Last week seemed to be a week of meetings which prevented me from spending as much time in the Chamber as I would like, but the meetings were important and had particular significance to the High Peak.
I and other East Midland MP’s met with a delegation of East Midland police forces including the Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon. They wanted to discuss with us the police funding formula and bring to our attention how the East Midlands suffers under the formula. Compared to other forces Derbyshire and the East Midlands fares very badly receiving less money per crime compared to other areas such as the North East. If the funding formula had been fully implemented by the previous Government then this disparity would have been addressed. The meeting preceded a debate in the House on police funding. I wanted to contribute and make this point however one of my fellow Derbyshire MP’s was called to speak before me and made all the points necessary.
I also met with representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council. Both these organisations are good supporters of High Peak projects and I wanted to make contact with them to thank them for their support and discuss future funding that they may be able to provide for ongoing and further projects in the High Peak. Like many organisations they are prepared for the spending reductions due following the spending review but they were both generous in their praise for the High Peak and the projects that they have supported thus far. Outside investment is crucial to many projects right across the High Peak, examples such as the Crescent in Buxton, and the Townscape Heritage Initiative in Glossop have all benefited from such external contributions, I feel it is important that as the MP, I go into bat for the constituency whenever I get the opportunity and make sure that we are in the minds of these groups as much as possible. As we deal with the deficit there is no doubt there will be less money to go round, this makes it doubly important that I lobby hard for the High Peak.
I have been approached by a group that creates liaisons between MP’s and businesses. They place MP’s with companies for a short period to ensure that as Members of Parliament we have an understanding of how our decisions could impact on private industry. This sounds like a good thing to be involved as I am beginning to think that it is too easy to become completely submerged in Westminster life and lose touch with many aspects of the outside world. I will consider this scheme and whether a placement will help, but I will not accept anything that prevents me from performing my principle duty, serving the people of the High Peak as their Member of Parliament.