From Disraeli’s ‘One Nation’ Conservatism in the 19th century through to Harold Macmillan’s post-war housebuilding programme and Margaret Thatcher’s revival of the economy in the 20th century, the Conservative Party has a strong tradition of enabling social mobility.
People might say that I came from a classically disadvantaged background, like so many others, having been brought up by my mother in social housing in South London. Yet I was one of the few fortunate enough to get a good education and make my way in life. This should not be a one-off story; it should be commonplace. The circumstances of a child’s birth should not determine where they end up in life.
So I’m delighted that greater social mobility is the driving mission of this Conservative Government.
The ability to make your way in life is intrinsically linked to the education you receive.
While we are fortunate to live in an area with some of the best schools in the country – from academies like Charters, to free schools like Holyport College and Forest Bridge – the picture is not consistent across the country.
Conservative education reforms have shown promising results over the last six years. The creation of free schools and academies, and the modernisation of the curriculum are raising standards across the board. But there is more to do.
Today, the Windsor MP has welcomed the findings of a key parliamentary committee on airport expansion.
The report raised serious concerns about the ability of Heathrow to stick to legally binding emissions and air quality targets.
The report concluded that the third runway should not go ahead at Heathrow unless the Government could demonstrate how it could fit into the UK’s environmental targets and obligations.
Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:
“This report is yet another nail in the coffin for the case for Heathrow expansion.
“A third runway at goes against the growing body of scientific evidence that Gatwick is the cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option for a new runway if we do not have the foresight to build an offshore airport.
Today, the Government ruled out spending public money for the related costs of Heathrow’s third runway.
If correct, this is a huge blow to Heathrow whose so-called access costs were more than five times those of Gatwick’s proposal.
The surface access costs for Heathrow expansion are estimated at £5 billion by the Airports Commission, although Transport for London had put the predicted figure at £15-20 billion.
In response to a parliamentary question tabled by Conservative MP and prominent Third Runway opponent Adam Afriyie, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said:
“In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”
Mr Afriyie commented on the announcement, saying:
“It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out paying the costs of upgrading the railways and local roads or moving or tunnelling the M25.
“If Heathrow won’t pay and the Government won’t pay, then the third runway is already dead in the water and it would be foolhardy for the Government to choose Heathrow expansion.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor and long-time opponent of Heathrow expansion, joined thousands of protestors at a rally to speak out against proposals for a Third Runway at Heathrow.
Other speakers included the shadow Chancellor, John Mcdonnell, and the Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Zac Goldsmith.
The Government is due to lay out its position on airport expansion by the end of the year.
Mr Afriyie commented:
“Thousands of people turned out to show how strongly they opposed Heathrow’s Third Runway.
“Heathrow is the worst noise polluter in Europe by far, and a Third Runway will only make things worse. It will also impose road congestion, harmful air pollution and significant costs on the local area.
The Advertising Standards Agency has upheld a complaint over misleading adverts by Heathrow Airport, which ran with the slogan “those around us, are behind us.”
The reliability of some polling, commissioned by the airport itself, have also come under question as other polls have suggested that most residents oppose the Third Runway.
In an IPSOS Mori poll of residents of Windsor and Maidenhead, released in January, 55% of those who expressed an opinion said they were opposed to a new runway at Heathrow. Only 20% of residents were strongly in favour of the Third Runway, compared to 38% who were strongly opposed.
Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, commented:
“Heathrow is a private business like any other and wants to make the biggest profits it can for itself, its shareholders and consortium of overseas investors.
“But these false adverts only underline the weakness of the arguments for expansion. In Windsor and Maidenhead, far more residents oppose than support Heathrow’s Third Runway. I hope this behaviour is not a sign of things to come as Heathrow seeks to solidify its near-monopolistic position.