Here are my main priorities in the months ahead as your MP.
In many ways I can’t believe its 2016 already, the last year sped past so quickly with the final months of the election campaign and then I went straight from that into adjusting to life as Labour MP for Hove and Portslade with everything that came with it. I think it’s always good in January to set out some goals for the year ahead so here are my main priorities in the months ahead as your MP.
We are lucky to have such a dynamic local economy with the self-employed a key contributor to that entrepreneurial spark. Yet as a group they are neglected by government - the same rings true for micro-businesses, another key group of businesses locally. I’ll keeping speaking up for both groups and use my role on the Common’s business committee to quiz ministers on what they are doing to make life easier for smaller businesses and the self-employed.
Private rents continue to increase sharply across the city, ensuring more affordable homes are built is also a major priority for 2016 to halt the growing trend of more and more people are being priced out of our city. That’s why it’s great our Labour council is committed to building over 1,000 new affordable homes. I will continue to fight proposals from the Conservative government that would see us forced to automatically sell certain council homes when they become vacant and then have the money from the sales taken back by central government.
I was elected on a promise to end long-term youth unemployment in Hove and I hope we can make real strides towards this in 2016, in conjunction with the new skills taskforce set up by the council and jointly chaired with local business groups. I also want to see continued improvements in our city’s schools and colleges so everyone is equipped with the skills they need to succeed in such a competitive job market.
As 2015 ended with a spate of disruption on the railways, seeing an improved train service is a must for 2016 – I’ve heard from constituents their frustration of missing key work meetings or their despair and not getting home in time to read their child’s bedtime stories. Since Christmas I’ve met with the rail minister Claire Perry and will work closely with fellow South East MPs to keep up the pressure and ensure Southern are held to account for poor performance. I also want to see “flexible” season tickets for part-time finally introduced this year – this would really benefit part time workers, the self-employed and those work from home a couple of days a week.
Finally, everything I do in 2016 will be underpinned by my drive to make politics more accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise have got involved. That means I’ll keep my high street shop in Hove and my community based campaigns. While there are many challenges ahead, I am still really looking forward to the year ahead as your MP!