Burt on the Benches - November 2017 - Parliament & Local

With so many topics being debated in Government and Parliament at the moment, and a huge amount of work going on, it’s not always easy to find a few hundred words to cover it all.  I do hope many of you will follow my website, as my team and I try to add information on very many subjects that are raised by constituents on a daily basis, so there will always be new and interesting details available. So a few keys points from past weeks in Parliament and locally;

Parliament has been ‘newsworthy’ for some of the wrong reasons recently; I hope the inquiry launched into harassment and bullying of all types will ensure that a more robust process is put in place to protect staff. Speaker John Bercow, the Prime Minister and all Party leaders have asked for the establishment of a new grievance procedure, and I support that process.

The Home Office announced a package of measures to tackle violent crime including a new offence of possessing a corrosive substance in public without good reason, and we set out plans to introduce tougher sentences, including life sentences where appropriate, for dangerous driving.

Of particular interest in NE Beds the Government launched a £25m competition to encourage the development of 5G in the UK. The competition forms part of the Government’s wider £740m fund to support the next generation of digital infrastructure. But we still have areas here where coverage is dire and nowhere near 3G let alone 5G.  I do keep up the pressure on this and follow through with many individual constituents bringing this to me.

There was a good Private Member’s Bill last week calling for tougher sentences for attacks on emergency services staff – I am pleased it was backed by the Government, and has now moved on to a Bill Committee.

Locally the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is still working on the hospital merger and we have been given an assurance that maternity, paediatric and A&E services will remain at Luton & Dunstable and at Bedford. I think we should let the process proceed; they know the views of the community, and my views are clear that these services are critical.  I have been challenged over the move of the stroke unit to Luton as a regional centre, but I know the move was to offer a more improved service for patients; I do not accept the view that because one service moved it’s inevitable that any of the others will.

The STP process is important; there has been a lot of mis-information about it – mostly politically orientated – but we have been given assurances about the main services and I want to make sure that the services are configured for the best interests of my constituents and their health. That’s the most important thing for me and why I believe we should see what the process produces. There will be plenty of opportunity for consultation as part of that process.

Do keep in touch with your views and concerns.