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News from Dr Dan Poulter MP

This year, the State Opening of Parliament saw HRH the Prince of Wales deliver HM the Queen’s speech for the first time, due to concerns around HM the Queen’s health.  The State Opening marks the beginning of a new Parliamentary session and the Queen’s Speech set out 38 new Bills which will help the Government to continue delivering on its top priorities.


Amidst those new Bills is the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which will deliver planning reforms, regenerate towns and cities and shift powers down from central Government to local leaders, giving communities a louder voice and empowering them to shape their own futures.


Whilst I welcomed earlier plans to reshape planning policy, the one size approach proposed was not appropriate for Suffolk and I was very pleased to have played my part in delivering a rethink on that earlier White Paper.  So, whilst the devil lies in the detail and I await full sight of the detail in the new proposed planning reforms, I am pleased that the voice of local communities will be heard as part of the new reforms.  I have always taken the view that any development should be appropriate, protecting out greenbelt land wherever possible and retaining the fabric, heritage and character of our rural villages and small towns here in Suffolk.  It is vital that any development should be delivered through a truly locally led planning system and communities should retain the right to shape the areas in which they live, something which this new Bill should help to enshrine in law.


I have also written recently about how rising energy costs caused by the conflict in Ukraine have reinforced the need to improve Britain’s energy security.  We have finally realised the importance of being less reliant upon foreign supplies for our energy and the need to improve our own energy security.  The sustainable answer to securing our energy and fuel needs must come through investment in carbon neutral and renewable sources, so I welcome the proposed Energy Security Bill which will ultimately deliver a more secure, homegrown, and cheaper energy network for all of us.


I was delighted to welcome the Education Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Nadhim Zahawi, to Stradbroke where he met with Head Teachers from schools across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.  He spoke to them about his aspirations for driving up standards for all children and the increased funding which has been secured via the Schools Bill.  I have long been pushing for more money for our schools here in Suffolk and very much welcome this additional investment which will help to drive up standards and help our children catch up on lost learning during the past two years.


Finally, I particularly welcome the new Mental Health Bill and hope to be able to use my own knowledge and experience as a mental health doctor to be part of the early scrutiny process in shaping this Bill, so that sensible and appropriate changes can be made to ensure that it better benefits and meets the needs of patients here in Suffolk.