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03 JAN 2018

Witney Gazette - MP praised for role connecting broadband in the district

In the House of Commons, Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, congratulated Robert Courts MP's tireless work on getting increasing connectivity for rural areas.

Since becoming the Member of Parliament for West Oxfordshire, Robert has met with the Minister a number of times to press the importance of having access to high-speed broadband for both businesses and residents. He has further pressed for improved mobile phone signal, which is a significant issue in many villages in West Oxfordshire.

As more people are choosing to work from home, and more of our daily lives are based online, connectivity with broadband and mobile phone coverage is becoming increasing important.

West Oxfordshire District Council recently announced a new contract with Gigaclear to roll-out ultrafast broadband across the district. This will connect over 4,600 homes and businesses with fibre technology, and is supported by funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Robert welcomes this excellent process and is pleased that West Oxfordshire is leading the way in delivering fast broadband to even the most rural properties. However, there is more to be done regarding mobile coverage, and he will continue to press for progress in 2018.

The Minister said, "I pay tribute to his personal leadership locally in delivering better connectivity across West Oxfordshire."

Robert said, "I am glad the Minister recognises that hard work being done locally to ensure that all have access to these essential services. As a growing area with many thriving businesses, the need to connect is more important than ever. I will continue to press for more progress on this vital issue."

03 JAN 2018

Oxford Mail - Second World War codebreaker honoured by Witney MP

Robert Courts MP honours local residents with award to recognise her work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

Read this article in full here.

02 JAN 2018

Witney Gazette - MP welcomes funding

Robert Courts MP today welcomed the Government's multi-million pound investment in Oxfordshire healthcare, as it emerged that Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had been granted an additional £3,787,800 funding to help cope with Winter pressures.

Oxfordshire hospitals and the wider health system has prepared earlier and more extensively than ever before for Winter this year, with a focus on securing the right numbers of doctors and nurses, increasing bed availability, and making sure there is strong social care and community care support available to help discharge patients from hospital quickly.

The extra funding granted to the Trust is the equivalent of 88 annual nurse salaries, and was announced as part of a £337m immediate funding boost for NHS hospitals this Winter in the recent Budget, in addition to an extra £2.8bn investment over the next two years. Witney Community Hospital services are run by a combination of OUH NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Commenting, Robert Courts MP said: "This is great news for Witney patients and residents. We all want to know the NHS is there for us and our families whenever we need it, so I'm pleased the Government is giving the NHS extra support at this critical time of year, when cold weather and flu can increase the pressures on hard-working hospital staff.

It's thanks to our strong economy that we can make this extra investment in the NHS. Polls show the NHS is the institution that makes us most proud to be British, and my party will always back and fund it."

13 DEC 2017

Witney Gazette - Chipping Norton school secure victory in MP's Democracy Challenge

Students from every sixth form in West Oxfordshire took part in Robert Courts MP's first annual West Oxfordshire Schools Democracy Challenge.

Robret said, "I was absolutely delighted to host my first ever Democracy Challenge. I was thoroughly impressed by the high standard of debate and public speaking that was on display.

"Chipping Norton School were well deserved winners, but they were pushed hard and everyone who participated made some really excellent and thought-provoking contributions."

Read this article in full here.

06 DEC 2017

Witney Gazette - Airman saved by Witney hero went on to lead a full life

Ron Dale, of Thorney Leys, pulled a Royal Canadian Air Force gunner from the flaming wreckage of a crashed plane in Milton-under-Wychwood in September 1942, saving his life.

Since telling his story to the Witney Gazette, research by this paper and Witney MP Robert Courts has helped uncover more information about the man – Sgt Armstrong 'Doc' Lyon.

Read this article in full here.

04 DEC 2017

Oxford Mail - Oxfordshire MP marks official opening of affordable housing scheme

Robert Courts MP welcommed the launch of the new affordable housing development in Kingham.

Read this article in full here.

04 DEC 2017

Inside Housing - Robert Courts MP presses Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in Parliament

Robert Courts MP questioned Sajid Javid about landlords passing on the cost of removing cladding onto leasholders.

Read this article in full here.

29 NOV 2017

Witney Gazette - MP welcomes boost for Zimbabwe charity

As a part of today's Budget announcements, the Chancellor has announced that Zimbabwe A National Emergency (ZANE) will receive £1.3million – after Robert Courts MP highlights the important work of the charity in Parliament.

The grant, funded by the LIBOR charity funding scheme, will enable ZANE to support 583 Commonwealth ex-Servicemen, women and widows living in extreme poverty in Zimbabwe.

Last week, Robert Courts urged the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to ensure that during this period of political instability in Zimbabwe, much-needed aid from charities such as Witney-based ZANE still gets through.

ZANE aims to provide the most effective way possible for donors to help people in Zimbabwe, seeking to relive invisible and visible suffering. This includes working with pensioners, helping to develop communities through small business training and development, and through carefully chosen partnerships to alleviate clubfoot, provide hearing aids and prosthetic limbs for land mine victims.

Robert said: "This investment will provide invaluable support to many people in Zimbabwe who are all too often forgotten. I am proud to have played a small part in raising the profile of this wonderful charity by raising the issue with the Foreign Secretary. It is essential that much-needed aid continues to get through to those who need it during this time of political upheaval."

Tom Benyon, founder of ZANE, said: "The people in Zimbabwe would want to thank Robert Courts for his wholehearted support of the charity ZANE, based in his constituency, particularly for the £1.3m grant that that the charity has just been awarded by the Treasury. We are lucky to have Robert Courts MP working hard for us in parliament."

23 NOV 2017

BBC Newsnight - Robert Courts discussing animal sentience

Robert Courts appeared on BBC Newsnight to discuss the issue of animal sentience in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Watch this programme in full here.

Robert's section starts at 19:15.

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