This last month has demonstrated to me the power of the House of Commons and also the responsibility that comes with being a member of it.
On 25th November, the Chancellor unveiled his Autumn statement. As always with these things, there is an awful lot of speculation beforehand as people try and second guess the contents. From my point of view, there were two especially sweet triumphs. Firstly, the decision to scrap the planned changes to tax credits. If you read my article last month, you will recall I had dedicated my maiden speech somewhat controversially to encouraging the Chancellor to think again about his plans in this area. So I was absolutely delighted to hear the Chancellor’s acknowledgement that this was the right thing to do. This is democracy in action.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was the announcement we had all been waiting to hear for decades – the commitment to deliver a fairer funding formula for our schools by 2017. For years, Cambridgeshire has been one of the very lowest funded authorities in the country – indeed for some time, we were right at the bottom of the list.
Since being elected, I have visited many of our schools and seen first-hand the amazing dedication of our teachers to deliver an outstanding education despite having to mend and make do. Many of our schools are at breaking point and honestly, I don’t think we could have continued as we were for any longer without educational standards really starting to slide. So this announcement could not have come a moment sooner.
But days aren’t always as positive as this in Westminster. You will I am sure, know Parliament recently voted on bombing Daesh targets in Syria. Undoubtedly the most difficult and significant vote of my parliamentary career so far, I took the decision to vote in favour of this action. You can read my reasoning for why I voted as I did here on my website. http://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/military-intervention-syria-0
In early December, I also spoke in the Commons on the subject of mental health, a topic very close to my heart.
In my first few months as an MP I received a letter from a constituent from Meldreth, Steve Mallen about the tragic suicide of his son Edward. As I write this newsletter, it would have been Edward’s 19th birthday. Following the death of his gifted and wonderful son, Steve set up the MindEd Trust, and with the support of schools, charities and world leading academics, Steve’s ambition is to roll out a wellbeing programme in schools to help with young people’s mental health. Steve and I have met with Government ministers to enlist their help and the Rt Hon Alistair Burt, the Minister for Care and Support has agreed to attend the launch conference in Cambridge on 18 March 2016. If you would like to learn more or be involved, please do get in touch with my office.
You can contact me at: 01954 212707 email@example.com @heidiallen75
My next surgery dates are: 8 January Hardwick, 5 February Sawston, 11 March Melbourn
May I finish by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.