After the first few weeks of Parliamentary business have been dominated by the Government delivering on its pledges to devolve more powers to Scotland and give us all a say on our membership of the EU today we have the second budget of the year.
It will be the first all Conservative budget since the end of the 1992 – 1997 Parliament. I expect to see the Chancellor start to deliver on the pledge to ensure the Country starts to live within its means. As a country we simply cannot continue borrowing every month to pay the bills. It means adding more to the accumulated national debt every month. a bigger national debt means ever higher interest payments.
The Conservative manifesto contained a pledge to increase the amount people can earn before starting to pay tax to £12,500 and I expect to hear more today about how the Chancellor plans to move towards that figure.
I have long held the view that one of the biggest problems any Government faces is the length and complexity of our tax laws and I hope the Chancellor takes steps in this first budget of the new Parliament to simplify the tax system.
The process of assembling the new Parliament is now well underway. The first step is for the newly elected MP’s to assemble and decide on who will be the Speaker of the House. Whilst this is happening the proceedings of the House are chaired by the longest serving member referred to as the ‘Father of the House’ In this Parliament this honour falls to Sir Gerald Kaufman the MP for Manchester Gorton. AS expected the existing Speaker the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP was re-elected as Speaker without any other Candidates being considered. My view is that this was the right thing to do. Mr Speaker was only elected days ago with the words The Speaker at the side of his name and it seems to me entirely right and proper that he should continue in that role. In his brief speech indicating his willingness to be re-elected Mr Speaker made it clear that he wanted to continue to be a champion of the backbenchers and for that I am sure all backbenchers on both sides of the Chamber will be grateful.
Today, the process of every MP taking an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen gets underway and is going to continue for the next couple of days as a Member is not permitted to take part in proceedings or vote unless they have taken the Oath of Allegiance.
Thank you to all those who supported me and the Conservatives on Thursday. 900 more than five years ago, The results elsewhere mean that for the first time since 1992 there will be a majority Conservative Government. I look forward to playing my part in ensuring the Country lives within its means, increase opportunity, reduce tax and give Bury North residents their say on our membership of the European Union in a referendum.
After weeks of campaigning we have finally reached polling day. The voters chance to have their say.
There is a real choice at this election: Do we stay on the road to recovery with the Conservatives or do we go back to the Party that left the Country with a huge economic problem in 2010. Over the last five years the Conservative coalition has had to make difficult decisions to put the Country on the road to recovery and it is paying off. Two million more in work across the Country and hundreds more in work here in Bury with the security of a regular pay packet. A million more children being taught in good or outstanding schools. Here in Bury new buildings already up at Bury College and at Holy Cross and a brand new school on the way at Elton.
It is a choice between competence with the Conservatives or potential chaos with Labour /SNP. David Cameron as Prime Minister or Ed Miliband.
This is the eighth general election I have campaigned in – the last five as a Candidate so I know a little about the way they go. This one is not very different. The main difference is that we have known the date of the election for most of the past five years. This has meant that the pace of the preparations have been much more measured. Parties and candidates have had time to plan, time to write the leaflets and early dissolution means more time before the election to canvass.
I have been busy knocking on doors and discussing the election with residents all over the constituency. My thanks to all those who have taken the time to chat and my apologies to all those who I have called on at an inconvenient time! I am often asked how it is going and the truth is that you can ask ten people what is important to them and get ten different answers.
There are many people who are undecided. There are some who are switching to the Conservatives and some who are sticking with their previous party. Our message has been simple there is a choice between keeping on the road to recovery so we can live within our means. It is only be having a strong economy that we can afford strong public services. It is a straight choice between having David Cameron as Prime Minister or replacing him with Ed Miliband and Labour.
Last month I wrote to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP explaining the importance to Ramsbottom of the appeal against the decision by Bury Council’s Planning Committee to refuse the application to build an Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Fletcher Bank Shuttleworth. Today I have heard from the Minister for Local Government Kris Hopkins MP ( who has replied as being the matter falls within his Ministerial responsibilities) that he has decided to ‘recover the appeal’.
The Public Inquiry which is presently taking place in Bury will still proceed. The Inspector will still prepare a report and make a recommendation as to whether the appeal should be allowed. The matter will then be determined by the Secretary of State impartially and in light of all the facts.
One of the most frequent complaints I receive is from local residents complaining about the number of nuisance phone calls they get. I have been campaigning to try and improve things and this morning it looks as though the Government is to act.
At present the Information Commissioner has to prove that there has been substantial distress caused which has been a high threshold to establish, meaning a lot of Companies could get away with it. If reports are correct this threshold is to be reduced meaning it will be easier to obtain prosecutions against those who flout the law,