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Open letter to the new MP for North Norfolk

December 16, 2019 1:09 PM

Dear Duncan

Congratulations on your election victory. You have won a substantial mandate from people who rightly have high expectations of their MP. You will have already seen how quickly your inbox fills with issues to tackle but I want to take this chance to highlight three critical issues of concern to your constituents that I hope you will put at the top of your 'to do' list.

More than five years ago, Norman Lamb worked with experts and politicians across the spectrum to develop a new deal on funding for care. Sadly the Conservative Chancellor chose to first delay then cancel the reforms put forward by Norman. The issue is still waiting to be sorted out. Older people live in fear of funding changes that could cost them their savings and their home. Adults with long-term conditions struggle with confusing and inadequate support. And Council budgets are being broken under the strain.

As well as social care for adults, support for children with additional needs is facing a crisis. I have described special educational needs funding as like standing on the edge of a crumbling cliff. Recent investment is welcome but is not enough, change to the whole system is needed. As well as funds to fix the immediate crisis in SEND education, we need to look for long term solutions. At a recent meeting at County Hall I asked our Director of Children's Services what one thing she would do if she could to transform outcomes for children. Her answer was investment in speech and language support for the under twos. Early investment in additional help will pay dividends down the line.

Thirdly I would urge you to join with Liberal Democrat councillors in North Norfolk campaigning for investment in infrastructure for our district. It's not just roads - though too many people in power seem to think Norfolk ends at the NDR and a strategy for our local roads is desperately needed. It's digital infrastructure too. And a joined-up plan for investment in the Green economy to help us tackle the looming climate crisis.

These are issues I come up against every day in my work as a County Councillor. Of course there are other pressing matters beyond the council's remit but this is not special pleading. A failure to face up to these challenges affects people in North Norfolk every day. I hope we can work together to fix them.

Best wishes

Ed Maxfield

Ed Maxfield