I hope this finds you well. The last bank holiday weekend of May is over and summer is on its way – even if the weather doesn’t quite agree yet! June will see Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy visiting Hull to see some of the exciting start-up businesses in the city and meet the people behind them, as well as a tour of tech-hub CD4I. There’s also the Great Get Together event on Saturday 24th – details tbc.
Minster meeting over funding
Hull needs a fairer share of central development funding, especially after the Humber region’s bid for developing carbon capture and hydrogen power was surprisingly rejected. I met recently with Dehenna Davison, the Minister for Levelling Up, to press Hull’s case and to explain in more detail some of the challenges – and opportunities – for Hull and the region. The minister listened to what we had to say, and I hope that our continued pressure on this issue will eventually bear fruit.
NHS Dentist petition
As you know, I am campaigning to make sure everyone can access an NHS dentist, and as part of that campaign, Diana Johnson and I met with Minister for Primary Care and Public Health, Neil O’Brien to discuss a Dental School in the region. The Universities of Hull and York are ready and willing to establish one on the same lines as the Hull York Medical School which opened in 2003, and now sees over 150 newly qualified doctors a year enter the profession.
You can do your bit by adding your name to the petition “we need more NHS dentists in Hull and East Riding” here.
Facebook Live event
I also organized a Facebook Live event with Mark Green, an NHS dentist working in Kirbymoorside and representing the British Dental Association, and Chris Groombridge, Director of the Association of Dental Groups. It was an eye-opening hour, and is still available to watch here. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Currently we are training 1.300 dentists a year when we need to train 2,000. This is why a Dental School in the area makes perfect sense. We also learnt that the current NHS contract has been unfit for purpose for more than 10 years, but the promised reforms have still not been made and dentists are unable to keep their business going on NHS fees alone. This is forcing them into the private sector to subsidise their NHS work. Many are giving up NHS work altogether or simply leaving the profession.
There was some good news: Mark and Chris have got NHS England to agree a trial system for North Yorkshire and Humberside where if you can’t get an NHS dentist, but you need treatment, you can ring 111 and they will find you one. You won’t be “put on the books” but you will have your immediate problem sorted. If you know anyone in this situation, please let them know.
New constituency boundaries
I’m delighted to announce that I am now officially the Labour candidate for the next General Election for the new constituency of Hull West and Hessle Borough, although the decision on the name lies with Boundary Commission who are also considering Hull West and Haltemprice. The new constituency consists of the West Hull wards of St Andrews and Docklands, Newington and Gypysville, Derringham, Boothferry and Pickering, and the East Riding wards of Hessle, Tranby, and Willerby and Kirk Ella.
If you live in any of the new wards and you’d like to get to know more about helping with campaigning, then please drop me a message and I’ll get in touch (ex-pupils are especially welcome!). Similarly, if you know anyone in the new wards who might be interested in receiving this newsletter, please let them know.
Until the next General Election I remain the MP for the original constituency of Hull West and Hessle and I will carry on working my hardest to give everyone the best representation I can.
Floodwater management and increasing biodiversity
Keeping more water on land for longer helps prevent flooding elsewhere, and recently I took a trip outside the constituency to visit Dumble Farm in Arram because that’s exactly what they are doing. By converting pasture to water meadow, they are also creating more habitat for ground nesting birds like Lapwing, Skylark and Meadow Pipit. The meadows hold flood water from the River Hull, which is water that would otherwise be travelling downstream into the city.
Their beautiful (and super cute!) Highland cattle are the perfect grazing animals for sustaining this landscape. Currently, there is no funding available for using land to hold back water and this is something I would like to see change. The government has made promises that this will be available through the new Environmental Land Management Scheme in future years, but the devil is always in the details.
Applying for funding is a difficult and complex process as Fi explained to me. We need to make the process more straightforward for farmers, especially those on small farms who can’t afford consultants.
Dumble Farm is also open to the public so you can help support them and go on a farm tour on their awesome bus and walk the younger Highland cows! Find out more on their Facebook page Dumble Farm
As always, please feel free to share this letter with anyone you think might be interested. I will be doing as much as I can to offer assistance and advice over the coming months and represent the constituency in Parliament; please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can help.