Tax cuts – part of the plan

January 29, 2015

The Conservative Party believes that if someone works hard and earns money, they should be able to spend as much as possible, as they like. The Government has no intrinsic right to it: it’s yours. This is why low taxes are so important. People spend their own money, helping the economy.

Since 2010, this Government has cut income tax for over 24 million people, with an average saving of £705, but the Conservatives want to go further after the election. We plan to take everyone who earns less than £12,500 out of income tax altogether, and raise the 40p tax threshold so that no-one earning less than £50,000 pays it. This will provide a tax cut and more disposable income for 30 million people. It will help the economy to grow.

We would do this while cutting the deficit. Over the last five years, Conservatives in Government have halved the deficit while cutting income tax, and in the next Parliament, we’ll do the same again: eliminating the deficit while reducing taxes. The Prime Minister has said that after years of sacrifice, the British people deserve a reward. People whose hard work and personal sacrifices have got this country through the difficult times should come first.

The other main parties have said that, instead, they would tax people more. This would not recognise the sacrifices that the British people have already made, and it would be an attack on aspiration. Only the Conservatives are committed to cutting taxes and building a Britain that rewards work.

Our long-term economic plan will cut tax, create growth, and allow us to cut the deficit.

Crime is at its lowest rate on record

January 28, 2015

I welcome news that crime has fallen by a fifth, its lowest rate on record. This means that last year there were 2.4 million fewer crimes than in the year 2009/10. Hertfordshire Constabulary has produced an 18% drop in crime since the last General Election. This is thanks to the hard work of our Police, and measures taken to improve the service.

The Government has:

  1. Cut red tape and scrapped unnecessary targets saving 4.5 million hours of Police time; time now used on the front line,
  2. Provided tougher sentences for criminals so communities are protected and justice is done,
  3. Given the Police the latest tools and techniques to tackle criminals,
  4. Stopped people from becoming criminals by tackling the root causes of crime,
  5. Made the Police answer to the community to help drive down crime.

Hertfordshire has traditionally been very fortunate with its low rates of crime, but we are seeing them drop even more. Across the county, the 150,000 fewer homes burgled, 317,000 fewer vehicle crimes, and 400,000 fewer violent crimes are making our street and communities safer every year. I congratulate the Police for all their hard work. There is more to do, but the plan is working.

The latest economic figures from the ONS – the plan is working

January 28, 2015

It was nice to see good economic figures coming from the Office for National Statistics. In 2014, the British economy grew by 2.6%, the fastest since 2007, before the start of the Brown crash. This 2.6% growth is up from 2013’s 1.7%, and many economic sectors are performing well. Locally, our economy is growing even faster, at 6% a year.

On top of this, the IMF is predicting national growth of 2.7% next year, with other forecasters predicting figures as high as 3%. We have every reason to be encouraged by the state of the national finances.

These results put the UK amongst the best-performing of all the major economies, and, with oil prices tumbling, credit remaining affordable, and inflation at a record low, disposable income is rising. This puts us in a strong position.

There are international storm clouds and uncertainties of the General Election are coming up. It is more vital than ever that the UK sticks to our long-term economic plan and stay on the road to a more stable and more secure future. A Labour/SNP coalition would lead to economic chaos.

Home Improvement Grants being offered by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

January 26, 2015

I was interested to read recently that the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation is offering grants to homeowners who wish to upgrade their properties, which will in turn improve the appearance of the town. They can apply for grants to help with a variety of types of work including garden work, house rendering, and painting. 

£20,000 has been set aside by the Heritage Foundation to assist with grants, and the first deadline for applications is February 16th. People can make applications for grants between £100 and £1000. I understand that awards will be made in March and September.

Start-Up Loans Scheme

January 21, 2015

I was very pleased to read the figures for the Government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme in North-East Hertfordshire. This programme has helped 26 people in North-East Hertfordshire set up their own business – helping to provide growth and jobs for hardworking families across the county. Across the country, 25,000 Start-Up Loans, worth nearly £130 million, have now been awarded, and more than 32,000 new jobs have been generated as a result of the scheme since it was launched in 2012.

Businesses are an essential part of building our communities, as they bring jobs and economic security to towns and cities across the UK. Encouraging business creators is a vital part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain, and we want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

Today’s figures show that Start-Up Loans are helping us to do just that. In North-East Hertfordshire, £81,571 has been lent as part of the Scheme. If a Conservative Government is elected in May, it will triple the number of people who will get Start-Up Loans to 75,000 by 2020, so even more people have the support they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.

The Government’s Starter Homes Initiative

January 8, 2015

I was interested to hear that the Prime Minister has recently launched a consultation on a scheme called the Starter Homes Initiative. This follows the other Government’s moves such as the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee and equity loan schemes to help first time buyers get their foot on the housing ladder. The consultation proposals include the introduction of a new national Starter Homes exception site planning policy so that builders can build starter homes on unused or previously unviable brownfield sites. These homes will only be available for first time buyers and are to be sold at a minimum 20% discount below open market value. I understand those that want to can register their interest for the scheme can do so here, email at: or by post by writing to Andrew Short, Department for Communities and Local Government, Third Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

I welcome this scheme because it is not only another way the Government is trying to help first time buyers, it will also ensure the attractive redevelopment of pieces of land which have been previously disregarded. With rising house prices many struggle to buy their first house but if they can take advantage of this scheme, they will surely benefit.