Derby Telegraph Column

As published in the Derby Telegraph, 10th May 2013

This Wednesday saw the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, which set out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year. There are many bills which I believe will be welcomed by my constituents including on social care, a new state pension and stronger measures to control and reduce immigration.

Many people in Amber Valley are worried by high levels of immigration and the impact this has on our public services and public finances. The new bill will stop immigrants accessing public services which they are not entitled to and compel landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. We will also change the rules to make it easier to deport foreign nationals convicted of crimes. With net immigration down a third since the election, these new measures will further strengthen the system – and will help address the fears over the extension of free movement to Romanians and Bulgarians next year.

This year we will also legislate to cap the costs of care and raise the means test threshold. The bill will mean that no one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care. The bill to reform the state pension has also been published – this will create a single tier State Pension system for everyone retiring from April 2016. This system, and the end of means-testing, should make clear that those who save for their own retirement will be better off when they retire.

We are also introducing reforms put the criminal justice system on the side of ordinary people. A new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill will introduce measures to ensure a quick and effective response to anti-social behaviour focused on the rights to victims and giving people powers to make sure action is taken.

We will also tackle persistent reoffending by transforming the way offenders are dealt with once they leave prison

Last week saw the Derbyshire County Council elections with some very disappointing results in Amber Valley and Derbyshire as a whole.

Over the past few weeks we’ve had some good news on the economy, with the announcement that it grew by 0.3% during Q1 2013, ending fears of a triple dip. This, coupled with the confirmation that the deficit has fallen yet further, is very encouraging and shows that our plan is working despite challenges in the Eurozone, US and China.

In their April pay packets, 33,519 of my constituents saw the biggest ever tax cut for a generation thanks to the increase in the personal allowance– this will reach £10,000 next year meaning that basic rate tax payers will be paying £700 each less than in 2010.

Times are tough, but we are helping those who want to get on and do the right thing