Julian started off his October by launching his campaign to address serious safety concerns on the A61 at South Stainley, after numerous serious accidents and four fatalities in a matter of weeks. Longstanding concerns have been raised by local residents about the well-documented dangers on sections of the A61, so Julian met with North Yorkshire Council to discuss what action is being taken to address these. He subsequently met with over twenty residents to better understand their concerns, with issues raised including inadequate overtaking lanes, excessive speed limits, widespread use of the road as an impromptu racetrack by motorcyclists, and rat-running through Ripley village. He will continue to work closely with residents and North Yorkshire Council to find suitable solutions to the issues raised.
Julian is also looking forward to working with NHS Humber and North Yorkshire ICB, after the Chief Executive, Stephen Eames CBE, and Chair, Sue Symington, wrote to him in support of the Prime Minister’s new proposals to tackle smoking. The proposals, which would raise the legal age to buy cigarettes by one year, every year, meaning that children aged fourteen and under will never be able to legally buy cigarettes, were described by Stephen and Sue as potentially “the most significant public health intervention of our lifetime”. In his response, Julian thanked them for their support of the Prime Minister’s plan and confirmed that he would offer his full backing for the proposals when they were introduced in Parliament. A meeting between Julian and the ICB has also been set up to discuss how smoking and the associated risks, and costs, are being tackled locally.
The indicative, additional allocation of £1.1 million for North Yorkshire to address acute winter pressures in urgent and emergency care was also warmly welcomed by Julian. This came months after the Government announced it would invest £600 million over this year and next to improve adult social care capacity. This includes £40 million allocated to local authorities on a targeted basis to address acute pressures.
Julian was also really pleased to receive confirmation that the £2 bus fare cap has been extended to the end of 2024, rather than increasing to £2.50 at the end of the month and being reviewed in November next year. This comes as the Government announced that the new Network North transport plan will see an initial £3.5 million boost next year for North Yorkshire Council’s bus services. This is the first round of a £1 billion investment into bus services across the North and Midlands through Network North, which reinvests HS2 funding into local and regional transport projects that matter most to people. Options for the council will include more regular and reliable services, new routes, cheaper fares and ticket price caps.
Since 2020, the Government has invested over £3.5 billion into bus services to support recovery from the pandemic and, since the cap was introduced across the UK at the beginning of this year, bus fares in England, outside London, have fallen by 7.4 per cent, with savings even larger in rural areas where fares have dropped by almost 11 per cent. Julian was also particularly pleased that Yorkshire and Humberside’s community services for older people and vulnerable passengers will also see a 60 per cent funding increase, aiding ‘life-saver’ services to help get these passengers to the shops, medical appointments and to see loved ones.
Out and about across Skipton and Ripon, Julian has enjoyed visiting local schools, businesses and residents. Ahead of its public opening, Julian visited the newly renovated Ripon Inn and met Daniel Chrisp, the General Manager, for a tour of the Inn following its extensive refurbishment. He also spent time at Cundall Manor School following an invitation to meet with Chris James-Roll, Headteacher, Rachel Powell, Chair of Governors, and Andrew Midenhall, Governor, at the school for the first time. It was an opportunity to find out more about the school’s plans, as well as discuss recent developments surrounding the charitable status of independent schools.
Sharow CofE Primary School also kindly invited Julian to visit them, meet with pupils and answer some of their questions. Gemma Snodgrass, teacher in charge, gave Julian a tour of the school and the outdoor space and garden available to students. The children took some time to show Julian their autumn art and decorations before he sat down with year 5 and 6 students to talk about his role as their Member of Parliament.
Towards the end of the month, Julian visited The Beer Engine, Skipton, to congratulate the team on the news it has reached the final four in CAMRA’s Pub of the Year 2023 competition. Following the announcement that the pub had been named Yorkshire Pub of the Year back in August, winning a place in the final sixteen nationwide, it has now gone even further and will go head-to-head with three other pubs for the national title in January. Julian met Adam Davies, co-director with Steven Gregory. Over a pint, Adam talked Julian through the recent developments and more widely about how the business has progressed in recent years.
Julian also enjoyed meeting an inspirational Bentham resident, Viv Barclay, who will next year attempt, at the age of 59, to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. If she succeeds, she will become the oldest woman ever to make the journey, which is often referred to as the World’s Toughest Row. Viv is raising money for The Menopause Charity, who help support the roughly 15.5 million women who are going through menopause at any one time, and spoke to Julian about what is motivating her and the challenges ahead.
It’s been a busy month in Westminster as well and Julian has continued to meet regularly with his ministerial colleagues, as well as welcoming constituents to Parliament. He was particularly pleased to meet students from South Craven School on their visit to the Palace of Westminster. Throughout the month, Julian has continued to meet constituents across Skipton and Ripon at his regular surgeries, and encourages anyone who would like to meet with him to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org