Westminster View – 26th April 2012 – Two years of challenges; two years of achievements

Next week will be the second anniversary of my election as the Member of Parliament for the City of Chester.

It has been an extremely challenging two years, both for the Government and the country as a whole. It was never going to be an easy time to govern and tough decisions have had to be made to restore sustainability to our economy.

But because of the Government’s credible deficit reduction plan, the market interest rates that we are now paying on Labour’s debt has fallen to record lows. In the midst of a global debt storm, the Coalition Government has steadied the ship and ensured that solid foundations are in place so that we can once again build an economy that is stable and in the long term interests of everyone.

Like I said this time last year, I accept that not everyone will agree with the policies that the Coalition Government have taken forward, but I am proud of the many reforms that we have already enacted.

On the economy, the Government has: cut income tax for 25 million people, including a total of 1.1 million people who will be lifted out of income tax altogether; frozen Council Tax; overseen the biggest increase in the State Pension since 1948; introduced a permanent levy on the banks that will raise £10 billion during this parliament; and cut billions in central Government waste.

On healthcare, there are now 3,500 more doctors and 5,500 fewer managers working in the NHS; we have introduced a £200 million per year Cancer Drugs Fund which has already given over 5,000 patients access to life-extending cancer drugs; and we have enacted legislation that will secure the NHS for everyone in this country for generations to come.

On welfare, we have taken steps to end Labour’s something for nothing culture by capping the amount that can be received in benefits, at the same time as making wide ranging reforms to ensure that we make work pay.

On education, we have ensured that there are many more good school places having opened the first ever Free Schools and allowed more than a thousand schools to become Academies.

The international economy remains delicate, but the UK’s economy is once again stable. The next 12 months will, I’m sure, be equally challenging, but I am confident that the many reforms we have enacted will begin to bear fruit.