Politically Speaking with Mark Eastwood MP for Dewsbury
It has been a busy start to the new year.
Mark Eastwood MP writes: As one of the Prime Minister’s trade envoys, I visited fire engine manufacturer Angloco in Batley to discuss export opportunities that would bring economic benefits and job creation to Batley, Dewsbury and beyond.
I regularly meet with local NHS bosses to monitor and stay up-to-date with coronavirus, particularly the Omicron variant. Thankfully following an incredible effort to deliver booster vaccinations, the UK now has a higher level of booster protection than all our European neighbours. The successful booster rollout means that hospitalisations are nowhere near the levels seen at the peak of the pandemic. So I can’t stress enough the importance of getting your booster if you have not already done so.
Last week, I spoke in the House of Commons to raise the issue of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and I made two key points. The first is that it is apparent that some schools offer far better SEND provision than others and secondly - that disparity should not exist. The Government are making £2.6 billion of new funding available across the next three years for new school places for children with SEND. This is very welcome because I want all children to achieve well in education, to be able to go on to college or university and to live a happy and fulfilled adult life.
Another topic I raised in Parliament was to call for the BBC licence fee to be phased out. With hundreds of commercial and subscription channels currently available, in this day and age, I believe it is absurd to force people to pay for television that they do not like or feel is biased in its programming.
Before Christmas, it was also excellent to meet with Trevor Mitchell, the regional director of Historic England (HE), to discuss projects HE is funding as part of the Dewsbury Heritage Action Zone. I offered my thoughts and insights about Dewsbury’s challenges, including the issues around poor quality housing for rent.
I was also delighted to meet and join the Dewsbury Community Choir at their rehearsals and everyone sounded great. On Christmas Eve, I also attended a carol service in Mirfield, where I gave a bible reading at a well-attended event at the Mirfield Cricket club.
I would like to thank all the children who took part in my annual Christmas card competition. I received so many fantastic designs, and picking the winner from over 200 designs was a really tough decision. The Prime Minister was very impressed with the winning design created by ten-year-old Mariam Ahmed from Westmoor Primary School. It was lovely to visit Westmoor, St Joseph’s, St John’s, Pentland, St Paulinus and Bywell schools to thank the children for participating in the competition.
Finally, it has been a pleasure to work on your behalf over the last 12 months.
As we start 2022, my team and I are always on hand to help you with any issues you may have, so please do get in touch if you require any assistance via email: [email protected] or telephone 01924 939 007.