Friday, 12 December 2014
Welcome to this, my 156th news bulletin.
Last week, Bentley announced the latest phase in the biggest site development in the company’s history. A further £40 million investment will expand its headquarters in Crewe with a new research and development centre, creating over 300 jobs in the process.
I accompanied the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a visit to the Bentley factory last week so that he could find out all about the project and meet Bentley employees.
Bentley is our largest local employer, and I am unashamed about my support for it. In 2012 I supported Bentley's successful application for £5million from the Government's Regional Growth Fund for investment in training and new engine development at the Crewe plant. The investment is aiding the company’s expansion into new and existing markets.
In 2013 I lobbied hard with the Prime Minister for Volkswagen, Bentley's owners, to build the new Bentley SUV in Crewe - and not Bratislava! This decision by Volkswagen resulted in £800million of investment in the Crewe site, the creation of a thousand UK jobs, and the safeguarding of many more.
I pushed hard in central government for Bentley to be awarded a University Technical College (UTC) in August this year. This puts Crewe - already a proud railway and automotive town - 'on track' for a future centred around engineering. The Crewe UTC will specialise in advanced engineering to provide workers for the future of companies such as Bentley and OSL Rail.
It will cater for 800 14-19-year-olds who want to pursue careers in engineering and high skill manufacturing, working with major local employers to develop gold-standard vocational qualifications alongside more traditional qualifications.
And in September, I had the privilege to open a new dedicated Bentley apprenticeship training facility - a workshop and classroom-based institution - home to Bentley’s largest apprentice intake in a decade.
The new facility, based at apprenticeship training provider Total People within South Cheshire College, has been developed as part of Bentley’s new manufacturing apprenticeship scheme, focused on strengthening core skills as Bentley prepares for the introduction of its SUV in 2016, and future growth.
The latest intake includes 52 apprentices, 12 of which will be based permanently at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, working in a number of different engineering and commercial fields.
We have created here a clear career path in Crewe for our next generation of highly skilled engineers.
As I have seen at my annual jobs fairs, it's innovative, high-quality approaches like this from not just engineering companies, but many companies in Crewe and Nantwich, that have seen local youth unemployment fall by a whopping 66 per cent since the start of this government.
I am very proud of what we in Crewe and Nantwich have, together, helped achieve for young people in such a short period of time.
So with this optimism for the future in mind, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a very Happy Christmas, and a prosperous 2015.
Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich and Minister of the Year
Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.
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Locally, I have...
- Welcomed Chancellor George Osborne MP to Bentley Motors in Crewe, where the company announced its plans to create 300 jobs and a brand new research facility on site.
- Held two of my regular constituency advice surgeries and taken my popular 'On Your Street' surgery to Wybunbury Ward, where I spoke to residents with local councillor Janet Clowes (pictured, right).
- Met planning minister Brandon Lewis, with other East Cheshire MPs, to discuss our concerns about the inspection process of the council's Local Plan.
- Visited independent shops and traders last weekend, on Small Business Saturday, which highlights the importance of using local shops and tradespeople: small businesses are responsible for half of all job creation in the UK.
- Taken part in the Childrens Commissioner Takeover Day at MMU Cheshire. This annual event gives children and young people the opportunity to get involved in decision-making at participating organisations, to encourage them to learn more about the world of work.
- Visited Crewe CAB to speak to director Ralph Charles, Chief Officer Liz Shaw, and some of the advice service volunteers.
- Unveiled the official nameplate of DB Schenker's locomotive "Driver Jack Mills", at a ceremony on Platform 12 of Crewe Station. Jack Mills and his colleague David Whitby are now fittingly commemorated by a plaque on the platform there, as the railwaymen who were victims of the Great Train Robbery.
- Paid a visit to Royal Mail's Crewe delivery office, to give thanks, on behalf of the whole community, to the postmen and women who are working hard this Christmas to sort and deliver our letters and parcels.
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The latest edition of my Westminster Report has been delivered across Crewe and Nantwich, with the latest news on jobs, apprenticeships and HS2, as well as the positive trends towards less crime and more adoption in our area.
You can click here or on the image to read a copy online.
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Photo News: CAB marks 75 years of service
I recently visited Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau's office in Crewe to talk to staff and volunteers about the trends in problems for which local people are asking the CAB's support.
2014 is the 75th anniversary of the service, established in 1939.
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Bentley announce 300 new jobs and £40m expansion plan
Crewe Chronicle: Bentley Motors today announced the creation of 300 new jobs and a £40m investment to expand its Crewe site with a new research and development centre.
The move was welcomed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who visited the Pyms Lane factory with local MP Edward Timpson this morning.
Mr Osborne said: "Bentley is an iconic British Brand that exports around the world. Their decision to create another 300 jobs in research and development on a new site providing close to 1,000 new jobs is fantastic news for Crewe and for Britain.
"These highly skilled jobs in this export industry are exactly the kind of opportunities we want to see created which is why in yesterday's Autumn Statement I provided further incentives for R&D in the UK.
"The investment will not only create jobs at Bentley, but support many more through suppliers across the UK. I want Britain to be a country where companies want to invest and create jobs, as Bentley is doing today."
The new centre, measuring over 45,000m², will include a dedicated styling studio, research and development offices and a technical workshop. The facilities will house 1,300 Bentley engineers and is the latest step in preparing Bentley's infrastructure to bring the world's first ultra-luxury SUV to roads in 2016. Work on the new development is due to begin early next year.
The 300 new jobs will be in engineering, manufacturing, quality, sales and marketing and project management.
Bentley chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Dürheimer, said: "With Bentley's new research and development centre, we will develop a new generation of Bentleys, which will continue our commitment of luxury, performance, quality and engineering excellence.
"Bentley is the number one luxury car manufacturer in the world and driving more investment into our headquarters and attracting talent is key to continuing our success."
Today's news brings the total number of new jobs announced at the Crewe plant over the past 18 months to more than 950.
The luxury car maker has also produced record sales over this period. Last year, Bentley delivered more cars than ever before - a total of 10,120, and it expects to break that figure in 2014.
The company also committed to an £800 million investment over three years in product and facility development, with this announcement driving the investment to £840 million.
Edward Timpson said he was delighted with the announcement. "This is another real and lasting vote of confidence in Crewe and is great news for local jobs," said the Crewe and Nantwich MP.
"That the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose to come to Crewe the day after the Autumn Statement and see first hand the boost that Bentley is giving to the local economy is firm evidence of the importance of our town to the long term economic recovery of this country.
"Bentley and its employees should be very proud of what they are achieving here."
Bentley says this expansion, the latest in a string of investments, further underlines the company's commitment to Crewe and the UK. Recent investments include a new apprenticeship training facility, where the largest apprentice intake in a decade will learn, a new flagship showroom, an expanded engine production facility and paint shop. Bentley is also playing a pivotal role in bringing the first university technical college to Crewe.
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Victims of great train robbery honoured at Crewe Station
Crewe Chronicle: Family and friends of the victims of the Great Train Robbery gathered to see their courage and bravery recognised at Crewe Station.
Railway workers Jack Mills and David Whitby never recovered from the ordeal they suffered at the hands of the thugs who held-up the mail train in August 1963.
Today a loco was named Driver Jack Mills and a plaque unveiled at Crewe Station to mark the bravery of the Crewe railway workers who suffered at the hands of Ronnie Biggs and his gang.
As he unveiled the name plate on the loco, Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said he was proud to mark the bravery and courage of the two Crewe men.
"Little did Jack and David know on that fateful night of August 8, 1963, what lay in store for them. It was a traumatic event which clearly affected them for the rest of their lives," said Mr Timpson. "That's why it's so important we remember their own part in what has become a very well-known story in the lifetime of this country.
"We talk about the Great Train Robbery – actually the great part of that is the role Jack and David played. It shouldn't be something that's associated with the criminals who put them through that ordeal. It's not something that celebrity should attract. Jack and David are the great people in this story and that's why we're here today to commemorate them, their lives and their contribution."
Mr Timpson said it was a huge delight and privilege to have the families of both men present.
He later presented Mr Mills' grandson Ian with a plaque of the train name.
After naming the train, a plaque in memory of both men was unveiled on platform 12 outside the booking office where they would have signed on for work on that fateful day.
Rail enthusiast Pete Waterman told the assembled crowd: "The important thing is this celebrates two men amongst many men who just turn up every day to go to work and do what they do as part of their living and that, in this case, was to drive a mail train.
"Every day drivers turn up to do their job, not knowing what is round the corner and we all forget that railway men do face adversity every single day of their lives. They do a job that seems easy, it's the circumstances that make it very difficult, so it really is a special occasion when we not only name a loco after a driver but also put a plaque on the station that remembers the importance of what these drivers and firemen did."
Mr Waterman, who had been due to unveil the plaque himself, then turned to David Whitby's sister, Nancy Barkley, and asked her to do the official unveiling, saying: "Why don't you pull the curtain? It's more important."
The unveiling was followed by a short prayer by railway chaplain Richard Cooke who dedicated the plaques.
He said: "We dedicate these plaques to the memory of two very, very special people, our colleagues, our friends, Jack and David."
- You can read the full article about the recognition of the victims of the Great Train Robbery, including photos, on the Chronicle website.
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Photo News: Small Business Saturday
Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday, and I took the opportunity to speak to - and shop from - some of the independent shops and traders in Nantwich. Pictured is Mary of Mary's Wools at Nantwich Market.
Our economy could not function without our small businesses and the hardworking businessmen and women who are behind them. They make an invaluable contribution to our national growth and they are responsible for nearly half the job creation in the UK.
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MP's advice on cutting down heating costs
Crewe Chronicle: Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has met with representatives from E.ON at its 'Getting ready for winter' event to find out about the support available to help residents and small business customers with their winter energy bills.
The event was held in the House of Commons where representatives from E.ON shared details about:
The energy companies obligation which supports the installation of energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation in low income households and in properties that have cavities that are harder to treat.
Practical debt advice including home visits and information for customers who can't afford to pay their bills;
Smart meters which can help put people in control of their energy use, facilitate easier switching and bring an end to estimated billing;
E.ON's Saving Energy Toolkit which allows customers to see how their home energy use stacks up compared to similar homes in order to see where savings can be made;
Support for smaller to medium sized businesses (SMEs) including the energy Toolkit which offers sector-specific energy saving tools and advice and a dedicated energy efficiency helpline to help small businesses save energy.
Mr Timpson said: "There's a huge amount of help available for people who are worried about their winter energy bills, so it's great that E.ON is running this session to help ensure that anyone who contacts my office will be able to get the best and most up-to-date advice, whether they're an E.ON customer or not. I'd encourage anyone who wants to know more to get in touch with me or with their energy supplier to make sure they're getting all the help they should be."
Ruth Day, head of public affairs at E.ON, said: "We know people are particularly concerned about their energy bills at this time of year.
"That's why it's really important we make sure people know about the help they may be entitled to, before the winter sets in. As well as holding this event, we're also working with a number of like-minded organisations to spread the word, and are keen for anyone who's concerned to get in touch and find out how we can help them."
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MP says 'thanks' for posties' effort
Crewe Chronicle: MP Edward Timpson was shown around Crewe sorting office and was introduced to the postmen and women who are working hard sorting and delivering mail in the run-up to Christmas.
Mr Timpson said: "It was great to meet delivery office manager Carole Brandreth and her team at Royal Mail's Crewe delivery office and see first-hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.
"All our postal workers, like Chris who delivers to my office on Victoria Street, do such an important job at this time of year and help bring Christmas to many people and families in our area.
"On behalf of all residents I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period."
Carole said: "Our postmen and women are working extremely hard to deliver Christmas cards, letters and parcels to people across Crewe. We're grateful that Edward visited the office once again to see our operation and to support the team during our busiest time of year.
"We'd like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings."
The last recommended posting dates for Christmas are: Second Class – Thursday, December 18; First Class – Saturday December 20. There is a special delivery on Tuesday, December 23.
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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson
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