LAST week was dominated by a number of local issues. First of all, I attended the First Great Western stakeholder conference. With massive numbers of rail users in the Stroud Valleys and Vale, it is essential to keep up to date with the plans of this major provider of local services.
There is plenty of good news. Overall, £7.5 billion is being spent on upgrading the railway network. This represents the biggest investment since Brunel built the main infrastructure in Victorian times and includes the electrification of some 880 miles of track since 2010. Most locally, the redoubling of the Stroud-Swindon line is likely to be complete by the end of August.
There are further improvements to be made through the introduction of new trains, reducing journey times, providing internet connection on mainline trains and addressing car parking. I am applying pressure on all these fronts.
Another big event was taking my colleague, Oliver Letwin, Minster for Government Policy, to the now decommissioned power station at Berkeley in order for him to learn more about our plans to create a training centre there for the energy sector. This will be an exciting development for Stroud College and massive step in the right direction towards providing training in specialist engineering in the nuclear and renewable sectors.
It was good to see Meningitis Now in the House of Commons. The theme of the event was, quite rightly, to keep the pressure up on the government to introduce the meningitis vaccination. I strongly support this campaign and I am proud of the impressive contribution so many local people continue to make towards defeating the causes and consequences of this terrible disease.
My ‘All Parliamentary Party Group on School Leadership and Governance’ held an event last week. After several reports, ministerial meetings and well attended events in the House of Commons, governors and governance are now comfortably on the policy agenda with measures to improve support for governors and encourage new governors.
As ever, my surgeries are popular so please book an appointment if required on 01453 751572.