As always, I have been busy in Parliament championing issues that are important to Broxtowe, fighting to get the right investment and support for our area. On Tuesday 16th November, I asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Right Honourable Kwasi Kwarteng MP, for a meeting to discuss supporting greener transport for the Midlands. The East Midlands receives the lowest transport funding per head of any region. In my role as Member of Parliament for Broxtowe and as Co-Chair of the Midlands Engine All Party Parliamentary Group, I will continue working hard to change this.
I also held a meeting with the Cycling Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP. We discussed the best ways to increase support for cycling and walking and I was pleased to share with him the ideas raised by constituents from across Broxtowe who attended my recent Push Bike Broxtowe forum. This included increased awareness about the dangers cyclists and pedestrians face when using the road, the installation of different types of pedestrian crossings as well as the need for different areas to better coordinate strategies when making improvements to the active travel network.
Integrated Rail Plan and HS2
Following the Government’s announcement of the IRP on 18th November, there are a number of positive schemes that will be of direct benefit to Broxtowe.
Government has elected to review the plans for the Eastern Leg of HS2 but has reaffirmed its commitment to levelling up the region with improvements to East-West connectivity and a continued commitment to invest in Toton. Despite revisions to the HS2 programme, the IRP offers a major opportunity for the future of UK rail travel with over £12 billion being invested directly in to the East Midlands. This is great news for our region, a commitment to fully electrify the Midland Main Line, the planned high-speed line to connect the East and West Midlands which will reduce travel time from Nottingham to Birmingham to just 26 minutes as well as a commitment for a brand-new railway station at Toton, allowing Broxtowe to directly benefit from greater rail connectivity.
I was delighted to see that the IRP also includes £360 million to improve contactless ticketing systems across the country which will help to simplify journeys across the region. This ensures that UK rail is fit for purpose improving the experience for passengers by: shortening journey times, increasing capacity and frequency.
Having campaigned tirelessly on this issue during my time as a Member of Parliament, I am delighted to see key commitments for much needed investment in Toton. The IRP will deliver real opportunities for local people with enhancements to skills and learning as well as new businesses. This plan puts Broxtowe at the heart of the East Midlands economy for years to come.
I was pleased to get a firm commitment from the Secretary of State for Transport in the House of Commons that a station will be built at Toton, ensuring that Broxtowe directly benefits from the Government’s announcement.
On Sunday 14th November, I joined local Councillors and constituents for the Remembrance Service in Beeston. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody that generously donated to my 2021 Poppy Run raising over £220 for the Royal British Legion. The Poppy Appeal was founded 100 years ago to help those in need following a national crisis. Right now they are working tirelessly to ensure that those who have served are being looked after no matter what challenges they, and the country faces. Your donations will mean the Royal British Legion can continue to provide the life-changing support that our Armed Forces community needs and deserves.
As a proud veteran I feel it is my duty to get out there and spread awareness for a cause I hold dear, and look forward to doing my third annual Poppy Run in November 2022.
Stapleford Towns Deal and Kimberley Levelling Up Bid
On Friday 19th November, I attended a meeting of the Stapleford Towns Deal Executive Board. With £21.1 million allocated for improvements across the town I am working with partners to look at a range of projects including the possibility of a Cycle Hub for the town in addition to the £5 million pledged to improve local active travel infrastructure.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Broxtowe Borough Council regarding the Levelling Up Bid for Kimberley. With the potential for £20 million injection into the town, this is an opportunity that cannot be passed up. I will continue to work closely with the Town and Borough Council to listen to local peoples’ views on what they would like to see for the area as well as continuing to speak with colleagues in Government to get clarification over the timescales for the scheme.
In addition to my role as a Member of Parliament, I serve as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the 12 Commonwealth Countries of the Caribbean. Over the couple of weeks I have met with top officials from both Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, making the case the strengthening UK-Caribbean trade.
I spoke at the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement Summit discussing trade and Exports for UK businesses with the Caribbean. The region is a positive market for UK businesses and last year I was pleased to help a constituent in Broxtowe who runs a Nottingham-based Chocolate business to link with producers in the Caribbean.
East Midlands Railway (EMR): Nottingham to Matlock Service
I have been contacted by numerous constituents concerned about the decision taken by East Midlands Railway not to reinstate the Nottingham to Matlock service which stopped at Beeston and Attenborough stations.
Earlier this year, I met the EMR’s managing director who assured me that these changes would be temporary. I was disappointed to hear that no decision has been made whether to reinstate this service and as such I have requested a further meeting with EMR to raise this matter.
I remain concerned that a reduction in rail services to Beeston and Attenborough stations will affect their viability in the longer term and as such I feel that it is vital for EMR to reinstate these services as soon as possible.