I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and approaching the New Year, I want to take a moment to look back on some of the defining moments of 2022. To name just a few of my personal highlights, the year saw the hugely successful rollout of the vaccination scheme, the passing of the Down Syndrome Bill, and the securing of millions of pounds in additional funding for our local schools and colleges.
Like most years, however, 2022 has also had its challenges, and Putin’s illegal war on Ukraine marked one of the greatest we’ve seen in a generation. The human and economic cost of the invasion has been felt by each and every one of us, but the way in which I’ve seen people rise to the occasion has been truly inspiring. Locally, Chichester was the number one host of refugees through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and it was truly humbling to meet so many of you during our welcome reception event in July.
Meanwhile, planning and sewage have continued to be issues we’ve pushed hard on. You may have caught one of my previous online panels where we looked at what it would take to end sewage discharges - something I plan to continue to focus on in the coming year. The ending of inflexible, top-down housing targets this month has also been a welcome sign of progress on the planning front, and I’ll continue to support our local council to hopefully agree our local plan early next year.
Finally, this last year also saw the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, a truly iconic figure, whose lifelong commitment to public service has inspired countless generations. Whilst she can never be replaced, the coronation next May will nonetheless mark the opening of a new chapter for all of us, one that will bring its own opportunities and horizons to explore. As we leave behind 2022, I’m honoured to have been able to spend another year as your Member of Parliament, and I can’t wait to make the most of the next precious year.