Regardless of people’s views on HS2, the important thing is that a decision has been made, and now we can start planning effectively.
Whilst HS2 will not directly affect Bassetlaw, it is a major infrastructure investment, and as an MP, I want to make sure that costs are kept under control and the taxpayer receives value for money.
One concern over HS2 is that those of us who do not directly benefit from it may not see any money spent on other rail services and transport priorities.
I was reassured then that the Prime Minister said in his statement on HS2 that this will not affect plans to link up other services in the midlands and the north and that we will be investing in these, too.
Anybody in Worksop who has used Northern Rail’s services will rightly expect to see a vast improvement in the network.
One of the main issues in the whole of Bassetlaw has been that of bus services and this is also going to be a major focus, along with plans for a network of cycle routes.
Public transport must be convenient, reliable, regular and reasonably priced if we are to encourage people to use it.
One of the many campaigns I got involved with this week was in cutting the number of people who smoke or take up smoking.
This is not a new idea, but with the introduction of cigarette alternatives such as vaping, we have seen a different approach taken by those wishing to give up.
Bassetlaw has a smoking prevalence of 18.4 per cent, which is nearly four per cent higher than the national average.
This results in health inequalities and can negatively impact life expectancy, so it’s important that we acknowledge that this is a serious problem.
I’ve joined the all-party parliamentary groups on football (so I’m clearing the dust from my boots) and, importantly, the the group on coalfield communities, where I will serve as secretary.
I’ll be talking about this more in future and how its work can help former mining areas like Bassetlawto renew and regenerate.