MANY of you will have driven on the A690 between Durham and Crook. I’m often on it when I pop into Durham from my constituency home.

Safety on this road has been a pressing concern for me and I have been campaigning for it to be improved for a long time for with my constituents and hard-working Crook councillors Patricia Jopling and Mike Currah.

That is why I am delighted to hear that the Government has allocated nearly £3m to improve safety along the A690. This investment will make significant improvements that will save lives and reduce accidents.

During my recent drive, I could not help but notice the signs of spring and the renewal of life as lambing season begins and the bulbs begin to flower. It takes me back to my visit to Holywell Farm, near Wolsingham, where lambing season is in full swing under Steven Love's care.

Similarly, there are signs of spring in our economy, with the Chancellor's recent statement indicating progress towards recovery from the challenges of Covid-19 and the conflict in Ukraine.

Inflation figures are showing promising trends, nearing the target of two per cent. These signs of the shoots of renewal are precious for both savers and those with mortgages alike.

However, just like we are nurturing new growth in spring, our economic recovery requires careful attention to ensure it is sustainable. That is why we cannot afford to change course with unfunded promises that do not keep our national debt in check – otherwise we’ll see inflation and mortgage rates on the rising rather than falling.

Moreover, this week we celebrated County Durham day, on Wednesday, and the unique spirit and character of our county was in full show in Parliament as local businesspeople came to London for a “A Canny Taste of County Durham”.

This filled me with immense pride as the culinary delights were showcased, shining a spotlight on our county’s heritage and businesses.

Rewarding work is crucial as part of what I want to see. Cutting the double tax on jobs – National Insurance – is crucial. The average worker will save £900 a year from our substantial tax cut.

And at the same time we’re able to continue for the 14th year with our ‘triple lock’ increase for pensions from the start of April. Those who’ve worked hard all their lives and paid in will see a £900 a year rise in the state pension.

As we move towards a brighter future, let's stay focused on fostering a resilient and prosperous economy for all workers and families across the North of England.

l Richard Holden is chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio, and the North West Durham MP