As I mentioned a few columns ago, one of my local priorities is to see healthy and vibrant High Streets across the Constituency as not only does this make for vibrant local communities but also offer business opportunities for many talented local entrepreneurs.
This week, in support of this aim, I launched a competition to find the best independent shop in the Devizes Constituency with categories for the best independent shop in Marlborough, Devizes, Tidworth and in a ‘small town or village’ category, so please go to my website, claireperry.org.uk/independent- shops to vote now.
The competition will run until the end of August and winners will join me at a business lunch in September where the Minister for High Streets will join me to celebrate the winners and announce the overall champion.
Anyone who votes for a category winner will be in with a chance of winning a £100 shopping voucher so I do hope you will join me in supporting and celebrating our fantastic local shops.
Also this week I was pleased to celebrate another campaigning win in the form of almost £3 million of Government money coming to Wiltshire to support higher education and local employment training targeted at those looking to leave the Armed Forces. The money has been allocated as part of a larger £130 million investment, awarded to Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership (LEP) as part of the Government’s Growth Deal strategy. It will help to ensure that Armed Forces personnel have the right qualifications and skills to maximise their employability on Civvy Street.
With Wiltshire being among the most desirable places for service leavers to settle, I am very keen to ensure as many as possible get the skills they need to secure good local jobs.
This week, Parliament was gripped by reshuffle fever and as the big day unfolded I was fortunate to be offered a job as a Transport Minister with primary responsibility for rail franchising and ticketing (but not HS2).
With our railways busier at any time since the 1920s, punctuality above German and French levels, almost £40 billion of new money being spent on the non-HS2 rail network over the next five years and local rail links being a top priority for my constituents, it is a fantastic job.
I am already deep in the portfolio with my first nerve-wracking speech at the Despatch box yesterday.