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Stadium issues must be resolved
As we move into May, we also move into the traditional business end of the domestic football season.
Countless supporters across the country will be experiencing the pressure of relegation; the euphoria of promotion; and every possible emotion in between (including that of deep frustration for Leeds fans like myself!).
Nevertheless, all local residents can be extremely proud of the performances and success of York City FC. With an FA Trophy Final coming up at Wembley and a hard-earned place in the Conference play-offs, it has been a great year on the pitch for all associated with the club, and fingers are firmly crossed for a promotion and cup victory to sign off the year.
It is, of course, high time the Minstermen returned to the Football League and looking ahead with such positivity brings us again to the controversial question of a new community stadium. I remain entirely supportive of the concept of a new community stadium – in principle, it would be good for our football club and good for our city.
However, many valid questions over the commercial impact of the current proposals remain unanswered by the City of York Council. Given the significance of a new stadium on local transport, employment (particularly in the city-centre) and our wider community, it is up to those at Guildhall to work through the issues and ensure that we can have confidence in a new, sustainable, community stadium. In the meantime, we should all congratulate York City FC for being one of the most professional, ambitious and community-focused clubs in the land.
• As many readers will know, I have recently been calling for proper action to be taken against those who illegally tether horses on the sides of busy roads. Over the past few months we have seen a number of dangerous incidents involving illegally tethered, unregistered horses. I fear a tragic fatality on our roads unless the police and the local authority get a grip and clamp down on this nonsense.
I have tabled parliamentary questions and raised the matter in the House of Commons. At the next opportunity I shall be applying for a parliamentary debate on the subject. It would appear local authorities are content to sweep such difficult issues under the carpet but we should all be clear – the law must be applied fairly and in full to anyone who refuses to abide by it.
• One of the most enjoyable aspects of being an MP is meeting with local school students. Earlier this week, I had the good fortune to meet with a group of sixth-formers from Huntington School who were visiting Westminster for the day. As ever, I was impressed by the robust questioning from our city's bright young minds.
Doing all I can to support local schools is one of my key priorities and I am pleased to report that another of our local schools has had a successful resolution to a worrying funding matter.
Manor CE School recently contacted me with concerns over the allocation of school budgets from the Department of Education. The funding situation threatened to leave a financial hole in the school’s budget for the upcoming academic year through no fault of the school.
Rather, a central government oversight would have created late payments impacting on the school’s ability to operate at full capacity. Sometimes politics can feel like a truly maddening game, but on this occasion I am pleased to say that the Department of Education has responded to my representations by covering the shortfall in funding immediately.
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