Ed Vaizey MP Parish News January 2014
Firstly, a very happy New Year to all readers: I hope it is not too late to say so by the time you see this.
Like many others, I am working on improving my fitness at the moment, so I was very pleased to learn that the Government is making changes to make life easier for our local sports clubs. The taxman had received lots of complaints that the rules for these clubs were unclear and caused confusion, so there will be a new set of simple rules. I very much hope that the changes – which include tax benefits and allowing clubs to generate more income – will make life easier for all our local sports clubs and so help them to encourage all of us not just to take sport up as a new year resolution, but to stick with it all year.
In between visits to the gym, my mailbag for the past month has included issues such as care in the NHS, the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum, and Save the Children’s No Child Born to Die campaign, which focuses on reducing newborn mortalities in developing countries. As this shows, my Constituents continue to be concerned about a very wide range of issues, but the largest number of messages I’ve had by far has been about the planned electrification of the main railway line through the constituency. Although the idea of electrification has been welcomed, there are some very serious concerns about the consequences of doing the work which may occur, because it involves work to a lot of bridges, many of which date back to the time of Brunel. The biggest outcry came with the proposed closure of the A338 at Grove, as well as the continuing impact on the community around Fulscot Bridge. I’ll continue to do all that I can to ensure that the needs of Constituents are protected as far as they possibly can be as this process goes on.
I also received a number of emails and letters from members of the farming community about the issue of changes to farm subsidies. Basically, it was about the balance between funding for measures that enhance the environment compared with those which directly support farming – some things do both of course. Having written to the Environment Secretary expressing my constituents’ concerns, I was pleased that following an extensive consultation with farmers, environmental groups and others, Ministers listened to these concerns and decided on a less drastic change, with the intention of reviewing this in 2016. This will benefit farmers who take great care of our environment.
Ed Vaizey MP