November update from Priti Patel MP

This month in Witham I held an Advice and Information Fair, which was attended by hundreds of local residents and supported by forty different organisations, clubs and groups and Witham Public Hall. Residents were able to receive advice, information and help, sign up to new clubs and volunteering opportunities and receive free blood pressure checks. There were also opportunities to keep fit with walking football demonstrations, learn about fire safety from the Fire Service and crime prevention from the Police.

I was also pleased to bake cakes for a cake sale to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

The full list of the organisations at the Fair and their contact details is available here and anyone who was not able to attend the Fair can still get in touch with them.

In recent weeks I have been visiting a number of fantastic local businesses in and around the Witham constituency. I recently had the privilege of opening the newly refurbished McDonalds in Stanway, attended the launch of the new training academy set up by GLA Roofing in Colchester to train the next generation of roofers, tilers and salters and open a new beauty academy.

I have also toured a number of business in Witham Town with the Chamber of Commerce, including the newly opened Cannon BMW on Critall Road, which is the largest BMW Motorrad retailer in the south, the new Valero Lounge restaurant on the former HSBC site and the new Anytime Fitness Gym. I also popped into the fantastic Tea Rooms on Newland Street who have been trading in the Town for over three years. We have some great local businesses on our doorsteps who we can support.

In advance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget I made a series of representations to the Government to call for investment in local services including funding for Essex Police to help them boost frontline policing. I also spoke in a debate on the importance of Essex to the national economy and the need for investment in infrastructure and for the tax burden to be lowered on families and businesses.

I was therefore pleased to see support announced in the Budget for businesses with business rates bills for some firms set to fall by one-third and the increase in the basic rate and higher rate personal allowances meaning people can keep more of what they earn. But during the debate on the Budget, I spoke in the House of Commons to press the Government to go further on simplifying the tax system, lowering the tax burden further, supporting businesses through more devolution and localised budgets, and investment in key infrastructure.

As well as speaking up for local businesses and public services in Parliament, I have been backing our farmers. During the debate on the Agricultural Bill I was pleased to highlight the amazing food producers we have in his part of Essex and how the Government can do more when we leave the EU to help them thrive and flourish. Our food is among the best in the world and I want to see new opportunities for our farmers and producers to export globally. This debate followed the recent visit to Tiptree at my invitation of the Environment Secretary where discussions took place on agriculture with local farmers and food producers.

I have been pleased to see a number of schools supporting my annual Christmas Card competition entries coming back to me from some very talented young artists. I will be judging the competition shortly and the winner entry along with other top entries will feature on my Christmas Card next month.

I am in regular contact with our local schools supporting them to raise standards and have organised meetings with schools, Essex County Council and the Schools Minister over how more can be done to support children with special needs, reduce permanent expulsions and increase opportunities for your people. I have also supported a campaign from the Oliver King Foundation to bring lifesaving defibrillators to every school in the country, presenting a defibrillator to Elm Hall Primary School and was delighted to visit Thurstable School to celebrate their success in securing funding from the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund for the school’s goalpost replacement project.

Following concerns raised about the proposals for a Gypsy and Traveller site at Drakes Lane just outside of the constituency, I have held a public meeting with residents and businesses and am holding Chelmsford City Council to account over this matter. In Tiptree I have been continuing to support residents opposed to the planning application for 200 dwellings off of Barbrook Lane and am working with residents in Kelvedon and Hatfield Peverel who have concerns about developments planned for those villages. Bellway have also recently announced their plans for a 78 dwelling development on land off of River View and I am in contact with local residents and Witham Town Council to ensure that local concerns with these applications are raised with Braintree District Council. In addition to these planning applications, I am continuing to liaise with residents over the future of the Rivenhall Incinerator and am extremely disappointed to see the latest environmental permit application be submitted as the promoter of the scheme seeks to secure a permit which matches their planning consent.

As well as these planning and environmental permit applications, I have raised garden settlement proposals in Parliament and questioned the Housing Minister.

On major infrastructure projects, I have been continuing to press for a commitment from the Government to invest in the A120 dualling scheme and for progress to be made on the A12 widening scheme. Securing improvements and repairs to local roads is a priority for me and I was delighted that after campaigning for some time for Anchor Road to be resurfaced Essex County Council have agreed to undertake this work next year.

I have also chaired a meeting with stakeholders on delivering improvements to rail services. Securing upgrades to our rail infrastructure is a priority I am leading work across the region to make the case for more investment. To find out more about the rail industry, I have taken part in the Rail Industry Association’s Fellowship Programme, which involved visiting the Bombardier site in Romford.

I continue to stand up for Brexit because I do not believe that the Government’s plan for our post-Brexit relationship with the EU – the Chequers proposals – fully respects the Referendum result.

Both the Chequers proposals and the plans put forward by the EU keep too many of our laws under the control of Brussels and would allow the European Commission and their unaccountable and unelected officials and institutions to continue to dictate how our country should be run and a cost to UK taxpayers. This attempt to undermine our democracy and fail to deliver Brexit is wrong. The EU has already made it clear that they reject the Chequers proposals and want to exercise more control over our country.

This is why I am standing up for Brexit and am calling for the Government and Parliament to respect the Referendum result. Britain has a bright future free from the EU. You can join the StanUp4Brexit campaign by registering at:

As well as working on national and local issues, I had the privilege of visiting the phenomenal 16 Air Assault Brigade at the Colchester Garrison and meeting our brave service personnel as part of the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme which I have joined this year. As we approach Remembrance Sunday and the Centenary of the Armistice which brought the fighting in World War 1 to an end we should reflect on the courage, bravery and sacrifice of all of those who have serve in our Armed Forces.

Please do get in touch about the features in my e-newsletter or if I can assist with any other matter.

With warmest regards,
Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP
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