable EDF to continue to invest in nuclear that is essential to our energy supply."

She added: "The Bill will ensure we keep the lights on, that bills are as low as possible and the UK meets its carbon reduction and renewable energy obligations."


21 NOV 2012

Therese welcomes the Prime Minister’ Commitment to get People the Lowest Energy Tariffs

Therese has welcomed Government plans to lower energy bills for hardworking people across Suffolk Coastal.

Following the Prime Minister's promise to take action to get people the lowest tariffs for their energy bills the Government has this week announced plans to force energy suppliers to offer their customers the best deals.

Under these proposals:

Households will no longer face hundreds of tariffs, with energy companies limited to four tariffs per fuel. Energy companies will have to make bills simpler for customers to understand and outline personalised information on the cheapest tariff that they can offer.Households will be moved onto the cheapest tariff under their supplier that suits them.

With over £300 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tariffs on the market, the Prime Minister's action is likely to make a significant difference to local people here in Suffolk worried about their energy bills.

Therese said: "This is great news for households across Suffolk. The Government is committed to helping people with the cost of living. Along with tax cuts, council tax freezes and all time low interest rates protecting mortgage payment, this action on energy prices will really help with family budgets."


19 NOV 2012

Therese Coffey Urges Business to Help Reduce Red Tape

Therese has welcomed today's announcement from the department of Business, Innovation and Skills that there will be adoubling of the rate in cutting the regulatory burden on business and is asking businesses in Suffolk Coastal to let her know which regulations are unnecessary.

The Governments one-in one-out rule on regulation that has seen net costs on business reduced by over £850m is to be replaced by new one-in, two-out rule. The new rule will ensure that where new regulation creates cost, two times that amount in savings for business must be found by scrapping or simplifying existing regulation.

Therese said: "I welcome the Governments continued commitment to reduce the regulatory burden on business. Working alongside the red tape challenge the new one-in, two-out rule will mean the burden is reduced yet further. I urge businesses in Suffolk to let me know which regulations they think are unnecessary so I can raise them with Ministers."


14 NOV 2012

Therese Visits Brafe Engineering to mark Export Week

This week is export week and to mark the occasion, Local MP, Therese Coffey visited Brafe Engineering in Woodbridge.

Therese said: "Our nation has long had a proud record of exporting but for too long now, we have imported more than we export. Brafe is a great local success story and is leading the way by exporting most of its products. It was great to meet with Managing Director, Andrew Dalby and his son Adam about entering into new markets and new customers. They have re-invested a great amount into to firm to ensure it maintains it global reputation"

Therese added: "After a hosting a successful seminar with the UK Trade & Industry (UKTI) for local businesses wanting to export I am planning to out on another event early next year. The businesses that attended heard how the UKTI can deliver practical advice to help them sell their goods abroad."


14 NOV 2012

Therese Urges Responses to Consultation on Onshore Wind

Therese is urging people to respond to the Government's consultation on onshore wind before it closes on 15th November.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has published a call for evidence asking for ways in which communities can have more of a say and receive greater benefit from onshore wind turbines in their area.

Therese said: "The Government is aware of concerns about turbines and the perceived lack of community benefit. Wind power has a role to play in order to meet our low carbon energy objectives but it must be appropriately sited."

She added: "This is an opportunity for anyone with a view about how communities can benefit from onshore wind – supporters and opponents alike - to come forward with ideas".

The consultation document can be assessed at 

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/onwind_cfe/onwind_cfe.aspx


13 NOV 2012

Therese Welcomes the Decision to Renew Post Office DVLA Services Contract

Therese has today welcomed the news announced by the Secretary of State for Transport that DVLA services will remainwith the Post Office.

The Front Office Counter Services contract was awarded following a competitive process which will mean savings for the taxpayer.

Therese said: "I have been contacted by many constituents about this issue and I am sure they will share my delight in this decision. This is great news for local post offices which will enable them to remain sustainable and for motorists who will still be able to access DVLA services through their local branch."

Therese added: "The contract covers all existing DVLA-related Post Office services, such as applying for tax discs and driving licences, as well as some new services currently offered through DVLA local offices, such as the provision of duplicate licences and licensing of Heavy Goods Vehicles. These additional services will shortly be available at the Post Office's network, giving better accessibility to DVLA's services to motorists."

The new seven year contract, with an option to extend for a further three years, will come into effect on 1 April 2013.


13 NOV 2012

Conservative Womens Forum Launches Inquiry into Executive Women in the Workplace

The Conservative Women's Forum has today announced the launch of an inquiry to study the barriers women in theworkplace face in reaching executive positions.

The group 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.

Therese, one of the co-chairs of the inquiry said: "Progress has been made on female board participation recently, but we feel there is much more that can be done: only 6.6% of executive directors of FTSE 100 companies are female, and if you go beyond the biggest companies to the FTSE 250, over a third of boards remain all-male. We want to speak to companies, their investors, executive search firms, and other members of the business world to understand how we can unlock the talent pool that the women in this country represent."

The other co-chair, Mary Macleod said: "While the European Commission are suggesting quotas for boards, we feel there are underlying problems which need to be tackled. We welcome the fact that 55% of non-executive directors appointed since February were women, but 100% of executive appointments were male. Women are struggling to reach the very top, and we want to see how they can be helped."

The Forum plans to write to stakeholders, inviting them to give evidence at a number of sessions in the New Year. A report will be published in the Spring.

The terms of reference for the inquiry can be found here.


08 NOV 2012

Update on Response to Ash Dieback Disease

Therese attended a briefing with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson MP, last night on the outbreak of ash dieback disease.

There are now confirmed multiple outbreaks of the disease across East Suffolk in mature woodland. The disease which has no known cure does not necessary kill the tree but weakens it so it is susceptible to other diseases and fungus attacks.

Therese said: "We were informed that last weekend a complete survey of East Anglia was undertaken which triggered a nationwide survey by the Forestry Commission, assessing the diseased areas. Given that there has been resilient trees survived in Denmark, the decision has been taken to leave the existing mature woodland and only remove immature saplings recently planted to try and stop the spread of the disease.

Therese added: "This issue is being taken very seriously by the Government and we are now in a much clearer state about future actions. It was not anticipated that the disease would be carried across the North Sea or English Channel, however, there is a clear need for a coordinated effort to protect what we still have and continue the search for a vaccine. This outbreak will inevitably lead to questioning the portability of trees, plants and saplings across Europe."

"I want to stress that the countryside is still open for people to enjoy but there is a limited risk of spreading the disease so it is important to be aware of cleaning boots once you have left affected sites."


06 NOV 2012

Evidence Sessions in Off Gas Grid Inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Off-Gas Grid will be holding two evidence sessions this week as part ofitsinquiry into issues affecting off-grid constituents.

Following the wide range of written responses to its call for evidence, the APPG will hear from various stakeholders including the OFT, LPG and oil trade associations, consumer bodies, and the Minister for Climate Change, Rt Hon Greg Barker MP.

Therese, Co-Chair of the APPG said: "The recent drop in temperatures across the country has warned everyone of the chance of another cold winter this year. The four million households across the UK who are off the gas network will be the most concerned – they have to use much more expensive heating sources to heat homes which are often much less energy efficient.

"They want the assurance that competition and regulation are good enough to ensure no one is profiting from their distress. These evidence sessions will allow us to discuss these points and to identify some solutions to help the most vulnerable."

The evidence sessions will be held on Wednesday 7th, 2-4pm, in Committee Room 13, and Thursday 8th, 3-5pm, in Room 18, and are open to the public.


29 OCT 2012

Therese Questions Minister on Ash Dieback Response

This afternoon in Parliament, Therese asked the Minister of State, David Heath MP what plans he had to proactively communicate any proposed policy for felling and burning ash trees as the result of the recent outbreak of ash dieback disease.  An outbreak was reported last week near the village of Great Glemham.

Therese said: "I was pleased the Minister gave assurances of the need to pro-actively communicate with local people who have forestry interests. The Minister said he did not want to pre-empt experts on the ground on the policy to dispose of infected trees but he gave a commitment that enough Government resources will be put in to do all we can to prevent the disease from spreading".


25 OCT 2012

Rizzo wins award at Westminster Dog of the Year Show

Therese's 13 year old rescue dog, Rizzo won a Special Recognition Award in the prestigious Westminster Dog of the Year show 2012 today.

Therese said: "Rizzo now has full cataracts, can't really see and as a 13 year old is slowing down immeasurably. This was her last hurrah at the Dog of the Year show and I was proud she was able to pick up a trophy. Showing Rizzo off to the judges was a lot of fun and was a great way of raising awareness of the great work of the Dogs Trust. No dog in good health should ever be put down."

Charlie Elphickle– Conservative MP for Dover & Deal won the overall crown with his dog Star.

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 was judged by last years winner Neil Parish MP.

The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is all about celebrating the unique bond between person and dog.


24 OCT 2012

Suffolk MPs Meet Roads Minister to Discuss A14 Challenge

A delegation of Suffolk MP's met the new roads minister, Stephen Hammond, today to discuss the A14 challenge.

Therese Coffey, Ben Gummer, Peter Aldous and David Ruffley quizzed the Minister on the proposals to reduce congestion and boost capacity.

Therese said: "The A14 is so important to residents and businesses in Suffolk including the Port of Felixstowe and we welcome the progress made so far. Significant investment including the widening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route to Felixstowe is very welcome and long needed."

"There are issues concerning tolling that need to be fully thought through and the Minister took this on board. It was a constructive meeting and the Minister has committed to coming to Suffolk so he can discuss the plans further."

Therese added: "We also took the opportunity to discuss with the Minister the recent closures and delays caused by accidents on the Orwell Bridge, including the 7 hour closure caused by a lorry load of onions. He recognises the delays caused to motorists and businesses have promised to take this up with the Highways Agency."


23 OCT 2012

Therese Welcomes Road Haulage Levy on Foreign HGVs

Therese has today supported the HGV Road User Levy Bill in Parliament.

The Government plans to put in place a road user charging scheme for foreign HGVs using British roads.

The proposals seek to address the issue that foreign-registered HGVs do not contribute to the maintenance of British roads whereas UK-registered vehicles do pay through general taxation and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and also pay road tolls when overseas.

Therese said: "The current situation places UK haulage firms at a competitive disadvantage when competing with foreign HGV operators and I welcome the proposal to ensure fairer arrangements for UK hauliers. It is right that foreign hauliers should pay their fair share.

She added: "There will be reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty to compensate British firms. It is important we send a clear message that we aren't adding extra taxes for British business.


22 OCT 2012

Suffolk MPs Meet Minister to Discuss A14

A delegation of Suffolk MP's are due to meet the new roads minister, Stephen Hammond, this week (Wednesday) to discuss proposals to reduce congestion and boost capacity on the A14.

Therese said: "The A14 is so important to residents and businesses in Suffolk including the Port of Felixstowe and I welcome the progress made so far. Significant investment including the widening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route to Felixstowe is very welcome and long needed. It is essential these improvements are made to free up capacity which also involves putting more freight onto rail. We will also be discussing the recent closures and delays caused by accidents."

She added: "There are serious issues concerning tolling that need to be fully thought through and that will form part of our conversation with the Minister. It is important that the plans do not unduly impact on the Suffolk economy, including logistics businesses and our port."


19 OCT 2012

APPG on Off Gas Grid Launches New Website

The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Off-Gas Grid, which Therese is co-chair, has launched a new website deatiling the work being undertaken by the inquiry.

The inquiry follows on from the recent work on off-grid fuel poverty by the Energy and Climate Change Committee and the 2011 market study of the off-grid sector by the Office of Fair Trading.

The website - http://appgonoffgasgrid.wordpress.com/ - currently details the terms of reference of the inquiry along with the written evidence recieved so far.

The aim of the inquiry is to investigate the ways off-grid consumers are disadvantaged compared to mains gas users, the extent of this disadvantage and methods for its alleviation.


20 SEP 2012

Therese welcomes OFT report into Online Market for Rural Communities

Therese has today welcomed the online resources launched this week by the Office of Fair Trading aimed at helping

internet businesses meet their legal obligations and provide a better service to residents living in remote areas of the UK.

Therese said: "I am glad the OFT have recognised some of challenges rural residents face. The report sets out that while the internet offers opportunities for people living in remoter areas to access a wider range of suppliers, delivery terms and hidden costs are making it difficult for them to gain maximum benefit from the online marketplace."

In order to ensure online businesses are meeting their legal obligations to customers in remote areas, the OFT has launched a number of online training resources designed to help on-line businesses. These advise businesses that they must:

display delivery charges clearly and early on in the purchasing process.make sure any additional charges imposed on delivery to remote locations are justified and displayed clearly and early on in the purchasing process.ensure the term 'Free UK Delivery' is not misleading. recognise it may take longer to deliver to remote locations and explain this clearly and early on in the purchasing process.only refuse to deliver to remote locations if it is justified by objective criteria.allow customers to return faulty goods for free, and to return unwanted goods that fall within the 7-day cooling off period for free unless customers have been informed in writing that charges apply.

The new resources are available on the OFT's Distance Selling hub which provides guidance for retailers and business support organisations on regulations that affect buying and selling goods and services via the internet, phone, mail order, email, interactive TV or text.


19 SEP 2012

Therese Speaks up for Suffolk in Infrastructure Debate

Earlier this week Therese spoke in the infrastructure debate in Parliament to press the case for Suffolk to grab its share of the £50bn the Government is planning to use to underwrite infrastructure projects.

The infrastructure (financial assistance) bill will give the green light to construction projects by using low interest rates from the Government to underwrite them.

Therese said: "There are so many projects in Suffolk of regional and national importance and we need to ensure this opportunity is grabbed with both hands so we can improve infrastructure in East Anglia."

"The Bill is a great opportunity to consider areas where the Government are keen to develop infrastructure and it is important that the Government gets more bang for its buck. It is up to us to put Suffolk in the shop window."

"This is especially important in the development of Sizewell C – a significant amount of money has already been spent in north Somerset at Hinkley point and I hope the same will happen here – which will lead to more local jobs."

"A significant amount of money needs to be invested in rail and other infrastructure if we are going to encourage an increased focus on research & development, innovation and manufacturing."

"It is also important that along with broadband – 4G coverage is rolled out to improve communications infrastructure."


10 SEP 2012

All Party Parliamentary Group on Off-Gas Grid Announces Launch of Inquiry and Calls for Evidence

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Off-Gas Grid has today announced the launch of an inquiry into issues relating to fuels affecting off-grid constituents.

The inquiry will follow on from the recent work on off-grid fuel poverty by the Energy and Climate Change Committee and the 2011 market study of the off-grid sector by the Office of Fair Trading.

The aim of the inquiry is to investigate the ways off-grid consumers are disadvantaged compared to mains gas users, the extent of this disadvantage, and methods for its alleviation.

Therese who is co-chair of the APPG said: "Four million households across the UK are not connected to the mains gas grid and are reliant on much more expensive heating sources. They struggle to heat their homes adequately, and cold homes raise the chances of illness or worse in winter. Despite this, off-grid consumers do not enjoy the same protections as mains gas users, so this inquiry seeks to highlight the problems of fuel poverty they face. We hope to suggest measures which will help the most vulnerable people to heat their homes."

The APPG is calling for interested parties to submit written evidence to the inquiry in response to the terms of reference which have been published today. The deadline for submissions is Friday 12th October. Oral evidence sessions will be conducted in late October, and the APPG hopes to publish its report by early December.

For the inquiry terms of reference click here.


06 SEP 2012

Therese Backs Motion on Community Hospitals

Therese has put her name to a motion to be debated in the House of Commons today recognising the contributionof community hospitals to the care of patients.

The motion proposes that community hospitals should remain for the benefit of their community while allowing them greater freedom to explore different ownership models.

Therese said: "I recognise how important community hospitals are to local residents. We have some first class community hospitals in Suffolk Coastal in Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Southwold. I know Felixstowe and Aldeburgh hospitals have earlier this year transferred to Serco who were specifically selected to continue to improve community services and it is essential hospitals have the flexibility in order to continue to thrive".

Therese added: "I also want to pay tribute to the active League of Friends organisations that do much to help fund our community hospitals. I am looking forward to the debate and hearing the Governments response".

Full text of Motion

That this House recognises and supports the contribution of community hospitals to the care of patients within the National Health Service; requests the Secretary of State for Health to Commission a comprehensive database of community hospitals, their ownership and current roles; and believes that the assets of community hospitals should remain for the benefit of their community while allowing them greater freedom to explore different ownership models.


05 SEP 2012

Therese Encourages Partnership Working to Secure Best Future for Fire Service

Today in Parliament, Therese spoke in a debate on fire services encouraging all three emergency services to work together in Suffolk to secure the best service provision for residents. She paid tribute to local fire fighters in Suffolk fire and rescue the majority of which is provided by volunteers.

Therese said: "Fire service delivery in Suffolk has the lowest cost per head than anywhere else in the Country but there is still enormous pressure to trim budgets and for tough decisions. When some of the reductions were proposed, I campaigned against the proposal to move from a seven-day full service in Felixstowe to a retained service. That was a step too far. I am pleased that the county council listened, and Haverhill and Felixstowe have a service manned during the week by paid firefighters, with increased hours on call for retained firefighters at weekends. That seems to have worked well. I commend the county council for listening and making those changes"

She continued: "I understand why people are nervous about reduction of fire stations, Suffolk and Cambridge fire services may merge. I am not against that, but I am nervous, given the response from the ambulance service. I encourage the three emergency services to work together to deliver the best service possible for residents of Suffolk Coastal.


05 SEP 2012

Therese Calls for Increased Opportunities for Suffolk School Children to Visit Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese spoke in a debate on visitor access to the House of Commons and raised herconcerns about the level of visitor subsidy available for visiting schools in Suffolk Coastal.

Therese said: "It is so important that our school children are able to come and see our countries democracy but fewer than 20 children from Suffolk Coastal have visited Parliament in the last two years".

Therese added: "Suffolk Coastal residents live an average of 120 miles from Parliament and yet Suffolk schoolchildren receive no subsidy at all to visit Parliament. If we compare the same distance and travelling time from Parliament in the other direction, we would start to reach beyond Birmingham, but the amount of subsidy that is given to schoolchildren from that area to visit Parliament is considerable in comparison to the zero subsidy that is given to Suffolk."

Therese has asked the Administration Committee and the House of Commission look at this issue and come up with a fairer distribution of visitor subsidies.


04 SEP 2012

Heritage Lottery Fund Provides Funding for WW1 Centenary Events

Therese has welcomed the Heritage Lottery Funds commitment to help fund projects to mark the First World War centenary in communities across Suffolk.

Therese tabled an Early Day Motion last year calling for money to be allocated from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore war memorials to their former glory in time for 2014.

Therese said: "This is great news, the HLF have previously committed to the restoration and conservation of War Memorials if the project also helps people learn about heritage and now they have unveiled further funding for other important initiatives. The HLF are ensuring that every community has access to some funding to mark the First World War centenary how they wish. This could include researching local buildings or industries involved in the war, organising ceremonies, conserving artefacts or putting on workshops."

She added: "I want to encourage communities in Suffolk to apply for the funding so we can show the way in marking this important event in our history. Organisations who apply will also get the help of the HLF local teams to provide support in putting on events".

Any organisation wishing to apply should go to www.hlf.org.uk for further information, call 0207 591 6042 or e-mail enquire@hlf.org.uk.


04 SEP 2012

Discussion on A14 Delayed

A delegation of Suffolk MP's were today due to meet roads minister, Mike Penning, to discuss proposals to reducecongestion and boost capacity on the A14.  However the meeting has been delayed due to the ongoing Cabinet re-shuffle.

Therese said: "Another meeting will be arranged to discuss the issues relating to the A14 challenge. The A14 is important to residents and businesses in Suffolk including the Port of Felixstowe and I welcome the progress made so far. Significant investment including the widening of parts of the carriageway on the strategic route to Felixstowe is very welcome and long needed. It is essential these improvements are made to free up capacity which also involves putting more freight onto rail."

She added: "There are serious issues concerning tolling though that need to be fully thought through and that will form part of our future conversation with the Minister. It is important that the plans do not unduly impact on the Suffolk economy, including logistics businesses and our port."


24 JUL 2012

Next Steps Announced in 4G Auction

Therese has today welcomed the news that the next steps in the 4G spectrum auction have been announced.

The 4th generation network will bring broadband speeds to mobile phones with 98% indoor coverage.

Traditionally, up to 6 million people in Britain have been excluded from good mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas as mobile phone companies were only obliged to cover 95 % of the population, 90 % of the time. The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee previously slammed Ofcom's 95% target as being unambitious.

Dr Coffey who was one of the leaders of the campaign to increase the coverage said: "This is a victory for residents and Parliament. There is now an acceptance by Ofcom that 4G should be available to at least 98% of the UK with the process likely to get underway later this year. This is good news for residents of Suffolk Coastal and people living in rural areas."


24 JUL 2012

Therese Urges Local Sports Clubs to Sign up for the Join In Weekend

Therese has today called on local sports clubs to sign up for the 'Join in Weekend'.

The 'Join in Weekend' aims to channel the enthusiasm for sport created by the Olympics by enabling people to turn up, take part and join in at their local sports facilities on 18th & 19th August.

Therese is asking local sports clubs to sign up for the new project at www.joininuk.org – which provides a place for clubs to register and advertise their event.

She said: "Local sports groups will be able to take advantage of this moment, creating shop window in their community for the opportunities there are for people inspired by the Games to help out, give time, support, watch or play sport."

She added: "Every great champion started at their local club. I want to see sports clubs in Suffolk making the most of the Olympics to get people involved, so that Suffolk can provide the next generation of Olympians."

Chairman of Locog, Seb Coe said: "Millions will be inspired by what they witness over the summer and I hope this creates opportunities in every community for people to join in their local sports clubs. The 'Join in' project is a great idea that means that thousands of people across the UK can turn up and take part in local sport just after the Olympic games."


23 JUL 2012

Therese Signs Charter to Support Town Centres

Therese has signed up to a Parliamentary charter committing to do all that she can to support local businesses andeconomic growth in Suffolk Coastal by supporting town centres.

Coming on the heels of the recent review of the nation's high streets by Mary Portas, Therese's pledge is a significant show of active support for partnership working between the public and private sectors for town centre management and regeneration.

The 'Charter for Town and City Centres' was launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Markets, Retail and Town Centres in the House of Commons and enjoys cross party support.

Speaking about the launch of the Charter, Therese said: "It is so important that we do everything we can to support our high streets through these changing times. I was recently pleased to support Halesworth Town Centre Group's proposal of an hour's free parking in the town which the District Council has now approved as part of a trial. I hope this will help boost footfall to continue to ensure a vibrant town centre."

Martin Blackwell, Chief Executive of the Association of Town centre Management said: "MP's have an important role to play in their local town centres as catalysts for coordination and change. They can co-ordinate activity locally and ensure that national Government is doing all it can to protect the town centre. It is good to see that Therese Coffey MP is making a commitment to the businesses in her constituency."


16 JUL 2012

Therese Welcomes Government Investment in Rail Infrastructure

Therese has today welcomed the Government's investment in rail infrastructure after Ministers announced that £9.4 billion will be committed in the period to 2019.

Therese said: "The Government is determined to deal with the infrastructure deficit in this Country and investing in our railways will help drive jobs and growth in our economy. Improvements in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally."

She added: "Today's announcement includes some of the important projects we highlighted in our East Anglia rail prospectus including the important upgrade of the Ely North junction – which will boost the frequency of trains and remove another bottleneck for the freight trains. Added to the Ipswich Chord improvements, there is the delivery of a modern high capacity freight route between Felixstowe and the rest of the country. The green light is there for more freight and even more reason for the Port to keep its commitment on passenger services for Felixstowe."

"The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to Crossrail by 2018 which will free up capacity into Liverpool Street and the surrounding junction. This will mean that in the next round of spending the Great Eastern mainline will be in a prime position to secure much-needed improvement for which we are all working."


12 JUL 2012

Therese Supports the Summer Reading Challenge

"Therese is supporting a campaign run by The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their locallibrary and take part in this year's Summer Reading Challenge - the UK's biggest reading promotion for primary school children.

The Challenge which begins on 14 July is for every child aged 4-11 years to read six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or "Olympic style" medal when they complete the Challenge. This is the 14th year of the Challenge and this year the theme is "Story Lab" which is set in a city hosting the Olympic Games www.story-lab.org.uk.

Over 20 popular children's authors are supporting the campaign including children's laureate Julia Donaldson and fellow award-winning writers Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson.

Therese said; "I hope parents and carers in Suffolk Coastal will take their children to their local library this summer and if they aren't already members sign up and do the Summer Reading Challenge. It's free and makes reading fun, a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 7320 children in Suffolk took part in the Challenge. I hope we will beat that figure this year and show local libraries how much we value them."

This year libraries will be linking the Challenge to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it is an official project in the London 2012 Festival - the finale of the Cultural Olympiad www.london2012.com/festival. Details of local events are available from local libraries."


09 JUL 2012

Therese Backs Further Legislation to Curb Metal Theft

Therese will be staying in Parliament this Friday to support the 2nd reading of Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.

The Private Members Bill will tighten regulation of the scrap metal industry, obliging scrap metal dealers to check and record the identification of metal sellers. The new legislation would complement the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which became law in May and introduced a ban on cash payments to purchase scrap metal.

Speaking ahead of the debate in Parliament, Therese said: "Metal theft is an increasing problem in the UK, we have seen here in Suffolk our churches, railway lines and public buildings have been affected. It is also an extremely disruptive crime which has a serious impact on infrastructure like power networks."

She added: "I urge people to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity around electricity substations or overhead power lines to the police or directly to UK Power Networks' Substation Watch hotline on 0800 587 3243."


05 JUL 2012

Therese Welcomes Defence Statement

Therese has today welcomed the statement made by the Defence Secretary that no changes will be made to the 23 Engineers at Woodbridge and the Royal Anglian Regiment as part of the restructuring of the Army.

Therese said: "The Defence Secretary has outlined the Government's vision to create a formidable, adaptable and flexible armed forces and I am glad that the 23 Engineers which are highly mobile and a specialised fighting force form an important part of that. I am also pleased that the Royal Anglican Regiment will remain unchanged and the regimental system will remain the bedrock of the Army's fighting future"


04 JUL 2012

Therese Welcomes Forestry Report

Therese has welcomed the Independent Report on Forestry that has been published today. The Government willrespond in full by early next year.

Therese said: "It is clear from the report that there is a desire to retain public ownership of the forests as well as a need to make better use and an enhanced stewardship of them".

She added: "There is still a lively debate locally about heathland & forests and I will be contacting all those constituents that wrote to me on this matter. I am always open to anyone that wants to contact me further on this matter"


03 JUL 2012

Therese Advocates Investment in East Anglian Rail

Therese spoke in Parliament today about the importance of investment in East Anglian rail services.

In a debate she secured, Dr Coffey said: "For too long East Anglia has been the Cinderella of British Rail. This government has the chance to be our Prince Charming and accept our proposal so East Anglian passengers can travel happily ever after. This is no fairytale but a tale with a moral - MPs working together with councils and businesses can achieve together."

The debate followed yesterday's launch of the East Anglian Rail Prospectus that presents the strategic and economic case for long-term investment in the region's rail network. It has been co-authored by a multi-agency group including MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships, County Councils, Rail Passenger Groups and Train Operating Companies.

Therese added: "Investing in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally. Connecting our economic hubs, moving freight onto rail and improving our branch line service alongside better ticketing, new trains and smarter stations will make a huge difference to people in Suffolk."


28 JUN 2012

Bridging the Gap in Breast Cancer Survival

Therese attended the Breakthrough Breast Cancer event in Parliament this week and pledged to help Breakthrough improve outcomes for breast cancer patients in Suffolk and ensure herconstituents have access to the best services.

Therese said: "I was surprised to hear that the UK's breast cancer survival rates fall behind other European countries. More than 48,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK and I want to make sure that everyone in Westminster and my constituency knows we can do much more."

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is dedicated to the prevention, treatment and eradication of the disease. As well as funding around a quarter of breast cancer research in the UK, Breakthrough persistently campaigns for better services and treatments and continues to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to enable early detection.


27 JUN 2012

Therese Secures Parliamentary Debate on East Anglia Rail

Therese has today been successful in securing a debate in Parliament on East Anglia Rail services that is due to take place next Tuesday 3rd July.

Therese said: "I was delighted to secure this debate as it is a critical moment to raise the issue ahead of decisions being taken by Ministers.  Earlier this week, Ben Gummer and myself met with the Minister Theresa Villiers to discuss rail services including the Felixstowe to Ipswich passenger service.  Local MP's are working together to press the case for better rail services."

"The dualing of the line at Felixstowe it also important issue to raise but recognise the pressures on the Port. I was reassured by the Minister's response that it is not on the Government's Agenda to reduce passenger rail services"


27 JUN 2012

Therese becomes Olympics Ambassador

Therese has been asked to represent the Government by becoming an Olympics Ambassador, welcoming visitors from all over the world during London 2012.

Therese said: "It is a great privilege to become an ambassador for London 2012 and do my part to ensure the Olympics are a diplomatic success. The duties range from representing the Government at a glamorous event at the Olympic Park to the not so glamourous, meeting a VIP at Standsted Airport at 4am".


26 JUN 2012

Therese Welcomes Action to Freeze Fuel Duty

Therese has welcomed the Chancellor's decision this week to freeze Fuel Duty until the end of the year.

The Government inherited a series of Fuel Duty rises from the last Government planned for last year and this year which it has scrapped or delayed. Following action last year to cut Fuel Duty and to scrap the Fuel Duty 'escalator', this week the Chancellor cancelled the 3p per litre rise planned for August this year.

Thanks to this Government's repeated action, including this week's delay, Fuel Duty is now 10p per litre lower than the previous Government planned.

Therese said: "I am pleased that this Government has frozen fuel duty for the past two years. This is great news for motorists, families and businesses coping with tight finances."

"By taking action on fuel pump prices, freezing council tax and cutting income tax for millions of people, this Government are providing real help to people with the cost of living and a boost for Suffolk Coastal's economy."


25 JUN 2012

Therese welcomes Government’s Response to Weightman

Therese has today welcomed the Government's response to Dr Weightman's final report on the events at the Fukushimanuclear site.

Therese said "The Weightman report found no significant problem with the regulation of the nuclear industry in this country but Dr Weightman made some recommendations to Government. The response published today updates the work the Government have done or intend to do in implementing those recommendations. This includes further strengthening of work with international partners on nuclear safety."

Therese added: "The decision not to require significant changes to current procedures is another step towards the construction of Sizewell C, which is good news for Suffolk Coastal."


20 JUN 2012

Mis-selling of Interest Rate Swap to be debated in Parliament

Tomorrow in Parliament the House of Commons will debate a motion urging the Financial Services Authority to take action on the mis-selling of Interest Rate Swap products to small businesses.

Therese supported the nomination of this debate to the backbench business committee earlier this month.

She said: "Some local businesses in Suffolk Coastal were mis-sold the interest rate swap product by high street banks. In some cases it has led to businesses failing. It is important that the FSA take action to resolve this matter and I am pleased this issue will be raised in the House of Commons".


19 JUN 2012

Therese Welcomes Radical Immigration Changes

Therese has today welcomed a major immigration overhaul which will help stop foreign criminals using human rights laws to dodge deportation. The new rules also ensure that only migrants who can pay their way will be allowed to come to live in the UK.

Commenting after the announcement, Therese said: "It is a scandal that foreign criminals have been able to use human rights laws to stay in the UK. Deportation should be the norm for anyone receiving a prison sentence of at least 12 months"

From next month, only those earning at least £18,600 will be able to bring in a spouse or partner from outside Europe. Higher thresholds will apply to those seeking to bring non-EU dependent children to the UK: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.

Therese added: "Many local people tell me they have lost confidence in the immigration system because it was simply uncontrolled. Conservatives in government are now getting a grip and reforming all routes of entry to bring net migration down."

Britain is open to the brightest and the best, but applicants who don't have the funds to support themselves or who lack the language skills they need to play a full part in British life will in future be refused entry.


18 JUN 2012

Minister Backs Raising the Bar in Suffolk

"Today in Parliament Therese welcomed Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP's backing for Raising the Bar, the initiative launchedlast week by Suffolk County Council to improve aspiration and attainment in Suffolk.

In Education Questions today, Therese also received the backing of the Minister in encouraging wealthy colleges and universities like Trinity College Cambridge to target their outreach to schools in areas like Felixstowe where they get their income, which subsidises current undergraduates.

Therese said: "Trinity College makes a lot of money from the land in and around Felixstowe Port. I would like the college and its students to reach down the A14 and encourage our young people to aspire and apply to study at some of our great universities."


18 JUN 2012

Therese Supports Wateraid’s Big Dig

Therese is giving her support to Water Aid's Big Dig that has been launched today.

The Big Dig will transform lives in rural Malawi by providing the basic necessities of clean water and safe toilets. Currently in Malawi, 1 in 5 people have no supply of clean water, and nearly 1 in 2 has to cope with the indignity of having nowhere safe to go to the toilet.

Therese said: "As a supporter and speaker for Wateraid I endorse the Big Dig initiative. Their campaign is the first of its kind because Wateraid will be discussing the progress, live at www.thebigdig.org, where you can meet locals involved with the projects, share their stories and watch the project progress. The Government will match all donations pound for pound until 18 September".


15 JUN 2012

Therese Supports Call to Stop Attacks on Guide Dogs

Therese has supported the call to stop attacks on guide dogs at an event in the Houses of Parliament last week. The Suffolk Coastal MP was amongst the 150 members of parliament that backed the charity's call.

New figures that were released on Monday, 11 June, showed attacks on guide dogs are at an all time high and now running at an average of eight a month.

Therese said: "The government is currently consulting on compulsory microchipping but has said its preferred option is to microchip puppies only. Under this plan, it would take 10 to 15 years before all dogs are microchipped I believe it should be done within two years."

David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs' Campaigns Manager, said: "An attack on any dog is frightening, but for a guide dog owner it is much worse. With more than eight reported attacks on guide dogs a month, the trauma caused by these unprovoked attacks could leave a blind or partially sighted person a virtual prisoner in their own home. We welcome Therese's support for our campaign".


13 JUN 2012

Olympics Delivered on Budget

Therese has today welcomed the news that the London 2012 Olympics is on track to be delivered under budget.

The Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee that she is a member has a key role in scrutinising the delivery of London 2012.

The overall funding package for the Games remains at £9.298 billion with £476 million of uncommitted contingency available.

The anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) construction and transport programme is £6.761 billion – a decrease of £16 million on the previous quarter.

Therese said: "This brilliant news, with less than 50 days to go to the opening ceremony Britain has proved that it can deliver big construction projects on time and on budget. This is a great success story for UK Plc and we can now look forward to a summer of sport."


28 MAY 2012

OFT Conduct Report on Price and Choice in Rural Communities

Last week in Westminster the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was clear that there should be an increased focus on ruralcommunities.

They briefed MP's on their upcoming report about price and choice in remote communities which is expected to be published next month.

Therese said "The report follows their previous market study into the off-gas grid and will look at road fuel and delivery prices as well as internet and transport services. The report will summarise the range of issued raised by the public, connections between them and set out some next steps in terms of how they are tackled. I am pleased that the OFT are focusing on rural matters".


28 MAY 2012

Therese shows support for British Farming

Therese joined more than 60 of her colleagues last week MPs, including the Secretary of State, Caroline Spellman toback the launch of the NFU's national "Farming Delivers for Britain" campaign with one clear message: Make it British, Make it Local and Make it happen.

The NFU's new report has also revealed that not only is farming bucking the current economic trend it also provides the foundation stone for Britain's food and drink industry. This sector contributed some £85 billion to the UK economy last year, while helping to keep some 3.5 million people in work.

Commenting after the event Therese said: "The NFU will be campaigning under six key themes: food, the economy, the environment, animal welfare, careers and cleaner energy."

She added: "Britain's farmers are producing food with less impact on the environment than was the case in the past and deliver some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Farming provides jobs and exciting careers and employment in farming actually went up by 10,000 last year."

During the event NFU President Peter Kendall said: "As everyone knows all too well the current economic climate is making people very nervous about the future. The message of this campaign is that farming is doing its bit to help. Farming delivers for Britain."


25 MAY 2012

Environment Agency Give Therese Drought Update

Therese was briefed by the Environment Agency recently on the drought and water levels locally.

Jonathan Thompson, who lives in Woodbridge, was on hand to detail the current situation.

Therese said: "Due to the recent wet weather water levels are rather good but the Crag aquifer has not recovered as the water still needs to seep in. If we continue to have showers, we should be okay but if we have sustained dry weather there could be a shortage and the impact on farmers will increase."


24 MAY 2012

Therese welcomes Gangmaster Licensing Reform

Therese has today welcomed the reforms to the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) which will reduce the burden onbusinesses especially in the forestry industry, as part of the red tape challenge.

The GLA regulates the produce and horticulture industry focussing on worker exploitation by unlicensed gangmasters. However the amount of regulation in some industries has become cumbersome and unproductive.

Therese said: "The GLA has done a great deal of good work but there are some low risk industries where this over regulation has had a negative effect. I am pleased that the Minister has decided to remove the forestry industry from the scope of the GLA.

She added: "The reforms will please many constituents who have complained to me about over regulation in this industry and shows the Government's commitment to set the right conditions for jobs and growth".


22 MAY 2012

Therese Welcomes publication of Energy Bill

Therese has today welcomed the publication of the Energy Bill in Parliament.

She said: "This is good news and is the first step to allow EDF to assess its investment in nuclear energy. The Bill will reform the market introducing long-term contracts that pay a steady rate of return for low-carbon energy, covering nuclear and renewables."

She added: "There is a lot of work to do in Parliament to keep this moving along but it essential for the future of our energy supply and Sizewell C will bring jobs and investment to our part of Suffolk".


17 MAY 2012

Therese Welcomes Increase in Listed Places of Worship Grant

Therese has today welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer's decision to increase the amount available in the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS) by £30 million a year.

There has been some considerable concern at the proposal to abolish zero rated VAT for alterations to listed buildings and the impact this would have on churches including here in Suffolk. This Church of England calculated that this would cost churches some £20 million a year in increased VAT payments.

The Chancellor has therefore decided to stick to his policy, but to add an extra £30 million into the LPWGS.

Therese said "I am pleased that the Chancellor has listened to our representations which will allow listed churches of all denominations to meet the costs of alterations and repairs. We will also continue to press the message about static caravans".


17 MAY 2012

Therese Joins Charity in call for Action Against Irresponsible Dog Ownership

Therese has joined the Dogs Trust, to call for action on tackling irresponsible dog ownership at the charity's annual House of Commons reception.

Therese said: "Tackling anti-social dog behaviour in Suffolk Coastal has become a key issue for constituents where incidences of anti-social behaviour involving dogs have been increasing in many areas.

"I am delighted that Dogs Trust is proactively looking to tackle the issue by getting down to grass roots. While legislation has its part to play, outreach work in local communities is vital in order to engage dog owners and to help prevent dog attacks from occurring."

Dogs Trust works with local authorities to tackle the root causes of irresponsible dog ownership. They know from working in affected communities that it is a complex social issue; one that requires a multi-agency approach to target harder to reach groups.

Summary of Dogs Trust work in local communities:

For years Dogs Trust has been working with vets to provide subsidised or free neutering for dog owners living on means-tested benefits in disadvantaged areas. The charity currently works with over 1,000 vets across the country.

Dogs Trust offers free microchips to every local authority and housing association in the UK.

The charity trains local authority staff to microchip and can even provide them with free scanners.

Responsible Dog Ownership Events - These highly popular events are organised in partnership with councils and local Housing Associations.

They provide a range of advice and leaflets about all aspects of dog ownership plus neutering vouchers and on-site access to free microchipping and low-cost preventative vet care.

"Estate Days" - Working with local authorities, Dogs Trust identifies areas where irresponsible dog ownership is most acute. By visiting these areas and offering leaflets, dog ownership advice, free microchipping and £10 HealthCheck Vouchers, the charity has reduced the numbers of dogs being abandoned on the streets.

For those areas where dog abandonment is highest, Dogs Trust offers local authorities free neutering vouchers which can be given to those dog owners who need them most.Since 2003, Dogs Trust has been providing free workshops to primary schools across most of the UK. The charity now has 13 full-time education officers who conduct around 3,000 classroom presentations a year. Education officers are briefed to target schools in communities with particularly bad social problems.


09 MAY 2012

Energy Bill Included in the Queen’s Speech

Therese has today welcomed the inclusion of the Energy Bill in the Queen's Speech.

She said "In a week where there has been talk about EDF's ongoing investment in Sizewell it is great that the Energy Bill formed an integral part of the Queen's speech. The development of Sizewell C is essential for the future of our energy supply and will bring jobs and investment to this part of Suffolk."

"I would be very surprised if there was any change in EDF's commitment to Sizewell but the Energy Bill can only help cement that. It will reform the market introducing long-term contracts that pay a steady rate of return for low-carbon energy– meaning EDF will be able to determine their return on investment."

Therese added: "Only this morning I had a breakfast meeting with the Governor of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Many parts of the world are looking for energy investment & skills. On the back of Sizewell C, we should aim to export our skills to countries like Brazil."


04 MAY 2012

Government Doubles Commitment on Water

Therese has today welcomed the Governments intention to double the commitment on water and sanitation that it made last year to the third world.

Therese said "over the lifetime of this Parliament we will reach 60 million people, ensuring access to basic services such as communal water pumps as well as improved hygiene".

She added "As a supporter and fundraiser of Water Aid – I know the importance of this commitment.  It is key to recognise that although we have a drought in this country, there are people in this world that don't have access to clean water and sanitation.  I am pleased that the Department for International Development is leading the way on this."


01 MAY 2012

Therese Welcomes Extension of Protection for Holidaymakers

Therese has today welcomed the extension to the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) scheme which provides moreeffective protection in today's holiday market.

The current scheme provides peace of mind to holidaymakers who have brought a package holiday including a flight in which if the travel company becomes insolvent customers will receive a full refund.

Therese said "Over the past few years the holiday market has changed with greater numbers of people assembling their own package holiday on the internet. The extension of the scheme is good news and ensures families are well protected."

'Flight Plus' holidays will now be protected by the ATOL scheme – where the flight and key elements such has hotel accommodation or car hire are requested within two consecutive days of each other.

Over time up to 6 million holidays per year will be fully protected under the enhanced scheme.


20 APR 2012

A Better Deal for Park Home Owners

Therese has this week backed reforms for a better deal for park home owners.

The Government have launched a consultation on the long running issue, in which some home owners, who are often elderly and on lower incomes, have been exploited.

Therese said "these proposed reforms will put the park home sector on a sustainable footing for the long term, allowing site operators to run good businesses offer a decent service to residents and ensure that home owners can live peacefully in their homes knowing that the law protects them from abuse."

"They include reforming the buying and selling process, local consultation on changes to site rules, licensing of sites and giving local councils and courts the powers to hold rogue site operators to account."

She added: "I encourage all residents of park home sites, including Priory Park and Falcon Park to add their voice to important law changes affecting their home."

The consultation, which is open until 28 May, is available here


18 APR 2012

Therese Meets Minister to represent concerns of Holiday Park Home Owners

Therese joined a delegation of Members of Parliament yesterday, to make representations to the Treasury about theproposed changes in VAT on certain types of Caravan.

They met with Treasury Minister, David Guake to represent concerns of holiday park home owners.

Therese said: "it was a useful meeting with the Minister and I will now be working with local park owners to make full use of the consultation so they can articulate their concerns to the Government".

The consultation has opened and can be available to view here - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/tiin-4807.htm


10 APR 2012

Voluntary Agreements Secured for LPG Market

Therese has today welcomed the announcement that the Office of Fair Trading has secured voluntary agreements from the major LPG suppliers to make changes to their customer contracts and improve transparency around switching and cancellation rights.

This OFT action follows on from its 2011 Off-Grid Energy Market Study, prompted by questions Therese asked in Parliament, which identified concerns that some suppliers may not be treating their domestic LPG customers fairly.

Therese said "This is fantastic news. The changes to the terms and conditions will mean customers will have improved rights to cancel or switch supplier and the exit costs will be made clearer, meaning customers can make an informed decision about whether to switch."

Most people with a large supplier-owned LPG tank on their premises, will usually enter into contracts for the supply of domestic bulk LPG. These contracts typically begin with a two year exclusive supply arrangement during which the customer is tied to the supplier.

The improvements to the terms and conditions for the supply of LPG and other relevant customer information will mean that customers can better understand how prices can change during this two year period, their switching and cancellation rights, and the associated exit costs.


29 MAR 2012

Dementia Challenge becomes a National Priority

Therese has today welcomed the Prime Minister's commitment to make the UK a world leader on dementia.

In England 670,000 people have dementia and the number of people developing the disease is increasing. One in three people will develop dementia and it costs society an estimated £19 billion a year.

Therese said "it is important we make dementia a clear national priority. The Dementia Challenge sets out the Government's ambition to increase diagnosis rates, to raise awareness and to strengthen our research efforts so we can help those living with dementia have a better quality of life."

"Government cannot meet this challenge alone, which is why we are working closely with the Alzheimer's Society, voluntary groups, businesses, care providers and the research community."

She added "the Government is doubling funding for research, tackling diagnosis and calling for a radical shift in the way we talk, think and act on dementia

England is one of the first countries in the world to have a National Dementia Strategy.


27 MAR 2012

National Planning Policy Framework Published

A new simplified planning framework has been published today which replaces over 1,300 pages of planning policy with just 52.

The National Planning Policy Framework which has been drawn up following an extensive consultation, gives guidance to local councils in drawing up local plans and determining planning applications.

Commenting on the policy, Therese said "This is an important move that gives our district councils greater say on planning policies in our part of Suffolk. It goes further and puts the views of parishes and towns on a firm footing when plans are being considered. No longer will Whitehall decide how many parking places per household will be allowed and instead, residents will have a view on how development can take place, though not a veto against the district council's democratically-taken decision on where and how much development will take place.

She added: "The new framework also allows greater discretion on criteria and possible sites for wind turbines, which has been cause for concern in rural parts of Suffolk Coastal. The good news is that DCLG officials are on standby to help our councils bring in that new guidance locally."


27 MAR 2012

Business Forum to Boost Mentoring Opportunities in Suffolk Coastal

Therese  is hosting a Business Forum for small and medium sized companies this Friday as she bids to assist localbusinesses.

The Better Business Finance initiative aims to help businesses thrive by providing them with the support of a business mentor, access to important information and improving access to finance.

The Business Forum is an opportunity for SMEs in Suffolk Coastal to talk about their business with Therese and to learn more about how they might benefit from having their own personal mentor.

Therese said "I am proud to host the Business Forum here in Suffolk Coastal. Recent Government research shows that small businesses who seek external help have a greater chance of success, increase their turnover and are able to grow their business. I want businesses in Suffolk to benefit from this mentoring opportunity and help boost the local economy"

The meeting will take place at Lindos Centre, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 1PP on the 30th March 2012 from 3-5pm.

There are still some spaces left so if you want to attend please call the Constituency Office of Therese Coffey MP on 01394 610045 to book your place.


21 MAR 2012

Therese Welcomes the Chancellor's Budget

Therese has today welcomed the Chancellor's Budget announcement which rewards work, encourages businesses andjob creation maintains the Government's commitment to reduce the deficit. She said, "The Government is committed to creating a more sustainable tax system that is fair for all and supports growth."

The Budget announces measures that support this goal, including:

An increase in the personal allowance by a further £1,100 to £9,205.

An additional 1% reduction in the main rate of corporation tax.

The rate will reduce to 24% in April 2012, 23% in April 2013 and 22% in April 2014.A reduction in the top rate of tax from 50 pence to 45 pence in April 2013, where the direct cost is paid for more than five times over by the better off.

A crackdown on tax avoidance to protect revenues.

Fuel duty is 6p lower than it would have been under the previous administration and a fair fuel stabiliser will be brought in.

Therese said: "The increase in personal allowance will mean 24 million people will pay less tax, people on the minimum wage will see their income tax bill cut in half and 2 million people will be taken out of income tax altogether. The cut in corporation tax means this is a budget that will boost business, innovation, jobs and growth. While no further changes were made on petrol duty in this budget, it is lower than it would have been if we had followed the last government's budget from 2010. We need an environment in Suffolk to encourage business start-ups and growth, to reward those who work and those entrepreneurs who create new jobs. I understand that some older people may be concerned about the age-related allowance changes. I stress that no-one will pay more tax in 2012-13 than they do today, they will not be cash losers. In fact, over half of all pensioners will not pay any tax after 2013/14. Since we changed the rules on pensions, pensioners are £120 a year better off than if we had kept to the last government's policies."


13 MAR 2012

Therese Presses for a Fairer Funding of Suffolk Schools

Therese  met with Education Minister Nick Gibb yesterday, to campaign for fairer funding for Suffolk Schools.

Therese said: "The rurality element of school funding has declined and I think it is time to reverse that trend. There definitely seems to be a bias towards urban schools, which is perhaps tradition given the more conventional aspects of social deprivation and the indices."

"I have contributed to the consultation on the funding formula, which has now closed and followed that up with a meeting with the Minister. He recognises the challenges of a sparse population, which includes the costs of school transport. He gave no commitment at this stage but it was a useful discussion."


09 MAR 2012

Live Music Act Receives Royal Assent

The Live Music Bill received Royal Assent in Parliament this week, which makes it the Live Music Act.

The new legislation, that will come into effect this October, means that small venues under a 200-person capacity - will no longer need local authority permission to host performances of live amplified music between the hours of 8am-11pm.

Therese Coffey said: "Bands will now be able to play at village fetes without the unnecessary bureaucracy of applying for a licence. This exemption is fantastic news and a real boost for musicians and live music."

She went on to say: "Live music is such and important part of our culture and I want to promote it more widely. That is why I am supporting 'Rock The House', a national music competition with an opportunity to play live in the House of Commons"

Rock The House offers entry categories covering both Live Bands and Live Music Venues - and is open for entries now.

Entries can be submitted until the closing date of 31st March 2011. Further details and the official application forms are available online at: www.rockthehouse2012.com.


09 MAR 2012

Therese Celebrates International Women’s Day

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese joined her colleagues in the House of Commons to mark International Women's Day.

She said "As the first female MP for Suffolk I was pleased to take part in International Women's Day a real celebration of women's achievements throughout the year."

"It is also an important reminder of the plight of some women both at home and abroad that suffer from violence and domestic abuse; that needs to be defeated."

"The Government are taking action on this and introducing a separate criminal offence of stalking, piloting Clare's law and continuing to fund rape crisis centres."

"We are also meeting all of our aid pledges to help women subjected to violence in Africa and around the World."


08 MAR 2012

Safety Will Not be Compromised at Sizewell

Therese has today responded to claims that areas of the Suffolk Coast at risk of flooding could have an impact on the operation of Sizewell power station and has raised the matter in Parliament.

She said "This is not new news. We all know that the Suffolk coast is prone to flooding and coastal erosion. That is why we invest in coastal defences and will continue to invest in coastal defences"

"I raised this issue with the Minister in Parliament today and he has given me full assurances that safety will not be compromised".

She added "The Weightman Report, published after Fukushima, concluded that there was no reason to curtail the operation of nuclear power plants in the UK. The height of defences were specifically looked at for all nuclear sites. The defences at Sizewell were deemed to be high enough for any extreme weather event in the South North Sea"


07 MAR 2012

Therese Speaks in Humble Address

Local MP, Therese Coffey today spoke in the Humble Address to Her Majesty as MP's gathered to celebrate the DiamondJubilee.

She praised her Majesty's commitment to service, family and true duty to the United Kingdom.

Therese highlighted the Queens commitment to the armed forces during her 60 year reign and further. She said "the Queen served during world war two, showing that what was good enough for her subjects was good enough for her. The example she set then was an important part of the national war effort."

Therese added "On Her Majesty's special weekend, we will all join her in celebrating what is great about our country. I am sure that she will continue to serve us for years to come."

 

Therese's Address to Her Majesty

"It is a great privilege to be called to speak in this debate and thereby have an opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, both on my own part as her humble subject and on behalf of the residents of Suffolk Coastal. For so many of us, she is the only monarch we have ever known, and what a wonderful example she has set of service, of family and of true commitment to our United Kingdom. Members of my family proudly serve in the armed forces, and the Queen also served during world war two, showing that what was good enough for her subjects was good enough for her. The example she set then was an important part of the national war effort.

I also pay tribute to the Queen's steadfast consort, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. It is fantastic that he has recovered from his recent minor illness, and I am delighted that he will be starting the jubilee tour with his wife tomorrow in Leicester.

I pay tribute to the Queen for her visit to the Republic of Ireland last year. I wonder whether Her Majesty will ever realise the true extent of the impact she made. It may be a little controversial to say that it was a great parliamentarian, Cromwell, who tore Ireland apart. I think that the Queen's visit last year will have gone a long way towards restoring the relationship between our two great nations.

I do not pretend to have had any contact with Her Majesty, but we have heard some wonderful insights and amusing anecdotes today. I do know, however, that the people who receive honours from her and those who attend her garden parties are thrilled to do so, as are all the people who queue up as I did as little girl in 1977—I also got a commemorative mug—and line the streets of Liverpool, Wrexham and other places because we want to see our monarch. The only times that I have had any contact with Her Majesty are when she was gracious enough to grant Royal Assent to a private Member's Bill of mine, and thereby make it an Act of Parliament, and, of course, when I swore the oath to take office here in Parliament for the first time.

I think it is fair to say that Her Majesty has also touched the world. She is the Head of State for over a quarter of the world's population. That is celebrated in Commonwealth week and at the Commonwealth games—and I hope she will open the Olympic games later this year. I encourage colleagues to take the opportunity of diamond jubilee week to host a Commonwealth day reception in their constituencies, to mark the Queen's contribution not only to our country, but around the world.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Nicholas Soames) said, there have been many changes during Her Majesty's reign. When the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), mentioned TV sets, I remembered my mother telling me that the coronation was the first time she watched television. In Wrexham, people crowded into one particular shop, because the shopkeeper had bought a television just to be able to watch that ceremony, which changed history. Many other things have changed—one of my favourite dishes, coronation chicken, was invented for that day and is one of its lasting legacies.

We cannot praise Her Majesty's service to our country too highly. She is a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. As has been said, she enjoys the company of dogs and horses, and on a visit to Suffolk earlier in the year, she went to Newmarket. On Her Majesty's special weekend, we will all join her in celebrating what is great about our country. I am sure that she will continue to serve us for years to come."


07 MAR 2012

Therese shows her support for Water Works Campaign

Therese gave her support to WaterAid's Water Works campaign to bring safe water and sanitation to the world's poorestpeople at the House of Commons. The event hosted by Northumbrian Water (owners of Essex & Suffolk Water) for WaterAid came on the day that the United Nations announced that the Millennium Development Goal on water has been reached. An additional 2 billion people have accessed clean water within the last 20 years.

Therse said "It is great news that we have met the Millennium Development Goal on water – this shows that aid is working and that we are making steps forward to eradicating poverty."

She added "there is still much work to be done however, as 783 million people still don't have safe water to drink, and around 2.5 billion are lacking adequate sanitation. Not having these essential services traps people in poverty. The UK has a lead role to play along with other countries to concentrate our efforts on bringing water and sanitation to all."

To show your support for the campaign please visit: www.waterworks.me


06 MAR 2012

Coastal Communities Fund Goes Live

Therese is today encouraging projects in Suffolk Coastal to bid for money as part of the Coastal Communities Fund as theapplication form goes live.

The form for organisations wishing to apply to the Coastal Communities Fund in the 2012-13 financial year is now available on the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) web site here.

Commenting, Therese said "The Coastal Communities Fund is great news for this part of Suffolk it has the potential to have a real and lasting impact on our local economy. The application form has now gone live and I encourage organisations to apply".

The fund 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.


05 MAR 2012

Government Introduces Measures to Curb Metal Theft

Therese has today welcomed the further measures the Home Office is introducing to curb metal theft.

The Home Office is banning cash payments for scrap metal, introducing tougher penalties for rogue dealers and is boosting enforcement through a £5 million national metal theft taskforce.

Therese said "Metal theft is an increasing problem in the UK, we have seen here in Suffolk our churches, railway lines and public buildings have been affected. Earlier this year a large amount of lead was stolen from the roof of the GP surgery in Saxmundham"

"The Government are bringing in a range of measures to help prevent the theft including a multi-agency taskforce which will target both metal thieves and scrap metal dealers who trade in stolen goods and fuel the demand."

"The Government are amending the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill to create a new criminal offence banning cash payments to purchase scrap metal. Cash transactions for scrap metal are often completed without any proof of personal identification or proof that the individual legitimately owns the metal being sold. This leads to anonymous, low-risk transactions for those individuals who steal metal."

Therese added "we are also increasing the fines for all offences under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, which regulates the scrap metal recycling industry."


05 MAR 2012

Business Rate Refund for the Port of Felixstowe

Therese Coffey has today welcomed the £310,000 refund for businesses in the Port of Felixstowe as the Governmentreverses the 'ports tax' brought in by the previous administration.

The Coalition Government announced in June 2010 that they would waive these backdated bills and the regulations come into force later this month. From the 31st March, affected businesses can claim back the relevant money they were required to pay and account for it in their balance sheet.

Therese said "this is very good news for the Port of Felixstowe, they can now move forward with putting that money to its rightful use – to build up their businesses, retain jobs and benefit from international trade."

She added "this sends a clear signal of this Government's determination to support economic growth and Britain's export trade."


01 MAR 2012

Therese Welcomes Capped benefits for Families who Don’t Work

Therese has today welcomed the passing of the Welfare Reform Bill, ensuring that no family can get more in benefits thanthe average working family earns.

Under the reforms, the benefit payments that a household on out of work benefits receives will be capped at £26,000 per year so that work always pays.

Therese said "Implementing a benefit cap is a policy of fairness, standing up for hard working taxpayers. Past governments have talked about reform, while watching the benefits bill sky rocket and generations languish on the dole and dependency."

She added "today marks an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years. This government has taken bold action to make work pay, while protecting the vulnerable. Our new law will mark the end of the culture that said a life on benefits was an acceptable alternative to work."


01 MAR 2012

Government Summit to Reduce Insurance Costs

Therese Coffey has today welcomed the recent Insurance Summit hosted by the Government with the insurance industryand consumer groups.

They discussed the rising premiums that many drivers and businesses are facing and the action that the Government is taking to help bring these down.

Therese said "There was a commitment from the Government to take action to tackle the compensation culture, reduce legal costs and cut health and safety red tape. I am pleased the insurance industry has committed to pass savings made on to consumers"

Measures agreed include:

Industry commitment to pass savings onto customers resulting from a Government commitment to reduce the current £1,200 fee that lawyers can earn from small value personal injury claims.

Industry commitment to adjust premiums to reflect any reductions in legal costs created through reforms of 'no win, no fee'.

The Government and insurance industry committed to work together to identify effective ways to reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims. Options include improved medical evidence, technological breakthroughs, the threshold for claims or the speed of accidents.

Progress on this will be made in the coming months;To tackle the issue identified by the Red Tape Challenge of health and safety 'myths', insurers will provide short guidance to all clients at the point of purchasing insurance setting out clearly what SMEs need to do, and critically what they don't need to do, to comply with health and safety law and get insurance cover, to ensure that businesses are not asked to go beyond what is actually required by law.

Insurers committed to challenge more vexatious health and safety civil claims in order to tackle the compensation culture.

The Government and insurance industry agreed to work together to look at what more can be done regarding young drivers' risk and safety. This includes the wider use of telematics or 'smartbox' technology. This monitors driving behaviour, giving young drivers the chance of affordable car insurance by adopting safer driving.


29 FEB 2012

East Anglian Air Ambulance to Operate in the Hours of Darkness

Last week local MP, Therese Coffey joined her Parliamentary colleagues Chloe Smith and Brandon Lewis to meet with representatives from the East Anglian Air Ambulance at a meeting in the House of Commons. They gave an update on plans to become the first Air Ambulance charity in England to operate during the hours of darkness.

The Charity's aircraft and their crews provide Helicopter Emergency Medical Services for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust across the four counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Charity's aircraft currently operate during daylight hours but it has recently signed a contract with aviation company Bond Air Services for two new aircraft which will come into service between July 2012 and December 2013. Among the most advanced air ambulances in the UK, they will be 'night capable' meaning they can be used for missions after dark. It aims to offer a service during the hours of darkness once compliance with the necessary Civil Aviation Authority protocols has been secured.

Therese said "Every day the Air Ambulance's highly skilled paramedic crews help to save the lives of people across the region and I welcome the important work that they do. It is great news that they will now be capable to operate at night".

"It is also important to recognise that although most of the emergencies in Suffolk are dealt with by the helicopters run by the East Anglian Air Ambulance Trust, there is a significant amount of partnership work. Last year the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulances were called out to Suffolk on 79 occasions"


23 FEB 2012

Therese Visits the New Home of English Football

Earlier this month, Therese joined former Ipswich Chairman David Sheepshanks as she visited St Georges Park, the FA's National Football Centre.

St George's will be the training home of the England team and a national coach education, development and sports medicine centre. David Sheepshanks is the Chairman of the project.

Therese said "as Parliamentary fellow to the FA it was a great pleasure to visit, the investment that has been put into St George's Park is fantastic. I cannot believe that it will open as quickly as September.

She added "It is a genuine vision of how to put in place the coaching that we desperately need and I pay tribute to David Sheepshanks. Credit is due to him for taking the vision along and making it a reality."

Photo from r-l: Richard Lewis, Chairman of Sport England, David Sheepshanks, Dr Therese Coffey MP, Julie Harrington, MD of St George's Park.


22 FEB 2012

MP’s to Vote on Pension Increase

Tomorrow, MPs will vote on a Parliamentary motion from the Government to up-rate the state pension.

Therese said, "I am proud it is my Government that has reinstated the link to earnings for pensions with the extra security of a triple lock, ensuring that annual rises are the greatest of the average earnings increase, inflation or 2.5%.

As a result of the triple lock commitment the Basic State Pension will increase by £5.30, the largest ever increase in cash terms, and will see pensioners entitled to a Basic State Pension worth £107.45 a week from April 2012.

"Constituents will also welcome the changes to simplify the pension and the relaxation of rules on annuities."

On the change of indexation for annual rises, Therese added, "It is important that we have sustainable pensions that are sufficiently generous to pensioners and affordable for the working population."


20 FEB 2012

Therese has her say on Plans for Simplifying the Energy Market

Therese has had her say on plans to make it easier for consumers to seek out the best energy deal at an event organised by the regulator Ofgem.

Under proposals from Ofgem, each energy supplier will have to offer a no frills tariff with a simple unit price and a fixed standing charge.

Approximately 75 per cent of consumers are on these standard tariffs and will have the opportunity to benefit from these changes.

Therese said "I welcome the simplification of tariffs, standardised price information would allow people to compare standard tariffs with other more innovative tariffs. This will help them to get the best deal for them."

The energy companies would also be required to make their bills, annual statements and other communications to their customers clearer and easier to understand.

They would also be bound by new enforceable standards of conduct.

After hearing more about the plans which could be introduced later this year, Therese signed a poster in support of the reforms.


10 FEB 2012

Fair Funding for Rural Schools

This week in Parliament, Therese spoke up for fair funding of Suffolk education in a debate on the future of rural schools.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Therese outlined how she was impressed at the amount of small rural schools that are able to survive in Suffolk and praised the County Council for trying to keep as many schools open as possible.

She said that it was important to support schools with low roll numbers and one way schools have been able to remain viable is by sharing head teachers, which Peasenhall and Middleton schools have done so well.

Therese pressed the Minister for a fair funding formula and the implication rural transport has on this.

She said "I hope that the Minister recognizes the challenges of sparse population, which include the costs of school transport. There definitely seems to be a bias towards urban schools, which is perhaps tradition given the more conventional aspects of social deprivation and the indices."

She added "People in urban places are often surprised at how many of our small rural schools have upwards of 40% of pupils receiving free school meals, which reflects the fact that poverty is spread throughout the country and not concentrated in urban areas. Rural schools should get a fair share of the funding."


10 FEB 2012

Communities Fund to Boost Economy of Coastal Towns

Therese Coffey has today welcomed the launch of the Coastal Communities Fund and encouraged projectsin 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.

Therese said "I am delighted that the Coastal Communities Fund has been launched, this is great news for Suffolk Coastal. However "I encourage quality bids from many different organisations that support economic development including charities, social enterprises as well as local authorities. This has the potential to have a real and lasting impact on our local economy."

The money will be allocated using half of the revenue raised by the Crown Estate's marine activities, and is estimated to be £23.7 million in its first year. I am concerned that there is no indication that the amount of money allocated will be proportionate to the amount of money generated from Crown Estate activities in each area. Ministers previously promised this and I will be taking this up with the Secretary of State."

The big lottery fund will distribute the money and the deadline for applications in 2012 will be September, with winners announced in December. Guidance on how to apply can be found at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/regeneration/coastalfundprospectus


06 FEB 2012

Network Rail Chief Executive Declines Bonus

Therese Coffey has today welcomed the decision by bosses of Network Rail to forgo their bonuses.

Network Rail had come under pressure from the Government for planning to give a 6 figure bonus to its Chief Executive despite the Office of Rail Regulation recently declared that the rail company had breached its licence because of poor performance.

Instead of accepting the bonus payments the money will go towards the level crossing safety fund.

Therese said "I welcome this news, it is essential that any rewards are performance related and this proposal clearly wasn't the case. It is important to highlight the safety at our level crossings as I did in Parliament last week and I am pleased that the money will instead go to improving level crossings on our railway lines".


03 FEB 2012

Reform Required to Boost Rail Performance

Therese called for the reform of network rail yesterday, as she spoke in a debate in Parliament that she helped to secure.

MP's outlined their concerns over the performance of Network Rail after the Office of Rail Regulation recently declared that the rail company had breached its licence.

Dr Coffey said "shortly after the debate was called, Network Rail were very quick to get in contact with me. I met with a manager of the East Anglia region and talked about some of the changes and what he plans to do. I want to encourage him and the Chief Executive to get on with the reforms proposed. I also hope that Network Rail will develop a sensible collaboration with Abellio Greater Anglia the new rail franchisee."

"It is important to businesses and the public that they are able to rely on punctual trains as they go about their daily lives. Problems with Network Rail contribute to many of the delays on our lines in East Anglia and these need to be put right".

Therese raised the safety of level crossings in Suffolk and is pleased Network Rail will put a gated level crossing in at Melton, she stated it is also about getting value for money to improve them.

"Everything from Network Rail seems to be costed in units of £1 million: do we want a level crossing? "Yeah, that will be £1 million. The opening of the Felixstowe Academy will mean more children will use a particular route on the way to school. A bridge is required on Runnacles Way which might cost £1 million, or it might cost £2 million. Meanwhile, someone who has been doing some contracting work for the Environment Agency—which used to have the same problem reckons that he can build the bridge for approximately £150,000."

She added "we should not accept that everything just costs £1 million or more. That is why I was encouraged by the changes, the devolution principle, that allow directors to take control of their regions and get proper value for money".


02 FEB 2012

Therese Welcomes Upgrade to the Police.uk Website

Therese has today welcomed the upgrade to the website police.uk which gives the public an even more detailed picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in their area.

The website now includes incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour recorded at all train stations and railway networks. Soon incidents occurring at or near significant local sites like shopping areas, parks, car parks and hospitals will be added too.

In addition, the website now has more specific detail on the precise location of incidents – while still protecting anonymity.

Therese said "Police.uk gives everyone in Suffolk Coastal information on just what crime and anti-social behaviour is happening right on their street. In the year since its launch the website has received an astonishing 453 million hits and this upgrade will make even more detail available.

"I'm pleased the Home Office is listening to the public's demand for even more information on crime in their neighbourhood"'


30 JAN 2012

Therese backs the Government’s tough penalties for metal theft

The Home Secretary announced this week that cash payments for scrap metal will be banned and penalties increased, asthe Government steps up action against metal theft.

In a statement to Parliament Theresa May said the Government would create a new criminal offence to prohibit cash payments when purchasing scrap metal and introduce unlimited penalties on those who break the law.

These changes come as metal thefts from war memorials and railway lines become more prevalent and are part of a wider plan to tackle all stages in the illegal trading of stolen scrap metal.

Commenting on the announcement Therese said: 'People across Suffolk are disgusted by metal thieves and the criminals who deal in stolen metal. Last year I tabled an Early Day Motion deploring the desecration of memorials to the fallen and called on councils and the police to prosecute vandals who carry out this damage. That is why I'm pleased to back the Government's action. It is right that the Government is stopping cash payments and introducing tough penalties to clamp down on the illegal metal trade".


26 JAN 2012

Therese Welcomes Reverse on Cuts to BBC Local Radio

Therese has welcomed the announced made by the BBC this week that they will think again about the planned cuts tolocal radio, following consultation as part of their Delivering Quality First review.

In a speech made by the Chairman of the BBC, Lord Patten said "some aspects of the plans as they stand would have a disproportionate impact on local and regional output. We have asked the management to see if they can find more money to protect the local identity of services".

Therese previously tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the BBC to dismiss the idea of centralising its programming.

She said "local radio is important to license fee payers and celebrating community moments is where local radio truly excels".

"I am pleased that the BBC have recognised the importance of local radio and have pledged to make the maximum possible savings through off-air efficiencies"


26 JAN 2012

Government Announcement on Training Funding Welcomed

Therese has today welcomed the announcement from the Department for Transport that it will continue the 'Support forMaritime Training' (SMarT) scheme for the lifetime of the present Parliament.

The funding, which contributes approximately 40% to the cost of training cadets, is of vital importance in maintaining the 59,000 jobs British jobs in the shipping sector.

Therese said "the Government scheme is well received by shipping company employers and other training providers, who have delivered excellent value for the Government's investment to date."

She added "the retention of SMarT funding is of crucial importance in underpinning the future training of British seafarers. Given our UK maritime services sector is worth £26.5bn to our economy, the reaffirmation of Government support for seafarer training will enhance the status of the UK as a global maritime power"


25 JAN 2012

Securing the future of our Post Offices in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has today welcomed the news of a 10-year deal between Royal Mail and the Post Office, securing the future ofservices without resorting to the failed closures programme of the previous government.

The deal follows the Government's other measures to protect Post Office services including additional funding, new local and national contracts, a successful piloting scheme to transform many local post offices and improvements in the services offered.

Therese said "The Post Office service is so important to residents especially in rural areas. In the last decade we saw over 6,500 close. The Government's announcement means the future of the Post Office is secured guaranteeing this valuable service for millions of people."

"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. As part of this I am pushing for the services in Walberswick and Wangford to be restored".


25 JAN 2012

Therese Chairs All Party Group to Keep Fuel Costs on Parliamentary Agenda

The first meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on off-gas grid takes place today. The group set up and co-chaired by Therese Coffey will ensure that the issues experienced by households that are off the main gas supply are firmly on the Parliamentary agenda.

Therese said "I am acutely aware of the issues faced by those who are off the gas grid. I have significant concern about the domestic oil market and many people have experienced difficulties with rising prices and supply problems."

She added "prompted by my questions in Parliament the Office of Fair Trading have recently conducted a study into the competition of the heating oil market. Even though they have brought in some positive proposals for increased transparency there are still many people that are experiencing weaknesses in the market and its ability to drive down price".

"The group will follow up on these issues to ensure there are truly independent suppliers in the market and will discuss the possibilities of a greater role for OFGEM in the regulation of this sector."


24 JAN 2012

Therese calls for nominations for Rock the House

Therese is taking part in the second annual Parliamentary live music competition, Rock the House, and invites under-18s,solo artists, bands and live music venues in Suffolk Coastal to write in and nominate themselves.

The competition was founded to support the UK live music sector to raise the profile of intellectual property rights issues and counts rock legends Alice Cooper and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan as Patrons.

Therese said "there is a wealth of live music talent in Suffolk and I would urge all musicians and live music venues to fill in an application and send it to me. I am pleased that Nic Pandolfi from Town 102 has agreed to be part of the judging panel".

She added "the recognition and contacts entrants can get from taking part is priceless and it would be great to put the constituency on the map for its artistic talent."

Musicians and live music venues within Suffolk Coastal can find all forms and information on the competition at www.rockthehouse2012.com and can send in their nominations to Therese at therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk.

Prizes include music equipment; a chance to play at high profile festivals; and mingle with the great and the good of the music industry. Successful nominees will go forward to the national competition which will be judged by a panel of international music industry experts and musicians and the finalists will be announced on Friday 18th May. The finalists will take part in a battle of the bands to determine the winner on Wednesday 30th May and the winner in each category will perform live at a final competition reception on the Terrace at the House of Commons in the evening.


20 JAN 2012

Action to Deal with Foreign Benefit Fraud

Therese has today welcomed to Government efforts to make sure benefits are only paid to foreign nationals in correct, highly defined, circumstances.

She said "this Government is determined to get to grips with false benefit claimants from foreign nationals. For the first time Government have undertaken complex data-matching checks between the Department of Work & Pensions, the Treasury and the UK Border Agency.  2% of the matched cases did not appear to have lawful immigration status. Where this is shown to be the case, benefit will be stopped and further enforcement action taken."

She added "around a quarter of the data identified could not be matched between records from the DWP and the UKBA. Further work on these cases are being undertaken by the Government and where there is evidence of wrongdoing – action will be taken"


19 JAN 2012

Parliamentary Debate on Network Rail Granted

Suffolk MP's have been successful in raising the performance of Network Rail in Parliament as the Backbench BusinessCommittee granted their request for a debate yesterday. The 3 hour debate will take place on Thursday the 2nd February.

Back in December, the Office of Rail Regulation declared that Network Rail had breached its licence on performance. The punctuality of its trains fell well short of the regulatory target with the real probability that they will miss the target again this year.

Therese Coffey and Ipswich MP, Ben Gummer made the case for a debate, backed by many of their colleagues, and were pleased when their request was granted.

The Suffolk Coastal MP said "It is important to businesses and the public that they are able to rely on punctual trains as they go about their daily lives. Problems with Network Rail contribute to many of the delays on our lines in East Anglia."

Therese added, "I think it is right for Parliament to debate this failure in performance and to keep both the Government and Network Rail focused on delivering a better service."


18 JAN 2012

Therese Calls for Fair Play for Felixstowe

Therese stood up for the Port of Felixstowe in Parliament today by advocating that all ports should be treated fairly and consistently when dealing with Government agencies.

The debate was brought by a Southampton MP who complained of bureaucratic delay but also challenged the legal intervention by Felixstowe Port operator Hutchison Ports.

When the Southampton Port owner submitted its original planning application to increase container capacity, the Marine Management Organisation did not insist on the same stringent Environmental Impact Assessment that had been asked of Hutchison's application at Felixstowe. The High Court agreed that due process had not been followed.

Speaking in the debate, Therese Coffey said that businesses should be able to expect a level playing field and consistency from Government officials. She added, "I am not opposed to an increase in capacity at Southampton but the delay in the decision is the result of the failure by the applicant to follow the correct procedure and the regulator to insist upon it. Hutchison's objections are entirely valid." She was supported at the debate by Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin.

Paul Davey, Head of Corporate Affairs at Hutchison Ports (UK) said "I would like to thank Therese and Bernard for their support for fair play for the Port of Felixstowe. The UK port industry is dependent upon private sector funding and the principles of free and fair competition. It is essential for the creation of an efficient network of ports that a single set of rules are applied consistently to all port developments. Failure to do so distorts competition, discourages investment and works against the national interest. If the rules change then the conditions imposed on other projects that have been granted permission, but not started, should also be reconsidered."


13 JAN 2012

Campaign for Rural Mobile Coverage Triumphs

The long parliamentary campaign to bring mobile coverage to rural areas has ended in victory, as OFCOMfinallyannounced proposals to increase broadband coverage to an estimated 98% of the UK population.

Traditionally, up to 6 million people in Britain have been excluded from good mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas. (Mobile phone companies were only obliged to cover 95 % of the population, 90 % of the time).

Dr Coffey was one of the leaders of the campaign to increase the coverage. She signed a back-bench business committeedebate urging OFCOM to increase the coverage to at least 98 % of the population.

Therese then spoke in the debate, in the House of Commons on 19 May 2011 saying: "that there is a risk Ofcom is being penny wise, pound foolish, and that in future it could become very expensive for this country to have truly mobile broadband."

The motion was carried unanimously at the end of a 3 hour debate.

In October, the Chancellor of the Exchequer responded to the debate by committing an extra 150 million pounds to build thousands of new mobile phone masts to cover rural areas.

In November the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, of which Therese is a member slammed OFCOM's coverage target of 95% as 'unambitious' and the call for a 98% coverage obligation.

In this week's announcement, OFCOM proposes options which should ensure that 98% or more of the population receives 4G mobile broadband coverage. This means that millions who currently do not have a mobile signal will now receive one, and that millions more will have their signal upgraded from a 2G 'voice' signal to a 4G signal, capable of carrying broadband data.

Therese said "this investment will transform the fortune of small and medium sized businesses, currently hamstrung by inadequate mobile phone and internet coverage. Homes, schools, farms and businesses will get access to decent mobile and internet coverage for the first time."


12 JAN 2012

MP takes Network Rail Failures to Parliament

Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey will next week go to the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee to request a Parliamentary debate on Network Rail.

Therese said "It is important to businesses and the public that they are able to rely on punctual trains as they go about their daily lives. I am pushing for this debate as the problems that Network Rail handle contribute to many of the delays on our lines in East Anglia."

"Back in December, the Office of Rail Regulation declared that Network Rail had breached its licence on performance. The punctuality of its trains fell well short of the regulatory target with the real probability that they will miss the target again this year."

She went on to say "I think it is right for Parliament to debate this failure in performance and to keep both the Government and Network Rail focused on delivering a better service."


11 JAN 2012

Prime Minister Congratulates Suffolk Subpostmaster as he is Pressed on Rural Post Office Services

Westhall resident Tony Whatling won the adulation of the Prime Minister today as he was congratulated in Parliament for serving as Subpostmaster for over 60 years.  The Prime Minister said he was the type of person 'that keeps this Country running'.

Therese mentioned the fantastic service of Mr Whatling in Prime Ministers Questions where she also probed David Cameron on rural Post Office Services.

She asked the PM, to press the Post Office to use their "generous network subsidy to re-open services in Walberswick and Wangford".

Mr Cameron said "the government has committed £1.3bn to the Post Office in return for a commitment to protect rural services."

He went on to say "a condition of this money is not just to provide the 11,500 branches nationwide but to fund outreach services and mobile branches."

Therese is in regular contact with the Post Office to try and ensure they restore the service to Walberswick and Wangford in the near future.


10 JAN 2012

Deregulation the key to Sustained Growth

Therese today spoke up about the need for increased deregulation in a debate she secured in Parliament.

Therese said "reducing the burden on business is a low cost way of getting the economy on a path to sustained growth".

"Deregulation is happening, the famous red tape is being cut back but we need to go faster and further. Less cost on business can lead to cheaper goods, make it simpler to employ someone and will make it easier to make or sell products. Not only is it free but can save us all money, it is a necessary stimulus for growth."

She went on to say "of course some regulation is required. There was controversy recently when the Chancellor called for a review of the Habitats Directive. I support that as I do the Water Directive. The key is to strike a balance but we must ensure businesses such as farming are free to get on with the job."

"I met local farmers last week concerned with the regulations on water and abstraction. This is a genuine threat to farming in east Suffolk which produces so much of the crops for the rest of the country. If this wasn't the case we would have to import more".

"It is important that we not only get out the scissors but we also get out the shears and really hack back"

Responding to the debate, the Minister responsible for deregulation, Mark Prisk MP outlined that the Government is taking action but that it can and will do more. He said it was important to prevent the 'gold plated' implementation of directives from Brussels.

The red tape challenge is already helping to cut back a substantial amount of regulation and the Minister invited Therese to help look over the Environmental regulation that his department are focussing on at present.


06 JAN 2012

Improving Quality in the Health Service

Therese Coffey has today welcomed the Prime Ministers drive to ensure that every patient in hospital is cared for with compassion and dignity.

Therese said "many incredible people work in our NHS in which caring for others is their top priority, they go beyond the call of duty to ensure great care. However we know that the Care Quality Commission have also found deficiencies in some of our hospitals – which the Government are committed to putting right. It is fundamental that patients get the food and drink they need to recover."

She went on to say "The Governments reforms plan to make sure paperwork acts as a tool to help patients and not as a barrier."

"We are also committed to regular nursing rounds to systematically and routinely check that patients are comfortable, are properly fed and hydrated, and are treated with dignity and respect"

"Alongside this local people will take part in new patient-led inspections of hospital wards assessing cleanliness, dignity and nutrition and their findings will be published."


20 DEC 2011

Progress Towards Developing Future Flood Risk Management Arrangements

Yesterday in Parliament the Environment Minister, Richard Benyon MP, published a statement on flood risk management and insurance.

The report reaffirms the Governments commitment to making sure flood insurance remains widely available. They are working together with the insurance industry to forge a new shared understanding which sets out more clearly what customers can expect from their insurer and from Government.

Welcoming the statement Local MP, Therese Coffey said "up and down the coast people want to be able to insure their houses. The existing Statement of Principles currently enables insurers to price according to risk. Risk based pricing has not been commonly applied in the past because of a range of factors including commercial decisions by individual insurers and historic limitations in the availability of flood risk information. However, the market is evolving with the development of more sophisticated tools for assessing a customer's flood risk with the reality being a continuing trend towards more risk based pricing."

She went on to say "the Government is taking steps to reduce flood risk occurring in the first place and thereby plays a vital role in bearing down on insurance costs. In accordance with this Government's determination to deliver solutions which offer taxpayers greatest value for money and which will endure over the long-term, the priority will continue to be to invest in reducing the risk of people and properties being flooded in the first place, rather than re-directing funds into subsidising insurance premiums"

That said being said the Government will continue to work with insurance companies to consider what additional measures might help safeguard the affordability of flood insurance for households. As part of this they will be considering the feasibility, value for money and deliverability of targeting funds to help those most in need.


19 DEC 2011

Therese makes the case for local businesses with Tourism Minister

Last week Therese met with the Tourism Minister John Penrose MP to discuss the Government's support for tourism businesses in Suffolk Coastal.

The Government has introduced a series of measures to boost the hospitality and tourism industries and the Minister explained how these would impact directly on jobs in Suffolk.

John Penrose MP said: 'From abolishing red tape through to support for seaside arcades the Government is determined to do what we can to help this incredibly important sector. And with London 2012, the Cultural Olympiad and Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee all happening next year we have a once in a lifetime opportunity that I hope tourism businesses and their staff across the country will make the most of.'

Therese said: "'I'm glad that the Government is prioritising the tourism industry as it plays such a vital part in our local economy. 2.9% of local residents are employed in this sector so it was good to have the opportunity to make their case directly to the Minister."

"The Tourism Regulatory Task Force Report identified more than 60 out of the 102 Government regulations affecting the hospitality sector which will be abolished including the placing of no smoking signs. The Government have also announced plans to get rid of some of the much hated bureaucracy that discourages people from organising concerts, plays and other live entertainment."

She went on to say "We have also delivered on our manifesto pledge to reduce to regulatory burden on slot machines – which been killing jobs and driving seaside arcades out of business. All of these measures coupled with a £150 million advertising campaign to market Great Britain at home and abroad will boost growth and jobs in the tourism sector".


12 DEC 2011

Therese urges calls to Home Heat Helpline

New figures reveal that in Suffolk Coastal 13% of homes are entitled to some form of assistance with their fuel bills. Thathelp is worth an average of £250 per household and a free helpline is available for more information.

Lending her support to the campaign, Therese said: "around 5,300 homes in Suffolk Coastal are entitled to some form of support. Anyone who is concerned about staying warm should call the Home Heat Helpline and seek advice. I would also ask people to look out for neighbours, friends or relatives who may be in difficulty and make sure that they are aware of the Home Heat Helpline."

The number for the Home Heat Helpline is 0800 33 66 99 or you can visit www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. It is a free service that provides independent advice to people on low incomes on how to get help with their gas and electricity bills as well as other help such as grants for insulation or a new boiler.

As well as supporting the campaign locally, Therese met with Hilary Devey from Dragons Den, who is backing the campaign to raise awareness of the Helpline and spoke of her experience of struggling to keep her home warm before she became a successful businesswoman.

Therese went on to say as well as calling the Home Heat Helpline to find out what financial assistance is available there are some other simple steps people can take. For example:

  • turn radiators down in rooms which you only use occasionally
  • switch your lights off when you're not using them
  • turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby when they're not being used
  • replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones
  • regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it's operating at full efficiency
  • draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room
  • move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room
  • open internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel around your home"

Home Heat Helpline: 0800 33 66 99 or www.homeheathelpline.org.uk


09 DEC 2011

Concern over Threat to Water Abstraction

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese secured a meeting with the Minister to talk through the Government proposals for water abstraction.

The Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs published a White Paper yesterday entitled Water for Life which makes various proposals about the sustainability of water resources as well as regulations to control water abstraction.

Reacting to the report Therese said "I welcome large parts of the document but I am concerned by some of the recommendations which potentially could stop some farmers farming."

"The microclimate in Suffolk Coastal is quite similar to that of North Africa and farmers are used to using irrigation in producing crops. They are also big abstractors of both river and ground water."

She went on to say "I am pleased that the Minister, Richard Benyon, has agreed to meet with me and local farmers to discuss the details. He has assured me that putting food production at risk is not his intention and I am sure we can work together to ensure farmers' businesses are secure for the future.


08 DEC 2011

Therese Hopes new Deal for Cities can also come to Suffolk

The Department for Communities and Local Government have today announced that UK cities will be given transformativenew powers in dramatic shift. Under the scheme cities will have a greater freedom to invest in growth.

Reacting to the news Therese said "I am keen that cities will be able to act for themselves to attract big business and I welcome the move away from Whitehall. However I have concerns on the impact this could have on Suffolk Coastal. We need to make sure counties like Suffolk will also be able to benefit from these reforms and we are not left behind."

Under the plans cities will be able to reduce their business rates for particular industries – which could drive business away from rural counties. They will also have access to a £1bn pot as part of the Regional Growth Fund.

Dr Coffey went on to say "businesses such as Adastral Park and the Port of Felixstowe are shining examples of industry in our County and we need to make sure that Suffolk has a level playing field to attract more innovation"

Therese questioned the Minister, Greg Clarke in House of Commons today and will pursue the matter with him.


30 NOV 2011

Therese Pledges Support for Local Shops

Last week, Therese Coffey MP met with the Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores to celebrate the  important role that local shops play in the local community.

Heart of the Community is an annual event which brings retailers from across the country face to face with MPs to air their concerns about the future of the sector. They raised issues from planned increases in business rates and tackling under age sales.

There are dozens of convenience stores in Suffolk Coastal constituency and the small business community is crying out for reassurance that Government will do all it can to help them.

Therese said "It's essential that in my capacity as Member of Parliament I support the causes of local shops in Westminster – they really are at the heart of communities and Government must to everything they can to ensure that they succeed. That is why I have been meeting with Ministers on the issue of business rates and standing up for our retailers across Suffolk Coastal"


29 NOV 2011

Therese welcomes Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Therese has today welcomed, The Chancellor's Autumn Statement to do whatever it takes to protect Britain from the debtstorm whilst building the foundation for future growth.

Therese said "the statement had some tough messages but protects confidence in our economy. We have today shown the world we're serious about keeping our finances in order".

She went on to say "there was some good news for the East as the Chancellor set out plans to invest in our infrastructure including the A14. An upgraded A14 is fantastic news for our local economy including the Port of Felixstowe".

The Chancellor also pledged that the Government will help families with the cost of living and the proposed 3p rise in fuel duty due to come into effect in January will be cancelled.


28 NOV 2011

Minister agrees to meeting on Post Office Subsidy

Following her request in the House of Commons last week for an urgent debate on the Post Office Network Subsidy, the Minister has changed his mind and agreed to meet Therese on this important matter.

Therese said "I am glad Ed Davey has finally agreed to meet with me. The Post Office service is of fundamental importance residents of Suffolk Coastal.

She went on to say "we are spending up to £500 million in subsidy to the Post Office network but there seems to be limited accountability. If the money was used more effectively we may be able to open the Post Offices in Wangford, Walberswick and Blythburgh"


24 NOV 2011

Post Office Subsidy needs more Scrutiny

This week in Parliament, Therese requested an urgent debate on how the subsidy to the Post OfficeNetwork is spent. Last year the House of Commons voted to raise the subsidy for Post Offices up to £500 million but Dr Coffey is concerned that the money isn't being spent effectively.

She said "there is no accountability to Parliament and what criteria are used. I believe the Post Office is failing in its delivery of services and if the money was used more effectively we may be able to open the Post Offices in Wangford, Walberswick and Blythburgh"

She went on to say "so far the Minister has turned down a meeting with me to discuss this issue but I will keep up the pressure. The Post Office service is of fundamental importance residents of Suffolk Coastal and I have written to the Controller General of the National Audit Office to ask them to investigate"

"I have also secured a meeting with the Post Office and Royal Mail in December to talk about the restoration of the Wangford Service".


21 NOV 2011

Solutions sought to improve Freeview Reception

Therese today met with Culture, Media and Sport Minister Ed Vaizey to highlight the poor freeview reception experienced by residents in some parts of Suffolk Coastal.

she said "For those of us not on the main transmitter we have been unable to access the full freeview service. The digital switchover has provided extra channels but some residents will be left disappointed that they are unable to access services such as ITV3 or Sky News."

She went on to say "All of us who cannot get the full service still have to pay the full license fee so I have been pushing the Minister to rectify the situation. He was sympathetic and will look into options to resolve it."

Ed Vaizey said "this is a scarce time for public resources but we have to come up with some innovative solutions".


17 NOV 2011

Early Education gets a Boost

Therese has today welcomed the recent announcement by the Government that they are expanding free early year'seducation.

She said "Last year, the Government took the decision to extend the entitlement to free early education for three and four year olds from twelve and half hours per week to fifteen hours per week. Now we are legislating through the Education Bill for that entitlement to be extended to two-year olds from the poorest families".

She went on to say "getting children's education right early sets them more surely on the path to future success".

Suffolk will see an extra 1,600 two-year olds become eligible for free nursery school places.. All two-year olds in families meeting the criteria used for free school meals and all looked after children.


15 NOV 2011

Post Office Deliver to your Neighbour

Therese has today welcomed the 'delivery to a neighbour' trial which is being undertaken by the Post Office. Items which are too big for the letterbox or require a signature will be delivered to a neighbour if no one is at home.

The trial, which takes place in Suffolk Coastal as well as other selected areas of the country will be for a three month period from 28th November 2011 through to February 2012.

Therese said "I welcome this trial which will make deliveries more convenient for customers it will then be easier to assess whether it would be desirable to use this approach across the UK".

If items are delivered to a neighbour, customers will receive a card through the door letting them know. If the neighbour is also out customers will also receive a card saying it will be returned to the delivery office.

Customers can chose to opt out of the trial by registering their details online or by calling 08456 113 420.


15 NOV 2011

Bringing London 2012 Closer to Suffolk Coastal

Following the recent news that the Olympic Torch will visit ten communities in Suffolk Coastal next year there is an opportunity for schools to join the Relay as Flame Followers courtesy of Lloyds TSB. The deadline to apply is the 18th November.

Local MP, Therese Coffey said "This is fantastic news. As part of the National School Sport Week Lloyds are inviting schools to join in the Olympic Torch Relay, giving pupils a chance to carry the Olympic Flame. Although the deadline is close there is a relatively easy registration process" Schools should sign up at www.schoolsportweek.org.

Therese is also encouraging schools to sign up for the Get Set Network: "I welcome those schools in Suffolk that have already registered for Get Set. As of today though less than 25% of schools are part of the network and could miss out on the opportunity for tickets for schoolchildren. The deadline for this is December 16th and the website is http://getset.london2012.com. So log on and sign up".


14 NOV 2011

Heritage Lottery Fund Back WW1 2014 Centenary

Following Remembrance services this weekend the Heritage Lottery Fund have announced that they are to make fundsavailable to be used to help mark the centenaries of the First World War.

In an Early Day Motion tabled in Parliament, Local MP, Therese Coffey had recently called for money to be allocated from the heritage lottery to restore war memorials to their former glory in time for 2014.

Therese said "this is great news, whilst much of the funding will be used for other important initiatives the HLF have committed to the restoration and conservation of War Memorials if the project also helps people learn about heritage. What could tell you more about the heritage of the First World War than the monument to the fallen".

The heritage lottery fund are working with the Imperial War Museums and other partners to ensure that every community has access to funding to mark the First World War centenaries as they wish.

A web feature promoting the availability of the funding can be found at www.hlf.org.uk/FirstWorldWar.


11 NOV 2011

Winter-proof your Home and cut Energy Costs

With the costs of food, clothing, and energy all on the increase, local MP Therese Coffey, is calling on constituents to winter-proof their homes and their finances to keep energy costs down.

Currently, around £1 of every £4 spent on heating our homes is wasted because of a lack of adequate insulation and with over 6 million cavity walls unfilled, and 10 million lofts left unlagged, huge amounts of money is being wasted.

Therese said "Residents in Suffolk Coastal can take action to get the free energy efficiency that they are entitled to, by doing this they can save themselves hundreds of pounds every year. If they act now they can be ready long before winter."

Customers of British Gas can take advantage of the company's offer to insulate their homes free if they apply before 22nd December 2011. Customers on lower incomes, whoever their supplier is, can also call a special helpline to see if they are eligible for free insulation or discounted bills (the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 980 8177).


11 NOV 2011

Therese backs Government plans to support female entrepreneurs

Therese has today welcomed the Government's plans to support women's enterprise.

Last week the Home Secretary and Minister for Women, Theresa May, announced that funding will be provided for 5,000 mentors to support new and existing female entrepreneurs. Currently women are only half as likely as men to become entrepreneurs. Specifically trained mentors will be able to address particular concerns of female entrepreneurs such as access to finance, building confidence, achieving a work life balance and working from home.

Therese said "We already have many successful businesswomen in Suffolk Coastal like Rachel Ducker from Apparition Marketing & Design, Erika Clegg from Spring and Julia Ewart from the Cotton Tree. Unleashing women's entrepreneurial abilities could add billions of pounds to our economy every year."

She went on to say "We just can't afford to overlook the talents, skills and experience of women across Suffolk Coastal that's why it's important that the Government takes action like this".


09 NOV 2011

Therese Supports 2012 Local Leaders Scheme

This week the London organising committee for the Olympic Games launched a new public participation programme. The 'Local Leaders' initiative is an invitation to people across the East of England to take the 2012 Games into their community and create their own celebrations next year.

People are encouraged to sign up to the Local Leader programme at www.london2012.com/localleaders to receive further information on a range of themed celebration ideas focusing on the Opening Ceremony evening, gardening, quizzes and barbecues and be in the front row to receive free London 2012 event materials.

Therese said "I was pleased to promote the recent Get Set programme amongst local school and I am also pleased to lend my support to this scheme. The summer of 2012 will be extraordinary. Across the whole of the Suffolk thousands of people will be part of the celebrations and at the heart of every celebration will be the person who makes it happen. If that's you, then sign up and become a London 2012 Local Leader. "

"Being a Local Leader is pretty simple you just need to have an idea of how you want to celebrate the Games and then get organising. You can create your own events or get involved with the some of the ideas communities across the UK have already suggested: check them out on the website. There are also handy tips on how to plan your event. Get ready to celebrate in 2012 and help make the Games local"


03 NOV 2011

Therese backs Spectrum Auction and calls for an increase in Broadband Coverage to 98%

In a report released today, the Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee has announced that Ofcom has been doinga good job facilitating the next spectrum auction but has urged it to take place as soon as possible.

Local MP Therese Coffey, a member of the Select Committee said "The Government is doing all it can to provide fast broadband and recently pledged £530m worth of investment to upgrade the UKs broadband network. The spectrum auction is highly relevant for rural areas and is great news for increasing broadband provision"

She went on to say "Ofcom proposes that one of the spectrum licences should have a condition of providing mobile internet coverage to least 95% of the population. The Committee says that Ofcom should go further to hasten the rollout of broadband and proposes that the coverage obligation for this licence should be set at 98%. It also argues that Ofcom should consider applying this obligation to more than one licence."

However there has been some infighting between mobile operators which is delaying the rollout of faster broadband services.

The Select Committee understands that Ofcom has had a very difficult job adjudicating between competing and polarised interests and they are concerned that constant disagreement and special pleading from the four mobile network operators appears to have further delayed the spectrum auction. They believe that the basic rules for the auction are sensible and fair, and that further delays will result in the UK falling further behind in this vital area.

The Committee have argued that it is vital that spectrum users other than mobile service providers are not overlooked by policy makers and regulators. The report recommends that Ofcom's remit is widened in order that the interests of British businesses whose spectrum use plays an important part in the UK economy are best served.


02 NOV 2011

Have a Banger with your Bangers

As bonfire night approaches, Local MP, Therese Coffey is urging residents to have a Suffolk sausage whilst watching thefireworks this weekend.

This week is British sausage week and to celebrate the occasion Therese joined Jimmy Butler the proprietor of Blythburgh Free Range Pork at the launch of the Pork Promise in Houses of Parliament.

The pork promise is about promoting free range products and giving more thought to the pork on your fork.

When eating pork Therese has promised to think twice about whether its a quality pork produced by farmers who prioritise the welfare of their pigs before she tucks in and is encouraging everyone to do the same.

Therese said "the pigs that produce Blythburgh Free Range Pork are born outside and spend their entire lives outdoors in the fresh air. These are the standards I am proud to promote".

High welfare pork always carries the red tractor logo on its packaging.


01 NOV 2011

Early Day Motion Calls for Restoration of War Memorials

Therese has today tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament condemning the damage that has been caused by criminals to some of our War Memorials. She has also called on the distributors of lottery grants to disseminate money to ensure all our War Memorials are fully restored by 2014; the centennial of the outbreak of World War One. The full text of the EDM is set out below.

"That this House deplores the desecration of memorials to the fallen in the Great War and subsequent wars; urges councils and the police to prosecute vandals who damage such memorials; and calls on the distributors of lottery funds to ensure that all war memorials in the UK are restored to their former glory in time for the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War." 


26 OCT 2011

Therese Shows her Support for Grassroots Sport

Yesterday, Therese met representatives from the world of sport andrecreation to find out more about the challenges facing community clubs in Suffolk Coastal.
Attending an event held by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the umbrella organisation for the governing bodies of sport, Therese spoke with former England cricketer Angus Fraser about how grassroots clubs are faring inthe current economic climate. She also had time to thrash him at table football at the same time.e challenges facingcommunity clubs in Suffolk Coastal.

New data released by the Sport and Recreation Alliance at the reception shows that a quarter of all sports clubs are currently operating at a loss,with half just managing to break even. It also revealed that those clubs makinga surplus have seen it almost halve over the last two years.

Therese used the event to commit herself to doing all she can to helping sport and recreation in Suffolk Coastal.

Therese said "I am opening the door to sports clubs in Suffolk Coastalto contact me with any issues they may have.  I have already been able to help one sports club in Felixstowe and will do what I can for others to help them thrive".


21 OCT 2011

Therese Welcomes New Community Business Loan Scheme

A new Community Business Loan Scheme has been launched this week by NatWest and RBS. The new £5m fund will supportcommunity businesses, charities, social enterprises and community development finance institutions that often struggle to qualify for mainstream bank lending.

Loans will be available on favourable terms for businesses located and trading in the UK with social or environmental aims and who reinvest their profits for a social purpose. All applicants must be investment ready in terms of management, governance and financial position. Start-ups as well as established businesses can apply.

Therese said "this is the first time that funds of this scale have been made available for these businesses by a UK bank. Supporting the social enterprise sector is an integral part of our strategy to support businesses".

She went on to say "It is vital to improve the flow of finance from banks to all sectors of the economy. The Government supports any initiative that could help make this happen and I hope this fund will create new opportunities for community businesses to get access to mainstream finance. These enterprises play a key part in the Big Society and the links forged by initiatives like this will help them move forward and grow."

Businesses can find out more information and make applications via the following links:

www.natwest.com/communitybusinessloan
www.rbs.co.uk/communitybusinessloan


20 OCT 2011

Therese Supports Diabetes Testing at Launch of the Silver Star

Therese joined other Members of Parliament, at the launch of the Silver Star Diabetes Challenge at the House of Commons this week. At the special MPs testing event, Therese took the quick and simple Type 2 diabetes test to help raise awareness of the need for public testing for the disease.

Therese was also issued with a Silver Star Pedometer to measure the amount of steps taken during a Parliamentary Week as part of the 50 day challenge. The public can keep track of their MP on the Silver Star website and the winner of the 50 day challenge will be announced in February 2012. The key to preventing diabetes is physical activity and a healthy diet.uses of Commonsthis week. At the special MPs testing event, Therese took the quick and simple Type 2 diabetes test to help raise awareness of the need for public testing for the disease.

The NHS spends £1 million per hour on diabetes related illnesses and it is estimated that more than one million people in the UK are unaware that they have the condition. Therese said "The diabetes test was so easy. It only takes two minutes and can save lives. I hope my constituents will also take the test and I am looking forward to finding out the results of the pedometer challenge in February".

Special Guest Hari Dhillon, Dr. Michael Spence on BBC's Holby City, joined in the effort to highlight the problem of diabetes worldwide, and said "the evening was a triumph and I was delighted to contribute to such a worthwhile cause".


19 OCT 2011

Office of Fair Trading Publishes Report on Heating Oil

Therese has welcomed the report published this week by the Office of Fair Trading in to the off-grid supply of heating oil and its findings to enhance consumer protection.

The enquiry was prompted by questions Therese asked in Parliament last December at the height of the heating oil price rise.

The OFT has concerns that some heating oil suppliers may not be treating their customers fairly and is currently examining practices further. These include

complaints that some suppliers were charging a different price on delivery from that quoted when the order was taken. complaints that people may be locked into expensive LPG contracts following an initial introductory rate, and it is working with the industry to resolve this matter.

Reacting to the report Therese said "I welcome the steps the OFT has taken to improve the transparency in the market, the action it has taken against certain heating oil companies and price comparison websites to make sure this happens. Which is why households are better informed about prices and which company owns which heating oil supplier."

She went on to say "the report suggests 97% of off-gas customers have access to 4 different suppliers. I will be following up to ensure these are truly independent suppliers and will be calling on the Government to allow Ofgem to look at this."

Therese will continue to raise this issue with the Government to ensure off-gas households are not forgotten.


18 OCT 2011

Therese Records Books for the Blind as part of Social Action

Therese spent an enjoyable half hour taking part in the social action project at Conference this year. She went to the Conference's specially designed, world-class 'Social Action Zone' within its conference venue and recorded a poem for Calibre Audio Library, a self-funded charity that operates an audio library for visually impaired people, free of charge.

Therese said "I was delighted to be able to take part in this year's Social Action project at the Conservative Party Conference. Calibre Audio Library is an admirable organisation and an indispensable service for those who are visually impaired. I really enjoyed recording a story at the Social Action Zone and I hope it will be listened to again and again!"


17 OCT 2011

Therese gets Hands on with Green Hydrogen Technology

Earlier this month Therese got the chance to experience hydrogen transport technology, which could be on our roads by2015.

Demonstrating that hydrogen fuelling technology is ready and waiting to be deployed across the UK, Air Products showed Therese their hydrogen fuelling station for her to test out.  Therese also got the opportunity to see firsthand Riversimple's Mk1 local car and the Intelligent Energy zero emission ENV hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle.

Hydrogen vehicles emit no harmful emissions, and can compete with conventional petrol and diesel vehicles in terms of speed, range and fuelling times. Riversimple's Mk1 car has a range of 240 miles per tank of hydrogen and a refuelling time of only three minutes, while Suzuki's hydrogen powered Burgman motorscooter using Intelligent Energy's next generation fuel cell powertrain is expected to retail for less than €8,000 when released in 2015.


14 OCT 2011

Learning and Training Vital for Rural Economy

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese raised the issue of learning and training in the rural economy by asking the Secretary ofState what her department is doing to encourage young people to take up opportunities in the countryside and farming sector.

She also praised the work of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, who hold annual school days for children, to ensure that they are involved in encouraging the take-up of apprenticeships when people leave school.

The Secretary of State, Caroline Spellman responded by saying that "improving skills and creating learning opportunities is an essential part of delivering growth in farming, rural areas and food businesses. To that end, the Government has announced 50,000 new apprenticeships, mainly associated with agriculture and the food industry." She went on to say that she had "absolutely no hesitation in endorsing the scheme in Suffolk" and would like to see that example of best practice replicated elsewhere.

DEFRA are also working closely with colleagues at the Departments for Education and for Business, Innovation and Skills to make sure that rural areas benefit from the additional £250 million that the Government are investing in adult apprenticeships.


13 OCT 2011

Government listens to Women over Pension Concerns

Reacting to the announcement of government changes to women's pensions, local MP Therese Coffey said, "I am really delighted that the Government has listened to the concerns of many women approaching their retirement as today Ministers have tabled a series of amendments to the pensions bill including one that caps the maximum increase in the women's state pension age to 18 months.

Under the previous proposals women born in 1953 or 1954 would have seen the date at which they reach State Pension Age increased by up to two years.

Pensions Minister, Steve Webb stated that "this change will ameliorate the increase in state pension age for about 245,000 women.

"These changes maintain the Governments overall policy to equalise the pension ages of both men and women by 2018 -but we have developed a fairer way of getting there".


13 OCT 2011

Rizzo stands out at Westminster Dog Show

Therese's 12 year old rescue dog, Rizzo narrowly missed out on a top 3 place in the prestigious Westminster Dog of the Year show 2011.

Neil Parish – Conservative MP for Tiverton & Honiton won the overall crown with his dog Wilberforce.

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 was judged by last years winner Helen Grant MP.

The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is all about celebrating the unique bond between person and dog.

Therese said "showing Rizzo off to the judges was a lot of fun and was a great way of raising awareness of the great work of the Dogs Trust. No dog in good health should ever be put down."

The most intriguing question from the judges was 'what celebrity does Rizzo most resemble?' to which Therese replied "Sir Bruce Forsyth – as although she is reaching her older years she is still nimble on her feet, an entertainer and is a bit cheeky".


11 OCT 2011

Weightman Report Presented to Parliament

Therese has welcomed the findings of the Weightman report which was presented to Parliament today by the Energy Secretary. The report described the current regulation of the nuclear industry in this country as 'satisfactory'.

The report was commissioned in the wake of the incident at Fukushima in Japan.

Reacting to the report, Therese said "I welcome the findings and the decision not to require significant changes to current procedures. This reflects the current safety standards that are rigorously enforced."

"This clears another hurdle towards the construction of Sizewell C, which is good news for Suffolk Coastal."


10 OCT 2011

Therese welcomes Crackdown on Immigration

Therese has today welcomed the Prime Ministers announcement urging Britons to report illegal immigrants to the
authorities. The speech outlined the importance of reporting illegal immigrants to the Border Agency through Crimestoppers or the website.

Therese said "Immigration is an extremely important issue that this country needs to deal with. We need robust plans to crack down on illegal immigration and we need a cap on economic migrants. I am pleased the Prime Minister is focussing on this"

She went on to say "It is also important for migrants to be tested on their competence of the English language which should include British citizenship tests on history and culture."

David Cameron also outlined plans to consult on making it a criminal offience to force a person to marry against their will.


27 SEP 2011

Therese Welcomes Transparency in Heating Oil Pricing

Therese has welcomed the Office of Fair Tradings (OFT) recent intervention to prevent consumers being misled when searching online for heating oil supplies.

The OFT found that some websites offering to find consumers the best price for heating oil were not clear about whether they were price comparison sites or sites for ordering heating oil directly from a single supplier.

As a heating oil customer herself, Therese said "it is important that customers are not misled. Relationships between suppliers and the company publishing the website should be transparent so it is easier to tell if it is a bonafide price comparison website or not"

The OFT has secured undertakings under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations from two companies which prevent them from engaging in business practices that could be misleading.

The investigation was carried out in connection with a market study into the supply of heating oil for households who are not connected to the mains gas grid. The enquiry was prompted by questions Therese asked in Parliament earlier this year at the height of the heating oil price rise. The outcome of this study will be published in October 2011.


26 SEP 2011

Enquiry to Start into the Regulation of Gambling

When Parliament returns after the Conference season the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of which Therese is a member, is conducting a significant investigation into gambling and the Gambling Act of 2005.

The purpose of the enquiry is to identify ways in which the regulations in relation to gambling can be made better.

Therese said "the 2005 Gambling Act had the intention of creating super-casinos and to try and keep betting on shore. It hasn't worked in either of these aspects. I am not proposing that we encourage super casinos but I would like to see the freeing up of red tape in some areas, whilst looking at tightening up the regulations in online gambling to keep betting on shore".

She went on to say "it is about getting the balance right. We need sensible regulation but we don't want to burden the amusement trade, such as the one that is so important to Felixstowe with unnecessary red tape".


22 SEP 2011

Therese Speaks in Panel Debate on Football Governance

Last week, Therese took part in a live panel debate at Birkbeck College about the future of governance for English football.

The debate was chaired by Sean Hamil, Director of Birkbeck Sport Business Centre and she was joined by Erik Samuelson, CEO of AFC Wimbledon, Danny Davis, a Partner in law firm Mishcon de Reya and Damian Collins MP her colleague on the DCOMS Select Committee.

Damian and Therese were able to provide an in-depth analysis of how football governance should be changed following the investigation into the subject by the Select Committee.

The Committee presented their report in July and the Government is due to respond to it shortly. The Minister, Hugh Robertson has already said "no change is not an option".

Therese is calling for a clear commitment to youth, coaching and a particular focus on supporters. Part of this requires more robust financial governance rules.

At the panel discussion she said "in terms of timescales we anticipate that there is a year to 18 months for substantial change to occur before the start of the 2013 season – but it is clear we need to act now."


21 SEP 2011

Therese Contributes to Major Conservative Publication

Local MP, Therese Coffey for has contributed to the 'Conservative publication of the year', "The Future of Conservatism: - Restating Values," a book designed to provoke and facilitate debate within the Conservative Party on the best future for our Country.

As a member of the Select Committee Therese authored a chapter on Culture, Art and the Media entitled the 'The Future's Bright, The Future's Digital, The Future's The People' – where she talks about Britian's broadband networks, the future of BBC governance and investment in the Arts.

Therese said "the book is to be launched at an event at this year's Conservative Party Conference and speakers will include David Davis MP, former Shadow Home Secretary and Party Leadership contender in 2005, and John Redwood MP, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Graham Brady MP, Chairman of the 1922 Committee.

The launch will take place at 2pm in the Main Hall, Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS on Monday 3rd October 2011.

The book published by Conservative Home will be available on general sale at Party Conference for £9.99 plus postage and packaging. Copies can also be ordered from Biteback Publishing, Westminster Tower, 3 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SP, Phone: 020 7091 1260 e-mail: info@bitebackpublishing.com .

Other contributors to the book include Ruth Lea, Non-Executive Director and Economic Adviser to Arbuthnot Banking Group, David Green, Founder of Independent Think Tank Civitas, Bernard Jenkin MP for Harwich and North Essex, John Baron MP for Basildon and Billericay, Patrick Mercer MP for Newark, Edward Leigh MP for Gainsborough and Bill Cash MP for Stone.


16 SEP 2011

Therese Welcomes Ban on Rollover Contracts

Therese has today welcomed Ofcom's announcement to ban rollover contracts, which tie landline and broadband customers into repeated minimum contract periods unless they opt out.

At the moment rollover contracts automatically renew after the customer's initial contract period has ended and roll forward to a new minimum term – with penalties for leaving – unless the customer actively opts out of the renewal at the right moment.

Therese said "many customers are being locked into long term deals, often without their knowledge – which means that they cannot switch providers without a hefty bill. In essence competition is being removed from the market".

She added "I am please Ofcom has made a move to ban this practice - all landline and broadband providers will have to stop selling automatically renewable contracts from December 2011 onwards".


14 SEP 2011

Therese Introduces Bill to Protect Hydration and Nutrition for the Terminally Ill

Today in the Commons, Therese presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill on the Provision of Hydration and Nutrition for theTerminally Ill. The Bill guarantees the terminally ill access to hydration and nutrition.

In her speech she acknowledged that "decisions taken to remove nutrition and hydration are not easy. However end of life palliative care is about allowing people to die as painlessly as possible, withdrawing hydration and nutrition in some cases, without the family knowing does not do this".

Therese said "death comes to us all and without being too morbid, we have to acknowledge it happens and actually think a little bit about how we want it to happen. I am strongly opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. However, that doesn't mean that I think someone has to be constantly resuscitated to prolong the life of someone who may have just days to live. However, I am vehemently opposed to the removal of water or food as I think it is terribly cruel for someone to starve to death or die through lack of water".

The Bill went through to Second Reading unopposed and although it may not make it onto the statute book – it gives the House of Commons the opportunity to discuss this important matter.


13 SEP 2011

James Murdoch to be Recalled

Following the evidence given to the Culture Committee today by Tom Crone, the former News of World legal manager, theCommittee has decided to recall James Murdoch to give further evidence.

Les Hinton the former Chief Executive of the paper has also been recalled to give further evidence and this will take place before Mr Murdoch is questioned again.

Therese who sites on the DCMS Select Committee said "it's important we carry on with this investigation. It does seem that there are discrepancies in the evidence given to the Select Committee and we need to get to the bottom of what went on."


13 SEP 2011

Therese Questions Minister on Gang Culture in Prisons

Today in Parliament Therese questioned the Prisons Minister, Crispin Blunt on ways to eradicate gang culture within prisons.

When she visited Warren Hill young offenders institution last year, one of the reasons cited for the riot that took place was the growing emergence of gang culture. Therese said "when people are placed in young offenders institutions, proximity seems to take priority over gang dispersal". She urged the Minister to take a look at this policy again.

In his response, Mr Blunt gave assurances that there was "no absolute, rigid rule that proximity should take precedence". He went on to say "When placing young people and adults into custodial establishments, both the Youth Justice Board and National Offender Management Service take proper account of all the factors required and there is emerging good practice around identifying gang affiliations".

The Government is developing a cross-departmental programme of action to tackle gangs and gang violence. An inter-ministerial group will report to Parliament in October.


12 SEP 2011

Order! Order! Archery comes to Speakers Green

Therese proved herself a Parliamentary hotshot when she took part in an archery tournament at Westminster recently.

Indeed, Therese was part of Parliamentary history, as the event was the first ever sporting contest to be held on Speaker's Green. Although she thoroughly enjoyed her experience of using a bow and arrow, the archers preparing for next year's London Olympic Games need not worry about a potential new threat to their places on the squad!

Therese said "It's great fun, and very addictive - once you start you keep wanting to go back and improve your score."

The event was organised to celebrate Archery GB's 150th anniversary and to promote the sport ahead of next year's Olympics.

Therese said: "Archery has many virtues, and I am not surprised it is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Anyone can do it which makes it a genuine sport for all, and a fantastic family sport."

Only recently archery came out on top in an opinion poll of young people throughout the country when asked about the Olympic sport they would most like to take up if given the chance.

The archery tournament at the London 2012 Olympic Games takes place at Lords, between July 27 and August 3.

For further information visit: www.archerygb.org
Follow them on Twitter @archerygb


09 SEP 2011

Trouble for Television Channels When TV Transmitter Switches Over

Yesterday in Parliament, Therese brought up the plight of many residents in Suffolk Coastal who will not receive some TV Channels when the Tacolneston transmitter switches over.

She raised her concerns with the Minister Ed Vaizey that "ITV3 will not be available on the relay transmitter from Aldeburgh and that license fee payers should be the ones who choose the channels they receive if they are not to have the full range of services."

Therese is keen to see customers asked what channels they want instead of this being left solely to broadcasters.

In his response Ed Vaizey said "I am afraid that about 10% of the population does not get the full range of services, but the core 15 channels".  He went to invite Therese to a meeting to discuss the issue.


17 AUG 2011

Broadband Boost for Suffolk

Therese has today welcomed the announcement by the Department of Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport that Suffolk is to receive £11.68m as part of the Government's £530 million investment in the UK's broadband network.

Therese said "fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives. However some areas of Suffolk are missing out, with many communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all."

She went on to say "I am not prepared to let some parts of our community get left behind in the digital age – so welcome this investment wholeheartedly".

This investment will ensure that the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.


16 AUG 2011

Select Committee Looks into New Twist in the Phone Hacking Scandal

The Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Select Committee met today to discuss the ongoing phone hacking scandal. There have been some shocking twists to this saga one of which appeared as the letter written by Clive Goodman to his former News of the World Employers was published. The letter alleges that senior NOTW executives knew what was going on and it transpires that Clive Goodman was paid money from the NOTW in relation to his claim for unfair dismissal.

Therese said "as a former accountant and finance director I think you should always follow the cash, the cash often leads to the truth. Whether that is to try and track down payments that were made to police or indeed payments to former employees that have been dismissed. I think a lot of these things do need to be answered, within 6 months of that letter being written by Clive Goodman he received over £200,000 in payments from the news group and we need to try and understand why that is. If you don't believe a word he says then why would you then go and pay all that kind of money"

She went on to say "We haven't recalled James Murdoch yet - but we may need to recall him and a host of others as we proceed with our investigation."


10 AUG 2011

Reduction in Red Tape Benefits Felixstowe’s Seaside Amusements

Therese has today welcomed the reduction in red tape for the seaside amusement industry.

New legislation has now been introduced that sees a return in the maximum stake for Gambling (Category B3) machines from £1 to £2.

Therese said "this small change introduced last month will help seaside industries remain competitive with other comparable types of gambling premises on the high street"

Amusement arcades such as Mannings in Felixstowe, which benefit from these changes, employ between them employ some 37,000 people across the country and are important elements of many local economies, particularly here on the Suffolk Coast.

Therese went on to say "the change, which the industry has been asking for provides long overdue help to amusement premises. This is good news for Felixstowe arcades especially in light of Felixstowe Carnival this weekend".


04 AUG 2011

Therese on Newsnight

Therese made her debut on Newsnight last night to talk about ongoing phone hacking scandal. The Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee of which she is a member has said previously that phone hacking wasn't just concentrated at News International, and that the practice was spread wider amongst the national press. She appeared as allegations were made about the Trinity Mirror Group and Piers Morgan.

Therese said "These allegations are very strong. I just hope that the police take the evidence and if Mr Morgan wants to come back to the UK and help them with their inquiries, and I don't mean being arrested in any way, then he can add more light. I think it would help everybody, including himself and this investigation, if he was able to say more about why he wrote what he did in 2006."

Speaking after the broadcast she added " The Leveson inquiry is looking into the phone hacking scandal as a whole, it is not constrained to just looking at News International. We need to root out illegal practices wherever they happen."


01 AUG 2011

Need Help with HMRC?

In a report published last week by the Treasury Select Committee the service provided by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been described as 'inept'

The report exposed the poor management culture which has led to only 48% of phone calls being responded to and 'endemic' delays in replying to correspondence.

Therese said "this is not an acceptable state of affairs and I congratulate my colleagues on the Treasury Select Committee for investigating this. Clearly reforms are needed"

She added "if anyone is having a problem with HMRC then please get in touch with me. I can't provide a tax advice service or help with form filling but if you are struggling eliciting a response from HMRC, then I can help".


29 JUL 2011

Select Committee Recommend Changes to the FA

The Department for Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Select Committee, of which Therese is a member has today urged the Football Association to make changes in the way the game is run in England.

Therese said "I recognise that the quality of football in this Country especially in the Premier League is amongst the best in the World. However it is clear when you look at the current status of the English game that improved governance at the FA is required".

She added "we need a clear commitment to youth, coaching and a particular focus on supporters. Part of this requires us to recommend more robust financial governance rules. More rigorous measures need to be introduced to ensure sustainable business."

The report suggests a strong fit and proper persons test is consistently applied.

The Minister Hugh Robertson welcomed the report and has promised that the Government will take a detailed look at the recommendations before detailing Government policy on this matter – but he did make a commitment that "no change is not an option".


27 JUL 2011

London 2012: One Year to Go

Today marks 'One Year to Go' until the London 2012 Olympics. On the 27th July 2012 our Capital City will play host to the greatest sporting event on the planet. To celebrate this occasion, Local MP, Therese Coffey joined her London 2012 All Party Parliamentary Group colleagues with the Olympic Torch.

Therese said "As a Member of the Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Select Committee this is an important part of our brief; scrutinising on behalf of Parliament our preparations for a successful Olympics and the legacy" "Wednesday 27th July, it is a landmark moment on our journey to the Games. We are committed to making London 2012 'Everyone's Games'. Thousands of organisations and individuals are involved in inspiring and engaging people, especially young people, across the UK".

She added "to date 18,500 schools are engaged in our education programme Get Set, 10 million people have taken part in the Cultural Olympiad and Inspire programme, and right around the country we are hosting events including ones in Suffolk to find our 70,000 Games Maker volunteers. In the next year we look forward to welcoming over 80 international teams who will be hosted in our local communities as they prepare for the Games."


26 JUL 2011

National Planning Policy Framework Opens for Consultation

Yesterday the Government published the draft National Planning Policy Framework which is now open for consultation. The Planning Policy Framework is a new strategic document which will define how we do planning in this country. The Framework will replace the current complicated system of National Planning Policy Statements, Planning Policy Guidance notes and some circulars with a single streamlined document.

Local MP, Therese Coffey said "While this is a key part of our reforms to make the planning system less complex and to promote sustainable growth, it also raises the bar on protecting wildlife and green spaces. I encourage residents concerned about inappropriate development to put in their views on this consultation."


26 JUL 2011

Business rates boost to local jobs and firms in Suffolk Coastal

Therese has welcomed the Government's plan to localise business rates. Councils will get to keep their own business rates under new local government financing proposals that will be fair and benefit those that grow financially.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has presented the findings of a six-month review into council finance that sought to repatriate rates; create a financial incentive for councils to promote local growth; reduce dependency upon central Government grant; and maintain protections for business and vulnerable areas.

The National Audit Office has criticised the current system as 'highly complex and not transparent'. A new system is needed to end a long-standing problem where councils have no direct growth incentive, to build stronger relationships with business and to put councils in charge of their own financial circumstances.

Importantly, there will be no change to the way business pays the tax, who is eligible for discount, or the way it is set nationally. National discounts and rate relief will also continue to be supported, meaning no change to such groups as charities, amateur sports clubs, voluntary groups, those in hardship, and eligible rural or small firms. By contrast, Labour increased rates by stealth via cutting rate relief.

The Government has doubled small business rate relief, to help half a million small firms, funding the extra scheme for two years from 2010 to 2012, and is making it easier for small firms to get small business rate relief automatically, through changes in the Localism Bill.

Therese said "the current system of local government funding is broken. It is confusing, arbitrary, complex and widely seen as unfair. Our plans to allow councils to retain their locally-raised business rates, will free councils from dependence upon central Government grant and give them a strong financial incentive to drive local economic growth".

She added "No longer will local money be snatched away by Whitehall. This is localism in action"


23 JUL 2011

Therese Welcomes PFI Savings of £1.5 Billion

Therese has today welcomed tough action announced by the Government to save more than £1.5 billion from the Private Finance Initiative.

In a Written Ministerial Statement delivered to Parliament, Treasury Minister Lord Sassoon laid out Government plans to save more than £1.5 billion on existing PFI deals, and to plough much of that money straight back into frontline public services.

The announcement comes after a series of forensic investigations by Treasury experts into PFI contracts including at the Queens Hospital in Romford.

Therese is part of the PFI Rebate campaign of more than 80 MPs, from all three major parties, who have been calling for savings on the PFI.

Speaking after the announcement Therese said: "I am delighted by this news. Our target of £1 billion has been significantly exceeded. The government has listened and taken our campaign very seriously. This announcement will mean real savings right here in Suffolk Coastal and a real improvement in our local public services"

She added "The actions announced by the Government are deliberately cautious; they are a long-term solution to a long-term problem. This kind of detailed forensic work may not be glamorous, but it is vital."


20 JUL 2011

Therese asks Murdoch to ‘Restore’ Reputation to the Hillsborough 96

Today, in the House of Commons, Therese called on the Sun to make a "restoration of reputation" to the Hillsborough 96.

This follows on from her question about headlines and targets to Rupert Murdoch yesterday in the Culture, Media and Sport select Committee. Therese said "I quizzed Rupert Murdoch about his negative experience of being in the headlines this week and whether this would influence him when he is writing headlines about others. His sombre reaction said it all - and he said it was a matter of taste. The headlines written in the Sun about the Hillsborough 96 certainly weren't tasteful".

She went on to say "Steve Rotheram MP has raised this regularly in Parliament and I was pleased to raise this in the debate on Public Confidence in the Media and Police". Therese has also pledged to write to Mr Rupert Murdoch to on this issue.


18 JUL 2011

RAF Marham becomes the Home of the RAF’s Tornado Force

Today in Parliament, Defence Secretary Liam Fox made a statement to the House of Commons about the longer-term vision for the make up of our military. He announced a 1% year-on-year increase to the defence equipment programme which will will ensure our Armed Forces remain a formidable fighting force on the world stage.

Today's funding announcement is part of a broader body of work to implement the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), including the publication of the Basing and Reserves Reviews. The good news from the statement today is that RAF Marham in Norfolk will still continue its important role as a British Military Base; Marham will now become the main home of the RAF's Tornado force.

In hearing the Statement Therese Coffey said "this is great news for the East of England and demonstrates the success of the local community coming together in the 'Make it Marham' campaign. I am pleased that our region continues to be a strong Military power house and I'm proud that we contribute so much to the defence of this nation


14 JUL 2011

Murdochs to Appear in Front of Select Committee

It has now been confirmed that both Rupert & James Murdoch will appear alongside Rebekah Brooks in front of the Culture, Media & Sport Committee next Tuesday.

The Select Committee of which Therese is a member will have the chance to grill the News Corporation executives over the phone hacking allegations.

Therese said "I am pleased that both Murdoch's have now agreed to attend. It is very rare we have to resort to a summons but this is a matter of huge importance. I think it is fair to say that Murdoch's will face some robust questioning. I feel very privileged to be part of this committee and to be able to ask questions on behalf of the nation".

She went on to say "we have to be careful not to jeopardise the police enquiry but 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, now acknowledged to be false. "


14 JUL 2011

Prime Minister Congratulates Suffolk on ‘Green Coast’ Investment

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".


12 JUL 2011

Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks Reported to Appear in front of MP's

Today in Parliament, Therese Coffey, with other Members of Parliament called on Rebekah Brooks, Rupert and James

Murdoch to appear before the Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Select Committee of which she is a member.

A short while ago - it has been reported that all three of them will appear in front of the Committee next Tuesday 19th July to answer questions from MP's about the goings on at News International.

Therese said " Given the incomplete assurances from News International executives, I was pleased to support the call to invite Rebekah Brooks and the Murdochs to our committee. I am delighted that they have accepted and we will be able to ask questions on the nation's behalf"

She went on to say "We will have to be careful in what we say so as not to jeopardise the police investigation but I think it is safe to say they will experience some pretty robust questioning".


01 JUL 2011

Therese keeps up the Pressure for more Quota

Yesterday in Parliament Therese pressed the Minister further on the inshore fishing consultation. She asked him for assurances that all the responses will be carefully considered, including concerns about the suggested structure and the fact that there will still be people with quotas who no longer fish and have not done so for many years.

In his response, the Minister Richard Benyon MP, said that "he can give that assurance that we will look at every response very carefully. We have had about 20 meetings around the coast, which were very well attended, and many of the areas of consultation were explained to the audience in such a way as to allay their fears. As I said we want to make life better for the under-10s and give them a more sustainable future".


01 JUL 2011

New Rules Make it Easier to Take Pets Abroad

Dog owner and local MP Therese Coffey has welcomed the new rules which will allow the easier movement of pets throughout Europe. As of the 1st January 2012 the UK's Pet Travel Scheme will be brought into line with the most recent science.

Forcing pets to spend six months in quarantine, a practice dating from the 1800s, is no longer necessary because of vastly improved rabies vaccines and treatments.

Commenting on the relaxing of the regulations Therese Coffey said "This island has long been free of rabies and it needs to stay that way. However, given the science I welcome the new rules. It will now be easier for pets to travel with their owners at reduced cost and with more flexible timing".

The changes will ensure the risk of rabies coming to the UK remains extremely low.


30 JUN 2011

Health Minister accepts Therese’s Invitation to Visit the East of England

This week in Parliament Therese Coffey MP was successful in persuading the Health Minister Anne Milton to visit the East of England.

Speaking in a debate on end of life care in Great Yarmouth and Waveney called by Brandon Lewis and supported by Peter Aldous, which set out to secure more hospice provision in East Anglia, Local MP Therese Coffey congratulated Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth. She said "although we do not have the range of choice, we ought to pay tribute to places such as Patrick Stead Hospital in HThis week in Parliament Therese Coffey MP was successful in persuading the Health Minister Anne Milton to visit the East of Engalesworth, which manages to provide some respite care but could easily provide more if the funding were available"

She went on to ask the minister to come to the area to hear about other aspects such as the community nursing care fund, which, may provide a good role model for elsewhere in the country.

Anne Milton accepted Therese's invitation and added "it is important to spread good practice. For anybody who is in need of NHS services or care, nothing but the best will do".


28 JUN 2011

Therese Calls for PFI Rebate

Therese Coffey has joined Parliamentary colleagues to call for a better deal on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). So far 70 MPs have backed the cross-party PFI Rebate campaign to renegotiate £500 million savings in existing PFI contracts.

In a debate in Parliament the Suffolk Coastal MP called the legacy of the PFIs arranged under the last Labour Government a disaster. She said "I am not fundamentally opposed to PFI in principle but the legacy has been a disaster and has tarnished the name of PFI, which could have been a force for good. It is a classic case of off-balance sheet financing. Not only will our generation pay for it, but future generations will continue to pay for that, as well as all the other debt accumulated by the previous, profligate Government".

She pointed out that Suffolk and Norfolk Police have built six new detention and investigation centres. The capital cost is £61.3 million for the six centres but the cost over 30 years for the contract, including the servicing, is £294 million. Therese commented "I am sure many people in Suffolk will be disappointed to hear that an increasing amount of money is being spent on potentially gold-plated buildings for detaining prisoners which could lead to less funds for front-line police officers. I hope that these new buildings see such an increase in detection and conviction rates to justify this large sum of money on an ongoing basis."

Alongside the rebate campaign, Therese is calling on the Treasury to undertake a full evaluation of all PFI projects. She ended her contribution in the debate by expressing her delight that PFI is no longer the default place in which the Government looks for capital; there are other sources available. Unlike under the previous Administration, PFI is not the only game in town for capital projects.


24 JUN 2011

Jobs Boost as Apprenticeships Rise

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".


24 JUN 2011

Therese Welcomes Armed Forces Day 25 June 2011

In advance of Armed Forces Day 2011 Therese is taking the opportunity to say thank you to all those that are serving in the Armed Forces, their families, veterans and cadets and encourages all to show their support on the day.

Commenting on this week's Armed Forces Day Therese said: 'Armed Forces Day is a great opportunity for us to show our appreciation for all those who wear the uniform, their families, veterans and cadets. We all owe a huge debt to our brave service personnel who work tirelessly keeping this country safe. I was part of the Parliamentary Group welcoming home 120 service men and women this week, who have recently returned from Afghanistan including our Woodridge-based 23 Engineers who served as part of 16 Air Assault. We don't have an event locally this year but perhaps we can organise one for 2012.

The Government and the Conservative party are both committed to providing for our troops. In the past year we have already doubled the operational allowance and introduced a pupil premium to help with the education of our forces children. It is with these practical policies that we show our commitment and gratitude to our brave forces.


23 JUN 2011

Benefits Cap ensures Welfare returns to First Principles

Therese has today spoken out in support the Benefits Cap as part the Welfare Reform Bill that Parliament passed last week.

Under the Government's proposals which will be introduced by 2013 the maximum amount of benefits received by a family will be capped at £26,000 net. To earn the equivalent you would be earning a salary of over £35,000.

Therese said "before the election and since I know that this has been a very popular policy. People feel that you should get on by your own hard work and I understand the frustration that is sometimes felt about 'subsiding others', our Welfare Reforms address this".

Talking more widely about the Bill, Therese said "these reforms make a fundamental statement that you will be better off if you work, unless you cannot work. I think it is really important that that principle is at the heart of our Welfare State. The Welfare State is something that distinguishes our country from others and I am glad to see it return to its proper principles where it is there to help people at their most difficult time but shouldn't become a way of life, living off the hard work of others."

The benefits cap will save hundreds of millions of pounds and in the first instance will be delivered by Local Authorities through Housing Benefit payments. In the future, it will be administered as part of the new Universal Credit system.

There are exemptions, such as for those who are making the right efforts to get back to work – those on Working Tax Credit – and those who are disabled, as well as for widows and war widows.


09 JUN 2011

Therese Welcomes Sentencing Decision

Therese has today welcomed the Government decision on sentencing guidelines. The consultation on the Green Paper has now closed and the Government has listened to people's concerns.

Therese said "I am pleased that we continue to send a strong message to potential criminals that they will face a substantial prison sentence if they commit a serious crime. Prison works as a deterrent, and we should not be cutting the amount of time convicted criminals spend in prison".

She went on to say "it is a long established British tradition that those who lie about their guilt should be punished more than those who take responsibility and own up early to what they have done wrong. However we already have a maximum plea bargain 'discount' of one third and this should not be increased".


09 JUN 2011

Therese Launches Seafarer Apprenticeship Scheme

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


06 JUN 2011

Therese helps support Abbeyfield Week 2011

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."


01 JUN 2011

Therese welcomes the Government's actions to help women and families.

One year into Government, Therese Coffey has welcomed the actions already taken to support women and families. Looking back on what has been achieved and what is being done, it is clear that right across Government action is being taken to improve the lives of women and families.

Therese Coffey said "over the past year Government action in so many areas has done so much for women and families right across Suffolk Coastal. An extra 4,200 health visitors will help ensure every family has the support and advice they need. Our new cross-government strategy to tackle violence against women is being matched by stable funding to protect existing rape crisis centres and to fund new centres".

She went on to say "despite the tough decisions the Government has had to make on the economy we are helping the most disadvantaged families and the lowest paid workers, many of whom are women. Universal Credit will lift nearly one million people, including 350,000 children out of poverty. Raising the minimum wage and increasing child tax credits will help more".

Ten things the Government is doing to help women and families:

1. Increasing health visitors to ensure every family has the support and advice they need to give their children a good start in life.

2. Supporting families through the Universal Credit which will lift nearly one million people - including 350,000 children - out of poverty.

3. Pushing for equal pay for equal work by working with employers to encourage voluntary, non-legislative action to improve transparency on pay

4. Tackling violence against women and girls by introducing a new cross-Government strategy.

5. Funding rape crisis centres to reverse the decline in such centres by protecting existing centres and funding new ones.

6. Encouraging flexible parental leave by giving parents the choice of how they take leave for child care.

7. Tackling the glass ceiling through an all-age careers service to ensure young women make broader and more ambitious career decisions.

8. Increased Child Tax Credit to support 4 million lower income families.

9. Extending early years support for education and childcare to the 130,000 poorest 2 year-olds.

10. Supporting 890,000 of the lowest paid workers, many of whom are women, by raising the minimum wage.


25 MAY 2011

Therese welcomes the Obama's visit

 Therese has today welcomed President Obama's State Visit to the United Kingdom. She hailed the 'Special' relationship between our two nations and the joint foreign policy aims of the US and the UK. She was also pleased to see Michelle Obama visit Oxford University – where she led a group of students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Girls School. The school takes its name from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who was the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain and whose Father was born and owned a coal warehouse in Aldeburgh. The trip to Oxford was designed to inspire the students to consider further education – and build aspirations. Therese Coffey said "Michelle Obama, who grew up on the South side of Chicago knows more than anyone how to get on and do well through adversity. Michelle Obama has built up a close relationship with this school – and I hope the next time she visits, they may come back to the homeland of Garrett Anderson Family and visit Aldeburgh".


23 MAY 2011

What do you want the Police to do?

The Home Affairs Select Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Government's plans for policing reform, 'Policing in the 21st Century' to scrutinise and add value to the proposals.

As part of the inquiry the Select Committee are launching an online consultation on frontline policing and police priorities. The Governments plans for policing reform include the creation of a new National Crime Agency, a reduction in bureaucracy and more effective procurement.

Therese Coffey said "I welcome this inquiry and consultation, it is a chance for people to have their say in the shaping of the reform, alongside this the Governments plans for elected Police Commissioners will mean that Police priorities will always be determined by the public"

The consultation is available at www.parliament.uk/policing-priorities until the 17th June.


19 MAY 2011

Forestry Panel Calls for Evidence

An Independent Panel to advise the Secretary of State on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy was set upin March, and is chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev. James Jones.

It has today called for evidence and has stated, "The Independent Panel on Forestry is inviting everyone interested in forests and woods to come forward, share their views and join in a public conversation".

Therese Coffey said "the Panel wants to understand the widest range of views, interests and expertise. So whatever your connection; whether you are a dog walker, environmentalist, forestry worker, wood processor, commercial forest owner, cyclist or family who love weekends at the forest - now is your first opportunity to get involved, share your views and make your voice heard to the panel".

You can find out more about the questions the Panel is posing and how to feed in

your views at www.defra.gov.uk/rural/forestry/panel.


18 MAY 2011

Therese to Speak in Rural Broadband Debate

Tomorrow in Parliament, Local MP Therese Coffey will contribute to the debate on Rural Broadband.

In a motion that she has added her name to, that will be debated on the floor of the House of Commons, she calls on the Government to fulfil its commitment to superfast broadband and provide everyone in the rural community with a minimum of 2 Mbps by 2015. The motion recognises that local businesses are currently undermined by the lack of mobile broadband coverage and seeks to rectify this.

Therese said "this is a real chance to bring broadband into the countryside in a practical way. The spectrum is due to be auctioned soon and we have an opportunity to influence the conditions of the licence, for which telecoms operators will bid. Now is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish and I will be calling on the Government to take a big step forward and allow broadband to truly be mobile in the countryside as well as in the cities.


18 MAY 2011

Therese Welcomes Nuclear Safety Review

Therese Coffey today welcomed the Weightman Review, which is looking at the safety of nuclear power stations and lessons to be learned following the tsunami in Japan.

Therese said "I was delighted to read in the Wightman Review that "The UK's only water cooled nuclear power reactor is at Sizewell B, which is one of the most modern PWRs operating worldwide. The heat sink for the post-trip cooling systems at Sizewell B is provided by the Essential Service Water system or the Reserve Ultimate Heat Sink (air cooled). This provides one of the world's most robust PWR cooling systems. "

Also detailed in the report was the assessment of the flood defences. Sizewell B has defences of 10m high and the review felt the worst threat was of tidal surges of under 8m, giving significant clearance. Therese spoke in the House today on this matter and asked that the new Office of Nuclear Regulation be transferred to the Department for Engery and Climate Change rather than sit with the Department of Work and Pensions as a branch of the Health & Safety Executive. She added, "I see the dome of Sizewell B whenever I head home to Westleton and am confident that EDF takes safety very seriously and is not at all complacent. I do think though that the regulator should move to DECC so that all nuclear issues can be considered in one Government department."


17 MAY 2011

Therese Calls Drought Debate

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."


13 MAY 2011

Therese takes up Fish Fight

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.


12 MAY 2011

Therese Welcomes Just Giving Text Service

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.


10 MAY 2011

Therese Raises Drought Fears with Prime Minister

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.


10 MAY 2011

Renewables Initiative Launched

Therese Coffey has today welcomed a new initiative launched by NatWest and RBS to make £50m of funding available to farmers who want to invest in renewable energy.

The dedicated fund will provide the capital to cover up to 100% of the investment value of a project with typical repayment periods over 8-10 years.

As well as reducing energy bills, the scheme could also become a revenue source for farmers in its own right.

To support the fund RBS and Natwest have a team of almost 200 renewable energy specialists located across the UK, who have all been independently accredited by the Chartered Institute of Banking.

They are able to meet face to face with customers to assess the potential of each project and to provide support on key issues such as sitting, size, equipment, costs and revenues.

Therese Coffey said "this project is a good idea and may be helpful for are local farmers however I would not encourage them to stop farming and have solar fields instead"

She went on to say "the Government's feed-in tariffs are also generous for small-scale developments (about the size of two tennis courts) and they are designed not to create incentives to stop "business as usual", which is important"

The RBS/Natwest fund is targeted at projects with a maximum size of 1500kW for wind and 50kW for solar and any businesses wishing to contact the renewable energy team can call: 0800 092 9116 (NatWest) or 0800 073 0264 (RBS).


09 MAY 2011

Therese and Brian Moore Support Sport and Recreation Alliance's Drive to Cut Red Tape for Sports Clubs

Therese recently attended an event at Westminster to throw her weight behind the Sport and Recreation Alliance's Red Card to Red Tape campaign, which aims to help sports clubs in Suffolk Coastal.

Commentator and former England rugby union international Brian Moore joined Therese at the event, which highlighted the Alliance's campaign to reduce the regulatory burden on sports clubs.

Therese Coffey MP said: "Sport and recreation clubs are a vital part of our social fabric. There are dozens of clubs in Suffolk Coastal that do a fantastic job providing sports facilities for their members, as well as providing valuable social work within the community. Most of them are run by volunteers who put in a lot of time and effort to give their membership the chance to take part in sport.

They deserve more support, and cutting bureaucracy for clubs would provide tangible benefits for all involved. I am asking the Government to examine the Alliance's report and cut red tape for grassroots sport. If implemented, the Review's recommendations will strengthen grassroots sport and have the potential to boost sports participation in the run up to, and beyond, the London 2012 Olympic Games."

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is calling on the Government to enhance the benefits of the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) scheme and make it easier for clubs to enrol, reduce red tape designed to regulate profit-making businesses, but which hamper voluntary clubs and ensure communities protect and empower sport, in spite of the difficult economic climate.


06 APR 2011

Help for the poorest children through the Pupil Premium

Therese has welcomed new figures which show that disadvantaged children in Suffolk Coastal are set to receive £434,085 this year under the Coalition government's new 'pupil premium'.

The pupil premium is a new policy promised by both the Coalition Parties before the general election last year. It is an extra lump sum of cash which follows every disadvantaged child and is received by schools, allowing them to provide additional support such as one-to-one tuition and extra pastoral care.

The Government has announced that in the year from April 2011, the pupil premium will be worth £430 for every pupil on Free School Meals, £430 for every looked-after child, and £200 for every child who has a parent in the armed services. This means that in Suffolk Coastal this year:

1,150 children overall will benefit from an extra £462,000.142 children of members of the armed services will benefit from an extra £28,400.

Therese said: "This is fantastic news for children in Suffolk. The gap between the academic performance of children from deprived backgrounds and their peers is far too big and has been ignored for too long"

She went on to say 'The pupil premium will tackle this disparity head on, providing targeted funding for those who need it most. This could mean extra one-to-one tuition or more pastoral support.

'The Coalition government didn't create these problems but, even in these tough times, it is delivering a massive boost to the education of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.


05 APR 2011

Therese backs BBC Local Radio

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".


05 APR 2011

Consultation Launched on the Reform of Fisheries Management

Proposals to simplify the way fishing quotas are managed have been announced today by the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP. The new plans will let the industry plan better for the future, putting more control in the hands of small-scale fishing fleets and fishing communities.

Therese Coffey said "Suffolk Coastal has such a strong link with its fishing fleets and under these new proposals fishermen will have more control over how they operate and better opportunities to profit under plans to overhaul the way fishing quotas are managed".

She went on to say "We need a simple, straightforward system that gives fishermen more say. Importantly these proposals for community quota schemes focus on safeguarding small-scale fleets including for the under 10m fleet, enabling fishermen to work together to manage their overall quotas flexibly."

The plans also include:

The allocation of more stable and predictable entitlements to fish across the whole English fleet, using Fixed Quota Allocations (FQA);safeguards to protect small-scale fishing rights and prevent concentration of rights in the large-scale fleet; andrealigning fishing opportunities, moving some FQAs (including those associated with consistently unfished quota) to provide incentives for community quota schemes.

A consultation has launched today to seek views on the proposals for fisheries management reform and it runs until the 30th June.

If you would like to contribute to the process please go to www.defra.co.uk to view the documents and contact: Access to Fisheries Team, Area 2C Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London. SW1P 3JR or Email: fisheriesreform@defra.gsi.gov.uk.


31 MAR 2011

New Warm Home Discount Implemented

This week in Parliament Therese Coffey MP formed part of the Delegated Legislation Committee that agreed the future Warm Home Discount to take effect.

The scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to more of the most low-income energy customers. A voluntary agreement has been in place for the past 3 years between the Government and the Energy Companies to provide financial assistance to vulnerable customers – this legislation regularises this agreement.

The new Warm Home Discount Scheme builds on the success of the Voluntary agreement and will allow the Government to provide stronger direction on targeting support to the people that need it most.

Dr Coffey did raise the question about whether this scheme will provide help for customers who primarily rely on domestic heating oil but the Governments reply was that the core group rebates will be paid on electricity accounts.

However Therese went on to say "this scheme will ensure that participating energy suppliers will provide support worth up to 1.1bn over the next four years – which will be a great help for those affected by fuel poverty".


30 MAR 2011

Therese Grills FA over Capello Contract

Yesterday at Wembley, Local MP and member of the Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Select Committee, Therese Coffey asked the FA about England Manager Fabio Capello's contract.

She grilled Alex Horne, who was acting Chief Executive at the time over the changing of a clause in Capello's 4 year deal prior to the World Cup. She asked "How it was possible for Capello's contract to be renegotiated by one person without reference being made to the board". The clause made it more difficult for the FA to part company with Capello if they wished to after the World Cup and Therese was concerned that such an amendment was made without the due governance taking place.

In response Alex Horne said he felt pressured to accept the amendment amongst increasing speculation that Capello would quit after the World Cup.

The new Chief Executive David Bernstein gave Therese some assurances, promising that there would be more done in the future protocol and said the situation would not arise again under his chairmanship.


30 MAR 2011

Suffolk Arts Funding Announced

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".


29 MAR 2011

Skipton Fund Deadline Fast Approaching

In January the Government announced a range of additional support for those infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from NHS supplied Blood.

The Skipton Fund is the body that processes claims for those infected with Hepatitis and one of the measures announced was to remove the previous exclision from the scheme of claims in respect of people that died before the Skipton Fund was set up in August 2003.

It is imperative that representatives of those who died before 2003 conatct the Skipton Fund before the end of this month (March 31st) to register an interest in making a posthumous claim.

Therese Coffey said " we are fast approaching the March 31st deadline and it is imperative that those entittled to claim do so. People only need to register their intention with the Skipton Fund by 31st March- the Department of Health understands that it may take longer to compile the necessary medical evidence required to support the claim – but this can be done afterwards".

If you beleieve you are entittled to make a claim then do it online at: www.skiptonfund.org, by e-mail: apply@skiptonfund.org or by phone 0207 8081160.


24 MAR 2011

Therese fights for Suffolk Pig Industry

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.


23 MAR 2011

A Budget for Growth, Jobs and Families

Therese Coffey has welcomed the Government's Budget with its plan to reform the economy to support jobs and growth, and to take steps to help families with the cost of living – including an immediate cut in fuel duty. The Chancellor also announced that 21 new Enterprise Zones will be created in areas of greatest social need. Ten more than expected. Therese will work with other MPs and the LEP to press for an Enterprise Zone.

Key measures in the Budget to boost growth include:

Tax cuts for businesses and entrepreneurs, scrapping burdensome regulations, radical reform of the planning system, new investment in science and innovation; and more support for young people with additional apprenticeships and work experience places.

To help families facing the rising cost of living, the Budget also will:

Immediately cut fuel duty by 1 pence per litre and delay April's inflation rise in duty to next January. This means fuel duty is 6 pence lower than it would be under Labour. Introduce a Fair Fuel Stabiliser to tax oil companies more to stop above inflation rises in fuel duty. Increase the Personal Allowance from by a further £630 from April 2012. That's another real increase of £48 extra per year, or £126 in cash terms. Together with this year's rise, that means a total of £326 extra each year for those working hard to support their families. And it means, just ten months into office, this coalition Government has taken 1.1 million low paid people out of tax altogether.

Welcoming the Budget, Therese said:

"Last year's Budget brought Britain back from the brink of bankruptcy. The Government is right to stick to the plan to get Britain living within her means and I am delighted that the Chancellor didn't have to come back for more. Instead this year's Budget sets out plans to back enterprise and get Britain making things again. By cutting fuel duty immediately and cutting income tax for millions the Chancellor has done what he can to help families now. This Budget has put fuel into the tank of our economy."


22 MAR 2011

Therese walks for clean water

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."


18 MAR 2011

Safeguarding the future of our forests: Independent Panel to help develop Forestry Policy

Therese has today welcomed the announcement made by the Secretary of State for the Environment on the future of forestry policy. Caroline Spellman has set up an Independent Panel to advise her on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England and on the role of the Forestry Commission in implementing policy.

The panel, to be chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, brings together a wide range of interests and expertise covering the environmental, social and economic aspects of forestry. They will advise government on a new approach to forestry policy in England, including looking at how woodland cover can be increased and at options for enhancing public benefits from all woodlands and forests.

Therese said "Our forests are a great part of our heritage and essential for our way of life, But they also offer economic benefits through tourism, recreation and providing timber for fuel and buildings. This independent panel of experts will advise us on what we need to do to give forests the right protection so they continue to be a place that people can enjoy for the future".


18 MAR 2011

Therese backs Action in Libya Crisis

Today in Parliament the Prime Minister made a statement to the house about last night's United Nations Security Council vote and the preparations that are underway for a joint operation to enforce a UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya to stop Colonel Gaddafi killing his own people.

In her support of the Prime Minister leadership on this issue Therese congratulated the PM saying "Just yesterday, I voiced my concern that inertia could lead to our generation's Rwanda. I am glad that he, along with others, has secured agreement to this resolution. I am sure that that was helped by the chilling words that Colonel Gaddafi issued in his radio interview".

She went on to ask the Prime Minister about Gaddafi's threats to attack civil aircraft – and asked him if the Security Council has "been able to assess that threat? Is it just the empty hot air of a tyrant who knows that his days in power are numbered?"

In his response the Prime Minister said "The hon. Lady is right to draw the House's attention to what Gaddafi has said. He has said chilling words about what he plans to do to his own country and people, and he must be stopped. I too heard the reported remarks about civilian aircraft. Be in no doubt that, even aside from a UN Security Council resolution, every country has the right under international law to self-defence—a right that could be exercised in full".


17 MAR 2011

Therese Backs Peter Jones' Tenner Tycoon Challenge

Therese has announced her support for a scheme that sees school kids encouraged to start a business with just £10 each, in the biggest ever Tenner Tycoon challenge.

The Suffolk Coastal MP is backing the landmark scheme, called Tenner Tycoon, which will see the campaigning charity Enterprise UK loan hundreds of thousands of pounds to young people across the UK to encourage them to start up their own businesses.

Participants in Tenner Tycoon will receive £10 and be challenged to make as much profit and social good as they can in a month.

Therese said "Tenner Tycoon is an innovative scheme that gives young people in Suffolk and all over the UK the chance to showcase their skills and ingenuity whilst gaining practical business experience. The programme's relevance and importance has never been as great as it is this year – the year that aims to kick-start the 'entrepreneurial decade'.

She went on to say "We need to support initiatives like Tenner Tycoon that aim to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and therefore ensure the future prosperity of the UK."

This year, the challenge is to also 'give something back' and participants are encouraged to donate some of their profits to charity. The scheme, supported by the Peter Jones Foundation, has been a huge success since it launched in 2007. Previous winners have made their money in diverse ways such as fashion shows, cookery books and concerts.


17 MAR 2011

Therese steers Private Members Bill through Parliament

Tomorrow, Therese has the 3rd reading of her Private Members' Bill on Wreck Removal Convention. The essence of the Bill is to transfer liability away for the removal of shipwrecks from the taxpayer to ship-owners. For larger vessels, insurance will be compulsory.

The Bill will implement into UK law of the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on Shipwreck Removal and is considered uncontroversial – which is why it has progressed so smoothly.

Therese added, "I secured this opportunity to introduce a Bill when I was successful in the Private Members' Ballot. In my first year as an MP, I am on the edge of implementing a new piece of legislation. I chose this particular Bill because of the importance of clear shipping lanes in Suffolk Coastal. Imagine if a cargo boat was wrecked just outside Felixstowe. It would be devastating for the port. This legislation puts the onus on the ship-owner to remove the wreck and if they do not or are slow, it gives powers to the UK government to remove the wreck and charge the ship-owner for it".

She went on to say "this bill is Common sense really but I know it has taken years to negotiate with other nations. Tomorrow, the Bill receives its Third Reading and moves to the Lords. This is something I can genuinely claim that my predecessor John Gummer never achieved, as in all his years of trying, he was never drawn in the Ballot."


16 MAR 2011

Therese Coffey speaks out about changes to the Coastguard

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

Spring Place

Bay 2/13

105 Commercial Road

Southampton

SO15 1EG


16 MAR 2011

Tea with Therese for Twit Relief

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.


15 MAR 2011

Ticket Priority Should be given to Britons

Tickets have gone on sale today for the 2012 Olympic Games and will be live for 6 weeks until the 26th of April. There are over £6 Million tickets available for the games but Therese is investigating why Britons are not being given priority when applying for tickets for the London Games. Under EU law anyone in the European Union can apply for tickets. Therese said "I would like to see priority given to residents in the United Kingdom, after all it is the British people that are paying for the games to be hosted here".

She has raised this issue with the Chairman of the Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale – and will raise the issue with the London Organising Comittee (LOCOG) and Europe Minister, David Liddington.


15 MAR 2011

Therese Coffey Campaigns to save Local Radio

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.


11 MAR 2011

London 2012 Ticket Application Process Open for 6 Weeks

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


10 MAR 2011

Local MP calls on Supermarkets to Support the Suffolk Pig Industry

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.


09 MAR 2011

Prime Minister Praises the people of Suffolk over Treehouse Appeal

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."

 


08 MAR 2011

Fuel Poverty Adviceline

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".


04 MAR 2011

Therese Welcomes Consultation on BSkyB

Local MP Therese Coffey has today welcomed the consultation that has been launched about News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB, in lieu of a referral to the Competition Commission.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has announced that, following advice from Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), he intends to accept undertakings from News Corporation on their proposed merger with BskyB that involves Sky News being separated as an independent public limited company that would have to adhere to strict guidelines to ensure editorial independence and integrity

Therese Coffey said "Jeremy Hunt has been clear that he would not accept proposals from News Corporation that Ofcom were not happy with. Ofcom's advice is clear that the revised undertakings address media plurality concerns, will work in practice and will be sustainable. He has sought the independent advice of the regulators at every step of the way to ensure a fair and transparent process."

She went on to say "I have been contacted by many constituents about this and am pleased that they are now able to have their say as part of the consultation".

The consultation which runs until midday on 21st March 2011, is to assess whether the undertaking suggested by BSkyB is sufficient to remedy, mitigate or prevent the public interest concerns in relation to media plurality raised by the merger.

If you would like to submit a response to the consultation please visit the Department of Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport website at www.culture.gov.uk and send your responses via bskyb-newscorp.consultation@culture.gsi.gov.uk or post your submission to BSkyB-News Corporation Consultation, Media Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5DH."


04 MAR 2011

Therese meets Senior Officials to talk through Ship to Ship Concerns

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".


02 MAR 2011

Therese Welcomes Money for Pothole Repair

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.'


24 FEB 2011

Rock the House

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.


23 FEB 2011

Ship to Ship Consultation Open Until March 10th

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.


17 FEB 2011

Government Listens to Public Concern over Forestry

Therese Coffey has welcomed the statement made this afternoon made by Caroline Spelman advising that the consultation on the sale of forestry has been ended. The Secretary of State has done so because the Government has listened to the reaction of the public and has decided to halt the discussion leading to the possible sell off of forestry land. Caroline Spelman has also advised that she is removing the forestry clauses from the public bodies bill.

Therese Coffey said "I think that this decision has shown that this Government does believe in consultation and it is a refreshing change from the fingers in the ears, tick the box processes that we had become used to under the last Government. I was pleased to hold the public meeting last week and have passed on those concerns expressed to Caroline Spelman, which I reinforced in the Chamber earlier today. I look forward to positive action on the future of our forests, including protecting access rights that are currently enjoyed, and am also encouraging all users of the forest to join groups like Friends of the Sandlings Forest and Suffolk Wildlife Trust."


10 FEB 2011

Further Consultation on Ship to Ship Transfers

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.


07 FEB 2011

Therese Welcomes Plans to Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

Therese Coffey has welcomed the Home Office consultation that opens today about future plans to tackle anti-social behaviour.

She said "it is clear that Labour's antisocial behaviour orders haven't worked, with the risk that they are seen as a badge of honour amongst young people, rather than a credible way to tackle anti-social behaviour." She went on to say "this consultation is about moving beyond ASBO's to establish a workable policy that will help deal with the problem."

The Government are proposing new Criminal Behaviour Orders, which would involve a sliding scale of punishment.

Therese Coffey said "we are also outlining plans to compel police to probe incidents that are reported by at least five people".

The Consultation opens today and you can make a submission online at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/consultations/cons-2010-antisocial-behaviour/ or by writing to the Anti-social behaviour unit, Home Office 4th floor Fry building, 2 Marsham Street, London,SW1P 4DF. The consultation closes on the 3rd May 2011


05 FEB 2011

Therese meets Jude Law to promote Peace One Day

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."


31 JAN 2011

Oil Investigation Hots Up

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 offgrid@oft.gsi.gov.uk.


24 JAN 2011

Office of Fair trading to look at Domestic Oil Price

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."


21 JAN 2011

Consulation on Enery Infrastructure to end on Monday

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.


20 JAN 2011

Therese presses Ken Clarke on Drugs Policy In Prisions

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.


19 JAN 2011

Therese continues the Campaign to fight the Heating oil price hike

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."


18 JAN 2011

Therese Wants More Financing Options for Small Businesses

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".


16 JAN 2011

Therese Coffey speaks out about changes to the Coastguard

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

Spring Place

Bay 2/13

105 Commercial Road

Southampton

SO15 1EG


13 JAN 2011

Therese presses Minister on Coastguard Cuts

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".


17 DEC 2010

Don’t buy Puppies for Christmas

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".


16 DEC 2010

Therese raises the Issue of the Price of Domestic Oil

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."


07 DEC 2010

Under-10’s to get a bigger slice of the action

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.


26 NOV 2010

Therese Secures debate on Fishing Quotas and help for Rural Pubs

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.


23 NOV 2010

Therese Welcomes Governments new Immigration Cap

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".


03 NOV 2010

Rizzo narrowly misses out on Westminister Triumph

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".


26 OCT 2010

Therese Speaks out in Missing Persons Debate

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.


30 SEP 2010

Therese backs Will Aid Campaign

Therese Coffey, today called on constituents who haven't yet made a Will to make an appointment with a Will Aid solicitor. Will Aid solicitors will draw up a basic Will free of charge during November. In return for this service, the solicitors hope clients will choose to donate to the Will Aid charities the fee they would normally charge. The suggested donation level is: £75 for a single Will, £110 for a pair of matching or 'mirror' Wills, or £40 for a codicil or change to an existing will.

It is very important to have a professionally drawn up Will. Without one, hard-earned assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This may mean that loved ones are not automatically provided for and face a great deal of stress and uncertainty. Yet Will Aid's own research shows that nearly 50% of people mistakenly believe that their estate will automatically pass to their partner when they die.

Even if you already have a Will, experts recommend it is reviewed every 3 to 5 years and update it as your circumstances change.

Will Aid has also teamed up with Certainty, the National Will Register, to offer Will Aid clients the opportunity to register the location of their Will - for free (usual cost is £28.75). When a Will is needed, the register enables loved ones to quickly and easily locate it.

Therese said, "This is a great chance for people to obtain an affordable Will, drawn up by a qualified solicitor. It's an opportunity for people to help their own loved ones and, at the same time, to help people in need around the world."

The money raised is shared between the participating charities (ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children UK, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire) and provides vital funds to help people build their communities and improve their future in the UK and around the world. Last November, seventeen thousand clients, made their Will with Will Aid, raising over £1.3 million, for the Will Aid charities.

Will Aid solicitors are taking appointments now and are likely to book up very quickly. So find a convenient participating solicitor today at www.willaid.org.uk/find or by calling the hotline 0300 0300 013.


20 AUG 2010

Extra Fishing Quota Available

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.


10 AUG 2010

Therese Welcomes Announcement on Benefit Fraud

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.


28 JUL 2010

No to Pylons in our Beautiful Countryside

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."


22 JUL 2010

Therese Coffey Calls for Action on Equitable Life

 In Parliament Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, raised the plight of Equitable Life pensioners during Treasury Questions and pressed for action. Dr Coffey has received many representations from Equitable Life policyholders who felt shabbily treated by the last Government. She asked "Can the Minister give me some assurance that under the new coalition Government, they will be treated a little more equitably?" The Minister responded by saying that he was "committed to setting up an independent, fair and transparent payments scheme, further information on which will be presented to the House later this month."

The new Government has acted quickly on equitable life by announcing in the Queen's Speech that it will introduce a Bill to enable payments to be made to Equitable Life policyholders. It will shortly publish Sir John Chadwick's report, along with a detailed update, including next steps towards implementing an independently designed payment scheme. The Minister has confirmed that payments to the estates of deceased policy holders will be included and that no means testing will apply to the payment scheme. Therese added "I appreciate that there is substantial concern in relation to Equitable Life and can assure you that, in contrast to the last administration, the new Government is working hard to address the situation as quickly as possible"


22 JUL 2010

Youth Parliamentarians come to Westminster

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.


21 JUL 2010

Therese Coffey Initiates Debate on Rural Fuel Poverty

 Recently in Parliament local MP for Suffolk Coastal, Dr Therese Coffey secured a debate on rural fuel poverty. Fuel poverty is defined as when someone spends more than 10% of their net income on fuel. Therese raised the plight of residents in Suffolk Coastal, 17% of whom are in fuel poverty. She focused on people who live in Suffolk with no access to the gas mains, even though 20% of them live within a mile and a half of national gas connections, who rely on oil, LPG and solid fuel for their heating needs at a considerably higher price than mains gas customers.

Dr Coffey expressed her concerns about the previous government's centralised energy schemes and suggested that more locally based schemes be available which would suit Suffolk and other rural areas more appropriately, probably at a better cost. She said "The issue is particularly prevalent in rural areas, where prices have meant that less work can be done with the available grant". The Minister Greg Barker said during the debate that "He was particularly interested in the ideas about supporting and enhancing local group purchasing schemes". He promised to ask his officials to consider what can be done in relation to that, because the measure does not necessarily involve a lot of spending and empowering communities is an aspiration that is shared right across the coalition.

Therese added, "This is a hidden issue for many people, especially in Whitehall. I felt it was important to raise it again at the start of this Parliament and in advance of the spending review, so that Ministers understand the concerns of my constituents.

"I also want to publicise that EDF offers dual fuel discounts to people who have access only to electricity rather than electricity and gas and I will encourage other suppliers to do the same."


25 JUN 2010

Westminster update

Well, quite a lot of excitement on the IT front coping with the hacking, which did make me reconsider if I should still do this online stuff. Another attempt was made to get into my systems this week and it is a lot of time trying to fix it. However, I have decided to continue as it is an important element to communicate to my constituents and others about my activities as MP for Suffolk Coastal.

The most important Parliamentary activity of the week was the Budget on Tuesday afternoon. I had been expecting a tough budget - the country was left in such an economic mess by Labour that difficult choices had to be made. Of course, I am not thrilled about voting for any tax rises but I will be doing so next week as part of the package to pay for Labour's profligacy and to plan for the future. I was pleased that the Government is committed to capital spending, though reviewing projects to ensure that they are good value for money. Tackling welfare reform is also key for our Government and I think the country fully understands the need to get those people can work to get into work and off benefits. Too many people are caught in the benefit trap and we need to change the incentives.

I managed to get 3 oral questions this week - asking about efforts to bring the World Cup to England and praising the Felixstowe Evening Star for renaming itself to England Star; on rural broadband and accessing existing infrastructure already paid for by the State and then asking about fishing. The Minister agreed to come and have fish and chips while meeting local fishermen. I am due to meet local fishermen soon so I will let them know of the impending visit.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to speak in the Nuclear Energy debate but I was able to intervene on another member who was disputing whether or not public subsidy was required. Other meetings were held about Suffolk issues on transport, our monthly MPs' meeting and various APPGs, afternoon tea with the Speaker and the Royal Society of Chemistry Science/Parliamentary Links Days.

Another highlight of the week was being elected onto the select committee for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. More about that when the committee starts.

There were some sociable opportunities this week, including the World Cup match. A number of organisations offered hospitality and I chose to go to a reception sponsored by HP in conjunction with Skillforce - an organisation that provides programmes for schools delivered by former military personnel. Skillforce is keen to get involved in Suffolk and I was happy to buy some raffle tickets in return to help them. I popped into a reception with RSPCA and was able to discuss with them the changes in the law relating to dogs. I have concerns on over-zealous interpretation of the new proposals. I also attended dinner with the Chinese ambassador. I had thought we would be eating Chinese food but nevertheless, an interesting evening. I popped into a BT reception - a significant employer locally and the planning application came up. I am not getting involved in individual planning applications so was able to steer away from that, except to add one of the reasons why local residents were against it. Finally, I went to the CLA reception which was useful to meet a wide variety of rural organisations and the Deputy Permanent Secretary of DEFRA, talking about coastal erosion.

All in all, it was a very busy week in Westminster amidst the casework and pushing on with the significant issues facing our country and my constituency.


26 JUL 0000

Urgent Action Required on Fishing Quotas

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?"



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Thank you for visiting my website. It is my privilege to serve as your Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal. Please do get in touch using the contact form or email me (details below).

 

 

 

 

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Parliament: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, 

Call: 0207 219 7164

E-mail: therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk

Emails sent to Dr Coffey as a DEFRA Minister (and not from constituents) will not be processed. For DEFRA, email Dr Coffey via defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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