Iain Stewart-fromthehouse: Localism to benefit libraries and pubs

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WITH the New Year festivities well behind us, one of the key Parliamentary issues is the Localism Bill, which I think will have major benefits for Milton Keynes.

This will overturn decades of central government interference and gives power back to local communities.

Significantly for our area, this Bill ends Labour’s system of regional strategies and top-down planning, handing back decisions on developments to local communities.

I am also proud to support this Bill which abolishes Labour’s Bin Taxes and planned council tax revaluations, giving local residents new powers to veto future excessive council tax rises via local referendums.

Significantly, the Localism Bill also puts in place new rights for residents to take over local facilities, including assets such as libraries, pubs and shops, which may otherwise face closure.

I know many people have raised concerns about the council’s decision to close the libraries in Woburn Sands and Stony Stratford. While I believe the council should keep them open, if ultimately the council decides to close, then I hope that these new powers will help community groups take over the running of these much cherished resources.

I continue to visit as many of our wonderful local charities and voluntary groups as I can.

I had the great privilege of visiting Ride High, which helps some of Milton Keynes most disadvantaged children by teaching them to ride and care for horses. I was delighted to see the children clearly gaining so much from the work of the team there.

I have always been very proud of the rich spirit of philanthropy in the city and I would urge our local businesses to give back to the community by supporting local charities like Ride High which are making such an important impact.

This week marks the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau and I was honoured to be invited to sign the Book of Commitment for Holocaust Memorial Day.

On January 27 I would encourage everyone to take a moment to pause and remember the horrors that have been a part of our recent history and to take the opportunity to reflect on the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust and other genocides.

We must take the opportunity to educating younger generations about the dangers of allowing persecution and intolerance to take hold in society.

As ever should you wish to get in touch me on any issue, my contact details are as follows:

Email: iain.stewart.mp@parliament.uk

Tel: 01908 686830

Postal address: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0A