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 www.david-johnston.org.uk 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 firstname.lastname@example.org