Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser Column - Tough Decisions Necessary To Tackle Difficult Times

As Parliament is set to return, the Prime Minister used his first speech of 2023 to outline his pledge to tackle the most pressing issues currently facing the country.

The Prime Minister listed 5 promises he would focus on delivering during the remainder of this Parliamentary session: stabilising the economy, reducing debt, helping with the cost of living, increasing NHS and schools funding, and tackling illegal migration. All key issues raised on the doorsteps.

In relation to the economy, the Prime Minister pledged to halve inflation this year. Although inflation has started to fall, it is still too high and we must continue to work with the Bank of England to reduce it, thereby easing the current cost of living pressures and giving households the financial security, they deserve. We must continue to create better-paid jobs and opportunities (across the country) and invest in innovation, skills and infrastructure. Whether through our new post-Brexit trade deals, or through investing in science and technology we are building a broader, more stable economy. Finally, as the economy recovers, we must reward hardworking families. As such, cutting our debt is essential – too often politicians take the credit for projects today, whilst leaving the costs to the next generation. By making sure our national debt is falling, more money will be available for our public services or can be returned to hardworking taxpayers.

Reducing NHS waiting lists, which have been placed under huge pressure following the pandemic and the recent flu spike is key, ensuring that people can get the care they need more quickly. Whilst we have increased NHS spending by £920m per week, a real terms increase of 40%, the Prime Minister more broadly spoke of building a healthcare system centred around patients, where patients are in control, and have as much choice as possible. This includes giving patients access to more information and data, using more independent capacity and no longer accepting variation in performance.

For schools and education, the Prime Minister spoke of his desire to raise education standards and to rival the best education systems in the world. With only half of 16-19-year-olds studying maths, the government will make numeracy a central objective, with a move towards all children studying some form of maths up to the age of 18. We will also continue to focus more on technical education, lifelong learning, and apprenticeships, and to stop seeing university, or ending education altogether at 18, as the only options.

The Prime Minister’s final pledge was to put an end to the dangerous, illegal boat crossings taking place on the Channel. The Government will pass legislation which ensures that, if you come here illegally, you are, rightly, detained and removed. This legislation will build on the five-point plan to tackle illegal immigration, which the Prime Minister announced in December. All measures to tighten controls in this area have been opposed by Labour – the public will be watching as our new legislation is brought forward.

As the Prime Minister said, we will have to take tough, but necessary, decisions to tackle the challenges we are facing – challenges which are being felt across the globe. We will get through these difficult times and will build a better Britain together.

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