The New Year will of course have a backdrop of Brexit and given that my aims are to benefit the most people, to support business and to respect the outcome of the referendum, I shall be supporting the current deal. Should circumstances alter I shall make my decisions accordingly.
In the meantime as ever, Taunton Deane remains central to my work and there is much to build on in 2019. This includes continuing to make the case for the Marines to remain at Norton Manor, and I look forward to the Secretary of State taking up my invitation to visit; I shall be working with the UKHO, at Government level to establish a Geospatial Hub on Firepool, bringing skilled jobs; progressing the Garden Town which I helped secure; supporting the cultural offer of our area through ArtsTaunton and the Brewhouse and continuing to my school and local business visits. Ensuring the upgrade of Taunton Rail station finally gets underway and the decision on the new route for the A358 is made will also be priorities. I was proud to help secure £79 million for the new theatres at Musgrove Hospital and a further £11 million for health service transformation (the £20bn this Government committed to the NHS enabled this) and this year I’ll press to ensure our rural areas get the health services they need. Delivering fast broadband to many rural areas still missing out remains a top priority too.
My environmental work will continue both locally and in Westminster, including linking with the WI to highlight the dangers of microfibers to marine habitats, working on climate change targets and inputting into the Agriculture Bill and the forthcoming Environment Bill, both of which set us for a more sustainable future as we leave the EU. Look out for my next local Environment Forum too. My campaign in conjunction with the National Trust to restore the iconic Wellington Monument is blossoming, involving the whole Wellington community and the current Duke of Wellington himself. I’m optimistic 2019 will see great progress bringing multiple spins off for the area. So, plenty of aims for 2019 and these are just a few of them! In the meantime, do get in touch if I can be of assistance and here’s wishing you all the best for the New Year.