Lee Anderson Column: Still bumps in the road – but there is a sense of optimism
Levelling up is a much-used term these days, but some parts of the media are struggling to come to terms as to what it means so, during a TV interview last week at the party conference, I had to remind an ITV reporter what it meant.
I told him that ‘Levelling Up’ has already started in Ashfield with more than £70 million in towns and Future High Streets funding secured, Ashfield School and Kirkby College to be rebuilt, £2m to increase capacity at King’s Mill A&E, a new diagnostic centre at the hospital, more than £500,000 from the Safer Streets Fund to help fight crime, more police on the street, a multi-million pound bid to help Eastwood and Brinsley and work on a feasibility study to bring rail passenger services back to Selston is well under way with a new station planned for King’s Mill and Selston.
There has never been this amount of investment in such a short period of time in our area and, as I always say, it’s personal when I go to the government with my shopping list.
Since being elected, I have spent too much time in the Central and New Cross area of Sutton to highlight the crime and anti-social behaviour that has blighted this community, which is why I made a promise to do all I could to help the residents.
I met with the Home Secretary and the police and crime commissioner who advised me that the hard work had paid off and we have now secured more than half a million pounds to invest in making the area much safer. I want to personally thank the residents of the New Cross area who have backed me throughout this campaign and a big shout to the new chief executive of Ashfield Council who made a point of thanking me for keeping the pressure on not only the police, but the council too.
Whilst at my sister’s house last week, my brother-in-law told me he was a very happy man. He is an HGV driver and has just been awarded a 10 per cent pay rise. We were told before the referendum that unemployment would go through the roof and wages would be suppressed and yet quite the opposite has happened. There are more than one million jobs on offer in the UK and wages are on the rise, which is no surprise when you think we have turned the tap off for cheap unlimited labour from the EU.
The doom and gloom merchants and so-called experts were wrong and while there will still be bumps in the road, there is a real sense of optimism in our great country.