Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test

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As MP for Southampton Test I do my best to ensure that all of my constituents get a fair deal out of the decisions that are made in Westminster. Since David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010 this has become a much tougher job, particularly when it comes to standing up for young people in Southampton.

The deal that this Tory government is offering young people in Southampton and across the UK is really not much of a deal at all. Last week it was announced that student Maintenance Grants would be scrapped completely, these grants are a lifeline to students from poorer backgrounds and this callous cut will affect over 10,000 students in Southampton. 

If that wasn't bad enough, FE colleges such as Richard Taunton's have seen their funding cut by 14% since the Tories took power in 2010. These colleges are offering not only A-Levels, but apprenticeships and also second chances to young people for whom an FE college might be the only path of education left available to them. 

Those not wanting to go off to University or further education are faced with trying to find a job that will pay the entirety of ever increasing rent as they are no longer eligible for housing benefits. And Osborne has already made it clear that these young people will also be ineligible for the increased 'living wage' when it is introduced. 

When I asked the Prime Minister what he had against young people in the UK, he accused me of doing this country down and claimed that his was the party of aspiration. But that simply isn't the case for thousands of young people in Southampton having to choose between a low paid, unstable job or ending up in more debt than their better off peers for their education. 

 

Young People in Southampton Getting a Raw Deal from Tories

As MP for Southampton Test I do my best to ensure that all of my constituents get a fair deal out of the decisions that are made in Westminster. Since...

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I spent a recent Saturday morning in Highfield at one of my regular coffee mornings. These coffee mornings are a chance for me to sit down and have a chat with my constituents and have them raise any issues concerning them. Read on to find out what was on the minds of the residents of Highfield this month.

We had a good discussion on Saturday and many issues were raised from the air-strikes in Syria to benefit cuts and the local impact that they are having on people in Southampton.

Syria was first on the agenda, where there was a general but not universal view that the current strategy of air-strikes were not the solution. Many of my constituents wanted to see more of a well thought out and international strategy instead of what they saw as countries acting unilaterally and in a knee jerk fashion. One of them raised the idea of a COPP style summit in which a coherent policy for defeating ISIS was the outcome.

Next we discussed TTIP. Whilst my constituents generally agreed that trade agreements can be great for jobs and the economy, they were worried about power that it would give to large corporations, this is a view that I share with them. I assured them that their Labour MEP  Anneliese Dodds is doing some great work in Europe on TTIP trying to get the best deal possible for the UK. 

On the spending review, my constituents were worried about the effect of further spending cuts on local government and how key local services would be effected. One of them also raised the issue that although Osborne u-turned on the cuts to tax-credits , they fear that money will be taken from the same people that cut would have effected in another way. 

All in all it was a great morning, thank you to everyone who came along. 

Highfield Coffee Morning

I spent a recent Saturday morning in Highfield at one of my regular coffee mornings. These coffee mornings are a chance for me to sit down and have a chat...

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I got invited to the Royal Mail Shirley Delivery Office to see how they work their logistical magic in the run up to Christmas. It was a sight to behold!

I got up bright and early this morning to visit Russell and his team at the Shirley Delivery Office. They were already hard at work when I got there sorting mail to go out on the Posties rounds this morning. 

This particular office sorts the mail for the whole of the constituency, which is a lot of mail to sort, especially at Christmas time. I wanted to go along today to thank all of the staff for their hard work at Christmas and wish them a very merry festive season.  It was incredible to watch the logistics of how they get everyone's Christmas cards and presents to the right place. 

Don't forget if you want to spread some festive cheer this Christmas the last days for posting are 

Second Class – Saturday 19 December 2015

First Class – Monday 21 December 2015

Special Delivery – Wednesday 23 December 2015 

A morning at the Royal Mail

I got invited to the Royal Mail Shirley Delivery Office to see how they work their logistical magic in the run up to Christmas. It was a sight to behold!...


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