I was thrilled to share the announcement Watford has been successful in securing the Government's Levelling Up Fund of £16 million to support transformative plans for the Town Hall area and Watford Colosseum. I put political differences aside to work constructively with Watford Borough Council to secure the funding and the collaboration paid off.

I would like to extend my gratitude to both taxpayers and the UK Government for this substantial investment, recognising as it does the enormous potential in our plans. This funding is a vote of confidence in Watford, paving the way for a brilliant and vibrant cultural hub, alongside a business hub that will support both existing and new ventures.

It is no secret that I champion Watford at every opportunity in Parliament, and I must reflect on the recent announcement that Watford will be having a new fully funded hospital. My constant reminders to Ministers, and my campaign backed by residents made sure I could secure this momentous decision for our town.

In the private sector, we also saw a huge investment of £200m for the UK with over 4000 new jobs by Warner Bros Studios Leavesden as they undergo their Watford expansion. The Chancellor underlined this with his kind reference to myself (and ‘Barbie’!) in his Autumn Statement in relation to the success of the above investment and the wider creative industries. Most importantly, I received assurances the expansion will benefit local jobs and support for local businesses.

With ONS statistics showing that the number of businesses in Watford has grown by over 50 per cent since 2010, our town is the place to be for investment.

I will continue to champion our town and securing such huge investments paves the way for decades of future success for the whole of Watford.

  • Dean Russell is Conservative MP for Watford