Kev's Column: Queen's Speech

Every fortnight I write a “Kev’s Column” for the Herald Express and you can read the latest edition (Published on Wednesday 16th October 2019) below:

Queen’s Speech

Parliament was prorogued last week ahead of the Queen’s Speech on Monday.

The Queen’s Speech is a wonderful state occasion and well worth watching on the TV, although I was not the Government Whip held hostage at Buckingham Palace as an insurance for the Monarch’s safe return from parliament under a centuries old custom!!

The Queen’s Speech saw a range of measures announced which will be welcome here in the bay, not least the fact parliament will not just be focussed on one issue. These include proposed new laws on Patient Safety, a major new Environment Bill and the continuation of debate on proposals to help victims of Domestic Abuse.

This wide-ranging program will make a positive difference in our bay, especially combined with recent funding boosts for our Police, Hospital and Regeneration.

Saturday Sitting

The House of Commons is expected to sit this Saturday, the first such sitting for over 35 years.

Many were sceptical the Prime Minister could get the EU to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement, yet they have. The same pundits then predicted Ireland would not be open to any changes to the backstop, but now they are.

Now the same pundits are predicting Boris will not get the support of a majority in parliament to get Brexit Done. Yet there are signs many MPs are now ready to back his proposal if the EU agrees it.

After three years of arguing and many Groundhog Day debates where the same people, give the same speech, on the same subject, I believe we must decide and get Brexit done on 31st October 2019.

School Funding Boost

The Government has announced a major funding boost for Torbay Schools.

Schools in Torbay will receive (on average) 5.13% more funding per pupil next year as part of the Government’s recent multi-billion investment in primary and secondary education. This compares to 4.86% in Devon and 4.16% across England as a whole.

The total provisional funding for Torbay Schools in 2020-21 will be £81,311,648.

Stadium Plan Dumped

It came as little surprise to those who know the site well to hear Torquay United has abandoned plans to build a new Stadium on Nightingale Park, formerly known as Barton Tip.

Nightingale Park was not developed as part of the Willows estate due to the issues with its former use. It has now become a green space for residents and home to a range of local wildlife.

Plainmoor Stadium is the Club’s historic home, but like many Gulls Fans I accept a more modern stadium with conference and other non-match day facilities could help create a sustainable revenue stream for the club and be a boost for the bay’s economy. Yet any such proposal must be based on realistic business and construction plans.

Surgery Times

My next surgeries will be on Saturday 2nd November from 11am till 1pm at The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, TQ2 8ET and Friday 8th November from 3pm till 5pm at Paignton Library, Gt Western Road, TQ4 5AG.

Just call 01803 214 989 or e-mail me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com to book a slot. You can drop in, but appointments are recommended to avoid a long wait or disappointment. My team also run drop in surgery sessions Mon to Friday 10am -1pm at 5-7 East St, Torquay, TQ2 5SD.