This week, the Conservative Party held its annual Party Conference in Birmingham, setting out how the Government will continue to strengthen our economy and create opportunity for all.
Our country has made huge progress since 2010, when Conservatives in Government were met with high unemployment and an economic mess left behind by Labour, highlighted by a note left in the Treasury saying “there is no money”.
3.3 million new jobs have been created since 2010 and unemployment is currently at the lowest level since 1975. In the Forest of Dean, the claimant count continues to be reassuringly low at just 2.1% compared to the national claimant rate of 2.8%.
The deficit is now down by three-quarters and our debt, relative to the size of the economy, is starting to fall so we can invest more in public services, while continuing to keep taxes as low as possible.
Our balanced approach to the economy means that we have been able cut income tax for 31 million people, yet we are able to increase NHS spending every year in real terms, that is after inflation is allowed for. By 2023-24, it will be £20 billion a year in real terms more than it is today.
In the Forest of Dean, our local NHS and a Citizens’ Jury made up of local people recently decided that Cinderford would be the location of our new £11 million hospital, ensuring that we have a facility in the Forest of Dean which is fit for modern, efficient and high quality healthcare.
Opportunity for all also means ensuring that we have the best education available for young people, allowing everyone to fulfil their potential.
Building on the strong GCSE and A-Level results achieved over the summer, we now have a brand new Gloucestershire College campus in Cinderford as well as a new University in the constituency at Hartpury and, as your Member of Parliament, I was pleased to do my bit behind the scenes to ensure that both of these exciting new developments were delivered.
We will continue to build a stronger and fairer economy that works for everyone, making sure everyone’s hard work is recognised and rewarded.