TIM LOUGHTON: Busy week after the final spring budget

Tim Loughton at the WASPI demonstration
Tim Loughton at the WASPI demonstration

Last week started with a trip to the Department for Communities & Local Government where I took a delegation from Adur, including councillor Neil Parkin, to see Minister Marcus Jones on the subject of the New Homes Bonus.

Adur stands to lose out as one of the smallest authorities in the country because the threshold for housebuilding numbers before qualifying for extra funding has been raised.

We know we have huge pressure to build new houses but vanishingly little space left to build them and we made a forceful case to the Minister why he should think again and treat us more fairly.

On Tuesday I marked the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese invaders in my capacity as chairman of the All Party Tibet Group.

We held our annual ceremony at the Victims Memorial outside Westminster Abbey and with colleagues laid a wreath in memory of those who have lost their lives fighting oppression by the Chinese.

Wednesday was of course dominated by Philip Hammond’s first and last spring budget, as it is to be moved to the Autumn in future.

They were plenty of good things about upgraded growth forecasts, additional money for adult social care, substantial investment in skills training and high-tech interests.

However the headlines are about controversial increases in national insurance for the 15 per cent of the workforce who are self-employed, who work hard and take risks, and I know that will not go down well.

Doing their best to drown out the Chancellor outside the Commons, several thousand WASPI women are lobbying Parliament to get fairer transitional funding for those women born in the 1950s losing out of state pension changes, including over 2,000 in my constituency.

I have supported their cause all along and continue to press the Government to right this injustice and it is good to get a cheer when I address the crowd but I share their intense frustration that this is taking so long.

Back to Southwick for a packed surgery on Thursday and to speak to a delegation of parents from Swiss Gardens School who have lost out on getting their children to Shoreham Academy by some extraordinary change to the school allocation formula.

Together with local councillors we are on the case as this is affecting a lot of Shoreham pupils.

Early start on Friday for a business breakfast at Shoreham Airport organised by ETI boss Peter Webb.

It is good to test the waters on business reaction to the budget and as expected the NIC changes have not gone down well.

I think this one will run and run!

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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