I CONTINUE to speak up for Taunton Deane in Westminster and I am pleased that the Government is already beginning to deliver on some of its manifesto commitments.

Having delivered Brexit last Friday, we now have a historic opportunity to unleash the country’s full potential and level up the entire country.

Avon and Somerset Police will receive an extra £22.6 million to tackle crime and keep our streets safe – an increase of 7.2% from last year – as well as an additional 137 officers this year, with more to come. This is something I have called for and which the Government made a commitment to deliver. Overall, police funding nationwide is set to increase by the biggest amount in a decade and it will see more money available for investment in national priorities like tackling county lines.

I am also pleased that Somerset West and Taunton Council will receive an additional £289,740 to tackle rough sleeping. It is part of a nationwide package of £112m that builds on the Prime Minister’s announcement before Christmas of £260m for local authorities to help those who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative has reduced the number of vulnerable people sleeping rough in the areas it has been operating by 32 per cent since its introduction in 2018 and is a central pillar of the Government’s strategy to end rough sleeping completely by 2024. There is still a lot more to do, and I’ll be working with the council and local organisations to ensure the additional funds are spent locally in the most effective way.

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I continue to make the case to Government for a Wellington Rail Station as it would reduce traffic and enable people from the area to get around more easily and to reach London as well as destinations in the South West and the North - all opening up new opportunities.

The Department for Transport has recently announced a £500m fund to begin re-opening rail lines and stations closed during the infamous Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

I will meet the Secretary of State in the coming weeks to further highlight the comprehensive case I have been making for a Wellington Rail Station in conjunction with local stakeholders.

Taunton Deane MP