Newsletter from Antoinette Sandbach MP

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Baby Loss Awareness Week

Last week I opened the debate on Baby Loss Awareness Week and outlined some of the fantastic achievements of the APPG on Baby Loss from the past year.

We have helped to raise the awareness and understanding of parental bereavement issues in ways that have not previously been done. There has been a new pilot for the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) which helps professionals to support families after any pregnancy or baby loss. Also this year, Government has passed the Parental Bereavement Act 2018, which enshrines in law the right for parents to take at least two weeks bereavement leave and ensures they are paid whilst on such leave.

On the 11th October I co-hosted the Baby Loss Awareness Week drop-in event in Parliament- which was well attended by many MPs who wanted to learn more about what we have been doing. Clea Harmer (Chief Executive of Sands), Alison Brett (Bereavement midwife), and Maxine Channon (NBCP parent advisory group) gave speeches about how the Governments changes have affected their work.

Humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya

On the 10th October I asked the Minister for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, about the assistance the UK is providing to the extremely vulnerable Rohingya women and children still in the Rakhine province of Burma.

In addition to providing food, water and shelter the UK is providing key staff to help the women and children who have been traumatised by what has been done to them and their communities.

Stamping out Hare Coursing

The Country Land and Business Association visited parliament to talk to MP's about Hare Coursing and the impact it has on landowners when it is carried out without their permission.

This illegal form of hunting with dogs often comes hand in hand with organised gambling rings who bet thousands on the performance of the hunting dogs. I was one of many MP's, including the Crime Minister Victoria Atkins who wanted to show our support in stamping out this cruel crime.

Fairer Funding for Schools

I attended a briefing on the new fairer funding formula that the Government has released. The new formula will help to better and more fairly fund schools across England. The formula will mean that the Government is investing resources into schools based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country.

Despite an additional £1.3bn of funding there are still issues with how school in my constituency are funded. I met with the F40 group to raise the issue of rurality and the fact that many of my schools don't qualify under the rural scheme. I raised this with the Secretary of State for Education when the Cheshire Conservative MP's group met with him recently.

Talking HS2 with the Transport Minister

I met the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling MP, to discuss with him some concerns that myself and my constituents have with HS2.

One of the major points was the difficulty that many of my constituents are encountering when trying to take advantage of the 'Need to Sell' scheme. The scheme is designed to make HS2 purchase properties that are on the route. Many people are seeing their applications refused, with only 31% of them being accepted. I've spoken with many of those who have been refused and I am very unhappy with the way they have been treated by HS2.

Questioning the Minister over rural bank closures

Yesterday I raised the issue of rural bank closures in Cheshire with the Financial Secretary, Mel Stride MP. Many of my constituents have suffered with the closure of village banks, with some being denied access to vital services that are only available in store.

Mel Stride assured me the Government is providing support to help preserve the services people require. In 2015 the Government worked with the major banks to create an 'Access to Banking Standard' which makes the banks minimise the impact on communities of branch closures after July 2017. They have also worked with the Post Office to get certain services provided in their stores.

Veterans Orthopaedic Centre Appeal

Earlier this week I attended the launch of the Veterans Orthopaedic Service Centre Appeal. The Service provides care for ex-service personnel from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force regardless of their length of service. The appeal is seeking to raise funds to help pay for a new £1.5 million Centre to be based at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic hospital in Oswestry.

You can find out more by visiting their webiste: https://www.rjah.nhs.uk/Fundraising/Veterans-Orthopaedic-Centre-Appeal.aspx

Grilling Bruce Duguid of Hermes Investment Management

At this weeks Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy meeting we were hearing evidence regarding the practices of Executive Pay.

Many people in the country rightly wonder why certain executives can take home massive bonuses whilst their business fails. We wanted to get all the facts on how businesses pay their executives and whilst talking with Mr Duguid I asked if more should be done to help shareholders to vote on the pay of the top exec's.

Mr Duguid's response was to claim that because the pay systems can be very complex ordinary shareholders wouldn't understand it.

How businesses pay their staff is their concern, but it is also wrong that many of these top execs can preside over the collapse of businesses whilst the ordinary staff and contractors suffer from being left in the lurch.

This week has been a busy week and so much has been happening, here are just a few more examples of what I have been up to in Westminster:

Met with pharmaceutical companies to discuss no deal preparations on Brexit. One company has spent £70million so far, money which could have been spent on research.

Went to a meeting on chemicals discussing REACH which is an EU regulation relating to the production and use of chemicals that can harm humans and/or the environment.

Met with Union representatives from Rolls Royce to discuss impacts of customs borders on their supply chain. Winsford is host to an Rolls Royce manufacturing facility.

Met with the policing minister Nick Hurd to discuss the funding settlement for Cheshire Constabulary.