UK’s Eurozone exports hit new low

UK based companies exported £25.78 billion worth of goods in July with only £11.24 billion heading into the Eurozone. The full trade data from the Office for National Statistics also showed that exports of goods beyond the wider European Union States exceeded exports to the other EU countries.

With the emerging economies continuing to outpace the moribund European Union these figures are not surprising and of course unlike with the EU we do not have to pay billions of pounds in membership dues every year in order to be able to sell goods to the rest of the World!

M66 Resurfacing

I have been notified by the Department of Transport that the Highways Agency will be carrying out resurfacing works, at various locations on the M66, between the A56/M66 junction through to Junction 3.

This will mean the motorway being closed but in order to minimise disruption the work will take place between 10.00pm and 5.00am when traffic is lightest. The works are scheduled to start on 17th September and will continue until around 5th October 2012.

Saving the Second Battalion

Some good news today in the Campaign to save the Second Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.  

Last week a group of us who represent Constituencies where the Fusiliers have traditionally recruited from met in Parliament to discuss how we could best try and persuade the Government to reconsider this decision and hopefully reverse it. One tactic was that we would seek a debate on the issue on the floor of the House of Commons. The following day in Business of the House questions four of us were able to ask the Leader of the House for a debate. This is mainly a tactic to put the issue on the record as the Leader of the House never accedes there and then to the dozens of requests which are made every week.

Following this it was decided an approach would be made to the Backbench Business Committee to see if they would be prepared to grant a debate in the time they have allocated to them. The Committee met today and the good news is that they have agreed to a debate being held on Thursday 18th October which is the first Thursday back after the Conference recess.

Back to Westminster

After the summer recess the House of Commons ( not the Lords) has returned to business today. After the usual round of Questions and Statements the main business is a short Bill authorising the Government to agree a change to the European Union Treaty which will allow the Eurozone countries to establish a bailout fund which in theory is meant to help the Eurozone countries who are struggling to raise funds in the normal way. The new fund to be called the European Stability Mechanism is intended to replace two other similar bailout funds one of which the UK is liable to pay a proportion of if the loans it has made are not repaid. I think we should have been much tougher in our negotiations. We should never have been involved in these bailout mechanisms in the first place and if the other European Union Countries were as desperate as apparently they were to have a new fund established within the terms of the EU Treaty’s we should have made absolutely certain that not only would we not be liable for future liabilities but we would be immediately released from any existing contingent liabilities. There might only be a small risk that Portugal and the Republic of Ireland will default on their obligations but there is a first time for everything. Furthermore, since this particular bailout fund was discussed and set in place it has to all intents and purposes been overtaken by events. Even at 500 billion euros it is not considered bid enough and the Eurozone Countries have now set off down teh path of a new Fiscal Union treaty which was the treaty under consideration when the Prime Minister quite rightly exercised his veto last December.

Bailout funds – in essence just more loans – are not the real solution to teh problems being faced by struggling Eurozone countries. What is needed is for these Countries to start to live within their means- just as the UK is painfully having to learn to do.