It has been a busy last few weeks at Westminster. We have now started to build on the decision to trigger Article 50 and the Government has formally laid before Parliament the European Union Withdrawal Bill. This legislation will facilitate our exit from the European Union and will begin paving the way for a ‘Global Britain’, where we will pass our own laws and govern ourselves and in which we will look beyond the continent of Europe and embrace the opportunities of the wider world. As we embark upon creating a new future we must now all work together to shape legislation.
The recent banning of unfair credit and debit cards fees is another piece of welcome news and from January will mean an end to those nasty surprises at the check-out just for using your card.
As the school academic year drew to a close I was very pleased by the announcement from the Education Secretary that schools are receiving an extra £1.3 billion in funding over the next two years which means no school will lose any funding. This provides certainty to our local schools and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to continue to raise standards.
With schools starting their annual summer break I am reminded that the holidays are a great opportunity for children to participate in the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge, a scheme I was delighted to support recently in Parliament. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge, run by the charity The Reading Agency, will engage with up to a million children across the country, encouraging them to borrow books, read and talk about their favourite stories and this year the theme is ‘Animal Agents’. Schemes such as this not only demonstrate the importance of reading but also remind us that local libraries remain a valuable asset for the benefit of the community, just like ours in Streetly. I have not yet decided upon my summer reading – all suggestions welcome!
Across the constituency I have also been kept busy, and as always it is a pleasure to be part of some of our many local events, including the annual Pelsall Carnival, the evening of music and singing from the Shelfield Male Voice Choir, and the Summer Fayre at the Hawthorns in Aldridge to mention just a few. Now in Recess, the business of Parliament takes a break, allowing me more time to catch up on constituency work and visits, and an opportunity to join you at more of your events which, as ever, I always look forward to.
A version of this article was originally published in the Sutton Coldfield Observer 13th July.