I want to start by sending my heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Sabina Nessa, a young teacher who was heartlessly murdered in London this month. As the PM said this week, this Government will do everything we can to prevent these abhorrent crimes and make our streets safer. We are lucky to live in a safe area, but all women across the UK should be able to walk home safely.
It’s now October Recess, and after being back in Westminster working with colleagues on various Government schemes and proposed bills, I’m excited to spend a couple of busy weeks in Mid Sussex, getting out and about to meet with more local organisations, business owners and constituents. It was a wonderful experience last week joining HRH The Princess Royal in Burgess Hill at the brilliant Time24, as she gave out richly deserved, long service awards.
I share the deep frustrations of constituents who have been stuck in long traffic jams because of queues outside garages. The reality is there is no significant shortage of fuel HGV drivers or petrol, and there is absolutely no need to panic buy, but there are wider issues regarding future proofing this aging workforce, as well as addressing retention and recruitment issues. Please only fill up your tanks when you really need to. If we return to normal fuel usage the queues will die down quickly. Remember, our emergency workers, teachers and carers need fuel to enable them to do their jobs.
I’m delighted to see DWP have teamed up with TalkTalk to now be able to offer six months of free broadband to jobseekers, through our flexible support fund, helping them on their journey into employment. This will help countless jobseekers access the full ‘Plan For Jobs’ support package and JobHelp website, as well as the multitude of fantastic materials out there which offer guidance and support. With our economy continuing to bounce back strongly, I am passionate about the work we are continuing to do to help people progress, regardless of their age or current career stage.
As part of ‘Great Big Green Week’, I was delighted to join Fairer World Lindfield, a fantastic community group doing superb work to promote and encourage action to protect our environment, to Cockhaise Farm on Saturday, to understand and discuss the positive benefits of farming to the local and wider community, particularly regenerative and sustainable approaches, led by Dan Burdett on his Organic Farm of the Year. It was a thought-provoking, information-filled afternoon enjoyed by all. On Sunday, I also joined Sarah, Reverend Beverley and the lovely congregation of St Augustines’s on their first local nature and eco walk.