MP calls for Personal Independence Payment to be paid immediately to terminally ill claimants

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, has called for people who are terminally ill to be paid their higher Personal Independence Payment as soon as they receive their decision from the DWP. Currently, when someone claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) experiences a change in circumstances, this is treated as a new claim for PIP, with its new criteria. Their DLA payment therefore continues until a decision on PIP has been made and then a further 28 days after the last DLA pay day.

Graham is supporting New Clause 4, an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill that is currently before the House of Commons. This amendment would enable claimants of DLA who are transferred to PIP due to terminal illness to receive their first PIP payment immediately after being transferred.

Earlier this year, Graham called a debate in Parliament to raise the cases of constituents who had experienced delays in receiving a date for their Personal Independence Payment assessment.

Graham said: “Terminally ill people should not have to wait almost a month to receive the extra money they need to meet the costs of their illness. This is exactly the time when disabled people need the money most, and they are not being given it. I have raised this issue with Ministers and am pressing them to find a solution to this situation.

“Under the current system, people who are moving from DLA to the lower PIP award are given time to adjust to the change in their financial circumstances. This is welcome. However the benefit of the higher PIP award is also being withheld from those whose conditions have deteriorated, especially the terminally ill, and that cannot be right.

“I support the Government’s reforms to disability benefits, as they have concentrated the help where it is most needed. The Government has already supported terminally ill people by fast-tracking their PIP claims and scrapping the need for them to do a face-to-face assessment. I hope they now change the rules, so that terminally ill people can also get their PIP award as soon as a decision has been made.”

Graham Stuart welcomes major breakthrough at Yorkshire Water’s Saltend treatment works

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has welcomed news of Yorkshire Water’s comprehensive action plan to tackle odours from its Saltend waste water treatment plant.

Following a recurrence of the stench from the plant this summer, protests by local people led to East Riding of Yorkshire Council issuing an abatement order to the company to compel it to address the long-running problem. Graham has campaigned for action to address the problem for many years, in conjunction with affected residents.

Yorkshire Water has today announced a £30 million action plan consisting of 50 different improvements to improve how the waste water that comes into the site is treated.

Responding, Graham said:

“Today’s announcement is great news for the people of Saltend and the surrounding area who have had to put up with horrible smells from Yorkshire Water’s plant on-and-off for years. They deserve huge credit for campaigning long and hard to get the changes they need and I’m delighted for them.

“Yorkshire Water have now acknowledged that the smells affecting local people are unacceptable and I’m pleased they have made this decisive commitment to bring it to an end – as well as promising a £75,000 community fund to thank residents for their patience.

“The investment announced today hopefully marks the final chapter of the Saltend stench – although the acid test will be to ensure there is no repeat of the smell next summer. It feels like a good day for the whole area.”

Over 100 MPs write to the Prime Minister to demand Fair School Funding

111 MPs have written an open letter to David Cameron calling on the Government to deliver school funding reform. The MPs, working on a cross-party basis, ask the Prime Minister to implement the funding formula proposed by the F40 campaign group, which would ensure fair funding based on pupil need.

Under the current system, the ten best funded areas of England will receive an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year, compared to an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.

In their letter, the MPs say:

“It is widely acknowledged that the existing school funding model is a muddle and that funding for individual schools with similar pupil characteristics is arbitrary and unfair.

“At a time of spending restraint it is more important than ever that funding is allocated based on need. F40 has come up with a formula which would see the funding cake shared much more fairly.

“We believe this formula can help deliver a solution. We want the children in our schools to continue to have a broad range of subjects to study, good resources to use, well maintained buildings, reasonably sized classes and excellent pastoral support. Fairer funding is integral to all of this, and we urge you to deliver it.”

Those who have signed the letter include former Cabinet ministers Dominic Grieve, Caroline Spelman and Cheryl Gillan (Conservative) and Ben Bradshaw and Andrew Smith (Labour), Education Committee Chairman Neil Carmichael and Commons Speaker John Bercow, in his capacity as MP for Buckingham.

The MPs’ letter was coordinated by F40 Vice Chairman Graham Stuart MP, who chaired Parliament’s Education Select Committee 2010-2015. Graham said:

“The fact that so many MPs have signed this letter on a cross-party basis shows the strength of feeling in favour of school funding reform. This is about bringing an end to an arbitrary and unfair system – it’s not about rural versus urban, or Conservative vs Labour, it’s about bringing order from chaos. The Government deserves credit for promising to act and now is the time to deliver a rational, needs-based funding settlement.

“At a time when the Department for Education is considering its options, we want the Government to be in no doubt that our constituents deserve swift and comprehensive funding reform to deliver fairness for their children.

“The F40 group has campaigned tirelessly to raise the profile of this issue and has made sensible suggestions about how a new funding formula could be introduced. In the meantime our campaign is continuing with Parliamentary petitions being coordinated by F40 MPs with the help of local authorities and schools to let people have their say. We won’t rest until we have delivered fair funding for English schools.”

F40 Chairman Councillor Ivan Ould welcomed the MPs’ letter. Councillor Ould said:

“The campaign for Fair School funding is at a critical stage.  I hope the Government will note this very substantial support for a fairer system and would urge all MPs who represent the 40 lowest funded authorities to keep up the pressure for change.”


MP says rural businesses face major disadvantage because of poor broadband

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services, criticised the poor broadband coverage experienced by many rural businesses in a debate in Parliament this week.

He raised the local case of Agenda Security Services, which is based in Burstwick. They have not been connected as part of the Government’s superfast broadband programme. As a result, they have had to invest tens of thousands of pounds in installing their own broadband infrastructure.

Graham said: “Twenty-five percent of all businesses in England are based in rural areas—a greater proportion than that of the population—and yet companies such as Agenda Security Services in my constituency have had to invest tens of thousands of pounds to get any kind of usable service, while their counterparts in cities have no such disadvantage.”

Commenting after the debate, he added: “Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, broadband is now an essential utility. Yet too many businesses in rural areas don’t have access to the broadband they need to expand. Last year just 14% of the properties in Beverley and Holderness had access to superfast broadband. Thanks to the Government’s investment and the hard work of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, this figure is improving – but there is still a lot of work left to do.

“Over the past year, I have met representatives from Sky, BT, Broadband Delivery UK, and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and urged them to get on with delivering the Government’s target for 95% superfast broadband coverage by 2017. Broadband provision is a vital issue for rural areas like Beverley and Holderness, and I will continue to challenge the providers, the Council and the Government to install this vital infrastructure which families and businesses rely on.”

Norman Mortell, Director of Operations, Agenda Screening Services, said: “Agenda Screening Services would like to thank Graham Stuart MP for his crucial and continued support on improving the access to Superfast Broadband for businesses in rural locations. The access to Superfast Broadband is critical for our business to compete in the global market. Mr Stuart’s presentation of our case in the House of Commons has increased the awareness of the issues and extremely high costs businesses must face when there is a lack of access to high speed broadband in the local area.”

Graham Stuart champions better mobile access for East Yorkshire

Graham Stuart MP has launched a major drive to improve mobile access across East Yorkshire. He has met with representatives from mobile giants Vodafone and Three so far this week, and will meet the Chief Executive Officer of EE, Olaf Swantee, for a breakfast meeting on Tuesday 20 October. A meeting with 02 is also being arranged.

Mobile coverage across large parts of Beverley and Holderness is unacceptably poor. Graham has been contacted by a number of constituents, including Ian Poole from Hornsea. Mr Poole has complained about the lack of 4G coverage he receives from his provider EE, despite the company’s “coverage checker” indicating 4G should be available in the town.

In his meetings with mobile providers Graham has been pressing for improvement as a matter of urgency and learning what practical steps he can take to boost the UK mobile market. He said:

“People across Beverley and Holderness have suffered from patchy and poor-quality mobile coverage for far too long. It’s absolutely vital we both cut down on the number of rural ‘not-spots’ and improve the proportion of East Yorkshire that is served by the latest 4G technology.

“I am in the middle of a series of meetings with all the major mobile operators this week and am underlining just how important it is that we make progress quickly. Good news is coming through: for example at my meeting with Three I heard about how the rollout of low frequency spectrum means that areas such as Great Hatfield and Tickton should benefit from good indoor coverage for the first time, while areas with marginal indoor coverage like Leconfield should see an improvement in signal strength as well. Meanwhile Vodafone is investing £1 billion this year to improve mobile coverage across the UK, with substantial benefit for Beverley and Holderness.

“I have raised Mr Poole’s case with his provider EE, who are sending an engineer, and will highlight it at my meeting with their Chief Executive Officer next week. It’s high time people and businesses in our area get to enjoy the coverage they expect from our mobile providers and I will do all I can to help this happen.”

Graham Stuart to quiz Chief Executive and unions after Hospital Trust found to require improvement

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has vowed to quiz senior health officials after a report by the Care Quality Commission found that the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust “requires improvement”.

The CQC report identified that the Trust struggles to meet the 18 week referral to treatment target in some specialities, as well as the target of a maximum four hour wait for treatment in Accident and Emergency. In two of the five fields which contribute to the Trust’s overall rating, it has gone backwards.

Responding to the findings, Graham Stuart MP said,

“Today’s report by the CQC shows that key elements of the performance of the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust need to improve – and improve quickly. The doctors and nurses who serve our area do so with the utmost dedication, but there are clearly things which can be done better to meet patients’ needs.

“I have arranged to meet the Trust’s Chief Executive, Chris Long, to discuss the report’s findings. It’s important to evaluate the senior leadership’s plans to turn performance around and offer the best possible service to everyone in Hull and the East Riding. I will also be speaking to health unions to learn about staff perspectives on what is happening in our hospitals and how resources can be deployed most effectively.

“A key issue raised in the CQC report is the progress that has been made in improving the culture of the Trust, so that the high incidence of bullying and harassment that was identified in 2014 can be addressed. At a time when the spotlight is on lifting performance, it’s vital that people can raise their ideas and concerns in a supportive environment rather than one where they are ignored or silenced. I will focus on this issue in my talks with health officials and unions in the weeks ahead.”

MP’s backing for Rural Oscars

Beverley & Holderness MP, Graham Stuart, is urging his constituents to nominate businesses for the Countryside Alliance Awards 2015.

These awards, also known as the Rural Oscars, celebrate people going the extra mile to ensure that rural Britain’s food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills and forward-thinking enterprises can flourish.
Graham Stuart MP 2
“I am a huge supporter of small local business and am thrilled that the efforts of people living and working in rural communities are being recognised on a national platform, conveying a strong and positive message about the importance of our economy to rural and urban Britain alike,” said the MP.

“Beverley & Holderness’s economy relies on the hard work of entrepreneurs and small and medium business owners, and the diversity and quality of their products and services. I urge everyone to get involved and nominate them today.”

There are four award categories – local food, village shop/post office, butcher, and tourism enterprise – and nominations are open until 2nd November. Regional winners will be announced in February and national winners in April.

Nominations can be made on-line at

“I think everyone’s heard enough excuses from Yorkshire Water” – Graham Stuart MP to demand improvement from the company as he appears before Council inquiry into the Saltend stench

Graham Stuart, the MP for Beverley and Holderness, will demand Yorkshire Water puts an end to the recurring stench from the Saltend Waste Water Treatment Plant when he appears before an official council inquiry on Tuesday.

The inquiry has been called by East Riding Council following the latest incident of foul smells from the plant, which processes sewage from Hull. The Council served an abatement order on Yorkshire Water in August after the company’s failure to stop people’s lives from being blighted again this summer.

Graham has campaigned consistently on the issue since he was elected MP in 2005. Progress was made in 2011 when a new £3 million odour control unit was installed at the Saltend plant, but the problem keeps rearing its head.

Graham has met senior Yorkshire Water officials on numerous occasions, raised the issue with ministers in Parliament and urged East Riding Council repeatedly to do whatever is necessary to incentivise the company to solve the problem, which worsens during the summer at the very time local people want to be outdoors. Graham first called for East Riding Council to consider financial penalties on Yorkshire Water in 2013 – a call he repeated during the most recent outbreak.

Speaking ahead of the evidence session at County Hall, Graham said:

“It’s great that East Riding Council is holding this inquiry into how we can bring an end to the unacceptable stink from the Saltend treatment works. This summer’s outbreak was a nightmare for nearby residents and it’s high time decisive action was taken to deliver improvement – I think everyone has heard enough excuses from Yorkshire Water.

“Local people have shown their deep frustration through the petition that’s been gathered to call for an end to the stink. I pay tribute to their campaign and to the hard work of local councillors, in particular Mike Bryan who has been tireless in fighting for action in the Council chamber. When I appear before the inquiry I’m going to re-emphasise the need to put a stop to this situation once and for all.”

MP says Hollym and Withernsea residents lack trust in Yorkshire Water over water treatment works proposal

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has heard from residents in Hollym and Withernsea who are concerned about how they may be affected by Yorkshire Water’s proposal to re-site the water treatment works which treats Withernsea’s sewerage.

Graham said “Residents of Hollym and Withernsea have let me know they are concerned that the site Yorkshire Water proposes to move the water treatment works to will lead to them suffering smells. I understand their worries, and their lack of trust in Yorkshire Water, given that both Hedon and Beverley residents have had to put up with smells this summer from the Saltend and Beverley water treatment plants.

“I am pleased that Yorkshire Water is consulting with residents on their plans, with the next drop-in session taking place next Thursday, 24 September, at Hollym Village Hall between 3pm and 7pm. I urge all residents to go along to find out more and to ask their questions.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water to let him know that my constituents need assurance that unpleasant odours will not waft over the village, the golf course, the caravan parks, and into Withernsea. The caravan parks also need to know that the screening of the site will be carried out with mature trees and shrubs which will quickly hide the site from view. I will also be asking if there is another site which could be used which would alleviate everyone’s concerns.”

Councillor Lyn Healing said “At the Yorkshire Water Drop-In event this week Withernsea residents told me they are up in arms that this new water treatment plant might lead to unpleasant smells in the town and they need to know what to expect. I sit on the Planning Committee which will determine the planning application in due course and so I am taking a very close interest in Yorkshire Water’s proposals to make sure that when I vote on the issue I have all the information I need to come to the right decision based on the facts. I look forward to hearing more residents’ views at the Drop-In on Thursday 24 September.”

Councillor Arthur Hodgson said “I attended Yorkshire Water’s drop-in event last week, and will be at next week’s one as well. Residents told me of their worries about the potential for smells, and that they are just not prepared to have their lives blighted in that way. I am looking forward to hearing what Yorkshire Water’s Plan B is as that might resolve many of the issues. I’m pleased our MP, Graham Stuart, is highlighting Hollym’s and Withernsea’s concerns to Yorkshire Water’s Chief Executive.”

Mr Adrian Boasman, Vice Chairman of Hollym Parish Council said “I would prefer to see the site in a different location but still between the sea and the village, so that the prevailing wind takes any odours over the sea, by-passing the village completely, as it does now. I don’t understand why Yorkshire Water would build a water treatment plant on the windward side of the village. I would also like to know what other sites are possible and why Yorkshire Water has discounted them.”

Graham Stuart to mark World Alzheimer’s Day with East Riding Dementia Action Alliance

Graham Stuart MP will mark World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday when he attends the East Riding Dementia Action Alliance celebration event at St Mary’s Hall in Beverley.

Graham will present certificates to organisations in recognition of their work with the Dementia Action Alliance to become dementia friendly.

The East Riding Dementia Action Alliance aims to support communities and businesses located or operating within the East Riding of Yorkshire to take low cost actions that enable people with dementia to be active and involved.

Graham said, “The Dementia Action Alliance is doing tremendous work in the East Riding to support people living with dementia.  This is a condition that affects 850,000 people across the UK and it’s great that the Dementia Action Alliance is working with businesses and institutions to ensure dementia sufferers can continue to lead a full life.

“World Alzheimer’s Day represents a valuable opportunity to celebrate the progress that is being made and the hard work that is being put in.  I want to congratulate all those receiving certificates on their work to create a more dementia friendly society.”