York Press election column – My Plan for a Better York
November 21, 2019
Having represented our city in Parliament since 2010, I value this opportunity to speak directly to York Press readers to highlight my record of delivery, and my plan for the future.
This election offers you, the voter, a chance to break the deadlock in Parliament, so we can resolve Brexit and move on to other priorities like improving public services in York and expanding economic opportunity for all. Given we now have a sensible exit deal on the table that allows us to leave the EU in an orderly way, our city cannot afford the months and years of continued uncertainty and unproductive arguments that anything but a Conservative majority government will bring.
I am entirely focused on securing practical changes that will improve the everyday lives of York residents. Better transport links are a major priority, most obviously the northern ring road. Having campaigned for this since 2010, a £25 million government investment will finally see the eastern stretch of the A1237 dualled. Our rail links our now also improving – the three big train companies serving York have all brought new carriages into service this year. If re-elected, I will focus on securing funding for the western stretch of the A1237, pushing for the dualling of the A64 to the east of York and pressing for a railway station in Haxby to serve the north of the constituency.
For too long York schools have lost out to others in a postcode lottery, but after strong lobbying by myself have now been awarded an average funding increase of 6%. I have also campaigned for more attention to technical education and Special Needs. Earlier this year, York College was announced as one of the country’s first Institutes of Technology, to equip school leavers for skilled jobs. After multiple local parents came to me exasperated by the lack of special needs support, in March I called a parliamentary debate on this, and York has now been awarded a 7.5% increase in its high needs budget.
I will work to make sure York gets its fair share of the £33.9 billion per year NHS funding increase the Conservatives are bringing in over the next 5 years, and also lobby for this to be channelled into vital specialised services like social care and mental health. I am always attentive to individual health cases raised by local families. I was part of the successful campaign that got the Cystic Fibrosis drug Orkambi made available on the NHS this October, and last year the government responded to my call in Parliament to lower the screening age for bowel cancer.
I will also continue to focus on protecting our beautiful Yorkshire home, whether from the scourge of plastic waste or the menace of inappropriate Green Belt development. I am supporting residents in opposing proposals for housing development which could damage the unique ecology of Askham Bog, raising this last month at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Under a Conservative government York Outer has progressed to have one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country, and I will work to keep it that way, having pressed the government to back the York Central redevelopment and the massive business investment this will unlock.
We can only deliver this new investment in York’s public services and transport network, and ensure rising employment and wages, if we keep the national economy strong, and end the Brexit uncertainty holding back business decision-making.
It is an enormous privilege to represent my home city in Parliament, and I hope local residents will put their faith in me once more on 12th December.