VIEW FROM THE HOUSE

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

I’M writ­ing this im­me­di­ately af­ter the State Open­ing of Par­lia­ment, the day on which the leg­isla­tive pro­gramme for the forth­com­ing year is an­nounced.

The theme this year is about strength­en­ing the econ­omy, im­prov­ing things for work­ing peo­ple whilst help­ing those who are less ad­van­taged, giv­ing them more op­por­tu­ni­ties and a bet­ter chance in life.

In or­der to achieve the best eco­nomic per­for­mance for this coun­try, we have to have tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments to al­low busi­ness to flour­ish.

There are still ar­eas in my con­stituency where su­per­fast broad­band is a dream rather than re­al­ity, so I was pleased that a Bill to cre­ate a right for ev­ery house­hold to have ac­cess to high speed broad­band. Our lo­cal coun­cils are go­ing to be able to re­tain the busi­ness rates and this will help them to in­vest lo­cally. There are many el­e­ments of so­cial ac­tion in the Bills to be in­tro­duced over the next twelve months. Hav­ing met lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of char­i­ties who seek to help peo­ple over­come the prob­lems aris­ing from debt, I am glad that this is­sue was high­lighted in the Queen’s Speech.

I was also glad to hear that there will be ac­tion to help chil­dren in care, with plans to in­tro­duce a Care Leavers Covenant, set­ting out their en­ti­tle­ment to hous­ing, jobs and health­care.

A child does not be­come an adult overnight and too many of the chil­dren who have been in care end up on the mar­gins of so­ci­ety, with­out the chance for a good start in life which they de­serve. Some chil­dren who have been in care can end up in prison. Some years ago I was shadow Pris­ons Min­is­ter and so I was pleased to see leg­is­la­tion be­ing planned to tackle the prob­lems aris­ing from such things as out­dated build­ings and the lack of fa­cil­i­ties for ed­u­ca­tion, so that pris­on­ers have the chance to make a new start.

The re­form pro­gramme will in­clude bet­ter men­tal health pro­vi­sion within the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

CH­ERYL GIL­LAN

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