• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    02 December 2016

    Last week I was busy right across our vast constituency. One of the most pressing issues we face in Central Devon is the availability of superfast broadband. So I was delighted to welcome the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, to Ilsington, where we both addressed a meeting of representatives from Connecting Dartmoor and Exmoor, the internet business Airband, local councilors and other local stakeholders on how we can intensify broadband rollout locally. Whilst in Ilsington I also popped into the village’s flourishing community village shop. The shop has been at the heart of the local community for the past four years and I have visited it several times. I had a very positive discussion with the shop’s new manager, Helen Tate, about their future plans and will support them in any way that I can going forward. In Thorverton, I was once again focused on internet coverage and was delighted to launch Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme, which is bringing 3G mobile internet to much of the village. Open Sure Signal is a smaller and more discreet alternative to a mobile phone mast and is proving to be a strong solution to black spots in rural locations right across the country. Vodafone is now focusing on using Sure Signal technology inside community buildings in hard to reach areas, and they have launched the Community Indoor Sure Signal programme that is now open to new applicants. Further details can be found at Do please contact me if you feel that I may be able to assist your community in exploring this opportunity. I also had a hugely enjoyable visit to Chudleigh Knighton Primary School which, under the excellent leadership of Jackie Huntington, was rated by Ofsted as “good with outstanding features” following their most recent inspection. I spent time with year 5 and 6 students who are currently studying “British values” and our democratic system. I had a lively and stimulating discussion with them about my role as an MP, how legislation goes through Parliament and how the laws we make affect society and our communities here in Devon. I welcomed all their questions except perhaps the one that sought to establish what I might go on to do if I lose my seat in a future election! In Ashburton, I met with the Principal, governors, Primary Executive Head and Chair of the Directors of South Dartmoor Community College to discuss fairer funding for Devon Schools. I have been campaigning for fairer funding for Devon’s schools for a number of years and I am hopeful that the current consultation will bring better news for our local schools. As a result of my meeting I have agreed to take up a number of specific funding issues with both the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education. I also found time to catch up with some of our local councillors.