Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Westminster Week

The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons last week and I was pleased to speak on the topic in the House. The legal process for divorce currently incentivises conflict by requiring blame for the end of the marriage to fall on one of the parties, this Bill removes the need to find fault in a marriage in order to start proceedings. The Bill also introduces the new option of a joint application and removes the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce. I welcome this modernisation of our divorce laws and hope these reforms lead to less acrimonious divorce processes for the good of the parties, and often children, involved.

Last week I was delighted to meet with representatives from the Charity Medicines Access Coalition (CMAC). CMAC is a coalition of ten health charities jointly representing millions of patients.  CMAC was established to find solutions to the challenge of patient access to new and innovative medicines.  As major funders of medical research and contributors to patient care and support, they want to make sure scientific advances benefit the people who need them most. As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices I look forward to working with the group in future to ensure patients have access to the right care.

The Public Accounts Committee last week looked at the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme. Officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government and Homes England were questioned by my colleagues and I on the aims, targets, and execution of the scheme. A report by the National Audit Office found that the scheme has been successful in getting more homes built and increasing home ownership. The next phase of the scheme will be targeted more narrowly at specific areas of housing need and individuals who could not otherwise buy a home.


Teignbridge Matters

Last Friday, I was delighted to attend sports day at Teign School and celebrate National School Sports Week. National School Sport Week encourages pupils to be more active and celebrate PE. The week is being themed around the Five Ways to Wellbeing – focusing on how PE and school sport get people active, connecting, giving back, taking notice and learning.

With only one in five young people doing the recommended 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day it was great to see the children so engaged with school sport on the day. Sports and physical activity have been shown to have such a hugely positive impact on our confidence, self-esteem, and well-being so it is very important for children to develop health habits early on.

On Saturday, I was honoured to attend the Dawlish Armed Forces Day celebration at the Manor House. Armed Forces Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the men and women who keep us safe around the clock and around the world. Community events were held up and down the country and it was great to get involved locally to show support for those serving and veterans who live in the Teignbridge area.

In the run-up to Armed Forces Day, I was also pleased to attend a breakfast briefing in Parliament with Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People at the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence is currently backing efforts to support the digital skills of ex-military personnel to ensure they can successfully move into civilian employment after their military careers. As part of this Facebook has recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant which pledges to ensure equal opportunities for ex-military personnel. Facebook have also launched a training programme for more than 300 veterans to learn digital skills. It is fantastic to hear about businesses supporting the Armed Forces community.

My next surgery is on Friday 12th July in Newton Abbot. Please call my office on 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.