MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Swindon Advertiser Column: We Are All Passionate About Tackling Climate Change & Protecting The Planet

 


I was impressed to receive a number of letters recently from local school children from Covingham Park Primary School & Nythe Primary School on the importance of recycling & tackling climate change.

The school children who have written letters, lobbied politicians and created posters to raise awareness put Extinction Rebellion protesters, who block cycle routes and public transport, to shame.

Whilst targeting one of the greenest forms of public transport in London, this week Extinction Rebellion caused lots of commuters (the very people who are already making the changes needed) delayed trips into work. They also blocked roads causing standing traffic, congestion and more fumes. One cyclist commented that it was the worst journey they’ve ever had into work – hardly the way to encourage those already taking the greenest form of transport.

That’s not to say that we aren’t all passionate about this critically important issue, and it is fair to say that there is something that everybody can do. It starts at home. Unfortunately there is still a lot of recyclable material being put into people’s wheelie bins rather than recycling boxes. I know that Swindon Borough Council are working hard to promote recycling including highlighting the extra amount of taxpayers money that would be saved in disposal costs; but we all have an individual duty to do our bit when it comes to recycling.

We can be positive about the work that has been taking place. Greenhouse emissions are down by 25% since 2010 & 50% since 1990; The UK has been the fastest G20 country to decarbonise; and 2018 was the cleanest & greenest yet for electricity generation. We have also banned plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, as well as harmful plastic microbeads.

The Government is also looking at what more it can do, including looking at new measures which will restrict the use of single-use plastic, as well as the potential of a recycling deposit scheme for drink containers. Crucially, it is also investing heavily in new innovation and technology which can lead to viable alternatives to plastics.

This week the Office for National Statistics released figures which showed that the number of people in work is at a record high and wages have risen at their fastest pace in a decade, with 80% of new jobs created since 2010 being full-time. This is fantastic news for our economy. Between 1997 & 2010 the number of jobs created which were full-time was only 54%.

Since 2010, that figure has been 80% with 2.8m more people working full time. We have also taken 1.7m of the lowest earners out of tax altogether, with 32 million receiving a tax cut, as we have increased the Personal Allowance – the amount you earn before you start paying income tax – to £12,500 a year.

Finally, forget about the Champions League. This week it was all about the Wiltshire County Football Association Senior Cup Final! I travelled to Melksham on Wednesday where Swindon Supermarine beat Salisbury 3-1 to lift the trophy. A big well done to Lee Spalding & the lads – always good when a Swindon team beats a local rival!

 

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