MP’s Report: 11th January 2014 to 17th February
We are in the middle of February and in the North East we have avoided the snow and flooding of previous years – whilst the south and west has suffered terribly from repeated storms. With further flooding feared the whole country is thinking of those driven out of their homes and facing disruptions to their lives.
I have met with the Environment Agency in the North East. They have sent staff down to Somerset and the Thames Valley to help co-ordinate relief. The priority needs to be that people get help in time not after the event. We want a government that speaks with one voice and understands the consequences of the decisions it is making. There should be questions too over the 600 staff who have been cut from the Environment Agency since 2010 and the 557 flooding staff due to be cut this year. All that doesn’t add up, particularly when we know that every £1 invested in flood defence schemes saves £8 in costs further down the line.
People need assurances at times like this and a feeling that they have a Government who is on their side.
I also met with Chief Superintendent Laura Young, in charge of policing in the city to discuss policing and the cuts. She reassured me of Northumbria Police’s commitment to community policy and their continued engagement with the public, particularly important in the context of the ongoing Operation Sanctuary. She believes that improved technology, such as smart phones on the beat, can help make up for the cuts in funding which are being directed to ‘back room’ operations.
But many backroom functions are essential for frontline policing, and we have to question how long this Government can continue cutting police funding without impacting frontline policing. As with the floods, policing is an essential service that repays investment.
Shadow Ministerial Role
- Deregulation Bill second reading scheduled was on Monday 3rd February. I am leading on this bill but the measures cover at least 12 different departments. It contains further attacks on employment rights, but also the removal of useless and obsolete regulations – deregulation of knitting yarn for example.
- Digital Government Review making good progress.
- Spoke from the front bench in Westminster Hall on Regulation of the St John ambulance by the Charity Commission
- Visited Social Enterprises in Salford and R&D group in BBC’s Media City.
- Spoke in questions on 27 January 2014 on Operation Sanctuary and police cuts
- Spoke on 12 February 2014 on Local Government Finance, 5 February 2014 Children’s Toys (Gender–specific Marketing) [Westminster Hall], 4 February 2014 on Regional Arts and Culture [Westminster Hall]
- Spring intern recruited
Backbench and Constituency Role
Quoted regularly in local media including Journal and Chronicle, and many other media outlets on Gender specific marketing of childrens toys. Published two blogs.
I continue to receive a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls, over 2500 per week . We have an office admin apprentice and will be recruiting a Spring living wage intern.
Meeting, Visits & Speaking Engagements:
Meetings & Visits ITV National Television Awards, British Council, Airwave, Advertising Standards Authority, Peter Wells, Bobby Hajjah, Northumbria Police, FSB, Omidyar Network, Jonathan Cave, EE, Grainger Market, Kilfrost, National Pensioners Convention, Adobe, National Portrait Gallery, Baroness Rennie Fitch, Nick Jennings, KPMG, Heart UK, Jenny Perkins, CBI Chinese New Year Dinner, Jonathan Bland, Newcastle City Council, Northern Media, Unlimited Potential, Social Adventures, BBC Media City, Green Alliance, ICAEW, Votes at 16, IET Young Woman Engineers, LGA, Open Data Institute, The Skill Mill, PNE, Bespoke Elegance, The Environment Agency, Federation of Small Businesses, Northumbria Policy.
- Speaking engagements: : Newcastle Eagles Hoops for Health, Pictfor CEO Forum Dinner Realising Britains Potential in Tech, Ladies who Impress, Policy Network A New Progressive Economy Pictfor Debate: Do UK technology companies benefit from EU membership? IPPR Round Table on Public Sector Procurement, UKTI International Networking Club, Newcastle, Planet Earth Institute Africa Breakfast Club, IPSOS Personalisation vs privacy, Emily Davison Debate To Freedom’s Cause’, the campaign for equality – still worth fighting for