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Dear <<First Name>>

I had the chance to visit Eastbourne’s new medical practice in the Beacon Shopping Centre, part of the Victoria Medical Centre, ahead of its opening this week.
  
This new facility was a key campaign push when the Clinical Commissioning Group said it wanted to close the Station Medical Centre. I was concerned where those patients would go, particularly the most vulnerable and about future demand linked to new development in the town centre. This new facility will be very busy.  

In its design it is striking new, gleaming white and minimalist.  It’s certainly innovative with its accent on digital and a very holistic approach to treatments to include classes and drawing on a very wide range of input from GPs, nurses, mental health, nutrition and physios. I was very pleased to hear the most vulnerable get highly tailored support including routine, proactive calls.  Face-to-face consultations are part of this new set up and must always have their place. 
  
I wish the team there all the very best as they seek to serve the town centre community. There will inevitably be challenges to overcome and valuable lessons to learn, as ever with new ventures, but we need to transform health care delivery to marry up to new demands. 


After the PM’s reshuffle, Primary Care has a new minister in my parliamentary-next-door-neighbour, Maria Caulfield MP for Lewes and I have invited her to come and see the new practice, held to be a first of its kind in the country.  

WEEK IN WESTMINSTER 

"Invading a motorway is reckless & puts lives at risk. I asked National Highways to seek an injunction against M25 protestors which a judge granted last night. Effective later today, activists will face contempt of court with possible imprisonment if they flout."

This was from Transport Secretary of State Grant Shapps this week and I wholly support this action. It also reflects why there is a need for stronger measures around protest in the forthcoming Bill from the Home Office.    

Notable legislation this week came on the Social Security (Up-Rating of Benefits) Bill. It relates to 'the triple lock' the Government's commitment to increase State Pensions each year in line with average weekly earnings, prices, or 2.5%; whichever is highest.

Last year the Government needed to intervene to protect pensioners and guarantee a rise. This year - again very much because of the pandemic and caused by the close of the furlough scheme - the Government has needed to step in again with legislation to stabilise the pensions rise calculations. 

The effect of moving on from furlough at 80% this year registers a seeming average 8% rise in average wages.  This distortion would then give rise to an 8% rise in pensions without legislative intervention. Instead, pensions will rise by 2.5%. I have had a number of letters and emails on this but I think, when set in context as a statistical anomaly, it has been recognised as the right thing to do and further, I know grandparents are concerned for their children and grandchildren's future and recovering from a massive £600 billion pandemic spend. 
 
The Subsidy Control Bill was another important vote this week. This will allow us to use our new freedoms as an independent sovereign country to create a more agile and flexible subsidy system – empowering public authorities across the UK to deliver financial support without facing burdensome red tape to boost our competitive, free market economy as we build back better from the pandemic.

I met with the Chancellor this week to express my concern about the end of the £20 uplift for those in receipt of Universal Credit (UC). The decision is, to all intents and purposes, locked in so I am re focussing on reform and specifically on work allowances and the ‘taper rate’ as a first push.  This relates to the level of UC benefit withdrawn for additional  income earned. It is currently set at 63% or 63p in the pound.
 
The House rose for the conference recess on Thursday and will return on Monday the 18th of October. This means for the next three weeks I will be based in Eastbourne, save the time at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in the week beginning 4 October.

My advice surgeries are unchanged though! On a Tuesday I have a routine telephone or zoom surgery and every Friday afternoon I hold in-person appointments at my Town Hall office. Please do call the office on 40 9000.   
BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE 
Sunday saw me at St Saviour’s Church in South Street for the Royal Air Force Association’s (RAFA) annual Battle of Britain Memorial Day Service. 

This triumph over Nazi Germany 81 years ago in the skies above southern England is now passing from living memory but I had a chance to speak to cadets about the day and what it means when I spoke to them after this poignant service. It is always inspiring to see the next generation take up the baton.  

I also had a chance to talk to former service personnel and their families later at the RAFA Club 'Brew for the Few'. If you want to get involved with RAFA and help with their fundraising efforts for the RAF Wings Appeal check out their website at   https://rafaclubeastbourne.org.uk

For every generation in our town, I’m batting for Eastbourne - for levelling up investment and in the Chancellor’s forthcoming Spending Review, due late October.  This winter ahead is not going to be without its challenges as we strive to rebuild after the worst of the pandemic but there’s a great future to reach out for.  

LATERAL FLOW TESTS - OUR NEW NORMAL
Where to pick them up and how to do the test.

Our vaccination programme is rightly a big driver in getting back to normality but so is testing and we need to make it as normal as brushing our teeth to protect our progress against the virus and community transmission. 

Recent openings will inevitably mean more cases, but free testing for those without symptoms is an important new line of defence to protect our recovery.  I now TEST regularly.  It is pretty easy and comforting to see a negative result when so many can have the virus without symptoms.  You still have to keep the usual safety measures but it feels good to step out knowing.


✅ Testing will help us
✅ Keep on the roadmap to freedom👣
✅ Stop the spread
✅ Protect the NHS 💙

TESTS: Now available free to all without symptoms and you can do 🏠 at home, order online or collect locally.

You can get a pack of 7 tests sent to your home. Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK
If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone.


The video below explains how to do the test.

How to do a COVID-19 Self Test (rapid antigen test)

Community Collect Site

Fort Fun Princes Park Car Park, Royal Parade, BN22 7LQ site is operating as a test site for symptomatic testing  but only in the mornings.  In the afternoons 2:30pm – 8:00pm, following a clean down, it is operating as a Community Collect site for people to collect home test kits and supports the Government statements on providing universal asymptomatic testing.

Eastbourne Pharmacies

✅ A.E. Pharma Limited, 11 Grand Hotel Buildings, Compton Street, BN21 4EJ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ A & S Shillam Limited, 82 Seaside,  BN22 7QP - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Asda, Crumbles Harbour Village, BN23 6JH - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Boots, Princes Park Health Ctr, Wartling Road, BN22 7PG - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Day Lewis, 2 Furness Road, BN21 4EY - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Day Lewis, 10 Freshwater Square, BN22 0PS - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Osbon Medicals Limited, 116-118 Cavendish Place,  BN21 3TZ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Tesco Stores, Lottbridge Drove, BN23 6QD - Pick up site - for at home test kits

You can find further details 
at   https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/#/location/Eastbourne

LINKS TO USEFUL INFORMATION
Vaccination Information
How & Where to get a Test
Community Help & Support
Free Transport for Covid-19 Vaccinations
Vaccination Scam Information
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Support for Businesses
Test & Trace Support Payment
WORLD'S BIGGEST COFFEE MORNING 
Ahead of MacMillan's World Biggest Coffee morning on the 24th September I met with MacMillan in Westminster earlier this month to hear about the great work they do in our town and beyond!

I was then delighted to be invited by Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM, to their  annual MacMillan Breakfast Morning which was held, yesterday,  at Brewers Decorator Centre, Birch Road.  It was lovely to start the day with coffee, bacon rolls and pastries and help raise funds for this wonderful Charity. My thanks to Joint president, David Barker and Mel from Brewers Decorator Centres   for a fantastic event.


Of course, MacMillan coffee mornings are not restricted to the 24th. Just the other week I attended one at Kingsmere. If you are interested in hosting your very own coffee morning you can sign up at:  https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk

 THE FUTURE OF MEADS STREET POST OFFICE
This week I have written to the Post Office regarding the future of the Meads Street branch.

The coming closure of the Co-op store, where the branch is co-located, has left its future uncertain. The Post Office is at the heart of our local communities and has kept us connected during these pandemic months.

I share the concerns of Meads Councillors and the Meads Community Association  around any potential closure and hope we can secure its future.
VISIT TO EAST SUSSEX COLLEGE
I  visited East Sussex College this last week to meet with the principal Rebecca Conroy and assistant principal Joanne Folwell.  It was good to see students returning from the summer holidays, the campus buzzing and to discuss the Government’s new Skills Bill.

Looking ahead it was great to hear about their innovation and partnerships with local businesses to really boost future employment for their students. There was further good news on expanding A-level provision and delivering new T-levels .We need to be training our young for the jobs that will matter in the years to come and the emphasis on higher technical skills is vital.  

There are a great many positive developments coming down the line but I also took on board concerns about the need for longer funding periods to help with planning courses and I will pass these on to ministers. 

Something I am passionate about is ensuring opportunities for all students including those with disabilities and it was great to hear about the good work of Project Search which creates job placements with local employers.

I have extended an invitation to the new Minister down to Eastbourne to see for herself this excellent work - watch this space!
 GAS PRICES 
I am really concerned about gas price rises especially now winter is around the corner but I would like to reassure everyone that we are not going to run out of supplies. The Government has recognised that some people will struggle to heat their homes in Eastbourne and Willingdon this winter and it has several schemes to help them.

The energy price cap, although recently raised, is still saving around 15 million households up to £100 a year. Low income and fuel poor households can receive help with their energy bills in a number of ways. The Warm Home Discount provides eligible households with a £140 discount on fuel bills. Also, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will help ensure those most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Anyone in financial distress during this time should talk to their energy supplier with options like reassessing, reducing or pausing payments available. This is because the emergency measures agreed between government and energy suppliers to support those most in need during the pandemic also remain in place this winter.

Moving forward, the Government plans to extend the Warm Home Discount until 2026 and increase it to £150. This will help a further 780,000 pensioners and low-income families with their energy bills.

And finally...

I've just returned from my Saturday advice surgery at Langney Shopping Centre - hence a later mail-out of the e news! 

Next Saturday I will be visiting a jobs fair at The Enterprise Shopping Centre all around the digital sector. Several digital companies locally in Eastbourne are taking part including Switchplane,  AxisOps, Booksy, Lightning Fibre, PRG Marketing and Zoonou. If this is of interest to you, or someone you know, the details are here on this website:     https://www.enterprisejobfair.co.uk 


Until next time, take good care and keep in touch,


 






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Caroline Ansell MP · Eastbourne Town Hall · Grove Road · EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX BN21 4TX · United Kingdom