David's Statement on the Bucks Unitary Authority Decision

David said:

"As you know, the Secretary of State has announced that he is minded to agree to the proposal of a single unitary authority to replace both Buckinghamshire County Council and the four District Councils. Milton Keynes would remain as a separate unitary council in its own right.
"I share the view of both the County and District Councils that the present two tier system should be replaced by unitary local government. Money in local government is and will continue to be tight. It should be used to spend on front-line public services rather than on supporting five different hierarchies of officials, personnel systems, maintenance contracts and so on. I have also come increasingly to the view that the current distribution of responsibilities is confusing. For example, the District Council is responsible for collecting our bins, but the County Council for managing and disposing of the waste. The District Council takes planning decisions about new housing, but the County Council has to deal with the consequences for roads, schools and social services.
"My approach to this debate has been to try and start with an open mind and judge which of the unitary options, one or two authorities, will best deliver improved public services at least cost to local residents.
"Having studied both proposals, and while I respect the case that the District Councils have made for having two authorities, my own preference is for a single unitary Council.
"There were a number of reasons that led me to this view.
"First, the saving to local residents would be significantly greater with one authority rather than two: £18.2 million a year compared with £10.3 million. That's nearly £8 million extra each year to spend on local services or to return to local residents through a lower rate of Council Tax.
"Second, I discussed the proposals with the local NHS organisations who were concerned that social services for children, elderly people and people with disabilities, currently the responsibility of Buckinghamshire County Council, should not be split up as a consequence of local government reform. Indeed, the two NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, the purse holders for local NHS spending, that cover North and South Bucks respectively have decided to federate in order to work more effectively on a County-wide basis.
"Third, local business, especially as represented by Bucks Business First and the Bucks Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, argued strongly for a single unitary council.
"A lot of work has been done by both County and District Councils to support the different cases that they have made to the Secretary of State. He made his "minded to" decision having taken account of detailed submissions by both the County and the Districts as well as responses by other organisations and individuals. Both the County and District Councils are now entitled to make their case again to Mr Javid ahead of his final decision. However, I hope that this will be done without spending large amounts of taxpayers' money and I regret the decision by some Councils to spend residents' money on door to door leaflets."

Latest Unemployment Statistics for Aylesbury

  • The total number of unemployed claimants in Aylesbury constituency in April 2018 was 775.
  • This represents a rate of 1.2% of the economically active population aged 16-64.
  • The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.9%. The UK unemployment rate, which includes people not claiming benefits and is estimated from survey data, was 4.2% between January and March 2018.
  • The number of claimants in Aylesbury constituency is 45 higher than April 2017 and the same as in March 2018.
  • There were 120 claimants aged 18-24 in April 2018, 10 lower than April 2017.


David's article for the Bucks Free Press

"Two events last week reminded me of the work that we still need to do to break down barriers between people of different ethnic backgrounds and religious faiths - and also why we have cause for hope.

"The Muslim News is this country's biggest Muslim newspaper. I was asked to speak at its annual awards ceremony in London.

"I know from talking to Muslim constituents here in Bucks that they feel hurt and offended that most reporting about Islam in Britain focuses on extremism and terrorism. No reasonable person denies the importance of those issues but the picture needs to be a balanced one.

"There is no contradiction between being a loyal and active citizen of the United Kingdom and being a devout Muslim. Both locally and nationally we are seeing more and more British Muslims placing a leading role in the mainstream of civic, political, professional and business life.

"Look at the role models: from Sir Mo Farah setting yet another British record in the London Marathon to Mishal Hussein subjecting political leaders to a grilling on the  Radio 4 Today programme.

"But for me the role model of the last twelve months was Mohammed Mahmoud, Imam of the Finsbury Park mosque. When a man set on mass murder drove his van into a crowd of worshippers, Mohammed stretched out his arms to protect and shelter the attacker. His action stopped anger from generating more violence and ensured that the man responsible was judged by law, tried and sentenced to life. That Imam represented the best of Islam and the best of British.

"The second event was the memorial service to mark 25 years since the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence. It is a cause of shame that his family had to fight for so long o get justice for their son. And we cannot be content with a situation in which so many people in Britain's black communities feel that the criminal justice system is unfair to them.

"But what shone through at the service was how the Lawrence family have built something positive out of brutal tragedy. We heard from three young black people how the Stephen Lawrence Foundation had given them new opportunities for education and rewarding careers.And the words from Stephen’s mother and brother were of the need to keep working and fighting for justice and reconciliation.

"A good lesson for us all."

National Trust and Hughenden Manor


I recently spent a couple of hours at Benjamin Disraeli’s home, Hughenden Manor, at the southern end of my constituency catching up with the National Trust about they're doing in Buckinghamshire and the Chiltern Hills.

In our area, the Trust is responsible for a clutch of historic houses : Hughenden, Waddesdon, Claydon and Ascott. It's the landlord of important local businesses: Hartwell House hotel and the Kings Head pub in Aylesbury's market square. The trust owns some of the most important Chilterns landscapes, including Coombe Hill, Pulpit Hill (next to Chequers) and Bradenham and Naphill Commons, and protects other areas including at Little Hampden through covenants.

So the NT is an important voice both nationally and locally in debates about development, planning and conservation.

At Hughenden we talked, unsurprisingly, about HS2. I was glad to hear that the Trust is talking almost weekly to HS2 Ltd and its contractors about how to mitigate the scheme’s environmental impact. My impression from constituency casework is that while HS2 has learned some of the lessons from its early, abysmal communications with local communities, and has raised its game, there is still some way to go before there is a real culture of being open with residents about the development of detailed plans.

The conversation with the Trust moved on to the future of the Oxford to Cambridge arc and the implications that carries for housing and infrastructure in Bucks.

We all know that there's going to be a lot more housing. That means bigger urban populations, mostly people with small or no gardens, who need green spaces both for recreation and for a refuge from the often hectic pace of urban life.

I think how to strike the right balance between the competing needs for, on the one hand, accessibility and recreation and, on the other, tranquillity and conservation is a key challenge facing the National Trust and other countryside organisations.

The Trust told me they were keen to work with others- local authorities, farmers and landowners- to to get that balance right. I’ll certainly support them in that endeavour.

Latest Unemployment Statistics for Aylesbury

  • The total number of unemployed claimants in Aylesbury constituency in March 2018 was 775.
  • This represents a rate of 1.2% of the economically active population aged 16-64, the 558th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.)
  • The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.8%. The UK unemployment rate, which includes people not claiming benefits and is estimated from survey data, was 4.2% between December 2017 and February 2018.
  • The number of claimants in Aylesbury constituency is 30 higher than March 2017 and 10 higher than February 2018.
  • There were 130 claimants aged 18-24 in March 2018, 15 lower than March 2017.


Jobcentre Plus Discount Travel Card


David said:

"Under the discount card scheme people who are looking for work can travel to interviews, training, of the job centre for half-price. I have heard from National Rail that last year in the last 12 months, just under 200 people made such journeys, but if you know anyone who could benefit, they can find further details here:


David in Aylesbury

Last Friday David met a number of constituents and officials in Aylesbury, you can find further details by clicking on the various images.

David visits the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal

David recently visited the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal with representatives from the Canal & River Trust to see the work that has been done on towpath improvement and hear about the work they are doing with local volunteers from Harding House and Esri, who have ‘adopted’ a section of the canal.

You can find out more about the River & Canal Trust here.