This week, Aylesbury MP Rob Butler writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers about the recent Conservative Party Conference - and how he is confident ‘Building Back Better’ will bring “real benefits” to Buckinghamshire residents:

Over the past few weeks, the main political parties have been holding their conferences: an opportunity to debate policies and hear direct from leaders about their plans for the country.

At the Conservative conference last week, it was great to be in the main hall for the prime minister’s speech.

He gave a rousing performance, highlighting how the government is getting on with the job of building back better after the pandemic, by delivering a high wage, high skill economy.

I’m confident this will bring real benefits to Buckinghamshire, with more jobs, vibrant town centres and even stronger public services.

But away from the big speeches, conference is also an opportunity to meet many organisations who impact our everyday lives.

More than ever recently, we have realised the importance of health charities, so I was pleased to be able to speak to representatives of Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Sue Ryder, Scope, the British Heart Foundation, Guide Dogs, Diabetes UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

All of them face new challenges as a result of the pandemic, and they rightly highlighted the need to develop the right plans to recruit and retain staff in the years ahead.

I was therefore pleased to hear the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, underline his focus on the health and social care workforce.

A priority for me since my election has been boosting our high streets, so it was good to hear ideas to do just that from the minister for small business, the Tax Payers’ Alliance and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Key to success will be achieving a fairer playing field between physical shops and online stores, and we are already seeing action on this from the Government.

I was also pleased to talk to the Association of Convenience Stores about the lifeline small shops provided during the pandemic – whether enabling us to buy the essentials close to home, or as hubs for volunteers putting together food parcels for vulnerable neighbours.

All in all, the Conservative conference was an excellent way to focus on political priorities at both the national and local level.