Francis Maude: potholes are high on the county’s agenda

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Friday saw the regular meeting of West Sussex MPs, West Sussex county councillors and officers and also district and borough council leaders. Quite a lot of influential West Sussex people in one room and we discussed many a topic including flooding, fostering, welfare reform and Academies.

I used the opportunity to raise the issue of potholes across the county – something that had been brought to my attention by local residents - and by my car journeys round the constituency! I’m happy to say that it’s high on the county council’s agenda.

West Sussex MPs also had the opportunity of a meeting with Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner who was elected back in November. It was the first time we’d all got together but we had a useful discussion and it’s safe to say that our PCC is already on the case with local crime issues.

I’m looking forward to hearing about her progress in coming months.

A couple of other issues on which to update readers: firstly, we’ve recently released figures that show that net migration into the UK is down by almost a third since the General Election.

Our tough reforms have paid off – official statistics show that net immigration into the UK in the year ending June 2012 was 163,000. This is down significantly from 235,000 in the year ending June 2010. The number of visas issued also fell by ten per cent to the lowest level since 2005, indicating that the downward trend in net migration is set to continue.

Our reforms are bringing immigration back under control but we’re not stopping there – we’ll continue to work hard to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and to create a selective immigration system that works in our national interest.

Moving on, the nation will soon start looking forward to the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow during the summer of 2014 but how much do we all know about the Commonwealth? Well, just recently the Commonwealth Heads of Government have agreed a new Commonwealth Charter.

This means that, for the first time in its 64 year history, the Commonwealth has a single document summarising the organisation’s core values, commitments and the aspirations of its members. This is especially pertinent as this week is Commonwealth Week.

It is wonderful that we are a proud member of the Commonwealth and it is great that we have another amazing sporting event to look forward to. More information about the Games can be found at: www.glasgow2014.com.