I would like to wish all constituents – and everyone who reads this blog – my warm wishes for the year ahead. It is fair to say that 2020 was not the year we had expected. The outbreak of Coronavirus has caused extreme disruption and it has changed our way of life. Throughout this time, I have been working hard with our local partners and Ministers across Government to ensure that our community gets the support that it needs. I have been so heartened to see our community come together to support the elderly and the most vulnerable. It really demonstrates the kind of warm, welcoming, and caring city that we are.
The rollout of testing and the arrival of new vaccines constitute their own kind of hope for the year ahead, a hope which motivates and shows that happier times are ahead. As we look to the future, I have also been clear that we must not only seek to return to normality; we must build back better. This involves getting on with the priorities that I was elected to Parliament to work on. It means greater funding for schools, better healthcare services, and safer communities that we live in, work, and visit. It also means investing in our great city, so that we level up opportunities and see its potential unlocked.
As part of my work as one of Wolverhampton’s representatives in Westminster, I am keen to hear from you. As well as all of the casework queries and policy correspondence that I respond to, I am keen to speak with many local businesses, constituency organisations, and charities about issues that matter to them. I also engage with constituents via social media, and I have plans to expand the ways in which I consult you on key issues that confront our community and are being taken by the Government.
Stuart’s Community Conversations
For starters, I have run a community conversations survey. This was open to submissions between September and the end of December 2020. I was pleased to hear from almost one hundred constituents as part of this.
Many constituents told me that they or someone that they know had benefitted from the unprecedented package of support which the Government has put in place, which includes the employment support schemes, government-backed loans, and grant funding. A third of respondents told me that they fully support the Chancellor’s support package to help get young people back into work. This includes the £3 billion Kickstart scheme that is delivering more work placements and traineeships and offering on-the-job experience as young people learn new skills. As we plan ahead, many constituents told me that they thought continuing this work was very important - with 72 respondents saying that we must support young people to get training, apprenticeships and skilled jobs. I also learned that many constituents – almost half in my survey – want to see more help for people to save money on their energy bills. Following this, I have produced my very own energy saving guide. It is packed with useful tips.
Our local community services have done an amazing job in light of the situation which we have been facing, and I am glad that many constituents agree with me. I was keen to find out which priorities my constituents felt were most important for the NHS. Thirty-seven told me that treating the elderly was the most important. The same number told me that treating diseases like cancer was their second priority, and eighteen told me that measures to tackle Coronavirus was the third most important priority for us to work on when it comes to healthcare. You can find out more about my work on this topic at: www.stuartanderson.org.uk/campaigns/championing-health-and-wellbeing.
Stuart's Local Priorities:
I was pleased to find out in my survey that many constituents agree with my five-point plan for our area in Wolverhampton. In particular, I know that constituents agree with my plan to create economic opportunities for all. This involves ensuring that our community gets its fair share of funding and that infrastructure is developed to create more local jobs and opportunities for local people to develop new skills. I also know that many constituents want to see more done to protect our natural environment. This is an issue that I am campaigning on both a local and national level about, such as through my role as part of the Conservative Environment Network Parliamentary Caucus.
I also know that there are other issues which matter to you, and I will be working hard to deliver on these – such as tackling congestion and building more affordable homes. Our landmark National Brownfield Institute is helping us to pioneer this priority, with significant Government investment. I also know that constituents support our work to help local shops and businesses as their primary issue, and you can find more about the work that I am doing on this very important subject here.
When it comes to crime, about fifty per cent of constituents told me that they had not witnessed crime or anti-social behaviour when restrictions were lifted. While this is good news, many constituents told me that they are primarily concerned about anti-social behaviour and burglaries and theft. I take this issue extremely seriously, and I will be writing more about my work on this topic in my blog next month. If you have any concerns or require any assistance in the meantime, please contact me.