Thursday 13 January 2022
This winter I know that many people are concerned about the rising cost of energy, and rightly so. Nobody should face unaffordable energy bills for using a reasonable amount of electricity, and the government has measures in place to support those who need it: from Winter Fuel Payments to the Warm Home Discount, help is focused on those with the greatest need. However, given the scale of this global issue, I know that colleagues in Government are looking at possible further measures to assist households in the short-term.
In addition to improving the energy efficiency of homes, one of the most obvious long-term solutions to increase energy security, reduce the cost of energy to the consumer, and meet our ambitious climate targets, is to back the British nuclear industry. In Kent we have been well-served by Dungeness A and B; we know that nuclear power is a proven technology that produces safe, continuous, reliable, low carbon energy whilst providing high skilled jobs that positively contribute to the local economy. That is why on Monday I backed the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill in the House of Commons. This ground-breaking legislation paves the way for a new generation of nuclear power financed by a wider pool of private investors and institutions; reducing the country’s reliance on foreign finance and enabling us to get on with delivering new nuclear projects. This new model of finance presents exciting opportunities for the future of sites such as Dungeness. I have taken a keen interest in the potential of Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and will soon be meeting with Rolls Royce to learn about their ambitions in greater detail.
This week was also good news for policing. I am glad to see that Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, has a clear plan in his budget to reduce crime in the county and make the force fit for the future. This includes funding for an additional 195 police officers by March 2023, a digital evidence system that will allow dashcam footage to be uploaded, and new investment that will go directly to Folkestone Police Station.
Finally, I wanted to wish the best of luck to Betty’s Pye and Mash Shop who are opening in Folkestone on Wednesday 19th January. Many people I have spoken to are very excited about this new venture opening and, as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it is a welcome sign of confidence in our town and I look forward to seeing more new businesses open across the constituency.