Before the 2015 General Election I set out my pledges for Stafford constituency. Having the honour of being re-elected Stafford’s MP, this is the work I will be concentrating on:
JOBS. AIM FOR FULL AND BETTERPAID EMPLOYMENT IN STAFFORD CONSTITUENCY, SUPPORT NEW AND GROWING BUSINESSES AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISES.
Building on the welcome fall in those claiming jobseeker’s allowance since May 2010, I will work for full employment in the constituency with more high-skilled jobs in engineering, health, IT and other sectors. I will continue to support new and growing businesses and social enterprises, especially as they seek capital for growth.
CARERS. CONTINUE TO CAMPAIGN FOR INCREASE IN AVAILABILITY OF RESPITE CARE AND SUPPORT FOR CARERS.
Carers do vital work in our society as they look after their loved ones. They need some time away to recharge their batteries. Although respite is increasing, it is insufficient and inconsistent. I will campaign for increased respite care with national standards. I will also work for improvements in other forms of support.
RURAL BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURE. SUPPORT OUR FARMS AND OTHER BUSINESSES TO ENSURE FLOURISHING SUSTAINABLE RURAL COMMUNITIES.
I will work with our rural communities to sustain our beautiful environment while supporting voluntary organisations, farms and other rural businesses which are at their heart.
HEALTH. ENSURE DELIVERY OF COMMITMENTS TO STAFFORD’S HOSPITAL AND INTEGRATION OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE LOCALLY. FIGHT FOR RETURN TO 24/7A&E WITH PAEDIATRICS AND CONSULTANT-LED MATERNITY.
The quality of services in our hospital has improved greatly and we have secured very substantial long-term investment for expanded A&E, endoscopy, chemotherapy and dialysis departments as well as refurbished wards and operating theatres and – for the first time – MRI scanning. A new doctor-led overnight service has just started.
I will continue to support staff to deliver the highest quality of care. I will fight for a return to 24/7 A&E and paediatric services. I will also campaign for consultant-led maternity to return to Stafford alongside the midwife-led unit.
EDUCATION. CONTINUE TO CAMPAIGN FOR FAIRER FUNDING FOR STAFFORDSHIRE’S SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES, AND WORK WITH THEM TO SECURE THE HIGHESTSTANDARDS FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE.
I welcome the Government’s recognition after many years of campaigning by me and predecessors that Staffordshire’s schools have been underfunded for decades; and the additional funding granted is a step in the right direction. There is still much more work to do to ensure that we receive our fair share and I will continue to take the lead in that campaign locally. Our schools and colleges do fine work. I will continue to work with them so that all are delivering an outstanding quality of education to all our young people. UPDATE - Under proposals published for consultation in March 2016, the Government has started the process of introducing a national funding formula from 2017-18. This represents an important move towards a system where school funding is allocated on a consistent national formula. The plans outlined will ensure that every school and local area, no matter where they are in the country, is funded fairly - according to need rather than the oddities of history and that funding gets straight to the frontline. More here.
INFRASTRUCTURE. CONTINUE TO CAMPAIGN FOR A LONG-TERM PROGRAMME OF IMPROVEMENT TO OUR ROADS, INCLUDING A RELIEF ROAD TO THE EAST OF STAFFORD, BETTER ROAD SURFACES, IMPROVED BUS SERVICES AND CYCLING PROVISION.
The M6 smart motorway to J13 is almost complete, which will benefit the constituency. Funding has been secured for the Western Access Road and other local projects. Our water pipes and sewers are also being renewed.
I will campaign for a relief road to the East of Stafford, extension of the smart motorway to J14 and 15, further improvements to tackle congestion hotspots and a substantial programme of resurfacing urban and rural roads. I will also ask for a full re-evaluation of the necessity of all traffic lights and their phasings. I will work for improved public transport throughout the constituency and better provision for cyclists and pedestrians.
DEFENCE. DO ALL I CAN TO SUPPORT THE INTEGRATION OF THE INCOMING SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES INTO OUR COMMUNITY. I WILL SUPPORT PROPER DEFENCE FUNDING.
I will work with the Armed Forces and the local community to ensure that they receive the warmest of welcomes and integrate well so that in turn they can bring great benefit to our community as the current MOD Stafford personnel do. I will support proper defence funding in accordance with our NATO commitments. UPDATE- In the 2015 Budget the Chancellor announced that defence spending will meet the NATO pledge of two per cent of our national income for the rest of this decade.
TECH HUB. WORK TO MAKE STAFFORD ONE OF THE LARGEST TECH HUBS IN THE COUNTRY.
Stafford and South Staffordshire already host several successful technology businesses. With the main Staffordshire University campus available from 2016, we have the opportunity to transform it into a centre for research, education and high-value jobs. I will work with the Government, Chamber of Commerce and the businesses themselves to make Stafford constituency a national Tech Hub.
STAFFORD TOWN CENTRE. ENSURE THAT THE GREAT INVESTMENT IN STAFFORD TOWN CENTRE BENEFITS ALL PARTS OF THE TOWN AND CONSTITUENCY.
With a new Marks and Spencer, Primark, multiscreen cinema and increased car parking, Stafford Town Centre is seeing substantial investment and job creation. I will work with the Council and businesses to ensure that all parts of the town centre benefit from this investment and make us a more attractive regional destination.