Sunday, 21 September 2014

What next for the Union?

In the aftermath of the 'No' vote in the Scottish referendum, the debate has turned to carving out a new devolved settlement for the Scots. I have written a column for The Sunday Telegraph, here, arguing that any new deal for Britain must be fair for the whole of Britain - and what that involves.
 
I also discussed the issue on the Sunday Politics show this morning here.
 
 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Oxshott's New Look Post Office

On Friday, I joined Oxshott Postmaster Surinder Singh Jheeta, local councillor (and Deputy Mayor) Jan Fuller, and local residents to celebrate the opening of the new look Post Office on the high street.
 
The Post Office is located in the village store, and is equipped with a combination counter alongside the store's till. The key difference is that post office services will now be available for an additional 32 hours during the week, which will give busy families and more elderly residents some extra flexibility. Under this government, £1.34 billion has been invested in the post office network to update and modernise branches. I wish Surinder all the best with the refurbished branch!
 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Is Elmbridge a Paradise?

The Times once famously said Elmbridge was the 'closest thing to paradise' in the UK. Frankly, as the local MP, I have never found this kind of label very helpful.

Yes, we live in a beautiful and comfortable area. But, this kind of tag blithely ignores the pressures many people face, even in any area of overall or average affluence. So, it's great that Which?, the consumer magazine, have published an online app that shows in detail the kind of pressures different neighbourhoods are facing.

You can check for yourself online here. Compared to the UK average, Elmbridge is experiencing less financial distress, measured by the amount of borrowing, defaults on bills, rent or mortgages and wider cut-backs in household expenditure. But, the differences with the rest of the UK are quite marginal.

There are some interesting indicators about local satisfaction with a range of lifestyle issues – from leisure time to social life, as well as job and income.

The data also shows very low levels of trust in the European Union, and – interestingly - high levels of trust in the food industry (which may reflect the lower prices resulting from the supermarket price wars). Still, 40% of residents are concerned about household debt – which is unsurprising given interest rates are likely to go up at some point – and 51% are worried about their savings rate.

One thing is for sure: Elmbridge is not some paradise apart from the rest of the country.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Grill your MP!

We are fast approaching my next series of local public meetings.

As ever, they aim to give all local residents across the constituency - regardless of your political view - a regular opportunity to hear directly from me, and ask questions or raise matters of concern on any local, national or even international issues.

The forthcoming meetings are:
  • Tuesday 16 September – Rydens Enterprise School – Hersham Road, Hersham, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 5PY
  • Monday 22 September – St. Andrew’s Primary School - Lockhart Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 2AX
  • Wednesday 24 September – St Mary’s Church Hall, St Mary’s Road, East Molesey, KT8 0ST
  • Monday 6 October – Long Ditton Village Hall, 2 Ewell Road, Long Ditton, Surrey, KT6 5LE
All the meetings will start at 7.30pm and last up to 2 hours. I hope to see you there!

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