As I travel around the constituency, it has been fantastic to see life returning to normal and people out and about in the recent nice weather.
In Westminster, we saw the start of the new Parliamentary session on 11 May - marked by the Queen’s Speech - which set out the Government’s agenda for the session. I spoke in the debate about the need to continue the work being done to reform adult social care, allowing local councils to deliver the best possible service for their communities. I also highlighted the importance of local input into housing plans; not only does this help avoid costly delays, but it also means having the type of housing that will benefit the local community.
Throughout this session, I shall also continue the work I have been doing to give children the best possible start in life by reforming the service we provide in the early years. These are some of our most informative years and so it is crucial that we get it right. Continuing the theme of education, I am highly supportive of the Government’s new Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, representing a significant shift in the attitude we have to lifelong learning and development.
We may only be a month into this new session, but it is good to report that the Environment Bill passed its final stages in the Commons and has now gone to the Lords. This Bill will do so much to help clean up our waterways, air and the way in which we interact with our natural environment. I was also pleased to hear from Ministers that they will continue to improve the Bill as it progresses through the Lords.
The easing of restrictions has also allowed me to get back out across the constituency. Education settings have been one of the areas who have had the biggest hurdles to tackle and the return to in-person teaching similarly presented its own challenges. As such, I was grateful to visit Cannon Lane Primary School to see how the return has been. It was clear to me that the children could not have been happier to be back with their friends and fully immersed in classroom learning. I was also fortunate enough to speak with the school council, who were very enthusiastic about improving their school and were proud of the tree planting they had been doing. I look forward to returning the favour with an invite to Parliament as soon as we are able to do so.
I know HS2 continues to be a daily challenge for many constituents. I have been conducting meetings with HS2 to raise again the issues which have been cropping up and have visited the South Portal site, where tunnelling has now started under the Chilterns. As the works around West Ruislip, progress, it is useful to get an idea of what things will look like and what residents can expect as they prepare for the site ahead of the TMBs (tunnel boring machines) launching here in a few years’ time.
For constituents who live and walk around Ickenham Green, it is disappointing that we have no further certainty around the sewer diversion. I met with Thames Water and Barhale and, while I understand the reason for the these delays, I was sure to stress the pain expressed from allotment holders and nearby residents who need to know how this will impact their day-to-day lives.
I know many of us are now looking to the future and to June 21st. The Government will be making a decision based on the most accurate data on June 14th and so at the time of writing it is impossible to predict the outcome. However, our vaccine roll-out remains incredibly successful and continues to provide a highly effective level of protection against all variants, and I remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to stick with roadmap as originally planned.
First published: My Local News, June 2021