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I am proud what I have done for Plymouth in 2023 but will not stand still

January 8, 20240

While it is easy to be distracted by the constant churn in politics, I have been laser-focused in 2023 on long-term delivery for Plymouth, MP Johnny Mercer writes. I am determined that Plymouth achieves its extraordinary potential we all know our City has had for some time now; that it truly becomes the best place to live, work and raise a family. In this column, I will lay out the progress we have made on flagship policies for our City this year.

 

This year, we have seen a massive £126m downpayment on the first phase of the new Derriford Hospital – the Emergency and Urgent Care centre. I also stepped in to save the £25m Community Diagnostic Centre at Colin Campbell Court which has now been given the green light by planning officers. Even dentistry which is in a dire state and has proven to be the toughest nut to crack has seen a significant breakthrough with the University of Plymouth Peninsula Dental School’s offer of dental appointment for primary school children which I helped facilitate. There is much more work to do in this space. I am alive to the challenges which our health services face this time of year and will continue to help them in any way I can. 

 

In 2017, I promised that I would try to expand Devonport Dockyard for the first time in a generation. By working hard to wring every pound of support out of Government, that pledge has now been delivered. In the next 12 months, there will be a MOD infrastructure investment in Plymouth worth £2.2bn, offering a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to support Plymouth’s future growth ambitions. In a recent column, I laid out the new jobs and investment materialising at Plymouth’s new Freeport. Since then, we have seen a further £20m invested from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. 

 

School standards continue to rise. Since being elected in 2015, I have both visited and invited a Plymouth school to Westminster every week – something I have carried through to this year. I am immensely proud that as of this Christmas, almost 90 percent of our children are in good or outstanding schools in my constituency – higher than the national average for the very first time. Just last month, I visited Tor Bridge Primary School which has soared from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Outstanding’ in one fell swoop. 

 

Key improvements have been made to our transport links. Huge work has gone on – improving the main A386 up the centre of the constituency; the £54m Forder Valley link road, which together with station improvements – strategic builds I campaigned for are now a reality. Looking forward, Network North will deliver a new line to Tavistock, road schemes, resurface roads, complete the South West Resilience Programme and extend the £2 bus fare, as outlined in another Herald column. 

 

I am proud of this record of delivery for Plymouth but will not stand still. Speaking to constituents every day, I know that this will be an incredibly difficult Christmas for many. I want to hear what more you think I can be doing for our City in 2024. Please contact me via johnny@johnnyforplymouth.co.uk or 01752 876979. Surgeries can also be booked with me through these channels. Furthermore, if you would like to be notified about what I am doing here in Plymouth, including when I next write an op-ed for the Herald, please sign up to my mailing list here. Happy New Year.

Luke Jones

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