I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and as we look back on a year like no other, give you an update on the work I have been doing as your Member of Parliament for East Hull.

I want to say thank you to all those who have been going above and beyond during this terrible pandemic. Despite the hardship I know too many have faced, I take pride in seeing our community come together to make sure no one is left behind during this crisis.

At the very beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, I launched a scheme to provide free meat hampers directly to the most vulnerable people in East Hull, in collaboration with Cranswick Foods PLC, The Freedom Centre on Preston Road, and Siemens. Nearly 1,000 hampers were delivered to support East Hull’s older and vulnerable people, and I am delighted that the scheme has continued after my involvement

I fought for government to support our much-loved sport, rugby league. After launching a petition that was signed by over 3,000 people and lobbying Government Ministers directly, a £16M emergency loan was announced to help secure the game’s future, which came to a great relief to fans not just in East Hull but across the city and the wider sport.

During these difficult months, I have been pushing the government to support working people in our community and make sure they are given the support they need. This Conservative government need to step up to protect and create jobs and real investment in our local area so that people here are not left behind – I have raised this in Parliament at every available opportunity and will not stop doing so.

These calls for extra support have too often fallen on deaf ears. The Conservative government have shown us that they do not care about our city and they have not acted on Labour’s calls for measures to make sure people in our community do not suffer greater hardship, especially while we remain under the highest level of restrictions.

I have also campaigned to protect jobs in our maritime industry in Hull, including for P&O to retain the Pride of York, which sailed off from Hull to Rotterdam for the last time this month. I have been pressuring P&O Ferries and the Government to ensure that the Hull-Zeebrugge route remains fully open and that we protect British seafarer jobs, which are dramatically declining despite the maritime sector growing. Maritime industries are key to our economic future in Hull, not just part of our heritage.

My office has been incredibly busy helping thousands of people in East Hull this year with individual problems and enquiries. Assisting local people is something I take great pride in but it is not something I do alone, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my staff who this year have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to allow me to keep fighting hard on behalf of residents.

Looking towards 2021, with a vaccine being approved and distributed as you read this, there does seem to be some hope as we move into the new year. The hard work and sacrifices of people in Hull are astounding, and I’m delighted to see it is paying off.

We should take heart from the dramatic fall in infection rates recently. However, we are far from out of the woods yet. The vast majority have complied with painful restrictions, and it’s getting results, people here can and should take tremendous pride in what they’re doing to beat this virus.

I ask everyone to keep safe this Christmas and enjoy the festive season as best as we can whilst exercising caution and sensible judgement.

I wanted to end by saying a massive thank you to our fantastic NHS staff and all the key workers who have kept this country going through this last year and our collective effort in Hull to maintain control of this terrible virus and helping save lives.

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