The Government is set to miss its target of getting 90% of homes connected to superfast broadband before 2015
As a rural MP, I have had dozens of local residents write to me – yes, often with good old-fashioned paper and pen – because they are not convinced the promised broadband scheme will be available to them.
Superfast broadband sounds fantastic.
But it’s a thorny business.
There seem to be two main problems.
One: Government forgets that many, many people live a long way from London and other major towns and cities.
And in their wisdom, Ministers have allowed BT – the only provider – to start with strengthening the coverage in towns which already have broadband and then to work outwards into the rural areas.
This is completely mad.
What ‘superfast rural broadband’ means to me is starting in those parts of England with no coverage and working back into the towns. Not the other way round.Read more
I often meet people who tell me about the problems they have as tenants in privately owned properties.
Recently, Lyn came to my advice surgery to talk about the difficulties of living in a poorly maintained property. She had moved in during the Autumn of 2012, but by Christmas, had buckets around the flat to catch the rain from leaks in the roof.
She spent a year asking her landlord to carry out works, but nothing happened. Finally, this January, Lyn reported him to the local Council.
His response: serving Lyn a notice to quit her home.
After the first six months of a tenancy, a landlord can evict his or her tenant without having to give any reason for doing so.Read more
A couple of years ago, a man from Cheddar walked into my office and told me what had happened to him and his family.
Mark had joined the Metropolitan Police and worked in the ‘TSG’ – a unit of specially trained officers who deal with terrorism and serious public order threats.
In 2007, Mark and six officers arrested a couple of youths and took them to Paddington Green Police Station in North London, where they were put into the cells.
Around midnight, Mark and five of his colleagues were told that because the seventh officer had detailed complaints about their aggressive and violent behaviour towards the youths, the six of them were sent home – with two later suspended and the remaining four moved to separate teams.
Seven years later, these six officers are still awaiting proper justice.Read more