Many thanks to Patrick and Isobel Flynn for organising the Speak up week event with George Hollingbery MP for Meon Valley. Last Friday 21st July Mr Hollingbery very kindly made time to come and hear about the Power to Be campaign and to listen to the view of local constituents.
Here is Patrick’s report of the meeting
“Meon Valley MP, Mr George Hollingbery, paid a special visit to Waterlooville on Friday to meet a group of parishioners from The Havant Pastoral Area at The Church of The Sacred Heart of Jesus. This was in response to the Climate Coalition and CAFOD “Week of Action” initiative to call upon the Government to reaffirm the UK’s role as a global climate leader. The group of parishioners were asking Mr Hollingbery to write to the Prime Minister to commit to working with international allies to fully implement the Paris Agreement. In addition, the group emphasised the need for all government departments to work together to produce an ambitious emissions reduction plan that will meet the Climate Change Act targets in a co-ordinated, cohesive, integrated, sustainable and timely manner.
The Group asked Mr Hollingbery to use as much of his influence as possible to persuade the UK Government to stay true to the UK’s commitment to tackling poverty and climate change by supporting access to renewable, safe, reliable and affordable energy for the poorest communities worldwide. There is an active petition to the UK Executive Director of the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to allocate a greater proportion of World Bank energy spending to local communities who do not have access to the clean, sustainable energy they need to power schools, homes, health centres or small businesses. Mr Hollingbery assured the group of the Government’s commitment to combat climate change at home and overseas with the Aid Budget.
His plea to the group was that everyone should encourage family, friends, colleagues in clubs, pubs and at home to communicate regularly with MPs and Departmental Ministers to let them know how strongly we feel about combatting Climate Change and how important it is that we continue to help the poorest communities worldwide. Mr Hollingbery cautioned that there is likely to be much pressure from Ministers to reduce overseas aid as we progress with negotiations to leave the EU. It is up to us to challenge people we meet, whether socially or at work, who seek to reduce the 0.7% aid budget. He said: “Priti Patel does an amazing job at DFID with Directed Aid through local agencies where funds that support ‘bottom up’ projects providing solar power, stoves and pumps and ‘top down’ initiatives to combat corruption and to provide stability in the country”
It was brought to the attention of the group that the Government has set up an initiative whereby small-scale charities can bid for funds. On that subject, we asked that Mr Hollingbery convey our thanks to the Government for the extra funds made available to charities through the Gift Aid scheme and, in particular, the huge benefit gained from the “matched funding”, or £ for £ grant, that has been awarded to Charities in the past.
It was felt that the meeting with Mr Hollingbery was a great success. He listened intently to the arguments and was supportive yet forthright in his responses. His plea for the active participation of the group was taken on board by all attendees, who truly felt that they were being listened to. Mr Hollingbery’s final plea was:- “Please help us by letting your MPs and Government Ministers know how important it is to maintain our Overseas Aid Funding”.