2019

January 2019 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

I write as Parliament gets into full swing again and Brexit looks to dominate media attention once more. However, despite the obsession of the press and media with Brexit I am sure many will be relieved to know that there are a number of other serious parliamentary issues which are still being dealt with. This month write to share some of the things not in the headlines but, I think, important.

Feedback suggests that Universal Credit is generally welcomed but I know that many people have been concerned with the implementation of it. I was pleased to see changes in the delivery and that with this the rollout remains on track. I have raised queries with Ministers and work with them as we move forward. The changes introduced will give Universal Credit a fresh Parliamentary mandate and will make sure the system is working in the interests of every claimant. In the Budget we agreed to spend an extra £1.7 billion on higher payments that help 200,000 workers.

Oxfordshire Lowland Rescue Charity may not be a particularly well known charity but it does important work assisting the police in the search for vulnerable missing persons. It is part of a national charity and I was delighted to learn of new government funding awarded to Oxfordshire. This funding is part of a £1 million package being awarded to dozens of charities working to keep inland waterways around the country safe, helping with the cost of new equipment to help volunteer search teams save lives more quickly and easily. Oxfordshire Lowland Search & Rescue will receive £11,883.60, to ensure that it can continue to keep people safe. As it says itself, “if a vulnerable person is missing then it is vital to their chances of survival that they are found quickly”.

It is disturbing to learn that guide dog owners are turned away by businesses because of their dog. I was pleased to be able to support a recent event in Parliament run by the charity Guide Dogs to raise awareness of this discrimination against guide dog owners and to learn of the impact of this on people. Although it is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog, except in exceptional circumstances, a Guide Dogs survey found that three quarters of assistance dog owners reported that they experienced this problem.

I share the growing concerns at the increase in mental health problems, especially among young people, and am thus pleased that in Oxfordshire children and young people’s mental health services are to be transformed as the county becomes one of 25 trailblazer areas across the country that puts the NHS and schools together to transform mental health care. This is welcome news of much needed support for young people.

Finally, you may like to know that Heathrow’s consultation on the use of airspace and future operations has now opened and will run until 4th March 2019. This provides the opportunity to contribute to Heathrow’s plans for future airspace use and on their proposals for how the airport will operate. The consultation is the next stage in the process to redesign the airspace for an expanded Heathrow. This is part of the Government’s wider Airspace Modernisation Strategy aiming to make airspace more efficient by improving punctuality; cutting CO2 emissions; better managing noise by using multiple routes; reducing holding aircraft at low levels; and ensuring capacity to meet future demand. You can give feedback on line or the nearest location to attend a consultation is Maidenhead on 7th February. More information can be found online at www.heathrowconsultation.com

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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