We’re only one month in, but this year has already proved pretty event-filled for me, with my decision earlier in the month to leave Government. It was a privilege to have been able to serve as a Cabinet Minister, latterly as Secretary of State for Education. In the end, I didn’t want to step back from the vital work on equality of opportunity for young people and social mobility, so I will now continue with it, but from the backbenches. It’s important for us as a local community and it’s important for our country as a whole. As ever, I'm also going to keep working hard on the issues that matter to us in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. If you are ever interested in getting involved with any of the projects I am working on, do get in touch.
Working in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
In January, I had a busy month working on local issues raised by residents with me, including:
- Writing around 1000 letters or emails to constituents about their concerns. I received hundreds of letters of support this month so I just wanted to thank everyone again for taking the time to write. I really do appreciate it.
- Held my weekly constituency MP surgeries at libraries to meet with local residents to discuss their concerns. If you would like to book an appointment for a future MP surgery, do get in touch with my office - if you can’t make it do give me a call and I can make sure someone else can come along.
- Visited Hotham Primary School to meet teachers and meet with the school council to talk about how we can all cut down on our use of plastic. It was great to go back to a school I had been a governor at for over 10 years.
- Joined the Putney Society for their New Years Lunch celebration.
- Chaired a Thames Tideway Working Group Meeting in Putney to get an update with residents on the Thames Tunnel works.
- Met with representatives of Nat West Bank in Southfields to raise residents' concerns about local branch closures.
- Discussed next steps on how I can work with a local community group on the future of Roehampton Playing Fields.
Working for Westminster
As a local Member of Parliament, this month in Westminster I have:
- Asked parliamentary questions and spoke in debates on:
- Relationship and Sex Education on updating the out of date guidance from 2000.
- The EU Withdrawal Bill and the need for Brexit to work for young people.
- Heathrow Airport expansion.
- The Parole Board's decision to release John Warboys and local concerns.
- The President's Club and gender pay gap.
- You can see my questions, interventions and contributions here.
- Attended a War Child Event to support their work helping children and young people affected by war.
- Met with parents, children and teachers at the National Deaf Children's Society Event.
- Had meetings with the Centre for Social Justice, the Social Market Foundation and others to talk about next steps in pushing forward with my social mobility action plan.
- Supported the APPG for Autism report launch on Autism and Education to discuss what we can do to help children with Autism. I was one of 100 MPs who voted on the Autism Bill 10 years ago to help it get though Parliament.
Nat West Branch Closure in Southfields
Nat West has announced a number of branch closures nationally, including two branches closing in our area in Southfields and Wandsworth, though Putney branch is unaffected. A number of residents and local businesses have been in touch to express concerns over how they will do their personal and business banking and the amount of time it will take for them to travel to another branch.
I’ve met with representatives from Nat West to discuss these concerns and my own about the loss of banking facilities locally. I think we all know that people are using branches less and less, but for those that do use them regularly, they are vital. I am pressing for at least one of the branches to remain open, especially given all the new homes that are being built in Wandsworth. NatWest plan to put in place a "community banker" who can meet with residents to help them with their personal banking needs. I’m keen that this can perhaps be a better, more tailored service for some residents than they currently get. For local businesses, it is critical they continue to have local banking facilities to pass over cash and cheques from their businesses. This ties into our work to ensure we have a local Post Office, because that will be able to play that role for local shops and businesses that currently use NatWest. There will also be designated Business Community Banking person to work with them. I‘ll continue working with our local community, shops and businesses to make sure our services continue.
Heathrow Public Consultation
Heathrow Airport Limited is holding a public consultation on proposals surrounding their expansion plans. They are required to do this as part of the Development Consent Order process, which is part of the National Infrastructure planning process. Worryingly, in spite of the lengthy process to date, they still describe them as emerging and there are still no flightpaths for local residents to look at.
As part of their consultation, they will be holding a public consultation event in Putney on 16 February from 12-8pm at the Community Church on Werter Road. I will be there both as MP and as a local resident to continue to discuss our community's concerns about an expanded Heathrow including respite hours and aircraft noise. It is also important to respond to Heathrow's consultations here. There are two at the moment, one on airspace and one on plans for the airport itself. It is critical that we make our community's views clear and outline the problems we already face from planes overhead and concerns over increased and expanded flightpaths, which may see areas of our community which are not particularly affected at the moment, become much worse in terms of noise.
Earlier this month I asked the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, if he would meet with me to discuss the decision to expand at Heathrow, which I believe is based on flawed evidence. We are due to meet in early February.
I hope that this update gives you a brief snapshot of some of the things I am working on as our local Member of Parliament. As ever, if you would like to contact me or raise an issue, than please get in touch and I will do the best I can to help. You can email me on email@example.com, write to me at 3 Summerstown, SW17 0BQ or call my office on 0208 946 4557. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see all my latest updates.
Copyright © 2017 Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, All rights reserved.