Previous Posts



Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 26 March 2015


If you know you were about to become silent, for whatever reason, what would your final words of wisdom be? That is the dilemma facing me this week. From Monday I will not be an MP as Parliament is dissolved, but will be campaigning to re-take this seat. I am grateful for the South Hams Newspapers for running with my articles and for many of you for responding to them. I hope to continue them after 7th May, all being well.

So what to say in my final fling? That one dollop of wisdom that must be communicated. I have decided to focus on a key message: I remain very optimistic about the next generation.

As I often make clear, going into schools and interacting with young people is close to the favourite part of my job. I know some have funny haircuts, although as someone who got married looking like Rod Stewart, I have no grounds for criticism. I know the language has changed. My parents never knew what I was talking about all those years ago when Radio Luxemburg was the source of all truth. Sometimes they get rowdy. I look back with horror at the cocky arrogance of my flared- trousered platform-shoed youth.

But the coming generation are as bright, responsible, interested, creative and impressive as they have ever been. I consistently meet young people who will hold their own in any walk of life and who are an absolute delight.

The future of our country is in safe hands.

But we have to prepare a way for them. I can think of three issues we oldies must get right.

1)    We have to better protect younger children from the negative influences of the internet. We never had to cope with so much information and so many powerful influences coming at us all the time. What we teach in our schools is now only a fraction of the forces that shape these young lives.

2)    We must not pass on our debt to their generation. We got ourselves into the current mess and they should not be asked to pick up the pieces.

3)    We must keep our economy strong so there are rewarding jobs for them, and build sufficient houses so our children and grandchildren have somewhere to live.

Their responsibility is to achieve their potential. Ours is to remove the boulders from their path. If re-elected it will be a high priority.

posted by Gary @ 09:43  



Thursday, 19 March 2015


On 30th March parliament is dissolved. The government continues in skeleton format, but there are no longer any MPs. This phantom situation continues until 7th May when a fresh lot of MPs are elected, hopefully including myself for the sixth time.

My simple message is this: please vote. I am not asking you to vote for me (although obviously I would love you to), but please vote. Please help keep our democracy alive. There are plenty of examples around the world of dodgy democracies where people do not get a genuine say in who they elect. In China you can vote only for candidates approved by the Communist party. In North Korea – only one candidate. In Zimbabwe – well it doesn't matter much because whoever you vote for, Mugabe wins. And so on around the world.

Here in SW Devon you will be given the choice of 5 candidates.

Some people say they are disenchanted with modern day politics. It seems to be a surprise that elected representatives are just as imperfect as the rest of society. We are human beings too. Most people at Westminster are there for the right reasons and want to make the world a better place. It remains the case that compared to almost any other country in the world, Britain is well run and our democracy works.

You sometimes hear people say that they are not voting because politics has nothing to do with them. Politics is about how to look after elderly people, when to go to war, how much tax to raise and what to spend it on. How often to cut the grass on our roadside verges and whether to collect it. When to pick up rubbish. When to grant planning permission and when to raise council tax. Politics is about everything.

Some people say that they don't vote because nothing ever changes. Tell that to the dozens of MPs who lose their seats (and livelihoods) every election. The power at election time rests with the people.

At the last election 70% of constituents voted and it would be great to see an increase this time. About 35% of people aged 18 to 24 voted last time – again it would be good to see a significant uplift. Remember if you have not registered, you cannot vote. You can register online these days – so it could not be easier. You can choose to vote by post.

Our democracy is worth saving.

posted by Gary @ 12:24  



Thursday, 12 March 2015


My sincere congratulations to the leader of Plymouth City Council for being dubbed Councillor of the Year. I know he was quick to point to a team effort, but I am sure the award was merited.

For the first time in my lifetime, Plymouth is in serious danger of achieving its potential. This is due to the welcome alignment of a number of different stars. Government policy has secured the future of the dockyard and naval base, helped the University to blossom, delivered the transfer of south yard to the private sector and awarded us a City Deal that could transform our economic fortunes if we become the centre for marine renewable technologies.

The council currently has a talented crop of senior officers, well led by Tracey Lee who is a breath of fresh air, well guided politically by the aforementioned Councillor of the Year. The increasing roll-out of superfast broadband means that many small businesses are growing. Unemployment in my constituency is 0.9%.

So well done Plymouth. But I am not satisfied. Here is my wish list for the council for the next few weeks.

1) Stop selling off every parcel of green space in Plympton and Plymouth for development. We have accepted the new town at Sherford with its 5500 new homes. We are entitled to some green spaces in our suburbs.

2) Sort out new primary school places in Plympton. This year that nearly a dozen families were faced with sending their children to school outside this very self-contained community. If it was not for the new village school at Sparkwell offering places to some, it could have turned ugly. Policy makers need to sort this out before the next round of education admissions take place – i.e. very soon. 

3) Pick up the litter along the Parkway. I realise there is a debate with the Highways Agency as to who is responsible for this, but in the meantime all this rubbish is despoiling our city. Thousands of people drive along it every day, many of them potential visitors or investors. Even if it is not your responsibility, get some people out there today and couple of trucks and pick it up.

I feel better now that is off my chest. To return to my theme: Plymouth is doing well. It is a joint effort and many people are working hard to make sure that we build a city of which we can all be proud.

posted by Gary @ 09:51  



Thursday, 5 March 2015


The landscape for the NHS – which has grown like topsy over the past fifteen years – could easily be described as fragmented.

Most of its principles are sound: specialist trusts run the hospitals GPs run their own surgeries and new commissioning groups, with doctors at their heart, buy in the health services that fit the needs of their patients.
In our area Derriford Acute Hospitals Trust runs our massive hospital and Plymouth Community healthcare looks after domestic care and mental health services. Plymouth City Council is responsible for public health and other aspects of social care, including looking after people in their own homes. GPs are all self-employed as ever.

Despite the fact that more money has been put into the health service for every one of the past 5 years – an increase over and above inflation each year – it is obvious that the NHS is under pressure. There are fewer administrators and thousands more nurses and doctors. But it does not feel like that. Derriford has always been under pressure for every year I have been an MP, but my recent briefing up there suggests the problems are more intense than ever. Why is this if we are increasing the budget?

Obviously, us all living longer is a large part of it and people in their 80's and 90's having complex medical procedures is not something that ever used to happen.

But the dis-connection between acute services and support for people to return to their own homes – or nursing or residential care if appropriate – has always been a weak link. This has led to much bed-blocking with people having their operations cancelled through lack of beds because somebody who no longer needs that bed has not been found a place outside hospital or has insufficient support to go home.

In our area, that might be about to change, thanks to some ground-breaking work pioneered by the city council and their local health partners. From 1st April 2015 health and social care in Plymouth is going to be properly integrated with all of the various players coming together to commission services and join up the dots. This should soon show a vast improvement in people being released from hospital and cared for in a more appropriate way.

If this works as we all hope it does, bed blocking could become a thing of the past and Plymouth could have blazed a trail that others will follow.

posted by Gary @ 08:44