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John Glen Salisbury MP

House of Parliament, John Glen Salisbury MP blog

Weekly update from Salisbury MP John Glen

View from the Commons 2nd July 2019

2nd July 2019

It was a pleasure to attend two evenings of events at this year’s Chalke Valley History Festival as well, of course, as welcoming Princess Anne to both Armed Forces Day and then, on Monday morning, to the long-awaited opening of the Stonehenge School extension

Princess Anne at Stonehenge School Amesbury June 2019
Princess Anne at the Stonehenge School

This improved educational provision in a growing part of the constituency is extremely welcome and will equip Stonehenge to meet the demand for places, particularly as the army rebasing project continues to the north.

Following an engaging conversation with Salisbury climate change activists at last week’s lobby (despite the noise and the crowds), I have spent much of this week delivering on long-planned action to place the City of London at the heart of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

I have been launching the brand new Green Finance Strategy, which aims to create new opportunities for investors and boost the UK’s reputation as a global hub for green finance.

The City has a vital role to play in securing a greener future. By investing more in sustainable projects, it can not only protect our environment, but also accelerate the development of green technology.

New initiatives will boost funding for green ventures and ensure the environment is at the centre of all financial decision-making.

On a more individual level, the strategy also includes a range of measures such as a green home finance fund to pilot innovative financial products such as green mortgages to encourage people to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.

On Friday, I am looking forward to a return visit to Salisbury District Hospital’s highly respected Duke of Cornwall Spinal Centre.

I also look forward with great interest to the town hall event at the Guildhall at which the work on Salisbury branding is to be presented and discussed.

It is always challenging to bring multiple stakeholders together, but it is vital for different organisations to contribute and ultimately to take ownership of a project whose only purpose is to promote Salisbury, to the benefit of all its shops, restaurants and businesses.

As Jane Scott reaches the end of her tenure as leader - first of Wiltshire County Council and then of the Unitary Authority - I thank her for her 16 years of service and her steadfast support for investment in Salisbury’s infrastructure.

Posted by John Glen at 4:53pm

View from the Commons 25th June

25th June 2019

This is an exceptionally busy and exciting week for Salisbury.

It is a great honour for the city to be chosen to host National Armed Forces Day and, in amongst the intensive preparations, road closures and inevitable crowds, I hope there will be plentiful opportunities to show our guests the best of what Salisbury has to offer.

I will be attending events throughout the weekend. I hope it will be both a fitting tribute to the servicemen and women who keep us safe, and a great celebration for local people and visitors alike.

Of course, Armed Forces Day is not the only treasured annual event taking place this week. I will be racing back on Thursday to spend time at the Chalke Valley History Festival, which continues to go from strength to strength, attracting a brilliant roster of speakers.

While many thousands of people are heading to south Wiltshire, a sizeable delegation of constituents journeyed to London this week for the latest climate lobby.

I was glad to be able to carve some time out of my ministerial diary to see them, although the sheer size of these events is not always conducive to in depth discussion of the important matters on people’s minds.

I have already taken numerous smaller meetings in the constituency on the environment and I remain available for Salisbury appointments for people who want to save themselves a journey!

I have also met with senior leaders from Salisbury District Hospital about their ambitious plans for the hospital estate.

Taking a bold and creative approach to easing the transition between clinical and social care is essential if we are to address the growing demand for services from people living many years with multiple chronic conditions.

I am keen to do all I can to ensure that the lines of communication with the planning authority and Department of Health remain open, so that plans can progress as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

I look forward to ending the week at the Phoenix Stars cheerleaders showcase. I first became aware of them when they were just starting out. Now, of course, they are a home of champions, with numerous national honours and the world firmly in their sights!

Huge credit is due to Jane Usher and her team of coaches, supporters and athletes who built the club from scratch.

Posted by John Glen at 5:09pm

View from the Commons 18th June

18th June 2019

I was interested to note that Salisbury City Council has become the latest tier of local government to turn its attention to climate change.

I am glad the local Extinction Rebellion protest at The Guildhall ran smoothly and peacefully and I hope the participants felt they had expressed themselves freely and been heard. The right to do so is a cornerstone of our democracy.

I am still seeing a constant stream of constituents on this topic. As I assure them all, I welcome any sincere commitments to take our responsibility to the next generation seriously – so long as we first make sure we are actually in a position to follow it up with tangible action.

That is why I had my reservations when Parliament voted to declare a climate change emergency, because the motion proposed no action and therefore risked being an empty gesture.

I did not support the deliberately chaotic and disruptive protests in London, which inconvenienced and endangered ordinary people going about their business – many of them equally passionately committed to reducing their environmental impact as the protesters.

Action which forces knee-jerk reactions will not save the planet. Thought-out, costed and deliverable behavioural change might.

Long before Extinction Rebellion became a household name, the government was working with the independent Committee on Climate Change to assess the practicality of becoming the first major economy to commit to a zero carbon goal.

The UK has always been a global leader in tackling climate change - from being the first country to raise the issue on the international stage to cutting emissions faster than our peers.

We want to continue to lead the way and that’s why we are introducing a legally binding net zero target to end the UK’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050.

We are doing our bit – the biggest challenge now is ensuring other countries follow suit.

I was also pleased with this week’s announcement of  the next steps in the government’s mission to improve the status and treatment of mental health in this country. The NHS Long-Term Plan is already increasing spending on mental health by £2.3 billion a year in real terms - with funding for young people’s mental health rising faster still.

The government has now set its sights on a quantum leap forward in the prevention of mental illness. To that end, it has announced a set of measures designed to make sure that recognising and preventing mental illness gets the urgent attention it deserves at every stage of life.

Posted by John Glen at 5:04pm

View from the Commons 12th June

12th June 2019

I was pleased to hear that Salisbury City Council this week backed the plans for the building that will house a hotel and temporary library.

This is in large part due to the willingness of the architects to engage and take on board the design concerns that were expressed earlier in the year. It is always important to be vigilant about the quality and utility of new buildings in our beautiful city centre and I am confident this two-way dialogue will continue.

This temporary move is a necessary first step towards creating a permanent new library that offers all the vital and beloved community facilities that the old one does – as well as being fit for the needs of the digital generation.

Most people know that the redevelopment of Market Walk from an enclosed passageway into a glass roofed arcade is only phase one of the Maltings plans. Other phases already revealed include new retail units and a welcome greening of the riverbank to create new open space and reduce flood risk.

But I am keeping my eyes firmly on future phases – the remodelling of the Playhouse and City Hall end of the Maltings to incorporate purpose-built music performance space, better social space and a future-proof library.

Detailed work is underway to define the scope of the ambition, incorporating the wish lists of existing arts and creative organisations and consumers of their output.

Although Salisbury is rich in culture, there are great opportunities in the arts and we must keep moving forward – adding facilities that are lacking but doing it in a way that protects and uplifts existing organisations.

Speaking of which, it has been great to see Salisbury International Arts Festival back in full force – I hope its triumphant run will have eclipsed the pessimism of those who predicted after last year’s hiatus that it would fade into obscurity. As I reflected at the very enjoyable Claire Teal concert over the weekend, nothing could be further from the truth.

Credit is due to Artistic Director Gareth Machin and his team. My congratulations also go to guest director Jonathan Dove, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Well done to the many other local people whose contributions have been rewarded, including Cara Charles-Barks, Salisbury District Hospital’s dynamic Chief Executive.

Posted by John Glen at 10:34am

View from the Commons - 5th June 2019

5th June 2019

The race for leadership of the Conservative Party is now well under way, although it does not formally begin until Theresa May resigns as leader on Friday.

I am acutely conscious of the fact that, although we are technically electing the party’s leader, both Conservative MPs and party members have a weightier responsibility as we are also effectively deciding who will be the next Prime Minister.

As I set out on these pages last week, I have thrown my support behind the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.

As a close friend for 23 years, I know from direct personal experience that he has what it takes to provide the leadership that our country needs at this challenging moment in our history.

Despite growing up in a household without wealth or elite social connections, Sajid enjoyed a stellar career in business before proving to be an impressive colleague in Parliament and government minister in a number of Whitehall departments.

The Home Secretary understands that Brexit must be delivered. The electorate voted to leave the European Union and the entire political class on all sides agreed that the result would be implemented.

Sajid also understands that no deal is preferable to no Brexit. Facing the reality of a new Prime Minister in Downing Street determined to renegotiate the Northern Ireland backstop, it is perfectly possible that EU leaders will return to the negotiating table – despite their current insistence that they will not. Mixed messages are coming from our EU neighbours as they realise UK leaving without a deal has negative consequences for their economies.

Closer to home, on Friday, I am delighted to have been invited to Winterslow Primary School to help the pupils with their topic work on government and democracy.

I am also meeting another delegation of constituents to talk about climate change – the third in as many months. Organised lobbying continues apace – and I know that many Salisbury people are heading to London for another event later this month.

I will continue to do my best to make myself available as much as possible to assure people that the government recognises the threat of climate change and is committed to taking the necessary ongoing action.

However, there is no one-stop solution. Personal behaviour plays its part and international diplomacy is vital – something that, as I write, is firmly on the agenda.

Posted by John Glen at 9:35am

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