It’s that time of year again. Time to think about our hopes for the New Year. And I don’t mean heath, happiness for all, and world peace, which we all want.. I mean those things that might just fall within my sphere of influence - where I have an actual involvement.
Firstly there is Brexit. The UK is leaving the EU in March 2019. The current Government accepts the public vote, cast in the EU Referendum. And they mean it. Not as some politicians, saying they accept the referendum decision, and then doing everything possible to frustrate it. Brexit is the most complex and dramatic constitutional change of my 40 yrs in public life. Every MP has a part to play in ensuring the terms on which we leave are in the good interests of the UK and the EU. Fortunately we have a Prime Minister who shares that opinion. Mrs May will be able to count on my support, if not on other MPs who prefer to put political opportunism first.
Secondly, I hope for decisions on implementing reform of NHS secondary care available to the people of Shropshire and Mid Wales - based on separating Emergency Care (Shrewsbury) from Planned Care (Telford). The decision on reform have already been made and the two Clinical Commissioning Groups in Shropshire and the Powys Local Health Board are waiting to embark on a statutory 12 wk Public Consultation. I hope for spades to be in the ground during the 2018 summer.
Thirdly, I hope that National Grid will cancel the Mid Wales Connection Project, which it has held, suspended like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of the people of Montgomeryshire. While we can be grateful that the masssive 400Kw power line and landscape-wrecking monstrous steel pylons from North Shropshire to Cefn Coch has not gone ahead, we know it has not been cancelled. It could rise up like a plague from the ashes. It’s gone time it was cancelled. I am writing to Chairman, Sit Peter Gershon to ask him to do just that. The uncertainty has already lasted too long. The uncertainty is deeply unfair to my constituents and callous to the point of bullying.
Fourthly, the Chancellor has announced there is to be a Mid Wales ‘Growth Deal’. Excellent news. But it needs a transformative project to kick start it. How about a new road from Welshpool to the English Border to replace the hopelessly inadequate A458 that currently exists.
Fifthly, let us consider the farming industry in Mid Wales. We realise there is going to be significant change in the support regime, the industry depends on, whether the UK is in the EU or out. There must be a properly funded woodland scheme and a positive attitude towards diversification. All the signs are there will be.
And one other thing. I hope the new Parliamentary constituency boundaries planned for approval next year are not approved. I hope to see the proposal scrapped altogether. Montgomeryshire has been in existence for many centuries. Long let it continue.