MP COLUMN: Andrea Jenkyns reflects on the past 12 months

17 May 2015 .......    Andrea Jenkyns, new Tory MP who ousted Ed Balls from his seat in Morley. TJ100849m  Picture Tony Johnson
17 May 2015 ....... Andrea Jenkyns, new Tory MP who ousted Ed Balls from his seat in Morley. TJ100849m Picture Tony Johnson

It is a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to wish every reader a very Happy Christmas.

Christmas is my favourite time of year.

And as 2016 draws to a close it is inevitable that we reflect on the events of the past year, whilst also looking ahead to what awaits us in 2017.

One of the biggest positives of the year has to be the decision by the British people to take back control from the EU.

The historic referendum result will undoubtedly dominate much of the debate next year and I will do everything in my power to ensure that we implement Article 50 in March 2017.

I am pleased to see that there has been a continual fall in unemployment locally.

Since the Conservative party was voted in, in Morley and Outwood we have seen the number of people claiming the key out of work benefit fall by 973.

That represents a 54 per cent drop since 2010.

That is close to a thousand people who will have the dignity this Christmas of providing for their family and loved ones; something we should all be very proud of.

It was a busy week for me in Westminster.

Alongside my usual committee responsibilities, I spoke in debates and I questioned Ministers in the Chamber.

During Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy questions I asked the Minister Nick Hurd about how the government can support businesses who use solar panels.

Although business rates are set by the Valuations Office Agency, I think the government can soften the blow for those most adversely impacted.

The Minister highlighted how the government are still exploring strategies to best support businesses who use solar panels, and it is something I look forward to seeing develop.

Away from business policy I also contributed to Jeremy Hunt’s statement on the Care Quality Commission.

I commended his and his department’s focus on making patients the centre of healthcare provision, and investigating the deaths of patients to see what lessons can be learned is a vital step.

Currently, the NHS does not prioritise learning from deaths and misses countless opportunities to improve.

This is something that I hope will be addressed for the sake of patients nationwide in future.

Last week I joined Victoria Prentis, Will Quince, Nicola Blackwood and other MPs as well as celebrities such as Tom Holland and Alexander Armstrong in ‘Singing for Syrians’, an event held in St. Margaret’s Church, next to Westminster Abbey.

All of the proceeds raised went to charities helping those in Syria.

Last week I hosted my annual Christmas party at Morley Rugby Club with all the proceeds going to the ABF - The Soldiers’ Charity.

Thanks to the kind donations of those that attended, we raised hundreds of pounds for this hugely important charity that provides financial and practical support to soldiers, veterans, and their immediate family in times of need.

Thank you for reading and as this is the last you will read from me before Christmas, I hope you all have a lovely and relaxing break.

May the New Year bring joy, peace, and happiness to you and your families.