Thursday, 27 September 2012
Accrington Observer Column
MP’s have returned from the summer recess with huge hole in the Government’s following the abandonment of Lords reform. A divided Conservative Party with 91 rebels effectively defeated the proposals. Crucially, The Liberals have now said they will not support the proposed boundary changes which would have seen Hyndburn split into two ending 125 years of having our own member of parliament.
There is till no growth in the economy, no growth at all since the coalition came in to power unlike all our nation competitors. It’s hard to see how we will ever get back Osbornes lost growth, a double dip reccession made in Downing Street.
The Governments answer to the economic woes is to blame Europe and bring forward a policy that backyards and gardens now don’t need planning permission and can now extend to 8 metres. A plan not only in disarray after only two weeks but one that is hardly likely to boost the construction industry. The reality is hundreds of thousands of homes already have permission – but a lack of demand and finance is preventing building. No wonder 80,000 spectators at the paralympics expressed their opinion at the governments by booing the Tory chancellor George Osborne for his failing economic polices. Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis added to criticism of the Governments economic policies saying that; “It’s easy to cut costs, any halfwit can do that. But they’ve not stimulated the economy, or jobs, or growth.”
The awfully wet summer has been a monsoon for the government. Following the no-change reshuffle – can anyone name a minister that was sacked? - reports stated three ‘blubbers’ broke down when told of the sack, naming Caroline Spelman, Cheryl Gillan and an ‘unnamed male minister’, thought to be Bob Neill whilst plotting Conservative MPs set up Conservative Voice to take on Tory MP colleagues they don’t agree with and defend sacked ministers.
Reports are that Spelman demanding to know why she was sacked, Cam pointing to forests and she replied it was his policy. Justine Greening who had stood by Camerons policy of opposing the third heathrow runway shouted at the PM, while Sayeeda Warsi was so upset she stormed off to Yorkshire until the PM smoothed it over with her ‘Senior Minister of State’ job at the FCO. Greening has been moved from Transport Minister to Overseas Aid Minister. James Forsyth in the Spectator magazine had a cutting quote from a minister about Justine Greening highlighting the backbiting that exists: “She’ll have plenty of time to think about –runways…as her flight to the next developing country circles the [Heathrow] yet again.” Apparently Cameron is about to break his election promise by moving towards a possible development of Heathrow’s third runway setting up a review of aviation. Tory London mayor Boris Johnson described Cameron’s move as “ditherama” and later “fudgerama”. Nick Clegg in typical LibDem contradictory style added “it’s crystal clear, in a sense”!
Airport’s, like all transport infrastructure are vital to economic growth. Heathrow has flights to far fewer countries than Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Paris. Heathrow is running at full capacity with nightime flights, the consequence of which are long delays for take off and landing. Not good for Britain at all because the ‘connecting flight business’ is huge and subsidises UK passengers whilst offering businesses more destinations to and from the UK. I wrote in Parliaments House magazine that if the government wants to rebalance Britain’s economy, the aviation review must at least in that review consider the merits of an international ‘hub’ airport in the north of England against the current idea of feeder airports.
Finally I have called for a Hyndburn business forum to be established which the Chamber of Commerce have begun establishing. Business and education are the long term priorities for this constituency and I have written at length what we doing to push that agenda.