Newsletter: John Stevenson MP - Issue 01
Quick Viewer: Recess Highlights, News Articles, Business Focus, House Record
- David Cameron visiting Botcherby Community Centre in Carlisle. See photo news below.
- Attending the Dalston and Cumberland Shows to talk to constituents about issues which concern them.
- Walking Hadrian’s Wall to help raise awareness of the World Heritage Site, after leading a Westminster Hall debate which focused on the funding and conservation of Hadrian’s Wall. See photo news below.
- Holding surgeries in his constituency office and caravan, to allow constituents to raise issues with him directly.
- Hosting an event to allow the business community of Carlisle to meet with local councillors from both Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council. See full story below.
- Visiting a community service programme which aims to clean up disused land on Newtown Road in Carlisle. See photo news below.
- Being re-elected as chair of the Parliamentary group on Food and Drink Manufacturing, which he describes as ‘an excellent way for him to represent those who work in the food and drink industry in Carlisle’.
- Supporting a successful campaign to reinstate the Cumbria-made Coffee Puff in Cumbrian Greggs stores, supporting local produce.
- Successfully working to protect local radio in Cumbria by supporting a petition to retain Radio Cumbria as a local county wide radio station and raising the issue in Parliament. See full story below.
- Visiting the BSW Timber sawmill in Carlisle to discuss their £6.6 million investment programme and to take a tour of the site. See photo news below.
- Attending the opening of the new eight million pound Dobbies garden centre in Carlisle, supporting new retail opportunities in the city. See photo news below.
- Being chosen as a member of a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament which will review the House of Lords reform bill. See full story below.
John Stevenson met David Cameron in Carlisle on his first visit since being elected as Prime Minister. They discussed the NHS reforms in which 'Cumbria is leading the pack' said David Cameron as he visited Botcherby Community Centre and talked to members of Cumbria’s HealthWatch Scheme, an organisation which represents a united Patients’ voice.
John said that he was 'absolutely delighted to see the Prime Minister' in Carlisle and that it was good that he discussed the NHS and healthcare reforms as they are a 'very important issue for people locally'.
Cameron Visits Carlisle:
David Cameron and John Stevenson MP at Botcherby Community Centre in Carlisle
John Joins Key Committee
John Stevenson has been asked to become a member of a joint committee which has been set up to discuss the reform of the House of Lords. The committee will consist of members from both the Houses.
John said, ‘I am delighted to have been asked to join this very important committee. Lords Reform has been on the agenda for 100 years and it is about time it was settled once and for all.
I am keen to see an elected element to the House of Lords which will give it greater legitimacy. Over the next few months I will be debating the issues with other MPs and Peers to produce a sensible set of reforms.’
There are 13 members of the committee from each House and John is one of 6 Conservative MPs who have been chosen from the House of Commons. John will sit on the committee every Monday until early next year, helping to review the House of Lords Reform Bill.
Interestingly, in 1911 when the first Parliament Act was passed to reduce the powers of the House of Lords, the then MP for Carlisle voted for the reform.
Hadrian's Wall Walk:
John completing the Hadrian’s Wall walk, which he undertook to raise awareness of this important
John Aims for a New Pedestrian Crossing
John has championed tourism in Carlisle since he was elected. He has recently written to Cumbria County Council requesting that they assess the possibility of installing a pedestrian crossing on Castle Way linking the castle to the historic quarter of Carlisle. The castle is currently separated from the rest of the city by a dual carriageway, which has been highly unpopular since its construction under a Labour Council in the 1970s.
As the current network of roads in Carlisle is being restructured, with the completion of the CNDR expected early next year, John suggests that this is the ideal opportunity to assess such an issue.
John said ‘Carlisle castle is isolated from the city. Castle Way acts as a great divide to residents and tourists who want to visit the castle. The castle currently has poor access routes and does not link particularly well with the historic quarter of our city.
I would like to see the historic quarter more clearly linked to the castle. One way in which this can be achieved is if a pedestrian crossing was installed across Castle Way. I am confident that Carlisle’s offer and appeal to those visiting the city would be much improved if the council can facilitate such a link.’
Opening of Dobbies Garden Centre:
John with customers and primary school children at the opening of Dobbies garden centre
Success in John’s Fight for Local Radio
John has been assured that cost-cutting proposals to replace local broadcasts from BBC Radio Cumbria with content from BBC Radio 5Live will not go ahead. This decision, expressed in a letter from Ed Vaizey MP the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, follows a local petition and a successful speech by John in Parliament in which he defended local radio stations.
In his speech John said ‘We cannot underestimate the importance of Radio Cumbria and its contribution to the local community. Back in 2001 we had the foot and mouth crisis, and in 2005 the Carlisle floods. In many respects it was the only source of information during that period. More recently, Radio Cumbria provided information and reassurance to many people when Derrick Bird was shooting people in west Cumbria. Radio Cumbria is also a source of local news, information about community events, coverage of the local football team and coverage of politics. It is one of the most listened-to radio stations in the country.’
He went on to say ‘I support other radio stations up and down the country, as I believe that local radio is extremely important for local communities. The danger is that with the proposed cuts by the BBC there will be a much diminished service. I therefore call upon the Minister to put as much pressure as he can on the BBC to ensure that local radio is taken care of and is supported properly.’
Following his speech, John received a letter from Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, confirming that local radio coverage would not be reduced.
The Minister said: ‘You raised the importance of local media and proposed changes to BBC local radio services in Business questions on 19 July. We believe that the BBC’s contribution to local journalism is vital, and that it plays an important role in informing local communities about locally relevant matters. I understand that the BBC recently suggested that the proposal to replace some local BBC radio programming with content from BBC Radio 5Live will not be pursued, and has given reassurances that there are no plans to close any BBC local radio stations in the immediate future. More widely, this Government has been clear in its intentions to build a sustainable local media sector, one which includes a strong, healthy radio industry fit for the future.’
John said ‘I know that many members of the local community signed the petition to save Radio Cumbria. Your support to retain this local service has certainly contributed to this success.’
Community Payback Scheme:
John talking with those working on the community service scheme. Of the project, John said ‘It is good to see such a worthwhile project being so successful and I would encourage similar projects being replicated around the city.’
John welcomes ‘Referendum Lock’
John has welcomed the passing of the ‘Referendum Lock’ which will give British people a say on further power transfers to the EU.
The passing of the ‘Referendum Lock’ in the EU Referendum Bill fulfils a key part of the Conservative Party’s Manifesto pledge.
The Bill ensures that if Britain were to consider joining the Euro or to merge its army into a common EU army, the British public would have to vote in a referendum for such laws to be passed.
John said ‘The passing of the EU Referendum Bill ensures that power is given to the voters of Britain to make the most important decisions regarding Britain and the EU.
There has, through recent years, been a growing distrust of the EU in Britain. In future, only the British voters will be able to shift power from Britain to the EU- to change the Treaties through a referendum. No Government will be allowed to do this without the agreement of voters.’
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague said ‘The British people now have a Referendum Lock to which they will hold the key.’
John is an enthusiastic promoter of business opportunities in Carlisle, working to encourage investment which will secure jobs in the area. Since the last issue, John has expressed his support for several new business investments in the region and has himself hosted events aimed at facilitating private enterprise in Carlisle.
John Supports Crindledyke Development
John is in support of the Story Group Crindledyke development which was recently passed by Carlisle City Council.
John welcomed the news that outline planning permission has been granted for Story Group to build 850 houses on the Crindledyke site. The new development, which includes a much needed primary school north of the river, fits in well with John’s vision to grow the city of Carlisle.
John said ‘Crindledyke is a strong addition to the growth of Carlisle and will go some way to help grow our economy. My vision for Carlisle is to see new business and new opportunities, and clearly more houses are needed to achieve this.
The opening of the Carlisle Northern Development Route next year will provide additional opportunities for economic growth in our city.’
John Hosts Business Event
John recently hosted an event to allow the business community of Carlisle to meet with local councillors from both Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council.
The meeting, held on 28th July at the Hallmark hotel, was a continuation of the Business to Council meeting which John held on 13th May at Tullie House. It provided an opportunity for business leaders in Carlisle to meet with councillors and to raise any issues.
John said ‘Interaction between the private and public sector is imperative to the growth of Carlisle’s economy. Private sector investment has to be encouraged and attracted by local councils into the city. By providing an environment where business can prosper, our local economy will undoubtedly be boosted.
Meetings such as the one I held on 28th July help to encourage and continue the interaction between the public and private sector by creating an environment for open discussions.'
John hails £4.89m investment in Cumbria
John Stevenson has welcomed £4.89m of new funding for sustainable transport schemes in Cumbria. The Lake District Sustainable Visitor Transport Beacon Area has met the fund’s key objectives of creating economic growth in the area and cutting carbon.
John said: ‘It is fantastic news that £4.89m of new funding is being invested in sustainable transport for Cumbria. This investment will help toward the growth of the local economy whilst also addressing the issues of sustainable transport in the region.’
More than £16m was awarded to transport schemes across the North West. This is the first allocation of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which will be worth £560 million over the next four years.
Visit to BSW Timber sawmill:
John with site staff from the BSW Timber Sawmill in Carlisle
John Commends Investment in Education
John has praised a multi-million pound investment in three key developments that are reshaping education in Carlisle.
Developments at Richard Rose Morton Academy, Trinity School and Carlisle College are nearing completion with many changes to be introduced by September.
John said: 'Education at all levels is important for Carlisle. We’ve got improving schools not just in terms of the buildings but also the attainment of pupils. We also have a strong college and a university which is stable and looking forward to a positive future.'
He added: 'Carlisle has got a bright future in education and we need to maintain the amount of effort which has gone in to our education establishments over recent years.'
Staff and pupils at the Richard Rose Morton Academy on Wigton Road will start the new school year in September in their new £26 million building. Meanwhile, engineers from Border Construction officially handed over the second phase of a £20m redevelopment of Trinity School in Carlisle last week. Elsewhere, Kier Construction’s £10m development of Carlisle College in Victoria Place is expected to near completion ahead of its occupation in October.
The completion of the Richard Rose Morton Academy in the west of the city comes months after staff and pupils at its sister school – the central academy – moved into their £31m building on Lismore Place. Work also continues on plans for a sports village around the Morton development, offering top quality facilities to both the school and its community.
John Urges Investment in Carlisle Airport
John has encouraged Councillors to back plans to redevelop Carlisle Airport, describing the proposals as an ‘historic opportunity.’ John believes that the scheme is ‘integral to the economic future of Carlisle, Cumbria and south west Scotland.’
Carlisle City Council is deliberating over whether to grant permission to the Stobart Group to redevelop the Crosby-on-Eden site and create a haulage distribution centre there. The authority’s development panel deferred a decision on the proposals a few weeks ago to start further discussion with the company.
Speaking at the meeting he arranged between city business leaders and councillors, John said: ‘The clear message from business is that they are completely behind the airport proposal. Once the airport gets the go-ahead opportunities will emerge for Carisle.'
‘Stobart’s airport at Southend has brought significant economic benefits to that area.'
'Councillors and officers need to understand that we must get the airport up and running if at all possible. It’s a historic opportunity for Carlisle.'
John Asks Business Question in Parliament
In relation to his promotion of business within Cumbria, John’s most recent question in Parliament concerned the importance of local government control of taxes in stimulating growth.
John Stevenson (Carlisle, Conservative): Central Government clearly has a major role to play in supporting and helping business, but we often underestimate the importance of local government’s ability to support, or indeed hinder, business. Does the Secretary of State believe that returning business rates to local government control will be good for business?
Vincent Cable (Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills; Twickenham, Liberal Democrat): Yes, I think it is a good idea in principle. Indeed, I announced it in a statement to the House last year. It could incentivise councils to attract businesses to their area. That is the reasoning behind it, but we have to be careful to ensure that there is an equalisation mechanism—some areas, of course, have a strong starting advantage—and to protect businesses from a very large increase in business rates, which could have the opposite effect.
- Spoken in 30 debates in the last year – average amongst MPs.
- Received answers to 58 written questions in the last year – above average amongst MPs.
- Voted in 89.12% of votes in this Parliament – well above average amongst MPs.
Look out for John:
- Visiting local primary schools
- Holding an Education forum on 30th September
Contact John Stevenson MP:
Phone: 01228 550684
Post: Suite 1, Carlyle's Court, St Mary’s Gate, Carlisle, CA3 8RY