I HOPE that readers of the Journal had a restful Christmas and have had a happy new year so far.

In the run up to Christmas the people of Leigh had an unexpected multi-million pound surprise, but a welcome one to be sure, with the news of Government funding for an £18million pound upgrade to Leigh Infirmary, with a new community diagnostic centre and new operating theatres.

It was a great honour for me to break ground on-site at a ceremony with local staff and representatives of the local health trust. Some months before I had written about my hopes that the project would go ahead, and I am very pleased that I was able to work with the NHS locally to bring this vital investment to our town.

Leigh Journal: Work began at Leigh InfirmaryWork began at Leigh Infirmary (Image: Submitted)

There was also good news for Golborne High, which has received significant government funding for a much needed expansion and upgrade at around the same time.

I was happy to raise a glass at Christmas to both Health Secretary Steve Barclay and Leigh-born Education Secretary Gillian Keegan for approving the funding for both these projects.

Whilst this is good news, there is still much work to do to bring investment to Leigh and the surrounding communities in my constituency, and I hope that this year will be as successful as last year in that regard.

One of the biggest successes last year was stopping the hated Greater Manchester CAZ congestion tax proposed by Mayor Burnham. I hope that the final I’s can be dotted and T’s crossed in finally consigning this ill-conceived mayoral scheme to the bin, but I am very pleased to say that whatever happens, there will be no charging zone covering Leigh and the other communities that make up our constituency.

I was very grateful for the huge level of public support I received from local people across the constituency in stopping a plan that would have doubtless bankrupted many businesses and cost many local jobs, as well as greatly increasing prices in local shops at a time when people were struggling with the cost of living.

So, long story short, several good jobs done, but a lot still to do to deliver on bringing Leigh back to being the place we all want it to be.

I look forward to seeing many of you out and about over the next few months at local community events as the weather improves, and I’m hopeful the year ahead will bring further good news for Leigh.

Until then, I hope you all keep well.