In politics, it’s important to have a focus – a clear plan to carry in your heart when you put yourself up for election. You need to know what you want to deliver for your constituents, so that when the inevitable political storms erupt, you are not blown off the path you have set out.
My focus, and the reason for standing for office, has always been on driving up opportunity for all in Cheltenham. I want all our children, whether they grow up in Hesters Way, St Mark’s, Leckhampton or Charlton Kings, to have the best possible chance to go as far as their talents will take them.
To deliver that, I knew we needed to fight like mad for the investment that will turn lives around – and which had passed Cheltenham by in the past.
So whilst the political gales howled in Westminster, I began this week at GlosCol in Hesters Way where I was invited to speak at the unveiling ceremony for the £23.6m road improvement works in West Cheltenham. Together we secured this money in 2017 from Sajid Javid, then the Local Government secretary, as part of a massive Growth Deal for Cheltenham. At the time he was kind enough to hail the cyber vision I had set out, and gave the Government’s backing to it.
I conceived of that vision because I know we can deliver something spectacular in Cheltenham. A cyber park, located next to a neighbourhood crying out for investment, will be the envy of the South-West and a powerful signal to young people of where they can go with hard work and determination. The jobs in cyber are well paid, and employers are falling over themselves to attract talent.
With £3m also invested by the Government in GlosCol in PE Way in the Advanced Digital Academy, Hesters Way and Cheltenham are on the up.
Here at home, we are staying on a path which leads to a better future for all.
[Column first published in the Glos Echo}