I was recently invited to come and join a group of volunteers In Richings Park, Iver, who had decided that their village needed a clean up. On a Sunday morning some 50 of them turned out to do just that. It was described as a “litter pick”, but it was much more than that. It involved cleaning the pavements in the shopping area of accumulated earth and rubbish debris and two hours work brought a sparkle to the heart of the community, with a determination to do more on a future occasion.
But I wasn’t surprised at what I saw as this is not the first time that I have seen this type of initiative. Another one I witnessed and helped recently involved Trenches Lane near Wexham where I found myself cleaning out a stream with a very strong octogenarian beside me.
These examples highlight the fact that this constituency is greatly valued by its residents for its natural beauty and amenities. It offers one of the best environments in the United Kingdom to build a business, educate children and enjoy good health and an attractive countryside. But preserving this and improving it for ourselves and for future generations is a constant challenge.
I am committed to working with local community groups and councillors and South Bucks, Wycombe and Bucks County councils to ensure that the current local plans have regard to protecting our natural environment and that planning control is properly enforced. I regret the last Parliament’s decision to permit HS2 and will do all I can to help minimise the disruption that is going to be linked to its construction.
There are also challenges from other potential developments. Some more housing is inevitable if we are to accommodate our growing population and the Conservative manifesto rightly emphasises the need to build one million new homes by 2020 and half a million more by 2022. I will work to try and ensure that in meeting our local targets the essential role of the Green Belt is recognised and it is protected so far as is possible. I will also continue to lobby government to make sure that developing infrastructure improves the environment. Iver needs it’s relief road and Beaconsfield its bypass.
I am pleased that we have pledged to increase NHS spend by a minimum of £8billion in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real terms per head of population for every year of the parliament. Locally there are major changes proposed to NHS primary care which should bring surgeries onto new sites with much better facilities to provide a better care and relieve pressure on our hospitals. I will encourage getting this extended.
Our schools also need investment. Conservatives are committed to evening out the markedly different rates of funding that schools receive across the country. Most schools here receive less than the average. But we have committed to ensure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new formula and overall there will be budget increases of £4billion by 2022.
Finally, we have to recognise that all improvements to public services can only be achieved by growing our economy. We are fortunate that the Thames Valley area and this constituency is one of the motor forces of the UK economy. Maintaining that means promoting enterprise at every level. I look forward, if elected, to working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Federation of Small Businesses to ensure that this continues. It will certainly not if Jeremy Corbyn imposes his crippling tax increases on those who generate our wealth.