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Norwich North MP Chloe Smith: How I am working to stop serial offenders like Kerri McAuley murderer Joe Storey

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 September 2017

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith meeting with Sarah Newton. Picture:CHLOE SMITH

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith meeting with Sarah Newton. Picture:CHLOE SMITH

Archant

I’ve got a lot of news for you this month from Parliament which helps Norwich.

In Westminster, we saw the future funding for schools announced. Every single school in Norwich North is getting more money.

This is called the “national funding formula” and it makes school funding fairer. From next April, it replaces the current unfair, opaque and out of date funding system that sees each area of the country receive very different amounts of money for no justifiable reason.

This is an historic reform. It puts money where it’s most needed, helping to ensure that every child can get the high quality education that they deserve, wherever they live.

With this additional investment, the government is increasing the basic funding for every pupil in every school will attract, to a minimum of £4,600 at secondary level and £3,300 for primary. There’s a minimum cash increase in respect of every school, and more for schools that had been historically under-funded. The government is also increasing “high needs” funding, which supports our most vulnerable children. Money per pupil will be maintained in real terms, as schools transition to the new formula.

I want more children in Norwich North to get an outstanding education. Increasing funding for every single school in the constituency is a good way to go.

Another important national thing came into effect this month - and that’s more childcare. The Conservative government’s landmark offer for working parents of 30 hours free childcare per week has begun across the country this autumn.

In Parliament, I voted for more hours of funded childcare to back local parents and I’ve been working closely with the county council and local nurseries, childminders and other childcare providers to support it happening.

High-quality childcare not only helps our children get the best start in life, it supports many parents who want or need to work.

For too long lots of families really struggled to manage the cost of childcare and that’s why the Conservatives have delivered on our promise to provide 30 hours free to working parents of three and four-year-olds.

The offer makes a real difference – saving families around £5,000 per year. As a parent myself, I know how stressful childcare can be. This is a big government policy to help parents who need to work. It’ll help the family finances, help with the juggling, help children get a good start and help people get on however is best for them.

Youth unemployment is at a record low. It’s down 40pc since 2010 and has dropped below 5pc for the first time.

Unemployment generally is at its lowest rate since 1975. That means thousands more people are in work and young people are embarking on jobs or additional education.

I founded the Norwich for Jobs project for our city nearly five years ago. Since then, the local business community and Norwich for Jobs partners succeeded in our first goal - to halve the youth unemployment rate in Norwich - and achieved so much more besides, including helping disabled young people into jobs too.

We changed the lives of over 2,000 young people. So now we are challenging ourselves to halve youth unemployment a second time!

We launched the third phase of our work this month. We want to continue to support young people with challenges into work, and we want to get every young person on Jobseeker’s Allowance back into work.

You can help in this. Your business needs talent, right? And you care about Norwich otherwise you wouldn’t be reading the Norwich Evening News. So contact me today to see if we can match you up with a young person who needs that opportunity.

We have already helped Norwich beat youth unemployment faster than elsewhere in the country. Imagine if we could make youth unemployment history here. Great history and a better future. You could be part of it.

You’ll remember the shocking murder of Kerri McAuley, front page news on this paper a few months ago. Kerri was brutally killed by her partner. He could have been stopped sooner.

She was my constituent and I am working in Parliament to help the government learn valuable lessons from her death as it drafts new legislation that will tackle domestic abuse.

I met with Sarah Newton MP, the minister for the fight against domestic abuse, in Westminster this month. She is preparing a new Domestic Violence and Abuse that will strengthen the tools available to beat this repulsive crime.

I told her about the concerns in Norwich that not enough had been done to stop the killer sooner.

The minister was very keen to hear all the points. She will be looking closely at how serial offenders can be better stopped.

As a constituency MP, it is incredibly important to be able to use local examples to make the laws of this land better. I’d like this work to help change the law so that evil people like Joe Storey can be stopped in the future.

I am grateful to Kerri’s family for their courage in sharing her story and I hope we can achieve something together so that Kerri did not die in vain.

If you are experiencing any form of abuse, speak out. You can contact Norfolk charity Leeway at www.leewaysupport.org

Its 24-hour helpline for free, confidential advice is 0300 561 0077. If you are in immediate danger, call 999.

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