I know many people in Chelmsford are concerned about Climate Change. It was a great honour to represent the UK at COP 26 in Glasgow. I supported the UK team in welcoming world leaders and specifically focused on the issues affecting African countries.
During the conference we agreed plans to help protect the Congo Basin, this is the second largest tropical rain forest in the world and home to the planet’s largest carbon sink. We also agreed a landmark deal, led by the UK and supported by the US, France, Germany and the UK to help South Africa to transition its electricity network from brown coal towards renewable. This is important because the South African electricity system is the currently the most carbon emitting globally.
The Chancellor recently gave his Autumn Spending Statement. Many of the announcements that will not necessarily make big headlines but will make a huge difference. The temporary business rate relief for eligible retail hospitality and leisure businesses will be very significant for Chelmsford with its vibrant night-time economy. The changes to the taper rate for Universal Credit will mean many of those on lower rates of pay will find more money in their pockets as they work, and the rise in the national minimum wage will help them too.
The extra investment in Early Years Childcare and Family Hubs are issues I worked on whilst Children’s Minister. This will be a real help to many children and families across the country. I was also very pleased that the budget will enable the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food scheme which I helped to set up. This will support many thousands of children from lower income families to enjoy enriching activities over the school holidays. This is a great boost for their confidence, team building and mental well-being.
In Chelmsford I have also been supporting local residents with the problems that we are experiencing with postal deliveries. During the pandemic many more people have switched to online shopping, this means our postal workers are now delivering more parcels which has brought big pressure on individual delivery rounds. Therefore, Royal Mail decided to change all the delivery rounds in Chelmsford. Unfortunately, this has brought even more pressure on the system whilst postal workers get accustomed to new routes.
Like all Essex MPs, I am still reeling from the dreadful murder of our colleague, Sir David Amess MP. David was a truly kind and gentle man, dedicated to helping the people of Southend. He often used to look at how Chelmsford had benefited from becoming a city and wanted to spread this more widely across Essex. He also played a huge role in improving hospital services in Mid and South Essex. I have increased security at my own constituency surgeries and am taking more appointments on-line. But I am still very much available to support residents so please do email me on Vicky.Ford.MP@Parliament.uk if you need advice or assistance.