This week marks one year on from the General Election 2019, and what a difficult year it has been for so many people. I wanted to update you on our progress with some of the commitments from the election.
NHS We promised more doctors, more nurses and more hospitals. Nationally, this Government is providing £850 million for 20 hospital upgrades, £2.7 billion for the first six new hospitals, and seed funding so that work on 34 more can make progress. 78 hospital trusts will receive state-of-the-art MRI, CT and mammography screening machines, so cancer can be detected more quickly to boost survival rates.
I am thrilled that there are more students at Anglia Ruskin in Chelmsford studying to become doctors, nurses and paramedics than ever before. Nationally, between August 2019 and August 2020, the number of nurses has gone up by 14,575, from 287,457 to 302,032. In the same period, the number of doctors has gone up by 6,270, from 115,456 to 121,726.
As a doctor’s wife, I know how hard all of those in our NHS and in our social care have been working this year. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart, and the scientists too for delivering the vaccine which shows us light for the year ahead. Its been good to hear from some Chelmsford residents who have already received the vaccine at Basildon Hospital. A new vaccine centre is also opening in Danbury.
POLICE We promised more police, and by March 2021, there will be 519 more police officers in Essex than there were back in 2018. As of October, nationally, there are 5,824 more police officers making sure our streets are safer than ever.
I joined the Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, members of Essex Police and the British Transport Police this summer when they did a big anti-drugs action day at Chelmsford station. They do an amazing job and have been especially tackling violent crime and county lines drugs. Crime is down by over 5 per cent in Chelmsford.
SCHOOLS We promised fairer funding for our schools. This year Chelmsford schools funding increased by 6 percent, well ahead of the average across the country. Our headteachers, teachers, school staff and social workers have done an amazing job supporting children and young people this year, and I would also like to thank them.
Next year, we’re rolling out our holiday activities and food projects all across the country. It has been a big part of my work this year, and I am so excited for the opportunities ahead to help those children.
INFRASTRUCTURE I promised to fight for better infrastructure in Chelmsford, and that has carried on despite national Coronavirus measures.
We have had the public consultation on the North East Bypass, and plans for a final design are being worked on for a new junction at the Army and Navy. I am continuing to press forward with the plans for Beaulieu Station too. I was deeply impressed to meet some of those who are building new affordable housing in Chelmsford just after the first lockdown. They have been working hard to continue to deliver more homes whilst also staying Covid complaint.
THE ENVIRONMENT We must never forget the fight against climate change. The UK is leading the world in our commitment to net zero and next year we will host the global climate change conference Cop 26. The Government’s 10 point plan for a Green Recovery will turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance, creating the foundations for decades of economic growth. You can read about the Ten Point Plan on my Website here.
THANK YOU Finally, thank you to everyone who have been supporting others this year, especially volunteers and our charities. During lockdown, Age Concern started a “meals on wheels” service which is delivering steaming hot lunches to up to fifty elderly people each weekday. It was wonderful to meet them and thank them. If you would like to support the charity they now have a page on the Essex Lottery website.
This year Christmas will be different for everyone, but I do hope people get a chance for a break. I recently helped record a service of Nine Lessons and Carols from Chelmsford Cathedral. The music was breathtakingly beautiful. It will be available on line from next Sunday so do take a chance to listen.