If I told my family I were to be King for a Day, the first thing the kids would do is deliver a list of ‘wants’.
High on that list would be to banish bedtime and make sweets part of the daily diet.
As a father of two and uncle to five, children are an important part of my life. Every child should have a roof over their head – a home that is safe and secure – until they are able to move out and make their way in the world.
Sadly, this is not the case for many, so I would ensure we unceasingly provide homes for children and families, so nobody is disadvantaged.
So, first, I’d create a law that makes housing a right for everyone, taking that a step further by allocating government funds to help housing associations such as our build homes for families and single people.
Nobody should have to live on the streets.
Next up, technology.
Almost every business, service and social activity has an online presence these days, yet many people still don’t have access to the internet.
I would pass a law to provide a computer and free internet access in every home so that all the family could use it.
On top of that, I’d provide free training in colleges and community groups, so people can improve their IT skills.
Businesses are becoming increasingly digital, and that goes for housing associations, too.
As such, it is imperative that customers all over the country have access 24/7 services and support and one-to-one access if they need it.
However, it’s also important that those who have no desire or ability to use digital services don’t get left behind.
I would ensure technophiles and technophobes alike are sufficiently considered.
In 2012, we established a Parkside Community Hub in what was at the time Chelmsford’s most deprived area.
The Hub has proved a success, and so I would roll out more Parkside Hubs across the length and breadth of the country, so that all communities can benefit from things like educational classes and financial advice.
If I were King, I would also dramatically drive up the number of affordable homes in the country, the creation of which is sorely needed.
I won’t be happy until we have happy homes, happy people and happy lives.
Oh dear, I’ve run out of time.
Sorry kids, looks like it’s a plate full of lovely greens for tea followed by another early night!