This week the Chancellor announced his second Budget for this year after the switch from spring to autumn Budgets. There were positive announcements for the NHS, housebuilders and small businesses and one of the things I was pleased to hear was the announcement of a review into single use plastic items. Many plastic items end up either on our beaches, in our oceans or on the side of the road littering our hedgerows. It’s not good for our environment nor for the enjoyment of our area.
It was on this topic of rubbish that I held an adjournment debate on Tuesday night in the Commons chamber. Fly-tipping in rural areas across the country is a major problem and one that I was keen to raise with the minister before the Christmas period, so I was pleased to see so many other MPs join me in the chamber to raise their concerns.
Due to the length of adjournment debates the Minister only had ten minutes to reply to the points raised during the debate. She did however say that officials from DEFRA will be working to better understand the connection between changes at recycling centres and fly tipping. They will also liaise with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that sentencing levels act as an appropriate deterrent, something which they do not do at present.
I have had a lot of correspondence over the last week regarding the vote on the amendments tabled on animal sentience and a view that by not voting for the amendment the Government does not recognise animals as sentient beings. On Thursday Michael Gove published a Written Statement making it clear that EU rules have restricted us from cracking down on puppy smuggling and banning the live export of animals for slaughter. Current EU rules have failed to prevent practices which are cruel and painful to animals which the government will address when we leave the EU.
The railway continues to be a key priority for me and my colleagues in the South West. On Tuesday I had a meeting with Chris Grayling to talk about the money for the Teignmouth Cliffs. He assures me the money is there and planning has started. I will be writing to Network Rail shortly to ask for further clarification around the plans for the cliff and any further consultation work that needs to be carried out.
I attended a Westminster Hall Event for those living with the debilitating condition Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) where I met with one of my constituents, Howard, with whom I discussed the issues facing those who suffer with this disease. IPF is a debilitating condition with no known cure at present, accounting for 1 in 100 deaths and Howard’s outlook on life made me feel very humbled. More research needs to be done to help those with IPF and their families and I am happy to help to raise awareness.
On Thursday I met with Lucy Gordon and Sophie Turner from the South West Regional Schools Commission to discuss their work and what I can do to help. Regional Schools Commissioners (RSC) act on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education and are accountable to the National Schools Commissioner. Each RSC is supported by a head teacher board made up of experienced head teachers. A key concern for the RSC at the moment is to overcome the challenges that face rural community schools, something which I am continually striving to overcome with key areas still needing to be addressed despite the recent funding formula changes.
Christmas in Teignmouth started with the Christmas lights switch on after celebrations including a lantern parade! My Christmas card competition is in full swing. Christmas is almost here!
My next surgery will be at 14:00 in Newton Abbot, on the 1st and the 8th December. Please call 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.