As we enter 2021, I would like to wish all my constituents a very happy New Year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for abiding by the most recent coronavirus restrictions intended to protect our NHS and to ensure that those who are more at risk are better protected, as Britain embarks on its vaccine programme.

I was delighted to receive the good news over Christmas that Maryport has been awarded a grant through the Future High Streets fund. The £11.5 million scheme to improve the high street and deliver projects in the town was one that I worked on when I held the economic development portfolio at Allerdale Borough Council. This is in addition to the Heritage Action Zone announcement of £1.2 million for the town earlier this year.

A beautiful and historic town, Maryport has huge potential. It is home to a number of independent shops, giving the high street a strong and unique offering. The regeneration effort will see improvements to the shop fronts and public realm works to make the high street more appealing, alongside repurposing empty buildings and the addition of leisure facilities. I based my constituency office in Maryport not only as it is more accessible than being at the southernmost tip of the constituency, but because Maryport is a beautiful town with so much to offer.

I am particularly excited by the regeneration projects that have formed part of the bid submitted. Christ Church, Carlton Cinema and Empire Yard have been identified as buildings requiring upgrading or earmarked to be used for a different purpose. I am particularly pleased that the bid included an overhaul of The Wave Centre. Although this venue is a more modern addition to Maryport, it does not currently make the most of its potential as a leisure facility.

I am very much looking forward to seeing work start on these milestone projects. Not only will they provide a real boost to the town of Maryport, but I also believe they represent a significant stepping stone in our ongoing levelling-up agenda.

In addition to these grants there is lots of private sector investment in Maryport - These include Westport as a significant employer, and businesses in the tourism sector such as the Maryport Harbour Authority which has recently invested in a new caravan site.

Maryport is also home to a number of exporters. I am delighted that Britain has now left the transition period and we can finally say we ‘got Brexit done.’ Nationally, we have heard that there have been a number of successful trade deals negotiated with countries around the world – ensuring continuity, but building on and going further than the deals we had as members of the EU.

Businesses that export their products will contribute to our success on a global platform and I am pleased that products produced here in the Workington constituency are sold around the world.

As Britain embarks on its next chapter as a newly sovereign nation, ‘Brand Cumbria’ is something that we can develop locally, nationally and internationally – showcasing Cumbria’s manufacturing base along with its many other successful sectors such as food and drink production and engineering.

This is an exciting time for our constituency, with both public and private sector investment in our towns and businesses contributing to the growth of our local economy and providing real opportunities locally for the next generation.