Sir Tony is MP for North Oxfordshire, which includes the towns of Bicester and Banbury, as well as areas including Bloxham, Deddington and Hook Norton. You can see a map of the constituency below. North Oxfordshire is now the largest Parliamentary constituency after the Isle of Wight.
Sir Tony is voicing local peoples’ concerns on these and the other challenges facing the town to help make North Oxfordshire an even better place to live and work. These are just some of his thoughts from the personal manifesto on which he was elected your MP.
Working with the police
Sir Tony Baldry is fighting to help raise the salaries of police officers in Thames Valley, highlighting how police officers in North Oxfordshire get around £6,000 less compared to officers elsewhere. Sir Tony is working with the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police to get fairer funding to fight crime and anti-social behaviour in Oxfordshire. “People need to know that a police officer is nearby when they need one,” Tony says. “Twenty-four hour licensing laws have put further pressure on the police in the big towns. This is a nightmare for smaller villages that may not be able to get help when they most need it.”
Working for local business
Sir Tony is fighting to cut red tape and stealth taxes on the local business community. Sir Tony regularly consults with local businesses in North Oxfordshire ahead of the Budget to ensure local views heard. Sir Tony actively supports bids to bring extra jobs to North Oxfordshire, including recently approaching the Department for Trade and Industry to bring 300 new jobs for a company in Banbury. “Our challenge locally is to encourage the growth of a skills sector for young people to get the jobs they want, and for business to be able to recruit the employees they want,” says Tony. “Ministers continue to fiddle and increase red tape, increase National Insurance Contributions, increase stealth taxes on small business. Only by cutting these out can we create bigger and better business for Bicester and Banbury.”
Working for local charities
Sir Tony works tirelessly for local charities to help some of the most vulnerable in society. He recently joined mothers to secure the future of respite care services for children with severe disabilities at Sycamore House, calling on the Government to amend the Children Act to guarantee its funding. Sir Tony meets regularly with charity workers in North Oxfordshire and successfully changed Government legislation to improve Carers’ Rights for 1,000 Oxfordshire carers. He is also helping the Carers’ Centre to get Lottery and government funding, the Oxfordshire Children’s Fund, and the Sunshine Centre. “Ministers mistakenly think that the sun is always shining for people in Oxfordshire,” he says, “but for many there is the daily experience of poverty which people associate more with inner cities. In some parts of North Oxfordshire, 30% of families have no central heating, 45% through no fault of their own have no basic qualifications, and unemployment is more than double the county average. It is important that we stand up for the most vulnerable in the community, and support the charities that help when social services stop.”
Working for teachers
Sir Tony is calling for greater investment in further education in Banbury and Bicester. He recently launched an initiative to support the building of a Further Education College in Bicester, following his support for the newly opened technology department at The Warriner school. Sir Tony frequently consults with teachers across North Oxfordshire to lobby the Labour government for fairer pay to reflect the high cost of living in the South East. “Banbury and Bicester are some of the fastest growing towns in Oxfordshire,” says Sir Tony Baldry. “To ensure that they can become the most successful towns in Oxfordshire, England and Europe, all of us need to invest time and energy into ensuring that Bicester and Banbury can become Learning towns – towns of lifelong learners.”
Working with local people
Sir Tony makes a priority of working with local groups, including Parish Councils. He regularly organises briefings and conferences for Parishes, including on National Lottery grants to help local communities get funding for projects, and meetings with the Environment Agency to improve the local environment. He also works closely with a number of residents groups on specific concerns, from Rail Services at Lower Heyford to the erection of mobile phone masts in Banbury. “It is important that local minds are put to local matters,” says Sir Tony. “Parish Councils are often at the centre of local communities, which I why I regularly consults with them on a range of issues and highlight funding opportunities for their local area to ensure that local people get the best services they want.”
Making global concerns local
Sir Tony Baldry was appointed by parliamentary colleagues to chair the cross-party Select Committee on International Development in the last Parliament. Tony won Charity Champion after a vote by Members of Parliament in 2004 and he is at the forefront of the challenge to Make Poverty History. Tony is helping campaigners make Banbury a Fairtrade Town, regularly meets with the North Oxfordshire Trade Justice Movement and local churches, frequently speaks to school children at local schools, including the Warriner, Blessed George Napier, and Banbury School about global issues for Citizenship lessons.