Author Archives: John

From your local MP – David Johnston

Thank you very much to the 2,127 people who signed my petition to re-open Grove Station. It shows again the huge strength of feeling on this locally, and I will now be presenting it to the House of Commons and to the Department for Transport to make the case to them. Thanks too to Andy Holding of the Wantage and Grove Rail Supporters Group for his support. I will keep pushing for this station, which makes economic, social, and environmental sense.

We are the proud home of the 11 EOD and Search Regiment at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot, and it was a pleasure to visit again and meet Lt Col Rob Swan and the team. Just this year they have so far responded to more than 1,800 requests in the UK to deal with explosive devices and I planted a remembrance stake in Parliament’s Garden of Remembrance in their honour. I also, as ever, took part in poignant remembrance services and parades – this year in Wantage and Didcot. Thank you to everyone who made them happen.

UK Parliament Week takes place every November, and I was pleased to visit local schools and talk to different youth organisations about my role as an MP and how they can get involved in politics, including: Wallingford School, St Michael’s CofE Primary School in Steventon, Brightwell Primary School, St Blaise Primary School, the 7th Abingdon Beavers, Chilton Explorer Scout Unit and Brightwell cum Sotwell Scouts.

I have been campaigning to improve our roads since I was elected and I have now launched my Local Roads Survey to give you the opportunity to tell me exactly where you are seeing issues on our roads that need to be resolved – including potholes, congestion, speeding and other safety concerns. I want to pull together a complete map of all the issues we are facing, and where, so that I can raise these with the road authorities. Fill it out at

Now that I am the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, one of the things I have responsibility for is overseeing the Government’s big new expansion in childcare for parents. Once it is completed in Autumn 2025, it will give working parents 30 hours of free childcare every week from when their child is 9 months old until they start school. It is great be involved in delivering this exciting new policy and you can see exactly what you’re eligible for at

It is also great that the Prime Minister has successfully delivered on his promise to halve inflation by the end of the year. It involved hard decisions and discipline, but it is right that we focused on this as inflation eats away at the pound in your pocket and has had negative effects on both prices and interest rates.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via

From your local MP – David Johnston

I was really pleased with how my Pensioners’ Fair in Wantage went. Lots of pensioners came and were able to get information and advice from a wide range of organisations that took stalls, including Vale Community Impact, Carers Oxfordshire, Thames Valley Police and Grove Day Centre. My thanks again to Driving Miss Daisy in Didcot for sponsoring it.
Last month, I officially opened Soha Housing’s new building in Wallingford, Frances Curtis Court. It provides retirement living options and I was very impressed that they had managed to build it on time and on budget despite the pandemic. It was particularly nice that Frances Curtis’s Grandson was able to be there for the event, too.
Andy Baker is a local hero in Didcot and I am proud to be a patron of his charity, Play2Give. It was great to be able to be at his 2023 Gatsby Ball last month, a really great event with 140 people in attendance. It celebrated his organisation having now raised more than £100,000 for Oxford Children’s Hospital. Well done, Andy!
Two things for you and your families to participate in before next month. I have just launched my annual Christmas Card Competition for primary school children. It’s open till the 13th November and entries need to be on an A4 page – the winning design will go on the front of my card!
I’ve also opened a survey asking what you think about the PM’s proposal to increase the age you can buy cigarettes by a year every year so that a 14-year-old today is never able to buy one. Find details about both on And do please sign my Grove Station Petition while you’re there if you haven’t!
It’s been a very busy first few weeks as Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing. I’ve met with lots of individuals and charities that support work in the areas I’m now responsible for; helped to launch a new £70 million programme to improve the support children with special educational needs get; responded on behalf of the Government in a debate about the role of kinship carers (family members who take children in who can’t live with their parents); hosted visits by Ministers from Sweden and the Netherlands to share ideas; and launched more of the Government’s work to reform children’s social care.
There’ve been plenty of visits, too – including to nurseries, a family hub, a children’s home and the Seashell Trust, a charity that supports children with learning disabilities and autism. There’s lots to do – the Special Educational Needs, Alternative Provision and Children’s Social Care System are all being significantly reformed simultaneously and, at the same time, the Government is making the single largest investment in childcare ever to dramatically increase the free hours of childcare parents can claim. This constituency will always be my primary focus but I’m very much enjoying my additional responsibilities so far.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via

Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Here is the latest Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 8th November.

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

Upcoming CHAFT Meeting, Wednesday 11th Oct.

There will be a meeting of CHAFT in the Village Hall starting at 6:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Read the Church Street and Newbury Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter.

Parish Council Meeting Wednesday 13th September 2023

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 13th September 2023 in the Village Hall and will start at 7.30 pm.

Here is the agenda and supporting documents.

Residents are very welcome to attend. Contributions to debates should be through the Chair.

Planned speeches should be no more than 3 minutes and made at the start of an item.

From your local MP – David Johnston

After breakthroughs for the local AEAT Pensioners in recent weeks, I’m delighted to have just had another campaign success – this time with benefits that are national rather than local.

Part of my campaigning on the environment includes being chair of the Community Energy APPG and the lead sponsor of the Local Electricity Bill. In simple terms, this means I have been campaigning for some time to see more support for community energy – by which I mean clean, renewable energy that local people generate themselves in their local areas. At the moment the setup costs are just too high.

I’ve spent the past few months working with my Government colleagues to try and get the principles of the Local Electricity Bill into law and get some money behind community energy.

This has resulted in a new Community Energy Fund of £10 million being created, which the Government has just announced, and which will be open for applications in the Autumn. I’m really delighted with this as it has the potential to benefit many community energy groups in England and – I hope – Oxfordshire. There’ll be further good news when the Energy Bill comes back to the House of Commons next month too – so watch this space!

On the 27th September, I will be holding a Pensioners’ Fair for local pensioners – whether they live in Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford, Faringdon or any of our villages – at the Beacon in Wantage. I am doing this as a significant proportion of my casework involves trying to help pensioners access support or advice – whether about benefits they’re entitled to, support with hearing and sight loss, or how to protect themselves against online scams. I’m therefore bringing together a lot of the key organisations that can provide guidance – together with some of the clubs that can keep people active and help guard against loneliness – in one place so that pensioners can drop in and talk to a range of organisations at the same time. Further details will be put on my website and do please spread the word.

I’m pleased that after my crime summits in Wantage and Wallingford, Thames Valley Police have taken a number of actions in this area – including following up with each individual who raised a case at the events and broader work to increase contact with local schools/community groups and make visits to places identified as problems – in response to what local people told them.

Far from being a holiday – though I will go away for a week or so – parliamentary recess is a good time to get all over the constituency on days other Friday-Sunday, given MPs have to be in Westminster Monday-Thursday most weeks. I’ve very much enjoyed being out and about, whether in Uffington, Wallingford, Didcot or Grove and it’s been great to visit places I haven’t been to before like Serica Smooth in Wantage and Harwell Bowls Club.

As ever, if I can help with anything then do please let me know via

Wantage Church St. and Newbury St. PPG Newsletter

Here is the latest newsletter for the Wantage Church Street and Newbury Street Practice Patient Participation Groups

From your local MP – David Johnston

As I mentioned in my last article, access to childcare is something that is regularly raised with me on the doorstep, and I launched a Childcare Survey last month to give parents and guardians across the constituency the chance to tell me about their experiences. Thank you to everyone who took part.

I will be sharing the findings with Ministers at the Department for Education, but the headline results included 95% of people saying we need more childcare infrastructure (much like most other infrastructure!) and 95% of people supporting the Government’s plan to expand free childcare to 30 hours every week for children from 9 months old until they start school. This is the largest ever investment in childcare and will hopefully make a huge difference to the 75% who said that cost has been an issue in accessing childcare.

This month I was pleased to host my third annual Wantage and Didcot Climate Summit featuring a keynote speech by Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, who took questions on everything from renewables to transport. We also welcomed local and national experts including Mike Blanch from the Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust, Jack Richardson from Onward and Professor Adrian Bull from The University of Manchester to talk and take questions about wind, hydrogen and nuclear energy. This was followed by the chance to question Thames Water’s Director of Sustainability on water quality and tackling storm overflows. It was a very interesting event, and you can watch the recording on my website.

I also hosted a Crime Summit with Thames Valley Police in Wallingford this month after a local resident wrote to me with concerns about crime. It was a productive discussion about lots of issues and there were several things that TVP committed to go away and look at – including the time it takes to report an incident of anti-social behaviour online.

In addition, I hosted a Farmers’ Forum for local farmers with the Farming Minister, Mark Spencer. We had a wide-ranging discussion about food production, farming incentives, the challenges for beef/pig/dairy/arable farmers, the environment and much more.

It is always a pleasure to welcome constituents to Parliament, and it was great to meet with Sarah and a group of young people from SOFEA when they visited again for a tour. I helped organise this after a visit I made to them recently – they do great work for the local community.

As one of the patrons of Play2Give I try to get to as many of Andy Baker’s events as I can and this month he was running a great football tournament in Wallingford, which raised over £4,000. Well done, Andy!

In other news, my campaign for the local AEAT Pensioners hit another milestone as Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee finished their inquiry that I helped secure and made recommendations to Government. This is a campaign I will continue to support.

As ever, if I can help with anything please email me via