York Press: New Year Message
January 1, 2021
After a very tough 2020, more than ever I want to wish all York residents a very Happy New Year, in the hope that things can only get better.
Coronavirus has meant sacrifices from the public on a scale not seen since the Second World War. I extend my deepest sympathy to families directly impacted, and to those whose livelihoods have been damaged. I know how traumatic this year has been for many, but please be reassured I am listening, and continuing to work for you.
The vaccine roll-out does suggest light at the end of the tunnel, and a major priority for me will be seeing York into a lower tier restrictions, once it is safe to do so. I will continue my efforts to ensure all necessary support for our city’s economy, having lobbied consistently for our hospitality and tourism sector, and for the creation of self-employed income support. I will also maintain a careful watch on the impact on non-covid health services, having pressed the Government this year on not forgetting routine cancer and dentistry care.
I will redouble my efforts to ensure York gets its fair share of the Government’s £33.9 billion NHS funding increase, with a down payment on this of £3.49 million in new funding to upgrade York Hospital in December. I will also press for the implementation of the 4.5 per cent rise in per pupil funding for the city’s schools promised for 2021-22, building on a similar rise I helped secure last year.
In 2021 I will press for new infrastructure to power York’s recovery, following up on the funding commitment I secured from the Chancellor in November to progress plans for a new Haxby railway station. The need to rebound economically from the virus also means I want to see more urgent progress on dualling the A64, improving TransPennine rail, and the flagship York Central redevelopment.
Having successfully led other Yorkshire MPs in requesting the Government dismiss the Askham Bog planning application in May, next year I will work to protect our county’s environment, and continue to vote to protect the UK’s high standards in future trade deals.
2021 must also be the year North Yorkshire grasps the opportunities of regaining more power locally through a devolution settlement creating an elected mayor, able to generate local investment and growth. I will be arguing in favour of the East-West option, with York joining Ryedale, Selby and Scarborough to chart a new course for our region.