I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous 2019.

As we look back over the last year, we must not forget the very special celebrations and commemorations of 2018. The celebrations of one hundred years of not only women getting the vote, but men across all classes too was one of the highlights, not only in Parliament but locally too. It seemed very fitting for a female Prime Minister to be in office in this very important year, but there is still much more to do to get equal representation. However, Erewash does lead the way by returning a female Member of Parliament for the last 27 years.

Commemorations for one hundred years since the end of the First World War were also prominent throughout the year. The Remembrance Day events in Long Eaton and Ilkeston market places attracted even more people than ever and is testament to our gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation.

2018 also saw us celebrate 70 years of the NHS and pay fitting tributes to those who care for us, day in, day out. I was delighted to be able to award certificates to NHS workers who go above and beyond in their daily work as part of the celebrations. This year will see the start of the new ten year plan for the NHS and the investment of increased funding as part of the additional £20.5 billion by 2023/24.

At the same time, Government will be launching a Green Paper outlining future funding options for social care over the coming years. Our NHS has always been free at the point of need, and under the Conservatives will continue in this way. However, social care has always been means-tested and with ever-increasing long-term needs this method of funding needs to be looked at and reassessed.

As I write this, we are still uncertain as to the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the parliamentary vote, but of course by the time this paper goes to press, things may have changed. What is certain is that, as a result of triggering Article 50 by 438 current Members of Parliament and the subsequent passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 onto the statute book, new legislation would have to go through and be passed by Parliament between now and 29th March if this exit date were to be changed.

As it stands, Parliament will be voting on the deal before us during the second week of January.

As ever, I can be contacted by post at Unit 2, The Old Co-Op, South Street, Ilkeston DE7 5SG, by email at [email protected] or telephone on 0115 930 0521. Residents are also welcome to visit my Community Office at the above address. Alternatively surgery appointments can be made by contacting my office – I hold help and advice surgeries on a Friday and Saturday on a regular basis.

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