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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.


Friday, 27 May 2016


Two weeks ago I had a tour of the monstrous building site that is or will one day be the new town of Sherford. You need a visionary's eye to see it, but it is slowly taking shape. The lead contractors are very professional and recognise the acute disruption to local people while the new community rises from its earthen roots.

The entrance into Sherford, from Haye Road, is going to be spectacular, with a wide flat approach flanked by a massive earthen bund along one side and King George V Playing fields on the other. The town proper is accessed through a raised bridge rather like an Eastern European City. Once under the bridge, a right turn will take visitors to the first batch of houses to be completed and from which this twenty year project will grow.

The bridge is a bat-tunnel, providing a channel for bats to use at night, so as not to disorientate them. We live in a strange age, where thousands of pounds are spent accommodating wildlife, even though throughout history as our natural environment has changed, its inhabitants have shown themselves to be immensely adaptable.

The first show house is now expected to open in September 2016. Many local people are looking forward to that moment and there is every likelihood that these houses will sell well. The design of the town remains highly attractive, especially with the sports and leisure facilities it will contain and the huge community park on its Eastern border. Three well known house builders will be competing with each other for our custom which is a healthy way of ensuring that standards remain high.

We have all suffered much disruption and delay in recent months as a better road system is put in place, especially on the journey between Plympton and Plymstock. I gather the Stanborough Road works will be complete within three months and I am told that it will operate much more successfully than the previous one, where peak time delays were commonplace. If the recently completed scheme at Deep Lane is anything to go by, that will certainly be the case, as traffic flows have dramatically improved on the south side of the A38.

Soon then, the many young people who have been looking forward living in Sherford can start to enjoy the security that home ownership brings.

And we can man the barricades to protect the rest of our green spaces.

posted by Gary @ 15:18  



Thursday, 19 May 2016


I took part in 3 debates on the EU last Friday with plenty more to come. I strongly support robust debate as we move towards the most important decision this country will make since 1975.

But I do not appreciate it when participants peddle blatant myths. It is one thing to look ahead and project what might happen – people will have different views. That is legitimate. But it is quite another to mislead people over things that are happening now. Here are three myths that need to be blown out of the water.

Myth 1: Our EU membership is costing £350 million per week and if we leave the EU we could spend it all on the NHS.  Nonsense. We pay about £19 billion pa gross to the EU, but after the rebate won by Mrs Thatcher and the amount spent by the EU in the UK (not least on farming), this figure is reduced to roughly £8 billion. This is essentially our membership fee to the single market which has brought untold wealth to our country. Even if we left the EU we would still have to pay to be part of the single market (like Norway does) and almost certainly this would exceed £9 billion. Not a penny more to spend on the NHS.

Myth 2: Turkey is about to join the EU and we will have another 72 million people surging over here claiming benefits. Rubbish. Turkish entry into the EU was being mooted when I was first elected in 1992, and they are no closer now than they were then. If it ever happens, it is still decades away, as they are simply not ready. Furthermore, every country has a veto on this matter and if Greece or Germany does not exercise it, the UK might well do so.

Myth 3: Britain imports more from Europe than we export (so they would have to give us a sweetheart deal). Poppycock. In goods and services (bearing in mind that the City of London is such a strong centre for financial services) the EU buys £21 billion more from the UK than we buy from them. Of everything we sell abroad, 44% goes to the EU. Of everything they export less than 8% comes to us. There will be no special trade deal for us.

How you vote is up to you – but please vote on an informed basis and not on the basis of myths.

posted by Gary @ 10:00  



Thursday, 12 May 2016


Have you ever thought about fostering a child? Plymouth Council is undertaking a major push to find more foster carers to help look after the growing number of children who are being removed from their natural parents for one reason or another.

It is not easy to care for a child from such a turbulent background. Most if not all of them come with challenges that make them a handful, not least attachment issues. But in talking recently to parents who foster, there are many rewards for this investment of time and effort. To see a child start to trust again and respond positively to love and boundaries that he or she have probably never known is a wonderful thing.

You might have waved goodbye to your own kids and have experience and still some energy to offer. Perhaps your own children are of a certain age where they can help look after a younger child who can dovetail right into the rough and tumble of family life. I was talking to one mum recently whose three teenage children adore the young 5 year old who now lives with them. Or maybe you have never had children but have the skills and dedication to give a child a chance.

The financial support package is reasonable, although of course that in itself should never be the main motivation.

One advantage of fostering is that it is of necessity for a limited period, often moving the child onto the next season in their lives, perhaps long-term adoption. This means that the foster carer can have a break between children to recharge batteries. Sometimes just offering respite care for a troubled child for a weekend can make an enormous difference.

It is sad that with all of our technological advances, human nature seems to stay the same. How any adult can abuse a young child, most of us cannot fathom, but throughout history, there is little doubt that this has gone on. We are better now at spotting it and intervening. I salute our social workers – having to decide when to remove a child and when to support in situ. Hat's off to them.

But professionals cannot do this alone. They need us – an army of well-intentioned amateurs – prepared to get some training and deploy the love and experience built up over our lives. Why not think about it? What could be more important than giving a troubled child a life?

posted by Gary @ 09:16  



Thursday, 5 May 2016


5000/1 outsiders Leicester City winning the Premier league? Don't be ridiculous.

Confirmed left-winger Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party. Pull the other one. Mad Mogul Donald Trump one step away from becoming Republican nominee for US President? It can't possibly happen.

What else might be lurking around the corner that might take our breath away? Let me try one on you.

On 23rd June despite the recent telephone polls suggesting that the Remain vote will prevail in the referendum on EU membership, the Leave campaign sneak a surprise win.

The pound plummets, the stock market falls, the Bank of England raises interest rates to stabilise our currency and over the following weekend, David Cameron and George Osborne both announce their intention to stand down within three months as they cannot negotiate an exit in which they do not believe. The Scottish leader immediately announces the intention to hold a unilateral referendum in Scotland (which voted 75% to remain in the EU) to leave the UK so it can apply for ongoing EU membership.

The Conservative Party is pitched into a bitter leadership election out of which Boris Johnson emerges as the clear victor, entering Downing Street in October 2016, vowing to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, without free movement of people. Several international companies have announced their intention to quit the EU and our economy has fallen into recession. Interest rates are raised yet again to try to keep the pound from falling to parity with the Euro.

The Labour Party remains in turmoil, with its sensible members trying to find a way to get rid of a leader who they deem to be unelectable and incapable of doing the job. The Lib-Dems remain stubbornly at 7% in the opinion polls.

Boris eventually returns from Brussels after several all-night sessions to report to a fractious House of Commons that our former EU partners will not budge an inch: we can have a free trade area like Norway and have to pay for it and comply with the single market rules including free movement of travel. Or we can have a quasi-free trade agreement like Canada still containing all kinds of tariffs and quotas on certain goods. They cannot give us a special deal because it would encourage other countries to go down the same route.

"We are stuffed" Boris announces to the Commons.

Don't worry - none of this can possibly happen?

posted by Gary @ 09:09