Politically speaking: Imran Ahmad Khan MP offers promises 'the future will be bright' as he looks back at 2020

In his latest column for the Express, Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan looks back on his first full year in parliament, and offers his thanks to frontline health workers across the city.

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th December 2020, 12:46 pm
In his latest column for the Express, Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan looks back on his first full year in parliament, and offers his thanks to frontline health workers across the city.

This last year has been transformative for us all. The way we live our lives, conduct our business and interact has changed beyond recognition.

What will remain with me of 2020 is how we in Wakefield, have come together as a community to support each other. The hundreds of volunteers, key workers who have kept vital services running, teachers who have supported our children and the valiant heroes and heroines serving in the NHS and our care workers.

Tragically this year has brought great sorrow and hardship. My heart goes out to everyone that grieves – and to those facing lost hope and insecurity.

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I’ve made it my mission to ensure that vulnerable people get support, that those whose income, jobs and businesses are at risk are helped; and that those with non-Covid health needs, such as cancer or mental health conditions, get vital care and treatment.

Throughout the year my office has worked incredibly hard to serve and stand-up for Wakefield. I want to say a big thank you to my staff who have worked tirelessly.

With their help I have responded to thousands of emails from constituents on matters crucial to them, as well as to emergency situations which impacted many families. Indeed - this year I opened 4,325 cases and resolved 3,150.

In April, I secured 120,000 face masks which I donated to the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, of which 10,000 were distributed to local carers and nursing homes. This supplemented the 24/7 phoneline I set up to support Wakefield’s most vulnerable constituents – to which I owe immense gratitude to Penny Appeal.

Throughout the year, I hosted business continuity and support sessions to provide access to information on grants, and to ensure the council were held to account in their administration of central government monies. In June, on behalf of local business owners, I opposed WMDC’s decision to close Northgate. The decision was overturned within 10 days.

Through the Culture Recovery Fund, I was successful in securing £2.9 million for Wakefield’s art hubs, including Theatre Royal Wakefield, the Creative Art House and West Yorkshire Theatre Dance Centre – vital institutions which will serve as cathartic hubs in 2021.

I must reassure you that the future will be bright. Nationally, in the space of 10 months, a vaccine against COVID-19 has been developed, tested and approved in the UK. In recent days, the army has made available a novel spray they developed, that can eliminate 99.99 per cent of the COVID-19 virus.

I recently met with the secretary of state for education to discuss improving Wakefield’s educational offering, as well as providing additional funds to CAPA College to ensure it has all the equipment students require.

I have pressed the prime minister on establishing the National Infrastructure Bank in Wakefield so the levelling up agenda can be truly realised. These are measures I will continue to advocate for.

I want to wish you and all your loved ones a very happy Christmas and a blessed 2021. I am praying for a new year that will be peaceful, joyful and just for all. Many will work through the holidays and I wish to say an even bigger thank you than would normally be the case.

We owe you more than we can ever repay.