Whimple & Blackdown
I live with my husband and teenage daughters on a farm near Axminster and run a successful international software publishing business.
I want to represent Whimple and Blackdown to improve rural amenity, the rural environment, back farmers’ demands for supply chain resilience, and increase Labour’s understanding of and standing with Rural voters.
I am a frequent attendee at Blackdown Hills and Tale Vale council meetings, at parish, district and county level: with the aim of both listening and challenging the framing of the debate: for example making statements on climate action, planned fire station closures, poverty, invasive housing development, lack of affordable housing, poor support for social care and care homes.
There is poverty in the division, and cuts to vital services have reduced connectivity and increased isolation. The area has one of the highest average KW hour electricity usage in the UK, and more can be done to improve insulation and fuel efficiency. Rural transport, including the havoc caused by haulage vehicles, potholes, the lack of public transport, and the burden of fuel cost for rural residents must be addressed in policy.
Devon schools need levelling up, and more must be done for rural schools in terms of special educational needs and after school opportunities. While Government focuses on the Red wall in the North, the South West is being taken for granted in both infrastructure and spending allocations.
I will empower local communities to take advantage of the grants available, both from government and foundations, and I will advocate for more support from local government for community owned enterprises / trusts, as well as less central government bureaucracy. I will strive to deliver a future for Whimple & Blackdown in which our communities can feel secure, maintaining their heritage and keeping up sustainably with the evolving opportunities.