Over the summer I held a series of open surgeries in supermarkets, offering anyone who happened to be there and had the time the chance to talk about whatever was on their minds. The single two biggest issues raised across the constituency were roads and broadband, and this was particularly the case at the northern and eastern ends, and in Skegness in particular.
It certainly doesn’t take a genius to work out that our roads need greater investment, with huge volumes of agricultural and tourist traffic taking their toll. I’ve been keen to emphasise in parliament that although Lincolnshire’s efficient on a national scale in repairing our roads, it will always be an uphill battle against the number of potholes on a vast, rural road network. Voters in supermarkets were realistic, but it’s obvious that more work needs to be done, and I will continue to make that case to the government.
The other main topic of conversation was broadband: voters were again keen to emphasise that expectations weren’t unrealistic, but the potential for new businesses is huge if broadband is superfast, and simply decent broadband is now essential for everything from homework to farm payments and tax credits.
I’ve received more emails about broadband than any other topic over the last few months, from a range of people who often have never contacted their MP before – that shows the power and importance of digital infrastructure, and it’s already been my single biggest focus in Westminster since the election. While it’s good to hear people care about the same issues, it’s obvious politicians across the UK need to redouble their efforts.
Matt Warman is the MP for Boston and Skegness.