I can’t believe the end of the year is approaching already, so before I forget, may I wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year?
I was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Hinxton in November for her visit to the Sanger Institute Wellcome Genome Campus. Theresa was impressed by the world-leading research taking place and took the opportunity to announce the launch of a £2bn fund intended to keep Britain at the forefront of research and development in science and technology. I was so proud to be showing off our constituency!
You’ll have seen from the Autumn Statement that South Cambs is now part of a ‘growth corridor’ from Cambridgeshire to Oxford. Cambridgeshire received a massive infrastructure boost with the announcement of £27m for the Oxford to Cambridgeshire Expressway (£10m of which will specifically explore options within South Cambs); £110 million of funding in East West Rail and a grant of £1.5m to repair our roads and potholes.
This kind of investment will deliver further infrastructure improvements similar to the A14 upgrade which is finally underway. The next phase of upgrade works was formally started by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport last month, quite literally with a shovel! However I am told diggers will be made available to speed the project up! You can find out more about the infrastructure changes taking place in our area on my website www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/infrastructure-south-cambridgeshire.
I met the Secretary of State for Transport again recently, to follow up on the Autumn Statement proposals. I’ve also been working with Network Rail and local user groups to find a way forwards and funding for the Foxton crossing. I also met with other local MPs and Highways England at the A428 Member’s Forum to ensure we keep the dualling project on track. I’ll keep my infrastructure web page updated with the latest news on these initiatives.
Business was on the agenda when I took part in the Post-Brexit Settlement for Cambs discussion, hosted by PWC. This is the 4th of such meetings I have hosted or attended and it’s an opportunity for Cambridgeshire business leaders to come together to discuss how to nurture investment and innovation for our region in the wake of Brexit.
Turning to National legislation, I tabled an amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill requesting the needs of the elderly and disabled be considered at a local planning level when long-term housing plans are drawn up. With our ageing population, I think this issue is so important. On the back of the work I’ve been doing as a member of the DWP select committee, I’ll be hosting a roundtable in January to discuss the DWP’s Green Paper currently out for consultation. If you’d like to make your thoughts heard on disability and work related benefits please visit https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/workandhealth/consult/.
After my Disability Confident event in September I was inspired to visit Andy’s Kars in Bar Hill. Andy Kent runs a small family garage that has trained and mentored over 650 young people with physical and mental health conditions. His team give young people life-changing opportunities whilst also providing great service to their customers. Andy should be very proud of the work he has done over the years.
I hosted my Initial Teacher Training event in November to find more outstanding teachers for South Cambs. The event was an opportunity for people to find out about routes into teaching within Cambridgeshire be it PGCE, school-centred paid or non-paid or Bachelor of Education. Over 120 people attended and you can read more about the event here - www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/news/heidi-allen-mp-hosts-getting-teaching-event-cambridgeshire-county-council-and-anglia-ruskin
I rounded off the month by meeting with local early years providers to discuss the roll-out of the 30 hours childcare proposals. We’ve committed to work together to ensure this policy delivers for everyone – working parents, children and EYFS schools and nurseries.
My no appointment surgeries are proving to be increasingly popular so if you feel I could help, don’t hesitate to pop along to the next one. You can find details here www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/residents-drop-surgeries or phone 01954 212707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!