COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks RAAC, HS2 and Net Zero - The Leamington Observer

COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks RAAC, HS2 and Net Zero

Leamington Editorial 5th Oct, 2023   0

Parliament is now in what is termed ‘Conference Recess’. However, we are now into the fifth week of hundreds of local children being out of school due to the severe problems with RAAC in two of our local secondary schools. The Government should be making these children’s return to school their utmost priority, but it unfortunately does not seem that this is the case.

Both Aylesford and Myton are waiting for the arrival of temporary classrooms which will hopefully enable them to bring all pupils back to in-person learning but are facing huge wait times for these to arrive. Does the Government really expect children to learn from home for the foreseeable future, expect parents to try and juggle work and monitoring their child’s learning, expect schools to magic up the space they so desperately need? It is simply not good enough.

I have written to the Education Secretary for the fifth time asking her for a meeting so I can share with her the huge issues we’re seeing locally due to her Government’s failure to invest in our schools over the past 13 years.

So much of our infrastructure has been left to crumble over the past decade and we can all see the dreadful impact, whether it’s a train system in desperate need of investment, schools whose buildings are unusable or roads that are riddled with potholes.

The most prominent example of this failure to invest in our infrastructure, and more importantly, do so properly and responsibly, is HS2. At the time of writing, it is rumoured that Sunak is considering cancelling the line north of Birmingham to Manchester, which would provide crucial links for cities like Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield. It is said that he is ‘alarmed’ by the figures. It shouldn’t be forgotten that he was Chancellor for two years, therefore very close to the figures, and failed to raise any serious opposition at the time.

I have always said that electrifying the existing Chiltern line should have been the priority with any regional infrastructure project, but it seems what we have instead is a line that will run from Birmingham to 5 miles outside (!) of London. The priority was creating better infrastructure in the north of the country, but they’ve barely managed to get it to the midlands.

There has been a lot of coverage about the Prime Minister’s comments on Net Zero. It was incredibly disappointing to see him wait until Parliament went into recess to make the announcement. This meant that MPs, who are elected to be the voice of their constituents, did not have the chance to scrutinise the announcement, nor ask questions about what it may mean for their constituents. It feels like a complete disregard of the procedure that is designed to ensure there is proper discussion around such big decisions, not just a presidential style decree from the Prime Minister.

Finally, I’d like to welcome University students who are moving into the area or returning after their summer break as the new term starts. Students are a really valued part of the economy in our towns and it’s great to see so many returning.

As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any issues or concerns you would like to raise with me. I can be reached on [email protected] or on 01926 882006.

Matt Western

MP for Warwick and Leamington

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