I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.
As I reflect upon 2011, two things stand out for me above everything else.
Firstly, it’s been an extremely tough year for many of my constituents. People are struggling to make ends meet with the rising the costs of food, fuel, gas and electricity bills. Many people have lost their jobs, or are worried about keeping their job. Small businesses are under pressure as everyone tightens their belts and the vital public services, on which we all depend, face the deepest cuts in a generation.
Yet despite these very tough times, there are countless inspirational individuals who make a difference to my constituents week in, week out. I have met NHS staff who provide superb care for patients with cancer and children with heart defects, home helps and residential care assistants who look after vulnerable older people, teachers who champion aspiration and achievement in our schools, and dedicated volunteers and community activists who give their time and effort with little thought for themselves. All of these people show a generosity and commitment which makes me extraordinarily proud.
I’d like to thank you for your support this year and for the steps you have taken to help your friends and neighbours, and our city as a whole. 2012 looks set to be another difficult year so we’re going to have to continue to pull together. As ever, I’m determined to speak up for and to support my constituents here in Leicester and in Westminster.