Since first being elected in 2010, I have been committed to ensuring our rural area receives a fair deal in healthcare and education. By 2023-4 the NHS budget is due to increase by £33.9 billion.
I am passionate about improving local healthcare infrastructure. The Government has confirmed the first £3.7 billion of funding for 40 new hospitals. A further eight schemes will be invited to bid for future funding. Airedale Hospital, which serves Skipton and is situated in Robbie Moore MP (Keighley) constituency, is due for refurbishment works as the building was originally constructed from aerated concrete.
In early February, I had a virtual meeting with Edward Argar MP, Minister for Health to discuss improving Airedale Hospital. I will continue to make representations to the Department for Health and engage with local stakeholders, including Brendan Brown, Chief Executive of Airedale Hospital.
Previously, I campaigned for the re-opening of Castleberg Hospital, this was successful, and the hospital re-opened in 2019.
I am thankful to all our amazing front line workers; NHS staff, care workers and teachers have played a crucial role in our efforts against the coronavirus outbreak. I will continue to do everything I can to support them on a local and national level. It is very important for everyone to remain vigilant with social contact and continue to follow the rules and guidance from the Government in order to help save lives and protect the NHS.
I worked hard to ensure that the National Funding Formula was implemented by the Department of Education so that we could address the historic funding inequality in rural areas like ours, and I have been glad to hear on my visits, that schools in our area have been pleased with the additional funding.
The Coronavirus situation has, of course, significantly impacted children and young people in my constituency, not least their education. This is an issue I continue to follow very closely. I know how grateful parents are to teachers who have done outstanding work continuing to provide classes to our children. Yet I do understand and appreciate that remote learning is not the same as face-to-face learning– and there is also no doubt the disruption was difficult for not only children but also families as a whole. It is welcome news that all children in England have now been able to return to school.
In December, I visited Settle College and spoke with teachers about the curriculum, finance and student wellbeing. Over the years, I have enjoyed visiting local primary and secondary schools and inviting them to tour Westminster. However, due to current government guidelines, the Education Centre is now closed and school tours have paused. I look forward to the resumption of these visits and I hope the centre will reopen as soon as possible.
Online tours and educational workshops are available at: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/