The main parties, both Conservative and Labour, are now being joined by UKIP in spending most of their energy in lobbying and debating with each other rather than concentrating on the local community and its needs. They forget the priorities of the constituency citizens amidst their fighting. As an Independent MP, my constituency is at the centre of my presentation of policies, lobbying and debates. Vote for the MP that puts you first.
Putting MK first
To be the Digital Hub and Digital Highway to South East Midlands, and adjoining the East Midlands, West Midlands, South West, South East and the East of England. To secure UK HQs for international companies, such as Argos, Domino's Pizza, Marshall Amplification, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, Volkswagen AG and Yamaha Kemble. To increase international company presence of high technology companies like Tech Mahindra, ICT InfoTech, IQ Software Services, T-Systems, Siemens, Dimension Data, Wipro, AirWatch.
Sharing and driving the Local Authority strategy for “an open innovation environment in which creativity flourishes (that) will take MK towards becoming the UK’s leading digital city”. Pushing for government investment in the City Enablers already identified above to become the “Trusted Data Hub” and “Real Time Information Network” centre of the UK. All of this increases the opportunities for supporting SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) and their continued growth. I will support the innovative 'MK:SMART' strategy initiative of the MK Council and use this as catalyst for MK becoming the Regional Digital Hub. The Witty Review highlighted a number of strengths, for example, through shared research and development, technology and knowledge transfer to support the Big Data and Smart Cities agenda and opportunities for further collaboration between universities and businesses.
Improving Higher Grade Career Opportunities. MK has a greater community of young people (22.6%) compared with the UK as a whole (19%) who need apprenticeships and high tech career opportunities. MK as a Tech Hub will have the capability to attract the best from Oxford and Cambridge as technology collaborators. Retraining should be available for all citizens who require job mobility. MK is predicted to grow from 255,000 to 300,000 in a few short years: it could benefit from the high tech skills that would need to be developed to meet the demand. MK has many retail jobs but cannot grow profitably on retail alone. In September 2014, the MK unemployment rate of 2% was 0.3% lower than the overall rate for the UK as a whole; the South East England regional rate remained at 1.3% and the rate for the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership area (SEMLEP) fell to 1.7%. Thus the MK rate was 0.7% higher than the South East rate and 0.3% higher than the SEMLEP. Therefore, although job opportunities appear high in number, we do not always have the skilled workforce that is demanded. I will drive investment and company incentives in order to increase opportunities so that we can bring the unemployment rate down to match the overall rate in the South East. Although we see a high ratio of jobs available today we must ensure that these are well-paid high-quality careers.
To be the first choice Distribution HubMK has an excellent opportunity to become the major distribution centre for the South East Midlands, the West Midlands, the South West, the South East, and the East of England by retaining those companies already here - Amazon, John Lewis - and by attracting other great companies, continuing to take full advantage of the superb location and road/rail infrastructure. Additional initiatives for distribution companies such as MK Rail Sidings for freight would be appropriate and would be lobbied for by me as your Independent MP.
To improve the local infrastructure of MK parking, train station access and public transport. The fantastic MK retail and entertainment facilities are limited by the availability of parking, which will continue to be an issue as the town expands. Peak time traffic flow and mobile network availability are below the standards required and need addressing. Infrastructure investment must be made ahead of growth: this includes road, rail and power. I will push for greater government investment in and support of improvements to all aspects of local infrastructure.
The government talks of the “eight great technologies” needed to ensure healthy UK export and job opportunities; MK needs more inbound investment in buildings, joint facilities and infrastructure to promote co-location of industrial and academic groups, and support high-tech business on campuses.
MK UK Technology Hub
MK is perfectly located and established to achieve this and could become a major contributor to this growth.
Attracting international business investment is fundamental to both MK and UK growth; similarly the use of the special skills and experience developed in MK and the UK. MK offers a great environment for international companies and could develop the UK's export trade; this should be central to the debate when considering UK membership of the EU and its impact on global communities. Angela Merkel’s government always promotes and ensures the best outcomes for German industry in the EU. The UK can take a hard line too. UK citizens want a sensible open debate on its choices of all world trading communities. The main party in-fighting confuses the public; I will push for a referendum to end the poisonous arguments that only divide the country and cause anxiety amongst those global companies who wish to locate in MK. The debate must include the involvement of the international corporations that MK needs to attract and keep.
MK Growth Strategy lobbying within ParliamentThere is much talk about GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the Country’s Deficit (the country’s debt). Real and sustainable improvements in the country's finances will only be achieved through growth in trade and commercial enterprises. MK could have a massive role in this.
Education in Technology and ScienceInnovation has always been a characteristic of the UK and indeed MK: this can be the great new “Digital” industrial revolution export. The UK is perfectly located between world time zones and has a globally-spoken business and technology language. I will push for greater investment in technology and science education; greater incentives for companies to create more apprenticeships vocational training and high level qualifications; greater investment in linking the universities and tech hubs that is needed to unlock opportunities for innovation amongst entrepreneurs and start-ups. SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) are leading the growth in the UK. Milton Keynes apprentice numbers dropped by 23% during 2013/14 (ONS figures): the reasons for this need to be clearly understood by listening to business so the situation can be turned around.
The world has a hunger for “Digital” expansion and “Big Data” innovation; the new “Industrial Revolution” is with us. MK is the ideal location for the Digital Highways and Hubs for the UK. We could make MK the prime Digital and Big Data Hub for the South East (the Oxford, Cambridge, London triangle). The UK is perfectly placed for the world time zones between Europe, the Americas and Asia Digital expansion. I will promote this ambition wholeheartedly. To date, MK has not received an appropriate allocation of available investment from government initiatives for the “8 Great Technologies” plan and HS2. I will fight harder for a greater share of the investment wallet.
Building the Digital and Big Data Infrastructure
International Investment into MK and UKWith its great infrastructure and workforce, tax incentives, living standards and free movement of workers, MK can play a huge role in encouraging international corporations to use the UK for their European headquarters. I will ensure the debate on EU membership focuses on sensible and sustainable patterns of immigration whilst preventing abuse of the UK's medical and social benefit systems. The benefits of the EU market, the US market and the expanding Asian Market need to be debated by the country and by including the voices and opinions of the international companies who base part or all of their operations here. Their opinion matters: I will be the MP Ambassador on behalf of MK constituents.
Education and Career TrainingThe Milton Keynes Apprentice start numbers dropped by 23% in 2013/14 (ONS figures). 2,320 down to 1,790 starts. This must be turned around. The government policies and incentives need reflect the need of business to ensure apprenticeship growth. I will lobby hard for this. The UCMK (University Campus MK) needs greater investment allowing better competition with Oxford and Cambridge for the “Digital and Big Data” Expansion of MK. MK has the fantastic “Open University” which can extend even further into the UK population with greater collaboration. I will lobby and promote MK at government level as the new great “Digital and Big Data” centre of knowledge and learning. MK has cultivated some Outstanding Schools and teacher training facilities which can be invested in to grow with the expansion. I will strive to protect the interests of MK children to receive the best education. The country needs an expansive housing programme which in turn will require more skilled tradespeople. These people should come from “on the job” and “off the job” training of UK citizens without the need for migrant workers. This is a policy I will push.