End of Year Update from Andrea Leadsom MP
2020 is finally drawing to a close, and I think we can agree that it has been challenging for us all in many different ways.
It will be a quiet Christmas for most this year, but with a shared hope for what 2021 will bring! Roll out of the Covid vaccine, lives and job prospects returning to a bit more normality, and the chance to spend time with our loved ones...
The response to Coronavirus has seen the best of us in a time of real challenge and heartbreak. Communities have come together, to make sure vulnerable individuals have their food and medication, to support people who are lonely and also to appreciate our front-line key workers - you have all done an amazing job, thank you!
I've seen first hand the work of volunteers like the 'Community Larder', who have been providing food parcels and support with grocery shopping across South Northants, as well as the Brackley and Towcester Food Banks, who have continued their good work during this time of need.
Clockwise from left: Meeting Annie, a resident of the Juniper House Care Home, Away in a Manger sung by pupils at Farthinghoe Primary School, visiting Brackley Care Home, awarding Holly Walters with her COVID-19 Community Champion award, collecting food parcels from Miranda Wixon of the Community Larder, and at the Northamptonshire Police HQ.
Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, many of our local pubs, restaurants and shops have continued to trade safely, ensuring social distancing whilst providing local communities with takeaway meals and fresh food delivered to their doorsteps.
Businesses have diversified out of necessity - from distilleries switching to hand sanitiser production, dry cleaners producing face masks, pubs establishing village stores and even the Silverstone Technology Cluster turning their hand to designing ventilators and PPE for the NHS.
Our local councils have held a critical role in coordinating the response to Coronavirus, to help the elderly and vulnerable as well as supporting local businesses.
At a local level South Northamptonshire Council has given out over £18 million in small business grants. These grants have provided a lifeline for many of our local businesses - and thank you to those who have worked so hard to get them distributed.
I've promoted South Northamptonshire businesses throughout this year on social media - you can check out the playlist here. Thank you to them for keeping going in spite of everything!
And a big thank you to my team- Luke, Laura, Maggie, Sarah, Olivia and Theo who have all worked so hard all year!
Clockwise from left: Checking out the outdoor gym at Wootton Community Centre, Visiting Hackleton Primary School to meet the winners of my Christmas card competition, meeting Councillors in Upton, Community volunteers in Roade, with Cllr Ian McCord at Asana Lodge in Yardley Gobion, visiting the Caring and Sharing Trust in Cogenhoe.
South Northamptonshire Manifesto
Visiting the new Brackley Medical Centre
The pandemic hasn't stopped progress on my South Northamptonshire Manifesto:
Farthinghoe Bypass: this important infrastructure project is one step closer after Northamptonshire County Council approved £1.4 million of funding for its business case. An online consultation is open to collect the views of residents- you can participate here.
Towcester Relief Road: tree felling has taken place so that work on the Relief Road can begin. Throughout this year I have held meetings every few weeks with Persimmon, South Northants Council, Northants County Council and Highways England to keep the project progressing as fast as possible. A few outstanding planning permissions remain, and then serious work will get underway!
Brackley Community Hospital: the fantastic new replacement for the community hospital is open! I have visited the hospital throughout the building phase, and was delighted to see it all up and running, and to meet with staff. It is going to be a superb asset for our area.
HS2: Throughout this year I have met virtually with the HS2 Minister to discuss, (and I'm glad to say in some cases, resolve) the ongoing concerns of residents around scrutiny, disruption and compensation. If you are worried about HS2 and how it will affect you or if you have a specific case that you would like me to raise with the Minister please email me.
Strategic Rail Freight Interchange: throughout the year there has been constructive dialogue with Segro and local residents, with regular updates on the project through a series of virtual meetings.
I have been supporting residents in Collingtree with their ongoing concerns about the M1 smart motorway works - liaising with Highways England on noise mitigation and flooding. HE and Segro have taken up the challenge of making sure noise levels once all the work is done are lower than before they started. Collingtree is a very special village and must be protected.
Tree Top Walk at Salcey Forest: whilst the Tree Top walk remains closed due to the pandemic, I continue to press Government and Forestry England on the important role this outdoor space plays for good mental health and wellbeing in our area. I'm hoping the 'Build Back Better' initiatives might offer a funding opportunity to get this much loved facility back up and running.
One year on from the election, the Conservative Government is:
- investing an additional £33.9 billion in frontline NHS services every year by 2023-24
- recruiting 20,000 additional police officers, with an extra £1.1 billion of funding this year
- boosting funding for primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years
- launching a new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion in England, with funding for infrastructure and supporting economic recovery
- delivering one of the most comprehensive economic responses in the world to support jobs, businesses and public services during the coronavirus pandemic. £280 billion has been provided so far, and the International Monetary Fund has praised the UK for protecting millions of jobs and thousands of businesses at this terrible time.
A major project for me this year has been leading the Early Years Healthy Development Review for the Government. The Review is looking at how we can improve support for new families to ensure every baby is given the best possible start in life. It will build on the conclusions from the Inter-Ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support that I chaired whilst Leader of the Commons from 2018-2019.
As part of the review, we have engaged with parents, carers and early years workforce, holding a series of virtual visits, evidence gathering sessions and a Mumsnet forum discussion to collect the views and experiences which will help shape our recommendations.
The review will report in January 2021 and I am looking forward to sharing its recommendations in the New Year.
I have spoken in debates and urgent questions on behalf of South Northamptonshire and its constituents consistently throughout the year on a variety of topics including support for businesses, COVID restrictions and our recovery post the pandemic. I have responded to over 10,000 Coronavirus concerns and over 7,000 casework queries.
I also held an adjournment debate on RAF Croughton's plans for expansion and the vital need for justice for Harry Dunn.
To watch my contributions please visit my YouTube channel and subscribe for regular updates.
If you have any questions or queries or need help on a specific issue please call my constituency office on 01327 353124 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can keep up to date with my work in South Northamptonshire and Westminster here.
Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!
The Rt. Hon Andrea Leadsom
Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire
Posted: Thu, 24 Dec 2020 10:08 by Will Smith