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Tim Loughton's Parliamentary Newsletter
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Newsletter - June & July 2016
 
Dear Constituent

Firstly my apologies that you are receiving my June newsletter late and I have combined this with July events to date. As I explained in my Herald column the last few weeks have been frantic and I have been playing catch up ever since the end of the Referendum campaign. As you know, I threw myself into the Vote Leave campaign and was therefore very pleased with the result though I appreciate that the historic decision to come out of the European Union has raised a number of concerns with the large minority of the population who voted to Remain.

Just as I posted my reasons for backing the Leave campaign on my website, I have written subsequently there about the ‘fallout’ from the decision and the need to bring the country together in navigating the challenging months and years ahead. Not surprisingly, I have received a great many emails from constituents unhappy with the result and I have included my reasons for rejecting calls for a second referendum in my write-ups and am working through personal replies to people who have raised specific queries beyond the usual 38 Degrees lobbying circulars.

With the resignation of David Cameron after the Referendum result, I was very involved with the leadership contest to succeed him and took on the role of the campaign manager for my long standing friend, Andrea Leadsom, who decided to stand at the last minute. With little time to prepare a campaign, we managed to secure the votes of 84 Conservative MPs for Andrea, who then went through to the final ballot to elect the person to become our next Prime Minister against Theresa May. Subsequently, after a sustained campaign of often quite vitriolic attacks against her, Andrea decided that an extended period of this would prove very unsettling for our Party and the country as a whole, particularly at a time when we needed to plug the uncertainty caused by the Referendum vote. Consequently, she decided to step aside and accelerate the process by which Theresa May has now become our new Prime Minister.

Andrea took a very principled decision to withdraw and leave the way clear for Theresa May to become our new Prime Minister. I am glad that she now has an important place in the Cabinet, as Secretary of State for Environment. I am also pleased that the new government has moved very swiftly to restore stability and get on with the important job of achieving our withdrawal from the EU, as the verdict of the people in the Referendum demanded. After an intensive leadership campaign and very little sleep, I am pleased to report that things have returned to normal and I have now caught up with the backlog of emails. I can now put together this ‘bumper’ edition of my newsletter. I am sorry for the length, particularly if you are printing it off.

Given that Parliament will be entering into the summer recess this Friday, I will not produce my next newsletter until the beginning of September when Parliament returns. I will be taking two weeks away over the summer but my Parliamentary office will be manned for most of the period as usual and we will be responding to emails.

I will be holding my next constituency surgery on August 5th in Lancing and will be away for the regular street surgeries in August though our local councillors will be manning the fort as usual.
 
Best wishes
 
 
Tim Loughton MP
Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham
Surgery Dates

I will not be able to attend on 13th August and 20th August, however councillors will be present.

Advice Surgery 
(To book an appointment, call: 01273 757 182 or email: loughtont@parliament.uk)

Friday 5 August - Lancing

17:00 - 19:00
 

Southwick Street Surgery

Southwick Square

Saturday 6 August

10:00 - 12:00

Shoreham Street Surgery (Councillors only)

Shoreham Farmers' Market

Saturday 13 August 2016

10:00 - 12:00

Lancing Street Surgery (Councillors only)

Lancing Family Centre

Saturday 20 August 2016

10:00 - 12:00

Worthing Street Surgery (Councillors only)

Worthing Town Centre

Saturday 20 August 2016

12:15pm - 14:00

In Westminster
Statement on the result of the EU Referendum
 
The events immediately following the result of the EU referendum were momentous and will shape the future of our country for years to come. Against all the odds and certainly against expectations of the government and the markets the British people decided that, after 43 years as a member of the EU, it was no longer for us. I hear that message and respect and agree with that decision, and the Government must too. In my constituency, the margin of the vote to Leave was higher than the national figure at around 55%-45%. With a turnout of 72% of the British public, which was the highest in a UK-wide election since 1992, 17,410,742 people voting Leave – the biggest vote in British history for anything – and with all the regions of the UK voting to ‘Leave’ outside London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was a solid endorsement. Regardless of your position on the Leave/Remain question, this was certainly a victory for democracy and I hope that this level of engagement on important political issues can be maintained in the future.

Having campaigned for the ‘Leave’ side and made my views clear in a series of articles, podcasts and public meetings around the constituency, I obviously welcomed the result though I was not confident of which way the vote would go, as it was too close to call. I also appreciate that almost half of those voting wanted a different result and there is work to be done to bring the country together again as we face the new challenges of the UK’s role outside the EU. There will be concerns amongst many about how the future pans out for our country and undoubtedly there will be a period of uncertainty. Nobody ever said that a vote to ‘Leave’ would be easy but it is incumbent on the Government now to set out their commitment to an orderly withdrawal from the EU and to dispel that uncertainty as promptly as possible.

I have heard complaints from some that the ‘Leave’ side have not set out their plans and started invoking the withdrawal process. However, it must be remembered, the ‘Leave’ campaigners were not a government in waiting. They were simply a group of campaigners from all parties, including a minority of ministers, who came together to articulate the cause for leaving the EU. The referendum we have just held was not a ‘consultation’ with the people, it was an ‘instruction’ from the people. It is now up to the Government and the new Prime Minister to carry out that instruction in the best interests of all the people of the UK.

As I said several times during this campaign, the level of debate on both sides could have been much better and not surprisingly there are recriminations now about who said what about what to whom. However I also made clear, whatever the result, how imperative it was that each side accepted the democratic choice of the people and made the most of it and moved on. Democracy is democracy and it cannot be rejected selectively just because some people do not like the answer and now selectively challenge some of the arguments put forward. I therefore take strong exception to those people who are now claiming that the referendum was in some way not fair and that it should be re-run or its decision simply ignored by Parliament.

That is a gross insult to the many millions of people who came out to vote to ‘Leave’ and did so with a strong and genuine belief. In some cases people turned out to vote who had not voted in a national election for many years, if at all. If would be a betrayal of their belief in democracy if we effectively tell them that their vote and their view counted less than other people’s and can be ignored. I am afraid that is just the sort of attitude which has characterised the views of many of the EU as a remote institution deaf to the concerns of ordinary people. In the case of previous votes by Denmark and Ireland the EU refused to accept the result of referendums and effectively demanded the people vote again until they came up with the ‘right’ answer. The Prime Minister has made clear that will not be happening in the UK, in her own words: “Brexit means Brexit.”

Some have also queried whether the decision on Europe should be decided by a referendum rather than left up to MPs. Strangely only one constituent made this case to me before the result. It is worth considering that when we voted to stay in the then EEC in 1975 it was as a result of a referendum. Forty-one years on it is absolutely right that again such an important constitutional matter should be decided by the people, as it has more recently on arguably lesser matters such as independence for Scotland and the nature of the voting system. I have long favoured a referendum to decide our future in or out of Europe and I praise the David Cameron for bravely giving that power to the British people in a referendum, where my vote and his vote counted no more or less than any of our constituents; admittedly, he may be regretting his decision now but it was the right thing to do. The UK has had an uneasy relationship with the EU for many years. Either way, it was absolutely imperative to resolve the issue and settle the uncertainty once and for all so we could move on one way or another. That has now been done and there is no turning back.

I regret that David Cameron decided to step down but I fully respect his reasoning for doing so. I was very involved with the subsequent leadership contest to succeed him and became the campaign manager for my long standing friend, Andrea Leadsom, who decided to stand at the last minute. With little time to prepare a campaign, we managed to secure the votes of 84 Conservative MPs for Andrea, who then went through to the final ballot to elect the person to become our next Prime Minister against Theresa May. After a sustained campaign of often quite vitriolic attacks against her, Andrea decided that an extended period of this would prove very unsettling for our Party and the country as a whole, particularly at a time when we needed to plug the uncertainty caused by the Referendum vote. Consequently, she decided to step aside and accelerate the process by which Theresa May has now become our new Prime Minister.
 
The smooth transfer of power from David Cameron to Theresa May was ruthlessly swift, but has ensured we now have certainty and stability of leadership going forward into Brexit negotiations. With this in mind, the Prime Minister has said that holding a general election would cause unnecessary uncertainty at this time. This is a decision I agree with, as it is not without precedent, indeed it is very similar to when John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and Gordon Brown from Tony Blair in 2008. In addition we now have the ‘Fixed Terms Parliament’ Act which dictates that the next election will not take place until May 2020 unless it is overturned with a majority of over two thirds of the Commons.

The Prime Minister has carried out a comprehensive Cabinet ‘re-shuffle’, including establishing two new government appointments to focus Britain’s exit from the EU, i.e. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (David Davis) and Secretary of State for International Trade, (Liam Fox), and appointing Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. These new appointments show that the Prime Minister is serious about delivering Brexit and is a promising start, particularly the focus on establishing new free trade deals. It is very encouraging to hear that the Prime Minters of Australia and New Zealand, as well as officials in China, India, Canada and even the United States, want to open up new trade deals with the UK, as will many other countries, something that we could not do bilaterally whilst members of the EU. I believe that many other new opportunities will rapidly emerge that will benefit British businesses and British people.

I am aware that many questions have been raised about exactly what will happen and in most cases they cannot be answered until the negotiations are underway. I will continue to post information on my website and as always will continue dialogue with constituents. However it is important to acknowledge that nothing will change for some time. People will still be able to travel freely around the EU, we will still be paying into the EU budget and will still be covered by all EU rules and regulations until our withdrawal is complete probably not until 2019. After that it will be up to us to decide which of those policies we retain or reject depending on the negotiation process. I fully appreciate that this process will not be easy and there will be a bumpy road ahead, but as I set out throughout the Referendum campaign I genuinely believe that the future for the UK outside of the EU is a much brighter one. It will not be long before we will be asking ourselves, ‘why on earth did we not do it sooner?’ As always if you have any specific questions I am always happy to help and you know how to get hold of me.
WASPI Lobby
 
Amazing turnout at WASPI campaign demo from an incredible group of women. I was delighted to attend the rally in my capacity as Co-Chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group for State Pension Inequality for Women. 

The APPG is seeking an early meeting with the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damain Green MP, and Pensions Minister, Richard Harrington MP. I will of course continue to update my website and social media with any developments. 

This issue is not going away - we fight on!
GTR Update
 
I am afraid to say that this this is not a positive update. The stand-off between Southern (GTR) and the Unions continues with no end in sight. Whilst the Department of Transport has not yet made any indication that it will strip GTR of the Southern franchise if its current abysmal service does not improve. 

On 8 June, MPs from across the House had a meeting with representatives from GTR. We took them to task for their dire performance. You can watch my summary of the meeting here: https://youtu.be/C3Qni8-XRcw.

A month after this meeting, colleagues and I met representatives from GTR, as well as from the RMT. Again the lack of urgency in sorting out this mess was concerning. You can watch my podcast here: https://youtu.be/zL0FZes4Neo. The most concerning aspect to come from this meeting was the lack of urgency in dealing with this industrial dispute. 

After two fairly useless meetings with both GTR and RMT, I organised a Westminster Hall debate, during which I attacked the performance of Southern Railway and challenged the then Rail Minister, Claire Perry, who has recently resigned, to set out a timetable for GTR to be stripped of its franchise if they did not rapidly improve their “appalling” service. The service provided by GTR, their lack of planning and their awful handling of the RMT strike has all culminated in this dreadful situation for my constituents, who are having their lives horrendously affected by constant delays and cancellations. I strongly believe that if they do not improve then they should have the franchise stripped from them

You can watch my full speech here: https://youtu.be/9aSAjcNqJIc

Alternatively, you can read the full debate here: https://goo.gl/CkbnyT

You can watch the full debate here: http://goo.gl/VGS72v

The new Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has written to colleagues whose constituents are affected by GTR's awful service. You can see the full letter here: http://www.timloughton.com/news/secretary-state-transport-southern-performance

You may also be interested in Transport Focus's new Travel Diary App, which is now live. The app will enable Transport Focus to capture and track passenger experiences of the Govia Thameslink Rail service during the current disruption resulting from Southern’s temporary timetable.  Passengers who want to feedback their experiences can download the app to complete a short two minute diary for every journey made.  

Transport Focus would also like to capture the journey even if an alternative train route or a different mode are used due to the temporary timetable. 

If you would like to take part, then you should email transportfocus@populus.co.uk.  The Populus research agency will then send a personal ID login and instructions on how to access the app.  

The app is easy to install.  It will enable you to complete a short questionnaire to log their usual train journey and time of travel.  Once this has been completed the diary can begin.  At the end of each journey, the app can be opened to fill in the diary. The diary can be entered off-line and will upload once an internet connection or WiFi are available.
 
I will continue to update my website - http://www.timloughton.com/campaigns/trainwatch - and will hopefully have a better update soon.
End to discrimination against guide dog owners

I met guide dog owners in the Houses of Parliament to hear about their experiences of being turned away by businesses, at an event hosted by the Guide Dogs charity.

Over 100 guide dog owners had travelled to Westminster from across the country to talk to their MPs about the discrimination they face in their daily lives.

I pledged my support to the charity’s Access All Areas campaign to ensure guide dog owners can carry out everyday activities such as travel by taxi or go to the local shops, without the risk of being turned away.

According to law, guide dog owners are allowed the same access to shops, restaurants and taxis as everyone else. Yet, all too often, guide dog owners are told that their dog is not welcome and not allowed in. In fact, three out of every four guide dog owners has been turned away from a taxi, business or service because of their dog.

I am supporting the charity’s call for disability equality training and for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.

MPs seek answers to Coperforma's patient transport service problems
 
Along with other Sussex MPs, I met senior management representatives from the seven Sussex CCGs and the Managing Director of Coperforma on 9 June to establish what is being done to improve patient transport services.

The meeting was productive and helpful. The CCG understands that as local MPs we are very concerned that the most vulnerable of our constituents are missing important operations or hospital appointments. They are also waiting for hours to return home from hospital. This has been very stressful and upsetting for patients and their families.

I continue to recieve numerous complaints from constituents who have suffered as a result of their transport failing to turn up on time, or at all, and drivers who do not appear to know where to transport their patients. As a result, constituents, many of whom are vulnerable and in pain and discomfort, have missed appointments and surgery. This has caused much distress. 

I was assured to hear that the CCG is urgently addressing the problems with Coperforma and that deadlines for service improvement are in place. They are also exploring alternative provision should Coperforma fail to meet their targets by the end of this month.  I believe this is essential. However, I stressed to the CCG that it is really important that they keep the public and local stakeholders informed of developments to assure them that urgent action is being taken.
Pledge to Count Armed Force Community In
 
I have declared my support for The Royal British Legion’s ‘Count Them In’ campaign, which calls for questions on the Armed Forces community to be included in the next UK Census.

It is estimated that there are currently between 6.5 million and 6.7 million members of the Armed Forces community living in the UK, representing about a tenth of the population. However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group. Including new questions on the next census would provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community. 

It was a pleasure to meet with members of the Armed Forces community who, along with their families, make huge sacrifices in the service of our country. I also enjoyed meeting staff from The Royal British Legion and hearing more about their Count Them In campaign.

I was very disappointed to learn that we currently know more about the UK’s Jedi community than we do about our Armed Forces. It cannot be right that our Servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that’s why I’m backing the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census.

We count on them – let’s count them in.
Coram
 
I was delighted to host a reception in Parliament for Coram, which is one of the country’s oldest children’s charities. They brought one of their Life Education mobile classrooms along with the team that travels round schools giving healthy living classes for pupils about substance misuse, obesity, bullying.

You can find out more about them at: http://www.coram.org.uk/
Home Affairs Select Committee

The Home Affairs Select Committee, which I sit on, has has been particularly busy recently and we have produced the following reports since my last newsletter
  • Prostitution
  • College of Policing: three years on
  • Proceeds of crime
  • The work of the Immigration Directorates
All of which you can read here: http://goo.gl/WRMtFx

In the recent report on the Immigration Directorate we addressed concerns about people traffickers plying their trade across the Channel in small boats and there have been a number of examples of this in some of the smaller Kent and Sussex ports in particular.

This is obviously of concern to constituents in Adur and Worthing and I have directly tackled the Home Secretary to make sure that Border Force have the resources to take this threat seriously as we are on the ‘frontline.’
Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill
 
I have re-presented my Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill to the House in the hope that it will be able to secure more substantial parliamentary time than my previous attempt. 

The Bill is worded exactly the same as the previous Bill, i.e. That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to provide that opposite sex couples may enter into a civil partnership; and for connected purposes.

It is an odd inequality left behind after the introduction of Same Sex Marriage and I believe it is now time that we allow opposite-sex couples exactly the same rights as same-sex couples. If we all now accept that one should be able to marry whomever they wish regardless of gender, then why should the same not stand for those wishing to enter into civil partnerships.
In East Worthing and Shoreham
Tobacco sting
 
Alarmingly easy to buy counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes in Worthing with former detective chief inspector for Scotland Yard, Will O’Reilly, and his undercover unit, who investigate businesses across the country that sell a number of fake tobacco-based substances and contraband.

You can read the full Herald story here: http://goo.gl/PC2GNJ
Blessing the Boats
 
This year’s Blessing of the Boats service on Lancing Beach Green was particularly poignant as it was the last to be carried out by Father Barry Carter, who has been in post for over 23 years.

He is now moving to Bexhill for a well-deserved retirement – we wish Barry well and thank him for all he has done for Lancing over many years.
West Sussex County Council carries out safety review of bus stops on major roads

West Sussex County Council has carried out a safety review of all bus stops on two major roads. Officers reviewed the dual carriageway sections of the A24 between Findon and Horsham and the A264 between Horsham and Crawley.  This followed an incident on the A24 in January 2016, when a van collided with a bus that stopped to pick up passengers in Washington, injuring nine people.
 
There have been bus stops on the dual carriageway sections of the A24 and A264 for many years, some of which do not have laybys. This means that buses are forced to stop on the inside lane. 
 
The safety review concluded, given today’s traffic conditions, these bus stops are a road safety risk.
The County Council has taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all those stops on the A24 and the A264 where buses have to stop on the inside lane. 

They will shortly be publicising a consultation to determine the effect of the suspension on bus users.
Adur Ferry Bridge
 
Last week I was asked to appear as a witness in front of Adur Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee looking into the continued delays on completing the Ferry Road landscaping at the south end of the bridge and what is happening about the damaged panels on the bridge itself.

I have held a number of meetings about this and I have also been critical of the local county councillor, who has been responsible for objecting to some of the traffic regulation orders, which need to be passed before the work can be approved.

The minutes from this packed meeting will shortly be available on ADC’s website but hopefully the work will be resumed in September and carried out over the autumn and winter months to minimise the impact on local traders.

As regards the broken glass panels, it now turns out that in most cases the damage has been as a result of vandalism, which is very worrying. After a roundtable meeting with County Councillors and council officers, police and me, West Sussex have now succeeded in sourcing replacement panels from an alternative supplier as the price had been increased substantially and these should be fitted soon. The scruffy plastic which had encased the broken panels has been tidied up and two outbreaks of graffiti cleaned up too.

New CCTV warning signs have been added and an upgraded CCTV system to cover the whole bridge in more detail is now being looked at. The police and I made suggestions about ensuring cameras covered everyone coming on and off the bridge so suspected vandals could be identified. From the existing camera the police have in fact arrested a number of people and investigations are ongoing but it is essential that everyone keeps an eye out for these mindless criminals and any incidents or suspicions are reported to police.

 
Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls scheme

The Environment Agency have announced that construction of the Adur flood defence scheme is about to start.
 
The first activities will be to establish site compounds at Beach Green car park, Riverside car park and the recreation ground, starting in August. Works will then start on the east bank running from north of the railway line to the toll bridge. Shortly after this, they will start construction at Riverside car park and the recreation ground. they are already reptile trapping at the airport and Riverside car park.
 
They will be sending out a newsletter to all residents. There will be a dedicated website to present most of the scheme information, as well as a visitor centre at the Beach Green car park compound to provide information on the project to the community.
New PCSO role introduced to proactively problem solve and tackle local issues
 
PCSOs equipped with enhanced powers and skills, are started their new role on Monday, 4 July.
 
With new skills and powers to deal with a wide range of local problems, they can act to resolve issues such as alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour from their very first day in the new role.
 
Assistant Chief Constable Laurence Taylor said: “The PCSO role has evolved since it was introduced 13 years ago with the specific aim to be visible in the community; and they will continue to conduct patrols. However these patrols will be targeted to areas where they know they can make a difference. They will be helping prevent crimes such as burglary and anti-social behaviour and complete tasks in ways that are proven to reduce crime and keep people safe.”
 
They will be an integral part of larger teams solving local problems, carrying out basic investigations, working alongside partners and directly with witnesses and victims to respond to community issues. Making use of mobile technology, PCSOs will access information whilst out in the community.
 
The flexible nature of their new role means they can work when and where they are needed, logging on remotely, as well as working from police and shared premises.
 
“Accessibility is important to me,” said ACC Taylor. “It’s important that communities can speak to their PCSOs and police officers when they need them or if they have information to pass on. Now they will have a team to access rather than one individual. Every area within Sussex will have a team to contact – by phone, email or via the web.
 
“Should there be a need, supervisory officers will have autonomy to move PCSOs to the places where they are needed most. These are in addition to our 999 response and investigations teams. This means all areas in Sussex will have access to a full range of force, regional and national policing services.
 
“Whilst our newly recruited PCSOs complete their training, teams will be supported by constables within local teams and, in some areas, new police constables who will be out training in the community. 
 
ACC Taylor said: “The new role of the PCSO has been specifically developed in line with changing demands in policing and reshaping our service to make it as effective as possible to meet the needs of the local community.
 
“Sussex Police faces the challenge of operating with new demands against a shrinking budget, however, the force is determined to make policing services more effective, rather than less so.
 
“PCSOs, who are supported by constables with enforcement capabilities, are one of a number of layers of policing that work to prevent, respond to and investigate crime.
 
“The new policing model for Sussex is focused on protecting vulnerable people and catching criminals. We will always be there when people need us.”
Send My Friends to School
 
I was delighted to visit Worthing High School and Eastbrook Primary School to see the work students have been doing on the Send My Friend to School campaign.
 
I presented the students’ artwork to the new Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel MP, and she was very impressed.

You can find out more about the campaign here: http://www.sendmyfriend.org/
Outstanding Seaside School

It was good to catch up with the Head and Chair of Governors at Lancing’s Seaside School last Friday and see what a great job they have made of the new buildings to expand school numbers.

They are also applying to become an academy and linking up with other local schools to promote this and extend their reach beyond just south Lancing.

I got to try the new obstacle course in the revamped playground and see the fantastic mud pie kitchen after handing off some books for the school library courtesy of the Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge 2016.
Adur In Action: A Portrait of Voluntary & Community Life

Adur in Action

This is a 15min lottery funded film profiling voluntary and community groups in the Adur district, West Sussex. 

It was written and introduced by local organisation Company Paradiso, and produced by Adur Voluntary Action with funding from the National Lottery Awards for All scheme.
 
I hope it encourages you, if you have the time, to get out and volunteer in your local area.

It is a really great portrait of Adur’s community and voluntary groups, I hope you enjoy!

You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/6lcRPJLwfxI

For more info, visit: www.adurva.org
Email adrian@adurvag.org

Queen's Birthday events
 
The celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday across the patch. I was pleased to open the Adur East Lions donkey derby in Buckingham Park where the star acts were not put off by the decidedly soft going.

A special service and BBQ went ahead at St Peter’s Sompting and a very hardy bunch of locals braved the rain to sing along to some all-time patriotic numbers courtesy of the Tony Strudwicke Band and Jayne Strudwicke who organised the royal picnic on Beach Green.

I ended the day at a really fascinating talk on the history of silent film with its strong local connections organised as the closing event of the highly successful Worthing WOW festival which now looks like becoming an annual event thanks to the hard work of Melody Bridges and her team.

Summer Reading Challenge 2016
 

I am delighted to be supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge - the UK’s largest reading for pleasure promotion.

Research shows that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background,  and that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers.  The Challenge builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s reading levels during the long break from school. 

The Summer Reading Challenge is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK which last year got over 780,000 children borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.

It has a new theme each year and in 2016 the Summer Reading Challenge is delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller. The Big Friendly Read will feature some of Roald Dahl's best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It will encourage reading on a giant scale. 

To take part, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library. They’ll receive a special collector’s folder and as they borrow and read at least six library books over the summer, they can collect six special cards to complete it. The cards all feature original Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship.

I hope parents, grandparents and carers in East Worthing and Shoreham will take their children to the library over the summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.  It’s free, inclusive and, most importantly, makes reading fun.  Last year 13,145 children in West Sussex took part. I hope we can increase that number this year and remind local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.

Children can use the special website bigfriendlyread.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 500,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.  

Families, libraries and schools can also download a free mobile app sol.us/read which will use the original Quentin Blake illustrations to trigger audio clips, including rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud, and unlock game content.  

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages.  For pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge and for young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part.  Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 9,000 young people across the UK volunteered. Young volunteers will be helping with the Challenge as part of Reading Hack, the young people’s programme from The Reading Agency.  

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved and resources for schools, go towww.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge 

Follow the Summer Reading Challenge at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK  

Shoreham & Southwick Rotary Club Arts & Crafts Fair

The opening of the Shoreham & Southwick Rotary Club's Grand Charity Art and Craft Fair will take place at 10:00am on 8 October 2016 in the Shoreham Centre. I am delighted to say that I will be opening the event. 

The fair is in aid of Adur Special Needs Project, our local Adur childrens charity doing so much good work in helping disabled and dis advantaged 5—15 year olds withrespite and summer play schemes so valuable to both the children and their carers.
Innovation from British Gas – HomeEnergy FreeTime
 
British Gas have announced the following:

HomeEnergy FreeTime will give British Gas customers even more control over their energy.
 
FreeTime is British Gas’ first smart Time of Use’ tariff, giving smart meter customers the option of free electricity between 9am-5pm on either Saturdays or Sundays.  It’s made possible by the scale of our smart meter roll-out where we now have nearly 3 million smart meters installed in homes and businesses across Britain.
 
The FreeTime tariff was launched last weekend after several years of trials with over 4,000 households. The trials have shown that customers saved an average of £60 on their annual bill by shifting their energy use to different times, by saving tasks like laundry for when electricity is free.
 
This is the first of many smart meter innovations from British Gas and an exciting next step in the smart meter roll-out and our smart energy future.  It’s just one of the ways we are shaping the energy market with new propositions for our customers that help them better understand and control their bills.
I Am Team GB: the nation's biggest ever sports day, Saturday 27th August 2016
  
I Am Team GB, a partnership between The National Lottery and ITV, STV and UTV, has now launched and these are the details of how people and sports clubs can be part of the nation’s biggest ever sports day on Saturday 27th August.
 
Thousands of clubs across the UK will open their doors to allow the nation to take part in a wide range of grassroots sports and activities free of charge. In an unprecedented move, ITV, STV and UTV will switch off their channels for an hour to inspire people to get involved, get active and be part of a huge celebration of the support the public gives Team GB’s athletes by playing The National Lottery. 

British Olympians returning from Rio will be joined by famous faces from ITV, to celebrate Team GB's success.

I Am Team GB is brought to you by ITV and The National Lottery, working with the British Olympic Association, UK Sport, and supported by Join In, the London 2012 volunteer legacy charity. It is a golden opportunity for every local sports club and activity group to welcome new members and supporters, and inspire people to stay active in the longer term.
 
Getting involved – how you can be part of I AM TEAM GB
 
The aim is to reach as many people as possible in every part of the UK and all the relevant information can be found at http://IAmTeamGB.com/


I Am Paralympics GB
Following the event on 27th August, The National Lottery’s campaign will then turn its focus to the public’s support for Paralympic sport. It will celebrate the role of National Lottery players in supporting ParalympicsGB athletes through a standalone I Am Paralympics GB campaign. This will be delivered in partnership with the British Paralympic Association and amplified across ITV and other media platforms. 
Mayor lunch

Sir Peter Bottomley and I were delighted to host a lunch in the House of Commons for outgoing Mayor Michael Donin and his consort Linda and thank them for all their hard work for the town.
Children's Parade
 
The Worthing Children’s Parade is always a fantastic event and a firm favourite in my diary as I have ‘compered’ the finale in Steyne Gardens for each of the last 9 years.

This year the theme was James and the Giant Peach with a record 17 schools entering and no fewer than five school samba bands. The creations of various characters in the book were no less extravagant and imaginative than ever although Whytemead Primary’s centipede smoking a giant cigarette was a little worrying, which you can see me with in the photo above, along with the new Mayor, Cllr Sean McDonald, and Mayoress, Cllr Vicky Vaughan. 

Fortunately, this year wind and rain was not a real challenge to the army of larger than life silkworms, spiders, ladybirds, peaches, rhinos and sharks that weaved their way through the streets of Worthing.

It was particularly good to hear that the Parade had linked up with Worthing Museum and Art Gallery and Worthing Library to lay on workshops and exhibit some of the fantastic work the children, teachers and parents had created. Very well done to Caroline Woodward and her team who have made the Worthing Children’s Parade such a terrific and inclusive part of the town’s calendar and showing that anything Brighton can do we can do better.
Shoreham station underpass site visit
 
The long running saga of getting the Shoreham Station underpass reopened to pedestrians rumbles on though it is not quite as urgent as getting the appalling train service sorted out.

Together with the Shoreham Society I arranged a site visit to include both officials from GTR and Network Rail, the latter being ultimately responsible for maintaining the rail infrastructure.

Various options were discussed and Network Rail offered to do some number crunching and again come back to us with all the facts and possible solutions. Keep watching this space!

Promises auction for 'It's All For Nepal (IAFN)

An 'Auction of Promises' is being held at Shoreham Yacht Club (SYC) on July 22nd 2016. The evening is a fundraising event to help raise funds for a charity called ‘It’s all for Nepal’ (IAFN).  

The charity has helped the village of Makaising in the Gorkha region of Nepal where it has rebuilt 2 classrooms for a school that was totally devastated in the recent Earthquake. Every penny raised by the charity directly benefits the village.

IAFN are hoping for some really interesting 'promises,' particularly of unusual experiences and opportunities for the evening. I have offered to tea for two with me on the House of Commons terrace. 

There should be full house on the evening of Friday July 22nd with a brilliant programme of promises, a professional auctioneer and some great entertainment.

Worthing & Adur Eco Summit
 
The 9th Annual Eco Summit took place at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Worthing with well over 250 pupils taking part in the biggest summit so far. There were some fantastic performances from students as usual. 

You can find out more about the E.Y.E. Project here: http://www.eyeproject.co.uk/

You can also read the E.Y.E. Projects July newsletter here: http://goo.gl/vDya6z
Drumhead Service
 
It was good to welcome the Consul Honoraire de France, Captain Francois Jean, along with French veterans, to Worthing Drumhead service. He presented the Legion d'Honneur, the highest French honour, to local veteran, 96-year-old, John Sandles. Mr Sandles, who served in the Royal Navy, saved many men on the beaches of Dieppe on D-Day.
New stained glass on Worthing Pier
 
Well done to councillor Tom Wye for the new stained glass on Worthing Pier celebrating our town's VC and welcoming local DFC
Monteum visit
 
Great visit to Monteum, the Shoreham based fishing company based on Fishermans Wharf, in Shoreham with its owner, Jim Patridge.

It was an ideal opportunity to discuss the future of the UK fishing industry outside the EU under the new Secretary of State for Environment, Andrea Leadsom, and see how Jim's pot making business had evolved since he had set up a working association with Lewes Prison.

His lobster pot business is so different. I went to Lewes Prison last Friday and we saw the pots being made by prisoners. Jim came up with the idea and then John Malone, industries manager at HMP Lewis and I came on board when he sold us the idea. He provides the parts and then the prisoners assemble the pots. They have made over 1,500 pots since the scheme started. 
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This newsletter is published by Tim Loughton MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

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