- 29th June 2013
All-Party Parliamentary Groups haven’t had the best of press over the past month. The stories in the papers seem a world away from the work of the APPG on Local Growth, which brings MPs and peers together to look at how we can generate greater prosperity in our communities and bring some much needed balance to the economy. read more »
- 27th June 2013
Anybody thinking about going into politics shouldn’t expect much sympathy; politicians are competing with estate agents, bankers and tabloid journalists in the relegation zone of public opinion. It is tempting for politicians to fuel this cynicism by throwing mud at the other side.
Clearly people from different parties are going to disagree, but I genuinely believe that almost everybody who goes into politics – whether standing for their local council or for Parliament – does so for genuine reasons. read more »
- 5th March 2013
It’s not often that I start columns by quoting nineteenth century German statesmen – partly because I don’t know of many things said by nineteenth century German statesmen – but Otto von Bismarck once described politics as “the art of the possible”.
What I think he meant is that, like in most areas of life, to achieve anything meaningful in politics you have to set challenging goals but you also need to have an idea of what can and what cannot be done. Those words came back to me during recent debates over Europe. read more »
- 30th January 2013
Earlier this month, I launched a new booklet about mental health, containing a selection of essays Conservative MPs on different aspects of mental health policy – including different approaches to treatment, the importance of early intervention with children and the impact of mental health problems on armed forces veterans.
This is an issue that I care deeply about, and one that I know directly affects a very large number of the people I represent in Halesowen & Rowley Regis. read more »
- 18th December 2012
I spent a lot of last week visiting local primary schools, handing out certificates to pupils who had entered my Christmas card competition, as well as prizes to the winners.
It was great to see so many children from so many schools getting involved, and all of their entries are in display in the Cornbow Centre in Halesowen, on the side of the 99p Store by Asda.
The energy amongst the children in the run-up Christmas is almost intoxicating, as they rehearse nativity plays and make Christmas cards and decorations. read more »
- 14th November 2012
Last weekend’s Remembrance events were an important reminder of just how much we owe to those who have sacrificed everything for our country
The annual Remembrance parades and services are always special occasions and this year was no exception.
My wife Anna and I try to cover as many Remembrance services as we can and so we alternate each year. read more »
- 7th November 2012
Localism can help drive economic growth; but only if we are really serious about devolving economic and financial decision making. There are many things I disagree with in the Heseltine growth plan - far too much focus, for example, on structures – but where I do agree with him is in his recommendations in favour of a more radical, decentralisation of economic decision making. read more »
- 29th October 2012
In its first two years the government has pursued a localism agenda which culminated in the passing of the Localism Bill which became law the end of last year. This has been combined with other initiatives – reforming the planning system, establishing local enterprise partnerships, abolishing regional spatial strategies – to create a whole new localist tool set for local government and local communities. read more »
- 24th October 2012
This month’s unemployment figures show another welcome fall in the number of people in Halesowen and Rowley Regis who are out of work.
While they say that you can prove anything with statistics, I know that every new job created locally means another family being able to look forward to a more confident and comfortable life together.
It is also a sign that, despite economic problems around the world, our own local economy is picking up, giving firms in the area the confidence to recruit workers to help meet growing order books. read more »
- 3rd September 2012
I recently met with Halesowen’s new Police Inspector, Des Lambert, who has recently taken over from Inspector Palmer.
It was a good opportunity to discuss local residents’ priorities and new initiatives to tackle crime in our local communities.
We are fortunate to have so many professional police officers, doing an exceptionally difficult job to make our neighbourhoods safer.
Last month I visited Sandwell Victim Support and the Sandwell Witness Service to see the excellent work that those organisations do. read more »