10 Sep Brandon Lewis – Questions answered
After an exclusive interview with the Harbour team, GY MP and minister of state for housing and planning Brandon Lewis, we have had popular questions answered by our local political representative.
At the start of the interview he was asked in short what he has done for Great Yarmouth, his response was that he had secured “substantial investment in the last 5 years, far more than in the last 20” , he also championed the “£40 million” invested in flood defences to ensure the towns safety from the almost annual floods affecting the area.
He also added that in his second term his team have continued to invest in our school system, and he then focused on how he has secured money for Great Yarmouth college. It should be noted that Mr Lewis has strong ties with this institution as he stated he admires that the college allows the jobs created by the local resources, for example the growing renewable energy sector in our area, can be given to local people.
He then moved onto the subject of the money spent and investment in local roads, most notably the A47. Following an array of accidents occurring on this infamous stretch of road he spoke of £10 million invested on improving safety on Acle straight.
The next subject discussed was the Trafalgar school and college becoming an academy, which he then went on to glorify as the great results the academies have obtained are an improvement in comparison to their past results when they were schools, he then promoted the idea that an academy has much more freedom to succeed in its own way.
Our interviewer then asked if he had “any plans to reduce unemployment”. He retorted with the fact that “we’ve seen 50% improvement since 2010”. Whilst going onto saying that “there are jobs out there”. His expertise in the housing market then came into play as he stated that the “biggest challenge is finding workers in housing”.Going back onto the subject of the local renewable energy industry he stated that “more companies are moving in as renewables grow”.
He was then tasked with answering the question “what about empty shops?”. He answered this by stating that the national average for this problem is 11.5% and Yarmouth’s ranks at 12%. He then went onto explain that “Yarmouth town center is just below average” and is “doing pretty well” due to the fact that it is being challenged by Norwich and online shopping, which are in his view unavoidable constraints.
After being questioned whether he was “going to run any campaigns about education” He stated that the “best thing politicians can do is not to interfere” and then going onto saying that “we want our education to be the best it can be”. In regards to how involved he was with local education, he told us that he helps with East Norfolk Sixth Form College by setting up job fairs and similar events. He is also a social Governor at Yarmouth College. He pushed the idea of “schools and academies moving power away from Whitehall and into the school”.
After being questioned about the recent issue with Syrian refugees he suggested that “we are a country of immigration”. He then spoke of the history of British immigration such as Saxon and Roman invasions, implying that there is no indigenous British person. He then explained that he holds an “anti jingoistic approach” on the matter and that a modern country must play a part in helping and should be proud of it.
He went onto talking about how Theresa May was impressed upon her visit to the area about the huge opportunities in Yarmouth. On the subject of the council he stated that it has one of highest spending powers in Norfolk and he pushed the want for “good value for money” from the budget rather than spending it all.
The interview finished on a soft note as he spoke about his interest in partaking in upcoming triathlons , whilst stating that he was back to work in Westminster within the next week.