New Year’s messages from MPs for Stevenage and North Herts

HERTFORDSHIRE’S Comet country MPs give their account of 2010 and their hopes for the New Year.

Oliver Heald, MP for North East Herts

I would like to wish all my constituents a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. At this time of year, we should be thinking of those fighting in Afghanistan who will not be at home for Christmas and the relatives of those who have lost their lives there. We also thank all those who serve our country and community in essential services and their families.

Despite a very difficult economic start to the year, thankfully matters have improved since then. British business is doing better. May brought much change at Westminster and the great innovation of a Coalition Government. I think the verdict so far is largely positive, although the effort to tackle the huge inherited deficit is painful. I was delighted to be re-elected to Parliament to represent all constituents of North East Hertfordshire and I thank voters for their confidence. It was good to be able to visit every community in the constituency during the campaign and to meet so many people. As my election blogs showed, it is a very beautiful area.

Locally within North East Herts, I keep in close touch with local businesses and I welcome the Coalition’s measures to help small businesses, encourage training in skill shortage areas and boost the number of apprenticeships. For long-suffering commuters, there is good news of more seats on our trains to ease overcrowding.

I began to get into the Christmas spirit when I attended the turning on of the Lights of Love in Buntingford and am looking forward to Christmas in Royston with my family.

I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and good New Year.

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Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden

I want to thank everyone in local councils, churches and community groups who have helped me to respond to constituents’ problems. 2011 won’t be an easy year, but it won’t be made easier by pretending there’s no need to make tough choices. My priorities will be to help those who have been affected by the need to reduce the deficit.

Secondly, I want to try and help restore confidence and growth, which is the one way we can ensure Hertfordshire and the country get out of these problems.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage

I would like to wish all my constituents a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

The first six months as your Member of Parliament have been a privilege. I would like to thank you all for your support and hope that you join me in welcoming the recent �250m worth of investment for education and health in Stevenage from the new Government.

We have been very fortunate to secure the capital investment for the rebuild of Nobel, Marriotts and Lonsdale schools. This is a fantastic result that would not have been achieved without the full support from the local head teachers and Hertfordshire County Council, who provided a unified front for our campaign to raise educational attainment in Stevenage.

It is very positive that unemployment is falling and that Stevenage is helping to lead the recovery. I have spoken to a number of the local businesses over the last six months and they now have more confidence to take on extra employees. They tell me that the measures introduced by the Government are making it easier for them to get on with running their businesses.

I have been working hard to push forward with the changes that local people want such as improvements to the local health service. We have secured stage four of the Lister Hospital development, which will make it one of the largest hospitals in the East of England and a centre of clinical excellence. Work is also completing next year on the new Surgicentre, Maternity Unit and multi-storey car park.

The campaign for a radiotherapy unit at Lister Hospital to provide better access to radiotherapy services for local patients and their families has also made a strong start. Cancer patients typically make 53 trips to hospital during treatment. For patients in Stevenage, that works out at over 4,000 miles of travel on average whilst suffering from the illness. I am encouraging all the local residents to join the campaign by signing the official newspaper petition or by joining the Facebook group online.

I will continue to work hard for Stevenage and am looking forward to a prosperous New Year for the town. At Christmas time we should all take time to think of the brave soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and of all of the families who have lost a loved one there.

Once again, thank you for all your support and have a happy Christmas.