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North West Norfolk MP James Wild completes his fourth London Marathon

Apparently, runners can become a bit boring, repeatedly talking about their last race and the effort it took.

I’ve not experienced this phenomenon myself but let me reassure you now that my fourth London Marathon run is done I won’t be talking about running in future columns for a while.

Despite the best efforts of the rail unions, 40,000 people from across the country took part in the 42nd London Marathon last Sunday. Once again, it was an incredible experience with crowds lining the 26.2-mile route with cheering, choirs, drummers, music, and much more to encourage runners along.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild has completed the London Marathon.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild has completed the London Marathon.

Having said last year that I wouldn’t run it again, I’m pleased I changed my mind. I finished the course in 3 hours 37 minutes and was the second fastest MP – losing out to my Welsh colleague Alun Cairns again but retaining my title of fastest English MP!

Family and friends tracked my progress by the unicorn, Christmas tree, and beer bottle fancy dress runners just ahead of me.

But the main reason I ran was to help raise over £3,500 for three fantastic North West Norfolk charities – Pandora Project, West Norfolk Befriending, and West Norfolk Deaf Association. I’m very grateful to everyone who has donated to these causes which make such a difference locally.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild is running the London Marathon this year.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild is running the London Marathon this year.

In these tough times, thousands of the lowest income families in West Norfolk will soon see a £324 cash boost as part of the government’s £1,200 support package, helping to manage the rising cost of living. Some 8 million households have received the first £326 cost of living payment and will get the next payment from early next month.

This payment comes on top of comprehensive government support with the cost of living this winter, including around 6 million disabled people having been paid a separate £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment, whilst 8 million pensioner households will receive an extra one-off £300 Winter Fuel Payment this year.

Lynn News Education awards night: James Wild MP.
Lynn News Education awards night: James Wild MP.

When people are struggling to make ends meet, the unprecedented support with energy bills along with the energy price guarantee is helping to with those costs – which were otherwise forecast to hit £6,500 on average next year.

However, the sustainable way to put more money into people’s pockets and increase living standards is to increase economic growth.

The government’s plans to encourage that are focused on supporting businesses to invest, lowering the tax burden on working people, and driving supply-side reforms including accelerating infrastructure projects including rail, roads, and broadband.

One of the proposals is for Investment Zones. In response to concerns from environmental groups, ministers have made clear that these aren’t about rolling back green belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designations or environmental protections.

Rather specific sites will be put forward and agreed to by local areas to drive growth and investment – the type of reforms that encouraged development at the Nar Ouse enterprise zone or the Food Enterprise Park for instance.

Given the challenges the country faces, taking steps to drive sustainable economic growth and competitiveness must be the priority.

James Wild

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