I held a very productive pre-COP26 summit for Wantage and Didcot constituents this month. We had a great range of speakers, including the CEO of the independent Climate Change Committee. Interesting fact: the UK is currently 20 years ahead of the global average for cutting emissions, as well as cutting them faster than the other G20 countries. It won’t surprise you that the way we build houses featured regularly.
I put the event on because tackling climate change is very important to me, very important to a significant number of constituents and we have a big opportunity to demonstrate leadership when the world’s leaders come to Glasgow for the actual UN summit in November. It was also a great chance to showcase good local organisations like Greencore Construction, Westmill Wind and Solar and the Earth Trust. I am sending a summary of the concerns and ideas raised at the event to Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and will let everyone know how he responds.
As you might have seen, I held my debate in parliament on Royal Mail’s performance recently, making clear again that I don’t blame their workers for the problems. The following day I visited the Didcot Delivery Office. It’s clear that Royal Mail HQ has taken the criticisms seriously and has worked to try and improve the service – many people have told me it has. But you should let me know if you continue to encounter problems.
My first ‘10 minute rule bill’ will be on behalf of the AEAT Pension Campaign. This constituency has more of the AEAT Pensioners than any other constituency and they were all encouraged – via assurances that turned out to be false – to transfer to a pension scheme that has meant their pensions are now worth considerably less than they should be. It is a tale that sounds familiar, but a unique case in that it was advice from the Government’s Actuary Department in the 1990s that was strengthened to encourage the transfer and, at the moment, the advice can’t be investigated as the Ombudsman in question doesn’t have the powers to do so. The Bill would enable the Ombudsman to investigate the advice given and was first introduced by Ed Vaizey not long before he stood down. It is a long and difficult route to pass a law this way, but I am full of admiration for the campaigners who have been dogged in seeking to right the wrong.
Recess is fast approaching. I will be back home in Didcot for most of it, albeit working, contrary to the suggestion MPs are on holiday! In addition to regular meetings, surgery appointments and visits, I’ll be holding some roundtables on issues constituents have raised repeatedly with me (including on GP appointments) and trying to attend as many of the events that couldn’t take place last year as I can – let me know if you think there is a good one for me to attend near you.
As ever, if I can help with anything, do email me via email@example.com