Cheltenham has undergone a broadband revolution in the last few years with at least 88% of the town now able to upgrade to superfast fibre-optic broadband with speeds of 35 Megabits per second (Mbps) or faster. But it has also become clear in the last year that thousands of homes in Cheltenham have been left out of this revolution. Gaps have been left between the commercial operators like BT and Virgin and the government-subsidised 'Fastershire' programme being run by the county council.
This is particularly serious as Cheltenham had historically poor broadband speeds, some as slow as 0.5 Mbps. Martin is lobbying ministers, operators and the county council to get broadband moving for everyone.Better broadband for Cheltenham
Martin has led the campaign to maintain a full 24 hour A&E at Cheltenham General - one of his many campaigns for local health services - and has repeatedly won assurances from Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust that Cheltenham A&E will not close. But Martin believes Cheltenham A&E has been under threat since acute services began to be centralised in Gloucester in 2006 and will keep campaigning against the drip-drip downgrade at Cheltenham. He was the only local MP and the only Cheltenham politician to present evidence against the decision to downgrade Cheltenham A&E at night in 2013 when the decision was actually taken. You can still sign Martin's petition calling for a rethink of that decision here.
The campaign for Cheltenham A&E
Liberal Democrats in government locally and nationally have worked hard for fairer society as well as a stronger economy, including tax breaks for those on low pay, delivering the pupil premium now worth a million pounds a year to Cheltenham schools and targeted at the least well-off kids, more free childcare, the first net increase in British social housing in 30 years - and the first new social housing in Cheltenham for decades.Fairer society
Martin is President of Cheltenham & East Gloucestershire RSPCA and a member of the all-party parliamentary group for animal welfare.
He has been active in Cheltenham and in parliament promoting the welfare of animals in the UK and abroad. He opposes repeal of the hunting ban, has called for an end to commercial whaling and has successfully supported legislation to ban wild animals in circuses and to introduce universal microchipping of dogs.
He has consistently opposed the Gloucestershire badger cull and supported alternative approaches to keep both badger and cattle populations healthy as advocated by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
In 2009 he was voted Animal Welfare Champion 2009 by his parliamentary colleagues of all parties. He was nominated by Cheltenham charity Naturewatch.Protecting animals
Cheltenham is enjoying its strongest economy in years with a big drop in unemployment, local businesses reporting healthy order books and both businesses and householders still enjoying low interest rates and mortgage payments. Martin has backed both the coalition government and Cheltenham's LibDem-led council in taking the tough decisions necessary to build sustainable prosperity and worked hard to lobby for and promote local business.
Watch Martin promoting Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce's new business centre here:
A stronger economy - locally and nationally
Better public transport is crucial to our economy, our quality of life and our battle against climate change. Throughout his ten years as our MP, Martin has successfully campaigned to protect local rail services and to win new investment in track and station so that the nearly two million passenger journeys that now start at Cheltenham Spa each year can be quicker and more convenient for personal, business and tourist travel.Better railways
Martin has campaigned tirelessly at local and national level for tougher action to stop climate change – and for smart planning for the inevitable effects of climate change too. He is a a member of the Aldersgate Group which brings together leading MPs, businesses and green organisations committed to fighting climate change and is on the advisory board of the Energy & Climate Change Information Unit which actively promotes accurate and accessible facts about climate change in the UK media.Stopping climate change
Based on the experience of 600 flooded properties in Cheltenham in the summer of 2007, Martin has supported a new national deal on flood insurance and responsibility for drainage and extensive government-funded flood defence work in Cheltenham and elsewhere, but also a more sustainable approach to naturally holding water in the landscape, for instance by extensive tree-planting and landscape management.Action on flooding
Martin has strongly defended a well-funded local police force, called for smart sentencing and innovative approaches like restorative justice to cut re-offending and involve victims more in the justice process.
There were more than 7,000 recorded crimes in Cheltenham in the year to September 2014 - still far too many but more than 27% less than in 2010. Domestic burglary, drug offences, bicycle theft, public order offences, possession of weapons offences and vehicle offences are all sharply lower now in Cheltenham than they were in 2010. This is a tribute to Cheltenham people including Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, to Gloucestershire Constabulary's effective community policing and preventive work and to innovative projects like the Aston Project and the Halt project who have worked to reduce the risk of offending amongst young people.Fighting local crime
It has never been more important to stand up for the local NHS. As your local MP, Martin has campaigned tirelessly for free, local health services.Keeping the NHS local