It was good news that the UK economy bounced back last quarter. Over the last two years many new jobs have been created. Unemployment here in Wokingham has remained mercifully very low. Conditions remain difficult, however, for families and businesses. I will continue to recommend the government to take more measures to promote growth, and help business. Finding enough orders and getting sufficient bank credit can still be a problem.
This week Parliament has a chance to debate how much money the European Union should spend over the period 2014-2020. This is a sore subject for many of us. We did not like the way the UK’s rebate, the reduction Margaret Thatcher got on our bills, was partially given away by the last government. We liked even less the failure of the EU to reform the high spending on agriculture, which was their promise in return for the surrender of more of our money.
The EU has rightly been lecturing its member states to do a better job controlling their borrowing. It has issued instructions to some of the Euroland states to cut their public spending, as the EU thinks they are spending far too much. It is far from helpful that at the same time the EU comes up with future budget proposals that mean a lot more EU spending. That all has to be paid for by the member states. The more the EU spends, the bigger their deficits will be, and the more they have to borrow to pay for it.
I am urging the UK government to object strongly to increased budgets for the EU at a time of financial strain in most EU countries. The spending the EU undertakes on regional aid, more regulation and agricultural subsidy is not as important as the money we spend at home on benefits for those in need, and on paying for our schools, hospitals and other crucial local services. Surely where we are looking for savings EU programmes would come high up the list for less, whilst these important domestic services would be high up the list for protection?
Several of you have written to me about the proposed badger cull in trial areas, which has now been postponed for a year. I have held meetings with Ministers to stress that many would prefer a solution based on vaccination rather than culling. There remain difficulties with this approach according to Ministers which I have set out on www.johnredwood.com. I am also receiving copies of a campaign email about forests which some of you are sending to Owen Paterson. He is the right man to send it all too. He and his staff will soon have to conclude on how to proceed following a report into the future of our forests, and in the light of your representations.