Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

News

Following the Ofsted and CQC local area special educational needs and disability (SEND) inspection report, Lancashire is now required to submit a Written Statement of Action within 70 working days, due to the significant concerns set out in the report published 16 January.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“I note with serious concern Ofsted and CQC’s comments on special educational needs and disability provision run jointly by Lancashire County Council and the CCG.

“Many constituents have previously written to me with concerns and complaints/seeking support on these issues which are supported by the findings in this report”

“It is alarming to have confirmed numerous failings in Lancashire, including the failure of leaders not working together to deliver necessary reforms and that children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities not being a priority for leaders.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council and the Chief Officer at West Lancashire CCG to ask them to answer the charges made in the report and to ask for each of the cases I have previously raised to be re-examined.

“The Department for Education and NHS England have organised a meeting with the county council and CCG at which we will be told how they intend to address the concerns raised by inspectors and make the necessary improvement in services.”

Rosie Cooper MP comment on Lancashire special educational needs and disability failings

Following the Ofsted and CQC local area special educational needs and disability (SEND) inspection report, Lancashire is now required to submit a Written Statement of Action within 70 working days,...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is supporting Time to Talk Day on Thursday 1 February.

Too often, it’s left to people with mental health problems to talk about mental health. It has often been treated as a taboo subject – something to only be spoken about in quiet corners. But mental health affects us all, and everyone should feel able to talk about it.

On Time to Talk Day 2018, let’s spread the word that wherever you are, any place can be the right space to talk about mental health – queuing for the cinema, sitting on a bus, or even in a lift!

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I will continue to campaign for improved mental health services in my role as an MP, as a member of the Health Select Committee and working with local and national partners.

“There are little things we can all do to help break down the stigma around mental health, most importantly, talking about it.

“Too many people with mental health problems are still made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Whether you are at work, at home – or even up a mountain – have a conversation about mental health. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place.

“I’d encourage employers, schools and community groups to all get involved - together we can tackle the stigma of mental health. Take a look at the Time to Talk Day website for ideas and free resources.”

Time to Talk Day takes place every year on the first Thursday in February. It is run by Time to Change, the social movement changing how we all think and act about mental health problems. 

The Time to Talk Day website link is: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day-2018/make-most-day

Rosie Cooper MP supports mental health charity's 'Time to Talk' Day

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is supporting Time to Talk Day on Thursday 1 February.Too often, it’s left to people with mental health problems to talk about mental health. It...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has reacted to the announcement by Transport for the North (TfN) of their bid for increased transport funding for the North, with deep concern at the complete omission of West Lancashire from its plan.

TfN launched their Strategic Transport Plan this week yet among the 98 pages of ideas and aspirations, there is no mention of West Lancashire, Ormskirk, Burscough and only a passing mention of Skelmersdale.

Since 2012, MP Rosie has campaigned both locally and nationally for a railway in Skelmersdale, the second largest town in the North West without one. Throughout this period Rosie has raised the matter with numerous Transport Ministers and even orally with the then Prime Minister in 2014.

Lancashire County Council’s West Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan 2014 and Merseytravel’s Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy 2014 have discussed at length the economic and social advantages that a Skelmersdale railway would bring.

Rosie has also continuously campaigned for the reinstatement of the Burscough Curves and the bypass for Ormskirk and Burscough.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I have campaigned tirelessly for improved transport links across West Lancashire for many years, including Skelmersdale railway station, the reinstatement of the Burscough Curves, an improved east-west rail service and a bypass for Ormskirk and Burscough.

“This plan from Transport for the North disappointingly does not address any of these transport projects and risks ploughing all the resources into the North’s city regions while leaving behind economic centres and residents outside of these areas.

“West Lancashire needs significant transport infrastructure investment and I will continue to campaign for this.

“I have written to the Chair and Chief Executive of Transport for the North and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Northern Powerhouse to ask why West Lancashire has been omitted and confirmed that I do not welcome this plan while it appears to neglect critical transport issues for my constituents.

“We need action and funding, not another talking shop.”

Rosie Cooper MP concerned by West Lancashire omission from Transport for the North plans

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has reacted to the announcement by Transport for the North (TfN) of their bid for increased transport funding for the North, with deep concern at...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Locally Southport and Ormskirk, as with the NHS generally, has been under great pressure over the holiday season which was discussed when I met with the STP and hospital bosses on Friday.

“I understand that the pressure is currently easing slightly but the outlook is still very, very difficult and I thank all members of staff who have worked so hard to look after patients.

“Local Hospital leaders together with NHSE and STP have been working together to ensure that patients get as good care as possible in the circumstances but there is no doubt the Government have serious questions to answer about lack of resources in the NHS and Ambulance services. My constituents spent many, many hours waiting with ambulance personnel or in A&E for treatment. With elective operations cancelled and a crisis situation in A&E throughout the country - it’s clear the Government's NHS winter plan has failed."

STP_meeting.JPGPictured: Ann Marr, Chief Executive, St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Amanda Doyle, STP Lead for the Lancashire and South Cumbria footprint and Co-Chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, Rosie Cooper MP, Richard Fraser, Chairman, St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Responding to comments from the Southport MP Damien Moore, MP Rosie said:
“The facts speak for themselves, the NHS, the ambulance service, Southport and Ormskirk, and A&E are all struggling due to sustained underfunding by the government. 

“Reports of scores of residents waiting at A&E for hours and taking up the limited ambulance resource available is deeply concerning.

“There are concerns that local demands are not adequately resourced and these concerns need to be investigated, which is why I have tabled a number of questions and met with the hospital about the waiting times in A&E, pressure on the ambulance services, and exactly what financial help has been given and whether some of this money that has been announced has ‘strings’ attached to it and may never arrive.

“We need to know whether all planned admissions have been stopped, how many cases they have of delayed transfers of care and whether the Trust is now at level three (with four being the highest) in the escalation management system indicating real problems the Tories cannot just ignore with a few words!

“The NHS is in crisis and the Conservatives will never be forgiven for starving it of the money and staff it desperately needs.”

Rosie Cooper MP comments on the current NHS crisis

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:“Locally Southport and Ormskirk, as with the NHS generally, has been under great pressure over the holiday season which was discussed when I met with...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is encouraging charities and community groups to apply for up to £2,000 of funding through the E.ON Energising Communities Fund, available for the second time this year. 

To be eligible for funding organisations must submit a request which supports activities that help bring about a reduction in their own energy use, help generate energy from a renewable source, or provide energy efficiency advice for local people.

Applicants are encouraged to get their funding requests in now, ahead of the application deadline of Monday, 29th January 2018. Groups can apply for funding of up to £2,000 which may cover the full or partial cost of energy-related improvements and activities.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for charity and community groups across West Lancashire to apply for funding to support projects that reduce energy use, generate renewable energy or provide advice on energy efficiency.”

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Suzanne Doxey, Community Relations Manager at E.ON, said:
“We’re really excited to be offering our E.ON Energising Communities Fund for the second time this year to give more local community groups and charities the opportunity to apply for funding. 

“At E.ON we understand that heating bills can account for a large part of the running costs for a community group or charity and so their need to become energy efficient and save on costs is really important. With our Energising Communities Fund we’re able to support community groups and charities who would like to become more sustainable but don’t necessarily have the available funds to be able to progress with their plans.

“Since launching our fund in 2013, we’ve distributed over £140,000 to almost 85 community groups nationwide to fund energy-related projects and it’s been great to hear the benefits that the funding has had, not only on the groups and charities themselves, but the wider community who use the facilities. We look forward to receiving the applications and supporting more successful community groups with the fund.”

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For full Terms and Conditions for the E.ON Energising Communities Fund and to access the application form, please visit eonenergy.com/community  

The E.ON Energising Communities Fund is one of the ways E.ON is supporting homeowners and the wider community to become more energy efficient and to save money on their heating bills. To find out more about how E.ON could support, visit eonenergy.com

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Rosie Cooper MP encourages local groups to apply for up to £2,000 from E.On Energy's Communities Fund

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is encouraging charities and community groups to apply for up to £2,000 of funding through the E.ON Energising Communities Fund, available for the second time...

The third Monday in January, this year 15 January, is typically tagged ‘Blue Monday’.

This is recognised as being a day when for many people across West Lancashire and elsewhere in the North West, the Christmas bills roll in and they find themselves in uncertain and stressful financial circumstances.

In response to this United Utilities has this week launched two new financial support schemes, one of which guarantees to help customers who are behind with their water bills to be debt free within two years.

It has launched these schemes today at its first ever affordability summit where it has brought together organisations from across the region who deal with customers in challenging circumstances to discuss what more can be done to support those struggling to make ends meet.

United Utilities’ new payment plus scheme is for customers who are behind with their water bill payments. For those customers who commit to a payment plan, for every pound they pay off towards their outstanding debt, United Utilities will pay a pound too.

After six months, the company will increase its contribution to two pounds for every pound the customer pays and after two years, any debt that remains will be written off – guaranteed debt-free in two years.

In response to the roll-out of Universal Credit, the company is also offering customers a suspension or delay in their payments for up to eight weeks, giving them time to manage their budgets in the event of a short-term reduction in their household income due to the transition over to Universal Credit.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper met with United Utilities representatives recently to hear about their plans:
“I very much welcome the efforts of United Utilities in supporting its customers who may be struggling with their payments or increasing debt and providing a manageable and attractive solution to clearing some of their utility bills.

“Not only can keeping up with rising utility bills be difficult, but it’s widely known that many families really feel the pinch of their financial debts after the Christmas period.

“It will be appreciated by many customers the opportunity to work with United Utilities to help clear any debts through the newly launched schemes.”

2018.01.05_United_Utilities_meeting_with_Rosie_Cooper_MP.jpg
Rosie Cooper MP meets with United Utilities' John Martin and Keith Haslett

Louise Beardmore, customer service director at United Utilities, said:
“From our point of view, if customers are struggling with water bills, they are likely to be struggling to pay most of their household bills, so this is collective challenge to see what more we could all be doing to help and support people.

“We already offer a wide range of financial assistance schemes to support our most vulnerable customers, but we are challenging ourselves to improve the scale and effectiveness of the support we offer. We also know lots of customers may be unaware of what we do or feel unable to reach out for the help.

“Coming together with others who can likewise support customers and encourage them to access the help available is important for getting people out of poverty and back on track.”

Over half of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK are in the North West and attending the summit are key agencies, utilities, local authorities, credit unions, foodbanks, housing associations and charitable organisations from across the region.

Supporting the event to emphasise the importance of organisations working together to tackle these issues is Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue. He said:
“Affordability is a central part of the agenda. During times of austerity, many people are offering support to those in their own communities who find themselves in the grip of poverty.

“It's important for large businesses to do the same; especially those businesses that provide an integral service to the most vulnerable and have a stake in tackling the poverty premium.

“Spiralling into debt is one of the largest contributing factors to rising poverty. It's why we need to work together - social business, corporates, the public sector, government - to scale up the solutions. Solutions that prevent people getting into problem debt in the first place, and - if they’re there - helping them find manageable and affordable routes out.

“At The Big Issue Group, our mission is to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. We exist to help those who need a hand up, and out, of extremely trying circumstances. Our Big Issue vendors come from a variety of backgrounds, and face a myriad of problems. We will continue to be there for the most vulnerable, but, more than ever, we also need to combine the ideas, energy and resources of all those working to dismantle the root causes of poverty in the UK.”

More information about these two new schemes, along with all the other financial assistance which United Utilities can provide, along with how to apply, can be found on the United Utilities website at www.unitedutilities.com/difficulty-paying-bill

Rosie Cooper MP welcomes United Utilities initiative on customer debt

The third Monday in January, this year 15 January, is typically tagged ‘Blue Monday’.This is recognised as being a day when for many people across West Lancashire and elsewhere in...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is pleased to report that West Lancashire Borough Council has commenced the rebilling process for the Discretionary Business Rates Scheme.

The business rates re-billing will provide many small businesses with financial support through a rebate settlement from the government’s funding allocation to local authorities.

Rosie Cooper MP initially contacted West Lancashire Borough Council about the rate relief schemes and publicising the eligibility criteria for local businesses.

Although assured by the Chief Executive that the financial allocations would be made by early October, this unfortunately did not happen.

Marcus Jones MP, Minister for Local Government contacted Rosie to raise this issue and requested her to urge West Lancashire Borough Council to get on with the rebilling.

With West Lancashire being the only one out of 14 councils in Lancashire failing to commence rebilling for the Discretionary scheme, and the risk of any unspent monies being returned to central government, Rosie again wrote to the Chief Executive.

It has since been confirmed that having consulted with Lancashire County Council on the matter, West Lancashire Borough Council has commenced the rebilling process.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“It has been a long time coming but I am pleased to confirm that in addition to the Supporting Small Business and Support for Pubs schemes, West Lancashire Borough Council are now also rebilling for the Discretionary Business Rates scheme.

“This is good news for many businesses in West Lancashire who will benefit from the financial support through the rebate settlement. With high streets declining across the country and businesses struggling with the battle against online competition, it is important national and local government is doing everything it can to promote sustainability and growth for businesses.

“I am pleased that the council are now getting on with the process and that it appears we won’t lose out on the £169,000 allocated by the department to support local business.

“For any business in West Lancashire who thinks they may be eligible make sure to get in touch with West Lancashire Borough Council for more information on the eligibility criteria.”

At the Spring Budget 2017, the Chancellor announced a £435 million package of support for business ratepayers over the next 4 years, following the 2017 business rate revaluation.

The package of support comprises 3 schemes:

  • a scheme to cap the annual bill increase for any ratepayer losing small business rate relief or rural rate relief as a result of the revaluation
  • a £300 million fund for local authorities to distribute over 4 years to help hard-pressed businesses facing higher business rates bills
  • a £1,000 discount to pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000

Local billing authorities are responsible for the delivery of the schemes in their areas.

The Minister for Local Government laid a written ministerial statement on 14 September stating that the government would publish a list of billing authorities (unitary and lower-tier local authorities) which had rebilled for each of the 3 schemes.

The table lists each of the authorities that have confirmed to MHCLG that they have begun rebilling for each scheme.

The list will be updated regularly to capture additional progress. 

West Lancashire Borough Council rolls out Discretionary Business Rates Scheme, reports Rosie Cooper MP

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is pleased to report that West Lancashire Borough Council has commenced the rebilling process for the Discretionary Business Rates Scheme.The business rates re-billing will provide...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has been told by Morris Homes that Herons Wharf Playground will be installed this month.

Nearby residents of Appley Bridge had written to MP Rosie raising concerns that the playground detailed in the planning permission for the Herons Wharf housing estate had not yet been provided.

Rosie has been told by Nick Uttley, Northern Managing Director at Morris Homes, that tenders had been received and a company has been selected to complete the installation, and Morris Homes were hopeful these works will be completed in January.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Residents were understandably concerned that having lost a playground to the development of housing at Herons Wharf that the promised replacement playground would not be provided.

“So I was pleased to receive a response from Morris Homes confirming that the playground is set for installation in January 2018.

“I will of course be monitoring the situation to ensure that the installation goes ahead, and would welcome correspondence from residents should this not be the case in the coming weeks.”

Rosie Cooper MP confirms Herons Wharf playground with developers

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has been told by Morris Homes that Herons Wharf Playground will be installed this month.Nearby residents of Appley Bridge had written to MP Rosie raising...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper joined with The Children’s Society calling for the Government to rethink their plans around free school meals under Universal Credit.

Currently, as Universal Credit is rolled out, all children who live in a household receiving this new benefit receive a free school meal.

However, proposals set out in a consultation by the Department for Education, mean that an earnings threshold of £7,400 will be introduced for all new Universal Credit claimants from April 2018.

The Children’s Society say that these proposals mean that one million children living in poverty will miss out on free school meals and locally this will mean 22,936 children across Lancashire won’t get free school meals. 

This figure is roughly the same as those children currently living in poverty who don’t receive a free school meal; clearly showing that Universal Credit will do nothing to alleviate child poverty rates in the UK.

Labour is calling on the Government to ensure that no child goes hungry during the school day, by ensuring that every child in a family receiving Universal Credit is eligible for Free School Meals.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“Labour have always stood up for the benefits of free school meals on a child’s education and health and alleviating persistent child poverty levels in our society.

“That is why the current proposals on the future of free school meals under Universal Credit are deeply concerning and show how this Government is out of touch with the importance to seriously address poverty levels across the country.

“These changes will affect many families across West Lancashire, especially the poorest in our society, and it is important the Government rethinks their approach. Ministers must hear the views of local people on this matter and how we should be alleviating poverty, not entrenching it.

“I am encouraging all residents in West Lancashire to take part in this consultation which runs until 11 January, in particular parents of primary school children who may be affected, teachers, headteachers and School Governors.”

Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“Labour are committed to making Universal Credit work as it should. That is why we are calling on the Government to ensure Free School Meals are available to all children in families who are eligible for Universal Credit. This would remove the cliff-edge for families on the lowest incomes and help to lift more children out of poverty.”

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said:
“It should be a national scandal that children are going hungry at school, yet the Conservatives’ plans for Universal Credit could leave a million children living in poverty going without a meal in school. In collaboration with Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Labour is committed to opposing these plans.

“It cannot possibly be fair or justified that so many children should lose out, and be made to struggle through the school day without a meal, which, for many children in poverty, could be the only meal they get that day.

“The Government must act to ensure that no child whose parents receive UC will go hungry during the school day. If this Conservative Government wants to do the right thing for our children and make work pay for their parents, they will follow Labour’s call to make FSM available for all children in families receiving UC.”

The Department for Education’s consultation runs until 11th January 2018. It can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/eligibility-for-free-school-meals-and-the-early-years-pupil-premium-under-universal-credit

Rosie Cooper MP calls on West Lancashire residents to defend free school meals in Universal Credit roll-out

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper joined with The Children’s Society calling for the Government to rethink their plans around free school meals under Universal Credit.Currently, as Universal Credit is rolled...

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the appointment of a new Chief Executive at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospital Trust.

The Trust have announced that Mr Silas Nicholls will succeed the current interim Chief Executive in early 2018.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“At a time of great instability and great pressure for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital, I welcome the appointment of Mr Nicholls as Chief Executive and wish him well in his new role.

“After a turbulent few years, the Trust needs a period of leadership stability, settling down under a permanent Chief Executive. There is much work to be done to protect and improve local services for West Lancashire residents.

“I look forward to meeting with Mr Nicholls soon after his appointment to discuss working together to ensure the hospital best serves the needs of West Lancashire residents.

“I want to thank Karen Jackson for her sterling work as interim Chief Executive and wish her well for the future.”

Rosie Cooper MP welcomes hospital trust appointment

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the appointment of a new Chief Executive at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospital Trust.The Trust have announced that Mr Silas Nicholls will succeed...

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