Building blocks for a stronger future

As Parliament draws to a close this week, it is an opportunity to reflect on an extraordinary and challenging year and the progress we have made coming out of this pandemic.

The UK’s vaccine rollout has been one of the most successful in the world. Now with more than 83 million doses given, including 37 million second doses, more than 70% of the adult population are fully vaccinated. The great success of the vaccine rollout has changed our lives for the better, with restrictions eased and life beginning to go back to normal. I am proud of this success, which would not have been possible without the amazing work done by so many. But I also reflect on the tragic loss of life and the continuing impact of the pandemic, which will take years to put right. 

Alongside the pandemic, the Government has moved at pace to tackle some of the big challenges and reforms that it said it would do when elected.

Action on the borders is at the forefront of the Government’s reforms. I have been working hard on this issue for some time and recently met the Prime Minister about the Channel crossings. The Nationality and Borders Bill, and its sister Immigration Act, provides more powers to strengthen our borders and more options to work with other countries to make sure that people are encouraged to use legal and safe routes of entry and discouraged from using dangerous and illegal ones.

Alongside border security reforms has been investment to make our border controls stronger. Such as the new multi-million-pound HMRC border facility in Dover and separate Port Health facility. These will create and support hundreds of local jobs, ensuring that Dover remains the UK’s premier port of its type. This investment of tens of millions of pounds by the Government will underpin the continued success and growth of the Port and related businesses in our area.

Other significant reforms include the Police, Crimes, Sentencing and Courts Bill, ensuring tougher sentences and helping the police to manage and prevent highly disruptive protests such as those we have seen in Dover in recent years. The Planning Bill will end the practice of ground rents and extend public engagement in the planning process. The new Building Safety Bill creates a new regulator to keep residential buildings safer, in particular, high rises in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

With such positive progress underway, we should take the opportunity to enjoy this summer after a difficult couple of years. Assured by the fact that these reforms by the Government will provide a better and safer Britain. 

We have made progress nationally, but I am also proud of the improvements made locally in Dover and Deal, such as substantial new funding allocated to our schools and port facilities. I will continue to fight to change things for the better for our community and our country. 

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