Meeting a Paralympic champion

October 19, 2016


I was honoured to meet Paralympic swimmer Matt Wylie today while he was visiting Westminster with his Gold medal from Rio 2016. Matt won the S9 50 metres freestyle on day six of the Games, in a time of 25.95 seconds. Matt, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, is only 20, and is looking forward to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan.

Congratulations to the Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

October 17, 2016

I am very pleased to see that the Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, based in Letchworth Garden City, has won the Meals on Wheels Award at the National Association of Care Catering awards.

HILS delivers half a million meals to people who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable, as well and providing other care services to ensure that their customers are happy, healthy, and independent at home.

HILS is an impressive organisation, and I would like to pay tribute to all the work they do.

Lister’s carers support team looking for volunteers

October 10, 2016

The Lister Hospital’s carers support team is looking for volunteers to take part in a new project that aims to provide extra support to those caring for family members. Volunteers will work in two-hour shifts, visiting wards and outpatient clinics, speaking to patients, and identifying those who are carers. The volunteers will be able to refer those who need extra support on to suitable organisations who can offer further advice and guidance.

Training will be provided for new starters.

Volunteers do so much important work in our local communities, and if there is anyone in North East Hertfordshire who would like to give their time to this good cause, I recommend that they call 01438 284760 or email for an application pack.

Reports from a couple of work experience students who spent time in my office

June 14, 2016

My honourable friends, I’d like to thank Sir Oliver Heald and his wonderful staff for surpassing my expectations (which were very high) in the five days I have spent here. My intentions of a career in law have been further rubber stamped by this experience and Sir Oliver’s senior position as an MP and former minister have certainly given me a new found ambition for the world of law and politics.

My highlight of the week, amongst a large quantity of unforgettable experiences, was most definitely Mike Ashley’s (owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United Football club) committee hearing in Portcullis House. Newspapers and various media types engulfed this story as it took centre stage on Sky News. Seeing these events unfold live was a privilege and the atmosphere generated in the room could not be replicated on a television at home.

Renowned experience like this is invaluable to myself and I’d again like to thank Sir Oliver Heald for taking myself and Amy on, especially during the climax of the current referendum. Sir Oliver and his staff have made this experience surreal and something that I will always cherish and look back fondly on. –Jack Logan


It has been such an amazing experience to have been given this fantastic opportunity. Although politics was something I previously shared an interest in, it wasn’t until I had the privilege of coming here that I realised how fascinating this field is. Being able to work with Sir Oliver Heald MP and his amazing staff, I have been able to emerge myself into the world of politics, and gain a real insight into such an intrinsically fascinating subject, and I have since been inspired to take a further interest in politics and international relations.

Although I was able watch many debates, the highlight of my week was definitely witnessing Mike Ashely’s committee hearing. This is not just because it was something that had been overwhelmed by media coverage, but also because I was able to see how the government deals with both pressing and difficult issues. Furthermore, it has been amazing to have been able to work in such a renowned building, and to have experienced something that so few people do.

Overall, this week has been truly inspirational and eye-opening, and I would like to say a huge thank you to Sir Oliver Heald MP for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank his fantastic staff; Christine, Mara, and Robert for helping me throughout the week. It has been a truly amazing and surreal experience that I shall never forget. – Amy Jordan


Improvements to local roads

January 25, 2016

The quality of local roads is a very important issue in North East Hertfordshire, and I have been campaigning for road improvements locally. I have recently received an update from Herts Highways on the state of repair of local roads and what action is being taken on potholes.

The most recent annual survey to assess the condition of all roads in Hertfordshire shows that, for A, B, and C roads, the percentage of the network that is considered in need of attention is lower than expected. Especially given the wet weather of 2014 which caused a lot of damage to local roads, this is good news and shows the fine work that Herts Highways have done to keep our strategic roads in good shape.

Although the figures for U roads were not quite as good, I welcome the news that the balance of future programmes has been adjusted to add more emphasis to the U roads in order to address this, without unduly risking the condition of the A, B, and C roads. Some of this work has already been completed as part of the 15/16 programme of works, and this may be reflected in the results of the next round of condition surveys.

As for the pothole situation, nearly 8,000 potholes have been dealt with across Hertfordshire over the past nine months, and, as a result of the mild winter we have had so far, fewer potholes are being reported compared with last year.

The improving state of our roads is good to see, and I will keep up the pressure to ensure that our smaller U roads receive more focus over the next year and that any potholes that are created in these weeks of colder weather are fixed quickly.

‘Change4Life Sugar Smart’ Campaign

January 20, 2016

This week saw the launch of the Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign by Public Health England, with support from local authorities, NGOs, housing associations, and five major retailers. This campaign highlights new guidance on the maximum amount of sugar that children should be consuming, and is designed to help families make healthier choices.

Five million Sugar Smart information packs have been distributed to primary school children, and the app, which allows people to scan the barcodes of over 75,000 everyday food and drink products to see their sugar content, has caught the public imagination, with over 300,000 downloads last week.

With the Government producing its Childhood Obesity Strategy shortly, this is a great campaign which will do much to help make Britain healthier. I urge everyone to find the app for themselves at:

Making Tax Digital

January 12, 2016

The Treasury’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme looks set to be one of the biggest and most significant changes to the tax system in years. It will make HMRC one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world by introducing simple, secure, and personalised digital tax accounts. This will lead to the end of the annual tax return – a particular hassle for many at this time of year.

In March 2015, £1.3b was allocated to introducing these online tax accounts to all businesses and individuals by 2020, allowing tax affairs to be monitored and updated throughout the year, using Government-provided software and apps, thereby ending the need for an annual tax return.

In addition to saving many individuals a lot of work, this will bring huge benefits to businesses. Many businesses report that they worry about having to wait until the end of the year, or even longer, to find out how much tax they owe, and so by enabling them to update their tax accounts throughout the year, they will be able to have much more certainty about their tax position, and allow them to budget accordingly.

This policy could prevent hundreds of millions of pounds of tax loss from incorrect tax returns, give businesses and individuals more certainty about their tax bill, and save millions the worry of the annual tax return, and I will press to ensure that it is implemented on time.