In November, the Chancellor delivered his Budget. No one can pretend it was radical or revolutionary. But most will think that’s a good thing. There’s quite enough turmoil at the moment.
The main focus of the budget was housing – a deeply controversial issue in our part of the world. Nevertheless, people do know that we need to build more houses, as property ownership has fallen dramatically and houses have become unaffordable for many people. I am therefore encouraged that the Chancellor has outlined the Government’s ambition to increase housing supply to its highest level since 1970 by the end of this Parliament. This will put us on track to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s with £15.3 billion new financial support for house building over the next five years – taking the total to at least £44 billion.
On a local level, it was promising to see an additional £215 million set aside for Oxfordshire to build infrastructure, deliver new homes and increase economic productivity across the county. This is a welcome step in ensuring our local area is fit for the future.
I welcome the announcement from Chris Grayling of the £47.9bn overhaul of the rail network in England and Wales, including restoring the Oxford to Cambridge rail link. This is part of the overall strategy suggested by the National Infrastructure Commission’s report earlier this month on infrastructure growth across the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc, which Wantage & Grove Station is part of. I will be continuing to campaign in Parliament for a new station at Wantage & Grove whilst there is so much interest in rail infrastructure.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has recently compiled a handy list of funding sources available for arts, heritage and cultural projects which may be useful for local organisations. There are many different avenues that organisations seeking support can pursue and I would recommend that anybody wishing to make an application first contacts the relevant local office. Their staff will then be able to provide advice and support regarding the application process. Full list can be found at: goo.gl/QihSKD
On a similar note it is fantastic to see that over the past three months the Big Lottery Fund has provided nearly £55,000 of funding to 6 projects in the constituency. Every week over £13 million is awarded across the UK to support community activity with the money raised from National Lottery players. The organisation works hard to ensure the money reaches the people and organisations who make a real difference and it’s great that the benefits are being felt in our area.
The brand new Didcot Concert Orchestra gives its inaugural concert at Cornerstone arts centre, Didcot at 4pm on Sunday 11 February 2018 playing music from the late Romantic era. More info can be found at: https://www.didcotconcertorchestra.org.uk/
I am delighted that this Orchestra has been established. Didcot is a vibrant and growing town, and the arts have always been a central part of its life. The concert orchestra fills a gap, and it is very much needed. Music brings great joy to people, and it also plays an important role in our schools and our communities. I wish the Dicot Concert Orchestra every success and I look forward to seeing them perform soon in Didcot – if not at the Proms!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any pressing issues that you would like help with. Either myself or one of my team will get back to you as soon as possible and do what we can to assist. You can contact me on any matter at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA, firstname.lastname@example.org or 01235 768 888. Email is the quickest and most reliable way to get in touch, as I keep a very close eye on my emails and can reply very quickly. Details of my activities in Parliament can be read on my website, https://www.vaizey.com. I also send out occasional general interest emails about developments in the Wantage and Didcot Constituency. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please complete the online form at https://bit.ly/EdVaizeyMP.”