We’ve had an incredibly busy month with Armistice and the Remembrance Service and then the economy, growth and the Autumn statement discussion dominating our headlines this week.
The Chancellors Autumn Statement
Following the incredibly positive news that the government have hit the inflation reduction target, which the Chancellor had previously said was crucial to get down the cost of living, driven by the cost of energy and food both caused by Russia’s illegal Ukraine war, the Chancellor found himself in the fortunate position with £20 billion headroom to reduce tax and ease family household budgets.
I admire the decision he has made to give this back immediately in terms of a substantial national insurance cut rather than tinker with tax rates and thresholds which wouldn’t take effect for another year. I also approve of lifting the living wage to reward hard work and make it more worthwhile to get work than ever – but I do recognise that this will impact the hospitality sector (my family are in this sector) so I’m happy to see that there was an extension to their high street business rates relief and alcohol tax. I’m delighted to see that pensioners will get the protection they need as well as those living on benefits and disabled. It also looks like a good budget for hard working professional couples and families, and we really hope that Kingston Borough residents will start to feel better off in the new year.
Coming on top of the government’s 2023 £92 billion Cost of Living support, I am excited to see a change in gear towards a proper conservative budget with a phenomenal £11 billion tax cut for businesses and an emphasis on growth and investment incentives. We have seen this translated into the fantastic local training, mentoring and coaching programmes being run by Kingston Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Borough of Kingston council and Job Centre Plus – all backed up by the new apprenticeship programme at Kingston College which we know will create a brighter future for our next generation. The governments agenda to get us back in to work at every age is also close to my heart and if you are a mum like me thinking about getting your career back after family, take a look at the ‘Returnership’ programme which I put forward to the DWP recently. https://skillsforlife.campaign.gov.uk/courses/returnerships/
Armistice and Remembrance
It was a huge privilege to join our ceremonies for Remembrance this year and lay a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph (despite having my arm in a sling following a hand operation!) Across the borough we attended ceremonies in New Malden and All Saints with colleagues at Surbiton and Chessington too. It was so moving to watch our forces parade and take part in a service to honour peace and freedom and those that gave their lives to make that possible today at a time when we are all shocked by scenes of war and violence in Israel, Gaza, Palestine, and Ukraine.
King Charles Visit to New Malden
King Charles Visit to New Malden
Just days before we were honoured to welcome King Charles to New Malden to meet our close-knit and industrious Korean community ahead of a visit this week by President Yoon Suk Yeol to unlock £21b investment and post-brexit partnership. I am honoured to be invited to the British Korean Society House of Lords dinner next week.
SW London Met Police Ride-Along
Last week I joined the blue light night shift and over an 8-hour period, sirens blaring zig-zagged across the SW London boroughs at lightning speeds to attend domestic violence, mental health emergencies, road traffic collisions, missing persons, shoplifting, break-ins, and a teenager in cardiac arrest. I have huge admiration for my co-pilots staying calm in a crisis and their handling of fast-moving live situations with skill and experience. I was especially interested in the way we handle mental health emergencies – read my article here which I will be following up with Healthwatch Kingston.
Our City Hall Conservative Mayoral and GLA team, Susan Hall and Ron Mushiso, have been keeping up the pressure on Mayor Sadiq Khan this month, as it is revealed that in less than 3 months, he has collected £52m in fees and fines from Londoners who couldn’t afford a new car. Or van. That’s pensioners, carers, low-income workers, single mums – disproportionately women - and small businesses. In a further embarrassment for the Mayor the advertising standards watchdog have criticised Khan for overclaiming the benefits of ULEZ on air pollution improvement. If you have a moment to fill in our ULEZ questionnaire here and share your views, click here.
Kingston Society Townscape Awards
Well done to the Kingston Society for highlighting the importance of architectural sympathy and heritage with our Townscape contest and huge congratulations to the Friends of Queens Promenade who epitomise our ‘human scale and community’ values transforming our riverside with nature, tranquillity, and beauty.
It was an honour to be invited to the Kingston Mayor’s private office for tea to celebrate with the runners of Kingston Half Marathon for her charities including Kingston Charitable Foundation where I am proud to be a trustee. I was also delighted to attend the Surbiton Rotary Club dinner and meeting.
I was also invited to do a special tour of Chessington School where I was blown away by the fabulous behaviour of the children and the impressive environment – as well as the dear little Piglets nursery! Congratulations to everyone at this wonderful school. I can’t wait to come and see you again soon.
Conservative Annual Dinner
We are excited to welcome members and supporters to our annual dinner at Glenmore House to hear from Lord Kamall and Paul Scully MP and hear about our challenges for next year’s London and General Elections. We are always keen to find new supporters so if you think you would like to learn about politics and join the election year campaign then get in touch.
Thank you for following our news. We hope to meet you on the doorstep soon. Please do get in touch to discuss anything you think we should know or need an answer on, and we will do our best to help.
Helen Edward, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Kingston and Surbiton