View From The House - 29th April

HELLO and welcome to my weekly View from the House for Tamworth Informed. Eagle eyed readers will note that last week there wasn’t an article from me. This was due to Easter Recess and with very little to report back, I wanted to save it up for this week.

During the Recess week, MPs return to their constituencies to catch up on the meetings they miss, as we are in Parliament for most of the week. For me two different events made my week: meeting St Giles and the St George’s Day extravaganza. Every year Coral, the bookmakers, team up with MPs and give them a charity bet at the Grand National. The Coral store in Glascote has delivered well for me in the last two years, so I fancied my chances and returned for a third time. I put an each way bet on ‘Walk in the Mill’ and it came home with some money! I was delighted to hand over a £125 cheque to St Giles Hospice. I am sure you can all agree what a worthy cause it is. The other highlight was the St George’s Day Extravaganza, and wasn’t it a fantastic day for the whole family? We had the perfect warm weather for it, and it was good to speak to so many people. Well done to the team at Tamworth Borough Council!

With the end of Easter it meant the end of Lent, and I managed to keep my lent promises…just! No beer, cheese, bread or crisps! I also started the 5:2 diet and I am happy with results thus far, and I am going to try and keep going. I am not sure how the rest of my team did but I am sure they stuck to their promises. On Tuesday MPs returned back to Parliament, after a week away from this unique atmosphere I hope it has helped to calm my colleagues – I welcomed not voting until the early hours of the morning! However, we do have a job to do, and as the Brexit position develops I will keep you all updated. The Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, met with me so I could raise the concerns the Borough Council have around the way business funding happens. As Tamworth’s MP this falls directly in my remit, to lobby Government for you.

Wednesday is always the weekly PMQs session, however with the tragic murder of Lyra McKee the Northern Irish journalist, the Prime Minister attended the funeral and allowed a member of her Cabinet team to take over. Straight after PMQs I joined my fellow Staffordshire MPs and the Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP to talk Staffordshire schools. For me there were two points that residents have asked me to raise with him: post-16 funding and school places when more housing is built. The Minister agreed with me that increasing the funding for post-16 education should be one of them main messages the Department for Education needs to be shouting when it comes to spending plans for the year. This will help to support our sixth form students and give them the ability to choose from a wide range of A-Level or T-Level choices. Many of us know that when new housing developments go in, the infrastructure for our schools sometimes lags behind. When a new development is built, a new primary school must come with it and the secondary schools need to be expanded to, as they will receive these pupils only a few years down the line.

Friday is always a busy constituency day, and this was no different. The first stop of the day was at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Business Breakfast to talk about local developments and of course Brexit. We have good news in Tamworth and Staffordshire with more jobs and businesses being created, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to listen and answer questions from the business community. Following that I sat down with the local NFU group to talk about HS2 and the effects on rural farming, I will take these questions directly to HS2. I had a good chat with our Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, who updated me on Operation Fortress and the steps the Police are taking to stop the organised crime ring targeting County Drive. Quickly (but legally) drove over to Creative Choices, a not of profit company which aims to support those with mental and learning difficulties. Finally, I held one of my surgeries in the Tamworth office.