‘For us in Norwich, this is a good deal’ - MP’s thoughts on UK’s Brexit deal
- Credit: Eliza Boo Photography
I'm getting excited for Christmas.
As part of Small Business Saturday, which was on December 1, I visited local florist, Ellen's on Waterloo Road. It was a pleasure to meet Ellen and learn about how her floristry business has grown. Small businesses are amazing – they're the backbone of our high streets.
In the last couple of weeks before Christmas, where possible, why not consider supporting small businesses as you do your Christmas shopping, and indeed all year round?
Local, independent businesses have shown they too do their bit for our community. I visited Jarrold Department Store where they are helping young people get into employment in partnership with my Norwich For Jobs Project.
James, a 19-year-old young man who is a full-time carer for his mother, struggled to move forward with finding work, due to his caring responsibilities.
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Norwich For Jobs helped James with work-taster sessions and mock interviews with local employers. We referred James to the Prince's Trust Get into Retail Programme with Jarrold. James has now been offered a paid job, with convenient working hours for his caring responsibilities.
This example shows just how important work experience is, and I would encourage any employer that could offer one of our young people a similar opportunity to get in touch and help us change a life.
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You might be aware of the recent report on failings within the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust. Supporting the NHS is a key priority of mine, and I have therefore written to Matt Hancock MP, secretary of state for health and social care, telling him that I find the situation deeply concerning.
The report is crystal clear that the trust's leadership have not done enough to address the issues identified in previous reports. The numerous changes in leadership at the trust have failed to bring out the improvements in service everyone needs.
I know constituents who are placed out of area when in mental health crisis, constituents who face long waiting lists for help and have problems getting crisis care. I also expressed my deep worry about low staff morale, even though they are rightly praised in the report for their hard work and kindness.
I welcome that investment will be made in Norwich, such as a new Crisis Hub being funded. So taxpayers' money is going into mental health and I don't think this is about money. Other NHS mental health trusts around the country do far better for patients so there should be no doubt that responsibility lies with this trust, not at anyone else's door.
Other trusts in Norfolk show how to serve patients effectively, like the outstanding Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust.
So, turning to solutions, I want every option considered for improving the service my constituents rely on. I've asked the secretary of state to do that, and to see if local outstanding leadership can be put to use to improve this trust.
A quick word about Brexit. The government has secured a deal with the EU, covering how we leave the EU and what our future relationship should be like.
The prime minister has now gone back to Brussels a further time, to seek extra reassurances that this is the best deal for Britain. She's got my support.
I'm keeping people up to date with blogs on www.chloesmith.org.uk. Thanks to a lot of people who have taken the time to get in touch. For us here in Norwich, this is a good deal.
In fact, there's no other advanced nation in the world that has a better deal. I have always said that my constituency priority is to support a deal which is good for jobs and businesses here in Norwich, and I'm going to back that.
Let's get behind it, help people come back together again, and make a success of our future partnership with our European neighbours.