This week the Conservative Party Conference takes place which because of the pandemic is the first one in person since the 2019 general election. Writing in advance of it, I look forward to policy announcements that will both assist people in the short term and tackle some of the longer-term issues that need to be grappled with.
As a local government representative, I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Michael Gove and what his plans are, in his capacity as the new Secretary of State responsible for local government.
In advance of announcements I don’t yet know about, I think it worthwhile to reflect on some achievements so far, in the 21 months or so since Boris Johnson broke the Westminster deadlock that existed in 2019 by winning the general election. The pandemic took hold within three months and of course has rightly dominated everything government has been doing, but outside of this and the fastest vaccine rollout programme in Europe, there have been a number of key achievements that will serve our country well for the long term.
Large spending commitments and reforms to make our public spending go as far as possible, tackling long-term structural issues have been a key focus. A £36 billion package to reform the NHS and social care has been delivered. School funding has been boosted by a record £14.4 billion to give every child a world-class education. We’ve seen the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, which has already got 69,000 young people into work, as well the £2.9 billion Restart Scheme, helping over 1 million long-term unemployed people find work, plus the Lifetime Skills Guarantee that offers 11 million adults a free qualification.
The Conservatives are building the highest number of new homes in over 20 years, helping more people get a home of their own, while unleashing a green industrial revolution, mobilising £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs.
There are immediate challenges and its right these are addressed, but I welcome the laying of solid foundations to make the long-term improvements needed.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
13th October 2021