19th February 2019

Resource Group Training Centre

Last Friday I visited the Resource Group Aviation Technical Training Centre located at the Cotswold Airport near Kemble. Here, they provide some of the best aviation training in the world. In particular, they have excellent apprenticeship scheme, where 228 apprentices have successfully passed through the organisation between 2010-17 – a 94% success rate – and a further 314 are training in partnership with BAe at Humberside Airport.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown visits Resource Group Training Centre

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP visits Resource Group Aviation Technical Training Centre

The site at Kemble includes superb workshops and equipment together with functioning aircraft and helicopters. The business injects around £2.65m into the local economy. This is yet another example of a successful Cotswold business and it was extremely gratifying to be able to witness first-hand the superb training the apprentices from around the UK receive. When fully trained they go on to work for a range of airlines around the world.

Corinium Education Multi-Academy Trust

I then went on to meet with Mrs Chiquita Henson, who now has a new role as the Chief Executive of the Corinium Education Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) The idea of the MAT is to put a number of schools together under the same leadership. For example, Cirencester Deer Park school has now entered a partnership with Kemble, Siddington and Chesterton schools. The aim of the MAT is to raise standards in all of the schools through excellent leadership.

I was informed that the MAT is now actively considering running the new Chesterton school on the emerging development. There will need to be transitional arrangements in the existing schools from the start of the development until there are sufficient numbers of children to warrant the construction of a new school.

Mrs Henson believes that the MAT is ideally placed to take on this task as their existing schools’ geographically surround the new school and they have fantastic links to all VI form and further education providers in the area. Subject to receiving a full business case, I am happy to enthusiastically endorse this proposal.

Cirencester Jobcentre


I was very pleased to visit the Cirencester Jobcentre, which is co-located in the CDC offices in the town. This fact alone makes the task of jobseekers much easier because they are able to progress from claiming benefits from CDC into the jobcentre to find work – all in the same building.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown visits Cirencester Jobcentre

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP visits Cirencester Jobcentre

I was given a tour of the office with CSL Christine Dawes and Office Manager Donna Cole and met a number of the staff. Their job is becoming ever more difficult because jobseekers sometimes suffer from complex medical problems, including mental illness, which must be taken in to account. I was also pleased to speak with one staff member who had undergone PTSD training and is consequently providing professional and sympathetic help to armed forces veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Despite all of the difficulties, the staff appeared to be happily and productively helping people into work and it is a great tribute to them that their success rate is so high.

Barn Theatre

Finally, I met with Ian Carling and Iwan Lewis, Owner and Artistic Director of the Barn Theatre in Cirencester. As one of the country’s top regional theatres that regularly attracts high-profile talent, the Barn Theatre is also home to some state-of-the-art technology, including an innovative stage projection system.

The theatre has also been shortlisted for a national award in the acclaimed Stage Awards and is regularly featured in national newspaper reviews, including the Daily Telegraph.

Like many regional theatre, the Barn needs to raise more money to continue serving the community and the purpose of my meeting was to discuss how this could be done. This is an excellent facility for the Cotswolds and we must ensure that it continues to thrive.

Brexit Update

In the latest Brexit news, I was not surprised by the Government’s defeat last Thursday because part of the motion endorsed taking a no-deal solution out of the negotiation. It is essential to have this as a negotiating tool in order to gain the clarifications that we need on the Northern Ireland backstop regarding an exit mechanism. This is why I and 66 other colleagues felt that we could not support this motion.

Looking forward to the really important vote on 27 February, the outcome entirely depends on whether the Prime Minister has been able to negotiate any legally binding provisions to enable us to exit the backstop unilaterally. If she does, I think there is a good chance that Parliament will unite to support this, in which case we will leave with a deal.

If the PM returns with no further concessions, given the scale of defeat last time, her deal is unlikely to pass. Consequently, the legislative position in the Withdrawal Act will prevail and we will leave the EU without a deal. However, if Parliament votes for a deal on 27 February, the time to amend the Withdrawal Act and then have it ratified by the European Parliament and Council is beginning to look very tight. It may well be the case that, provided Parliament votes for an amended deal, the exit date of 29 March may need to be extended by a month.



An opportunity for residents of South Cerney, Cerney Wick, Siddington,  Cirencester, Fairford and Lechlade to hear and ask questions of the continued flood resilience work taking place and to speak with officials from the County and District Councils, Parish Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency about ongoing issues.


 Friday 7 February 2020

Council Chamber, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester GL7 1PX


Ten Climate Actions To Celebrate

The Cotswolds

1. The UK passed the world’s first Climate Change Act over a decade ago with cross-party support. This gave us both a framework to set statutory carbon budgets and set up the independent Committee on Climate Change.

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