Welcome to my latest newsletter. Please forward it to anyone else who you think would like to receive it, and they can sign up at my website (www.peterheatonjones.org.uk). If you would prefer not to receive it, please use the unsubscribe button below. And please get in touch if there are any issues you would like to discuss.
As I write, the council election results are being declared across the country. We'll have to wait for the final tally to get a full picture, and of course the European results aren’t declared until Sunday night, here in North Devon and elsewhere.
The important point is that yesterday's elections really can't be seen as an indicator of what will happen in the General Election. For instance, I have spent a lot of time talking to residents in North Devon in the last few weeks. Conservative supporters were telling me they had voted UKIP this time to send a message about Europe, but would vote for me next year. They know that voting for any party other than the Conservatives in North Devon will help elect a Labour government in 2015. So we’ll wait and see what happens on Sunday, but the real battle is next May.
This week I’ve written to the Leader of Devon County Council calling for residential care services in North Devon to be safeguarded. This was after last week's special meeting of the Council which discussed a range of possible savings, including the future of four care homes in the District.
I've been approached by residents who are extremely worried about the future of services at the residential care homes in Bickington, Ilfracombe, Lynton and South Molton. Whilst I recognise that savings need to be made, and handing over these services to the independent sector would do that, the first priority must be the care and wellbeing of the residents. Any change to routines can be upsetting, and this is particularly so where specialist dementia care is concerned.
Residents who've contacted me are very worried about frail relatives in these homes and the impact this uncertainty is having. I know local Conservative Councillors are seeking ways to safeguard these services, so I have written to the Leader of the County Council to add my voice to those calls.
I hope we can find a way forward which means North Devon does not unfairly bear the burden of any changes, be it to residential or day care services, and which provides reassurance for the many people who would be affected by these proposals.
With the Spring bank holiday weekend now upon us, we enter the most crucial period for North Devon’s tourism industry. When we had the burst of good weather last week, I walked part of the South West Coast Path above Croyde Bay (see photo). It reminded me just how much North Devon has to offer, and we need to shout about it. Throughout the summer and beyond, I’ll be talking to industry leaders, small operators and visitors to consider how we can boost our tourism sector. I’ve already met North Devon Plus and discussed how they work with the many small businesses which are the backbone of our tourist economy. And I’ve had talks about the way the funding of Tourist Information Centres is changing. The North Devon tourism industry is vital for our whole district and plays a big role in creating employment, so I’ll do everything I can to support it. If you work in tourism, at any level, do let me know your ideas.
Keep in touch
I am active on social media, which is a good way to keep up with what I am doing so please:
Follow me on Twitter: @PeterNorthDevon
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Until next week......
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate