FUNDED by donations at no cost to the tax payer, copies of my 2023 Annual Report are being delivered to around 30,000 of the homes in our Central Devon constituency.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have braved the cold to help me deliver it.
Examples of my work this year include:
Education and Young People – I have visited Kenn, Bow, Hatherleigh, Ilsington, Chudleigh Knighton and Morchard Bishop Primary Schools, South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton and opened The Promise School in Okehampton.
Each was an opportunity to speak to staff and gain valuable feedback. In many cases I spoke to pupils about Parliament.
I have also spent time with local charities that support children and young people, including Action for Children in Hatherleigh, the Bungalow Youth Project in Buckfastleigh, Chudleigh Youth Centre and Tor Support in Okehampton.
Businesses – From our biggest employers to our small independent shops, I have visited many businesses this year to listen to concerns or offer support.
I represented the UK in India at the G20 – the premier annual forum for international economic co-operation – where I worked with counterparts from Germany, Australia, Brazil and Italy on boosting employment and productivity.
Policing – I have worked with our Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez on the re-opening of Okehampton Police Station’s front desk and joined Inspector Chris Conway out on the beat in North Tawton.
Health and Care – I have visited many local charities that help to look after some of the most vulnerable members of society.
These include Okehampton Memory Café, Crediton Age Concern, The Turning Tides Project (which supports people with autism and learning difficulties) and Okehampton Men in Sheds.
I also visited Easterbrook Farm in Exbourne (a residential care home for people with learning disabilities) and Mulberry House Residential Home in Bovey Tracey.
I have held discussions on cancer support services returning to Okehampton Hospital and met with the CEO of Rowcroft Hospice to discuss the expansion of specialist local dementia care services.
Farming and Environment – I have spent time with local farmers, listening to their concerns and fighting their corner in Westminster.
I have visited two local dairies and have a meeting with the NFU later this week. When representing British interests at the G7 in Japan, I spoke to leading politicians from around the world about how economic growth can be compatible with our Net Zero mission.
Locally, I supported the launch of the largest EV charging station in the South West in Buckfastleigh.
Local Funding – I have supported many important local organisations and projects with funding this year, including helping to secure £13.4 million for a second rail station in Okehampton and £200,000 towards a cinema in Bovey Tracey.
Pensioners – As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions I delivered the largest increase in the history of the State Pension in April (10.1 per cent).
In November I took the decision, in conjunction with the Chancellor, to increase the State Pension by 8.5 per cent from April 2024 – the second largest ever increase.