My Plan: Levelling-Up and Cost of Living
Since first being elected MP in 2010, I have always looked for opportunities to bring investment into the area. I want us to have the best public services and facilities possible. There have been several recent funding allocations for the Moorlands which will help to ensure we have the services we need.
The Government's Levelling Up agenda has provided an excellent opportunity for me to lobby for this investment which has the opportunity to bring investment to the Moorlands. From improved digital connectivity to more opportunities for jobs and skills, there is much on offer.
The Government’s Levelling Up Fund is just one of a number of sources of money, so I have been pleased to be able to support the bid made by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for improvements to Leek. I lobbied hard, including asking the Prime Minister directly at Prime Minister’s Questions to support the bid, so was thrilled when it was announced that just over £17 million has been awarded to us. This success was only possible thanks to the Town Council and District Council coming together, and then asking for my support as the MP. I pushed really hard to secure this bid.
In April 2023, I also welcomed a £410,353 investment from the Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund which provides extra funding for councils across the country to grow local tourism and support rural businesses looking to start-up or expand. Rural areas hold unique opportunities for growth and with the right investment and support we can harness that potential to create jobs and help deliver on our priority to grow the economy, so I am pleased that this investment has been secured for the Moorlands.
Investment in sport is also crucial and I am therefore pleased that the Government have provided £95,348 to transform sports facilities in Staffordshire Moorlands to get more people active and nurture future sporting talent.
There have been several other funding announcements, such as the funding to improve buildings for Biddulph High School and James Bateman Middle School, as well as £4.5 million to fix potholes in Staffordshire. I will always work hard to secure funding for our area, and I will continue to look for opportunities.
Cost of Living
I understand the financial pressures that households are facing and will continue to work with my Parliamentary colleagues to ensure the Government continues to help ordinary households up and down the country.
I made my view clear to the Ministers that the Triple Lock should be reinstated for pensions, and I am pleased that in the last Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that both benefits and pensions will be raised in line with inflation. I am also pleased that the Energy Bills Support scheme has been extended until 2024, funded in part by the Energy Profits Levy which was increased to 35% from 1 January 2023.
Pensioners have continued to be supported by the Government, with the Basic State Pension increasing by the biggest ever increase, and in April I also welcomed an extension to the Cost of Living Payments for vulnerable families worth up to £900 which will continue to help people across the Moorlands.
I am continuing to follow developments on the rising cost of living and constituents can be assured that I will ensure Ministers are aware of the situation many people face.