Derbyshire Times Column

Published in the Derbyshire Times, 6th February 2014

We’ve seen extremely encouraging news about the economy over the past few weeks, with the announcement that the UK economy grew by 0.7% in Q4 2013, that unemployment is continuing to fall and a record 30 million people are in work, and that inflation is now on target, at 2%.

Growth in the UK economy is now at its strongest rate since 2007, and the growth in the manufacturing sector of 0.9% is particularly encouraging. We’ve seen Markit’s latest manufacturing PNI suggest that there has been a spike in global demand for British exports, meaning that we are seeing success in our plan to rebalance the economy. It’s particularly welcome news here in Amber Valley, which is home to lots of good, high-quality export manufacturers.

This is all great news, and it means that our long-term economic plan is working for my hard-working constituents in Amber Valley. Our structural deficit reduction programme has seen market interest rates low, meaning businesses can borrow at comparably reduced costs. It’s also delivered cheaper mortgages, saving families thousands per year, and allowed us to scrap Labour’s fuel duty escalator, saving 13p per litre of fuel, and to raise the Personal Allowance in Income Tax to £10,000 by April, taking 3,000 of my constituents out of the tax altogether and cutting it by £700 for 33,000 more.

We’ve also seen the Chancellor announce that he’d like to see the National Minimum Wage rise to £7 per hour by next year, which will help ensure that work always pays and help people support their families.

Now that they have realised the game is up and they’ve lost the argument over our long-term economic plans, we’ve seen claims from Ed Balls that Labour wouldn’t scupper them. But analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that their plans would allow for £25bn extra spending.

The choice at the next election is now clear – between us, who have delivered for hard-working people in Amber Valley – and Labour, whose plans would mean higher taxes and less security for my constituents.

Last September, as part of my election pledge to reduce unemployment, I held the first ever Amber Valley Jobs Fair. Over six-hundred constituents attended the event, and one-hundred found work as a result of the day. To build on its success, I am to hold another fair on 28th March 2014 at Ripley Leisure Centre between 10 AM and 4 PM.

I’d encourage anyone looking for work or opportunities to come along – there’ll be plenty of local employers offering opportunities and training providers offering seminars on a variety of subjects.

Businesses may attend to register the event online at www.ambervalleyjobsfair.co.uk. More information will be provided about the event over the coming weeks both online and in the press.

Finally, I’d like to thank the hundreds of Heanor and the surround area’s residents that turned out to support the Heanor Memorial Hospital, which is currently closed, at the public meeting held by the Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group last Thursday.

As many of you will know, I have launched a petition to reopen the hospital. You may find it, and an update about last week’s meeting, at www.nigelmillsmp.com/heanorhospital.