From the lighting of the jubilee beacon outside the Civic Centre, to the many street parties held across the borough, it was fantastic to see so many people come together to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As well as attending many of the national events, it was great to have the opportunity to join in with some of the local festivities at the Swallow Pub and celebrate with the residents and staff of Sweetcroft Care Home and Park View Court. I was also fortunate to be able to make the most of the lovely weather and get in a quick game of bowls at the Bessingby and Deane Park Bowls Club in Ruislip Manor. It was clear from speaking with many of you just how loved and respected Her Majesty The Queen is across Hillingdon. Her steadfast leadership and unwavering service is an inspiration to us all.
Of course, the Platinum Jubilee wasn’t the only cause for celebration in recent weeks. As a proud Middlesex MP, I was thrilled to be able to mark Middlesex Day on 16 May with pupils from Bourne Primary School in South Ruislip. Along with members of the Middlesex Cricket Club, they joined me for a game of cricket in the No.10 garden. With Downing Street itself being historically and geographically in Middlesex it was particularly pleasing to fly the county flag, kindly gifted by members of Middlesex Heritage, above the iconic building.
I was delighted to attend the recent Hillingdon Expo at Brunel University where I met with local businesses to discuss the incredible work they do – boosting the economy and providing lots of high-quality jobs. After all the difficulties of the Covid pandemic, it was great to see people coming together again face to face, to network and share ideas – really getting the local economy moving again. Of course, one of things all businesses need to succeed is access to a highly skilled and qualified workforce – something that the fantastic West London Institute of Technology (IoT) in the heart of Uxbridge is working to provide. Backed by £8.6 million of Government funding, this employer-led facility offers higher level technical education and training to help close the skills gap in key STEM areas – boosting opportunities for students, trainees and apprentices across Uxbridge and South Ruislip and beyond. It was a real pleasure to visit the site recently to meet with staff and students, and to see first-hand the range of facilities on offer to local young people.
I know that many of you will be worried about rising food and energy prices. That’s why the Government recently announced an extra £15 billion to support the most vulnerable 8 million households with up to £1,200 – bringing the Government’s total package to help families with cost-of-living pressures to £37 billion. Alongside this, from July changes to national insurance thresholds will see a £6 billion tax cut for nearly 30 million working people, worth over £330 a year for a typical employee. In addition to this targeted support, the £200 Energy Bills Rebate has now been doubled and the repayment mechanism cancelled – thereby turning it into a £400 cash grant for every household. This will be delivered directly by energy suppliers from October with payments spread over six months. A new website has been launched where you can find out about all the support that is available: https://costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/
Finally, with the newspaper taking a break over the summer I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all those involved with the Hillingdon Herald for their efforts.