Anne Marie Morris is the Conservative MP for Newton Abbot and has been since 2010, and has been formally reselected to represent the Conservative Party in Newton Abbot for the next General Election.
If 2018 is anything to go by then 2019 looks set to be an interesting and varied year. As I look forward to how I will be working on behalf of constituents in Westminster it is clear that – alongside Brexit – healthcare, local infrastructure, education, and housing will be my main priorities.
In 2018, a number of constituents with rare diseases brought to my attention the issues they have faced getting treatment on the NHS. Incorrect diagnoses, medicines not being made available, and frustrations with the support available to them led to me setting up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices. Next year, the APPG will campaign for better access to the best treatments for patients to ensure those with rarer illnesses are not left behind.
2019 will also see the other APPG on Rural Health and Social Care I chair continue its inquiry looking into the current challenges facing health and social care provision in rural communities like our own. It is crucial that we have the appropriate provision of services available to suit the needs of our community. I am committed to ensuring we get the best possible services for residents, increasing what is available to the community, and ensuring contributions to existing facilities are recognised.
Vital work to ensure the railway between Dawlish and Teignmouth is made more resilient to extreme weather is due to take place in 2019 and plans for major improvements for the seawall at Dawlish will be published next summer. More information on this will be outlined in the forthcoming South West Transport Strategy, due to be published early in the New Year. I shall continue to engage with Network Rail to ensure that this essential work is completed.
My colleagues and I in the South West will be campaigning for a continuation of the £50 rebate on household water bills past 2020. Together we will also continue to hold Connecting Devon & Somerset and Gigaclear to account to ensure that their commitment to provide 100% superfast broadband coverage locally is achieved. Delays to the project at the end of 2018 have been totally unacceptable, something we have made absolutely clear to CDS and Gigaclear.
School funding is a key issue for local families and my ongoing campaign for a fairer funding formula will continue into 2019. We need a new funding formula that recognises the challenges facing rural schools. I will be meeting with the Minister for School Standards later in January to emphasise this issue.
Alongside funding for schools, it is vital that adequate provision is available for those young people who require both learning and mental health support. I’m pleased that an alliance, led by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, has been confirmed as the new provider of Children’s community services including CAMHS from April. I shall be meeting with representatives from the alliance to discuss what plans they have to tackle the issues facing young people in our community.
As the Local Authorities continue to build more houses in 2019, it is critical that they set out to build and foster communities, rather than identikit blocks. We need to be looking at what we are doing to ensure that affordable housing is available in the local community, rather than simply prioritising help-to-buy schemes. There also needs to be a range of housing built, in order to suit the needs of those who have additional needs and requirements.
Finally, the vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement comes back before the House in the week commencing the 14th January. As Member of Parliament for Newton Abbot, I will always do my level best to ensure outcomes that are in the best interests of our community and the wider country. That is why I will continue to push for a Brexit that delivers on the vote of the British people to leave the European Union on March 29th 2019 and take back control of our sovereignty and borders.