Stourbridge News Column – Thursday 21st March
Next Thursday, 28th March, I will host the Aspiration Stourbridge Post-16 Education Fair at Thorns Collegiate Academy. I run a number of these events every year, but this is the first time my fair will feature universities, training and apprenticeship providers as well as further education colleges. I have held separate events before for each of these groups, but now I am bringing them all together under one roof.
With 40 organisations taking part, it will be the biggest and most diverse event I have organised since I was elected in 2010. Admission is free and open to students from any school, so if you want to come and meet universities, colleges and training providers, please do come along. The event starts at 4.30 and finishes at 6pm.
A few words on our continued efforts to leave the European Union with a good deal. I have always been very clear that I would not be party to a Government that presides over the country leaving without a deal. I will, however, continue to vote for the deal the Prime Minister has secured, now with improvements and reassurances on the Irish backstop. At the time of writing, the Speaker of the House of Commons has complicated matters further with a ruling which may prevent the Prime Ministers deal – which, thankfully, has been gathering support – from returning for a third vote. It remains to be seen what effect this may have.
The Chancellor delivered his Spring Statement last week. Most importantly, he announced an extra £100m of additional funding to tackle serious violence, targeted at seven forces across the country. West Midlands Police will receive a portion of this new money. I know that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who visited Stourbridge earlier this month, has been working hard making the case for more resources for the police. Coupled with the largest annual increase in police funding since 2010, it represents an increase in total funding of up to £970m. The rise in violent crime, and specifically knife crime, is something of deep concern to Stourbridge residents and indeed to people across the country. This new funding will help the police to combat this tragic trend.
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