Richmond Park News: 14 May 2021
RESPONSE TO THE QUEEN'S SPEECH
On Wednesday I responded to the Queen’s Speech in the Chamber, focusing on its lack of strong plans for businesses. While I recognise that Government support has been critical been for many firms throughout the pandemic, this year's Queen’s Speech lacked any comprehensive long-term strategy for economic growth. Its reliance on freeports is misguided and will prove ineffective.
I am calling for a green strategy that can generate jobs and make good on our environmental obligations. I also urged the Government to explain how it intends to replace the Green Homes Grant. We need measures in place that will not only encourage householders to invest in zero carbon homes, but also encourage the construction industry to invest in the skills, apprenticeships and workforce to deliver it.
You can see a video clip of most of my remarks here. Or you can see the full text of my remarks here.
HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, I joined Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, in meeting Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and Chair of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce. We urged Baroness Vere to see that the Department for Transport (DfT) responds to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s (LBHF) funding proposal immediately. The funding proposal was submitted to DfT by LBHF exactly 12 weeks ago today. So far, neither the DfT nor the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce have publicly responded to the LBHF proposal.
The meeting was incredibly disappointing and offered no reassurances that the Government was prepared to come to the table. The Government line appears to be that LBHF must now come to Transport for London (TfL) with one preferred and fully-costed proposal. Following Wednesday’s meeting, Fleur, Andy, Ruth and I will be writing to Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, to explore ways in which TfL might be able to expedite the process and help restore access across the River.
I also raised the question of the funding proposals at this week's Public Accounts Committee meeting, where I asked Bernadette Kelly CB, Permanent Secretary in the Department for Transport, for further information about what the Department is doing about the proposals.
Her reply was not very informative, but you can see it here.
I was, however, pleased to hear that, upon the announcement of TfL’s latest funding settlement next Tuesday, we should receive an overarching framework for both the funding and practicalities of reopening the Bridge, as agreed by the DfT, TfL and LBHF.
COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS EASING