The 1st of December marks one year since I had the privilege of being elected the Member of Parliament for the City of Chester. I’d like to start by thanking you all, it is the honour of my life to represent our proud city and its residents.
This past year I’ve opened 5,377 cases, received 11,448 pieces of correspondence, put almost £250,000 back in constituent’s pockets and contributed to debates and questions in the House of Commons, you can watch my one-year anniversary video here.
Following the form of the last 11 months it has once again been a busy month as the MP for the City of Chester, both here in the constituency and down in Westminster.
As the temperatures continue to plummet, I worry about the 13% of Chester residents who are currently experiencing fuel poverty. More than half of homes in Chester have an energy performance certificate below the Crating. I believe Labour’s plans to retrofit 19 million homes would deliver vast economic and social benefits, I therefore raised this in the House of Commons with the Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability, you can watch this on Parliament TV here.
As more and more Chester residents are adversely affected by the Tory Mortgage Penalty of 2022 the cost of living continues to bite. I therefore raised this pressing issue with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, you can watch this on Parliament TV here. This builds on my contribution to the first Kings Speech in seventy years, focusing on the issues of economic growth, housebuilding and support for public services, you can watch that here.
The start of the month saw us celebrate UK Parliament Week. Parliament is a great institution and it’s fantastic to see so many local schools and groups celebrating our democracy and the idea of the UK Parliament. I was happy to support the local groups involved in the celebrations by answering their questions over video.
Being one of the top UK tourist destinations is of great benefit to our historic and proud city, however it does pose challenges to local residents. I was grateful to be able to contribute to a Westminster Hall Debate on the subject of Housing in Tourism Destinations. This presented an opportunity to champion our city as a tourism destination (I even invited the MPs in attendance to visit, but I did warn them of the current state of the Avanti West Coast services)and outline the housing issues we face here in Chester, you can watch my speech on Parliament TV here.
It was great to host Barbara Keeley MP, the Shadow Tourism Minister in Chester earlier this month. Barbara enjoyed visiting our historic city centre and the award winning Chester Zoo. It was great to show Barbara some of the excellent initiatives we have in our city including the Chester Design Foundation on Bridge Street.
This month featured Family Business Week, I used this opportunity to highlight Fabrizio and the three businesses his family own in Chester through a video interview you can watch here.
Health and the NHS remains as one of the top political issues in the eyes of residents. The University of Chester are doing some great work with Cheshire West and Chester Council in setting up Special Interest Groups to help connect research and implementation of different health issues.
In Parliament I regularly attend drop-in sessions held by charities to highlight the challenges they exist to tackle and how I can play my part in this. I want to thank ITV’s Lorraine for hosting one of these events to highlight the signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer.
Earlier this year FairGame UK hosted their annual conference at Chester FC. FairGame campaign on issues relating to the Governance of our beloved national game. Football clubs mean so much to their local community and undertake some incredible work outside of the 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. The sustainability of football is crucial to ensuring clubs like Chester survived, I was grateful to join my colleague Matt Rodda MP in calling for a football regulator during his adjournment debate and would like to thank FairGame for the work they do on this issue.
The dumping of raw sewage in our beautiful river continues to be one of the top issues on my agenda. Last week I convened the third “Summit of the Dee” of local, regional and national stakeholders.
This quarter’s summit focused on presentations from those in attendance to highlight the tremendous work undertaken by local residents to make it the asset it is. Following the first two Summits of the River Dee, stakeholders have been able to use these meetings to help push this issue up the internal agendas of their respective organisations, with Welsh Water now designating Chester as a priority area for action. I look forward to being able to deliver further positive developments in future.
I’d like to end this month’s newsletter by going back to the start of the month and recognising public service. I’m proud to have been your Member of Parliament for the last year and I’m proud to represent a city with such a strong connection to our Armed Forces. I therefore take immense pride inlaying one of the many wreaths at our War Memorial to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives so that we could have ours.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update, I hope you and your family have an enjoyable festive period.