Romford Recorder Column: 5 June 2020

As efforts continue to control the coronavirus pandemic, we must also ensure progress is made on the pledges set out at last year's election. Two of my local priorities were to ensure Havering benefits from the goal of recruiting 20 000 more police officers, and to deliver a new NHS Health Hub in Hornchurch. I want to reassure constituents that work is being done on both issues.

When I last spoke to our Borough Police Commander, he had received an additional 56 officers in the previous two months in the triborough area, with more to come. A specialist Violence Suppression Unit is also being launched, alongside new entry routes into the Met for detectives and apprentices. I am assured, further to my discussions with the Department of Health, that a project director is now in place for the new NHS hub in Hornchurch and a planning application is due to be submitted in the coming months.

While Brexit has technically been delivered, we still need to prepare for the end of the transition period. That includes passing the Agriculture Bill, which introduces a new way of managing land beyond the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. In future farmers will be supported to deliver 'public goods' like better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards and countryside access. The UK Global Tariff has also been launched for our new international trading strategy, allowing a range of consumer items to be imported tariff-free while protecting key British producers.

Finally, we want to look again at high street support. £27bn has been provided in just two months to help councils and communities, including new business grants, rate relief, care funding and the delivery of two million food boxes to the clinically vulnerable. An additional fund has now been launched to help shops get back in business after lockdown. My team and I encourage any traders experiencing difficulties in accessing support schemes to get in touch with us.