Norfolk MP James Wild – King's Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sue Gray report and tackling growing bills
Last weekend saw people across North West Norfolk take to the streets to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. There were so many events and I enjoyed joining the beacon lighting, street parties, and meeting the Town Crier in Brancaster as part of the celebrations.
The extended weekend was an opportunity for communities to mark a very special occasion. As Her Majesty The Queen said, hopefully this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for years to come.
Just before the bank holiday fun began, I was delighted to welcome the Health Minister leading the new hospitals programme to QEH. He came to see for himself the more than 1,500 timber and steel supports that I have spoken to him about on many occasions.
When talking to patients on the Necton ward, he was left in no doubt about what they thought of having these props supporting the roof. Staff also spoke about the negative impact on their ability to provide patient care.
During the visit he also saw the difference some of the new funding the hospital has secured is making. The West Norfolk Eye Centre by bringing facilities together will enable the trust to carry out 2,000 extra outpatients’ appointments a year. While this new investment is welcome and making a difference, ultimately patients and staff need a new hospital and I urged him to make decisions to select QEH as soon as possible.
In Parliament this week, the flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill began its journey to becoming law. This legislation is about spreading opportunity so everyone can make the most of their talents regardless of where they live.
To achieve this, the government will set ambitious new targets to boost productivity, pay, and living standards; improve schools, skills, and health outcomes; restore local pride; and give more powers for decisions to be made locally, not in Whitehall.
In addition, there are powers to generate town centres, charge additional council tax on second and empty homes, and give local communities more control over new development. Importantly, a new Infrastructure Levy will be introduced so that developers pay a fair share to deliver the affordable housing, new schools, GP surgeries, roads that are needed.
When the Prime Minister spoke to MPs ahead of the confidence vote, he again apologised for events in Downing Street.
I was angry and dismayed at what was described in the Gray report and the changes put in place must ensure high standards of behaviour are restored.
My judgement in backing the Prime Minister was that our focus at a challenging time economically must be on the agenda to level up, that the government was elected with a large majority to achieve, and to grow our economy.
That means short-term help to tackle growing bills as well as measures to deliver higher growth.
On the former, the support announced by the Chancellor will mean payments of £650 for those on the lowest incomes, £850 for pensioner households, £150 those people on disability benefits – with £550 for those groups and most households on top. But our focus also needs to be on reforms to secure higher wage, higher skilled jobs.