Sunday, 6 May 2012

Ben Gummers latest Newsletter

Times Are Tough But Hold The Line - by Ben Gummer

 This issue contains my most recent Evening Star column, published on 4th May. 

Please note that it was written before the local elections.

 If there is anything else you would like to see in these newsletters, or have any comments or questions, please let me know. My contact details are at the bottom of this email.  

Times are tough   Yesterday was Election Day for local councils across the country. Times are incredibly hard and the government has had to make some extremely difficult decisions recently. At the time of writing, I don't know what the turnout was like. But I am under no illusions about the scale of people's frustration. Petrol prices are high. Food is expensive. And it is difficult to make ends meet as costs go up but wages stand still.  

Some things we can't easily change: the debt crisis engulfing the Eurozone; low consumer confidence; low demand for our exports; or the political instability in the Middle East that is driving up the cost of fuel. But there are other things the government can change - like bringing down immigration, introducing a cap on benefits and reforming our schools. It's just that these things take time to bear fruit. For the time being, people know that life is going to be tough and that government is going to be difficult. Which is all the more reason to make sure that we politicians behave with complete integrity. Elected Mayors  

While we all wait for the world to sort itself out, the government must carry on with the urgent task of freeing up businesses to create jobs and prosperity. Large and small, these wealth creators are the engines of economic growth. Councils up and down the country need to do their bit to support and encourage them at a local level, as well. They need to welcome the input of local business leaders and to listen to what they have to say. And they need to make it easier for local businesses to get involved in their communities. 100 years ago, Ipswich was good at this. Our magnificent town hall stands as a monument to what has been - and could be - achieved. If our community continues to pull together, I know that the town of which we are all so proud will be a real beacon for others.  

As Ipswich went to the polls for council elections yesterday, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone were fighting for the Mayor's office in London's City Hall. It is vital to set more of our towns and cities free. This is what the coalition wants to do - which is why it is encouraging other cities to hold referenda on whether or not to have elected Mayors. Wouldn't it be a great idea to have one in Ipswich? I reckon a prominent local figure with full responsibility for holding the council, the police and the bus companies to account would galvanise the town, reach out to businesses and raise Ipswich's profile across the country - and indeed the world. Do you think that Ipswich should have an elected Mayor? Let me know.

Chantry   While we're talking about doing battle, I'm doing all that I can to keep the pressure on the government to rebuild Chantry High School. I hope that we will hear some news soon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

How Labour Wrecked our Economy

I have replicated an extract from an excellent article by cllr Judy Terry here because there are so many people who are still in denial about Labours debt legacy and as I have promised never to let people forget it, it is my duty to keep that promise

It is also a reminder to those Labour members closer to home, that wasting tax payers money is not acceptable, although I suspect that will fall on deaf ears. Having suffered nearly 20% increases in my council tax when they last had the administration, we really do not want that repeated in future years. But they do seem to think that the Magic Money Tree can just go on and on indefinitely.

I have also tried to inform people that the damage to the economy is not down to just bankers as they would have you believe and I am very pleased that Judy mentions this too.

So to the extract of Judy's article in the Ipswich flyer

In the absence of policies, Labour are accusing the Conservatives of not being in touch with ‘ordinary people'.-(A phrase which I find particularly patronising;).
Well, I can tell who’s in touch with the grass roots – and it‘s not Labour. The electorate’s biggest concern is the economy, and how it can be restored tc  financial probity. This means reducing debt to affordable levels or suffer the consequence of higher interest rates (affecting mortgages as national spending).
The damage Labour did to our economy during its 13 years in power, was highlighted in a recent article which offers shocking evidence of Labour’s gratituous build-up of debt, through a relentles state largesse, spending more than we realise in income, through taxation. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the banking crisis (to which Gordon Brown’s change from robust to lax scrutiny was a major contributor) had a pretty minor role in overall terms.
Between 2000 and 2010, allowing for inflation state expenditure increased by 53% to £688 billion (between 2002 and 2CC alone, it rose by 40%). Remember, this was the time when Gordon Brown was saying ‘no boom and bust’ as he trousered billions in tax receipts, whilst borrowing ever more, house prices literally went through the roof
For example, social security benefits and tax credits now account for £209 billion, comparable to health and education combined, allowing some families to claim more than £26,000 untaxed per annum in benefits. Is that fair when the average wage Suffolk is closer to £25,000, taxed?