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Last night I spoke to the Communities Secretary to confirm that Plymouth would see investment from the Government in the form of Growth Deal 3 funding today, to unlock a £50m redevelopment of Plymouth Station. The deal was announced at 11am this morning.
This is huge news for Plymouth. Our station is the gateway to our City – the first many people see of us, and it is not a true reflection upon the enterprising, modern, exciting City that we are becoming in time for the crucial Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020. I have worked tirelessly over the past 6 months to close this deal because I believed Plymouth deserved better, I told everyone Plymouth deserved better, and I am pleased to say that we are beginning to get what we deserve.
It is not an end point – far from it. We have plenty to do on the railways, in particular in ensuring the services at Dawlish. But slowly and surely we are levering the investment from Government. With new trains entering service in a years time, a modern station and continued resilience at Dawlish, We are making progress, and I am delighted to be able to do so on behalf of a City that I have always maintained has for too long has been at the wrong end of Govenrment deals.
After all the Committee’s work, the Secretary of State for Defence has shut down the Iraq Historical Allegations Team. Enough has been written and said about this already, in particular the MoD’s role in it, but I am committed to working with Government to ensure that we never end up in such a disgraceful position again. There remain plenty of unanswered questions.
Other work continues apace, in particular increasing pressure on No.11 to ensure there is something in the budget next month to ease the pain in social care funding. Preparations are also underway for a world-class Mental Health week in Plymouth in May. More on that next week. Further, I was delighted to become the Patron of Special Olympics in Plymouth, where I was able to get along to play a bit of sport with some old friends last week (images below).
Canvassing saturday along Victoria Road. Do come along and say hi!