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ESA and PIP changes in Budget 2016

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I have been asked to explain reasons for the changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as set out in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill and the debacle over Personal Independence Payment (PIP). In the Summer Budget 2015, the Chancellor announced that, from April 2017, new ESA claimants who are placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). This change only affects new claims made after that date, not those […]

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Jeremy Hunt speech at the Global Patient Safety Summit

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Recently, Jeremy Hunt addressed the Global Patient Safety Summit in London. A copy of his speech can be found here. The aim of the summit was to share learning and best practice on how to bring down levels of avoidable patient harm internationally. In a letter to colleagues, the Secretary of State set out the good progress that has already been made since the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs: …with the proportion of patients being harmed in the NHS dropping by […]

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BBC Charter Review campaign response

The BBC is one of the nation’s most important institutions which is recognised internationally as a maker of high quality content. Ten years ago, the last time the Government ran a Charter Review, the media landscape looked very different. The BBC has adapted to this changing landscape, and remains much-loved by audiences. However, hard questions must be asked during this Charter Review. This should include questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer […]

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Government commits to fight to end ‘tampon tax’

Yesterday, the House of Commons debated Finance Bill New Clause 7, an amendment to force a negotiation with the EU for a reduction in the 5% VAT rate on sanitary items.  The Hansard record of this debate is available here. VAT on tampons and other sanitary products should be zero and it was clear that this was the will of the House of Commons. However, EU VAT rules prevent Parliament from eliminating VAT on these products: the cross-party will of […]

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Letter to Immigration Minister

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I have recently become aware that there are increasing delays with the Tribunal service when ruling on constituent immigration cases and communicating decisions. In order to address this issue, I have written to the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP. I have highlighted a number of concerns held by constituents, specifically regarding the timing of hearings and the lack of communication. I have asked the Minister to clarify what steps are being taken to ensure a more efficient, timely process whilst maintaining […]

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The NHS in this Parliament

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Last year, the NHS saw and treated more people within the four hour A&E target than any other country. The NHS was heralded as the best healthcare system in the world according to experts at the Commonwealth Fund, ahead of France, Germany, the United States and Australia. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has echoed the Prime Minister in setting out a clear direction for the NHS in this Parliament, to deliver a truly 7-day health service. With complete consultant […]

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Unemployment continues to fall

New figures published today show unemployment continues to fall as the economy strengthens. Since Labour were in power in 2010 the number of people in work has increased by 2.05 million and unemployment has fallen by nearly 0.7 million. In Wycombe, unemployment has fallen by 1,148 people since April 2010. Over the last year 80 per cent of the jobs created have been full-time, with only around one in 50 people working on zero-hour contracts. Unlike the last Labour government […]

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Fairer funding for schools announced

The Government has announced that schools in some of the least fairly funded local areas in the country will benefit from a £390 million cash boost in the biggest step towards fairer schools funding in a decade. The schools budget in Buckinghamshire will increase by £18m. Schools in Wycombe should see their per pupil funding increase by £264. There has long been an unfairness in the funding system which meant that local schools were not receiving the funding they deserved. This […]

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Westminster Hall debate on public consent for local plans

Yesterday in Parliament, I led a Westminster Hall debate on the issue of public consent for local plans. I introduced my remarks as follows, I begin by outlining two key problems. First, land for development is extremely scarce in Wycombe, and there is real public anger at the prospect of building on all of High Wycombe’s reserve sites, which would further burden the inadequate infrastructure, especially our roads. Secondly, there is an obvious, acute need for more homes, especially those […]

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Changes to Stop and Search

One of my guiding principles is equality under the law.  For us all to live peaceably with each other we must feel that everyone is treated fairly by the police and judicial system.  This is why it was good to see the Home Secretary has announced reforms to stop and search. In Wycombe, there are a large number of people from minority backgrounds. Official figures show that if you are from a non-white background you are up to six times […]

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