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We need a long-term healthcare strategy for Grantham which is seeing a surge in population growth

Column by MP for Grantham and Stamford Gareth Davies

For the first time since March last year, business in Parliament is fully up and running.

This week has seen MPs and thousands of staff settling back into the familiar rhythms of Westminster after a year of working from home. Though this return hasn’t been without teething problems – one parliamentary colleague found himself trapped in a glass lift much to the amusement of an assembled crowd!

Gareth Davies, Grantham and Stamford MP (38959660)
Gareth Davies, Grantham and Stamford MP (38959660)

The central event of the week is, of course, Prime Minister’s Questions and I was lucky to be called to ask a question this Wednesday. I used the opportunity to seek assurances that measures will be introduced to mandate healthcare leaders to form a long-term strategy in order to account for population growth.

We know the population here locally is set to grow by nine per cent by 2035 with a greater proportion of people aged 65 and over, it is vital that steps are taken to ensure that both GP providers and hospitals coordinate to meet the long-term needs of residents.

As the Prime Minister said in his reply to me, the government’s Health and Care Bill will address this. Fortunately, I have just been appointed as a member of the Bill Committee for this Health and Care Bill and will take a keen interest to see it progress to ensure that we see the provisions implemented here to ensure reviews are made.

In addition to healthcare, the Prime Minister announced this week a plan to reform social care, an issue that has been ducked by successive governments decade after decade. I have no doubt that the tough decision to raise national insurance was not taken lightly, but I accept that it will allow us to meet the challenge of providing comfort and security in our later years. Action and funding is also needed to address the backlog of seven million patients after the Covid pandemic.

Finally, I was also able to question the Chancellor in the chamber on Monday where I raised the benefits the super-deduction tax relief can bring to businesses across our local area. This measure, which runs until March 2023 will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest in qualifying plant and machinery, a move which has already enabled firms to accelerate production. The Chancellor joined me in encouraging local businesses to take up the relief.

The days of speaking in the Commons by Zoom now feel a long time ago as the back and forth of debates begin again. But despite the hectic pace of things, I think I’ll be skipping the lift and taking the stairs.

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