Looking back at my work in Westminster over 2023, I was very pleased that my calls to increase fines to stop fly-tipping was a success, giving our police tougher penalties to crackdown on this selfish offence.
In March there was a real buzz at the Parr Hall at my annual jobs and apprenticeships fair, welcoming hundreds of local people to meet and speak to more than 40 employers from across Warrington covering a whole range of sectors including nuclear, logistics, healthcare, engineering, retail and energy. Transforming opportunities with more apprenticships and technical education will have a real impact over the long term on our local economy and I’m already busy prepping for the next jobs fair in April 2024, which I’ll be sharing details about in the New Year.
Energy security is a real priority for the Government and I’ve led a Parliamentary campaign to increase use of hydrogen for heavy industry in the North West through the HyNet project which will also introduce carbon capture and storage. The project is on track and further support was confirmed just before the end of the Parliamentary term. I’m also really pleased to support the nuclear sector which is a key employer in Warrington and I’m
pleased we welcomed the Energy Secretary to the town in May.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement I campaigned to extend the 75% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a group of colleagues, so I was pleased to have secured this extension for another year.
Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of welcoming PC Ann Muldowney and PC Emma Pidd, two long service Warrington based Police Officers, to 10 Downing Street to thank them for their hard work and dedication to our local community. Thanks to Government funding and the excellent strategy of our Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, Cheshire now has around 320 additional police officers on the beat compared with 2019, tackling crimes like anti-social behaviour and burglaries. The Government has also invested in equipping our police with the most modern technology and in community safety projects like the Safer Streets Fund, putting public safety and local policing at the heart of our mission.
Warrington continues to benefit from levelling up funding for our transport infrastructure. On top of the £42million we’ve already received for our new bus depot, zero-emission electric bus fleet (which will start to arrive in early 2024) and bus service improvement plan, this year we’ve had even more funding to help deliver cheaper fares and more routes for passengers. I’ve also recently welcomed the Rail Minister to Warrington to meet with the Borough Council, where we explored options for Warrington Bank Quay to become a hub station for East-West connections as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail. I’m looking forward to working to develop these proposals further in the new year.
On the economic front, we end the year with good news as inflation continues to fall from its peak of 11.1% last October to 3.9% at the end of this November. In the recent Autumn Statement, the Chancellor brought forward a series of tax measures including cuts to national insurance and business taxes, putting more money into the pockets of working people and boosting economic growth further. We’re also maintaining the triple lock on state pensions and progressing with our plans to expand free childcare from next April. Unemployment is down in Warrington and wages and opportunities are up.
A personal highlight for me was being invited to attend the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in May. It was a truly spectacular occasion which saw Britain at its best, with families and friends coming together in celebration. We certainly know how to put on a good show in Warrington whether that’s for Coronation street parties I attended in Whitecross, Appleton’s Bawming the Thorn, Thelwall’s Rose Queen, football fun days in Chapelford, Lymm’s Dickensian parade, Penketh Carnival and the fantastic Christmas carol singing at the lights switch on in Stockton Heath! The community spirit is what makes every corner of our Borough so great, and we demonstrate that spirit all year round.
I wish everyone in Warrington a very Happy New Year. If you have an issue I can help with then, as ever, please drop an email to email@example.com