David's comments on the Westminster attack

David said:

“There was an initial sense of shock and confusion, as nobody really had the full picture of what had happened. Reports were filtering through on social media, and one MP had said they had heard shots. The police were telling us all to get down. It was a horrific situation to be in.

“There was an immense show of solidarity – all party divisions were set aside. As time went on, some MP’s who have diabetes had to get some food, and also other MP’s who were needed for the COBRA meetings were ushered out with the police’s permission. There was a huge overwhelming sadness for Keith Palmer and his family, and the other victims of the days incidents.

"PC Palmer is quite well known, he is a regular at the House of Commons, not only on the front gate but he also did shifts at the police point at the rear entrance behind the speaker’s chair. He was a familiar face and will be missed.

“I can remember when I was first elected in 1992, we were all issued with telescopic mirrors to check for bombs under our cars. I imagine some older MP could remember the IRA campaigns in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and the situation was one they were sadly familiar with.

"It was bizarre, the chamber is usually such a flurry of activity and boisterousness, with MP’s bobbing up and down, it was strange to see them all quiet with MP’s putting their hands up like they were back in school.

“A far cry from normal proceedings.

“Unless the police had anything to say to the contrary, It was business as usual the following day. There was a very strong cross party consensus that these events were not going to block the normal democratic process.

“These people were not victorious, we went on as we always will. The atmosphere on Thursday was very emotional, with prayers followed by a minutes silence for those we have lost.

“Our Democratic process will go on, unbowed by these attacks.”

Digital technology article

David thought you might be interested in seeing an article he wrote for the Bucks Free Press on digital technology.


We all know that digital technology is shaking up many familiar assumptions about our way of life. Two bills now in the House of Commons illustrate how this is happening.

The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill includes a legal framework for the insurance of driverless vehicles. Even a few years ago, the notion of driverless cars or lorries seemed the stuff of science fiction. Now, driverless vehicles are being tested and may be on our roads within the next decade.

The benefits would be significant. Elderly and disabled people who cannot drive would still be able to use a car. Smart programming would bring greater capacity to our roads.

But there are a lot of questions too. Who is liable if something goes wrong: the owner, the manufacturer or the software designer? How do you programme a car to respond to an infinite number of potential emergencies? How secure would the computers controlling driverless cars be against cyber-attack? And of course the obvious question of alternative work for taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

The second piece of legislation is the Prisons and Courts Bill which includes measures to allow more court business to be done online. Aylesbury Crown Court is already a pioneer in this work, with a lot of court business other than actual trials already being carried out digitally. A remand prisoner can appear for a preparatory hearing in Aylesbury without leaving the gaol – a huge saving in transport, escort, and court security costs.

For governments, technology can cut the cost of providing public services but may also erode the tax base. Online firms are much harder to tax than those that use bricks and mortar. And how do you levy VAT easily on online sales where the transaction crosses international borders?

Challenges and opportunities lie ahead.


APPCRG Responsible Business Champions scheme 2017

The All Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group is holding a competition to name a "Responsible Business Champion" for 2017. The award rewards businesses for supporting their staff and the local community. David is able to nominate a business from the Aylesbury constituency and would be happy to hear from constituents with there suggestions.

 

The criteria for a business to be nominated are:

Ø  supporting the local community;

Ø  investing in healthy workplaces;

Ø  offering apprenticeships and training to all;

Ø  promoting diversity & inclusion in the workplace, including

Ø  offering people with disabilities work opportunities; and

Ø  monitoring suppliers’ actions on these issues.

 

Members of the public or business owners can nominate businesses using the form found below by sending it by post or email to:

David Lidington MP, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA

david.lidington.mp@parliament.uk

Click Here for the nomination form.

New housing statistics

David thought you would be interested to see this letter that he recently received from the New Home Building Council showing recent home building numbers in the constituency.

David said:

"There are tremendous pressures on housing in the constituency both in terms of providing affordable housing for those who need it as well as protecting the communities and countryside that make the area special.

 "We need a Local Plan, from both Aylesbury Vale District Council and Wycombe District Council, to provide for both housing and employment on a scale that is justified by the evidence. The absence of a Plan setting out how much development there should be and were it should go means that building proposals are decided piecemeal on the basis of which sites developers put forward.

"We do need more housing in Bucks. Not only is the population growing, but greater longevity and the high rate of divorce and separation mean that there are more households than there used to be for any given number of people. If we want businesses to locate to our area, we need a supply of housing that directors, managers and workers alike will find attractive and affordable. And if we want young people and workers on modest wages to be able to live in our area, we shall need to plan for more homes. I get young people in my constituency telling me that they are in full-time work, earning a decent wage, yet can't afford to get onto even the lowest rung of the housing ladder. We need to plan to ease that unfairness."

BTVLEP Submits amendments to its Aylesbury Woodlands planning application

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP), submitted amendments on 6 April to its Aylesbury Woodlands plan. These amendments include additional content to ensure the plan meets the needs of local people and businesses.

The Aylesbury Woodlands site will provide commercial premises, improved road infrastructure, housing and leisure facilities. 

The plan includes the delivery of the Eastern Link Road that will connect the A41 and the A418 in preparation for the upcoming Garden City proposals.

More information on the scheme can be found here.

 

Letter from Ministry of Justice

Following a meeting at the Aylesbury Youth Offenders Institute David wrote to the Ministry of Justice with a number of concerns about the institution.

David thought you may have been interested in seeing the response from Sam Gyimah MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice.

 

Watermead Crematorium plans quashed

Watermead Parish Council today announced the Court of Appeals decision to quash planning permission for the proposed crematorium. David had heard criticism of the proposals from a number of constituents who were concerned about the potential environmental damage that this might cause.

David said:

"This is good news which will be strongly welcomed by my constituents in Watermead. 

"I hope that the developers will, even now, reconsider this unnecessary application, especially in the light of the plans, backed by Buckinghamshire District Councils, for a new crematorium at Bierton.

"I urge AVDC to approach any redetermination with scepticism and a clear understanding of local opinion."

The councils announcement can be found here.

 

HS2 receives Royal Assent

On the 23rd of February HS2 received Royal Assent, David's comments and a letter from the secretary of state for transport can be found below. 

David said:

"The Bill to authorise HS2 was passed by the House of Lords by an overwhelming and cross-party majority and has now become law. While this news is a matter of enormous regret to many people locally, we have to deal with the situation as it is.

"As the Bill has passed through Parliament I have worked to secure several million pounds worth of additional investment in mitigation and compensation and will continue to seek further improvements. As part of this process I have secured a meeting between the transport minister responsible for HS2 and a delegation of Wendover representatives next week to discuss further mitigation options including the option of a mined tunnel past Wendover.

"I will be continuing to press Transport Ministers and HS2 Ltd about the need for improvements in the design of noise barriers, viaducts, bridges and pantographs. It will be important to ensure that that design work and construction in general is carried in a way that minimises the adverse impact of HS2 on the local area, whether in terms of noise, visual intrusion or traffic congestion.

I also regard it as essential that the management of HS2 raises its game markedly in terms of how it deals with local residents and I've impressed upon the new team of transport ministers that HS2's record so far has bred suspicion and mistrust. Getting things right in terms of local engagement will be vital when we come to HS2's plans to manage construction work, including its impact on roads like the A413, A4010, and A41. HS2 Ltd and the Independent Complaints Commissioner need to be held to account to ensure that HS2 Ltd lives up to the promises it has made around the construction process, not only in terms of construction traffic, but also making sure that the construction staff abide by the code of construction practice."


Visit to Kramer Electronics

David meeting National Sales Manager Andrew Smith and Marketing Manager Nick Mawer

David visited Kramer Electronics, where he met with Andrew Smith and Nick Mawer to discuss the companies work within the constituency.

Kramer Electronics makes a wide range of electric products such as cables, amplifiers and routers. The company has been active in the UK since 2000 and employs 24 people in the constituency. 

David said:

"It's encouraging to see internationally recognised organisations investing in Aylesbury. 

"I was very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Kramer, It was an excellent opportunity to see the work that they do in the electronics industry and also to meet a number of their employees and learn about their work first hand.

"I am sure that they will have great success in the future and I look forward to visiting again in the future."