I write this on Tuesday morning as the House of Commons returns for the start of the new Parliamentary session. I stand ready to raise my voice on behalf of Melton’s communities to meet my campaign commitments and ensure we bounce back from the pandemic stronger and better than ever before – building on the substantial support delivered by the Government during the pandemic, and the Government’s commitment to level up every part of the country. Over the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to supporting the Government as we deliver our manifesto promises.
Over the last nine months alone, Melton has benefitted from record investment at every level of our community. Indeed, in April, Leicestershire Police received an additional £14.1 million. On top of this and despite the immensely challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19, Leicestershire Police was the single largest recipient from the Government’s Safer Street Fund- receiving £1.5 million of a £25 million pot. This funding will go towards measures proven to cut burglary and theft, and crucially; to stop offences from happening in the first place.
I’m also delighted to report that our local police have been joined by an additional 57 Police Officers since September. I was elected on a commitment to be tough on crime because I am clear it is a real and enduring concern for residents, so I welcome the Government’s financial backing to support our brave Police in cracking on with their most important work.
Melton’s schools have benefitted from targeted investment in recent months, with Sherard Primary School and Bottesford Church of England School receiving a share of £868,000 to repair and upgrade their facilities. St Mary's Church of England Primary School and Brownlow Primary School have also been bolstered by central Government funding to expand classrooms, upgrade facilities and improve the education of our children locally.
Looking to the future, I know residents will join me in welcoming that in the year 2021-22, schools in Melton will receive an additional 4% in per-pupil funding, and over the next 10 years the Government’s transformative school rebuilding programme will secure our local schools as places where every child gets the world class education they deserve.
Another of my key election commitments was to improve the quality and quantity of local transport infrastructure so residents can better travel for business and make the most of our beautiful area for leisure.
Locally, we are set to benefit from £500 million for major strategic road schemes across the East Midlands between 2020 and 2025 alongside £56 million in additional funding through the Potholes Fund 2020-21. We will also see our local train services upgraded and improved backed with £20 million Government investment in the coming years.
Since our battle began with COVID-19 some five months ago the Government’s support for our communities has intensified. Our Local Authorities have played an absolutely crucial role in fighting the virus here in Melton, so it is right that Melton Borough Council and Leicestershire County Council have received an additional £32 million in emergency funding to bolster their response on the ground. However, I know that this remains an area of ongoing concern, and I am committed to delivering high levels of funding for our communities.
The Government pledged to do whatever it takes to support our communities throughout the pandemic. For Melton’s families, this promise has been delivered with almost 20 thousand residents being supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employment income support scheme.
Thanks to robust and prompt Government action, such as the £23.7 million in grants that 2,127 Rutland and Melton businesses benefitted from, our economy is in a strong position to develop and flourish as our society slowly returns to a form of normality.
Whilst we hope for the best and a swift victory over COVID-19, it is the duty of a responsible Government to be prepared for any and all eventualities and plan for the worst as we approach the winter months.
The Government has strengthened Melton’s local A&Es with unprecedented funding commitments. I’m happy to tell you that the University of Leicester NHS Trust and the Nottingham University NHS Trust have received £2 million each to increase their A&E capacity, implement enhanced infection control measures and make improvements to emergency and urgent triage services. Work on our local A&Es will be completed by the start of next year, so patients and our heroic NHS staff can benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter.
This Parliamentary session, I remain committed to ensuring that rural areas like ours get a better share of Local Government funding, and that we need to make sure Melton gets its share of future investment. I am working with rural colleagues on this issue and will continue to raise it at every level of Government and with every relevant Department.
As I begin the new parliamentary session, I know we have a difficult road ahead of us, but I am confident that the extraordinary people of Melton will make the most of the opportunities that lie before us as we recover from the pandemic and I look forward to creating more opportunities for us in Parliament.