• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    13 May 2016

    Last week I was flatout across our vast constituency. In Ashburton it was a particular pleasure toopen South Dartmoor College’s new dining building – impressive, sparkling and modern.It was not that long ago that I assisted with the opening of the new Atriumschool on the same site and such is this school’s ambition that I was not thatsurprised to be greeted by pupils performing opera and the news that the school’scricket team is in The Cricketer’s Top 100 - the only state school to feature. Thenew building was named in honour of Judith Morgan the Principal’s PA and longtime teacher, who is to retire after 35 years of outstanding service. Judithhad not been told in advance and her face was a study in shock when sheunveiled the plaque to discover her name upon it. In Crediton I met with thelocal branch of the Federation of Small Businesses to discuss the challengesbeing faced by smaller companies in the constituency. Over 95% of businesses inCentral Devon are micro-businesses (employing 10 people or fewer) and the agendathis time included the phasing in of quarterly business tax returns, auto-enrolmentpensions and broadband. On broadband I was able to brief the group on theAirband rollout across Dartmoor after my recent meeting in Ashburton with the keystakeholders for this vital project – it will provide 95% of Dartmoor residentswith access to superfast broadband at minimum speeds of 30 Mbps. As an MP Ihave visited hundreds of local businesses and organisations providingemployment to local people and will continue to fight hard for thesehardworking people who provide the jobs and taxes that keep our crucial publicservices running. It is hugely important that government listens carefully tosmall business and with this in mind I have arranged for our small businessminister to join me on a return visit in a couple of weeks’ time to GreyMatter, the software solutions supplier in Ashburton. Also in Crediton I helddiscussions on prisoner rehabilitation. In Okehampton I visited the Okehampton BattleCamp on the eve of this year’s Ten Tours – an extraordinary challengeundertaken by 13 to 19 year olds on the second Saturday in May each year. 400teams of 6 young people have to orienteer around Dartmoor covering up to 55miles and visiting 10 Tors in the process – this means camping out and hours ofarduous trekking. Each team is supplied with a device that ensures that theycan be precisely tracked by satellite. In the control centre each team is plottedand this information relayed via the Internet so that families can track progressfrom the comfort of their armchair at home. I was immensely impressed with theefficiency of the organisation and the uncompromising focus on safety. Whilston the moor I also hooked up with the Dartmoor Search and Rescue to review thevital voluntary work that they carry out during this extraordinary event.