Information received from Chris Grayling on 5th March 2014.
I am writing to update you on a number of the things that I have been doing recently and about some local developments.
Firstly, you may have seen that the Better Services Better Value programme, which was the programme planning to reconfigure local hospital services, and was proposing the downgrade of Epsom Hospital, has been wound up.
I expect there to be continuing debates about the structure of hospital services in London, but there is now no reason for Epsom to be caught up in these discussions. Locally there are now interesting discussions taking place about bringing some additional services to Epsom, including some currently carried out on the Sutton Hospital site. The financial position of the Epsom and St Helier Trust has also improved and so I am more optimistic about the future of Epsom than I have been for some time.
In Ashtead, I have been consulting residents who live beyond the level crossing on what they would like to see done to tackle the growing problem of blockages and breakdowns at the crossing. Thank you to everyone who replied.
I have picked Home Start as the local charity I am supporting this year. The charity is based near Tattenham Corner, and it provides mentoring and support to young families going through difficult times, or to young parents who need to build their parenting skills. http://chrisgrayling.net/charities/
It's an important task, and it has a really good team of volunteers who do the work locally. I will be holding a fund raising dinner for the charity in September. I will send out details nearer the time for anyone who would like to come.
Nationally, in my role as Justice Secretary, I have just published a new Bill which will, I hope, close a number of loopholes in the criminal justice system. In particular, it will end automatic early release for child rapists, terrorists, and a range of the rest of the most serious offenders. It will also extend the maximum sentence for people who play a small part in terror plots to life imprisonment, if the court thinks they are a real threat to society. It also paves the way for a big expansion in the provision of education to young offenders, when they are sent to prison, to try to stop them reoffending.
Finally, I was asked by a local businessman if I could organise periodic breakfast meetings, so that people in the local business community can discuss current political and regulatory issues that affect them. The first one is being held at Field to Fork in Epsom on 28th March at 8am, please see the attached information. If you are interested in coming, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.