Today’s Autumn Statement highlights just how much progress this Government has made. Project Fear has been shown to be a phantom: This year Britain is set to remain the fastest growing economy in the G7! And next year we are likely to grow as quickly as Germany and outpace both France and Italy.
What’s more, the fastest growing region of the UK was the North East, the fastest pay growth was in the West Midlands, and every region recorded a record high employment rate. This Conservative Government has moved away from the London-centric economy built under Labour and opened up the powerhouses of the North.
There is still a great deal of work to do in improving education, reforming welfare and cutting business taxes and I would have liked to see further announcements around mental health but, on balance, our country is undeniably better placed now than it was six years ago.
This week the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade out of Poverty (APPG-TOP) launched its Final Report into its inquiry on the UK’s Africa Free Trade Initiative (AFTi).
The AFTi was started in 2011 by the Government to explore ways to help African countries integrate into the world trade system. For the last five years it has provided support to both individual African governments and regional integration efforts, as well as informing various British Government Departments in their interactions with African governments to improving trade conditions in Africa.
With the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation due this week, Adam Afriyie MP, a former technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has said that a crackdown on encryption technology would be economically irresponsible and ultimately futile.
In an article, published on the Telegraph, Adam Afriyie writes:
“The Government is rightly concerned about the risks of digital encryption technology, in the same way that it was concerned about invisible ink, encoded letters and faxes in the past. If there is substance to rumours of a crackdown on encryption in the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation, it would be as mistaken as it would be ineffective.
Banning technology does not get rid of it. It either makes criminals of millions of normal internet users, or designates it the reserve of established criminals like drug dealers and terrorists.”
To read the article in full on the Telegraph website, click here.
As a long-standing advocate of social mobility I was cheered by the message at this years’ conference.
The Prime Minister laid out the moral mission for Conservatives over the next Parliament in his keynote address.
The message was clear and unequivocal: if you want something done about the challenges facing society, then the Conservatives are the only party for you.
As Conservatives, we are determined to tackle the complex social and economic issues of our time. Whether it’s housing, prisons, family stability, the care system or social mobility, we need to get to work, even if other politicians and political parties are reluctant to express their views through fear of being exposed as out of kilter with the sentiments of modern Britain.
The Conservative party has a proud heritage of social reformers from Disraeli’s “One Nation” conservatism to Macmillan’s housebuilding and Thatcher’s reshaping of the economy. We have a strong tradition of reforming and strengthening society. It should be no different today.
I am proud to be a supporter of Conservatives for Britain, a group set up to push for fundamental reform of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
Conservatives for Britain will assess whether renegotiation achieves fundamental reform of our EU membership. If the EU refuses to change and provide a sustainable future for its member states, then we will recommend that Britain becomes an outward-looking, globally focussed nation that trades with Europe and the rest of the world from outside of the European Union.
The changes that we need are:
- Border control. As the crisis in the Mediterranean and at Calais is showing, EU policy is causing chaos. Britain needs to manage immigration in a sustainable way that benefits British citizens and aspiring migrants who want to contribute to our country.
- Free trade. We should have the ability to make trade deals with friendly nations all around the globe to bring prices down and boost British exports.
- Less regulation. The EU has imposed a Kafkaesque system of incomprehensible regulations that kill small businesses, to the benefit of multinational corporations and their swish legal teams. Regulations must be cut and only apply to those businesses exporting to EU countries.
- Parliamentary sovereignty. The European Commission remains distant and is appointed by back door deals, where political elites club together to benefit themselves. British law laid down by a sovereign Parliament, made up of accountable politicians, must remain the law of the land.
- An end to “ever closer union”. The British public wants a friendly, trading relationship with our European partners, not to hand over political powers to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. We need to act in our national interest, opting out of more integration.
The EU, as it stands, is broken. It’s too protectionist, bureaucratic and undemocratic. It needs to allow its member states more freedom to trade as they choose, a democratic process of holding decision-makers to account and assurances that Britain will not be dragged down the rabbit hole of further integration.
If you agree that the EU needs serious reform, then sign up to Conservatives for Britain to join a wide movement of activists, supporters and representatives who are working hard to get the best deal for Britain.
Sign up here. Follow Conservatives for Britain on Twitter here.