I hope you find this monthly update helpful, as you may have seen in over the past couple of months, I am producing a monthly update for residents to let them know more about my work in Parliament and in Reading and Woodley.
First, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of the patient who was being treated for coronavirus at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. I want to thank the incredible NHS staff who were treating her.
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On Tuesday I asked the Health Secretary for an update on the Government’s coronavirus action plan.
I have been raising the issue of the sale of Reading Gaol with the Government on a number of occasions. In Parliament I asked the Prisons Minister whether she would consider meeting me, local campaigners and representatives before any sale is made.
We want to show the Ministry of Justice that Reading Gaol should stay open to the public as an arts and heritage site. I believe that the Gaol is far too important to be redeveloped as luxury flats. Therefore, I will be taking part in the March to Reading Gaol on Saturday the 21st of March – meeting outside the Hexagon at 12pm for a march through the town to Reading Gaol.
I would like to thank the Save Reading Gaol team for organising the event.
I have made raising concerns about local transport a top priority this month. There can be no doubt that tackling the climate change emergency is the most pressing problem facing our country and, indeed, the wider world. We need urgent action by the Government. The challenge is no longer abstract; it is now a very real and devastating reality.
It was great to talk about sustainable transport and Reading’s excellent Christchurch Bridge at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling & Walking. If we are to increase the number of journeys on foot and bike, we need to make the experience of walking and cycling better, which means more pedestrian routes, and cycle routes, away from busy roads.
I am also supporting the Caversham Labour councillors plan for a cycle and pedestrian route that will drastically reduce the distance residents have to travel between the Amersham Road estate and Micklands School
Finally, I took the opportunity in Parliament to make it clear that the progress being made by other countries shows that investment in public transport, in walking, and cycling, works and delivers real benefits.
I urged the government to provide the necessary resources and supply real incentives for behaviour change. Both for drivers to scrap polluting vehicles, and to encourage greater use of public transport and far more walking and cycling.
Failure to tackle carbon dioxide emissions at a time of climate crisis is quite simply unacceptable.
Flooding is a major concern and my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected around the country. Cllr Richard Davies and I and other councillors are working on this. If you have any concerns about flooding, please email me email@example.com
I will also be writing to residents who live on the flood plain to ask for their views on how we can better protect against flooding in the Caversham area without damaging to local environment and wildlife.
Brexit remains a vital issue as the Government starts to negotiate a future relationship with the EU. I have written to all EU citizens in Reading East to assure them of my support and to try to understand more about the difficulties they face applying to remain in the UK. It has been deeply disturbing to read the stories of those facing an administrative nightmare in order to prove they have a right to live here, and I am pressing the Government to treat EU residents fairly.
My team has been dealing with residents’ issues with the settlement scheme, some of whom have been living here most of their lives. Some problems residents face are absolutely dreadful, from the French citizen who has lived here all his life fearing a hostile environment to doctors potentially forced to request permission to stay in the UK.
I want to reassure EU citizens and their families that I am on their side and will be working hard over the next few months to ensure that all who want to live here are able to do so. Please contact my office by phone on 0118 206 2966 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are concerned about your right to live here.
I am keen to assist constituents with their problems and hold surgeries every Friday in different parts of the constituency. If you would like an appointment, you can contact my office by phone on 0118 206 2966 or email email@example.com. My staff handle most queries directly, but they can arrange appointments if you need one.
MP for Reading East