Parliament has risen for a 'half-term' Recess of one week. Before we all returned to our constituencies, there were opportunities to highlight some key issues and, of course, to discuss the horse meat scandal.
Early in the week, the House debated infrastructure investment at the behest of the Opposition as one of their 'supply days'. It is necessary to invest in infrastructure and several projects are now underway.
In the Stroud Valleys and Vale, the redoubling of the Stroud Swindon railway line has begun and is on course to be finished next year, and there is significant investment in extending good broadband connections to more premises (just over 20,000 are now able to benefit).
Nevertheless, some projects are slower than anticipated, not least because of the continued reticence, in some cases, of the banking sector to provide credit and obstructions through the planning system.
The Banking Reform will have its Second Reading on Monday 4 March and further measures to deal with planning are being implemented. In Business Questions (the time when the programme of the House of Commons is considered), I highlighted the good news about post offices.
All ours are now secure in terms of their future and a modernisation programme supported by some £1.4 billion of public money is underway. The extra services able to be offered by post offices also have the potential of increasing turnover.
The horse meat scandal is still unfolding.
The scope and scale it is staggering but, as I noted in the House, it is, essentially, all about the actions of unscrupulous traders and even deliberate breaking of the law.
I was an ative farmer specialising in lamb and beef so I am familiar with good practice but the length and complexity of supply chains today demand more scrutiny, especially from retailers. It is quite clear that labelling must be clear and honest.
Increasingly, shoppers have become more interested in the source of their food and, of course, successful famers markets, including in Stroud and Nailsworth, prove this point. In general, we do need to know more about our meat and good butchers should be supported.
We must also ensure that all our food is safe.
If you are interested in the issues raised above, please contact me on 01453 751572 or visit my website - www.neilcarmichael.co.uk.
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