Local services update
Over the past few months I have been busy taking up a variety of my constituents’ concerns regarding the speed and reliability of some of our local services. I have had positive communication with the relevant organisations, which I am confident will help restore the efficiency people rightly expect:
No. 71 Bus: I have been informed that various issues have been affecting the punctuality and reliability of many bus services recently - including continuing sickness due to the Omicron variant of the Covid 19 virus, as well as the UK-wide difficulties in recruiting drivers.
In his letter to me this week, the Director of National Express West-Midlands, David Bradford, assured me that:
“We are doing everything we can to improve the situation for our customers. I’m happy to say that our Covid sickness levels are falling rapidly, so I’m hoping your constituents are seeing more punctuality and reliability on the 71 now.”
The Ambulance Service: Constituents have been expressing their frustration and worry about the ambulance service’s inconsistent response times. I have been in contact with the West Midlands Ambulance Service to arrange a meeting to discuss the issues and will update and advise on the steps that are being taken to rectify this.
DVLA: Problems have been reported regarding the renewal of DVLA licences. I have been in direct contact with the DVLA who have since managed to resolve some of the issues.
In other news….
West Midlands Combined Authority update
As many readers will be aware, the Shared Prosperity Fund has now been confirmed. Government has committed that the West Midlands £105m allocation will be the same as the European Funds it is replacing. It will give a significant boost to local economies including the Royal Town’s, and I will keep you informed of the local projects that will be funded once they have been determined.
Sutton Coldfield’s Big Plastic Count
I hope many Royal Town residents will join me for the Big Plastic Count - the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste.
For one week in May (16th – 22nd), households of all shapes and sizes, schools, community groups and businesses all over the country will be counting all the plastic packaging that they throw in the bin or recycling.
At the moment, there’s nowhere near enough evidence to show how much plastic packaging leaves UK households, or where it really ends up when we throw it away.
At the end of the Big Plastic Count, participants will receive their household plastic footprint, giving them an in-depth view of how much they throw away and what happens to it. All of the data will contribute to an overall national picture, filling a crucial evidence gap on exactly how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes.
I have signed up and hope you will too! https://act.gp/3M2xjy0.
Parliament has not been sitting this week due to prorogation which allows time to prepare for the Queen’s Speech on 10 May. The Queen’s Speech will mark the start of the new Parliamentary session and set out the government’s legislative programme for the year ahead.
Westminster may have been quieter, but the government remained focused on urgent matters.
In his address to the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv this week, the Prime Minister announced that we will be providing a further £300m in military funding to our ally. This funding will help the Ukrainian armed forces protect their borders from Russian aggression.
Conceding that the West had failed collectively to respond swiftly or decisively enough to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the PM praised the tenacity of Ukraine’s resistance in standing up to Russia and said that “we cannot make the same mistake again”.
National Tutoring Programme
As we approach the end of the academic year, the government is pushing forward its National Tutoring Programme which offers high quality catch-up tutoring and training for teachers, supporting those most affected by missed school time.
Evidence suggests that small group tuition can boost progress by an average of two months in secondary schools and four months in primary schools.
It is important that schools across the country sign up to this programme, which is why the Education Secretary has written to them to confirm his intention to publish data on their involvement in the scheme and share it with Ofsted. I will be also be writing to local schools to encourage them to take this up.
A CONCERT FOR UKRAINE - FRIDAY MAY 13th 2022 A concert of reflective music offered in aid of humanitarian support to Ukraine. The programme includes Fauré Requiem Emmanuel Choir and Orchestra are joined by members of Sutton Coldfield Chamber Choir and Sutton Coldfield Choral Society. Tickets are £15 and that full amount goes to the fund. To reserve tickets call 07941 466 423
"Third Thursday" History Talk at Holy Trinity Parish Church Sutton Coldfield B72 1TF Thursday 19th May @ 2pm
A Fragment of a Mystery?
Holy Trinity Parish Church is custodian of an intriguing piece of a painted glass window, about which very little is known for certain. It doesn’t appear to be part of the glazing scheme of the rest of the Church. Who created it, and why? Who is the subject of the painting and what might the whole piece of glass have looked like? Suzanne Phillips will attempt to provide answers to some of these questions and talk about an artist and studio possibly connected to this work – who also had links to the local area.
For more information please visit: https://www.htsc.org.uk/our-heritage/heritage-home/ or ring 0121 321 1144