At the time of writing I am looking forward to tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, in which Phillip Hammond will lay out some of his spending priorities for the next year. This may sound a bit dry but it’s especially important at the moment because we have a new Government team and also the matter of EU negotiations to consider. I will be pleased to see financial support for the sciences and research and development which is being discussed as well as more money for broadband roll out.
The new Prime Minister and Chancellor have a different style to their predecessors and there will be some movement in the balance between paying off debts and investing for the future. George Osborne had some tough choices to make with the disastrous economy he inherited and I think history will be kind about his tenure. However, things move on and it may be that austerity can be eased somewhat. A recent announcement that I was delighted with was the change to the assessment process that took the chronically ill out of continual assessment – I would like to see that extended to Personal Independence Payments also. I was part of a campaign to keep fuel prices down and am hoping for positive news on that. Our haulage industry is a vital part of the economy. Earlier today I helped deliver a charter for growth in the South West to Downing Street with a number of other MPs from our part of the world outlining the importance of infrastructure investment.
Following a proper consultation process the Government has announced it will not go forward with the ‘pay to stay’ policy for housing association tenants. It was proposed that rents would go up as people’s income increased over a level of £30k. Ultimately it proved a disincentive to career progression and development. I know this will be a relief to a number of local people who I have spoken to about this over the last year.
I had a very positive meeting with local Police last week. The latest figures show that crime in Yeovil Town Centre has fallen by 11% in the last year which is a great endorsement of all the hard work our officers put in. I recently attended a debate in Westminster on police safety and was somewhat reassured by the view in Yeovil. However challenges remain and we had an interesting discussion about drugs crime which I know is an issue of great concern for many residents.
Finally I’d like to thank staff and pupils from Maiden Beech Academy for a very warm welcome last week. I really enjoyed the visit and a chance to talk to staff as well as answering some excellent questions from pupils. You get a real sense there of the pride that they all take in the place. With some big educational policies being floated in Westminster it’s really important to speak to the people that matter most. If you’d like to get in touch about this or any other issues please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01935314321