It was great to join colleagues and friends at the Conservative Party Conference this week! I wanted to report back on what was a really positive few days, highlighting how Conservatives across the UK are seizing opportunities, including the Conservatives in Government as we prepare to build our future outside of the European Union.
One of my personal highlights was the number of women and young people that came along to this year’s Conference, with 20% of attendees under the age of 25! Whatever your political outlook, it’s great to see so many young people enthused in our democracy.
And now down to some of those announcements:
- Many of you will know that I suggested that the Government cut Stamp Duty for First-Time Buyers last autumn, a policy adopted by the Treasury and implanted immediately. More than 130,000 people have benefited from that decision in the past year. However, there is more we can do to make homes more affordable, and I welcome that the Government will introduce a higher rate of stamp duty for non-UK residents which while supporting future home owners will also help to fund our commitment to end rough sleeping.
- As a Trustee of a charity supporting former members of the armed forces into employment, I know that many of my Eastleigh constituents will welcome that the Government is increasing support for service personnel, their families and veterans, making sure they have the right skills in life to succeed whilst they are in the Armed Forces and after they leave.
- The cadets do such a huge amount for our young people, and it is great that the Government is investing in their future, expanding the cadet programme and launching a national cadet week, to make sure young people have the opportunity to succeed in life no matter what their background.
- Many of us leave tips, but I often ask if the person that I am giving the tip to will actually see the benefits of me doing so…on too many occasions the answer to that is no! That’s why I am really pleased that this Government will be introducing new laws to make sure staff in the hospitality industry don’t have a percentage of their tips deducted by their employer.
- We have excellent providers of apprenticeships locally, and like my constituents, I recognise the huge benefits associated with training people in work, and how this is reflected in our local economy, productivity, and community. The Conservatives have always been the Party of Business, and I am delighted that in Government we will be supporting businesses to train the workers of the future, as well as giving older workers they need in a changing economy.
- In my local advice surgeries, I have too often seen the damage that drugs can do to our young people, and the knock on effects of this on their family and friends. We in the Conservative Party understand the importance of tackling drug use at its source, and I am therefore delighted that the Government has launched a landmark review of drug misuse, helping agencies to work together and creating a £200 million new Youth Endowment Fund to target crime hotspots.
- Equality has always been an area of interest for me, which is why I am so pleased that the Government has listened to so many of you who have written to me supporting a change in the law to allow opposite-sex couples in England and Wales to enter into a civil partnership.
- All of us are passionate about tackling cancer, and I’m looking forward to holding my event later this month to raise funds for The Haven in Titchfield. Meanwhile, the Government is doing its bit, introducing a new Cancer Strategy, boosting peoples’ chances of surviving cancer through early diagnosis, meaning that by 2028, 55,000 more people will be alive five years after their diagnosis compared to today.
- An announcement that I know will be welcomed by hard working people across our area is news that the Government is freezing fuel duty for the ninth year in a row, putting money in the pockets of hard working people from a Conservative Government that is on their side!
- And finally, on Brexit the Government will continue to move forward plans to take back control of our borders, laws and money, promoting a deal that is good for jobs, good for the union and respects the result of the Referendum. This is, without doubt, a moment of opportunity, an opportunity for people across this Eastleigh constituency, as well as across the country. I have always believed that we should reach out and grab opportunities, and I welcome that this Government is doing exactly that!
As you can see, plenty of really positive announcements which will have a really positive impact upon all of us across Eastleigh and beyond! I look forward to working with you and my colleagues in Parliament to bring these initiatives forward, and seize the opportunities of the future.