News Date: Monday 22nd January 2007
Tim Supports Sustainable Communities Bill
In the House of Commons last week, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton declared his support for the Sustainable Communities Bill.
The Bill aims to address many pressing issues in our local communities and enables community empowerment through allowing councils and communities to influence government policy on local issues. Through the promotion of local services and local economic activity, the Bill is designed to tackle the decline of the local high street and the consequent social exclusion and limited shopping choices, faced by elderly people. It also aims to protect the local environment due to a reduction in gas emissions, as the community will be able to rely on local facilities.
The Bill is a private members Bill that has been put forward by Conservative MP, Nick Hurd, and had its second reading last week.
"I am delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile Bill. For too long our communities have been under threat from the ongoing decline of local shops, jobs and services. This has resulted in 'Ghost town Britain' and a fading sense of community; in 2005, 700 newsagents closed, as did 2000 independent convenience stores in 2006. A national action plan is needed and I hope that the Sustainable Communities Bill will provide just that through giving influence to the experts on local issues; local people.
"This Bill would be particularly beneficial in East Worthing and Shoreham where despite the fact that 98.6% of elderly people say that the Post Office is their 'lifeline', 9 Post Offices have closed since 1997. Indeed in a survey conducted by ICM, 41% of the population is said to be worried by the loss of shops and post offices. Due to the decline in local facilities the average person travels 893 miles a year to shop for food, which is why farmers markets are increasingly attractive; providing the opportunity to buy British produce, keep it local and be environmental.
"I am particularly interested in the role of young people in the local community. As we know in Worthing and Adur particularly, they have some very perceptive ideas about local affairs and should therefore be involved in the decision making processes that shape their communities. They have a vested interest in improving their communities as they will want to grow up and bring up families in this environment."