The Jubilee went well despite the rain. I saw a large number of impressive cakes, decorations, and the amazing painted story of the Queen’s reign displayed to such good effect in Wokingham Town Hall. We were spoilt for choice with fetes, lunches, services, a concert and a march past. I would like to say a big thank you to all those who gave so much time and effort to organising all these events. They brought the community together, and enabled us to celebrate in good spirits.
Parliament is now back to the tougher realities. The continuing difficulties of the Euro take up a lot of the government’s time. The collapse of activity in countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal is not helpful, as we do need our export markets. The government is rightly encouraging companies to think more about selling outside Europe. There are large and growing markets in Asia and the Americas. The government is giving help to those who want to build their business up in these areas, or who need some assistance with first contacts and introductions to new targets for their export drive.
I am working with some colleagues on more ideas to speed recovery in the UK, whatever happens on the continent. There are more things that can be done at home to stimulate activity and generate more jobs. The government has work to do to get the banks into a strong position to finance a recovery. More needs to be done to make it easier to set up a business, and to recruit your first staff. Reform is underway for our schools, and in welfare, where the government has ambitious plans to help more people into jobs and make it more worthwhile working.
Some of you have written to me wanting better controls of our borders. I have taken up the issue of sending prisoners back to their own countries where visitors here have committed crimes. I am pleased to say the government is now taking steps to ensure more can be sent home after they have served their term. I am also pressing for more serious criminals to serve their sentences in their own countries, as we are short of prison places and they are costly. The government now says it too wishes to do this more often.
I am also working with a group of MPs on what a new relationship with the EU might look like, if the EU races ahead with far more integration to try to save the Euro. Most agree we do not wish to be drawn into an EU government deciding our taxes, spending and borrowing. We will want trade and friendship whilst staying outside the large common government they may need to form.