John Redwood MP writes a Christmas message.
2023 has been a year of recovery from Covid and the lockdowns. I have been pleased to see so much good work in our schools and medical establishments, and to see the private sector economy picking up.
I was keen to help get Wokingham Council the money it needs to provide excellent local services. Conscious that social care funding was on the low side I made the case for more cash and was pleased to see a 73% uplift in the social care grant. Wokingham also received extra money from the Discharge From Hospital fund, part of government plans to cut waiting lists and free more beds in hospitals. In the recent Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis Wokingham came out second in money per head for both schools and Council services amongst local Councils, with more than Bracknell, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead and Hampshire.
I worked with other like-minded MPs to persuade the government to remove in future the top-down housebuilding targets and to give local communities like ours a greater say in where we build and how many new homes are needed.
I have been running a campaign to focus policies on improving jobs and business, and on easing the burden on small businesses and the self employed. We rely so much on them for our daily services, for many local shops and local produce. After many blogs and interviews the Autumn Statement delivered a cut in National Insurance, including cuts for the self employed. The Chancellor acknowledged my advice in the Commons debate on the measures.
I have been working with some Councillors who want to ease the restrictions and delays imposed on drivers by the Borough’s anti van and car policies. People need vehicles to deliver to our homes, come to provide us with services, to get to the shops, to take children to school and to get to work. Making it more difficult is not even good for the planet as it creates traffic jams lowering the fuel efficiency of our travel.
I want 2024 to be a year of delivery by the government. I will be working away to see Wokingham gets a good deal, to help the Prime Minister bring down inflation, promote growth and boost people’s spending power.
I urge the Council to get on with preparing a local plan so we can protect Wokingham from too rapid a pace of development. We need to have an updated local plan to control the constant developer pressure to build on green fields we wish to keep green.
I thank all those who have served out community so well this year. I wish you, your family and friends a happy Christmas.
I look forward to helping make 2024 a year of success for the many, based on a full recovery from Covid. We need to put behind us the impact of the energy and food crisis from the dreadful Ukraine war.