I love Milton Keynes, I like to think I'm our city's greatest fan and it has been an honour and a privilege to have been able to represent you in Parliament over the last 10 years.
Over that time I've spoken over 1400 times in Parliament and I'm often teased about my obsession of talking about MK, but I make no apologies, I think we live in the best place in the UK and I want everybody to know about it!
But being a Member of Parliament is not just about championing Milton Keynes, it's about delivering a better and fairer deal for our community and ensuring that everybody can feel the benefits of a growing economy.
My first battle of the Parliament was to get fair funding for our health service locally. Because of the way the funding formula worked under the last Government, not recognising our population growth, we were consistently in the bottom 10% for funding settlements. It took a year of knocking on the Prime Ministers and Health Secretary's door but we managed to get the formula changed to take into account population growth. As a result, we recently had the 4th highest increase in healthcare funding in the UK, an extra £20m, helping to deliver 29 extra doctors, 101 extra nurses including 29 extra midwives at the hospital since 2010.
More though needs to be done to build on our recent £2.9m extra funding for our A&E. That's why I'm backing the hospitals bid for its £178m expansion and with the Health Secretary here to see it for himself last month, I'm both confident and determined that we can deliver a hospital and health service future proofed against our population growth.
Equally good news last month was that we've won the battle to re-open Willen surgery under the umbrella of Newport Pagnell Medical Centre. This will include funding of £1.8m to provide an extra 34,000 GP appointments in recognition of the speed at which our population is growing.
I've always argued that any expansion of Milton Keynes should be delivered by economic growth, by creating jobs first and by following my principal of 'I before E' or 'Infrastructure before Expansion'. It is essential to ensure that schools and other infrastructure are built in tandem or preferably before new homes. A big step forward was the scrapping of Milton Keynes Partnerships, a Government quango that used to take so much of our infrastructure money out of Milton Keynes. Equally having founded the MK Jobs fair 3 years ago it was great to see the event attract over 100,000 people this year with Milton Keynes having the fastest growing jobs rate of anywhere in the United Kingdom.
Getting a home of your own is many people's dream and now that the housing market is moving again with places like Brooklands on the East of the city delivering 30 new homes a month, I am delighted that the Governments 'Help to Buy' scheme is getting people into an affordable home of their own. With a deposit as small as 5% and with the scheme now being extended this will allow both council and housing association residents to buy their own homes at a discounted price. All monies raised will be put directly into building new housing association homes and in a city like MK, where we have affordable homes with permission, waiting to be built, this is undoubtedly positive news.
Much has been achieved over the last five years but there is so much more to be done, I have been determined to make and keep Milton Keynes the best place to live and work in the UK and I would be grateful of your support on May 7th so that I might be able to continue the fight in the future.