Decision Maker

Matthew Hancock MP

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General

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Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP

Don't weaken the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act established the broad principle that public bodies must release information if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in it remaining secret. We, the undersigned, urge the Government not to do anything which would detract from that principle. In particular we urge you: to ensure that the Act continues to allow for the release of internal discussions at local and central government level when there is a public interest in doing so not to seek to create any new veto powers over the release of information not to introduce charges for Freedom of Information Act requests or appeals. Any charges could dramatically undermine the ability of requesters, including regional press journalists and freelances in particular, to use the Act to hold authorities to account. Investigative journalism is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes difficult to justify for news organisations which are under financial pressure. It needs to be nurtured and encouraged, for the benefit of society and democracy, not subject to Freedom of Information charges which would be effectively be a tax on journalism. This petition was launched by Press Gazette as part of the Society of Editors' Hands Off FoI campaign. It also has the backing of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. Note to signatories: If backing this on behalf of an organisation, or news title, please indicate which one you represent. If you are a journalist, please give your job title and organisation if you can. Please do so in the section where you are invited to share your reasons for signing the petition.

Dominic Ponsford - editor of Press Gazette
42,967 supporters
Petitioning Theresa May MP, Matthew Hancock MP, Lucy Frazer, Chris grayling, Henry Batchelor

Stop the death toll from rising on the A1307

Stop the death toll from rising further on the A1307 and take action now The A1307 is a secondary class A road in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk between the A14 at junction 31 in Cambridge to Haverhill, Suffolk and is one that needs urgent action. In the tail end of 2016 3 severe collisions occurred in the space of just 14 days. 2017 is now upon us and there has already been 1 fatality on this road which is now being widely reported as a 'deadly stretch of road'. Action must be taken now to debate improvements to this road which would ultimately save lives.

chris pearce
1,167 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matthew Hancock MP, The Head of decision making at Sport England, Nick Bitel

Chess should be recognised as a Sport by Sport England!

Chess should be recognised as a Sport by Sport England.   This can be done if Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and SportThe Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP helps the English Chess Federation to get this recognised by Sport England.  So please sign the petition, the more signatures, the better.  You can contact Matt directly Parliamentary House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA Tel: 020 7219 7186 Email: 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, CB8 7FN Tel: 01638 576692 Email: matt@matt-hancock.comWeb & Social media Twitter:@matthancock English Chess federation please contact the newly appointed MP for Sport. I care because my son Christopher Tombolis is the current under 12 British Chess champion.  He trains almost every day. He plays in tournaments all over England most weekends.  Some of his chess games are 3-4 hours long. I care because 6 million people play chess in the uk. I care because I love chess and what It means to millions of people.  I’ve met so many amazing, influential, smart, dedicated, passionate people through chess. I've made lots of fantastic friends for life. Chess is one of the most challenging and mentally exhausting sports. Chess helps develop problem solving skills. It helps the biggest muscle in our body- the brain- to improve. Chess improves verbal and cognitive skills. Chess Preserves Mental Acuity, improves mental skills and teaches efficiency, problem solving and planning.  My son’s heart rate goes through the roof when he plays chess. When he is allowed he monitors his heart rate With a fitbit, he clearly exercises when playing.  He is passionate and loves the sport of chess. He enjoys the competition and being part of a team.  He plays for himself, as part of county team, local leagues, 4 Nations League, Congresses, national and International tournaments. He is a member of the English Chess federation Junior Academy.  It would mean the world to him if England finally decided to join more than 100 countries in the world and declare chess a sport. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the support of Sport England for the top players in the country, and send them to represent England on world tours or even the Olympics one day?  It would mean that chess in England would get the badly needed funding.    For anyone not convinced read this A question of sportGuest blog6th Aug 2015 With chess missing out on the shortlist for inclusion at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, John Foley, Non-Executive Director of the English Chess Federation, takes a look at why chess isn't recognised as a sport in the UK and the case for change. Playing games is a natural part of human life yet it has become fashionable for leaders of the sports bodies to decry the rise of gaming when our young people could be active outdoors. The English Chess Federation takes a more positive view towards games. We advocate strategy games rather than “shoot ‘em up” games where adrenaline may be high but the intellectual content is often low. Chess is a classic strategy game which challenges the finest minds in the world. It is not recognised as a sport in the UK and receives no public funding. It is worth reminding ourselves why the International Olympic Committee and over 100 countries recognise chess as a sport. 1.Competitive. The objective of a game of chess is to win. Chess involves a relentless struggle against one’s opponent. There is probably no sporting activity in which two people are locked in a competitive struggle of such intensity for such a sustained period of time. One lapse of concentration and suddenly a good position is transformed into a losing one. Each game is a drama in which the outcome is uncertain until the very end. When recently interviewed by journalist Dominic Lawson, the world chess champion Magnus Carlsen said that chess was “definitely a sport”. 2. Well established. The world championship has been organised since 1886 and our national federation was founded in 1904. Chess competitions are organised at every level: schools, universities, counties, cities, leagues, junior, senior, European, World, etc. Six million people play chess in England each year according to pollsters YouGov. 125,000 children learn chess in school each year. 3. Physical fitness. Peak mental condition requires being in good physical condition. Players need to concentrate totally for up to seven hours. As the stress and tension builds up, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates all increase. Contenders for the world championships have nutritionists and fitness coaches. 4. Behaviour code. Players are penalised for poor sportsmanship e.g. for refusing to shake hands with their opponent. Potential cheating is taken seriously. Mobile phones are banned. Players are prohibited on their move from leaving the playing area. There is an anti-doping policy. 5. Olympic Recognition. Chess has been recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee since 2000. It was an event at the Asian Games in 2006 in Doha and again in Guangzhou in 2010. It is also being considered for inclusion in the Pan-American Games. Tokyo is preparing bids for the 2020 summer Olympics and has invited chess and bridge to apply for inclusion. Russia is trying to bring chess to the winter Olympics. 6. European Recognition. Chess is recognised as a sport in 24 out of 28 member states of the European Union. The exceptions are the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Sweden. In Sweden, it is likely that chess will be included from next year. Support has come from the Swedish sports coaches organisation which admires the mental discipline of chess. 7. Global game. Chess is played around the world irrespective of age, race, gender, income or language. People with physical disabilities play chess. Blind people play chess. People with advanced motor neurone disease play chess: Professor Stephen Hawking played chess with his children. 8. Mental component. All sports have a mental component. Ultimately competitive sports may be construed as strategy games differing only in their physical manifestation. Commentators are prone to similes such as: curling = chess on ice; bowls = chess on grass; snooker = chess with balls, and so on. 9. National accolade. World chess champions have won their national Sportsman of the Year competition including Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vishy Anand (India) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria). 10. Player ranking system. The player ranking system was developed for chess in 1960 and has been adopted by many other sports including American football, baseball, basketball, hockey, korfball, rugby and golf. Football and cricket use a related formula. England should be proud of its chess tradition. The first book printed in English by William Caxton was on chess. All official chess games must use the style of pieces designed in England by Nathaniel Cook in 1849 and named after Howard Staunton who was the strongest player in the world at that time. England has performed with distinction at the World Chess Olympiads. We had a strong team at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939 during which WW2 broke out. The team returned home where they worked with Alan Turing to break the German Engima codes. England came third in 1976 and regularly came second in 1980s behind the mighty Soviet Union. As recently as twenty years ago, England finished fourth behind Russia, Ukraine and the USA but since then we have declined - in the most recent Olympiad at Tromso in 2014, England came 28th. All but one of the 27 teams that placed above England recognise chess as a sport. The exception is the USA which funds chess privately. Governments actively support chess as it improves academic performance and symbolises a country’s intellectual strength. China classifies chess as a sport and in less than two decades has gone from nowhere to winning the recent Chess Olympiad and producing the women’s world champion, Hou Yifan. The next open world champion is expected to be Chinese. Chess has health benefits. There is an emerging awareness of the effectiveness of chess in delaying the onset of Alzheimers. Chess promotes social integration as players travel to a venue and interacting socially. Chess presents a welcome social activity to many children who are on the autistic spectrum. Many Aspergers children find chess opens up for them a whole new world which conventional sport does not. For many adults, chess provides them with meaning in their lives. Recognition as a sport does not bring any obligation of funding but it would open some doors. Many public funding bodies and foundations only fund officially recognised sports e.g. the national lottery. Chess would be able to obtain shared access to sports facilities as it does in other countries. Our students would no longer be prevented from playing in the European and World University Chess Championships because of the condition that the national sports body should recognise chess as a sport. We would no longer have to look at other countries seek funding from the Erasmus+ sports programme for chess, a possibility not open to us. Recognition of chess will not open the floodgates to video games. The mindsports (including bridge and chess) are well-established, public-domain, abstract strategy games played competitively throughout the world using one canonical form. By contrast, the video game market has numerous franchises (e.g. Grand Theft Auto) each of which spawns many game titles which are of short-term duration and which typically use proprietary technology. The English Bridge Union is going to court to have bridge recognised as a sport. We wish them well. Author: John Foley is a Non-Executive Director of the English Chess Federation and Director of Training and Education for the charity Chess in Schools and Communities. He is chairman of Kingston Chess Club and runs the British Chess Magazine squad in the National Chess League. In his spare time he likes to play bridge. He keeps fit by cycling.         

Klaudia Tombolis
980 supporters
Petitioning Suffolk County Council, Matthew Hancock MP

Stop 32 young people becoming homeless due to cuts in supported housing.

32 young people under the age of 25 are likely to be made homeless on the 1st of April 2017 due to Suffolk County Council cutting 1/3 of their funding for supported housing. I know a lot of people have their own preconceptions of the Cangle and the types of people who live here. I'm not sure anyone who hasn't lived here truly understands the help and support the Cangle offers young people in and around Haverhill. The system here encourages young single homeless people to better themselves and puts them on the right path to advance in life, through employment opportunities and a friendly face to talk to. Everyone who lives here or has in the past, had no where else to turn. Now we are faced with a situation where vulnerable young people have effectively had the system turn their backs on them when most are working to better themselves and use of the Cangle as a positive stepping stone into the future. Not a lot of people I have spoken to knew that his was happening. we feel that this needs to be stopped as this is a life line for many of us, we have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. For those who are working, and trying to succeed in life, we have very little options open to us, should this service be stopped. The staff that work here who offer valuable support, could potentially lose their jobs, something which should not be allowed to happen.

vikki hayes
721 supporters
Petitioning UK Parliament, Theresa May MP, Department of Education, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Boris Johnson MP, Nick Clegg MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Mary Macleod MP, Karl McCartney MP, James Morris MP, Global Partnership f...

changes for special needs children

Hi all i am from the westmidlands UK and im a mother  to a 5 year old sweet boy with complex learning difficulties, We need loads more funding and understanding for children with all different special needs. More time in mainstream schools & more teachers training on special needs kids! We need more special school opening and time spent on our children just like the rest do, im so saddened by this it breaks my heart to know our children are suffering how about in 5-10 years time the next generation of children are going to suffer immensly due to this something has to be done NOW. Nevermind trying to pass our children off as naughty or cant be bothered to teach them so they end up in limbo like a pru with no formal education again due to no special school placement for children with no formal diagnosis, i am a mother of a special 5 year old boy whos going through hell with himself trying to get him where he needs to be! Like many others we need extra funding in order for our children to get the education they all deserve. Its been going on too long now something needs to be done i want to get as many signatures as i can to forward to the SEN department and above goverment for there understanding that us as parents simply cant keep going through hell all at the mercy of endless paperwork. We need them to listen to us parents as we know what's best for OUR CHILDREN not them! We need more special schools opening and training as theres a big rise in new cases and nowhere to place our children, please help by signing lets get our childrens voices heard Thankyou

sarah brownhill
638 supporters
Petitioning Theresa May MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mary Macleod MP, Amber Rudd MP, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Matthew Hancock MP, David Cameron MP, Surrey Police, Gabrielle Upton MP, Nicola Blackwood MP, James Morris ...

Not a ‘Happy Ending’ for All. Call for Action to Recognise Legitimate Massage Businesses.

Stop Sexual Harassment of Massage Therapists & Better Regulations for All To stop this confusion and the constant harassment of legitimate therapists providing Health and Beauty services, there needs to be a clear distinction as to which businesses provide therapeutic massage and others which provide massage with the end goal of sexual gratification. We, in the Health and Beauty industry find this extremely important as everyone should have the right to feel safe in the workplace. This is not the case however, as massage therapists are propositioned daily to provide ‘Happy Endings.’  In the industry, we often have to deal with people expecting an entirely different service to the professional Health and Beauty services we are qualified and insured for. The fact that there is an abundance of sexual services provided by illegal businesses masquerading as spas and beauty salons, and they are actually brothels and parlours, indicates that the Government is not doing enough to combat this issue. If there are laws in place to prevent this, why isn’t this being regulated and enforced? Many men & women (especially women) that start out in the Health and Beauty industry at a very young age, find being asked for sexual services as extras a fear for their safety. Many therapists are subject to sexual harassment and leave the industry because of this. Receptionist's also find it a daily battle with seedy phone calls and perverse e-Mails.  As humans, we have a right to work without fearing for our safety. Suggested call for action is: 1.      Better licensing of legitimate Health and Beauty Providers and a certification for such businesses, so that they are easily recognised by potential customers as legitimate. This would confirm to customers that they are have a team of qualified, insured & fully certified therapists. 2.      legalese the sex work that goes on in some ‘Massage Parlours,’ which could possibly increase safety for vulnerable sex workers and decrease modern slavery and trafficking. This legalisation would make the industry more transparent and less ambiguous as to which businesses provide therapeutic massage and which provide massage with the end goal of sexual gratification.

Spa Satori
204 supporters
Petitioning David Cameron MP, George Osborne, Phillip Hammond, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Alun Cairns MP, Sajid Javid MP, Justine Greening MP, jeremy hunt mp, Greg Clark, Patrick McLoughlin, Elizibeth Truss, Olive...

Declare the UK referendum to close to justify leaving the EU.

In the hours following the results from the "Brexit" referendum the disastrous effect leaving will have on the British economy is already visible. This petition is to convince our elected government officials to consider the referendum as a census of public opinion, rather than a binding document. To use it to help shape policy moving forward. Leaving the EU would be a calamity and not one from which we could return. This petition is to implore every MP and government official with children who will live on in the UK after their time in government not to ruin the future of Great Britian based on the results of a Referendum that were so close as to be moot.

Daniel Martin
191 supporters
Save Further Education in Northumberland

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this petition set up by Jacqui Dixon. We are focusing the skills budget where it can have most impact. This will focus on providing young adults with the skills they need for sustainable work, skills training for unemployed adults, and English and maths for all those who have yet to achieve a Grade A*-C, recognising these are essential requirements for sustainable employment. Apprenticeships and Traineeships will be a particular priority. Full funding rules are available at: Of course, older learners need additional help so we have made more funding available for Advanced Learning Loans, enabling learners to access support to help meet up-front fees, and removing one of the main barriers to learning. The petition suggests that in areas of high unemployment such as the North East, people are discouraged from taking on a government backed Advanced Learning Loan. Applications for loans in their first year of operation (over 66,000 to the end of April) have been strong. In recent meetings with providers and stakeholders from across the FE sector we received positive feedback on the way the loans programme has been implemented. I believe that Advanced Learning Loans provide an opportunity for individuals to undertake learning which should improve their employment prospects at no up-front cost and are only repayable when they are earning £21,000. For younger learners, our priority remains to provide a high-quality study programme for every 16-19 year old, especially 16 year olds who are now legally required to participate. To that end despite a decrease in the population of 16-18 year olds we will be funding in 2014/15 at least as many places as were filled in the academic year 2013/14. We will be reducing funding for 18-year-olds to £3,300 compared to £4,000 for 16- and 17-year-olds. Students without GCSE grade C in English or mathematics and those with statements of special education needs, learning disability assessments or education, health and care plans are excluded from this reduction. Full-time 18-year-olds will still be funded for programmes broadly the same size as the core element of programmes they undertook prior to 2013/14. For the academic year 2014/15 we will cap any losses resulting from this change to the funding for 18-year-olds at 2% of the institution’s programme funding, protecting more than 450 schools and colleges that would otherwise have lost more than 2% of their funding from the 18-year-olds funding reduction. Full funding rules are available at: I appreciate that any budget reductions are unwelcome and Northumberland College, like all providers, will have had to re-prioritise its provision. However, in order to reduce the budget deficit, reductions to programme funding have been necessary and I believe that the funding priorities we have established are the right ones. The College’s 2014/15 Adult Skills Budget will be £3,092,460 plus an increased Advanced Learning Loan allocation of £756,036, representing a total £890,519 reduction. Its 16-19 budget will be reduced by £60,000 to £7,378,751 (excluding student support funding). One of our key funding priorities is Apprenticeships which equip people of all ages with the skills that employers need to compete and grow. I was therefore disappointed to read in the petition that small employers in the North East are reluctant to take on an apprentice due to bureaucracy. Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and high quality training opportunities like Apprenticeships are key to supporting their growth and success. Many small business employers already recognise the benefits of recruiting Apprentices and recent evidence suggests that about half of all Apprenticeship employers are small, with 1-24 employees. However, many small businesses are not engaged and are missing out on the opportunities that Apprenticeships offer for improving productivity and supporting sustainability and we want to address that. We are therefore making it easier to take on an Apprentice by cutting back on bureaucracy and replacing complex frameworks with simple standards set by employers. The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers also provides support for smaller employers taking on young apprentices aged 16-24. The Budget announced an additional £170 million funding over the next two years to support the current very high demand for the grant. The additional support will fund over 100,000 additional incentive payments. The grant has been particularly successful at removing barriers to smaller businesses taking on their first apprentices. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the college and all the work it does in Northumberland, particularly in view of the employment and skills challenges facing people in the communities it serves. I know that local colleges play an important role in inspiring people and equipping them with the skills that they need to engage more successfully with their local labour markets. Matthew Hancock

4 years ago