WE FACED monumental change in 2017, for me personally, as well as for so many of you.

And it looks like change and upheaval is set to continue throughout 2018, with the ongoing Brexit negotiations bringing unpredictability, as well as being likely to dominate politics for the year ahead.

For far too many of us, changes have not been positive.

Increasingly, we are seeing the effects of the savage cuts of austerity, which are now biting into our public services, our schools and hospitals, harder than ever.

And changes to our benefit system with the introduction of Universal Credit and failure to tackle the housing crisis, are having a devastating effect on increasing numbers of people in Stroud and across the country.

Our priority for 2018 must be to show that there are real alternatives to austerity and the devastation it is wreaking on our services and communities.

Changes are also exacerbating generational inequality. I see young people finding it harder and harder to make their way in the world, with housing and university education becoming less affordable and accessible.

Our young people need a future with hope and working towards that will be one of my key aims for 2018.

Tackling climate change is also a key  part of providing a brighter future for the next generations. It is perhaps our biggest challenge, but I will be keeping awareness of climate change at the forefront of my work in my role as shadow minister for food, farming and rural affairs.

I have no doubt that 2018 will be a busy and full year, and an opportunity to get to know more of y. It’s time for a year of positive change, and that will be my priority for the coming months.