New Year message from Mark Hunter MP

January 2, 2009 1:00 PM

Mark wishes all residents a Happy New Year!

2008 ended on a high note with two bits of very good news for the people I have the privilege of representing in Parliament. Firstly, the Government's announcement of £165 million towards the completion of the next phase of the A555 Relief Road. This follows years of campaigning by my predecessor Patsy Calton and I, and of course many, many local residents. Although this is definitely a step in the right direction, it is only half of the cost of the link from Manchester Airport to the A6. Urgent talks are now going ahead to find the rest of the money needed so that work can start. Local residents have already had to wait for too long and I'll be working to try to ensure there are no further undue delays.

The second piece of good news was, of course, the rejection of the Government's plan for congestion charging - and by a massive majority. Although nobody doubts that congestion in our area is a real problem, it was always clear to me that these particular proposals were not the answer. The honest truth is that they offered very little benefit to our area at great cost to local residents and I was not at all surprised when they were rejected. Now the Government must return to the drawing board and find other ways of tackling the problem.

2009 will, I am sure, be full of similar challenges and I am looking forward to getting back to Parliament to press for real action on the issues which matter to the local people - such as more police on our street, better funding for local services and help for those struggling because of the economic crisis. I pledge to continue the fight for a better deal for our area in the New Year.

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