More Good News on Unemployment

The latest figures for the number of unemployed in Bury show another fall. Depending on what statistics you look at it is down 40 or 50% since the last General Election. What there can be no doubt about is that unemployment has fallen since 2010.

With inflation falling to zero point five per cent millions of workers are starting to feel better off. Of course Labour will continue to claim things are not getting better but increasingly people realise they are getting better and even if they have not benefitted personally yet they know they will soon.  If we go back to Labour we will put at risk all the hard work of the last five years. More spending. more borrowing and more debt is not the answer to the nations problems. It sounds great to claim all our problems can be solved by taxing a few big houses in London but there is no easy answer.

The country must live within its means and that means sticking with the Conservatives

It is all about the economy

As the long campaign ahead of the general election on 7th May gets underway there will be countless articles written about the pros and cons of each parties policies but the truth is that without a strong economy everything else falls by the wayside.

Since the coalition Government came to power nearly 5 years ago much has been done to improve the economic state of the country. For the first two or three years the opposition constantly complained that the Government were going too quickly. the claim that the Government was going ‘too far and too fast’ was repeated at every opportunity. Now strangely the opposition claim the Government have not gone far enough! If the Government had followed their advice we would not have made the progress we have.

We can debate which measure should be used to measure the progress made and whether the annual budget deficit has been cut by a third or by a half but what really matters is that the Conservative led Coalition Government have put the country back on the road to recovery. The choice before the Country on My 7th is whether to stay on the road to recovery with the safety and security that brings or turn back and risk chaos and confusion with the Labour Party who left the Country with such a huge budget deficit in the first place.

English Votes for English Laws

We should have today an official Command Paper published by the Government setting out the views of the Parties on how to end the current unfairness of Scottish MP’s ( or more accurately MP’s representing Scottish MP’s )being able to vote on matters on England but MP’s representing English constituencies can not vote on matters which affect Scotland. This is the product of the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. Sometimes it is referred to the West Lothian question as the problem was first highlighted by the MP for West Lothian.

It is clear there is no easy answer but the current situation is quite obviously inequitable and the sooner the nettle is grasped the better.

Stamp Duty Reform

In the Budget the Chancellor revolutionised the pensions market by giving millions of pensioners who had carefully saved for their retirement the freedom to decide for themselves how to spend their pension savings. Now in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor has improved Stamp Duty by taking action that quite frankly should have been taken years ago, Until the Autumn Statement the system meant that the whole purchase price was taxed at a given rate if it exceeded a certain figure by even £1. This system distorted the market meaning people whose property was valued at around a changing point for Stamp Duty would do all they could do stop their property being charged the higher rate of duty. Now Stamp Duty operates like Income Tax with a nil rate band and each higher band being taxed at a set rate. This means that in the North West just 3 people in a thousand will pay more tax and 997 out of a thousand will pay the same or less tax.

Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force

Yesterday evening I attended the launch of the Report from the Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force on Consent and Lead Generation which was convened by Which? (the consumers organisation).

I have become increasingly concerned about the number of complaints I receive from people who are upset at the number of unwanted marketing calls they receive. I entirely support the ability of businesses to be able to contact people by telephone but individuals should be able to opt out of receiving these calls. There is no easy answer to this problem and both Parliament and Government has been looking at it for some time

The Task Force was established at the Request of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in March of this year. The Report contains a number of recommendations for businesses, trade bodies and regulators. More information can be found here

Small Business Saturday

It is great that throughout the UK we will be celebrating the role of small businesses in our society today. Whilst the ups and downs of the largest companies fill the business pages of the daily papers it is all the thousands of small businesses which are the life blood of our economy.

As someone who worked in a small business for over 25 years and indeed ran one for 16 years I know the problems small businesses face. It is important that their concerns are listened to and acted on by Government. New rules and regulations are often more difficult for a small business to cope with. The impact of business rates can be a real threat to the existence of some small business and the help on this front announced in this weeks Autumn Statement will be warmly welcomed, especially news that there is to be a complete review of the system of business rates.

We all have a role to play in helping small businesses by shopping locally and employing local tradesmen and professionals. Small Business Saturday is a great way to remind ourselves of the value of our local small businesses. Use them or lose them!

Autumn Statement – General

This week’s Autumn Statement has confirmed that our economy is growing. In fact the independent Office for Budget Responsibility has upgraded its forecast for growth in the current year from 2.7% to 3%.The UK now has the fastest growing economy of any of the major advanced economies in the World. Unemployment is falling and inflation is low and expected to remain low.
Of course crystal ball gazing when it comes to the economy is always a tricky task. There are so many variables. The deficit is still too large that is to say the Government is still spending more each year than it collects . Each year the shortfall gets added to the nations debts. In essence we are spending money today that we are expecting our children and grandchildren to repay. that is why it is essential we finish the task we have begun.
The Autumn Statement covered many areas of great importance not least was the revolution in stamp duty the tax we pay when we buy a house. from midnight last night 98% of all homebuyers will pay less tax and in Bury it will be virtually every home buyer.