Constituents will be aware that I previously secured funding for a new health hub for Hornchurch, and I recently met the NHS team delivering it to discuss progress. Their outline plans are now available for constituents to view and I have posted pictures of how the new facility will look on my website and Twitter account. On-site services will include renal, frailty, dermatology and minor ops clinics, and a beautiful community green space. I have been meeting regularly with our local health Trust and as I write this column in March, the picture on covid in Queen's Hospital is much improved and they are looking towards the recovery of services. We now have a new mass vaccination site at the Liberty in Romford and I am pushing for local pharmacies to deliver the vaccine throughout the constituency.
My team and I ran another successful online jobs fair in February for residents, this time with our Borough Police Commander. We have been working together to increase police numbers in outer London as part of the government’s pledge to recruit 20 000 new officers. The Met has been bolstered by an extra 1369 officers since the recruitment drive began and the Borough Commander showcased the new police apprenticeship that allows people to be employed as an officer while studying for a professional policing degree free of charge.
I pledged at the 2019 election to deliver for the Thames Estuary the kind of regional development that could boost local jobs, skills, and investment. So I was absolutely thrilled with the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that the Thames freeport - a joint venture between London Gateway and Tilbury Ports with Ford in Dagenham - will become one of eight new freeports across the country. Freeports are special economic zones that make it easier and cheaper to do business, and the Thames bid will be an 'automotive hub', focused on developing electric and autonomous vehicles. The Chancellor also outlined measures to help our local high streets including restart grants, a business rates holiday, cuts to VAT and a new Help to Grow scheme. I hope that non-essential retail will open this month and encourage everyone to support the high street when the time comes.
I will be looking to hold a litter pick as part of the Great British Spring Clean to encourage everyone to cherish local green spaces. The pandemic has brought home just how important our community spaces are to our physical and mental wellbeing. I also joined a GCSE Citizenship class at Emerson Park Academy to talk about how to get involved in politics.
As ever, if you have any issues that me and my team may be able to assist with, please do not hesitate in getting in touch.