I was delighted to welcome the Minister for Housing and Planning & Minister for London, Gavin Barwell MP, to Sutton today to visit the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).
The Minister joined representatives from the ICR, Sutton Council and myself to see the excellent world-class cancer research they do right here in Sutton, and to talk about how the government can further support the growth of the London Cancer Hub.
Back in November, I asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to set up this meeting and see how the government will help bring public sector land at the Sutton Hospital site back into use to deliver this project, which will create 13,000 new highly-skilled jobs right here in Sutton.
The Minister was able to see the plans for the Cancer Hub, which has already received government funding, up close and hear from the ICR and Sutton Council about ways the government could help. The ICR is already world-class and is ranked 4th in the world, behind only the American research centres.
However, it is limited by space, so it plans to grow on derelict land at the Sutton Hospital site. The ICR continues to work closely with the Royal Marsden and the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, which the Minister agreed was an excellent example of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy in action – professional bodies co-locating to deliver better outcomes. The better outcomes in this case mean more robust cancer treatments, which is good news not just for Sutton, but the world.
However, the project needs major infrastructure improvements, especially in terms of transport, to make it viable. Phase Two of the Tram extension would have come to the Cancer Hub, however, the loss of funding from the Mayor of London now makes this unlikely. TfL are putting a business case together to increase rail services between Sutton and Belmont stations, but more needs to be done, especially in terms of more buses to the site, car access from Brighton Road and parking. The Minister agreed to work with City Hall on this, as well as explore other ways the government can support the project.
I am very grateful to the Minister for taking the time to visit the ICR and for supporting the exciting plans they have. The London Cancer Hub will put Sutton on the map as a world leader in cancer research and provide thousands of new jobs for local people.
The weekend brought sunshine to Sutton, but it also brought chaos in the form of the new bin collection scheme.
This past week, my office has been inundated with calls and emails about missed collections, fly-tipping, long queues at the Kimpton dump and the difficulty in getting through to the Council to report these.
The situation has been so bad, it’s been covered in the national press and #SuttonBinShame has become a trending topic on social media, causing huge embarrassment to our local area.
Some glaring problems have emerged this week:
• The system overall is just too complex with up to six bins per household,
• Residents are struggling to find room to store all the bins,
• The green recycling boxes are too small,
• The elderly and vulnerable struggle to lift the boxes when full,
• Food waste is being strewn over the pavements by foxes at night,
• Cutting weekly brown bin collection is particularly worrying to parents of young children who have to find space for two weeks of dirty nappies,
• Bin lorries have already managed to damage cars and even knocked over a tree,
• Despite separating the waste, residents have seen boxes emptied into the same bin.
•The council picked the same week to implement a new permit scheme at the Kimpton Reuse & Recycling Centre.
• Sutton Council’s phone system has gone down,
• All this with no consultation – residents have not been asked their views despite being pushed to do so.
I spent several hours on Saturday talking to residents at B&Q in Sutton. The Council said they would be there from 10am – 4pm to hand out extra green recycling boxes. However, despite all roads into Sutton being gridlocked as people tried to get there, and residents waiting up to two and a half hours in the queue for the new bins, they had run out by lunchtime. This was entirely preventable with insufficient stocks at B&Q, poor communication, no council staff until chased by Conservative councillors and conflicting advice which might have led to people getting parking tickets without me intervening. Many people gave up and left.
Your local Conservatives spent the day at B&Q helping residents and across Sutton talking to people on the doorstep, giving support where they could. Yet in the midst of all this chaos, the Lib Dem administration spent the weekend in Islington talking to themselves, plotting to win the next election.
The council has had considerable coverage recently in Private Eye, the Guardian, the Sun, BBC and online media, all covering this Council’s increasingly embarrassing mistakes. The chaos this weekend has also been reported in local and national news, but this is not just embarrassing – it is having a huge effect on people’s day to day lives, and the Council refuses to say sorry. Instead, they simply ask that we are ‘patient’.
Your local Conservatives know that changes must be made. Three other Councils are also implementing this scheme, but they are taking the time to talk to residents and find out what the problems are, before rolling it out. Why has Sutton rushed to implement this scheme when it didn’t need to? They could have taken the time to get it right, but instead they’ve tied us into an eight year contract and rushed it through, all without asking anyone or looking at it properly.
Last August local Conservative councillors called a special council meeting to ask the Lib Dems to take the time to ask residents for their views before implementing this scheme. They refused. A Conservative council would’ve taken a far more pragmatic approach to ensuring our recycling rates go up by focusing on simplicity of use rather imposing the chaotic mess we now find ourselves in.
Do keep an eye on the council website for news about collections. If your bins have not been collected make sure you report it by calling 020 8770 5000 (it may take a while to get through) or report it online here. To request additional bins, then call or do it online here. If you need assistance with bin collections, then call or do it online here.
I will continue to help where I can and hold the Council to account for this chaos, as will your local Conservative councillors, but ultimately I believe this latest in a long line of blunders just proves that the Council have lost their way. In 20 years of working on council matters this is the worst I’ve seen with every part of the implementation of this change going wrong and affecting people badly.
The Lib Dem council has become tired and is making silly mistakes. We need a change of leadership in Sutton Council to unlock the potential in our Borough, and we can only do that by electing Conservative councillors next year that opposed this mess and are working hard for you.
But we need your help to unlock Sutton’s potential. Can you help our campaign by donating, joining the party of giving a little bit of your time to volunteer in some other way? If so, then please get in touch.
I was delighted to join fellow MPs at an event marking Red Nose Day 2017 in Parliament by taking part in the Maltesers® and Sainsbury’s Red Nose Day Parliamentary ‘Bake a Million’ competition.
Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace took on the role of judge as more than 60 MPs of all parties competed to win. Many congratulations to Ian Murray MP who emerged triumphant and Ian Paisley MP who was the runner-up.
The competition, which was organised by Maltesers® in partnership with Sainsbury’s – the official retailer of the iconic Red Nose and Red Nose Day merchandise – was held to celebrate this year’s Red Nose Day.
MPs were tasked with decorating a cupcake with an array of icing and toppings, including Maltesers® and Malteaster® Bunnies, expertly instructed by apprentices from Sainsbury’s recently opened Bakery College in Bromley-by-Bow. The winning cake decorators chose a nominated Comic Relief project to which Maltesers® and Sainsbury’s will make a donation.
The Maltesers® #bakeamillion campaign calls on the nation’s support and encourages people to get baking with Maltesers®. For each cake or bake photo uploaded, Maltesers® will donate £5 to Comic Relief, towards their £1million total contribution.
Emma Freud, Red Nose Day director, said: “It’s great that so many parliamentarians turned out to support Red Nose Day. What Sainsbury’s and Mars have created is a campaign that the UK has embraced. Our baking kits were a total sell out and the excitement they have generated about Red Nose Day has been glorious. It was excellent to see the MPs embrace a baking challenge. Gregg and I are just relieved they don’t do this for a living.”
Fabio Alings, Maltesers® Brand Director at Mars Chocolate UK said: “It was great seeing MPs and peers getting involved with our #bakeamillion competition, as this really captured what the Maltesers® campaign is all about. The work Comic Relief does across the UK and Africa is crucial, and what we do to support is as important as ever. We are pulling out all the stops, with the help of MPs, to raise significant funds for this fantastic cause.”
Pete Ward, Sponsorship Manager at Sainsbury’s said: “I’m sure there will be a lot of cakes being decorated all over the country as our colleagues and customers raise funds for Red Nose Day again this year, so to have so many MPs and peers come along and demonstrate their skills really was the icing on the cake. Sainsbury’s colleagues and customers raised over £12.4 million last Red Nose Day. We’re hoping that our efforts this year will continue to make an even bigger difference to those in need, both in the UK and across Africa.”
I am supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to urge more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and save lives, as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.
More than 44 people die from bowel cancer every day in the UK, it’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. However, it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.
I am totally committed to improving uptake rates for bowel cancer screening, both locally and nationally. I would urge my constituents who are sent a bowel screening test to use it. Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. If you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test. Early diagnosis really can save lives.
Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “I’d like to thank Paul Scully for supporting our campaign during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to raise participation levels for bowel cancer screening. One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.”
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.
Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
Following National Lottery Week in Parliament, I want to thank National Lottery players in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park for their role in raising over £30 million every week for good causes, and I would urge more local arts, sports, heritage and community groups to apply for National Lottery funding.
Since the National Lottery started in 1994, £14,416,916 of funding has gone to 295 projects in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park. So, while National Lottery funding has already made a massive difference in the area, there is still more money available that could be just the ticket for local sports clubs, and arts, community and heritage groups.
Most people play The National Lottery to win, but the reason it was set up in the first place was to fund good causes. National Lottery players have already helped countless local groups, but so many more could still benefit from funding. For example, it can be used to buy equipment, modernise your facility, train volunteers, make a film, or organise an event, activity or performance. I’d strongly urge everyone involved in something like this to consider applying for National Lottery funding.
National Lottery Week in Parliament raised awareness of the funding available and demonstrated how National Lottery players’ money is changing people’s lives and improving their well-being. National Lottery funding is awarded in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park by the Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sport England, Arts Council England, British Film Institute and UK Sport.
Local groups can find out more about National Lottery funding and how to apply for it by visiting their website here.
The conflict in Yemen has had a devastating impact on children, so I joined other MPs at an event in Parliament, hosted by Save the Children, to discuss the work they and the UK government are doing to help the children of Yemen.
I am pleased that the Government is working in Yemen to address the urgent humanitarian needs and support an effective international humanitarian response. Ministers have more than doubled our humanitarian funding to Yemen over the last year, making the UK the fourth largest donor to the humanitarian crisis. We are providing vital medical supplies, water, food and nutrition, and emergency shelter to those most in need and have so far supported more than 1.3 million Yemenis. We need to build resilience and protect key institutions to help lay the foundations for post-conflict recovery.
Ultimately, a political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and end the conflict. The suffering of the people of Yemen is deeply concerning, which is why making progress on peace talks is the top priority. The UN has drawn up a road map for ending the conflict, which outlines the security and political steps the parties must take.
The UK is taking a central role in this and in the effort to garner the necessary support for the pending UN resolution that supports it.