Bracknell and Wokingham MPs James Sunderland and John Redwood have messages for readers at Christmas.

Bracknell MP James Sunderland

Christmas is a time for celebration and for families. In recent days, it has been lovely to see the Christmas lights go on, school nativity plays and carol services in full flow, The Lexicon packed with festive shoppers and local children get excited as they break up from school.

In Bracknell Forest, we are relatively fortunate in so many ways, but please do spare a thought for those who are on their own at Christmas, bereaved, suffering illness or struggling to make ends meet.

Whilst I wish I had a magic wand as a politician, I am realistic enough to know that Christmas is joyous for many, but not for all.

This year, I will be spending Christmas with elderly relatives. Having been away so much when I was serving in the Army and missed many family birthdays too, it will just be nice to get a short break at home to recharge my own batteries.

In recent months, the tempo in Westminster and Bracknell has been fierce and we all seem to be working ever harder.

So it is important to perhaps wind down as best we can, relax and pause for breath. And whilst many of us will be enjoying Christmas at home, please do spare a thought for those key workers who cannot be with their families in order to look after us. 

Finally, could I please thank everyone in Bracknell Forest for all of the support and kindness that I have received as your MP.  It means so much. 

Thank you also to everyone who does so much for others, particularly within our brilliant charity, health and public service sectors. Our sense of community in Bracknell Forest is second to none and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.    

Wokingham MP John Redwood

2023 has been a year of recovery from covid and the lockdowns. I have been pleased to see so much good work in our schools and medical establishments, and to see the private sector economy picking up.

I was keen to help get Wokingham Council the money it needs to provide excellent local services. Conscious that social care funding was on the low side I made the case for more cash and was pleased to see a 73 per cent uplift in the social care grant.

Wokingham also received extra money from the discharge from hospital fund, part of government plans to cut waiting lists and free more beds in hospitals.

In the recent Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis Wokingham came out second in money per head for both schools and Council services amongst local Councils, with more than Bracknell, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead and Hampshire.

I worked with other likeminded MPs to persuade the government to remove in future the top-down housebuilding targets and to give local communities like ours a greater say in where we build and how many new homes are needed.

I have been running a campaign to focus policies on improving jobs and business, and on easing the burden on small businesses and the self-employed.

We rely so much on them for our daily services, for many local shops and local produce. The Autumn Statement delivered a cut in National Insurance, including cuts for the self-employed. The Chancellor acknowledged my advice in the Commons debate on the measures.

I have been working with some councillors who want to ease the restrictions and delays imposed on drivers by the Borough’s anti van and car policies.

People need vehicles to deliver to our homes, come to provide us with services, to get to the shops, to take children to school and to get to work. Making it more difficult is not even good for the planet as it creates traffic jams lowering the fuel efficiency of our travel.

I want 2024 to be a year of delivery by the government. I will be working away to see Wokingham gets a good deal, to help the prime minister bring down inflation, promote growth and boost people’s spending power.

I urge the council to get on with preparing a local plan so we can protect Wokingham from too rapid a pace of development. We need to have an updated local plan to control the constant developer pressure to build on greenfields we wish to keep green.

I thank all those who have served out community so well this year. I wish you, your family and friends  a happy Christmas .

I look forward to helping make 2024 a year of success for the many, based on a full recovery from covid. We need to put behind us the impact of the energy and food crisis from the dreadful Ukraine war.

Windsor MP Adam Afriyie

Christmas in the Royal Borough is a magical time of year, lights twinkle on the streets and carols are sung, there’s ice skating at Alexandra Park, carriage rides in the Great Park, and Aladdin at the Theatre Royal. And I am sure that many of you, like me, will be venturing forth to buy last minute gifts at our fantastic local shops, to meet friends for Christmas drinks in our excellent pubs, and to take in the brilliant Windsor and Eton Living Advent.

But Christmas is also a time to pause, reflect, and enjoy time with family and friends. Like most of you I will be spending the holidays with my family, but I will also be thinking of those who are unable to do so.

I have always been proud to represent the Windsor Constituency in Parliament. The good spirit and generosity of our community is a testament to its strength and kindness. At this time of year, the work of our charities is more important than ever. Whether it’s giving to a food bank, supporting a community organisation, or simply helping out a neighbour in need, every little bit makes a difference. So please, if you are able to give a little this Christmas, a donation to a local charity can help to make a huge difference.

I would also like to take a moment to thank those working in our public services and who keep the show on the road: our doctors and nurses, hospice workers, teachers, firefighters, police and our brave armed forces. I wish you all a merry Christmas!