Despite the myth that MP’s take a long summer holiday during a Parliamentary Recess, the reality is very different. It’s been a busy few weeks in Coventry South as I use the time to catch up with local groups and organisations to hear about the work they are doing for local people across the city.
This recess I’ve also used the time to deliver on some of the pledges I made during the General Election on schools, education, housing, policing, Brexit and the greenbelt.
A few weeks ago I met with Whitefrairs to discuss their plans to build more social housing in the city, as well as ensuring that they are doing all they can to improve the properties they have. I regularly receive correspondence from constituents who are Whitefrairs tenants about issues of anti-social behaviour and sometimes poor living conditions. I continue to speak to Whitefrairs on a regular basis about their plans.
Building new homes does not however mean building on our green belt. I’ve been a strong and vocal opponent of Warwick District Council’s plans to build on Kings Hill and earlier this summer I joined over 100 local residents to show our opposition to the plans that would not only destroy part of our green belt but would also cause additional pressure on our roads and overstretched public services.
Education was a key part of the election campaign. I campaigned against the damaging Conservative cuts to our schools and their plans to raise tuition fees even further, putting working class kids at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to higher education. Prior to the recess I met with a number of Head Teachers and the Council to discuss how we could work together to stop these cuts to school budgets and whilst the Government has now backtracked slightly, ask any Head Teacher if they are confident the money coming from Government will cover their costs in the years to come and the answer will be a resounding no.
On Higher Education I met with Warwick University’s new Vice-Chancellor to hear about the exciting plans afoot for one of our two world class universities in the city. It’s fantastic that Coventry, a population seven years younger than the UK average is able to boast about two brilliant Universities now both in the top 12 nationally!
I was back at Warwick to welcome hundreds of young people to the Biology Olympiad where they came together to celebrate the huge achievements of this sector over the last few years. Not only were these people at Warwick University, they were in Coventry and it’s another example of how much the wider city benefits from our world class universities.
It’s our world class universities that are key to our City of Culture 2021 bid and I was delighted to meet with the bid team earlier this month to talk about how we can work together to deliver Coventry the crown when the results are announced at the end of this year. I’m hosting a Westminster Hall debate on September 5th followed a week later by a reception in the House of Commons as we look to drum up support for this exciting venture.
Last week I had the honour of visiting Acorns Childrens Hospice in Birmingham. It’s one of the most humbling experiences you have as an MP, visiting those in unthinkable situations but seeing the compassion shown to them by staff and volunteers. It’s the best and the worst of our world coming together. Hospice’s play a vital role in health care and what’s most shocking perhaps is they are too often reliant on fundraising rather than NHS cash. It’s something that we as a country must look at, whether it’s a hospice for adults or children, as we live longer and as medical advances occur the need for hospices will only grow.
Later this week I’m meeting with the Superintendent for Coventry and then with David Jamieson, our Police and Crime Commissioner. Fear of crime was an issue raised with me time and time again during the election campaign and although money is tight, I’m hopeful we can secure more resource for Coventry. In Parliament, I’m battling the Tories to give us the cash we need in Coventry to provide more Police on our streets. Their cuts to the Coventry Police since 2010 have been scandalous and Labour have opposed them every step of the way.
And as we head back to London in September, the diary is already filling up with a meeting scheduled in with West Midlands Trains firs up, the new rail company who won the recent franchise bid.
As ever, my office remains open throughout the summer and you can contact us through telephone, email and the post.