The New Year is a time to reflect on what has passed and to look ahead to the opportunities to come. And this year, as I consider all that 2017 has in store, I believe those opportunities are greater than ever.
For we have made a momentous decision and set ourselves on a new direction. And if 2016 was the year you voted for that change, this is the year we start to make it happen.
I know that the referendum last June was divisive at times. I know, of course, that not everyone shared the same point of view, or voted in the same way. But I know too that, as we face the opportunities ahead of us, our shared interests and ambitions can bring us together.
We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed. We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren.
These ambitions unite us, so that we are no longer the 52% who voted Leave and the 48% who voted Remain, but one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future.
So when I sit around the negotiating table in Europe this year, it will be with that in mind – the knowledge that I am there to get the right deal – not just for those who voted to Leave – but for every single person in this country.
Of course, the referendum laid bare some further divisions in our country – between those who are prospering, and those who are not; those who can easily buy their own home, send their children to a great school, find a secure job, and those who cannot; in short, those for whom our country works well, and those for whom it does not.
This is the year we need to pull down these barriers that hold people back, securing a better deal at home for ordinary, working people.
The result will be a truly united Britain, in which we are all united in our citizenship of this great nation; united in the opportunities that are open to all our people; and united by the principle that it is only your talent and hard work that should determine your future.
After all, it is through unity that our people have achieved great things: through our precious union of nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; through our union of people – from sports teams to armed forces; businesses to charities; schools to hospitals; and, above all, through our union of communities and families.
Of course, it isn’t just big, global events that define a year – it is the personal things.
2017 might be the year you start your first job or buy your first home. It might be the year your children start school or go off to university, or that you retire after a lifetime of hard work.
These things – life’s milestones – are the things that bind us, whoever we are.
As the fantastic MP Jo Cox, who was so tragically taken from us last year, put it: ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’
We have a golden opportunity to demonstrate that – to bring this country together as never before, so that whoever you are, wherever you live, our politics, economy and society work for you, not just a privileged few.
So as we look ahead to a year of opportunity and unity, let me wish you and your family a peaceful, prosperous and happy New Year.
Tamworth Conservative Association is celebrating its 20th year today.
The new Association was formed on 1st January 1997 following changes to the local Parliamentary Constituency brought in by the Boundary Commission on the same day.
Tamworth had previously been part of the South East Staffordshire Constituency, however, following boundary changes that included Whittington village moving to the Lichfield Constituency, South East Staffordshire Constituency was renamed Tamworth and South East Staffordshire Conservative Association, which ceased on 31st December 1996, was replaced by newly formed Tamworth Conservative Association.
The last 20 years have been momentous for the Tamworth Conservative Association in many ways, we again have a Conservative MP representing the Constituency, Christopher Pincher, and today the Conservative Party controls 4 councils covering the Tamworth constancy compared with none in 1997. Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council, Tamworth Borough Council and Fazeley Town Council are all again controlled by the Conservative Party.
Staffordshire’s first elected Police and Crime Commissioner, which controls policing in the Tamworth Constituency, is also a Conservative Party member.
Drayton Manor Park’s Chief Executive Colin Bryan has received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Colin Bryan, who runs the park near Tamworth, was recognised for his charity work and contribution to tourism.
He said, “I feel very honoured to receive this OBE. I still love watching our guests have fun, enjoying themselves, knowing I have played a part in that.”
Tamworth Conservative Association’s Chairman Cllr David Smith said, “Tamworth Conservative Association extend their congratulations to Colin Bryan Chief Executive of Drayton Manor Park on the award of an OBE in the New Years Honours list.
“Apart from being a National and Regional leader in the development of tourism, Colin is a major champion of so many charities it’s hard to list them all. Beyond all else he has generated so many millions of smiles and screams from children young and old at Drayton Manor Park, we all have a debt of gratitude now so ably recognised by this honour.”
2016, what a year we’ve had! The year of the largest democratic exercise in British history, the year of a new Prime Minister, and the year Tamworth Cricket Club won promotion to Division One of the Birmingham League; not all, of course, of equal national interest but all of equal excitement in Tamworth!
As the year comes to end, it’s important as a country that we seek to heal disagreements unleashed by the Referendum campaign and result, and remember the values of democracy and freedom of speech which bind us together. A decision has been made and we must all abide by it.
We can all agree that the job of the Government is to make sure Britain benefits most from Brexit. The Government will move forward towards a smooth, successful Brexit to be triggered by the end of March 2017. Tamworth as a whole voted to Leave, but those who voted Remain must be convinced that Brexit will be good for the country and for them and their families when the process gets underway. That is what the Government, and I, must now work to do.
The next year is not simply about Brexit though, as we seek to build a more cohesive, tolerant society, where greater opportunity for those just about managing is at the forefront of Theresa May’s plans. Through new opportunities for new and better schools, an industrial strategy which is focused on more science, engineering and innovation and proposals which will help more younger people buy their first home, this Government looks to ensure everyone, regardless of background, has the chance of a top education and opportunities for self-advancement.
Before all that in 2017, can I wish everyone a merry festive time over Christmas, enjoying turkey, gifts, and most of all time with neighbours, friends and family as this is what the end of the year should be all about.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Christopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, has urged local businesses to get involved in the creation of Tamworth’s Business Improvement District (BID).
With support from the Council, local businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors across the town are coming together to establish a Business Improvement District in Tamworth. Similar projects are under way across the country and it is thought it could generate thousands of pounds extra on boosting the local economy in Tamworth and help regenerate the town.
Local businesses can get involved by participating in consultations and working groups aimed at researching how the BID can best serve the local priorities of the town.
Should the plan take off, it will see a range of projects launching across the town to benefit the local economy and community. These projects will be funded by a small levy on participating businesses – a contribution that would allow them to have their say in how the money is spent. The size of the levy will depend on the size of the business so big retailers in the town will contribute much more in pounds sterling.
Mr Pincher said, “I encourage any businesses operating in Tamworth’s town centre or Ventura Park to get involved in the vision of the town’s BID. Taking part will allow businesses to play their own part in shaping the town’s future and creating the best possible economy and community for Tamworth. BID projects put the businesses in the driving seat, allowing them to deliver a tailored business agenda that benefits the local area as a priority.”
Click here if you are interested in finding out more information about Tamworth’s BID or would like to register your business.
An MEP’s drive to protect farmland, gardens and countryside from deadly plant disease has cleared its final legislative hurdle.
A comprehensive set of measures negotiated by Anthea McIntyre to tackle the plant pests that devastate crops and woodland was approved today in Strasbourg at a plenary session of the European Parliament.
The Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, who sits on the Parliament’s agriculture committee, said, “I am delighted the vast majority of MEPs have voted through my report. It offers robust and rigorous checks against the spread of disease without over-burdening commercial growers or traders with needless obstacles.”
As far as the UK is concerned, the measures aim to tackle plant pests by stopping them entering the country. As lead MEP on the legislation, Miss McIntyre strove to balance steps to counter diseases such as Ash dieback with a regulatory regime that would not needlessly shackle farmers, foresters or the horticulture trade.
When it becomes law, the package will set out new basic standards to ensure EU countries work together to address plant pests and diseases. These include mandatory surveillance for high-risk pests and better use of the plant passport system.
Miss McIntyre, herself a small-scale grower, said, “The recent spread of the bacterium xylella fastidiosa, which devastated olive groves, showed the weaknesses in our defences. There are many other pests that will cause the same havoc with other plants and products if we let them.
“This time is was olives, another time it could be plums, pears or potatoes. We need to protect our biodiversity by laying down basic procedures for all 28 Member States to adopt.
“The UK already has robust controls in place but approaches vary widely from country to country. As a continent, we are only as strong as the weakest link.
“Plant pests and diseases do not respect borders and it is in the UK’s interest that the EU has effective systems in place. This is good legislation, designed by the British, which will remain after we have left the EU.”
Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, has welcomed the news published by the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo) that over £240,000 has been loaned to 40 individuals in Tamworth.
SULCo, founded in 2012, was set up to support individuals who want to start a business but cannot access traditional sources of finance.
The scheme is funded by the Government and British Business Bank which to date has helped create over 40,000 businesses and lent over £250m, some of which has been received in Tamworth.
To date it is estimated that for every £1 invested in businesses, over £3 has been returned to the economy. The scheme also has a target to deliver 10,000 loans per year so that by 2020, 75,000 loans will have been delivered.
Mr Pincher said, “I warmly welcome the news that SULCo has invested so much in so many individuals looking to set up businesses in Tamworth. It’s reassuring news, which shows confidence in the economic climate remains high, and further that businesses and entrepreneurs in Tamworth are as active as ever.
“If you would like more information about any aspect of the scheme please get in touch with me.”
Christopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, has backed calls by leading UK meningitis charity, Meningitis Now, encouraging young people to protect themselves from a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis.
Following a worrying increase of 809% in meningococcal (group W) meningitis cases in the past 5 years, the government launched a vaccination programme to protect young people aged 14-15 through schools, and those aged 17 to 18 through their GP.
Despite the introduction of this vaccine, and the increased risk to students and young people, the uptake of the Men ACWY remains very low, with 17.7% of 17 and 18 year olds within the West Midlands taking up the vaccine, and 17.4% across England.
Young people and particularly first year university students are at an increased risk from meningococcal bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia. Early signs can go undetected, and in young people can be put down to a bout of the flu, or even a hangover.
Mr Pincher said, “As many young people as possible need to be vaccinated against this dreadful disease. Two deaths of students in September, one from Northumbria and the other from South East London, highlight just how prevalent this is and how preventative measures are essential.”
Liz Brown, Chief Executive at Meningitis Now, said, “We welcome Christopher Pincher’s support in calling on young people across the UK to get the Men ACWY vaccine. It is particularly poignant given the sad news of a student death at the University of Northumbria from Men W.
“Young people, especially those attending university for the first time should, if they haven’t done so already, take immediate action to protect themselves from this dangerous meningitis bug. The vaccination is free and available through GP practices for 17-18 year olds, and first year university students, up to the age of 25.”
For more information on the vaccine, or to download the signs and symptoms app for your phone visit www.meningitisnow.org.
Christopher Pincher was first elected MP for Tamworth in May 2010 with a majority of 6,090. Christopher was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority of 11,302.
Born and bred in Staffordshire, and a Midlander through and through, Christopher is committed to representing Tamworth residents.
Christopher believes strongly in the power of local communities where people look after one another, support their local schools and hospitals and post offices, respect common traditions and stand together against the threat of crime and anti-social behaviour.
After becoming MP in 2010, Christopher worked conscientiously to get Britain back on track. Along with advocating issues relevant to Tamworth, Christopher specialized in national issues, including: energy, climate change, and defence. He was appointed to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and also served on the Armed Forces Bill Committee.