Parliament returned from Party Conference recess this week. We debated amendments to the Finance Bill through the Committee Stage on the floor of the House, and the EU Approvals Bill. A general debate on the tragedy of baby loss was poignant with so many personal experiences shared.
On Monday the Secretary of State for Transport came to the House to give a statement on the decline of Monarch. The CAA have been working hard to make sure that all tourists that are overseas and due to fly back to the UK with Monarch have been able to. It is my understanding that all affected passengers should have now returned home.
The Minister also made it clear that he hoped all those that were made redundant would be able to remain in the airline business. All employees should have received information from Jobcentre Plus outlining the support available to them. Anyone affected that has not received the support, please get in touch with my office.
The Prime Minister also updated the Commons on the Government’s plan for leaving the European Union. The fifth round of negotiations took place last week and while the EU Parliament recently voted not to move onto trade talks, both the UK Government and Michel Barnier are keen to see trade talks begin by the end of the year. The Prime Minister has confirmed however that the government is preparing for all options including no deal.
Brexit remains the focus in Westminster. The Withdrawal Bill still has a long way to go and that will dominate this parliamentary session. There is also the huge challenge of negotiating a transitional agreement. If we still have no agreed place to which we are transitioning, how can such an agreement be negotiated?
This week I met with Schools Minister Nick Gibb to discuss the latest funding formula and how it will address the shortfall in the Devon schools budget. While I am happy that the Minister has listened to our calls for a fairer formula, and there is more money coming into the system it doesn’t still address both our historical disadvantage and our current challenges, particularly increasing costs and special needs funding.
The Minister has recognised our problems with SEN funding. The Minister and I both agreed that SEN children should not have to travel outside of the county to access services. For this to happen however the Minister must put the money forward. Devon is on a list of those authorities needing help here so I am hopeful we will get that help.
I met with Dr Matthew Fox, Chair of the South Devon and Torbay CCG Localities Group for the Coastal area. We discussed the challenges that are facing our health and social care locally and the progress with our Sustainability and Transformation Plans. I was very pleased to hear that we are not just a beacon of best practice in Devon but nationally in what we are doing which is down to strong leadership and a clear vision to which all parties are committed.
The Dawlish Christian Fellowship held a great evening event to look at the gaps in provision in our community that the community could fill. It was part of the Redeeming Our Communities national programme. Many good ideas were shared and many volunteers came forward. Key areas included addressing loneliness, providing more for young people to do and finding ways to help those with mental health issues before they become serious.
It was a pleasure to attend the Newton Abbot Town Ball on Saturday. The event has been ongoing for 24 years and has raised nearly £50,000 for local charitable causes. This year the Ball was proud to sponsor the Newton Abbot Police Cadets.
My next surgery will be at 14:00 in Newton Abbot, on the 27th October. Please call 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.