I know from my inbox that many of you share my concerns about the acute pressures on our NHS. Last month, I called a debate in Parliament to challenge the Health Minister about this and press for a much-needed increase in funding. The level of local funding continues to fall behind funding in other areas and does not reflect the fact the Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing counties. The NHS funding formula has determined that our population is growing at 0.1% below England average(!?) whereas in reality growth across the county has been 0.6% above the England average for the past four years. Even putting that growth aside, our per head funding has always been too low. In Cambridgeshire, we receive £1,125 per capita, as compared with £1,244 in Bedfordshire, £1,288 in West Suffolk and £1,497 in Norfolk.
During the debate, the Minister agreed to meet me and our Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Executive to discuss these concerns in more detail. I will of course let you know how that meeting goes.
Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our time. The recent announcement committing the UK to net-zero carbon emissions, ending the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050 is welcome – but to meet this target, we all need to play our part in increasing the use of cleaner and renewable energy. So last month, I was pleased to be joined by a group of constituents who made the journey to Westminster as part of the climate change lobby. I’ll be working with a cross party group of MPs to come up with some tangible targets that we’ll be campaigning to have embedded in the next Queen’s Speech. Committing our ambitions to the next Government’s legislative programme would be without doubt the most effective way of focusing minds.
Away from Westminster, it was wonderful to play a part in officially opening Gamlingay Village Primary School, following extensive renovation and an extension to the buildings.
Enthusiastically assisted by some of the children, we made light work of the ribbon cutting!
This project has been a long time in the coming, but was absolutely worth the wait with the children now enjoying first class facilities. Well done to everybody involved in taking the plans from paper to building!
In further local news, the Government has re-opened the Rural Community Energy Fund – a £10 million programme to support rural communities in England to develop community-based renewable energy projects. Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rural-community-energy-fund
Last month, I visited the Medical Research Council’s Cancer Unit on the Biomedical campus to learn more about their innovative work. Their mission is to advance our understanding of the earliest steps in the emergence of cancer, and to use this knowledge for early diagnosis.
The Unit receives core funding from the Medical Research Council, with additional external support from Wellcome, Cancer Research UK and other sponsors.
My thanks to the team for an informative tour of the labs and a really great conversation about their work – and Brexit!
There are a couple of important consultations underway at present:
- The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is consulting on the Local Transport Plan. Open until 27th September, the consultation will help to shape how we deal with the challenges of a growing area sustainably – https://heidiallen.co.uk/heidi-allen-mp-urges-south-cambridgeshire-residents-to-submit-to-the-cambridgeshire-and-peterborough-local-plan/. There are a number of consultation events, including one on Thursday 18th July between 3 and 7.30pm at Cottenham Community Centre Coffee Shop.
- Until 5th August, you can also feedback on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s proposals for the Melbourn and Sawston Greenways. These Greenways routes will enable cyclists, walkers and equestrians to travel sustainably from Melbourn and Sawston into Cambridge. More details can be found here: https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/greenways-melbourn-sawston
Finally, Great Northern has called for ideas about how the £15 million compensation fund should get spent. The Secretary of State, Chris Grayling asked for my assistance to determine how the funds, paid as a result of last year’s chaos, might be spent.
I fought hard to ensure that the stations worst affected felt the most benefit from the funding. As a result Ashwell and Morden, Shepreth, Foxton and Meldreth have each been allocated £80,000 for improvements which places them in the top tier for funding.
Last summer’s rail chaos saw constituents affected to an unprecedented level and at the time, I lobbied relentlessly for immediate improvements to the network. This fund is recognition of the suffering that GTR’s timetable upgrade caused. I hope passengers will use it by making suggestions that improve their overall commuting and travelling experience.
If you’d like to have your say, please go to https://www.passengerbenefitfund.co.uk/the-fund/ before 31st July.
As ever, my newsletter can only provide a snapshot of my work but if there is anything you would like to talk to me about, my next “appointment” surgery is on Friday 16th August, 3.00 – 5.00pm at my new offices at 2 Mill Yard, Childerley, CB23 8BA. If you would like an appointment, please call my office on 01223 830037.
As Parliament breaks for Summer recess and I’ll be at home more, I’ll be holding a series of “pop up” surgeries in cafes, garden centres and pubs(!) across the constituency, so please keep an eye on my website for details – https://heidiallen.co.uk/constituency-surgeries/
In the meantime, if you would like to contact me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office.
See you next month!