It has been a positive two months since my last report. Having now settled into my own office and made my maiden speech it has been good to get down to doing the work I promised to do.
The growth of local businesses is a top priority and in my first PMQ I recognised the hard work of business people in the constituency and asked “What further support will the Prime Minister offer?” This was answered in part with the announcement of the Budget when it was revealed how the Government would be backing businesses to create more jobs by cutting the jobs tax for firms, cutting corporation tax to 18%, raising the Annual Investment Allowance and introducing an apprenticeship levy on large firms to help fund more apprenticeships.
During my election campaign I had strongly supported the idea of the National Living Wage, which was subsequently introduced in the Budget. It will start next April at £7.20 with the expectation to reach £9 by 2020. I also welcome cutting taxes for working people so they keep more of what they earn and making taxes fairer. For more details on the budget, please click here. http://www.kevinhollinrake.org.uk/news/budget-briefing-kevin-hollinrake-mp
Devolution is a very hot topic in Westminster and back in the constituency. I have had several meetings with my other North Yorkshire colleagues, council leaders and Ministers within the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to determine how we get the most from this opportunity. One of the reasons I put my name forward for the DCLG Select Committee was to have a better understanding of the drive for devolution. The devolution of power across the UK should mean more autonomy to invest in the things we need to boost the economy in Yorkshire.
We need to set out a comprehensive Plan for Productivity. Better transport links by rail and road, improving communication with wider mobile phone coverage and delivery of superfast broadband across more of the region will all lead to growth. On the coast I hope that Filey can benefit from the Coastal Communities Fund and I am keen to see the town included in the Scarborough Enterprise Zone.
Unemployment is down 61% in the Thirsk and Malton Constituency since 2010 but I want more people who can work back in employment and expansion of local businesses to ensure our constituency remains a great place to live and work.
Thirsk and Malton is a beautiful rural and coastal constituency. We need to protect the environment and ensure its sustainability. I called for a Westminster Debate on Shale Gas on 30th June, which was very informative. I am in constant contact with those people and organisations affected by the proposal for fracking in North Yorkshire. I remain steadfast in my resolve to make sure the right decision is made with all the correct facts, all concerns addressed and all eventualities accounted for. We must get this right for everyone in the constituency.
Our precious environment must be protected and productive. Farmers work huge areas of the land in the constituency and I have had the pleasure of meeting many producers and growers both on their land and at recent local agricultural shows. I am always keen to hear the views of those involved in our important agricultural industry and to learn more about what they need to continue their vital work feeding our nation and caring for the countryside.
In Parliament my days are full and varied. I could be hearing about the Care Quality Commission, National Parks England, Citizens Advice, the Royal Society of Chemistry or attending an Energy Innovation reception or meeting Ghurkha recruits.
I am always keen to hear about the work of charities and give them my support where possible: some of those that I have spoken to include Target Ovarian Cancer, Diabetes UK, and Water Aid. Since my election I have attended many meetings involving health and care e.g. Antibiotic Research, Autism Plus and a briefing from Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England on the five year forward plan.
Although the job of an MP requires a lot of time in London attending meetings and debates I ensure I am equally available back home in the constituency. I have held busy surgeries around the local towns and visited a variety of businesses, met with various organisations and attended local events. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Thirsk Fire Station, the Jack Berry House and have had tours of the impressive flood defence work by the Pickering and District Civic Society and even went to the jails at Northallerton Prison.
I will be enjoying extra time in our rural location this summer as during recess I will be busy out and about in villages and towns meeting more people at their work and at leisure. I have more surgeries in the diary and welcome appointments at my Easingwold and Malton offices. It is always good to meet with people who are keen to share their views on how the constituency can develop and to learn how I can be of help to them.
Being an MP is like being a cricketer, our traditional summer sport I have long enjoyed. Whether you are going into bat for your village, county or country you need to be prepared for what is bowled (or thrown) at you, whatever the wicket, however it is spun. The main thing is to go to the crease ready to make the best of your innings and when you are out in the field you need to be alert to catch anything that comes your way. I have a great team with me and am appreciative of the support of my executive.
I hope you have a good summer.