After an undistinguished nineteen months as Minister for State for Social Care our local MP was moved in September this year to the post of Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury a post has seen seven incumbents in the past seven years including Priti Patel and Robert Jenrick.
One of her new responsibilities is to oversee energy infrastructure, energy, environment and climate policy. This has led to questions being raised about the potential con icts of interests with her husband’s involvement in biomass power plant development. Biomass is a controversial industry, with critics questioning its role in tackling climate change. Incidentally, Mrs Whately has consistently voted (13 times in the past four years) against measures to prevent climate change.
During her time in charge of social care, an unacceptable number of people died in care homes because of the abysmal way the Covid crisis was handled by the Government, particularly in the early days of the pandemic. Her inept car crash media interviews and her often vacuous performance during television appearances led to her receiving nationwide derision.
In April 2021, our Helen made more national headlines when it was reported that she was claiming £3,250 a month on expenses to cover housing rent. This tax-free total of almost £40,000 a year was the highest being claimed by any member of parliament and of course on top of her £113,612 pa salary. It is a matter of record that she has consistently voted for a reduction in spending on housing and welfare bene ts and opposed any real wage rise for nurses and health sector workers.
Recently she has spoken out about the huge increase in actual and proposed house building around Faversham which she has called “unforgivable”. However, it is hard to see her apparent opposition to these developments as anything more than opportunistic given that she has supported the Government’s planning strategy of imposing the building of huge numbers of new houses in Kent and failed even to sign the letter from ten other local Kent MPs to the now disgraced former Minister for Communities and Local Communities, Robert Jenrick, opposing the increased targets for new housing in Kent being demanded by central Government.
Like her ineffectual support for the opposition to the vast Cleve Hill solar farm/battery development and the replacement of the Creek Bridge, a cynic might think that her genuine commitment to her Faversham constituents goes little beyond that of a good photo opportunity.
To give her a chance show the close interest has taken in the town, we invited her to answer a few questions about issues of real concern to residents of Faversham in general and our 12,000+ readers in particular.
Q & A WITH HELEN WHATELY: THE QUESTIONS
The five things we were particularly interested her views of were:
Sewage discharges into Faversham Creek by Southern Water.
The creek Swing Bridge and negotiations with Peel Ports concerning their statuary responsibly for its maintenance.
Housing developments in and around the Town.
GP services in Faversham.
The Cleve Hill proposed lithium-ion battery storage facility.
These questions were chosen because she has been closely involved with the issues and we asked if she could provide us with a reply within 4 weeks.
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We were told we could try again in 2022.
THE EYE ISN'T ALONE IN GETTING NO REPLY
By Mark Sewell
This is the response I got from Helen Whately, Favershams elected MP, about the plight of the ecosystems, species and habitats that will be damaged during the Duchy of Cornwalls development of Land South of Faversham, my email can be read from a week or so ago. No surprise here then...... Helen Whately MP
Helen has asked me to thank you for your email and to let you know she has taken your comments on board.
With best wishes Michelle Lowe Office of Helen Whately MP