Time for Great Yarmouth to take advantage of a £3.5million construction windfall.

                                I have  today called on communities within the Great Yarmouth Borough to take advantage of the new Community Construction Fund launched by Norfolk County Council. The £3.5 million fund is intended to be accessed by community groups and is to be used to construct new community facilities such as village halls. I regularly hear from groups who are struggling for capital funding  and so I will be contacting all of those groups who I feel could benefit from this fund, encouraging them to apply. … Continue reading Time for Great Yarmouth to take advantage of a £3.5million construction windfall.

Join in with my Summer Tour!

  Although Parliament is in recess until September, I am still busy with a wide range of constituency and other issues. This summer, I wanted to use the opportunity of no legislative workload to visit almost every corner of the constituency as part of a bus tour. Acting as a complement to my normal schedule of surgeries, the tour is intended to ensure that those residents who don’t normally have the chance to visit me at a surgery to meet me in their local community, to discuss any concerns or worries. During the tour, I will visit a range of … Continue reading Join in with my Summer Tour!

Join in the Summer Reading Challenge

                            I am supporting a campaign run by The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s biggest reading promotion for primary school children. The Challenge which begins on 14 July is for every child aged 4-11 years to read six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or “Olympic style” medal when … Continue reading Join in the Summer Reading Challenge

Becoming a Scouting Ambassador

Whilst visiting the Royal Norfolk Show I was formally announced as an Ambassador for Scouting and was thanked for my support, by local scouts and scout leaders. I first congratulated the winners of a raft making competition and was then thanked by the County Commissioner, Gary Burfield. I received a certificate and also my own Norfolk County Scout Team “necker” and ‘woggle” As a child I was a Cub Scout, and am a passionate supporter of the entire Scouting movement. I am currently proactively supporting not only local Scout Groups but also campaigning on a range of national concerns. For … Continue reading Becoming a Scouting Ambassador

Small Business Survey

I am calling for Great Yarmouth small and medium sized businesses to engage with a new government survey aimed to help the Government find it easier to open up contracts to smaller firms. The Government has set a target for 25% of its contracts to be held by smaller and medium sized firms by the end of this parliament. This presents a fantastic opportunity to local firms in Great Yarmouth, many of whom have the skills and experienced but had a previously lack the capacity to bid for Government work. The survey is aiming to assess how many companies are … Continue reading Small Business Survey

Supporting attempts to criminalise social tenancy fraud

Supporting attempts to criminalise social tenancy fraud  I have given my backing to Richard Harrington, MP for Watford’s Private Members Bill that will prevent Social Tenancy Fraud and help free up thousands of social housing properties across the country. Mr Harrington’ s ‘Prevention of Social Housing Fraud’ Bill will include measures to make illegal subletting a criminal offence, create effective deterrents and allow for proceeds of subletting to be reimbursed to social landlords against who the fraud was committed, rather than the State. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 160,000 properties are currently unlawfully occupied, meaning that there are thousands of … Continue reading Supporting attempts to criminalise social tenancy fraud

Step forward in Tape Campaign

I recently had the opportunity, whilst at a reception held by The Guide Dogs for the Blind association,  to reveal a recent success in a campaign I am conducting to support visually impaired people. I have  successfully persuaded the Health and Safety Executive to highlight the need for appropriate tape to be used at building sites and on scaffolding to ensure that visually impaired people are more likely to see it. I have in conjunction with the Great Yarmouth Visually Impaired User Group; have for many years campaigned for the traditional red and white tape to be phased out and replaced by black … Continue reading Step forward in Tape Campaign

First Inquiry for Local Growth APPG into the Effectiveness of Local Enterprise Partnerships

AS Chairman of the All Party Group for Local Growth, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Enterprise Zones, I have launched a public call for evidence for the Group’s first formal inquiry. The inquiry will look into the effectiveness of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) since their creation. It will aim to identify barriers and weaknesses in the present system and how these can be addressed and built on for future success. I am keen to engage with the LEPs on a grassroots level to get a proper feel of where the schemes are succeeding but also what areas can be built on … Continue reading First Inquiry for Local Growth APPG into the Effectiveness of Local Enterprise Partnerships

Supporting parents

Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility. Bringing another life into this world is one of the most amazing things that a person can take on, but as parents across the country will know, it is also one of the hardest. Even though there is no model of the perfect parents, we all want to do what is best for our children and raise them to be healthy and happy. With so many parenting books, articles and blogs it can be hard to know where to go, or even where to start. The Government wants to support parents which is … Continue reading Supporting parents

Highlighting the impact of high fuel prices on Coastal Towns

Yesterday I spoke out in Parliament to highlight the impact high fuel prices is having not only on hard working families but on the wider economy as well. Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on the subject, I explained that although fuel prices were a problem for every community the problems caused are especially acute for rural areas and coastal towns. I argued that petrol prices had a direct impact on coastal towns’ economies, as it made them less attractive to tourists. Petrol prices have a direct impact on the ability of families to travel, and therefore reduces the number of … Continue reading Highlighting the impact of high fuel prices on Coastal Towns

Supporting local Caravan Parks

I have today voiced my firm support for local Caravan Parks, many of whom are concerned about the impact of a proposal to apply VAT to static Caravans. I am  supporting Caravans owners on this issue, and have been in contact with several of the individual park owners.  On Friday I met with a director of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, Mr Sims, to discuss the proposals. The Government announced during the budget that it would begin consulting on applying VAT to a range of currently exempt products, including static caravans. The proposal, one of many out for consultation, would place additional strain on caravan parks … Continue reading Supporting local Caravan Parks

Action needed after Belton Surgery Closure

  I am deeply disappointed that the efforts to save the Belton Surgery have been unsuccessful. Despite the concerted efforts of local campaigners which included Belton Parish Council, the PCT has decided to close the surgery in Belton from 1st June. It now essential that the PCT ensures that the transition is as smooth as possible for local residents, who may be left struggling due to poor transport links. The PCT needs to proactively engage with transport providers, remembering that villagers from several villages use the surgery not just those from Belton. The  PCT should also ensure that some outreach services are retained in … Continue reading Action needed after Belton Surgery Closure

Rollesby’s Post Office to Return

I was delighted to learn that after nearly a year a Post Office is set to return to the village of Rollesby. I have been lobbying for a return of this vital service ever since the old office suddenly shut after the retirement of the old subpostmaster. A limited service will be returning from Tuesday the 15th May. The subpostmaster at Catfield Post Office will provide a service on Tuesday and Fridays between 9.30, and 12.30. This provision will provide an essential life line to many people in Rollesby, many of whom are elderly and depend on the Post Office. Post offices are a vital … Continue reading Rollesby’s Post Office to Return

Speaking up for the local tourist industry

In the Great Yarmouth area, the tourist industry is worth an estimated £500 million to the local economy. In terms of accommodation, most people would think that visitors stay in a hotel or a local guesthouse. In fact, around half the tourists that come here on holiday stay in a static caravan in one of our excellent holiday parks. Therefore, what may seem an obscure debate about applying VAT to the sale of static caravans is an important issue for my constituency. This new measure was buried away in the pages of the Budget report announced by the Chancellor last … Continue reading Speaking up for the local tourist industry

Highlighting Seajacks’ success story to the Secretary of State.

Today I showed Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government,  that Great Yarmouth is ahead of the curve when it comes to getting Enterprise Zones up and running, when I took him to visit the local success story, Seajacks. We visited the office of the company;  as part of Mr Pickles’ visit to Great Yarmouth, and met with the Managing Director, Blair Ainslie, as well as a range of representatives from the LEP, including local councillors from Norfolk and Suffolk. During the meeting we discussed the growth of the firm and their plans to relocate to the new enterprise zone, becoming possibly the first … Continue reading Highlighting Seajacks’ success story to the Secretary of State.

A Planning Regulation Revolution.

I  welcome the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework. Under plans announced by Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralisation, planning rules have been transformed and simplified into a short 50 page document. Previously the collected rules ran to thousands of pages. The minister also outlined new measures to free up land for housing and business development whilst removing barriers for growth and enabling sustainable development. The document goes on to include a ‘town centre first’ provision which requires councils to primarily promote developing town centre shopping areas – feeding into the Government’s Portas Review to drive growth in our towns … Continue reading A Planning Regulation Revolution.

Braving the Rain to Show Support for Safe Cycling

                                This weekend  I braved the weather to join members of Great Yarmouth Cycling Club and the Community Interest Group, Activating, for a ride through central Yarmouth and Gorleston in order to promote safe cycling. Following the high profile  ‘Safe Cycling’ campaign launched by The Times and Parliamentary Debates on cycle safety in town and city centres, I felt it was important that I showed my support for this cause. The ride started in Great Yarmouth, and made its way through the busy one way system … Continue reading Braving the Rain to Show Support for Safe Cycling