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Fortnightly Update #23 - 12.04.2017

Welcome to my latest fortnightly update.

Parliament is now in recess, but much is going on in Cheltenham, as always.

Schools funding remains an absolutely central focus for me, and you will see below more information about a letter I have written to MP colleagues about this issue. As I have stated before, I am delighted that the Government has grasped the nettle of the existing unfair formula which sees Cheltenham schools underfunded compared to those in other parts of the country. But the formula that DfE officials have come up with - which includes in particular reducing the percentage of the total £40bn 'pot' allocated to every pupil from about 76% to 72.5% - needs major surgery. I'm doing everything I can to fix it. Our schools in Cheltenham are heading in the right direction, but increases in pension and national living wage costs mean the need for a fair settlement is more pressing than ever. 

I'm trialling this week a 'Casework Update' - a summary of the kinds of casework (anonymised of course) that are being received. I hope it is helpful. 

Best wishes,


Alex Chalk MP

P.S. Please note that these fortnightly updates are intended to be no more than an overview. If you want an in-depth update on my various campaigns (from education funding, to the Air Balloon roundabout, to broadband etc) please do get in touch


 

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Over the last two weeks, Alex has:

IN PARLIAMENT (NB - Parliament is currently in recess, and has been for the last week)

  • Written to over 250 MPs in his capacity as vice-Chair of the f40 group of most underfunded education authorities, to update them on f40's campaign for an alternative  National Funding Formula, and the call for additional education funding READ MORE HERE
  • Spoken out in Parliament in support of Cheltenham's Equitable Life policyholders in a debate READ MORE HERE
  • Spoken in a debate regarding the iconic Spitfire aircraft, which he invoked (in an intervention on the SNP) as powerful evidence of why the nations of the UK are stronger together  READ MORE HERE
  • Held talks with domestic violence campaigner, Jess Phillips MP (Lab - Birmingham Yardley) to discuss the case of a constituent and implications for proposed amendments to the Practice Direction in the Family Court
  • Met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, to discuss impact of the recent Budget, including cancelled NI changes
  • Spoke in a debate to pay tribute to the UK's contribution to tackling the refugee crisis in the Middle East READ MORE HERE
  • Received a briefing from the Prime Minister at the weekly meeting of the 1922 Committee (backbench committee)
  • Met in Parliament with senior figures from the f40 campaign group to finalise next steps in the campaign to see schools in Cheltenham and across the country more fairly funded 
  • Set out plans for his upcoming inquiry into Social Media and Adolescent Mental Health in Parliament, including recruiting key expert and industry witnesses
  • Hosted pupils from St Edward's School in Parliament for Q&A
  • Supported homelessness charity Shelter in Parliament as they launched their 'Home on My Mind' campaign

JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE NEWS

DELEGATED LEGISLATION COMMITTEE

  • Sat on delegated legislation committee into 'The draft Local Authorities (Public Health Functions and Entry to Premises by Local Healthwarch Representatives (Amendment)) Regulations 2017'

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Alex has submitted the following Parliamentary Question to the Government:

  • To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the UK's international development budget is allocated towards helping to treat non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, in the developing world?.


IN CHELTENHAM

  • Opened the Spring Jobs Fair at Cheltenham's Job Centre Plus
  • Published a detailed, area-by-area, broadband update. Of the 12 problem cabinets, 5 have now been resolved, two are expected to be resolved imminently and the further 5 have been identified by the latest Open Market Review as targets for state investment, delivered via Fastershire READ THE FULL UPDATE HERE
  • Attended the Cheltenham Multiple Sclerosis Society AGM at St Mark's Methodist Hall 
  • Held talks with the head of Gloucestershire College to discuss the shape of GlosCol's future educational offer
  • Visited the Nelson Trust's addiction support centre, Hub Live, on St James' Square 
  • Attended the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator Day at the Racecourse with business leaders and technology experts from across the UK for an update on the work of Cheltenham's new Cyber Innovation Centre 
  • Took part in the Bishop of Gloucester's breakfast seminar at UGlos regarding mental health and young people
  • Met senior representatives from Cheltenham Borough Council to discuss a new 'Place Strategy' for the town
  • Hosted a business breakfast for local business leaders at Manor by the Lake in Hatherley
  • Held talks with leadership of the town's new Business Improvement District regarding Cheltenham's future priorities 
  • Attended a meeting (part) of the Strategic Leadership Partnership Group with the leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, the head of Cheltenham Borough Homes, Cheltenham's Business Improvement District, GRRC and others
  • Supported Cheltenham Nationwide branch's Easter Egg competition to raise funds and awareness for Cheltenham Open Door, the Cobalt Unit and LINC
  • Joined the 'Cheltenham Speakers' for their regular meet up at the Exmouth Arms
  • Supported the Create on the Square 'Cheese and Wine Fundraiser' in Coronation Square
  • Met Cheltenham-based international development charity, T1 International, to discuss ways to eradicate Type 1 diabetes across the world
  • Met local language and cultural awareness group, Edufun Gloucestershire, to advise them in relation to their plans for Cheltenham
  • Met Cheltenham-based charity, Naturewatch, to discuss their efforts to tackle animal cruelty in the UK and beyond
  • Held talks with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire as part of regular program of meetings
  • Met a local foster carer to discuss the support offered to foster parents
  • Supported the Cheltenham Polish Tara exhibition at the Monkscroft Care Centre
  • Held a constituency surgery
  • Taken part in the 'Swimathon' at Cheltenham College to support St Vincent's and St George's. 136 lengths in 45 minutes - a decent team effort!
  • Paid tribute following the death of Cheltenham legend, Dancing Ken READ MORE HERE
CASEWORK UPDATE

Dozens of casework enquiries from constituents are received every day. Since the General Election in 2015 the total is in the region of 11,000 cases.

In the past fortnight, actions arising from casework of particular note have included:
  • Lobbying Network Rail to refurbish the dilapidated railway bridge between Hollis Road and the Reddings
  • Highlighting dangerous traffic light sequence on Tewkesbury Road to the local Highways Authority
  • Reporting graffiti-covered broadband cabinets to Virgin Media
  • Chasing the local parking team to expedite residents' request for a new disabled bay
  • Contacting the Home Office for an update regarding constituents' visa applications
  • Lobbying the Borough Council's refuse team to tackle fly-tipping in St Paul's
  • Raising issue of dilapidated and scruffy properties with Planning Enforcement team at CBC
  • Pressing CBC to facilitate a bespoke broadband solution for residents living in 'e-poverty' on the Midwinter Estate
  • Lobbying the Environment Agency for an update regarding culvert in Shurdington Road on behalf of Leckhampton and College residents

IN THE MEDIA
  • Written two articles for the Gloucestershire Echo, regarding Article 50 and Fair Funding for Cheltenham's schoolsYou can read all of Alex's  Echo articles HERE

UPCOMING CONSTITUENCY SURGERIES

Alex will be holding constituency surgeries in April and May for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling 01242 210473 or emailing alex.chalk.mp@parliament.uk

PHOTO GALLERY
Welcoming St Edward's pupils to Parliament
Supporting the Polish Tara exhibition at the Monkscroft Care Centre
Supporting Nationwide's Easter Egg collection in support of Cheltenham charities
Opening Cheltenham's Spring Jobs Fair
Visiting the Nelson Trust's Hub Live initiative in St James' Square
At the GCHQ Demo Day at the Racecourse
Cheltenham MS Society AGM
Create on the Square Cheese and Wine Fundraiser
What's On

WEDNESDAY 12 APRIL 2017
FRIDAY 14 APRIL 2017
SATURDAY 15 APRIL 2017
SUNDAY 16 APRIL 2017
TUESDAY 18 APRIL 2017

WEDNESDAY 19 APRIL 2017

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.


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