LAST week’s budget was huge for Dudley South.

Especially as the Chancellor really stepped up and committed the extra funding we need to make sure Phase 2 of our Metro link from Dudley to Brierley Hill can finally go ahead. We’ve campaigned hard for this, so I was delighted that all our campaigning has paid off with this extra £60 million commitment.

The Midlands Metro will make a big difference – not only to the extra investment it will draw into areas like Brierley Hill and Netherton that are on the new line, but also in the new homes it makes possible on brownfield sites along the route. This will relieve the pressure on our green spaces, so everyone benefits.

I have spent a lot of time campaigning in Westminster for this extra investment, and our elected Mayor Andy Street and leader of Dudley Council Patrick Harley have played a blinder in getting the Combined Authority to back this here in the West Midlands. We now just need the Combined Authority Board to play their part and get us over the line with the final go ahead.

As well as this major funding commitment to help improve transport links here in our corner of the Black Country, the Chancellor also announced details of the new Deeper Devolution Deal for the West Midlands. This trailblazing deal will see control over a £1.5 billion package of new investment being devolved to local leaders here in the West Midlands to help deliver jobs, housing and economic growth across our region – rather than those powers and purse strings being held by civil servants in Westminster.

Even though the Government is on track with its plan to halve inflation and grow the economy, we know that there are still huge cost of living pressures on people and families across Dudley South. Therefore, I was pleased to see the Chancellor extend the Energy Price Guarantee for a further three months and once again keep Fuel Duty frozen to support motorists.

This means the UK Government will have delivered a whopping £94 billion of cost-of-living support over this year and last year – one of, if not the largest, cost of living support packages in Europe. I am also really pleased to confirm that more than 20 organisations and employers have signed up to attend my Apprenticeship Fair at the end of the month, giving local people a chance to find out more about what career opportunities are available through apprenticeships.

Colleges such as Halesowen, Dudley and Walsall, and employers such as West Midlands Police, Greene King Breweries and Dudley Council, will all be on hand to offer information and advice.

The fair will be from 3pm till 5pm on Friday March 31 at Kingswinford Community Centre, and all are welcome to attend.