WE have just seen the 18 month anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of its neighbour, Ukraine, violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity, writes MP Anne Marie Morris.
Since then, the UK has been at the forefront of supporting Ukraine’s defence and resilience, providing military and humanitarian aid, imposing sanctions on Russia, and rallying our allies in NATO. But we cannot be complacent.
The situation remains tense and volatile, with the long awaited autumn counter offensive now coming to an end in anticipation of the winter weather.
We must now consider how the UK can best support Ukraine moving forward into a potential spring offensive and the 2nd year of this dreadful conflict. Grant Shapps has vowed to continue his predecessor’s strident support for Ukraine.
As the US begins supporting European NATO allies to provide F-16s to Ukraine it has never been more evident that Ukraine does not stand alone in this fight.
As a proud supporter of the F40 group, a group representing the lowest-funded local authorities in England for education, I was happy to take part in their recent meeting in parliament on the SEND crisis.
Currently, there is a huge disparity in funding across the country, which means that some schools struggle to provide adequate support for their SEND pupils, while others have surplus funds that they can spend on other things.
This is unacceptable and unfair. Every child deserves a high-quality education that meets their individual needs and helps them achieve their full potential.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the house in anticipation of the upcoming Autumn statement to overcome the £2.5b funding deficit schools in Devon and across the country are facing.
On Wednesday I hosted my monthly business call with local business leaders to discuss the state of the local economy. Summer saw visitors but spend was down unsurprisingly given the cost of living crunch and the poor weather impacted bookings.
The challenge now is attracting more visitors over the winter season. For small businesses, electricity bills are one of their biggest worries. Raising the VAT threshold would also make a huge difference.
I will once again take these issues to the chancellor – he must not forget that the majority of businesses are these very small micro businesses who we all need to survive and thrive.
Plans for Christmas lights and events are in full swing which will bring good cheer and deserve our support! Retailers have never been more challenged.
On Thursday, I had a meeting with Devon Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez alongside representatives for Teignmouth, Dawlish and Newton Abbot to discuss the state of policing.
The number of police officers is reputedly at an all-time high yet the anti-social behaviour and shop lifting crimes are increasing without enough police intervention to deter and punish. Recruitment seems to have stalled while new recruits are off the streets training.
The consistent lack of visible police presence on our streets, especially at night must be changed. The resources we do have need to be better managed so communities are not left without police cover when holidays are taken or there are staff changes. The new powers from Parliament to address anti-social behaviour are useless without police to enforce orders made!
Finally, this week saw an impassioned meeting in Parliament by the Park Homes Owners Justice Campaign which I was happy to show my support for. Formed in 2014 this group has spent many years campaigning to clamp down on the bad practice all too rampant within the industry and has set its sights on the unfair 10% resale commission park owners arbitrarily levy on their customers.
It would be unimaginable for an estate agent to demand a commission each time a house is resold, so why do we allow this for park homes? The existing legislation from 1983 is long past needing a refresh and I am glad to add my voice to this growing campaign.
As always, if you would like to book a surgery appointment (in-person or virtual) or raise a specific issue, please call my office on 01626 368277 or email [email protected] to arrange an appointment.