As this is my first column of 2016 I wanted to update you with progress on my next three pledges from May 2015.
The first pledge was to safeguard our NHS locally and to ensure it received all of the funding it needs to prosper.
I have been working with health providers locally on a constant basis and have been feeding back to Government if any issues have arisen.
I can report that all of the issues I flagged in 2015 have been resolved by the Department for Health. I was especially pleased in December when all of the hard work by staff was rewarded and the Trust was brought out of special measures.
This shows confidence in the Trust’s better care together programme which they have the plan in place to improve further and to become and excellent facility in future.
Secondly, I proposed a pass for the self employed who needed to drive a van for work to allow them to park anywhere in the town centre.
As my title of the self employment ambassador to the Government I have met Julie Dean who is currently undertaking a review of self employment and have fed the idea in as something which would help people who are self employed.
Thirdly, I pledged to campaign to remove over 75s from paying council tax, much the same as the TV licence arrangement.
While this is something which could be implemented by each council as part of the devolution package I have been raising this with Ministers in both Communities and Local Government and the Treasury.
I will also be applying for an adjournment debate on the issue to enable the issue to be raised more formally in the House.
I will, of course, update you on this debate and its outcome when I have been able to secure one.