Several significant themes from last weeks Parliament

Last week several significant themes emerged including on Monday the second reading of a Bill called Lifelong Learning (Higher Education Fee Limits) that Gillian Keegan, the Chichester MP set out. On Tuesday a session entitled High Street Bank Closures involved Andrew Griffith, the MP for Arundel and South Downs. Then on Wednesday there was a debate called Poverty: Food Costs which sadly did not involve any Sussex MPs but which was set out by Lee Anderson, the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Since that event I read criticisms from him in a London newspaper but other MPs have clearly set out very significant comments.

The Lifelong Learning Bill that Gillian Keegan introduced sadly did not involve any other Sussex MPs but she began with these words.

Everyone has a different reason for being passionate about education, but most of us can point to that time in our lives which changed our lives: the excitement when maths began to make sense, the thrill when we found a subject that we really loved and were good at, or the pride that came when a life-changing teacher showed that he or she believed in us.

A few minutes later she then stated

Education is an opportunity—it is the ultimate levelling-up tool, the closest thing that we have to a silver bullet when it comes to improving lives—and it is always good to have more than one shot, as many things will change throughout our working lives. We have pledged to level up the country so that everyone gets the education that will enable them to seize the opportunities that come their way. I take that pledge extremely seriously, and that is why I am so proud to present this Bill to Parliament today.

A few minutes later after one MP had corresponded another one took part who is the Ipswich Conservative MP, Tom Hunt who asked

does she agree that it should also apply to those who are neurodiverse? People do not stop being neurodiverse when they leave school, which is why this support is needed throughout their adulthood.

Gillian responded with

Absolutely. It is important that lifelong learning continues to be accessible to many people. Sadly, we have heard of cases where people are not diagnosed during their time in school, and it is even more important that those opportunities are always there for them.

On Tuesday the debate that was entitled High Street Bank Closures included some of these words from Andrew Griffith

Our local high streets are of the utmost importance in towns throughout the country. They are the beating hearts of communities and form an intrinsic part of the social fabric of our cities, villages and communities.

He then added

I also know from speaking to my own constituents in rural West Sussex that there are legitimate concerns about the decline of our high streets, especially among vulnerable, elderly or isolated people who rely so heavily on what the high street provides. Let me therefore say at the outset that the Government recognise the vital role that the high streets play in society, and that we are implementing policies and directing resources toward protecting them, because that is the right thing to do.

The third theme I spotted was under the title of Poverty: Food Costs and Patricia Gibson, a SNP MP stated

in the four weeks to 19 February, one quarter of people say that they are struggling financially, versus one in five this time last year. That is why people are going to food banks. There are social, physical, mental health and economic costs, as food inflation is one of the largest contributing factors to general inflation. Basic foodstuffs such as bread and milk have soared in price. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that more than 17 million households across the UK go without essentials and 13% admit that they have skipped meals. How can we hear such statistics and not be ashamed? The Trussell Trust reports that food bank use is soaring, as the cost of living in general bites into households.

The following comment came out from Daniel Zeichner a Labour MP who said

There are some practical things the Government could do. Just why did they pull the funding for FareShare after its successful trial to tackle food waste? That scheme helped to cover the extra costs to small-scale farmers, growers and producers of redistributing their good-to-eat waste food rather than letting it go to waste. The trial resulted in 85% more fruit and vegetables reaching frontline charities and community groups. The Government funding ended in 2020 and, despite widespread calls, has not been continued. Why not?

These two comments are clearly very significant for all of our Nation including here in Sussex and we need the Government to respond.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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