It’s definitely been a busy year in British politics – and as I look ahead to 2019 I don’t see any reason to expect an easing of the pace!
The Prime Minister is going to bring her Brexit deal back to the House of Commons in January, and I hope that enough MPs from all parties will join me in supporting Theresa May’s proposals. It will be a very important moment for Parliament, and I believe it’s crucial that we honour the result of the 2016 referendum.
But whilst Brexit dominates the headlines, I have been working hard on several other matters in this year which look set to see important developments in 2019.
For example, the Government’s consultation on reviewing the law covering unauthorised traveller sites is due to report in the New Year. These have been a serious problem here in Solihull, and I have been working with Solihull Council to seek more effective ways to protect our green and open spaces over the summer.
Next year will also see the introduction of the new police funding settlement. The rise, worth up to £970 million nationally, could see West Midlands Police receive £34.2 million, a 6.4 per cent increase, in 2019-20 – including almost £9 million in fresh grants from central government.
Many residents have spoken to me about their deep concern for the future of on-the-ground policing here in Solihull, especially since the Police and Crime Commissioner announced plans to close our local police station whilst sitting on £100 million in cash reserves.
I have been fighting hard in Westminster for more support from the Treasury, but I also believe that our town needs control of local police funding to be more accountable.
That’s why I’m backing calls to merge the PCC’s function with that of the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street. You can support this campaign www.wmca.org.uk.
I am extremely concerns to read the reports of potential job losses at Jaguar Land Rover. We have already seen several rounds of job cuts. I am in constant contact with the management, and speak to many constituents who are worried about this. I pledge to continue my work, lobbying hard for our local car plant and the UK car industry as a whole.
Finally, I know that there is great concern amongst residents about proposals to relocate Post Office counter services to WH Smiths in Mell Square. The current Post Office is used by lots of residents, and ensuring that they have the services they need is going to be a top priority in 2019.
Originally published in the Solihull Observer, 27/12/18.