Towns are on the move again, says MP Richard Fuller

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A new town centre bridge. The Bedford to Oxford railway. A proper interchange to replace the Black Cat roundabout. Completion of the Bedford bypass.

What is the connection between each of these? They are all about getting Bedford and Kempston moving more effectively and they were all agreed in the past five years.

For decades, Bedford has lived in the shadows of Cambridge to the East, Luton to the South and Milton Keynes to the West. I am not even going to mention Northampton!

Economically, these other towns have grown strongly. Bedford and Kempston did too, but not so strongly and as a result, starting in the 1990s we began losing businesses and our skills and local wages declined relative to those in other towns near us.

People started to have to commute longer to find the work that they wanted.

These improvements to Bedford’s connections – making it easier for people, goods and services, to move between Bedford and the rest of the country – removes a significant obstacle to local growth and positions our town better to attract more jobs, better skilled jobs, better paid jobs.

Over the past five years, unemployment in Bedford and Kempston has fallen by over 40% and youth unemployment by over half.

By getting Bedford and Kempston moving again we are bringing hope for a better future for the next generation of Bedfordians.