New Year Message - Worcester Standard

This time last year I warned about the difficulties being faced by our countyís farmers and growers because they didnít have enough people to pick their fruit and vegetables
Itís been a difficult end to the year, but, locally at least, it hasnít all been gloom-and-doom for Worcestershire. Indeed we have secured several victories together.

Work has actually begun on getting the Cotswold railway line redoubled, and the restoration of the Droitwich Canals is well underway. Both should be completed in 2010.

After pressing the Government not to ban temporary student agricultural workers from Eastern Europe, I am delighted that, together, we have been successful in convincing the Government actually to extend the numbers of students permitted visas.

The people of Worcestershire deserve a huge cheer for their role in convincing the Government not to close down GP dispensing services, as they had worryingly proposed. I received hundreds of powerful letters on this subject and sent them all on to the Government. I know they had an effect on the decision.

The people of Worcestershire achieved these victories because of their persistence and determination. Although the economic future looks rather bleak, it is because of these qualities that I am sure we will work together to find a way through the financial storms 2009 looks set to blow our way. Certainly my highest priority in 2009 will be to fight for local businesses and the jobs they provide A Peaceful and Happy New Year to you all.

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