|With Westminster now in summer recess, there comes an opportunity for me as your Member of Parliament to pause and reflect on what has certainly been a hectic 12 months since the General Election, and although Brexit is a preoccupation for media attention, I can assure you that life at Westminster is not always all about Brexit!
It is also about remaining focussed on building a Britain that works for everyone, concentrating on creating a stronger, fairer economy and a more caring society – one where every generation can do better than the last.
Central to this is a commitment to taking a balanced approach to our economy, an approach that allows us to deal with our debts, invest in key public services, and keep taxes low.
In April, the Government raised the Personal Allowance again and increased the National Living Wage to £7.83 per hour, allowing families to keep more money in their pockets. Just before Parliament rose for the summer recess we saw the welcome announcement of the biggest pay rise in almost 10 years for around one million public sector workers across Britain meaning the public service will get a pay rise that they deserve.
The economy has now grown for eight consecutive years, employment is up by 3.3 million since 2010, and the unemployment rate is at its joint lowest level since 1975, with more jobs and employment opportunities locally too.
One particularly important matter for us locally is health and like you, my family and I have always relied on the NHS. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a long term plan and a five year funding settlement was to be welcomed, and under the plan NHS funding will grow year on year and by 2023-24 the NHS England budget will increase by an extra £20billion a year in real terms, ensuring patients receive world-class healthcare.
With steps to help people get a foot on the housing ladder, as well as building more homes and backing home ownership schemes, improving our schools, colleges and universities, the introduction of an energy price cap, stronger protections for animal welfare, and tough action on plastic waste, these are just some of the many recent key achievements.
I would agree there is still more we can do to create that fairer society we all want to see but that is why we must continue our hard work to build an economy where everyone’s hard work is recognised and rewarded and a country where we provide strong leadership in the world as a truly ‘Global Britain’.
Whether you are preparing for your summer holidays, or like me will be spending time at home with family and friends hopefully enjoying a little more of the Great British Weather – I wish you all a good summer.
This article was first published in the Sutton Observer on 10th August 2018