THE year 2023 is well underway, and like many countries around the world, we are hard at work gripping the complex challenges that we face as a country.

To that end, the Prime Minister set out five pledges in his recent New Year Speech — they will directly help improve people’s lives here in North West Hampshire.

First, we are working to halve inflation this year. This will directly ease the pressure on everyone's finances and help with the cost of living for everyone. Next, we will work to grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs, businesses and more opportunities for the young. It is only through a strong economy that we will be able to afford good public services. And linked to this, we are focussed on getting the national debt down, so we do not pass this burden on to future generations.

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I was pleased to hear about the renewed focus on cutting NHS waiting lists, so people can get the care they need more quickly. I have been pressing for more investment in our local health services and it was tremendous to see the new Andover Health centre open its doors to patients just before Christmas — it will benefit some 14,000 patients. And that’s on top of the £6.5 million investment for a new diagnostic centre announced at the end of last year, which will help diagnose patients more quickly and cut the backlogs from Covid.

And finally, we are legislating to stop the small boats. Many constituents have contacted me about the migrant crisis, expressing their concern and anxiety. We must end the evil criminal enterprises that enable people to make such perilous journeys and risk their lives.  

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Of course, I will continue my mission to make our neighbourhoods safer by recruiting more police officers and putting an end to county lines drug gangs. And on the back of my successful campaign last year to get more funding for schools, I will do what I can to help our local schools prosper and grow.

Lots to be getting on with, I will keep you updated.