January 2019: Your Local MP

December 21 2018

The year ahead promises to bring great news and improvements for our community, starting with the welcome announcement that Cossham Birth Centre is set to be reopened at the end of February.

 Recently, I really appreciated speaking first hand to NHS professionals at Cossham, and with the Trust’s Chief Executive Andrea Young, who assured me that Cossham Birth Centre has only temporarily closed and that extra resource and investment is going into recruiting midwives.

When it comes to the safety of new born babies’ lives, it is absolutely crucial that we ensure appropriate staffing levels are in place and don’t play party politics with decisions that are needed and necessary. I am very pleased the trust is focusing on ensuring the safety of local women and babies in their care, and was delighted to hear they are making good progress on recruiting more midwives and staff.

I am very proud of Cossham Hospital, a local treasure, and I will always stand up to ensure that it is open to the community, after it was threatened with closure before 2010. I hope that I can continue to help make the case also for additional facilities at Cossham, which has been a beacon of support and healthcare for our local community. Many of my family were born here, the hospital inspired my mother to become an NHS nurse, and I recently used the maternity facilities in the aftercare of my son Henry. I want to now make the case for upgrading the MRI scanning facilities at Cossham - and have written in support of this to Health Secretary Matt Hancock .

We can now also look forward to new funding and investment coming to our local area, with Kingswood High Street set to benefit from around £3 million investment, after being confirmed in the West of England Combined Authority “Love Our High Streets” initiative established by Mayor Tim Bowles. This initiative for community-led high street regeneration will help support our town, and help make Kingswood High Street fit for the future.

This is fantastic news for Kingswood and I am thankful to Mayor Tim Bowles for his support. Having taken him on a tour of Kingswood High Street, as the local MP I was able to show him clearly where regeneration is needed. It is particularly exciting to see proposals that look to the future and seek to increase access to digital training for the community, investment to kick-start a scheme to bring the derelict Whitfield Tabernacle back into use, as well as long-term planning with the community to breathe even more new life into the High Street. This will be a real game-changer for our town centre and it builds on the real sense of momentum that we have established in recent months to improve the Kings Chase Shopping Centre and bring derelict sites back into use. I will continue to champion them all across the constituency and push for investment in our community.

More recently, I was delighted and honoured to have been appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. Having been a minister before, I am delighted to have been appointed to a role of which I have some experience in, having taught history previously at Bristol University before becoming an MP. Locally, I have always supported the massive investment in the Bristol and Bath Science Park and the National Composite Centre in Emersons Green, and campaigned for a new automotive centre run by the University of Bath, which is soon to start construction. Being Universities and Science Minster is a hugely important task, helping to prepare our country for future challenges and opportunities. Yet, as your local MP, I will always continue to represent our constituency and work for our community, and hope the new year will bring you all joy and happiness.