|Putney MP Justine Greening Writes to Putney|
The Queen's Speech, Oyster Cards, The Halfmoon, local events and more.....
We've had the Queen's Speech this past week and in many respects, it was what we had all expected. Locally, there is always a lot going on, whatever the time of year, but for more news on the Queen's Speech, and other things I've been working on and up to locally, read on.
Last week in Parliament we had the State Opening of Parliament with the Queens Speech, effectively setting out the government's "to do" list for the last few months before the General Election. It is always an amazing experience sitting in the House of Commons and hearing Black Rod bang on the door. All the MPs have to walk over to the House of Lords and crowd in at the back to listen to the Queen read what was a comparatively short Queen's Speech this year. Whenever the election is next year, I'd have thought that Ministers will be hard pushed to get a lot of their announced bills through but we will see how successful they are. The Pre Budget Report is due in early December, when the Chancellor sets out out his view of current public finances and whether the VAT reduction will continue past 31 December, so that will set a lot of the context for the debate in Parliament over the coming months. We had expected the Comprehensive Spending Review aswell - that's the 3 year plan for public finances and will be incredibly important - but that has been delayed until next year around the budget, so though there is a Bill in the Queen's Speech about reducing our massive deficit levels, for the timebeing we don't have any detailed figures from the Chancellor about how he thinks is best to do that. As an accountant, I prefer to see the details, but clearly we'll all have to wait. The other point on the Queen's Speech was that there was no Bill announced on housing. That surprised many people, as there have been some proposals on landlords and tenants over last few months, but its possible that one will still be brought in, though admittedly, its unlikely if it was not headlined in the main speech.
Oyster cards at Putney Station
At last, we've had the announcement that from 2 January we'll be able to use oyster cards on the overland service from Putney Station. Its really great news and will ease congestion generally at the station. Hopefully it will mean that it's faster to get through onto the platform and it should also reduce queuing at the ticket machines and ticket offices which has also been a major problem for the station in the past. We'll also be able to use our oyster cards on river boat services which is another improvement. More generally on Putney Station, I'm tabling follow up parliamentary questions to chase up what's happened to the planning for the Putney Station lift. As many people will know, it was due to be completed by the end of this year but in fact, work hasn't even begun yet. Though we're getting new announcements about sorting out our worst stations across the country, including Clapham Junction, I think its important that previous promises made by Ministers are delivered on to put lifts in stations that were assessed as badly needing them, such as Putney.
Roehampton Business Awards
I joined other residents and business owners that the Enterprising Roehampton Awards evening last week, where local businesses and organisations are recognised for their contribution to Roehampton. It's about entreprise in a general sense, so awards are for business, environment, safety, working with young people, really it can be anything that has helped our local community. Its been running for 3 years now and is a great evening to be able to say thank you to people who are working hard to improve our local facilities and day to day quality of life. It was an honour to be able to present an award to the Roehampton Safer Neighbourhood Team who have worked very hard on tackling local crime issues on the estate, not least the problem of street drinkers.
Half Moon Pub
Its really bad news to hear that the Half Moon Pub is going to lose its status as a music venue. The pub has been, and still is a venue for all sorts of up and coming bands - and we've had some great bands perform gigs there over the years so really this pub is part of our local history. I've worked with Youngs on a number of issues over the last few years, and am talking to them about whether there is any way that we can somehow overcome the problems with rents, rates and beer tax to somehow keep things going as a music venue.
Christmas kicks off in Putney
It's not December yet, but Christmas is definitely starting locally in Putney. Last Saturday I joined people in St Mary's Church to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the St Mary's Charity Christmas Card shop that is inside the church. Over the years, it has raised incredible amounts of money for good causes, including local charities such as the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability and Trinity Hospice. Hopefully over the next month a lot more money will be raised by the team there. Last Saturday night I also went along to the fundraising dinner at St Mary's and the church was absolutely packed with people, so the event seemed to be very successful indeed. This evening there is also the opening of the Putney Christmas Market which will be on from 3pm and the Christmas tree lights will be switched on around 5.30pm to 6pm.
Out and about in Putney
A lot of people think it gets busy in December, but there's also a lot going on in November too. Over the last couple of weeks, I've met up with local women entrepreneurs to hear about how they find doing business locally and what they'd like to see changed nationally to help them. We've lots of women who often have career breaks with families and then want to perhaps do their own thing or combine family and work on their own terms, so it was really interesting to meet them. Last weekend I visited the Wimbledon and District Synagogue for their remembrance service and also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the South London Sikh Gurdwara on Merton Road with the local Sikh community which was a fantastic event. On a completely different note, as it were, I went along to hear the 51st State Band play at Putney Arts Theatre. It's a band with lots of local schoolchildren in, playing brass and wind instruments and they were really very impressive and worth going to hear at their next performance.
If you need my help as MP, do get in touch. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the House of Commons, London , SW1A 0AA . Or you can also come along to one of my MP surgeries so give my office a call on 0208 946 4557 if you'd like to find out where the next one is. I'll do my best to help.Best wishes,
Justine Greening MP