|Justine Greening MP Writes To Residents|
Her Westminster and local role, including social mobility, BREXIT and more
The growing focus on finding a route through on Brexit has been ever more prominent over the past month, with two more votes on the Prime Minister's deal and an indicative votes process to see whether any other Brexit approaches could gain a consensus and majority in the House of Commons to break the deadlock - there's a fuller Brexit update below.
There are of course still very important issues going on locally, whether the latest Heathrow consultation, the Council's initial Future High Streets Fund proposal, or the Roehampton Regeneration and the recent consultation event in Roehampton. I've also held a debate in Parliament on my concerns about the performance of housing associations, specifically A2 Dominion and the work I've been doing with residents at Clyde House.
Parliament's extra days of Brexit debates and sittings on Friday are important, but as always, I'm around in the constituency and at local events, plus I have my weekly MP surgery at a local library, so do get in touch if you ever have any concerns or want to get involved in a local campaign or project going on.
**EVENT: Post-Boat Race Foreshore Clean-Up on 8 April at 11am**
• Responded to over 2200 emails and letters from constituents, my busiest month to date, and I've never had quite so many constituents email me at the same time (!) - I do my best to respond promptly.
• Chaired a meeting of the Thames Tideway Community Liaison Working Group about the King George's Park site to hear about the next stage of works on the Thames Tunnel. The work at Dormay Street in central Wandsworth and in King George's Park are now both well underway - you may well have seen the hoardings in place at King George's Park to secure the site so work can go on safely. Broadly work on both sites is on track and Thames Tideway have also engaged very well with local schools to help children understand what the project is doing to clean up our environment, and keep our River Thames clean for future generations. However, this is a big project both in Wandsworth and also the centre of Putney, so I'm working with residents and Thames Tideway to sort out any disruption and issues as they come up.
• Celebrated the Bicentennial of St Mary's Church of England Primary School on Felsham Road, joining children, staff, parents and supporters at St Mary's church in Putney for a special commemoration service. It's an amazing 200 year history for our oldest local school to celebrate.
• Supported the fantastic Sing Swell Choir - both adults and also children, who were performing in St Mary's Church. What a great performance and I especially loved the Abba medley! All the proceeds from performance go to a local charity, Born too Soon (www.borntoosoon.info), which does amazing work supporting the care of premature babies and their families. The Sing Swell choir has residents from both Southfields, West Hill and Putney - if you're interested in getting more involved you can find out more on www.singswell.co.uk
Working in Westminster
As your local Member of Parliament, this month in Westminster I have:
• Gave the keynote speech at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales annual dinner - the Institute has signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge which is about ensuring equal access of opportunity to people around the UK, no matter what their background is, with businesses working with schools and giving more work experience. The ICAEW is now going to be working with its member organisations to get more companies up and down the country committing to the Social Mobility Pledge which is great news.
First Anniversary of the Social Mobility Pledge
With Lord Bird, we also launched a report on "Financial Services and Social Mobility: Powering Up The Talent Chain", which discusses how businesses can evolve their recruitment and employee development progression practices to open up opportunities for talented people from all sorts of backgrounds and we highlighted the example set by Standard Life Aberdeen, one of the first signatories of the Social Mobility Pledge who helped produce the report.
If you'd like more information on the pledge or are a business who'd like to join the many others now making a commitment to bring more opportunity to more young people, then sign up, do visit www.socialmobilitypledge.org to see how you can get involved. I'd like as many local businesses, whether big or small, to help make a difference locally in Wandsworth so let me know if your business can get involved or just easily sign up on the website.
The Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, responded for the Government in the debate and we discussed potential solutions to these problems. I will be meeting the Minister to follow up on the concerns that I raised with him and to discuss what steps the Government can take to improve the situation for tenants. DCLG officials have confirmed to me that they will also be meeting with A2Dominion representatives to discuss with them directly the long-term issues that residents of Clyde House faced to ensure that adequate changes are made in the management of their properties to prevent situations like this from reoccurring.
A2 Dominion have also provided an update on the progression of the works programme which will include full redecoration, new flooring, new lifts, an upgraded CCTV and a programme of electrical and pest inspections. I will continue working hard to ensure the work is carried out and to a high standard - there's a lot of work ahead to get right.
Alton Estate Regeneration Consultation
More broadly, it is expected that the overall Roehampton regeneration planning permission application will be submitted near Easter and will be followed by a period of consultation so I will be sure to keep residents informed and please do let me know if you have any concerns about the design or process and I'd be happy to follow them up. It's time that the Alton estate had investment and new homes for residents, and I'm keen to make sure that every penny invested makes a positive difference.
As the Brexit crisis has continued, Parliament has been asked again to vote on the Prime Minister's deal, and has also now finally had the chance to try to find a consensus through the so-called indicative votes process. Unfortunately, the gridlock in Parliament has continued. I've been saying that was the likely outcome since summer 2018, and unfortunately at the root of it is that the Government has not been able to find any viable alternative Brexit approach since its deal was voted down, originally in January, by a margin of 230 votes. We then had to vote on it for a second and a third time in March alone. Locally, there is very little support for the Prime Minister's half in, half out approach that the deal represents.
Meaningful Votes 2 and 3:
At the end of March, for a third time, Parliament was asked to vote on the Prime Minister's Deal, although it was then turned into a narrower vote, just on the Withdrawal Agreement entirely excluding the Political Declaration (i.e. what kind of relationship with the EU Britain would have after departure). Again, there were no changes at all to the legal Withdrawal Agreement. I already felt that just 26 pages of non-binding aspirations were totally inadequate to give any real confidence about the future for jobs and investment, or indeed how Britain will maintain close working relationships with our nearest neighbouring countries in Europe. The original plan was to leave with a Withdrawal Agreement and a Future Relationship, both fully agreed between the UK and EU. To have no Political Declaration at all, when there could also be a change in leader, seemed a total leap in the dark which I could not in good conscience support. I'd like to thank the many local residents who have sent in supportive messages for my stance - they are much appreciated.
I hope that this update gives you a brief snapshot of some of the things I am working on as our local Member of Parliament. As ever, if you would like to contact me or raise an issue, than please get in touch and I will do the best I can to help. You can email me on email@example.com, write to me at 3 Summerstown, SW17 0BQ or call my office on 0208 946 4557. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see all my latest updates.
April 3, 2019