In My View - 12th October 2017

Business resumed in the House of Commons this week starting well with an announcement of serious funding to prepare practicalities for systems such as our borders for leaving the EU. This has nothing to do with the big points of discussion of the process but rather it is simply good sense to be prepared and I have been making the point for some time that we can move towards having our workforce and IT prepared and fine tune for the final outcome of negotiations.

Less positive though was the announcement of redundancies at BAE although I am pleased that they are not to be made in Somerset. Businesses can have fluctuating workforces over time and I hope that workers there will be able to find similar jobs quickly. However I do have concerns about our military strategy and have been gathering support amongst MPs for a meaningful debate here about our nation’s military capability. What may seem like a sensible efficiency on paper can lead to a diminished capacity to respond to events and any such move needs thorough scrutiny.

An emergency debate was held on Tuesday about Parliamentary procedure which has interesting ramifications. Opposition parties are angered that the Government is not asking Conservative MPs to vote in ‘opposition day’ debates – those tabled most often by the Labour Party. I support not being forced to vote. The debates are non-binding so if there is a vote at the end it doesn’t mean anything. The Labour party has been tabling the same subjects over and over again to attempt to make a point about the way MPs vote. For example, they may say they would like the NHS budget to double. We know we can’t afford this so vote against and the next thing you know social media is saying Conservative MPs have voted against more money for the NHS and denied nurses a payrise. Games like this are not a good use of anyone’s time or public money.

I was really pleased for everyone involved with the Yeovil Hospital Symphony Project this week as they achieved national recognition in the Care Quality Commission State of Care report and on BBC Radio 4. As the report states, ‘A better way of supporting people living with three or more long term conditions; the care model helped reduce hospital admissions by 30% in its first year.’ We do still face challenges locally though, not least in recruiting and training for safe staffing levels and I will continue to work towards creative, long term solutions for this. I will be seeking Local Authority support for some creative ideas around this in coming weeks.

Finally I have opened a dialogue with the Football Association about the issues facing Yeovil Ladies’ Football team. It is not straightforward and some of the aims of their criteria do make sense but I can report that they are aware of our team, they admire what they have achieved and their energy and both sides hope a way forward can be found.

If you would like to get in touch about these or any other issues please do email or call 01935314321.