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Rutland MP Alicia Kearns’ delight at Shared Prosperity Funding of £600 million for councils

We’ve now had the good news that a further £600 million funding boost for local councils has been announced by Government, writes Rutland MP Alicia Kearns (Con).

I understand the pressures facing our councils and have spent hours and hours lobbying the Government since my election and again over the last few weeks ahead of this news, so I’m pleased to see this additional funding. Yes, I still want changes to the overall funding formula, and I won’t stop working to secure this, but this funding uplift comes on top of £23.7 million from Government in the levelling up fund, the £1.1 million from the Shared Prosperity Fund, and the £400,000 from the Rural Prosperity Fund which also saw come to our county.

In more news locally, I am heartened by data published by NHS England that since GP appointments in Rutland and Melton have increased by 14% since November 2019 - from nearly 6.6 million in the 12 months to November 2019, to more than 7.5 million in the 12 months to November 2023. But to further support our communities to access the healthcare we need, you will now be able to receive treatment without a GP appointment or prescription for eight common illnesses from your local pharmacy: sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated UTIs in women, and the contraceptive pill. This also recognises the expertise of our pharmacists in our communities.

Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns (Con)
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns (Con)

Despite encouraging progress, I know there is more to be done, which is why I am confident that the Government’s Primary Care Access Recovery Plan will support our NHS in supporting its post-pandemic recovery and cutting NHS and GP waiting times. I want to take this opportunity to thank our local GPs, pharmacists, and primary care teams for all the wonderful work that you do in providing critical medical treatment and support to patients across our local areas.

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I know the concerns we had after it was announced last year that Oakham’s HSBC branch would be closing. To protect our local businesses and constituents who rely on cash and face-to-face banking, it’s really positive that we now know that in April Cash Access UK’s new banking hub at 43 High Street in Oakham will open. Five banks rather than one will operate. It was a pleasure speaking to Oakham residents about the new banking hub during the Cash Access UK Banking Hub Event on 25th January, and to see so many come and be so enthused at the new banking solution which will increase banking access five fold in our county.

My favourite part about being our MP is meeting the wonderful people, charities, organisations and businesses at the heart of our local communities, and who play a leading role in making Rutland as special as it is. I recently visited Whissendine Sports and Community Club, where I was given the opportunity to listen to the club’s vision for their future and their exciting plans to upgrade existing facilities – the club plays a vital role in hosting a variety of community groups every week and I hope they continue to thrive, I know I’ll be supporting them to do so!

I was also delighted to join Gateley Smithers Purslow and Gateley RJA, to hear all about their amazing progress and growth in the past few years – they’ve just been awarded top national awards for how they treat and support their employees – phenomenal achievements. I also had the pleasure of visiting Oakham School last Friday, where I spoke to students face-to-face about my experience as an MP and took the opportunity to answer some challenging questions put to me by some students.

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