Local News from Ed Vaizey MP

Local News from Ed Vaizey MP

Local Elections

The local elections last week saw the Conservatives lose our majority on both the Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council. I was very sad indeed to see so many hard working local councillors lose their seats, and new candidates who had been hoping to serve fail to achieve their goal. Locally our councillors have been working hard and have good reason to be proud of what they have achieved whilst in the majority: free parking across town centres in the Vale, one of the highest recycling rates in the country, campaigning to improve local health facilities, improving access to public facilities, winning major support from central government for transport improvements and much more, all while keeping council tax down.

It is for these reasons, amongst others, that South Oxfordshire and the Vale have been consistently voted amongst the top places in the country to live. We really do have a lot to be proud of, and I would like to thank all our local politicians, from all parties, for the work they do to help achieve this. In particular I would like to thank those dedicated councillors who lost their seats at these elections, and I hope we see them return to local politics soon. The newly elected councillors will face similar challenges to those they are replacing, and there are no easy answers. We remain one of the most economically successful parts of the country, and that brings its own set of challenges, not least to build more homes for the people who wish to live and work here, and ensuring that there is infrastructure there to support them. I have always worked with politicians of all parties to get the answers we need locally, and will continue to lobby central government for the support that we need.

Many councillors who lost their seats will rightly blame Westminster. While local issues are very important, there is no doubt that voters use them to send a message to government. This is a strongly Remain constituency, and there is a great deal of frustration that politicians in Westminster are still unable to find a way forward on Brexit. I will be taking the message of frustration felt on the doorstep of the campaign and at the ballot box back to Westminster: it is wrong that local politicians who have worked tirelessly for their local communities should bear the brunt of a Westminster failure.

Natural England & General Licenses

In the last week of April Natural England revoked three general licences for controlling certain wild birds with three days notice. These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose, some gulls and pigeons.

This follows a legal challenge to the way the licences have been issued, which could mean users who rely on them are not acting lawfully.

The revocation has caused a great deal of upset amongst the farming and rural communities, who maintain that they are an essential tool to maintain crop health, livestock and to protect native species.

Natural England have now issued new individual licenses to cover most of the activities previously included under the general licenses, however given the interest in the issue the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs took control of the licensing process over the weekend. They are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wild-birds-licence-to-control-certain-species

DEFRA are now managing a formal evidence gathering process, due to close on Monday 13th May before releasing their guidance on the issue.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS & ORGANISATIONS

Movement for Good Awards

Ecclesiastical Insurance are inviting nominations and applications for their Movement for Good Awards, through which they are giving £1m to charities.

There are two categories: £1,000 awards are open to eligible charities registered in the UK and Republic of Ireland - these could range from smaller volunteer-run groups to larger, well-known organisations. £50,000 awards are open to eligible charities registered in the UK and Republic of Ireland with an income of less than £5m

Charities can be nominated for the £1,000 donations and apply for the £50,000 grants.

For more info visit: https://www.ecclesiastical.com/movement-for-good/

Action with Communities in Rural England - Village Hall Fund

The Autumn 2018 budget announced that, to mark the centenary of the Armistice, government would support several initiatives, including making available grant funding to support improvement projects for village halls.

The grant funding will be managed by ACRE on behalf of Defra with support from the ACRE Network. The grant aims to help fund the updating and refurbishment of village halls so that they are fit for purpose and provide activities which seek to achieve one or more of the following outcomes for their communities:

•Improved health and wellbeing/reduction in loneliness

•Demonstrates a positive impact on the environment

•Supports the local rural economy

For more info visit: http://acre.org.uk/our-work/village-hall-improvement-grant%20fund

IN PARLIAMENT

Visit from Fitzwaryn School

I was delighted to see Fitzwaryn School from the constituency at PMQs and have the opportunity to meet staff and pupils afterwards. Fitzwaryn School is an Outstanding school for SEN pupils in Oxfordshire and I asked Theresa May to support more high needs funding in rural areas.

CONSTITUENCY VISITS

I was delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of York to the constituency to open Wave Optics New HQ at Milton Park, Oxfordshire.

On other constituency visits I met GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood at Didcot Station, 6th Formers from Didcot with an interest in Politics, I attended a meeting of Didcot First at the New Marriott Courtyard hotel in Milton, I was interviewed by a local 6th form student as part of her International Baccalaureate project, and met with local residents and senior management of FirstPort at Alfredston Place in Wantage to discuss issues there.

THIS MONTH'S MAILBAG

This month I have received in excess of 950 items of correspondence (emails and letters) from constituents. Subjects raised with me include Brexit, Christophobia, School Funding, Pubs & Climate Change.

As always, you can find further details on the news section of my website, found here.

I hope this information is useful. If you know somebody who would like to receive these updates, please do ask them to get in touch.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any pressing issues that you would like help with. Either myself or one of my team will get back to you as soon as possible and do what we can to assist.

Yours,

Ed Vaizey MP

Posted: Mon, 13 May 2019 10:11 by Joanne Myers

Tags: Ed Vaizey Newsletter