COUNCILLOR Stewart Young is the leader of Cumbria County Council and represents the Upperby ward of Carlisle. Here, he shares his hopes for the New Year.

The New Year presents a number of exciting opportunities for Cumbria. The county council, together with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and other partners, will continue to work hard to secure additional investment for the county. We will continue to lobby the Government for a range of much-needed improvements for the people of Cumbria. These include proposed schemes to improve the A595 at Grizebeck and Bothel, and the Kendal Northern Access Road. We are hopeful that funding will be released by the Government to help us deliver them in 2020. We’re also working hard to secure a commitment from Highways England to invest in a relief road for Whitehaven; making the A66 a dual carriageway between Penrith and Scotch Corner, and improvements to the A590, including an Ulverston bypass, and the A69/A689.

Investment in our transport infrastructure is vital to help unlock Cumbria’s economic potential, connecting our communities and improving accessibility to the rest of the country as part of the Northern Powerhouse and the Borderlands Growth Deal. Looking ahead, the Borderlands Growth Deal also presents a fantastic opportunity for the region in developing its status as a go-to destination to live, work and study.

I am optimistic about the potential for economic growth from this initiative as we continue to work alongside the Government and our regional partners.

One of my ongoing priorities for 2020 is to continue to address concerns around schools funding. With funding for schools having reduced every year since 2010, our schools continue to face increasing pressure to deliver the standard of education our children deserve. I am hopeful that 2020 will be a positive year for Cumbria, and that by working together we can achieve significant improvements and attract further investment in to our fantastic county.