Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Reporting back: Government activity since Parliament rose for summer recess

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 31 July 2017 14:47

I thought you might find it helpful to see a few points from Westminster.  I aim to help constituents know what’s going on in government departments, and of course to represent your views in Parliament.  Parliament isn’t sitting in August but that doesn’t mean the work stops – I’m taking up plenty of issues and ideas for constituents.


Last Friday, Michael Gove outlined government plans to reduce plastic waste in our oceans as he set out his ambition for the UK to lead the world in environmental protection.


On Saturday, Lord Callanan announced plans to introduce drone registration and safety awareness courses for their owners.


On Sunday, Justine Greening announced proposals to remove the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before being able to apply to change their gender.


Also on Sunday, the government announced changes to blood donation rules following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs. This will mean that, as a result of the latest clinical evidence, the deferral blood donation period for men who have sex with men will be reduced from 12 months to three months, increasing the supply of donor blood available for life-saving operations.


On Monday, Greg Clark set out plans to establish the UK as a world leader in battery technology, announcing the first phase of a £246 million investment programme, part of wider plans for a modern industrial strategy as we leave the EU.


Also on Monday, Matt Hancock announced funding for the design and development of a major new cyber security innovation centre in London and opened up the £20m Cyber Schools Programme that will offer 6,000 teenagers cyber security skills.  


On Tuesday, Sajid Javid announced new proposals to ban new build houses being sold as leasehold as well as restricting ground rents. This will help tackle a practice that can often expose homebuyers to unreasonable and long-term financial abuse.


Also on Tuesday, Director of Labour Market Enforcement Sir David Metcalf warned rogue employers he would be consulting on how to make full use of powers to jail the worst offenders.


On Wednesday, Michael Gove set out the Government’s plans to tackle air pollution, alongside measures to support those motorists, residents and businesses affected. Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with Nitrogen Dioxide levels down by half in the past 15 years, but a small number of roads – around four per cent – due to breach legal pollution limits and these latest proposals will tackle that.


Also on Wednesday, the Government announced measures to minimise disruption to the social care sector by temporarily suspending enforcement activity and waiving historic financial penalties against employers over the issue of sleep-in shift pay. The government remains equally committed to making sure workers in this sector receive the minimum wage they are legally entitled to, including historic arrears.


On Thursday, Amber Rudd announced a major study into the role of EU nationals in Britain’s economy, gathering evidence to inform policy as we leave the EU and take control of immigration.  


Today, the Chancellor set out the additional debt that a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would saddle the British people with, following a letter signed by more than 140 colleagues.


Also today, Paul Maynard announced the successful bidders for the latest round of the £20m New Stations Fund that will which give local communities improved rail services and benefit the wider economy.


I’ll keep you updated.