Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly column for the community.
It was wonderful to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in Parliament this week, with a debate (called a Humble Address).
I spoke to congratulate Her Majesty and to thank her for the life of service she has given to us as a country.
Sadly, the Queen was unable to join us for the opening of Parliament earlier this month. Instead, the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the programme of legislation Parliament will consider over the next year or so, was read out by the Prince of Wales.
The House of Commons is always summoned to hear the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords by Black Rod. I was lucky enough to find a spot on the top of the stairs just at the back, so I was able to see the Prince of Wales, Prince William and the Duchess of Cornwall (just!) as the speech was read out.
The speech set out 38 new bills which will help improve our energy and food security, safeguard our national security and make the internet safer for everyone to use. It also set out plans to regenerate town and city centres and to reform our planning system.
I know that planning reform is a big issue for many people in Rushcliffe, and I’m delighted that these reforms will give communities a stronger voice over development in their area, increasing the weight of local and neighbourhood plans, introducing street votes and abolishing the Duty to Cooperate which has previously enabled Nottingham City Council to push thousands of extra houses into Rushcliffe’s countryside. A new, locally set, infrastructure levy will mean big developers contribute far more to building better local infrastructure and public services.
The week before the Queen’s speech, Parliament is always prorogued, giving us more time in our constituencies.
In Rushcliffe, I organised a meeting for residents in Ruddington to speak to their neighbourhood policing team about some of the issues around crime and policing in Ruddington which they had raised in response to a crime survey I sent out last year.
In West Bridgford, I held a J9 safer spaces training event, open to anyone, whether you volunteer or work at a shop, school, pub, or regularly interact with the public. The training aims to ensure that learners are equipped to respond appropriately and effectively to survivors of abuse and more survivors are able to access support.
Once you have been J9 trained, you will receive a J9 logo to display on your organisation’s premises, letting survivors know that they have a safe place to access vital information and use a telephone to contact support services.
Our next session is in Radcliffe-on-Trent. Do look out for details on my Facebook page.
This week the Chancellor has also announced further plans to help people with the cost of living. Previously the Government had committed to a support package worth £22bn including £9bn to help people meet the sharp increase in energy bills.
The continued rise in energy prices however has meant that we have needed to take further action.
We have announced £15 billion of help for millions of households across the UK. This takes the Government’s total support for the cost of living to £37 billion – the biggest package of support in the history of the UK other than throughout the pandemic.
Every household will now receive a £400 grant (instead of a £200 rebate) towards energy bills in October and pensioners, along with households on means tested or disability benefits will receive additional support.
To help pay for this, a new, temporary 25% Energy Profits Levy will be introduced for oil and gas companies, reflecting their extraordinary profits. However, to make sure we don’t discourage investment at a time when we most need to invest in our domestic energy production, the new levy will also include a new 90% investment allowance. This means that for every £1 a company invests in their energy infrastructure, they will pay 90% less tax.
A full breakdown of the new support package can be found here. As ever, if you have any problems accessing support please do get in touch with me. We help people with all sorts of issues from housing to drivers licenses so do get in touch if you have a problem. You can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org