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 firstname.lastname@example.org.