A compelling case for South West investment is needed

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 March 2020

Guest columnist and EDDC councillor Joe Whibley

Guest columnist and EDDC councillor Joe Whibley

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Guest columnist and district councillor Joe Whibley calls on his fellow councillors to collectively lobby Parliament to ‘level up’ the regions

In the wake of the collapse of Flybe, I had the tenacity to suggest that a fellow EDDC councillor should step up his lobbying of his paymasters in Westminster to make good on their promise to ‘level up’ the regions.

The councillor in question then told me in no uncertain terms to stop trying to play political games, and to lead rather than follow.

So here goes.

The national Conservative Party has a commanding parliamentary majority, hard won on a series of promises at the last election.

One of them was to ‘level up the regions’, which means provide infrastructure and transport links to help everywhere thrive, not just the South East.

My point to the councillor in question was that as an Independent councillor in a Conservative constituency, unfortunately I don’t have Simon Jupp MP on speed dial. Local Conservative representatives, however, are a cog in the national Tory Party machine.

So I repeat here, publicly, my call to all district and county Tory councillors to collectively make a compelling case at national level for the investment the South West.

We have been at the back of the queue for too long. So, we’re counting on you to lobby your party.

Our efforts too often fall on deaf ears.

Additionally, I believe that each region of the country needs a dedicated minister to coordinate and lobby on behalf of the people in that area.

And, while we’re at it, lobbying the government to review the Right To Buy scheme would allow councils to increase their council house stock safe in the knowledge they’ll not have to sell it for a pittance five years later.

Remember, Conservatives.... they’re far more likely to listen to you! Good luck!


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