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

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

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

Quango bureaucrats should hand back bonuses

New figures reveal that staff at the East of England Development Agency has received over a quarter of a million pounds in bonuses, despite being scrapped by the Conservatives shortly after the election. These payments are due to the appalling contract arrangements – instigated across the public sector – by the last Labour government. Over £1/4 million was paid to 203 staff at the East of England Development Agency since May 2010. It is shocking that the taxpayer is forced to foot the bill for unnecessary bonuses at this scrapped quango. The sight of failed bureaucrats lining their pockets with … Continue reading Quango bureaucrats should hand back bonuses

Pulling pints to support local pubs

This evening I am hosting a pub quiz to raise funds for the East Coast Hospice at the Albion Public House in Gorleston. I won’t just be answering questions but will spend some time on the other side of the bar serving drinks to show my support for our local pubs. As a member of the cross-party beer group in Parliament I am passionate about helping the pub trade during this difficult time. The All Party Parliamentary Beer Group aims to promote the unique role of the pub in English society. I am really looking forward to doing a stint … Continue reading Pulling pints to support local pubs

Knock-on effect benefitting Great Yarmouth

For people who are not political anoraks, debates in Westminster Hall may seem rather obscure or unnecessary. Yet, it gives Members of Parliament an opportunity to raise issues of particular importance to their constituency or other topics that wouldn’t normally be discussed in the main House of Commons. The debates are short and to the point, requiring a Government Minister to respond. Although a relatively new innovation, they are now a vital part of our political process. So, yesterday I popped into a debate about the export of Typhoon aircraft. You may wonder why that would be important to Great … Continue reading Knock-on effect benefitting Great Yarmouth