Derby Telegraph Column May 2016

Last week marked a year since my re-election as your Member of Parliament, and the first anniversary of this Conservative majority Government. This presents an opportunity to reflect on this Government’s achievements and consider my future priorities for Amber Valley in the Queen’s Speech next week, and over the coming parliamentary year.

A key focus of this Government is to reward those who work hard and do the right thing, and over the last year we’ve made progress on this, by increasing the Personal Tax Allowance, introducing a new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for over 25’s, and increasing the 40p tax rate threshold. I also welcomed the introduction of the new Lifetime ISA to encourage people to save for a house or for their retirement, which will see the Government give an extra £1 for every £4 saved.

Over the coming months, I would like to see further progress on this, including our manifesto pledge to increase the Personal Tax Allowance to £12,500, so that those working full-time on national minimum wage can earn tax-free.

From speaking to constituents on the doorstep, one of your main priorities is that we continue to support our brilliant NHS. I am therefore proud we have committed to an increase of £10billion in NHS spending per annum to support and safeguard NHS services and a further £2.4billion funding boost for GP Services. Alongside this we are also pursuing the Government’s ambition to deliver a 7 day NHS, ensuring people have access to the best care right across the week.

We’ve also fulfilled our manifesto pledge to hold an EU referendum which will take place on Thursday 23rd June. With this in mind, I’ve long held concerns about immigration and the pressure this places on local services. Despite the Prime Minister’s renegotiation, I don’t believe this goes far enough, and the only way to meaningfully tackle EU migration is to leave the European Union, which is one of the reasons I will be voting to leave.

Whilst unemployment has fallen in Amber Valley and remains low under this Government, I want to see even more people with the security of a regular pay packet. To assist with this, I hope to hold my fifth annual Jobs Fair later this year and I will continue to push for further progress on the Chancellor’s Midlands Engine for Growth, with further policies to boost investment, growth and job creation. As part of this I would also like to see further measures to improve our local infrastructure and transport links and I will continue to raise this in Parliament.

I will also continue to represent my constituents concerns about inappropriate planning issues, as I have successfully done so over the last year. Following the recent Borough Council elections with a returned Conservative majority and Councillor Kevin Buttery taking over as Leader of the Borough Council, I am also hopeful that progress can be made with the new local plan and I will continue to push for as soon as possible.