For a few months now, I’ve been working with North Somerset Council on a bid for Government ‘levelling-up’ fund cash for our area. All the numbers show we are at least as deserving as other nearby ‘Priority 1’ Council areas like Sedgemoor or Mendip, so you’d think the process would be relatively easy, right? Well no; the Whitehall mandarins say that because North Somerset district includes some extremely well-off places near the edge of Bristol, on average we only count as ‘Priority 2’. And if that pushes our bid down the priority list, we could be out of the running for funding.
So, when I finished spluttering into my tea about how silly and unfair this all was, I called a Parliamentary debate to make the point that our needs shouldn’t get lost in the averages. It’s quite difficult to organise a Parliamentary debate – there aren’t many slots and they’re always over-subscribed – but, if you can get one, it means the Minister has to turn up and answer. So you have their undivided attention for at least 30 minutes, which I reckoned would be plenty.
And it was. Supported by my fellow North Somerset MP Liam Fox, we were able to make the point that – even though other parts of North Somerset don’t need regeneration – there are bits of Weston that sit in the most deprived 2-3% of the country. So we ought to be at the front of the queue rather than halfway down. The Minister listened carefully, and then confirmed that even though North Somerset Council’s overall district is only ‘priority 2’, we’d made enough other points in the debate and the bid documentation to propel Weston far enough up the overall rankings if the details of the bid were good enough. He couldn’t prejudge the decision of course; that wouldn’t have been fair on all the other areas bidding too. But the debate certainly put ours firmly onto his radar!
You can see the full video below… But that’s not all I’ve been up to. There’s been a lot more going on this month too. From ideas to celebrate and push innovation in post-Brexit Britain through to some thoughts on the draft boundary changes. Scroll on to see these and more!
What I’ve been up to this month John calls Parliamentary Debate to push Ministers for Levelling-Up cash
John held a debate in Parliament to push Government Ministers about the importance of North Somerset’s bids for Levelling-Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund cash to support the next steps in the town’s regeneration. John was supported in the debate by Liam Fox… Read more
The Times: Let’s boost open banking
There’s a fairly good chance that, before reading this, you’ll have logged into your banking app this morning to check your balance. Or your savings account, your outstanding mortgage, your ISA, pension or even the price of Bitcoin. As a nation, we’re pretty good at finance. The UK is one… Read more
The Telegraph: Let’s honour our entrepreneurs!
The Government should create a new honours order that is dedicated to entrepreneurs who start fast-growing businesses… Read more
Mercury: Whatever your politics may be, boundary changes are good news for democracy
Political reactions to the suggested new Parliamentary Boundaries are usually guaranteed to turn anyone into a cynic… Read more
Something we think is important, but you may have missed…
Telegraph: New rules on state subsidies once-in-a-generation opportunity, but not without risk
Ministers are right that taking control of our post-Brexit subsidy regime is a once-in-a-generation chance to create a system that’s more dynamic, nimble and far less bureaucratic than the old Brussels regime. But it creates new dangers too… Read more
Tweets this month (click here to follow John!)
|24-26 Alexandra Parade|