Across Cumbria we have so much to be proud off and our defence capability is just one, with our world class skills in submarine design and construction at BAE in Barrow. Today I am delighted to be welcoming the Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson back to Cumbria to showcase the role that Copeland plays in the defence of the realm whilst meeting with local charities, businesses and community organisations as well as health and social care professionals to learn more about plans to recruit and train ex-service personnel into a number of academic subject areas including healthcare roles across the region.

This month, the Prime Minister launched The NHS Long Term Plan setting out how the Government will invest £4.5 billion in primary and community care, helping to support GPs, health visitors and community nurses across Copeland, whilst continuing to improve maternity safety and increasing health and social care integration to support older people.

West Cumberland Hospital’s recent Care Quality Commission report grading services including Maternity as ‘Good’ was encouraging. The hospital’s on-going recruitment initiatives were also highly commended as part of the review, as was the collaborative working relationships with partners across Cumbria’s health and care system to develop Integrated Care Communities.

It is incumbent on us all to talk up our area to reflect on the UNESCO World Heritage status; a landscape celebrated throughout the globe, which should be a significant attraction when recruiting professionals to our area for health, education, engineering or any other sector. On Wednesday my Cumbrian colleagues and I will be hosting a number of businesses in Parliament in celebration of the fourth annual Cumbria Day. The day is a celebration of our fabulous food and drink industry and local businesses and organisations and appreciates their incredibly hard work and commitment. This year, I am delighted to be welcoming Kat’s Kitchen who will be flying the flag for Copeland and Keswick with her range of vegan based cakes and bakes. Cumbria’s food and drink sector is internationally recognised, employing more than 8,500 people and contributing £441 million to our local economy every year; more than in the United Kingdom as a whole, therefore it is vitally important that we support year round our small and independently ran businesses.