Pushing the right buttons for faster internet

My campaign on faster broadband for Dorset is of even greater importance at this time when so many of us are reliant on digital technology to work and learn from home.

I’ve pushed digital minister Matt Warman on this in the House of Commons and had a number of meetings with him. I’m also working with Openreach to encourage Community Fibre Partnerships, where residents and local businesses combine forces in their area, with the help of Government voucher schemes, grants and local authority support. This has worked well in several areas so far and a new scheme opens in April.

If you have poor internet connectivity in the Blackmore Vale area, as I know many of you do, you can use the Openreach Community Fibre checker to identify whether you might benefit from this. For more details, visit my website at

The budget for social care for adults and children in the Dorset Council area was £172m in the last financial year – equivalent to nearly 70 percent of the revenue generated through the Council Tax we pay; and yet there is still a need for further provision in certain areas. The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) families I’ve met with tell me they experience a lack of specialist support and education close to home. Travelling outside Dorset to access this support not only makes their daily lives more challenging but considerably adds to the cost to taxpayers.

I have raised this issue with Dorset Council and with Ministers and that’s why the purchase of the St Mary’s School site near Shaftesbury, set in 55 acres and with outstanding facilities, is such welcome news. Dorset Council has now opened a public consultation on its preferred option to transform this building for the benefit of SEND education across Dorset and we are all invited to complete a short survey on this; you will find more details on my website at

Also on education, I took the opportunity last week, during my speech in the House of Commons on the Armed Forces Bill, to highlight the work of Kingston Maurward College; whose Military Preparation courses offer students confidence and competence as they set out on their military careers.

I also paid tribute to our own Armed Forces here in Dorset, including The Rifles, and thanked the Royal Marines currently supporting the coronavirus effort at Dorset County Hospital. To hear my speech in full visit

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