AS AN MP, the time spent outside of Parliament in the constituency is as important as time spent sitting on the green benches in the House of Commons, particularly at the moment when all thoughts in Westminster are on Brexit.

So as well as the usual meetings, I have been seeing local businesses who are new to the area, listening to their plans and hearing why they chose to bring new jobs to Basingstoke.

We’ve become an important job hub in the south east.

When I ask businesses why they chose to locate here rather than Swindon, Reading or elsewhere top of the list is always people: well-qualified, local staff make the difference.

Improvements to our roads in the last few years is also a factor; including the major redevelopment of Black Dam roundabout, Basingstoke has had £50million spent to cut traffic jams and congestion which benefits us all.

But what new employers, particularly in Basing View, tell me is the green space, trees and natural beauty of the borough are a real magnet too. For many people setting up new business quality of life is an important factor.

Basingstoke has an inbuilt advantage. The redevelopment of Basing View, Eastrop Park, Memorial Park and Basing Common all put green space at the heart of the community.

So as well as improving our roads, schools, hospital services, fire and police stations, more than £100 million in all, we need to continue to protect the greenness of our town.

The Manydown Jane Austen Country Park will be an important addition in the coming years particularly for residents to the west of the town, helping to bring benefits where significant house building is planned.

The borough council and county council are working with schools and road users to raise awareness of good air quality and what we can all do every day to protect it, an important part of a healthy environment.

And the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is bringing its “WilderHampshire” project to Basingstoke-meeting residents who want to be part of protecting and expanding the natural environment in their neighbourhood.

Basingstoke is a great place to live-little wonder employers see it as a great place to locate their businesses. We have to work hard to make sure we keep it this way.

Maria Miller MP