The budget has a number of vital jobs to do – supporting business, helping people with the cost of living through tax changes and movements in the national living wage, stimulating investment in infrastructure, supporting research and innovation and levelling up across the United Kingdom.

It comes however in the shadow of understandable public concern about the coronavirus and the chilling effect that this has already had on the global economy. Locally I am well aware that there has also been a massive impact from the floods, and I am determined to make sure businesses and the economy get the support they need.

I have made my budget submissions calling for more financial support for our hospital and our NHS and supporting a range of measures to help the economy. Writing ahead of the budget speech I hope that we will see a continued focus on helping small business with their rates and the recent pressures of both flooding and coronavirus point towards the need to strengthen that support. I also want to see further progress on long-running campaigns such as fairer funding for our schools and support for apprenticeships.

I was pleased to see extra funding for flood defences trailed ahead of the budget. As we have seen in the recent and terrible Worcestershire floods, these are highly effective in many places and further investment is undoubtedly justified by the record levels and lengths of flooding we have seen. I have been campaigning over many years for additional flood defences in Worcester and I am hopeful that any funding announcement from the budget can be rapidly translated into action on the ground.

In the meantime, I am working to support our councils and emergency services with the extra workload they have had to take on to deal with the floods. I want to ensure that the support from Government – whether in the form of recovery payments, “build back better” support on flood resilience, or council and business rates rebates for those forced out of homes – comes through quickly and efficiently.

I am glad that ahead of this budget we had already seen a settlement to increase the funding available for frontline policing.

I was horrified to hear of the incident where it appears that a shot was fired at a police car in Blackpole yesterday, but glad to be briefed not only that nobody was hurt but that the police rapidly arrested all three suspects, recovered the firearm and the vehicle involved in the incident and that a full investigation is under way.

The incident is a reminder that we should all be thankful for the bravery and professionalism of our emergency services and aware of the risks that they face on our behalf.

Whatever challenges lie ahead with the coronavirus, I think it is vital that the Government response is evidence based and designed to keep the maximum number of people well and safe. I have been attending regular meetings on this and I am confident that the right steps are being taken at the right time.

We can all play our part by washing hands regularly, calling 111 with any concerns, and seeking to ensure we support those most at risk by protecting them from exposure.