COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks storms, bonuses and stabbings - The Leamington Observer

COLUMN: MP Matt Western talks storms, bonuses and stabbings

Leamington Editorial 25th Jan, 2024   0

It has been yet another couple of stormy weeks both in terms of weather and in Parliament. This past week has seen the 9th named storm, Storm Isha, bring some incredibly strong winds and rain with amber weather warnings in place for much of the country. It’s only been a few weeks since the torrential downpours of Storm Henk that caused some significant flooding in our towns and villages. I hope the worst of the wind and rain is behind us but please do get in touch if you have any issues and I’ll raise them with the relevant agencies and authorities.

On the topic of flooding and water, I was surprised to read that in the last 4 years, executives at water companies have received more than £25 MILLION in bonuses, benefits and incentives, amidst understandable public outrage that sewage continues to be pumped into our waterways up and down the country.

It is frankly disgraceful that these bonuses are still being dished out while our waterways are being flushed with sewage by the hour and that they have been allowed to get away, seemingly rewarded for doing so. The Government has failed to clamp down on this and it’s not good enough.

I’m really encouraged by (my colleague and Shadow Environment Secretary) Steve Reed‘s commitment that Labour would give water regulators the power to ban water bosses’ bonuses if their companies are illegally polluting waterways.

Under these plans, Ofwat, the water regulator, could have blocked six out of nine of the bonuses water bosses received last year.

We need to see some serious action to tackle the disgusting sewage dumping we continue to see across the country and locally. In 2022, we saw 524 hours of sewage being dumped into our much-loved waterways. These are really shocking figures that need tackling with real strength that I believe these plans will deliver.

Turning to Parliament, I was disappointed to be unable to speak in the opposition day debate on NHS dentistry provision, particularly given the concerning figures we see locally where 40% of dentist surgeries in Warwick and Leamington are not accepting new adult patients, forcing people to turn to ‘DIY dentistry’.

I will be looking for another opportunity to raise these concerning figures in Parliament so please do get in touch with any issues you have had locally trying to access NHS dentistry and I will endeavour to raise them down in Westminster.

Finally, I was alarmed and saddened to read that another young teenager was stabbed in Leamington earlier this month. I believe this is the 13th stabbing we’ve seen in our towns in the past five years. They’re really worrying statistics that I know concern so many people locally. I will continue to raise my concerns both in Parliament and locally.

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.

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