Article for The Business, Essex Chronicle

Britain’s long-term economic plan is boosting financial security for hardworking households across the country. Under this Government, the economy is growing, the deficit is falling and there are record numbers of people now in work. But the job is not done and the biggest risk to the recovery would be abandoning the plan that is delivering a brighter economic future for Britain. 
 
With economic growth expected to reach 2.7% in 2014 – up from the early estimate of 2.4% – the British economy has expanded at the fastest pace of all advanced economies. Restoring public finances, strengthening investor confidence and creating the ideal environment for businesses to set up and grow has helped the British economy surge at a world-leading rate. Taxes have been reduced across the board to help Britain’s hardworking families, and through responsible welfare reform, taxpayers can expect savings of £110 million in 2013-14 and £185 million in each of the following four years. 
 
Alongside record employment numbers – 30.6 million people now in work – approximately 1.3 million new full-time jobs have been created since this Government came to power, which on average means 6,000 more people are finding work each week. Over two million more people are now employed in the private sector, which is over five times the number of jobs lost in the public sector. And more women are in work, with employment up 108,000 this quarter and 754,000 since the 2010 General Election. Additionally, the Office for National Statistics recently confirmed that Britain’s unemployment rate fell to 6.4% this quarter as part of the largest annual fall in unemployment in 25 years. By comparison, the unemployment rate in France is 10% and 12% in Italy.
 
These positive national employment figures reflect the same trends in the Witham constituency and across the East of England. New figures show that 521 fewer people in the Witham constituency are dependent on Jobseekers’ Allowance since 2010, which represents a significant 39% drop. More broadly, 229,000 people have found work in the East of England region. Businesses in the Witham constituency and across Essex have thrived through the global economic downturn, and when the Prime Minister recently said in the House of Commons, “where Essex leads the rest of the country follows”, he was referring to the impressive local businesses that are supporting economic growth, creating new jobs, and driving Britain’s economy forward. 
 
Under the previous Labour Government, too many people were trapped in the cycle of unemployment and welfare dependency. For over a decade of brutal fiscal mismanagement, the last Labour Government created a culture where benefits claimants were better off on welfare than in work. While Britain should always be proud to have a welfare system that helps those most in need, never again should public spending on welfare be allowed to spiral out of control where a culture of dependency would manifest itself. As this Government continues fixing the system that broke down under Labour, its reform programme is putting fairness back at the heart of the welfare system so that British jobseekers are enabled to get over the welfare wall and into meaningful work. 
 
These remain challenging times, however, as long as we stick with the long-term economic plan, Britain will continue securing new growth, more jobs, greater opportunities and an even brighter future that will serve as a model for the rest of the developed world to follow. 
 
Priti Patel
Member of Parliament for Witham
   
 

A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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