Christmas for many is a time of joy, having fun with loved ones and reflecting on the past year but for some it is a difficult time, so let us take a moment to remember those who have lost loved ones, who may be alone or are suffering in some way this Christmas. What I have seen since I became your MP is the amazing community spirit across the area. I am proud to represent such communities who genuinely care for each other and at this time especially we should all make time to check on our neighbours.
Let us also spare a thought for all those who are working over Christmas, whether it is volunteering, our NHS workers, Police, or other emergency services, who are giving up their time to ensure the happiness or safety of others. We should also remember the brave men and women in our Armed Forces serving abroad who will be away from family and friends this Christmas.
This year I have had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of people across the constituency and so far dealt with more than 8,800 pieces of casework, visited dozens of businesses, charities and community groups and more than 20 schools, most recently Knutsford Academy to see their Christmas musical, the wonderful production of Legally Blonde. By working with others and organisations we have seen some big achievements including reducing the size of the Crown Estates development on Northwich Road in Knutsford and helping encourage OWM to withdraw their application for a change of format for their waste disposal plant in Lostock Gralam. We have so much talent in Cheshire already with the science park at Alderely Park and I want to make sure government leaders across the world know of our potential. Last month I met with China’s economic and commercial minister setting out the case for investing in Cheshire.
I will keep working with other MPs and organisations to make sure we get the best deal possible for our area. A lot has been achieved this year but there is always more work to do and next year I will continue to fight for education funding and ensure schools have the resources they need. Increases in Police funding is also something I think needs to happen and I will continue to lobby government ministers to make Cheshire’s concerns heard. Improvement in transport links are vital and I will continue to support the re-opening of the Mid-Cheshire lines and I hope in Spring we will get the good news that funding has been granted for access improvements at Handforth Station – the Friends of Handforth Station have fought tirelessly for 20 years and I raised the matter with the Department for Transport and I hope they get the result they deserve when the successful bids are announced in the coming months.
In 2019 as the UK prepares to leave the European Union in March it is vital we secure the right deal for Britain. This is the biggest issue in a generation and we need a Brexit which prioritises our economic interests and delivers on what the public voted for. But in 2018 the UK recorded record levels of employment and unemployment levels hit a 43 year low. Youth unemployment halved since 2010 and the UK has created more jobs than France, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway put together. We must ensure that we continue on this positive path.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you all my very best wishes for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and successful 2019 and I look forward to seeing many of you in the New Year.