Armed Forces Day
John Whittingdale joined hundreds of people including many Forces Veterans who gathered in the sunshine at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome on Saturday to pay tribute to the nation's Armed Forces at Maldon District Council's Armed Forces Day.
In support of the event many vintage and modern aircraft flew in, including a rare 1930s Aeronca all the way from Whitby, a pair of Hornet Moths, a Tiger Moth, and members of The Tiger Club Turbulent Display team. Throughout the day there were guided tours of the aerodrome, and the Maldon Cadets kept the crowds entertained with demonstrations and drills, and a Missile Run Competition between the Sea, Army and Air Cadets was won by the Maldon Sea Cadets who retained their trophy for the second year. Displays of vintage vehicles added to the atmosphere, and the younger visitors were thrilled to ride in model aircraft and try out a computer flight simulator. The Turbulent Display team provided entertainment in the air with their exuberant flying practice. The Tiger Club flew a missing man formation over the airfield and the crowd fell silent.
Somme 100th Anniversary
The public will be invited to the Thiepval Memorial in France on 1 July 2016 to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale announced today.
The joint Anglo-French commemoration of the Battle of the Somme is expected to attract great public interest, so tickets will be made available for the event. The 8,000 tickets will be allocated in pairs, free of charge, through a public online ballot. The ballot will be open to residents of the UK, France and Ireland on 28 September 2015. More details can be found on the Somme 2016 Ballot website at www.Somme2016.org The Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, resulting in over one million casualties. A commemorative event is held at the Thiepval Memorial every year, but the centenary event in 2016 will be on a larger scale, with some 10,000 people attending.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:
The tragic events at the Battle of the Somme left a deep mark on a huge scale - nearly everyone in the UK will have an ancestor who fought or died at the Somme. It’s important that people across the UK have the chance to remember and honour these brave soldiers. The centenary event will be an opportunity to not only pay tribute to those that sacrificed so much but to ensure that their legacy continues for generations. I am grateful to our French partners for working with us to commemorate the extensive loss on all sides on what will be an incredibly important and deeply moving event. The event will include representatives from the battle’s combatant nations, organisations such as The Royal British Legion, and members of the public. Plans are being made to broadcast the ceremony live to large screens in towns across the Somme region and the UK. There will also be a wide programme of events taking place in the UK. Events will also take place in France to mark the 141 days of the battle.
Dengie Enterprise Support Service
The new Dengie Enterprise Support service was officially launched on Friday 27 March, with John Whittingdale among those showing their support for the initiative.
Made possible with funding from the Magnox Socio-economic Scheme through the Bradwell Legacy Partnership, Dengie Enterprise Support will bring fully funded business support and training to new and existing businesses on the Dengie Peninsula. The initiative is administered by Maldon District Council and will be delivered by business advisors and trainers from The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea).
Speaking at the launch at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, John Whittingdale outlined the economic role the Dengie Peninsula could play after the decommissioning of Bradwell power station, saying “We have known for a long time that when the decommissioning process was finished it would leave a hole. I would like to thank Magnox for supporting the community to encourage local entrepreneurship. The remarkable thing about this part of the world is that hidden away in little corners the most extraordinary things are happening, there is a lot of entrepreneurship that will create many jobs. I have no doubt the scheme will be greatly supported.”
Colbea Chairman Seamus Clifford was among those speaking and placed on record his “thanks to Magnox for its support with the initiative.” He added, “We are delighted to be working with Maldon District Council to set up this initiative. We feel it is a fantastic opportunity for us to reach lost links in developing opportunities in the area. As many as one in seven people look at becoming self-employed; we want to give them a foot up and the support they need to help them succeed.”
Stephen Warne of Karelia Network Solutions, a current client of Colbea, spoke to underline the potential worth of the potential of the new initiative, “I started my own business and thought ‘where do I begin?’, I contacted Colbea, had a meeting and set they set me on my way. In September 2013 I took an office at the North Colchester Business Centre. In June 2014 I took on three people and employed them. It’s (Colbea) more than just an office – it’s been a business enabler.”
Free training courses for businesses will be operating alongside free one-to-one business advice every Tuesday at One Place, 1 High Street, Burnham-on-Crouch, CM0 8AG. For more information call 01621 834525 or visit www.dengieenterprisesupport.co.uk
Select Committee Report - Future of the BBC
Mr John Whittingdale (Maldon)(Con) I am pleased to have the opportunity to present to the House the Committee’s report “Future of the BBC”. Our major inquiry began well over a year ago, and I express my thanks to my colleagues on the Committee, our Clerks and our specialist adviser, Mr Ray Gallagher.
As is well known, the BBC charter expires at the end of 2016. The renewal process provides an opportunity to examine all aspects of the BBC—scale, scope, governance and funding. Since the previous charter renewal, huge changes have taken place to the way in which people watch television. At the time of that renewal, most households had access to only four channels, but since then we have had analogue switch-off, meaning that everyone has access to 40 or more digital channels. Many people also access catch-up television through the iPlayer or some of the new streaming services. The whole media landscape therefore looks very different from how it did 10 years before.
The Secretary of State has said that it will be for the next Government to consider the future of the BBC and charter renewal—I understand his reasons—but the Committee points out that at the time of the previous review, an independent panel led by Lord Burns conducted a long public consultation before reaching conclusions. We think that this matter is so important that a similar process should take place this time, and there is no reason why that could not be initiated as soon as possible. Either way, I hope that our report will set the agenda for the forthcoming debate.
John Whittingdale attended an event organised by the SportsAid charity to highlight the support that they give to promising young athletes with money raised from My Lotto 24. At the reception, John met Danica Brazier who lives in Bicknacre and plays water polo for the GB ladies junior under 17s water polo team. Her home swimming club is Chelmsford Swimming Club, although she also trains with Basildon, Crawley, London Otter and Mid Sussex Marlins. Last year, Danica received an award of £1000 from SportsAid and My Lotto 24.
In March she will take part in the qualifying competition for the 1st European Olympics being held in Baku, Azerbaijan in June. John said: “I am very much aware of the significant costs faced by young elite athletes and am very pleased that SportsAid is supporting them in this way. I warmly congratulate Danica on the success that she has already achieved and wish her every success in her future sporting career.”
Football at Purleigh Primary School
John Whittingdale joined pupils taking part in a Football Association Skills session at Purleigh Primary School. John saw year one students practice their football skills under the expert guidance of FA Skills coach, Lauren Phillips. FA Skills, which sees FA coaches running football sessions for 5 to 11 year olds, has been running since 2007 and in that time has delivered more than six million skills places to children across England. The scheme is funded by the FA and Sport England and employs 158 full-time coaches, including six in Essex. The programme is free to primary schools and has been delivered in more than 7,500 schools, supporting more than21,500 teachers.
John said: “The children had a fantastic time They clearly enjoyed the session but at the same time were learning new skills, building their self-confidence and developing team working. Lauren not only did a brilliant job encouraging the children, she also worked with their teacher so that she will be able to carry on the work in the future. I warmly congratulate the FA on the programme and am delighted that Purleigh Primary School has signed up to it”.
Danbury Pre School
John Whittingdale attended the Danbury Pre-School 50th Anniversary Village Fayre on Dawson's Playing Fields at Danbury Sports Club.
John is pictured with organiser, Sarah Clarkson-Reid and Manager, Charlotte Jones.
Superfast Broadband for Essex
John Whittingdale, met the Superfast Essex team as the multi-million pound programme reached the halfway milestone in its rollout.
The partnership has now made superfast broadband available to 32,500 homes and businesses – 50% of the overall 65,000 expected to be superfast-enabled by the end of the first phase in summer 2016. It comes at the same time as DCMS announced the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme has reached a new national milestone – giving 2.5million UK premises access to superfast broadband across all 47 regional broadband improvement programmes.
John Whittingdale, the UK Culture Secretary, with responsibility for broadband, joined Essex County Council and BT representatives in the Maldon District, on Friday 15 May to hear about the Superfast Essex programme achievements to date. He met the officers leading the work in Essex, was given an overview of the Superfast Essex programme since deployment began in April 2014 and was shown inside one of the 157 fibre broadband cabinets installed by the programme to date, in Wickham Bishops, Maldon.
John Whittingdale said: “I am delighted at the tremendous progress Superfast Essex has made with their rollout of superfast broadband. Access to superfast speeds has never been more important, in both our home and working lives. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband will make sure that rural homes and businesses are not left behind and that the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age.”
Essex County Councillor Penny Channer, Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Infrastructure and Waste and Recycling, said: “It is a great accolade for Essex to receive national recognition for the success of the county’s broadband rollout and a pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State and have the support acknowledged in person. “Credit goes to the joint efforts of the team working here in Essex for reaching the halfway milestone. Long may the great work continue through the rest of this rollout and into the next phase.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director Next Generation Access, said: “Today marks a giant step forward in the rollout of fibre broadband in Essex. “Working in partnership with Essex County Council we have been able to reach into the heart of scores of communities across the county that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology. The partnership builds on BT’s commercial fibre broadband programme, which has already made fibre broadband available to more than 581,000 households and businesses in the county. Already we can see the impact that fibre is having nationally with the Government’s estimate of more than 56,000 jobs created as a result of this rollout by 2024 and rural economies benefiting by around £9 million every day due to the work being done now.” T
he multi-million pound Superfast Essex programme is working with BT to increase superfast broadband coverage in the county. A second phase of work (Phase 2) is currently being planned, aiming to increase superfast coverage across the county to 95%.Residents and businesses can find out what work has been completed already in their local area and what further deployment is planned, by searching the interactive map or viewing the list of upgraded cabinets on the website at www.superfastessex.org/postcode. Once fibre is available in an area residents and businesses will need to contact a broadband service provider of their choice to get connected.
Dementia Fundraising Coffee Morning
John Whittingdale attended the coffee and cake morning organised by D-Caf: the Dengie Dementia Cafe and Activity Group in the Town Council offices, Burnham on Crouch. The morning was organised to support the work of Admiral Nurses who are specialist dementia nurses.
John is pictured with Mayor of Burnham, Cllr Ron Pratt, Cllr Mrs Babs Owners, organiser Yvonne McDermott and other volunteers.
Beer Champion Award
John, who champions Britain’s beer industry, has been honoured with a unique award in Parliament.
He was presented with a certificate and souvenir pump clip by the British Beer & Pub Association and SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers. The special award is a joint initiative from the BBPA and SIBA, who wanted to recognise the role of MPs who supported Britain’s national drink during the 2010-2015 Parliament. It recognises acts of advocacy in Parliament, in votes, supportive motions, and debates.
In particular, the award highlights John Whittingdale’s support in securing historic consecutive cuts in beer duty in the 2013 and 2014 Budgets, helping to safeguard jobs and investment, and keeping beer affordable for consumers.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “MPs of all parties made a huge difference in achieving the historic duty cuts in 2013 and 2014, and deserve our thanks and recognition. We are delighted to honour their contribution to this achievement.
Mike Benner, Managing Director of SIBA, comments: “We are enormously grateful to the MPs whose support for British beer over recent years has created a far more optimistic outlook for our industry. As a result of the consecutive beer duty cuts, our members feel more confident about the future of British brewing and are investing in their business and creating local employment, with an estimated 1,600 new jobs in SIBA breweries last year. “With at least one independent brewery now operating in almost every parliamentary constituency, the Beer Champions announced today will I’m sure be invited to celebrate their success in their home town, with a pint of great, locally brewed beer.”
NSPCC Share Aware campaign
John Whittingdale attended the NSPCC’s Parliamentary Reception on Online Safety to support the charity’s new ‘Share Aware’ campaign which aims to get families talking about socialising safely online. The NSPCC has created a new online guide to help inform parents about the risks of different social networking sites used by children. This comes after an NSPCC survey revealed that three quarters of parents surveyed found sexual, violent, or other inappropriate content on Sickipedia, Omegle, Deviant Art, and F my Life within half an hour of logging into the sites.
An NSPCC panel of more than 500 parents from Mumsnet reviewed 48 social networking sites and said all those aimed at adults and teenagers were too easy for children under 13 to sign-up to. On more than 40 per cent of the sites, the panel struggled to locate privacy, reporting and safety information. Those aimed at younger children, like Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Popjam and Bearville, fared better and parents did not find any unsuitable content on them. The NSPCC also asked just under 2,000 children and young people which social networking sites they used. Talking to strangers or sexual content were the main concerns mentioned by children. But they also thought the minimum age limit for signing up to many sites should be higher, despite saying they’d used the sites when they were underage.John is pictured with Felix and Hassan who took part in the survey.
McCarthy & Stone’s Construction in Maldon
John Whittingdale MP, formally marked the commencement of construction at McCarthy & Stone’s forthcoming Retirement Living development on Whitehorse Lane, Maldon. Mr Whittingdale joined the site manager, Andy Chinery, in an official ground breaking ceremony to commemorate the first steps in the construction of the development, which will be designed specifically to help those aged over 60 make the most of later life.
Mr Whittingdale commented: “I was delighted to be able to help break the ground for this new McCarthy & Stone development. There is a real need for more retirement housing of this kind which allows older people to continue to live independently but also have to have security and companionship. With an increasingly older population living longer, with growing care needs, it is great to see a development like this close to the centre of the town and I have no doubt that it will prove very popular.”
Andy Chinery added: “We feel extremely honoured to have been able to welcome Mr Whittingdale to our Maldon site, and were delighted by his positive response to our approach to delivering lifestyles tailored to meet the needs of the over 60s.”
Offering the independence of retaining home ownership while living in an environment specifically designed for those reaching their later years, McCarthy & Stone’s Retirement Living developments make a popular choice for downsizers who want more time in which to embrace the possibilities of later life.
The development is a short walk from an array of shops and services and benefits from good bus routes to such towns as Colchester and Clacton. The development is a stone’s throw from popular Longfield Park and Recreation Ground where you can enjoy a picturesque walk in the peace and quiet of countryside scenery.
Facilities at the development will include a homeowners lounge for socialising, as well as a dedicated House Manager, which will ensure the smooth running of the development, and there is also a security entrance system plus 24-hour emergency call points that provide peace of mind for both homeowners and their families. All properties will be low maintenance and energy efficient. Construction is now underway with apartments available to purchase off-plan in mid 2015.
For more information about this, and other McCarthy & Stone developments in the region, call 0800 201 4739, or log on to www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk.