One of the many reasons businesses choose to invest in Reading are our excellent transport links to London, Heathrow and the rest of the country. And in recent years Reading has benefitted greatly from government investment in local road and rail infrastructure. Including at Reading station and with rail electrification and the Crossrail line to Reading underway.
And when it comes to improved transport links, many of the international businesses locating to Green Park in my constituency regularly ask me when the Reading Green Park rail station will come online. There is no doubt that this station will be a boost for local businesses and commuters but also incredibly useful for those coming to the Madejski Stadium.
I have personally lobbied the Department of Transport, and individual Rail and Transport Ministers over the years for this station. So I was delighted to receive a letter last month from the Rail Minister Paul Maynard, informing me that Reading Green Park will receive funding from the government’s New Stations Fund. This means that the new station will be benefitting passengers and opening up access to new rail journeys from 2020 at the latest.
This just goes to show that if you keep plugging away as a local MP for investment in your area you do eventually have some success! I look forward to welcoming Mr. Maynard to my constituency next month to discuss Green Park Station and also talk about the investment needed at other local stations like Theale.
Although Parliament is currently in recess the work of government continues and, as well as taking care of constituency duties, I have spent much of recess at work in my new department as the Housing and Planning Minister. The day after I was appointed to this role we had the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
I and other colleagues have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks dealing with the immediate needs of those most directly affected by this awful incident and also ensuring that other high rise buildings around the country are being checked for safety.
An independent Public Inquiry will examine the circumstances surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower. But there are wider issues around social housing which need to be answered and, as a first step, the Prime Minister has asked me to meet and hear from social housing tenants across the country so we can develop a national response.