Derby Telegraph Column

As published in the Derby Telegraph, Friday 27th March 2015

Earlier this week, Angel Gurria, head of the OECD described the Chancellor’s economic policies as a “text book” example for other countries and stressed that now we need to be allowed to “finish the job”. These are welcome remarks, highlighting the progress this country has made and the need for us to stay on course with a Conservative government.

Under the Conservatives, the UK is set to be the highest growing economy this year – with growth at 2.6%. None of this would be possible without small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy; creating jobs and attracting investment.

Under Labour, taxes on business were too high and regulation overly burdensome – making it harder for businesses to invest and create jobs. By 2015, we will have cut Corporation Tax to 20%, down from 28% under Labour – meaning more small businesses are able to flourish under this Government. Government action to help small businesses has seen 2,210 small business start-ups here in Amber Valley since I was elected.

As a result we have seen unemployment in Amber Valley fall from 4.9% when I was elected, to 2.2% in January this year. As your MP, I am doing everything I can to help my constituents find employment. I support the Government’s commitment to full employment and I would like to build on the record fall in unemployment we have experienced in Amber Valley.

That’s why today I’m holding my third Amber Valley Jobs Fair. If you or anyone you know is looking for a job, come down to Ripley Leisure Centre between 10 AM and 4 PM. Forty great local organisations are attending – all with live vacancies.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister confirmed our manifesto commitment to the winter fuel payment, free bus passes, TV licences, prescriptions and eye tests for our pensioners. The Prime Minister’s continued support for these universal benefits is welcome and they serve as a just reward to those who have worked hard, saved and paid their taxes. It is absolutely right that we continue our commitment to all pensioners to provide security in retirement.

Come May 7th, there is a clear choice for workers, savers, small businesses, pensioners and mortgage payers; we must stick with our long-term economic plan to stay on course.

I have been contacted by a number of local residents who are rightly concerned about the Lily Street Farm planning application, something I have consistently campaigned against. I have fought to ensure that Lily Street Farm was not to be built on or included in the Local Plan by Labour-controlled Borough Council. They didn’t allow councillors or residents to voice their opinions on the application, nor did they take adequate steps to ensure that councillors were aware that the application was to be discussed.

This is simply unacceptable. It’s outrageous that we’re now in a position where residents will have to put up with this building when there have countless representations opposing the development. I strongly urge the Council to reject the proposal as they consider their final decision.