I was really pleased to see experienced and new councillors being elected to Hampshire county council in last week’s local elections– congratulations to Hugh Lumby our new county councillor in Meon Valley and Prad Bains in Cowplain and Hart Plain.
They join Patricia Stallard (Winchester Southern Parishes), Rob Humby (Bishops Waltham), Ann Briggs (Waterloo and Stakes North), Marge Harvey (Catherington) and last, but not least, Rob Mocatta (Petersfield Butser) on the council.
We also have some new Winchester city councillors, Michael Kurns in Bishop’s Waltham and Fiona Isaacs who represents the Bishops Sutton part of Alresford as that is in Meon Valley Constituency.
We are lucky to have Frank Pearson (Central Meon Valley) and Mike Read (Denmead) elected again.
In further good news, Donna Jones was elected as our Police and Crime Commissioner, I have known Donna for a long time so will be able to bend her ear on all things policing in Meon Valley and in particular rural crime.
It was great to be out on the doorstep again canvassing and delivering, it is what politicians like doing best and it’s been difficult this last year or so! We all work hard as a team to make sure that all residents are well represented.
On Tuesday we had the Queen’s Speech and some indication of what we are going to be putting into legislation this session of Parliament. It was a packed speech covering many areas, with a few key highlights. There was the introduction of our levelling up agenda as part of a recovery from the pandemic, with introduction of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, Planning Bill and the Health and Care Bill.
Promises to Build Back Better with investment in national infrastructure with the introduction of the High-Speed Rail Bill, and the introduction of eight new Freeports to create hubs for trade and help regenerate communities. There was also a promise to invest in new green industries to create jobs, as we look forward to the COP26 Summit in Glasgow later this year.
Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the UK has and promotes the highest standards of animal welfare. It is a lengthy and ambitious agenda and I am eager to get to work!
I was lucky enough to get a chance to speak in the Queen’s Speech Education Debate on Thursday. I discussed the recovery of education after the covid-19 pandemic and how this has been an opportunity to look into our education and assessment system.
I mentioned the need for assessment to be more suited to all by making an end to the negative perceptions of vocational qualifications. A wider ranging curriculum
that enables young people to achieve their goals with recognition that their achievement is on the same par as others, would also help more young people succeed, as we know, education is the way out of poverty.
Last night I hosted a special Meon Valley Make It Your Business online event. Make It Your Business is a nationwide initiative to encourage and support women to start their own businesses, running events all over the country to help this. We had three amazing panellists including Josie Latouf, founder and owner of a family run group of independent coffee shops, Tracey Dudman, a retired RAF squadron leader turned into ‘Boutique ME’ owner, and Sara Pollard, previous Young Entrepreneur of the Year, now owning ‘The Roebuck’ in Wickham.
All three ladies told their story and answered questions. I think the three main takes from it were to make your business different from others, ensure you have a passion for business, the products you are selling and the service you provide and, most importantly, to believe in yourself, as you can do whatever you put your mind to.
It was good to see Parliament back this week and I look forward to seeing what we will achieve in this session. Have a great weekend!