My Week 20/10/2016
Last Friday West Sussex MPs met with the County Council to discuss important local issues, including schools funding.
We then met the Schools Minister on Tuesday this week to press the case for transitional funding, after which we met local head teachers and pupils and helped them deliver a letter to Number 10.
The Government recognises that schools in areas like West Sussex are unfairly funded, which is why they’ve announced a new National Funding Formula to be introduced in two years’ time.
We have welcomed this but are making the point that our schools need help in the meantime so as to avoid having to make budget cuts.
We’re meeting the Education Secretary early next month to explain why this is so important.
I also focused on local health issues on Friday, meeting the West Sussex Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, which is the GP-led body responsible for commissioning health services in our local area.
I then convened a meeting between Arundel’s GPs and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who had earlier visited Worthing Hospital.
We discussed the need to strengthen GP care and address recruitment problems in local practices.
This week I met the Housing and Planning Minister to raise my strong concerns about our village neighbourhood plans being subverted by developers.
I have asked him to ‘call in’ a bad decision last week by Mid Sussex District Council to allow a development in Hassocks which is contrary to the village’s emerging neighbourhood plan.
I also told him that I will shortly be tabling amendments to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to deal with this issue.
On Tuesday evening I was delighted to meet representatives of the successful Storrington-based engineering firm, Tesla, who were presented with an innovation award at the House of Commons.
On Friday evening I will be attending a reception hosted by the Duchess of Norfolk at Arundel Castle in aid of Home Start Arun, a local charity which believes the best start in life for a child begins at home with their family.
Next week we expect the Government to make its announcement on airport capacity in the south east. I discussed these issues with the Chief Executive of Gatwick last week.
I hope that the Government will recognise the need for one hub airport for London, which means another runway at Heathrow. I do not believe a second runway at Gatwick is the right answer.