Earlier this week I called on developers to address the poor quality of some new build properties, as the Government launches a major review of planning and house building.

This is an issue regularly raised with me by residents, and it is totally unacceptable when you consider how much money people pay for their homes. A house purchase is the single biggest purchase we make and frankly some of the quality is a disgrace.

Ultimately, poor quality new builds will make people reluctant to buy them so it is in the interests of developers to ensure the highest quality, and it should be an absolute priority for the Government to ensure this at a time when we are building more and more houses.

On Monday I raised the issue in Parliament, and highlighted the importance of delivering quality homes to the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid. The Government has launched a consultation on changes to planning law as part of efforts to build more high-quality homes for the future. This consultation contains proposals which include reforming the plan-making system to ensure every part of the country produces, maintains and implements an up-to-date plan, and making the planning system more flexible, and a standardised way of assessing local housing need, and a Housing Delivery Test to hold local planning authorities to account for their role.

Crucially, it contains a new approach to highlight the contributions from developers for local developments and make communities have more of a say on how this is spent. This is something I work actively on with local developers, as I sit down with them to discuss the projects that they can invest in locally and try to ensure that our communities receive as much contribution as possible.

Since 2010, Swindon has seen more than 10,000 people become apprentices as more and more people are given the opportunity to learn vital skills as they learn whilst they earn. Last year I was approached by Cleeve Technology, based at Kembrey Park, who were looking for advice about taking on apprentices. Cleeve are a fantastic local business which works with companies including Apple and Jaguar Land Rover, so I was keen to link them with Swindon College. I was delighted therefore to visit last week and meet their two apprentices who came as a result of that link. It was fantastic to see them taking their first steps in their career.

Finally, this week I asked a question at Prime Minister’s Questions, and was delighted to highlight the amazing achievement of 6-year-old Maisie Sly who lives in Upper Stratton, and on Sunday became one of the youngest people ever to star in an Oscar winning film. I was very happy to hear my colleagues in the chamber, including the Prime Minister, join me in congratulating Maisie, for her wonderful achievement in starring in the film and raising awareness of the experiences of deaf and hearing impaired children. I was also keen to highlight the fantastic work of Red Oaks Primary School, which played such a big part in allowing Maisie to reach her full potential, through their focus on British Sign Language. I think that I speak for the whole of Swindon when I say that we are incredibly proud of our local superstar.