Paul spent time volunteering this morning at Compton Hospice, a Wolverhampton based charity which supports patients facing life-limiting illnesses as well as their families.
The Hospice currently works with nearly 600 patients, most of whom live in their own homes, providing medical, psychological, social and spiritual support. Before volunteering with patients at the Hospice's Wood Day Therapy Centre, Paul was given a tour of the facilities and met with members of staff.
Speaking about the morning, Paul said 'The services provided by Compton Hospice are invaluable to patients and their families in Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas during difficult times. It was humbling to spend the morning with such inspirational staff, patients and fellow volunteers.'
Paul met with Wolverhampton City Council Planning Officials today to discuss the City Centre Area Action Plan and the opportunities identified for development in Wolverhampton.
In addition to developments already underway, such as the new Sainsbury's supermarket coming to Raglan Street on Chapel Ash, the Council are also looking at development opportunities in the core shopping area in the City Centre, the Interchange and Commercial Gateway on the Eastern side of the city, and on disused buildings such as the former Eye Infirmary on Compton Road.
Paul said: "A number of areas have been indentified for potential development and the proposals that the Council have drawn up, some of which are already underway, present great opportunities for our city. I hope that Wolverhampton will see more investment, more employment, more retail and recreational space and greater transport links as a result of the Area Action Plan."
Further information on the City Centre AAP is available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/aap
Paul has welcomed the news that the Prime Minister David Cameron has committed to keeping the £150m a year Primary PE and Sport Premium until 2020. This means that between 2014 and 2020 primary schools in Wolverhampton South West will receive around £1,448,840. This is part of the Government's long-term economic plan, will secure the Olympic and Paralympic legacy, and will help to deliver the best schools for young people.
Primary schools around England are already using the premium to get children doing more sport. Schools are using the money for a wide range of activities including hiring extra professional coaches and PE specialist teachers, purchasing new equipment, offering more after-school clubs and delivering holiday and weekend activities.
Paul commented: "Under the last Labour government there were thousands of schools where no pupils at all took part in competitive sport. It is great news for young people in Wolverhampton that this Government has committed £150 million a year to securing the Olympic and Paralympic legacy in our Primary Schools.
This is part of our long-term plan to create an education system that gives young people who want to work hard the skills they need to get on in life and have a more secure and better future.'
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Sport is so important because it encourages children to be active, lead a healthy
lifestyle, make friends and, of course, have fun. But quality school sport has benefits that spread right across the curriculum and beyond – it develops confidence and a sense of achievement, it teaches young people how to rise to a challenge, and nurtures the character and skills that will help them get on and succeed in life.
"It's an important part of our long-term plan to deliver the best schools and skills for young people. That is why I am committing to guarantee the primary school sports funding until 2020."
Paul met Cancer Research UK scientists at the University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences today to learn about the charity's pioneering research.
During the visit alongside other West Midlands MPs he witnessed first-hand the groundbreaking research being carried out by scientists and doctors across the region. Birmingham is home to the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit which plays a leading role in coordinating larger UK clinical trials for both children and adults with cancer. These trials make innovative new treatments available to patients with cancer, giving them the chance to benefit from the latest scientific discoveries.
Paul said: "This was a great opportunity to hear about some of the fantastic work Cancer Research UK is funding locally. Research is cancer's number one enemy and this visit highlighted just why it is so important to support the vital research which could make a significant difference to thousands of people affected by cancer in the West Midlands each year."
Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, and host for the visit, said: "I was really pleased to welcome Paul to the University of Birmingham and show how our researchers and clinicians are working together to help beat cancer sooner. The work of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit is vital in developing effective treatments for patient across the West Midlands and beyond.
To find out more about how to support Cancer Research UK please visit: cruk.org
Paul accompanied the Cities Minister Greg Clark MP on a visit to Wolverhampton today, as he signed the Government's City Deal for the Black Country at the Carillion Offices in Birch Street.
The Government announced the latest winners of the City Deal last December, and the successful Black Country bid will see around £130 million of private investment brought to the region. 5,800 new manufacturing jobs will be created in the next four years, along with 1,500 apprenticeships in high value manufacturing. A new Black Country Investment Fund has been created to help develop key industrial sites, and there will also be a programme to work with 2,800 long term unemployed social housing tenants in the area.
This programme aims to put at least 900 tenants into employment, reducing the welfare cost by £1.1 million and increasing wages by £19 million.
"I am delighted that the Black Country was successful in the second round of the City Deal, and I welcome the extra investment and employment opportunities it will bring to business in the Black Country", said Paul. "I was pleased that the Minister chose Wolverhampton as his location to sign he deal, and I hope that the local economy will continue to grow as a result of these measures", he added.
Further information on what the City Deal will bring to the Black Country is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/city-deal-black-country
Paul payed a visit to the Express & Star Offices in Queen Street today to present certificates the team members who participated in the Curry Capital of Britain competition.
Paul has been a long-standing supporter of the city's Curry Capital bid since coming to office in 2010, which has been placed third for the fourth consecutive year. The Express & Star sponsored the 2013 submission, helping WV One submit the portfolio in the format of the daily newspaper, which the judges named as the best submission. Representatives from each of the 5 restaurants which formed the 2013 Team attended the presentation.
Marianne Carter, Marketing Officer for WV One, said: "We are very proud of Wolverhampton coming third against Bradford and Glasgow, which are cities with much larger populations and numbers of restaurants. The restaurants that represented the city last year all worked extremely hard to ensure that standards were kept high."
The Bilash was also presented with the Customer Restaurant of the Year Award for being the restaurant that received the most public votes throughout the whole country in the 2013 competition.
The 2014 competition will commence in April, with members of the public voting for their favourite restaurants to represent their respective cities. The winning city will be announced during National Curry Week (13-19 October), and Paul is hoping it will be Wolverhampton's turn this year to be named Curry Capital of Britain.
"Wolverhampton has many great curry houses and I congratulate everyone involved in last year's submission on another successful finish", he said. "Hopefully 2014 will finally be the year when Wolverhampton come out on top."
PHOTO (l-r): Syed Shah of Jivans in Broad Street; Mohammed Islam of Ranga Mati in
Wednesfield; Paul ; Adam Pettitt, Brand Designer at MNA; Abdul Jalil of the Royal Gulshan
Paul made a whistle stop tour of the city centre today to show his support for each of the Portas Pilot Idea2Reality winners.
Karolina Cummings and Kamilla Adamczyk of Kabanos Polish delicatessen told Paul that business was growing day by day due to word of mouth recommendations. Touring the shop in Cleveland Street, he saw the full range of fresh and packaged goods and learned about proposals to start selling specialist Polish spirits and beers.
Richard Brown of Hungry Bistro on the corner of Lichfield Street and Fryer Street had a chat with Paul, telling him that business was doing better than expected in January, driven by theatre goers looking for a quick and tasty supper as well as a growing lunchtime trade. Paul had previously put Richard in touch with the National Apprenticeship Scheme and was delighted to learn that Richard had recently taken on an apprentice chef.
In the Mander Centre Paul met up with Lee Savory in Corpse Clothing, whose shop provides a wide range of music, film and TV merchandise which is not available elsewhere and also provides opportunities for young people through work experience. Corpse Clothing was the first Idea2Reality winner to open and after six months of support from the competition Lee is looking forward to moving within the Mander Centre to a unit with better footfall.
Last stop of the day was the Fish Stall in Worcester Street where Paul met Oscar Campbell who started trading just before Christmas. Oscar explained that he would be developing his marketing strategy to bring in more customers and expand his wholesale trade. He already supplies The Hungry Bistro and is looking to work with more independent traders as well as continuing to develop the Fish Stall meals serving fish, chicken and meat dishes, patties, and samosas.
Paul said '"I was delighted to tour the city centre this morning, and to see so many thriving small businesses in such a short space of time. I congratulate the entrepreneurs that have been successful in the scheme and I hope that each one has a bright and prosperous future."
ABOVE: Paul with Karolina Cummings and Kamilla Adamczyk of Kabanos Polish delicatessen
LEFT: Paul with Oscar Campbell at the Fish Stall in Worcester Street
Paul visited Wolverhampton based OCNWMR today to meet with CEO Christine Assheton and the Senior Management Team and learn more about the education and training opportunities available through OCNWMR qualifications.
OCNWMR are a local Awarding Organisation, and have developed over 500 new qualifications in the last 12 months to respond quickly to increased regional demand. Recent developments have included a range of work preparation qualifications for; building and construction, engineering, business and administration, and health and social care. The organisation was founded 31 years ago, and has been awarding its own qualifications since 2011. OCNWMR qualifications are used by numerous bodies including schools, colleges, universities, training providers, employers and community and voluntary organisations.
"OCNWMR have made great advances over the last few years and I congratulate them on their success" said Paul. "As our economy grows it is important that we equip learners with the right skills they need, particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Having the new JLR plant on our doorstep opens up many opportunities. I hope that many other businesses will come to Wolverhampton and be able to work with OCNWMR so that we can continue to reduce unemployment and create thriving workforces in our city."
CEO Christine Assheton said; "We provide a high quality and responsive accreditation service that promotes widening participation, social inclusion and lifelong learning for all. We support flexible, responsive and quality assured learning opportunities in a wide range of contexts, including in the classroom, at work, in the community, and through distance and e-learning and we are very grateful for the time and interest in this important area of work shown to us by Paul."
Paul hosted a meeting tonight between local businesses in the Claregate area, Tettenhall Regis councillors, and representatives from the National Grid to ensure that businesses which have been adversely affected by the road works in the area would be treated fairly.
National Grid contractors Balfour Beatty have been carrying out gas works on the Codsall Road intermittently since last summer, with an initial date of completion set for September 2013. However, complications and local authority restrictions meant that the works had to be put on hold, causing frustration to local businesses and motorists. Businesses in the area have witnessed a fall in trade during the time of the works, as motorists have avoided the area due to congestion and tailbacks caused by the traffic control mechanisms.
Initially, businesses faced disappointment as it was thought that compensation would only be awarded for the time period of
the initial works up until September last year. However, after reconsideration, the National Grid has agreed to compensate businesses for any loss of profit over the full period of the works, now expected to come to an end on March 21st. Local traders have also been assured that they will receive weekly visits and updates from a National Grid customer liaison officer.
Paul said 'Although the ongoing works are essential, I wanted to do all that I could to ensure that local businesses were not losing out. I am very pleased that the National Grid has reconsidered its decision and will now be compensating businesses for profit losses during the full period of the works.
Paul celebrated the launch of a new Wolverhampton Post Office today as he 'cut the ribbon' at the opening ceremony alongside branch owner Hardeep Singh.
Paul said: "I welcomed the news that Wolverhampton Post Office was to move to new modern premises and am delighted to be here today to congratulate Hardeep Singh on his hard work and to formally open the new branch.
He added: "The Post Office is vital to the community in Wolverhampton and I'm sure the new improved office, and the longer opening hours, will be warmly welcomed by all of my constituents."
As part of Post Office plans to modernise the network and extend opening hours for customers, the new Wolverhampton Post Office at Nisa Local Store, 31-49 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1EG, has a mixture of six traditional screened counter positions and a Post Office serving point at the retail counter - a new concept for delivering Post Office products and services alongside retail transactions during shop opening hours. Post Office customers also benefit from longer opening hours.
Post Office owner Hardeep Singh said: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to open the new branch and I am very pleased to be officially launching it today for the community. I hope our customers like their new Post Office and I'd like to thank Paul Uppal for taking time from his busy schedule to come here today. I'd also like to thank the local community for their continued support and use of the branch."
Richard Lynds, Post Office Senior Stakeholder Manager, said: "We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Wolverhampton and I am confident that this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.
He added, "The modernisation is part of a major investment programme to convert the Post Office network to new-style branches and this investment, the largest in the history of the Post Office, makes a commitment to no more branch closure programmes."
The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches. It is also one of the fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephony services.
Welcome. My name is Paul Uppal and I am the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West.
I hope that this website will keep you up to date with what I am doing for the people of Wolverhampton both in the constituency and in Westminster.
PAUL UPPAL MP
Paul Uppal MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA
020 7219 7195
020 7219 5221 (fax)
Paul Uppal MP
14 Lichfield Street
01902 712 134
01902 238 931(fax)