I am proud of Britain's national identity and cultural heritage. We have some of the most iconic museums, galleries and landmarks in the world. In Tamworth we have our Castle (one of the only remaining Norman castles in the country) – the seat of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia - and St Editha's Church. Our town has a rich and vibrant history and is arguably the birth place of the modern Conservative Party when Sir Robert Peel unveiled his 'Tamworth Manifesto' in the historic Town Hall.

The Conservatives on Culture 

http://www.culture.gov.uk/


The natural landscape in the Tamworth Constituency has shaped my main concerns with the environment. After seeing the devastating action of the River Tame to the communities in Fazeley and Elford I took an interest in the Environment Agency's proposals for the river. I have met with them recently and am pleased at their developing strategy. I am pro-country sports but I do believe animal welfare is very important, and am proud of the United Kingdom's record on this issue.

The Conservatives on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

http://www.defra.gov.uk/


As a member, officer and chairman in various All-Party Parliamentary (APPG) associated with Eastern European and Central Asian countries I take a particular interest in these regions. As the Chairman of the APPG for Latvia I have organised events for Latvian and British delegates and I am in the process of organising a bi-lateral trip to Latvia to strengthen diplomatic ties with both legislatures. William Hague reemphasising the importance of the Commonwealth after Labour's neglect is particularly important in the 21st Century. The Secretary of State also performed admirably in the "Arab Spring", and more recently, in negotiating tougher sanctions against Iran. I was fortunate to speak in the debate on Libya. I am also a member of the British-American Parliamentary Group.

The Conservatives on Foreign Affairs

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/


My main dealings with the Home Office are to do with Police Pensions and immigration. Immigration is already covered here.

Many serving police officers and their families live in my constituency and have been in regular correspondence with me on the issue of their pensions. Police pensions – like other public sector pensions – need to be reformed, but the nature of a police officer's job means that certain safeguards are needed. I have written to Ministers – and raised the issue in the House of Commons Chamber – to make sure the police are not overlooked.

The Conservatives on crime

The Conservatives on national security

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/


I support the Government's proposals on Health. The measures to increase doctors, reduce managers and give greater flexibility to nurses are welcome initiatives. As are the commitments to stop waste and reduce red tape to enable health care professionals to give more resources, time and support to their patients. I work with local healthcare charities and am pleased to see the success of the town's "Sharon Fox Cancer Centre".

The Conservatives on health

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/index.htm


When I was first elected I had to fight a campaign to try to save Tamworth's courts. Unfortunately that failed but I was pleased that a smooth transition was implemented so not to waste local magistrate or police time.

Recently I have signed Nick de Bois' knife crime amendment as I believe that if you think you are old enough to use a knife in violence, you are old enough to get prosecuted accordingly. Generally I think sentences should be more robust and that the public should see justice being served – the law should act as a deterrent.

The Conservatives on justice

http://www.justice.gov.uk/


I believe that powers should be devolved from Westminster and handed back to town halls so local residents can have a say on issues that affect their communities – after all, they know most about their area and what is best for them.

The Conservatives on local government

http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/


The freedom of speech and its application to the British press has been integral in our society for many generations. I stongly support such freedoms; however, I believe that journalists should be responsible in their practices. The phone hacking scandal was atrocious and I am glad that ethics in media is being actively discussed. The Secretary of State's proposals on localising television and capping the Licence Fee are two proposals I keenly support.

The Conservatives on media

http://www.culture.gov.uk/


The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world and Britons will be welcoming the world to our capital. I campaigned for the Olympic Torch to pass through Tamworth and was delighted when I heard that the torch will pass through Tamworth and the local village of Hopwas. Earlier this year I was pleased to head to Liverpool to support 'the Lambs' against Everton in the FA cup. Sadly we lost but it was a very enjoyable – if tense – day. I believe competitive sport at school is important in a child's upbringing and I am glad this Government shares this view.

The Conservatives on sport

http://www.culture.gov.uk/


The Government's decision to follow with Labour's proposals for High Speed 2 has caused great concern to the residents of Tamworth and the surrounding rural villages. For more information about this campaign please click here to go to the campaign section of my website.

I believe the Government should adopt an integrated policy and am pleased with Minister's commitments to alleviate crowding on the West Coast Main Line by extending the number of carriages. Transport policy, in my opinion, should be about balancing sustainable growth and reduced carbon emissions while not hindering economic growth or impeding movement of people due to disproportionate costs.

The Conservatives on transport

http://www.dft.gov.uk/


Iain Duncan Smith's proposals to introduce 'Universal Credit' and the benefit cap are two huge steps in slimming Labour's bloated welfare state. After 13 years of Labour in Government we have seen the welfare state and its budget ballooned out of all proportion and it is right that it is finally being deflated. I regularly speak to constituents who are annoyed about the "something-for-nothing" culture and how it "pays not to work", fortunately I see the Coalition's proposals a way to end this.

The Conservatives on welfare

The Conservatives on older people

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/


I acknowledge that sanitary products are an essential item and I do support calls for the United Kingdom to be able to apply a zero rate to these products.

As it stands the 5 per cent rate of VAT on women's sanitary products is the lowest rate currently allowed under European Union law.

Any change to European Union VAT law would require a proposal from the European Commission and the support of all 28 member states. This process will not be a formality - 26 of the other 27 EU member states currently have a higher rate of VAT on sanitary products than the United Kingdom. I felt therefore that this particular motion on sanitary tax was an inappropriate method of action.

The best way to achieve the abolition of VAT on sanitary products is to support the Government's approach, which is to work with the European Union, and I welcome the commitment from Ministers to seek to change European Union law to enable this.

In the meantime, whilst I accept that it is not the 0% tax rate you were hoping for, I feel that the Chancellor's commitment to donate the £15m raised from this charge to women's charities (including the Eve Appeal, SafeLives, Women's Aid and The Haven) is encouraging and demonstrates that the Government takes concerns on this matter seriously.


IER is an essential part of the government's plan to tackle electoral fraud. Under the old system the "head of household" could register all those in a property with no ID needed. This is outdated and presents an unacceptable risk of fraud. Under IER, each individual now has to apply individually and provide a date of birth and national insurance number which are then verified against Government records to check the applicant is who they say they are.

Since it was introduced last year, IER has confirmed 96 out of every 100 electors as genuine. There were over 400,000 more entries on the registers used for the General Election in May than when we introduced IER a year earlier.

During Cabinet Office Oral Parliamentary Questions on 21st October, Mr Pincher asked for an update on the work being done to target the remaining 4 out of every 100 entries. Jon Penrose MP, The Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury reassured me that by the end of this year, unverified entries will have been contacted at least 9 times, including letters, emails and personal visits. The chances of these remaining entries being real people rather than ghosts is vanishingly small.

For those who are eligible but have not yet signed up with IER, online registration means that registering to vote is now easier than ever before. The process takes around 3 minutes and 77 per cent of all applications have been made online since the service was launched. Online registration is particularly popular among some groups who are typically under-registered, such as young people.

These changes bring us into line with all other modern democracies and will ensure the highest standards of integrity at future elections.


I agree that supported accommodation plays a vital role in the lives of many vulnerable people, including those suffering from severe mental illness, and I can assure you that the Government remains committed to building a long-term, sustainable and developing future for the sector.

The changes to Housing Benefit announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement involve aligning the rules for claimants in the social sector with those for claimants renting privately. This means extending the Local Housing Allowance rules, which limit the amount of rent which Housing Benefit will cover, to the social sector. Let me assure you, however, that the Government recognises the importance of ensuring those who are providing supported accommodation to some of the most vulnerable members of our society receive appropriate protections. That is why Government departments have been engaging closely with providers to better understand the issues faced by the supported housing sector, which is made up of an extremely wide variety of housing types.

As a result of these discussions, the Government has decided to delay any change in the sector's funding regime to 2019. From 2019 the Local Housing Allowance rules for Housing Benefit will apply to the supported housing sector, but this will not include the Shared Accommodation Rate, in recognition of the particular challenges this would have placed on tenants. To reflect the higher average costs of offering supported accommodation, which may go above the level of Local Housing Allowance, the Government will devolve 'top up' funding to local authorities (and to the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland). This will give local authorities an enhanced role in commissioning supported housing, and allow them to take a more coherent approach to planning for housing needs in their area.

The Government will shortly launch a consultation on developing the details of this new funding model for the supported housing sector. I welcome the considered approach the Government has taken on this issue, and hope that providers will continue to engage with the Government to ensure the new model is effective and appropriate.


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