Looking to 2017

Next week I will be in the House of Commons for the third reading of the Technical & Further Education Bill. This legislation looks to ensure employers are at the heart of technical education, and to strengthen the further education system delivering the skills our economy will need in the years ahead. There are also provisions to protect students in the event of an educational establishment encountering financial difficulty. Our own Central Sussex College will be set to benefit.

Later this month, the Government’s National Citizen Service Bill will reach the House of Commons for its second reading. The Bill legislates to provide a Royal Charter for the NCS Trust, and a clear mission to make NCS accessible to all, particularly those from deprived backgrounds. The Crawley Town Community Foundation do fine work in ensuring as many young people as possible have access to this opportunity locally – it is always a pleasure to present certificates to graduates of the scheme.

An issue I raised last year was the importance of banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. The Government are holding a consultation on this matter, which is open until 28th February. I support the Government’s aim to change legislation by October 2017, and stop billions of these tiny pieces of plastic ending up in our seas each year.

Like many readers, I am a proud supporter of the Royal British Legion. This year I continue to support the Count Them In campaign, which looks to include questions about the Armed Forces community in the next UK census. Including such questions would assist public bodies in ensuring they are delivering the best services they can for those who have served our country.

If I may be able to provide assistance throughout 2017, please do not hesitate to contact me, either by calling: 01293 934554, via email: henry.smith.mp@parliament.uk or through the post to: Henry Smith MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

Henry Smith MP