Article for Tiptree Tribune

14th September 2015
The House of Commons has returned from the summer recess and it has been a busy week for MPs. Important legislation to implement measures announced in the Budget through the Finance Bill were debated while the legislation to give the British people a referendum on membership of the European Union has now passed  through its House of Commons stage. The EU Referendum Bill will now be scrutinised in the House of Lords before entering the statute books.
This landmark Bill fulfils a manifesto commitment and ensures that by the end of 2017 the people of Britain will have their say in an in-out referendum on our membership of the European Union. In advance of the referendum, the Government will be negotiating a new deal with the EU to bring more powers back to Britain. Reforms to the free movement rules and access to welfare and benefits are a priority for the Government. Importantly, for the first time in over forty years, the final decision will rest with the British people.
I know how much this referendum means to my constituents who feel strongly about this matter and who have felt let down by previous Governments who have handed powers over to Brussels without their consent. In 2010 Conservatives in Government put  into law a ‘Referendum Lock’ to prevent further transfers without the consent of the British people in a referendum and in 2015 we have legislated for the in-out referendum. I am proud that this Conservative Government trusts the British people to decide our future and how we are governed. 
Other manifesto commitments are also being passed through Parliament at the moment. In my ministerial role, I am taking the Welfare Reform and Work Bill through the House of Commons. The Committee Stage of this Bill is now in progress where it will be receiving line-by-line scrutiny. This Bill builds on the successful actions taken over the last five years to get more people into work and help families to support themselves. It is part of the Conservative Government’s programme to transform Britain from a high tax, high welfare and low wage society to a low tax, lower welfare and higher wage society.
In particular, the Bill supports our ambition to deliver full employment, more apprenticeship places and help for troubled families. Its measures will help to address the root causes of poverty and promote more social mobility. It will also tighten controls on welfare spending and reduce the benefits cap. By keeping welfare costs down, we can help get more people into employment, ensure that people are better off in work than on benefits, and enable taxpayer-funded resources to be spent on frontline public services. Alongside the introduction of the national living wage, the lower amounts of income tax paid by workers, and support being given to business to create jobs, over the next five years our welfare reforms will bring more people into work and help families support themselves and be financially better-off. 
Many of my constituents have been in touch with me about the influx of refugees from Syria and when the House of Commons returned the Prime Minister made a statement about this situation at the earliest opportunity. We have all been moved and shocked by the images of families making desperate attempts to escape the conflict in Syria, the evil and brutality of the militants fighting under the Islamic State/Daesh banner, and the oppression under Assad. It is the evil and barbaric conflict in Syria and the destabilisation of the country which is forcing families to flee their homes and risk everything in the process.
This is why the UK has been leading international efforts to support refugees and those in need since the conflict in Syria began in 2011. We are the second largest donor of aid to the region, behind the USA, and are providing over £1 billion of assistance. Thousands of families in refugee camps in countries neighbouring Syria are being giving shelter, food and medicines funded by our overseas aid budget.
The UK has a long and proud tradition of providing shelter from those fleeing conflicts and thousands have already been allowed into the UK. The Prime Minister has announced that 20,000 more will be able to come to Britain and many more families in refugee camps will continue to receive support and assistance from the Government. 
Due to the nature of the conflict in Syria, the Government will also continue to keep this matter under review and work with our international partners to address the causes of the conflict as well as support those suffering from its consequences. 
If anyone has any questions or queries about the action being taken by the Government to support refugees from Syria or any other matter, they are welcome to get in touch with me by email to: [email protected], by post to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.

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A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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