Looking forward to a solid future

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The start of the year has flown past. It has been a very intriguing few months in politics not only in the UK but across Europe and around the globe.

Here in Milton Keynes, the pace of the city has seemed to increase as we have entered the year with fresh optimism and vision.

Over the last couple of months I have had some very interesting visits. Last week I visited Business EXPO 3.0 at StadiumMK, it was an extremely successful event with thousands of people attending to network with local and national businesses.

I also took the opportunity during my opening speech to launch the Milton Keynes bid to be the home of the new HS2 skills academy. I think we have become a hub for transport with companies like network rail already here.

I would love to see the academy come here and along with my colleague Mark Lancaster, MK council, Semlep, MK college, UCMK the OU, Network Rail and others we will put in a very strong bid. I visited SMC Pneumatics as part of National Apprenticeship Week. I had the pleasure of meeting two apprentices Jeffrey and Abbie.

It was fantastic to see two young individuals with such drive for work and also to see a business that really invests time and money into quality training for students.

I think apprenticeships are key to our economy and getting young people into employment. Since 2010 the amount of apprenticeships in MK and the UK has more than doubled. I hope to continue to see a growth and an emphasis put on apprenticeships.

Down in Westminster, I managed to secure a debate which aimed to achieve an FM license for MKFM. After a discussion with Chris Gregg, their programme director, I discovered that it could take up to two years longer than originally planned for the radio station to gets its FM license.

I think a permanent FM license is important for MKFM. As a result of the debate the Minister agreed to set up a meeting with Ofcom and MKFM, so I am hopeful things can move on faster. The next few months promise to be just as busy as the last few. I hope to see many of you around the city.