17 JUN 2013
Claire was delighted to hear today from Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Transport that the Great Western Electrification Extension Review Study by consultants, Arup concludes that there are strong positive benefits for extending rail electrification to Bedwyn.
Disappointingly the study showed that the business case for extension beyond Bedwyn to Westbury, including Pewsey does not make economic sense given very high capital costs to electrify an additional 85 miles of rail track.
Claire and neighbouring MPs, Richard Benyon (Newbury) and Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) have therefore written to the Minister seeking clarification and assurance on a number of outstanding concerns:
- Funding for the electrification extension from Newbury to Bedwyn is now being sought but it is not yet clear if this will be available to enable the work to be completed concurrently with electrification of the route from Reading to Newbury in 2016, and if in the intervening period, stations between Newbury and Bedwyn might see a reduction in the number of through train services.
- Concerns still remain that if electrification from Newbury to Bedwyn is progressed, that in the future, train service patterns west of Bedwyn (including Pewsey and Westbury) are at least as good as they are now.
Commenting, Claire said:
"Overall this is fantastic news for the local economy. Rail electrification should result in shorter, more reliable journeys and most importantly for passengers from Bedwyn we should avoid the dreaded 'shuttle' which would have meant changing trains at Newbury. I recognise that there is still much to be done – ensuring if at all possible that the work is completed at the same time as the Reading-Newbury work, and finding long term solutions for car parking at Bedywn Station.
"I am disappointed that the business case for electrification through Pewsey is uneconomic but I will continue to fight for train services that are at least as good as now. I want to thank the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group, Pewsey Train Watch and Transition Marlborough who have provided huge amounts of analysis and data to the review process.
"I know how vital fast and efficient transport links are to our communities and the local economy and I will continue to campaign to ensure that rail services in the Devizes Constituency remain very firmly on the Government's agenda."
You can read the letter from the Minister about the ARUP report here.
10 JUN 2013
(Photograph (from left to right): Jane Hanna (Chief Executive of SUDEP Action), Jan Burns and Claire Perry)
On 4 June, Claire Perry, MP for the Devizes Constituency hosted a Parliamentary reception for the charity, SUDEP Action to launch their Epilepsy Deaths Register aimed at preventing Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). At the reception, politicians heard from Jan Burns, a local constituent, whose 10 year old son Charlie died from SUDEP – a condition both she and her husband, Barrie, were unaware of.
Commenting, Claire said: "Jan and Barrie came to see me in a surgery last year and their heartbreaking story of Charlie's condition compelled me to do what I could to spread awareness of SUDEP. Launching this Epilepsy Deaths Register will provide vital information to advance research in this area and hopefully be able to flag up the condition early to prevent it from impacting on other families".
In her speech, Jan Burns thanked Claire for her continued support and said: "The most significant development has been the launch of the Epilepsy Deaths Register by SUDEP Action, a place where bereaved families and friends can register an Epilepsy related death. This information will be used for medical research, in the hope that it will one day help towards finding a cure and prevent more unnecessary loss of life. This information will also highlight the number of people who are losing their lives to SUDEP."
Facts on SUDEP:
- Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is when a person with epilepsy dies suddenly and prematurely and no other cause of death is found.
- There are at least three epilepsy-related deaths a day in the UK (approx 1200). The majority are SUDEP which is still not fully understood.
- It is estimated that SUDEP happens to one in every 1,000 people with epilepsy and kills between 500-600 people a year. Epilepsy is among the top ten causes of premature death. To help prevent future epilepsy deaths, we need to find out what happened in as many cases as possible.
- The Epilepsy Deaths Register is the only single point for reporting all epilepsy-related deaths in the UK and is supported by researchers, professionals and endorsed by government. Nearly 200 people have already registered with The Epilepsy Deaths Register since the end of March, 2013.
- More information can be found on SUDEP Action's website: www.sudep.org.
24 MAY 2013
Today the Government has published a report showing progress achieved towards the 14 recommendations made by Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mothers' Union, in his report on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, Letting Children be Children.
Commenting, Claire said:
"I congratulate Reg Bailey for his tireless work in this area and it is heartening to see so many changes that will help to keep our children safe and reduce the pressures on their childhoods.
"My job as the Prime Minister's Adviser on Preventing the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood is to help make sure these changes happen and that is what I will do. It is our ambition to make Britain among the most family friendly places in the world to use the internet and by working together we can make that happen".
You can read the full progress report, here.
15 MAY 2013
On 11th May, Claire joined a group of cross party MPs and peers to do the MoonWalk. Along with 17,000 thousand amazing women and men, Claire's group set off from Battersea Power Station to take part in The MoonWalk London, organised by grant-making breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.
Claire and her team, power walked a Half Moon (13.1 miles) through the streets of the capital at Midnight, raising money and awareness for breast cancer.
Commenting, Claire said:
"The MoonWalk was a fantastic experience and I was delighted that the group of MPs and peers together raised nearly £5,000 for Walk the Walk which has raised over £85m for breast cancer charities since the first Walk, 17 years ago.
"My legs had not quite recovered by Sunday afternoon but I managed another 3 sponsored miles around West Woods near Lockeridge where the bluebells are just coming into bloom – finally."
For more information on the MoonWalk can be found here.
To see the team's donation page, click here.