The last couple of weeks has seen Parliament spending a lot of time debating tax, especially road tax. In the Shadow Treasury team, road tax is something that I cover, so a lot of the facts that have been coming out, such as the 9 million motorists being worse off, are Ministers responding to parliamentary questions I've tabled, a bit as I've done on Heathrow. We also had an important statement from the Department for Transport on Heathrow, and for details of that and more of what I've been up to locally, read on.
Heathrow Decision Delayed
Ruth Kelly has finally announced that her decision on Heathrow is now being delayed to later in the year. Originally I'd been told that the Department for Transport would make its announcement before the end of July. One of the reasons given for the delay was the time it is taking to go throug the sheer number of responses - a massive 70,000 people responded. Given that Ministers clearly just wanted to be able to give the go ahead to the expansion by the Summer, it is great news that they have not felt able to do so. The most recent DfT Freedom of Information (FOI) papers I have been given prove that as of mid September 2007, the DfT had not managed to meet its own environmental tests for Heathrow expansion. Somehow, after that date, miraculously having not achieved it in 3 years, the DfT suddenely managed it in about 3 weeks. I'm due to get the latest FOI papers covering the time after September any day now, so will update PutneySW15 readers as soon as I've got them.
Roehampton Bus Services
I met with TfL and the Council to talk about bus services locally, including in Roehampton. One of the ideas I've been keen to pursue was better linking up of the Alton estate and Roehampton Village to Barnes Station, and also the Lennox estate to Roehampton. A review of bus services overseen by the Council has come up with some options that would see a service feed ASDA on the A3, the Alton estate and Priory Lane, then going to Barnes Station. It could really improve the connections in that area and following my meeting with TfL they have agreed to start looking at these options. Based on the feedback I get from residents, better links for Roehampton to Barnes Station and ASDA, especially for people who live further into the estate and are not as close to Roehampton Lane would really help, so I'm hoping we can progress these ideas.
Policing and Crime
I have a very useful afternoon spent with Superintendent Ferguson of Wandsworth Police and officers out in their response cars. Not only did I get to see some of the work they do responding to crime as it is reported, I also had chance to talk to officers based at Earlsfield police station who impound the various assets of criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Seperately, I am also working with residents and police in West Hill to make sure local police get all the possible information we can from residents to help them tackle local crime effectively in a couple of parts of West Hill ward.
Out and About
I had St Mary's C of E Primary School visit Parliament which was fantastic, and I hope all the children enjoyed seeing around the House of Commons. Also, on Wednesday, I had new pupils from Elliott School come to see Parliament. They were all students who had arrived in the UK recently and were learning about how our democracy works. It was great to be able to show them round and explain how our Parliamentary system works.
Don't forget, there are lots of ways you can get in touch with me. I've a weekly MP surgery, so just call 0208 944 0378 to come along to that. Or, you can email me on email@example.com or just write to me at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA. I'll do my best to help!
Justine Greening MP
July 11, 2008