If you had said to me this time last year that I would now be Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think it’s fair to say I may not have believed you.

However, I learned a long time ago in my career not to try to predict British politics and am honoured to have taken the reins at the Treasury and am working my hardest, with a first-class team of ministers and civil servants to support me, to try to steer us to better and more stable economic times.

As many of us look forward to the festive season, it’s fair to say this has been a particularly challenging year for many in the UK.

South West Surrey is no exception.

We began the year on the back of the pandemic and all the difficulties and anxiety that entailed, with many residents needing help and guidance.

I and my excellent staff in Hindhead have done our best to help people as much as possible.

This year we received 16,000 emails and helped more than 10,000 constituents with a wide range of issues from travel and visa queries to health and disability concerns to driving licence and parking problems to planning and education guidance.

I also met or spoke to more than 200 constituents for surgeries as well as visiting over 60 organisations, charities, clubs, schools and care homes on my constituency days.

Some 7,000 people receive my weekly email and many more read my column here in the Herald. We have also started tours of the House of Commons this year, to which more than 300 South West Surrey residents have come.

I am in politics because I am an optimist: I am proud of our country and what we stand for.

Resolute British support for the people of Ukraine has shown us at our best.

But we have always succeeded because we have taken rather than ducked difficult decisions, and that is what I tried to demonstrate in my autumn statement.

If we continue to combine British decency with British ambition, our future will remain bright.

It is a privilege to be a member of parliament and I never forget I am in Westminster because you choose to send me here.

Thank you for continuing to hold my feet to the fire and keep my feet on the ground!

If you have an issue where you think I can help, please do not hesitate to contact my office in Hindhead or email me on [email protected]

In the meantime, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.