Category Archives: medway

VIDEO: Mark Reckless speaks up for Hoo Peninsula during aviation debate

I was determined to rise to the challenge when the speaking time limit was cut from 7 minutes to 4 minutes in today’s Aviation Strategy Debate. It was almost as if repeated interventions from Bernard Jenkin, described as the only other person mad enough to support Boris’ scheme, were designed to time me out!

Thankfully our excellent Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle managed to get me in to speak (not sure if this meant cutting short Adam Afriye instead).

I was short of breath by the end. However, I hope that years spent living and breathing opposition to an Estuary Airport meant I was able to get in most of the key points.

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Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, economy, Employment, Energy, Environment, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, hs1, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

Meet Ann Widdecombe

ann_widdecombeAnn Widdecombe is coming to support the Rochester and Strood Constituency Conservative Association on Saturday 9th November 2013.

We would like to extend an invitation to you to reserve one or more places for our evening event. It will be a buffet (with drinks provided) and will be held Chatham from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £20 per person, but as we expect a very high demand for tickets it is necessary for you reserve any places by responding directly by e-mail asap.

Dress is ‘smart casual’ and we may have some live music. We also anticipate that we will have a stock of Ann’s books to hand, which she will be pleased to autograph for any purchaser.

Please respond as soon as possible to this invitation to reserve for the 9th November – click here. 

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Filed under Ann Widdecombe, conservatives, mark reckless, medway, rochester and strood

VIDEO: Discussing immigration on Daily Politics

Mark Reckless today joined Atul Hatwal, Director of Migration Matters Trust, on BBC’s Daily Politics to discuss the impact which mass immigration has had on the United Kingdom.

Speaking after the show Mark said:

“I know from talking to my constituents that the issue of immigration is one of their top concerns and I welcome the action which this government has taken to cut net inflow to the UK. We remain on course to cut immigration from the 100s of thousands seen under Labour to the 10s of thousands.

I look forward to debating the further proposed measures aimed at limiting immigration this coming Tuesday when the Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons for its second reading.”

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Filed under bbc, conservatives, Employment, Home Office, Immigration, labour, mark reckless, medway, News, theresa may, youtube

VIDEO: A day in the life of Mark Reckless MP

An exclusive behind the scenes look at a typical day in the life of Mark Reckless, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood. A revealing video which highlights the vital work which MPs undertake on behalf of local children, residents and businesses in their constituency:

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Filed under academies, Business, Children, cliffe woods, conservatives, economy, education, Employment, Lower Thames Crossing, mark reckless, medway, MP, rochester, Rochester Airport, rochester and strood, Rochester East, save st. peter's, schools, strood, Strood South, youtube

Mark Reckless highlights lack of support for Boris Island during PMQs

Mark Reckless took the opportunity during today’s Prime Ministers Questions to highlight Boris Johnson’s own admission that his pie in the sky Boris Island scheme lacked any credible support further to Sir Howard Davies’s indication that some plans will not pass first base environmentally.

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Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, david cameron, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, MP, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

Mark Reckless calls on France to take on migrant responsibility

Speaking on this evening’s BBC South East news programme item, Mark Reckless MP called for France to take greater responsibility in shouldering the burden of non-EU migrants seeking a better life in Europe:

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Supporting Medway jobs and apprenticeships

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From left: Sue Harrison (Employer, Provision and Partnership Manager for Medway, Jobcentre Plus) with Mark Reckless and Tracey Crouch

Since the General Election in May 2010, unemployment in Rochester and Strood has fallen from a rate of 4.5% claiming Jobseekers Allowance to 3.9% currently. While this compares favourably with the national average of 4.4%, it is obvious that there is still more to do to get people, particularly our young people and the long-term unemployed, into work or training. More employers in the private sector are starting to create full-time, permanent jobs, moving away from the part-time, low-paid jobs which we’d seen previously, and, nationally, employment has risen by 80,000 in the past three months alone.

So I welcomed the opportunity last Friday to attend two events in Medway which highlighted the fantastic work which is being done in both the public and private sector to increase the employment and training opportunities which are available.

From left: Mark Reckless MP, Mike Rayner (Early Intervention Office, KCC), Tessa Oversby (Head of Employability, Barclays), Jade Dellbridge (Cashier, Barclays) and Marin Adamson (Senior Barclays Business Manager)

From left: Mark Reckless MP, Mike Rayner (Early Intervention Office, KCC), Tessa Oversby (Head of Employability, Barclays), Jade Dellbridge (Cashier, Barclays) and Martin Adamson (Senior Barclays Business Manager)

First up was the Barclays LifeSkills breakfast meeting where I met the extraordinarily impressive Jade Dellbridge who joined Barclays as an apprentice, and has progressed to becoming a cashier at their Chatham branch. Jade was a most persuasive ambassador for the Barclays apprenticeship scheme.

Launched in 2012, Barclays has already employed over 1,000 apprentices, with the hope of another 1,000 to come, and is aspiring to get another 10,000 additional apprenticeships created in the wider business community through their LifeSkills Bridges into Work programme.

I am really encouraged that a large national employer like Barclays, one of the banks which declined to be bailed out at the taxpayers’ expense, is creating opportunities for our young people locally through its apprenticeship scheme, and I hope that other companies, particularly those which have benefited from public money, will follow their lead.

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I then popped over to the Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham to open the Medway Jobs and Apprenticeship Fair 2013, along with my colleague in Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch.

Organised by Medway Council and Jobcentre Plus, the Jobs Fair attracted businesses from across Kent who were looking to recruit staff, and I was pleased to see so much interest from the public.

With a number of important indicators pointing towards a faster than hoped for recovery thanks to the actions which Conservatives have taken in government, it is important that we ensure that everyone benefits from the increased opportunities presented as our country turns the corner.

In his speech at the Conservative Party conference earlier this week, David Cameron stated:

Aspiration, opportunity: these are our words, our dreams. So today I want to talk about our one, abiding mission. I believe it is the great Conservative mission. That as our economy starts to recover, we build a land of opportunity in our country today.

As the recovery takes hold, we must ensure that we build a land of opportunity for the many, not just the few, and it is vitally important that nobody gets left behind or condemned to a life on welfare and handouts.

My congratulations to everyone involved in organising the jobs fair, and to all of those working to provide the jobs, training and opportunities which benefit our whole country.

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Filed under Apprenticeships, big society, Business, chatham, Cllr Jane Chitty, conservatives, david cameron, economy, education, Employment, mark reckless, medway, medway council, MP, rochester and strood, tracey crouch, UTCs

Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, today joined local residents and campaigners at St James’ Church in Cooling to reveal the results of his No Estuary Airport ballot prior to making his submission to the Davies Aviation Commission. Over the past seven months, residents across the Rochester and Strood constituency have been asked for their opinion on whether or not they support the proposals to build a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

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The results are (wheeled) in… Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

The response has been extraordinarily good. Just under 8,000 residents took the time to have their say on the plans, and the answer has been a resounding ‘NO’ to proposals put forward for a Thames Estuary airport including by Boris Johnson and Foster+Partners. 92.6% of residents across the constituency do not support the proposals, with just 7.3% in favour. In Strood Rural and Peninsula wards, which would be most impacted by a new airport, the figure was even higher with 94.4% of all respondents saying ‘NO’, with just 5.5% supporting the plans.

Across the rest of the constituency, excluding Peninsula and Strood Rural wards, 87.8% of local residents oppose the plans, with 12.1% in favour.

Download full breakdown of results by ward – Click Here

WP_20130930_003Speaking prior to making his submission to the Davies Commission, Mark Reckless said:

“These proposals are, economically, completely unjustified. It is going to cost, perhaps, up to £100bn, and much of that will be government-guaranteed money, while all of the other proposals will be, in the main, privately funded. I just don’t believe it’s a credible proposal which merits further investigation. That’s what I said to Sir Howard Davies when I met him a week or so ago, and this ballot shows the strength of feeling against the proposals here in Rochester and Strood.

The jobs argument has completely failed. It would devastate West London to close Heathrow which would be necessary. Even Boris himself has now been pushing Stansted because he realises he hasn’t been able to gather enough support for this flight of fancy, pie in the sky proposal. I hope now we can rule this out once and for all. I would like to thank everyone who has been helping me with my campaign to do just that. Thank you all very much.”

View Mark’s submission to the Davies Aviation Commission – Click Here

Mark Reckless also accepted for submission to the Davies Commission a 1,800+ strong petition against the Thames Estuary Airport on behalf of the Friends of North Kent Marshes (FoNKM).

WP_20130930_035Speaking at the event, Gill Moore of FoNKM, said:

“We’re asking the Davies Commission to rule out all thoughts of a Thames Estuary Airport at the earliest opportunity and we hope he will be doing that in December. We’ve collected loads and loads of signatures alongside our MP, Mark Reckless, and we’re hoping against hope that the Davies Commission will take notice of it.”

V__AC86Mark was delighted to hand in the petition along with his own submission and the result of the constituency-wide ballot directly to Jillian Spindura at the office of the Davies Airport Commission who stated:

“Yours are the biggest and most comprehensive set of responses we have had opposing any airport proposal.”

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Making Medway Hospital Better

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, today announced that the government will give £6.12 million extra to Medway hospital.

This very significant sum, and one of the ten largest grants to any hospital in England, is to support the hospital to reconfigure our Accident and Emergency (A&E) department and better deal with pressures this winter. The minister confirmed to me in Parliament that this was additional money and that our local GP Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) should not cut back the amount of money that it might otherwise have provided to the hospital.

Mark Reckless: Hospital staff have acted with extraordinary enthusiasm to, as they put it, reboot Medway following the Keogh review. Can the Secretary of State confirm that the £6 million or so extra that he may provide to help our A and E should be in addition to anything that the clinical commissioning group might otherwise have agreed to provide?

Jeremy Hunt: Yes, I am happy to confirm that it is additional money. I thank my hon. Friend for the interest that he shows in his local hospital, which is going through a very challenging time. We are absolutely determined that where hospitals are failing or delivering inadequate care, we will not sit on those problems; we will expose them and deal with them. That is the best thing we can do for my hon. Friend’s constituents and people all over the country where there are, unfortunately, problems with local hospitals.

I was also able to highlight to Parliament and the Secretary of State the huge amount which is being done at Medway hospital to improve following the recent Keogh Review.

Reboot Medway

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I have seen that work in train, not only at the hospital Board and in repeated meetings with the hospital Chair and Chief Executives, but through shadowing doctors and nurses in their work.

Steve Hams, Medway’s new Chief Nurse, has brought non-clinical staff, who usually work behind the scenes, on to the wards to help solve design, administrative and IT problems which can hinder medical staff. For example, when I saw doctors queuing to use a computer on one ward, I was told that this was due to there being one less data port than needed, something which Denise Harker, who chairs the hospital Board, has promised me she will now take up.

There is still much to do and I continue to have rounds of meetings with key decisions makers in the NHS to make sure the hospital gets the support it needs.

Partly support means money, and as well as the £6.12 million A&E money just announced we will get the necessary funds for additional training, but staff from most junior to the most senior at the hospital also need to know that they are valued, and that both their NHS partners and the wider community believe in them.

Let’s show them that we do.

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MP hears concerns of older residents from rural Medway

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Older people from the Hoo Peninsula have told Mark Reckless that he must ensure that the needs of older people in rural communities in England are properly considered by all levels of government.

The call came at an event hosted by Karen Treacy of Age UK Medway at The Village Hall, Mallard Way, Lower Stoke, Rochester on 23rd August 2013 and was part of Age UK’s nationwide campaign “Later Life in Rural England” which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by older people living in rural England.

Issues and concerns raised during the meeting included:-

  • Loneliness and isolation: several residents feel lonely and isolated and wish she had someone to talk to on a regular basis
  • Policing in the area: a few residents complained of trouble caused by youths in the area and lack of police on patrol to deal with it
  • Bus routes and services: there was a general concern from residents that there is no direct bus route to the main hospital and that many have to pay for taxis to attend appointments.  Buses run far less frequently than in town areas and residents feel that there should be more buses running more frequently
  • GPs: It was felt that there should be a medical centre similar to the Will Adams in Gillingham available to all residents
  • Sheltered accommodation and residential care: residents complained that most of the housing is now owned privately and costs are extortionate
  • Post office: there was concern that the local post office was moving to a less convenient location but Mark Reckless said that this was now not going ahead
  • District nurse:  A resident claimed that the local district nurse was being removed from Hoo and they now have to travel to Rochester to see a nurse
  • Oil heating : A resident asked what is the government going to do to cut costs

Mark Reckless MP said:

“I was delighted to meet with some of the older members of our community to listen to and discuss their concerns about living in the countryside.

There are many positive aspects of living in a rural environment – people in the countryside do tend to live longer. However, as we heard, there are also a number of issues which we need to continue working on such as rural transport, energy costs, and access to health services.

I would like to thank Age UK Medway for organising this very useful debate, and also all the residents who took the time to come along and share their views with me.”

John Norley, Chief Executive of Age UK Medway said:

“Life in rural parts of Medway can be tough for many older people with too many struggling to get to the shops and hospital because of lack of local bus services.

“The charity’s campaign “Later life in Rural England”, is calling for all levels of government to:

  • “rural proof” policy and services that may have an impact on rural areas and make older people a priority in this process
  • Take the “rural premium” and social value of services into account
  • Support community participation
  • Target social isolation in rural areas

To support the Later life in Rural England campaign or to find out more, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/rural or contact Alice Woudhysen, Senior Campaigns Officer on alicewoudhuysen@agueuk.org.uk or 02030330516.

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