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Volume 506: debated on Monday 1 March 2010

Bellamy’s Bar Closure

This petition, the first to be presented under the new procedure, was organised by Cassian Horowitz and is supported by some 470 staff working in the House of Commons. The large number of signatures was collected over just two working days, and that demonstrates the depth of concern about the proposals. It is a great honour to present the petition on behalf of these members of staff and perhaps others, who may have felt intimidated into not signing the petition when given the opportunity to do so. That was the subject of a point of order that I raised earlier today.

The petition states:

The Petition of staff working in Parliament,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned at the announcement by the House of Commons Commission that it intends to close Bellamy’s Bar, the Astor Suite and Bellamy’s club room on the first floor of 1 Parliament Street in order to provide a day nursery; that the Petitioners believe that the estimated cost of conversion of £400,000 is unacceptable in the present economic climate, particularly having regard to the expenditure of £480,000 on refurbishing the facilities less than two years ago;

Further declares that the Petitioners deplore the fact that there has been no consultation with the users of the facilities or with those who work there, and find it unacceptable that there are no plans to replace the facilities elsewhere on the Parliamentary estate; and that the Petitioners believe that ground floor premises at Derby Gate which will become available during the next Parliament will be better suited for conversion into a day nursery.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls upon the House of Commons Commission to reconsider its decision, and to bring forward fresh proposals early in the next Parliament which take account of the demand for day nursery facilities among incoming Members of Parliament, their families, and staff, with a view to meeting that demand at an affordable price within the space to be vacated on the ground floor at Derby Gate.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Extra Gritting (NHS Savings)

It is also my pleasure, on this first evening of the new, improved procedures for the presentation of petitions, to present a petition initiated initially by me, but supported very much by the Spring Park residents association, under the strong leadership of its secretary, Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya. The petition concerns the important matter of how the national health service and local councils could work together to address the issue of expenditure arising from injuries from falling on ice on uncleared pavements, which leads to a great deal more expense for the NHS than is necessary and to a great deal of upset, concern and injury—and, for senior citizens who fall on the ice, sometimes life-changing injuries.

The petition reads as follows:

The Petition of People of Croydon,

Declares that there are huge increases in visits to A and E at Mayday after falls on treacherous ice on Croydon’s roads and pavements and that it would be worthwhile investing in extra gritting such that less public money is spent caring for the injured or lost from reduced income tax and national insurance payments from those kept off work through injury.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take steps to encourage the NHS and local Councils to work together to identify funds for extra gritting of pavements and roads so as to reduce costly and painful accidents.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.