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Mel Stride

Now we really must mean Business

Thu 10 Mar 2011

By Mel Stride

The PM was straight talking at Prime Minister’s Questions back in late January when he accepted that the latest growth figures are disappointing and that even if you strip out the effect on retailing and services of the worst snowy weather in several decades you are still left with an economy in which growth evaporated in the last quarter of 2010. Economies emerging from recession often have a bumpy ride with quarters that fail to meet expectations and these figures may yet be revised upwards as more information becomes available but there is no getting away from it - this latest news is far from good. It indicates just how tough the future will be.

The key as we rebalance the economy is going to be to achieve strong private sector growth. Staying on course with our deficit reduction plans is part of securing this as it will help to keep interest rates low by maintaining the confidence of the markets. Markets upon which we rely for the borrowing required to service a national debt which has now broken the £2 trillion mark and amounts to £37,600 per person. That’s right if you are a couple your share is over £75,000. Labour will argue that we need not go so fast with debt reduction but my firm view is that the markets would tell us differently if we started to row back now. We must stick the course but redouble our efforts to encourage the private sector.

Encouraging private sector business means cutting the red tape that so often holds it back, easing the burdens associated with employing people (through changes to employment legislation and keeping employers national insurance – the tax on jobs - as low as possible) and through encouraging new business start-ups (as with the new employer National Insurance holidays available in the South West). It also means getting bank lending going again which in turn requires continued pressure on the banks to increase their loan books to small and medium sized firms. The Regional Growth Fund that the government has announced (£1.4 billion) needs to be carefully managed to ensure that it is directed to encouraging those projects that will really have the potential to create growth in the areas of the country which need in most.

I see a vital part of my role as your local MP as being to encourage local businesses. I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to local employers about the challenges they face and in some cases taking their concerns directly to Westminster and government ministers. My own background includes around 20 years running my own company and I know how tough it can be to keep an enterprise going – if you have a business in the constituency and believe that I can assist you in some way then please contact me – I will do what I can to help you.

To attend one of my surgeries please call 01392 823306 to arrange a convenient appointment.

The Coalition’s first electoral test

The Oldham East and Saddleworth seat became vacant following Labour’s Phil Woolas having his election overturned for making false statements in his campaign literature. At eight months in to the new parliament it would be surprising if the opposition did not make headway and sure enough Debbie Abrahams retained the seat for Labour  and has now taken her seat at Westminster. For Labour this was a reassuring outcome – Ed Miliband has had a lacklustre start as leader and he needed a result here - he got it and many in his party will now feel more settled. For the Lib Dems the outcome is more nuanced. On the plus side their vote share held up compared with their performance in this seat at the General Election but they have relied on a squeeze of the Conservative vote to bring them home. That effect is unlikely to be there in the majority of future contests and over the period ahead it will be interesting to see what the polling pundits make of the shifting voting patterns in this contest. To what degree were votes effectively ‘lent’ by Conservative supporters to the Lib Dems to prop them up? Alternatively are their warnings here for the Conservatives that they might be losing their purchase on Northern working class support? I will leave these and the other great questions of our time to the psephologists to determine and will await their analysis with interest.

Overall I believe that the Oldham result was good for the Coalition. It should steady Lib Dem nerves and keep us united as a government. One that is prepared to continue to take the tough decisions that are necessary in the national interest. And one that will, in time, bring us through and out the other side. 

Other columns by Mel Stride

Busy right across the constituency - Tue 9 Nov 2021
Investing in local public services - Mon 2 Aug 2021
Corona - A year on - Mon 14 Jun 2021
Supporting our Local Communities in difficult times - Mon 1 Mar 2021
The PM’s first year - Thu 1 Oct 2020
Quizzing the PM - Tue 7 Jul 2020
It’s the economy, stupid! - Tue 11 Feb 2020
Vision for the Future - Mon 2 Dec 2019
Into the Cabinet - Thu 1 Aug 2019
Local Apprenticeships Matter - Fri 3 May 2019
Huge shot in the arm for our High Streets - Thu 24 Jan 2019
Reading - Thu 8 Nov 2018
EU - In or Out? - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Opportunity. - Tue 22 Jan 2013
Where do we begin? - Tue 13 Nov 2012
To Infinity and Beyond - Wed 5 Sep 2012
Working in Westminster - Sun 1 Jul 2012
A Better Balance - Thu 5 Jan 2012
Capital Shame - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Olympic Feat... - Sun 11 Sep 2011
The Coalition - A year on - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Labour Dreams - Sun 17 Apr 2011
Freedom and Responsibility - Sun 9 Jan 2011
A leader for Labour - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Education and Freedom - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Tradition and Words - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Mel Stride - Early Days in Westminster - Tue 6 Jul 2010
Mel Stride Conservative Parliamentary Candidate on The Big Society - Mon 3 May 2010
A look back over my years as Conservative parliamentary candidate and contributor to The Cottage - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Building the homes of the Future means giving Power to the People - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Early memories... - Wed 4 Nov 2009
As General Franco lay dying... - Tue 20 Oct 2009

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