Derby Telegraph Column – November

I recently held my fourth Amber Valley Jobs Fair, which more than 50 stallholders and 500 job-seekers attended.

I would like to thank everyone who supported the event, and I’m delighted that many constituents have already been employed as a result of the fair or have trials, interviews or apprenticeships lined up.

Through events such as my jobs fairs, I’m committed to ensuring even more people in Amber Valley have the security of a regular job and pay packet.

I therefore welcome this month’s unemployment figures showing that the number of people in Amber Valley claiming jobseeker’s allowance is 144 lower than last year, and 49 lower than last month. This means that unemployment in Amber Valley has fallen by over 60% since 2010, and is now less than 1.8%.

Alongside reducing unemployment, this Government is committed to reforming our relationship with the European Union. As part of this, the Prime Minister recently set out the areas he would like to see reformed if the UK is to remain part of the EU.

Our membership of the EU in recent years has seen an ever closer union which, on countless occasions, has worked against us: overburdening industries with regulations to the detriment of our competitiveness, threatening the sovereignty of the UK Parliament and, most importantly, along with free movement, taking away control of our borders.

I’m glad the Prime Minister has clearly set out these things as key areas for the negotiations in his recent speech.

I know my constituents are concerned about the European Union’s legislation, regulations, taxes and free movement which we are forced to accept.

The renegotiations will therefore see the Prime Minister pursue reforms to improve UK competitiveness by cutting red tape on UK businesses, protecting the single market and exempting us from an “ever closer union” by enhancing the role of our national Parliament.

I also want to see our sovereignty restored in a meaningful way in order to take back control of our borders. I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackling immigration from within the EU by pursuing an agreement where free movement will not apply to new members until their economies are relative to the rest of the EU.

It’s right that we should expand upon our restrictions on welfare and social housing by preventing access to them for four years to prevent pressure on our schools, our healthcare system and our housing.

I want to ensure my constituents’ concerns are addressed in a meaningful way and I hope the Prime Minister can make further progress as the formal renegotiations begin.

However, this is a welcome start. I look forward to the outcome of these negotiations and the opportunity to vote on “in” or “out” in 2017 once the Prime Minister has had the chance to renegotiate.