Fairer Local Funding, Stronger Local Democracy

Yesterday, the new ministerial team at the Department for Communities and Local Government appeared before Parliament. It was an important first opportunity for MPs to test the new government’s commitment to strengthening respect for communities and local democracy – and the early signs are good. I had been concerned that the Conservative pledge in opposition […]

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Maiden Speech

Yesterday, I delivered my maiden speech in the House of Commons, during the Constitutional and Home Affairs debate on the Queen’s Speech. I paid tribute to my predecessor Ian Taylor, highlighted the poor funding deal we get from central government for local services – and its ramifications – and made the case for reversing the […]

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Community Spirit in Elmbridge

This week, I have been down to Cobham Day center, Walton Charity and Lower Green Community Association to hear how they are faring in the aftermath of recession. The voluntary sector suffers in any economic downturn, but I was delighted to see all three thriving despite the financial pressures. The voluntary sector play an important […]

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Government Scraps South East Plan

This week, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that the government is scrapping all Regional Strategies, which impose top-down housing targets on local communities. Here in Elmbridge, the South East Plan had piled the pressure on our greenbelt, and other open spaces, by dictating the building of almost 6,000 new housing units. Mr Pickles has written […]

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Sport in the Community

On Friday, I visited Cobham Sports Association with Councillor Jan Fuller. It is an amazing local sports club, with great facilities and a strong family dimension. We met the Under 17’s Rugby team (below), who recently stormed 55-3 to win the national championships, a fantastic achievement. There was all the camaraderie you expect at a […]

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The Dittons Fair

Today, I embarked on my first official duties – opening The Dittons Fair, which is celebrating the centenary of the local Scouts Group. We talked a lot in the election campaign about promoting the ‘Big Society’ – strengthening the family, promoting community spirit and providing more positive activities for young people. Nothing captures that better […]

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