IN 2015 Britain turned a corner and started looking forward to better things, after years of steady sure progress in the face of tough challenges. In the election in May, the country returned a majority Conservative Government ready to build on everyone in the country’s hard work, deliver a strong economy and public services to be proud of, so families get on with their lives. We expect the next year to bring low inflation, increasing employment and rising pay, via both the Conservative Government’s National Living Wage and as the economy lifts off. Progress in these areas are what motivates me as Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon.
There are still challenges ahead, and they are often due to events outside of our control. The economic uncertainty and weakness in the Eurozone could well hinder our own economic growth and harm our exports, while the slowdown in China may hit the global economy. We must also remember the threat that violence in the Middle East poses for our security and we should spare a thought this New Year for our brave servicemen and women who are fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria away from their families and loved ones. These uncertainties are increasing as we commence the New Year, with Saudi Arabia and Iran trading threatening words, and North Korea testing a new hydrogen bomb.
Locally, however, I believe 2016 is a year of great promise and great opportunity. In April we shall mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing which I was able to raise at the first Prime Minister’s Questions of the year. This commemoration will put all eyes on Stratford and bring tourists from far and wide. We have the backing of the Government and it promises to be a fantastic year; and local organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust are already stepping up and planning world class events.
I will also be holding my second Independent Shop Awards to celebrate the hard work and success of local small businesses. Meanwhile several projects are coming together to make life in our part of Warwickshire even better. We’ve passed an important milestone on the new Eye and Cancer Hospital that will be built in the town to provide new specialist services, and we can look forward to progress on solving the traffic problems on the Birmingham Road to make it easier to get around.
In all I believe we have a lot to look forward to in 2016. I wish everyone a Happy New Year.