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Harlow MP Robert Halfon reflects on last four years since fourth General Election victory

News / Sat 16th Dec 2023 at 11:08am

ON December 12th, 2019, Robert Halfon was returned as MP for Harlow for the fourth time.

He fought and lost win 2001 and 2005. He won in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

If he is still MP at the end of March, then he will be the longest serving member of parliament for the constituency since it was established in 1974.

We asked Mr Halfon to reflect on the last four years.

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Dear Resident,

It has been four years since the General Election in 2019 and no one could have imagined the challenges we would face in that time; the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, and the recent massacre of Israeli citizens and other nationals perpetrated by Hamas in October. 

Out of all of these, Covid was the most difficult, impacting each and every one of us. During this terrible time, I made it my business to do everything possible to help residents by contacting the Government to get responses to the questions I received every single day about the support provided for local businesses, charities, school closures, or other elements of the rules which were impacting people’s daily lives. I will never forget the single mum I supported who was forced to shield, and was at risk of being made homeless due to their employer not wanting to pay Furlough costs. I was able to contact the company directly to ensure this resident would be paid and was able to save them from eviction.  

I am glad that the Government established our world-leading vaccination programme which has saved thousands of lives, not to mention the £400 billion Furlough Scheme and other financial support provided which meant our local businesses could receive thousands of pounds of support to help prevent them from going under and to ensure people could keep their jobs. This is a time in our lives which we will never forget and my thoughts and prayers have been with everyone who lost loved ones, or who suffered setbacks as major life moments had to be postponed.

Yet despite the hardships everyone has faced, I am glad to have been able to work hard for Harlow as I pledged at the time of the election. Everyone who knows me understands that since I was first elected to be the MP for Harlow, my passion has been to champion education, skills and apprenticeships for residents.

If you look at my record in Parliament, my speeches during debates, my role as the Chair of the Education Select Committee, and more recently, as the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, you can see that I do everything possible to support technical and vocational education for our young people. Whether that be securing £16.5 million to upgrade the wonderful Harlow College (which I have now visited over 100 times), the multi-million pound investment into Burnt Mill School on First Avenue, or opening the new £12 million Advanced Manufacturing Centre and the retro-fitting centre, I am incredibly proud of our town’s support for the education of Harlow’s children and young people. 

I’ve also been able to fund more students to go to university and undertake a degree apprenticeship without incurring any student loan debt. For Harlow Care Leavers, I was able to increase the apprenticeship bursary from £1,000 to £3,000 and start a mentoring scheme for disabled apprentices. It is wonderful that we have seen almost 8,000 people undertake apprenticeships in Harlow since I was elected. 

Championing apprenticeships and skills in Harlow also means something else – encouraging as many people to take the chance to get an apprenticeship or secure a well-paid and skilled job. That’s why I was determined to establish an annual Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair almost every year (except during the pandemic) for the last ten years. At my last year’s Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair in the Harlow Leisurezone, we had over 60 exhibitors, over 3,000 jobseekers, would-be apprentices, school leavers and students attend. I know my Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair has helped hundreds of Harlow residents into employment and apprenticeships. It’s something I passionately believe in and will remain committed to as your MP. I am excited to hold my tenth Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair on 26th January 2024 from 10am in the Latton Bush Centre which I know many residents will attend. 

My third pledge to residents was to build an even better Harlow and it is great to see so much happening in our area. I was proud to open the new £85 million Junction 7A on the M11 last year after my many years of campaigning for this vital infrastructure. Working closely with Harlow Council and our hard-working Conservative Councillors, I have secured £23.7 million for the New Town Deal and £20 million of Levelling Up funding to support Harlow’s regeneration. We can already see the beginnings of the renewal programme including the work in Market Square to redevelop the town centre which will see pride restored to Harlow and make it the best place to live, work, and grow up. 

Tackling the financial challenges everyone has faced to cut the cost of living has been a real priority for me. We have seen inflation fall by over half to just over 4% in recent months. Despite the war in Ukraine pushing up energy bill prices, the Government has continued to provide every household with an average of £3,800 to help them with their energy bills. 

All Harlow residents know that since 2010, I have campaigned to cut fuel duty which has previously cost people enormous amounts when they fill up at the pumps. Through my campaigns in Parliament, we have shared in an 11-year freeze in fuel duty, and I was able to secure a further 5p cut when Rishi Sunak was Chancellor which has helped save drivers around £100-£200. I was honoured to receive some national awards for my campaign to ensure that fuel duty was cut and recognition from the previous Chancellors in Parliament.  

My further commitment has always been to protect the NHS. I have nothing but huge admiration for everyone who works at the Princess Alexandra Hospital; the hospital leadership, doctors, nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners, admin and ancillary staff who work tirelessly to care for our town, and was pleased to secure additional funding of over £300 million to support the A&E Department and to provide extra beds through the winters. 

Earlier this year, it was great to see the Health Secretary announce that Harlow will be getting many hundreds of millions of pounds to build a new, state-of-the-art, healthcare campus to replace PAH. Most fair-minded people understand that the project was delayed due to the severe impacts of the Covid pandemic, but despite this, I held 5 parliamentary debates, brought 6 Health Ministers and the former Prime Minister to visit PAH, asked over 45 questions and tabled 11 motions to secure the new hospital. I am grateful to everyone who worked so hard alongside me including Harlow and Essex Council, my neighbouring MPs, and all the incredible staff at PAH, including the Chief Executive, Lance McCarthy who so kindly offered his personal thanks for my “tireless work, drive and support over many years to make this a reality.”

I would like to end by thanking every resident who has shown me such kindness and support over these past years and to reassure everyone that I will continue to work hard for Harlow, fight for Harlow, and champion Harlow every day of my life as the MP.

May I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a more hopeful New Year. 

Kindest wishes,

Robert

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13 Comments for Harlow MP Robert Halfon reflects on last four years since fourth General Election victory:

Alex
2023-12-16 11:18:45

Not really a reflection, more a bucketful of excuses and deceptions.

David
2023-12-16 12:06:40

World-leading vaccination programme; Oven-ready Brexit Deal; Shovel-ready New Hospital and World-beating Public Services from World-class slew of Tory politicians. - You might be well intentioned, but you do talk a load of rubbish - This is our lived experience that you are talking about - Everything is a mess - There isn't ONE Public Service that is better now than when you came to power - But, when I'm filling up at the pumps Robert, I'll try to think of you, rather than those whose lives were needlessly lost during Covid and where my next mortgage payment is coming from ---- p.s. you forgot your greatest single achievement - Your campaign against the Bingo Tax

Luke Burton
2023-12-16 12:37:21

Years and years of utter failure and deceit.

gary roberts
2023-12-16 12:51:04

Did you know that Mr. Halfon works hard for Harlow? You should he has mentioned it in every video and at every photo op since 2010. Does he? No. A new hospital will, if built, not be in Harlow. He has supported every "new" PM since 2010, to give them a chance to prove their incompetence and barrel loads of lies. Will you vote for him in 2024? I hope not.

voteforme
2023-12-16 17:26:25

Undoubtedly there have been some successes but also a lot of failures. The picture shows the failures, cutting the cost of living (failed), building a better Harlow (not so far), protecting the NHS (how big are waiting lists), Brexit means Brexit (one of the big criticisms is that it hasn't really been implemented so isn't yet working). Not in the picture but something RH went on about was reducing taxes-now approaching the highest for 70 years I believe. He also mentions Ukraine, no one could imagine Russia's illegal war in ??Ukraine. Russia was already in Ukraine in 2019, not to anticipate their further action shows a massive failure by the MOD or Intelligence services. The new hospital and PHE moving to Harlow were also promised but have yet to happen-perhaps Chris Vince will be able to take the credit for these happening Robert, I have voted for you in the past but now I just wish that you would stop the spin and tell the truth

Peter Henegan
2023-12-16 17:30:04

One of the biggest failures is not to ensure the various bomb sites we have in the town, The Square, Town Centre, The Stow to name but 3, have been developed after demolition. Also the empty Sydenham house building not being put to good use

Mark Ingall
2023-12-16 20:35:48

A thousand Harlow pupils are learning in temporary classrooms and Halfon didn't even bother to turn up to answer parents questions and he calls that "working hard". Pathetic. His catch phrase should be "Halfon, working hard for Halfon".

Pedro
2023-12-17 02:42:16

Regardless of your political persuasion Rob has been a good MP for Harlow, he is approachable, listens to residents concerns and works hard to promote and help Harlow to evolve into a modern town, however he has been seriously let down by an unelected leader who has pushed taxation to record levels, failed to stop the small boats, allowed immigration to spiral out of control which has had a profound effect on Housing, Education and Healthcare, things that are at the heart of Harlow residents, unfortunately this may well lead to Journeyman Vince being elected and that's not a good move for Harlow.

William Harris
2023-12-17 04:34:14

Where is the new Hospital??????

Tracy George
2023-12-17 07:26:18

No offence Mr Halfon, but what a load of tosh. Even recently voted in favour of the Rwanda Bill. Awful, cruel, waste of millions not to mention supporting the conservatives attempting to change laws to suit. Shame on you.

Stuart Crook
2023-12-17 09:16:47

I think Robert has and still work very hard for Harlow but he is being let down by this government because of this I can see him losing his seat in the next election

Tiredoffailedpoliticalnorms
2023-12-17 15:58:00

Mr Halfon and his various Conservative governments records speaks for themselves a litany of crisis, failure, unremitting self promotion coupled with treachery , untruth and lack of unity. Together this has plunged the country, county and town into the current shameful state of affairs. Time for change enough is enough.

Tracey B
2023-12-18 10:00:13

This guy needs to go. Continues to support all the dodgy leaders of the Conservatives, no hospital, a secondary school building condemned 2 years after opening (he is Minister of State for Education!!!). He also voted against the release of information that relates to safety of school buildings (wonder why?). The list goes on. Same old Tory cover ups. Shocking that he believes he has done a good job

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