The Government has given £1.4 million to the Express & Star and the University of Wolverhampton's "Green Shoots fund" to create jobs and growth across the Black Country.
The money comes from a successful bid by the two organizations to the Government's regional growth fund in October 2012, which supports projects and programmes using private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.
The Green Shoots fund, which was launched today, will be used to give financial support to small and medium- sized companies in areas such as advanced manufacturing, building technologies, transport technologies, environmental technologies and business services. They will be able to apply for grants worth up to £50,000 each.
Paul said "The Regional Growth Fund is a £2.6bn fund designed to promote economic growth and create jobs. The first 3 rounds attracted over £13bn of private sector funding and created or assured over half a million jobs.
This funding will go a long way in the Black Country. We have already seen Jaguar Land Rover locate in Wolverhampton, and The Green Shoots fund will help support those small and medium sized businesses looking to expand. They are the lifeblood of the regional economy and I am glad to see this government working in partnership with local organisations to support economic growth and job creation."
Paul attended Giffard Primary School today to support the British Heart Foundation's 'Heartstart' Schools Programme.
Established for young people aged ten and over, the Programme teaches children emergency life support skills such as CPR, dealing with choking, calling 999 and the recovery position. Paul met with Year Six pupils who have been taking part in the Programme, along with Ian Painter of BHF and Phil Jevon of the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, who also works as a 'Heartstart' Training Supervisor.
"It is very important that these life support skills are taught, as you never know when they will have to be put in to practise", said Paul. "I was impressed with the children's enthusiasm today and I hope that every school will engage in the Heartstart Programme."
Paul is encouraging Wolverhampton residents to have their say on the proposed extension of the Metro in the city centre.
As part of regeneration in the City Centre, Centro want to extend the line to include new stops at the bus and railway stations. This will include a new fleet of state-of-the-art trams and will be fully integrated into the Wolverhampton Interchange project. The line proposed will run along Piper's Row, but there may be some services that will continue to terminate at St George's Stop on Bilston Street at certain times of the day.
A public consultation is open until the 31st May 2013, allowing residents to have their say in how often services should terminate at St George's. Comments can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , or in writing to Metro Consultation, Centro, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD. Further information can be found on Centro's website at www.centro.org.uk/metro
Paul said "This proposed extension of the Metro will be part of welcome regeneration in our city. I would therefore encourage residents who use the Metro regularly to get in touch with Centro to provide their opinions, so that they can be taken into account as this project moves forward."
On Friday 10 May, Paul visited the Carillion head office in Wolverhampton to see how the integrated support services provider is promoting local apprenticeship and job training opportunities.
The locally based company is one of the largest employers in the region.
Last year Carillion supported the Wolverhampton Jobs and Skills fair organised by Paul at the Molineux Stadium, which attracted around 1,500 job seekers who were able to speak with and get advice from organisations like Carillion, Jaguar Land Rover and Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust.
During his visit to the Birch Street office Mr Uppal met staff and senior managers responsible for delivering a range of training programmes. He heard how Carillion provided 19 work placements last year for students across Wolverhampton, and that 36 local homeless people had been given work experience opportunities through Carillion's partnership with the Business in the Community's Ready for Work programme.
Carillion's sustainability team also gave an update on how locally based staff contributed almost 640 hours of their time supporting young people and local schools. These and similar efforts have just been recognized by Business in the Community which has just awarded Carillion Platinum Big Tick Company status in the charity's Corporate Responsibility Index.
Mr Paul said: "I was delighted to visit Carillion to see how they support their local community and the leading role they are playing in training. Providing our young people with the skills and confidence they need to gain employment is vital and I will certainly be looking to Carillion and other leading businesses in this region to help develop a deliver a range of training and apprenticeship initiatives that I have planned over the coming months and years."
Dean Smith, Carillion's Head of Academy, added: "We are extremely proud of our Wolverhampton roots and welcomed this opportunity to show how our training academy and apprenticeship schemes work and indeed how they can be rolled out locally. It was also useful to explain that by working in partnership with training providers, colleges and our large supply chain we can
offer highly valuable and relevant work placements far beyond our own direct operations."
On Friday Paul attended the re-launch of Wolverhampton's Age UK centre, Formerly Age Concern, in Darlington Street, City Centre. The centre will now be dedicated to offering advice and support for local older people.
Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint opened the centre, Wolverhampton MPs Pat McFadden and Emma Reynolds also attended the event.
Paul said "Age UK already offers an important service to many older residents across Wolverhampton and I was extremely impressed by my visit to the refurbished centre today. The centre is now open plan making it much more accessible, there is confidential space to discuss personal issues and provision for a computer area so that people can have individual support on how to use the internet and email.
This is great news to all those who already benefit greatly from the services provided by Age UK Wolverhampton. The staff are both committed and passionate and I hope constituents make the most of the services that they offer."
On Friday 3 May, Paul met with service users at Warstones Resource Centre. Paul discussed concerns over the future of the site as part of a campaign to protect libraries and community centers across Wolverhampton South West.
As part of Wolverhampton City Council's Community Service Hubs consultation, the cabinet voted for day services at Warstones to be moved to other sites across the city as well as the closure of respite bed provision. Further consultation is still to take place as to whether the site will become a community hub and absorb Warstones library services.
Paul said "Earlier this year, I submitted my views to the consultation to convey concerns over the loss of these services and to highlight the views of people that cherish these services and rely on them as part of their day to day lives. I have visited the centre several times and it was good to hear first hand peoples' thoughts and feelings again today.
"It is clear that service users value the sense of community that Warstones provides. It is a safe, sheltered place where people can spend an hour or two and receive a hot meal, which as one lady told me, would be the only cooked meal she would have during the day.
"Since my last visit, a number of people have written to me with their views and experiences of the centre, I would like to hear more views on the future of Warstones and invite anyone with comments or thoughts to write to me at Paul Uppal MP, Gresham Chambers, 2nd Floor, 14 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DG or email at email@example.com."
In light of the disappointing news that the Indian Supreme Court has denied Professor Bhullar's plea for mercy I wish to update you on progress that I have made. Last week I met and spoke with William Hague, The Foreign Secretary, to discuss this important and pressing matter. Following this conversation I am hopeful of a constructive dialogue between the British and Indian Governments which will advance compassionate sentiments on this most sensitive of issues.
In regards to the death penalty, the Government is clear that the protection of human rights is central to its foreign policy. In an answer to a written question, the then Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Jeremy Browne, stated that he had written to the Indian High commissioner reiterating the UK Government's strong opposition to the death penalty and urged the Indian authorities not to break their seven-year de facto moratorium on the death penalty. He also raised concerns with then Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and with Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur.
I wholly endorse the position that The British Government is taking in continuing to urge the Government of India to establish a formal moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty in India. It is the longstanding policy of successive British Governments to strongly oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.
As you may be aware, earlier this year, I raised this issue with the Indian High Commissioner in order to convey the strength of feeling that many British Sikhs feel about this case. I personally feel that this whole issue represents a running sore that many British Sikhs feel in relation to massacres in 1984. In order to bring reconciliation, it is important for the Indian Government
Paul visited Wolverhampton Girl's School today to answer the questions of Year 8 pupils on a variety of issues affecting Wolverhampton.
Questions put to Paul included the regeneration of the city centre, support for charities, facilities for cyclists and leisure activities for young people. He also took questions from several pupils about safety on buses and at bus stops, and he will now be writing to Centro to highlight their concerns.
"I was very pleased to see that these pupils are engaged with local issues and want to see improvements in our city", said Paul. "Some of the girls raised important concerns with me, which I will be taking action on and doing what I can to help. I'll also be writing to the Council to see how we can make life easier for cyclists in Wolverhampton."
Paul visited the Queen's Square Branch of Ladbrokes in the City Centre today as they prepared for one of their busines weekends of the year.
Ahead of the John Smith's Grand National, Paul met with the store's Manager Jez and District Manager Trish Jackson; who talked about how Ladbrokes promotes responsible gambling. This includes information in all stores on how to obtain help with gambling issues, and a self-exclusion policy for those who recognise that they have a problem. Ladbroke's website also has facilities for customers to limit their spending.
Paul said: "Many people enjoy gambling as a leiure activity; however for some it can become an addiction. I am pleased to see that Ladbrokes have put measures in place to help customers gamble responsibly. This weekend will undoubtedly be a busy one for the store, and it is good to see the business doing well."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has cancelled Labour's planned fuel duty rise in today's Budget, saving 3.5 million motorists in the West Midlands over £170 every year.
Because of the action we have taken, pump prices will now be 13 pence per litre lower than if Labour were in power. For a Vauxhall Astra that is £7 less every time families fill up the tank – or £9 less for a Mondeo. A van driver will save £340 per year and a haulier will save £5,200 per year.
Fuel duty will now have been frozen for nearly three and half years - the longest freeze in duty for over 20 years.
Paul welcomed the news, saying:
"This is a Budget that is delivering for families who want to work hard and get on in life."
"Scrapping another of Labour's planned fuel duty increases will make a huge difference to motorists in Wolverhampton."
"This Government has frozen fuel duty for three and a half years - longer than any Government in the last two decades - and saving the average family £7 every time they fill up their car."
An extra £664,600 will go to primary schools across Wolverhampton to transform school sport, improve coaching for the youngest pupils and inspire the Olympic and Paralympic stars of the future.
London 2012 gave Britain a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire a nation to enjoy sport and the Government wants to embed that into the school day from an early age. The Prime Minister has announced a £150 million Olympic legacy fund to improve the quality of provision in every state primary school in England.
Young people across Wolverhampton will benefit from this announcement. This money will help to secure the Olympic legacy and support our gold medal winners of the future.'
The Prime Minister, David Cameron said:
'The Olympic and Paralympic Games marked an incredible year for this country and I will always be proud that we showed the world what Britain can do. I want to ensure the Games count for the future too and that means capitalising on the inspiration young people took from what they saw during those summer months. This investment will benefit a whole generation of children for many years to come.'
Olympic gold winner, Jess Ennis CBE said:
"It is great to see initiatives that help to give really young children the chance to take part in sport. This latest funding for primary schools sounds fantastic – now whether in an inner city or small rural community, young kids will be introduced to fun ways to be active that will spark an interest in taking part in sport as they grow up."
Double Olympic Champion, Mo Farah CBE said:
"It is great to see a commitment to funding school sport and that it is something I passionately believe in. I am very excited to know that lots of children will be able to get involved in sport while at school and get more help from teachers and coaches. It really is very important."
On Friday 15 March, Paul took part in a question and answer session with year 12 politics students at Wolverhampton Girls' High School. Students asked questions covering a variety of topics such as Same Sex Marriage, the future of the U.K within the E.U and the changes to the welfare state.
Paul said "I always find it a great experience to talk to young people about politics and to see them engaging with current issues which affect their everyday lives. I appreciate the opportunity to answer their questions and I look forward to visiting the school again in the future."
On Friday 8 February, Paul made a visit to Timken Training, a training provider that specifically focuses on delivering vocational training to 14 – 19 year olds.
Timken offer a wide variety of vocational training opportunities including bricklaying, painting and decorating, hair and beauty and textiles, amongst others.
As a result of the training and support on offer, Timken Training recently supported 8 unemployed young people into full time paid work.
Paul said "It was fantastic to see the dedication of staff at Timken Training and how committed they are to supporting young people in their development of vocational, work based skills.
"The fact that they have supported 8 learners into full time employment speaks for itself and it was clear from meeting young people today how much they are benefitting in terms of the skills and confidence they are developing."
For more information, visit http://www.timkentraining.co.uk/index.html
Paul has welcomed the news that the law will be changed to give vulnerable people stronger protection from aggressive bailiffs.
Under new laws to clean up the industry, bailiffs will be banned from entering homes when only children are present and at night. New safeguards will prevent bailiffs from using force against people who owe money and they will also no longer have free reign to fix their own fees, as new set costs are brought in.
Until now there has been insufficient legal protection against aggressive bailiffs. These new laws, and a mandatory training and certification scheme which they must pass before going into business, will change that. Businesses will still be able to collect debts fairly, but bailiffs who do not follow the rules will be barred from the industry.
'At the moment there is very little to stop unscrupulous bailiffs from abusing their position and making life a misery for vulnerable people here in Wolverhampton', said Paul. 'It is terribly stressful to find yourself in debt and the last thing people in that situation need is harassment from debt collectors.'
'We need a system which allows the majority of responsible bailiffs to get on with doing their jobs fairly, but which stops abuse and gives real protection. That is exactly what these changes will create.'
Conservative Justice Minister Helen Grant MP said:
'For too long bailiffs have gone unregulated, allowing a small minority to give the industry a bad name. Too many people in debt have had the additional stress of dealing with aggressive bailiffs who often charge extortionate fees.
'These new laws will clean up the industry and ensure bailiffs play by the rules or face being prevented from practising. They will also make sure businesses and public bodies can collect their debts fairly.'
On Wednesday 16 January, Paul signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.
Sunday January 27th will mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust place a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.
In signing the Book of Commitment, Paul paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust's Outreach programme.
In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.
Paul said "Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance."
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:
"We are proud that Paul is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry."
Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West has welcomed Government moves to help households bring down their monthly bills by spreading council tax payments over 12 months, rather than 10.
This move will lower average band D council tax instalments by an average of £24 per month for 10 months, particularly helping those on fixed incomes, like pensioners.
The new right to choose to pay in 12 monthly instalments comes into effect from April. Local taxpayers just need to contact their council (the local billing authority) to request the change. Households can continue to pay in 10 instalments over the year, if they wish - there is no obligation to change.
This latest move shows that Conservatives in Government are doing all they can to keep council tax bills down for people who work hard and want to get on in life.
It comes on top of central Government funding to freeze council tax for the third consecutive year, the introduction of local referendums to veto high council tax hikes and the scrapping of Labour's expensive council tax revaluation.
Commenting Paul said:
'Here in Wolverhampton council tax almost doubled under Labour. Conservatives in Government have shown that they will do all they can to keep council tax bills down for families and pensioners. For the third year running the Government are offering to freeze council tax, which would benefit local people if taken up by Wolverhampton City Council.
'Residents in Wolverhampton have already saved £150 on a Band D bill thanks to Conservatives in Government freezing council tax. By making it possible for taxpayers to pay over 12 months rather than 10, households will be able to bring down their monthly outgoings and have more control over when they pay their bills. I urge any household who would benefit from this change to exercise their new right.'
Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West, has welcomed new plans to set up a Traineeship programme for young people.
The new programme, announced by Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, will provide young people aged 16 to 24 with a tailor-made package of support that will give them the confidence, skills and experience to compete in the labour market with more experienced adults. The Government have published a discussion paper inviting views on the policy.
Paul commented: "This is great news for young people trying to get a foot on the work ladder. Conservatives in Government are making sure our young people have the skills they need to compete and succeed in work. 730 people in Wolverhampton South West started apprenticeships last year. This traineeship programme will help more young people like them compete successfully and get jobs".
Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills, commented: "We want to support everyone in our country to reach their personal best. To do that, we are introducing Traineeships to help young people with the skills they need to get a job, and hold down a job.
"That's vital for our economy to compete in the global race. And it's a question of fairness. Traineeships will give young people the helping hand and experience they need to compete for Apprenticeships and good jobs."
New research has revealed that Conservatives in Government are cutting taxes for 29,936 people in Wolverhampton South West in April next year. The Government will lift 1,497 people out of tax altogether.
The Government is reforming Labour's 'something for nothing' welfare culture, by capping the amount one household can get in benefits and capping the amount benefits are increased next year. Labour oppose these reforms.
Paul commented: "In Wolverhampton South West, if you want to work hard and get on, the Conservatives are on your side. Your taxes will be cut so you keep more of the money you have earned. And we are capping the increase in benefits so that benefit increases don't outstrip increases in earnings.
"Labour want benefits to go up more than the earnings of people in work. This isn't fair and we will not let them bring back their something for nothing culture."
On Friday 7 December, Paul visited Gloucester Street Community Centre, located in Whitmore Reans.
The Centre, which opened in 1987, has played a vital role over many years in supporting members of the local community, through offering a wide range of activities and community initiatives, from after school classes to accredited educational courses and social events for senior citizens.
Paul discussed with the Centre Manager and staff the wide range of work that centre volunteers engage in, particularly in relation to providing additional educational support for children outside of school hours.
Paul said "It was a pleasure to meet with staff at the centre and I am very grateful for their warm welcome. It was fantastic to learn more about the community work and engagement initiatives that the centre provides and to see how committed the volunteers are in serving their local community."
More information about the Centre can be found at http://www.gscommunitycentre.org/
The economic recovery is taking longer because the damage is worse than we feared. But the economy is healing. The last thing we could do is put all this progress at risk and attempt to borrow less by borrowing more. We cannot turn back.
The Chancellor has today announced critical measures that will be welcomed across Wolverhampton South West. The personal allowance will rise further, meaning people will keep more of the money they earn before income tax kicks in. Labour's planned fuel duty rise has been cancelled. Small businesses rate relief has been extended for another year. We have also seen a range of capital infrastructure projects to boost growth up and down the country.
The measures announced today will support the cost of living for households and unlock growth for our businesses and industry.
Paul Uppal commented:
"This is fantastic news for Wolverhampton South West.
"The West Midlands will see two million people get an income tax cut. The 3.5 million people who drive will welcome the cancellation of a rise in fuel duty that the Labour Government had planned for. Businesses will welcome the drop in corporation tax and the small business rate relief. And the raft of capital infrastructure projects will unlock growth and equip Britain to compete in the global race.
"Times are tough. But the economy is healing – and the measures announced today will bring welcome support to families and businesses in Wolverhampton South West."
Paul paid a visit to ADAS at Pendeford House today to officially open their new headquarters.
Established over 50 years ago, the ADAS Group are a large employer in Wolverhampton, dealing with policy issues concerning the Environment, Sustainable Crop Management, Animal Health & Welfare, and Waste contracting. Paul met with ADAS Directors who shared their visions for the future.
Paul said 'I am delighted to see ADAS going from strength to strength, and I was very impressed with what I saw today. It was an honour to officially open their new headquarters, and I wish ADAS well for the future'.
On Friday 9 November, Paul along with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and Jaguar Land Rover launched the 'Wolverhampton Apprenticeship Challenge' – a year long initiative which aims to channel £1 million worth of apprenticeship investment into the city.
Small and medium sized businesses were invited to a breakfast and networking event at the Molineux to learn about how taking on an apprentice could benefit their business, as well as finding out more about financial support on offer from NAS.
The aim of the Wolverhampton Apprenticeship Challenge is to translate the investment on offer into around 251 new apprenticeship opportunities for young people across the city.
Special guest Ruth Badger, 2006 runner-up of 'The Apprentice' series, gave an inspirational talk about her own apprenticeship experience in Wolverhampton and how she now recruits apprentices of her own. Ruth made the case to small and medium sized businesses that taking on an apprentice is vital for businesses to grow and succeed.
Ian Eva, Apprentice Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, gave an impressive endorsement of what apprenticeships can bring to a business and encouraged small businesses to be inspired to create more apprenticeships in Wolverhampton.
Paul said "The launch of the 'Wolverhampton Apprenticeship Challenge' today was a great success – around 100 small businesses and service providers were in attendance to hear about the numerous advantages of taking on an apprentice for the first time. I am delighted that business owners have already committed to taking on an apprentice as a result of today's launch.
The 'challenge' now is to sustain momentum and encourage businesses to create further apprenticeship opportunities. Small and medium sized businesses are the driver of the British economy and key to creating new opportunities in the economy, especially for young people"
More information about apprenticeships and the financial support on offer to recruit apprentices can be found at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/
Paul attended the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association's 'Walk My Way' event today to raise awareness of the everyday challenges faced by those with sight loss. This included a blindfolded walk where Paul had to rely on the aid of a guide dog to assist him around the course.
Established in 1931 to help First World War veterans, the Association has now helped over 29,000 blind people to achieve independence through the dedicated work of staff and volunteers. Guide Dogs for the Blind are responsible for breeding, training and supporting the dogs; and work with local authorities to provide a range of mobility services for blind and partially sighted people. Today, there are over 4,500 working guide dogs in the UK, with over 1,300 guide dogs pups being bred each year.
'We often take our sight for granted', said Paul, 'and it was good to experience first-hand how a guide dog can assist a visually-impaired person. This charity is providing a great support in many people's lives and I hope it will continue to be successful'.
On Friday Paul attended Mass at St Michael's Church Wolverhampton to mark CAFOD's Harvest Fast Day. People from the Catholic churches and schools across Wolverhampton came together to attend Mass, remember those who will not have a good harvest in their countries, and give thanks for the work of CAFOD.
CAFOD – the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, work with partners across the world to work to reduce poverty. The Mass coincided with CAFOD's Harvest Fast Day which was an opportunity to raise awareness of the work that CAFOD and its partners do across the world to help people out of poverty. It was also an opportunity to fundraise for the partnership's work and many people chose to donate money saved through eating simply or fasting on that day.
Paul enjoyed learning more about CAFOD's vital work and said "it is important to take time from our busy lives to remember those who will not have a harvest to look forward to this year. The work that CAFOD, its' partners and others do is vital to helping these people. Today is an opportunity to think about what we can do for others, giving up a meal this day or even just dessert and giving to those in need – whether they be in the UK or across the world".
Paul paid a visit to Springfield Methodist Church in Penn this morning to support the 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning'.
Established by Macmillan Cancer Support in 1990, many people and community groups across the country hold a simultaneous coffee morning once a year, donating their proceeds to help those affected by cancer. Since 1991, over £60m has been raised.
Springdale's coffee morning offered regular worshippers a chance to meet and socialise, and Paul was delighted to be a part of it. 'Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer', said Paul, 'and Macmillan do a fantastic job offering support wherever they can. I was pleased to offer my support today, as well as meeting new people and enjoying some great refreshments'.
Paul met with the Chief Superintendent of Wolverhampton Police Neil Evans on Friday 7 September to discuss the issue of dangerous dog attacks. These have gained increasing attention across national media in recent years. Paul and Mr Evans discussed the number of reported incidents, including any attacks on Guide Dogs over the last three years and the strategies needed to reduce such crimes.
The meeting was held as Paul has received a significant level of correspondence from constituents concerned about the issue.
Paul said "The meeting with Chief Superintendent Evans was very informative and reassuring. The number of reported instances of 'dog bite' attacks across Wolverhampton is very low, given the size and population of the city. It was also very positive to hear that there have been no recorded cases of guide dogs attacked by other dogs in Wolverhampton, which charities such as Guide Dogs UK have been very concerned about in recent months."
Paul visited the new home of LifeSpring Church today.
The Church was founded in 1998 by Tony and Ursual Wastall who moved to Wolverhampton from West Yorkshire. Over the last fourteen years they have met in a hotel, a school hall and a lecture theatre before purchasing the former Hi-Q Tyre Depot on Clifton Street in 2009. The depot was pulled down and work began on a new state-of-the-art facility in July 2011, taking twelve months to complete. There are already plans for a second phase to the project, including the extension of the auditorium to accommodate 500 people.
LifeSpring is heavily involved in engaging with the community; including debt counselling, prison work and engaging with children and young people. They also run Life Groups Alpha Courses and Sunday services amongst other activities. The ministry reaches across the globe too, with projects in the Philippines, India and Mozambique.
Paul said, 'I was delighted to see LifeSpring's new home and was very impressed with the facility. It has certainly brought regeneration to the Chapel Ash area. It was also great to hear about the work the Church is doing to help people across Wolverhampton and beyond, LifeSpring offer a great example of how to reach the disadvantaged in our society.'
Wolverhampton South West MP Paul Uppal will be doing his bit for charity this Sunday (2nd September), when he cycles over twelve miles in support of local charity Age UK Wolverhampton.
Riding 19.4km, Paul will be supporting a charity that helps create a more enjoyable and fulfilling later life for vulnerable older residents across the City. This includes home visits and safety checks as well as help for those being discharged from hospital; to friendship and luncheon clubs. Age UK wishes to see older people regaining and maintaining their independence in later life.
'I am very pleased to be getting involved in a good cause that brings great benefit to the older residents of our city', says Paul. 'I'm sure it is going to be a tough challenge on Sunday; but it's one I'm very much looking forward to'.
Paul made a visit to Molineux on Saturday to take a look at Wolves' new £18m Stan Culis stand, as it was officially unveiled prior to the team's first match of the new season.
Built over the last fifteen months, the new stand has a capacity of 7,700, taking the stadium's overall capacity to over 31,000. It also boasts a new 215 guest restaurant and 350-capacity bar area, in addition to more spacious facilities for spectators.
Paul was delighted to have been at the opening of the new stand, which marks the first phase in the Club's desire to redevelop Molineux. 'The facilities of the new Stan Culis Stand are certainly Premier League standard', added Paul, 'and I wish the team and the new manager well this season on their mission to return to the top flight'.
On Monday night, Paul visited the Cameo Ladies at the Goldthorn Hotel, Penn.
Since 1994, the Cameo Ladies have met to arrange social events including outings, talks and theatre visits. They were originally part of the Women's Gas Federation Nationwide. Due to a lack of funding the Wolverhampton group decided to fundraise themselves and form an independent group, they are still going strong today.
'It was great to meet with the Cameo Ladies and discuss issues facing older generations', claimed Paul. 'I will continue to support this group and offer my assistance wherever I can'.
Paul Uppal has welcomed Conservative Chancellor George Osborne'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 Labour government planned for last year and this year which it has scrapped or delayed. Following recent action in last year's Budget and Autumn Statement to cut Fuel Duty and scrap Labour's Fuel Duty 'escalator', this week the Conservative Chancellor cancelled Labour's 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 Labour planned, and motorists will save £159 on filling up the average family car by the end of the year.
"Thanks to the Conservatives in government, Fuel Duty has now been frozen for two years. This is good 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, the Conservatives are providing real help to people with the cost of living and a boost for Wolverhampton's economy."
I welcome the announcement that Wolverhampton has been selected to be one of the first twelve Portas Pilot locations, receiving £100,000 towards projects for the city centre.
There was an amazing response to the competition with over 300 bids submitted and Wolverhampton was commended for the leadership, enthusiasm and desire to make a difference and improve Wolverhampton High Street.
Grant Shapps MP, the Minister overseeing this project, praised the bid put forward by the team in Wolverhampton. Grant Shapps and Mary Portas were particularly impressed with plans to hold a "Dragons' Den" style competition providing cash grants and free places to trade.
I know that WV One and Wolverhampton City Council worked hard to put forward a strong bid, and I was happy to lend my support to the exciting proposals made. I am passionate about seeing regeneration brought to Wolverhampton as I believe the city has a great deal of potential, and I relayed to Ministers the valuable boost the Portas Pilot funding could bring to the city.
This offers a golden ticket opportunity for Wolverhampton. I look forward to meeting with WV One in the near future and seeing the projects develop.
More than 200 jobs and apprenticeships were on offer at the Wolverhampton Jobs and Skills Fair hosted by Paul Uppal, which attracted around 1500 job seekers. The event organised in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus was held at the Molineux Stadium on Thursday 26th April.
Paul Uppal the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West organised the event after seeing that around 12,000 people were out of work in the city and meeting employers that were keen to recruit locally. Jaguar Land Rover, Carillion and Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, were amongst 26 other companies that were looking to fill over 200 vacancies.
"We managed to get some really big names here, which is just fantastic" said Paul speaking at the event. "The turn-out is brilliant – I didn't expect it would be quite so popular".
"We want to carry this on now. This event was largely designed for people aged between 18 and 25 but we will start looking at other age groups now. This is so positive for Wolverhampton and I am sure there will be a number of job interviews and offers which come of it.
"There are jobs and training out there despite the return to recession. We saw growth figures out last week that were disappointing but it's important that people take a long term view. There is a danger of talking ourselves down; there is an underlying strength to the economy which will stand us in good stead".
Paul finished by adding that private sector growth through innovation, enterprise and exports will deliver the long term stability and jobs that we need across the country.
Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West, visited the Oddfellows on Thursday 29th March to learn about the industry by spending the afternoon working at the pub.
James Divall, manager of the Marston's Inns & Tavern pub based on the Bridgnorth Road in Wolverhampton, gave Mr Uppal a warm welcome by challenging him to pull his first pint of Banks's Bitter.
"We were delighted to have Paul with us for the afternoon in the pub," said James, "he certainly wasn't afraid of pulling his sleeves up and was straight behind the bar pulling his first pint."
The team at the Oddfellows took Mr Uppal through the pub's inner workings including: its induction process, serving up meals and drinks to lunchtime customers, discussing issues affecting the pub and its success and crucially, how to pour the perfect pint.
James added: "It vital that MPs visit their local pubs and are well versed in the issues that affect pub's success, such as the cheap alcohol deals offered by large supermarkets and also beer duty, which has increased yet again after the recent election."
Mr Uppal added: "The visit to the Oddfellows pub this morning has allowed me to see firsthand, the challenges facing the pub sector. I am shocked that the latest figures show that the number of pubs closing rose to 16 per week in the second half of 2011.
"Pubs make a significant and valuable contribution to both the national economy and community life. In order to reverse this worrying trend we need to work together, as politicians, with the industry to put into place policies that support the local pub."
Paul Uppal celebrated International Women's Day today by inviting his constituent Fiona Jones to shadow him for the day in Parliament. Fiona is a student from Wolverhampton Grammar School and was invited due to her strong interest in politics and participation in student government.
Fiona and Paul attended a number of events to mark the day, among them the debate in the chamber on International Women's Day and afternoon tea with the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon John Bercow, in the Speaker's House.
The theme for the day was 'Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures'. MPs from across all parties were encouraged to take part and inspire young women who are interested in politics or taking a leading role in the community by inviting them to Parliament.
Paul said: " I was absolutely delighted to see so many MPs taking part and inspiring the next generation of future leaders. I hope that the young women have enjoyed seeing their MPs in action and leave with a positive message about political life and how they can become involved and make a difference. It is important that we continue to work to open up the representation of Parliament and perhaps in a few years some of the young women will return as MPs".
Friday 16th March, Paul visited The Royal Wolverhampton School. The school was founded in 1850 originally as an orphanage, but is open today as a fully co-educational independent school, which educates over 450 pupils of whom 125 are boarders.
During the visit Paul held a question and answer session with pupils from years 5 and 6. A whole range of topics were discussed including what made Paul become an MP and his views on the current legal age for voting.
Paul finished the visit by having lunch with the school's Student Cabinet, Headmaster, Mr Mark Heywood and other staff members. The members of the Student Cabinet put a number of questions to Paul including how to increase the engagement of young people in politics and life in Westminster.
During the visit Paul said, "I began the morning receiving a tour of the nursery section, where I met the Head of the Junior School and other staff to discuss the excellent work being done to provide an excellent educational start to over 100 children.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Royal Wolverhampton School today. I was encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the pupils of all ages to engage in the political debates of today and I look forward to visiting again in the future."
On Friday evening Paul joined the Wolverhampton World Poverty Action Group, alongside other Wolverhampton MPs to discuss the OXFAM Grow campaign with Maya Segas, who is Oxfam Midlands Public Affairs officer.
The Grow campaign was set up to in response to the fact that nearly 1 in 7 people regularly go hungry. It is a campaign aimed to transform the broken food system in order to help those who suffer most. It aims to address the issues surrounding land grabs, climate change, food price spikes and the support for small scale farming.
The event opened with Maya providing and update on the current GROW campaign, and in particular what progress they hope to made in the next few months. Topics discussed included land grabs, food sustainability and security.
The event concluded with a question on the current troubles in Syria. The government has said that it will work closely with our Arab and international partners in the Friends of Syria group to end the violence and begin the process of transition that the Syrian people deserve.
Speaking after the event Paul said "I would like to thank Wolverhampton World Poverty Action Group for their invitation to take part in this event. I found it extremely useful to learn about OXFAM's Grow Campaign and the excellent work being done.
"It is important we engage in the issues surrounding world poverty, and I found it encouraging the number of people who took the time to attend the event."
On Friday 2nd March Paul visited St. Peters Collegiate School. The morning began with a panel of year 9 students interviewing Paul on a number of issues ranging from the government's deficit reduction plan to the summer riots. Students also asked Paul about what life as an MP was like and what advice he would give to anybody wishing to pursue a career in politics.
The floor was then opened up to the audience, which was made up of teachers and students of past and present. During lunch Paul met with a number of staff members, which gave him chance to learn about not only the history of the school but also the excellent relationship between staff and pupils.
The day concluded with Paul meeting the Principle, Adrian Richards, who outlined his vision for the school and the recent outstanding Ofsted report the school has received.
Paul said "I was encouraged by the level of enthusiasm shown by pupils, and their willingness to engage in the political debate of today.
"I would like to thank the students at St. Peters for inviting me to the school and for the effort they made in organising and ensuring the successful running of the day. I look forward to visiting again in the future."
As part of National Apprenticeships Week, Paul met with a number of care apprentices on Housing 21's health and social care programme to learn more about the services provided by the organisation.
Housing 21 is a social enterprise that focuses on providing homes and services, helping people to increase their independence and also in bringing communities together. Housing 21's Wolverhampton office is just one of 37 care offices nationwide that provide 131 000 hours of care each week to 10 000 care users.
Liz Scott-Walter, who is the vocational services business partner for Housing 21 commented "We're delighted that Paul Uppal has been able to visit our office and meet some of the people involved in our apprenticeship programme. The professional development of our workforce is very important to us and we are proud of the achievements of the health and social care apprentices."
About the visit Paul said "It was excellent to meet with apprentices of all ages today. I found the number of young men coming forward encouraging; in what has been traditionally a female profession.
"What I found most heartening was that I saw a tangible demonstration of lifelong learning, adaptation and skills, which is not only good for the people I met today but also for Wolverhampton as a whole."
Today Paul visited Wolverhampton Grammar School at a significant time in its history; 2012 marks the 500th anniversary of the school's opening. The day began with Paul observing a session of the Student Parliament, a unique initiative designed to give all students an opportunity to raise and debate issues in a democratically elected body.
The floor was then opened up to members of the parliament, who put various questions to Paul on a range of topics including tuition fees, the August riots and the conflict in Afghanistan.
Paul then took part in a question and answer session with sixth form pupils who are currently studying Government & Politics. A variety of local and national issues were raised by the pupils including regeneration in Wolverhampton city centre and employment opportunities.
The visit concluded with Paul meeting Headteacher, Mr Vincent Darby, to discuss the school's current scholarship scheme and how to ensure Wolverhampton based industries strive to employ local people.
Paul said "It was excellent meeting the pupils of Wolverhampton Grammar School today, particularly at this significant time as 2012 marks the 500th anniversary of the founding of the school. It is always encouraging to see pupils of all ages engaging in the political issues of today. I was impressed by the level of knowledge demonstrated by the pupils and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss and debate a range of topics.
"I was particularly encouraged by the number of sixth form students who said they would like to run their own business at some point in the future, which is a positive sign of aspiration and enterprise in Wolverhampton.
"I also enjoyed the opportunity to discuss scholarships and social mobility with the Headteacher, Mr Darby, and I look forward to revisiting the school in the near future."
Paul Uppal MP 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 the Wolverhampton South West constituency to write and nominate themselves. The competition was founded by Mike Weatherley MP in support of 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.
Musicians and live music venues within the constituency can find all forms and information on the competition at www.rockthehouse2012.com and can send in their nominations to Paul Uppal MP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any musicians outside the Wolverhampton South West constituency can still write to their MP to nominate themselves to take part. 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.
Paul Uppal MP said: “There is a wealth of live music talent in my constituency, and I would urge all musicians and live music venues to fill in an application and send it to me. We are fortunate to have some great music venues within the City Centre such as, The Slade Rooms and Wolverhampton Civic. 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.”
Founder, Mike Weatherley MP, said: “The UK has a world-leading music and creative industry and this competition aims to celebrate the very best up-and-coming artists; and to raise the profile of intellectual property rights among politicians. I urge all unsigned musicians to fill in an application form and send a copy of their music to their MP.”
My surgery at Springdale Methodist Church in Penn from 2pm onwards will be my last until the New Year. If you wish to book an appointment please contact my office on 01902 712 134.
I would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Looking back on the year I believe that as a country and as a city we have much to be proud of and be thankful for. We have much to look forward to next year, Britain will be hosting the Olympics and the Olympic Torch will be passing through Wolverhampton on 30 June next year.
We should use this period as we meet with friends and family over the Christmas to reflect and think about those who may not be as fortunate as we are both home and abroad, and what we are able to do to help them.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope to see as many of you in the new year as possible.
On Friday 9th December, Paul took part in a question and answer session with pupils at Highfields Science Specialist School. Students put various questions to Paul on a number of topics, including the economy, changes to tuition fees and the recent riots.
Paul said "It was excellent meeting the pupils today, and it is encouraging to see young people engaging in contemporary political issues. I appreciated the opportunity to answer any questions the pupils had and I look forward to visiting the school again in the future."
George Osborne today announced an Autumn Statement which is designed in tough times for tough times. It is a plan to invest in our economy, create jobs and build a sustainable future for the country.
We now know from the Office of Budget Responsibility, that the recession was even worse than we thought, history tells us that recovering from such a deep recession was always going to take time and effort. This has not been helped by conditions abroad, the eurozone debt crisis has increased pressures on the UK economy, which is why investment is welcomed to promote growth and create employment.
The IMF and OECD have said that without reducing the budget deficit there can be no sustained economic growth. We have seen what unsustainable debt levels have on the long term interest rates of countries such as Ireland, Greece, Spain and Italy - because of the action we have taken and continue to take this government is saving money for hard working taxpayers, businesses and families.
The Government is taking further action to help households and businesses through this difficult period by ensuring that deficit reduction is implemented fairly, with the financial sector paying a fair share; this is why we have taken the measures to ensure that the bank levy raises £2.5 billion.
We will introduce a National Loan Guarantee Scheme meaning up to £20 billion of guarantees for bank funding will be made available over two years. This will allow banks to offer lower cost lending to smaller businesses, allowing them to invest in new projects, and increasing growth.
It will be small businesses that create the majority of growth and employment as we move away from recession. Ever since the banking crisis small businesses have found it difficult to obtain funding and credit. Through this system of credit easing we can ensure that credit is provided where it is needed, guaranteeing that successful companies are not stifled by a shortage of lending.
We are continuing to support young people as well, in building for the future; we will invest an extra £600 million to fund 100 additional Free Schools by the end of this Parliament. This will include new specialist maths schools for 16-18 year olds, supported by strong university maths departments. This will guarantee that young people leaving school are equipped with the right skills and qualifications to obtain employment.
I welcome the measures put forward by the Chancellor, George Osborne; with the leadership of this Government and this Chancellor we can insulate our economy from external pressure and protect our economy from future shocks as well as the continuing eurozone crisis. We all recognise that the recovery was going to be difficult, but confidence in our economy from foreign investors shows that we are currently on the right track.
Paul Uppal today visited Sham Sharma, who owns and runs computer store Sunitek on Broad Street, Wolverhampton, on the first day of opening after the shop was hit by looting during the summer riots.
Paul speaking at the reopening said, "What happened to Sham and his store was a terrible shame, the final cost was in the region of £50,000 and there were fears that he may go out of business. It captured the social and economic cost of the riots and became a focal point for many.
"It has been a difficult time for Sham and the people of Wolverhampton, a time of rebuilding and reflecting on what has happened, but this is not the end, we need continuing support for businesses as they look to rebuild and look towards the future.
"What we have seen though from Sham and other retailers across the city is their resilience and in these difficult times this is what makes this city great. We will move forward from these terrible events, becoming a stronger and better city in the process."
The recent motion tabled by David Nuttall MP on an EU referendum has received a lot of attention. I have declined media offers to discuss this issue prior to the vote, largely because my decision was a difficult one, and I wanted to take the time to listen to both sides of the debate, including statements from both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary.
I want to take the opportunity to explain to constituents, the reasons why I voted against this motion. The motion we debated was as follows:
That this House calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom should
(a) remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;
(b) leave the European Union; or
(c) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.
As I have mentioned, the decision was difficult, as many of you are aware, I am a euro-sceptic by nature. I believe that too many powers have been given to Europe, and we should re-negotiate the terms of our membership. I do agree there are merits to our involvement with the European Union; however I was disappointed when the Labour Government signed the Lisbon Treaty. I remain very concerned about the institution which the EU has become. It is very different from the institution to which we signed up and I have a very strong view that the British people should be entitled to a say on whether or not they wish to remain part of the EU. Unlike the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, who stated this weekend he couldn't rule joining the Euro in future – let me assure that I categorically disagree that Britain should ever join the Euro and would campaign against any such proposal.
Even though I share many of my colleagues' views about the need to re-examine our relationship and involvement in the European Union, I chose not to support this motion. I am not against the British people having a referendum on our membership or the terms of our membership in the European Union, however I believe this was the wrong time and the wrong motion.
I know that some Members have said they consider wrong timing as an 'excuse' not to debate the issue; however I believe, as with most things, timing is crucial. As the media reports will tell you, the Euro zone is in crisis. It is in our national interest for our economy to ensure this crisis is resolved.
We are living through difficult economic conditions, with many constituents feeling the effects. Bringing the issue of EU membership to the forefront now would further destabilise the Euro zone and put our country's growth plans at risk.
I believe for constituents of Wolverhampton South West, bringing the economy back on track, providing jobs and ensuring long term stability and growth is of primary concern, we should not let this debate detract from our efforts to provide the economy with a plan for growth.
You may be interested to know that I only received 22 letters from constituents asking me to vote in favour of this motion. While I value the views of all constituents, this was significantly less correspondence than I have received on a number of other issues. I took all the comments I received on board, however believe that tackling the economy is what most constituents want the Government to give its full attention to.
Furthermore, as the Euro zone is in crisis, we do not knowing what sort of European Union will exist come 2012 when this referendum would be called under this motion. To debate our involvement with the European Union, we need to firstly know, what sort of Union will exist after this crisis is resolved. Only then can we accurately debate and discuss our involvement.
I believe that myself, my Conservative colleagues and the Prime Minister all share the view that we need to re-evaluate our relationship with the European Union, the question is simply how to achieve this. I welcome the Prime Minister's statement that we need to repatriate some powers back to Britain, but believe that a timescale is difficult to place on this. I hope that a re-negotiation of powers will occur and aim to work towards this in the future as I do believe it is an important issue for the future of this country.
On Friday 14th October, Paul joined parents in attending the Springdale Junior School 'Communication Day' assembly. Pupils participated in a range of activities where they experienced different methods of communication, such as sign-language and braille. The assembly gave the pupils a chance to show their parents and peers what they had learnt from the day.
Paul also discussed the 'Friends of Springdale' initiative set up by parents, which involves fundraising in order to buy new equipment for the school.
Paul said "It was fantastic to see the hard work staff and pupils had put into making the day a success and was great to see the day supported by so many parents.
"It is important we have an appreciation of the variety of forms of communication.
"I would also like to congratulate all those involved in the 'Friends of Springdale' initiative and I look forward to revisiting the school in the future."
On Friday 7th October Paul Uppal MP took part in a question and answer session with Wolverhampton Tenants Association who represent the welfare of tenants and leaseholders across Wolverhampton.
The session lasted for about an hour where tenants put a range of questions to Paul regarding the Government's social housing policy.
Paul said "It was fantastic to meet the Wolverhampton Tenants Association. I appreciated the opportunity to listen to their concerns and make them aware of the proposed changes to social housing that the Government are currently looking at.
"I believe that the important changes to be implemented strike the appropriate balance between the needs of new and existing tenants, whilst also increasing the supply and availability of social housing.
"I look forward to continuing to meet Wolverhampton Tenants Association and listening to their concerns."
On Friday 30th September, Paul Uppal MP hosted a coffee morning at Wolverhampton Cricket Club, taking part in the World's Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
As the largest fundraising event organised by Macmillan, it is a great opportunity to raise money for their important work in changing lives and reaching out to those affected by cancer. The event has grown and grown, with all sorts of events now being held, from coffee mornings to pub quizzes.
The event, held on a sunny morning at Wolverhampton Cricket Club was filled with tempting cakes and cookies, with all sales going to the charity. All involved were pleased that they were part of raising a grand total of £188 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Special thanks go to Wolverhampton Cricket Club and Wolverhampton Racecourse for the kind support for the event.
Speaking after the event, Paul said "It was a privilege to host an event to raise money for such an inspiring charity who reach out to so many affected by cancer. They support people through the difficult times, providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support. We all know someone who have been affected by cancer, and I am sure many are aware of the work that Macmillan do in changing lives for people with this terrible disease. I'm grateful to everyone who attended the coffee morning, and helped contribute to raising just under £200 for Macmillan".
On Friday 9th September 2011, Paul visited Age UK Wolverhampton, an independent charity based in the city centre. Age UK Wolverhampton works to 'promote the wellbeing of older people and to make later life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience'. The organisation provides a range of services including information and advice, telephone support, transport, a friendship club and many more.
Paul began the morning meeting with the CEO, Rosie Paskins, and trustees to get a summary of the structure and history of the organisation.
Paul was then given a tour of the building where he met with staff from various departments including the Hayward restaurant, insurance advice and the telephone support team.
After lunch Paul met various volunteers to discuss their personal experience of working for Age UK Wolverhampton. The contribution of volunteers to the organisation is vital. In the last year, 167 volunteers collated over 11 500 hours to the charity.
The day closed with a discussion on the expansion of Age UK Wolverhampton and 'Keep Active', a new scheme involving exercise and dance sessions for people aged over 50.
Paul said "It was fantastic to visit Age UK Wolverhampton today and to learn of the essential service they provide in supporting many people in later life. It was great to meet constituents who benefit greatly from the services provided by Age UK Wolverhampton.
"The commitment and passion of all staff at Age UK Wolverhampton is clear to see and I look forward to visiting the centre again in the near future".
Paul Uppal and Inspector Robin Edwards met this week to discuss the Government's role in addressing Metal Theft. As the price of metal increases, in times of such economic hardship inevitably there is an increase in metal related thefts. Inspector Robin Edwards states that this is an urgent issue which is increasingly affecting every constituency in the country.
Theft of metal has caused disruption and danger with the theft of copper railway cables and man-hole covers. Many churches have also been affected as lead has been taken from roofs, leading to thousands of pounds of repairs. Recently however, Police officers have noticed the prevalence of gold theft as the price of all precious metals has risen significantly. It is necessary for action to be taken to address this growing problem.
Currently, the issue falls under 'The Scrap Metal Act of 1964', however this is seen to be outdated and in need of urgent reform. The Police are working closely with Government through the Metal Theft Working Group to look at ways to update legislation to reflect the current situation. The Group have drafted a proposed new legislation which could be enforced to tackle the problem. 'The New Metal Theft Act' aims to make the rules and laws governing the metal industry more rigorous such as the need for photo-identification when trying to sell metal to scrap yards and recent documents showing proof of ownership. At the moment there is a trial operation being run in the North East by the Metal Theft Working Group using the proposed legislation and the success of this operation will determine the future of the proposed legislation.
Paul aims to continue to monitor this issue and work with the Police, and hopes through cooperation between Government and the Police new legislation can be brought in to provide tools to tackle the issue of Metal Theft.
After consulting with constituents and businesses in Wolverhampton City Centre, Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West has called for action on the volume of Street Preachers and Fundraisers.
Following an agreement in Manchester between the city centre management company, and, the self-regulating body that monitors face-to-face fundraising, Street Fundraisers will be limited to designated zones and will be only allowed to operate three days a week.
Paul has called for a similar solution in Wolverhampton to ensure that there is an attractive and pleasant atmosphere for shoppers in the City Centre;
"Shoppers say that the aggressive tactics used by some Street Fundraisers and Preachers leaves them feeling harassed and intimidated. We need a situation where consumers are allowed to shop peacefully without the apprehension of being stopped, whilst allowing charities to carry out the fundamental task of fundraising.
"Shoppers should be free to decide if they want to donate to charity without being ambushed in the street. We are by nature a benevolent nation, what I do not want to see is the relationship between the British people and Charities tarnished by the activities of aggressive Street Fundraisers.", Paul says.
Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West, has held a meeting with Wolverhampton City Council Chief Executive Simon Warren after consulting with businesses and members of the public in Wolverhampton City Centre.
The main findings of the consultation were concerns surrounding parking and the volume of street fundraisers and religious preachers. The number of empty shops was also cited as a worrying issue in the city centre.
Paul presented these findings to Mr Warren and called for a meeting between council officers and business leaders so they can discuss moving the city in a forward direction.
Paul said, "It is important that business owners and leaders can shape the direction of regeneration in the city, they are the driving force behind growth and job creation in the city.
"I am concerned about the number of people who are discouraged from visiting the city because of the volume of street fundraisers and other canvassers. We need a situation where consumers are allowed to shop peacefully without the apprehension of being stopped whilst allowing charities to carry out the fundamental task of fundraising.
"Finally I hope that if we can bring together businesses and work together we can make Wolverhampton the vibrant city it deserves to be."
On Friday 2nd September 2011, Paul visited Wolverhampton YMCA where he met with Chief Executive Steven Clay and Pauline Tomlinson (Head of Business Development) to discuss current projects run by the YMCA. Topics discussed included engaging with young people and dealing with drug and alcohol dependency.
Paul was also given a tour of the site, where he met with various staff members to discuss the fundamental work they do.
Paul said "It was fantastic to observe the vital work carried out by the YMCA first hand. The range of programmes offered at the site, to people of all ages, really can make a difference to people's lives and I look forward to revisiting the centre in the near future"
Paul Uppal MP for Wolverhampton South West launches a regular monthly Surgery at Whitmore Reans Welfare Centre, taking place on the first Friday of each month, due to demand this will be by appointment only.
Paul will continue to hold surgeries at the constituency office on the second floor of Gresham Chambers on subsequent Fridays.
Paul says "By having a regular surgery outside the office I get a chance to meet new people and hear views from the people that matter.
"I hope that more people will be encouraged to come and see me and discuss the issues that are affecting them. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible so we can continue to make Wolverhampton an even better place to live."
If you wish to see Paul at the Whitmore Reans Welfare Centre or to book a surgery appointment please phone 01902 712134.
Paul Uppal has welcomed the swift justice being handed down to rioters in the West Midlands. The latest figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that 126 court cases have already been heard in the area, following the violent disturbances in Birmingham, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.
Among those appearing in court in the West Midlands, 11 have been sentenced to immediate custody, three received non-custodial sentences, and the majority are remanded in custody awaiting sentence.
Following the riots across the country, during which shops were looted, buildings burned and five people died, almost 1,500 people have appeared in court as the Government sends a very strong message that such behaviour is wrong and will not be tolerated.
'What happened on our streets was absolutely appalling and local people rightly expect to see the rioters pay for their crimes. The courts are working swiftly and effectively to punish the wrongdoers and help ensure such disorder does not return to our communities.
"I am proud of the enormous effort being made across Government and the criminal justice system in the West Midlands to bring these individuals to justice as quickly as possible."
Paul has received a number of correspondences from local residents concerned over the changes to bus routes in the city.
Constituents have expressed concerns that their buses do not stop at the bus station, which has led to them feeling cut off from both the bus and train station. Particular concern has been expressed for elderly residents who now face a significant walk to access the train station and the new bus station.
All residents who have contacted Paul Uppal MP regarding this issue will receive a personal response from Centro to their concerns, however Paul is calling for a public meeting so that all local people affected will have a chance to raise their concerns.
Paul said "I feel it would be useful for Centro to hold a public meeting, as I know Wolverhampton residents would be grateful of an opportunity to raise their concerns directly with Centro. I understand that Centro feel these changes are an improvement and this meeting would also provide the opportunity for them to discuss the routes and reasons for the changes. If any residents would like to discuss their concerns regarding bus route changes, please contact me."
Wolverhampton experienced rioting on Tuesday evening. Shops were emptied and our city centre became a 'no go zone'. Businesses that took generations to build have been destroyed in a matter of minutes. Livelihoods that took years to create have vanished in a couple of hours. During the clean-up the next morning, I was struck by a mental image. There is an Indian saying that it takes a lot of effort to grow a flower: it needs water, love, time and effort, but anyone in one callous moment can come and stamp on it and destroy it.
Many will have seen the TV coverage of Sham Sharma's shop, which was completely looted by thieves. He and I have been struck by the total lack of respect and the disregard shown by some young people for the rights and property of others. We as a Government must do everything possible to make sure that this never, ever happens again. There is a need to restore confidence in the safety of our towns and cities, so that they are no longer boarded-up ghost towns of an evening. To achieve this, a continuing strong response is needed from the authorities. I welcome the initiatives announced earlier today.
I have met with many people after the events that gripped Wolverhampton Tuesday evening, and I am grateful to the Prime Minister for taking the time to meet business owners and people that have been affected by these terrible events and for reassuring them the police are being given the right tools to address the lawless behaviour. I am also grateful to our Police and Emergency Services that have done us proud up and down the country.
Many are questioning the values of society and wondering how the country has ended up in this situation. I have had many conversations with an elderly gentleman in my constituency, Mr Gurdev Rai about what he titles the three R's, Respect, Responsibilities and Rights.
It is clear that the rights to live free from fear have been destroyed for many by the actions we have seen over the past few days. Some of the rioters have spoken of their right to express their views, to 'show the authorities what they can do' and to cause havoc in doing so. Much has been said of their rights, however they display very little acknowledgment of their responsibilities. Responsibilities that each of us has to each other, our communities, and this nation as a whole. Maybe this is something that has been neglected in the education that young people have received both at home and at school. It is clear that if everyone was to behave in this manner, our society could not exist as it does. It is the responsibility of all to maintain all that we hold dear in this country.
We all agree in the principles of the right to a voice, to an opinion, but to do so within the limits of the law which protects the values of society. We should be grateful to live in a democratic and peaceful society. Many young people across the world have been willing to die for the rights we enjoy in this country. We have the right to free speech, free press and to congregate and protest peacefully. These rioters have abused these rights and have destroyed much of the stability that has existed. They have destroyed confidence in the safety of our towns and cities, and left many scared of our young people.
They have let us all down, none more so than their fellow young people. Scenes have shown there are many young people who value their society and work hard to maintain it. To return to the flower story, what I saw in Wolverhampton on Wednesday morning was many young people planting those flowers for the future.
To live in a positive and enriching society we must all ensure that we live by a principle of respect. Respect for each other, for our communities, for authority and the law that maintains it. To have respect, we must show this respect and acknowledge our responsibilities.
Many have commented that respect in its fuller sense has been lost from society. Some constituents have said that they feel the education seem is failing in this regard. Gone has the time when young people were inspired by their community leaders, teachers and parents. Instead they look to fame and celebrity culture, and consequently the lifestyle that goes with it. We are failing to inspire our children to know their own value and self worth, a value that is not attributed to fame and wealth, instead striving to be the best you can be.
If we are to restore respect for authority and for our society, this must start at home and in school. We need to return to the values that make our society great. This is not celebrity, fast cars, and a culture of 'me first' regardless of the consequences. This is the real world where young people should look to those who aspire to respect others and work hard for what they achieve.
These are the real heroes of our society, those who know their own value, respecting not only themselves, but their families, community, society and country.
The trustees of the Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Sikh temple in Wolverhampton have donated £5,000 to the development of the Atrium at Springdale Methodist Church & Community Centre.
On receiving the cheque from Paul Uppal MP, who is a trustee for the temple, Reverend Donald H Ryan -the Project Overseer - said, "We are extremely grateful for the generous gift from our Sikh friends for the community centre."
Paul Uppal MP said, "What has impressed me most was the community pulling together, people from different faiths working together for a common goal. The money donated today will go a long way to completing the community centre, which I hope will be enjoyed by all members of the community."
After a meeting between business owners and The Prime Minister in Wolverhampton, David Cameron today announced a review of planning laws to make it easier for shops to put up shutters.
Prime Minister David Cameron visited Wolverhampton and met with Local MP Paul Uppal and local businesses. At the meeting some shop owners raised the difficulties they have adding shutters to a listed building because of existing planning laws.
One shop in particular, because of its location has been subject to attack on a number of occasions, most recently during riots on Tuesday.
Paul Uppal speaking on the announcements said, "This is a problem that is unnecessary, it is clear that after the recent events, whilst it is important that we preserve listed buildings, this must be balanced against the need to protect businesses safely and effectively.
"I am pleased that retail managers were able to raise this issue with the Prime Minister, and that he has taken this decision swiftly – I know it will be of great benefit to many businesses across Wolverhampton and up and down this country."
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, visited Wolverhampton on Wednesday and met with police officers and local business owners to discuss the rioting on Tuesday evening.
The Prime Minister assured those at the meeting that more police would be out on the streets on Wednesday, and police forces up and down the country would be given the tools they needed to address the situation and return order to the streets.
One local business owner stated after the meeting, "The Prime Minister listened to all of us and said he would give the police all the resources they need in order to retake control of our City. I think it was brilliant that he came and held a meeting with us. We felt like something would be done".
The following day, the Prime Minister returned to Westminster as MPs were recalled to debate the recent public disorder which took place across England. To read the Prime Minister's statement to the Commons, please visit: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110811/debtext/110811-0001.htm#1108117000001
Today Paul Uppal took a tour of the new Wolverhampton Bus Station and met with employees of Centro to discuss the launch.
Speaking about the new development, Paul said " it is really great to see some regeneration and investment in Wolverhampton, and I welcome this addition to the city. For the many visitors by coach it makes an impressive first impression, and I'm sure it will also benefit local residents with a smart and weatherproof facility".
I did note the lack of pedestrian crossing linking the bus station to Queen Street and Lichfield Street, and will be highlighting this issue to Centro and Wolverhampton City Council.
After the Prime Ministers Statement and subsequent debate, I thought it may be usefull to outline my own thoughts on this matter;
"The Prime Minister today showed strength of character and leadership in a time of crisis for this country. Further I welcome the appointment of Lord Justice Leveson to look at specific wrong doing in the Police and Press, and James Murdoch for backing the review into media ethics. I hope the events of the last few days will signal a change in standards, so that we can see positive outcomes to this scandal.
"I would hope that the resignations of John Yates and Sir Paul Stephenson do not absolve the Metropolitan Police from their responsibility over the scandal, because as a Government, we do not only need to restore trust and faith in journalists and newspapers, but the police and parliament who's responsibility it is to prevent said events occurring.
"I appreciate the role that investigative journalism plays, but with such a sea change people must question what constitutes news, and question how this news is obtained. While the Government and Authorities can and should always insure illegal behaviour does not occur, in light of this scandal we must all reflect and hold to account the papers that we read, and the news we watch."
I am happy to congratulate two Wolverhampton residents on winning medals on the Special Olympics Gymnastics. The Special Olympics were held in Athens Greece and there were over 7000 disabled athletes who represented 180 countries. Great Britain was able to send 157 athletes and 56 coaches to this event which was the largest multisport event of 2011.
Sarah Whitehouse won a gold medal on the bars and a silver medal for her all around performance. Richard Hammond won two silver medals on both the parallel and horizontal bars as well as the gold medal for his all around performance. Both of these athletes were trained and coached by Greg Silvester who is also from Wolverhampton, and a Special Olympics GB board member and award-winning former Special Olympics GB gymnast.
I am so excited for these young athletes and very proud of their representation of Wolverhampton and Great Britain.
Paul spoke today in a Westminster Hall debate secured by Caroline Nokes on Dangerous Dogs, a number of issues were debated from the compulsory microchipping of dogs to the rise in 'status dogs'. Ministers have said the Government is now considering a number of options relating to the control of dangerous dogs and improving responsible dog ownership and a decision will be made in the future.
Paul speaking after the debate said, "I would start by urging the Government to introduce legislation as quickly as possible, for any delay in tackling this issue could have a devastating impact on children and families. This issue has affected families across Britain, from the suburbs, to our green spaces and the inner city estate; we can all talk about lives that have been devastated by a dog attack and the impact that this has had on friends and relatives.
"There needs to be a greater responsibility on owners of dogs, and the law must reflect this, I know that I am echoing the words of David Cameron but if a person chooses to own and look after a dog then they should be legally responsible for the actions of that dog. In agreeing to take that dog into their home they must be ensure that the dog is safe and behaves in an appropriate way wherever it is.
"I would like to also commend the work by the Communications Workers Union in standing up for its members on this issue, for trying to protect them as they carry out their day-to-day duties. One statistic that stands out is that according to the CWU, 70 per cent of the dog attacks on their members occur on private property.
"This means that as the 'attack' occurs in a private space rather than a 'public space' the victim is unprotected. "As a result, police have been powerless to prosecute owners for some of the most horrific attacks by dogs in recent years." Any change in the law must take account of this and extend protection towards victims of all dog attacks."
Paul Uppal the Conservative Member of Parliament has called for free parking in Wolverhampton city centre. Paul raised the issue in the House of Commons and called for a debate in order to boost trade.
Paul said, "My constituency carries the unenviable burden of having one of the highest rates of empty shops. Will the Leader of the House facilitate a debate on what measures could be introduced to encourage local authorities to provide free car parking, which would fillip not just to city centres but to high streets and small independent retailers".
As shopping centres in neighbouring Birmingham thrive, free car parking would make our city more attractive to shoppers, giving a much needed boost to the retail sector of Wolverhampton.
Paul Uppal took time out for a special Strawberry Tea party in the House of Commons on Tuesday 14 June.
Arranged by Breast Cancer Care, the event was a chance for Paul to find out more about the charity's work supporting people affected by breast cancer and the issues that are important to the 50,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year.
And as well as sampling a superb selection of mouth-watering strawberry treats, Paul also had the chance to meet some of the charity's volunteers, who are instrumental in delivering its free support services in communities across the UK.
Commenting on the event, Paul said: "I know that there will be countless families across my constituency who have been affected by breast cancer, either personally or through the experience of a friend, family member or work colleague.
The Strawberry Tea was a great way to find out more about the impact breast cancer can have on the lives of people affected and to learn about the free support services Breast Cancer Care provide. By hosting your own Strawberry Tea event this summer you can help Breast Cancer Care to continue to be there for anyone affected by this disease."
Geri Halliwell, Breast Cancer Care's Patron, urged anyone interested in supporting the charity to host their own Strawberry Tea.
"A Strawberry Tea with my best friends – how fabulous! And all to help Breast Cancer Care, what could be more fun?! Get all your guests to kindly make a donation, which helps Breast Cancer Care to support over 1.7 million people every year. Breast Cancer Care provides world class support, help and information to anyone affected by breast cancer."
Thank you to all residents who attended the meeting today regarding the proposed phone mast on Finchfield Hill.
The strength of concern about this mast is evident, and as your MP I will support you in voicing these concerns to Wolverhampton City Council.
As discussed, I would encourage you to send your concerns to the Council either by letter or email. I have been informed that responses need to reach the Council by 23rd June 2011.
Details for contacting the Council:
Quote reference: DC/11/00531/TELMr Alan Murphy
Mr Alan Murphy
St. Peters Square
Paul Uppal the Conservative Member of Parliament has called upon Nick Herbert to implement a Royal Commission on Policing, in his open letter to the minister Paul outlines his belief that a royal commission implemented now would be in the best interest of the police force and communities up and down the country.
Paul said, "We are approaching a critical time for the police service in this country, the Winsor review of police pay and conditions, the Hutton review of public sector pensions, and the Neyroud review of police leadership and training, will shape and define the police force for a generation.
"We all agree that the police force is a credit to this country, which is why it saddens me that John Giblin, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales' sergeants' central committee, felt it necessary to speak out and say that, "a royal commission was 'desperately needed' as the police service witnesses a 'fragmentation of the police service characterised by a lack of standardisation, consistency and clarity of roles and responsibilities.
"In light of this I have decided to write to Nick Herbert the Minister for Police urging the implementation of the Royal commission, a commission that will ensure that needed reforms reflect the needs and expectations of a modern police force. I understand that our Government believes that there is not time for a wholesale review when savings are needed to cut the deficit, but surely this is an issue that is as paramount as the deficit and the country's finances."
"I do not believe that we can afford to trade speed with outcomes of these reforms."
During National Volunteer Week in June, Paul Uppal MP had the pleasure of spending a day helping volunteers at Wightwick Manor and Gardens which is owned by the National Trust.
Paul learnt about the variety of different roles for National Trust and spent time gardening, helping serve teas and also selling raffle tickets.
Speaking about the day, Paul said, "it was a pleasure to spend a day at Wightwick Manor and Gardens, I particularly enjoyed working in the lovely gardens on such a sunny day. I also enjoyed speaking with volunteers and learning about the rewarding work they carry out".
The National Trust has many options for those seeking to volunteer, from volunteering holidays to working at a location in your local area in roles such as conservation or working in the historic houses. For more information on volunteering with the National Trust visit their website www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Regrettably due to my commitments on the Welfare Bill Committee, I was unable to contribute or vote on the debate on the future of the European Financial Stability Mechanism. I will however outline my position as I was unable to attend;
As we are not a member of the euro zone we should not be held responsible to ensure the financial stability of the currency itself or the economies of the countries involved.
I am pleased that from 2013, it is expected that the European Financial Stability Mechanism will be permanently replaced by a €500bn European Stability Mechanism. This will be financed by guarantees from Eurozone countries only, so it will not involve any liability for the UK.
We must though remember why we find ourselves in such a position; The EFSM was originally agreed at an extraordinary meeting of the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 9 May 2010, this meeting was undertaken by the then Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling.
George Osborne made it clear to the Chancellor at the time that he did not support what he had done. I agree with this as money which this Government saved under the comprehensive spending review should not go to stabilise the economies of Eurozone countries. Governments have found themselves in this position due to the mismanagement of their own public spending and unsustainable budget deficits, taxpayers in this country should not be bearing the cost.
Problems have arisen in the past few months regarding the hand searches of Sikh turbans in airports based on new EU regulations. Under the EU regulations, airport security is allowed to insist on a hand search of the turban if the passenger in question either sets off the metal detector or is chosen at random for a search. This is seen as deeply disrespectful in the Sikh culture and it is received by most as a humiliating breach of their personal privacy.
The Department for Transport has taken the lead in trying to rectify the situation in establishing a trail that would have airports offer swabbing of the turban for explosive residue as well as hand held metal detectors as options for those individuals who need to be searched. This trial was well received by the Sikh community but is still not the norm in airports. The trial is optional in airports, but even in the participating airports, some staff are loathe to allow Sikh passengers the option.
There is still much discussion among Sikhs regarding this issue and many Members are being contacted by Sikhs in their constituency which is why I have sponsored the Westminster Hall debate that is taking place today. Hopefully we can get clarification on the things which still remain ambiguous as well as enter into a frank discussion amongst both ourselves and the minister on what we feel needs to happen in the future.
The current trial is not a long term solution and there are still screening problems at both airports in the UK as well as all over the world. It is my hope that the swab test is the standard for testing all over Europe in the near future and that it is offered first rather than the attempt to force people into a hand search. There is always hope for tomorrow. There is new technology being developed all the time from x-ray machines to more sophisticated swab tests that could make this problem a thing of the past. But until that happens we must work together to increase both awareness in the Sikh community regarding their rights to ask for a swab test as well as in airports to ensure that all passengers are treated with respect regardless of their choice of religious dress.
There can be no mistake that the events that have unfolded in Japan over the last week are devastating. Japan will be forever altered by the tragedy and they will continue to need help as they try and rebuild the areas hit by both the earthquake and the tsunami. Yesterday David Cameron spoke to the House of Commons and I asked him if we would see the full force of British friendship and generosity during this time. Here is his response:
The Prime Minister: I can absolutely give my hon. Friend that assurance. I spoke to our ambassador at lunchtime today, and he said that the way in which we respond will be very important to the Japanese people. Japan and Britain have a very strong, close relationship, and we should do everything we can to say, "We are with you at this time of need, and we are going to give you aid and help." Japan is an enormously capable country with fantastic technology and ingenious people, so if anyone can cope with the appalling things that have been visited on them, they can. There is also room for friends to help as well.
I have received word from the West Midlands Fire Service that 12 of our finest fire service personnel have gone to Japan to assist in the rescue efforts. I wanted to ask that you keep the team as well as the whole of Japan in your thoughts and prayers. And if you want to help in Japan you can donate to many organisations that are doing great work by clicking the links below.
Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West) (Con): It is an honour to follow the right hon. Member for Croydon North (Malcolm Wicks). I very much shared some of the sentiments that he expressed. His speech contained a good deal of common sense. I would not expect anything else from a fellow Wolverhampton Wanderers fan; that is the least I would expect from him. I do not think I am the third Blairite in a row to speak, but I will endeavour to add some thoughts, particularly from a personal perspective. Six minutes is not long enough to do justice to my full thoughts on the Bill, but I shall be brief. Hon. Members may be happy to hear that I do not intend to use all of my allowance.This piece of legislation is a seminal Bill. It is one of the reasons that I hold the politics that I do. I am a Wolverhampton Member and Wolverhampton South West is a no-nonsense constituency, full of decent, hard-working folk who say it as it is and always wear their heart on their sleeve. The sentiment that has been repeatedly expressed to me is that the Bill has been a long time coming. Its central ethos is that work always pays. I shall sum it up by recalling my personal experience of my father.
My father came to this country with less than £5 in his pocket and no idea where he would sleep that night. He took that risk not only because he wanted to live in a country that had choice, freedom and opportunity, but because he wanted to work. Within 48 hours of his arrival, someone tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Do you know you can actually claim benefits?" That was anathema to him; it was not even in his mind. He came with the ethos of working, and working is what he has always done. That story has been replicated by those of scores of my relatives, who came over to work and had the ethos of working hard at their core.
I have actually been poor. I was brought up in poverty. I say this to Opposition Members-to all Members, actually: there is no nobility in poverty. It is something one strives to escape from. I went to a state school. My friends divided into two camps: those who had the ambition to move on, and those who, even then, in the late '70s and early '80s, would tell me to my face that they envisaged that the rest of their life would be on benefits, and that they were quite happy to live that way. The Bill, through its ethos of making work pay, tackles that problem head-on.
The right hon. Member for Croydon North said that a lot of people had the stuffing knocked out of them in the 1980s. I will use a personal example. Many of the uncles that I referred to earlier lost their jobs because they worked in industries in the midlands in that period, but almost all went on to establish their own businesses. They were driven by ambition and the ethos of trying to better their lives.I have spoken a lot from an historical perspective, but I want to bring my remarks up to date with a personal story that I heard from one of my closest friends just after Christmas. He had run a motor salvage firm, which, through a bit of bad luck and for other reasons, had gone downhill and eventually folded. People said to him, "How about claiming? You've contributed enough in your life," but he said, "No. I've worked for myself and that's what I'm going to do." He set up a new business-a cleaning business. He has worked hard, but whenever he tries to employ staff-this frequently comes up-people approach him and say, "I'm happy to work for you if you give me a bit of cash on the side." What they are saying is that work does not pay in those circumstances.
I am glad, and absolutely proud, to be part of the Government who are introducing the Bill. To make a non-partisan point, this has been a long time coming. It should have been done, not just in the past 13 years, but very many years ago. I shall sum up briefly by paraphrasing a saying that was used by my hon. Friend the Member for North West Leicestershire (Andrew Bridgen): there is never a wrong time to do the right thing. As the Chinese always say, the first step of any journey is a long journey, and the most difficult step. I am happy to put my shoulder to the wheel and support the Bill, and push it through its very important journey.
Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West has been thanked for his involvement in a successful decent homes bid by Wolverhampton Homes. Paul who has been central to negotiations with Housing Minister Grant Shapps and the Government was thanked by the Chief Executive Lesley Roberts for his involved in securing £66.5m of funds from central government.
Paul Uppal speaking after the announcement said," I have supported the decent homes bid ever since I came into office last May and was contacted by Lesley. This project has been at the heart of my first six months as a MP and it is great to see all this hard work creating a positive result for the people of Wolverhampton"
"This money will go towards the refurbishing of the social housing in Wolverhampton and will mean that all tenants across the city will have an even nicer place to live. I was concerned that if this money was not made available it would lead to a two-tiered social housing stock – this would be unacceptable for the people and more importantly the tenants of Wolverhampton."
During National Apprenticeship Week, Paul Uppal MP met with two apprentices training at Alex's Restaurant and Bar in Compton, Wolverhampton.
The two 17 year old apprentices are also currently working towards an NVQ Level 2 Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery at City of Wolverhampton College.
Paul said "I'm really pleased that I was able to meet Ashleigh and Nick, their hard work and passion is evident. I also had the opportunity to meet with staff of City of Wolverhampton College and discuss the importance of apprenticeships and learn more about the work they do in supporting both employers and apprentices".
"As someone who's been in business for 20 years, I know how important and crucial it is to get hands-on, practical experience. The Government is committed to supporting the apprenticeship program, creating up to 75,00 new apprenticeship places, investing up to £250 million over the spending review period, and increasing advanced level apprenticeships to help meet are target to have a world class skills base."
Paul today chaired a Westminster Hall debate on Economic Regeneration in Wolverhampton and the Black Country. Paul stated how important it was to raise this issue as Wolverhampton has experienced a lack of major investment over the past two decades.
The aim of the debate was to bring together Black Country MPs to raise the profile of this region at both a parliamentary and national level. Paul said "I do not want to dwell on what has passed, but look ahead to what can be achieved for this region, as I believe it has much to offer".
The debate provided a forum for discussion aimed at encouraging private investment and finance to the region.
Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West, spoke today in the debate on Decent Homes in Westminster Hall. He said the following:
As a government, one of our primary goals is to move power away from Whitehall and out across the country to individual councils and cities and to the people who know what is best for their own community. That is why it is so hard to speak about widespread national programs like Decent Homes- there are always different local factors, local economies and local councils and local needs that play a part. I cannot comment on the program as a whole but I do know that Wolverhampton needs Decent Homes.
Our Decent Homes program in Wolverhampton is carried out by Wolverhampton Homes, an ALMO, that is doing good work in our community. I have had the opportunity to meet with them and see some of their programs first hand and I think that losing their ability to complete the job that they have started would do a great disservice to Wolverhampton. Not only is Wolverhampton Homes updating houses that are in desperate need of repairs but they are providing jobs in a city with a very high unemployment rate. They have started an apprenticeship program and have been training over 60 apprentices a year. They have also given the very tenants that they are helping a way to be involved with the decisions that will affect them and several of the tenants in affected homes serve on the board of Wolverhampton Homes. Wolverhampton has been hit hard by the recession and Wolverhampton Homes has been an organisation has been both employing local residents as well as ensuring that those in some of the most indecent homes now have a decent place to live. As a Conservative Government we want people to have dignity and pride in their communities and in their lives and work together to begin making the nation a better place to live- what better place to begin than in the homes?
Please contact Andrea Coker on 0207 219 7195 for more information.
Welcome. My name is Paul Uppal and I am the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West.
I hope that this website will keep you up to date with what I am doing for the people of Wolverhampton both in the constituency and in Westminster.
PAUL UPPAL MP
Paul Uppal MP
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020 7219 7195
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Paul Uppal MP
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