Since writing my last column I am absolutely delighted, and relieved, to be able to report back that I have successfully steered my Private Members Bill through it’s final stages in the House of Commons!!  Phew!  And so, the NHS (Charitable Trusts Etc) bill, more fondly known in my office as the “Peter Pan & Wendy Bill” has reached the House of Lords where it will be considered on 26th February.   Fingers crossed its passage continues unopposed to Royal Assent rather than to Never Land.

It has been a busy few weeks in the House of Commons and as I have learned very quickly since being elected, it is just not possible to attend everything you would like to!  However, I have been able to raise issues with Ministers on a range of matters and most recently contributed to a debate on the importance to us locally of our precious greenbelt, something that really adds to the sense of community and identity we enjoy in and around Aldridge-Brownhills and Streetly.    I also raised the issue of national security and our commitment to maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.  As the wife of a former serving member of HM Forces I need no reminding that national security is the first duty of any Government and must always remain a priority.

Back in the constituency at the end of the week I was delighted to be joined by the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Apprenticeships, Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford upon Avon, to discuss apprenticeships with local businesses,  over breakfast at Simply Delicious.  Having spent most of my working life in the family electronics and manufacturing business, I am a firm believer in enterprise and entrepreneurship and I back the drive for more apprenticeships, and the on going development of the Midlands region as the Engine for Growth.   Since 2010 over 4000 apprenticeships have been started across my constituency and it is great to see these figures.  I am keen to see more opportunities for apprenticeships, so that young people are able to earn and learn, and gain skills locally, and so that local businesses can benefit too.

With the Enterprise Bill currently passing through Parliament it was useful to meet up with some of our local businesses.    It is absolutely vital that we cement the UKs position as the best places to start and grow a business, and to make sure there are opportunities to work hard and succeed and that means local opportunities for local people across Aldridge-Brownhills.