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Pensions scrutiny work will be vital

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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FIRST and foremost, I am absolutely delighted to have been elected to serve on the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee.

The policies being driven forward by the Government relating to work and pensions are extremely important and it is therefore essential we get this right.

I therefore look forward to scrutinising what the department is up to as part of the select committee.

The House of Commons has again played host to a number of important and interesting debates.

Perhaps the most important for me was our debate on the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report. I believe its publication represents an important step to securing, at long last, true Justice for the 96.

We also debated the HGV Road User Levy Bill. This measure will introduce a levy for all HGVs weighing over 12 tonnes. This is something the industry has been calling for in order to create a more level playing field.

At the moment, the French charge our lorries to use their roads whereas we don't charge them to use ours!

We have also recently held a debate on energy market reform in light of comments made by David Cameron at a recent PMQs.

I personally believe it is absolutely right that steps are taken to ensure energy companies do put customers on the lowest possible tariff. I also want to see action taken to stop what seems to be a well above inflation annual increase in our bills. I think the forthcoming Energy Bill has much to address

I WAS delighted to learn from Housing Minister Mark Prisk that our application for Dawlish to be part of the Town Team Partner initiative had been successful. Teignbridge District Council will now be given £10,000 to spend on town improvement works. I was delighted to play my small part in securing the funding and I look forward to working with Teignbridge District Council moving forward to ensure Dawlish gets as much bang for this buck as it can.

I recently held one of my regular meetings with Network Rail to discuss our wonderful coastal railway line. In addition, we also took the chance to discuss progress on station renovation works that have been ongoing. Newton Abbot has recently benefited from some upgrades and Dawlish has its new bridge! I will upload some photos of the new Dawlish Bridge onto my website shortly. I know many locally have been campaigning for both these improvements and I am pleased to have led the charge to make this happen. Next up for me will be to get a second ticket machine at Newton Abbot, work to build the funds required to get a footbridge linking local businesses to the station and investigating what can be done to make things easier for disabled passengers using our coastal stations.

I also used Business Questions to call for a debate in the House of Commons on University Technical Colleges. I will keep the pressure up in Westminster in order to ensure those who need to know about the merits of our UTC bid do.

I WAS pleased to meet up with Devon County Council leader John Hart in order to discuss a number of issues of local relevance, including our UTC bid and the Kingskerswell Bypass.

I also met up with the Dawlish Chamber of Trade Chairman to get up to speed with issues and developments in Dawlish including changes in the town centre and the new supermarket.

I also met with the Teignmouth Harbour Commission to discuss their ongoing challenges.

I have lobbied for changes to help give them a fair playing field with other ports with the transport ministers and the defence ministers and now will be redoubling my efforts with the newly appointed Secretaries of State!

MY NEXT surgeries are on Saturday November 24 at 10am in Teignmouth (Carlton Theatre) and 12 noon in Kingsteignton (Community Hall).

Please phone 01626 368277 for an appointment or for immediate help with issues that can't wait until the next surgery.

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