On Monday 4th August I took part in a discussion on BBC Radio 4's consumer programme, You and Yours, on the problem of bank fraud and specifically vishing, a relatively new type of telephone scam in which victims are deceived into transferring funds to fraudsters posing as representatives of their bank.
You can listen to the report here (starts at 35:15).
I welcome the Government's announcement that an extra £28.4 million will be invested in Surrey schools, part of an additional £390m being allocated in 2015/16 to make funding for schools fairer.
The new funding represents an increase in the total allocated per pupil in Surrey from £4,096 in 2014/15 to £4,308 in 2015/16, a rise of £212. This is an important step forward in providing a fairer balance of funding for schools in local areas across the country, and means that for the first time in a decade, funding will be allocated to local schools on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools rather than historic levels of spending.
I am delighted to have been appointed a Minister at the Department for Education (early years, early intervention and childcare) and Cabinet Office (constitutional affairs).
Alongside my constituency responsibilities I am looking forward to taking on these new roles.
Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday carried a report on an East Surrey couple defrauded of their life savings (£42,300) through a new type of financial scam known as vishing.
Vishing (Voice phishing) is a type of telephone scam in which victims are deceived into transferring funds to fraudsters posing as representatives of their bank. It exploits a loophole in the telephone system that allows the line to be kept open up to two minutes after the victim believes the call has ended.
Whilst I am delighted that in this instance we were able to recover the money, it is clear that the banks need to do more to protect customers against this type of crime. I have raised the matter with the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee who are considering ways to take this forward, and I have written to the British Bankers Association calling for them to ensure their members:
This is a sophisticated type of financial fraud, and anyone could be the next target. I would encourage everyone to be vigilant to these scams and pass on this information to others who may not be aware of them.
You can read the Mail on Sunday article here:
On Friday (20th June) I visited Windmill Manor (Hurst Green) and Amherst (Horley) care homes, in support of National Care Home Open Day.
First held in 2013, this national event involved thousands of UK care homes opening their doors to the public to bring residents and their local communities closer together and change perceptions of care homes for good.
Having opened Windmill Manor in 2010, I was delighted to return to see the progress made over the last four years. The care home is a 'Memory Lane' community, providing a range of cutting-edge innovations to make life easier for residents affected by dementia. Amherst care home in Horley, which was given its name by pupils from nearby Yattendon School, also offers specialist care to dementia sufferers.
Dementia remains one of the greatest healthcare challenges facing Britain today, affecting 15,000 people in Surrey alone. It is vital that we increase our understanding of the condition, so it was hugely encouraging to see the pioneering work being done here in East Surrey. I was thoroughly impressed by the efforts of the staff at both homes in providing a fantastic level of care to their residents.
Photo 1: Sam with Windmill Manor Deputy Manager Izabela Klaczkiewicz and General Manager Clare Gibson
Photo 2: Sam with Amherst Care Home Manager, Arthur Tanare and Peter Curtis, CEO of Gracewell Healthcare
On Friday, I spent time at East Surrey Hospital helping out as a Nursing Assistant on the Capel Ward. As the son of a nurse, I thought I knew what to expect, but the experience was a real eye opener. Caring for frail and elderly patients, I was tasked with serving patients the lunchtime meal and cleaning the commode, and throughout my visit I was impressed by the diligence, care and enthusiasm with which the staff undertook their duties.
East Surrey Hospital has turned a corner, and today is meeting or exceeding its clinical targets. In addition, I met Chief Financial Officer Paul Simpson to discuss the unannounced Care Quality Commission inspection the day before, and the challenges of managing a district general hospital at a time of increasing demand. It is great to see that the Hospital has a clear plan moving forward, and to continue improving the service provided to our community.
Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the largest seaborne invasion in history and a critical turning point in the Second World War.
In addition to a series of major commemorations taking place to mark this historic occasion, the Big Lottery Fund is supporting veterans of the conflict to undertake commemorative visits to the places they served. The programme is open to Second World War veterans from the UK to travel to places across the world where they saw active service, or to an official commemoration in the UK. Grants are designed to help cover travel and accommodation costs, including for partners and carers, and can vary in value from £165 to £8,140.
Veterans in East Surrey interested in finding out more about the programme can do so at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn
Following a recent constituency case, it has come to my attention that some elderly constituents with health conditions may be unaware of additional Government support available to them, in the form of Attendance Allowance.
Attendance Allowance is a weekly, non-means tested benefit for people who are physically or mentally disabled, need help with personal care, and are aged 65 or over. It is paid at £54.45 per week if you require frequent help or supervision during the day or night, and at a higher rate of £81.30 for those needing care day and night.
Usually, you will not be eligible to receive this allowance if you are in hospital or a care home for more than 28 days. However, if you are self-funding your nursing home care, personally or with the help or another person or charity, you can continue to receive this payment. It is also worth noting that a significant number of carers not only look after someone else, but have a disability or illness themselves. If this applies to you, you may also be eligible for support.
More information on Attendance Allowance is available online at:
It was a pleasure to visit the Oxted Country Market on Thursday. As well as being thoroughly impressed by the range of locally produced items on offer, my wife and I were delighted to receive 'Ox Ted', a teddy bear for our newborn son from the ladies of Oxted Country Market. We are extremely grateful for all the effort and thoughtfulness that went into this gift.
We also visited the Woodhouse Centre, which is a charity based in Oxted that does a fantastic job of providing activities and companionship for the elderly and disabled. The centre is a great example of the community spirit we have in Tandridge, and I enjoyed meeting members of the group as well as learning to make Remembrance Day poppies.
RT @DouglasCarswell: Only the Conservatives will guarantee and deliver an In /Out referendum. It will only happen if Cameron is Prime Minisâ€¦
1.3 days ago
RT @HuffPostUKPol: Carswell is not Ukip's first MP. Tory Bob Spink defected in 2008 but lost his seat in 2010 http://t.co/bY5x3xk0xe http:/â€¦
1.4 days ago
@ChukaUmunna Bob Spink who defected to UKIP in the last parliament was the first UKIP MP.
1.4 days ago
No surprise. Labourâ€™s rent gimmicks WILL put up rents
2.3 days ago
Gr8 start for new online voter registration system as 1 million people apply to register to vote in 2 mths http://t.co/8Mmhpd82MK
2.5 days ago
@BrianJRGale .@educationgovuk Children with an SEN statement,an education health & care plan, or on DLA, r entitled 2 15 hrs free childcare
3.1 days ago
RT @educationgovuk: AUDIO: @SamGyimah explains why we are doubling the amount of free childcare for two-year-olds http://t.co/r8bEaQpOLh htâ€¦
3.1 days ago
Delighted we are extending free Childcare to 40% of 2 yr olds to help parents give children the best start in life. http://t.co/IK24xq19cI
3.2 days ago