Nick Herbert: Wonderful work of cancer charity

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

On Friday I visited a local charity to support World Cancer Day, when it was announced that one in two people can now expect to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

Cancersurvive is a small charity founded by Hurstpierpoint resident Paul Huggett, who tragically lost two wives successively from the disease.

The charity provides a support network based on personal experience to help those affected by the disease through counselling.

This is a wonderful idea but they are in need of volunteers to help with administration, accounts and fundraising.

I hope that anyone who can help will get in touch with Paul.

I also held a meeting on Friday about housing and planning with the chief executive of Mid Sussex District Council, and then I had a very enjoyable visit to the terrific Rushfields Farm Shop at Poynings, which recently won a Sussex Food and Drink Award for best farm shop.

On Saturday evening I was back in Hurst for a great evening meal at the Hurst Bistro, and on Monday morning I dropped in to Pulborough Library for the launch of their new Hub ‘drop-in’ morning.

The idea is that residents can meet every Monday morning over coffee and biscuits, and it was good to see so many local people supporting the first event.

On Wednesday at Westminster I launched a major series of reports from the cross-party group which I set up last year, GovernUp, focusing on the need to reform Whitehall.

We have proposed ideas such as a powerful new Office for Budget Management to drive more efficient public spending in government, and passing a Decentralisation Act to create a presumption that services are delivered locally.

I was very pleased that Francis Maude was able to speak at the conference. The MP for Horsham has quietly been one of the most effective ministers in the current Government.

Francis has been responsible for around £15 billion of savings in the costs of central government by insisting on better business practices and culling quangos.

I was very sorry to hear that my friend and neighbouring MP is to stand down at the next election, but pleased by the indications that he would like to remain in public service.

He has epitomised what GovernUp has argued, that strong political leadership is essential to ensure that the government machine works more effectively.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at nick@nickherbert.com.