Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP – Update from Parliament March 2018

I have joined up with my friend, Robert Halfon MP, to call for free car parking at all NHS hospitals in England – for everybody; patients, staff and visitors. They already do this in Scotland and Wales. We had a debate in Parliament calling on the Government to identify how this can be achieved. I accept that it is not straightforward as every hospital manages their car parks differently.

Where there is a long-term PFI commitment in place then that will need to be negotiated, but in many cases, it will be easier. We don’t need to wait until we can change the whole country over in one go.

Often people are facing a very stressful and difficult time when they visit the hospital and they shouldn’t have to keep running out to top up parking payment. NHS staff shouldn’t be charged to park at work either. I was never charged to park in the compound when I was a firefighter.

I want the Government to seriously consider this. I absolutely believe it can be done if the will is there and it is something that would benefit nearly all of us at some time or other.

I also joined a campaign to reduce single-use plastics and have pledged to get as near to zero single-use plastics as possible in my personal use. I have a daughter who is a marine biologist and she already puts pressure on my wife and I to make sure we use as little single-use plastic as possible. We already consider this whenever we are shopping, but I am sure we can do even better.

I do find it deeply worrying that there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, with 8 million tonnes more ending up there every year. When I do my visits to local schools, it is clear that the environment is something young people care very much about. Quite simply, we all have a role to play in protecting our oceans and that is why I have signed the PassOnPlastic pledge and encourage others to do the same.

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