CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Whole new world of opportunities for Eastbourne - and UK - through R&D

No one left behind is my political DNA and there is be no doubt this government is committed to levelling up for those who are disadvantaged by income, job prospects, health services, education and geography.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:51 pm
Henrietta Still of East Sussex County Council enterprise coordinator, Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne and Cllr Bob Standley

There are challenges to address an historic north south divide, not to mention climate change, but it’s clear the Prime Minister is not leaving the south behind either in infrastructure, or in help for those who need it.

In just a few short days councils in East Sussex, including Eastbourne, have received a new £1.5 million allocation to tackle rough sleeping.

Money is being put into specialist help for those with mental health problems and investment in more beds.

The government has also reaffirmed seed money to work up plans for improved hospital facilities at DGH and Conquest – an eventual multi-million investment that will benefit Eastbourne greatly.

This is welcome but it must be paid for and recently science minister Chris Skidmore made a speech showing there is a strategic vision to achieve this.

Research and development (R&D) might not trip off the tongue but investment in it will reap rewards for Eastbourne and the UK and pay for our future hospitals and schools.

In short, we have committed to doubling the public R&D budget over the next five years with an ambition to spend 2.4 per cent of GDP on R&D by 2027 through both public and private initiatives.

In the speech the minister said this, “Our future lies in those cutting-edge ideas, advanced technologies and rewarding new jobs that will power our economy and transform our society.”

Mirroring that national ambition to level up our country, I am committed to levelling up our town.

Life expectancy changes as you drive from one end to another.

Key to this is more skilled, well-paid jobs and behind that, building skills and raising ambitions.

I was delighted to attend I Can last month, a careers event held in Eastbourne for young people with learning needs and disabilities from across the county.

It reflected a whole new world of possibilities and R&D has inspired many of these new open doors.

Much the government does rightly hit the headlines but sadly this strong advance on R&D didn’t, and it’s important.

I have highlighted it in my column this week to show this government is serious about its One Nation agenda and serious about UK future prosperity as a way of funding our public services and offering opportunity to all.