John Redwood MP: We do not want to lose planning appealsBy Laura Herbert
January 10, 2013
It was a wet end to 2012. I was worried to receive a call from the Environment Agency at lunchtime on Boxing Day about flood warnings, but relieved to be told they thought the most threatened locations would get by without flooding of homes or electricity installations.
I am following up with various responsible bodies, as we do need to do more to maintain ditches, drains and water courses to get water away from areas of settlement. We also need to build in more resilience in low lying areas as changes are made to the landscape.
I am grateful to those who went out to man pumps and improve ditches to keep installations safe.
I was pleased to learn before Christmas that following the meeting the council and I held in Whitehall, the Minister for Housing has made available the £500,000 extra that Wokingham borough requested to help them get the detailed plans right for development in the district, and to offer the £2 million the council say they would need to put an additional bridge over the railway line as part of the plans.
I am pursuing the new Planning Minister over the issue of appeals, as Wokingham does not wish to lose on appeal over important development sites, now it has done so much to set out where development can take place in the borough.
The Government’s side of the bargain should be to help the council protect our green fields where they have identified them in the Local Plan.
I have been working on advice and suggestions for the Prime Minister’s important big speech on the EU later this month.
The mood of the country is very clearly wanting the UK to have more control over its own decisions and spending patterns.
As the Euro area evolves into a much more centralised administration, with something approaching a United States of Euroland Government, it is all the more important the UK has a different relationship with this body. We cannot possibly join it, and have no wish to abolish the pound.
We want to be able to trade with them, and work together where both sides think it makes sense. We have no wish to be governed by them. Many of us think the EU has far too much power over our benefits system, our criminal justice policy, our energy and environmental policy and much else besides.
We have never been happy with the high price food of the CAP, nor with the open access to our fishing grounds with the overfishing that has resulted.
We want a different relationship, and want the opportunity for a vote on the whole question of our EU membership.
The Government is highlighting the need for welfare reform. I am all in favour of paying decent benefits to those in need. The issue is how many people should be eligible?
I am not in favour of the current system where nationals from other EU countries can come to the UK and rapidly qualify for a whole raft of benefits, which nationals from outside the EU do not receive.
The Government is right to be looking at ways of helping and encouraging more unemployed people resident here into jobs. The best type of welfare reform is to reduce the numbers who need through the success of policies to promote growth and more jobs which they can take.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013.