TAUNTON Deane MP Rebecca Pow has been appointed a Parliamentary Private Secretary following her first year in Parliament.

She will be working with Gavin Barwell, Minister of State for housing and planning and Minister for London in the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Ms Pow will act as the ‘eyes and the ears’ of the Minister in the House of Commons.

Although she will be unable to have any jurisdiction over planning law, she will gain an invaluable insight into the operation of the department.

Commenting on her new role, Ms Pow said: "It is a great honour to be asked to undertake this role and I am very much looking forward to working with Gavin and the whole team at DCLG, including the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, who I have welcomed to Taunton Deane on a number of occasions.

"Smooth operation of local government is essential to the functioning of a successful society and I am pleased to be part of this important area, whose role is only increasing with the emphasis on localism and devolution.

"Gavin’s brief is particularly focused on housing and planning which, while we are in the midst of a national housing shortage, will be a tough challenge.

"However, I am encouraged that housing remains one of the Government’s top priorities and with the Conservatives being the party of home ownership I am hopeful that we can overcome this."