Rutland MP Alicia Kearns vows to fight for fairer council tax for county
As we all know, Rutland is one of the best places in the country to live – and we all know why, writes Rutland MP Alicia Kearns (Con).
But one thing has long rankled Rutlanders: our council tax is simply too high – the highest in the country. Rutland County Council was one of the highest performing councils in the land prior to the pandemic, despite receiving less than our fair share of national funding.
That’s why I secured a meeting for Rutland County Council with Kemi Badenoch, Minister at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, so we could make clear that Rutlanders deserve to be funded like other parts of the country – and Minister Badenoch agreed that we need to look at this more closely.
The important thing is that this is very much on the department’s radar, and I will continue to press for fairness for all of us taxpayers in Rutland.
In Barleythorpe, residents of the Oakham Heights development have been let down badly by the developers. In a nutshell, the managing agents have been over-charging and under-delivering the services that they should have – while dragging their heels on completing the final homes in the development and giving residents more of a say over their community.
It was a pleasure to welcome local councillors to Parliament to a meeting I convened with the CEO of the development – and it was great that both sides were able to state their positions, and that the developers were very much keen to work with us to solve the historical problems and ensure that we can move forward together to get to a better place.
I’m a huge believer in the power of communities coming together to solve common problems. There are very few, instances when people in London make more informed decisions than those living in our communities.
That’s why I’m fighting against the Boundary Review proposals, but also why I’m fighting so hard to make the Government takes local views into account on the proposed Mallard Pass solar plant. The 2,175 solar plant would be simply enormous – dominating the Eastern edge of our county and fundamentally changing the character of the surrounding villages.
I’m all for solar power, but building a solar plant on top of ‘good’ and ‘very good’ agricultural land is not the way to rebalance our energy provision to more renewable energy. Put simply, Mallard Pass is too big – and the sheer scale is what means the Government has to approve this project.
But more worryingly, and for me this is the red line, the developer, Canadian Solar, has a track record of using Uyghur blood labour to make its 12-foot high panels. Indeed it has had shipments of solar panels seized by the US Government because they are the result of Uyghur slave labour.
If Canadian Solar is successful, our fields would be stained by the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide. I will not allow that.
I’ve been active in my opposition to the solar plant – working with the phenomenal Mallard Pass Action Group to make sure that local opposition is properly heard. Hundreds of people have signed my petition to stop the solar plant – and on April 7, I’m chairing a meeting in at Essendine Village Hall where residents will be able to ask questions of the developers. Spaces are limited, so please register your interest at https://www.aliciakearns.com/events/public-meeting-mallard-pass if you would like to attend.
Finally, as the crisis in Ukraine continues, the kindness and generosity of the British people has shown itself to be as strong as ever.
Last week, I hosted four inspirational Ukrainian MPs in Parliament and arranged for them to meet the Prime Minister and all the Secretaries of State for relevant departments.
All of them said how grateful they were to the UK Government for our firm response to Putin’s invasion – and how touched they are by how the British people have opened our hearts and our homes to the Ukrainians seeking sanctuary here.
I hope that you, and your families, have a wonderful week in the spring sun.