Newsletter #7

It doesn’t seem five minutes ago that I was wishing readers a “Happy New Year” – and now it’s “Happy Easter”! Time flies and all that…

The last month or so has been incredibly varied with me involved in everything from education to road and rail infrastructure projects and the Child Support Agency. There is almost nothing that an MP doesn’t need to get up to speed with.

Since I last wrote, I have visited five primary schools and co-hosted a meeting at Cambourne Village College with the Regional Schools Commissioner. Heads and Governors from secondary schools across Cambridgeshire were invited to share best practice, concerns and generally anything on their minds. Difficulties with teacher recruitment was probably the main topic of conversation and we floated the idea of running a recruitment fair to help schools fill their vacancies. I’ll be looking at this over the next few weeks.

At a sixth form level, the principals of Hills Road and Long Road came to Westminster this month to meet the Minister Nick Boles. The Government is currently reviewing sixth form provision across the country, so we were relieved to hear he was fully aware of the excellent education these institutions provide and has no plans to change the way they are structured.

From schools to roads, I met with the Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin and his special advisor to ensure funds remained in place for the upgrade to the A428. I had heard rumours that the project may be delayed, however I was told that was not the case. It will be a complex and expensive project from an engineering point of view, but I will ensure local residents are kept informed at every step of the way. Highways England are currently identifying possible outline routes and I will share these as soon as I have them.

Progress has been made for the Parish Councils in Duxford and Whittlesford as we met with Peter Topping (County Councillor) and Network Rail to discuss a cycle path to join the two villages. We are liaising with Abellio Greater Anglia to see whether a path via Whittlesford station is possible. Early investigations suggest this may be very achievable.

After Christmas, I met an inspirational group of mums who shared with me their difficulties with the Child Support Agency over the years. The Government are currently moving CSA clients over to a new system, so now is the perfect time to review failings in the old system. My brave ladies came down to Westminster to meet the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, of which I am a member, to convince him that this was an area the Committee should look at. I am absolutely delighted to report he agreed, so the Committee will now formally review the failings of the system and make recommendations to the Department of Work and Pensions. With all the recent drama at the DWP, I’ll be making sure that the new Secretary of State, Stephen Crabb has a full in-tray!

And finally, over the last month I have been trialling a new way of running my surgeries. I held two “no appointment necessary” drop-in events in Sawston and Comberton. The sessions proved really popular with dozens of residents coming along to talk to me on a wide variety of topics. Please see here for details of the next scheduled sessions.

As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help with anything. You can contact me by phone on 01954 212707 or via email at heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk. I look forward to hearing from you!