Warrington Guardian Column | The Challenges for 2019

The New Year brings a good opportunity to look back on the last 12 months and ahead towards the challenges that 2019 will bring.

Over the last year, I have been working hard to keep my commitment to be an accessible MP, holding surgeries, meetings, coffee mornings, street and roving surgeries across the constituency. In 2019 I will continue to fulfil this promise to my constituents.

2018 was the year of the highly critical UN report on the impact of austerity in the UK. This report accused the Government of “callous” spending policies that hit the poorest hardest. The impact of this Government’s austerity drive has been clear to me as I have seen an increasing number of complex cases coming into my office.

Undeniably we face a challenging year ahead. But, as the MP for Warrington South, I am determined that the constituency has a strong voice both locally and nationally. And, I have pledged to work alongside Warrington Borough Council’s new leader, Russ Bowden, to promote greater openness and engagement with Warrington South residents.

Nationally, the Government is pressing ahead with cuts to funding for our public services. They have cut funding to Warrington Borough Council by £122 million since 2010. By 2020 the Council will have to save at least another £38 million. At the same time, demand on services is growing. Our schools are facing growing financial pressures, so too are our police. We have a crisis in social care. In Westminster, working alongside my Labour colleagues, we have been challenging the Government on these issues. In 2019 we will carry on that fight.

This year Warrington’s Local Plan is set to return for further consultation. Since being elected in 2017 I have always represented my constituents’ views on the proposals and, I have always made it clear that Green Belt land should be protected from development wherever possible. In 2019 I will continue to do so.

In the months ahead, I will be working on a number of issues that affect our town including campaigns to try to tackle traffic congestion and poor air quality, the need for more social housing and action to tackle rising poverty and loneliness.

In Westminster I am working to establish a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Justice, a forum for promoting discussion and debate about trade justice issues. And, I will continue to champion the issues that matter to my constituents.

Over the next 12 months I will continue to prioritise helping those in need and I will carry on fighting for the interests of Warrington South.

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