From your local MP – David Johnston

I’ve just launched a campaign to help young people at local state schools get work experience at the great employers we have in the constituency. This was part of what I used to do when I ran charities because most work experience goes to the relatives of existing employees or clients, meaning young people without connections struggle to get it. It’s vital to get, because it gives you first understanding of the world of work, teaching you what to wear, how to interact with people, how an organisation fits together and giving you something you can put on your CV – as well as your first connections. It has almost disappeared as a result of the pandemic, so I’m leaning on the employers at Harwell and Milton Park, in particular. If your organisation can help, wherever it is, do please get in touch.
On 2 consecutive days we had debates that allowed me to raise some of the constituent issues I am most often contacted about. First, we had the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which contains the Government’s planning reforms. I am very pleased the Government has listened to those of who raised objections to the zonal system that was being suggested. It is also going to put more weight on local plans and not require a 5-year land supply if your local plan is up to date – welcome news for us.
The planning process will be fully digitalised, and I asked again for hybrid meetings to be permitted (as well as measures to ensure the digitally excluded can still participate). I banged the drum again for my campaign for new houses to be built to the latest environmental standard, not the one when they got planning permission, which is often several years earlier. I also stressed there is still an issue with housing targets. South and Vale have typically exceeded their targets, but we continue to have an issue with the city of Oxford demanding the highest number of houses then hardly building any of them, meaning the burden falls on the rest of the county.
And, of course, I raised lack of infrastructure, which I did again the following day in a debate about Ofwat. The Government has just set new priorities for Ofwat, and I used a debate on these to talk about the sewage releases in Oxfordshire waters, the poor water infrastructure that often accompanies new homes and the objections to the reservoir proposal. You can find both speeches on my website/Facebook pages.
I had a great 4 days of Platinum Jubilee celebrations including in Didcot, Faringdon, Wantage, Grove, West Hanney, Harwell and Wallingford. Along the way there was lots of food, plenty of games, Vikings, morris dancers, animals and an impressive array of classic cars – well done to everyone involved. God save our wonderful Queen.

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