JANUARY 2018 NEWSLETTER FROM MATT HANCOCK MP
Here’s a snapshot of what has been happening in Westminster and West Suffolk
A New Year message
Now that things have slowed down a bit for the Christmas holidays, I have had a chance to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year. 2017 was full of challenging times and sometimes it felt like something of a rollercoaster ride, but I think we can look forward to 2018 with hope. I think it is amazing how well the country has weathered the storms of the past year and how resilient we are. We are a nation of innovative and talented people, we are compassionate and forward thinking. These qualities will hold us in good stead for any challenges the country will face in the future.
The question that I am most often asked is, “How is it really going?” People asking this seem to expect an answer that is very gloomy – but the truth is that underneath the headlines many things are going well. For a start, here in Suffolk, over the past year we have seen continued improvements. In terms of giving people opportunities to make the most out of their lives, again in 2017, we have seen record numbers of people in jobs, and we've seen some terrific results from our schools in raising educational standards. I am lucky to work with many incredibly dedicated public servants right across West Suffolk, in our police, our health service, our schools and councils. They deliver for our local community. These are the sorts of things that really matter, and on behalf of everyone in West Suffolk I'm very grateful. There is always work to do and improvements to be made to make life better locally, and plenty in the in-tray.
In my role as Minister for Digital, things are going from strength to strength. People are increasingly connected, and Britain is at the forefront of the most exciting new developments. But we can't rest on our laurels. Next year we will have to work both to ensure that Britain stays ahead - critical to ensuring a positive post-Brexit future - and also ensuring that people are protected online. In the new year I'll be taking forward legislation to strengthen peoples' rights over data privacy, and we'll be working to ensure the big internet companies play their part in ensuring the internet is safe and secure, as well as free.
I'm also looking forward to getting onto the real meat of the Brexit negotiations, following the agreement this month, which has laid the structure for the trade negotiations to be conducted in a positive way. I'm more confident than at any point that we can reach a good outcome for the UK, and can use the new found freedoms that come with Brexit to make Britain stronger, while also agreeing a good deal with the rest of the EU. The Prime Minister is a formidable negotiator and everyone can now see that we are on course to deliver a decent Brexit. There is much to be optimistic about.
With the general election earlier this year, I have given a lot of thought to why I am a politician and the values that I hold dear. The answer always comes back to doing what I can to give people the opportunity to make the most of their lives. Next year, more than any time in my lifetime, we must defend that opportunity against people who want to trample on the freedoms from which this opportunity eminates. I want to live in a country where people who work hard can reach their potential, where people take personal responsibility and have the freedom to make their own decisions. Those values are at the core of my political beliefs. I am grateful and honoured to have been re-elected as MP for West Suffolk in June with an increased majority and given the opportunity to serve you for another Parliament.
I am wishing all of you a very happy and healthy 2018. Please do keep in touch, I want to hear about the issues which are important to you and to be able to help where I can.
British homes and businesses will have a legal right to high-speed broadband by 2020 via a universal service obligation (USO). This will ensure customers will receive a minimum of 10Mbps across the entire country.
This is a complex undertaking in which both Government and Ofcom have a role. By introducing legislation, minimum speeds can be increased as consumers' requirements evolve and that no household will be left behind, subject to a cost threshold.
In West Suffolk
Small Business Saturday
I visited Wickhambrook Stores, with Cllr Mary Evans and met shop owner Susan Patel in early December, to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday UK is a not-for-profit campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages the UK to support small businesses. We need to support our small businesses and the great work that they do – they are both at the heart of our communities and are also incredibly important to our economy.
Better Broadband for Suffolk
I’m delighted the Better Broadband for Suffolk team is really pushing ahead and now 92% of properties in Suffolk have access to superfast broadband. They’re now working on connecting the most rural and hard to reach properties, and I was encouraged to hear how determined they are to complete the rollout. Even more exciting, they are now connecting people with cutting edge full fibre connections, giving ultrafast speeds and much better reliability. We are continuing investment because we want everyone to be able to benefit from fast and reliable broadband.
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Tour of the Houses of Parliament
Would you like to take a tour of the House of Commons? Tours during the morning are free for groups of up to twenty-five people. I’m always happy to arrange tours, but please do allow three months’ notice, as they are very popular. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. If you are affiliated with a school, then you might be interested in a visit to the Parliamentary Education Centre. http://www.parliament.uk/education/
I am always keen to hear about the issues, both local and national, which matter most to you. Please do get in touch if you feel I can be of any assistance.
Office of Matt Hancock MP
House of Commons
telephone: 0207 219 7186
Swan Lane Business Park
Suffolk CB8 7FN
telephone: 01638 577 390