I was honoured to witness the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s speech last week. The pomp and ceremony that mark this occasion are an important reminder of the strong traditions that our democracy is built on.
The Queen’s Speech marks the start of a new session of Parliament and sets out the Government’s agenda for the coming year. The new Government is not hampered by the need for Coalition negotiations and compromises and so we can get straight down to business delivering the initiatives that we were elected on in our manifesto.
We have a clear agenda for the country, to continue to bring down the deficit, grow the economy and create more jobs. We will ensure that people who work are rewarded and that all parts of the country benefit from the growing economy.
I believe these policies and aims are so important for this constituency. I have long recognized that our constituency urgently needs more, higher paid jobs and I campaigned hard on this issue. The Queen’s Speech promised a Bill that will bring about full employment; a job for everyone who wants one. We will create more apprenticeships that will give our young people the skills they need to secure a good career.
We want to see people keep more of the money they earn. Those earning the Minimum wage will be taken out of tax completely. The Government will lock into law our promise that there will be no increases in income tax, VAT or National Insurance in this Parliament. This means we can get on with the business of building our local economy without any growth being strangled by tax increases. This is a Government that will champion the working family and I am proud to be part of it.
The Queen’s Speech also confirmed our commitment to maintain and build our schools and health provisions, both themes that are close to my heart and again issues that I campaigned on. An increase in NHS spending and a pledge to make the NHS a true 7-day service will give our services in Cornwall a welcome boost. I will continue to press the case for our health services and schools in Cornwall to be better funded.
Another important announcement in the Queen’s Speech was the confirmation that a referendum on EU membership will take place by 2017. I am keen that this issue is resolved. We need a change in our relationship with the EU and the interests of the Cornish people must also be protected.
This coming week I am hoping to make my maiden speech in The House of Commons and will be getting down to the important business of representing this constituency as we debate these issues.