When I was elected your MP in 2015 little did I know that one day I would be writing my regular column from behind the Chancellor’s desk in the Treasury.
Being asked to serve as the Chancellor of the Exchequer by the Prime Minister is a tremendous honour and I am humbled to take on the role at this historic moment in our nation’s history.
I would like to thank all of you here at home in North Yorkshire who have sent me such kind messages since last Thursday. Every one is much appreciated.
The coming months will be busy but I am your Member of Parliament and I will always represent your needs and views in Westminster.
I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Sajid Javid, who is a good friend. We first worked together in 2018 in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and we teamed up again last year when I was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I’ve learned so much from him and I am committed to building on the great work he did during his time as Chancellor.
It’s fascinating to work in the Treasury, given all its history. It dates back to the Domesday Book, where somebody called Henry the Treasurer was designated as being responsible for the royal treasures! Although I don’t do this job any longer I was able to visit Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to be given my Seal of Office by Her Majesty the Queen.
That work started the moment I walked out of No 10 last Thursday and returned to the Treasury.
With less than 20 days to budget day I’ve jumped straight into detailed Budget preparations and there’s plenty to be cracking on with.
AT the weekend, I was keeping a close eye on the Environment Agency’s online river level measuring gauges covering the Dales (particularly at Grinton, Bainbridge, and Richmond).
It was another anxious time, particularly for those in the Dales hit by last summer’s floods (and some again earlier this month).
This time, our area was spared the worst of Storm Dennis while other parts of the UK bore the brunt. The Government will provide support to help communities recover and in my new role I am actively looking at increasing future budgets for flood defences to help combat the threat of extreme weather conditions.
I’VE also been closely monitoring the works currently taking place on the A66 and making sure Highways England are co-operating as closely as possible to mitigate the effects of the weekend closures on a number of local businesses affected.
The work to resurface the road – unfortunately interrupted last weekend by Storm Dennis - also includes important improvements to visibility at the notorious New Lane junction at Ravensworth, which I have supported the parish council and the A66 campaign group to achieve.
These safety improvements are vital pending the upgrading of the road to dual carriageway along its entire length – a major improvement to this crucial east-west economic artery.