Gloria De Piero MP: ‘Have high tuition fees put our teens off going to uni?’

MP Gloria De Piero
MP Gloria De Piero

I was the first person in my family to go to university and I know that this will be the case for a lot of the students in Eastwood who are waiting for their A level results now.

However statistics just released by UCAS – the University and College Admission Service – show that in 2015, just 17.8 per cent of all 18-year-olds from Ashfield and Eastwood entered higher education.

That puts this area in the bottom 42 constituencies of all 650 in the UK and is the second lowest in the whole of the East Midlands.

In leafy Rushcliffe, 40 per cent of 18-year-olds went to university.

I know from speaking to teachers that the fear of getting into debt puts off many teens from going to university.

After the Tory-led coalition allowed institutions to set tuition fees at £9,000 a year, I completely understand this.

However I would love to hear from any local students who have decided to go - or not go - to university and why. Email me at gloria.depiero.mp@parliament.uk and tell me your story.

Personal Independent Payments are essential for the disabled people who rely on them, funding the aids, appliances and care that help them get on with life.

So when a recipient is told that their PIP is going to be stopped, that will undoubtedly cause a lot of worry, concern and stress about how they are going to manage.

The husband of a lady from Brinsley contacted me for advice when his wife’s PIP was suddenly stopped and they didn’t know what to do.

With support from my office and Citizen’s Advice, they went through a reconsideration and two tribunal hearings and this lady has now won her case and her PIP payments will restart.

The couple were supported through the tribunal process by Nottingham-based charity Disability Direct and her husband said he would recommend them.

I am so pleased they managed to get everything sorted out and would encourage anyone who is having problems with benefit payments to get in touch.

Eastwood Volunteer Bureau offers many valuable services for local people, including transport, a befriending service and organising training for volunteers at local groups. Its community rooms on Wellington Place are in constant use and were beginning to show the signs of wear and tear, so it is great news that The Veolia Environmental Trust has awarded the bureau a grant of £2,448 to help renovation.

I have been told that the money is being used to replace the flooring and look forward to seeing the bureau when the work has been done.