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DUNCAN HAMES MP for Chippenham
9:29am Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
I am an enthusiastic supporter of electric vehicles as a route to more environmentally-friendly motoring, so I was delighted to hear the Lib Dem Transport Minister announce £37 million of government funding to install charging points for electric vehicles, including £225,000 for Wiltshire Council.
This investment – something I have campaigned for in Parliament – will mean people will be able to switch to electric vehicles safe in the knowledge that there are lots of charging points available to them in car parks, train stations and on streets across the country.
Several new surveys show that people are more optimistic about the economy than they have been for a long time – reflecting the sense I’ve been getting from local businesses I meet around Wiltshire.
In the Chippenham constituency, the number of young jobseekers has fallen by more than a quarter since the start of 2012, but we can do better. It is vital that young people have the skills necessary to secure work. On Monday I visited Wiltshire College, which is at the forefront of that effort locally. As well as diplomas, A-levels and apprenticeships, some students at the Chippenham campus now study for degree-level courses.
With what was once called the ‘school leaving age’ rising to 18 from September, colleges will be teaching more young people who would previously have left education, so we need renewed commitment to engage them and develop their skills.
It is therefore more important than ever that the government supports further education providers like Wiltshire College in their efforts to give our young people the skills they need for the world of work.
It was very encouraging to see that Israeli and Palestinian diplomats met last week in Washington to resume peace talks.
When I visited the region last December, I came away rather discouraged.
With a growing consensus that time is running out for a two-state solution, the only way to get there will be through a political process.
That these talks have begun is therefore very welcome, though of course there are still many hurdles to overcome.
After a constituency surgery at Bradford on Avon Library on Monday, my next are at The Pound arts centre in Corsham from 10-11.30am on Wednesday, August 14, and at my office in Avonbridge House, Chippenham, on Tuesday, August 20, between 11am and 12.30pm.