THIS week, Aylesbury MP Rob Butler writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

With daffodils in bloom and the occasional burst of sunshine, spring is upon us. I’m sure I speak for many when I welcome these first signs of the new season as an opportunity to put the bleakest of winters behind us.

The return of children to schools at the start of the month marked the beginning of the roadmap to recovery.

I am delighted that pupils can get back to class after the immense disruption to their lives over the past year, missing not just their normal lessons, but also the opportunity to learn with their friends and forge experiences for their futures.

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It has been an incredibly difficult time for pupils, parents and teachers and I’d like to pay tribute to everybody involved in ensuring children could keep learning throughout the lockdowns and restrictions.

A key reason that we can start to get back to normal is the phenomenal success of the vaccination programme.

The local rollout has gathered pace and I saw first-hand what a tremendous team effort is involved when I visited three local vaccination centres recently. Thank you to the volunteers, clinicians, emergency services and even cinema staff delivering thousands of vaccinations a week.

To help reach the target of offering a first dose to every adult by the end of July, the budget recently provided an extra £1.65 billion for the vaccination rollout.

This accompanied extensions to furlough, to self-employed support and to the business rates holiday.

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The government has also provided money to Bucks Council to distribute to local businesses, and the council has done a brilliant job getting that money to the people who need it most, with 94% of the funds already distributed.

Two-thirds of the Aylesbury constituency is rural, so I was delighted to chair the session on rural transport at the launch of the Rural Services Network’s “Revitalising Rural” campaign recently. As restrictions ease and we begin to enjoy more of the lovely countryside this spring, the campaign is a timely reminder of the need for people living in our villages and hamlets to be offered the same opportunities as those in our bigger towns and cities, whether it’s buses or broadband – so I will continue to raise the concerns of people from every corner of my constituency with ministers and in the House of Commons.