Earlier this week at the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen set out the Government’s programme for the next year. Its focus was on recovery and levelling-up: creating jobs and opportunities for workers and young people to upskill, stimulating investment in high-growth areas such as bio science and green technology and boosting connectivity.
Below, I want to outline some of my highlights:
- The ARIA (Advanced Research & Inventions Agency) Bill will establish a new body for public research in high-growth, cutting-edge sectors. It is an integral part of the Government’s focus on research spending (modelled in the American equivalent DARPA) and will bring huge opportunities for employers in West Berkshire and across the Thames Valley to expand and invest.
- The largest increase in defence spending for 30 years will be confirmed by MPs this term. This includes construction of the new nuclear warhead, which will bring 300 jobs to the Atomic Weapons Establishment and generate thousands more in the years to come.
- Improving digital infrastructure by investing in gigabit broadband and mobile signal in rural areas. West Berkshire has benefited significantly from the rollout of gigabit broadband, with government investment reaching over 14,000 households and businesses and boosting 4G access. However, blackspots remain and the Government will be investing billions more to improve digital connectivity and I will be working with communities and Ministers to continue this work.
- Investment in transport with particular focus on bus and train services. I look forward to reading specific proposals and working hard to bring their benefit to the constituency.
- Reform of the NHS will make the health service work more coherently with social care services, a key lesson from this pandemic. It will also make the NHS more accountable to Ministers, meaning that residents have a better voice through their MPs. It will also focus on improving patient experience and outcomes through tailored and preventative care.
- Increasing animal welfare standards by introducing new legislation. This is will build on our already world-leading animal welfare standards to ensure to improve the quality and ethical standing of our food. This is something I know that many of my constituents care deeply about and I look forward to supporting.
- Tackling violence against women and girls by introducing legislation following publication of the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in the autumn. I look forward to continuing to work with constituents and the Home Secretary on this important issue.