February 13 2020
North Devon is 620th out of the 650 constituencies in the UK for broadband speed. This is not good enough and is why I made this issue central to my maiden speech, which I delivered in the House of Commons last Monday, 3rd February.
In my speech I highlighted what is great about North Devon, why I am proud to call it home, and some of the challenges we face being a rural constituency. The key issues being broadband speeds and connectivity, and these need to improve to keep North Devon growing and thriving.
This was reiterated to me during my meeting with the Barnstaple Federation of Small Business last Friday. For businesses across many sectors, ensuring we have sustainable, guaranteed speeds is vital for transactions and communications to work efficiently. This is why I have met with Openreach this week to press the issue and improve our connectivity. North Devon should not get left behind when it comes to infrastructure development, and I will fight to ensure we get the investment we deserve.
I gave my speech during the debate on the Agriculture Bill to highlight the importance this legislation will have for many people in our constituency. With farming being at the heart of the rural economy, it is vital we get this Bill right so that it supports farmers and their families, provides food security for our country and protects our environment for future generations.
I met with local famers and representatives of the NFU last Friday at a farm in Kings Heanton. I learnt about the challenges facing farming communities. I listened to the concerns they have surrounding payments and the agricultural transition we are entering now we have left the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. They welcomed much of what the Bill had to offer and I am looking forward to working closely with them and using their expertise to make sure North Devon farming has a sustainable future.
I will always champion our farmers. For generations they have acted as stewards of our countryside and they understand how best to manage it. I also support their call for further innovation in farming technology and rural capital infrastructure, making farming more efficient and a sustainable career choice for young farmers.
If you would like to see my maiden speech in full, I have posted it to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SelaineSaxbyMP), and if you want to keep up with what I am doing as your MP, each month I send out an e-newsletter straight to your inbox with updates from both Westminster and North Devon. I encourage you to sign up for it at www.selainesaxby.org.uk, where you can also read news articles and fill in a survey, telling me about what matters most to you.
January 30 2020
Tomorrow, January 31st 2020, at 11.01pm the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will have left the European Union and this country will be on a new path of independence.
The road to get to this point has been rocky, but with perseverance and a willingness to deliver on what the majority of this country voted for, democracy has prevailed. I am pleased that by finally getting here, we can now focus on the other issues that affect us all.
Climate change and how we go about tackling the climate emergency is one these key issues.
Last week, I met with 3 students from Fridays For Future Barnstaple, and Green Party District Councillor, Robbie Mack, to discuss the Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and what schools, the council and individuals can do to play their part too. It was inspiring to see the passion the students have for keeping the pressure on government to stand by its commitment and to bringing the date forward and getting there sooner if possible. I want to reach net-zero as soon as possible and I will do all I can through working with government, and the local authorities in achieving that.
On a local level, one way of reducing our carbon footprint is through robust and smart local planning, improving public transport and building energy efficient homes. North Devon District Council is looking for your opinions on its master plans for both Barnstaple and Ilfracombe Harbour with a public consultation.
You can have a say on the future of our town’s high streets and seafronts, just head to www.northdevon.gov.uk/council/consultation to find out more.
This level of public engagement is vital for the council to provide residents with the town they want and encouraging people back into the town centres, while also supporting local businesses and securing jobs.
This future planning goes hand-in-hand with the announcement the government made this week on business rates for pubs. Pubs are due to get a £1000 discount on business rates which will hopefully be welcomed. For many villages in North Devon, the pub is the heart of the community, playing a number of roles: from being a community centre or village shop, to even a polling station, as well as somewhere you can get a pint.
During my street surgery in Barnstaple last weekend, issues like business rates and improving local infrastructure came up again and again, and so I am glad the Government is already tackling the issues that people care about the most.
I love hearing what matters most to you, it tells me where I can focus my attention in Parliament. I try my best to get to see as many people as I can, however, I will never get to everyone, so this week I have published a short survey on my website www.selainesaxby.org.uk, where you can tell me what matters most to you. By taking a few minutes to fill it in I get to hear more of your voices, which allows me the ability to better represent you.
You can also sign up to my monthly e-newsletters where I update subscribers with the key stories of the last month from Westminster and North Devon. I am here to serve you and be your representative, so please get in touch if there is ever anything I can do to help: firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 16 2020
As North Devon’s new Member of Parliament, I would like to start by saying thank you to all of you who put your faith in me in last month’s general election and voted for me to be your representative in Westminster. It has been a privilege to come to London, sit on the famous green benches and make sure this government delivers for the people of North Devon, which I am pleased to say it already has.
During the election campaign, my number one priority was to Get Brexit Done and we have already passed the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which means we will be leaving the European Union at 11pm on the 31st January.
I am delighted that we have finally been able to give the people of North Devon what they voted for back in 2016. This majority government and I are committed getting the best deal for Britain going forward and we can now look to a bright future outside of the EU.
It also means we are able to focus more attention back on to the day-to-day issues that we all face, which I have already started working hard on. This week I have met with ministers to discuss the future development of RMB Chivenor; the challenges facing farmers regarding direct payments as we transition out of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy; and improving broadband across North Devon, which was a concern again raised with me several times whilst I was enjoying the Brayford Farmers Market last weekend.
I want to make sure I raise with ministers the things that matter most to you, so please get in touch. I am still in the process of setting up the offices in Barnstaple and Westminster but if you have any concerns please email me: email@example.com, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.