IT is not very often I get the chance to ask a question directly of the Prime Minister during PMQs, but I have been very fortunate this month to have had two opportunities to do so.
I was able to draw the PM’s attention to the excellent growth forecasts for Milton Keynes which has shown we are one of the best places in the UK to lead economic growth. A recent Experian study suggested a forecast growth of 3.1 per cent a year in our area. I was delighted the Prime Minister recognised our success is largely thanks to the efforts of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The PM also raised the important point that we need to get the housing market moving again. I was pleased the Deputy Prime Minister also recognised the importance of quality, affordable housing in his recent speech. I was encouraged by the specific news that there are plans to help kick-start work on the Fairfield housing development.
Fairfield is vital to help with the supply of affordable homes locally, for new buyers as well as people looking to move within MK. However, I want to make sure the design of the development is in keeping with the surrounding area and we keep characteristics, like the grid roads system, which have made MK so successful. I am keen to work with residents to ensure we have a strong voice to help get this right.
I also asked the PM if he would congratulate our Formula 1 team, Red Bull racing, on winning the world championship for the third year in a row. Red Bull is a fantastic company which is helping to grow Milton Keynes’ reputation for high technology and engineering. It is also a tribute to British engineering that almost all F1 cars are now engineered, designed and built in this country.
I always try and support the work of The Royal British Legion, particularly during their poppy appeal campaign. This week I attended The Royal British Legion’s reception for MPs in the Midlands area and met Linda Flecknell, the RBL’s Area Manager for the South East Midlands. The event was an opportunity for me to meet Linda and find out about the Legion’s welfare work. Linda works with local authorities to encourage and support them to sign Community Covenants, voluntary statements of mutual support between civilian communities and their local Armed Forces community. I am delighted MK Council signed a Community Covenant in April this year.
The Legion has put together a Best Practice Guide to Community Covenants, with examples of innovative approaches being taken by local authorities. The idea is that rather than ‘re-inventing the wheel’, local authorities may be able to learn from one another. Interested readers can find more details at the British Legion website.
Around this time every year, I host a debating competition for schools from MK North and South to go head to head. This year heats were held at Shenley Brook End School in MK South and in Ousedale School in MK North. Congratulations to Shenley Brook End, St Pauls’ Catholic School, MK Academy, Stantonbury Campus, and Oakgrove School who all went through to the semi-finals. I am looking forward to the finals which will be held in the Houses of Parliament on December 19.
Finally, I was happy to spend some time visiting teachers and pupils at Long Meadow School and Oxley Park Academy. I would like to thank the staff and children who showed me their schools.
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