Adam Afriyie
MP for Windsor
The Budget and the long-term economic plan

Here in Ascot, we are fortunate to have been somewhat sheltered from the economic struggles facing other parts the country. Business is stronger than ever, and this is a tribute to entrepreneurs who have persevered through very difficult years. We are seeing a private-sector led economy, especially locally, with a record number of people in work as businesses invest, grow and take on new people.

At the Budget, the Chancellor updated the Charter for Budget Responsibility so that the Government continues to reduce the deficit as part of the long-term economic plan – helping to build a stronger, more competitive economy and secure a better future for Britain. By voting for our updated plan to reduce the deficit and cap welfare, Labour would be making a promise that they intend to break in office, because their policy is to borrow more and spend more, including on welfare. That’s exactly how they got us into a mess in the first place. And despite voting for the welfare cap, Labour are promising to breach it in office by restoring the spare room subsidy – a welfare spending rise. Nothing will change – it’s the same old Labour with no plan to secure Britain’s future. We cannot afford to put families’ economic security at risk.

The 2014 Budget

Anyone who has run a business will know the strength of a long-term plan. That’s why I’m encouraged that Conservatives have an economic plan which is slowly but surely building a stronger, more competitive economy.

Before last year’s Budget I called for a number of changes to boost growth. Since then, the Chancellor has cut National Insurance for small businesses and scrapped it for young people. These were good steps in the right direction. This week’s Budget went further to strengthen the hand of British businesses by abolishing more red tape, and reducing taxation so they can invest more money and hire more staff.  Not only is this the route to economic growth, it gives people from all backgrounds a chance of getting a job and having a chance at doing well in life.

Here in Windsor, we are fortunate to have been somewhat sheltered from the economic struggles facing other parts the country. Business is stronger than ever, and this is a tribute to entrepreneurs who have persevered through very difficult years. We are seeing a private-sector led economy, especially locally, with a record number of people in work as businesses invest, grow and take on new people.

The Economy

Here in Ascot, there is no denying that the past few years have been a challenge economically. However, as a former CEO, I know the strength of a long-term plan. That’s why I’m encouraged by our Conservative economic plan which is slowly but surely building a stronger, more competitive economy to secure Britain’s future. Clearly there are still trials to overcome, but the road ahead looks positive with lower unemployment, lower taxes and lower borrowing costs.

This Government has cut the deficit by a third in just three years. The private sector has created more than 1.3 million new jobs since the election and we have seen the fastest rate of new business creation for decades. As a result of our long-term economic plan, our economy is now growing faster than any other major European economy. Despite having a deficit the same size as Greece, Britain has been able to borrow at interest rates close to Germany’s.

Winter flooding

As a resident of Old Windsor, I am naturally concerned about flood risk in our area. It’s a scary prospect that our homes and gardens are somewhat exposed to the forces of nature, and I do hope that over the festive period you were well prepared for the adverse weather conditions that have hit not only Berkshire, but towns and counties up and down the country. I know that many homes locally were at risk of damage from the Thames, as the river came ever dangerously close to residents’ front doorsteps.

These recent conditions have shown that we can never be too complacent when it comes to protecting ourselves and our properties against rising tides. It is for this very reason that money for flood protection in our area must be a high priority.

Christmas message

Over Christmas and the New Year I’ll be taking some time to reflect a little on 2013, and I hope that you find some time to spend with friends and family doing likewise.

In many ways we are fortunate that across the Windsor constituency unemployment levels are low and businesses are continuing to thrive. It has certainly been another tough year with continued pressures on household budgets, but I’m delighted that the economic road ahead is looking a little more positive. I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and energy of our hardworking local Councillors and active residents who are always keen to get involved with local projects and support our local economy.