With Christmas around the corner, I would like to take a moment to reflect on 2021. More constituents than ever continue to write to me and my office during the year and we have been working flat out to help as many people as we can during these difficult times.
Despite Covid, there have been some welcome points of light across the Forest.
I recently attended the opening of the Forest’s new Construction Skills Accelerator Centre, AccXel. This is an example of the Government and private enterprise working together, with the Government putting in just under £2 million of funding in partnership with Cinderford’s KW Bell.
Meanwhile, plans for our brand-new community hospital for the Forest of Dean continue to gather pace.
The huge economic support packages for businesses and workers during the tough early months of the year, combined with the ending of restrictions in July, meant I have been able to spend the rest of the year getting out and about across the Forest speaking to businesses getting back on their feet.
At Westminster, a highlight for me was the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget, which approved the Forest’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund bid that I had pushed very hard for and will benefit communities across the Forest.
As we head into another period of uncertainty, I remain in close contact with the Treasury, making the case for business and workers in the Forest.
It is important to remember those who work across the holiday periods to keep us safe. I spoke with our local NHS and County Council leadership teams on Friday and thanked them for everything they and their teams are doing during this pandemic. I would also like to thank our service personnel, some of whom are serving on operations overseas, along with emergency service workers and all those working on other frontline services, for their dedication.
I hope 2022 will be brighter for all of us and I will continue to stand up for the Forest in Parliament. I would like to wish everyone across the Forest of Dean a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.