Once again there is no shortage of news from the world of politics but I would like to start with the brilliant announcement that our Armed Forces are to get a pay rise. The Ministry of Defence has accepted the independent pay review body’s recommendations that mean the biggest increase in over a decade including a 6% raise for the most junior personnel. It’s so important that we recognise the huge and brave contribution that our service men and women make to our nation’s wellbeing. Our own 845 Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton is in great demand at the moment.
I will continue to lobby the Government for increased defence funding and if that includes expanding our helicopter fleet then even better. It’s so important for our wider economy but also for inspiring young people into great careers, creating our next generation of skilled engineers and, of course, making sure we have the capability to respond to new threats in a rapidly changing world.
Boris Johnson has been elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party by 66% of the vote. If people wonder what the point is of being in a political party then the opportunity to get involved in processes like that is one good reason. I supported Boris in the campaign and I am excited about what his dynamism and positivity will bring to Downing Street. He won’t get much of a rest over the summer – there couldn’t be a busier or more challenging time. As with any negotiation, our dialogue with the EU will depend to some extent on the other side but there are some steps that the Government must take straightaway.
The Treasury needs to get much more positive and proactive, stop issuing forecasts based on negative assumptions and help traders navigate the regulatory environment. We must support our farmers market great British produce across the globe and also potentially by offering tax breaks. At our ports and through logistics providers we need to take full advantage of simplified procedures and keep costs down for our exporters. I would like to see the Government use this time for a really ambitious review of taxes, with lower, flatter rates to encourage growth and hard work and to make this country an even better place to do business.
Yeovil College received a record number of applicants this year and it’s in no small part thanks to the leadership of Principal John Evans. John is moving onto a new challenge shortly and will be greatly missed. A successful Institute of Technology Bid and being chosen to run T-Levels are just two of the more recent wins for him and the College and I wish him the very best for the future. I will put in a request for an early meeting with the new Principal to see what I can do to help with the next exciting project.