Page 30 - Phonebox Magazine June 2024
P. 30

 Ben Everitt MP
Let me start this month’s column by congratulating Councillor Keith McLean (Olney ward) and Councillor Chris Wardle (Newport Pagnell North and Hanslope ward) on their re-elections to Milton Keynes City Council in May’s local elections. It has been a pleasure working with them in recent years on issues affecting our rural areas.
 Also this month...
• I want to wish the best of luck to Tickford Park Primary School as they represent MK Dons when they take part in the Premier League Primary Stars Football Tournament at the home of Brentford FC!
• I met with the Home Secretary James Cleverly and Farming Minister Mark Spencer to discuss tackling rural crime, including the increased resources for TVP Rural Crime Taskforce, hare coursing, equipment theft and using new technology to fight crime in rural areas
As with every month I’ve been spending a lot of time knocking on doors finding out the issues that matter most to local people. And Labour’s plans to build 63,000 new houses across the city and rural areas is something that keeps coming up. You know my position on this. I think it’s madness and I will oppose it. Not only will these extra houses heap more pressure on our infrastructure like our NHS, schools and roads, they won’t actually solve the housing issue. We want local people to be able to buy houses locally, but Labour just keep building 4 and 5-bedroom houses nobody locally can actually afford. And now they’re even planning on reducing the affordable housing requirements in MK. I will keep fighting for you, and if you want to get involved with the campaign against 63,000 houses please do get in touch.
Cobbs Garden Surgery
I know Peter and Keith have already mentioned this in great detail in their column, so I will keep this brief, but I was shocked by MK Labour’s political game-playing with healthcare in Olney in the days leading up to the local elections. I’ve been working hard with Peter and Keith to secure a new surgery for Cobbs Garden and will continue to do so. We recently invited the chairman of the Conservative Party, Richard Holden, to visit Cobbs Garden to discuss the new surgery plans, and I am actively working on securing the new surgery. The decision to not allow money already held to be used to apply for planning permission is completely unbelievable.
30 Phonebox Magazine | June 2024
Ben with Richard Holden, on a visit to Cobbs Garden Surgery
Potholes And Buses With The Transport Secretary
It was a great opportunity to welcome Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary (pictured above), to the constituency recently to talk to him about fixing potholes and protecting our bus services. The state of the roads locally is incredibly poor despite the fact we give the council almost £6.4 million every single year for roads maintenance. So we have a new plan to hold the council to account. That £6.4 million annually will be topped up by at least £25 million across 10 years, but the council will need to publish its roads maintenance plan to access the funding. That way we can all scrutinise whether the council is spending that money effectively. We also discussed the ongoing risk to local bus services after the council began withdrawing subsidies a few years ago. The Government has been providing
vital funding to protect services like the 41, 21, 1, 2, 3 and 7, as well as introducing the £2 bus fare cap, but unfortunately the council has spent lots of Government support on printing a bus timetable and MK Connect rather than supporting local services.
A Plan For Farmers
Farming is the lifeblood of our rural communities. I know this because I grew up working on a farm. Farmers have been feeding the nation and stewarding our countryside for thousands of years. I’ve been banging on at the Government about support for farmers ever since I was elected, and I welcomed the news we will launch the first-ever UK Food Security Index, setting out the Blueprint for Growing the UK Fruit and Vegetable Sector and ensuring the sector has the labour it needs through the Shropshire Review. We want to build fairness in the supply chain and ensure farmers get paid fairly for their produce.

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