Gazette & Herald Column: Home ownership gives us a secure stake in society

Christmas is over for another year, and as the decorations come down over the next few days, we now have the chance to reflect and look ahead.

This time of year is always the busiest for our hardworking NHS, and I am so grateful for all of their efforts in delivering the best and safest healthcare system in the world. I know that this winter has put more strain on our NHS than ever before, with patient numbers rising amidst an aging population, and I am glad that the Government therefore made a multi-million pound investment in local NHS hospitals this winter. This included an additional £2,041,400 funding for Great Western Hospital, £1,302,305 for Royal United Hospital Bath, and £755,000 for Salisbury Hospital, to help them cope with the winter pressures. The extra funding granted to our local hospitals was announced as part of a £437m immediate funding boost for NHS hospitals this winter in the recent Budget, in addition to an extra £2.8bn investment over the next two years.

There was good news to start the year for young people, as the Prime Minister revealed this week that the changes to stamp duty announced in the Autumn Budget have already helped over 16,000 first-time buyers save thousands of pounds, with over a million more set to benefit in total over the next five years. The Prime Minister has made it her personal mission to fix the broken housing market to help first time buyers onto the housing ladder so that they can enjoy the security of owning their own home, something which is so important in giving people a stake in society, and a core Conservative value which has been neglected for too long. I will be working with local groups over the coming years to look at housing provision in our Constituency.

Looking forward, I am anticipating another year of challenges and excitements. I tend not to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do take time to look ahead at what I hope to achieve in the next year. I will be continuing to focus on delivering my local priorities, particularly the Devizes Urgent Care Centre. In Westminster, I am looking forward to seeing greater focus next year on the Conservative values of housing, environmental conservation and creating jobs that pay, to build a strong economy and a strong country for everyone. Let’s move forward and work together to make 2018 the year that heals divisions and builds bridges within the UK and across the world.