It is somehow already Easter and what a busy few months it has been: We have seen 100 years pass since some women were finally granted the right to vote, a strong Spring Statement from the Chancellor which means better funding for our towns, and the potential for the Bayeux tapestry to come to Hastings!
I am sure the Easter holidays will be very welcome across our towns. For me and I am sure many others, it will mean celebrating Easter with friends and family (along with plenty of chocolate) and looking forward to the rest of the year. I would like to update everyone on what has been achieved so far and what this means for our towns and communities.
We have seen the Government take action on housing which will ensure that new and affordable homes are delivered. These houses will be developed in areas of high demand, with a focus on brownfield sites. What this means for our towns is an additional 390 homes by 2022. I am pleased that these initiatives will see much needed housing be delivered in our towns.
There has also been great progress with education, with an additional £1.3 billion going towards school funding from July 2017-2019. This will help with creating better school places for our children in Hastings and Rye. On Friday 2 February, I attended a meeting with the Education Futures Trust to discuss the priorities for Opportunity Area funding. This funding will make a real difference to the education and development of our young people, and I am delighted we will receive up to £6 million from the Department for Education, alongside an additional £350,000 to help expand NowTeach into Hastings.
The start of this year has also been incredibly important for women with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act on 6 February, as well as International Women’s Day on 8 March. I was very happy to be appointed Minister for Women and Equalities and pleased to announce a £2.5 million investment towards celebrating the milestone of suffrage and helping to inspire young women to become leaders in our communities.
We have also heard that the Bayeux Tapestry will come to the UK on loan from France and I have placed my bid for it to come to Hastings. I believe there is no better place for it to be than the very town which gave its name to the famous battle of Hastings as part of the Norman Conquest in Britain.
So looking forward to the rest of the year I am really encouraged by what has been accomplished and I will continue to do everything I can to get the best for our towns and deliver for our local communities. I am very optimistic about what the rest of 2018 holds for Hastings and Rye and I wish everyone a happy and restful Easter.