Since my last column in November there has been a considerable amount of work done in ensuring that our countries finances are under control, making a success of Brexit and of course making sure we don’t lose sight of continuing to reform many of our important public services.
In the last month our new Chancellor has given his first Autumn Statement. Phillip Hammond committed this Government to continuing to get public spending under control. We’ve demonstrated beyond doubt that controlling public spending is compatible with world-class public services and social improvement.
Investing £23 billion in our economy with every penny being earmarked for high value-generating infrastructure and research, including an extra £2 billion a year by 2020-21 for additional investment in research and development. This money will help fund even more local initiatives to see an increase in skills and employability, like the Advanced Science, Engineering& Technology Centre at Halesowen College: – a centre to provide local people with the skills they need to take advantage of our area’s reputation in science, engineering and technology.
Also, fuel costs can make up a big part of a family budget and there has been significant pressure on prices at the pump. So we have cancelled the fuel duty rise that is scheduled for April – keeping it frozen for the seventh consecutive year, saving the average car driver £130 a year and the average van driver £350 since 2010.
After the Autumn Statement the government also made a significant commitment to fix and make safer our nation’s roads with a £3billion injection of cash – which will see £7.6million being spent here in the West Midland’s on filling in our potholes.
I am also keen to work on a plan to help resolve the congestion we see around Grange Hill Island on a daily basis – many hundreds, if not thousands, of drivers find themselves sitting in traffic, wasting time which could be spent either at work or with their families and loved ones.
Over the last month I have also been holding my local Christmas Card competition. This year’s winner has drawn a beautiful picture of a family decorating their Christmas tree. I choose this card, because that is exactly what Christmas should all be about; the love and support of our family and friends. It’s a very simple, but powerful message.
I’d like to wish you, and your family, a Merry Christmas and hope that 2017 brings you happiness and success.