In the run up to Christmas, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on 2017. Locally, I continue to receive many emails and letters from constituents on a whole range of issues important to them, which I deal with supported by my team based at my office in Cinderford.
At this time of year, many of us have the opportunity to spend time with our families and loved ones. However, it is important to remember all those who work over the Christmas and New Year periods. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those whose dedication and hard work helps keep us all safe and well. Our service personnel, some of whom are serving on operations overseas, as well as those working in the emergency services will be in my thoughts over the festive period.
This year, we have had two sets of elections here in Gloucestershire – the County Council elections in May, and the General Election in June.
I am extremely grateful and honoured that the people of the Forest of Dean elected me to be the Member of Parliament for our area for the fourth time. It has been a huge pleasure and privilege to serve as your MP for the last 12 years, and I am grateful that local residents once again put their faith in me. I will continue to serve all my constituents to the best of my ability, whoever they voted for.
Since the election, a significant amount of Parliamentary time has been dedicated to delivering Brexit – through 10 days of debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. I have, and will continue to, support the Government in ensuring we get a good Brexit deal for the UK, and support it in developing a strong, global Britain fit for the future.
We also debated the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, where he committed to continue to reduce income tax – the average taxpayer now pays over £1,000 per year less in Income Tax compared to 2010, thanks to the tax-free Personal Allowance increasing from £6,475 in 2010/11 to £11,850 from next April.
This has been a busy and eventful year, and I expect the year ahead to be just as busy. I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.