Message from Claire Coutinho East Surrey MP – October 2020

As someone who used to work in education and social justice policy, I was delighted to see the Prime Minister focus on skills this week, announcing a package worth over £1.5 billion across further and higher education to help get people working again after Covid-19, as well as giving those in work the chance to train for higher-skilled, better-paid jobs.

The Local Economic Taskforce that I established in June is pushing to secure funding for East Surrey College’s bid for an Advance Technology Centre, which will be important in ensuring that educational provision locally meets the current demand. The Taskforce is also lobbying to increase our employment support, preferably with a new JobCentre+ in Gatwick to help aviation workers. I also met with the CEO of the airport recently to convey my deep concerns about the current situation and pressed him on the need to protect as many jobs as possible. I know that the livelihoods of so many local people depend on the airport or related industries, so this is a top priority for me.

Caterham residents will also know that protecting the environment is one of my top priority issues, and was the topic of my maiden speech. That’s why I launched my Green-tember campaign – to dedicate the whole of September to focussing on green issues. Locally, we are a treasure chest for the environment, and so I’m really pleased that so many residents in Caterham have supported the campaign by joining me for a Saturday litter-pick to clean up Westway common and the surrounding area, and for a special East Surrey residents Q&A with Minister for the Environment and green champion Zac Goldsmith.

More broadly, I am continuing to back Surrey Hills to extend our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And I will be following up my summer visit to the British Wildlife Reserve by visiting the Lingfield Reserves in October. I was also thrilled to back Second Hand September, promoting sustainability in the fashion industry and for consumers. It takes 13 years to drink the amount of water used to make a single pair of jeans and a t-shirt. So, tackling our fast fashion habit will be key to a sustainable future.

This year, I was also delighted to be appointed to the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme which will see me embedded in military training. I know there is some wonderful work done locally to support our resident veterans, and I very much look forward to embracing this opportunity to learn more about the lives of our brilliant armed forces.

Finally, on coronavirus, we have seen additional measures brought in due to a rise in transmissions. At the moment we are asking people to abide by the rule of six and the maxim of hands, face and space to keep social distancing up and the virus down. I know that this will be a worrying time for many of you, so please do keep up to date by checking my Facebook page for regular updates, and as always please don’t hesitate to email me if you need assistance.

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