17th Feb, 2020

Warwick & Leamington MP Matt Western writes from Westminster

Editorial Correspondent 14th Feb, 2020 Updated: 14th Feb, 2020

BEFORE the election, the Government announced a review into the future of HS2. This now looks like a piece of cynical politics, given its statement on Tuesday, that it will press ahead with the project.

There are three camps of protestors in our local area alone objecting to the environmental damage it will cause. I have visited each camp over recent months to offer my support.

I also have concerns about its cost, now projected to be over £100 billion. This money would be better spent upgrading existing regional transport infrastructure and supporting the transition to green infrastructure. The Chiltern line from Birmingham to London is currently the only line into London that hasn’t been electrified. Locally, I am pushing for more cycle routes and electric buses. This is where the Government should be investing more.

Another infrastructure decision taken recently, with long-term consequences for the future of this country, was to allow Huawei access to our 5G network. I am concerned, like many MPs of all parties, at the closeness of Huawei to the Chinese Government. There is a real threat that we could invite our communications to be openly spied on by a hostile Chinese Government.

The core issue is that, despite claiming to have an Industrial Strategy, the Government have failed to ensure we have the capability to build a 5G network ourselves. This is the route Vietnam has taken – if they can do it, surely we can. Think of all the intellect we have on our doorsteps, such as at the University of Warwick. Why hasn’t this been utilised to create local jobs, and also keep us safe? Our Government have chosen instead to outsource our cyber security.

Finally, people will be receiving notification of yet another year of council tax increases. If you’re concerned by the amount of council tax you must pay, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

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