Newsletter October 2012
Posted by Margot James, MP for Stourbridge, at 17:48, Mon 1 October 2012:
I hope you had a good summer. The Olympics and Paralympics were such a huge success in every way. I think it is true to say that they exceeded all our expectations and they have given Britain a new platform on which to compete in the world.
Parliament returned with a clear message; to ensure that the Government commits all its resources and strains every sinew to support economic growth over the next year. Although the economy has, according to official statistics, been treading water this year there are signs of improvement. The near million new jobs in the private sector created over the last two years have more than compensated for the inevitable downturn in the public sector.
Never the less we still have a level of unemployment that is too high, particularly among young people. We need to support the private sector, in both services and manufacturing, by encouraging more investment from abroad and increased exports out of the UK. At the same time we need to reverse the recent decline in educational standards in our schools versus the rest of the world. Young people need to be supported to ensure they are ‘work ready’ as well as well qualified academically and vocationally.
There is so much to do. I feel we have a glass that is half full not half empty and the collective will of the British people can triumph. We have proved it in sport; and the incredible infrastructure and project management that underpinned that success. Now is the time to capitalise on our many natural advantages and prove it in more areas like life sciences, the creative industries, engineering, automotives, aerospace, higher education, and professional services for starters.
Parliament sat for two weeks in September, there followed a recess for the party conferences. During that time I asked questions and contributed to debates as follows:
- Self defence – Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, the rights of householders to defend their property. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-calls-government-statement-arrest-mr-and-mrs-ferrie
- The Work Programme – Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, improving labour mobility. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-welcomes-progress-unemployment
- Schools – David Laws, Minister for Schools, the Summer schools programme in Dudley. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120914/text/120914w0001.htm#12091446000970
- Aviation Strategy – Louise Ellman, Chair, Transport Select Committee to hear representations from Birmingham Airport as part of its inquiry. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-urges-transport-committee-hear-evidence-birmingham
I also wrote to Ministers on behalf of constituents or on my own account as follows:
Jeremy Hunt, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport: the distribution of equipment after the Olympics.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities: A Level funding and university applications.
Earl Howe, Health Minister: Enzyme Replacement Therapy.
Mark Simmonds, Foreign Office Minister: business opportunities in Africa.
George Osborne and Owen Patterson, the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: REACH regulations and their damaging potential for our manufacturing industry.
Norman Lamb, former Business Minister: credit reference agencies.
Theresa Villiers, former Transport Minister: ticket office opening hours at local train stations.
I attended various events in and around Parliament:
A reception to mark the departure of Mark Thompson, who stepped down as Director General of the BBC.
I spoke at the Federation of Small Businesses’ event in Parliament on government policies for SMEs.
A roundtable breakfast to discuss business in China.
A roundtable about manufacturing in the UK.
I had meetings with colleagues, businesses and other organisations, for example:
Jaguar Land Rover to discuss their future plans. UK Trade and Investment to discuss opportunities for the APPG for Trade and Investment to work with the UK-ASEAN Business Council.
Penny Mordaunt MP to discuss our joint investigation into social care policy
Conservative colleagues about the Fresh Start Project, a project examining the UK’s relationship with Europe and what needs to be re-negotiated.
A meeting of UK Trade & Investment executives from around the world to discuss business opportunities arising from International Development
After Parliament closed I visited the European Parliament in Brussels with fellow West Midlands MPs, where I met with Philip Bradbourn, MEP for the West Midlands, and attended various briefings on European policy on the economy, energy, justice and agriculture.
I was interviewed on the Today Programme about MPs with business experience.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n0vmr (Forward to approx. 24 mins 38 secs for Margot’s interview)
I took part in various visits:
Accompanied a local postman on his round. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-impressed-postal-workers%E2%80%99-fitness
The launch of the ASPIRE programme at the Q3 Academy in Great Barr. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-participates-aspire-launch
The Camphill & Berith Partnership open day. http://www.margotjames.com/content/mp-calls-%E2%80%98one-community%E2%80%99-following-camphill-and-berith-merger
Mary Stevens Hospice Fete.
British Glass Biennale 2012 exhibition at the Ruskin Glass Centre. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-impressed-british-glass-biennale-2012
Appeared on the Bridge Radio Bridge Brunch show with Alex Totney.
RAFA Annual Battle of Britain Parade Service and Wings appeal. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-attends-stourbridge-battle-britain-parade
The Challenge Network National Citizenship scheme.
Presented a chef’s jacket and hat to the Balti Bazaar for being highly commended in the House of Commons Tiffin Cup 2012. http://www.margotjames.com/content/margot-james-nominates-balti-bazaar-further-award
And had meetings with:
Residents of Wollaston to discuss concerns about noise and parking.
David Kemp, Principle of Pedmore Technology College, to discuss the English GCSE results.
Wright Associates in Stourbridge to discuss insolvency laws and procedures.
Paula Clarke, CEO at Russells Hall Hospital.
Stourbridge police officers.
Dudley Council’s Director of Adult, Community and Housing Services.
--It wasn’t all work--
I held an end of Summer party at home in Old Swinford and it was nice to catch up with friends after the Summer break.
Jay came up and spent the weekend with me in Stourbridge, we went to Stratford-on-Avon on Saturday night and celebrated her Godson’s 17th birthday with his family at Carluccio’s Italian restaurant, followed by a trip to see the new film of Anna Karenina.
I attended the European Diversity Awards which was a most enjoyable evening and dinner, celebrating some very worthy winners.
The Chancellor gave a barbecue at his official residence of Dorneywood, it was a beautiful day, great to catch up with colleagues and see around this historic house and garden. I don’t think any member of the government is as far removed from their public image as is George Osborne.
I spent a lovely afternoon and evening visiting my nephew Rupert and his family, what with Summer holidays it had been six weeks since my previous visit during which time his eldest child, Poppy, started at school for the first time, she looked fantastic in her school uniform.