- 5th March 2013Published in:Halesowen News
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 2013Published in:Halesowen News
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 2012Published in:Halesowen News
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 2012Published in:Halesowen News
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 2012Published in:ConservativeHome
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 2012Published in:ConservativeHome
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 2012Published in:Halesowen News
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 2012Published in:Halesowen News
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 »
- 31st July 2012Published in:Halesowen News
By the time this week’s paper comes out, we will be almost half way through the Olympics, and hopefully Team GB will have got the ball rolling with their elusive first gold medals.
I think that a lot of people have been surprised at quite how much they’re getting into the Games, cheering on athletes they hadn’t heard of in sports they hadn’t previously watched. read more »
- 20th June 2012Published in:Halesowen News
A lot of my time as Member of Parliament is spent promoting the Black Country as a place to do business, and supporting the work done by local organisations and companies to develop the local economy.
One of the challenges that keeps on being raised by local firms – and by businesses looking to invest in the area – is the gap between the skills available in the area, and the skills needed for the new jobs that are being created across many parts of the economy. read more »