As an ardent campaigner for an EU referendum I am immensely proud that a Conservative Government has given people the opportunity to have their say on 23rd June.
People have been wrongly led to believe that remaining in the EU means that things will remain the same. They will not. ‘Status quo’ is not on the ballot paper.
The EU is planning a vast swathe of changes in the coming months and years. What we are actually voting on is whether we want the EU to decide what changes to make for us or do we want to make decisions for ourselves.
I believe that we will be better off out of the EU with the power to make decisions for ourselves. For most voters, this is lifetime once in a generation opportunity to choose our direction of travel: towards ever greater union, as a province of a country called ‘Europe’ or a return to a self-governing and sovereign country, standing tall in the world.
Remaining a member of the EU is like standing on an accelerating escalator towards a single, federalised nation state. Europe will gain increasing control of our borders and immigration, our courts, our taxation system.
The Prime Minister was absolutely right to try to renegotiate our terms and he fought hard to do so but the other 27 member states refused to move even a millimetre on the fundamental issues that the British people are concerned with. Any residual attachment to the idea that plucky Britain could single-handedly influence the sclerotic European Union should have gone out of the window there and then.
I recently attended a Parliamentary event hosted by Team Margot. The campaign is named after Margot Martini, who sparked a worldwide campaign to find more stem cell donors after falling victim to a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia.
Team Margot is a charity set up to campaign to raise awareness of the lack of stem cell and bone marrow donors. 37,000 people worldwide need a bone marrow transplant, but unfortunately only half of those seeking a donor will ever find one. The odds are even lower for ethnic minority or mixed race patients: 21%.
Team Margot have been calling on the Government to bolster efforts, both in the UK and overseas, to increase the number of people signed up to registers and, in the three quarters of the countries in the world where a register doesn’t exist, help those countries set one up or to create a global ‘virtual’ register.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has said:
“Considering that blood cancer is in the top 10 most common causes of cancer death in the UK it is shocking that just 1.7% of the UK are signed up to the national registry. I wish Team Margot the best of luck in increasing this to their target of doubling this figure to 4%.
The Queen’s Speech today laid out the legislation that the Government plans to introduce over the next year.
The Speech covered a broad-range of issues, including maintaining defence spending above 2% of GDP, introducing a new system of allocating funding for schools and making the UK’s economy more competitive by investing in digital infrastructure, cutting business rates and building 1 million new homes.
The Speech also promised to tackle a broad range of social issues and acknowledge a more holistic view of poverty, looking at factors such as family breakdown, drug addiction and ‘problem debt’ as well as the biggest overhaul of the prisons system since the Victorian era.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has said:
“This was a Queen’s Speech that puts a fairer society, social justice and security at the forefront. The Government has shown that it has a clear programme of social reform as well as balancing the books.
David Burbage has resigned as Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council after nine years in the position.
Adam Afriyie the MP for the Windsor constituency, said:
“David is one of the most effective councillors and local champions I have ever met. Under his leadership the Royal Borough has become a trailblazer, introducing innovative policies that have set national standards, improved our services and cut our council taxes year on year.
“His MBE was well earned and, while I am sad to hear of his decision to stand down after 9 years of exemplary service, I very much hope to see him in a leading public service role again in the future. The next Leader of the Royal Borough has a tough act to follow but I’m confident that the Conservative led council will continue to serve us well.”
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, welcomes a raft of new tax cuts for small business that will encourage apprenticeships and investment.
From April small business rate relief has been doubled and the employment allowance for businesses and charities will increase from £2,000 to £3,000. It will offset the cost of the National Living Wage, which is being increased to £7.20 – a 7.5% wage increase for people on lower pay.
Fuel duty has also been frozen for the sixth consecutive year that Conservatives have been in power which has held down the costs of doing business particularly for self-employed mobile workers who make use of vans.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the figures:
“These policies come from a Conservative Government that is on the side of young people, the lower paid and people who start their own businesses or take up an apprenticeship or, indeed, give something back to the community by taking on an apprentice.