24 JUL 2017

Coastal Scene Column - 21st July 2017

"School funding is set to increase for Suffolk schools as the Education Secretary announced £1.3bn additional funding for schools which will support the transition to a national funding formula. This additional investment in our schools will be funded in full from efficiencies and savings from within the Education Department's existing budget, rather than higher taxes or more debt. This will be welcome news to headteachers, governing bodies, students and parents as we start to address the historical imbalance in school funding per pupil across the nation.

The Government has just launched a new Transport Investment Strategy – which gives us the opportunity to put forward an excellent case for infrastructure improvements here in Suffolk. The strategy specifically refers to creating a new category of road called the major road network, which are those roads managed by councils but are key for economic prosperity. With our councils and LEP focusing on increasing growth, it is essential that we ensure the A12 becomes part of that network. The development of Sizewell C is a key catalyst for seeking infrastructure improvements and I'm pleased that the County Council is continuing to work up the Suffolk Energy Gateway scheme and expect to benefit from government investment.

With my Environment Minister hat on, I was pleased to announce £15M of funding for natural flood management projects across the country. Within Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, over three quarters of a million pounds will be invested in projects designed to help better protect homes and businesses by slowing the flow of water. Specifically in Suffolk, work along our estuaries including the Deben and at Havergate Island will be funded which will allow proper assessment of the use of saltmarsh to support coastal defences. I am also pleased that we are able to help the Suffolk marine pioneer project with start-up costs as it works on a shingle engine project.

A new national ambulance strategy has been laid out which is expected to benefit rural residents, as ambulance trusts will be assessed on the average time it takes to send an appropriate response to the patient requiring help. I have pressed ministers for the need for reporting of performance to be undertaken not just at regional level but at least at county level so we can understand whether this new process is helping patients. I will keep up the pressure to make sure we benefit from these changes.

Finally, this July is Scams Awareness Month. As the local MP, I have seen a wide variety of scams that try to defraud people – and I thank those brave people that have become victims for coming forward. Only 5 -15% of all scams are ever reported – but there is no need to be embarrassed. There is lots of support out there, reporting not only helps to inform the work of advice and enforcement agencies it also helps prevent future scams. For more information or to report a scam or fraudulent activity visit -http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/"

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