ON TUESDAY, the Prime Minister announced an ambitious ‘New Deal’ for the country, bringing forward £5bn of capital investment projects. My responsibility, on behalf of us all here in West Dorset, will be to ensure that we receive our fair share of funding locally; to help tackle our own gaps in skills and productivity. Whether improving our NHS, building new homes, upgrading our schools and colleges, or being part of a national ‘infrastructure revolution’ for rail and roads, it is critical that we gear up, especially in our coastal towns, and get them well and truly back on the map.

The follow-up National Infrastructure Strategy is a big vision which I’m pleased includes plans to protect the UK’s natural infrastructure and biodiversity, with a major boost for tree planting and conservation.

I know constituents in Bridport and surrounding areas are concerned about overcrowding on beaches in Dorset, voicing issues on social distancing, anti-social behaviour and littering. It is important to note that we have not experienced any major incidents on our own West Dorset beaches, although we do have our fair share of irresponsible littering. The overriding message is that we all must stay alert and take personal responsibility for ourselves. We are in this for the long haul and, although it is easy (and often justified) to judge the behaviour of others, we must also set our own good examples.

Finally, with a relaxation in measures for the shielded, the prospect of now leaving their homes may be daunting. To reassure, there is no pressure for those shielding to venture out until they feel confident. In the meantime, help with food deliveries, medicines and other services is still available through Dorset Council’s helpline on 01305 221000 or contact Bridport’s own brilliant community response team on 01308 808900.