From Huw Merriman MP <[email protected]>
Subject Huw Merriman MP - November Newsletter
Date November 25, 2022 12:53 PM
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Welcome to my latest newsletter. I hope you find this a useful summary of my work on your behalf


** Dear Resident,

Welcome to my latest newsletter. There is much to report back to you since my last newsletter on local and national issues.

As I referenced in my article for the Bexhill and Battle Observer on 4 November, if a week is a long time in politics, a fortnight seems like an eternity. We have certainly seen a lot of leadership and policy changes over the past month. It has been an unsettling time for many.

However, I can report that we now have a Government under our new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, which is joined-up, focused and united in its pursuit of policy and delivery. Last week the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor delivered on support for education, NHS, businesses and for individuals during the cost of living crisis - more information on this below.

The Prime Minister asked me to take on the position of Minister of State at the Department for Transport with responsibility for Rail and HS2. I was delighted to accept this role. I write more on this appointment below.

Now I sit on the front bench, I’m not allowed to speak about other matters from the back benches. Having spent seven years speaking as I find it, I am conscious that things may look different to constituents who have always been so supportive (regardless of how they vote). The method of communication may alter but the focus remains. I am absolutely committed to driving through the changes we need.

With best wishes,


Ministerial Appointment

I was delighted to have been appointed Minister of State at the Department for Transport by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, with responsibility for Rail and HS2.

I have a real passion for rail. It regenerates areas, connects us with our nation and pushes new frontiers. I've spent 7 years on the Transport Select Committee, the last two as Chairman. I've had a great insight into rail and I appreciate the problems we face and the people who can address them. I will miss my Select Committee role and the team I worked with. It was a wrench to leave and I would not have left it for a role which wasn't within Transport.

I will continue to work hard to support the residents, communities and businesses of the Bexhill and Battle constituency. Being the Member of Parliament for the constituency I’ve called home, for longer than I’ve been elected, is a special privilege. It will always be my first priority

Sewage debate

On 12 October, whilst still a backbench MP, I secured a debate on sewage pollution. During the debate I called for more ambition on the deadlines to end combined sewage overflows into sea and rivers and a a joined-up approach between local authorities, Government agencies and sewage companies in delivering a solution.

Read more
here ([link removed])
Pensions ‘triple lock’ protected in Autumn Statement

The Government has confirmed that the pensions ‘triple lock’ will be guaranteed from April 2023. This will see pensioners receive a rise in the State Pension and the Pension Credit of 10.1%, in line with inflation.

This guarantee was announced in the Autumn Statement which was delivered by the Chancellor on 17 November. For further details on other announcements, covering incomes, energy bills, support for businesses, and public spending, please visit my website at this link. ([link removed])
([link removed])

For more information on claiming Pension Credit please click on the image below
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Observer Article

In my column of 18 November I reflected on the importance and relevance of the Act of Remembrance for all those who gave their lives to protect our country and preserve our freedoms. I was privileged to join services in Battle on Remembrance Day and in Bexhill on Remembrance Sunday.

Read more here ([link removed])

Bader College visit Parliament

I was delighted to welcome the students from Bader College to Parliament. The College is part of Queens University of Canada and is based at Herstmonceux Castle in the constituency. I look forward to visiting them at the college in the new year and spending time talking about UK Parliament, democracy and current affairs.

Hailsham Road Sewage Issues

I joined residents and senior representatives from Southern Water and ESCC Highways for a site meeting at Hailsham Road in Heathfield where residents have suffered from years of sewage pollution during times of heavy rainfall. Southern Water has taken a number of actions to remedy the problems and ESCC Highways will now be carrying out further works to divert rainwater. A great example of agencies working together to solve a problem. Huge thanks to the residents for their constructive input, and their patience, whilst solutions have been found and implemented.

Netherfield Shop up for an award!

I was so pleased to meet Janette and Nichola McAulay who run Netherfield Community Shop, Cafe and Post Office. They have been nominated for a Rural Oscar award by their customers for their outstanding service to the local rural communities. Cllr Hazel Sharman of Battle Town Council joined me for the visit and is a big fan of the business located in her ward. Read more about them here ([link removed]) and please support them by nominating them at the link below

Countryside Alliance Awards ([link removed])

Pevensey Sea Defences

I have been working closely with the Environment Agency on the early stages of a £100m project for sea defences which will protect the East Sussex coastline from coastal flooding from Holywell at the far end of Eastbourne to Cooden Beach in Bexhill. The current sea defence contract which protects Pevensey Bay, Normans Bay and up to Cooden Beach expires in 2025. Since 2019, I have been speaking to Ministers at Defra to ensure that a new contract will be in place to protect the coastline and homes for future generations.

A community stakeholder group for the Pevensey and Normans Bay communities has been set up by the Environment Agency. Whilst I am not able to attend mid-week stakeholder meetings in the constituency, due to government and parliamentary duties, a senior member of my team is part of the group to represent me and the needs of these coastal communities.

Find out more about the project and sign up to updates at this link ([link removed])

Jobs Fair 2023 - date confirmed!

The date of next year’s hugely successful Bexhill Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair will be Friday 10 March 2023. This dynamic community-led event requires sponsorship from local and national business to help it deliver sector-specific support and guidance for jobseekers and school leavers.

Being a major sponsor of this event is a great opportunity for businesses and organisations to raise their profile in the local community. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact me huw.[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])

Farmers Roundtable

Over 40 local farmers joined me for a meeting with officials from the Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs and the Rural Payment Agency to discuss the new farm payment schemes which are aimed at delivering food security alongside environmental protections and nature recovery. Read more here ([link removed]) .

Business rates support

The Government has announced measures to support businesses and the high street with the burden of business rates, providing £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next 5 years.

To protect businesses from rising inflation the multiplier will be frozen in 2023-24 while relief for 230,000 businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors was also increased from 50% to 75% next year. To help businesses adjust to the revaluation of their properties, which takes effect from April 2023, the Chancellor announced a £1.6 billion Transitional Relief scheme to cap bill increases for those who will see higher bills.

You can find further information about the support being provided on my website at this link ([link removed])

Help with energy bills and the cost of living

The Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement that the Energy Price Guarantee, which is protecting households throughout this winter by capping typical energy bills at £2,500, will continue to provide support from April 2023 with the cap rising to £3,000.

The Government has also committed to introduce additional cost of living payments next year of £900 to households on means-tested benefits; £300 to pensioner households; and £150 for individuals on disability benefit.
For further information on the help that is available, please visit my website at this link:
Help with Energy Bills ([link removed])

Observer Article

In my article of 4 November, I commented on the rapid changes in government, my new role as a member of the government and the challenges ahead.

Read more here ([link removed])

Bexhill College

I welcomed a group of students from Bexhill College who studied law and politics into Parliament. Following their tour of the Palace of Westminster, I answered some of their questions on policies and what I was doing in the local community particularly with the continued issues with sewage. It was fantastic to meet the students, hear some of their ideas and have a lively discussion.

Sussex Resilience Forum

I recently hosted a meeting for Sussex MPs with the Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF). This meeting is a continuation of the work I have been doing to establish what more can be done by local resilience partners and utility companies to better support residents and communities during major events like Storm Eunice. Earlier this year, Storm Eunice left thousands of homes without power and water. In this meeting we discussed what we as MPs could do to help the SRF to ensure resilience in Sussex. Please look at the SRF website for more information on what they do - [link removed]

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Funding boost for hospitals and schools

The health service and schools were prioritised by the Government in this year’s Autumn Statement.

The NHS and social care have been allocated up to £8 billion of additional funding. This funding, in addition to further efficiency savings, will help to improve access to urgent and emergency care, get waiting times and the Covid backlog down, and double the number of people being able to be released from hospital into care every day from 2024.

The schools budget will receive £2.3 billion of additional funding in each of 2023-24 and 2024-25, enabling continued investment in high quality teaching and tutoring, and restoring 2010-levels of per-pupil funding in real terms.

Meeting on Sewage Outflows onto Bexhill Beach

Following my sewage debate in Parliament, I met with local organisations who have responsibility for the outfall pipes onto Bexhill beach. The only way to improve our bathing water standard is for us all to work together to reduce outflows and understand the source of all pollutants entering our sea. Read more here ([link removed]) .

Time Capsule Buried in Heathfield

I was invited to help bury a time capsule at Holdenhurst Court in Heathfield to mark the official opening of Abbeyfield South Down's new independent living scheme in the town.

It was so good to meet the residents, staff and guests for this fun and lively event. I look forward to re-visiting next year for tea and conversation with the residents.

Read more here ([link removed])

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