I often hear from residents who want to see a thriving town centre. A town centre which attracts visitors and tourists from far and wide, and a town centre which can compete with our neighbours. That’s why I recently spoke in a debate on the retail sector and how online shopping is having a huge impact on our town centres and the way we shop. It’s clear from the conversations I’ve had that residents felt let down by the previous Labour administration on the Borough Council, and that’s why they voted for change back in May. I’m working with the new Conservative administration to do all that I can to support their vision for the town centre and to Unlock Redditch.

I love our town. I think Redditch is a great place to live, work and play. Residents are quite rightly proud of their town, and so am I. And because I love our town, I of course want what’s best for it. So, talking about the challenges our town faces is not talking it down, far from it. Our town needs to reach its full potential and I will not apologise for wanting better for Redditch.

We need to be open and honest about the challenges Redditch faces. If we’re going to tackle these issues head on, then how else are we going to without talking openly and frankly about them? It’s unfortunate that I have been criticised for talking about these challenges, but if I don’t speak up then nothing will get done.

You only need to look at my record in Parliament of talking up Redditch, calling for more investment into our town and celebrating our fantastic charities, businesses, schools and community leaders to see how passionate I am about improving our town for everyone.

Since I was first elected last June, and made Redditch my adopted hometown, I have used my privileged position as your voice in Parliament to make sure that Redditch is firmly on the Government’s radar when making decisions on investment, school spending, more money for the NHS – the list goes on. I’m proud of my record and I will continue talking up our town to ensure Redditch reaches its full potential.