In the chamber yesterday I had the chance to comment on the Queen’s speech.
The Queen’s speech outlined the Government’s priorities, and at the top of that list is the cost of living. Of course this is going to be a difficult yet vital challenge to tackle, and it was right for the Government to emphasise this in the speech. I personally feel more can be done to tackle this and I hope the Chancellor will be announcing more measures very soon to help ease the burden of the cost of living.
We also heard about new provisions to improve our town centres, which I welcome. In Ipswich, this is a subject close to our hearts, with some feeling our town centre has gone downhill. It is our main civic place and somewhere we are passionate about. I am pleased that since election in 2019 I have been able to secure £25 million in the Town Deal and I know the improvements have started already.
We have many brilliant small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs. On Monday I brought the Chancellor to meet these passionate and entrepreneurial local people for himself, and to see the Micro-Shops concept.
In Ipswich, we need to continue working on bringing buildings back to life, like old post-office becoming the fantastic new Botanist venue. The new powers of local authorities for compulsory rental auction will help give councils the impetus and the ability to bring these important old buildings back into usage, rather than letting them collect dust.
To increase footfall across high-streets and town centres we must also address constituents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour, with some residents avoiding town at certain times because of this. I urgently want to see enforcement of no-alcohol zones as well as hands-on dispersal of groups causing problems, in order to make this a space where everyone can feel safe and comfortable.