As I sit to write this week’s column, it seems hard to believe that Christmas is already behind us and the new year is looming on the horizon.
Soon, the daily routine of work and school journeys will return and, as we look ahead to 2018, I would like to start in wishing all of you a very happy and healthy new year.
While many of us hopefully enjoyed some much-needed time off over the Christmas break, I would like to pay special tribute to all of our hardworking and dedicated public sector workforce, who work selflessly throughout the festive period to ensure that help is at hand when needed.
This includes our healthcare professionals, carers visiting elderly and vulnerable in our communities, ambulance staff and paramedics, firefighters and police officers, and our army of public sector staff working tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver high-quality services and keep our communities safe and running smoothly.
After enjoying some much-needed time at home in Suffolk, I am looking forward to the return of Parliament.
Of course, the Brexit negotiations look set to dominate the political agenda for the foreseeable future, but the day-to-day business also continues and I am looking forward to continuing to represent you and supporting the interests of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich as your Member of Parliament.
Working in partnership with my fellow Suffolk MPs and our county council, I was delighted to help in delivering more cash for our schools here in Suffolk.
I remain committed to supporting our schools and to making sure that every child here in Suffolk receives the very best start in life – from early years’ education all the way through to sixth form and into the world of work.
Here in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, we have a thriving economy, supported by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and many others.
I am keen to continue working alongside these organisations to ensure not only that our businesses have a voice in Parliament, but also to ensure that they have the right infrastructure in place to enable them to thrive and compete.
This means making sure that our road and rail infrastructure is fit for purpose, but also making sure that our connectivity – be that mobile coverage or broadband – is, too.
Working alongside our partners at Suffolk County Council and my fellow Suffolk MPs, we remain committed to campaigning for better broadband and better mobile coverage to enable each and every home, business, GP surgery and school to access the services that they deserve.
In the Chancellor’s autumn budget, I was very pleased that more funds were provided to supporting our NHS, ensuring that it is better equipped to meet not only the challenges of winter, but also providing a much-needed funding boost to support our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who work tirelessly for us in Suffolk.
I will continue to support them as best I can and I also look forward to continuing to work with our clinical commissioning groups as they work to support and enable the delivery of improved mental health services for our young people here in Suffolk.
Thank you for your support over the last year and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible throughout 2018.