BEING Ponteland’s local MP is a real honour. I couldn’t do it without you, and I don’t just mean your vote.
As we head into the New Year, it reminds me of all of the things we have been able to achieve together.
When I took on the energy companies over the rocketing price of energy and heating oil, local people Mike and Lauren came down to Westminster to help me give evidence. When I challenged the county council over its unfair treatment of its women workers, local constituents turned out to pack a public meeting I organised.
When I took on the campaign to protect our green belt, thousands of you got behind it and signed my petition.
But, as well as our work locally, I want to mention what I’ve been doing in Westminster too.
I have been the first to stand up to the Government when I think it is wrong.
On issues like selling off our forests, regional pay and fuel duty, and many others, I have always put local people first. But I also feel I have helped deliver some really positive things for our area too.
We have cut the deficit by a quarter, introduced a benefits cap so no household receives more in benefits than the average family earns, helped almost 500,000 more people into work than this time last year, cut the income tax bills of more than 24 million workers, cut net migration by a quarter, protected the NHS budget, brought in the biggest-ever cash increase in the state pension, froze fuel duty, helped freeze council tax bills for the third year in a row and cut billions of pounds of Whitehall waste.
There is so much more to do, and next year I will keep on fighting for a better deal for our area.