Why South West Water has to pay….

The cost of the damage that South West Water has heaped upon Brixham has yet to be calculated. From those who became unwell, to businesses who lost bookings, to the town as a whole whose reputation has suffered so badly, there is a clear need for answers as well as for compensation.

Over the past four years, I have been proud to play a part in passing the most comprehensive piece of legislation that holds our water companies to account. We have new rules in place that mean water companies can be fined unlimited amounts if they cause pollution. We can revoke licenses and send executives to jail and we have significantly upgraded Ofwat – the water regulator. 

Ofwat’s powers are important because ultimately they will investigate and decide on any penalty against South West Water over what has come to pass in Brixham. We should note they have the powers to “take enforcement action against water companies that don’t link dividend payments to performance.”

The South West Water teams on the ground handing out bottles of water and trying to repair the network have been exemplary, but I cannot yet come to forgive the management and executives for their handling of this entire episode. The additional paying out of dividends last week has only further my anger and that of residents. 

Door knocking time….

It has been my honour to be the MP for Totnes and South Devon over the past four years. I have always taken the view that if you can get it right locally, you can get it right nationally. During my time in post, I have campaigned, led and helped local teams to secure well over £50m of investment into our towns, high streets, hospitals, schools, fishing industry and the photonics sector to name but a few. This money alone will help to improve our local services, create new jobs and ensure that we have a vibrant and successful economy.

On top of this, I have been proud to speak up for the fishing and farming communities in Parliament. Our fishermen and farmers are the backbone of this rural and coastal constituency and I have never taken for granted that they need a strong voice in Westminster that does not bend to the eco-zealots or the misinformed. Their work in these troubling times, is more important than ever in ensuring we meet our food security targets.

Ultimately, these next five weeks will reflect a lot on the difficulties of the past four years but I hope it might also be a chance for residents across South Devon to look at my record in delivering for the area. I am proud to be a Devonian, and I am proud of my record in being a conscientious, hard-working backbencher who has always put the needs of residents first.

So, over the next five weeks, I am greatly looking forward to meeting as many people as possible to discuss local and national issues. To continue to support local communities and speak up for those who need a voice, and above all to say a huge thank you for your support to me over the past four years.