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  • Alistair Strathern

21 January 2024: My week in Parliament and Mid Bedfordshire

Updated: Feb 5

It’s been another busy week for me in Parliament and across Mid Beds!

We continued my campaign to take on the issues posed by poor regulation of freeholders, management companies, and estate adoption. We were out speaking to people on a number of impacted estate last week (and will be again this week), and got stuck into work on the leasehold bill committee in parliament. Last week was evidence hearings, and this week we will move on to debating amendments to the bill, where I hope to move and support amendments to go further in regulating and addressing some of the many issues you have raised with me. You can read more about my work on this issue here 

I raised with the Home Office team the issues posed by the unfair funding formula for Bedfordshire police. There is cross party agreement that the current formula is unfair for Beds, and whilst I was disappointed by the Ministers refusal to commit to a date to review the formula (having previously promised to do so by the end of the Parliament!), I was encouraged by support on this cause from MPs across both parties in Bedfordshire. I’ll be continuing to push ministers on this. You can see my question here

I also had a very productive meeting with the Schools Minster about an issue facing Swallowfields school. The Minister agreed to work pragmatically with the school and CBC to try and overcome the challenges posed by blunt regulations, and I will be continuing to work with all parties to progress this.

Protecting local bus routes is a real priority, so this week I met with Cllr Jim Weir who holds the portfolio for busses at Bedford Borough to discuss how we can tackle some of the funding challenges faced bvy routs, and work with providers to protect vital services relied upon by so many across Mid Beds.

On Thursday, I attended Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick Parish Council’s meeting with Universal studios to continue my engagement with the plans and hear directly from local parish cllrs about their priorities for it. This represents a huge opportunity for our area which I have been working on for a number of months now, and I will be continue to engage on this area to ensure any plans are the best possible ones for our area to make the most of this huge opportunity for investment and jobs locally.

On Friday we held my latest constituency surgery. With over 35 people it was the busiest yet, a huge thank you to everyone’s patience if you had to wait, and for being so understanding where it ended up best to set up separate meetings.

It was a real pleasure to be back out visiting local schools again this week. A big thanks to pupils at Aspley Guise Village School and Russell Lower School for some brilliant questions about my work as their MP. I’ll always be a strong advocate for our local schools and opportunities for young people right across our towns and villages.

In Barton a number of people have got in touch to raise concerns about the closure of the current post office, so on Saturday I met with local Cllrs there to plan how we can work together to bring facilities back to the village.

On Saturday afternoon we were back out speaking to people in Cranfield to pick up on local issues and priorities, a big thank you to everyone who braved the cold to speak to us!

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