Parish and town councils
OUR area has numerous parish and town councils. Each one has devoted and dedicated councillors supported by clerks. Not surprisingly, I deal with many of these councils on a wide range of issues as I do, of course, with Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council. The three tiers of councils have different areas of responsibilities and budgets but all are part of the local government family.
Over the past year or so, several recurring policy issues have been on my agenda through councils. The future of the Post Office network is one of them.
I am firmly committed to ensuring that all the existing post offices are retained and, in meetings with the Post Office, I have sought assurance that they are all sustainable and secure.
Fortunately, the coalition Government has provided substantially increased investment to support the post office network.
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Naturally, some changes are sometimes necessary especially with postmaster retirements or modernisation programmes but these events are now carefully managed to avoid prolonged interruption to services.
Another policy area of interest to councils is access to broadband.
When I was elected, I launched a campaign to improve provision with the aim of achieving faster broadband for much of our area.
So far, we are on track with significant upgrades just announced for Brimscombe and Dursley. This project matters because small businesses, private individuals and public services will all benefit.
Not all councils are concerned about flooding but some are, quite literally, engulfed.
An ongoing issue is the review of flood defences along the Severn Estuary while the risk of flooding remains high in other parts including Stonehouse and Stroud/Slad Valley. I am in constant contact with the Environment Agency and flood action groups.
Parish and town councillors are part of rural life and I want to thank them for all they do in our communities. If you are interested in the issues raised above, contact me on 01453 751 572 or visit my website www.neilcarmichael.co.uk. Now, you can also follow me on twitter @neil_mp.