October 2018 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

For those involved in the world of politics late September and early October is ‘Party Conference Season.’ For most people, other than a few newsworthy headlines, it could easily pass by unnoticed. There are, of course, the key note speeches from Ministers and some new policy announcements. For people who go to their Party Conference there is much, much more. In addition to an extensive programme of fringe meetings, where a wide range of issues are debated, there are individual briefing meetings. There is also an Exhibition Hall where various organisations, including many charities, take the opportunity to raise awareness of issues and particularly lobby MPs to support their cause.

It is particularly interesting each year in the run up to Conference to hear from constituents who encourage me to visit specific exhibition stands so that I can be briefed on an issue which is important to them. I always do my best to follow up on these specific requests and thought readers may be interested to know a few of the concerns that were raised with me in this context.

Guide Dogs:  As well as a general demonstration of the ability of trained dogs to guide someone the charity had a specific campaign on pavement parking. Whilst this is a problem for blind and partially sighted people I am also aware that this is a problem for wheelchair users and for adults with pushchairs. I am very happy to add my support to the campaign to make parking on pavements illegal.

Alzheimer’s Society. When a relative suffers with Alzheimer’s there are many issues to tackle and I know that this can be very distressing for relatives and friends. Among the concerns are the difficulties and the cost of care. There was a helpful briefing on these issues from representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society.

The Children’s Society. Just was we are concerned with things that affect us in later life, so I am often contacted about concerns for our young people. The Children’s Society is always active in raising awareness of particular issues. The focus this year for them was teenagers and the risks associated with social media and also loneliness in young people.

International Development is an issue that often crops up in my mail with some people wanting the government to do more and others wanting to see the budget cut. I met with Save the Children who were keen to look at how the Government can maximise the impact of its commitment to aid. I was reminded that pneumonia continues to kill more children than any other disease despite being easy to prevent, diagnose and treat and how relatively low cost the vaccines and antibiotics can be.

The issues around autism are often raised with me both by parents seeking a diagnosis for a child within the education system and for adults with a late diagnosis. A representative from the National Autistic Society briefed me on issues and developments over the 10 years of their work.

A general health issue is Diabetes and Diabetes UK briefed on the future challenges of Diabetes on the NHS. With the huge publicity that we have had on the growth of the number of cases of diabetes it is good news that there will be more focus on this in the NHS going forward. The ability of people to reverse the onset of the condition through diet and self-help is enormous and can not only help reduce costs to the NHS but also hugely improve quality of life and life expectancy for people who develop the condition.

I hope this gives you a flavour of the range of issues that are raised with me. If there is an issue that concerns you please do let me know. you can email me at howelljm@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) or my constituency office (PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD). If you would like to know more about my work on behalf of the Government and the Constituency please do look at my website which is regularly updated. The address is www.johnhowellmp.com. Further details of the work of Parliament is available on the parliament website at www.parliament.uk. As always, I am interested to hear constituent’s views on the proposals before the House.

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